Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Certainties

While one chuckles at this sign, taxes are not necessarily funny. One might actually have an opposite feeling towards them.  Not only are they certain, they are yearly!

However, the first one brings with it opportunity. How so? Well, it gives you the opportunity to come alongside those who are mourning the loss of a loved one.

I think most people have experienced the loss of a loved one, or, at the very least, have come alongside someone who is mourning the loss of a loved one.

Death is experienced differently in different cultures. My reference for death, dying and funerals has mostly been in Canada.  I have been part of the vigil at the hospital watching a family member as they slowly pass on.  I have been a part of the funeral planning, the grieving, the hurting, the tears and all that death entails.

I have also gone to funerals where I have gone to offer support to a friend who has lost a loved one.  Come along side to share the burden of their grief.

What I have never stopped to appreciate is the way we do all this.  The unhurriedness of the process.  The time allowed to make decisions.  The simple fact of how much time we have to get it all done.

Since we have been here in GDL we have also had the opportunity to come alongside friends who have lost a parent, a grandparent, a spouse, a sibling, etc.

The process is so very different.  For example, last night at 10 p.m Ernie got a text informing him of the death of a friend's (from the gym) mother.  The implication is that you can (should) head over to the funeral home for the 'velorio' (wake).  Friends and family come together to sit with the family and grieve all night (12-24 hours).  Then today at noon was the mass for the funeral.

Everything happens quickly.  From the time you are told of the death within 12-24 hours they are buried.  There is no time to prepare.

Our funerals are a complete service, dedicated to the loved one, with music, scripture, eulogies, etc  all primarily about the loved one.  Often an encouraging message is included, for the family and friends, and generally one of comfort.

Not so within the Catholic church.  It is a mass.  I have been to funeral masses where the person was barely mentioned. I have also been to funeral masses where they were more dedicated to the deceased but the 'norms' or standard components of a mass were still held to.

But, while it is very different and hard to handle the speed with which it all happens, what we have always been able to do is come alongside those who are hurting and be an encouragement. Trying to point them to Christ and the comfort available in Him.


Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Daily Living

Last week I told you about my friend who enjoys life to the fullest.  Here we are pictured at her surprise Birthday Party, that her family threw for her.

In all honesty, this is our table, plus Cristy and her husband.  We were the fun table...her crazy friends.  The four ladies sitting (on the right) are lifetime friends of hers.  Never met a more enthusiastic group of ladies.  They love life.  They were a joy.

It seems God keeps placing older ladies in my life to be examples to me.

So I try to give 100% to the things I do.  A place that I get to experience feeling challenged is at the gym.  I love the gym. I have never before in my life had a gym membership. My mother, on the other hand, has had one for years! Another older lady who is a great example to me, on several fronts.

I am glad however that I got to experience the whole gym thing exactly where I am.  The gym where we attend it apparently a bit of a novelty.  Even here in GDL it has a reputation of being a social club.  The friendships are plentiful and rich.  We socialize together, we have groups, we greet, even being all sweaty.  They are our family.  That said...some of us also take working out seriously.  Some classes I excel in and others I work hard in! (I mean to do it well)
Danzika
Above is a picture of my favourite class, where I have to work really hard.  This is a class where we do dance/aerobic/low impact workouts.  My problem here is coordination - two left feet.  But it is fun, we are great friends, and we laugh at ourselves and enjoy the best teacher.  I have improved so very much but he makes sure we feel challenged.

Then ...
This is my strong suit.  What I lack in coordination for dance, I make up for in strength.  Same teacher, many of the same ladies, but here they struggle more than I do.  Latin's dance well, Canadian's are strong?! After a morning of Nelson, we are done in! But we love it. We love suffering together.

On another note.... we enjoyed a little cultural experience this weekend.  GDL is hosting a Cultural Festival and so we headed out to see "Globos de Francia" (Balloons of France).  It was incredible to watch, along with 1000's of Tapatios (people from GDL). 


Life is to be enjoyed and lived to the fullest.  To be challenged. To grow. To Laugh. To Cry. To Celebrate. God gives us days where we feel we are walking 'though the valley of death' and others where we experience pure joy. We need both.

I thank my God for giving me people who are a good example of doing both.  Celebrating life and walking through pain. God is Good...always.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Enjoying Life

Do you ever think about getting older? Or aging?  I remember when I was a teen I thought 50 was 'OLD'! But now that I am over 50 I just happen to think 50 is young.

But one thing is for sure...we are all getting older.  Because if you are not getting older, you are dead! So my attitude is, celebrate every birthday!

I have heard it said that 'aging isn't for the faint of heart'.  I know it isn't always easy.  First you need glasses, then you need a hearing aid, the knees don't like the stairs, never mind watching the diet, due to cholesterol or blood sugar, etc.  Those things are hard.  But I also believe the other thing they say... "age is all about attitude".

I have met people who are such an example to me.  I have met people who are 'young' by the number of candles but are old in life.  I have met others who are 'old' by the candles, but young in life.  I have a friend here in GDL who is just such an inspiration.  She is one of my neighbours, and someone of whom I can honestly say, that when I get old I wanna be just like her!


Today she turned 70 years young.  I say that because she is the most youthful lady I know.  She enjoys life to the fullest.  She laughs, she smiles, and she acts crazy.  She is the life of the party.  Just prior to her birthday she went and got a small tattoo of a butterfly on her shoulder.  She proudly showed it off and told all of us that we could only get one when we turned 70! I love it! What an attitude.

But what makes one person seemingly ageless and another old? When I asked her about it, she said it all in your attitude.  Yeah, she remembers when she could do things that she can't now, but who wants to be cranky.  Look for the sunshine, she says.

I know that this picture seems extreme.  The bodybuilder vs. the little old lady.  BOTH are 80 years old! But I know the bodybuilder women is the real deal.  She inspires me because she took on life after 50, upon the death of a loved one.  She exudes joy when you watch an interview with her.

I am not denying that life is hard, that aging is tough.  I feel a little of my age every time I hang out with my sons, and their boundless energy.  But I want to be like my neighbour lady.  I want to be a joy, I want to be sunshine.  I always say I am a realist, so as not to say pessimist, but that doesn't excuse me.  I need to see the rainbows of promise in life, and celebrate the life God has given me.

I have the best reason ever, to do that!  Jesus lives in me.  He loves me unconditionally.  His grace knows no end.  He forgives me.  He came that I might have life, and life abundantly.

Then, as I start to count my blessings...well, they are many.

How about you? What do people see when they see you? Are they drawn to you, like everybody is to my friend.  I want to live an ageless life, filled with joy unending.  Attitude is a choice.  Thanks to my friend for being an example of 70 years of celebrating life.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Earthquakes....

(Hands in the air is a call for silence...)
Words can not describe the situation in Mexico this month! Two earthquakes, within 10 days, at a 7.1, that brought down buildings, and buried people.  It has been horrific for so very many people.

Listening to the news has been disheartening.  One of the buildings that collapsed was a school - elementary and Jr. High.  Teachers died and children died.  Watching the rescue of children was just beyond words.  I can not even imagine being one of the parents.

It has been reported that there have been 326 deaths between all the affected areas (Oaxaca, Chiapas, Puebla, Morelia, and Mexico City).  However, they are still digging through the ruins.

So, of course a plea was sent out through every imaginable venue: FaceBook, Instagram, Newspapers, Radio, Television, and WhatsApp.  What to give, how, and where.  There were locations put up all over Guadalajara (and likely in other cities and states as well) for people to donate food and clothing to those who had lost everything.

Then came the outcry of the people.  The government was not stepping in to give aid.  The political parties were grabbing the stuff being donated and putting their party stickers on it.  They were accused of stopping the caravans of aid and directing them to their political party warehouses to use later in the run for office (i.e. to buy votes). 2018 is election year here.

It is so hard to know how to help.  We feel like our hands are tied.  We desire to help but we want to help the actual people who are in need.  The corruption is hard to deal with.  You want to trust that the donations are getting to all those hurting people but it looks like you just can't be certain.

The Mexican people are up in arms with their corrupt government leaders.  Their is a cry of outrage. Their own people are hurting, suffering and all they can think about is how this can be used to their advantage.

Pray for Christ followers in Mexico, that we will be an example of Christ's love, goodness, and demonstrate values and attitudes reflective of His kingdom. Our world so badly needs a demonstration of integrity, love, compassion, and self-less honesty!

NEWS:
http://www.infobae.com/america/mexico/2017/09/24/terremoto-en-mexico-subio-a-318-el-numero-de-fallecidos/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MEZy-Cl_v4Y  VIDEO OF RESCUE AT SCHOOL


Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Life.... and death....

   
     This weekend we said good bye to a dear friend from the fitness gym. In our minds he was healthy, strong, young, and certainly not the one we expected to go. They were to leave for Europe, on holidays, instead, less than 24 hrs before boarding the plane, my good friend had a series of heart attacks, and passed away.

     There is ONE sure thing - we are ALL going to die one day - unless the Lord comes back first. We don't know whether we will die young, or old, of illness, or accident, will have time to say goodbye, or be ushered into eternity in the blink of an eye.
     So, if the when and how is unpredictable, but the fact that it will happen is, what are we doing to prepare for it? Too many of us go thru life thinking we have more time, thinking it won't happen to us (at least not yet), and we 'walk thru that door' unprepared.

     Based on my understanding of scripture, God created humans with freewill. In fact, we get to choose to have a relationship with Him, or not. We get to choose whether we want to spend eternity with Him, or not. BUT, that choice has to be made this side of the grave - and God respects that choice, even though He longs to have us live in fellowship with Him.
   

      The Bible starts in paradise (Genesis 1) and ends in paradise (Revelation). Everything in-between narrates the story of God's amazing efforts and plan to restore that which was lost (when humanity chose to exercise its freewill and fall into sin). We have been given a way to restore the relationship. We can accept God's free gift of salvation, and then embark on a journey with Him, that culminates with our passage thru the gates of death into eternal life. BUT, it's not automatic, it won't happen against your will. YOU have to appropriate it, embrace it, pursue that relationship of dependence and obedience with God - while you're still 'here'. Make plans, but make sure your plans include God, and His plan for your life. Then leaving this world will mean being ushered into something incredibly better, being in God's presence for the rest of eternity! 

      So, what are you doing TODAY? What are you leaving for tomorrow, that you should be doing today? Not saying the words that need to be said... "I love you, thanks, you mean the world to me, thanks for walking with me, I appreciate you..."? Are you putting off going for lunch with someone? Have you told your loved ones, recently, that you love them? Have you tried to fix that broken relationship? Have you forgiven, or do you live with bitterness? 

      I remember my last conversation with my friend on Friday. Neither of us thought it would be the last time. What got left unsaid? How about the people in YOUR circle? Have you left things unsaid or undone, thinking you always have tomorrow? 

     Make sure to make each day count, and make sure that you also prepare for eternity. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Piñata!


     This is an 'old style' piñata, common to Mexico. I say 'old style' because action figures, and the like, are now the rage. Anyway, you will notice that this piñata has 7 points (picos). Some say it was meant to represent the 'Seven Cardinal Sins', a list of 'serious sins' within the Catholic tradition. In the middle of the piñata is a clay pot filled with candy. When you break off the 7 points, and break the piñata, you are showered with gifts (candy). The symbolism should be obvious - fight against the 7 cardinal sins and you will be rewarded!
     In my own Evangelical Mennonite upbringing I was taught that it was a sin to 1) drink, 2) dance, 3) smoke, and 4) go to the movies. I'm sure there were more on the list, but these were the obvious 'external/visible' ones.
      There is a problem with both perspectives (Catholic and Mennonite). There are a number of 'lists' in scripture (Proverbs 10:16-19, Galatians 5:19-21 are good examples) and they are not the same. They are examples of sin, and not meant to be an exhaustive list. Furthermore, a careful study of scripture suggests that sins of the heart (greed, envy, hate, anger, selfishness, pride, etc.) rank prominently on most lists. The 2 greatest commandments are: 1) Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and 2) love your neighbour as yourself. Avoiding the '7 Cardinal Sins', but living like you want in the meantime, isn't what God has in mind. Avoiding externals (drinking, dancing, smoking), without changing one's heart, attitudes and values, isn't God's idea of righteousness either!
     Finally, although the consequences of one sin (i.e. murder) can be significantly greater than another (i.e. lying), God doesn't seem to give us a 'ladder' or hierarchy to be able to say that one sin is worse than another - sin is sin in God's eyes. A white lie is still a lie! What we should be striving for is a Holy Spirit initiated change in our hearts - our attitudes and values, so that we are ever more Christlike in all we do, say and think. Going to Mass, or going to a church service, once a week, doesn't necessarily 'fix it' or produce the desired change. Confessing and then doing it all over again isn't God's plan. It seems that relationship, with God, and our neighbour, is of utmost importance. Allowing Christ to control, and change, our lives, via the Holy Spirit, makes having healthy relationships possible - on all levels. Although we might not be able to call it 'heaven on earth', it's certainly headed in the right direction!

                            

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Manzanillo

Each year we, as a team, get together for a retreat, with the main objective being getting some much needed R & R.

Since the ocean is so very close to us, we often look for an affordable place seaside.  This year we headed to Manzanillo, a short 4 hours drive from Guadalajara.

Aside from R & R we also take time for some Spiritual renewal.  Every other year we bring someone from Canada to speak to us.  This was not the year for that but to do something ourselves.  We did something we have never done before... We invited a national to speak to us.  Walter and Susie Rempening joined us from our Cuauhtemoc church.

We so very much appreciated his ministry to us this weekend.  He spoke to us from the Book of Ruth.  His theme being the "Frustrations of Life".  He talked about bitterness, such as Naomi allowed to take root, and how, in chapter 4, joy had returned.  We were challenged to not allow bitterness take root in our lives and ministries.

Aside from rich times of fellowship in the Word we also enjoyed times of playing together. The weather cooperated (meaning it wasn't rainy as was forecasted) so we could make use of the pool and ocean.  We enjoyed good meals together, that we all took turns in preparing. Our only complaint was that it was extremely humid and muggy {We all might be just a little spoiled with the perfect climate of GDL}.
Wiebe boys enjoying the pool

Connie and Tara enjoying a relaxing massage







Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Cultural Growth

Scrapbook page done by Marilyn Kroeker
 Living abroad allows for many opportunities for growth and change.

I imagine all cultures have things about them that you cringe at, maybe food, and then there are some things that look like something you could learn.

Mexican culture, especially here in Guadalajara,  is quite different from my own home country. Now I also realize that I am speaking from my own experience.  Not ALL Mexican's hold to the same experience nor do ALL Canadians.  So I am speaking from my own experience.

I have found that Mexico loves music and dance.  At almost all gatherings that I have attended over the years, both here and in Chihuahua, music was played.  I would add here that this is not quiet background music but load festive music.  Many times there is a Mariachi, which goes without saying, that it is loud.

Dancing is also very common at parties, at birthdays, at weddings, etc.  They love to dance.  And I would say that many dance, and dance well.

Our friends love it if we know a song or if we can request a song for the Mariachi to play.  Sometimes they are amazed when I mouth the words to a song.  To which I reply, "most mariachi play the same play list...I'm learning."

Music was easier than the dancing thing, two left feet! So Ernie and I took dancing lessons for several months and now can join our friends on the dance floor  Salsa is a little tricky for dancers, but we had a great teacher and can now survive! They are excited when we join them on the dance floor.

So, some things we take from the culture, and then there are some things we try to add.  We have noticed that at most Mexican parties, or events, are mostly sitting around tables, trying to visit over the loud music, eating, and most of the rest are drinking.  We have introduced doing a few things differently.  At both my birthday and Ernie's we changed it up.  People DID stuff.  Most people said they enjoyed our parties cause they are so different.

This weekend we were at a birthday party. Before leaving Ernie threw a yard game into the car.  We were at a lovely terraza with a large green space.  It was a very relaxed atmosphere so he decided to haul out the game.  It was enjoyed by the men throughout the day and many asked for instructions on how to make one.
Ernie made friends with several men over the Ladder Golf game. They enjoyed having something to do.  We had long since introduced floor hockey and if the sticks are out they are put to use!
It becomes about sharing one's culture (or family traditions) with others.  My family gatherings are always done with some kind of table game or activity.  Might be because of the over active kinds of people in my family? Ernie hates to just sit around. He has learned to dance, so if he must he does, but while I was dancing with the ladies, the guys were playing Ladder Golf.  

The point is to see the good in the other's culture, to look for ways to bridge the gap.  I learn from them and they learn for me.  Mutually beneficial. 

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

They say....


I have seen tons of memes like the one above, or a variation of it.  It sounds great, it even sounds true. Makes one think they should do everything possible to leave their comfort zone....  

So what exactly is a 'comfort zone'? Well, this definition comes up when you google it:
Dictionary
com·fort zone
ˈkəmfərt zōn/
noun
  1. a place or situation where one feels safe or at ease and without stress.

    When you look at that your reaction might be, "why would I want to leave that place"?Why would you want to leave the place where you feel safe and without stress? It's counterintuitive. Yet apparently life begins just beyond it!

    This circle implies that the comfort zone is not a good place. One can apparently only find a mediocre life there.  Everything is outside of it. Now I will be one of the first to say that the whole "what if i fail" thought is quite strong, while sitting inside one's comfort zone, because we fear failing. 

    They also say that nothing grows in one's comfort zone, although admittedly a beautiful place.  

    Well, I can't speak for everybody but I can share my own life experience. My comfort zone was a happy place, beautiful even.  Living 2 blocks from my parents, kids close by, church family, friends, job, etc.  A nice safe place, although not without stress. I don't know if life is ever stress free. But I do know it is a lot easier than stepping outside those 'walls'.

    Moving to Mexico could be viewed as leaving one's comfort zone because it is definitely not the same as staying in 'the circle'. Yes, moving across the country from family, friends, church, and my kids, was scary, and not SAFE.  It has been a time of growth for me.

    That said, one can easily create a safe, comfort zone kind of lifestyle abroad as well.  It is, I believe, a natural instinct, and a normal part of 'adjusting'.  

    But alas, that has not been my experience. We have done things outside of our comfort zone regularly. Our friends are very different here than we had back in our little comfort zone in Canada. We had a very rural mentality to life. What is open to do on the average evening? What times does one head home from an event? Well, let's just say that my schedule is all berserk here! Things START here at 8 p.m. And, if you actually arrive at 8, you will be one of the first people there. We often leave early - 1 a.m. - 2 a.m. 

    I am always doing things outside of my comfort zone. I have found that there is a lot of growth that happens there, a lot of stretching. If I look at who I am right now, I am quite different; I have been adapting. I daily, sometimes fearfully, leave that safe zone and try. 

    I am trying to follow Paul's example of being all things to all people "for the sake of the gospel" (I Corinthians 9:19-23).  I think in doing this one has to know who they are in Christ, what they can and can not do, and not lose sight of the reason for which they are 'crossing the room'.  

    No matter how we try to adapt we are still clearly distinct. We stand out and apart. And that's the way it should be! They accept us, and love us, but we are a 'different animal'. Our goal is to make them feel and see the love of Christ through us. It is a daunting task but one we feel God calls all of His children to.

    This weekend we did something that is a big step out of our comfort zone:


    Here is a picture from the weekend. On Saturday night we headed out at 11 p.m. to meet  friends and celebrate a birthday. They wanted to go dancing. Obviously a place where people drink and dance can be quite a bit outside of our normal experience - to say the least! However, can I really expect them to cross into my environment unless I'm willing to love them where they are at? One of the greatest criticisms Jesus received was that he ate with 'publicans and sinners'. He crossed the room, joined in their feasts, loved them as they were. So too we must 'cross the room', love them even before they have 'accepted' or 'changed'. So we laughed and enjoyed ourselves in an environment way outside of our comfort zone. We got home at just before 3 a.m.! 

    We are aware that we are being watched, evaluated, and that our testimony is important. 'Crossing the room' doesn't mean participating in everything - there are limitations. But we can be a presence, we can be salt and light - where it is most needed! 









Wednesday, 16 August 2017

And a good time was had by all ...

Right to Left: Joaquin, Me, Ernie, Porfirio, Tere and Martha
We had a weekend to remember with some of the folks from our Wednesday cell group.

For us it was a weekend with a purpose.  To gather with people informally, in their environment, and get to see another side of them.  And this we did...

Porfirio (blue shirt) is from Acaponeta, so we were in his environment.  Although his wife, (sitting next to him) is from a small town a short drive from there.  People that are from the coast are very different than those from the big cities.  They eat differently, are used to a very distinct climate, and have a different pace to life.  Watching them there was to see the 'real' them.  People also love to share their lives with you and they love to see you enjoy it.

So, the first thing I noticed was the food.  I grew up living the farthest one could live from the ocean, east to west.  Manitoba is in the middle of Canada, east to west.  What we've got is lakes, which is nothing like the ocean!

I also say that, due to where I grew up, I have never been a big seafood person, and even less when it's raw!  We arrived to unpack and head over to the local restaurant for our first taste of local cuisine.

This particular meal (pictured) was VERY good, although, due to the hour, they apparently did not have the 'good' fish.  I said that if this was the not so good one...imagine the good one! It was called pescado zarandeado. 


It was very good; it was the pre stuff that was a little unusual. The one in the forefront, which was served several times was ceviche -raw or 'cooked' in lemon.  It is shrimp, bathed in lime juice, with red onions, and cucumbers.  I could eat it without difficulty, Ernie not so much.  The plate in the back was also shrimp but it was boiled for EXACTLY 3 minutes.  That was very tasty, and preferred by Ernie.  Then the 3rd plate was shrimp al ajo (garlic shrimp).  Also tasty.

So, while we are on the topic of food...after our morning of fishing (pictures to follow) we went to what is referred to as a "Botanero" (snacks) restaurant.  Here they charge you for your beverage and the snacks are 'free'.  Meaning, they charge you more for your beverage, hoping you drink lots and that will cover the snacks.  The snacks are all seafood. Once again the ceviche, plus Marlin (my personal favourite), fried fish, straight up raw shrimp (no preparation at all), etc.  It was interesting.

The bowl with the green hot sauce is raw shrimp! I am showing the finished fried fish I ate.  Rather the skeleton!

The next thing that I have started to struggle with is the heat! Guadalajara is relatively moderate in climate, not hot or cold.  I now understand why Canadians go to Vallarta (the beach) in winter and not in summer.  Summer heat is a heat which is 'sin palabras' (without words).  Add rain to that temperature, which means humidity, and NO AIR CONDITIONER! WOW!

I have always been a person who hates the cold but heat now has my respect! Not that I am fussy or anything! I just want the temperate to be reasonable! (hahahaha)  But, I did not go for the weather, but the company.

So, other than eat...we went fishing. Interesting that.  We did not go deep sea fishing, but rather on a river (salt water inland).  Nothing like I have done with my sons at the lake.  The way we fished was new for me, the boat was nothing like my sons' boat, and then the fish.  The fish we caught made noises like a pig! Seriously! We plan to eat them next week so I don't know yet what they taste like.  Fishing in the heat and humidity was one thing... then came the mosquitos! What a morning!

video

So we ate, we fished, we enjoyed the ocean, we tried to cool off in a tepid pool, and we visited.  It was a great weekend, but a tiring one.  You see, I need to say that it is hard to sleep in the heat without air conditioning, but when the electricity fails (due to an incredible thunderstorm), and there are no more fans, well, needless to say, sleep is imposible! 

All things considered we had a great weekend with our friends.  We ate well, we enjoyed God's handiwork (with some incredible scenery) and His majesty in the thunderstorm, and we enjoy each other's company. Life is rich when lived in community. 


Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Blessings and such ....


Living far away from your kids (family) means you miss certain things, that when you live together, or close by, you take for granted.

These photos are a picture of one such thing.  I love it when everyone would get in my space to make a meal together.  the joy was in the prep.  The doing things together.

I so enjoyed the recent visit from our kids.  I try to make it about enjoying each other, for the time we have together, and not about that we are mostly apart.

Our sons give us much joy.  They are a little crazy (might come by that honestly?) and then you add my brother to the mix! Well, talk about acceleration ... then a friend ...what can I say?

Who gets matching shirts for a trip? Then all wear them at the same time? Bowling was one thing...but we went to the mall after... Needless to say they got some looks!!

But, I miss the boys bringing their friends home and being crazy together.  I miss the craziness and laughter. I also love watching them with their dad.  Ernie acts young when he is with his sons.  He was telling me, as he was awaiting turning 60, that he was getting old.  He totally loses that when he is with his sons. A joy to my heart.

So, do I cry when we say good bye? Ask Ian... nope.  I am so thankful for the very fact that they can come... I try very hard not to lament.

I enjoy the time together... I take tons of pictures, to remember the good times.

I often reflect, after they leave, about the things I miss about them.  I smile as I find hair things that Jaycia tends to leave in her wake... I then reflect on how I miss hearing her sing in the shower and while she is getting ready.

I live in a culture that holds family of upmost importance.  Gatherings are always with all generations.  They watch us with our kids and don't understand how we can live here... so far away from our children.

My many friends here have taught me much about the value of family.  About caring for your family. We have talked, with our Mexican friends, about old folks homes - something they understand, somewhat, but don't understand instutionalizing family and then not visiting them daily.   I am so thankful for my family, but realize that I have taken them for granted at times.

Don't make that mistake.  Reach out to those you love.  Family isn't always just about blood.  Relationships need care.  Even if you don't live close by... in today's world that is no excuse.  That has certainly helped me not be sad.  I "see" my kids when we call. And they call much more now than the first year.  I am blessed.


I want to share some fun I had during this visit.  Ernie and I are taking Salsa lessons every Monday in our home.  We are not very good but we enjoy our time with Natalia.  So, my brother, Keith, Jaycia and Ian joined the lesson with me.  My sons DO NOT DANCE!
Natalia showing my brother some steps... while
Jaycia and Ian practice



video

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Celebrating 60


SURPRISE! SURPRISE! I so wanted to share with all of you about the our children coming as a surprise for Ernie...but alas, it was to be a surprise. It was so much fun for the kids to come, and as a surprise. They had been planing this since early March...so the risk was great, as to whether he would find out. Added to this, the amount of people that DID know. But, no one let the cat out of the bag, and then there was the phone call telling him that they just couldn't come, due to work. Fun!

So, let me tell you about those two weeks during which we celebrated Ernie's 60th...

video




Things got rolling on the 18th, when our friend Marilyn Kroeker arrived, as I told you in an earlier post.  Marilyn and I got busy with the creative details.  Marilyn is an old scrapbooking friend, so we got out my stuff and made a birthday banner. Then we started on desserts. In between all the working, we hit the pool, ate some great food, and introduced her to our Bible Study friends. At our Wednesday cell meeting we celebrated Lalo and Carmen's birthdays (12 & 19 of July).

On the Thursday morning (7 a.m.  to be exact) the above video happened at the gym. So, although Ernie thought we were going to the gym to work out...I knew otherwise, and we headed home. Then the craziness started. Although they were tired, from travelling all night, they were ready to get at it after a little cat nap...

 A little pool time...

And a solid meal...

It was nice to heave both Marilyn and Jaycia (my daughter-in-law) here, as they are both kind of perfectionists, detailed and creative. They worked really well together.  The desserts and decorations were above par!
Making a perfect Triffle
one dessert table - desserts cut with a ruler!
With the birthday cake - perfect
made by Tara Wiebe
The terraza 







Our goal was to invite friends from all our groups: gym, neighbours, cell groups, etc. Our idea was to have a party with a purpose. It was a table games day with everybody throwing 10 pesos in the middle for each game played. The money was to go to the day care where we help out.


Added blessings, great food with a wonderful taquisa...


great desserts... a fabulous birthday cake

...a bouncer for the kids...floor hockey was played by many
 .... and the cherry on the top... fireworks to end the evening (thanks to our kids and my brother).  Everyone said it was a great party, lots of fun.

Together we raised 4000 pesos for the day care.  We are blessed.