Young Life

Location: Santa Barbara, California, United States

A (somewhat) young and eager baker ready to help make your festivities even more special with a dash of sweetness. I'm not a professional baker, but I love making people happy by sharing some treats I'm pretty good at making in my own kitchen!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


These views do not represent in any way shape or form the opinion of the Peace Corps or of the United States government. The thoughts here are personal in nature and do not reflect any other ideas but our own.

I think Iko my host father would like nothing more than to converse with me and teach me Guarani all day long sipping terere and laughing and saying the few token english words he knows: Oh my Coy (oh my god) for example. We met his older sister Gloria with no teeth and his leathery mother whose spanish is so influenced by her guarani that i cant understand a word she says. at her house, we collected a variety of yuyus (medicinal remedies) for the mediamanana terere; kapi`i kati, cerdon kapii, burrito, tarope and others. They also cultivate pineapple, avocado, oranges, lemon and lime, banana and mandarines. At lunch, Miriam my host mother made conversation by sharing dirty stories about koreans. the national pastime is doing nothing at all.

to arrive at our casita from el centro, you need to walk on the main stone road, past the mercado and all the despensitas, past the plaza with canchas de futbol vacas grazing placdily while munching the field along with their cud, and turn left after the one iglesia in town. from there you conintue straight for a about a quarter mile in the red dirt, passing viviendas and more despensitas, avoiding the motos and the buey (castrated bulls that usually pull wooden carts), then the street dead ends and jogs to the right where it becomes la calle Lazarito. When you get to the caballo tied up on the calle, take a left and cross the arroyito and head up the grass pathway that leads to Zona Alta. to be continued...

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Bienvenido a Miami

These views do not represent in any way shape or form the opinion of the Peace Corps or of the United States government. The thoughts here are personal in nature and do not reflect any other ideas but our own.

Yes, we are in the city where the heat is on, all night on the streets till the break of dawn...(will smith smash hit, for those who remember)-Miami, the city that probably should be somewhere foreign because Spanish is the only language heard...a great starting point for us. We've been through a long day of "staging" here, as the PC likes to call it, and we've met people in our group from all over the country- Nebraska, Kansas, New York, Oregon, Idaho, New Jersey, good old Cali, South Carolina, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Philly, you name it, we've got it all! Its a real fun group so far- we've discussed, diagrammed, and drawn pictures representing every emotion possible. It really helps to be with other volunteers feeling the same things as us and hearing stories of our Staging director who's a returned volunteer of Paraguay. We had some good Cuban grub for lunch and some fresh catch of seafood for dinner, all while listening to a glorified karaoke singer who could do every big hit known to man, all complete with appropriate accents. It's been fun, but we're tired and have a big night tomorrow of flying all after a long two days of learning. But it all feeds the excitement, and we cant wait really! im grabbin' my last starbucks soy latte at the airport and waving goodbye with fondness to this country for a while. We send our love and thank you for your prayers! Talk to you all soon!

Friday, December 29, 2006


Beginning in February, the next two years and three months of our lives will be spent in a quiet and sparcely populated village somewhere in Paraguay, South America. We will dwell amidst scattered palms, dense jungle, a marshy and abandoned zone some call the "Green Hell", the rushing Paraguay and Parana Rivers, jaguars and boa constrictors and crocodiles and pirhanas. The people and their language are older than the dirt and stones, drinking their terere and yerba mate while preparing mandioca and maize cakes. And we ponder the tasks before us with a sublime mixture of awe and fear, awful premonition and wonder that is slowly growing to the fever pitch of excitement.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Infantile reflections

It is a profound thing to hold a baby in your arms. To cradle him, to rock her, to feel the soft warmth of tiny toes and wet red cheeks. I held my new nephew Kingston a few weeks ago, marveling at his flailing arms and wildly expressive face. It was strange to think that somehow that foreign being murmuring in my arms is tied to me and will grow in the passing days until in a flash he dates and marries and has a cooing baby of his own. And while watching and wondering at newness of life I could see as in a mirror my own yawns and pleading cries and slobbers of beautiful immaturity. And I wonder, does the warmth of tiny fingers gripping tightly ebb slowly as the days of growth and changing and understanding and jading and hoping and failing pass steadily by? And as the warmth ebbs, does the wonder and awe of new life dissipate into a fading glory never to be had again? And of a sudden, as if some odd epiphany had been casually tossed into the recesses of my heart and mind, I looked about at humanity and wondered if the glory of living breathing warm-bodied hot blooded white hot life might still pulse quietly behind the many locked doors we erect to store it away. And what a breathtaking landscape to behold, if only we had the keys to unlock so many doors with rusting keyholes and dusty doorknobs. And as I looked even at my own reflection, I could feel a different sort of human economics coursing through my veins, that what has value is the human herself, that whatever elements have combined together through mother and father to create, have indeed done right, and that the product is so, so good. Even in the bitter and ugly and forlorn and forsaken and malicious and perverse, the value seeps from the source, the life of man that is good, the worth drips from the fact that he is alive, he breathes, testimony of the Greater Things, the Other and Mysterious Things, the things that say no matter what we do, we are still worth something to someone just because we are. And in this I feel the many chasms and voids in the darker outcroppings of my insides slowly fill to brimming with a sense that the Other believes in me just because I am, because I exist in the presence of Truth and I am not found unworthy of attention within the gaze of God.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Does God want you to be rich?

In last week's Time magazine, the front page posed a question, posted in big yellow and white print, "Does God want you to be rich?" Incredulous and with furrowed brow, I slowly made my way toward the article, flipping and rustling through the crisp colorful pages until I finally arrived at the headline article. I read and read, the mystery growing in my mind, and the knot tightening in my belly. I thought quietly to myself as I closed the magazine and tried to catch the flitting pieces of half-truth and lay them down on the observation table of the mind.

Now, I am no great scholar of all things Jesus, but I am pretty sure he talked about it being harder for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. I suppose the health and wealthers feel like anorexic dromedaries to make such claims. I tend to think that the tight squeeze for the rich might be attributed to the fact that they have made more room for gold in their pockets than for God in their hearts. I'm pretty sure Jesus also said that where your treasure is, that is also where you can find your heart. So with all that golden treasure in the pockets of the rich, where do you think we might find their hearts? But beyond all my trite mockery of the more fortunate, I think Jesus really meant to just let us all know that the things we own eventually begin to own us.

It sounds to me as though millions of "christians" are being duped by a few wealthy reverends who want to justify the extravagance of their lifestyles. Now, before I say any more, I think Jesus also said that before I tell my brother to take the speck out of his eye, I need to take the log out of mine. So let me say that while I am not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination, I still find myself possessed by my possessions, or at least the idea that I need more of them. But I'm pretty sure Jesus also said that anyone who leads any of his little children astray should have a millstone thrown over his neck and be thrown in the sea. This to me sounds like Jesus is pretty serious about the people who follow him, and anyone who would be their leader better lead to Jesus or there are some pretty heavy consequences.

Amidst these frantic ruminations that bombard my inside places, I know that I need to pray for my home, this American continent, and my countrymen who slide down the slick slopes of materialism, even among those who call themselves followers of Christ. Does God want you to be rich? He may not be decided one way or the other, and it may depend entirely on who you are or where you are, but I'm pretty sure Jesus made it clear that those who lead the bumbling sheep of the christian flock better be pointing toward the good shepherd. And for those who don't, there is no part of the kingdom of heaven, because when all is said and done, they are only wolves in sheep's clothing.

Friday, September 15, 2006

pulse of the world

There is a world of suffering outside of our American frame. From the civil war-ravaged port town of Batticaloa where children cannot walk to school for fear of land mines and gunfire, to the terrors of the Sudan/Chad border where hundreds of thousands flee the hunting grounds of the Janjaweed militias, to the blood-soaked poppy fields of southern Afghanistan, to the rubble of Beirut, stumbling peace efforts leave broken landscapes and dreams long forgotten. For the average American, these are names and places from other worlds and times, far away from the Sunday paper and cups of coffee on the way to work. But as we hover in our holding pattern in anticipation of what the Peace Corps will bring, Em and I are beginning to envision weathered faces and broken histories, echoes of children forever replaced by rattling gunfire. We are trying to read between the black and white of the news and get lost in the human stories of mothers and fathers and sons and daughters in foreign worlds, until we can weep over hungry children, and the shadow of fear felt ten thousand miles away can reach through our walls to cast its darkness into our comfortable American lives. And we are learning to pray, to meet with God and ask for our brother in Sudan, our sister in Afghanistan, our auntie in Sri Lanka, our dear neighbor in Beirut. And in that quiet and anguished place, we see faces and hopes for days with less shadow and more laughter and dancing, and we feel, at least for a fleeting moment, the true pulse of the world.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

somewhere in between

To our dear family and friends,

So here we are in the Capitol City, awaiting a word from the Peace Corps regarding the what and the where and the who and the when of our coming service. There are rumors of autumn emerging from golden leaves and the smell of pumpkin spice. And with the fall comes a time of change and transition. Students begin new schoolyears to the smell of new erasers and highlighter ink, just waiting for the first opportunity to bust out that new number 2. Painting here and there, substitute teaching here and there, reading the news and planting gardens; we are filling the void in the middle between what was our American life and what will be our life in some darkly lit corner of Latin America. And while we wait, the Sacramento grind whirls about us in a flurry of commuters and businessmen, emo kids and coffee drinkers. The middle is not the worst place to be, because you know where you must and will go, but you still linger between expectation and memory, trying furiously to live your life today. Or at least we are trying...