|Church on the central square and a shot of the Christmas mercardo|
Monday, December 15, 2008
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Brian and I are sitting in a coffee shop in
It's impossible to tell you all of the neat experiences but our favorite so far was last night. We walked out of our hotel looking for dinner. We both were craving atole (a traditional rice or corn based drink that's either sweet and cinnamony or spicy and salty). We saw an open door with a table out front. Poking our heads in, we saw a tiny room with two tables and a lady ladling out atoll into dishes. We went in and 2 hours later we'd had delicious atole and tostadas and enjoyable conversation with the owners.
Today we're hoping to visit a house that takes in malnourished infants. Tomorrow and the next day we'll help out at the YWAM base and then Tuesday we'll head back to
Just the short period of time that we've been here has shown us a small glimpse of incredible poverty. The 1980s war in
We're aiming to leave
Thanks for all of your emails and interest in what we're doing.
Hope that your Christmas season is peaceful and focused on what's truly valuable.
Friday, December 5, 2008
We're over half-way! Approximately 243 miles left till we arrive at Barrillas marina in El Salvador. So far, since leaving Huatulco at 12:30am on Wednesday morning (the 2nd) we've travelled about 250 miles. We're eating well, reading books (Brian is reading two: Creature from Jekyll Island and The Brave Cowboy) I've finished reading Eat, Pray, Love and have re-read parts of Travelling Mercies (I love that book) and The Signature of Jesus. I've been working on Christmas presents and Brian has been doing small projects around the boat, only when he feels like it. It's a big break from the 5 weeks of straight out massive projects that preceded our departure.
The lazy jack system is working perfectly. Makes it easier to reef, un-reef, and drop the main sail.
radio email processed by SailMail
for information see: http://www.sailmail.com
Sunday, November 30, 2008
After 6 months of having Nomad in Marina Chahue, Mexico we drove out of the harbor last night and anchored in the next bay over. We have a couple of details left to attend to before we leave but are officially checked out of the country. Our next update will be sent from El Salvador. Although we haven't moved far, we are glad to have taken a baby step towards leaving.
Our cockpit is shiny and freshly painted; the oil and transmission fluids are changed; we now have a lazy jack system for our mainsail, and many many other details taken care of.
We spent Thanksgiving with 3 boat neighbors (one American, 2 Canadians). We had potatoes, roast chicken, stuffing, and apple pie.
I'm thankful for the opportunity to meet wonderful people who have been welcoming and been good friends. I'm thankful for the money I've made by sewing. It takes a bit of financial pressure off. I'm thankful to get to see my brother and Brooke at Christmas. I'm thankful for our Marriage Encounter weekend in S. California right before we came down in September. It's been a lot of hard work since we got back (except for our trip to Oaxaca) but I'm thankful that we can see the light at the end of the tunnel of boat projects. I"m thankful for emails of encouragement and friends that have stayed in touch.
Most of all, I'm thankful for God's providing all of our needs. Free food, jobs, friends, and his guidance. I hope that you are also experiencing God's provision in your lives.
Megan and Brian
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
The beauty of belonging to someone. I don't appreciate often enough that I belong to my Creator. That I belong to my husband, as he belongs to me. That I belong to each of my friends and family and am part of their lives. If I could not find them, what would cause me to jump up and down?
I'm feeling grateful today.
Friday, November 14, 2008
|In Santa Cruz, I can always tell winter has arrived by the shadows. They seem longer, at steeper angles than the rest of the year. Then there's the obvious colder weather, rain and early darkness. I keep forgetting it's winter down here! The weather is comfortably warm. There is no rain, only some clouds many afternoons. The day is dark by 6pm but that has crept up on us slowly. Today, however, I noticed the shadows. Even though it's not cold, the winter shadows are here. Long and stretched out at acute angles, winterizing even the palm trees. |
Monday, November 10, 2008
|Huatulco is enjoyable this time of year! the breezes are cool, and there's plenty of them. Bright yellow butterflies and monarch butterflies swirl around and the humidity has dropped considerably. As an added bonus, there's good swell around for Brian when he isn't working too hard. |
Last week, Brian mentioned to a captain on a sailboat that I was getting ready to repair our mainsail. Within an hour, I was hired! His sail had ripped and he needed to leave town right away. So, I spent 3 days sewing his sail and earned a nice bit of cash and, in so doing, I've accidentally started a sail shop. I've received more work than I could have drummed up than if I'd advertised! People walk by, see me sewing, and bring me my next piece to repair. I am using an empty room at the marina so I'm quite visible. This work, and selling a few things we don't need, is just what we needed to bolster the bank account.
Brian is re-doing our cockpit with sanding, puddying, and painting.
Despite all the work, we're taking time to meet and visit with people in the mornings and evenings. Tomorrow, we're going bird-watching (Carol, I'll tell you all about it) with a couple that is quite knowledgeable about birds.
We are also reading and quizzing people about El Salvador and Nicaragua, and Costa Rica. We're headed to those places pretty soon.
Take care, Friends!
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Brian off-handedly mentioned my impending project to a sailboat captain that had just pulled in to the marina. Within 24 hours, I had a room (loaned free of charge from the marina manager), a large ripped mainsail in front of me with my tools and machine arranged around. I had a job. ... I have a job. Even though I finished that sail on Friday, just sitting in front of a machine sewing, has attracted a lot more work.
Friday, October 31, 2008
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
It's been a while since I sent out an update but here I am sitting under some shade on the roof of the marina Chahue office catching some breeze and the wi-fi signal.
I arrived about a week ago to reunite with Brian who flew down earlier to have a surf trip on the boat with some friends. We've spent my first week here working and sweating with some fun social stuff hanging out with new friends Chris and Gerry in the evenings. Due to an electrical fire on board Brian has had to remove engine parts take them to town for repair and do a lot of rewiring and cleaning in the engine room. I've had my share of cleaning because we have had an infestation of cockroaches (the small ones, thankfully). All food and cooking utensils have been removed from cupboards, bagged up and put outside on the deck. I usually pull the food out with one hand and with the other I hold the end of the shop-vac hose to suck up nasty bugs which scurry away as I remove their hiding places. Very exciting.
On the more pleasant side, Brian has wired in 5 new cabin fans which make the boat pretty bearable during the day. Other highlights have been a one day trip to Barra de Navidad which is a 1/2 hour taxi ride from here. We relaxed, Brian surfed, and we both spoke a lot of Spanish with the locals.
Tonight we're off on the night bus to the city of Oaxaca. It's located in the mountains. I'm looking forward to being cold, not working on the boat, seeing some very old ruins, and exploring a city with a lot of Indian culture. We'll be there during the Dia de Los Muertes festivities. Should be interesting!
Hope you are all well.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Even though this feels like the resumption of a journey interrupted by a 4 month visit home for us to work, I realize that those four months are as much a part of the journey as our time on Nomad in Mexico. When we got home in June we had about a thousand bucks in our accounts, were both pretty depressed from the isolation and some unresolved conflict, exhausted from working on the boat and ready, very ready to be surrounded by friends, family, and have time away from boat projects. All of this and more we have enjoyed.
Although we've both been working, we feel rested, restored and ready to head back to the journey. The Marriage Encounter weekend we attended on Sept. 27, 28 was the last piece of the preparation. All summer we've been ordering safety gadgets, supplies, charts, and guides to navigation to bring back to the boat. These will be good and we'll be glad we invested the money but I believe our number one investment has been in our marriage and communication skills. We are a better team than any other time in our 6 years of marriage. (If you want to be able to say the same about your marriage, think about attending a Marriage Encounter-they're all over the world: www.wwme.org)
I'll join Brian in a couple of weeks. I have some more trip preparation and will work a little longer before I head down.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Cliff Diving....ahh. just like it used to be at Casa Bonita restaurant in Denver Colorado when I was a kid. Just kidding. it wasn't much like it except the diving part. No ladies in distress, no gorillas chasing anyone. There WERE street vendors pushing carts of homemade icecream. We walked up to watch the diving from the cheap side of the highway with our binoculars. About 8 different men or boys climbed around on the rocks and dove into a narrow place in between two protruding fingers of the cliff. We found out that not only are they diving from very high up, they are also diving into relatively shallow water. They time their jumps to land when a swell has just come in so that the water will be deep enough.
We were happy to leave Acapulco (see previous post on Thursday May 22) but were glad we saw this the evening before.
This is our fish barbecue by the lake just outside of Acapulco. Vicente was a boat captain we met. He invited us home to hang out with him and others of his friends next to the lake near his house. The fish was incredible and I got to ride a jet ski for the first time, with Vicente's son teaching me.
Thursday, June 5, 2008
All day long, Spanish Mackerel leap out of the marina water, expose their white bellies and splash back down. Puffer fish, indigo adults with white spots and gold juveniles with brown spots, graze along the edges of the docks. Great Kiskadees and Grackles fly between coconut palms.
We've been accepted into the small community of sailors here who are also en route to elsewhere, waiting for the hurricane season to come and go. Going on walks with the ladies, sharing cabs to the downtown, being invited to a surprise birthday party, and borrowing tools are welcome signs that we are in a community again-albeit temporary.
We celebrated our 6th year of marriage on June 1 by taking an early morning hike to a small beach enclosed by hills and going swimming. We did no boat projects that day - a true celebration!
radio email processed by SailMail
for information see:
Monday, June 2, 2008
We are settled in to Marina Chahue which is a small
Marina in the new town of Huatulco, Mexico. It is a
planned tourist town that was built specifically to
attract tourists, just like Cabo, Cancun, and Ixtapa
Mexico all were. It is however much quieter and
smaller than those places.
Brian and I are working on many projects that were
difficult or impossible to do for the last few months
while we were anchored in various places.
We have taken time off of these projects to play in
the rain (it´s rainy season), swim in the crystal
clear ocean, take a bus north to a rural surf spot,
get to know the other cruisers in the marina, and to
celebrate our 6th wedding anniversary.
One of the highlights lately, was the taxi ride we
took out through rural coconut and papaya fields to
get to the surf camp. Our taxi driver and 6 other
people crammed into his small car and we drove around
dropping people off in small villages en route to the
beach. A couple of miles before getting to the beach
we had to avoid a coconut tree log across the road.
Our taxi driver had an animated conversation with the
log´s cutter and pulled over to the side. "You want
coco?" He asked us. Of course we did. He dug a
machete from under his seat and started whacking
coconuts off of the fallen tree. He opened 2 up and
handed them to us. They were delicious! Next Brian
and the taxi driver helped roll the log to the side of
the road for the tree cutter to chop into smaller
pieces. Soon we were on our way.
We are getting the boat ready to leave it for the next
2 months. We arrive in California on June 15. Brian
will be working with Appko part time and doing side
jobs. I¨ll be working for the same Alternative High
School where i´ve been for the last few years. LOoking
forward to spending time with friends and family!
Thursday, May 22, 2008
San Francisco of Mexico. When we were pulling in
yesterday we could see cliffs with stairways snaking
out to them that had platforms on top. We presume
they are for the famous cliff divers that we think of
when we hear the name of this city. As we were
pulling in Brian commented that it seems like a place
where alot of margaritas get consumed. Just has that
feel to it. There are steep cliffs, deep clear water,
and hotels that lining this natural harbor. It is
almost officially hurricane season (Doesn't mean that
instantly storms are everywhere, just increased
possibility- we are paying more attention to the
weather reports now). Nearly all the rest of the
cruising boats that haunt the Mexican waters all
winter long, the snowbirds, are gone. About a month
ago the last of them were madly bashing north to get
out of the "hurricane zone". We have only 5 days of
sailing to get to our marina, in Huatulco, Mexico,
where we'll leave the boat for the summer. However,
Puerto Escondido is in between here and there, we'll
stop there for Brian to get in more surfing. We are
looking for a new outboard motor for our dingy. Ours
is up the coast under water due to large surf and
being in the wrong place at the wrong time. In our
searching for a new one a guy named "Nacho Camacho"
has become our self appointed chaperone. He's got his
tentacles feeling around town for a used motor. He
will find one, then inflate the price in order to get
his finder's fee. He is currently aboard our
neighbor's boat showing him where to re anchor and
delivering some fuel filters (for which he collected a
finder's fee). That is how it goes down here. They
watch and wait for a gringo to walk down the street
and say, "What are you looking for?". As soon as you
let them know, the race is on. You follow them from
here, to there, to close, far, over, under, around,
in, behind, above, below, etc. The Finder's are
usually the semi-sleazy kind of guys you don't want to
hang out with, but you have to in order to get
anything done. They are the salesmen that never have
any product and don't work for anybody. They are in
the know and will find you anything you want. Nacho
was trying to hook our neighbor up with a 30 year old
hooker, he just could not understand why a single man
would not want to do that! This is our second city to
search for a motor. We figure there is a finder in
the next city down, same type, same thing. Hopefully
we can get a motor located and use our days in other
ways. We've had fun running all over the place on a
mission, but it will be nice to have mission
accomplished. We'll be flying home in mid-June to work
for 2 months and then come back and continue to
Central America. We'll see most of you within a month
or so!Brian and Megan
Sunday, May 4, 2008
This is me on the way to deliver a large number of kids clothes, toys, and toothbrushes to an ex-pat couple that lives in San Blas, Mexico. They have a relationship with Huichol Indians that live up in the mountains and are always happy to receive donations for these people. One of my regrets is that we were unable to leave the boat in order to go inland to visit them ourselves. We're beginning to accept that we can't do everything.
so, the last few weeks have had some interesting
We had our first discovery of maggots in the kitchen
sink. We'd left a couple of dishes with water in them
and while cleaning the sink Brian found the little
critters. The weather is so hot that just a couple of
days of standing water was enough for them to hatch.
That is the last time we leave our dirty dishes in the
An unexpected stroke 3 weeks ago put my last remaining
Grandmother in the hospital and she quickly
deteriorated. Last Thursday I flew to California to
attend her services and be with my family in Humboldt
County. It was a surprise to have to be up here but a
good time with Family.
Since I"m in the country, I've gotten to work for a
few days at Bethany University in the office where my
mother works, adding to the savings account.
My neice's first birthday is May 8th. I get to be here
for her birthday and then I fly home to Nomad and
Brian on May 11.
Another first is Brian's real life surf trip hosted on
Nomad in Mexico. Brian's friend Troy from Santa Cruz
flew down and the two are fishing and surfing like
crazy. They are also trying to retreive one of our
outboard motors from the bottom of the surf zone. Two
days ago, they had to abandon the dinghy as a wave
rolled over them and flipped the dinghy over and over
and over. The dinghy landed on the beach but most
other things in the dinghy did not. I"m glad I wasn't
Thursday, April 10, 2008
de Buffadero (that means "snorter" in Spanish- there's
a large blowhole in a rock in front of the town). The
best part of this place is that Rio Nexpa (a good surf
break) is a short dinghy ride around the corner to the
North. It is a very long walk, however. I think I
lost 10 pounds yesterday walking about 5 miles (2 of
it in soft sand) in 85 degree weather and high
humidity. Luckily there was a sea breeze and a palapa
(palm branch roofed shade area) when we got there. We
only had to walk half of the way back because Brian
met a local high school aged surfer, Ismael, who had a
truck and picked us up on his way back to town. Some
of our favorite things lately have been interactions
with locals. A few days ago in a different anchorage,
we saw something green on the rudder of our boat which
sits right at the water line. We got close enough to
tell that it looked like an iguana with a small horn
on it's nose. 2 hours later we left the boat and it
was still there. There were some fishermen in their
boat nearby and we asked them about it because we
didn't know iguanas could swim. They confirmed our
guess and told us they were good for food. I told
them they were welcome to have him so they went over
and picked him off the back of our rudder and held him
up. He was handsome! Bright green, well-placed tiny
horns on his nose and head, 3-foot long tail. This
got us in to a short and enjoyable conversation with
Chuy, the man who removed him from our boat. Along
with the animals and interactions with locals, we
continue to have projects, projects, projects on the
boat. We have about 1000 more nautical miles (total of
about 10 entire days of sailing if we were to do it
all at once) to go before we get the boat to Puesto
del Sol Marina in Nicaragua, where we'll leave Nomad
for the summer. Before we leave Mexico we hope to get
a 2-day trip inland somewhere in the state of Oaxaca
to visit ruins, etc. If any of you knows of neat
places to go, we'd love to have some tips. Hope to
see most of you this summer!Megan
Monday, April 7, 2008
It is a frustrating thing to think about but being removed by water, and quite some miles puts us in our own microcosm where we have decided that to live well, communicate kindly, and be obedient to our purpose is one way to respond to large injustices. It has also brought home the idea that "security" cannot be created by human structures, be they insurance policies, laws, car airbags or airport searches. Security only comes from being confident that our lives are in the hand of God and our minds are given us to use to prevent foolish accidents and the Spirit is given us to lead us to. The men in the sharashka each had their own way of dealing with the injustice of being confined wrongfully. All of them in their own way used their skills to resist the system and stubbornly to grow toward the person they wanted to be. At the same time they were all painfully aware that no matter what they did on the inside of the sharashka or what they had done before they were confined, couldn't make them secure from the whims (beneficial or harmful)of the new prison guard or the powers that were in control of their lives. Reminds me of a verse in Micah...
He has shown you o man what is good, and what the Lord requires of you.. to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.
radio email processed by SailMail
for information see:
Sunday, April 6, 2008
Yesterday and today, Brian spent a large amount of time replumbing the head so that it has a vented loop. The goal of this endeavor is to convince our toilet to not breathe like Darth Vader with a chest cold while we are under way. During this time, I was cooking meals, sewing patches on the sail cover, tinkering with our windscoop to facilitate better air flow through the boat, and organizing cabinets for improved accessibility (it needs to be done frequently as we use things up, discover things we do or don't use all the time, etc.).
This morning Brian went to say hello to people on another boat and ended up taking the fellow, his dinghy and non-functioning outboard motor to town for the motor to be fixed. While in town he has instructions to purchase more flour and some fruit. I have spent the last 5 hours sewing seams on a sail where the old thread has rotted away. While sewing I took a break to hoist Brian up the mast so he could clean some connecters on our radio antenna (to promote better transmission and reception of signals).
In the mornings we often read and then listen to the Single Side Band radio for the weather report. In the evenings we stay home and play Scrabble, watch slide shows of the pictures we've taken recently, visit people on other boats, walk around in town (last night we splurged and ate a dinner at a restaurant - yay! No cooking to heat up the boat) or do more boat projects.
Books being read on a fairly regular basis on Nomad:
The Message Bible
World Cruising Routes by Jimmy Cornell
Charlie's Charts of Mexico
The Signature of Jesus
Birds of Mexico and Central America (fully illustrated)
Various yachting magazines
The Surf Report bulletins
Boatowner's Mechanical and Electrical Manual
The Women's Book of Yoga and Health
The First Circle (blog on this book forth coming)
radio email processed by SailMail
for information see:
Monday, March 24, 2008
Brian´s only surf related experience in weeks was a day in La Paz Bay when the tide was going out and the wind was howling in the opposite direction..Very Gorge-like conditions. Known surf spots Pt. Mita and Puerto Escondido are getting closer and closer, however!
After leaving La Paz, we visited two islands separated from each other by a sand bar and anchored near the separation. Here´s a view of Nomad from above, from the hike we took.
Friday, March 21, 2008
Hi people, we have left La Paz and are approximately
300 miles south east of where we were 54 hours ago.
We are anchored off of Isla Isabella which is about 85
miles south of Mazatlan. On our way down I saw a
whale leaping out of the water about 100 feet from me
and then a small whale lept and then lept a second
time. Never gets old. Then, I'm very excited, I saw
4 sea turtles in about a period of an hour. This has
been one of my goals and I didn't even recognize the
first two as turtles; I thought they were manta rays
resting at the surface. We would have put a ton of
pictures on the blog in La Paz but our computer was
"being repaired" and so for a while we had no
computer, then when we did it didn't work properly,
then we took it back and after that all of our
pictures were wiped clean in order to make the
computer work properly. I cried, I cursed. Then, two
days later, I decided to check out our back up hard
drive Dulac had given us. Miraculously, almost all of
the pictures were on that! I don't even remember doing
this. So, pictures are coming soon. We are getting
close to some surf spots and so Brian has been
researching good anchorages near good surf spots and
eagerly listening to the weather. Que te vaya bien!Megan
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
We have been anchored in La Paz, Mexico for exactly
one week. There is a huge contingent of americans and
canadians living on boats here, as well as many
tourists. In certain restaurants and parts of town
English is heard much more frequently than Spanish.
Fortunately, we have found the heart of town where
street vendors sell carne asada tacos for 50 cents and
tamales for a dollar...and the mexican hot
chocolate!!! Also, Brian has been able to find things
at hardware stores that we need. So, we´ve been doing
an enjoyable balance of chores and exploring and
socializing with other cruisers.
The marina where we tie up our dinghy every day is run
by an American woman who has started a wonderful
program for kids in a low income part of town. We
gave away 2 big bags of toys and kids clothes for her
to distribute. Their website is www.lapazninos.org.
The tidal flow in this area is extreme, sometimes it
feels like a large river where the wind blows us one
way while the tide pushes the other. This set up a
perfect Gorge-style windsurfing situation for Brian
two days ago in wind up to 30 knots. He was a happy
camper since there is no surf inside of this big bay
and he´s been craving some exercise.
I continue to enjoy my More with Less cookbook and
made hamburger buns for our barbecue with Mike,
Alyssa, and Skip last night.
Our next stops will be to snorkel at the Isla Espiritu
Santu and then across the Sea of Cortez to the
Mazatlan area. Please let us know when you want to
Friday, February 22, 2008
Even though I've been a mountain/forest/ land person my whole life (until I met Brian), there are some definite pluses to this journey. I've seen some amazing desert beauty because we seem to be here to see the blooming of almost every scruffy, blue-grey plant around. They are subtle, but the more you look, the more amazing beauty there is.
We've' also seen too many whales to count. The best spot was a few miles south and west of Cabo San Lucas. The sun was setting. The air was gold and warm with a hint of evening cool. I glanced around the water on my way out of the cabin and saw what I thought was an explosion about 400 meters away. Before the white mushroom cloud had disappeared and before I could process the visual info, I saw the front half of a whale projecting up out of the water next to it. Another explosion when that one landed. For the next half hour while the sun was setting we were motoring through about a square mile of whales. Some easy to see and others more distant. Even though we didn't get any more leaping in to the air, but we saw flippers and tails flipping in the air and backs rising and falling in the water. The best was when a small whale and a large one rose together about 100feet off of our bow, spouted and then slowly motored toward us and then sunk about 50 feet from the side of our boat.
Sorry, no photos to prove any of this, I was too busy squeaking and jumping up and down to take any pictures.
This is a picture of Miguel and Donia, his daughter. They are part of
an extended family in Abreojos that were Brian's family while I was
still in Santa Cruz.
Brian was treated to many meals at the home of Manuel and Tita,
Miguel's parents-in-law. One of Brian's favorites was Sopa de Pesca (meat ball soup where the soup was made out of fresh fish. ymm, picture coming soon.
Brian and I are anchored in a Bay (Bay of the Dead)
where wealthy private owners have purchased and built
giant homes on large plots of desert overlooking the
turquoise of the Sea of Cortez and renamed it "Bay of
Dreams". Their are still pangas on the beach
belonging to local fishermen but the closest town is
ten miles away. The weather is a lot warmer and the
water is insanely clear and there are a LOT more boats
(sailboats and power fishing boats) around. All
English speakers. Doesn't feel like we're in Mexico.
We went snorkeling and saw lots of pretty fishes. YAY,
but hardly any coral is growing, not sure why.
We're packing up to go hang out with some friends
(Chris and Siv from Washington) who are at La Ventana
windsurfing a few miles away. We're going to camp on
land. I'm actually realizing how comfortable our
little home is when I imagine tent-camping without a
stove or fridge, etc.
We'll probably head to La Paz early next week whenever
the wind stops blowing from the north. We'll be there
about 2 weeks- planning on receiving a few things from
the states, then head on out. Not really sure where.
We also are planning on connecting with one or two
organizations in La Paz that help kids. We were given
a bunch of clothes and toys to give away along with
the school supplies so we are hoping for good homes
for most of it.
We'll be in internet range most of the time over the
next 2-3 weeks so feel free to email!
Don't look to men for help;
Their greatest leaders fail;
For every man must die.
His breathing stops, life ends,
And in a moment
all he planned for himself is ended.
But happy is the man
Who has the God of Jacob as his helper,
whose hope is in the Lord his God-
the God who made both earth
and heaven, the seas and everything in them.
He is the God who keeps every promise,
and gives justice
to the poor and oppressed,
and food to the hungry.
Here are some highlights:
This book, "More-With-Less" met my wishings for a practical application of my faith;
its contents connect across world cultures with a familiar respect that one would expect between neighbors;
This book is counter-culture without being negative.
What is it? It's a cookbook. Crazy as it might sound, this book was a relief for me to read. It eschews convenience packaging because it is unhealthy and destructive. It views all world citizens as part of one community, each member affected by the choices of the others. It delights in creativity of cooking and sharing new ways of making food. More with Less educates about healthy and conscious eating without the "don't do this" "feel guilty about this" attitude of many diets, and even of many health gurus. Instead, it enters into kitchens of Mennonite men and women with names like Lois, Tom, Josefa, and June finding warm, sometimes quirky customs surrounding meals. Poems, exerps from Mennonite letters,and Bible verses are sprinkled among the recipes in joyful testimony that they and their families are enjoying the process of learning how to eat without selfish excess.
The timing of this book is impeccable. Brian and I are realizing a few things. Our naive belief in food companies to put our best interest above their profit margins is dead. One careful study of a few packaged things in our cupboards led to multiple questions of, "why is that in there?" "How is that considered food?" More-With-Less has a short but informative history of the increase in processed foods over the last 30-40 years. They point out that insane amounts of sugar and sodium and fat and fancy packaging have food companies' profits soaring under the label of "progress".
The true progress that this book promotes is that we as consumers have choices. We as people of faith have choices. We can consume the way advertisers and packagers want us to, or we can make daily decisions that truly have an impact whether or not we see them, immediately. Here's a quote in answer the the question, "Does it really help anyone if I cut back?"
"In our complex world, it is hard to visualize how the struggles of a few families to save food will help...Yet deconsumption is an obvious first step. The very complexity that frustrates easy answers also means that our decisions in the global family are interrelated. 'Life is like a huge spider web so that if you touch it anywhere you set the whole thing trembling,' says Frederick Buccher." They go on to talk about the Miracle of Jesus who fed 5000 men from the lunch of one little boy. In the face of that large crowd the disciples were overwhelmed by what they had. Nevertheless, they were obedient to share what was available. "Their act of faith was to share and let God take responsibility for the rest."
From snacks, to dinners, to dessert, to shopping, this book is practical, usable, and refreshing. Here is one of my favorite, incredibly easy, yummy snacks (perfect for a hypoglycemic like myself)
HONEY MILK BALLS
Combine in a bowl:
1/2 cup honey or corn syrup (could get away with a lot less)
1/2 cup peanut butter (chunky is awesome)
1 cup powdered milk
1 cup (I used more than that) uncooked oats
0R 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
mix well and then shape into small balls then roll them in coconut.
I keep them in the fridge so they don't get soft.
radio email processed by SailMail
for information see:
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Abreojos, leaving behind some good local friends that
were generous with their time, their food, their
belongings and patience (due to our Spanish speaking).
We are about 50 miles South East of them now (I'll be
resuming the yotreps location reports) and will be in
Magdalena Bay within a few days if all goes according
to plan. We saw many whale spouts yesterday on our
trip, along with lots of dolphins and pelicans. The
further south we go, the more cruising sailboats we
will encounter so we are looking forward to meeting
people and hearing their sailing stories.
My current tasks on the boat are putting new mosquito
netting in our window and hatch coverings and resuming
work on the canvas sunshade I'm making. It's
definitely warmer the further south we go. Brian's
current tasks are never-ending: scrubbing the decks a
couple times a week, maintaining the engine, replacing
the thermocupple (spelling?) on our oven, adding
insulation to the refrigerator, etc.
On our trip to California we were entrusted with many
stuffed animals and clothing items to distribute along
our way. We're praying for good opportunities to do
this. We still have most of the school supplies we
started the trip with and are looking for good places
to hand those out as well. We've heard of a potential
school in Magdalena Bay that could be in need of some
things. We'll keep you all updated.
Monday, February 4, 2008
There was a performance before the one we attended and as Mom and I arrived we saw the earlier audience streaming out of the Blue and Yellow striped tent. I tried to guage the success of the show by looking at their faces and was a bit nervous because it might as well have been a bunch of people leaving work. Occasionally I saw a few cheery faces showing evidence of having been in the presence of something wonder-ful. It made me think about how when I enter into the magical place of God's presence by reading a book, hearing someone tell of super generousity, taking a walk, singing a song, it's like going into the special circus tent where I'm awed and overwhelmed, surprised and challenged to be more. But when I leave, am I changed?
Another really cool thing about the circus was that there was a place for all kinds of people. There was the short bald guy who played the kid, the teeny tiny girl who was the most flexible person I've ever seen, the big tall strong guys who flipped the medium sized guys in the air and caught the girls on their shoulders, and their were musicians, too. That was just the performers. The behind the scenes set up crew, director, costume designers, porta-potty deliverers, ticket takers ......all made the event really amazing. Every time I glimpse a big cohesive group of people working together like that it makes me want to joing. I remember watching an Air Force film on an Air Force base in Colorado when I was about 14. I couldn't wait to sign up and BE A PART. Just like when I was at the circus, or when I'm at church. I think deep down we all want to be a part of something really special. We see what a beautiful thing it is to be part of a living team and want to belong, want to have our own niche.
Right now, I can't say that Brian and I know what our niche is but we still feel like we are part of a living organism. As we venture further South we are still a part of a group of people who all want to actively love God-not just by doing traditional "churchy" things but by doing "Jesus-y" things like hang out with people we've never met and listen to them, ask for help from other strangers, pray and do the things we hear, give away the things we've been given, and more. I anticipate we'll meet rich hypocrites and rich kind people. We might meet illegal immigrants and homeless people, regular shopkeepers and surfers. But every where we go we are definitely going to need guidance about what the next step will be and how to love the people immediately in our lives....Just like in the circus-all kinds of people all kinds of jobs, one purpose.
favorite twin sister, visiting friends, organizing
taxes, etc. I am returning to Mexico to be with my
mate, captain, best friend so we can resume our
meandering exploring trip of the Mexico coast.
One benefit of staying the extra timeI was that I was
able to attend a training in Berkeley taught by Bread
for the World. Their purpose is to continuously
advocate for legislation that assists the world's
poor. Their primary focus at this training was to
bring together leaders (Angel and I didn't know this
till we walked in the room) from Anglican and
Episcopalian parishes to hear what they're doing to
meet the Millenium Development goals (of reducing
poverty by half by 2015), and to give training on how
to influence legislators to vote for relevant laws.
The most interesting things to me:
1. I learned that many congresspeople don't even know
about laws that are coming through and often will vote
if their constituents call to educate THEM on the
issue. Hmm. I thought that was their job.
2. According to interactions Bread for the World has
had with staffers of various legislators, ONE hand
written letter is worth 4 FAXes, and one Fax is worth
10 emails. In other words, if we want to get the
attention of our law maker, we need to write them a
3. A vote on the Poverty Act is coming up in the
spring. I'll be writing a letter from Mexico asking
Barbara Boxer to support it (Feinstein already has).
Here's a link to Bread for the World's YouTube video
if anyone is interested.
Your next update will be from Mexico. Yippee.
Thanks to all of you who support us in so many
Saturday, January 26, 2008
have hope for this coming year.
Brian and I have a sense of anticipation wondering
what opportunities God will open up for us this year.
Already, Brian is learning and preparing to work with
his best friend Sean on a computer appliance Sean has
created for small to medium businesses to manage
customer and human resources. Feel free to ask us
about it. Even though we haven't been in computer
industry before we can see how much more useful,
economical, and powerful it is than the systems we've
used in our various workplaces. In that light, Brian
is transitioning to a different land based email
address firstname.lastname@example.org Our boat address
is the same.
Brian is in Abreojos eating abalone ceviche, lobster
etc. with our local friends. Poor fellow. He's also
replenishing fuel, water, and staple items on the boat
and taking the above mentioned locals out for sails.
It's such a warm, welcoming community that it will be
sad to leave. In fact, they don't have the kind of
poverty issues that mainland Mexico deals with so we
have saved most of the clothes and school supplies to
hand out when we get further south.
I will leave on Monday the 4th to fly to Loreto where
Brian will meet me YAY and we'll head back to Abreojos
and then head south. It's whale and baby season right
now and we'll be sailing through the exact best places
to see them. I"m looking forward to that.
At this point our plan is to continue south with
certain stops in La Paz Mexico and Zihuatenejo (around
March since that's a good time for surf), and on
toward Guatamala possibly arriving in Costa Rica for
the summer. During the summer we'll head back to the
US for more visiting, working, etc. Throughout all of
this we have our ears open for organizations and
children's programs where we can jump in and see what
they're doing and lend a hand.
Well thanks for all of your emails over the past
months. It is important to us to stay connected with
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Sounds a lot like modern times to me. We prosper and our prosperity leads to power imbalances which leads to ease of oppression. (In my thinking, power imbalances could just as easily lead to great demonstrations of compassion and generousity. . . but that's a tangent) We the people are enslaved by the search for the American Life and our owners are mortgage companies, Visa, and Social Security. We are enslaved by our need to be perfect or comfortable and our owners are L'oreal and Day Spas and the Doubletree. Or, are our owners the media that tells us to be uncomfortable until we have the perfect complexion or the perfect pair of jeans or the perfect vacation that we "deserve"? And so, in our enslavement we've allowed outside interests to own our energies and our lives, instead of pursuing the things of the Spirit. I'm not saying that specific products or goals are evil. But when Anything causes me to put my needs/wants over the life of any other human being, I need to rethink my priorities.
The irony of being owned by our dissatisfaction is that it permits us to enslave other people. Where else do sweatshops and 11-year old sex slaves, destitute Mexican tomato farmers, and 6-year old cigarette rollers come from? The rights of millions of people to a decent livelihood are consumed by our consumerism.
It is irresponsible for me, for you, for our country to allow the status quo to be an excuse for these evil systems to continue.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German pastor during the 1930s and 1940s said,
"Action springs not from thought, but from a readiness for responsibility."
He was sent to a concentration camp and eventually executed for attempting (with a group of other people) to assassinate Hitler. Bonhoeffer was willing to take responsibility for his own actions. He knew an evil that was being done and chose not to ignore it ...or to say that he had no idea what to do....or say that it was too large a problem to face. He did what he could with the resources available to him. If more of the churchmembers of his time had been willing to do the same, history would have been incredibly different. The same is true of many other historical agonies. The same is true of today's agonies. IF I'm responsible to do what I can do, I will act however I'm able. (learn, educate others, boycott products and stores, vote, write letters, start small organizations, go on fact-finding vacations, purchase wisely, maintain dissatisfaction for the status quo, pray, etc),
Thursday, January 3, 2008
Why does food cost the same, or more, in Mexico than in the U.S.? Does this have something to do with NAFTA? Who benefits from trade agreements? Doesn't seem to be the regular people. In 2003 the per capita in come in Mexico was 9,300 per year. In U.S. and Canada, respectively, it was 37,000 and 31,000 per year. At the same time, Mexico's infant mortality rate was 24.9 kids per 1000 live births and U.S. and Canada, respectively were 6.7 and 5.2 deaths per live birth. (http://www.lisproject.org/publications/LISwps/418.pdf) Something's not working, and it isn't the Mexican people who aren't working. The communities we've entered on the Baja peninsula have been full of hard working, family minded people that don't mind helping each other out. Many of the homes have "cottage industries" in front. From taco stands to small hardware stores these people are using their resources to make their living.
Not only are the Mexicans we've met industrious and personable, they care about their communities. Two villages we've visited have had outside interests attempt to enter and take over property in the towns that was dedicated to their fishing occupations. One fishing coop was able to fight the hotel and a huge cruise ship dock that was slated to be built by outside investors. The other fishing coop fought and lost the marina and shipyard plans that are now being built along part the beach where they used to catch lobster.
We don't presume to know all of the variables or solutions in the situations mentioned above but we are committed to making known injustices as we see them. We are also committed to learning about the lives of the people we encounter and seeing them as equal members of our giant community, and taking action if it is appropriate. If any of our readers have relevant verifiable information about Mexico and its economics, we would love to hear your comments.
P.S. just found this in the article I referenced in the first paragraph of this post:
"Poverty is very strongly related to race and ethnicity in the US and to indigenous
status in Mexico. In the US, racial stigma and racial segregation continue to
affect the African American population, with seriously harmful results. In
Mexico, the indigenous population is isolated by geography, language, and
education level, and presents a serious challenge for poverty alleviation efforts.
Both countries need to be vigorous in combating discrimination and in making
opportunities available for the disadvantaged." This is a very good study and comparative analysis of the causes/indicators of poverty in the U.S. and in Mexico. It has many eye-opening statistics as well.
got a ride in a car with local friends in Abre, then
took a bus, a taxi, another bus, another taxi, and
then a rental car (26 hours total) to get back to
Santa Cruz from Abreojos. It was kind of weird to
have taken 2 months to get from Santa Cruz to Abreojos
and then be back in a relatively quick manner. We
have spent the last couple of weeks with family and
are currently in Kansas for another couple of days.
After this, we fly back to San Jose and Brian will be
in Santa Cruz till around January 15th when he will
head down to the boat while I stick around for another
week or two to work in even more visiting and detail
arranging (like filing taxes).
Have a happy New Year and may we all be so overwhelmed
with God's Grace in its many forms that we can't help
spreading it to people around us.
Brian and Megan
Wednesday, January 2, 2008
This is our favorite Dolphin picture. The water was soooo glassy (translate: zero wind) we could see the dolphins long after they surfaced and dove.
Punta Blanca-an attempt to get a shot of a perfect little wave. Also, the spot where we traded a 2liter bottle of Pepsi for 3 tasty lobsters eaten at our Thanksgiving meal. View the panga (fishing boat) next to our boat.
Punta Maria-where we met Fernanda and her family at her 4th birthday party. That's here with the cake on her face :)
Erica, Joe, and Grace with Brian in Abreojos.