Posts Tagged With: coffee

Giraffe Necks and Weak Coffee

Thursday – 11/8/12 – 7:00am – Casa de Misiones – General Cepeda, Coahuila, Mexico

Earlier this morning I had an experience which hasn’t happened since my sophomore year of college, roughly 11 years go. As I was turning on my computer the screen goes all white and then dark again for a few moments before booting up. While the screen was dark and I was looking at it, I saw my reflection. And I didn’t like what I saw. My head looked humongous & my neck was like a giraffe. In college, the same thing happened as I was passing by one of the big ground-level window panes on one of the classroom buildings. I saw my reflection and didn’t like what I saw. Both then and now, I woke up from that initial displeasure with an “aha!” moment. The realization was that the mirror I was looking into was not an accurate one. They were both modern day versions of the circus-mirror effect. The difference is that with the circus mirror I never took it seriously enough to be displeased with my reflection, because I knew it was false. So naturally from these instances it caused me to reflect on the accuracy of the mirrors in our lives, whether they be a physical mirror that shows us what we look like or some person/situation that reflects some aspect of our lives. With both I realized that you have to have a good mirror or else none of your assumptions or opinions will be accurate. Another vital part of the equation is to be able to interpret the results in a good way. If the results are good, you have to build off of that in a way that does not also inflate your ego. If the results are not so good, then you have to be able to build off of that and not let it deflate your will and sense of self-worth.

My other little incident this morning involved coffee. Come to think of it, when does anything in my morning routine NOT involve coffee? Yesterday morning one of our missionaries in training (who is a morning person like me) was up before I was and made the coffee. He appeared to have put about half a millimeter of coffee grounds into the filter to make the coffee. Stuff tasted like flavorless hot brown water. But I didnt’ wanna waste the whole pot, and I also knew that the “brown water” had caffeine in it. So I swallowed my pride, figuratively and literally, and drank the coffee. My morning depended on it. I was determined this morning to educate him on how to make stronger coffee. To me, one of my pet peeves is weak coffee. Seems kinda pointless. I think if I end up in purgatory instead of going straight to heaven, one of my thousand-year penances will be drinking weak coffee day in and day out. Anyhoo, back to my story. I didn’t get up in time to beat him to the coffee maker. But to his credit he remembered what I said yesterday about weak coffee and put more coffee grounds than he did yesterday. Still not quite enough though. Also to his credit is the fact that the only brand of Mexican coffee available here is really weak stuff when compared to my beloved Community Coffee. Ergo I enjoyed my first cup more than yesterday’s first cup but I was still determined that at least my second cup would be stronger. So I took the plastic filter thingy hostage. By “plastic filter thingy” I’m referring to the thing where you put the paper coffee filter and then fill it up with coffee grounds. Once I was sure that the first pot was close enough to being done, I dumped out the rest of it. Put water in the machine. And then I filled that thing up with a Southern-Louisiana-Cajun-appropriate level of coffee grounds, which according to Sid, means at least 1/2 to 2/3 full. Gosh dernit, I want this stuff to curl my nose hair it’s so strong. I want it to be so strong that it puts hair on my chest (a feat usually reserved for a good beer or shot of whiskey). You get the idea. I’m pleased that the 2nd pot was definitely stronger. I’m even pleased-er that I think the bag of Mexican coffee we’re on right now is our second to last, and 6 bags of Community Coffee are waiting in line to take its place.

You know, as I look back on the title of this entry I think someone could easily misinterpret that this entry is written by some innovative Cajun who found a new type of bait to put in his crab trap. I also remember that yesterday we had a class on tips for missionary photography and blogging. But I didn’t think that a picture of a blank computer screen, my neck, a coffee pot, or a cup of coffee would cause my journal entry to be any more interesting than it already is. So please, just use your imagination. πŸ˜‰

Have a good one. God Bless

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Sid’s 40 Day Fast – Day 40

Day 40 – Friday – 11/2/12

What’s that you say? It’s day 40 of my 40 day fast? THAT MEANS MY 40 DAY FAST IS OVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! aoiejhanvclknasl;kfjgv;oairejhjgf;ncv’kjao;riehfanv;lknasfdoitaonc v;lakjhgoiag;ona;lxknv;oaijgf;ja;jkgfa!!!!!!!!a;isjv;lakngfajd;fljk!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ok, I think I’ve got a hold of myself now. πŸ™‚ It’s crazy to think that this is the end of my 40 day fast. I didn’t think it would go by so quickly. Neither did I think that it would be as amazing of an experience as it was. But I guess your first time doing something like this will always be memorable. Today was a pretty good day. Had a couple of cups of coffee this morning before heading out to pick up one of our home visits to go to the local cemetery to decorate family members’ graves for All Souls Day. We also went so that we could attend Mass in the cemetery. Lemme tell you somethin’, you ain’t seen nothin’ until you see All Souls Day (Dia De Los Muertos) in Mexico. I’ve never seen more flowers (real or artificial) in my life! And the cool thing is, it’s not some sad or mopey occasion. Here, it’s a celebration. People decorate the graves. They hire mariachi bands to serenade them and their dearly departed family members at the gravesite. They bring food, usually some of the favorite food of the deceased, and have lunch at the gravesite.

After Mass ended I came back home and tackled the table covering project. One of my benefactors sent me the money to buy new material to cover our tables with. Today was the first chance I had to actually get it done. Probably took me at least 3 or 4 hours. Now, I’m sure that I was slightly overboard on some of the things I did to make sure they were measured, cut, positioned, and then secured as best as possible. I was also just moving slow. There was no rush, not much going on tonight, so why hurry? Once it was done I was uber happy. The dining rooms and kitchen look alot better. To break things up a bit and to give myself a rest, I made a few trips to the grocery store. Since I can start eating 3 meals again tomorrow, I had to make sure I had some breakfast ready. One of my mission partners also gave me some pesos as his contribution towards the table coverings, even though it was all donated. So I ended up buying some absolute essentials for the house: coffee, creamer, and sugar! πŸ™‚ After I was done with all that, I headed across the plaza to the church parish for a little bit of adoration. Did night prayer and was in the process of reading a book when they told me they were about to lock up, so I came on back, and here I be.

So at the end of my 40 day fast, I have no choice but to retrospect. First thing I think about is all the “commitments” I had for the 40 day fast. Most of them having nothing to do with fasting, but all of them having something to do with self-control or making myself better. Less computer time. More guitar practice.
Diversify prayer time. I think I just got too caught up in trying to add on all these extra commitments, thinking that they could just ride on the coattails of my main commitment, and I’d be able to get them all done. But it was kinda distracting too. Next time I do something like this, i’m just gonna have my fast and that’s it. Otherwise I’ll lose focus on the most important thing, the fast itself.

In regards to my main commitment, the fast itself, I think I did ok. Didn’t do bad, but could have done better. I learned alot about self-control and honesty. Many times I found myself trying to get around the rules by either having snacks, spreading out my meal to lessen the sacrifice of feeling hunger, or eating a ton of food for my one meal so that I was fuller (less hungry) for longer. Another thing I was blessed with is a better perspective on how hungry and poor people feel. Now that I know the anxiety of hunger on a whole new level, I think I’m gonna be more in tune to the poor and ways that I can help them. My prayer intentions for the fast were: 1.)For an increase in humility, 2.)For an increase in charity, 3.)For clarity in discerning what next year will look like for me, 4.)For our Intake missionaries, 5.)For my sister and nieces, and 6.)For our presidential election. I think time will tell how much I succeeded in numbers 1 & 2. But I do think that I was blessed in those areas. As far as #3 is concerned, I definitely think I have more clarity now. Numbers 4-6, well, only God knows how those were affected. But I know that prayer works, and that God is a mighty God. And maybe I’ll never know in my earthly life what the effects of my prayers were, but when I get to heaven, then it will all make sense.

All in all, it was a great experience. A perfect way to prepare for all of the visiting missionaries this month. And a perfect way to end the year.

p.s.- Decided at 10:45pm that at midnight, when my fast ended, i’d celebrate by eating a bowl of cereal. Had to be the longest 75 minutes of my life.

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Sid’s 40 Day Fast – Day 39

Day 39 – Thursday – 11/1/12

Check out the date! 11 + 1 = 12! I love when that happens! πŸ™‚ Anyhoo, I felt the need to slow down my journalling a bit. The past couple of days I’ve been typing up my entries instead of writing them down first. I didn’t really have any time to journal this morning because I was getting ready to come to Saltillo. After morning prayer and a cup of coffee, checking email and throwing a few things in my backpack, I hopped on the 9 o’clock bus (La Naranja) to Saltillo.

Got down at my usual spot in front of the Panteon Santiago. It was an absolute madhouse in that area because today is All Saints Day & tomorrow is All Souls Day. Or as it’s known here in Mexico, Dia De Los Muertos. Headed down Victoria Guadalupe street to the post office to mail something to the states. I can’t tell you what I mailed off, I can’t even tell you how big or small it is, because I’m almost positive that the person who it’s for is gonna read this entry and I don’t wanna spoil the surprise. You know how girls are. If you let them know they’re getting something then the gears in their brain get goin’. And if you give them even the slightest clue as to what it is, then their brain goes into overdrive and they will use persistence and charm to try and get more clues out of you. πŸ™‚ (I kinda had to let her know something was coming, cuz I had to ask for her mailing address.)

Now I’m sitting outside of the Miracle Chapel that’s on the side of the Cathedral here in Saltillo. Gonna go to Noon Mass, since today’s a holy day of obligation. Well, it is in the states, not sure about here in Mexico. But whether it is or it isn’t, I have no excuse not to go, and I wanna go anyways. Besides, I’m definitely feeling the hunger pangs right now, so the first thing that will alleviate my physical hunger, as well as my spiritual hunger, is The Body, Blood, Soul & Divinity of Jesus Christ in The Eucharist. Cool, huh? πŸ™‚ After Mass, I’m gonna take a city bus to La Central de Autobuses and walk on over to Domino’s for lunch. I’m kinda pumped about it, can’t lie. Not only am I super hungry, but I’ve been in Mexico for five months now and haven’t had any American fast food or pizza this whole time. After some deelish pizza, I’m gonna head on over to HEB to buy a Dr. Pepper to bring back home and enjoy. Then I’m gonna take the bus back to General Cepeda. Probably gonna be a slow night. I might start cutting the new table covers from the rolls of material I bought from Senor Schlemann’s tienda. Maybe talk with some friends. Who knows…….

A few quick updates:
-Mass and The Eucharist were awesome.
-Got the “mystery thing” mailed off without a hitch πŸ™‚
-Domino’s pizza was awesome!!!!!!! Flippin’ delicious. I probably could have eaten the whole thing, but I was gettin’ pretty full so I saved two pieces for part of my lunch tomorrow.
-Got my Dr. Pepper, ready to crack that baby open tomorrow. Word.
-Played volleyball again tonight. I didn’t realize how much exercise it could be, and consequently how much it could hurt! It’s not too bad though. And it gives me more to offer up. Again tonight I was comic relief, definitely was the cause of some smiles and laughing. πŸ™‚ Slowly but surely though I am getting better.

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Sid’s 40 Day Fast – Day 38

Day 38 – Wednesday – 10/31/12

I’d like to start my entry today with a quote from a song that someone passed along to me. “Happiness don’t drag its feet. And time moves faster than you think.” I like this quote. Scratch that. I REALLY like this quote. At first I wondered “do I like it so much because of the person that sent the song to me?”. Yes, I’d be lying if I said that wasn’t a reason I like the quote and the song. But, as I thought about it, I realized I like the song and especially this quote, because it very accurately reflects what I think and feel. Happiness indeed, don’t drag its feet. Why? Because it’s a good thing and it’s meant to be. Why should it be put off? Now don’t go gettin’ all nit-picky on me. Just take what I’m sayin at face value, for what it means, and you’ll see what I’m talkin’ about. And if there’s one thing I’ve discovered in life, time definitely moves faster than you think. So, what I take it to mean (at least to me) is that if happiness don’t drag its feet and time ain’t slowin down, I gotta go for this blessing. I have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

So, you remember that nap I told you about yesterday? You know, that REALLY good nap where I was dead to the world? I’ve re-discovered what happens when you take a nap like that too late in the day. You end up restless at 4am, walkin’ around bundled up in the freezing cold and prayin’ a rosary! πŸ™‚ That’s what happened to me this morning. Well, the nap was the main culprit. But also, I had an earlier bedtime than I normally have. I think too that because of our daily schedule here, even when the day is really full, it’s never one that is physically demanding or exhausting. So that trifecta came together in the perfect mixture I guess. It’s kinda good though. Early in theΒ  morning when the air is cold like this, it’s really crisp and refreshing. The prayer intentions that I offered up during my rosary made my early morning sleeplessness worth it. The other night I was telling someone that my style of relationship with God is to step out in faith and have the Lord guide me as I go. However there is nothing that can replace the security and assurance that comes with prayer. I know that the best thing I could do for the people that I love and are on my heart and the things that are on my heart, and the best way to be as close to them as possible (short of being physically present) is to lift them up in prayer.

Today should be a good day, even if just for the fact that Albert is back. Adds some extra energy to our daily life at the house. We have our last two home visits that we’re gonna do for the week. I’ll probably try and do some more preparations around the house. I can’t really do much cleaning yet, because I don’t want to sweep and tidy up the areas now, only to have them get dirty again before the group arrives on Tuesday. Gonna wait as late as possible to do that. Man, what I really need to do is consolidate my personal stuff in my room. It’s very spread out, which is I guess what tends to happen when you have a room all to yourself. But with 25 people coming next week, and 35 more coming the week of Thanksgiving, I know that I’m either going to be sharing a full room, in which case I’ll have to make my stuff very compact and also share shelf and closet space. Or, I might even have to move to another room. We’ll see. All I know is that I gotta do something with all that stuff. 6pm Mass is in the plans too. There’s no good reason not to go. Besides, how can I resist getting to receive Jesus’ Body and Blood in The Eucharist? πŸ™‚

And I hope they have volleyball again tonight, cuz I’m really starting to enjoy it. I played again last night and had alot of fun. Got to see a few people I know, play some volleyball, andΒ  just get out of the house. It’s nice to get away from the house and refresh yourself sometimes. Something as simple as the cool outside air and a game of volleyball can do that. I also have to get something ready for an errand I’m running in Saltillo tomorrow. Among other things, I plan on going to the Cathedral for All Saints Day Mass, and for my one daily meal I think I’m gonna pay a little visit to Domino’s. πŸ™‚ I’ve been craving it ever since my last visit to Saltillo to pick up Albert. Thursday is also the last chance that I’ll get to go to Saltillo on my own before the group gets here. Friday is All Souls Day (Dia De Los Muertos) and I wanna be here in town for the Mass in the local cemetery, and to be able to experience whatever other types of festivities that go on during that time. I’ve also gotta be focused on all the things I need to help out with to prepare for the group (put new coverings on table, clean, organize, etc….) Also, once they arrive, and even when we go to Saltillo as a group, there’s not as much freedom or flexibility to wander around Saltillo on your own. Gotta orient yourself toward the group, know what I mean?

As far as my fast goes, I’m pretty excited about that too. After today I’ve only got two days left. And while in some ways I’m ready for it to end, it’ll also be bittersweet. Not that I like the feeling of hunger, but it’s something you grow accustomed to. It gives you something to offer up and helps you to sharpen your spiritual focus. It also gave me the chance to look alot more carefully at what exactly I eat and how much I eat. But like I said, I’m ready for it to end. Ready to get back to a normal schedule and way of life. I’m ready to be able to step back from the experience, recover, get a “bigger picture” perspective as I do some retrospection, and move on from there.

p.s.- I don’t understand how, but for some reason I felt really good when I got up at my normal time this morning. Decided I wasn’t gonna let myself sleep late just because of last night. I knew that getting up early as normal might mean I’d be a little tired, which I definitely was right when I woke up. But after getting out of bed and going on my morning walk I felt great! πŸ™‚

p.s.s.- Another thing that’s really great about early morning walks in cold weather is the nice hot cup of coffee that was waiting for me afterwards. Truly a piece of heaven in a cup.

p.s.s.s.- Random fun fact: As I was doin’ some more laundry, sippin’ on my mornin’ coffee, jammin’ to my favorite country singer Josh Turner, I did me a little country hoe-down jig. Only cuz I knew no one was watchin’. It’d take a mighty special person to get me relaxed enough to do that in front of them! πŸ˜€

p.s.s.s.s.- Another random fun fact: Misunderstood some of Josh Turner’s lyrics as sayin’ “pickle mess” instead of “big ole mess”. Though, I suppose that “pickle-mess” sounds like somethin’ that charming country folk would say, like maybe when Mawmaw Billy-Jo accidentally uses baking soda instead of sugar to make her apple pie and when she tastes it says “aw shucks! them thar neighbors is comin over fer dinner tonight and i’m in a pickle-mess cuz i ain’t got no apple pie I can serve ’em!”. Hyphenated names is just somethin’ that country folk do, and if yer a girl named “Jo”, you gotta spell it without the “e” cuz only boys named “Joe” spell it with the “e”.

p.s.s.s.s.s. – Last random fact, I promise: Today, I literally stopped and smelt the roses. We’ve got a yellow rose bush growin’ in the back yard garden of our mission house.

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Sid’s 40 Day Fast – Day 35

Day 35 – Sunday – 10/28/12

I think I’ve come to the conclusion that a good journal entry is like a good dream. If you want to remember it, you are more likely to do so if you write it down earlier in the day. That’s probably why most of my journaling is done, or at least starts in the morning. Got some really good sleep last night. Let my body wake me up, since we didn’t have communion services today thus no early Mass. Looks like I’ll be going to Noon Mass! πŸ˜‰ The sun is out, the skies are blue, the air is nice and cold and crisp and refreshing. When I was heating up my morning coffee, I was thinking about how it would be black with some sugar in it. That is, until I remembered that I had bought some creamer yesterday, at which point I was super happy. You see, that’s an instance where it’s good to forget something because then you get a pleasant surprise because of it. Fired up my computer, in case any family or friends would try to call me or send me a message. Went on up to our chapel here at the mission house and had me some good morning prayer time, along with my hot cup of coffee for sure.

So another thing I’ve discovered is that my fast seems to be the source of much reflection and therefore much material for my journal. I think I’m rediscovering too that typing a journal entry instead of writing it really helps me to get my thoughts out faster. No, I don’t type at the speed of talk. That would be a superhuman strength reserved only for Super Man. I’m Sidney Man, not Super Man. But it does help. The only downside is that when compared to writing down a journal entry, I tend to not be as thoughtful or selective in what I write because I can write it much faster. Maybe typing a journal entry more accurately reflects the influence of my stream of consciousness, and writing a journal entry is more reflective of the general idea influenced by more time for reflection and composition.

Last night was an exercise in irony for me. If you recall in yesterday’s entry, I was waiting until the baby shower to eat since there would be food. Thought that it would be a late lunch, when in reality they ate around supper time. So what ended up happening is that I got tired of waiting (impatient much?) and ate my own supper, which was a decent amount of food. Then, not long after that I was informed that there was some food waiting for me. A big piece of cake, a cup of coke, tostadas (with beans, lettuce, and tomato) and a few marshmallows thrown in for good measure. I was FULL. And one of the things I’ve discovered as a hungry person is that you think that when you do get a chance to eat that if you eat alot of food, you won’t be hungry for a much longer time. After supper I discovered that was not necessarily true. By the time I went to bed, I was probably having as intense of a hunger pang that I’ve had all during the fast. Maybe my body, because of my hunger, digested the food super quick so that I could get nutrients. Anyhoo, the hunger was not a bad thing. It’s the whole point of a fast, and it’s the fuel, the raw material, the offering that you can offer up to the Lord.

Also last night I reinforced the notion that time flies when you’re having fun. Had another great conversation with a female friend last night. Talked about alot of different things. I mean, we did kinda sorta have a direction in the conversation, but it still had very much of a random feel to it. Like I said, I really enjoyed it, especially since we got to talk for a long time. God-willing, if things continue to go well, I might reveal her identity. But for now it’ll have to wait. Don’t wanna count the chickens before the eggs hatch. BUT, if I had to give you a percentage of likelihood that it will progress to that point, I’d say it’s at least 90%. πŸ˜‰ We shall see what we shall see.

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Sid’s 40 Day Fast – Day 31

Day 31 – Wednesday – 10/24/12

Well I decided to sleep in an little bit this morning, and not get up for my morning walk. Stubbed my toe on Monday night, and I need to let it heal up anyways before putting on my running shoes. I also knew that today being “office hours” in the morning, would likely mean that I’d have a slow morning, since not many people come to the door. Ergo, I’d have time to do my reading and prayer at a leisurely pace. Man, for some reason, the coffee milk I had this morning was GOOD. Maybe it had somethin to do with the fact that I put three spoonfuls of sugar in it! πŸ™‚ Probably just gonna do various little small chores around the house today, eat me some lunch a little later on. We have a prayer service at the chapel in the neighborhood behind our house. It’s at 5pm this afternoon. We didn’t have many people show up last week, even though we told them the day before so they could spread the word. We even had Albert, who’s super good and going door-to-door and inviting people, make his way around the neighborhood while we waited in the chapel. I think we had about 5 or 6 people show up. But what I remembered for the bazillionth time, after I got over my obsession with numbers, is that if only one person shows up, and is touched by the Lord through us, then it’s worth it. So today, I doubt we’ll have a big crowd, though I’m sure we’ll have at least one or two people show up. We’ll do like we did last week: open up with a few songs and a prayer, preach on the readings of Mass that day, close in a prayer, and another song or two. We want it to be over before afternoon Mass at 6, so that not only we can go, but hopefully we can encourage them to go. There’s no substitute for receiving Jesus’ Body and Blood in the Eucharist.

The hunger pangs have been hittin’ me pretty good the last few days. The one constant has been eating my daily meal at lunch time, and not having snacks at any other time of the day (except for my morning cup of coffee). So, I’ve been having some good stuff to offer up. I’m still struggling a little bit to be able to see Jesus in the people we serve. However, I did notice this morning when a lady came by to ask for medicine, that I didn’t have that normal resistance or impatience or feeling of discomfort that I’ve felt pretty strongly in the recent past. Slowly but surely, I think God is molding me and helping me to progress. We ended up not having the medicine she needed, and me and my mission partner’s funds are SUPER low (please say a prayer for that), so I wasn’t able to help her out with the meds. Another area to improve in, was that I didn’t pray with her. Sure, I was nice to her. Sure, I checked on the medicine thing. But I didn’t pray with her. I’m always telling people that the main charism of our missionary community is evangelism, yet I struggle to live that out. I always tell people that if we bring them material relief, but we don’t help them to have a relationship with Jesus, then all is for naught. And then I don’t pray with the people as much as I should. Need some help to improve in that area too.

Went to the volleyball court earlier tonight. It’s right next door at the presidencia. When I went two days ago just to watch and visit, I was asked twice if I wanted to play, but I didn’t have the right shoes or clothes. So today, not wanting to have a boring evening at the house, I decided to go to the volleyball court, and go prepared. Ended up playing for about half an hour and I really enjoyed it. My team won a few games, so evidently I wasn’t half bad! But I also think that I was the one providing comic relief to everybody, which I was glad to do. As long as people are smiling and having a good time. πŸ™‚ Came back home, read, prayed a rosary, and did night prayer. Settling down now for a relaxing evening…………

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Sid’s 40 Day Fast – Day 28

Day 28 – Sunday – 10/21/12

Today was a good day and a LOOONG day. Woke up a little before 7 so I could start getting ready for 7:30am Sunday Mass. What on earth was I doing going to Mass that early? I’ll tell you what I was doing. I was…………….going to Mass, that, early. πŸ™‚ For reals though, I go to the early Sunday Mass on the 1st and 3rd Sundays because all of the eucharistic ministers in the parish get a blessing from Father after Mass and then go out to alot of the rancho chapels surrounding our town and do communion services. Me and Luis got our guitars and a few other small things together after the 7:30 Mass and then headed out to our ranchos. As usual, he did Estacion Marte and I did Pilar de Richerdson. Now we did have a slight change-up today. Typically, we do those two, and then we backtrack exactly the same way we came and do a third one on the way back. But, we would also typically do another communion service at another rancho chapel on Monday, this one also being really far away.

Here’s what we figured out: we could do the two we normally do on communion service Sundays, and instead of doing the third one we normally do on the way back, we’d visit the one we normally do on Mondays. But how? Well, the route we take on Sundays and Mondays parallel each other. But, there is a feeder/connector “road” (more like a rocky dirt path through the desert) that could get us from the two that we do on Sundays, to the one we have been doing on Mondays. And after we finish the one we normally do on Mondays, we head back down that route, essentially making our entire trip a big triangle. Then, what we’ll do is take the 3rd one from Sunday, and move it to Monday, couple it with another rancho chapel visit (that we already visit on Mondays) that’s really close to it, and save time and gas. I haven’t calculated the exact amount we’d save, but it’ll be a good bit. Add up the cumulative effect (which we could have been benefitting from if we’d have thought of this route sooner), and that’s alot of savings. When gas prices are high, and your income as a missionary is low, savings are a GOOD thing. So yeah, we did the Sunday part of that plan today, and obviously the Monday part will be tomorrow. Feels good to be saving time and money. Not to mention it made us feel smart for figuring it out, and going on that lonely rocky dirt path through the desert between the two routes made me feel very brave and adventurous. πŸ˜€

Had some good hunger pangs today too. I’d say yesterday was the first day since quite early on in my fast that I did my once daily meal exactly that way, as one meal, all at once. No snacks before or after. So when I got up this morning, I was already quite hungry. I did have my morning cup of coffee, but didn’t have any food. And seeing as how I knew communion service Sundays are long (we leave 30 mins – 1 hour after the 7:30 Mass and don’t get back to the house ’till 2:30), I knew I’d have something to offer up! πŸ™‚ That was the good part of the hunger. As I’ve said before, literally experiencing strong hunger pangs, and then having your first physical food be the literal Body and Blood of Christ in The Eucharist, is amazing. The downside is that at the first chapel where I conducted a communion service, I was feeling a little weak. Nothing too bad or unmanageable, but nonetheless, I was feeling it. I was fortunate though that I had brought my bottle of Gatorade. So I took a few swigs after the communion service, and that seemed to do the trick.

The rest of the afternoon/evening has been pretty relaxed. Ate a good, late lunch. Folded my laundry, read some more from the Vatican II document Lumen Gentium (Dogmatic Constitution on the Church). Looks to be a pretty slow and relaxing rest of the evening. The Saints played while we were away at communion services, and there are no other games to watch or chores to do. Gonna call Mawmaw Doris then Mom & Dad, and then who knows what else after that.

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Sid’s 40 Day Fast – Day 26

Day 26 – Friday – 10/19/12

Galatians 2:20 – “I have been crucified with Christ, and the life I live now is not my own.” Came across this verse in morning prayer. It seems to be a theme that God is trying to teach me during my fast. No explanation needed, because the verse is pretty straight-forward. Just powerful though, and on point.

And look, I realize haters gon’ hate. But I am not afraid to admit that I was listening to Rascal Flatts and Taylor Hicks as I was walking to my Desert Day spot here at the local cemetery. Why? Well, it would have been a long, boring walk without it. I also just wanted to feel mo’ happy, and that kinda music makes me happy. πŸ™‚ Kinda ironic though that I’d wanna play happy music on the way to a cemetery where i’m supposed to quiet myself and be all meditative and listen to the Lord. I’m such a STRANGE creature. Lord, you really did break the mold when you made me. Desert Day was supposed to be in the mountains @ Tejocote today. But late last night Luis was asked to bring some people to Saltillo today in order to take care of some property papers or whatever at the courthouse. So I’m doin’ Desert Day solo. I really hope he gets back early enough so that we can do our rancho chapel visits to Tejocote and Dos de Abril. We’re nearing the end of our “good-bye” week as a team of singles.

Stayed up a little late last night talking to a friend on Skype, but it was worth it. I really enjoyed our conversation. So, naturally this morning I was a little tired, but managed to get up at my normal time for my morning walk and routine. Had that vital daily cup of coffee with me as I started my morning prayer. (I thank the Lord everyday that he invented coffee). I enjoy morning prayer in community, but when I know it’s just me for morning prayer, I enjoy that too. I don’t have a schedule to worry about, and I can take things at a more leisurely pace. Looking forward to some good prayer time here before we hit up the ranchos this afternoon. Pretty cool thing happened on the way here, twice. I passed up two guys and for a split-second, when I looked at them, I saw Jesus. Not literally, because the guys looked the same as I’m sure they always do. But I just had a strong sense, a realization, that I was looking at Jesus. Maybe because these guys looked a little destitute, and Jesus has a heart for the poor. It was an awesome experience. One of my prayer intentions the past couple of months has been to see Jesus when I see the poor. I’m thinking that prayer is being answered because I have this fast and voluntary suffering to offer up. Maybe the fast is what I need to be able to starting opening the eyes of my heart, so that they can control the eyes in my head, so that I can see Jesus reflected in everyone I see, especially the poor and those to whom I’m sent to serve.

Nighttime update: Luis ended up getting back early afternoon, sometime before 1. I had just arrived back at the house from my Desert Day prayer time when I realized he was already home. Second day in a row that I was pleasantly surprised that a Saltillo trip went much quicker than expected. We left for our two rancho chapel visits (Tejocote and 2 de Abril) around 3:30ish. At Tejocote we had a good crowd. As usual no men showed up, but we had at least 15-20 women, and a few kids too. We knew that they might bring a little something for all of us to snack on, but I was surprised at how much they brought. As with everyone else we minister to here, they aren’t rich, and could justifiably save the money spent on the food they brought for a myriad of other legitimate needs. And though the crowd at 2 de Abril was much smaller (5 women), proportionately, they brought just as much. These poor people are putting on a clinic on how to be generous! It’s humbling too, that they’d do it for us. I know God has me here, but I don’t think what we do is all that special. But as insignificant as my work seems to me at times, these people appreciate it. And if these humble and generous people appreciate it, and if God loves these poor people as much as I’m taught that he does, then it follows that whatever we’re doing here as missionaries must be something good

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Sid’s 40 Day Fast – Day 21

Day 21 – Sunday – 10/14/12

Well, it appears as though I’m halfway through my 40 day fast and I’m purty happy bout dat. It’s going by pretty quick. And part of me wants it to continue a long time, but I think my belly and my not quite refined enough self-control have other ideas. haha.

It’s been a pretty slow day today. No communion services in the ranchos and nothing planned so I turned off my alarm clock. But I woke up at 8:30 when one of my mission partners knocked on the door to get the van keys. He had to bring some local guys to a prayer meeting thingy about an hour away. Since I went to bed early enough last night and had a good enough night of sleep, I figured I’d get my lazy butt outta bed. Had my morning coffee while I let the water heater work its magic. Checked my email and read a few articles, read a book, and then shaved and showered. Not showered and shaved. Shaved and showered. I could never figure out why you’d wanna shower and THEN rub some kinda foamy chemical stuff all over you. I’d rather dab a warm towel on me to soften up the stubble and shave, so that I can really wash that stuff off in the shower.

I did have the hunger pangs a little bit this morning, so I was happy about that. Played the bongo at 10:30am Mass and then came back home for a relaxed rest of the day. Ate my daily meal at about 1 and I was proud of myself for not stuffing myself full. Though I did have several instances where I kinda hovered around the kitchen looking for snacks. Good thing that none were available and my self-control was up to par. Piddled around on the computer a little more. Made a new banner welcoming the missionaries from the States that will be visiting next month. Talked on the phone with Mawmaw Doris, my parents, and my best friend Chris. Have no idea what I’ll do the rest of the day. Probably read some more, Maybe do Liturgy of the Hours. Catch a football game on the internet. Who knows?

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Sid’s 40 Day Fast – Day 18

Day 18 – Thursday – 10/11/12

Ah, that’s kinda cool. Today is 10 11 12. πŸ™‚ It’s been an interesting day so far. Generally speaking, I’m feeling more of the hunger by doing the split-meal, which is great. Means I have more to offer up. Next week I’ll try the 3 small snack method, and maybe the following week 2 small snacks between lunch and dinner. This morning we did a communion service at one of our home visits. I love being able to feed others w/Jesus’ Body and Blood. Albert’s visiting the old folks at The Comedor.

I’m about to go start preparing the food I’m making for our missionary community dinner tomorrow night. Roasting some pumpkin seeds, attempting to make “dulce de calabasa” (lit. – “sweet of squash”), and some homemade chips. The “dulce” is actually more of a pumpkin than a squash, and I’m using my grandma’s fig preserve method to prepare it. Put some sugar in the pot and some water, then the pieces of pumpkin. Put it over low-ish heat until the water and sugar combine to a syrup-like consistency. The chips are easy to make. Bought some fresh corn tortillas yesterday, letting them dry out and get stale/hard. (I was told to do this by one of our mexican missionary wives.) Then fry ’em up! Lots of food related activities during my fast. How ironic…

Seemed like I had a few small things test my patience this morning. Heated my coffee too long in the microwave and caused it to boil over, thus losing a few precious ounces of Community Coffee, my favorite coffee in the world, of which I am running short and will probably run out before the groups arrive in November with more of it; bumped my head on a shelf in the office; got interrupted with whatever I was doing when one of the missionary couples knocked on our door. Very small stuff indeed. But it serves perfectly to highlight my struggle to overcome selfishness & not let small things get to me. I ended up stopping myself, recognizing that I was needlessly getting stressed, & offered up my fast/hunger as a prayer.

In regards to the missionary couple, for some reason I seem to always feel a bit impatient when they come over. Maybe it’s that whole “life on my terms, don’t interrupt me, I’ll come to you” struggle that I’m trying to overcome. Or maybe it’s because they need help with stuff more often than the others and that causes me to recoil and be impatient and selfish. But it’s odd that I’d react that way because they are very generous with us. Felt some more grumpiness again this afternoon. Not sure if it was because there was the usual noise and distraction at the prayer meeting we went to, if it was the hunger that caused it, or if the fast is peeling away the layers and revealing to me some things about myself that I need to work on. I definitely don’t WANT to be grumpy. Who in their right mind would want that? Regardless of the cause, I know it can be fixed, and that gives me hope (and a smile πŸ™‚ ). As I was reading Blessed Pope John Paul II’s encyclical “Veritatis Splendor” (The Splendor of Truth), I came across a very encouraging Bible verse which seems quite appropriate for my situation: “As for you, always be steady, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” –2 Timothy 4:5–

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