coffee with courage

The Episcopal Diocese of Honduras is dedicated to assisting people in becoming self-sufficient.  So, I was excited when I had the opportunity to visit an organic coffee plantation that has been operated by Hondurans for the past eight years.  The language school organized the fieldtrip.

Our coffee guide showed us what the beans looked like (see photo) during each step of the process.  When they are picked in October they are sweet.  They turn very small after they are de-hydrated. Water is what makes the coffee bitter. When the beans are roasted the gas in them expands so they are twice as big as when they were dehydrated. After we took a coffee break, which as was delicious, we went out into the fields to look at the organic coffee.

This is where the adventure began.  We came to a small stream, which if we had walked through it may have covered our ankles. Getting our feet wet was once option.  But there was a tree that was cut in half, maybe eight feet off the ground, over the water, that was the second option. We decided to take the “bridge” instead.  The tree was the width of both of my feet.  It took some courage to climb up to the “bridge,” it took  more courage to make it across with out loosing my balance.  So, I said to myself, “keep looking up…don’t look down…focus on getting to the other side.

In reflection I feel certain that God says this to many of us everyday.   The other student, who was in his sixties, went across the last third of the way on his knees.

I am thinking, there is a pretty good chance, that he was praying.   On the return trip he stood up tall the whole way.   Note to self: next time God asks me to go over a bridge of troubled water, “keep looking up…don’t look down…focus on getting to the other side.







Walking in the footsteps of Paul

May 25, 2010 1:30pm in Turkey 6:30am in the US.

I am in my hotel room in Ankara Turkey!  It was a good thing that I spent the night in NY, because American Airlines had really messed up my Turkish Air tickets and it took me all most three hours to get it straightened out before I left.

On the trip from Istanbul to Ankara the geography started out with the densely populated city, we flew over water, with a ton of freighters, to farmland and then to mountains.  Most of the population is clustered together in valleys. The roads are not very straight!  It looked like they were doing some strip mining.  I wondered if it could be copper because part of the area was tainted green?

Ankara is the capital of Turkey. The airport is beautiful modern glass building.  But we were the only plane and people in the place.  It was a long ride from the airport to the hotel.  The “suburbs” near the airport had a lot of apartment/condo buildings.  Some of the buildings had beautiful mosaic tile work.  Overall the city is well kept. As we got more into the business district it reminded me of New York City, or Porto Rico with venders on the streets and lots of people.  Gas is 2.20 a liter.  Most people drive small cars and the busses were full to overflowing.  The people dress more formally here. The cab driver had on a blue oxford shirt, grey slacks and he had a blue blazer in the back seat.  People on the plane had on suits and ties.  I like that.


New Life on Mother’s Day

Padre Majio and Madre Spice welcome the newly baptized

Over the years Mother’s Day has been one of the highest and lowest times for me.  My stepchildren have always been and continue to be a great sense of pride and joy in my life.   I loved being called, grandma or GiGi some of them call me Madre, which I truly adore.

Especially here in Latin America people are surprised to learn that I don’t have any biological children.  Just as I knew, at the early age of fourteen, that I was called to be a priest, I knew at an even younger age that I was not call to bear children.  The blessing is that I have never had any regrets.

The other side of the coin is that I have more children than I could have ever possibly imagined.   I have been told on more than one occasion, you have an amazing ability to connect with children. We seem to connect at the heart.

Today, I had the honor of baptizing three young people.  I take this privilege seriously and leave a piece of my heart behind knowing that I will not watch them grown up in Christ.

After I explain about my wonderful family, the question is asked, You don’t have any children of your own?  I respond, I have many wonderful children, given to me by God, in the church.  Today three young people got very wet and began a new life.  It is a day, I hope, they will never forget; I know I won’t.  What a wonderful Mother’s day gift for me.

In His hands

The closing Eucharist of the Global Episcopal Mission Network (GEMN) was held on Saturday, May 5th. The Rt. Rev. Gordon P. Scruton was the celebrant.  During the offertory he stood before us and said, “we will have an offering today,” and he cupped his hands together, and everyone laughed.

He then said, “I don’t want your money.

I want you to give of yourself, your body, your mind, your Spirit.”  He then walked down the isle with his hand in front of him collecting what we had to offer.  As he walked back to the altar it seems as though his hands were overflowing, heavy in a new way.  When he lifted them up-offering what he had collected, into God’s “hands” it was powerful. My soul was touched and I was moved.

2008 Reflection …a time

Everyone who has visited a Central American country knows that we in the USA have a different perspective of time.  They have a schedule at the El Hogar or maybe it is just a routine, but lives are not dominated by their watches and very few things get them upset.

There doesn’t seem to be a great deal of yelling to each other and no one seems really stressed.  I realized what affect this was having on me when I was using a computer in their computer lab and it was very slow. But I was so grateful to be able to at least email home that I didn’t mind waiting (and waiting). Actually I prayed and gave thanks as I waited.

It is amazing when you have to be ready at 5:20am for formation and flag raising and 5:30am for breakfast that ten o’clock am seems like you have been up for ever. It is very dark here at night. When the lights go out you can’t see anything. So it is easy to fall asleep.

I don’t need to watch John Stewart or to know what the weather will tomorrow be before I go to bed.  I haven’t missed TV at all. I do somewhat miss knowing the news-but on second thought not really. At night we sit around and play cards, games, read or write.

We can get so set in our ways that habits good or bad become away of life-usually without reflection.  Maybe it is about time that we chose to live with less stress and pressure, less TV and more one to one activities.