Wednesday, 31 May 2017

5K Run

Sunday morning was a beautiful morning to run. (Ernie is not a bad photographer and God is an even better artist!)

 Guadalajara has different runs almost every weekend.  This particular Sunday morning the run was all women! Bonafont (a bottled water company) puts it on every year.  Ale and I have run it before. She texted and asked who wanted to run.

Wanting to, and managing to sign up, are two very different things. This run is held in 5 major cities in Mexico, on the same day. They use the same web sight for all those cities.  Two years ago there were approximately 16,000 women!

Myself and Alejandra 

Well, Ale and I managed to register, after trying almost all day.
As for the medals...everyone gets one...we did not win!  Although I must admit it looks like we did, and I did get asked if I won.  I am not a 'real' runner; no marathons, 1/2 marathons, or the like.  But running 5k I can do.

The best part of a run... is the after run event....

 BREAKFAST! Nothing like running 5K and then eating the calories you might have burned!

But time with Rick and Ale and their girls is always a blessing. I think it took less time to run than our time in the restaurant. We talked life, church, faith, work, etc. We get encouraged, challenged and blessed every time we get together with them.

 I got to enjoy their daughters, Alegra and Sofie as well.

Alegra was taking pictures and using an app to alter them.  Well, I was intrigued and she was more than happy to show me how to do it!

We laughed and laughed, as we made ourselves different colours and shapes. We made memories together.

So, do I run because I love to run...nope!  I have done one run fun! I have run with Ernie and I have run with different groups of friends. We have run for a cause (Breast Cancer), we have run for pure fun (ColorMeRad), and we have run to join a group of friends.

No matter which it is, together with others is always the best. Because life is about people and relationships. And God has blessed us with some really great ones.

By the way, Paul also compares the spiritual life to a race, and he encourages us to 'run with perseverance', without being distracted, sidelined, or quitting. Obviously it's more than a 5K! And obviously the spiritual 'race' is more important than a physical race. I'm glad to be able to participate in both, and recognize that the importance of our 'spiritual race' far exceeds any other focus we can have. So, let's keep at it! As they say in Mexico, "Ánimo!" 

Alegra and I

P.S.  I would ask for prayer as I am suffering with heel spurs.  I have a pronounced on in the left foot and another run the other foot which at present does not hurt.  I am getting therapy and praying is heals fast.  My Father in law says he suffered for many years.  I pray that is not the case for me. 

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

This and That...

Right now we are 'enjoying' a bit of a hot spell. The days are in the mid to high 30's! I am seriously thinking that air conditioning would be a good thing. We have never used the 'water-cooler', as the temperatures have been nice till now, and it doesn't seem to work that well anyway.  This heat is not 'normal' for Guadalajara, but I guess world temperatures are getting to where we don't know what normal is.

I would say that since the humidity is only 13%...I won't complain.  Beats -30's!

There is my little weather rant... ...not quite Rick Mercer!

After Muscle Toning class 
May is the month of holidays in Mexico...they celebrate everybody...Mother's Day, Workers' Day, Teacher's Day, etc. So, on Teachers' Day we celebrated our favourite teacher/coach.  In the middle of us ladies is Nelson Gomez, who teaches muscle toning class, Danzika and DanceStep at the gym.

I also did a little baking and gave little cakes to each of my other instructors: my coach who helps me when I go to lift weights, my abdomen coach (insert pain inflictor, as my six pack is lacking) and my other 2 dance class teachers.

Ernie and I continue to help out once a month at the day-care for young children.  This month, the day we helped, was the day for tears.  I seemed to have had a crying child in my arms the whole time.  Not my idea of a good time! I told the ladies, as we were leaving, that I did not envy them their day.  They smiled and said it wasn't like that often but days like that did happen.

Ernie has also helped with the physical needs of the home as well.  When we help the less fortunate, others seem to want to join us. So the floor got fixed by an architect friend, the coloured mat was donated by our neighbour (such a blessing), and Ernie spent part of his Saturday doing small repairs together with the husband of the lady who runs things.

He also enjoyed talking with the people who run the day-care and leaning that they were believers as well, and that they thought we were.  Nice. A 'Godsidence' (Divine serendipity).

I am constantly amazed how the world gets smaller and smaller.  We have enjoyed repeated contact with our 'family' from Chihuahua.  To the right is our 'son' Marcos from Chihuahua.  He occasionally comes our for business and gives us a call. Sometimes he stays at our place, sometimes we get tacos together, or, like this time, we headed out for ice cream.

We have invited our Chihuahua family to come out for Ernie's 60th birthday in July and many are planning on coming.  How nice it that?

One thing that I am doing, I believe I have mentioned it, is teaching (use that word VERY lightly) English.  Actually it is a conversation class as they have all studied before and just wanted to get better.

Gina and Liliana....
the others were sick this week
So we meet every Monday.  We pick a theme and I bring some work sheets, some vocabulary words, etc and we practice.  One thing I did, mostly in desperation (as 5 people at different levels has been a bit of a challenge), was getting them to talk on the phone with someone.  The first time they all called Ernie on my cell and pretended to book a hotel.  Then I asked friends from home if they would be willing to talk to my students for 5 minutes each.  So Jessy Neufeld and Lori Reimer have both helped so far.  I have learned things about my students and my friends from home as they share about their conversation.

Anyone else want to join the fun? Let me know.
I always tell people that I go to the gym so that I can eat, not so that I can lose weight! True story!

I am known to order the same thing for breakfast almost every time.  So here is a picture of me venturing out of my comfort zone.  Not really, cause it is still 'normal', no weird things like cow stomach, intestines, pig skin, etc.

So, as I look at the picture, I wonder if it looks appetizing to someone from home? I can only imagine what my sons would say?!?!

What is it? Fried cactus and fried cheese with two fried eggs on top, bathed in a lovely salsa (medium heat).  And there were cut up pieces of avocado on top.

It was very good.  Although I am very partial to chilaquiles!

Two of our Bible study groups are close to finishing the study we have been doing.  It is a panoramic overview of the whole Bible.  We will then look at what we can study next.  It is always a joy when they are excited about what they are learning.  I am often thankful for the way my faith has taught me the importance of reading the Word of God and for the teaching on it I have received throughout my life. Too often I think we take for granted the exegetical preaching, the emphasis on scripture reading, etc. That kind of focus is more rare in this context than it is in our own.

Upcoming events are a 5K run on Sunday for me and on June 11th Ernie and I will join a family from one of our Bible study groups for another one.  We will be hosted the youth from our Cuauhtemoc, Chihuahua church in the beginning of July (3-8) as they wanted to experience a missions trip.  Then on July 22 we are hosting a big party for Ernie's 60th Birthday.  Oh, and somewhere in there Ernie is going deep sea fishing with the gym guys (June 23-25).

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

A Conundrum

What is "normal"?  This is a conundrum for me. What's a conundrum? It is a confusing and difficult problem or question.

So what is it that I wonder if it is normal? Well, its two fold.  Firstly I ask if the way I do things is normal meaning "Am I normal? Or am I the abnormal one?"

This is the situation that has me asking this question: meals and husband/family.

Ernie has always been able to fend for himself.  He makes his own breakfast and, if I am not around, basically feeds himself.  Our sons can also do that, and did it often while living with us, and continue to be able to.

I never much thought about that while living in Canada because I never heard other women worrying about heading home because they had to feed their family/husband.  Or arriving late because they had to feed their husbands before they came to the ladies breakfast.

So I am wondering if this is a Mexican thing, or just an overall woman thing, that I just never got the memo for?

Here many of my friends, so as not to say all, feed their husbands/families before they go out for breakfast with their friends.  Then they have to head home in time to get lunch ready for them.

They ask me if I do that.  Nope! I say no, Ernie makes his own breakfast and since I will not want lunch cause I ate a big breakfast, he will either fend for himself or eat later, when I do.  When I tell them that I never feel pressure to have a big meal on the table they are shocked.

I have always thought that this 'attending' to your family, especially and specifically one's husband, was Mexican.  Many tell me that their husband doesn't cook - ANYTHING! Some don't even bbq! I am quite frankly shocked.  All three of my guys can cook, as can my brothers, my dad not so much, but he can definitely fend for himself.

Don't get me wrong, Ernie loves to sit down to a meal, simple or fancy, but would never make me feel like it was expected.  He doesn't like to cook or prepare a meal.  He like to make a Disco or to BBQ but not much else.  But I would never have to have things ready for him if I went away for a week.

I happen to like that, as I don't particularly like to cook.  I am no Martha Stewart. But I can feed people - my family and guests.  So I guess I am not overly worried if I am 'normal' or not...but I do wonder.
Ernie making Disco with Oswaldo and Alfonzo

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Happy Mother's Day - Feliz Dia de Madres

My Mother
 Today is Mother's Day, well actually it is 'Día de las Madres' in Mexico.  But, since I live in Mexico, I want to wish all of you Mothers a very special day, today and on Sunday, when you celebrate.

I love my Mom. I think she is wonderful.  I think I have the best Mom in the world.  I feel blessed to have the mother I have.  She has been my supporter and my friend. She has been there for me throughout my life. And I pray God grants me many more years together with her.

Ernie's Mother
Ernie loves his mother as well, and probably thinks he has the world's best mom.  Doesn't everybody? (unfortunately I know there are exceptions)

Moms are great.  Being one is also pretty awesome. Not always, of course.  The 'sleepless nights stage' was not so great! Actually, each stage had its joys and its challenges.  But I wouldn't trade it for the world.
Chris, myself and Mike

God blessed me with two wonderful sons.  I  received the blessing of being a mother, for which I am exceedingly grateful. They have brought me much joy and laughter.  I miss them daily, as we live miles, and miles, and miles, and miles, apart at present.

However, Mother's Day sometimes tends to be almost like idolatry. Why? We tend to put mothers on a pedestal, as if they are prefect.  Sermons on Mother's Day tend to paint a picture of mothers as saints. I do not want my sons to place me on any such pedestal.  I don't want to have to be thought of as perfect, nor do I want to have to appear so.  I know that I was/am not a perfect Mother.  I have made mistakes and I have failed.  But I did/do the best I could.

Here, in Mexico, Mother's Day is even more over the top.  This is a national holiday, the 10th of May.  Kids get off school, many employers give their employees a half day off, so they can be with their mothers.  Flower sales are even higher than on Valentine's Day.  Don't think of planning anything on this day as everyone is busy.  It is a family holiday where they honor their mothers.

Mexico, so as not to say, all of Latin America, holds the mother as the matriarch of society.  She is revered and held in highest esteem. There is, of course, somewhat of a religious connection, between the perception of motherhood in society, and their view of the mother of Jesus.  Mary is held even higher. She is the beacon of virtue.

I don't think even Mary, the mother of Jesus, was perfect. She was human.  I think honouring one's mother is a good thing.  She brought you into this world, she did her best to raise you, and she loved you. But, in many cases, our Fathers also did an awful lot for us, and yet are often forgotten on their day.

Let's face it, parenting isn't for the faint of heart.  It is a huge task, with huge results.  I often took my parents for granted.  Scripture says to "honor your father and mother", and I think we should do this more than on the date the calendar says to.

Happy Mother's Day!  Thanks Mom for being my Mom and thanks Mary (my mother-in-law) for raising a godly man who honours the Lord.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Día del Niño

April 30th is  Día del Niño in Mexico.  It is a celebration that is supposedly honoured worldwide.  It began on November 20, 1959 as a way to reaffirm the rights of children around the globe. However, every country has chosen its own day, and Mexico has chosen April 30th.  With the idea being to look after the health and well being of children, to celebrate them.

Ernie and I have been helping out at a day care for children of parents with less financial means.  We try to help out once a month by serving them breakfast and then helping out with their play time.  There are about 25 children of pre school age.

The morning consisted of playing with the children, piñatas, snacks, and each child receiving a toy.  For this event the regular children could invite their siblings or friends.

Some needed some help to hit the piñata and some not so much.  But they all enjoy the gathering of candy after someone breaks it!

We started going to this day care with a friend from the gym.  We then invited a friend, also from the gym, to join us.  She came with her daughter and came on board with her expertise to help out.  Everyone can add a helping hand.

Ernie, Aranza, her mother Hilda, and myself

Hilda is an arquitect and so she could see many ways that she could help out.  This morning she informed me that she sent her workers to take down a little piece of wall that was causing the kids to trip.  Praise the Lord.  With many hands, many varying gifts, the job is made easier.  

The lady pictured on the right is the heart and soul of this work. She has a handicapped daughter that needs constant care.  So she decided to work with the kids from the neighbourhood, helping the parents who needed to work.  She has a contagious love for the kids.  Her mother helps, her husband at times and the occasional volunteer.

We always want to help out, wherever we can.  But we want to bring others along with us.  Elena invited us, we invited Hilda, and who knows who else will come alongside.  Our Tuesday cell group donated product to feed the kids and maintain the place.

We all have something we can give.  Some give time, some give of their financial resources, some give a helping hand.  The world works best when we all give a hand to another.  One day we might be the one who needs a hand.
And, like Hilda said, "you can't help but fall in love with the kids".  It is not a chore to help out.  I don't particularly enjoy working with kids (I prefer teens) but like Hilda says, a little kid that just seeks to be loved, who can deny that?  So we  reach out and love.  It is in us to give and it only multiplies.