sábado, 10 de diciembre de 2016

Advent Photo Challenge--Faith

Last week, I started CatholicSistas´ Advent Photo Challenge.

Here´s this week´s installment!

December 4--Candle

We light two candles on the advent wreath this week. Last week´s candle represented hope, this week´s candle represents faith.  I found it funny that I had the hardest time lighting the candles this week.  Then, once I finally got them lit, they both extinguished themselves all of a sudden.

Is that like real faith?  Jesus mentions all the time about how little faith people had.  The only times he ever seemed to get frustrated or angry were when the disciples showed their lack of faith.  However, when I read those stories, the disciples always show me an exemplary amount of faith.  Yet Jesus got frustrated with them?  Yikes.  I hate to think how frustrated he gets with me.

Which is why I liked this pictures that I shot of the candles this week.  One has a strong, bright flame--like some people in my life who have a faith that inspires me.  Then there was the other candle.  Once it was finally lit, it didn´t burn as bright as the other one.

But that´s the thing--even though that flame was small in comparison to the other one, it was still a lit candle!  So, if we´re using the candles as an analogy for faith, even though my faith may seem meager compared to others´, it´s still faith.  That counts for something.  (And let´s face it--the comparison game isn´t a healthy game to play in most instances.)

But, a few minutes after I took this photo, the wax melted away and this candle burned just as bright as the other.  So basically, I´ve just got to work through all that wax that holds me back!

December 5--Truth

No, Harry Potter is not the truth.  It´s a work of fiction.  But, like any good story, it points to the truth.  (Spoiler alert for the 5 people out there who haven´t read Harry Potter:  the climax of the entire series is an allegory of the passion of Christ.)

Furthermore, one of the larger themes in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is truth--what is truth?  This is a very timely topic this season, as we´ve been bombarded through this past election season by part-truths, outright lies, and the usual campaign promises.  Where on earth can we find out what is truth and what´s a lie?

In a nutshell, this book shows that only knowing part of the truth can be very misleading.  Then again, sometimes part of the truth is all we have to go on.  Part of the truth is still true.  But if one is making decisions based only on part truths, one might decide very differently what to do in a given situation if all the truth had been available.

These days, it seems that we have to search hard for the truth.  Dig deep.

It´s effort worthwhile.

December 6--Shoes

I´m sure this day was meant to commemorate St. Nicholas Day.

We don´t do that in our house.

Between Christmas, Santa Claus, and Three Kings´ Day, I´m a bit overwhelmed.  Gift giving is not one of my love languages.

But I have had quite a relationship with Joey´s shoes this last month.

At the beginning of the school year, the school district decided that all the preschools were going to enter a dance contest.  This was a big, fat, hairy deal.  The kids had costumes, makeup, and hours of rehearsals during school.  The school even hired a dance teacher.  Our class did a traditional dance from Veracruz, and the kids had to dress in white--including shoes.

Now, being public school, the teachers do try to keep extra costs to a reasonable amount.  The girls had to buy new shoes to dance in, but it was decided that the boys would just paint their shoes white.  I was a bit skeptical of the whole shoe-painting business, but if everyone else was going to do it, I´d go along with it.

The week before the contest, the teacher handed me a bottle of acrylic paint, especially made for painting leather.  I covered the shoes in a number of coats over the course of a few days, and they turned out to be fairly convincing.   After the performance, some of the white had flaked off.  That was fine--I was about to paint them back to the original black, anyway.

I was afraid I´d have a hard time finding this special shoe paint, but on one trip to the grocery store (one that´s not known for having a huge selection) I found shoe paint.  I bought it and some polish, and went off to turn those shoes back to black.  (I had been hiding these shoes from Mario, because I was afraid he´d go nuts about seeing Joey´s nice shoes all painted with acrylic paint.)

This paint was much thinner and easier to work with than the acrylic.  It dried super-fast, so I did a number of coats all in one evening.  The shoes were back to looking almost as good as new.  Then, just before Joey was to wear them to school the other day, I decided to use the shoe polish on them.  Some of the color rubbed off.  Now there are spots with a decidedly blue tinge.

And that´s where I stand with the shoe saga at the moment.  Tomorrow I´m off to paint them yet again, so maybe they´ll be black again in time for school on Monday.

December 7--Love

Self Explanatory.  I do love other people and things, but it´s hard to wrap that up in just one photo.

December 8--Mother

This is my mother.  She´s just marvelous.

Two of the more solid things she´s taught me as an adult that I´m trying to make stick:

     1)  Not swearing.

          I´m failing miserably.  I know there´s a number of good reasons not to swear. But she´s got the most convincing argument.  For those of us who swear, it makes us sound uneducated.  It´s like we don´t have a bit enough vocabulary to express ourselves, so we have to resort to swearing.
          Man, I really like sounding educated.  So I´ve got to stop!  (I just wish I knew how!)

     2)  Doing the right thing.

          Ten or fifteen years ago, I remember talking with her about a hypothetical situation that I could have used with questionable ethics to my advantage.  (Unfortunately, I can´t remember the exact situation.)  Nothing shocking, of course.  A lot of people probably would have done it without batting an eye.  After all, I was about to do whatever it was.  But my mom responded to this potential situation with, "Yeah--but is that the right thing to do?"

          Just because something is considered OK, doesn´t make it the right thing to do.

          Thanks, Mom.  I´ll do the right thing.

December 9--San Juan Diego

          Today must be Juan Diego´s Day.  I first moved to Mexico in January 2003, about a month after Juan Diego was canonized.  On Teacher´s Day, one of my students (and his mother) game me a necklace with Juan Diego on it.  I wasn´t Catholic at the time, I had no overwhelming affection for Juan Diego (other than just liking him for the role he played in Mexican history).  But that necklace was one of my favorite Teacher´s Day presents.


December 10--book

 This is what is on my bedside table now.  Lately, whenever I´m at a loss of what I should read next, or I just want to get lost in a book and be uncivil to everyone until I finish it, Philippa Gregory always delivers!

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