Sunday, June 3, 2012

Children of Villa Hortencia

I've been slammed with work which has prohibited me from creating new blog posts. I've been wanting to share pictures of faces from my recent trip to the village of Villa Hortencia.

It's been over a month since the trip. However, these faces share a story that reminds me of how simple life really is and how complicated it can become if we allow stuff to get in the way. I'm sure the people of V.H. have their own complications in life, but I can't help think about areas in my life that can be simplified. In fact, having been on several trips like this, my perception of what is essential has changed. There is much tossed at me in the mainstream that is compelling. Having experienced this village has caused me to become aware of what is really important. It's not the stuff, it's the relationships we build.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Villa Hortencia I, Guatemala

I've just returned from a trip to Guatemala with a group from my church, Chapel Hill in Gig Harbor. We support the village of Villa Hortencia I, "Town of Hydrangeas," through Agros International.

Perched 8000 feet in the Ixil highlands,families have obtained rights to the 688 acres of land in Villa Hortencia I through the government run Land Fund, Fontierras. The families’ principal economic activity is subsistence agriculture with the primary crops being corn and beans. However, due to the poor quality of the rocky land, lack of water and lack of training in knowing how to best utilize their land, the majority of the community still migrates to plantations on the south coast of Guatemala to pick coffee and cut sugar cane three times a year.

In 2006, Agros began working with the families in Villa Hortencia I, facilitating a process of community organization and leadership development. In June 2008, with the support of long-term funding, Agros was able to begin implementing their development model and 120 families now have access to training and support to maximize their productivity, as well as building on their process of community organization and human development.

Our church in involved through Journey with a Village (JWAV), an Agros International program that builds partnerships between rural villages in developing countries and churches, businesses, individuals and community groups that are committed to their support. As the families purchase farmland and build their community, the JWAV partnership supports them in developing a sustainable livelihood, which restores dignity and transforms lives. It takes a community 7-10 years to grow from a loose organization of landless families into a self-governing, self-sustaining and thriving community.

The typical JWAV partner journeys with a village for two to five years. We are in our third year of partnering with Villa Hortencia helping them realize their goal to be a self-sustaining community through funding, friendship and hands-on support. This is my second time to the village and I walked away with the understanding that this life is all about relationships. I had the awesome opportunity to travel with 12 good friends to a village of friends all joined together through the common bond of Christ.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Spring in the Harbor

One of my new favorite running course takes me from my house in Tacoma across the Narrows Bridge and around Gig Harbor. I run by the home of some good friends and decided to stop by to return a phone call in person. While there I noticed all of the daffodils growing wild in their backyard, so few days later I returned with camera in hand.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Freeze Frozen Yogurt in University Place

I had the privilege of designing the logo for a friend of mine who recently opened a frozen yogurt store in the Green Firs shopping center in nearby University Place. The store has only been opened a couple of weeks and already they have been crazy busy--a good situation to be in. I encourage everybody to stop in and check them out just down the way from Trader Joe's.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

March 18th Wine and Chocolates at Gallery Three‏

A couple of months ago I joined Gallery Three in Puyallup, Washington to show and sell my ink illustrations. This is my first attempt at such an endeavor and I'm pretty excited. Each month the gallery has a reception to welcome in new artists. This month the gallery is hrilled to welcome me and my illustrations as well as Joan Nicholson, pastels and Anette Lusher, acrylics. It's open to anyone, so I invite you to stop by if you have some free time this Sunday, March 18th at 2:30.

Gallery Three
333 S. Meridian, 253-604-4683

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Justice Conference in Portland

Months ago I was asked to attend the Justice Conference in Portland, Oregon by the mission team at my church. When they first asked, I perused the website and figured that it wasn’t for me. The speakers seemed to be activists and social workers and I figured it would be a crowd of organizations on their soapboxes. However, when I was approached again to reconsider, I took a look again at the venue and decided that maybe God was nudging me to go.

Indeed I did go. Some of my reservations were valid, but I came away with the question of how I can be a doer of Jesus’ call to give to the poor. What does it truly mean to: “Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Luke 12:33-34).

My mind is still reeling from this past weekend, which is good. I think my heart has been yearning to be stretched to capacity. “We cannot fix the world through justice, but we can change it,” said Pastor Ken Wystma. I would add that that is true only through the grace that Jesus brings.

There were two speakers that really resonated with me. The first being a gentleman named Walter Brueggemann, an American Protestant Old Testament scholar and theologian. He was a bit lofty, but I appreciated his scholarly approach to validate the need to participate—both as a giver and a receiver of Christ’s justice. Karen Spears Zacharias explained him well when she penned that his “hands grasped the air, as if he was about to throttle his own thought. He animatedly explained that compassion, rightly-defined and rightly lived-out, should create an emotional upheaval in our gut.”

She went on to write: We should have our guts stirred by the injustices of this world,” Brueggemann said. “This is not right. It cannot sustain us and it must be changed.”

The vulnerable were mesmerized by Jesus and the power establishment resented him because of that.

“Jesus was a huge threat to the status quo,” Brueggemann said. “And the followers of Jesus are always a huge threat to the status quo when they carry out justice.”

The Spirit really moved in me when Francis Chan spoke. I really appreciated his anointed ability to wrap up the weekend in a parenthetic way.

The conference was predominantly Christian. However, there seemed to be times when Jesus, the author of justice, was implied but not mentioned. So I was happy to hear Francis reiterate the name of Jesus over and over again in rapid succession.

The weekend was pretty much consumed with the conference. However, I did spend some time in the evenings with my camera to take some shots of Portland.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Past Travels

I was going through some old family travels and go a kick out of the designs and prices.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Superbowl Weekend

I was able to get out and enjoy the gift of somewhat warm weather, at least for this time of year. I was able to get out for a ten-mile run yesterday across the Narrows Bridge and through Gig Harbor. On the way back, I saw at least nine seals floating below sunning themselves. I only wished I had my camera with me I caught up with my work and was able to get out and take some pictures. Here is the result.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

January Snow

This past week we received around 7 inches of snow on Wednesday. By Thursday morning freezing rain turned everything into a popsicle. It was fun for a couple of days--by Friday, it was getting old. Fortunately it warmed up on Friday and turned to rain. I was grateful to be able to run again. However, on Wednesday I snapped on my x-country skis and took a 7-mile trip to Fircrest and back, dodging the few brave soles who felt the need to drive somewhere. I also got out on Thursday to take some abstract shots of some of the frozen plants around my yard.