Thursday, May 22, 2008

Bird Watching

A few weeks ago we put some planters on our back porch, the kind that straddle the handrail.

It was not long after - about two days later - we saw a few strands of grass that looked like a hasty nest.

Sure enough, that planter had become the home of a pair of birds. They looked like doves, but they were not white. A couple of days after we first noticed the nest in the planter, we found an egg in the nest.

We did a little web search and found out they were mourning doves. The information said they laid eggs in clutches of two eggs at a time, and sure enough the next day, there were two eggs.

We could usually just see one bird in the nest at a time, usually the female. For a while she would spook fairly easily and flutter away to the far side of the backyard or onto the neighbor's roof, eventually flying back once we were away from the porch.

But after a little over a week, she stayed put no matter how close we got.

And tonight Susan was on the back porch investigating the bird when again the bird got flustered and flew off. Lo and behold, instead of eggs: two chicks!

It will be a week or two before the chicks are fledged and can fly on their own. If we get any more pics of these little ones, we'll update you on their growth.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

March Mexico Trip

Over spring break this year Susan and I went with the teens of Fairmount Christian Church and helped to build a home for a family in Ensenada, Mexico. Three teams went, each one building one home each for the outreach program called Yugo. After we got back we held a banquet for those who had supported the teams financially, and a few people shared a few thoughts about their experiences on the trip. I was privileged to be one of them, and here is the text of what I said, along with some pictures to illustrate it:

What I learned in Mexico

I learned that a house does not have to be built by a team of professional designers and outfitted with the latest Sears appliances in order to be an Extreme Home Makeover. The house we built in Mexico was built by teens and adults, all amateurs except for one professional foreman. It has three small rooms, no bathroom, no kitchen, in fact no plumbing of any kind. The only furniture is a bunk bed; the only light comes from the windows. And yet no family on Extreme Home Makeover has been more grateful for a new home than was Maribel Perez, her son, and her sisters.

The Perez "House" before We Came

The Perez House Now

I learned that tacos in Mexico are as good as the ones in Texas, and that the burritos in Mexico are HUGE. I learned that “elote” is a kind of sweet corn flour, and that it makes very tasty tamales. I learned what ceviche is and that I enjoy eating it. Maribel’s father made a batch of it and offered it to the team on Thursday afternoon as a “thank you” for his daughter’s new home. I was touched by the fact that none of the other family and friends who had gathered for the dedication of the home ate any of it until all of the team members had eaten their fill.

I learned that Christ dwells in the hearts of the Fairmount teens. I knew before we left for Mexico that the teens who come to 2:42 have a good grounding in the knowledge of Christ, but in Mexico I saw firsthand the qualities of Christ exhibited in sacrifices for others, in compassion for the oppressed, in hard work done for no other reason than because it would help a family in need. Patricia wore a shirt one day while we were in Ensenada that said, “They will know we are Christians by our t-shirts.” I had to chuckle at the wry wit of that statement, but as I see it the sun-burned ears and blistered hands of these teens proclaim that they are Christians louder than any clever slogan or logo on any t-shirt.

I went on this trip to get to know the teens better, and I did, and when I did, I saw Christ living in them more clearly than ever before.

If you would like to see more pictures of the trip, visit our PhotoShow site.

To view a video of Maribel Perez posted by Yugo before the trip, visit their blog page.