Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Moon connections and the Peace Corps

This is the view of the beginning of the "Blood Moon" super lunar eclipse on Sunday over our back fence.

We live on the Navajo Reservation in Chinle Arizona.  Clear skies, unobstructed horizon.

Our youngest son Jonathan is in Paraguay with the Peace Corps.  He happened to be on What's App.  We shot him a photo, which reminded him about the eclipse.

He went outside to watch the sky and see the moon disappear into a pink haze.  Two different worlds, same moon.  We watched virtually together.

I clicked photos frustrated that I could never capture the beauty knowing there would be thousands of photos on social media all better than mine.  Tried to remind myself to be in the moment and not experience it through the lens.

Meanwhile our daughter in Cincinnati quips on another app, "the gods have forsaken us!"

In typical Jonathan fashion we get a brief virtual history lesson from his part of the world,  " I think a Mayan or Aztec chief saw a lunar eclipse in his dream.  He took it as an omen.  Shortly thereafter the Spanish arrived.  Is this eclipse an omen of my arrival in Paraguay? "

This is the way our family rolls.

Another sibling in DC wants to know if Jonathan is alive or has his heart been sacrificed to the blood moon.

I am beginning to wonder if this virtual togetherness is enhancing the experience or detracting from it.  But we are spread all over the world and we are experiencing a significant moment together.  Different worlds, same moon...sharing.

I couldn't help remembering when Steve and I had just arrived in Malawi, Africa more than 30 years ago.  We too were in the Peace Corps.  I was a new mother.  I was away from home and family.  I was homesick in a world so very far away and so very different from home.

I held Peter in my arms and looked at the full moon(no eclipse that night) and took comfort that my family could see the same moon.  No virtual sharing then.  It took at least two months for mail to go out and return with a response.  If I had written home that night, by the time I received a response I would have been settled into life and the adventure, on to new concerns, new joys, new news.

Forgive my motherly sentimentality here.  But I could not help thinking as the moon turned a gray-pink:  Different worlds, different means of communication.  Connecting us.   Always changing.

The moon?  May change phases but it is the same moon connecting us in some small way.  We were lucky to share the moment.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Peace Corps Proud.

This week we sent our youngest off to the Peace Corps in Paraguay.

The apple doesn't fall far from the tree!  He came by this choice honestly.

Steve and I were Peace Corps volunteers in Malawi more than a few years ago.

Jonathan's brother, Christopher and sister-in-law, Laurie returned from the Peace Corps in Mozambique two years ago.

But wait!  His cousin, Kayla was in Panama for 2 years with the Peace Corps and her mom, Robyn was in the Peace Corps before her.

So this weekend found us celebrating.  Thanks to friends and family who were with us for the send-off party.  Where we tried some recipes from Paraguay.

This cookie cake with chocolate and caramel was a hit.

But what is a party without the traditional?

And the chance to share some mate...an traditional infused tea from Paraguay. 

So the party is over and Jonathan is on his way to a new adventure.

We are proud that Jonathan will offer his skills and knowledge to a little part of the world as a volunteer in the environmental studies program in Paraguay.

But mostly we know that he will likely gain more than he gives and life will never be quite the same after the Peace Corps.

If you want to follow his adventures check out his blog here:


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Exciting News!

I am honored to have been invited to be a judge for the Young Muslim Writers Awards.   

The young writers are age five to sixteen.  The mission of the organization based in the UK is to "raise standards of child literacy and creative writing.  To enable young people to be confident communicators to help build a vibrant society.

The top five entries for both Poetry and Short Stories will be chosen for the award. They will be published in the anthology of the Young Muslim Writers Awards. 

I look forward to reading the shortlisted entries and helping to chose the finalists.  Stay tuned!

And have a look at the website.   https://ymwa.org.uk/about/