Friday, March 31, 2006

"I am blessed"

In my introductory blog-posting, I used the word "blessed", in reference to San Antonio. However, that signifies more than what may be evident if you just leave it in association with what I was saying about this city.

"Blessed"? If you think usage of this word means I'm spiritual, you're correct. Much, much more important in my life than San Antonio, my original home state of Idaho (remember, I'm "Spud"), or ANYTHING else in my life, is my relationship with God our Abba, thru Christ Jesus (God's Son & our Savior).

Yes, I am a Christian. I believe that Jesus of Nazareth was and IS the Christ, the Son of the eternallly living God and I take Him as my personal Savior.

For those who may not know, what I hi-lited in the last sentence is what the fish with the Greek letters I-CH-TH-U-S signify. And I'd gladly display the Fish and/or those Greek letters -- even tho' they frighten such unbelievers as Frank Zappa. He's notorious for having declared that folk with the Ichthus Fish displayed on their vehicles are "Dangerous!"

To this fallen world, yes, Christ Jesus and His disciples ARE DANGEROUS. He, and we, stand in opposition to the arrogant, self-indulgent, don't give-a-durn attitude that permeates today's culture. This world hasn't long to last, before it destroys itself -- except that Christ will return just before the final self-destruction, to rescue all those who trust in Him!

Well, that's a sufficient statement of my faith for now. If you can basically agree with what I've said, then I say, "Howdy, Brother or Sister in Christ! Ain't God good???"

If you, dear reader, are not yet a believer, I urge you to give Jesus a try! The Nazarene died to demonstrate the boundless love of Abba ("Daddy" in the Aramaic tongue Jesus spoke) -- for you and for me. because God loves you unconditionally, I too love you in Him, whoever you are. I testify that Abba has NEVER let me down, even in those times when I might ahve tho't Daddy God had abandoned me. No, we are not alone!

"Blessed". . . there IS a San Antonio element to this. You see, S.A. is one of the few major cities in these United States (perhaps it's the ONLY one) which began as a mission station! On 1 May of A.D. 1718 Franciscan missionaries founded Mission San Antonio de Valero here, to bring the Good News of Christ to the indigenous tribes of South Texas, named the "Coahuiltecans". Oh yes, the Spaniards also had the objective of transforming these hunter-gatherer Coahuiltecans into settled and civilized citizens of the Spanish Empire. But I've read sus cartas y relaciones (their letters and reports), and I have no doubt that the spiritual conversion was TOP PRIORITY among these Franciscans!

So-o-o. . . I'm doubly blessed by the Lord, as I sojourn here in S.A., the Alamo City ("Alamo" being the later name given that first mission). Praise God! Aleluya!

Thursday, March 30, 2006

From a "Spud" in the Lone Star State

Howdy, y'all!

Now that my son (24 yrs. old) and my younger sister (50 yrs.) have set up personal blogsites, I figured it was HIGH TIME yours truly tried his hand at blogging.

FYI, I was raised in Idaho - hence "Spud" - and graduated from Borah High School in the capital city, class of 1972. After graduating from the University of Idaho in '76 with a B.S. Educ. I left the Gem State for my first sojourn in Texas. And I've spent all my life since then bouncing between the Lone Star State and the Volunteer State (Tennessee), with a one-year sojourn in Florida.

This latest "bounce" bro't me from Clarksville, Tennessee, to San Antonio in January of A.D. 2002. Now, it so happens that this "country boy" from Idaho, who had watched Boise turn from a small town to a decided urban entity as he grew up, and had NEVER really liked or been attracted to any city (metropolis) he had visited or lived in, fell in love with San Antonio the very first time I visited it, around A.D. 1980.

I began my current residence here at a very low, dismal time of my life. And the Alamo City has provided the healing I needed! If I loved San Antonio before, I'm smitten now!

This blogsite will, I hope, be a place where I can share with a number of folk my impressions of San Antonio, its notable landmarks, and its happenings. Let me warn you! One thing I've already proclaimed about this city on the Internet, mostly via e-mail to friends & family, that San Antonio is a city whose middle name is "party". San Antonians will celebrate ANYTHING and throw a party at the drop of a hat. We've already had the MLK march (January), said to be one of the largest in number of marchers in the country, Rodeo (February), Saint Patrick's Day when they dye the river green and the Cesar Chavez March for Justice and Peace (March).

THEN coming up in late April is San Antonio's party-to-end-all-parties! It's called Fiesta. That's Spanish for "party", a tip of the hat, so to speak, to the Mexican-American majority. Altho' to be truthful, Fiesta has been going on since the 1890s, when the then-majority Anglos who organized Fiesta to honor the defenders of the Alamo and the victors of the Battle of San Jacinto tended to look down on the then-minority residents with Spanish surnames.

However, there's one thing I enjoy about and feel blessed by this city. Nowadays one senses a remarkable feeling of unity and toleration among residents of every racial and ethnic background her. Most of them, anyway. I'm a bus rider (San Antonio has a top-notch mass transit system, called VÍA), and I truly enjoy riding the bus thru'out the city. Interesting and sometimes quaint neighborhoods greet me everywhere. And I feel mostly safe, at least in the daytime.

My favorite parts of this city are my own neighborhood, in the near northeast part of town just past the close-in suburban municipalities of Alamo Heights and Terrell Hills, downtown with its unique attractions - lots more than just the remains of The Alamo or the Riverwalk tourist trap, it has the oldest cathedral church building in the USA. The Spanish Governors Palace gives Texas its only remaining aristocratic home from Spanish colonial days. And then there's the South Side "Mission Trail" neighborhood holding four old Franciscan missions that make up San Antonio Missions National Historical Park.

AND there's the Westside! This area, as the name implies, lies due west of downtown; from its start in the 1800s the original barrio or Mexican-American neighborhood. It contains numerous cozy restaurants or cafes with Mexican food (actually most serve "Tex-Mex" food, rather than dishes originating from deep in Mexico), little cantinas from which waft the lively, danceable, notes of conjunto music, a couple of schools where I have worked as a substitute teacher: Sydney Lanier H.S. and Tafolla Middle Sch., and the Guadalupe Cultural Arts center with adjacent Gaudalupe Plaza which celebrate Mexican and Chicano (Mexican-American) arts. Guadalupe Plaza serves as the launching area for the César Chávez March for Justice and Peace (it ends downtown in front of The Alamo). Last Saturday's march was the tenth annual; this year will mark the fortieth anniversary of Chávez' march for rights for farmworkers (from Delano to Sacramento, California). This was my second year to march in memory of one of my heroes. Last year the sky opened up with a brief drenching rainstorm, but there were still some 15,000 marchers, double what had marched the previous year. This year, with sunny skies, we set a NEW record, with 20,000!

Well, I hope my beginning interests you, dear reader, and that you return to read often in the future. Hasta luego ("Until later").