Tuesday, May 30, 2006

That wonderful thing called: Family

Families are like fudge... mostly sweet with a few nuts.
~Author Unknown

When I read this quote this morning I just knew it was the right one to get me going on that promised page about my families´visits.

As I have said, this past month has blessed us with family visits from East and West, from the United States and the wonderful Isle of
Guernsey, plus an impromptu visit to Sevilla to surprize my wonderful Mother-in-Law (careful...she´s probably reading this!!!!) for her 61st birthday.
We went on Sat 5:00am and returned Sunday 8:30pm!

Family from the Sates
(finally some more offspring into the family fold that doesn´t come from me!!!) arrived Tuesday afternoon, just 2 days after we came back from the Barnabas Retreat. But the work was made light, by the height of excitement that engrossed us. We had seen our new niece during our "flying visit" to L.A./Hawaii in Feb, but no-one else of the Clan had seen her, including obviously our kids - so this was the first time!

There was/is definitely an "invisible, innate connection" to family that covers time an
d distance, because my kids were "instantly chummy" with the new niece and she with them. There were no tears, just smiles and hugs, and more smiles and hugs plus the fights as to who would hold her next and, "Can I take her to my room now?".
Here's a few pics...

A social unit where the father is concerned with parking space,
the children with outer space,
and the mother with closet space. ~Evan Esar

Already on Friday morning the US part of the clan packed up our car to drive down to Sevilla to meet Opa and Omi for the first time. We followed the next morning to suprize Omi (the best mother in law in the world!!!)for her birthday...which was a complete success ..thanks Sudie! The look on her face when we walked into the Kitchen was worth a million Euros! We had a wondeful meal in a fantastic restaurant... boy, isn´t Sevilla beautiful!

Sunday morning we dedicated the new niece to the Lord, in the Church. The proud Opa and Pastor lead us all in that very intimate and important moment in family life. Love you Opa...you´re the best!

The next day we drove back up leaving the rest of the family to savour the recently arrived visitors from Colombus´s New World. My sister in law did a great job tackling the challenges of jet lag with a small baby and adjusting to new foods and the like and it was fun also to have chats into the early hours ..burning our candles at both ends to soak up every last minute together!

Meanwhile, we arrived back to Guadalajara, within a few hours to prepare before the arrival of the "My side of the family Clan" and added couple from Guernsey. Having already entered into the our group dynamics, there had to be a change in gears (and language!!) for the British subjects about to come. I actually do find myself somehow changing gear internally, as the reality of cultures washes in and out of the house like the tide on the shore.

Having my Mum and her sister around was really fun as well as an interesting phenomenon to observe of sisterhood in latter years !!! (now there's a book right there) The other couple that came with them, (this is their 2nd visit)work with the Salvation Army and have been a great comfort to my Mum when my Dad was ill and then passed away.

This group was all over 65, so they were "guinea pigs" for my studies! They make a very different type of guest, with very different needs. I had to constantly remind them all to drink enough water..they subsequently baptized me with the title doctor Ally!

Their visit was made up of cultural outings, shopping, eating around the table together and best of all: fresh bread with Guernsey butter! Hmmmmmmmmm! My Aunty made an Indian meal and a Traditional English Christmas Cake (which I am continuing to soak regularly in a secret ingredient!!!). We had a fantastic BBQ with the combining of both clans....now that was something! In the midst of this I also hosted an american couple and met Lyn and June.

When our relatives are at home,we have to think of all their good points or it would be impossible to endure them -

Gordon Bernard Shaw

It´s great to have family and be with family, but it is good to settle down again. I did next to no studying so now I have to catch up...but it was definitely worth it! Here are a few final quotes about families... I think you will enjoy them!

The informality of family life is a blessed condition that allows us to become our best while looking our worst. ~Marge Kennedy

If the family were a fruit, it would be an orange, a circle of sections, held together but separable - each segment distinct. ~Letty Cottin Pogrebin

Sunday, May 28, 2006

A new Dad?

When the two men were walking on the road to Emmaus, they weren´t expecting or even wanting to meet anyone important, let alone the Lord Jesus himself! Yet as God would have it, one of the sweetest moments in their lives took place when least they expected it.

This past month has bought with it tremendous joy....visits from both Stephan´s family and mine. From the east and from the west! It has been a very busy time (major understatment!!) but a very memorable one too. These special moments deserve a page all of their own...and maybe I can get to that...but I wanted to share another surprize that God had in store for me....In the midst of all these comings and goings God intervened just like he did to those on the road to Emmaus....... when least I expected it.

Lynwood and his wife June were staying just a couple of nights at my sister´s place, part of a team visiting from the U.S. working with Terry and Marilyn. There was an instant, supernatural, connection there but I didn´t realize that God had something more in mind. Lyn was about to come into my life to fill a lack I wasn´t really thinking could be filled....the role of Dad....a spiritual Dad.

As I shared with Lyn about my studies and involvement with the Red Cross, I would have never suspected the effect his affirmative words would have on me and the tears they would produce. When we lose our earthly fathers to death or to emotional distance, God in his love can reflect his Fatherheart through the willingness of Father´s in the faith - in the body of Christ. They can provide in a spiritual way, that reference and support a daughter needs.

When my Dad past away in October 2003, I knew that an important part of me had been left orphaned. What I didn´t realize was that I could be "adopted!" . I believed that God in His love understood my loss and that He would "complete" me. What I didn´t expect, was that He would do it through another earthly "father."

Thanks Lyn..


Friday, May 26, 2006

Trip to Sigüenza with the Red Cross

The Cathedral - Sigüenza

This is one of the three doors that align the front of this amazing cathedral which can be found in Sigüenza. The name given this grand entrance is "La Puerta del Perdon", or translated: "The Door of forgiveness."

Our tour guide explained to us that there was given but one day a year that you could enter through this door and have your sins forgiven for the whole year. After which, you were subsequently "free to sin" until the next year without a guility conscience or any remorse!!!! Of course, little did our very knowledgeable guide know, we actually do have such an access, yet it is continually available .......

Even though I know that the throne of Grace is always approachable, I found the symbolism of this door and many other things explained to me and Deb and other Red Cross volunteers on our visit to Sigüenza, very inspiring and enlightening. Such detail and meaning was given into each architectual and decorative artifact; from the direction the cathedral was facing, to the highest window where the first rays of sunshine came through bathing the cross on the main alter in dazzling sunlight; to the paintings of famous artists such as Grecko of the Angel Appearing to Mary and the awesome ingraved oak drawers that lined the chambers behind the alter.

It made me realize how superficial our modern society has become, with our attitude of "¿que más da?" (what difference does it make anyway?) what way the building faces and where the sunshine first comes through window...I mean ..."whatever!!!" Does God really care about this anyway? Isn´t that just religiosity, tradition.....and vanity?

History has proven that these holy buildings in many ways have been reduced to just that....empty forms and rituales that take place in meaningless golden cages where God feels anything other than close. Rather Jesus is aloof and unreacheable, surrounded by statues and candles, and an air of, " Sorry, God moved out centuries ago!" (and we have no forwarding address!!!)

Yet, in me was awoken, an awareness of depth and colour that in re discovering the great lengths to which our forefathers have had in thought and excellence with regards to the major and minor details of this precious cathedral, I found this characteristic to be dormant in me. It was like seeing in full technicolour after years of black and white!!

It seems that in our modernday Christianity we appear to have lost something very vital to our faith: Symbolism. In our afan to bring God close and in some degree "to our level " , we may have exchanged the one extreme for the other and thus lost the value of both realities.

God paid special attention to detail and this thread of His character can be traced all the way through the bible. Only which upon closer inspection becomes more and more evident. God goes to great lengths to express His love and truth with excellence and attention to detail. May we not let pass by opportunites to enrichen our lives with the depths of these realities, giving special attention to the art of symbolism that we have allowed escape us for the fear of bondage that these rituales may lead to death.

I am glad God cares about detail and about me and how many hairs are on my head and what I shall eat and what I shall wear. Hey, I am a woman... what I wear definitely is important to me.... Thanks God for the new additiones to my wardrobe....