Tuesday, April 4, 2017

arts and crafts

concentrating on her self portrait
On Thursdays, Abish and Lani join me to go to Puebla Christian School.  This is now the second year that I have taught elementary art with my own kids along for the class.  Abraham arrives at PCS about the same time we do, although he leaves for Puebla earlier in order to attend his Tae Kwon Do class.  While I teach the 5th and 6th graders in the hour before lunch, Abish and Lani sometimes stay with Abraham or Abish joins the class.  The class after lunch is with the 1st through 4th graders.  Lani stays with me while Abish goes with Abraham to the PE class that he teaches.  In the last hour, both kids are with me during Abraham´s second PE class.

Our kids thoroughly enjoy the chance to play at the school.  Both Abish and Lani are mostly outgoing, so they love the time spent during the lunch hour and after school with other kids.  Sometimes a young friend between them in age comes after school, and then the three of them run around happily.

In the art class, my goal is that the students learn they are capable of drawing.  It is obvious that not all are interested in the skill, but I want them to understand they can learn should they choose to.  We alternate doing pencil drawing techniques, generally from the book Drawing in the Right Side of the Brain, one week and then a craft the next.  The craft is based on some form of art from around the world, so we have done batik with crayon resist on paper, hojalata gel pen drawings on tin foil, and other ideas (usually pinterest inspired).  

In November, I also began teaching a drawing class at church after service.  The Dios es Amor students are teens or young adults, some of whom declared at the beginning that they didn´t think they would be able to learn to draw.  Hopefully they will be encouraged to see they can.

A few years ago, we started a craft and cooking time for teen girls in Huejo.  The class met once a week for more than year, and then the girls moved away.  After another year or so of no class, one of the girls returned to the neighborhood and asked if the class was still meeting.  I said we could start again, and we had two classes.  Again, the girls moved.  However, a couple months later, a neighbor girl who usually also comes to the Sunday kids´ club began to attend the Thursday evening class.  For awhile, she was the only one, but last week she invited a friend.  It looks as though they will both return this week.

Please pray that these activities would be of blessing for those who attend.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017


My mom as a little girl
I have not posted in quite some time, because I haven´t really known how to write or what to say.  My mom suffered from a number of health issues for quite a few years and had been in and out of the hospital several times.  In November, my dad took her to the hospital again after she woke up from a nap totally confused and incoherant.  Her days in the hospital passed as she continued in confusion and fear and as one specialist after another tried to figure out what was wrong.  There were moments when she was more lucid and could converse on a basic level with either dad or sister.  She didn´t seem to be improving much, but neither did she seem to be failing.

However, the Saturday before Thanksgiving, I called my dad, and he said we needed to get to Long Beach as soon as possible.  Mom was dying. Stunned, I asked what had changed.  His simple reply, "She did.  She told me she wants to go."

Abraham immediately began looking for plane tickets.  However, we were not able to leave as anticipated.  I also needed medical attention for a small emergency operation.  The doctor said I needed to rest for three days after the procedure.

During the time we stayed in Huejotzingo for my recooperation, my dad moved Mom home for hospice care.  At first, Dad said he thought Mom would live another 2 weeks, but the first hospice nurse to arrive at their house told them she would live only about 4 days.

My siblings arrived in Long Beach.  Even my brother's soon-to-be-fiancĂ©e flew to visit for two days.  My mom had met her via skype, but this was the first time they met in person.  Although Mom was basically in coma, she did respond to some things, and smiled or opened her eyes briefly a few times.

We were able to talk to her through skype, and once or twice she opened her eyes, and even smiled at the enthusiastic chatter of our kids.  On the 22nd, we talked to her in the evening.  Later that night, my dad called to say Mom had gone Home.

We joined the family in Long Beach on Thanksgiving Day, and we stayed for the next 7 weeks.  We returned home to Huejotzingo on Jan. 13 and took up the regular routine of Bible studies, kids´ club, teaching at PCS and sometimes at Dios es Amor (Sunday school and drawing class), and the day-to-day business of living and raising two energetic kids.

All the while, I feel the constant reminder that Mom isn´t here any more.  It isn´t that my particular grieving has, at this point, meant tears.  Rather, I am reminded by all kinds of little things.  When I paint or draw or teach drawing, I think of Mom and how we attended art classes together and how she loved to paint.  We would discuss painting and I would tell her about teaching art at PCS when we talked on Skype almost every Tuesday.

She and I also took Spanish classes together when I first began learning Spanish.  She started out knowing more than me, but we took the same classes together for several semesters.

I think of her when I´m with my kids and I wonder what she advice she would have given me about raising them had she lived longer.  She enjoyed the pictures of them on facebook, and her comments are still there.  It feels surreal that her comments outlast her.

So I took a long time to write a blog post again because, how to summarize my mom´s life? What to say to the internet world?  Not to acknowledge my mom´s death felt wrong, but to write about it rather personal, since anyone can read a blog post.