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Archive for August, 2010

Over the weekend, we did something I’ve been longing to do: we finally took the pile of clothes, old sleeping bags, shoes, books, wedding presents we never used in the past three years, movies we never watch, and furniture that holds things we don’t need, and donated it all to Goodwill.

Don’t get me wrong, we live in small apartment that’s maybe…800 square feet (?), and has exactly two tiny closets, one kitchen counter only two feet wide, one small kitchen sink, and strangely gigantic bathroom.  We didn’t have a lot of stuff by American means.  But by global means, we had (and still have) much more than we need.  We held onto things because, well, we had the space.  We didn’t want to hurt people’s feelings; we kept thinking that maybe we might need something someday.  Now, we have an excuse to purge.

Over the last three years, I’ve wanted to move several times, always to a place that’s not necessarily bigger in terms of square footage, but that had more storage, a dishwasher, a washer and dryer, and a balcony or deck; better flow.  But storage was always the key; just the other day I visited a friend who just moved, and marveled at how they had not one, not two, but four huge closets. I was truly jealous. That was also due to the fact that they had a dishwasher, and a back-porch, and a parking space, but wow, the storage!  So, I’ve looked at a lot of apartments, and I’ve found some great ones.  One was in Uwajimaya Village, which, if you don’t have a car, you should definitely live there because they have cheap options (income-qualified units), they are awesome, and it’s a great location.  But, parking made it expensive, and there was a lack of storage, so we moved on.  Next we went to Welch Plaza, which also has income-qualified units, a fitness center, parking, dishwashers, and washer and dryers in unit.  We toured a few different options, but in the end, we decided it was a no, because we couldn’t fit our furniture in; not enough storage.  Now, I think back on that, and wonder that I was thinking.  Our furniture doesn’t fit, so no to cheaper rent, a free gym, and no more arguing over washing dishes!  I guess at the time I just wasn’t in the right mindset; I was too comfortable, too attached. Oops.  At least I generally learn from my mistakes.

On this past gloomy Saturday, I spent eight hours sorting, organizing, packing, and cleaning. Somehow in all that time, I only ended up with one sealed box (Christmas ornaments) and several almost full, unsealed boxes, thinking we might add or discard things later.  I spent a lot of time packing our “sentimental crap and mementos” boxes, reminiscing, being nostalgic, and generally a bit mopey, lonely and depressed.  But, that is part of the packing/moving experience, so I actually enjoyed it (I had my good friend, music, to keep me company, and a floppy, confused kitten). On Sunday, I packed most of our books, our movies, and some clothes.  Still some open boxes, because, hey, we might want to watch a movie or wear some old clothes in the next three weeks.  But, what really made an impact was curtains and carpet.  Yes, curtains.

When we first moved into the apartment, I had a great job that unfortunately only paid exactly $848 a month; Tyler worked at Starbucks.  You can imagine the arithmetic. Thus, we didn’t have money to make a lot of investments in making our apartment comfortable.  We didn’t have money to come up with great “storage solutions” or to create coordinating décor. As our apartment did have painted blue hardwood floors in the living room, we did manage to find a great deal on a gigantic area rug at Home Depo before we moved in, that covered most the space.  It made it a little quieter; a littler warmer; a little bit cozier.

After that job ended and I was home alone, unemployed, getting rejected daily in my job search, I had had enough.  I would use our savings to make a little investment.  My mother always said curtains make a place feel more home-like. So, despite the fact that I was unemployed and the “Great Recession” had just begun, I was going to make myself feel better with curtains.  I would comfort myself with shopping; a typical consumerist American dream.  I am ashamed to admit it.  So, I walked the mile or so to Bed, Bath, and Beyond, and looked at curtains.  Why – why?! Are curtains so expensive?!  Who knew, I mean really, who knew.  But, I was committed; this would help me feel better now that I had to spend all this time at home.  So, I got some curtains.  I put them up in our living room.  I found an old sari Tyler had bought in India, and made a drape with it (it was quite creative and matched perfectly; you should be impressed).  Now, I was on my way, to a status of having color palettes and accents.  I think I even bought a decorative pillow that day.

Now, curtains are an awkward thing to carry home over a mile, with the rods sticking out of the bags and whatnot.  As I walked home with my gigantic bags, struggling to keep circulation in my hands as they were being cutoff by plastic, someone on the street pointed and called out to me: “this woman is single-handedly saving our economy!  Someone’s got to do it!”  I thought it was funny (remember the ridiculous Bush speech about how we needed to shop to save our county?), but I was also embarrassed.  A necessary pain for the joy of curtains.  When Tyler came home from work that day, I announced: “Look husband, I’ve built you this palace!” It was a little harem-like, with silk curtains and sari drapes; in burnt orange and deep red nonetheless.  It also made the room darker.  But, my Mom was right; it was pleasant; we felt snug.  It was the beginning to our road to comfortableness.  Later we would buy a futon and get rid of the old loveseat; we would get Tyler a computer desk and re-arrange the furniture; get a new dressers, a coat-rack, and some odd little tables.  Most of this was new in the sense that it was new to us; most of it we found in the alley behind our apartment, or got from friends.  But, it made our little apartment homely. Sure, we went through stuff every few months and donated a few bags and boxes to Goodwill, but we slowly acquired things.  We got used to it.  We became complacent.  I started watched TV when I hadn’t done that much since my senior year of high school; I kept watching it even after we lost our free cable.  I just wanted to zone out, to have a “mind-numbing activity.”  It started taking me longer to finish books, and I started gaining more weight.  Sure, we were happy, we had friends over for anime night, we cooked, we went wine tasting, we watched movies.  It was fun to stay in; we were comfortable.

Comfortable makes it hard to leave; hard to move; hard to pack. People, Tyler included, thought it was a bit odd that I wanted to start to pack now, three weeks before we move.  I had my reasons: 1. I really want to do a mid-week backpacking trip before we leave 2. I really want to enjoy our last three weeks in Seattle and not be stressed by the move; so why not take advantage of a rainy weekend? and 3. the great unknown feeling in my soul.  Now that the boxes are filling up, that our stuff has been given away (TV included), the curtains have been taken down, and the carpet rolled up and thrown out, I understand the great unknown.  Somewhere, deep inside me, I remembered that I should be uncomfortable with being comfortable, all the time at least.  Comfort is something to be enjoyed every once in a while; a treat like gelato or the “El Diablo” dessert at Tango.  I remembered I used to be more active; more motivated, when I lived with less.  When I went to bed last night; I felt like one of those characters in the commercials to quit smoking; when they have to re-learn how to do all their daily activities they would do with cigarettes; driving, eating breakfast.  I think I actually asked, out loud, “what did I used to do before bed?” when I didn’t watch TV?  Then it came to me: I would talk to Tyler on the phone, and I would read.  I would also listen to music.  So, I read, a book a friend gave me months ago, that’s just been sitting, lost in the masses of books in our bookshelves.  Now that they’re empty, with only a few books we haven’t read pulled out, I can focus on the ones I’ve been wanting to read. I am free to do that (and also forced, a little bit, but by choice).  And it’s a fantastic!  Now, maybe the things that have been on my to-do list for months (filing taxes, anyone?) will finally get done because I can’t make excuses anymore.  I have nothing else to do; I have a new clarity of mind.  Our change in circumstances, my little reality check, has generated more energy. I can see things in a new light (literally, not only is it brighter in our apartment without curtains, I get to use my favorite lamp, finally!), and I like it. Sure, there will still be temptations (Hulu) and it will still be a struggle in self-discipline, but I am happy to take on the challenge.  I think these next few weeks will teach us real lessons of preparation for Buenos Aires, where we’ll live in one room with a home-stay, and for our travels thereafter.  And when God answers my prayers to give me open eyes and ears for his lessons, I get excited.

Sure, it might not be all that pleasant to walk barefoot in our house anymore, as we discovered what basically amounted to a beach underneath our cozy carpet/rug, and enough dust bunnies to make at least one spare kitten.  Sure, I may have to tip-toe around piles of stuff, my clothes are in big Tupperware bins; our bed is now in the center of our room, the frame dismantled in the living room, and I may have made a nightstand out of my tabla (an Egyptian drum) and my old hula-dancer lamp, but it feels strangely liberating; it feels good.  I can find contentment knowing that our home is anywhere we’re together, anywhere with Christ, even if where we live doesn’t feel “homey” anymore. Our place might be kind of a disaster and not the most inviting for friends, but, if our friends judge us by the space (or lack thereof) we live in, maybe we should question the basis of our friendship.  If we can’t find enjoyable entertainment in any space with our friends, when, what are doing?

As for my love of great storage, I’ve realized: I don’t need it.*  I never needed it; what I needed to do was let go; give it up. We realized that at least three pieces of furniture that we had planned so much around when looking at potential apartments, weren’t even worth donating.  And they were demolished so easily; we literally kicked them to pieces in minutes, and just like that, they were flattened and in our dumpster.  Amazing how quickly something dismantles and disappears; all those years, all those memories and it’s gone, just like that. And what caught my attention was how easy it was, and how relieved I felt afterwards.

With the recession still dragging on, there’s been a lot of talk about cutting back; there’s even a great article in it in the New York Times. There’s been a lot of talk at our church, and in the books I’ve been reading, about living simply.  It’s something Tyler and I have talked about a lot, and generally try to practice; only now we intend to bring it to a different level.  Live simply, so we can work less, and have time to do more.  Plan our lives strategically so this can be a reality. People can argue with me, but I truly believe in the core of my being, that we weren’t meant to work 40+ hours a week and to commute daily in cars. I’ve done it, and I’m relieved to be leaving it behind me.  I would rather work less, and be able to afford less, than to live in a stressed and frenzied world. This may require more creativity, a more radical living situation (intentional community, anyone?), an acceptance that less is more, and discernment in purchasing decisions. I think it is a major piece in the puzzle of happiness and contentment, and I am happy that we’re pushing ourselves in the right direction.

We’ll see what I think after three weeks of living in this mess. 😉

Thank You’s

But for now, I’d like to give a big shout of thanks to Haley, who graciously gave up her Sunday afternoon to make a Goodwill caravan run with me; and to her friend Hayden, who amazingly gave up an entire day to do boring things like clean mold, sweep, and watch the Genki Sushi commercial, when he’s visiting here for only a month from Australia.  And, praise the Lord for the amazing mold and mildew cleaner Becka lent me; the word “destroy” on the label truly does not lie.

Also, I apologize for the lack of pictures – I know it’s hard to read without the words being broken up by a fun image. I’ll be working on that soon, now that I’ve been liberated to be productive.  🙂

Question

On a related note, I would like to pose a question.  I obviously like this idea of living simply and having less.  However, there is an issue that sits uneasily with me.  As someone who has wandered and moved a lot, a lot of things don’t have a lot of value.  Our alley furniture and hand-me-downs aren’t worth holding onto for the storage fee. But, does this notion of “expendable” equate to a lifestyle of glorified consumerism?  Where we get rid of old clothes just to justify making room for new clothes (as my husband accused me of doing last night…and I must admit, is often a motivation)?  A lifestyle were we just cycle through furniture, clothes, and goods as we move from one place to another, or exchange one piece of alley furniture for the next? Sure, we might not be buying new clothes or new furniture each time, we might be recycling and donating things, but doesn’t it still perpetuate the same destructive mindset?  I wonder about that. On another hand, as we were donating my nightstand I’ve had for 16 years, I had a thought that next time we’d just save up until we could get something nice; something we really wanted, something that we wouldn’t want to donate.  Is this the right response? Or is this too, perpetuating the myth of nice things = happiness?  Thoughts, anyone?

*Disclaimer

Well, ok, before you go on calling me a hypocrite, yes, we are still planning on renting a storage unit while we’re traveling, because we realized its cheaper to store a few things than try to replace certain ones (i.e. our bed, Tyler’s computer, those damned expensive curtains) that we’re pretty sure we’ll need when (if?) we come back.  Maybe we are supposed to give up all our possessions and follow; maybe when we think closely about our needs versus wants, we’ll see that we don’t really need any of the stuff we plan to store; that it’ll just make things easier when we come back – but maybe we think it’s worth it, for now at least? I’ve been toying with the idea of just getting rid of it all anyway, but I can’t discern if that’s rash or wise just yet, so I’ll continue with the current path of action.  Maybe we’re just supposed to be willing to give it all up, like a test, but if we pass we get to keep it?  (Yes, sometimes I still think like a child).  Basically, all I know is that I don’t have all the answers; that I know we’ve made a big step in the right direction, and that I’ll just have to have faith that God shows me what we’re supposed to do next, and that it will be awesome.

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We had to watch the Motorcycle Diaries for Spanish class this week, one of my favorite films.  The first time I watched it was with my dear “EMP – Experience Mexico Project” friends in Mexico City, 2007.  It was to start a thoughtful discussion on how travelling and experiencing the world changes you.  I remember Tyler, who has a severe phobia of needles, grabbed my arm with so much force it left finger-bruises when they gave Ernesto Guevara a shot for his asthma in the movie.  To be honest, I don’t remember much of our discussions, because the sum of our experience was greater than the individual parts.  It endeared this movie to me, so much so that I later used it in Bible studies for high school youth groups.  And now, here I was again, watching this time without subtitles, trying to prepare my mind for that dreaded Argentinean accent. I could speak volumes on how this movie relates to our aspirations for this trip (no, we are not going to start a violent revolution), but what was most impactful this time, was not in the film itself.

In the bonus features there is an interview with the real-life Alberto Granado; a content old man with liver spots and white hair. Speaking about his journey across Latin America with Ernesto Guevara, he says that, in order to travel so that the world changes you, you have to be a bad son, a bad brother, bad uncle, and a bad boyfriend. You have to leave all your attachments behind to truly travel and experience the world.  Are we ready for this?

Maybe I’m just getting older; maybe I just love my kitten too much, I just want to finally be with our dear friends, maybe I am lazy and comfortable in my life and don’t want to face the challenges that lie ahead. Maybe it’s past my time to keep moving.  Maybe the thought of going without a plan, of leaving the option open to not come back…ever…is too much for me. I have long been a planner, someone who constantly looks beyond the horizon. How long will we stay?  Our reply has generally been a shrug and a “not sure, at least four months…”  Lately, I’ve been inclined to say: “as long as it takes.”  “As long as it takes for what?” is the usual response.  I’m not sure what the answer is: long enough to speak Spanish at the level I want to, long enough to be transformed again by our learning and experiences, long enough to let go, long enough to be satisfied in any place, long enough to strengthen our marriage?  I’m not sure that either one of us knows, but I know God does.  Maybe it will just be the four months, maybe six, maybe eight, maybe more, or maybe less?  We will just have to see what happens.

I’m fully aware of the challenges of being a foreigner; a traveler. And of course, with God’s perfect timing and sense of humor, this is just the time that we are leaving, after we finally want to stay.  He tells me to stay when I want to run; He tells me to go when I long to stay. And it is with equally unique logic that because of these feelings I have: hesitation, fear, a longing to remain, that I know without a doubt we are going where God wants us to be. We are letting it all go, trusting in this community of love we’ve built, having faith that God will be with us wherever we go.  Knowing that new, unimaginable joys await us in lands of new faces, new customs, new landscape, language, and food; new lessons that we’ll be grateful for.

Meanwhile, my head is swarming with things that need to get done before we move.  Mail to forward, addresses to change, utilities to stop, memberships to cancel, things to throw out and donate, things to pack, things to buy so that we can pack, food to consume, people to see, walls to spackle and paint, things to clean, things to organize, mold to remove…bank accounts to open and close. And yet we still want our last three weeks in Seattle to be fun and enjoyable; we still want to go outdoors, rock climb, eat at our favorite places, see friends, and relax.  For now I’m choosing to focus on this challenge, and let my mind continue to ruminate on our upcoming trip. Change is exciting and thrilling, but also terrifying.  I think part of the lesson God is teaching me is to take it one-day at a time, and let Him worry about the rest.

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I have long been someone who was not proud to be American.  I still don’t think I am; I still feel like singing the national anthem at baseball games is a bit brain-washy, and I don’t care much for patriotic pins or clothing.  I have long focused on all the negativities of our culture and nation-state: our double-downs, our super-sized everything, our big cars, total and complete reliance on oil, our frenzied pace of life, our fast-food and obesity, our laziness, our disregard for the environment, our often complete lack of knowledge and understanding of other cultures and religions, our ignorance, our exceptionalism, our loudness, our penchant to overwork ourselves with long hours, commutes, and short vacations, how we turned human well-being into a profit scheme, our undying belief that capitalism and free markets will solve all our problems, our two-timing protectionist tariffs, our multiple flatscreen TVs per home, our need to constantly spend expendable income on entertainment, clothes without thinking twice of the child sweatshop labor that made our cheap Wal-Mart prices possible, our tendency to vote based on wild emotions and accusations rather than learning facts, our grave foreign policy blunders. If I was abroad I would sneer at these typical Americans, and turn to my French-Canadian roots if asked.  I would try to be different; to blend in.  I much prefer the Spanish Estadounidense to our assuming use of “American” as if North America, and the United States, is the only or greatest America.

And yet, like my constant wandering, this too, began to change. Just as we’re leaving, I begin to understand what I’ll be missing, in ways I never realized before.  Before when I traveled; I didn’t miss my family all that much, and I would certainly never have considered not going or staying nearby to be closer to them.  Not that I don’t dearly love and cherish my family; I just don’t often get homesick. Now, I wonder about that.  I wonder how much longer my parents will be around; I wonder if my nieces and nephew will know their aunt. I wonder when I’ll see my brother again.  I have a longing to just be able to bring everyone together in one place.  One part of me feels “tied down” by this responsibility; another takes joy in the task to love freely.  This makes going more difficult.  It’s not just family that makes me think twice either.  I have no illusions about how friendships fair over long distances and time. The so-called “cream of the crop” will remain, but many will slowly fade into the distance, only seen intermittently on Facebook updates; soon it will be so long that making plans to reunite will be awkward and futile.  Since being content with staying, we’ve made countless new friendships, and I wonder how they’ll fare.

Friends and family aren’t all, either.  I’ve learned to appreciate, many, many things about our American culture.  It’s ironic that I’ve made these discoveries while staying put for a few years, and not while abroad, but it’s happened nonetheless. I appreciate that I know my way around, and that if I need to ask for directions; I can, and I will understand the answer.  I am proud to one who can offer directions (at least sometimes…). I appreciate our 24-hour grocery store, using my debit card sans fees, having internet in our house and using a cell phone to make calls and send texts. Once I organized a study abroad program for a group of Parisian students visiting Seattle, and their leader remarked “Americans are so friendly, not like other places.  And they have the cutest accent in French.”  I was shocked, us…butchering their beautiful language…cute?  Friendly?  I love our rhythm of interactions and having the freedom to drive my car to the mountains or take a weekend get-away. Being able to find out almost anything on the internet, buy books in a bookstore, and have conversations with people I meet.  I love S’mores and BBQs, bagels, peanut-butter and jelly, chocolate chip cookies, multigrain Cheerios, hot dogs, sandwiches, iced americanos, baseball games, and the vibe of our parties and gatherings. I love the pulse of Seattle; of the northwest. I love jeans and fleece, being able to go to the doctor.

Its little things I notice these days; the comfort of familiarity with our daily interactions and customs, our favorite summer dishes.  I finally feel like I belong somewhere; like I fit in. And yet, even when (if?) we do come back from this adventure, we’ll be living in Portland, Oregon, and we’ll have to start over once again, though this time we’ll have great family and friends nearby. Theoretically I’ll be enrolling in an amazing graduate program at Portland State, and once again looking for a job. I once would never think twice about these things; I’d be so excited for the adventure to come I wouldn’t notice, and yet now, now that I’ve finally learned to be content with staying, I am fully aware of what I’ll be leaving behind.  I feel like Abram when he’s called to leave Ur: why leave here, it’s great?!  We have to remember God’s promises, have faith that the places He leads us will be better than we can imagine; that home is in Christ and each other, that life is about the journey, not the destination.

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I have always liked to travel.  I relish moving. I had a chaotic childhood, shuffling between parents, step-parents, old houses to new, townhouses to apartments to duplexes, summers with relatives, trips with the youth group, and later, with missions organizations. For the greater part of college, I could fit my life’s belongings into either a Nissan 240SX or a Geo Tracker; until my senior year I never lived in one place more than nine months.  Every chance I had to study or travel abroad, I took, even if it was just a chance whim.

I came back from all this, and by the grace of God moved into an amazing house with five other fantastic roommates; I felt it was my time to learn to stay. I remained in Seattle after graduation and see what life I could make for myself here; out in the “real world” and in my “career.”  I managed to stay in that Greenlake basement for over a year; working three jobs, getting superb grades in my senior year, paying off all that credit card debt from my travels.  I was more or less content with my life there.

Then, along came a certain boy, and suddenly, I was married and moving again – this time into our first apartment. We decided to “settle” for at least a year, try out working “big kid” jobs and weaving our lives together.  I found a dream job (though with nightmarish pay); Tyler worked at Starbucks, and then moved onto a more relaxed, but well-paying position at J Crew.  We got an adorable kitten. We accumulated things, so many things.  Kitchen things, bathroom things, alley furniture, clothes. I still managed to take some short trips to places fairly often – we went away on weekends to Whidbey Island, to Victoria, we even made it to Paris, and Ensenada; I even made it all the way to Guatemala with my work. This allowed me to stay – to be content.  I got used to our life in our little apartment on Lower Queen Anne; used to our “things,” used to meeting friends for drinks, used to being awestruck by mountains and green everyday, used to our weekly rhythm; we made friends, we made regular plans, we joined a gym and took up new hobbies.  I got to know every single neighborhood in Seattle; knew every boutique eatery and coffee shop and always had a list of dozens to try.  Before I knew it, we’d been in same place for three great years. Tough years, hard, learning years, but also fantastic. Had I finally balanced the tension between being a sojourner and settling down?

Is this what it means to stay, and love it? Seven wonderful years in Seattle… Growing up with the same inspiring group of youth all these years; going to their graduations, advising their senior projects, proof-reading college applications. Bursting into tears as they move away to college and our little group disintegrates. Sharing our sorrows, struggles, and joy?  Investing in our community by volunteering, planting trees, and weeding blackberry and ivy? We’ve had so many of those special “moments” where time freezes and you’re lost in a song, a view, or an interaction.  I always try to hold onto those moments as they pass, hoping they’ll stay forever.  Of course, they pass and life continues on.  I cherish the last one, and look forward to the next; each unique yet similar. It reminds me of when we studied Ecclesiastes at Bethany Community Church: nothing is forever.  But God wants us to be thankful for each moment, knowing that it won’t last, and joyfully look forward to the next. Have faith that He will keep giving them to us, whether we stay or go.

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God is a funny one, always speaking truth into our lives just when we need it. Two weekends ago my Dad came to visit, and of course, one of the first things he asked was if we were going to go to “that church with all those young people.”  Last year we had taken him to the college saturated 5 o’clock service at Bethany Community Church, and my Dad was overwhelmed to the point of tears by the crowds of passionate, young Christians, meaningful prayer and worship, and a pastor that taught well.  He remarked that the Holy Spirit was working in that place. “Of course” I replied. This time we would go to the 11:15 service, as it better accommodated our plans for that day.  Of all things to speak on, it had to be Jeremiah 29:4-15: Living Faithfully in Babylon.  Pastor Richard remarked at least three different times that even if you’re only in Seattle for “a month,” we should get involved faithfully in our community.  I laughed out loud every time and pointed at Tyler. In exactly one month we would be moving.

 But, it would also be about one month between leaving Seattle, and leaving for Buenos Aires. One month split between family and friends in Salem and Portland, road-tripping in California, camping in Yosemite, and a wedding in Lake Tahoe. One month of taking time to enjoy what we know, to spend meaningful time with those we love, and prepare – mentally, physically, and spiritually, for our trip. Sure, to some people we might just be “selfishly travelling aimlessly” or just doing a semester abroad; we probably won’t get the backing of a missions committee or church, but we look at this trip in very much the same light as a mission trip.  After all, isn’t it on those trips that we go to escape our comfort zone and refine our relationship with the Lord?  Is this really that different? That being said, we have a total of two months to live faithfully before we go – to stay involved until the very end.  We have time to be fully present with our friends, our family, and strangers; a strange amount of transient time to impact the lives of others. Continuing, we have a number of months to hold true to this principle once we leave. We may not know how long we’ll be in once place (sounds like Babylon, doesn’t it?), or even where that place will be (like Abraham and the promised land), beyond “phase one” in Buenos Aires, but we are still called to get involved and bless others in whatever way we can, day by day, moment by moment. Let’s pray together that God gives us the strength and presence of mind to be able to live up to His calling.

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¡Bienvenidos!

Hola a todos, and welcome to our blog. 

We thought it would easier to keep in touch with all our family and friends via blog, rather than a mix of email, facebook, skype, phone calls, and snail-mail.  If you think you won’t remember to check this often, just click the link to the right to subscribe to the blog and you’ll be emailed automatically whenever we make a post!  Hopefully we’ll be able to update often!

Saludos,

Sharon and Tyler

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