It's New Year's Eve - the last day of 2014.... 

 a good time to take stock of the past year's highlights, as well as the struggles, 
and then put out into the universe our hopes and dreams for 
the year to come - 2015.    2015!!   Wow, hard to imagine.  
The news on the Guatemala front and all our friends there is - in short - all are doing well.  Dona Filo, though, did give me a scare with some serious health issues. She'd had a tumor in her throat for quite a while, but they couldn't operate because she wasn't strong enough.  Finally they successfully did so in July. It had been cancerous, but they got all of it.  She was weak, couldn't speak for months, but slowly came back strong and was able to be in our kitchen making those wonderful breakfasts for Doug Beasley's fall workshop.  Gracias a Dios ! as they say in Guatemala.

The thought of losing her really made me realize just how valuable my Guatemalan friendships are.  She's been with me since before Tommy was born !!  

Edith (shown above with masa for tortillas on her head with Dona Filo), Ceci, Calixta, Lidia and all her family are doing well, too.  Lidia and family are still weaving, and sharing their skills with lucky folks who decide to learn from them.  Dona Felica turned 80 years old in June and she still weaves and walks me up and down that steep hill to their home.  So, some things stay the same.  

But this image shows inevitable change. Sindy taking a picture of her abuelita and her beautiful daughter Candy (1 yr birthday Nov 15) - with her smart phone !!  Now when I need to communicate with the family, the fastest way is to facebook chat Sindy. It's so immediate. When I started working with this family, I needed to go find Lidia's husband, Pancho, in his pick up truck behind the market and send a message through him. Generally it would take days to set up visits and get information back and forth.  

It was wonderful to finally host our first yoga workshop in April.  It's a direction I've wanted to go for a few years now. Delia is a fabulous instructor and I hope to offer the workshop again soon.  

Doug Beasley taught his 13th !! photo workshop with us this fall.  He does love those cemetery and kite flying rituals.  We had a great group - here shown on the day we visited Magna (on the left) and the women dressing the saint in Santo Domingo Xenacoj. Thanks Dennis for the photo.   

OK - now for us.  Jessenia is doing well studying floral design at Hennepin Technical College.  She loves working with flowers - the colors, the calmness, and creating interesting designs, suits her.  She has a little trouble keeping up with the organizational, academic part, but hopefully she'll be able to keep on top of it all and graduate this coming year.   

Tommy had a full and interesting year, although it came 
with  some struggles, too.  He's 15 years old, and trying to figure out how and where he fits and belongs in this world.  It is very tough being a teenager these days.  

It blows me away how much more social and academic stress and nasty, scary outside information today's kids are exposed to. It's in the schools, in the media and online. 

It seems you just can't get away from it!!  So we go to Guatemala .... where Tommy volunteered again at El Porvenir, a school in San Lorenzo el Cubo (near Dona Filo), and Ceci helped him keep up with his homework (I had to get a picture of Ceci in here!)  
Tommy played soccer, ran track, volunteered assistant coaching soccer this summer.  All good stuff.  It's the 'getting an education' part that seems to take an enormous amount of my time and energy. Minneapolis Public Schools does not do a good job with struggling learners, so I'm doing my best to take up the slack.

 So, in short, I've put my focus on that job instead of making workshops happen in Guatemala.  For right now, at least.

I'm also taking classes at my alma mater, the University of Minnesota. (Once you turn 62, tuition is $10/credit) I just finished an "Introduction to Energy Healing" in the Department of Spirituality and Healing and plan to somehow pull together learning more about healing in traditional cultures, ie the Maya, healing our traumatized kids (there are tons of them), by being in nature and with animals... and of course travel, Guatemala and other countries with cultures we can learn from.  ( A yoga class for teens overlooking Lake Atitlan, Delia ?)

 And then I'm downsizing here in Minneapolis.  I have a lovely, big old 1923 home that I'm getting in shape to sell. It's fine now to live in, but in order to sell for the big bucks (which I want of course) it needs a lot of painting and updating.  

When I get that taken care of, we'll be free to go where ever we need to go for a good education and life experience for Tommy.  If anybody knows of a school where they value building self esteem, learning kindness matters, understand how important it is to feel like you are needed and where you belong - and that all this will be more useful for success in life than math, science and reading scores, please let me know !!   
 I'm throwing in a picture of myself weaving.  I FINALLY had a chance to try it (first time) with the yoga group. Lidia, how do you do it !!  Notice Sindy taking the selfie in the background.  

We think of you all fondly with love and gratitude and send our best regards and warm thoughts to all of you who have joined us, and become friends, over the past 20 years.  I just wish you weren't all so spread out and far away !!
 Abrazos fuertes de Liza, Jessenia, Tommy, Ceci, Edith, Dona Filo and family, Lidia and family, Calixta, Magna and all the rest of our friends in Guatemala.....