Friday, September 26, 2008

New Things

Today was my second day into a new job: bilingual specialist. So far we've been pumped full of new information and spent a day sorting through materials and resources, and finally were assigned to certain schools and now have a list of the specific students who need our help in the English learning process.
There are four of us for nine schools. I have been assigned to a middle school and two elementaries. Monday I will visit the schools, talk to the teachers, maybe meet some of the students, but mostly hammer out a workable schedule for meeting with students in groups or individually.
There will be a learning curve:"...old things are passed away, behold all things are become new."
I may need some time to adjust before I can blog creatively, if at all!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

More Old Photos

Yesterday I wanted to include a photo where you could see the beautiful coat/hat set Mother made for me, but I had left the completed albums with my parents. Then, sorting through the hundreds more Mother excitedly provided for continuation of the gigantic project, I found another copy! Now, use your imagination to visualize the colors--turqouise and brown velvet trim.

I also discovered an early forgotten photo: I am drinking mate at a young age! For those who are not acquainted with this social Argentine custom, just google it! It's like a green-tea infusion partaken of in a circle of family or friends, all drinking from the same gourd and metal filtering straw--great fellowship and flavor, IF you have the acquired taste!

During hurricane season I kept remembering my closest encounter with natural disaster as a young child and wondering whether there might be a photo to go with my memory. I came across one yesterday!
We were living in La Carlota, province of Córdoba, on a ranch-type large estate with a 15-room house that we shared with a new missionary couple, James and Margaret Marshall. (I remember always wanting to go visit them in their quarters and being told over and over by my Mother that I would surely wear out my welcome.) It was from that setting that I recall looking out the window and watching the terrible storm which we called huracán or ciclón (probably neither one the correct term).
At the time, Daddy was building his first church, literally. After the whatever-it-was had passed over, the first thing he did was go check on his work. And this is what he found: the walls, ready to be roofed, had collapsed.

I was too young to comprehend the emotions he must have gone through at the sight. I do know that he perservered and rebuilt from the rubble a practical and pleasing structure that still stands--el Templo Evangélico de La Carlota.

Today I read and related to the words of Psalm 102:23a: "In the course of my life he broke my strength..." There have been many instances of brokenness in our family history. BUT God's faithfulness has remained a constant.

Monday, September 22, 2008


I have always jokingly called myself the favorite daughter because I am the only girl. But now, after sorting through piles of family photos, I know I was the most photographed child in the family which is typical for a firstborn.

When I came to Aldo, the middle child of the five, I felt so sorry as there were so few photographs. But one stands out because it captures how much we were enjoying baby brother, as well as Mother's resourcefulness using what was available--a canner.

(Sorry about the bluriness. Think of it as looking back in time: "now we see through a glass darkly," to quote Scripture, though out of context.)

Yes, I was very privileged and pampered. The many photos record for posterity the things my parents made for me and the time they spent with me.

Daddy, always the builder and craftsman, made most of the home furniture and toys for me. There was the wooden rocking horse, the chalkboard and desk, and much more. And mother, the amazing seamstress sewed my first winter coat and hat as well as many dresses. As we looked at the photos together she pointed them out as well as the color of each one. (Too bad, no color photos back then.)
She loves certain color combinations: turquoise and brown. For her senior picture she was wearing a favorite dress, brown with aqua collar. And my little coat was aqua with brown velvet collar.

Conclusion: Yes, I was the favorite first-born and now it is my turn to give. "To whom much is given much is required."

Friday, September 19, 2008


I've been tagged by to list 5 things I love, excluding family. As I pondered what topic to tackle in today's blog, after being away for nearly a week due to an Ike-forced internet fast, I decided this was a good re-entry subject.
This has been a good exercise and serves to summarize observations about myself that have surfaced over the summer as I worked through the transition from teacher to a new and unknown routine. So, in no particular order:
I love...
reading--to occupy my intellect in the act of learning/researching/finding out what's going on more than for pure enjoyment. Mike knows that when we go somewhere where there are free newspapers (restaurants, hotels, etc.) I will always pick one up and use any waiting time reading.
I do enjoy books and well written stories, but mostly listen to them in audio form. I rarely sit down with a book. However, I have always very much enjoyed reading books to anyone who will listen: children, students, husband or family as we travel.
writing--to communicate, to tell life stories, to stay in touch with people.
As a wannabe-writer I chose Psalm 26:7 as my mission statement: "That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all thy wondrous works." (KJV)
photography--taking, sharing, arranging photos in an artistic and meaningful way. It is a form of story telling, of recording family history.
Though I do not consider myself a scrapbooker, one who goes all out with the materials and trimmings that go with the craft, I am gifted at taking a group or pile of photographs and arranging them chronologically or thematically in an artistic display. I offer my services to friends when their loved one dies and each time the result is different but the effect is impacting and positive.
Currently I am working on my parents collection. It has been like putting together a difficult puzzle, trying to reconstruct their growing up years and my own. So far I have three albums completed and probably that many more to go.
traveling--to see people more than places. I have been very privileged in my life to have had so many opportunities to travel the world and have lived for lengths of time in various countries and continents, even on a missionary ship that took us to numerous ports. However, my main desire to travel now is to visit people. The exception to that is when I travel with my husband, on our tandem vacations or road trips, then I enjoy the sights with him.
teaching--helping others grow in the enjoyment of what I am passionate about. For many years it has been the Spanish language and literature. But can also include teaching Bible truths to children in junior church and sharing knowledge with my grandchildren.

As I reflected on this list, it occurred to me that all of these passions could be the spokes of a wheel and have to do with mind, heart, soul, but the hub or center is the spirit. I would be starved if I could not engage my mind and share with people, but would be aimless and empty without Jesus and the Spirit of God at the core of my being.

Now it's your turn:

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Ongoing Projects

Michael, being the gifted inventor that he is, thrives on creative projects. He designed a gardening system for the solarium. We have had no luck growing things in the woods (except for daffodils and hostas!), so his busy mind came up with a hanging/rotating trough contraption.

But before he could install the garden-thing, he had to deal with the eight large double-paned windows which have become opaque, the inner film is impossible to clean. He tried taking them apart and though they did come clean with calcium-removing-chemical, they were impossible to glue back together without trapping moisture. So he had to replace all the windows and just finished that last night. In the photo you can see the difference. Now we can see our beautiful surroundings clearly! It's a good thing there is a railing or I might run right into the glass and break my nose!
The other projects are mine. The boxes of teaching stuff I could not part with are still under the spiral staircase waiting to find a home of their own. They've lived there for weeks now waiting for an office or classroom where they might be put to use. But since that is not happening I am trying to deal with a little every day...and feeling quite embarrassed about the mess.
But maybe not enough...
And as I wait for a job offer (latest interview was last week for bilingual specialist) and/or inspiration, I keep busy either writing to an unknown audience via this blog or sorting and rearranging photographs in acid-free albums. Right now the dining room table and chairs and the coffee table are covered with my parents collection of old photos and albums.
I tend to do what I enjoy and put off what I don' cleaning, cooking. Anyone else have that problem? Perhaps by confessing my mess you will keep me accountable to clean it up!

Saying Goodbye

Argentina Series: Despedida

The day of my departure, Dora and Erni accompanied me to Eunice's place, several stations away by train. But first we had to walk to the train station, about 10 blocks away, with all my luggage. We were only a block and half away when I realized it was not going to work. We were passing a remis agency and by then I was more than willing to pay to be transported. The local taxi service is very reasonable anyway.

The train route was familiar to me by now. Those many times I enjoyed observing my fellow travelers and listening to a variety of sales pitches--people of all ages either begging or selling most anything from bread to books to socks or candy. You can see in the photo that there is room for luggage, bicycles, wheelchairs in the rear of the cars.

Eunice's apartment, where I had stayed a week years ago on a previous visit to Argentina, was now full of family. We enjoyed visiting, catching up on a wide range of subjects, as much as possible in the limited time we had.

Here Eunice is absorbed in my collection of old photos from when she was/we were young.

The visit became even more animated when Julio arrived.
Eunice had intended to take me to the airport, but my former boyfriend offered to do so as we had not seen one another yet.
And here he is taking in the same collection of old photographs.
So many memories.

So with mixed emotions I said goodbye to dear friends and safely flew back to the USA very excited about seeing my family again.

My suitcase, however, could not keep up with the customs procedures in and out of four countries so was delayed a whole week.
The frequent flyer arrangement I had obtained could take me only as far as Santos, Brazil and that via Canada! I then purchased a ticket on another airline between Brazil and Argentina.

Thus ends my memorable trip to Argentina, 2007, a gift from heaven.
In my journal I quoted a Scripture to summarize the experience:

2 Corinthians 9:13-15 (Worldwide English (New Testament)

13This gift will prove something to them. They will praise God because you obey the good news of Christ. They will praise God because you have given this gift to help them and all the others.
14They will love you and talk to God about you, because God has blessed you very much.
15Thank God for his gift so great that no words can ever tell it all!

P.S.: Now, a year later, I received news that my Borges paper will be published in the journal of the Fundación Borges, not that it matters much anymore...just God's stamp of approval and sense of humor.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Panadería, Puerto de Frutos y Pizzería

Argentina Series: Last Day

One full day and so much my hosts wanted to show me!

First, Dora took me to Raul's bakery and confitería. She very much wanted me to meet this dear brother, a very humble simple man with a big faith. On four different occasions when he was about to be robbed he cried out in the name of Jesus and the would-be thieves fled in fear and trembling. The crowd outside ran in to see what had just happened.
We went at an hour when students on lunch break were standing around enjoying a pastry in the sunshine.

Raúl gave us each a palmerita, a pastry that resembles a palm frond.
Energized by the sweet treat we continued our walk through the neighborhood and made our way to an area with many gift and craft shops and tourist attractions.
There were so many photos I wanted to share, so here is a link to an album about El Tigre, photos I took all throughout my visit.
Dora and I walked and talked for hours and I bought some gifts to take back home to family and friends.
That evening for dinner they had planned a special farewell outing to their favorite pizza place, a very family-friendly local restaurant--all you can eat pizza for $3.00 each! The waitress kept coming around with different varieties tempting us to overeat and we obliged.

On our walk back to the apartment we passed the internet cafe I had frequented throughout my stay. I invited Dora and Erni in to show them some websites, like Stephan's Ice Studio ( and Mike's robotics team ( Dora seemed to be interested but Erni appeared confused. Now, a year later, they have entered the cyber fellowship and are thrilled! They are taking computer lessons, and Erni at 80 years of age is fascinated. Both of them are so blessed by the human warmth they feel from connecting and communicating with loved ones in this way.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Back to School

Yes, I'm back in the classroom for a few days attending a training workshop to become certified by Lingua Lynx to conduct Reality Spanish courses to diverse groupings. To begin with I am being trained with the Spanish for healthcare curriculum, but may add on further certifications at a later date.
I am staying with my parents because the three-day training is in Warsaw. My youngest brother, Alan, is also in the class. We are very impressed with the effectiveness of the methodology and especially convinced of the need for this program which aims to build human connections using language as the bridge-
We worked hard today practicing the new techniques and will prepare and present a segment of a lesson plan tomorrow. I highly recommend the experience in whatever role applies to you! Do you speak Spanish? You can easily learn how to teach enough language to build bridges. And if you do not know the language, join a class you WILL acquire communication and cultural skills that will amaze you.
Only one problem, this revolutionary training is not available everywhere. So far only four states are represented and accredited: Nevada, Indiana, Colorado, and New Mexico. But it is growing. Check it out!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Back to BA

Argentina Series: Overnight travel from day 15-16

For the return trip to BA (as we used to refer to Buenos Aires instead of the proper abreviation--Bs. As.) I chose to pay a little extra to have the Betel Ejecutivo experience ( It is unique, the only bus service of its kind in the world--a Christian bus line that exists to minister and serve.
Betel, from the biblical name meaning 'house of God', was chosen to describe the restful refreshing environment they aim to provide through excellent caring services.
As we boarded the bus the stewardess greeted each one and handed us a couple papers. One was the Bible reading and devotion for the day and another was a coupon to fill out with any prayer burden we may have and contact information.
A newspaper awaited on each seat. The stewardess read the Scripture and devotion aloud and offered a prayer at the beginning. Then we were served a lovely meal in two courses: first cold cuts, then that plate was replaced by a hot tray.

The prayer 'coupons', as they called them, were collected after the meal and not long after they 'tucked us in' for the night, closed the curtains, turned off the lights, made sure we were warm enough.
Worship music woke us up early in time for breakfast and prayer before arrival at our destination.

The very next day I had an e-mail from Betel assuring me that their team had prayer for me and offering further follow-up if I so desired.

When we are in God's heavenly home we may hear of how many people were blessed by this creative method. In any case, we DO know that God's Word will accomplish what it was sent out to do!