Everyone has the opportunity to be a missionary. EVERYONE. Religious or atheist. Opportunities arise throughout life that give you the ability to do something beyond yourself. The people that take these opportunities and run with them are my heroes. The best thing about it is that isn't that hard to do. God has given each of us specific talents and interests that occupy our time. Some people are talented athletes, some are artists, some love reading, some writing. Doesn't matter if you think you are the least talented person in the world, you are good at something, very good at something, it just takes a little experimentation sometimes to discover what your talents are. When you have discovered what you love in life, the next step is to share that love with others. When you share your talent, you are also sharing yourself, and that is your mission.
One of my mom's talents is quilting. I don't know how long she has been quilting, but I'm pretty sure that she started as a child with her mother (my gma). So she has been quilting for a very long time and is VERY skilled at it. I don't have any figures or anything to give you as to the merit of her skill, but if she desired, she could very easily be a professional quilter. Ok, enough brown-nosing :). My mother is an amazing quilter. Another thing my mother has a definite heart for is neglected children. She and my father have taken in many neglected/troubled children throughout their lives. The compassion my parents have is amazing. So we have children and quilting in my mom's resume. So back to the story, a few years ago, my mom found out about an organization called Wrap Them In Love. WTIL is an organization of quilters worldwide that make quilts, then give them at no charge to children in need worldwide. If you have any idea how much goes into making a quilt, you know how brilliant the hearts of these people must be that they can give away their quilts without knowing exactly where they are going. It's incredible how self-less these people are.
In the winter of 2004 my mom and I came up with the idea of taking a few bundles of quilts down to Mexico from WTIL. So after some scheduling and planning we went to an orphanage in Ensenada, Mexico in May of 2004. I can honestly say that the experience changed my outlook on life, and I think it messed with my mom pretty good too. It was a beautiful experience, we took probably 40 quilts down to children who own nothing, absolutely nothing. The smiles melted our hearts, the humbling attitudes of 6 year olds with nothing to their names, but joy in their hearts that couldn't be matched my a 100 american kids recieving their hundreds of dollars worth of toys on Christmas. We didn't want to leave, and my mom was wondering how she could sneak a couple of the kids across the border in her purse.
Since that trip my mother and I have talked about doing a similar trip many times and we finally had the opportunity. Only this time something really cool happened. My dad was able to come! My dad doesn't travel very often, so he gets to hear about our stories of various things that my mom does and my random travels and we always wish he was there, but two plane tickets cost roughly twice as much as one, which is quite expensive for a lower middle class family. So this time dad was able to come. I could tell how excited he was when I picked them up from Las Angeles along with my niece, Kaitlyn. Not only did my dad get to see me, which only happens a couple times a year, but he got to join me on one of my adventures. The day came and we went down to a small, dirt-poor community in rural Tijuana, Mexico. We took over 60 quilts with us and the same magic was in the air as was a couple years earlier. Unfortunately, the school that we were visiting was having finals so we weren't able spend too much time with the children. But it didn't matter, we handed over their quilts, and were rewarded with some of the most authentic smiles ever. Kaitlyn made two of the quilts herself and was able to give them to two little children personally, which made her so happy. Just seeing these kids for a few minutes walk out of their two room school, shaking in excitement, and speaking to us in spanish fervently expecting for us to understand, this was worth the price of admission.
I need to thank a few people for making this trip possible. First, Lydia Lozano, who acted as our liason to the Mexican community, setting up the meeting and translating. Thank you Lydia, we love you. Kaitlyn, you rock, you're my hero! My mother, for your vision and willingness to step outside your comfort zone. And finally, my father, thanks for joining us, this was one of the best things I've ever done with you.
Anyone can be a missionary, all that is necessary is the willingness to yield yourself to what is possible.
This is my dad handing over the quilts. I think this is my new favourite photo of him, says a lot more than words.
This shows their houses in the background.
This girl had this smile the whole time. Not sure if she is capable of frowning!
That is Kaitlyn with her back to the camera. The two children in front her are the children that recieved Kaitlyn's quilts.
This is Jessica. The most beautiful little girl I have ever met!
Ok, I'll stop now, I'm sure my mom is crying real bad right now reading this. If you are a reader of Aesthetic-Mindset you can expect to see a few shots from the trip up there over the next week or so.
San Diego has decided to ban smoking in parks, beaches, and various other public areas. This is huge, and I have no idea how they will enforce it. The article says that the first offense is a $250 ticket, and the second offense is $500. Good luck with this one S.D. I hope it works out for you!
It was brought to my attention that the commenting system on my blog wasn't working. Which explains why NO ONE except Bob commented on me almost losing my life to the mysterious pool monster. Anyhow, I fixed the problem, and you can all go comment crazy now commenting 'til your heart's are satisfied. Wootah.
When did it become acceptable for companies to be rude to their clients? I love calling tech support and having to deal with someone on the other end that gives me attitude implying that I am disrupting them. No, it's your piece of crap machine that incessantly breaks down that you refuse to fix correctly that is disrupting me! You should thank me for not getting your butt fired for treating me like crap when I ask for assistance. I'm sorry that I bothered you today mrs. Konica Minolta tech support lady, in the future I'll try to just fix your crappy copier by myself.
So I am supposed to be camping in the Cuyamaca forest right now. That's right, I said "supposed to be", which means simply, I'm not. Turns out that Southern California sucks, and that extends to campsites. All the sites were full and you are required to call 5 days in advance to get a reservation (of course I found this out by calling 4 days in advance). Each of the campsites also have a limited number of "first come, first served" sites that are open at noon each day. So I high-tailed my little booty out to the Julian area to try to knab one of these spots. I got off work at three and drove straight out there. I'm not quite sure how, but I got to the campground in less than 45 minutes only to find out that all the spots were taken, as well as all the other campgrounds in San Diego county, evidently. So yeah, I am "supposed to be" camping right now.
Instead of camping in the Cuyamacas, I am lounging next to the pool at Tamara's parent's house in Vacaville. By the way, if you aren't sure where Vacaville is, it's 45 minutes north of San Francisco. And if you don't know where San Franscisco is, it's about an 8 hour drive from San Diego. That's right, Tamara and I decided to drive up to Northern California for two days. We decided to do this around 5 o'clock yesterday, and we left San Diego at 7. I think we arrived in Vacaville around 3 o'clock this morning, and it is now 7:30am. So I have decided that I am a spontaneus guy. Tam and I discussed it, and we think it is my spontaneity that makes me so attractive to the ladies, but I digress.
Tam and I have no plans for the weekend other than sitting next to the pool, and that is fine with me, I am just happy to be out of San Diego as I have been having some extra rough days lately and just sitting 10 hours away from San Diego feels nice right now. Also I'm going to check out some Tattoo shops and see if I can get some work done HOLY CRAP THE POOL JUST SQUIRTED ME! WHAT THE HECK WAS THAT ALL ABOUT! Seriously, some water just flew out of the far side of the pool DIRECTLY at me, I am baffled. DANGIT, there's pool water on my laptop! This is hilarious! I AM SOO NOT EVEN JOKING! Ok, back to what I was saying, crap, what was I saying? Oh yeah, tattoo, WHAT THE HECK JUST HAPPENED!???? Tam's going to DIE when I tell her that her pool squirted water directly at me from 15 feet away. Tattoo, focus Ryan, dangit. Anyhow, I might get a tattoo if the rates are reasonable. THAT WAS FRICKIN' CRAZY, I CAN'T GET OVER THAT. HOLY SH**, IT DID IT AGAIN! This time it shot water 8 feet high the other direction. This is reminding me of that movie, what was it, Sphere? Sorry about the cuss word, that was an accident, won't happen again! Ok, I am going to wake up the neighborhood with laughter if that happens again, seriously, this is freaky! Tam's pool is trying to kill me with chlorinated water! The worst part about it is that there is this semi-transparent pool cover on that I can't really see through, I'm thinking maybe there is some kind of animal swimming around in the water? Maybe a huge toad or something causing trouble, the pool has squirted three times now, I'm going to go investigate...
OK, I found out what is going on. Let me know if ya'all want to know the conclusion to this little mystery, or if you'd like to let your imagination run wild!
Last weekend my church and I went on a mission trip to México for one day to build the walls for a family who is getting a new house. The house is a double-wide and I think we finished all the walls for it over the span of a few hours. I love that my little church is willing to go out and help other people and serve God in ways like this. This was our second mission trip to México and I think we are going to do many more like this. Here are some pictures from the day...
I think photo credits mostly go to Justin, but we kinda passed the camera around, so who knows. Good times!
On our way out of the shoot monday, we decided to take a couple action shots. Here is a shot me jumping over a rail that was about as tall as Tam...
photo by justin, lighting by tam.
Also, the first shot from the night is up at Aesthetic-Mindset.com. Go check it out, it's fabulous!
So the PhotoCult had our first outing last night. That's what I've decided to call us anyhow. Tamara Leeper, Justin Kerr, and Ryan Gwillim. PhotoCult is just a nice catchy name for a group of ppl that walk around together at night taking pictures for hours. That's what we did, that's what we are. I still need to check if photocult.com is taken, if not, I think I might reserve it. But I digress...BOOO...
No more than 20 minutes after arriving on location to do our mass photo shoot of Balboa Park last night, my beloved camera, died. Yes, dead, like no longer of the land of the living, and the damn thing took a good AP 35-70mm lens with it too! I was busy taking some photos of light reflections on a still pond when I moved my tri-pod a bit and the camera JUMPED off the top and came crashing down on the the concrete below. The lens exploded into a few pieces and the camera will no longer wind film. DAMMIT.
I'm not a happy camper. And I am tired of not having the equipment I need. I need a good camera, and I need a good tri-pod to put it on. This really sucks.
On the bright side I think we got some good shots with Justin's 20D. Can't wait to see how they turned out. I'm sure the next couple weeks of Aesthetic-Mindset will be littered with shots from last night.
I have decided that I want to gain 10 pounds in 2 weeks. Day one was monday the 5th and the challenge ends on monday the 19th. My start weight is/was 159lbs and I have decided not to weigh myself until the last day.
If this works, my next goal will be to keep the weight on. :)