Monday, January 31, 2011

The End

We left when we'd planned on leaving, and I was sad.  I was ready to be back in New York, but I didn't quite want to leave, either.  We didn't get to tell any of the older boys good bye because we didn't see them.  They weren't at breakfast and just weren't around before we left. We did not take El Mazda but a fan. There's no way we would've fit in El Mazda.  Pedro found us a cab and negotiated the price for us.  He didn't want the cabbie to charge us the gringo rate.  ;)

The Tuxtla Airport is way out there.  It felt like we went as far as Coita but the other direction.  Stefanie agreed with me about that.  We were at the airport way early but that was better than being late.  Throughout the trip back people spoke Spanish to Stefanie and English to me.  We ate at the airport restaurant and finished up our spending.  Flying out of Tuxtla is probably comparable to flying out of Montgomery or Columbus. Our flight was more full but still not full. We weren't assigned to seats near each other (:-() but it worked out.

Mexico City was no big deal.  There was much more to the terminal that either of us realized from our earlier flights through. When we came in to MEX we just both sprinted to our gate and didn't look around at all.  There were two Starbucks locations, and we visited each one.  We got coffee and then later got sandwiches because we didn't realize our flight had dinner service.  Stefanie got some amazing Virgin of Guadeloupe earrings....and we were basically the last two board our flight.  We spent some of our layover looking at my pictures (which I should upload today) and then went to get sandwiches and earrings, and that just took longer than we'd planned.

The flight was good.  My flight from MSP to MEX didn't have a movie and it seemed horribly long.  This flight watched Life as We Know It which was enjoyable.  We had dinner and then enjoyed the rest of our flight.  We finished looking at pictures before our flights and just kind of talked.  Landing at JFK as extremely smooth and the whole process was.  It took my phone 10 minutes to find network but it did and I got in touch with everyone that needed to know.  We scarved down our sandwiches before we got in to the airport because we didn't want them taken away.

We didn't need to worry.  Immigration and customs were a breeze.  Much, much faster than in MEX.  And no one was looking for sandwiches or anything, so we totally could've kept them to eat sometime this week.  They were both reallllllly good.  Our cab ride was fine, though our driver heard the wrong address and took us to 41st Street instead of 21st Street.  We got here and I played hide and seek with my keys.  I let someone use my room over the break and didn't know where they were.  He'd dropped them at the front desk and all was well.  I couldn't really sleep but finally made myself.

And I was back at that heavenly country, Chelsea Square, wherein lies the New Jerusalem.  In my own bed looking at a snowy chapel roof.

Friday, January 28, 2011

What in God's Name Are You Doing That Far South?

So I've realized that I haven't actually talked about where I am or got here, necessarily.  I was chatting with a friend last week who was shocked that I wasn't in Veracruz, so let me talk about that.  When this posts I should be zooming through the air in a little metal cylinder between Mexico City and New York City.  So yeah, why I am where I am?  Where am I, even?

I'm at the Hogar Infantil in Ocozocoautla, Chiapas, Mexico.  I got here by plane.  Last summer I started e-mailing people about looking for mission trip opportunities.  I made good contact in the Diocese of Chicago who suggested going to Veracruz to work with a priest who didn't speak any English.  I sent an e-mail to all students and Stefanie responded and followed up.  We wrote a grant for the Seminary Consultation on Mission, which is an Episcopal thing.  We got our grants and my person in Chicago put me in touch with the Bishop of SE Mexico's assistant.

We e-mailed him what we'd been planning and thinking and told us that the priest we had wanted to work with wouldn't be in town the time that we were going to be!  He also offered us an alternative, though which is how we came to be here.  The night before he e-mailed us (Stefanie had taken over communications at this point) I had looked at hotels in Veracruz and tried to figure out the budget (SCOM didn't give us as much as we'd asked) and just said, "Okay, God, something will work out."

We told the bishop's assistant that we'd love to come here and here we are!  He gave us Dori's e-mail address.  We bought our tickets less than a month before we were flying.  During reading days and finals we were stating to sketch out details with Dori through e-mail.  We were texting each other and putting stuff to bring and do together.  And now we've been here three weeks plus some change.  The boys are all lined up for breakfast and one of them is crying.  It's the one I suspected.

Safe flights to us!  Pray the collect for travelers!

Traveling Mercies

O God, our heavenly Father, whose glory fills the whole creation, and whose presence we find wherever we go: Preserve those who travel in particular Stefanie and me; surround us with your loving care; protect us from every danger; and bring us in safety to our journey's end; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Yes, That Times Stamp is Correct

Except that it's Eastern time, and I'm definitely in Central time right now.  So it's really 6:07.  I've been up for an hour and after 30 minutes couldn't get back to sleep.  I saw Stefanie's computer glow and flashed my lights good morning at her.  We talked through our windows to one another briefly and then I changed clothes and finished my packing.  Now I'm sitting on the bench in the office outside the main building enjoying the quiet of the new day.  I like being up early, though I wish I knew why I couldn't sleep.

I spent most of yesterday afternoon in our office.  Mostly doing blog stuff and working a little in iMovie.  That will continue later today, I think.  I got the video from Cruz of me preaching, but I have to do some trimming here and there to get it uploaded to YouTube.  We had homework time yesterday which infuriated me (mostly because I was in my bubble).  The boys didn't have school, so they didn't actually have homework.  I made stuff up for Armando.  We did evens to 100, odds to 101, and then all 101-200.  As it went on it got better.  I could see when he started to get the pattern and the place value (it took till 130 before he stopped putting the previous tens group in (1120)).

Dinner was good last night.  I can't remember what they're called now that I want to talk about it.  There was also cake to celebrate the birthdays and to celebrate us.  They usually will do it the last day of the month, but since we'd worked on the birthday board and been here most of the month they wanted us to celebrate, too.  That was very nice. The cake was very good.  English class was a party.  We had chips and cookies and soda and a movie.  We tried to watch something on YouTube but it was only a fifteen minute clip, so we moved to The Sound of Music.  They really liked it (as far as we made it).

We got our boarding passes printed last night and changed our plans for this morning.  I really still can't believe that I'm already up and ready to go.  Instead of taking the bus into Tuxtla to get a cab at the mall, Pedro is going to drive us to Tuxtla and make sure we get in a good cab, not one that will drive us all over the place.  We requested seats together on the flight from MEX to JFK, and insider sources (friends in New York) say that we should be fine, so I'm hoping we will be.

I can't believe it's over.  I mean, we have another three hours here, but it might as well be over.  Breakfast and then some hanging out.  I might try to get a few last pictures of people, but wow.  Three and a half weeks has gone by extremely quickly.  We have to write our SCOM narratives and I don't know how long those will be.  I have to write another grant application soon so that I can get all the necessary signatures.  That's part of Giddy, Part 3.

The micro is backed in and ready to go.  It's very well-scheduled.  It backs up about 6:30 every morning.    The older girls are eating breakfast, or are starting to come down the hill.  The smaller ones will be down in 15-20 minutes.  The micro driver gave us each cards and a parting gift yesterday, and we were both moved, I think.  We haven't spent much time with him, but he asked if we were leaving today and then gave things to us.  I'm going to miss Chiapas.  There is certainly a lot that I'm not going to miss about it, but I think on the whole I'll easily reflect on this experience as a good one.

And I won't have to spend time looking for the good.  My time here hasn't been miserable.  My summer at ARM I remember not being happy about a lot of things, but now I don't remember what those were.  Here my dissatisfaction is nothing compared to that, so I'm sure that I'll definitely remember more good things.  The Hogar still seems like the Island sometimes, but we know where the Black Rock is and how to the Orchid station if we need to.  But there's still a lot that we don't know.  We're both looking forward to keeping lines of communication open with Pedro and Dori....and I think we're both thinking about coming back sometime.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Great Clean

The weather will not cooperate with our cleaning efforts.  We went running this morning and we went 50 minutes.  We did the stops every four minutes to walk, but wen went longer than we had...and we even made it back to our running start place before our minute walk.  Before we left we'd put laundry in the washer before we ran.  Then we  did sheets while we prayed and showered.  After that we washed towels and sweaty clothes.  Everything was on the line by 10:30, but the sun is not out.  The wind has been crazy, but small bits of rain keep falling.  We refer to this precipitation as spitting.

Then we cleaned.  Everything that's cleaned and dry we folded and packed.  My bag is pretty much ready for my stuff to go in as soon as the last of it's dried.  I have an outfit laid out for tomorrow.  I swept and mopped.  No shoes past my door for the rest of the day.  We went to town to get good bye paletas.  They weren't as good this time.  They were cheaper.  We decided that it was because they were the freezer burned left overs.  Then we went to the grocery store to get supplies for our party tonight in English class.  We may be showing half an hour of a movie in English with Spanish subtitles.

We're back and my legs are tired.  The walk and run were good but exhausting.  I'm kind of stressed, too, because of the amount of snow that NYC is getting.  Helen sending an e-mail this morning saying that the seminary is closed because the City schools are closed was not the most exciting thing to read.  I don't want to get stuck in Mexico City tomorrow, but if it happens it happens.  Stefanie and I both have stuff to do on Saturday.  All shall be well.

It's almost lunch time.  I have the video of the last mass (when I preached) on my computer.  I'll do some trimming and post it on the YouTubes when I can. Almost lunch means it's almost 2:00.  We leave around 9:00 tomorrow morning, maybe earlier.  We're not going for a run so that we don't have more gross clothes.  We're almost packed and things are starting to seem more final.  My time here has been good, but like CPE I won't fully understand it for years to come, I think.  After a few days I'll have some time to think on it separate from being here, though.

Giddy, Part 2

Yesterday was the makings of Giddy, Part 3, but it's not ready yet.  Giddy happened right when I was getting some very exciting e-mails about possibilities, but not wanting to talk about them until they were panning out more.  Well, one of them has!  The other almost has, but I'll know about it in a week or so.  And I'll do my best to post as soona s I know.  And it should involve me blogging a lot, too.

So, amazing and fun news number one: I work in the OFfice of the Presiding Bishop at 815 now.  I start on 2 February.  It's a great opportunity that should be a great experience both in learning and in for the rest of my life.  I'm thankful to have been given the opportunity and glad that I was recommended for the position.  I look forward to starting and getting some good work done!


Yesterday was a jittery day.  That's why I woke up so early, I think, and the dream that woke me up was very adrenaline filled.  My jitters were not for naught, but it's not final yet, so I can't talk about it.  My morning was dominated by that and getting Skyping done right across seven hours.  After that we "played" more with the corn although it wasn't at all playing.  Yesterday we sewed up bags of corn.  Before that the kernels had been poured in front of a fan with the fan blowing away dust.  The boys told us a story that involved the corn coming to New York and them taking over the world.  There was poison involved.  It was quite amusing.

We went for a walk after the corn.  Yesterday was cooler than the day before.  We went to the gas station instead of to town.  We got chips for the English class since the night before it had been two boys.  Last night there were more students and they tore through the bag, but it was good to have.  As our time here winds down we are doing less.  It's like the end of CPE where we read a lot more and spent a lot more time in the office than on the floor.

Homework time yesterday was okay.  The questions were horrible.  They are about parents' birthdays.  His mom died years ago.  We used Dori and Pedro's, but they were really questions that weren't thinking about the different situations that the students in the school are clearly in.  It seemed to go by much more quickly yesterday.  I made him write his numbers although that wasn't assigned.  He's gotten better at it; he doesn't forget 33 anymore or write "12" in place of "21" and then continue with "13".  After homework we had roasted peanuts which were delicious.

We hung out with Tia Dori, said evening prayer, and then had dinner.  We were thanked at dinner for our work and we gave Dori and Pedro their thank you gift.  We got the Hogar a box of pencils, two boxes of colored pencils, some stickers, and a box of popcorn.  We got Dori and Pedro a big bottle of Coke just for them.  English class had more people.  We drew self-portraits and labeled the parts of the face.  Then we played Simon Says.

Then we went to bed.  It was good sleep and I'm glad to have gotten it.  I woke up cold at one point, though I didn't have to get my hoodie.  The wind was blowing like crazy last night.  I wish the weather here would clear up.  More on today in a few minutes/hours depending on when I let it post.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Three Weeks and Bittersweet

26 January 2011, 6:15 AM

I just realized that I’m going to need to check the self-appointed date stamps on stuff. I keep trying to date things 2010 and it is definitely not 2010. I’ve been awake for an hour and ten minutes and not doing anything. I just opened my computer to work on this and was blinded by it. I had the brightness all the way up (helpful when using the computer outside in the super bright sun) and wow.

Yesterday was a mixed bag for me. The morning was good: we went for our run, we did some work de-kerneling corn, and then we went for a walk to town. We got Gatorades and sat in the sun. Our walks this week are about getting some more sun before we head back to the frozen city. When we got back we read? Worked on something? I know we planned English and then ate lunch.

After lunch is when I started to hit a Mexico wall. Really I just needed some quiet time by myself not doing anything, but I was finding lots of fault and feeling really whiny. I was (and still am, really) read to be back in New York. When I’m totally honest and aware it’s about control and how much I lack here. The schedule’s looseness is starting to wear on my and stress me out. So after lunch I went to my room and just lay down for thirty minutes. I didn’t sleep, but when I got up I felt much better.

Homework time yesterday? All Google Translate. I tweeted that it was impossible. Armando was supposed to write a sentence about each of the four seasons, and I told one of the English speakers that I couldn’t help because I didn’t know about the seasons. Then Louis Fernando said (in Spanish), “In winter it’s very cold.” LIES! Not true at all! It’s winter now and not cold! But apparently they just had to be stereotypical sentences about the seasons and not real, so I wrote and translated them for him. The he wrote his numbers 1-100, then we did some addition and subtraction I made up. All of the subtraction problems’ solution was 4 or 8. Not sure how I managed that. Then we played the game on my phone.

After homework I was much more sociable and ready to be at a mission trip again. I think that should continue to today. I’m not running this morning because it’s Wednesday (and there’s more for later about that), but we’re not running Friday, either. The cool wind came back yesterday afternoon and I had to get pants and a hoodie. I’ve lost weight I can tell. Not just here, but cumulatively and it’s very exciting.

English class last night was lots of fun. We only had two people show up so we watched videos on YouTube. They are students who have pretty good English as it is. And we have started beginning class with a song in English. But we just all watched videos last night and had a blast. After class Ricardo, who works in the office and goes to school and lives here, told us that he wouldn’t be at class because he’s going home for a week.

Since he’s an office person he’s been soooooooooo helpful to us. So, so, so helpful. He’s who the CD I made was for, so we had to give it to him last night. We hadn’t gotten to decorate the front of it, but it was read to go nonetheless. And last night I realized that no matter how ready at times I am to be back in the City, I’m going to miss being here. I’m going to miss the kids and Dori and Pedro. I’m going to missed the relaxed atmosphere that sometimes makes me crazy. I’m going to miss telling Armando to sit down and to his homework. Last night I almost cried as we were telling Ricardo goodbye and giving him his CD. Maybe later today I’ll post his playlist. I went to sleep last night listening to it. I had to pause it and just got toward the end. Too bad that I did that, though. “Tomorrow we’ll discover what our God in heaven has in store,” would’ve been a great thing to hear last night.

Keep your eyes peeled for another entry later today, perhaps called “Giddy Part 2.”

Monday, January 24, 2011

Margarita Monday

I wish. Homework time makes me want a margarita, though the warmth of the last few days makes me want one, too. Today has been a very good, relaxed day. We got up and ran and cut a minute or two off our time. We sped up at about the halfway point to get to the physical point by the time point and we sped up during the last four minutes of running. My legs were tired and my lungs were tired and I could either walk or go faster. So I went faster. We made it in 39 minutes.

The almost sprint at the end was great. We’ve been sprinting whatever’s left after our last time marker, but today we just kept going. It was harder after we stopped, but it felt great. 8 Minute Abs and Morning Prayer followed. Then I showered. In the shower this morning (as it wasn’t really cooperating and moving more to a trickle than really helping) I had the thought, “Four more cold showers.” Threeish days left here. Yikes. The rest of today and not much Friday because of traveling to the airport. We went into our office and I left my computer there and then we headed to town.

We needed to get some supplies and some gifts for our departure. And we looked around for stuff for our families or friends back home. We started with Gatorade, though, because we were thirsty. I got apple flavor and it was like drinking a sour apple sour straw (the bright green sugary ones). Yeah. But it was good. I got all my shopping done, and we got the other stuff we were looking for, which is exciting.

When we got back we talked with Dori about our getting to the airport on Friday and proposed a plan. We’ll have time to run before we go, and I think we’re going to add the other ten minutes on Thursday, after all. I want to but don’t know if I can actually handle it. If I can then I cant wait to keep at it in New York on the treadmill. We listened to Hairspray and did some work in the English classroom. I made a playlist and burned a CD. Life is good.

After lunch we did some pulling kernels off corn cobs again. I’m smarter about how to do it now, and it involves using a corn cob to help rather than using my fingers. I think it’s faster and doesn’t make my fingers’ skin tear off. Yeah. Homework time was okay until the end. A word problem, writing the numbers, then finished...except that we have to read until the end. Well, that’s all well and good, but there is no reading book nor is there a grade-level appropriate library book, so we read the history book. There are no pictures that I understand the captions of, and I don’t know if he got it. Longest fifteen minutes of the day.

We’re doing laundry again. My stuff is in the washer and is probably almost finished. I’ll put it on the line and hope it does some drying tonight. We’re both looking forward to cleaning out our rooms on Thursday. This afternoon I texted with Timothy via Google Voice. Tonight we’ll teach English. We’re moving on to the next video which is exciting for them, though we have no idea what it’s on. Well, we might be moving on. That’s out of our control.

I’m holed up in my room. I’ll go post these (this with a delay) and then hang my stuff up. I’m listening to the new playlist, which I think is a pretty good one. Think a genius list based on glee music. That’s what I tried to do. Okay fair reader, I’m closing until the morning.

So What's With That Liturgy?

24 January 20120 5:24 PM

Yesterday, oh yesterday.  As I sat down to write this I thought, “What’d we do yesterday?  We went to the soccer game.”  Yeah, that we did.  I was up early and it was very quiet and nice before breakfast.  We had breakfast and then helped with the dishes as we are apt to do.  During the dishes Pedro talked to Stefanie and I heard and understood “songs” and “five” and “six.”
Stefanie asked if I’d gotten that and I thought we were doing the song service at 5:00.  No, we were doing the service at 6:00.  I found out today that she tried to explain to him that Dori was going to do a service this evening, but he said that yesterday was the Lord’s day and we were going to have church.  Sooooo we washed dishes and got our computers.  I said, “To the Liturgy Lab!” which is also the English classroom/room we’ve worked in.
We contemplated lots of things and weren’t really sure what to do.  We settled on modifying the Order of Worship for Evening.  We though about doing the liturgy of the word from Rite II, but we didn’t think that the BCP imagined us doing that without a priest.  We didn’t want to do Evening Prayer because they don’t have Prayer Books.  They have copies of the BCP in Spanish for Rite II.
We decided to use the assigned Isaiah lesson in place of the suggested short reading since it was about light and it was the same number of voices.  Poor Stefanie was trying to make sure her sermon made sense and Google translated it and then had three readers go over it.  Since we didn’t have Prayer Books and chapel is new to them, we added some things and subtracted some things.  I said the Prayer for Light then Stefanie used the Collect for the Day.  I put together the liturgy with her input and approval and such.
The psalter we used the assigned psalm.  The psalm isn’t a reading, so we tried to make it more interactive between the people and the lector.  Since it was like an office service we had one of the kids read the gospel lesson and didn’t have a epistle.  We added songs they knew and some that we knew and could teach.  For the responses we had me que the people and them repeating after me.
We worked on that most of the morning and into the afternoon.  We got content with it and then went to the soccer game.  Fabian, one of the German volunteers, was headed to the Hogar as we were leaving, so he came with us.  The game was sloppy and could’ve been better. They played really well and then just stopped.  It got hot and they got tired, too. 
The service went well.  Pedro came and demanded respectfulness.  Stefanie did a great job and our musician was extremely helpful.  He played songs that he knew.  We used the tools available to us in crafting a liturgy and in executing it.  I got some of the stuff from St. Lydia’s and did a paperless song.  It’s hard to use the liturgy as part of catechesis when the congregation has only assembled three or four times and the people don’t have Prayer Books.  
We tried not to trample rubrics.  We tried to do some stuff that was familiar, but we weren’t doing a Eucharistic service.  We worked hard on it and were intentional in our decisions.  In an ideal world we would’ve been able to do some things differently, but we weren’t in an idea situation.  We were given a task and we completed it, I think.  And it went well.  We got together to rehearse it, too, so that was helpful, too.  Later in our ministries we’ll say to one another, “Remember that time we planned and executed a liturgy in Spanish when neither of us was really fluent and one of us wasn’t functional? Yeah, that was fun, right?”

Sunday, January 23, 2011

(A Modified) Order of Worship for Evening

This is the order of service we used tonight.  It'd modified from the Prayer Book.  Neither of us really likes to do that, but the kids don't have Prayer Books (there is one here that we've seen).  More commentary on how it went tomorrow...and how it came about, which is part of the changing.  We used what we had, we were intentional about it, and it worked as best as it could.

We Gather


         Stefanie: Luz y paz en Jesucristo nuestro Señor
         Joseph: Repitan esto después de mi
         Demos gracias a Dios.

A Reading
         Is. 9.1-4 is assigned lesson

         Joseph: Repitan esto después de mi
         Demos gracias a Dios.

Ilumina nuestras tinieblas, te suplicamos, oh Señor, y por tu gran misericordia defiéndenos de todos los peligros y riesgos de esta noche; por amor de tu único Hijo nuestro Salvador Jesucristo.  Amen.

Danos gracias, Señor, para responder prestamente al llamamiento de nuestro Salvador Jesucristo y proclamar las Buenas Nuevas de su salvación a todos los pueblos; para que nosotros, y todo el mundo, percibamos la gloria de sus obras maravillosas; quien vive y reina contigo y el Espíritu Santo, un solo Dios, por los siglos de los siglos.  Amen. 

We Hear God’s Word and Respond

Salmo 27.1, 5-13 with refrain of v. 1a.

“Hallelu/Gracias a Dios”

Gospel reading from the children’s bible

         Joseph: Repitan esto después de mi
         Demos gracias a Dios.


“Gloria a dios”

Oración de los Fieles

We Are Sent Forth

La Paz
         La paz del Señor sea siempre con ustedes
         Y con tu espíritu.

“Shake Another Hand”

“Amen, amen, amen”

Salgamos con gozo al mundo, en el poder del Espiritu.
Demos gracias a Dios

Sermon Audio: Matthew 1.18-25

Sorry this has taken so long, but here's the audio of my sermon from 4 Advent 2010.

Download it here.

Quiet Sunday

I don't know what we'll do today.  There's a soccer game at 2:00 that we'll go to, and I'll do a much better job wearing sunscreen than last week.  Dori is at Diocesan Convention, so we're having the eucharist tomorrow night.  I went to bed hella early so I'm up the same.  I actually napped, had dinner, and went back to bed. I'm not feeling sick just read to get back into my routine or have more options of things to do.  I'm about computered out since it takes me from being present here.  I'm not really feeling reading what I thought I wanted to read.  I miss going out and walking a few blocks to dinner to get off the close.  That kind of thing.

Yesterday after lunch was very, very chill.  We just hung out while Pedro went to Tuxtla to go to Sam's Club or something along those lines.  This morning is shaping up to be beautiful.  Yesterday the clouds and wind were back and it was very cool.  I was glad that I'd worn a long-sleeve t-shirt.  Yesterday I tweeted that the final countdown has begun.  By that I mean we've got less than a week left, so our departure seems imminent.  We'll keep running and praying and washing dishes and helping, just the end is near.  Like in Advent.

Yesterday afternoon some of the kids used my camera.  I haven't looked at any of pictures yet.  Stefanie and I are going to on the flight to Mexico City.  We also took turns with my iPod just listening to music.  I've started planning my Saturday meals (they include Moonstruck for bacon and eggs and Lucky's for lunch.  I will also be finding some Ben and Jerry's Crème Brûlée to snack on through the week).  The eggs we have here are good and fresh; there are chickens whose eggs are stolen every day, and I'm just fine with that.

I think I'm ready to be home and back in school.  I understand why the German volunteers decided to live in Tuxtla for their year and to come here during the day.  But for three weeks it's been okay.  I think thsi week will also involve some going into town to tie things up and to get off the ranch a little more.  Going on our grand unadventure was a good thing, too.  I don't like feeling cooped up, and that's starting to set in.

My time here is not yet over, and I'll be attentive to that.  I won't check out early.  I'm here and will keep being here.  I realized last night how quickly it's gone and how much I've blogged it.  I'm sure I'll look back in a year and read it and wish I'd said more about some things and less about others.  I think I might start keeping a journal on paper in New York.  It was a good practice this summer and you don't have to filter.  Here I haven't really needed to filter, but living in my community I'll need a place to not.  ;)

No one else is really up, I don't think.  Maybe the kids are up in their houses getting ready for breakfast.  It smells good.  Maybe we'll go into town later this morning to just walk around.  Maybe we'll get there at a time to sit through a Mass.  The church last week was quite smoky when we went in after Mass, so we'll see.  Not going to church on Sunday morning has my timing off, and not going tonight either will really have my timing off.  Ready for a routine.

Also, my water quit this morning, right as I needed to rinse my hair.  I rinsed it some in the sink, then that quit, too.  I got dressed and went to the out door sinks with my towel on my shoulders and got rinsed.  That I will not miss.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Communion Without Baptism

There's an article in three parts on Daily Episcopalian about it, and this is a line from the first part. Well, it's more than a line. I'm reading them all three at once, although I started the first one earlier in the week.

Salvation, for Paul, is not about going somewhere when you die. That’s not the point. Instead, it’s about identity, who and what you’re a part of. That’s what Galatians is all about. To enter the community of promise, must you become Jewish first? No, says Paul; Baptism is the key. On one hand baptism is a public ritual that brings us into a certain community which is the social Body of Christ. This is the Church. On the other hand, by participating in this ritual we are brought into the mystical Body of Christ and, as Colossians puts it, we are buried with him in baptism and hid with Christ in God.
Be sure to read it all.

Our Grand Un-Adventure

Yesterday we'd decided that we'd leave at 7:00.  We'd seen signs about Sima de las Cotorras near the Hogar.  The signs said 10 kilometers.  Lesson number one: don't believe Mexican road signs for distances. We put our sunscreen on and ate and were ready to go.  It was cool, so we each took a hoodie and set off.  We walked the directions the signs said to go and got to a point that said to turn left.  6 km to go.  About the time that we turn off the paved road onto a packed dirt road, Stefanie says "This adventure?  Best idea of our lives."  We plod along walking and talking, getting to know one another, talking about CPE and orientation.

We come to a point where there's a fork in the road three ways.  The packed road veers right, there's a road to the left, and a grassy trail continuing on.  I realize as we approach it that the road to the left is where we run.  Stefanie didn't believe me at first but then the angles clicked.  We'd spent all that time walking only to come upon a road that we know.  When we turned onto the packed dirt road I wondered if we were going to be walking on the road that we turn around at and behold, we were.  A little bit past that there was a sign that said 4 more kilometers.  We started to get suspicious then because we felt pretty sure we'd gone more than two, but we soldiered on.

As we walked we encountered what we think is a local airport (a grassy field) and a sign where we thought we'd missed a turn.  It turned out not to be a sign, but was at one point.  We kept walking and were alone on the road a lot.  We encountered a man who asked if we were going to Sima de las Cotorras and we said we were.  Stefanie asked if it was close and he said about another 4 kilometers.  We were sure he was wrong since we'd already passed that sign.  We finally came to the El Borego Lider, which was a restaurant.  It had had signs by all the signs for the tourist destination, too.

We had to turn left at El Borego Lider and I don't know if there was another distance marker, but we we walked.  After we'd been walking for an hour we said we'd turn around if we hadn't seen it at the two hour mark since that was how much time we'd given ourselves to get there, and we wanted to be back by the time the children were.  As we walked along we saw dried corn between rows of baby orange trees and walked by a dead cow in a field that smelled and had vultures on it.  The road we were on was headed straight to a mountain.  Stefanie asked, "Are we about to climb that mountain?"  I didn't know.

Answer?  Yes, we were.  We rounded a turn and there was a crazy steep hill for us to climb.  It has cement and tracks so that cars can get up it.  And then it was just all uphill.  Not all as steep or cemented, but all, all, all uphill.  And we'd been walking two hours at this point.  We went past our timeline because we were sure we were close.  And then our adventure became an unadventure.

When we came to the next sign it said three more kilometers.  And by that point we'd pretty much decided that that was just to the gate and it'd be two more for things that we actually wanted to see, so we decided to turn around.  We should've known something was up when the water bottle at the Hogar was empty (it's the drinking water).  We were going to fill our Gatorade bottles from it but couldn't.  We also should've taken the clouds and wind and then rain as a sign that it wasn't going to work out.

We turned around and couldn't believe that it wasn't where we thought it was.  We'd walked for almost 2.5 hours and were tired and thirsty and warming up.  It was our great unadventure.  We walked 13 or so miles yesterday round trip, we think.  When we got back to El Borego Lider we bought cokes from someone who sells them out of her house.  We walked back and took our running road back so that we could go to the little roadside stand.  We bought another coke each and got candy bars.  I'd had one the night before, but I didn't care.  After that exercise and let down (and I was sore!) I wanted it, so I got it.

As we walked back we had all kinds of ideas about what we'd do with our each recountings of the story.  And we went out on a lark to try it.  I wasn't ever scared or worried about what was happening.  Just frustrated that we'd walked up the mountain to turn around.  I think we've decided that we're not going back later in a car, that we've seen enough.  We'll see if we stick to that?  I did get some great pictures of the country, though.

I did not get to see the green birds that were advertised on the sign.  :(

More with Corn

Yesterday after our grand unadventure (that's coming in a few minutes) we rested and watched The Sound of Music, which I got for Christmas.  We showed part of it last night in English class to get started.  I think they all liked it.  Maybe we'll watch it all before the end of our time here.  Homework time was very short yesterday; I did not make him read at the end of his assigned homework.  I didn't have the energy to do all the sounding out and no idea if he's getting any of the concepts or anything like that.

This morning was great clean again, though it was slightly lessened.  We did dishes again and we seem to be getting much better at the system.  Breakfast this morning was Frosted Flakes with strawberry yogurt and a banana.  It was very, very good.  My job this morning was like the dishwasher setting "prewash."  After that I went to the corn area to work with the boys while Stefanie did cleaning.

Rather than shucking corn today, we've pulled kernels off the cobs.  The last times this has happened there's been a machine, but they don't own the machine, so they had to take it back.  They each had to do a bag to be finished.  Not a bag of whole corn, but a bag of kernels.  I helped two people with their bags, and I'm finished.  It wasn't too bad, but there are better ways than others to do it.  A bad way involves getting a blister on your thumb and then tearing that blister open as you push kernels downward to pull them away from the cob.

That was something I'd never done before.  This was corn that had dried on the stalk, not fresh.  It's for the animals or to be sold for animals.  Louis Fernando told us all the words for corn and laughed that we didn't have more.  We taught him kernel and husk and cob.  He taught Stefanie the words and I listened. Now I'm getting caught up on here and reading.  Yesterday we went on a great unadventure and I'll now blog about it.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


I've calmed down, but I was bouncing off the walls a bit ago.  It's just a good day here.  My fingers (and would've been voice if I were on the phone) were going a mile a minute and are getting there now.  God is good.  I read some yesterday afternoon and Abp. Ramsey says in The Christian Priest Today to remember to give thanks when things are going well, so I'm trying to do that.  I'm not in control.  I may have done some things right which have helped with other things, but it's all back to God and gifts and such that I've been given.  There's the God talk for the week.  ;)

This morning we added ten minutes to our run.  Stefanie is saying that next Thursday we'll add another 10, but I keep saying we'll see.  And by that I think I mean probably.  It's easier to push myself a little more when someone else is with me.  Sorry I can't really talk about the giddiness; there's still too much that isn't finalized although, some of the giddiness was my diocese and Skype article.  There are a job and an internship in there, though, potentially.  Not in Skype.

Yesterday was a chill day, and today should be too.  We made a board of clothing to do vocabulary review.  We went to the gas station and I had my first Diet Coke since getting here, although it was a Coca-Cola Lite.  Still 0 calories.  I bought my books but didn't get my calendar set up.  Homework time was special yesterday.  The homework was to write 1-100, which he did.  Then we played the addition game on my iPhone.  We stopped when he stopped playing and just started guessing...and then he drew and refused to look at me or talk to me or play other games.

We played outside and had ice cream.  The kids used my camera and later in the evening some of the older boys played Angry Birds.  English class is being split into two groups since there is a vast difference between some of the levels.  I'm taking one group and Stefanie is taking the other.  My group is going to watch a super informative video about New York.  I learned stuff from it yesterday.  I think I might want to walk into Coita today just to get off the ranch.  We were going to go on a walk to a tourist place, but Dori offered to drive us next week instead.

Skype is an amazing thing.  If only it had been invented when the Eastern and Western churches split.

Received into the church via..SKYPE! (My Diocese!)

The Episcopal Church posted this on Facebook, and on top of other things happening, I'm just giddy. This is my diocese looking at ways to use technology in a forward-thinking way that is still personal. There's a screen so that people can see one another and be community, not to have something to stare at. Rather than increasing people's spending and carbon footprings by having them come home yearly for a 45 minute meeting with the commission, we also do our seminarian check-ins via Skype. Here's an excerpt from the article:

I watched as Jaime Camazind, another parishioner whose daughter was being confirmed, took Adeline and cared for her during the service. I celebrated our family. Around the same time, Aaron Kuster made his way to the base chapel in Qatar. There, he found an Episcopal Prayer Book and waited. At the dismissal, I said, “let us go in peace to Battin Hall (our parish hall).

Read it all:

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


That's what I'm hearing right now.  Stefanie is looking at the English class video and they're working on pronunciation.  Yesterday...hmmmm.  My phone call went well and things are being finalized or are in the process of being finalized or something like that.  I got caught up on blogs and then the kids came back.  We washed dishes, I think, and then played with the kids.  Last night at dusk we had fun on the playground equipment.  They kids pushed me at some point, and then one of the boys grabbed a swing so that another boy was spun out of control.  We then moved on to Duck, Duck, Goose.

Here it's different.  Not only is the name different, but who continues to be "it" is determined differently.  Rather than chasing someone and tagging them, the people run in opposite directions and the first person to sit down gets the seat.  That's different from how I remember playing it.  Homework time yesterday was much better.  There were definitions to be done, and I didn't know where more dictionaries were, so I found one on my iPhone.  He typed the letters in himself and then copied the definitions.  When we finished that we played an addition and subtraction game on my iPhone.  Always educational.

English class was hard last night; we moved on to articles of clothing, so that's a weird vocabulary with tough pronunciation.  Stefanie is such a good teacher.  We learned yesterday that we have to watch the video beforehand.  It's talking about New York right now.  She's working on a game and I'll join her in a few minutes.  I did reading blogs last night and like being caught up.  This morning it was very cloudy, but I think the clouds are breaking.  We did dishes this morning, and we're getting better at the system.

I've been doing some business e-mailing.  I am trying to reserve the rooms for Wippell days for this spring.  Today seems like it's going to be a calm day.  Ricardo is in the office and opening the window by his desk to talk to people.  I'm amused.  We took some pictures last night and I've told one of the boys that he can use my camera today if he asks when the sun is out.  Last night I did a little skyping and some of the old boys played Angry Birds on my iPhone.  I'm ready to be back in school.  Today I'm ordering books and getting my iCal set up and synched with my phone.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

No McMansions for Millennials

What does my generation want in housing? Check it out.

No McMansions for Millennials - Developments - WSJ

Two Weeks In

12:06 PM, 18 January 2011

I can't believe that I have blog entries feeding for the next five hours.  That's what happens when I get so far behind and stuff happens.  Have I mentioned that the wifi doesn't work here if the phone is being used.  I don't think it's a connection thing (like with modems) inasmuch as when the phone is being used it bumps with router's signal.  My blog entries have lots of details, and I remember weird things.  I remember once in college when I blogged about being out of a certain kind of Pop-Tart (I would love Pop-Tarts tomorrow) someone sort of brought it up/made fun of it in passing a few days later.  I wasn't hurt and laughed about it.

But the details are part of what makes my journaling/blogging to the moment; life happens in details.  We might choose to present it in terms of patterns or themes, but it happens in details and minutes and colors and tastes and flavors, and I share those with you.  Yesterday I was supposed to get a phone call, but it was postponed until today.  If it hadn't been I would not be here right now.  I'd either be at or on the way to a tourist attraction near here, which I think is some waterfalls.  Stefanie and I are going to walk the 10k there and 10k back sometime this week.  Maybe tomorrow or Friday.  I'm hesitant to do it on a day when we'll run the next day, but it might be okay.

This morning I got up early.  By that I mean I left my room early.  We had breakfast and went for our run.  We shaved a few more seconds off our time.  Yesterday we didn't quite make it to the turnaround point that we like but we made a point to today, and we still got back a little sooner.  After our shower we said morning prayer, showered, and then shucked corn.  At my parents' farm in Abbeville there's always something else to do.  Here there's always more corn to shuck.  We reached a stopping point and I've been blogging my little fingers since.

We're two weeks in and I'm glad to be here.  I'm not really homesick and I'm over my food wall.  Stefanie says that I'm a juice-ist because more often than not I opt for bottled water.  The drinks here have particulate in them or are really thick and sludge-like and I don't like them.  She's more adventurous than I am.  I feel like we don't do nearly as much work as I expected to, but apparently Dori and Pedro are quite pleased with our work ethic.  This isn't a spring break mission trip with the Wesley where you work from "can to can't" (can see to can't see).  There's lots of breathing time, resting time and reading time.  And there's working, and it requires intrinsic motivation and being willing to work and either asking to do something, or to get better results (washing dishes and shucking corn) just doing it.

We're two weeks in and have a week and a half left.  I'm sure I'm being changed, and I'm sure I won't know it until I get back.  I'm thinking about coming back next January.  We'll see what happens between now and then.  I'm caught up now and it's time for me to go wait for my phone call.  Buen'dia!

Monday, Monday

11:56 AM, 18 January 2011

Yesterday was a busy-ish day.  We got up, we ate breakfast, we ran.  We started off a bit quick and I tried to make a pun about not choosing the pace to choose life, but couldn't get there fast enough in my head.  I basically said that she was choosing the pace to walk in the end.  We slowed down.  It was a very cool, quiet morning.  I think it was so quiet because none of the local birds (life stock or wild) were making much noise.  It was a nice run.

Morning runs are a great time to speak English and just talk freely.  They're good times (and this was true when I was running with Colin and Matt last spring) to be honest and get feedback about things happening in one's life or check one's perceptions of broader events with someone else.  Yesterday's run was good and when we came back I sat on my computer not blogging, though I'd planned on it.  I don't think I even read blogs. No, I was playing with my computer and my contacts.

Once this summer I told my iPhone to sync with my Google Contacts and then spent time cleaning out my Address Book.  I did that again yesterday.  Merging cards, deleting cards, making them good.  Basically after my Google Contacts imported, I had 1k more cards than before...and I went through and got rid of them.  Then I used a program calld Syncman (30 day free trial) and sent my Address Book to my Google contacts so that the admissions department from George Washington University or, etc. aren't in there anymore.  That took a good bit of time.

When I got outside it was a zillion degrees.  The Germans got back yesterday.  There are Germans here doing a year with something like the Peace Corps.  They work here 35 hours a week and live in Tuxtla.  We're in a rural community in the mountains, so there isn't a lot for a 20 or a 28 year old to do at night or on the weekends.  We met them, but we didn't spend much time with them.  Stefanie and I played hang man with some of the boys and then it was homework time.

Homework time is better, and we got through it.  I tried to nap yesterday evening, but that didn't go so well.  I went down for dinner and then afterward we had English class!  I'm enjoying English class, and last night was just a review, which was good since we had 3-4 new people in it.  Tonight we're doing a new lesson, so everyone will be on the same ground, but we'll probably review some, too.  I know that my French in HS was better because we reviewed so much all the time.

Misa and Junta

11:52 AM, 18 January 2011

The mass was good.  I was nervous as I spoke since Dori was translating, and I had two or three heart attack moments.  First, I  was recruited to help with one of the songs.  We sing "Hallelu" (with the two parts and the standing and sitting) and I lead one of the parts.  Well, in the process of moving from my seat to standing my sermon got shuffled around and through the readings I had no idea where it was; I was going to have to wing it.  I'd wanted to wing it/be more extemporaneous, but Stefanie said that in her experience of using a translator it was good to have notes since the pauses have potential to make one lose one's place.

The second was during the Gospel reading.  It was in Spanish and I didn't recognize any of the names that she was saying as part of my lesson.  The Bible had gotten misplaced, so she read a story from the Children's Bible in Spanish.  How do you preach on a text that no one has read to the group?!  You say "In the text I looked at, this is what happened."  It was fine and no one was pissed or upset or felt slighted.  Mistakes happen and that can cause things to break down, but they didn't.  I preached.  And I deviated from my manuscript (adding things), but I enjoyed giving it.  I was pleased with the final product.  Dori and Stefanie said I did well, too.  I'll get the text up this week and try to get audio from my 4 Advent sermon up next week.  There is video of this past Sunday, too.  When I get it I'll edit it and put it on the YouChubes.

Sunday night there was a meeting.  No, I guess it was Saturday night.  The local board met about some decisions about some kids who live here and shared some of that with the kids and wanted them to do better.  I think it was Saturday because Stefanie and I talked about it on the walk to the soccer field on Sunday morning.  Regardless, the Hogar has students from 6-24; they support people through university and there is a strong emphasis on having a good education.  The board needed to make clear that some actions have certain consequences, and they did.  I think it was done lovingly and they didn't take too long.

Sunday night what really happened was there was TV and dinner.  And one of the things that Fr. Scott said is good about GOEs happened.  One of the boys here asked us what Jesus means when he says he is the truth. We didn't have Raymond Brown, and we had limited Spanish and we had to answer him.  We talked some, but we were thinking on our feet quickly.  Being in a tradition that likes nuance and scholarship is great (I love it), but there are times that having an easy answer would be, well, easier.  That's not a question that we just take as an easy answer question, but we had to have some answer right then without access to scholarship. So we tried.  Then we had drinks with Dori on a porch as the evening cooled down.

LSA it Was Not

11:32 AM, 18 January 2011

When I was at Troy the BCM used to what they called LSA: Lazy Sunday Afternoons.  Our Sunday afternoon was not lazy.  I want to say now that the last two days have been scorchers.  While they haven't necessarily felt a zillion degrees, sometimes they have.  With the clouds leaving, so did the wind, so Sunday afternoon was hot.  We got back just in time for lunch, which we'd planned would happen.  We killed a bit of time talking to Dori, who wasn't feeling well,  and then we had some work for ourselves to do.

The misa here uses folders with brads for the service, and the only form of the Prayers of the People were Form I, and Dori likes Form III.  So last week we set about to get Form III, and we did, but it wasn't in the binders yet. Sunday afternoon we ran our copies and put them in the binders.  That took some time since we had to take apart the binders and then put the sheets in.  There isn't a three-hole punch here, so it was just using the brads to make holes.  We got all those in and then I went to my room; I hadn't showered yet since I knew I would be walking in the heat to and from the game.

Sunday's shower felt good; the cold water on my hot, burnt skin was nice...until I needed to rinse my hair.  The water here isn't always reliable; it sometimes just stops.  That happened just as soon as my head was fully lathered.  I was able to move the shower head up and down to get some water to come out (thought it more comes from the joint of the shower head and the pipe than the shower head) at each stopping point.  I was clean.

I practiced my sermon since I hadn't looked at it since writing it and then I went over to the chapel.

Communicating the Gospel

Fr. Scott has the following to say in a blog entry. Be sure to check out the whole thing via the link at the bottom of the page:

We have to remember why we are doing something before we can decide what to do. Whether we use hand-calligraphied scrolls or Twitter, the church is trying to share the good news of what God has done in Jesus Christ and what God is doing in our own lives today. The question cannot be, “Should we have a Facebook page” or “How long will newsprint survive?” Instead the question is, “How is God calling us to tell the story of how our lives have been changed?” “How is God inviting us to share the good news with a world that desperately needs to hear an encouraging, hope-filled Word?”

Read it all:

Getting Lost

11:18 AM, 18 January 2011

It occurred to me during the second game why I'm such a stickler about respecting the required distance: Alabama High School Athletic Association was really pushing it my senior year of college.  That's why it's so up front in my head.  This entry is about getting lost, sort of.

After the first game we went into town; Sundays are lazy days and there was nothing that we needed to do at the Hogar, so we went wandering.  We went into the church for a little bit, we found our way to the square, and we looked in lots of shops for things to get family or friends or roommates.  And we wandered and went high up a hill.  Our calves got a work out.  We live in the mountains here, and the kids get lots of ranching experience.

The first game was over at 10 or so and the second was at 12.  We looked at lots of jewelery and clothing and I got a rosary for someone who'd asked for one.  He'll also be getting an explanation for how to pray the rosary and will be encouraged to at least try it out.  I think when I get back to the Close I'm going to get him a St. Michael the Archangel medal, too.  We'll see about all that.  When we were finished shopping and it was time to go back to the soccer field we headed back the direction we thought we were supposed to go.

But we weren't entirely sure.  We knew we needed to go down the mountain, but because we didn't go back the exact way we'd come, we weren't entirely sure when we needed to turn right.  Sorry I can't use cardinal directions to help a little more in the description; my internal compass is alllll off, despite the fact that the sun is very clear in where it rises and sets.  In my head it's backwards, so my north and south are off.  Anyway, we went down the mountain until the road dead ended and turned right.

We figured that it would take us somewhere we needed to go, though we weren't entirely sure.  We walked along with our liters of Gatorade (needed to stay hydrated!) and just kind of wandered.  We came out in a place that we knew, but it wasn't where we started.  Neither of us was anxious about it; we had no where to be and nothing that could be taken from us; we have hardly any cash that we carry (a tiny bit in pesos), we didn't have documents on us, we were just out for a walk.

I feel like this is the part of the blog entry where I should say, "And this is like how God...." but I didn't feel a comparison.  I was glad to be found, but I have a pretty good sense of direction and got us where we needed to be although nothing looked familiar.  I think making a comparison of that to God might get somewhere near Pelagianism, so I'm staying away from God comparisons.  We had a good trip in the market and one of the boys on the older team said that he saw and recognized us.  I'm sure we'll go back, since we didn't have any fun Mexican delicacies.

Failure to Respect the Required Distance

There were more games on Saturday and we went to them both.  One was at 8:00 and the other was at 12:00.  We got up and said morning prayer and then walked to the gas station for breakfast.  I had a giant thing of delicious orange juice and Stefanie had a coffee thing that was just like a Starbucks frappucino that you can get in, well, a gas station.  We both had carby pastry things to eat, and they were so good and so sweet.

The first game was not so good as the second game.  The first game was the lower level team and they got their grits ground.  The second game was the older boys and mostly people who don't live at the Hogar.  The game ended in a draw, but it was much more competitive and the referee was on it!  He was not afraid to show a player a card and the game ended 10 v. 10.  Our guy was sent off for receiving his second caution, and the other guy just for hard fowling.  If I'd been calling either game there may or may not have been a lot more yellow shown for failure to respect the required distance.

Law 13 (The Free Kick) says that opponents have to be 10 yards away from the ball for a free kick.  That the kicker has to ask for 10 yards is a fable that I am hellbent on beating into the ground.  10 yards is 10 yards.  If players aren't good at eye-balling 10 yards a referee can enforce it, but standing less than a foot from the ball isn't even trying to respect the required distance.  While they backed up when the referee moved them, there was no need for them to even try to stand that close.  A caution or two early in the game might get the message across.

Furthermore, by standing so close they're delaying the restart of play since they have to be backed up.  Take your pick, there's grounds to give a yellow for players to practically stand over the ball on free kicks.  Anyway, the games were good, though I got a lot of sun.  I didn't realize we were going to be gone the whole time (more in the next entry), or I would have put a lot more sunscreen on.  I have a tan line where my Sperrys don't cover the top of my feet.  Yeah, that much sun. I'm not feeling so burnt now nor am I looking it.  I think my nose never stopped peeling from the last burn and I wouldn't be surprised if my scalp starts peeling tomorrow.  Better work next time?

Insane (Inspired?) Bible Verses

Matthew Paul Turner shows us some kind of crazy-ish Bible verses, one of which was on the face of players from the Virginia Theological Seminary during the football game. Renny Martin refused to read it out loud at the following Tuesday night supper. Click the link below!

Insane (Inspired?) Bible Verses! | Jesus Needs New PR

The Problem With Getting Behind

18 January 2011, 11:02 AM

The problem with getting behind is getting caught up, and I have a lot to get caught up on.  I try not to make entries too long since I don't think people read them the whole way through.  The weekend was very busy.  I'm going to try to get caught up in the next bit, and I'll have entries post at hour intervals.  I'll start with the rest of Saturday since that makes sense in my head and then Sunday and so on.  I could've gotten caught up yesterday, but I spent my energies doing something else (that I'll get to in a bit).

Saturday afternoon I read my blog entries like I'd planned and watched the baptisms from Trinity from Baptism of the Lord.  I loved watching them and clapped and smile and hooted.  Fr. Mark used so much water and I loved it!  His baptizing of the adult was awesome.  Lots and lots of water.  Saturday afternoon I wrote my sermon, too.  In the writing it felt kind of forced, but in the delivery it made sense.  We were asked to talk about our faith journeys with the kids who came to the mass, so that's what I did.

I finished my book and have started another, though I haven't spent a lot of time with it.  It's good, but it requires marking up, so I have to be kind of patient as I do that.  Fountain pens (all I brought) don't work so great when you aren't sitting on a flat surface writing with them.  I've finished the snacks I bought on Friday and am thinking about doing product reviews of them, or at least giving each one its own entry.  I just got (no idea what made me wait so long to do this!) a bookmarklet so that I can blog stuff from any page.  From now on I'll post to my blog and on Facebook so that both audiences can see what I'm posting.

That's all for this starter entry.  On to Sunday.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Do Not Fear

I love when as I read a text I immediately think "I know a song that fits this so well!"  I'm going to try to do a better job of sharing those with y'all, too.  This song popped into my head during Morning Prayer this morning, and watching/listening to it just now brought back a lot of memories of praise band at the Wesley, both singing and planning it.  I thought about friends and beautiful harmonies.  I thought about how vulnerable we can let ourselves be if we will.  Hope you enjoy.

About Yesterday

12:42 PM

Actually, the kids weren't coming back (see the end of the entry "Rewards and Laundry").  I put my stuff away and did some reading and then had to do some e-mailing.  I had to do it, and there might be some more information about it later (Monday).  I got that done and then kind of hung out.  There was no more corn to be dealt with.  Actually there was, but I'm not there yet.

Laundry is interesting.  There are all kinds of rules that aren't written about what can be plugged in and what can't, and that you have to flip circuit breakers on and off and such.  We got our clothes washed, but we couldn't use the dryer until we were done washing.  And I hung most of my stuff up, but not all of it.  The dryer?  We're not sure what we were doing wrong or if it just doesn't produce hot air.  The first bit of stuff I hung out showed just how much blue there is in my wardrobe (too much; I'm trying to branch out to greens and reds).  I got it down not sure if it was wet or just cold and hung other stuff up.  The other stuff is lots and lots of socks.  It's what's still up but hopefully dry now.

We started shucking the remainder of the corn that's been picked, but then it was homework time so we left.  Homework time yesterday was.... interesting.  Lots of the kids needed newspapers so Dori had to go get them.  Armando's pencil was too small, and there's some kind of pencil trade in system that one of the kids runs.  I don't quite get it, but it did mean that he didn't have a pencil for most of the time.  Once he got it he went right to writing his numbers to 100.

When Dori came back with the papers we did what we were supposed to with them.  By that I mean Stefanie and I helped a lot....Then he left it in the homework room.  We didn't take it to him but I'll ask about it later.  Then we prayed Evening Prayer and I read.  Earlier in the day we'd done some prep work for our English class.  We made action and feeling displays.  Stefanie drew them and I went over them with marker.  After Evening Prayer I needed to hole up in my room for a little bit to just be mentally prepared for English classes after dinner.

Dinner was very good; it was tamales with goat cheese and some herb.  English class was a lot of fun!  We stayed on topic and started with a review.  We've pretty well got all their names.  The video was good, but we really are taking it on and working with the kids.  They're working hard, too.  The giggles stopped although there's a rowdy boy.  Giggles was a little shy about speaking, but everyone else spoke up and we could hear.  They are really getting pronouns well.  

I read some before bed.  I think I have 80 pages left in my book before I move to the next one.  Stefanie borrowed one of my books and will borrow more.  I slept well and was not cold.  Cool, but I didn't have to put my hoodie on.  We'll eat in an hour, more or less?  I'm very behind on some blog reading, so I'll do that for a bit.

In With the Tias

or "Pancakes are Forgiving"

12:28 PM

I think I'll wind up posting two entries today, so watch the time stamps vs how I note the time.  Today has been full already (yesterday was very full, too), and it's only 12:30.  I didn't finish a sermon yesterday (or start one) but I did a lot.  This morning has been great, though.  The clouds of ominous are gone and the wind has died down.  Today might be a day of laying out and reading in the sun...or just taking a walk in the sun.

We had the best breakfast we've had yet.  It was so, so, so good.  We had two slices of French toast with cinnamon on them, and those were fine.  That wasn't what was so amazing, though.  We had a fresh fruit salad of fruits from around here: papaya, apples, pear?, melon?, and maybe some pineapple.  On top of it was an amazing cantaloupe yogurt thing.  That's what I think it was, anyway.  In addition to the fruit salad of awesome we had perfectly ripened bananas.  They were soft and the epitome of banana taste.  Not like bananas that are practically green and crunchy and taste like cardboard.  No, these were outstanding.

We volunteered to wash dishes this morning, and I think that's what got us in with the tias.  They are the women who look after the boys (Tia Isabel) and cook and clean in the kitchen.  We've washed dishes before a few times, and today we learned a lesson.  We've been doing the order wrong, but Carolina gave us tips on how to do it correctly for next time.  Saturday is great scrub/cleaning day.  All of the chairs and tables aren't just wiped but are scrubbed.  The windows are cleaned (with a soapy broom and then splashed with water to rinse).  The floor looked like Chick-fil-A when I used to have to clean it, especially after Sonia dumped the scrub bucket on the floor.

Since there was so much going on, we asked if there was something we could do and the tia in charge of cooking pointed me to a giant (more than five gallons) bucket of mixture and told me to stir.  I mixed the stuff together and then she poured in what was easily a pound and a half of melted butter.  It was pancake mix!  I thought that I was just mixing, but no, we were making pancakes together.  She got me a spatula and asked me to reach down the half-gallon jug.  She spooned some mix into it and then poured. And off we went.

We didn't talk much, but I'll work on that.  I was scared that we'd get into a conversation and I wouldn't know what else to say.  She laughed with me when I made mistakes and had a lot of grace about some of my uglier pancakes.  That helped me have grace with myself about them.  And they're pretty forgiving; if you don't completely flip one, just smash it down flat anyway.  When we eat I'm going to tell Stefanie and Dori that if they get an ugly one I probably made it.  Toward the end of our time I folded one completely in half.  She laughed (as I laughed and apologized) and said that it was a quesadilla.  That made me smile.

Before breakfast we did 8 Minute Abs but didn't run.  Since the clouds and wind have broken we were able to say Morning Prayer on the roof (beside the clothes line, no less!)  I think my stuff is probably totally dry now that the sun has been out, so when I write part two I'll go get it.