Friday, July 30, 2010

Foto Friday: San Xavier Mission

Out in the desert near Tuscon, AZ and the Mexican border, lies the San Xavier Mission; beautiful white Spanish style buildings climbing to blue skies, surrounded by tall green cactus and a dry desert landscape.

As a young girl I went there with my family on our way to Mexico. My mom was captivated by the place, and being the age I was, I didn't understand or ask why she found the place so remarkable, although I myself felt drawn to the landscape, culutre, and history. Now an adult, and after my mom had passed away, I went back to the mission a few years ago and found the place captivating on a different level.

I took this photo- one of the many nooks in the mission, because I loved the way the steps led up to the window allowing light into a little room. The room was a cool haven from the desert heat, but an area which could become dark with the close of a shutter.

An imagination like mine runs wild: who closed the window, so long ago?; why did they put the window there with steps leading up to it?; who stood and looked outside the window longing for a returning love? an army to pass? the wind to stop blowing? rain clouds to come? a wildfire to cease? an answer from God?

One of my cousins returns here often, understanding the remarkable pull of the mission and in remembrance of my mom. Since I wasn't able to go there myself this year, sharing a photo seems an appropriate way to remeber her- her birthday was this week.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Recent reads: Shanghai Girls by Lisa See

A sinus infection in the summer time leaves little time for fun, but I was able to take time to relax and finish reading Shanghai Girls by Lisa See. Since the book was recommended by a friend, I decided to put it at the top of my list, instead of delving into the pile I already had waiting for me.

Shanghai Girls is an account of two sisters' lives in the 1930's. Like the title of the book, their lives are influenced by the town they live in- Shanghai. An easy life is soon turned to tragedy, as family lies threaten their way of living and the Japanese army forces their way into Shanghai. With nowhere to go, they leave their past, and look for a new life in America.

Best friends and sisters, the relationship between Pearl and May is continually challenged, leaving the reader left to wonder at the power of forgiveness.

I was very surprised at the unique voice the author portrays of the older sister- Pearl. For the entire book my thoughts paralleled the older sisters, until the very end when the author lets us hear what the younger sister has been thinking and feeling about the tragedies they have faced together.

Besides teaching about the powerful relationship between sisters, the author also touches on what it was like for the Chinese to become U.S. citizens during and after World War II. The author takes the reader on a journey through the prejudices and obstacles faced, some bringing more sorrow than can be imagined.

I am always excited to find a new author, and I will be looking to read more of Lisa See's books in the future.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Banana Bread Recipe

A neighbor lady down the road has been very gracious to me and my family. I often try to find ways to thank her for all she has done. This week my kids and I made her some banana bread; a small payment for a giving heart. Here is the recipe, and maybe you can make it for someone who has been kind to you.

Banana Bread
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup nuts
3 TBS milk
1/2 tsp soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 good sized bananas mashed

Combine ingredients and bake at 350 degrees for 45 min. to 1 hour. Enough for one regular sized bread pan or 2 small pans.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Foto Friday: 45th Parallel of Latitude

I like taking pictures of places with significance. They become a photographic witness you have "been somewhere important". In Yellowstone National Park, I was able to snap this shot before another person stepped up to have their own personal photo by the sign.

With big horn sheep climbing on rocks across the road from the sign, the 45th parallel of latitude is a great place to be on a summer evening.