Friday, September 28, 2012

Laguna Gloria Historical Marker

I must say I really enjoyed my visit at this location. The wife and I spent three hours looking at the art that is now displayed in this home (see the post on the AMOA museum for more information on that). As for the marker the home is absolutely marvelous. The architecture is superb. It is a must see in Austin.
photo by D. Kevin Surbaugh

This Mediterranean style villa was built in 1916 for Henry H. and Clara Driscoll Sevier. Named Laguna Gloria for a nearby lagoon off the Colorado River, the stuccoed home features a decorative window that resembles the rose window at San Jose mission in San Antonio. In 1943 the site was conveyed to the Texas Fine Arts Assoc. by Clara Driscoll, best known for her efforts to preserve the Alamo. Her homesite is now owned by Laguna Gloria Art Museum.
photo by D. Kevin Surbaugh

3809 W 35th St, Austin TX 78703

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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Pecan Street Festival - Fall 2012 - September 29-30

The bi-annual Pecan Street Festival is this weekend, September 29-30, 2012. This festival is held twice a year Once in the spring and again in the fall.The festival covers 24 blocks of 6th street from I-35 to Brazos. Featuring artisans from all over the country (USA) who display and sell their homemade art and craft-work. In addition there will reportedly be three stages with musicians providing entertainment. Of course you can't forget the various kinds of food that will be sold either.
Some might ask why this festival is called Pecan Street if it is on 6th Street. To answer that we have to look at Austin's rich history. When Edwin Waller first laid out the street plan for Austin, he named the north-south streets after Texas rivers in the order in which they appeared on the Texas map. While Mr. Waller had recommended the east-west streets be numbered, they were instead given the name of trees. Eventually, numbers did replace the tree-named streets and what had been Pecan became, what we now know as 6th Street, today. The Old Pecan Street Spring and fall Festivals honors the streets original name.
Whether you come for the food, music/entertainment or arts/crafts there is something for you. It is a tradition that is 100% Austin, which has been known for the last 34 years as a great way to spend a weekend.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

O. Henry Museum and Marker

O. Henry is diffidently one of the top witters on my personal favorites list. On my trip to this museum and the historic marker in the front yard, I learned some things about the man who gave us "The Gift of the Magi." For example, O. Henry, whose real name was William Sydney Porter, was at one point in his life a bank teller at the First National Bank of Austin.  After, money came up missing he was fired eventually charged with embezzlement and sentenced to five years in prison, of which he served three years.
Photo at O. Henry House & Museum (Austin, TX) via Wikipedia.  The bank teller in the picture is William Porter (aka O. Henry). The copyright holder grants any entity the right to use this work for any purpose, without any conditions, unless such conditions are required by law.

Porter (aka O. Henry was born September 11, 1862, near Greensboro, North Carolina. Despite his time as a bank teller, Henry spent his entire life overspending, drinking and gambeling his money away and constanly asking his friends for money. The museum and historical marker is sandwiched between the fire station (that also contains the Austin Fire Museum) and the Joesph and Susanna Dickinson Hanning Museum.


photo by Kevin Surbaugh
Wednesday-Sunday 12-5

Contact phone:


photo by Kevin Surbaugh

Historic Marker
photo by Kevin Surbaugh

Born in Greensboro, N.C., moved to Texas in 1882, and lived on a ranch near Cortulla. Came to Austin in 1884, and in addition to writing, worked as a pharmacist, musician, draftsman, and bank teller. His first nationally published short story appeared in 1897.

Porter began writing under the name O. Henry during three years spent in prison. The 381 stories published in New York, 1902-10, won him international fame. O. Henry's collected works have been translated into 10 languages.

This mid-1890s home of Porter, his wife Athol, and their daughter, opened as a museum in 1934.


409 East 5th Street, Austin TX 78701 (near 5th and Trinity)

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Monday, September 24, 2012

Governor Edmund Jackson Davis

Texas Governor Edmund Jackson Davis was Governor when Texas was readmitted into the union after the bloody Civil War of the previous decade.

photo by Kevin Surbaugh
Born in Florida, E.J. Davis became a lawyer and judge after moving to Texas. During the Civil War (1861-65), he commanded a regiment of Texas Unionists and rose to the rank of Brigadier General.

During the reconstruction era, Davis led the radical wing of the Texas Republican Party. In Nov. 1869 he narrowly defeated moderate Republican A.J. Hamilton for the Governorship in an election marred by charges of fraud. Davis took office in Jan. 1870, and Texas was readmitted to the Union the following March. Davis four-year term was marked by controversy over the formation of a State Police force and alleged financial corruption. His administration drew praise, however, for its support of free public education.

Davis was defeated for re-election in Dec. 1873 by Democrat Richard Coke, but he refused to leave office. From Jan. 13 to Jan. 17, 1874, Davis occupied the first floor of the State Capitol, while Coke and members of the 14th Legislature held the second floor. Armed conflict was prevented when President U.S. Grant declined to intervene in the dispute, and Davis left the building peacefully.

Davis married Anne Elizabeth Britton (b. 1838) and had two sons, his grave is in the State Cemetery in Austin.


near 1006 Congress in Bicentennial Square with a number of other markers

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Friday, September 21, 2012

St. Stephen’s Missionary Baptist Church

Dr. B. J. McQueen is the current senior pastor of this historic church and they can be reached at (512) 837-1196. In 2012 Dr. McQueen was inducted into the distinguished Board of Preachers at the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel at Morehouse College in Atlanta.  According to an article in the Austin Statesman,
At St. Stephen's, the congregation is concerned with affecting positive outcomes for the community, McQueen said. The church works to help others so that they can take care of themselves "and become a contributor to society, rather than one who's constantly in need," he said.
McQueen cited as an example a program in which the church rents homes to members with financial difficulties at below-market rates. Those members must complete a two-year financial stewardship program to receive a portion of what they paid in rent to use toward a down payment on a home of their own.

photo by D. Kevin Surbaugh
Organized in 1887, this congregation first met in a small wooden building near this site. The Rev. Stephens Smith served as first pastor of the church, which served residents of the Waters Park, Round Rock, and Pflugerville communities. Land for a church and school was given by Mr. and Mrs. Anderson Peoples in 1887. St. Stephen’s School, also known as Waters Park Colored School, provided education for black children in the area. A new sanctuary was built in 1978. This church continues to serve a large community with outreach programs.
12300 Amherst Dr, Austin TX 78727

photo by D. Kevin Surbaugh


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other links to this article:

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Weekend Events

This weekend (Sept. 21-23, 2012) there a number of events that you might want to check out.

  • Austin Museum Partnership is Sunday September 23, 2012. Every year many of the museums around Austin team together to offer a day when the public can visit their museums for free. However, parking is not included in that free offer, so in some cases you may have to pay a parking garage fee. We also wrote more about this event earlier this week.

  • Fantastic Fest begins today Thursday September 20, 2012 and runs through September 27. So what is Fantastic Fest?  According to their website:
    Fantastic Fest is the largest genre film festival in the U.S., specializing in horror, fantasy, sci-fi, action and just plain fantastic movies from all around the world. In years past we have presented the world premieres of THERE WILL BE BLOOD, APOCALYPTO, CITY OF EMBER, ZOMBIELAND, and GENTLEMEN BRONCOS, while our guest roster has included such talent as Mel Gibson, Bill Murray, Dolph Lundgren, Jemaine Clement, Paul Rudd, Bill Pullman, Paul Thomas Anderson, Kevin Smith, Jon Favreau, George Romero, Darren Aronofsky and Mike Judge. We also feature world, national and regional premieres of new, up-and-coming genre films.
    Fantastic Fest is held each year in various venues, but primarily at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema on South Lamar in Austin, Texas. The Alamo Drafthouse was named the best cinema in America by Entertainment Weekly and features food and drink served to your seat without any disruption of the movie experience.

  • The Austin Pride Festival is this weekend also.The festival includes what has been dubbed the Rainbow Run 5k. The 21st annual event will be held Saturday September 22, 2012.

  • Finally beginning Sunday September 23 (through September 26 and September 30 through October 3rd) is Austin Restaurant Week. To celebrate this 5th Annual event, more then 50 Austin restaurants will be participating in this event. But
    the best way to access the information for Austin Restaurant Week is to download the app that you can find in the Apple App Store (for iPhone) or in the Android Marketplace (for Android). In addition, you may download and print maps at home through this site.

  • Wednesday, September 19, 2012

    African Americans in the Texas Revolution

    This marker is one of about 8 in bicentennial Square and 10 in this block of Congress avenue across the street from the State Capital. This marker remembers the unsung heroes of the Texas Revolution with Mexico.  Some counts say that 30% of the Texas population was of African American decent. While most of them were slave, they still had a big part to play in our fight with Mexico.  

    photo by Kevin Surbaugh

    Many African Americans, free and slave, supported Texas during its 1835-36 war of independence from Mexico. Although official recognition of the African American role was generally denied, recorded accounts of individual acts of bravery and patriotism survived.

    Hendrick Arnold distinguished himself as a guide and soldier for Ben Milam’s Texas Army at the Siege of Bexar and later at the Battle of San Jacinto.

    William E. (Bill) Goyens, a prominent African American businessman of Nacogdoches, served as an interpreter and liaison for Sam Houston during treaty negotiations with the Cherokee Indians at the outset of the war.

    Samuel McCullough, Jr., a freeman, was severely wounded in the Goliad Campaign in late 1835 and later recognized by the Texas Congress as among the first to shed blood in the Texas War for Independence.

    Joe Travis was among the few defenders of the Alamo to survive the devastating siege by Mexican General Santa Anna in 1836. Travis later carried news of the battle to General Sam Houston.

    African Americans are counted among the Texas Army massacred at Goliad, among those who contributed money and transported supplies for the Texas Army, and among those who died defending the Alamo.


    1006 Congress Austin, TX 78701

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    Tuesday, September 18, 2012

    Free Museums Galore - Sunday Sept. 23, 2012

    Every year museums all around Austin team together to offer a free day at the museum. This year that 15th annual day comes on September 23, 2012. It will be a great day to see some art and/or learn some history. Below is a list of the museums that are participating. I have tried to group them into two groups; always free and regularly have an admission.  Just a reminder some places don't have free parking, so parking may be an added expense.

    Museum Regular AdmissionLocation:
    Blanton Museum of Art   Adults : $9
    Seniors : $7
    Current UT faculty/students/staff : Free
    College students with valid ID :$5
    Youth (13 - 21) : $5
    Children 12 & under : Free

    Free parking is available for any stay under 30 minutes at any university garage.
    Parking is available at the Brazos Garage and Trinity Garage to members and general admission visitors for $3 if you present your ticket and pay at The Blanton's Visitor Services Desk.Be sure to bring you ticket with you to be validated.  You can also park at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum (located across the street from The Blanton), in their underground parking garage that charges $8 per vehicle for all day
    200 E MLK Boulevard
    AMOA - Arthouse The Jones Center
    Suggested donation, $5
     Parking is available at paid street meters, as well as a variety of private garages and lots. They suggest using public transportation.
    Laguna Gloria
    Suggested donation, $3
     amble parking
    The Jones Center: 700 Congress Avenue
     Laguna Gloria:
    3809 West 35th Street
    Austin Children's Museum Admission is $6.50 per person.
    Children 12-23 months are $4.50.
    Children under 12 months are free.
    201 Colorado Street
    Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum   Exhibits: $9 adults,
    $8 students;
    $7 seniors/military
    $6 youths age 4 - 17
    FREE under 4
    IMAX Theatre: $8 adults
    $7 seniors/military/students
    $6 youths age 4 - 17
    Combination tickets are available.
    Special pricing for feature-length IMAX films.
     * There is a fee of $8 that covers full day Underground parking in the garage (no re-entry).
    1800 N. Congress Ave
    French Legation Museum $5 per person 802 San Marcos Street
    The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center $9 Adults
    $7 Seniors 65 years and older
    $7 Students 13 years and older
    $3 Children 5 through 12
    Free for Members and Children 4 years and under
    4801 La Crosse Avenue
    Mexic-Arte Museum $5 adults
    $4 senior citizens and students
    $1 children 12 and under
    Free Admission for Mexic-Arte Museum Members
    419 Congress Avenue
    The Neill-Cochran House $5 per person. Free to children 15 years old and younger 2310 San Gabriel Street
    The Republic of Texas Museum $5.00 Adults
    $2.00 DRT Members
    $3.00 Seniors
    $2.00 Students/Teachers
    510 E. Anderson Lane
    The Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum Adults: $3.50
    Seniors: $2.50
    Student: $1.00
    Under 6: FREE
    Active Military and Families FREE

     * Free parking in their parking lot as well as across the street at the softball fields near Zilker Park.
    605 Robert E. Lee Road
    The Austin Fire Museum Free 401 East 5th Street

    Capital Visitors Center
    Free 112 East 11th Street
    The Dolph Briscoe Center for American History Free Sid Richardson Hall at UT

    The Elisabet Ney Museum
    Free 304 East 44th Stree

    The George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center
    Free 1165 Angelina Street
    German-Texan Heritage Society Free 507 East 10th Street
    Joseph and Susanna Dickinson Hannig Museum Free 411 East 5th Street
    The Texas Department of Public Safety Historical MuseumFree 5805 N. Lamar Blvd
    Humanities Texas ???? 1410 Rio Grande Street
    O Henry Free 409 East 5th Street
    Texas Medical Association History of Medicine Gallery Free 401 W. 15th St
    Texas Memorial Museum, Texas Natural Science Center’s Free 2400 Trinity St
    The Texas Military Forces Museum Free 2200 West 35th St., Bldg. 6
    Goodwill Computer Museum Free 1015 Norwood Park Blvd
    Texas Music Museum Free 1009 E 11th
    Texas State Capital Free 1100 Congress Street
    German-Texan Heritage Museum Free 507 East 10th Street
    Tiny Park Free 1101 Navasota Street Suite 2
    Visual Arts Center Free 23rd and Trinity Streets
    The Williamson Museum Free 716 S. Austin Ave
    Women and Their Work Free 1710 Lavaca

    Monday, September 17, 2012

    First Classes of the U. T. Law School

    photo by Kevin Surbaugh
    The University of Texas held its first classes in the temporary capitol at this site on Sept. 15, 1883. Fifty-two of the 218 original students were registered in the law department. They were taught by former Governor of Texas Oran M. Roberts (1815-1898) and former Texas Supreme Court Justice Robert S. Gould (1826-1904). Many members of the university’s first law class went on to have distinguished careers, including Albert Sidney Burleson, who served as U.S. Postmaster General from 1913 to 1921 and Yancy Lewis, who later returned to serve as a law school professor.


    1006 Congress (in Bicentennial square) next to the Old Bakery and across the street from the State Capital.

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    Saturday, September 15, 2012

    Paramount Theatre

    photo by Kevin Surbaugh
    The Paramount (above) has stood on Congress Avenue in the heart of downtown Austin for nearly 100 years (since 1915). The site of the Paramount Theatre was once home to Sam Houston’s office and the War Department of the Republic of Texas and later the Avenue Hotel. As Austin’s oldest surviving theatre built in 1915, the Paramount has a long history of entertaining Central Texas audiences.

    Originally the theatre was conceived as a Vaudeville and variety house. Today, it continues to bring a wide array of programming to its stage. The Paramount presents comedy, drama, music, dance, spoken word, children’s programming and films to more than 200,000 Central Texans each year. More than 10,000 of those are children who gain admission for free or at greatly reduced prices because of our youth outreach programs.

    The Paramount Theatre plays a huge role in the many communities that make Austin unique. It is home to Austin’s red carpet film premieres and is even part of the SXSW and the Austin Film Festival. It is a vibrant player in the Austin music scene, hosting release parties, booking local talent and presenting touring acts. And through its own quality programming and by serving as a venue for area arts organizations, the Paramount serves as the anchor for the Austin arts community.

    photo by Kevin Surbaugh
    Originally called the “Majestic”, this theatre was erected in 1915 by businessman Ernest Nalle (1876-1950). Designed by the Chicago architectural firm of Eberson, Fugard, and Knapp, it was constructed under the direction of local architect George Endress. During the 1930s, the theatre was renamed the “Paramount” and was lavishly remodeled. Since its opening, the theatre has been a showcase for traveling vaudeville shows, dramatic and musical stage productions, and motion pictures.

    photo by Kevin Surbaugh
    Offices of the War Department and the Adjutant General
    Three double log houses built on this site in 1839 shortly after Austin was selected as the site for the Capital of the Republic of Texas served as the offices for War Department and the Adjutant General. Here Albert Sidney Johnston and Branch Tanner Archer served as secretaries of war.
    by the Kiwanis Club of Austin, Texas (unknown date)

    photo by Kevin Surbaugh

    Near 7th and Congress the Paramount is specifically at 713 Congress Avenue 

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    Wednesday, September 12, 2012

    Governor Andrew Jackson Hamilton

    The first Republican Governor of Texas was a former Democratic Congressman who was appointed in 1865 by then President Abraham Lincoln, while Federal troops still occupied Texas in the aftermath of the civil war. Andrew Jackson Hamilton died in Austin, Texas on April 11, 1875 of tuberculosis. He is buried at Oakwood Cemetery, where a second historical marker has also been erected.
    photo by Kevin Surbaugh

    Nicknamed “Colossal Jack” because of his imposing stature and his oratorical skill, A.J. Hamilton was born in Alabama. He migrated to Texas about 1846. A lawyer, he served as acting Attorney General of Texas in 1850. His residence once stood one mile east of here while representing Travis County in the 4th Texas Legislature, 1851-53. He donated land for establishing the State Cemetery.

    Elected to the U.S. Congress in 1859, Hamilton took a Unionist stand during the secession crisis along with his friend Sam Houston and others. Because of his convictions, he was forced to flee Texas in 1862, during the Civil War (1861-1865). U.S. President Abraham Lincoln commissioned him a Brigadier General and Military Governor of Texas on Nov. 14, 1862. He had little power until he returned to Texas in Jan. 1865, when federal troops occupied Brownsville. He served as provisional Governor, Jun 17, 1865 – Aug. 9, 1866, during the turmoil of reconstruction. He was a leader at the constitutional convention of 1868-69, and an Associate Justice of the State Supreme Court, 1868-70. Running as a conservative Republican, he lost the Governorship in 1869 to E.J. Davis.

    He married Mary Jane (Bowen) (1826-1915) and had 6 children.


    1006 Congress Austin, TX 78701

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    Monday, September 10, 2012

    Big Arch

    photo by Kevin Surbaugh

    This monolithic Stonehenge of towering shell-encrusted limestone stands silent, solid, acting as a majestic gateway between the Town (Lady Bird) Lake and Boggy Creek Hike & Bike Trails. Its subtle features are worth a pause for a breather and contemplation.Otherwise, you might not notice the eerie row of marbles caught like the doomed of Pompeii in one of the concrete seams between two of the five angular cut boulders (Upper inside of arch)
    photo by Kevin Surbaugh

    You might also miss the most impressive main feature: a carved relief on the keystone. Three (3) profiles: ancient warrior, European explorer, and modern dude, replete with headband and shades, together looking towards three symbols: a pre-invasion pyramid, the State of Texas, and the United Farm Workers eagle. A fantastically breathtaking work of art.

    photo by Kevin Surbaugh
    2400 Holly Street Austin 78702

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    Bud's Motorcycle Shop, 2612 E. Cesar Chavez, Austin 78702

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    Saturday, September 8, 2012

    September in Guatemala

    Last Saturday was my birthday, and it started me thinking about how wonderful God has been to me. This newsletter is going to be a bit longer than normal, but this month I want to give thanks to God for what He's done for me and for who He's placed in my life.

    Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews (12:1-3 NIV)

    These verses from Hebrews 12 follow the most famous section of Hebrews about the men and women of faith. Hebrews 11 talks about men who believed impossible things by faith, and by God's will they became reality. Men who faced danger, suffered, and were persecuted for their faith, but persevered through the trials because of their faith. Go back and read chapter 11 again and think about what incredible faith it would take if you were confronted with situations of these men. Hebrews 12:1-3 perfectly captures what our response should be: throw off everything that hinders us and run our race!

    These verses get me so excited and inspired, and so I want to write about the men of faith that God has placed in my life. These men have been incredible witnesses to me, and I feel so blessed that the God of Heaven would look down on someone like me and provide these men to guide me, teach me, train me, model for me, love me, and always point me to Christ. I'm not planning to name them by name, because the purpose is to show how God has been so wonderful to fill my life with a great cloud of witnesses. (And I know that each one of them will be reading this and know who you are.)

    Like any good story, my cloud started right from the beginning. God blessed me with incredible parents, and I never had any reason to doubt that they loved me. They were fully committed to raising me as they felt God wanted them to, and I knew the Lord at a young age because of them, and my parents taught my sunday school classes often when I was growing up. A few years ago I was visiting them and I got to sit in on my Dad's Bible study where he was going through the book of Acts. Paul had been severely persecuted to the point of death during his first missionary journey. And yet when he finished the arc of the cities he wanted to preach in, instead of returning home he instead retraced his steps and spent much more time in those same cities discipling and forming the new churches. The study really opened my eyes to the need to follow-up with new believers. Not just run away from confrontation and persecution, but to persevere and finish the work that we've been given. Thank you for your love and guidance, for raising me, and for introducing me to Jesus!

    I entered high school as any geeky teen does: very shy, quiet, timid, and more excited about my computer classes than anything else. I wasn't prime evangelistic material, and I certainly didn't go into high school thinking about how to impact it for Jesus! I wasn't searching for a group like Young Life, but God had different plans, and it found me. Our leader was so committed to us that he positioned his job to be close to our school so that he could stop by when we were getting out of class in order to build relationships. And he modeled how to reach out to my friends in a non-threatening and "cool" way. He helped me develop my quiet times and my prayer life. And I got to see my best friend come to know Christ. Thank you for developing me and for showing me how to reach out to the lost!

    Then I went off to Georgia Tech, where I didn't know anyone. I tried to find a good Christian group, but I wasn't able to find anything my first year. Through my parents' help I was introduced to the Tech's Navigator leader. He worked me over like no one else! He made me do in-depth studies and analysis on many books of the Bible. And once when I didn't finish what I was supposed to, he sat me down and made me write out every last detail of my weekly schedule so that it would be clear to me that I was being lazy. He was really hard on me, and it was exactly what I needed! But the greatest lesson that he taught me was love. He had incredible love for me. He had incredible love for all of the students. Christ's love compelled him in such a unique and powerful way, and it impacted me deeply as I watched and learned from him. It was during our time together that I first got my call to be a missionary, and it was though him that I heard about Guatemala. Thank you for your LOVE and for discipling me!

    In Guatemala I first worked with Hearts for the Children Ministry where I lived with the leader and his family. He modeled a life fully submitted to God's will. He prayed and what God said, he did! The ministry had lots of medical clinics, feeding programs, clothing donations, out reaches, kids programs and church services. It was hard to keep up with it all! But in everything his mission was never material provision. People would get sick again, clothes would get worn out, and they would get hungry again. He used all those as only a means to an end. To get everyone's attention the best he could in order to reach the most people possible with the gospel. I also learned so much from him and his family about breaking down the barriers that exist between American & Guatemalan, English & Spanish, rich & poor. Thank you for your Obedience to God's call, for helping me adjust to life in Guatemala, and for your example!

    I then transitioned to helping out at the orphanage Casa Shalom which was just down the road. My time there was like none other. The director loved those kids like they were his own. His house was FULL of crying babies, and he constantly was checking in with all the other kids to see how they were doing. He was a man of faith, who didn't freak out or doubt when the home's finances were in the red but instead acted in faith to expand the ministry believing that God would provide. He imprinted on my heart the verse "For we live by faith, not by sight." (2 Corinthians 5:7) Those preteen & teen boys that I was put in charge of during my time working at the home stuck in my heart permanently. It was during that time that God started giving me a vision for the boys and our future together. Thank you for your example of faith and for your love of the kids!

    When I moved to Texas six years ago to start a job there, I wondered where I was going to go to church. After living in Guatemala, I was really unsure if there was a church where I could fit in and grow in the few years that I would be living there. I clearly underestimated God and His plan for my life. He quickly led me to a small church down the road from where I lived and worked. I found a church with the most wonderful mix of hispanics, black and whites. Although small, it had the biggest ministry to the community that I've ever seen. And I found a pastor and congregation that were incredibly passionate about God. Church wasn't an hour on Sunday mornings in order to check a spiritual box off, but instead lasted as long as was needed to fellowship and grow in the Lord. One of the things that I miss most about living in Guatemala is this church. The pastor's house was always filled with people, and he helped raise many other kids. It was during this time that I was praying a lot about what God wanted with the half-way house, and He used my pastor as a great example, mentor, encourager and help. Thank you for your example, help, training and love!

    One of the biggest and most important things that this great cloud of witnesses has illustrated to me is a dedication to their families. I sometimes hear such sad stories of missionaries who set out with such great hopes and ambitions, but in all the busyness of doing "God's work" they left their family behind. And I can see how easy it is to do! It's so easy to get overly involved in the busyness of ministry that there's just not enough time for anything else. I'm grateful for the examples of these men, and I could write so much about their incredible wives too! Please pray that God will help me never leave my family behind. This presses on my heart so strongly as we're only about two months away from having our first child. Thank you (and your wives) for your great examples with your dedication to your family!

    Thank you, Lord, for the family you've given me. Thank you for all the blessings that you've placed in my life: the incredible spiritual leaders, the pastors, the friends, the family, all my dear brothers and colaborers in the faith, and most of all my wonderful wife! I pray that you help me as we form our own family: that we can always point all of our children, both biological and pseudo-adopted, towards You.

    This is my birthday wish: as God has so richly blessed my life by surrounding me with great witnesses, that He would in turn use me to be His witness here in Guatemala. That I would be found to be a man of faith and would persevere in God's calling to share His love with the children, teens and young adults that He has place in my life.

    And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others. 2 Timothy 2:2 (NIV)

    Paul's final letter before he was put to death was to his "true son in the faith" Timothy. He encourages Timothy to not let the message that he learned stop with him because it was now his responsibility to share the gospel message with others so that they can then share it with others as well. No matter what the cost, Paul encouraged Timothy to proclaim the gospel, and my own cloud of witnesses have challenged me to do the same. I ask that you pray for me that I would be faithful to the task that God has given me.

    Please pray for us as we now have our own Timothys living with us. Pray that Christ's love would penetrate their hearts and transform them. Pray that I would be faithful to my calling and that God would be glorified by my life. Pray that the barriers would be broken between us. Pray that the works of the devil which brought the boys to the orphanage would be broken. Pray that God would give both me the words to say and the way to say them. Pray that I would give a good testimony in the good times and the hard times. And pray that they would leave here equipped and ready to teach others.

    Thank you so much for your support and prayers for Yuli, myself and our ministry with these guys. We pray that God also blesses your lives and draws you closer to Him.
    Brent & Yuliza

    Brent Potter

    Friday, September 7, 2012

    Holly Street Power Plant Murals

    In 1991 a group of Artists got together and painted a mural on a perimeter wall of the Holly Street Power Station. In all there are seven (7) murals at the Holly Street Power Plant in East Austin. According to Austin Chronicle article,
    It was the largest mural project the city had ever seen, planning over a two-year period 10 murals in all, including a continuously changing graffiti mural done by neighborhood kids. For his part, Duran depicted local personalities at a dance and picnic in the traditional Latin American celebration of a young woman's rite of passage into adulthood. In a further nod to the neighborhood's historical roots, Carlos Renteria's triptych pays a muralist's homage to Diego Rivera and his wife, painter Frida Kahlo. In essence, the Holly Street Power Plant murals not only succeeded in beautifying the loud, steel-laden electric plant, but they brought the heretofore intrusive monstrosity into the folds of the surrounding homes by turning it into an ongoing community project celebrating local heritage.
    - Austin Chronicle
    In 2007 the plant was decommissioned and in 2012 crews began dismantling it. As I worked on the 2TourAustin project, I had concerns we would lose this mural forever. So I asked Austin Energy which seemed to indicate that here were no plans. Actually they never really answered the question.  They just said, in their email  that the murals are on the outside of the cinder block fence that surrounds the north and west side of the power plant.  They are exposed to the public and visible from the hike and bike trail that is adjacent to this fence.
    photo by Austin Energy
    Fidencio Duran, Robert Herrera, Alfredo Martinez, Carlos Renteria, Armando Martinez, Felipe Garza, as well as some area junior high students

    photo by Kevin Surbaugh


    someone added this painting more recently -- photo by Kevin Surbaugh

    2419 Holly Street  (near Holly Street & Lady Bird Lake) 78702  

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    Thursday, September 6, 2012

    Art After 6 is this Friday Sept. 7, 2012

    There is no question that Austin loves it's arts. One of the best ways to observe art in this great city is the first Friday of each month.That is when Austin's Peoples Gallery holds its "Art After Six". The next event is scheduled for this Friday September 7, 2012 between 6-8 pm.
    The free event is held monthly at Austin's City Hall (301 w 2nd). Artwork, will be on display throughout the first three floors of City Hall. Visitors are welcomed to take self-guided tours. With the first of four Artist presentations beginning at 6:30 in the City Council Chambers. Free parking is available at the underground parking garage below City Hall, just be sure to get your ticket validated at the booth in the lobby.
    Why should someone who has never been to Art After Six attend? This is the question I asked Terra Goolsby, Exhibition Specialist, who said that Art After Six gives the artist a chance to present what they do and the public gets a chance to take in that information.
    For more information call (512) 974-7700.

    Wednesday, September 5, 2012

    Governor James and Governor Miriam Ferguson

    Texas was one of the earliest states to elect a female Governor. However, she was the 2nd female elected Governor by mere months. The first was elected in Wyoming,
    Nellie Tayloe Ross of Wyoming, who was elected on November 4, 1924 and sworn in on January 5, 1925.. She was preceded in office by her late husband William B. Ross. Wyoming was the first state to provide women's suffrage. Elected on November 3 was Miriam A. Ferguson of Texas whose husband Governor James Edward Ferguson had previously held the office but been impeached and removed from office in 1917. The first female governor elected without being the wife or widow of a past state governor was Ella T. Grasso of Connecticut, elected in 1974 and sworn in on January 8, 1975
    - Wikipedia

    photo by Kevin Surbaugh


    James Ferguson, son of a Methodist preacher, and Miriam Wallace, daughter of a wealthy farmer, were Bell County natives. They married in 1899 and later settled with their two daughters in Temple. James, running as “Farmer Jim”, won the Governorship in 1914. His first term saw improvement of rural schools and the prison system, and relief for tenant farmers. In 1917 he began a second term, but within months he was impeached on charges that included mishandling of state funds; convicted by a special session of the 35th Legislature; and removed from office. In 1924 the Texas Supreme Court upheld a law barring him from state office, so Miriam ran for Governor in his place.

    Called “Ma” by the press, Miriam campaigned under the slogan “two Governors for the price of one”. She beat the Ku Klux Klan candidate and in her first term (1925-27) supported an anti-mask bill that broke Klan power. Critics attacked her liberal pardoning policy. She defeated Gov. Ross S. Sterling to win her second term (1933-35), in the midst of the depression. After losing the 1940 Democratic primary, the Fergusons retired from long and colorful political careers.


    1006 Congress This marker is located in Bicentennial Square with a number of other markers, across the street from the State Capital and is next door to the Old Bakery and Emporium as well as the Governors Mansion.

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