Category Archives: Guadalupe Gateways

Links to sites, physical and virtual, of interest to those who love Mexico

Hola, Spain — again

We returned from Spain and Portugal June 2, and I’m just now going through the photos I took on the journey. I sort of disappeared from Facebook after that last post without an adios or a by-your-leave. Fact was that on the third day in Spain, I had a close encounter with a castle floor, so I wasn’t into a lot of commentary or taking of selfies during the rest of the trip. But I kept the camera clicking as we moved through the major sites on the itinerary. It’s nice going back and seeing where we were, even posting a few reviews on TripAdvisor. I’m all fully recovered now, able to speak lightly of the whole thing and ready to start posting more than an occasional lurking “like.” Missed you, FB buddies!

Hola, Spain!

I would have titled this Hola, Espana, but as you can see, I still don’t know how to put  a tilde on those “n’s” that require one.  After two weeks on the Liberty of the Seas, Larry and I are ready to explore the Spain I’ve read about all my life.  And since it has taken me fifteen minutes to write those first two sentences of this post, I will wait for more responsive internet to let you know more. Hasta luego!

Hope for High Wind

I admit it. I subscribe to all those “liberal” newsfeeds and mailing lists, like UPWORTHY, CREDO, Ultraviolet, BBC, NPR, The New York Times. And lately, distressed by the stalemate in Washington, I’ve posted links from these on FB. And, surprise, surprise, I’ve gotten retaliating comments from “conservative” friends, and friends of their friends. The most recent was a link to a 1961 recording of Ronald Reagan talking about the evils of socialized medicine.

Yep, I remember hearing this. it was an LP record, and my folks invited groups of friends over to listen to it. They were never shy about their politics. I was in sixth grade and that commie pinko John F. Kennedy had just been elected. The country was going to hell in a hand basket.  I also remember how LIVID my mother got at me in August 1976, when right before the Republican convention, I commented that wasn’t it something to be grateful for that we had three good and honest men to choose from to lead the country. Jimmy Carter had already been selected by the Democrats, and the Republicans were to choose between Gerald Ford and Reagan. I could have been happy enough with any of them. But for my mom it was Reagan, Reagan, only Reagan. She was devastated when Ford was tapped to run against Carter.

Before going to Oklahoma City with Mom to visit Mama Hope that August, I had just come through a bout of shingles. I found that it was imperative that I NOT become worked up about politics. It wasn’t just politics. I had some personal issues, but if my thought became inflamed about anything, that horrible rash would reappear.  I had spent the summer mostly in bed, learning to control my thinking. Barely able to move, I learned concentrated mindfulness. I spent days and nights consciously identifying myself, everyone I knew, and every detail around me in terms of spiritual qualities.  For example, the redbud tree outside the bedroom window became a metaphor for vibrancy, flexibility, growth, development, It gently responded to the summer breeze, and I tried to emulate that responsiveness, bending my thought to that of the Holy Spirit wind that seemed to be blowing through my whole experience. This mindfulness was as effective as an electric fence. I literally had to corral every angry, disruptive thought and replace it with something kind and loving. A knee-jerk mental reaction would lead to an immediate physical reaction in my body. It was a heck of a discipline.

Eventually Mom got her wish, and both she and I voted for Ronald Reagan in 1980.  Honestly, I don’t even know how Larry voted. I still had some of that discipline left from 1976.

In the mid-80’s Larry and I moved to California. “Don’t go out there and get all weird on us,” counseled our West Texas friends. Does getting weird include making friends with Democrats, people who actually went to Berkeley, who voted for Alan Cranston? And, son of a gun, they had neither horns nor tails, and nary a pitchfork in sight. I found them to be deeply caring and loving people. Just like my Republican friends back in Texas, and all the other Republican friends I soon made in South Orange County.

And that’s where I need to go now — back to that sense of loving and caring. From a distance here in Mexico, surrounded by an admittedly liberal enclave of expat Americans and Canadians (you know, those socialists), listening to the echo chamber of my chosen “news” sources, as — please admit it — we all tend to do these days, it’s easy to become reactionary. Responsiveness, not reaction, is what I need right now. No more links. So bring it on — a good clean gust of Holy Spirit wind to carry me upward in thought, to carry us all upward and outward, even though in the whirlwind we may be 180 degrees apart.

Looking at the world in a leaf

This morning I bent over the kitchen counter to better inspect a small pile of green mint leaves spread out on a paper towel. Yesterday I cut back my overgrown plant of hierba buena, and a friend suggested I dry the foliage and make tea.  But what were those little brown nodules on the back of some of the largest leaves? Are they bugs, fungus, or just some blight from all the rain we’ve had? Would tea made with these leaves be safe to drink? And just how dry do mint leaves have to be to make the best tea?

 “I should google it,” was my immediate thought, one I have about once an hour.  It’s a given these days that if you have a question, someone, somewhere will have posted an answer; and if not, you can post the question, and expect a speedy response.  “I’ll bet some Birkenstock-shod earth mother in Vermont would know,” I thought, “or some organic farmer in Mexico, or even further south in the hemisphere. Where else do people drink mint tea? China? Don’t know. Definitely the Middle East: Egypt, Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Iran?” Images of white pajama-clad figures sitting on bentwood chairs in sidewalk cafes came to mind.

About the time I was harvesting my mint leaves, people in Iran had a few hours unfettered access to Facebook and the rest of the internet universe. But the door slammed shut, as so many doors do. Anyone hooked up to an Iranian server has no direct access to information on how to prepare authentic Texas barbecue. Conversely, the U.S. blockade of websites ending in .ir remains largely unbreached. They want to keep us safe from teaching each other how to make bombs. But don’t you think most of the people in the world would rather make mint tea or barbecue?


Grace and the Inner Guadalupe

Grace and the Inner Guadalupe

From what I used to be told by my parents, this could have been me over sixty decades ago. Evidently my favorite line was “Let me do it by myself!”  Thankfully, I’ve finally ALMOST learned that grace is learning to receive help as well as give it. Sending gratitude to all those who have given me so much support and encouragement!

Home and Heaven: In a City?

Right now I’m in San Miguel de Allende. Larry is “home” in rough-and- tumble La Penita on the coast. But I’m thinking about Detroit. And art. The city is considering selling the inventory of the Detroit Institute of the Arts. Wow. Talk about selling your soul!

What makes a city great? In very old times it was the height of the church spire or the height of the walls. Capitalism may have changed the focus to the skyscraper, but it still comes down to the fact that a city is known by what its citizens trust most. I trust art, and the Creative Force behind it. Yeah, I’m using capital letters there.

Years back, a friend pointed me in the direction of a lesser known work of Henry Drummond, who is best known for writing The Greatest Thing in the World, a perennial graduation or wedding shower gift about the power of love. Today I’m revisiting The City without a Church. Let me say quickly, that Drummond does not equate that to a city without a soul, but rather the opposite. (I can’t even find it on Amazon, but follow the link for a free online version in text form.) This article is not that well-known or well-promoted. The title may be a little too in-your-face and threatening for normal Christian outlets. But see if you don’t think the ideas are even more trenchant and needed today than ever before.


Two Sets of Core Values

Two Sets of Core Values

I posted this first on my Warren Hardy Spanish website. After some recent discussions I’ve had, I think it bears re-posting here.