Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Back in the saddle again!

I am back at school. I signed up to take 2 summer school courses. I finished my first about four weeks ago, and I am almost done with the second. I was a bit rusty at it, and it took me about five weeks to get used to the pace of things. It is hard but good.

For the first time in my life I am in classes where the instructors are telling us that we can make a difference, we can change the world one student at a time. How empowering is that! I am so blessed to be in these classes. It is good that I decided to take these summer school courses now, because once the semester starts it won't be as idealistic, but more nose to the grindstone. It is a two semester program and I will be taking 19 units each semester. Yikes! So pray for me whenever you think of me. I will need the support and strength. I am a little nervous, but I am motivated by the students.

Which brings me to another point. Recently people have been saying, "Wow you really have a calling to work with this population" (I am studying to be a special education teacher) I don't really know what to do with comments like that. I am frankly offended by those words. The population I am choosing to work with are people, and aren't we all called to minister to people? For this reason I find this comment confusing. In the past, society has segregated this population and banished them, and the stigma of those actions still remains. They really aren't that strange or difficult. They are just different. Trust me I have interacted with all sorts of people, and I would gladly choose to hang out with some people with disabilities over some people without disabilities.

So is this a calling? I don't know. I don't think it is any more of a calling than the same urges I feel to give money to the homeless, shelter orphans, protect the abused, heal the sick, and feed the hungry. It is a calling to love those who bear the image of God. A calling to love those He loved so dearly He willingly died for. Yes I am seeking out a degree that will equip me to work in a particular community, but I see opportunities abounding around me to love. My neighbors, my peers, my coworkers. Is this not also a calling? And I am also ready and aware that at any moment God may lead me to Africa, England, or Latin America to love on people in His name. I look forward to it! So please understand the subtle insult aimed at those with disabilities that is embedded in those words "Wow you really have a calling to work with this population". They demand no more of me and you than any other group, and they are just as precious and valued in God's eyes.

I have not been called to work with the defiled and disgusting. I have been called to love a people who are worthy to be loved and to break down the walls of banishment and segregation. Weren't we all called to this? I have been called to fight for justice and truth! And I would gladly do the same for you if ever you need it.

Good News and Bad News...

Well let's start with the bad new, more like sad news...

So my container garden that I have been proudly updating you on, well something has gone terribly wrong. Let me remind you of the family I was growing. We had Ms. Strawberry, Ms. Tomato, Mr. Pepper, Mr. Cucumber, Ms. Okra, the twin Misses Basils, and Mr. Cilantro (technically I also tried to raise a Mr. Chives, but that was a failure I don't like to think about). Okay now you remember them all, right? So here is the bad news... I can't even bear to tell you! Just scroll down.

This was baby Basil. Now there is only one of the twins left. There used to be full green leaves on here! Can you tell what happened? Let me give you a hint.

Caterpillars!!!! It happened over night. One day I was commenting on how big the basil leaves were getting and how I would probably buy some pizza dough to make a yummy basil and tomato pizza (dairy-free of course! I swear they taste GOOD!) then the next morning I come out to water the kiddies and... the horror! Meanwhile the caterpillar just looked up at me and smiled! Can you believe that?!?!? He had the audacity to thank me for the yummy dinner! Now I know why farmers use pesticides. All that time and energy and resources, and it's robbed from you just like that.

I managed to save one of the basils, and she is doing fine now, but I have resorted to a caterpillar pesticide. I'm not proud to admit that, and I did feel guilty as I sprayed my leaves with the poison. It was a tough decision to make. The little buggers decimated my cilantro, so Ms. Basil is all I have left of my herbs. 

I wish that was all, but I have saved the worst of my bad news for last. Are you seated? Good. Mr. Cucumber is terminally ill. Oh it kills me to say it! He was flourishing, I mean really growing super fast! And big! And green! And lush! I was the proudest of Mr. Cucumber. Then slowly I noticed spots, and the leaves and stems began to die off. Through the process of elimination (I made many attempts to treat potential diseases) I have finally concluded that Mr. Cucumber has bacterial wilt. There is no treatment for it, he's a goner. It is depressing to walk outside and look at him. And three cucumbers were starting to grow too! But they also will be taken by the disease. I think I will remove him this weekend...So sad. 

But not everything was lost. The strawberry, tomato and peppers are still doing good. And the salvaged basil is doing better than ever.


Jonathan and I have been eyeing the tomatoes and eating them as soon as they become ripe. They are tiny but tasty!

What a learning experience! If not for the tomatoes, and Jonathan's constant encouragement, I would have given up. I still feel a bit like a failure. But I haven't thrown the towel in yet, and I have learned some tricks along the way. So maybe next year it will be better... one can only hope.