Mamitas Photogs in Playa del Carmen

    Mamitas Photogs in Playa del Carmen

    I popped in on old photog friends who work at Mamitas Beach, right in the heart of the seaside action in Playa del Carmen, MX. Marco and Joakin are both excellent photographers who have beautiful spirits. Both of them are like dear brothers to me. We tease. We play. We all share a passion for [...]

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    Charmed in Playa del Carmen

    Charmed in Playa del Carmen

    When I arrived in Playa del Carmen, America and Pauloko greeted me at the local bus station right on 5th avenue. We swung by America’s apartment to drop off my things before heading toward a hostel to help prep for the birthday celebration of one of America’s friends. So much familiarity, yet so much change. [...]

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    Insatiable Wanderlust

    Insatiable Wanderlust

    I laugh at myself. On the move yet again. Back to Mexico and Guatemala. Just about an hour until I take off from LAX… I could no longer bear how much I missed my friends, so Riveria Maya and La Antigua here I come! I’ll spend about two weeks on the Yucatan Peninsula before I [...]

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    Midnight Muse

    Midnight Muse

    A late night visit turned into an impromptu photo shoot. My new business partner captured these images using a single Chinese ball lantern from Ikea:

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    Art Walk in the LA Fashion District

    Art Walk in the LA Fashion District

    My spirit is soaring upon the wings of inspiration after an absolutely enchanting evening at the March 2011 LA Fashion District Art Walk. I kept my camera stowed away in the car because I wanted to appreciate the art instead becoming consumed by the insatiable urge to create my own. The artists who spoke to [...]

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    Fig Jam: The Key to Life

    Fig Jam: The Key to Life

    Brimming. Precisely how I would describe today. First, false courtesy from she who has offered me a roof. She and a friend leave for brunch with no invitation or inclination to include me. An obvious move to make an obvious statement. Certainly not the first time I’ve experienced this, so the disturbance is measured in [...]

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    Corn Kernal Treasure for the Chorti

    I just received this update from a couple who dedicate a large part of their lives to helping feed the famished Chortí Maya. I thought it was touching and wanted to share…

    Buenas Noches from Honduras

    Since my last update, we’ve been a little busy. I’ll go ahead and give you the numbers of corn and beans we have distributed over the past 3 weeks. We have delivered corn and beans to:

    • 34 villages
    • 1, 202 families
    • 132,020 pounds of corn or 66 tons
    • 26,120 pounds of beans or 13.1 tons

    We can’t say thank you enough for those of you that have contributed so we could purchase food for the Chorti. Without your help there are over 1,000 families that would have nothing or very little to eat.

    We had 3 folks from Seminole come and join Farrell and John the last week they were here as well as Kyle McNamara and Nick Majors from Parkwood. After the first day, you’d have thought they had known each other for a good while. They really served as a team. One of the villages we delivered food to was El Chilar. While one group was
    registering the adults so they could receive food, another group was in the school sharing Bible stories with the children. The teacher told us that the children all morning had been so excited and all they talked about until we arrived was that they would have food to eat in their homes that night. The only meal they had been eating was the beans and rice that was served at the school at about 9:30 each day. They are in one of the government
    feeding programs that sometimes work and other times it does not. Thank you for caring.

    At another village where we delivered food, I was very humbled as I watched and elderly man pack his supply of corn and beans so he could carry them home. Each person was asked to bring 2 bags to exchange for the bags they would pick up their food in. Each person brought a bag but they would always empty their corn and beans into their bag. They always wanted their bag to take back home. As this gentleman emptied his corn into his bag about a cup or two spilled on the ground. He stooped down and gently picked up each kernel of corn as if it was a treasure and how precious each kernel was to him as he put it in his bag. My thought was how precious each one of the Chorti is to our heavenly Father and how much He wants them to come to know Him. Pray for us as we try to share God’s love through the food distribution process.

    The Parkwood youth team arrived on the 22nd—all 14 of them plus 5 others that came to work with the food distribution. We went to the Baptist Church (that is the name they have given it) in Ottuta. They have asked for over a year for a portable sound system to be used in their church. They had collected a little over $300.00. Thanks to a friend, we were able to deliver to them a sound system on Sunday morning. They were speechless—which for Pastor Elias is most unusual. We had to put it together, take it apart, put it together again—just to make sure they could do it themselves. I’m sure at the Sunday night service everyone anywhere around heard the singing and preaching of God’s word. A couple weeks prior to this they had a revival from Friday to Sunday. Elias said it would have been so much better if they had had a sound system so everyone could have heard the messages. They are planning another one. This small church has started 3 different Bible studies and they are planning to start another one. They requested that we come and prayer walk the village before they start the Bible study. I assured Elias we would be glad to do that.

    Figuring out transportation and delivery was quite a task for the number of folks we had working this week. Thanks to Jose for allowing us to use one of his vehicles, we were able to get food delivered and everyone out to the villages. The youth from Parkwood were wonderful. Parkwood you should be proud of the kids that came. Each morning as we shared devotions, I was amazed at how grounded this group of kids are in the scriptures. As I listened to them as they shared Bible stories with the children their love for Christ showed on their faces. At San Rafael, we had to wait until classes were over before we could share with the high school students. They patiently waited and were not going to leave until they had the opportunity to share the scriptures with the students. They played ball, jumped rope, and laughed and loved the children in each village we served. They realized that the Chorti are also made in the image of our Father and they wanted the opportunity share the love of Christ with them whether it was through a story, a hug, or a smile. All too soon it was time for them to leave.

    On Friday morning after we got the youth team off to the airport, we loaded up more corn and beans and made the 1 ½ hour trip to Porvenir 1 and 2. Along the way, God’s handiwork was so visible in the lush mountains. They looked like patch work quilts— a beautiful sight—sorry the group had to miss it. After we had completed the delivery process, the leader of Porvenir 2 talked with us. He stated they want to start a Bible study and they were ready to start it now. When could we return?

    I have been so amazed at the number of villages that through the food distribution have requested that we return—some just to visit, but the majority asking about having a Bible study started in their village. Please pray for guidance as we work to decide where, how and when this can be accomplished.

    We look forward to having the second Parkwood youth group arrive on Monday. Continue to pray for us as we deliver food to the remainder of the villages we have received request from. Pray for this next group of young people that God will give them the attitude they need to serve Him and to share His love to the Chorti. Pray that we will have all the plans completed to deliver food and share stories from the Bible with those folks that we serve. Continue to pray for us that we will have wisdom and organization skills to complete the process of delivering and serving among the Chorti.

    Steve & Audrey

    Popularity: 13% [?]

    Mamitas Photogs in Playa del Carmen

    I popped in on old photog friends who work at Mamitas Beach, right in the heart of the seaside action in Playa del Carmen, MX. Marco and Joakin are both excellent photographers who have beautiful spirits. Both of them are like dear brothers to me. We tease. We play. We all share a passion for photography!

    Check out their work at Memory Makers and Playa Wedding Studios.

    Popularity: 26% [?]

    Charmed in Playa del Carmen

    When I arrived in Playa del Carmen, America and Pauloko greeted me at the local bus station right on 5th avenue. We swung by America’s apartment to drop off my things before heading toward a hostel to help prep for the birthday celebration of one of America’s friends. So much familiarity, yet so much change. Playa del Carmen is currently ranked as THE fastest growing city in the world…

    Fortunately, the coastal charm of a smaller seaside village continues to thrive in Playa. The highway that runs along the coast of the Riviera Maya slices through Playa nearer to the shore. Most of the city’s growth extends out from the other side of the highway… away from the sea. Thus, the highway helps preserve the more intimate nucleus of the city. Walk just about a dozen blocks from sea and you’ve already reached the highway.

    The infamous 5th avenue, which marks the second block from the coast, is lined with cafes, gelaterias, boutiques, art galleries and quaint hotels. I popped out of the hostel just one block up from 5th avenue to indulge in one of my favorite treats – a fresh fruit and veggie smoothie!

    Soon the techno house music led us on highs and lows that reflected the rhythm of the waves at sea. Party-goers began to arrive and drink chelas (beer) at the rooftop bar and dip into the rooftop pool. I began to slip back into a familiar bliss. I socialized with friends, but so easily I would lose myself in the music, my heart and soul turned toward the sea, completely mesmerized by her opal, turquoise, azure and sapphire hues. And my precious moon began to emerge, shining bright and bold… as dusk turned to darkness. When night fell I escaped, padding my way down the cobbled road toward the water’s edge. Stepping out of my clothes I slipped right into the cool, dark waters. Home.

    I quickly fell into my old morning routine greeting the day with a morning run along the shore and cooling down with a leisurely swim. I would playfully roll around in the soft waves then drift on my back… utterly content… just me and the sea.

    By 8:30 I was sitting upright and erect, ready for an energizing Vinyasa flow yoga class with Ellen at Yoga By the Way

    Popularity: 9% [?]

    Sunbathing Topless in Cancun…

    I grew up in the conservative, land-locked Midwest, so thong bikinis and sunbathing topless are more than risque… for many Midwestern folk these notions are considered vulgar and even sinful or immoral.

    But, for the natives of tropical seaside environments where the days are spent in a natural sauna, the locals barely give a second glance to all the uncovered flesh. The whole idea of “less” is not so much about being risque as it’s simply about relief from the steamy heat. More naked skin simply means less sweat-soaked clothes stuck to your body.

    Having grown up the Midwest, admittedly, I’ve been more reserved about what I show. This is for both my upbringing and my own insecurities about my body. Yet, as I spend more time in tropical environments I find myself truly appreciating how comfortable the local women seem to feel in their own skin. Their body image seemed quite healthier than mine. As I meditated about my background and the culture I was surrounded with, I began to feel proud of these women. Their desire to sunbathe topless had nothing to do with drawing attention to themselves. It was simply about enjoying a simple pleasure we all should have the right to enjoy… pure, natural sunbathing. So what’s the big fuss, I decided? Time to go topless on a public beach and let my white flesh soak up some healthy vitamins D and K…

    I felt so… free. Natural, free… and beautiful. And when the waves lap at your bear skin as you wade into the sea… the water feels as soft as silk… a sweet, tender caress.

    My friend Perla and I snapped some photos together and of each other while enjoying our lazy afternoon lounging at the edge of the electric blues of Cancun’s Caribbean Sea. I have decided there is nothing vulgar or obscene about sunbathing topless… though not all of my family and friends agree. That’s okay, they’re welcome to their own opinions. All I ask is that you please respect mine.

    Popularity: 11% [?]

    Soy Latinoamérica from Calle 13

    This song from Calle 13 captures the spirit of the people of Latin America – the spirit that lures me back time and time again:

    Soy, soy lo que dejaron, Soy las sobras de lo que te robaron,
    Un pueblo escondido en la cima, Mi piel es de cuero por eso aguata cualquier clima,
    Soy una fábrica de humo, Mano de obra campesina para tu consumo,
    En el medio del verano, El amor en los tiempos del cólera,
    Mi hermano!

    Soy el que nace y el día que muere, Con los mejores atardeceres,
    Soy el desarrollo en carne viva, Un discurso sin saliva,
    Las caras más bonitas que he conocido, Soy la fotografía de un desaparecido,
    La sangre dentro de tus venas, Soy un pedazo de tierra que vale la pena,
    Una canasta con frijoles.

    Soy Maradona contra Inglaterra Anotándole dos goles.
    Soy lo que sostiene mi bandera, La espina dorsal de mi planeta, en mi cordillera.
    Soy lo que me enseño mi padre, El que no quiere a su patria no quiere a su madre.
    Soy América Latina un pueblo sin piernas pero que camina.

    Tú no puedes comprar al viento,
    Tú no puedes comprar al sol
    Tú no puedes comprar la lluvia,
    Tú no puedes comprar al calor.
    Tú no puedes comprar las nubes,
    Tú no puedes comprar mi alegría,
    Tú no puedes comprar mis dolores.

    Tengo los lagos, tengo los ríos, Tengo mis dientes pa cuando me sonrío,
    La nieve que maquilla mis montañas, Tengo el sol que me seca y la lluvia que me baña,
    Un desierto embriagado con pellotes, Un trago de pulque para cantar con los coyotes,
    Todo lo que necesito!

    Tengo a mis pulmones respirando azul clarito,
    La altura que sofoca, Soy las muelas de mi boca mascando coca,
    El otoño con sus hojas desmayadas, Los versos escritos bajo las noches estrelladas,
    Una viña repleta de uvas, Un cañaveral bajo el sol en cuba,
    Soy el mar Caribe que vigila las casitas, Haciendo rituales de agua bendita,
    El viento que peina mi cabello, Soy todos los santos que cuelgan de mi cuello,
    El jugo de mi lucha no es artificial porque el abono de mi tierra es natural.
    Vamos caminando, vamos dibujando el camino!

    Trabajo bruto pero con orgullo, Aquí se comparte lo mío es tuyo,
    Este pueblo no se ahoga con marullos, Y si se derrumba yo lo reconstruyo,
    Tampoco pestañeo cuando te miro, Para que te recuerdes de mi apellido,
    La operación cóndor invadiendo mi nido, Perdono pero nunca olvido, oye!

    Vamos caminado, aquí se respira lucha.
    Vamos caminando, yo canto porque se escucha.
    Vamos caminando, aquí estamos de pie.
    Que viva Latinoamérica.
    No puedes comprar mi vida!

    Popularity: 10% [?]

    Latin America

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