I Can

I can learn
I can listen
I can love
I can communicate
I can speak
I can be caring
I can be content
I can be secure
I can support
I can nourish
I can be healthy
I can enjoy
I can be kind
I can guide
I can smile
I can know
I can change
I can help
I can make a difference
I can be grateful

Written by Anonymous

This is a poem all about the things to be grateful for in our lives. It was written by someone in a workshop I attended and thought that it was a subtle masterpiece that gives us a simple view at the blessings in our lives that we should be thankful for.

Don’t Fear : Make Your Own Twinkies at Home

Article/Recipe Link

RS_Twinkies.jpg

With the news of Hostess shutting down this past week I have heard a lot of people talking about stocking up as many Twinkies as possible. And honestly I don’t blame them, because they are awesome. Although Twinkies weren’t a huge part in my life, as I know they may have been for others, I still understand the importance that they may have played in someone’s life.
But don’t worry because I am here to say have no fear! I am not sure if any of you have already come across this but as I was browsing the web today I came across this article that outlines how to make HOMEMADE

TWINKIES. Yes, they are probably a bit different (I have yet to make them as I just found the article today). But regardless they will be a phenomenal substitute. The only initial bad part about them (in my opinion) is that there are a lot of ingredients that you will need to make both the cream and twinkies.

The recipe is this (as stated in article):

Ingredients:

3/4 cup white spelt or all-purpose flour
1/4 cup ground millet or cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 egg whites
1/3 cup cane sugar

2 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons safflower oil
4 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 batch (about 1 cup) Snack Cake Creme (recipe online here)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a canoe-style snack cake pan. If you don’t have a snack cake pan, you can use 4-ounce loaf pans. Alternatively, create your own molds out of foil by shaping double thicknesses of aluminum foil around a spice bottle and setting the individual foil pieces next to each other in a cake pan.

Sift the spelt flour, ground millet flour, baking powder, and salt together and set aside.

In a dry mixer bowl with dry beaters, beat the egg whites until stiff, about 2 minutes.
Transfer the beaten egg whites to a clean bowl and set aside.

In the same mixer bowl, add the sugar, honey, water, oil, egg yolks, and vanilla and beat for 1 minute. Add the flour mixture and beat until smooth, about 2 minutes. Fold in half of the beaten egg whites; once the first half is fully incorporated, fold in the second half.

Pour the batter into the prepared molds, filling them 2/3 of the way full. Bake until golden, 15 to 20 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking. Cool the cakes in the pan for at least 20 minutes, then remove to a wire rack and cool completely before filling with the Snack Cake Creme.

To fill the cakes, use a skewer or chopstick to poke 2 holes partially through the snack cake from the bottom, and wiggle around to hollow out some space. Use a piping bag fitted with a Bismarck (#230) tip or a very small star-shaped tip to fill the cake with the Snack Cake Creme.

— Recipe and photo from “Real Snacks” by Lara Ferroni

Comparing Canadian and U.S. Banking Systems

Article Link

This is an article that I found very interesting to read when I first came across it. The article looks at the Canadian economy, more specifically the Canadian banking system, and compares it to the banking system we have here in the United States.
I personally found it very interesting especially with the state of our economic state of our country. This article gives a good example that I believe our government should look at and try to take idea from to strengthen and stabilize our banking system.

Here are a few key quotes:

the Canadian dollar — the “loonie” — which is up more than 55 percent against the U.S. dollar in the last ten years.

you can’t have a healthy economy if you have a sick financial system. The fact is that the Canadian banking system has not suffered a serious crisis since the 1930s. Compare that to the pattern of rapidly recurring crises that have rocked the U.S. banking system since the 1980s.

Canada ranked a lowly 18th out of 21 industrialized nations in the share of its banking market held by foreign banks.

Article Review #1

This is an assignment for one of my courses ad I just figured I would post it here. I may or may not continue doing more of these, but we will see if the future!

Article Title (link): Yum says equipped to navigate China’s “ups and downs”

On October 10th, 2012, Reuters online news source posted an article about Yum Brands, Inc. and their condition with the Chinese economic situation. This article talks about how Yum Brands, Inc., back in October, stated that they were still feeling confident that they would be able to deliver consistent sales and operating profits. This is a crucial factor to the operation of Yum Brands because China represents the biggest market for sales and profit for them. This relates to the stocks of the company because along with this confidence statement the company also “raised its full-year profit forecast due to better-than-expected third-quarter earnings that were driven by solid results from China and the United States.” October 10th also happened to be one of the days that I recorded the market value of YUM stocks and it was $70.99, roughly a 6% jump in price from the two days prior price of $66.94. Since this point in time the stock value has continually increased with limited to no decline in value. Even with the poor and slowing economic growth at the time in China, YUM Brands still is predicting a double-digit profit growth in the fourth quarter of their fiscal year. A stat that I found quite interesting and surprising was that the development plan for Yum Brands in China is to open, on average, two new restaurants per day. In the end, all of this seems to point to a continual increase in the stock value for Yum Brands, Inc.

We May Seem Different, But We Are All the Same

A few weeks ago I went on a service trip down to Tijuana, Mexico with a group from University Ministry here at USD. It was the first time I had been to Mexico and was the first time I had been in an area that was so deep in poverty. Coming away from the day-long trip, I knew I wanted to put together some sort of reflection about what I had seen and experienced but I never felt inspired to write something. It wasn’t until the other day when I was going out with some friends and I thought back to the weekend I had gone to Tijuana.

To start out I want to talk a little about what the activities of the day actually consisted of.

First thing in the morning, at an early 7:30 AM our group gathered up and set out for the border. The few weeks before, building up to this moment, I was pretty nervous and unsure about what it would be like once I got across the border into Mexico. With going to school in San Diego I have heard quite a few rumors and “stories” about Mexico and what it is like. I had the usual perception that everything would be completely different from what we have here in America.

Once we had crossed the border to get into Mexico (which was much faster and less formal than I had expected), we made our way to the area of La Morita, one of the poorest, most impoverished, and fastest growing regions of Tijuana. From there we worked with the San Eugenio Mission, a small community of priests living within the community, with whatever physical labor was needed. This was the point where I was hit with culture shock the most. We walked through the community to get to the Mission and meet the priests and I was torn by the sight of homes that were just thrown together by metal plates, garage doors, and whatever people could find to keep rain, wind and bugs out. I remember at one point while we were still in the van driving through the community noticing that there were no street signs. I asked our group leader how he knew when and where to turn, because I could have sworn we were just driving in circles at one point. But he said that he simply knew based on memory and familiarity of the area. Such simple things like this caught me by surprise all day. Street signs/names are such a base form of structure and organization for just about everywhere here in America. They are what help us get from point A to point B. They are what we use to not get lost in an unfamiliar area. They are what we use so that people know where we live, so people know where to send mail, and so people know where we will be if we need to be contacted in an emergency. There was no such structure or organization like that in La Morita.

For the physical labor project that the mission split us up into 3 groups so that we could get as much done as possible

view of Tijuana, Mexico

view of Tijuana, Mexico (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

in the short time that we had. My small group was sent to one of the small chapels in the area to help dig a ditch to build up a wall of tires. It sounds like a pretty easy task, and when presented with it I didn’t see much difficulty in it either. But once we got started working in the blistering 85 degree sun, dry dirt, and gusting wind I had a much different opinion on the work I was doing. We were using pick-axes and shovels to dig a ditch, and I found myself constantly complaining about dust in my eyes from the dirt that was being thrown up by the wind. It was a bit pathetic and it makes me have a lot of respect for the people who are doing this everyday for 3 times as long as we were working each day.

Following our physical labor portion of the day and after a short lunch break we made a 2 mile walk through La Morita to Casa de las Memorias (House of Memories), a HIV/AIDS house on the outskirts of the city. Casa de las Memorias is a residential facility where people with HIV/AIDS and related diseases are welcomed to live. The people who live here are rejected by the community, hence them living on the outskirts of the city. There we simply spend time with the residents there and heard a few stories of their lives and experiences that lead them to be living in Casa de las Memorias. One women in particular that we met was named Jesse. She was in the critical care part of the home and couldn’t leave her bed. Her story was very touching and we were blessed with her honesty and humility in sharing her story. Jesse, with AIDS, was a drug addict who was so addicted to drugs that she needs to be slowly taken off of them, meaning she still needs to take the drugs but at a slowing rate so that she can get to the point where her body can survive without them. Through all her struggles with drug addiction she has always been faithfully seeking God and she praised Him so much for getting her the care she needs to get healthy. She asked us to pray with her and we were on our way forever changed by Jesse’s story.

While at Casa de las Memorias we also got the opportunity to play soccer with some of the men that were residents there. This was a really special time for me because, one, soccer has been a really big part of my life growing up, but most importantly because it broke through a lot of realities for me. The game was all the same as it has been for me when I play with my friends. The only big difference between playing with the men of Casa de las Memorias  and playing with my friends is the language that we were communicating in. For me, not knowing and Spanish, it was difficult to speak with them, so most of us playing resorted to simple gestures, high-fives, smiles, and hugs. The experience really helped open my eyes to the fact that although these people live in poverty and a different culture than I do, we are all humans, and as humans we are all the same.

Our next stop was on the western side of Tijuana right on the border, looking at the border fence and the US from the Mexican side. This was the first time I had ever seen the border fence. I had never even seen it from the US side. Along the fence were crosses with the names of those who had died in their attempts to cross the border. The name(s) that stood out to me in this case were Fr. Raya Zamora, as well as the many crosses that had deteriorated so much that no name was legible on the cross any more but were still left up to honor the person whom it originally was put up for. It brought me great joy to see that those people weren’t simply lost when their cross withered away.

Tijuana 3

Tijuana 3 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Our next stop brought us even further West all the way to the ocean where the border fence extends out into the Pacific Ocean. From here you could look directly through the fence and see the skyline of downtown San Diego in the backdrop. To add-on to this we could see a family maybe a mile past the border fence on the US side playing on the beach with such freedom. At this point we were in a much wealthier part of Tijuana so there was more people on the beach enjoying themselves but I could definitely feel a difference between the US side and the Mexican side of the border. This was our time of reflection and the thing that kept coming to mind for me during this time was how

English: The beach on the Pacific Ocean at the...

English: The beach on the Pacific Ocean at the U.S.-Mexico border from the Mexican side. Español: Frontera de San DIego y Tijuana (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

something as simple as land can be restricted for people. I could help but put myself in the shoes of the people in Tijuana that so badly wanted to get out and move to the US but because of financial and legal reasons couldn’t. Their desires are so close, just mere miles away yet there are not allowed to go there. It amazes me because this past summer I when i got my passport it was so simple. I went into an office, paid the fee to get it, and received it in the mail in a couple of weeks. I personally don’t know the process that someone from Mexico needs to go through to get a passport or the correct legal documents to cross the border, but it simply amazes me the how many restrictions there are. I understand why the US does have these restrictions and why they must be enforced, but I feel there should be a different, more effective, more understanding way to go about it. But I had no real idea of what could be done in this case to improve the system.

I don’t know what I personally can do. I know that I do want to do something productive towards this issue, but at this stage in my life I don’t have the answer to that. But this is just something that I can continually grow on and find my role and most importantly my calling.

To bring it back to my original statement, “It wasn’t until the other day when I was going out with some friends and I thought back to the weekend I had gone to Tijuana.” The thing that motivated me and drove me to write this was that I was going to a mall and needed to know what food they had there. I thought well I can just look online and see. Upon going online I also found that there was an app for the entire mall, to see everything that was there; all the stores, restaurants, entertainment, etc. It all just reminded me of the abundance of luxury that we (or at least I) find ourselves living in. My school, USD, is a mere 25 miles from Tijuana. That is not very far at all. But having seen the two places and the conditions that we both live in sometimes it is sad to see that they are opposite sides of the spectrum. The people of La Morita in Tijuana fight each day to make sure their families have food to eat while in San Diego I find myself and friends sometimes struggling to decide what movie to watch, which video game to play, what luxury to buy, etc. It is a sad true that I find myself fighting to avoid as much as I can and to think back to the people of La Morita and Casa de Las Memorias.

I will continue to pray for the people of La Morita and Casa de las Memorias and hope to go back and visit on another day trip soon.

God Bless.