Mission musing in San Antonio

July 13, 2015

This morning, while brushing my teeth, my mind went wandering, and I found myself thinking about the San Antonio Missions. On July 5th UNESCO designated the four Spanish colonial Missions and the Alamo as the first World Heritage site in Texas. In a post I read on the Rivard Report, Nelson Wolff, Bexar County Judge, is quoted as saying, “This is a great day to celebrate our culture, our heritage, and the great historic structure of the Missions and the Alamo.”

I drifted just a few seconds to recall the crazy antics of weekend protesters who rallied in front of the Alamo fearful of the United Nations “taking away our control of the Missions.” No doubt, there are some who are worried Jade Helm may be hijacking the Missions for tunneling, secretly sending troops to overthrow the Texas gov’ment, and make it part of the United States.

the alamo

In my life I have been so fortunate as to have worked within walking distance of two of these great Missions. For six years, I worked downtown in the beautiful old building, 110 Broadway. The Alamo was one block from my office. I passed by it almost every day as I weaved my way through the tourists and other downtown workers to lunch or shopping. I never passed by the Alamo that I wasn’t aware of a slight emotional tug from the historical site.

mission conception for blog

Now, I drive past Mission Concepción on my way to Blessed Sacrament Academy campus at 1135 Mission Road. Both the history of the Mission and that of Blessed Sacrament seem sacred. It also feels, as they say, “Puro San Antonio.”

Come visit San Antonio and our historical sites and treasures.

selfie at the missions2

Me trying to take a selfie at the Mission was pretty funny.


TEDxSanAntonio # 5

October 20, 2014

Ideas-In-Action-TEDxSanAntonio-280wThis year’s TEDxSanAntonio event had a decidedly different tone from the four previous events. I think that’s as it should be. Constantly evolving with fresh speakers and topics, each event–a mind opening, idea sharing experience–then becomes a unique memory for its audience.

Hosted again by Rackspace, the auditorium filled with a record crowd of close to 700 attendees and volunteers. With the theme “ideas in action,” speakers often left the audience with a call to action–to become advocates for change–to fight for immigration reform; to provide better access to quality heath care; to challenge the soda companies and their sugary ways; to learn how to share ourselves more and to tell our own stories. One speaker gave us tools to determine what might be a problem, or maybe a dilemma; and another stated it was a problem we aren’t encouraging girls enough to learn STEM.

We learned “life is improv,” and ‘hacker’ is not a bad word but creativity. Because the “old ways can’t get us to the new place,” we should improve support for urban impact entrepreneurs and develop urban agriculture. On the other hand, ‘colonias’ can become engaged communities. We nodded our heads in agreement that our schools are often “educating with broken tools” and project- based learning is so much more effective.  We stood on our feet and put our hands together with acceptance for a journey of self discovery as a young man came out of the closet and onto the stage as a drag queen. We heard a poet and a river speak the distinctive language of San Antonio.

Kori Aston hand-painted this picture while she told a story of strength and love.  It’s a good word for TEDxSanAntonio, one that I find each year. All the speakers’ names and topics are posted on the TEDxSanAntonio website  All the previous speakers’ videos are there as well. This year’s will be there after processing.

Kori Aston painting

Kori Aston painting

An experience better enjoyed live, plan to attend next year’s event–no doubt already being planned. Better yet, take heed to the issues presented, choose to make a difference in your community with your time and talents. Join the TEDxSanAntonio community by engaging in a Salon, a smaller, usually more ‘hands-on’ event, scheduled throughout the year.

The Dangers of Facebook–next chapter

June 25, 2013

Please read this news story about my grandson’s plight and sign the petition.

Please watch the video news story and share.

Justin has actually been in jail since February 14. He is now in solitary for his own protection. We are able to phone and I visit. He is also being visited by a Chaplain in the Prison Ministry.

Here is a link to a t-shirt “Free Justin”. Proceeds benefit a legal fund set up by the manufacturer.

My family and I appreciate any help you are willing to give.

Four Dead in Ohio

May 4, 2013

Today marks the 43rd anniversary of the Kent State shootings. On May 4, 1970 as students were protesting the ‘Cambodian Incursion’ and the Vietnam war in general, National Guardsmen fired 67 rounds of ammunition over a period of 13 seconds, killing four students and wounding nine others, one of whom suffered permanent paralysis. (read more)

Just out of college and still actively involved in protesting the war, the shootings were horrifying–the worst yet of escalating violence between student protestors and law enforcement.

Here is the still poignant “Four Dead in Ohio” by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.”

Wade in the Water

January 21, 2013

This is from the bible verses of John 5:1-10.  There was a pool in Bethesda surrounded by five colonnades.  A great number of diseased, lame, or otherwise afflicted persons lay by the pool. At certain seasons, an angel of the Lord would go down and trouble, or agitate, the waters.  Those who made it into the waters as they were roiling, would be healed.

There was one paralyzed man who had lain by the pool for 38 years.  His physical state did not allow him to ever make it down to the pool in time to be healed. When Jesus asked him why he had been there so long without being able get in the water on time to be healed the man said, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”

Now sometimes this verse gets the negative treatment. What’s wrong with this guy he can’t drag himself down to the water in 38 years. Everyone else can get down there. What a whiner, he expects someone to help him down to the pool. After all “God helps those who helps themselves.” Those people on welfare and food stamps, they should just get off the couch and go get a job. They’re just lazy and looking for a handout. All those kids with no health insurance. So what if that single-mom is working two jobs just to provide the basics. We shouldn’t have to pay for those kids healthcare. Certain politicians think the way to balance the budget is by cutting all human services programs.

Everyone needs a little help sometimes. After all, Jesus didn’t berate this man, he healed him. It’s hard to pick oneself up by the bootstraps if you don’t have boots. Sometimes it’s hard for us to ask for help as it can be interpreted as a sign of weakness.
The platitude that states “God won’t give you more than you can handle” doesn’t mean you can’t ask for help from your fellow humans as well as the spiritual implications.

It’s ok to give help–joyfully, and without judgment.  It’s ok to ask for help without guilt or supplication.

OK, that’s my rant for the day.

Yo Quiero Camaro

November 11, 2012

The San Antonio Camaro Club said, “show us your Camaros and your loaded Bel Aires, and tricked out Crown Vics and Chevys, too.”

Never thought I say it, but I really enjoyed the Camaro Club’s car show this weekend at Providence. There were lots of cool cars from my generation and oldies music, and nice people having fun.

Why Girls Matter

December 11, 2011

Over the past few years, I’ve read some pretty enlightening and emotionally heavy books about the treatment of girls and women in some cultures around the world. It started with Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi, A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini, The Bookseller of Kabul by Asne Seirstad, and finally, Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristoff and Sheryl WuDunn. I had the pleasure of hearing both Sheryl WuDunn and Isabel Allende speak in person about their advocacy of empowering girls and women to bring about more equitable treatment and socioeconomic advances for their communities.

Along the way, the difference girls and women can make in a society is confirmed again and again. Some of the how that happens is by working to bring an awareness to the causes that fight to end sex-trafficking and genital mutilation; provide basic education, job training and micro-lending. It’s absolutely amazing to me that there is still so much gender inequality in the world. In many countries females just don’t matter. Even though, the truth is, that not only do girls and women matter, but often hold the key to the entire community’s prosperity, their family’s well-being, the socioeconomic evolution of subsequent generations.

This video by The Girl Effect lays it right out for you!

My Dream House

August 31, 2010

I have this house I dream about. It’s the house I lived in from 1969 to ’77 in Austin, Texas. Fresh out of college, two single, white females with hair down to our waists, my roommate and I found this house during an evening stroll. It was empty; but, we could hear it calling to us. We found the owners and asked if we could rent.  Amazingly, they said yes, rent is $90 a month. Even back then, it was a great deal.

The house was built in 1926, a split level with a small downstairs apartment. It was (and is still) located right on the cusp of Clarksville near Mopac. The house had no air-conditioning and a old refrigerator with the motor on top. But, it was full of good vibes.  We moved in and proceeded to live the life we had been dreaming of those past four years in school.

Without a doubt, those were the best days of my life. Oh, not that I don’t think all my days are the best, including tomorrow, next week, next year… In 1969, the neighborhood was in flux. With only a few actual homeowners left, the hippies had moved in. The neighborhood felt like a commune. We had our own gardens and vegetarian guru who supplied all our greens, if you know what I mean. I worked as a waitress in a popular restaurant and made plenty of tips. I think we saw every band that played the Armadillo. We came home in the early morning with our dancing shoes in one hand and a sweet boy in the other.  Later, our naked little babies played together in the back yard.

After we both had moved out and moved on, I began frequently dreaming of the house. I’d walk through the rooms with feelings of deep emotion, like a longing to be back home. Over time, the dreams became less frequent and the house began to look kinda distorted with odd shaped rooms or a weird view from the windows. But, it still felt like it was a place I wanted to get back to.

Our House is a very fine house.

Several years ago, my husband and I bought our first home.  Some days I sit in my comfy chair, by a cabinet full of all my souvenirs, and look out the large front window. With the smell of jasmine and honeysuckle wafting in, I watch the sparrows flinging bird seed all over. I say “thanks” for this wonderful home.  And, I can’t remember the last time I dreamed of the Austin house.

Destiny and Demolition

December 3, 2009

Whether you consider it fate, destiny, kismet or just plain luck, I venture to guess most of you recall where and when you first met your true love. Every day, as we drive down Broadway to work, my husband and I pass the place where we met—that derelict, graffiti-covered eyesore, once the home of Broadway Dodge.  In this building, as employees of a bustling, successful dealership, Richard courted me and won my heart.

Several weeks ago, demolition began on the property.  As the building was being dismantled, we noted its progress and reminisced. I was working in the parts department, surrounded by a motley crew of auto parts clerks and mechanics. I listened all day long to shop talk, drinking stories, and boasts of sexual prowess. Fresh from a painful divorce, I tuned them all out–including the quiet guy on the other side of the window in the warranty department.

An avid fisherman, Richard is an artist at tying fishing flies. In case you don’t know, fishing flies mimic bugs fish like to eat. Imagine my surprise as huge cockroaches and spiders began showing up on my computer keyboard. All the guys thought it was hilarious making the lone woman in the department squeal. Believe it or not, this sophomoric tactic worked and Richard and I began talking and taking refuge in each other.

So, almost 25 years later, the building is razed to the ground, but we are still standing together. Any married couple will tell you marriage is not a constant love-fest. With all the usual problems and trying to make that ‘blended family’ thing happen, it is often hard work.

So, what is the secret to a good marriage? You and your spouse may have your own, here are a few of mine: It is not necessary to share all the same interests. Appreciate and listen when your spouse goes on about their favorite hobby, even if you haven’t a clue–like fly-fishing. Try really hard not to criticize your spouse’s family. It OK for them, not OK for you. Be friends.

Next time you are together, take a few minutes with your spouse, significant other, partner… stoke that love flame and remember your first meeting.

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This blog was published by Alamocitytimes.com December, 2009