29 July, 2005

In The Yucatán!

Hello, all!

I´m writing to you from the internet cafe en el centro de Izamal, Yucután, México! It is beautiful, although very hot and humid (of course) but the good news is that we have some air conditioning in our casa -- the Korean Mission Building in town. The food is local and incredible. The showers are cool and slow, but are refreshing at the end of each day...I realize it is a blessing to have them at all!

Our first day-trip was extremely hot, and our bus driver got lost, so we were on the road many hours, driving through the scrub-brush Yucatán countryside for far longer than anticipated. We had brought plenty of extra water, but some of our travellers got "sick" along the way in the bumpy bus. I felt the effects of that today, needing to lay down and rest for the morning, and take some pain meds for a tough headache. An Asian woman on the trip with us did some accupressure on my shoulders and head, and that helped tremendously, along with some Tiger Balm patches that I happened to bring along.

The people here are open, friendly, and nice. Almost none speak English, so we are getting good practice with our Spanish. Our 16.5 yods and I have gone on a ¨Photography Safari¨ trip with hubby's school (The Winston School) to offer photography classes for a group of local school kids. We will be setting up onsite printing, matting, and framing so that we all (local students, included) can have an exhibit on Saturday here in Izamal. We are leaving some 35 mm cameras here with the locals, plus new printers for them to keep and use.

To see some of our and our kids´ work (photos) you can check out updates at Project Izamal.

The site has had some trouble, but try clicking on "enlarge" and they should load. I know that Matt, the webmaster, has been working on it when he has the chance, but we are at the mercy of going to the internet shop(s) in town for (sometimes) unreliable service.

We have been enjoying the slow pace and timing of things, here. People really take time for each other and are out playing in their commmunity. That is SO refreshing. Siesta time is also very nice and so sensible, here. Stores open back up in the cool of the evening until very late. The whole town spends a lot of time outdoors, at night. Late into the night, you can be walking down the main street and be in the open front doors of the families in their homes. They are usually in their doorways, seated and visiting with neighbors and saying ¨buenas noches¨ to us!

I´ve made a contact here with a local who owns a famous shop, called ¨Hecho a Mano.¨ He is originally from Austin, but has lived in various places in Mexico since the Viet Nam war, and he looks the part, anyway. Hector Garza is his name, and he is quite a character! He used to be a roadie for The Grateful Dead, worked with Willie Nelson, knows former TX Gov. Anne Richards, has taken photos for the Bush's, and has known many famous artists and illustrator´s, etc., etc., etc. He supplies stores in Dallas and Austin, such as The Whole Earth Provision Store with hand-made goods (including some very nice hammocks) from different regions of Mexico made by the locals. Anyway, He wants me to restore some of his old ¨History of Mexico¨ type books, and some artbooks of famous artists that he has befriended over the decades. He also wants me to make some journal books for his store, out of various papers and materials (local or otherwise). I´m going to shop around and buy recycled and handmade papers, bark paper, and whatever I can find here to use. I am still processing this opportunity, so am a little in disbelief at the moment!!

We have already taken a day-trip to Merida and Uxmal (an ancient Mayan pyramid), and plan on some other day trips soon...to a beach that I can´t remember the name of at the moment, chichen Itzen, etc., this week and next. I am so thankful for this opportunity that Jonathan and I have been given.

When you think of us, remember to keep us all in your prayers for safe travels and good health. I'll try to post a picture or two, when I remember to bring our memory stick with us to this internet cafe. ¡Adiós! ¡Hasta luego!

Javamom, writing from the Yucatán Peninsula
Es loco, ¿no?

24 July, 2005

Currently Playing

Album: Selah
Be Still My Soul

contemplative, simple and beautiful; at times, soulfull! smooth, tight harmonies

23 July, 2005

guitar all finished!

Back and Front of hubby's home made guitar

21 July, 2005

Advanced restoration

Before and after!

I've been promoted up to advanced restoration as of last Sunday. Here is my finished restoration project of Parables from Nature by Mrs. Gatty. The illustrations are done by famous Pre-Raphaelite artists from the arts and crafts movement.

18 July, 2005

Time for...

I'm on fireman's belay. It's tough work, but someone's gotta do it (grin).

~and after a long day of playing hard, there is cappuccino to be found!
We only had time to do this three times all week, so it was a treat.

God's Creation

Some of our campers and the youth leader

Stone Door -The path to the rock climbing area, and down from the rappelling area.

Greeter Falls-Where we washed our hair and swam on Wednesday, after two days of backpacking twelve miles. The falls measure at eighty feet! The water was cold and invigorating!

17 July, 2005

* In Tennessee *

Climbing 'round on rocks
My son, Audubon
Making new friends, deepening connections

Me (on left) and Dana (pretty new to our church in Tx...lived in Nashville for 15 years), washing our legs and feet in the creek after a LONG backpacking/hike. We backpacked about seven miles that day. At night, we slept under tarps and stars.

For more information for your youth group... check out Confrontation Point Ministries. I could not recommend a program more highly than this!

What: One week wilderness trip for church youth groups in Appalachia
Goal: Group Spiritual Growth & Leadership development

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." - Mark Twain

What kind of coffee...?

You Are an Iced Coffee

At your best, you are: hyper, modern, and athletic

At your worst, you are: cheap and angsty

You drink coffee when: you're out with friends

Your caffeine addiction level: medium

Hat tip: Firefly

09 July, 2005

Dell-Winston School Solar Car Challenge

This is a lifestyle of learning at its finest!! Thanks goes to God! We are so proud and happy for our oldest son to be on the small media team for a national solar car race this year. Check out The Dell-Winston Solar Car Challenge for updates and information. The streaming video our son has put together at the end of each day provides a look into the programs and the race. We are so blessed by the opportunity and experience this gives him toward his future career thoughts and plans.

06 July, 2005

Scattered to three winds

Summer seems to be like this every year...a variety of summer camps or camping, mission trips and photography trips for us AND our children. Hubby and I sometimes go along (but not at the same time) as chaperones. These next two weeks are no exception. I'm sure many of you have similar activities in the summertime, and so it goes for families with growing, active children. It is my favorite type of homeschooling, where we can learn through travel and hands-on experience, alongside others who can teach us new and exciting skills.

Our oldest son (16.5 yo), AnselAdams, will be going on a solar car race trip from Austin, TX, through the Mohave Desert, all the way to the coast of Southern California. He will be helping with photography, along with dh's school's photography teacher, and he will also be one of the two videographers. This is going to be another excellent opportunity for him, in preparation for a possible future career in photo journalism.

As I mentioned earlier this week, our 12 yo son, JJAudubon, and I will both be going on a back country adventure of (weather permitting) rock climbing, rappelling, whitewater rafting, hiking and camping, plus non-commercial cave exploration! We ran errands tonight to pick up some essential supplies for our upcoming adventures. Just having the right equipment and some clothing (from the bargain racks) with "cool-max technology" gets me all motivated, and lifts my confidence in our ability to accomplish what is before us.

"We don't quit hiking because we grow old. We grow old because we quit hiking."
~Finis Mitchell, Author, Wind River resident, explorer,
trout stocker, Wyoming state congressman

05 July, 2005

My brothers, veterans

The first picture is of the middle brother in my family. He was an Air Force Russian linguist in Germany during the Cold War and Reagan's presidency. His wife and first grandchild are enjoying fireworks in our yard and neighborhood.

The next picture is of my oldest brother, his wifey, and the last two of their five children who are still at home. They already have eight grandkids. He was in the Air Force in the early 70's and was a guard at the hospital for the POW's at the end of the Vietnam War.

You would not believe how much *fun* the "grown boys" were having! Our sons, nephews, and their Uncles enjoyed blowing things up, and trying to melt down the mailbox...a yearly tradition. If anyone would be able to do it, I figured it would be our nephew, a veteran of the war in Iraq. Well, the mailbox has a few more small holes in it than before, but it still stands!

04 July, 2005

Family picnic and fireworks

Just a couple of pictures to share from our Independence Day Celebration. To the left is my nephew, home on leave from Iraq, and his son. What patriots! Baby's mama is next to me in the middle on the picture below. Also in the pic, from left to right: one of my three brothers, me, Baby's mama, and her sister, Steph (two of my many nieces). My other brothers and some of their families were with us, as well!

* Independence Day! *

The Divine Source of Liberty

by Samuel Adams
Founder of the Sons of Liberty and the Committees of Correspondence

All temporal power is of God,
And the magistratal, His institution, laud,
To but advance creaturely happiness aubaud:

Let us then affirm the Source of Liberty.

Ever agreeable to the nature and will,
Of the Supreme and Guardian of all yet still
Employed for our rights and freedom's thrill:

Thus proves the only Source of Liberty.

Though our civil joy is surely expressed
Through hearth, and home, and church manifest,
Yet this too shall be a nation's true test:

To acknowledge the divine Source of Liberty.

My favorite patriotic hymn:

The Battle Hymn of The Republic

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord;
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword;
His truth is marching on.

Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! His truth is marching on.

I have seen Him in the watch fires of a hundred circling camps
They have builded Him an altar in the evening dews and damps;
I can read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps;
His day is marching on.

Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! His day is marching on.

I have read a fiery Gospel writ in burnished rows of steel;
As ye deal with My condemners, so with you My grace shall deal;
Let the Hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with His heel,
Since God is marching on.

Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Since God is marching on.

He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat;
He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment seat;
Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him! be jubilant, my feet;
Our God is marching on.

Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Our God is marching on.

In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me:
As He died to make men holy, let us live (die) to make men free;
While God is marching on.

Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! While God is marching on.

He is coming like the glory of the morning on the wave,
He is wisdom to the mighty, He is honor to the brave;
So the world shall be His footstool, and the soul of wrong His slave,
Our God is marching on.

Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Our God is marching on.

Words: Julia Ward Howe, 1861
Music: Originally "John Brown's Body," composer unknown

This hymn was born during the American Civil War when Howe visited a Union Army camp on the Potomac River near Washington, DC. She heard the soldiers singing the song "John Brown's Body" and was taken by the strong marching beat. She wrote the words next day.
Quote: "I awoke in the grey of the morning, and as I lay waiting for dawn, the long lines of the desired poem began to entwine themselves in my mind, and I said to myself: 'I must get up and write these verses, lest I fall asleep and forget them. So I sprang out of bed and in the dimness found an old stump of a pen, which I remembered using the day before. I scrawled the verses almost without looking at the paper.'"

The hymn first appeared in the Atlantic Monthly in 1862. It was sung at the funerals of British statesman Sir Winston Churchill, and American senator Robert Kennedy.

01 July, 2005

On Books and blog tags

A recent blog tag that has gone around...

1. How many books do you own?

about 5000, maybe more, now...and they're multiplying. Some are stored up at hubby's school.

2. What was the last book you bought?

I've bought two books this week:

The Tribune Primer by Eugene Field, published 1900 - a lady in my book restoration class is restoring her mother's copy of this hilarious, satirical book of short quips with line drawings. My copy cost $6

BOOKBINDING & CONSERVATION BY HAND, A WORKING GUIDE by Laura S. Young used and pretty pricey...

3. What was the last book you read?

Book 2 in The Number One Ladies' Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith, Tears of The Giraffe.

Currently in the middle of Charlotte Mason's Volume 6...Towards a Philosphy of Education.

4. What are some books that have meant a lot to you?

I'll not mention the standard, typical choices of C. S. Lewis' Mere Christianity (okay, maybe just that one, lol), Chesterton or Schaeffer...yeah, these are some of my all-time favorite authors. For obvious reasons, though, books that have meant the most to me are:

My great grandmother's Bible from 1851 and Old books and notebooks of notes that were my Grandfather's. My Dad's high school scrap book has always been a favorite of mine since childhood as well. I am slowly restoring and conserving all 80+ pages of it.

Someone else added:

5. Changed my outlook on the world:

Shared on my favorite's list on my profile: How To Be Your Own Selfish Pig by Susan Schaeffer (Macauley), and L'Abri Fellowship by Edith Schaeffer

I almost went to L'Abri in '84 when I spent my second summer in Germany (for mission work) and went to Switzerland. One thing that discouraged me from pursuing that dream that summer was the fact that Dr. Schaeffer was already very ill by then. I still made a "L'Abri journey" anyway. It's one of the reasons we homeschool, and why we choose to live a life at a different pace than most people.

6. Embarassed to have on the list:

Elsie Dinsmore series - Let's not go there ;-) my dear CM friends who cannot abide the sappy writing of this series, [snicker, snicker] They are beautiful vintage copies, at least... and I will say that~
1. they look sharp arranged atop my computer armoire and
2. I am practicing a few restoration techniques (disbinding, mending most of the signatures, and preparing them for re-sewing and re-casing) on the worst volume. So, there. [very big grin]

Backcountry Adventure

Our 12-year-old child #3 (whom I call Audubon, because he loves the outdoors and animals) and I are going on a backcountry adventure in about nine days with his Jr. High church group. I am one of two female chaperones for the girls, and I'm really looking forward to this trip! We are going to the mountains in Tennessee.

This is one of the reasons that I am walking, working out and stretching again. The family and I have been camping since my hand surgeries last year, but I haven't been rappelling, climbing, caving, whitewater rafting and backpacking/hiking hard-core for a few years. In fact, on the last school trip (with hubby) that I chaperoned, I hurt my knee coming down the mountain, and had to rig a knee brace out of tube socks for half of the trip. That was pretty funny, but it worked! The last two trips we went on were not difficult camping conditions at all. Well, with the exception of a lot of rain.

More about our trip in future posts!

" May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. "

~Edward Abbey


Isn't this just a bizarre-but-cool wildflower? This is growing in our area right now, and I picked some on my walk this morning. The variety in my neighborhood has more white blossoms where this one has pink on the tops of each segment. This flower reminds me of a wedding cake. It is one of my favorite Texas wildflowers. It dries very well and can be used in dried flower arrangments.