It’s been a while since I’ve posted pictures just for fun. Her are a few from today’s walk through one of our state parks.
I’ve been away, visiting my family in Southern Indiana. During a family reunion, I slipped away from the crowds to breathe in the clean country air and allow my soul to rest in the glory of nature. This is my home. Trees. Corn Fields. Light. Green. You may not notice him, but there is a small boy in the picture, taking a rest from the loving noise of the family, just as I was.
When I moved to Arizona nearly three decades ago, I’d heard about this ghost town a hundred miles north of Phoenix. I thought it would be a great adventure to see old buildings and scare up some ghosts and arranged a day-trip with my family as soon as I could. At first I was a little dismayed to find a thriving community of artists, musicians, photographers, and entrepreneurs, but that disappointment didn’t last long as I explored the winding streets with their galleries, restaurants, bars, and shops.
Jerome was a mining town, and its history dates to prehistoric Native Americans who mined for beautiful and colorful stones. Enter the Spanish who spread throughout the area seeking gold, which they did not find but recognized the financial benefits of copper. The first copper mine began operations in 1883, and Jerome soon became a prosperous settlement of 15,000 people. When the mines closed in the 1920s, the population shrank to 50 brave souls who kept the old buildings safe (mostly) from vandals and marauders.
I took a solo mini-vacation this past weekend, spending part of it in Jerome, AZ. A blessing of traveling alone is that you have the opportunity to meet people, which doesn’t happen much when you travel as a couple, because you tend to focus on each other.
Jerome is a ghost town. To be more accurate, it is an old mining town that became a ghost town, virtually bereft of inhabitants. Enter the artists, musicians, and enterprising restauranteurs. Jerome now is a destination for tourists and Phoenicians aching for an escape from the heat.
I am not sure why I was so dense about this. On Saturday night, Tim said he’d give me a ride on his Spirit Tryke, and I thought, “Oh sure, like that’s gonna happen.” I saw him again on Sunday, chatted with him and some other bikers (owners of some sweet Harleys) who told me that I should let Tim ride me around town and I could get some good pictures. I commented that it didn’t look safe. When I got the images on the computer I saw some details I’d overlooked. Duh! He does this for tips (read: income). Had I realized, I would have taken the ride and tipped the guy (who really had some interesting stories to tell). Maybe next time.
When I saw Cee’s Challenge, I remembered a particular Saturday night in July.
What’s lighted? The street market in downtown Feicheng City in the Shandong Province of China. It’s a delightful place to be when each night the people abandon the television sets and join their neighbors in the streets or parks to visit, to shop, to dance, and to play.
This slideshow shows the nightly street market downtown, where you can buy anything from trinkets to clothes to automobile parts to fruits and vegetables.
To see more of the creative responses to Cee’s Challenge, click the link below:
St. Therese’s Prayer
May today there be peace within.
May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.
May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.
May you be confident knowing you are a child of God.
Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.
It is there for each and every one of us.
I am thankful to be home in the USA, but I know that I will always have a special place in my heart for the people and places of China.
Click on any image for a better view.
If you were to take a day-trip out of the city here in the USA, you would probably pass through suburbs of fairly modern and sometimes expensive houses. Eventually, you’d end up on a ribbon of highway bordered by open land, farms, forests, and a smattering of small towns which are usually quiet and clean.
We took a break from teaching with a one-day trip to Bai Mai Springs, two hours out of Feicheng in the Shandong Province of China (our job site). I watched in fascination from the back of the van as we passed from the city into the countryside, and I noticed that while most of us in the United States live in single family homes, especially in the country, a large majority of the Chinese live in apartments, even in the countryside, where people live in close proximity to each other in something similar to our patio homes–in a row of dwellings.
I took these images from the back of a moving van; many show the smudge on the van window and many are blurry. Please watch the short video of a collection of some my pictures which tell a story and give a glimpse into life in the country. Relax, listen to the traditional Chinese music, and travel with me through the countryside along this small stretch of highway in China.
I did not spend much time with her. I wish I had. I wanted to tell her about my granddaughters back in the states and ask about her life in China. She looks as if she is about my age, which means that she probably lived through the Cultural Revolution. I wanted to find out what she was doing when I was capturing fireflies in the Mason jar and sitting on the crank ice-cream maker … the burlap bag covering the cold…ever so cold ice…while we awaited the sweet most delicious treat in all the world…….. Did she have that? Was there a time when she sat with her grandfather in eager anticipation of that fabulous reward? In those few moments, we shared an unspoken joy…a love of our grandchildren.
I recently finished my summer job, providing professional development for 160 primary school English teachers in Feicheng City in the Shandong Province, China. There were four of us in the team, each one teaching 40 teachers at a time. One of the trainers focused on lesson planning and American culture, another taught active student engagement strategies and reading strategies, a third focused on proper pronunciation, and I taught the teachers writing strategies to use with their students. Two years ago, we trained 160 high school teachers; last year we worked with middle school teachers, and this summer we trained primary school teachers.
The secondary and middle school English teachers usually have 70 students in their classes but teach only two classes a day, with a total of 140 students, less that the typical American teacher’s workload. However, most of the primary teachers have the same large class loads and teach four classes, which means that they have 280 students each day, because they have a shortage of primary English teachers.
After work one day, we toured one of the primary schools (several of their teachers were participants in our workshops). I am not sure what I was expecting, but it was certainly not the high level of active participation that was evident in the school. The campus is huge, housing approximately 4000 students.