Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Week 43: Project 365, the 2015 Edition

Friday, October 16

The quilt is finished! When I initially designed it, I'd planned to add thin sashings between sections and a wide border all around. As you can see, the design evolved and instead I ended up adding wide "frames" around each section, which made the quilt longer than normal. But Tina is okay with it, which is all that counts.
I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out. I think the color blocking packs a bigger punch than mixing the colors all together would have done. I used mid-century modern motifs in the quilting, too, to stay with the theme.

Sunday, October 18

Mother's Day in Argentina!  It was especially lovely to have two ladies attend who haven't been there in quite a while. Adela suffered a stroke several months ago and still has trouble getting around, even with a three-legged cane and help.

You may remember Desirée from the baby shower photos in the P365 post of June 20th. Their little Thiego was born not long afterward with some health issues which have kept them home. But this Sunday her husband stayed with Thiego so Desi could attend church with their daughter Delfina.

This had to be a difficult holiday for Alicia, her first Mother's Day since her son died. Her mother passed away this year, too. Despite the sadness she's endured, Alicia is faithful. She's honest about how she's hurting, but she gives thanks for God's goodness in the midst of her suffering.

Monday, October 19

Loooooooooong day! Started with an 8 a.m. appointment with the physiotherapist who's helping me with back pain. Today she showed me some more exercises to do each day that will stretch the lower back and neck muscles. Then it was off to Cordoba where I had another appointment, this time with the ear specialist. This was my view while we waited to be called back.
Taken with my phone, it's not a very good photo, but shows that doctor's waiting rooms look pretty much the same wherever you go. The appointment went much as I'd expected; the doctor recommended I continue with the medication since I still have occasional bouts of tinitus, vertigo and hearing loss.  

While we were in Cordoba we ran some other errands, too. Ivan was able to get the heating elements he needed to fix our toaster oven, we did some grocery shopping and stopped for lunch at our favorite restaurant, Viejo Lobo. It's one of the few places I feel comfortable eating out. I snapped this shot of Ivan while we waited for it to open.

Tuesday, October 20

Ivan met Javier for coffee this morning. He took this picture, because the store in the background has the same name as Javi's wife, Carina.

Earlier Ivan had received a text from one of the stores in town that carries gluten free products. They make and sell empanadas, pizzas and other goodies and just started offering at-home delivery. Pablo sends Ivan photos of what's available, so I put together a collage with two of the photos:
We bought a variety of empanadas and also a box of baking powder since I was almost out. I can see the home delivery being especially handy during the crazy summer months when we don't want to go downtown because it's so crammed with tourists. I put the packages of empanadas in large zip locks and stick them in the freezer. Super handy when we have friends drop by around merienda time, or on days when I'm completely knackered and don't feel like cooking.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Weeks 41 and 42: Project 365, the 2015 Edition

Thursday, October 1

Ivan attended a three-day conference in Cordoba with other men from our church. Sponsored by 9Marks, the focus was on expository preaching. Juan Sanches from Texas was one of the speakers.

Friday, October 2

The conference included various sessions by the different men as well as a panel discussion.
From left to right: Juan Sanches (pastor/elder at High Point Baptist Church in Austin, TX), Sugel Michelén (pastor/elder at Iglesia Bíblica del Señor Jesucristo in the Dominican Republic, as well as author and lecturer), Edgar Aponte (Director of Hispanic Leadership Development at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, NC) and Ryan Townsend (Executive Director of 9Marks). 

Saturday, October 3

Ivan enjoyed having Joaquin ride back and forth with him each day. This young man has such a heart for God and was pretty excited to meet Sugel Michelén.

Sunday, October 4

Some days are too exciting for words. And they say a picture is worth a thousand words, right? So do you think I could blather on for 1,000 words about vitamins and supplements?
You betcha! But I won't. I'm a fan of Shaklee's Citraboost because it means I don't have to swallow quite so many pills. I have a strong gag reflex and the Citraboost, a powdered supplement I mix with orange juice, makes my start to the day a lot more pleasant. The lovely light green pill is the medication I take to keep the vertigo at bay; very thankful that it works 99% of the time.

Monday, October 5

Almost everyone I know has aloe plants, because they thrive in this climate. This isn't the first time I've shared a picture of them, and probably won't be the last. These happen to be in our neighbor's yard, but you can see the tall brightly colored blooms all over town right now.

Tuesday, October 6

Ivan took the camera to Bible study and took a bunch of photos, so I put together another collage.

Friday, October 9

I posted this on facebook, as well as my last blog post, but I'm sharing it again here too. I really do think it's a thing of beauty!

Saturday, October 10

Ivan met up with José Luis, an old junior high buddy, and another friend, and the three stayed at the house in Sta. Rosa while enjoying an aviation event in Alta Gracia. He didn't take many photos, but I have a few to share. On the way to Alta Gracia, they stopped briefly in Belgrano so the other guys could buy some gifts to take back to Buenos Aires. It was a mob scene, since the town celebrates Octoberfest all month.
Ivan, José Luis, and Marcelo

Inside sessions on aviation history and construction.

Outside planes to look at. 

Monday, October 13

I took this photo a few weeks ago, showing a row of trees in front of a hosteria on the costanera where we walk:  

This type of tree grows so fast that people cut it way back every year. I've always thought it looks like they've gotten a butch cut. But, as you can see, they leaf out nicely come Spring every year:

Wednesday, October 15

We're in the home stretch! I'm attaching the binding to the quilt and then it will be FINISHED. I used the machine to attach the binding to the front and now I'm folding it over and hand sewing it down on the back.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Purple thistles

One of the joys of walking along the costanera is the multitude of flora we encounter. Some were intentionally planted, like the wisteria and roses I shared in the last Project 365 post. But others are weeds.
This purple thistle definitely falls into that category. They're thorny, invasive and can be truly obnoxious (especially if you're trying to get rid of it).
But aren't they beautiful, too? I love the symmetry of the bloom, the way the color radiates out from the center, and how straight and tall they stand.
I remember when dried flower arrangements were all the rage back in the 80s and my more talented friends would go on nature hikes to find beauties like these to dry. Although the color dimmed a bit in the process, they remained a lovely shade of purple which added a nice pop of color in their arrangements.
In recent months I've been thinking a lot about how God made me. After a long time of being extremely discontent with my lack of skills and abilities for the task at hand, God gently and lovingly reminded me that He made me the way He did for a reason. I'm still puzzling that one out, to be honest, but I'm understanding more and more that not only am I His beloved daughter, I am unique. One-of-a-kind. Nobody else has my genetic make-up, my history and experiences, my skill set or eccentricities.

Like the purple thistle, I can be thorny and obnoxious, but also beautiful in my own way. God has shaped me into the person that I am. I have value because God gave me value.

He is also teaching me to be more present in the moment. By that I mean I'm not always rushing through the day, thinking ahead to the next thing on my "to do" list. I'm learning to relax, to set more realistic expectations and be okay with the curve balls that inevitably get thrown my way. I'm learning to rest (boy, is that a hard lesson!) and enjoy just being, and not always worry about doing.

I'm learning to accept my limitations. Over the past few years they have been mostly physical ones. But sometimes they're related to my abilities, or my capacity.
Ivan and I have been reading a lot of books together these past few months. Following is a list in the order we've read them. As you can see, we've got rather eclectic reading tastes :) What's been the most fun is the conversations each book has generated, on topics ranging from ontology to hospitality to shame to innate ability to relationships... Frankly, we've covered so much ground I cannot possibly summarize it all with a few words. But seriously, Best.Thing.Ever! for our marriage -- and it's only taken 36 years to figure it out!

Originally recommended by a friend who knows Kay personally, I also saw it mentioned on a number of blogs. I read this out loud to Ivan a few months back when he was down several days with the flu. It's a missionary autobiography, but not like any you've ever read before. It's raw and real and it blew us away.

This had been on my wish list for a long time, so I grabbed it when it was marked down for a week. Part memoir, part cookbook, this one reminded us why we love to feed people: It's not about the food, per se (although we do love food!), but about the relationships we develop around the table. I love that here in Argentina they have a word for it: sobremesa or "over the table", referring to the conversations that take place at the table. I know I've mentioned before that a lot of Argentine homes don't even have a living room, because all the living takes place around the table.

A ton of buzz in blogland moved this to the top of my list as a must read, especially after I watched this...
Don't let the funny deceive you; Jen does a great job injecting humor but this is one serious book. We devoured it in a matter of a few days. Afterward I went back and wrote down bits that touched a nerve. Like this:
"Maybe we can exit the self-imposed pressure cooker of "calling" and instead just consider our "gifts". The former feels like a job description, but the latter is just how God wired us. Certainly we are gifted for specific faith work, but gifts can be ordinary stuff in the middle of real life. Your prayer gift? You can use it on random Thursdays, on the phone with a friend, in the quiet early morning hours. Your gift of teaching? It may look like a class or a career, but it could very well be over lunch, through an e-mail, or in your own home. Your special capacity for encouragement? Sister, that gift is needed everywhere, every day, for every person."
We loved the book, and then ended up watching the multi-part video series about her previous book, Interrupted.

by Madeleine L'Engle
The first in an autobiographical series Ms. L'Engle called The Crosswick Journals, we found it to be very thought provoking as well as entertaining. Her writing is to be savored, and lends itself to reading in small segments.

by Brené Brown
We were still reading "A Circle of Quiet" when I came across Dr. Brown's name again. I'd first heard her mentioned in the book "Quiet" by Susan Cain, which I read last year. Her work sounded interesting and I mentally filed her name for future reference. I've seen it a few times since, but what tipped the scales was the link in a post on The Quiet Revolution to Dr. Brown's TEDtalk on vulnerability, after which we watched her TEDtalk on shame. While every book generated a lot of conversation, it was this book that started some big changes in our relationship. For the first time ever we were able to talk through some issues that have plagued us our entire marriage. After that ringing endorsement, it shouldn't come as a surprise that the next book was another one by Brown...

by Brené Brown
At the bottom of the front cover, it says "If we are brave enough, often enough, we will fall. This is a book about what it takes to get back up." To get a taste of what the book is like, read this article in Tech Insider about what Brown calls her "number one life hack".

My Name Is Asher Lev
by Chaim Potok
After so much of the serious, I felt we needed a little fiction for fun. So I chose one of my favorites by Potok. And we really did enjoy reading fiction for a change, but surprisingly enough, this book generated just as many conversations as any of the others! The complex relationship between Asher and his parents, the interesting Hasidic culture he grew up in, and the way his gift was viewed, all made us think about how our position within a family, within a community, shape us.

We are almost done with this one. The only drawback to reading together is that I don't want to interrupt our reading to stop and write down things that really speak to me. But with this book there have been a few times I've had to stop and write something down.
"And finally, I began to listen to the gift of limits God gave me -- limits related to my personality, temperment, gift mix, and physical, emotional and spiritual capacity. This opened up for me a new world of surrendering and trusting God in the midst of obstacles and challenges."
All of these books have taught me something about God, about myself, and about my position in Christ. Some of the lessons have been painful (think thorny and obnoxious), but others have filled my heart with gratitude that a loving, gracious God has made me uniquely His.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Weeks 39 and 40: Project 365, the 2015 Edition

Friday, September 18

I had to wait until Ivan got back from the Men's Advance to get access to his photos. There were a lot of good ones, which I whittled down to the Top Ten, and then further divied them up into two collages plus the group shot. The whole point for getting together was so the men who serve with our mission in Argentina could finish working through and developing field policy. Our area director flew down from the states to lead the group, and they had a wonderful time working together...
...and eating together, as Miguel and Mari prepared amazing meals for them.
Here's the group in front of the house in Sta. Rosa:
[Miguel and Mari are the couple who look after the property for us. They are such gems!]

Monday, September 21

I know for most of you who read this blog, you experienced the first day of fall today but here in the southern hemisphere it's the first day of Spring! And in case we weren't aware, Google had this cool GIF to inform us of the fact. I grabbed this screen shot which, unfortunately, doesn't show the fun animation as the flowers "grow".

Tuesday, September 22

When the men from Monte de Luz get together for Bible study, they also eat. And eat well, thanks to the wife of the man who hosts the study. Ivan took a few photos with his phone so I put together a collage:

Thursday, September 24

I'd love to know what this tree (or very large bush) is -- anyone have a clue? The blossoms look like small golden yellow pompoms.
[Edited to add: Ivan says this is an Aromo, native to Bolivia, Peru, Argentina and Paraguay.]

Friday, September 25

Normally the climbing yellow roses don't bloom until October. I've seen them all over town for a couple of weeks already. I love how this one climbs up and over the roof of the house.

Saturday, September 26

Okay, I know I shared a Words With Friends screen shot recently, but I couldn't help but share again because I TOPPED IT!
I managed to cover both a double word tile, triple word tile AND use all my letters! Woot!

Sunday, September 27

As we came out of church today, I noticed activity at the house across the street. Looks like someone had a baby boy!

Ivan tried to get a good photo of the moon tonight with our Canon Rebel, without success. Actually the best shot of the evening was one he took with his phone! Not great, but better than the ones he took with the camera.

Monday, September 28

On our walk today we took some photos of a gorgeous wisteria vine that completely covers the side wall of a property. I couldn't pick just one so created another collage:

Late afternoon we were sitting outside on the patio reading when we saw some folks riding by on bicycles and motorcycles. Not an unusual occurrence, but what stopped us in our tracks was the passenger on one of the motorcycles!
You never know what you might see around here :)

Tuesday, September 29

Ivan had arranged to pick up Javier early to spend the day painting at the church. I'm not very with it first thing in the morning, and now that I can no longer drink caffeine, it takes me a while to really wake up. So it was a few hours later that I was alert enough to notice this on our kitchen wall, up near the ceiling:
I couldn't tell what it was, and wasn't about to climb on a chair and get close enough to find out either! I waited until Ivan came home that afternoon. It was a snail. How it got there we have no idea. I was just relieved it wasn't the start of a hornet's nest or something. Ivan carried him back outside and we hope he stays there.

Wednesday, September 30

Ivan left early to paint at the church again, and a short while later I received a text from him: "Check out the locust blooms behind the house. Te amo!" So I grabbed the camera and, still in my pajamas and robe, went around the side of the casita to see an explosion of blooms on the many locust trees behind our property. So pretty!

Shortly after lunch Ivan popped home to pick me up for a color consultation at the church. Javier was busy painting when we got there:
On the way home we saw this tree:
I'd love to know what it is. Any one know? From a distance it looks like giant lilac blooms, but up close the individual flowers look like orchids. Absolutely gorgeous! And you can see the scale of the flowers by looking at the tree next to our car. As they say here: ¡Increible!
[Edited to add: Ivan did some research and discovered it is a paulownia fortunei, also known as the Royal Empress Tree.]