May 15, 2013 — Chichicastenango and a few places in between

May 15, 2013 – Chichicastenango and a few places in between

Today was ridiculously inspiring. Meeting Miguel and his family, eating with them and sharing so much with them put so much of what we’ve been touching on intellectually into tangibility. The poverty that these people face and everything we, as Americans, take advantage of.

The green house was great. And it gives them not only food for themselves, but an income they can reply on (as much as any famer can rely on a harvest). Talking about Miguel’s poverty and then sharing food with them—as close to being a part of that as I will ever come. And the kids more and more just kept coming around.

Talking about liberation—it’s not just from the government, who is economically crushing these people, but it’s from the cycle that they can’t get out of. One of the greenhouses costs eight thousand quetzelas, which is about one thousand dollars. I pay more for than out of pocket to attend school each semester—actually more than that for each class I take.

They are in desperate need of money and assistance, but I think they are more in need of attention. We have to look and they need to be seen. By us and the Guatemalan government—not by their own people in the same situation that they are in. Having only two to three hours of running water each day, and having to stock pile it for later—it occurred to me that those kids may never have experienced a really hot shower, which is one of my favorite relaxation methods. They all seem happy and well-blessed, so perhaps one cannot miss what one does not have. If that is so, then how do we understand that what we miss is not always what is necessary.

Now—the Mayan ceremony. There is so much to say about this. I’ve never felt more disconnected from nature as I do in Texas. The ceremony strongly reminded me that it’s nature everywhere, not just in my immediate location, that is important. I can still be connected to it even if I am surrounded by cement and brick.

The offering we gave to the fire was of the earth and to the earth. We give back what is given to us. A cycle. They said at the school everything is dualistic, but I slightly disagree. They might see a dualism, but everything they do seems cyclical in nature. Giving back what is given is a promise that I believe many Christians are missing. Where is nature in our ceremonies? Where is the prayer to the gifts that God gives us and the giving back of those gifts? Not just monetarily, but actual gifts and talents.

The sense of smell and using it to invoke a certain ritual or feeling in a person is something Christians have been doing for centuries and something we’re losing. Having those lacking is changing our faith and practice of our religion. Rarely do we use real candles any more (something I know the THR does not like at all) and rarely do we use incense to bring us into a mode of thought. I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad thing to lose everything we had it before, times change and people change, religion must change also, but there is powerful meaning and memory in keeping some of the practices. And we need to be aware of what we are losing and changing, as well as what we are gaining.

May 14, 2013 — Guatemala City and Queltzaltenango (a.k.a. Xela)

May 14, 2013 – Guatemala City and Xela (a.k.a. Queltzaltenango)

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Our lives are in the center, but work in contribution and in co-existence with many other things. It’s a duality between reality of life and the path the Mayan culture is rich with, a duality of beliefs of how to better oneself, and a duality of how to work through this life and this world.

To be so connected with nature and using that as a basis for religion and beliefs is not a new concept to me, but it is wonderful to see it again in someplace so vastly different. This seems to be a lot of what modern Christianity is missing. Father Sun and Mother Earth—the duality and foundation of the faith. One is neither above nor against the other.

Where does that leave Americans? We’re so disconnected from nature and what it means. How many kids have sat outside and waited for the sun to rise? Is it a matter of how to get kids outside, or is it an issue of teaching generations that there is a place outside the walls of the house and interwebs? We are so far removed from nature, and it’s not just because we live in cities. There are plenty of trees next to my tiny apartment, but I rarely go and sit under them. I rarely think to even take the time. Living on a space ship would be absolutely fascinating, but without dirt beneath peoples feet and sun on their face—are they missing too much?IMG_5309

Concerning immigration and Café RED—most of the information I already had as I’ve taken an intensive immigration class. What was new information centered around youth and what they deal with as well as the remittance and debt they have to deal with.

The detention centers are something that the United States needs to deal with. Getting them out of the private world that they are in now would be a first step as well as making the community aware of the situation. With youth, it’s not like with adults. They aren’t just taken back across the invisible border that people thinks keeps them safe and dropped off. There is more of a concern—are they able to care for themselves? Probably better than some American children, but the answer is still no. They came here for a reason.

The interIMG_5312esting part of the conversation had to deal with the LGBT or QUILTBAG community. It was asked if Café RED was prepared for a youth of the queer nature. While the answer given was a “no,” I’m not sure that the answer can adequately be asked. There is a different understanding of queer outside the US understanding. Other cultures don’t think of it in the same way that American’s do. We can’t ask questions from our context and expect them to make sense in another person’s context or culture.

Writing and Book Launching!

This world has been crazy the past few weeks for me. I am writing, though not on fiction (unless you are atheist, then maybe it’s fiction to you). I am sermonizing. It’s actually quite like writing a short story. I’ll share it when I’m done. I’m also adding in music to it.

Secondly, if you happen to live in the Fort Worth area, come to Gingerman off Camp Bowie on Thurs night. 9 pm. I’m having a book launch party. There will be give aways, and if it is quiet enough, maybe a bit of a reading too. So come on out! I’ll be there!!

Writing is a crazy adventure. Like the best roller-coaster ride EVER!

Books!

My goal in 2013 is to read more books for pleasure.  Last year I read exactly two books for pleasure. Actually, now that I think about it, it might have only been one book.  It’s not that I don’t read! Please don’t think that I do not read.  I read almost every day (and not just my emails).  I’m a full-time student in humanities.  That means I average a novel’s worth of reading a week, not including papers.

In total, I guess I’d read about 30-40 books last year.  Yet, only one was for pleasure.

That book was Geonn Cannon’s Riley Parra: Season One. Geonn is not only an inspiration, he’s a total stand up guy. Oh! And the book is amazing!

This year, however, I want to read more! I’m achieved that already. Here’s what I’ve done!

  • “Personal Adventures” By: Sidney Bristol–This book was a quick romantic read. I wish there had been a bit more depth and time lapse for their relationship, but over all the characters were well-developed and the plot-line kept.  It was a good read for late nights, but not if one expected actual sleep.  I had to force myself to put it down.  As always, if I am left wanting more, the book was excellent.  4 stars
  • “O Christmas Three” By: Suzan Butler–An erotic read! This novel started with a bang and kept on chugging along.  The three characters experienced a wide range of emotions that dragged the reader along with them.  I wish there had been more to the novel as it was just that good. 5 stars

  • “A Brewing Storm” By: Richard Castle–The first in the Derrick Storm series and I’m still left with no idea as to who Derrick Storm is.  The plot moved quickly and kept a fast pace, but I was left with no bearing on who the main character was.  All I know is that he’s egotistical when it comes to women, which is not a good quality to want in someone is potentially saving lives.  There was no character development.  He seemed flat and boring.  I’m not sure if I’ll buy another Derrick Storm novel.  1 stars

  • “Underdogs” By: Geonn Cannon–Geonn writes woman like no other man! I love it. However, compared to Riley Parra, this novel was lacking.  While both the love interests are well-rounded and developed the plot and overall themes seemed to not be as complicated as I was expecting. Now, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t good. This was still a great read that I couldn’t put down.  I just wish there had been more complications in everything that was happening.  4 stars

I’ll definitely keep you updated and posted on what I read (at least for pleasure, since I doubt you’ll have much interest in what I’m reading for school).  I’ll write up short reviews: here, amazon and goodreads.  That way you can pick and choose what you want to read.

Also, write your own reviews! If you liked a book, if you didn’t like it! And say why.  We as readers need more opinions about that, and well constructed ones.  We need to know what other readers think about a work.  We as writers also need the reviews, so we know that our work is being appreciated (in my case only give me good reviews =P bahahaha! no, really, if you have something bad to say about my book, say it.  Just be kind and constructive and not demeaning or demoralizing).

Adios!

 

February Goals!

February is fast and coming. AKA THAT’S TOMORROW! Yikes! I have two goals for Feb.  I’m changing it up from my original goals because I need the help.

So I have two goals, aside from my general school studies and actually being up-to-date with my readings.

1. Write my super secret project
2. Edit “Dying Embers”

I’ll probably be writing before editing because, I’ll admit it, writing is A MILLION times more fun than editing.

These are my goals.  Wish me luck!

oh! and hint to the super secret project: yes, it is another lesbian friendly-centered piece.

Monday Morning

Good morning folks! (so long as you’re on my side of the world).

It’s 9am and it’s one of my favorite times of the day.  This is the time of the day I spend editing =D.  It’s my favorite time because it’s over and done with my noon.  Today I’ll be editing for someone else, Sirena, who is writing a complex story and is reworking the age-old story of the apocalypse and adding in a few more twists (I’m not going to say more because I haven’t asked her if I can say more).  The plot is really amazing, and she will be published some day!

Once through editing, I’ll probably do some writing on “Ashes Fall.”  Last night, I was lucky enough to make it half-way through the writing of the fourth chapter.  This book, the final of the James and Addy trilogy, has been whooping me a$$ while I try to write it.  I don’t know exactly why I’m struggling so much.  Although I have a few theories, which I will not share with you because they contain SPOILERS for the other books.  Either way, I did actually accomplish writing last night, which is a good thing!

So today!

1. Edit for Sirena
2. Write on “Ashes Fall”
3. Read Walter Bruggemann “Preaching as Reimagination” and “Poetry in a Prose Flattened”
4. Writing a short little one-page paper on Bruggemann
5. WRITING GROUP AT GINGERMAN!

So, I’ll see you folks later!