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Posts Tagged ‘Amy Welborn’

Ann Engelhart and I have a new book coming out in August, and it’s making its first appearances online…

 

"amy welborn"

 

 

We’re excited!

And a reminder – I have many books that are quite suitable for gift-giving for First Communion, Confirmation, Graduation, and Mother’s Day…and we’re entering into the season, aren’t we?

Saints and such for First Communion…

"amy welborn"

Confirmation?  Maybe the Prove It books…

Mother’s Day? 

If you know someone coming into the Church at Easter….maybe the How to Book of the Mass or The Words We Pray. 

 

 

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Well, I tried….

"amy welborn"

"amy welborn"

Kabah ruins

 

 

"amy welborn"

Kabah Ruins

 

I was thinking that this would satiate him.  It does not seem to have taken things in that direction.

— 2 —

It’s gone great so far.   I’m not enamored of driving on Mexican roads, though.  It’s not that they’re dangerous or treacherous.  They’re in excellent condition.  It’s just that they are incredibly boring.  At least in the parts of the Yucatan in which I’ve been driving.  They’ve been mostly two-lane with a decent speed limit, but with vegetation growing slam up to the side of the road and few breaks in the scenery.  The breaks that exist are towns and villages, all of which are marked by serious speed bumps which Must Be Obeyed.  It’s okay.  It gives you a chance to observe the scenery without seeming to rubberneck, but after a while…it can get tedious.  I was ready to arrive in Campeche today, and ready to ditch the car for a day.

"amy welborn"

"amy welborn"

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— 3 —

At one point,  a bit up in the distance, a strange animal started to cross the road.  For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out what it was…some sort of huge weird badger with a skinny body and long tail? A…what?  Joseph yelled, “IT’S A MONKEY!”  And in retrospect, I do believe he was correct.

— 4 —

It’s an obvious thing to say, but spending even three days in this climate affords a real education in how culture develops in relationship to said climate.  Life is very busy starting about 6am, then by noon is spent…and you can really understand why.  And you can understand why things perk up again around 5.  It just makes sense. Nothing original about that observation – it’s just good to experience it.

— 5 —

Walking around Campeche, I was twice approached by different trios of awkward high school students, needing to conduct an interview with an English speaker for their English classes.  I was recorded answering questions like “What is your name?” and “How old are you?” and “Do you play any sports?”  It was very sweet, and it was enlightening to see how difficult it was for these kids to pronounce English, even in this world in which we think that because of the prevalence of American pop culture, it should just come naturally to everyone.

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Campeche Cathedral

— 6 —

One point I’m glad to see emerging on this trip is this teachable moment:  When you are aware of Mayan history, you are aware of a history of a civilization that rose and fell without any reference to Europeans.  That broadens the mind tempted to narrowness in a couple of ways.  First, it’s always good to learn about an accomplished non-European civilization.  Why not.  Secondly, the dominant narrative out there in pop history (an umbrella under which I would group most school-taught history) is that if there’s a fallen non-European society…Europeans were probably at fault.   Of course, since the Mayans collapsed centuries before Europeans were even thinking about showing up, that undercuts those assumptions nicely.

(By the way, Michael and I went to a totally cheesy but somehow winning presentation of the history of Campeche that combined a desultory tour through a fort (in Spanish), a video projection on a wall of said fort, and some exciting live action up on the ramparts.  The mix of cultures was celebrated not decried, and – shock of shocks – the coming of Christianity was presented as a good thing – as the introduction of a God “who asked only love” into the culture. )

"amy welborn"

"amy welborn"

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For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

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"Amy welborn"

 

 

"Amy welborn"

 

"Amy welborn"

"Amy welborn"

 

"Amy welborn"

"Amy welborn"

 

 

"Amy welborn"

Sayil, another ruined city nearby.

Uxmal was far less crowded, much cooler, and more interesting than Chichen Itza – the decorations on the facades is still intact.  More later.

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Random notes from Chichen Itza and other parts:

  • So yes, we made it.  We stayed at Mayaland! A very nice resort-type place that I picked because the hotel property is adjacent to Chichen Itza.
  • My intention was that was be able to get up, eat breakfast, and enter the park through the rear entrance (a minute walk from the hotel) at 8am – a couple of hours before the tour groups arrive, a good bit of time before the vendors set up, and, of course, also a bit before it gets really hot.
  • GREAT IDEA!
  • Except for the cold, hard facts that:   1) When getting money out of the ATM at Cancun airport, I really could not remember the whole pesos/dollars thing,and didn’t get enough.  Clearly.   2)I handed over a bunch in the whole PLEASE GET ME GAS SO I AM NOT STRANDED ON A MEXICAN TOLL ROAD IN THE DARK WITH MY CHILDREN thing   and 3)the Chichen Itza ticket office takes cash only   and 4) the atm at the hotel didn’t open until 9.
  • So there was a bit of disappointment on that score, but we got over it.  We just chilled, then went ahead and checked out of the hotel, stored the luggage and studied the peacocks until 9.
  • It’s an interesting site.  I’ll not have anything to compare it to until we go to Uxmal, so I should probably withhold judgment till then.
  • One thing Chichen Itza is famed for are the souvenir vendors.  They are permitted to be all over the site – the only one of the main archaeological sites in which this is so.  The purveyors of Mayan calendars, huipil, hats, statuary, magnets…jaguar “whistles” which are sounded the minute a child comes in sight…all “almost free!”  AMAZING!

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  • I must confess, though, that while the place would certainly be more authentic without guys alternating fake jaguar cries and checking their cel phones and telling me it was all “almost free!” it didn’t bother me that much.  The street vendors in Rome and Paris are far more aggressive with their “Un Euro Un Euro Un Euro” for their little Eiffel Towers and light necklaces, their scarves and umbrellas
  • And yes, it was hot.  Everything they say about the hotness of Chichen Itza is true – it is largely unshaded, flat, and by noon, I was ready to go….and I enjoy the heat.
  • Also at the hotel was a large group of French tourists.
  • Dinner last night?  I’m going to trust that you are uninterested in the boys’ dinners, because they are not much different from what they have north of the border. Yet. I’m working on it.  I had a Chiles Rellenos dish, which was okay.  Tonight (in a different place), I had Poc Chuc, which was DELICIOUS.
  • In driving through this part of Mexico (I am careful not to generalize, because I am only in the Yucatan, so I can’t say, “in Mexico”…even though it might be true.  I don’t know.)….speed bumps are a constant feature. Serious speed bumps, forcing you to drastically slow down as you pass through towns.  What impressed me were the enteriprising purveyors of items like roasted corn and tamales who stationed themselves at those speed bumps, knowing that drivers would have to almost stop in order to preserve their undercarriage.  I didn’t get anything today because of the uncertainties of our destination, but I will, I hope, before we leave.
  • "Amy Welborn"

    If he ever becomes a famed archaeologist, date it to this moment. He turned around and exclaimed, “I can’t believe I’m really here!

     

  • The people are lovely.  Don’t be a skinflint with your tips, and they will be even lovelier  Just sayin’.
  • I had warned the boys that there might be police stops on the road, and yes, the police might be carrying machine guns, and to not be alarmed.  Indeed, on our travels today, there were four brief stops (but only once were they sporting machine guns) – we were waved through every time, although every time, a car in front of us was motioned to stop and pull over.  I don’t know what the criterea were.
  • Oh, and for those of you who haven’t followed us for the past few years.  This isn’t our first time in Mexico.  The first substantive time was a few years ago when we went on a parish mission trip led by the Family Missions Company to General Cepeda, Mexico, a bit west of Monterrey and Saltillo.
  • Quote of the day from the middle of the Yucatan:

    Me: “Are you American?”

    Guy I’m asking advice from: “No, I’m Estonian.”

     

 

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Day One – Pemex Edition

Day one shouldn’t have been a long one, but because of a certain fail in my usually mad research skills…it was.  But it wasn’t a disaster….just long.

(It could have been a disaster…for sure!)

The first part was easy: Fly from Alabama to Houston to Cancun.   It was a Monday.  The Spring Breakers must fly on the weekend because at one point the flight attendant commented, “Y’all sure are quieter than the group yesterday.”

Surprisingly, the second part was easy, too.  I had been advised that flying into Merida might be a better choice than Cancun simply because of the wait at immigration, but that proved not to be the case.  Ten minutes, tops, including customs.

The rental car wasn’t bad either.  I’d arranged it before hand, the price quoted and insurance coverage quoted (a sticky point in Mexico) was as arranged, and Joseph watched the man who preceded us in line take photos of the dents in his car before driving away just as I had told his skeptical self I was going to do.

And then…we were off.

Now, there are two ways to get from Cancun to Chichen Itza and beyond.  There’s the slower, free way, and then there’s the faster toll road.  All I read about the latter was that it was “boring.”  The most boring road in the world, perhaps.   Bosh, I thought.  Even if it’s boring, I decided, I needed expediency.  After flying down, I just wanted to get us to where we were going.  The picturesque could come tomorrow and the whole next week.

So I found the concept of a toll road no problem.

Oh, I should add that my car came to me with a little more than a quarter tank of gas.  (Duly marked on the sheet).    I thought, “Ah, I’ll stop in a minute.  Let me figure this car and this road out.  Then we’ll stop. Get water. Get Coca-Cola Light,because we’re in that land again. Get gas.”

So I drove. And drove.  I had purchased a very detailed map of the area, which included notation of gas stations.  Hmmm.   I told Joseph to look for the next gas station.   He pointed. “It’s on the free road.”  “Well, I’ll just get off,” I assured him.  He ventured doubtfully, “I…don’t…think…you can….”

And do you know what? You can’t.  I couldn’t.

I watched that fuel gauge creep slowly toward E – and it was so slow, I had some hope.   It seemed to barely budge after fifty kilometers.   But as it dawned on me that no, there really was no gas until Vallidadod, over 100 kilometers down the road, I started to wonder…what in the hell am I going to do?  What is wrong with these people?  What if there was a real emergency???

I’ve gotten close to E before, but always knowing that a gas station was a mile down the road…but here…there just wasn’t.

Well. This is a nice start, isn’t it?  Stranded by the side of a Mexican toll road on a Monday evening?

Well, there’s a toll booth!  A toll booth with some refreshments and a sign indicating one could get help for…something.  No gasoline symbol, though.  Well, I would ask anyway.  So I asked the toll booth attendant about gasoline..He shrugged and waved.  Nope. Not until Vallodidod.

“You need gasoline?

“Si!”

He motioned to his left, on the other side of the road.  “Go there.  You will get gasoline.”

I obeyed – what else was I going to do ?  I had an eighth of a tank left to drive about sixty kilometers.   I might have been able to do it, but it was really too risky.   I swung around and pulled up to a shabby building with a Cruz Rosa truck in front of it.

The fellow – Nelson, his name was – and I understood each other enough for him to tell me that gas would be gotten for me, and it would take about 30 minutes and 200 pesos.  I really didn’t care.  Again…what else was I going to do?

So he sent his assistant off, and he hung out, and we attempted to chat.  He told me, as I mentioned, that his name is Nelson.  I asked him about pronunciation of certain words, especially those with an “X” – in Maya, it’s got an “sh” sound to it, specifically what depending on its placement in front of a vowel or consonant, I guess.  We stretched that out for a while.  I bought the boys water.  Nelson talked to me about Chichen Itza.  We watched tour bus after tour bus thunder past, away from the ruins and towards Cancun.  We waited.

Eventually, the older guy appeared with two rather large containers of gasoline.  What I suspect is that they usually have a store on hand – Nelson said that the lack of gas stations on the road was a continual problem – and since it was late in the day, they had run out.

And we were off.  Doing what I hadn’t wanted to do – drive in the dark – but it was that blasted, toll road, with plenty of lights,  not some windy country road.

Finally – I crawled through the town of Piste, lively with bikes, business tricycles,  shops and food stops open to the street – I would not have minded stopping, but we needed to get to our hotel…..MAYALAND…

And someone….was in heaven.

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Today is the Feast of the Annunciation

 

How about a free e-book about Mary?

 

 

 

My book Mary and the Christian Life, has been out of print for a couple of years, so I am offering a .pdf file of the text at no cost to anyone interested.

 

Go to this page and click on the link to download!

 

 

 

Amy Welborn

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This is a repeat post, with some additions….so forgive…

Here are some of our resources that you might find helpful:

  • Reconciled to Goda daily devotional from Creative Communications for the parish.  You can buy it individually, in bulk for the parish our your group, or get a digital version.

"amy welborn"

"amy welborn"

Update:    There are several used volumes of The Power of the Cross on Amazon, very reasonably priced.  

  • I have some contributions in this year’s Living Faith Lenten devotional. 
  • Also free:A few years ago, I wrote a Stations of the Cross for young people called No Greater Love, published by Creative Communications for the Parish.

     

    "Amy Welborn"No Greater Love is no longer in print, but I’ve been receiving inquiries about it, so since it’s out of print, and I hold the rights, the publisher has agreed that it would be fine for me to distribute it as I wish.  So, if you’d like to download it, make copies for your teens or group, feel free.

    You can download the pdf file by clicking here.  It’s not in a booklet form – just 9 pages, basically.  But perhaps you can use it.

Also, thinking ahead to First Communion, Confirmation, Graduation, Mother’s Day, Easter Vigil…..here are some books for sale. 

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Some of you may not know it, but when it comes to North American Mardi Gras, Mobile, Alabama tussles with New Orleans for pride of place.  You can read about the disagreement here – both claim to be first.  If you read it, though, it does seem to be a tie with how you weight it depending on how you define both “first” and “Mardi Gras.

But anyway, just a couple of hours away from New Orleans’ notoriety (which you could not pay me to attempt – Bourbon Street on a non-holiday weekday is crazy enough….) stands Mobile, with its month-long Mardi Gras celebrations.   Days and days of balls and parades all over the area.  I’ve always wanted to go, but since this time of year is also basketball season, it never seems to work out. Plus, I also forget.

This year, a day – a whole day – appeared on the calendar, free from basketball and anything else.  So we grabbed that day and ran with it.

We began Thursday evening after Michael’s art class. We got out of town by six, and were in our Residence Inn down in Mobile by 9:30.  Free with points.  A single bedroom suite was all I was able to book online, but I asked nicely once we arrived and was upgraded to a two bedroom.  Much better. The boys spent an hour in the pool, thirty minutes in front of televisions watching ESPN and Duck  Dynasty , respectively (for the record, I can’t stand the latter – it is so awkward in its staginess.  But Someone Else who is nine likes it, so sometimes he gets to watch it.)

Up and out after breakfast.  First stop was going to be the Exploreum Children’s Museum.  I found the museum’s free parking lot, which was also very close to the parade route.  I parked, and subsequently asked two people in various nearby museums, “Can I park there through the parade without being towed or paying?”  And both people assured me yes.  But that didn’t stop me from checking a few times during the day, of course.  They are aggressive about towing during these parades (rightfully so), and I was not up for that.  All was well, however, and it was also right next to I-10, so getting out was a breeze.

Well, I lied.  The Exploreum wasn’t the first stop.  Fort Conde was.  It’s a reconstructed semblance of what the original fort, built by the French, would have looked like.  It houses an excellent little museum centered on the history of the fort and Mobile, and it’s free.

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At Fort Conde, an exhibit explaining how Mobile’s founder, Jean-Baptiste Moyne de Bienville, was tattooed so to better fit in with the Native Americans. 

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Of course, we must climb.

The Exploreum is across the street.  Now remember, I am not a superfan of children’s museums, but our membership in ours here gets us in free, so that’s definitely worth an hour or two if we have it to kill.  And after all – it’s a school day!  We must learn!

This was not the best one I’ve ever seen, and one section of it even seemed almost like a replica of the first floor of McWane - the exact same exhibits and equipment.  It’s also obviously more set up for school groups – like this large space which did have exhibits, but also featured large tables, each of which featured materials and instructions for making various things, most of them with the capacity to fly.

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The distinctive element of this museum was this health-centered area. It featured some interesting technology, including an area in which you could simulate various types of surgery.

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Next was the Mobile Carnival Museum- cheap, but not free either.  It was fine.  Most of what was exhibited were the, er, courtly garments of the Mardi Gras royalty – it is quite something.  The boys were mostly puzzled as to what the heck all these long trains were about, but I came away with a little bit more awareness (if not understanding) of the culture that lies behind these celebrations.  It’s pretty intricate.

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Checked out the Cathedral – big pillars and stained glass in the doors, which is not something I’ve seen very often.

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Finally the History Museum of Mobile. The website said it closed at 5, but when we arrived at 3:45, the sign said it was closing early – at 4:30 – because of the parade.  The attendant asked for only a small donation, since we wouldn’t have much time.  I don’t think that even if we’d had more time, we’d have spent more time, if you get my drift, so that was money well spent.  Between the Fort and this Museum, you can get a decent education on the history of the area – the many times it changed hands between the Spanish, French, British and Americans, the disasters that seem to regularly affect it, and its economic importance.

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We killed some time (more on that later) until parade time.  (Oh, and no, we didn’t go to the USS Alabama.  We have toured aircraft carriers – the Yorktown in Charleston and the Intrepid in NYC.  Yes, this is a battleship, and so different, but hanging out on the USS Alabama is a pretty common Scout activity in these parts, so we (they) can wait for that.)

Our spot was on Government street, near the beginning of the route – the parade began exactly on time, and took about 40 minutes (we were in the car at 7:18).  It was different and fun – this was the Inca Parade, by the way.   I’m trying to imagine what it’s like on the days over the next week and a half when there are several of these parades every day – and I can’t.

It was a very family-friendly crowd.  Lots and lots of kids, not any alcohol to speak of, and no, er, demonstrations.  I understand it gets rowdier up around the bars, which isn’t surprising. And it will probably be a lot rowdier everywhere  a week from now.  There are elaborate floats and lots of bands.  Masked men (creepy) throw out beads, toys, footballs (we got one) and yes, Moon Pies.  As we were walking around before, Joseph asked of a passer-by, “Why does that lady have a rake?” and once the parade started, he figured out why and wished he had one.

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And back home in the Ham by 11. Done and done!

I’m glad we went, but I’ll tell you the problem with Mobile Mardi Gras:  (deep breath) it’s Mobile.  Or at least downtown Mobile.  As I said, we had almost two hours to kill between leaving the museum and the beginning of the parade.  We’d eaten a late lunch and weren’t hungry.  So during that time, we wandered downtown and the waterfront.  And wandered and wandered. Honestly, it’s a sad, sad downtown.  Not that Birmingham is better, of course.   They try to sell Dauphin Street as Mobile’s Bourbon Street, but, no. There are just as many shuttered storefronts as occupied ones.  Most of the businesses are restaurants, bars and coffeeshops – with one bookstore, a couple of men’s clothing shops and one woman’s clothing shop.  The waterfront park is just an expanded walkway with a vacant, unused, kind of air about it.  I was expecting maybe a lower-key Charleston or Savannah vibe but it wasn’t even close, which is too bad, since it really diminished my interest in returning.

But……the good times did roll this time, anyway!

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"amy welborn"

Casa Maria Convent.

We attend Mass there – not as often as I would like, but every six weeks or so. More often in the near future, as the boys are going to be trained to serve there.   The apostolate is retreats, which means that your odds of hearing a substantive homily at Sunday Mass are pretty high.  Plus, there is the music, which is mostly chant and polyphany, with some hymns thrown in, and it’s simple, not overbearing or self-aggrandizing.

— 2 —

Engineering Day at McWane was chaotic (many schools in attendance – which is the point!) but illuminating.  Various engineering disciplines had table and demonstrations scattered throughout the museum, so the boys got a good taste of the variety, from materials engineering to nuclear to electrical and more.

— 3 —

House of Cardis really ridiculously awful.  I’ve watched through episode five of this season, I think, and I’m done.  It’s not just the pro-life terrorist angle, which is stupid but expected, and not just the amorality of the characters, but it’s the amorality of the characters in an amoral framework. Do you know what happens when you watch amoral sociopaths operate in a narrative framework with no moral tension?

— 4 —

My turn to be boring.  Reminding you that Lent is coming, and here’s some pertinent stuff:

  • Reconciled to Goda daily devotional from Creative Communications for the parish.  You can buy it individually, in bulk for the parish our your group, or get a digital version.

Also, if you missed my post on the fantastic app, The Mass Explained, go here. 

— 5 —

We’re presently on a road trip and listened to this part of the way down.  It’s “silly,” as the 9-year old says, but entertaining enough.

— 6 —

Speaking of reading, we finished Call of the Wild, which I really enjoyed (had never read it before), and have moved to this. 

youngfu

The “David” in the inscription is my late father. I had never read this before – or if I had, I’ve forgotten it.  I have to say that for a book written in the bad old days of purported cultural insensitivity and paternalism…it’s very culturally sensitive and non-paternalistic.

The first day, we only got a few pages in since rabbit holes were immediately encountered: Chinese geography and foot-binding.

Speaking of China, you do read Jen Ambrose, don’t you?

— 7 —

Yes, a little-bitty road trip, squeezed in between basketball games and other obligations.  Perhaps you’ll see a bit of it on Instagram on Friday….

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

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More free stuff

A few years ago, I wrote a Stations of the Cross for young people called No Greater Love, published by Creative Communications for the Parish.

(They publish my Lenten devotional Reconciled to God, and I am a regular contributor to their Living Faith devotional.  I’m currently working on an Advent 2014 devotional for them, as well.)

"Amy Welborn"No Greater Love is no longer in print, but I’ve been receiving inquiries about it, so since it’s out of print, and I hold the rights, the publisher has agreed that it would be fine for me to distribute it as I wish.  So, if you’d like to download it, make copies for your teens or group, feel free.

You can download the pdf file by clicking here.  It’s not in a booklet form – just 9 pages, basically.  But perhaps you can use it.

(They might bring it back into print at some future year, so be prepared to yank it and pay fifty cents for it again!)

 

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