14 February 2006


k...i promised a week ago that i'd write about mexico...and here it is. i'm finally getting around to it. what an awesome experience! first of all...what a blessing to be able to take off for an entire month! that was totally God right there. we spent the first two and a half weeks in a little town called tangancicuaro (don't even think about asking me how to pronounce that...) and the second half in cancun. john's parents grew up there in tangancicuaro...and it's right in the middle of the state of michocan. they still have a house there...so that's where we stayed. absolutely beautiful! it was the REAL mexico. none of this touristy beach town stuff that i'd come to associate with cancun and other coastal mexican cities. we walked to the market everyday to buy our groceries for the day...we'd get this juice...MAN! it was a hundred times better than jamba juice. everything fresh...blended up before your eyes and then the funnest part...they gave it to you in a plastic bag with a straw instead of a cup! so fun...i miss that juice. anyways...we did a ton of stuff while we were there...went to a bunch of different towns...most of which i'm sure you've never heard of since i'd never heard of them before i visited them. they were tiny and unique and so very mexican. i picked up a lot of spanish while i was there...i can almost get around by myself without john as a translator. i can't barter or haggle with the sales people yet...but i get the basic jist. oh man...i wish i could tell you about all the fun experiences we had while we were there...but your eyes would probably fall out before you finished reading. so i'll just stick to the highlights. one of my favorite memories is of a little girl named katrina (almost like my name! but pronounced karina...without the T). her parents are friends of my inlaws...and we had dinner at their house one night...and they came over for dinner another night while we were there. katrina's about six years old...and beautiful! i think i uploaded a picture of her into my album...if not...i'll be sure to do that soon. (there's for sure one on my website) anyways...for some reason...she just fell in love with me! the only problem was...she doesn't speak english and my spanish is horrible. she just couldn't understand why i couldn't understand her all the time! i kinda turned it into a game...but really...it made me sad. cuz she wanted to share her secrets with me...but most of the time i had no idea what she was saying. well...when we go back...i'll be sure to know more spanish...that way we can chat all we want and make fun of the silly boys and all that fun stuff.
anyways...my parents flew down on the fifteenth...what a fun experience to share with them! hopefully we can do it again someday...then the four of us flew to cancun on the nineteenth. that time was spent mostly relaxing on the beach...such a hard life. ha! although one day we drove to this really cool ecopark thingy. i'm not exactly sure what to call it. it was kinda like a zoo in that it had wild animals...but it was also like a park cuz it had beaches to relax on and activities to do. there were also nightly shows about the mexican culture...those were killer! the first show we saw was a horse show...pretty cool. the second one was all about the myan culture...super interesting. they play this weird game that's kinda like soccer...except instead of using their feet to move the ball around...they use their hips. it's really cool to watch. then they played this field hockey like game...except there was no net...just a bowl of fire as a goal...and oh yeah...did i mention the ball was on fire? yeah...instead of a puck (like in hockey) they used a firey ball. and of course they don't wear shoes...yikes! then the final show of the evening was a performance showcasing all the different mexican states. that was fun to watch.
let's see...what else? my parents took off on the twenty-fourth and left john and i in cancun for another few days until the thirtieth. we celebrated our first anniversary in cancun...actually the whole vacation was kinda the celebration...so the actual day felt rather anti-climaxtic...but still. it was our one year anniversary for crying out loud. i can't believe it...it went by so darn fast!
probably the coolest thing about the whole vacation was the things that God taught me about Him and about me and my photography. it would take another novel to explain all the stuff He taught me in that month...so again...i'll just stick to the highlights...but really...it was an amazing God time. first of all...i took almost 3500 photos while i was there. whoa. that's a butt load of images. and that got me thinking about why i do what i do...just to have an incredible scrapbook or coffee-table-worthy photo album? nah...i realized that it goes so much deeper than that. i have this passion for great photos that i can't put out. and i don't know where God's gonna take me with this passion right yet...but i do know it's from Him and He's got some great plans for me and my passion. (compassion international...here i come! lol...) He also helped me realize that i do take good pictures. it may sound weird to some of you...but i'd never really thought my photos were anything special. they were just something i enjoyed doing...and if they got to the level above snapshot...well...wouldn't that be something. but God really got to my heart and let me know that He wants to do a lot more than that with it...and that i don't have to worry about whether or not i have talent or whether or not people even like my stuff. that's His job...all i have to do is show up...camera in hand. and that...i can do.
the other thing i wanted to share that God taught me came from a song...so of course i havta write the words here...(it's by nichole nordeman...of course)

did You come that we might just survive?
did You come so we could jsut get by?
did You walk among us so we might merely limp along beside?
i was bound, i have been set free
but i have settled for apathy
did You come to make me new
and know i'd crawl right back into the skin You found me in?
it's where i am, not where i've been

You make me want to live
You make me want to live
You came to shake us and to wake us up to something more
than we'd always settled for
and You make me want to live...

we've all been up on the mountain top
a golden glow that's bound to soon wear off
then it's back to the mundane telling tales of glory days
when we were hopeful that this change was here to stay
so why would a young man life in a waste land
when the castle of his dreams is standing by?
and why would a princess put on an old dress
to dance with her beloved and a chance to catch his eye?

You make me want to live
You make me want to live
You came to shake us and to wake us up to something more
than we'd always settled for
and You make me want to live...

i was wandering along the secluded beach humming that song to myself...not really paying attention to the words (or the fact that i was getting the sunburn of a lifetime...yike-o-la.) just watching for cool shells tucked away in the sand. it wasn't til i got on my hands and knees in the sand that the words started coming to me...it was like i was hearing them for the first time. and i realized three things. first of all...i realized that God knew about that moment before i was born...before the beginning of time even...He put those shells on that beach just for me to find. isn't that the coolest thought? i know God made everything for us to enjoy...but it was like i was touching something that i KNEW God had touched before...very powerful. secondly...i realized that the Christian life isn't about always being on an "emotional high". i've always known that intellectually...but my heart that was feeling so barren and dry finally got it on that beach in cancun. my heart understood that just because i couldn't feel God didn't mean that He wasn't there walking beside me on that beach (with sunscreen on most likely...heh...no sunburn for Him). so what that my Christian walk felt like back to back monday mornings...He was still there with me. what a comforting thought! and finally...the last thing i discovered while i was getting burnt to a crisp on that stretch of beach is that while there were plenty of beautiful, whole shells scattered around my feet (courtesy of hurricane wilma)...i was mostly attracted to the broken ones. the broken ones had more character...you could see their insides (which were often times really bright beautiful colors)...the whole shells...the "perfect" ones just weren't as attractive to me...and that got me thinking. that's kinda how God sees us. we're no where near perfect...often times as far from perfect as possible...yet He created us...and He finds us so unbelievably beautiful we take His breath away. another comforting thought...God doesn't expect me to be perfect...He knows i'm not. He doesn't want perfection...He just wants a willing vessel. mmmhhh...thank you Father for that beautiful time on that little beach! despite the sunburn...it was amazing experiencing God in the process of finding my twenty pounds of shells (literally...it's quite ridiculous...but so very fun at the same time...)
anyways...this is getting really long...i didn't mean to get so carried away. sorry about that. give a call if you'd like to chat more about mexico...or check out my pictures on my website. don't worry...i didn't post all 3500 of them...although i thought about it. haha...just kidding. (here's the url again since so many people seem to be having trouble with it lately...www.betterphoto.com?kayti7. no spaces!)

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