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.
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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