August 18, 2009

cultural relevance

I don't know when it happened, but apparently I have become culturally irrelevant. I know that I grew up in Mexico, and there will always be portions of pop-culture that I will never understand. I also realize that certain allowances have to be made because of my aversion to watching the television on a regular basis, but here is a list I found in my local newspaper. This list is about the incoming college freshmen, who were born in 1991, and who are considered adults now.

1) Mike Tyson has always been a felon.
2) The "green giant" conjures images of "Shrek".
3) They have never had to use a card catalog to find a book.
4) Salsa has always outsold ketchup.
5) The KGB has never officially existed.
6) They have never been "saved by the bell".
7) There have always been flat-screen TV's.
8) There has always been blue Jell-O

July 18, 2009

An update of sorts:

I seem to have left a lot unsaid these last few weeks. I look at the dates betwix entries, and I cannot avoid the fact that it's been over a month. In all honesty, I've had the time, but I haven't had the tools. I don't have my camera when I have the internet connection. When I have the camera, I lack the internets. When both are available, I lack the time or will-power. (Try hard to understand, all previously mentioned items must be coordinated in order to post.)

What has happened? Well, we were in Nebrasksa for a while.


We atteneded a very good friend's wedding, danced, and saw many friends from far and wide. I was asked to be the Master of Ceremonies, so I got to be a little involved and dress up a little fancy. Not to mention, it was in a beautiful park.


After Nebraska, we went to Michigan, where we are currently. We have been traveling back and forth between the NORTH and SOUTH sides of the state. Up north is a cabin, in the middle is a camp (Spring Hill), and down south are Liz's parents. We've been able to soak up a lot of fun family time, and I've been able to go golfing on several events.




The future holds a few more exciting adventures. Tomorrow we go to Michigan's largest outlet center! And then on Friday I leave for Nebraska. Liz will follow a week later after her great aunt's wedding. To finish this post, I submit one of my favorite pictures of our pup:

June 8, 2009

We made it.

First, in that NO ONE commented on how their lives were changed by the sermon posted last entry, I will assume no one listened to it. If that is true, please take the time.

Second, we are back in the U.S. of A. How excited we are!

The trip home was long but uneventful We were engrossed in the scenery and in awe of the beauty of God's paintbrush. The southwest landscape and then the Colorado Rockies greeted us with hues of orange and purple and green. We set up camp outside of Colorado Springs at the halfway point, and then finished our drive across the great plain known as Nebraska the next morning.

At any rate, we are in Lincoln, NE for a few more days, and then we will drive to Michigan for the summer in order to reconnect with Liz's family. If anyone in the Lincoln area wants to see us, please call Liz's number or e-mail us.

Third, we are officially decided on Lincoln, NE for next fall. I was offered a job as the math teacher at Parkview Christian School, which I accepted, and we are now arranging details for the fall in Nebraska.

May 24, 2009

On this, our last Sunday in Chihuahua, Liz and I decided to spend the time at home reflecting on the year, praying for the future, and preparing for our final days. Before we started the day though, we listened to a sermon posted earlier this year by John Piper, one of the pastors at Bethleham church in Minneapolis and the founder of Desiring God ministries.

Wow.

This sermon, which hopefully is posted below in an audio format, but is also available online at this link: If My Words Abide in You, was transformational. Please find a moment in this week to chissel out 50 minutes, brew a cup of coffee, turn off your cell-phone, and listen to the words of God. The first ten minutes might leave you a little puzzled... please push through.

May 22, 2009

I like order.

Is it just me, or does the concept of a house full of dust-bunnies, dead bugs, half-packed boxes, and piles of unsorted junk make anyone else cringe?

The last few weeks here have been crazy.  We are packing up the house we've lived in because we have to be out of it by May 28th, and we are finishing up the last week of classes at Binimea because finals are next Tuesday and Wednesday.  Therefore, our last 100% dinner was this week, and we decided to play Bible Outburst with the kids.  (You may have heard of the standard "Outburst," but only a house full of missionary kids would get into an excited game of "Bible-Outburst."  


Also, we've started taking things off of the walls and putting them into boxes. You may notice the corner that we're sitting in from the photo above is now pictured in the photo below.


Also, we've started consuming all of the random food that seems to find it's way into the corners of your pantry and hides there well past it's expiration date.  That is why the meal in this photograph has a mixture of frozen-taquitos, hot-wings, frozen-brocoli, and refried bean-dip.  

It may not look like the healthiest meal, but it sure does hit every possible odd cravings.

May 18, 2009

I forgot my glasses. . .

Today, I forgot to wear my glasses to work. After 2nd period, a 10th grader walked up to me and said, "You remind me of the blond guy from Heroes." I didn't know who she was talking about, but apparently, w/out my glasses, I look like this dude:



I thought that was kind of a compliment, until I realized that most people only know him in the role of this character.


I'm not sure whether I should be flattered that she thinks of me as THAT bad-ass, or concerned that I remind her of someone who makes a living wearing strips of leather and knuckle-pads.

May 17, 2009

Party like a rock.

A few quick updates:

Chango is lying low for a while. . .  And he keeps looking at me with a mixture of hurt and confusion.  -Why did you do it?  What did I do wrong?


We celebrated the end of the year with the Binimea staff.  We only have one more week of regular classes and then finals.  They gave us the "quitter-award" which is supposed to communicate love and sadness as we leave.


We also had a family over for dinner.  This family has meant a lot to us while we've been down here.  Jonathan Willcock has been my excercise partner since the fall, I've been able to teach guitar to two of their kids, and they've had us over for dinner and games multiple times.  However, adding the two us us to their house is no big feat, but when we have to find room for six more people around our table, a little creativity was needed.  After borrowing a table from the neighbors, adding it to our table, and using EVERY dish we own, I think we pulled it off.

May 9, 2009

Back at it. . .

Recently a missionary got very sick with something that wasn't the swine flu, but because the Mexican government is so cautious, if she had been taken to a hospital here in Chihuahua, she would have been completely quarantined for 20 days. Her family decided to take her to El Paso, TX instead.

School has resumed finally, so I taught my classes Thursday and Friday. It was nutso! The students had it in their mind that the summer had already begun. (To make matters worse, the whole high school - all 24 of them - were leaving on a camping trip on Friday.) At one point, I noticed a student, who had already been slowly checking out mentally, staring at a blank wall while I lectured. I called his name to answer a question and his distant voice vaguely mouthed the words, "Graduation . . . camping trip . . . huh?" and then he snapped back.

In other recent news, I've had the chance to play some soccer out at the Missions Institute. It's a national training program designed to equip Mexican nationals to spread the gospel in their own country. (very cool) Also, we've been enjoying enduring the 100+ degree heat like professionals. (this includes hiding from the sun from 8:45am till 6:45pm, and of course, the appropriate hammock usage.)We took Chango to the vet on Wednesday to get his first Rabies vaccine. He didn't particularly like that. What he doesn't realize is that in less than a week we're taking him back for a surgery that he will like even less. (if you know what I mean)

Other than that, we are up to normal life.

Liz cuts my hair. I teach Liz guitar. We only have three more weeks in Mexico.

April 27, 2009

This is a big one!

I haven't spoken a word on this blog in over a month, but like I said last time, it is due to being super busy with work and such. Binimea has me working overtime, and what with the end of the school year fast approaching, I've been swamped. At any rate, here is a quick news flash that hopefully gets all of your attention:

Due to the recent and sudden outbreak of the Swine-Flu, (it's real, look it up) Mexico has made an official ruling to close ALL schools in the entire country for 10 days. For that reason, Liz and I are stuck at home for a week and a half as this possible pandemic works itself out. If you want to call us and check on our health and state of mind, we would love that.

In other news, we took a trip to Phoenix, Anaheim, & San Diego a few weeks ago. (Binimea gives a week off ever six weeks, and we took advantage of how close we were.)


We visited the San Diego Zoo.


And we took a family photo! :) I've been mocked somewhat for the choice of wardrobe in this picture, but rest assured, Clinton Kelly from the hit TV series, What Not to Wear is wearing this exact outfit. (he's the one saying what is OK to wear)

Cheers.

March 22, 2009

Parking Lots in Mexico


For those of you unaccustomed to a foreign country, this may come as a surprise, but to those familiar with them, please let me know if this strikes a chord. As I pull into the Soriana parking lot, I am greeted by a man in a bright orange vest of approximately 75-95 years of age (the man, not the vest). He is there for no other purpose than to give a large toothless smile, provide a pretense of vehicular protection (remember his age), and to greet you for a second time on the way out in hopes for a propina (tip, or in this case, handout, considering a tip is generally rendered for services performed, whereas this man's services, real and imaginary, are neither performed nor appreciated).

Now, a parking lot by any other name, is still a parking lot, until you travel overseas. Then you find out that a parking lot is also a restaurant, a bank, a strip mall, and more recently in Mexico, where the shootings and random acts of violence are on the rise, a heavily patrolled war-zone. Not only are guard towers a regular sight, but S.W.A.T. teams, armed soldiers, and patrol cars are considered common fare and a comfort to the Sunday afternoon shopper.

March 15, 2009

I fixed it...

If you were disappointed by the dead-link at the end of the list on my last post, you need not worry, it has been corrected. The link, "list of crushes - a must read from 2005" has been fixed.

In other Taylor news, we are on an extended weekend. Our school recognizes "Dia de Benito Juarez" which is one clear advantage to working in a Mexican school. We've had fun outside of the house as well as in it. Our dog has provided all sorts of entertainment as he begins to express himself a little more colorfully.


We enjoyed the company of a few missionary men last night by hosting a poker night. It was very entertaining to watch the group gambling and bluffing and having a good time. One of them walked away with 60 pesos to treat his wife for dinner. (insert personal rant - People question my gambling with skepticism, but I respond with this: you will spend 20 dollars on a good dinner out, or 8 dollars on a movie at the theaters... yet you question me for spending 1 to 5 dollars on an entire evening of entertainment and fun? I walk into it with the mindset that I will spend some money, and winning/losing is imaterial for I will have had fun.)

We have one more day of vacay, and we intend to make the most of it. I close this post with a picture of my favorite beverage, the closest to ethereal we will likely experience this side of eternity. (note: prepared my favorite way as well)

March 11, 2009

Happy 37th!

When I left my previous blog to start this current page, I had nearly 180 entries over 4 years of blogging. Now I have 37 in 7 months (I think). Apparently I have increased my rate of blogging by approximately 33/year. As a math teacher, I find numbers and such highly intriguing. (do you?) I'm about to do something very unwise. If any of you want to peruse my old blog, an archive of immature and petty ramblings, you may click on this link. If you want to save time and simply read some of the highlights, I've placed in chronological order (newest to oldest) some of the best posts. (by "best" I simply mean either entertaining, laughable, and occasionally deep)

about Adam
G-rated Bible story
likes/dislikes
I've done drugs - the post before this one gives background if you care.
a funny list - awkward, but funny.
a job I've had
my immaturity - sorry for the language
list of my crushes - a MUST read from 2005


I think that's enough embarrassment for one night. Again, do not judge me, this was a younger, less grounded me.

February 28, 2009

My, how the time flies...

February is almost over. That means we are already done with two months of 2009. CRAZY!

This is only my third post of the month, but I have excuses. . . sort of. For ten days in the middle of this month, Liz and I were in Florida. When things did not work out to have Liz's parents visit us over the school break, they decided to fly us to where they were. (Cocoa Beach & Orlando) It was a blast. BUT, there isn't a computer in the condo, and no internet, thus, no updates. Here are a few pictures though:


This is the condo:
And this was Disney World:
In other news, Pachango is getting bigger. He used to fit into one floor tile, but he fills three of them now. I don't know what he weighs though, because I haven't taken him to the vet since his first week with us. He only weighed 4 pounds then. His next visit is due this Monday.

Finally, I have been stuck at home with a fever and infection in my lungs. I went home from work after lunch on Thursday because of a fever, a severe cough, and extremely low energy. I stayed home on Friday which turned out to be the worst day, and now I'm on some strong antibiotics, an expectorant, and a lot of ibuprofen, so I feel much better. Hopefully by Monday I can go back to work.

Well, before I make this blog so long it gets posted on March 1st, I'll say farewell. Until next month.

February 2, 2009

Pachango

video

Well, I realize that we asked for input less than a day ago, and that we haven't waited long enough for a response, but the opportunity arose, and we have found our puppy! His name is Chango, and he's a mutt from the street. (Actually, he's a cross between a Shelty-Collie and a mutt from the street.) At any rate, he's our newest member of the family, and we love him!

His temperament is unique. As you can see from the video, he's super playful while he's awake and alert, but as soon as he's sleepy he runs for dark places. (preferably Liz's or my lap with his head nuzzled under our arms) He seems to be good with other people, and likes to explore the house when he isn't sleeping.

If any of you have wisdom to impart regarding parenting or dog-training, we'd appreciate it. We are new parents, and this responsibility has sobered us.

February 1, 2009

Distraction

If you haven't heard already, Liz and I are STILL praying and trying to figure out where our next move will be. We want to settle somewhere for a while, and we don't want to move for a long time. We will have lived in five homes with less than two years of marriage when this move takes place. We're ready for some stability, constancy, and familiarity. (Who knows, maybe that is not in the cards for us, but we're allowed to dream, right?)

At any rate, I call this post, "Distraction" because that is what is going on right now. Liz and I are overwhelmed by the grandeur of deciding where the next several years will be spent, and so we are masking it by deciding countless other little things. The decision of the week has been, should we get a puppy? We've narrowed down our choices to a rather selective list. Allow me to share it with you:

1) Not a big dog. (Liz's request)
2) Not a small dog. (Jay's request)
**This only leaves "medium"
3) Not a dog that sheds a lot. (Liz's request)
4) No affiliation with a poodle. (Jay's request)
**Again, this narrows the selection quite a bit.
5) It doesn't have to be pure-bread
6) It can't be expensive
**These last two go well together.
7) Preferably one that doesn't bark a lot, is good with kids, and intelligent

Now it's your turn. Do you know of a dog that falls into these categories? Please let us know what we should be looking for. Also, please vote on my newest poll.

January 18, 2009

Retreat . . .

Today Liz and I spent the entire morning praying and seeking God for guidance in regards to our future. We are in a pivotal time because the decisions for the coming year need to be made, so if any of you make a habit of praying for us down here, we would appreciate your prayers now.

The new semester has been going well. The new class load is starting to feel more natural, and the extra work hasn't killed me yet. We have even managed to get out of the house the last few weekends and enjoy the outdoors. It has become especially beautiful this January, and so we have been climbing mountains and taking picnics whenever possible. The latest mountain we climbed is pictured below: (a more detailed account of this trip is in Liz's blog)

And this is us from the top: (alt. 1902 meters, 400+ meter ascent)



And finally, today, after an entire morning of personal retreat, we decided to have a picnic downtown. As it turned out, the park we visited had an ice-skating rink set up, and it was hilarious watching people who have likely NEVER ice-skated giving it a try. (side-note: the outside temperature today was 70 degrees, so an ice-rink was an odd sight)

January 12, 2009

What we do. . .

If anyone is wondering what exactly we do down here, this is your chance to get an accurate picture.Our school is small, as you can tell by the picture above. Binimea only has 84 kids from k-12, and Liz and I only deal with the 5th-12th graders. Liz's classes range from 5th-10th, while mine range from 9th-12th.

We've been known to host our students over for dinner, host their parties, lead their Bible studies, entertain their parents for evenings of fun and games, train with them for half marathons, take them on camping trips, and if there is time left, teach them a few classes. We are so blessed that our ministries reach beyond simply educating them in their core classes. We get to share life with them, teach them what it means to live for God every day, and even inspire them to do the same. They're a fun bunch, and they are why we are here.

January 10, 2009

iClimb

First off, watch this video. . . Sunto Core. Have you clicked on the link yet? Ok, now look at our fun pictures.


Last night we finalized plans for climbing some mountains that surround Chihuahua. Our neighbors, the Meissners, are outdoorsy types, so they were involved. If you look in ANY direction from our house, you'll see mountains; we decided to climb the closest one today. So we woke up at 6:00am, beat the sun out of bed, strapped on the trusty old Sunto Core wristwatch (this makes more sense if you watch the video), and made our way to the base. It looked impressive from far away, but at the base, it started losing it's luster. As we drove closer, it seemed to shrink, mostly due to the roads leading right up to 850ft from the summit. However, it was a TECHNICAL 850 feet, involving lots of loose rock, steep crags, and high winds:

You can see me taking an altitude reading on my watch in this picture:

And finally, we have reached the summit,

. . . and the view was amazing.

January 7, 2009

New year, new thang. . .

Well, we are into a new year, and the changes are evident! I have been gifted two more classes, and our friend-base has been cut in half. When you do the math, it all works out. (With more work, who has time for friends?) :(

A family that we were becoming really fond of recently left the mission due to various reasons, and in one fateful day I found out I was loosing some valuable friends, and gaining their work-load. A few short days later another friend said she was leaving as well, and her classes were offered to Liz, who declined. It would be a lie to say it hasn't been difficult to adjust to life without them, but at least I'm now kept busy enough that I don't have time to notice. (seven classes, six of them are different, with only one prep-period a day)

Things to look forward to:

1) Having all the students who have scored 100% on exams over for dinner. (Thursday)
2) Movie/games/food night with friends. (Friday)
3) Trying out my new altimeter watch. (every day)
4) Flying back to Nebraska (yet again) for two friends' wedding. (Jan 23)
5) Writing/sending a new update for Dec/Jan to all of our supporters. (Before Jan 23)

Two pictures to finish things off... and don't forget to check out my latest poll.

My favorite spot over the holidays.The gang, and their attitude.

January 1, 2009

. . . and a happy new year!

The only sad part about traveling over the holidays is the inability to update your blog over the holidays. I LOVE reading other people's posts about their new years resolutions, Christmas traditions, naughty/nice stories, etc... but I don't get to take part in the fun. (Well, not until January 4th.) I make sure to emphasize that this is the ONLY sad part, because traveling over the holidays is pretty awesome!

So it's 2009, well it's about stinkin time!! 2008 was great, don't get me wrong, but I was really getting antsy to turn a new page. To give a recap in 25 words or less:

Basement, dead snake, live snake, Liz's first lasagna, YMCA, graduation & baby Davy simultaneously, Spring Hill, Jetta vs. fox (fox wins), Mexico, violence, best friends ever.

Everyone always appreciates a good set of new year's resolutions, and though I know people who think they are pointless or a waste of time, here I go:

1) Wake up earlier - there is so much good that can be done in the early morning.

2) Go somewhere new - not to live, but just to experience, learn from, and love.

3) Read more - fiction, theology, historical, you name it...

4) Take retreats - daily, monthly, and yearly ones. (Secret Life of Kat)

5) Learn to play the piano - I can't wait!

Ok, more details on our trip to come. (Liz might actually beat me to that.) Happy new year to all of you.