Monday, February 27, 2006

Oaxaca, Mexico

Hello from an internet cafe´in Oaxaca, Mexico! I am typing on a Spanish keyboard, and everything but the letters are in different places, so forgive any oddities. :-)

I realized that I never posted about my trip here on the blog--I guess I just expected those of you who didn't hear about it other places to use osmosis or something... So here's the scoop.

My dad grew up inCentral America, since his parents were missionaries. He spent most of his childhood in Oaxaca and the nearby tiny town of Mitla. Last year we decided it would be awfully fun to take a family reunion there. So here we are, with twenty of Dad's family!

I should be on-line more as of Thursday or maybe Wednesday, and probably won'tbe on-line until then. See ya!

Saturday, February 25, 2006

This is Mexico

All twenty of our group have made it to Mexico safely (though a few nearly got left behind or lost). I must say, this has been the easiest trip into Mexico I have ever had. That said, there is no doubt, however, that we are indeed in Mexico.

In fact, that has become a bit of a joke. If one should complain, or comment on an unconventionality (¨There are no hotel rooms for half the group even though we{ve had reservations for six months and you called a few days ago¨?!), the rest of the group will nod sagely and respond, ¨This is Mexico.¨

Even the taxi ride was uneventful. Yes, the group´s two taxis raced a little, but at least it was on a four lane road and they wre both on the correct side of the road. As for the fact that our driver was watching All Dogs Go To Heaven in Spanish on a little portable TV as he drove, well, this is Mexico. ;-)

{prayer update: Cousin Mary (84 years old) fell this morning. She is all right, but a little bruised and she twisted her ankle a little. Mom´s injured leg muscle didn´t much like the long plane trip, but she´s getting around okay. My cold hasn´t gotten too bad, yet. Thanks for the prayers!!}

Friday, February 24, 2006


Sunday, Feb. 26.

Today was a full, blessed day. We began with a church service at El Buen Pastor (The Good Pastor), which was started by one of my dad’s best friends, David N. A couple of the church members are tour guides, so they picked up our group in two fourteen passenger buses and spent the whole day taking us from place to place.

The church was very excited to have us visiting, and it was a wonderful service. I could understand odd words and sentences of the sermon, and at least caught that it was about living a Christian life, though I didn’t understand much beyond that.

My nieces (5 and 3½) went to Sunday School and David’s wife, Wendy, taught it bilingually for them. AJ came rushing out after the service calling, “Aunt Amy, Aunt Amy, I have a surprise for you!” and proudly presented me with a picture she had colored, and then quoted the Bible verse they had learned in class.

I think my six month old niece distracted everyone behind her. They were all grinning back at her instead of listening to the sermon. At least one lady stood up in the middle of the sermon because she just had to hold the beaming baby.

I love singing in Spanish, even if I don’t understand all of the words. It was especially fun and challenging to translate the Spanish into American Sign Language, so I could sing and sign as I normally do.

After the service Wendy took us to a buffet place, which was fun, though I was unable to eat much because of my food allergies. Then we were off to see Le Tulle, a tree with the largest-around trunk in the world. We were privileged to see a passing christening party, headed with full parade to the church next to the tree. The parade was complete with a full band, as well as church bells and fireworks.

Next stop was the ruins in the town of Mitla. We climbed the remains of an old castle, listening to the stories of the human and animal sacrifices that took place there.

We attended evening services in Mitla. This is a new church, recently planted by El Buen Pastor. After our own church dissipated, we chose to give the remaining funds to the Mitla church to go toward buying land and building a church building. Dad has made a number of trips to this area in the last few years, facilitating the transfer of funds. So this church was so excited to have all of us visit.

They brought us out to see the new land--a lovely, shaded spot. Currently this church is meeting in a three-sided building, with a tarp on the open wall to keep out some of the wind and sun. Tonight it was quite cold, and a number of us forgot to bring jackets. My nieces and I huddled close in an attempt to keep warm in the strong wind that found its way into the church.

The church was wonderful. Both churches were very warm and welcoming. The Mitla church is about fifty people. I didn’t catch any of the sermon that time around (though I was a little distracted watching my middle niece play with the Mexican toddler sharing the pew with us ;-) ). The music was wonderful. One of the songs, I’m guessing, was written specifically for this church. It used The Alleluia Chorus as its chorus.

I closed my eyes and listened. Aleluya, aleluya, aleluya, aleluya. The voices mingled, Spanish and English accents merging to form the sound of perfect praise. Tingles went up my arms and I nearly began to cry.

As if that wasn’t enough, the children performed a skit of Moses. They were so creative! The burning bush was a potted tree wound with Christmas lights and covered with yellow cellophane, complete with a recorded voice. After the skit, the children sang for us. So beautiful.

We were served Mexican hot chocolate (oh, did that hit the spot on this chilly night!) and pan, different kinds of sweet bread. After returning to our hotel, our group plus a few from El Buen Pastor, gathered around for tamales and fellowship. We chatted comfortably for a long while, and I shared the stories I have out in the most recent FaithWriter anthology with my dad’s second-cousin and his mother, Cousin Mary.

My sister AJ followed me to my hotel suite and we chatted about your writing and life until late.

Yes, full day. Full of Aleluyas.

[prayer updates: Mom and Cousin Mary are doing quite well, happily hobbling about, arm in arm. My food allergies were a particular challenge today, and I ended up eating a bit of sever allergens a couple of times. But so far no big reactions! Praying it won’t come tomorrow.]

My Week

Hehe, I am making this post from the airport, getting ready to fly to Mexico! Yay! We are having a family reunion there. I’ll be making posts about our adventures as long as I can find internet access. But for now, I’ll catch up on the news of this week.

Tuesday I had an appointment with my naturopath for some testing. Turns out that I have very little stomach acid. This could be the reason for a lot of my troubles, including my persistent lung infection. The good news is that there is a supplement that the Mora testing showed would help. So when I get back from the trip I will start that treatment.

My signing class on Wednesday went well. We spent the class working on our group skits that we will perform on the last class of the semester. Though the groups are supposed to be bigger, I ended up in a two-person group. It’s working perfectly for us. My partner is about my age and lives near me, but best of all, she is a Christian.

So, with her help, I wrote a Christian skit for us to perform. It is kind of a character sketch of two girls seeing Jesus. Since there are just two of us, we are showing what is going on entirely by our conversation to each other.

We are both really excited about this skit. In fact, I found myself getting chills every time I did the last line. I pray it will plant some seeds in our class.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

A Day with FaithWriters

Yesterday a FaithWriter friend was in town for vacation, so the two other FWs who live in the area and I (and some of our family members) got together. It was the first time I had met some of them in person. It was fun!

Originally we had planned on going hiking, but since it was around 20 degrees plus high winds, we decided an inside activity sounded like a better idea. ;-) So we spent the day at an interactive science museum. The special feature was animation, and we had great fun adding our voices to cartoons and playing with all the exhibits.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

I Await

I await, my beloved, to see your face
to hear you call my name
my heart is silent
listening to hear
a whisper of your love
yearning to echo it back

When the sun rises above the hill
I wonder
if perhaps you watch it, too
you could be right next door
or maybe on the world around
watching the close of day

I see a child laugh
cuddle close to her mom
I imagine our children
yours and mine
the joy we’ll someday share

I look around
to see your brilliant smile
to feel your gentle arms
but I find only longing
trusting that God’s perfect time will bring you near

My heart is waiting
I keep it hidden, safe
wanting only you
hearing the promise of forever
in the whisper of my dreams

I will wait, my love
for you

© 2005 Amy Michelle Wiley

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Can You Hear Any Better?

As many of you know, I found a computer microphone laying around the other day and I have been having a blast playing around with it. Unfortunately, it wasn't so fun trying to get it on this blog...but thanks to help from many of you, here at last it is! :-) It may take 10 minutes to load if you have dail up. :-( I'll try to figure out if I can get it faster. But hey, you can do other things while it loads. ;-)

This story was written as a joke, so it's a rather silly story, and of course I don't have any professional tools to work with, but I think you'll enjoy it. A few months ago I was working on a story for the Faith Writers challenge with the topic "Spring". I mentioned on the message boards that I was having trouble finding a name for my main character. Well, Deb, the challenge coordinator, teasingly posted a list of rather long and odd names. I responded that they were all female names, so she posted another list of male names and then put "Any Better?".

Now, if she had stopped there I wouldn't have thought much of it, but then she added, "Uh, that last one wasn't a name..." Well, then I just had to write something! So this story was born. It uses every single name she listed--no more and no less. ;-) It also uses the Spring theme in two different ways. Enjoy!

Any Better

Oh, and to tie this in with my last post... Yes, this story is wacky, but check out the actual challenge entry I submitted that week! Spring Will Come Too Late LOL

Monday, February 06, 2006

Funny Being Me

You know, I’ve been thinking lately… Those who know me, know that I’m generally a very happy person. I’m very easily amused and pretty much anything will tickle my funny bone. In fact, apparently I myself am rather amusing. Or so my friends tell me quite frequently. I’ll be carrying on a normal conversation and all of a sudden a friend will burst out laughing, “Ha! You’re so funny Amy!” Leaving me standing there blankly wondering what exactly was so funny.

In fact, once after just such an explosion, I asked a friend, “What was so funny? I was just talking. Just being me.”

The response? “You’re funny being you.”

OK. So now that it is firmly established, we get to the odd part. God made me funny. God made me a writer. So wouldn’t it make sense that I be a humor writer? Now, I do write humor occasionally. But the fact is, what I write the most, and what I have gotten published the most, well, are melancholy at best.

But you know what? I enjoy it!

Go figure.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Crafting Classifiers

In my sign language class we’ve been learning about classifiers. In ASL, classifiers are hand movements or hand shapes that are not a particular sign, but that describe an object by its shape, movement, or location.

Today we had a project kinda like Show and Tell…only we Told and Did… LOL Each one of us brought a craft or cooking project or something like that, and gave directions to classmates on how to complete it. Here’s a pic of the of the finished product. I think it turned out quite good considering about five different people made it, with no spoken words exchanged...even if there are ants falling from the sky... ;-)

We had a quiz today, too, and I think it went pretty well, too.