Tag Archives: freelance

Happy Birthday to me! (are we there yet?)

I’m not sure if you can get more self-promoting than sending out a group email to Happy Birthday yourself, but there it is! 😉

I happen to be spending my 37th Birthday (which I think is the official entrance into ‘late 30’s’ a category I’m not thrilled about. 36 can definitely still be mid-thirties, but 37 has tipped the scales toward 40) in San Jose at the Presbyterian General Assembly (GA). I think that makes up for any jealousy other travel experiences in my life might incur! The good thing about spending my birthday at GA is that at least I don’t feel old…I’ve still got at least a couple of decades before I approach the average age in the Presbyterian church!

I’m here as a freelance reporter for The Presbyterian Outlook  and mainly following the work of the Peacemaking and International Issues Committee which is dealing with the war in Iraq as well as the Israeli/Palestinian situation. So, as committees go, it’s actually a pretty interesting one to be a part of (of which to be a part) and at least with the Israeli/Palestinian topic, one in which I’ve got some personal exposure as well.

On Sunday I went to a lunch where one of the speakers told a story in which the punch line was basically “Don’t keep asking if we’re there yet—we’re nomads, for crying out loud!” I think I may have to appropriate that for my own life…I keep wondering when I will be ‘there yet’ and keep realizing that, at least for now, this random nomadic life seems to actually be what I am ‘called’ to. I know that people say that life is more about the journey than the destination, but somehow I keep thinking that if I could only find the destination, then I’d be set.  “We’re nomads, for crying out loud!”

In other news, I’ve posted new pictures from a recent trip to Europe that I took to surprise my mom for Mother’s Day. She was in Amsterdam, I just showed up at the hotel—thankfully, she was glad! (and also thankfully Continental had a frequent flier ticket available with a two week notice.)

I also have pictures from the recent Photopiece class that I taught in La Mision, Mexico. Over the course of six weekends I taught photography (along with Marty Harriman, whose parents were friends with my grandma in Mexico as well as my parents) to a small group of local teenage girls.  As the culmination of the class we exhibited the work at the annual Memorial Day Fiesta in La Mision. Their work can be seen here and is really quite phenomenal. I have really been enjoying teaching photopiece in LA, Ecuador and now Mexico. I’ve got an offer to teach it at a deaf school in Gaza, but for the moment that seems a bit difficult to pull off. It’s really an amazing way to help teenagers gain a sense of their own dignity and that they have a view of the world that is worth sharing, if they can learn how to communicate it visually. The work from the Ecuador Photopiece class was just exhibited at Princeton Seminary and it was really amazing to see how it impacted those who saw it.

It’s late and I have a long day of committee meeting sitting tomorrow, so I hope this finds you well and that the summer will allow for some rest, relaxation, or vacation!

Sqaush updates, preaching to the choir and other news…

Greetings from the garden,

I have to say I got many funny responses to my email about ‘manually’ pollinating the squash…

After all that effort with the Q-tip I found out from a community college herbs and vegetables class (definitely an email in its own right) that the problem was likely either too much water or not enough carbohydrates. Though I contemplated pouring some spaghetti in the pot, I tried the ‘less water’ approach first and it seems to have worked like a charm!  My mom did comment that this seemed like a lot more work than simply going to Trader Joe’s…

I’ve also been doing some gardening with Tommy (he’s 7) in his grandparents’ (Martha and Jack) backyard.  So far we’ve got an herb garden, some undocumented succulents (yes, there’s a story there), cherry tomatoes, peppers and even a pumpkin patch! Martha makes the best pumpkin pie in the world, so Tommy figured we should grow her some pumpkins to make it from.  He also wanted to put in a fountain and a fish pond, but I told him that might be out of the scope of our initial gardening phase. In the experimental section of the garden we’ve planted an avocado pit. I think we might have some guacamole in about four years, if we’re lucky.

When I can fit it in amongst all of the gardening I am actually doing quite a bit of freelance work these days…writing, photography, and websites as well as preaching two weeks in a row. The first week I preached to the choir—literally!  I think there were about 8 people in the choir and about 7 in the pews… It was actually wonderful getting to know the 15 of them!  The following week I preached to more of a traditional congregation, size-wise. There was one funny moment when the offering had been collected, the ushers were standing in the back, the organist was playing, and playing, and playing…and all of a sudden I realized that I was supposed to stand up and call the ushers back to the front for the prayer. I wonder how long we would have sat there? If you are interested in the sermon I preached, it is posted (in text form for now) and called “It’s a Crazy Story.” Honestly, it really is a crazy story.

Finally, I am getting ready to head to Ecuador tomorrow for my third “Adopta Una Familia” trip with Erica (seminary roommate) and a team of about 70 gringos. We will all be staying with Ecuadorian families and while they will all be doing hard manual labor (mostly construction) my job will be to photograph them sweating!  Actually, this year I will also be teaching a photography class to 10 teenagers from the barrio. It should be fun, and I can’t wait to share the pictures with you! It is a mini version of something called photopiece that I have been helping my friend Leanna to teach in downtown LA last fall and this summer.

Stay tuned for (hopefully, internet connection willing) photos and updates from Ecuador…