Peace be with you!

My name is Nader Ata. I am a Conventual Franciscan Friar of the Our Lady of Angels Province, USA. I am a transitional deacon preparing for Priesthood Ordination in the fall.

Seeking to live with Franciscan Joy each and every day!

*All of photos on this blog were taken by me unless noted otherwise. Please ask permission before using them. Thank You!*

*Also I am not the greatest speller or writer in the world, so please let me know if something is misspelled. Thank you!"


Monday, July 26, 2010

My First Day of Teaching...

Peace be with you! Today was my first day of teaching at Colegio St. Francis in the English Department of the Primary School. At 7:30am I celebrated Mass and Morning Prayers with the friars. After Mass and Prayers I ate breakfast and then went over to the school with Fray Walter. I was so nervous to meet the Director of the Primary Schools, to meet the teachers, and of course to meet the students. Thanks be to God it was not as bad as I thought. The Director was very nice and helpful. The teachers were very welcoming and excited about my presence in the primary school; actually 5 of the professors in the Primary school went on the trip with me to Nicaragua. I think the students were glad to see me as well, but it was also their first day back from a long break and it was a Monday.

My ministry at the school is to work with the English-Conversation classes for grades 1-6. Since every student is expected to learn English as well as to continue their studies of Spanish, there is a class dedicated just to conversation in English. Each grade also has English class where they learn grammar, spelling, and such. I will help the teachers to encourage the students to speak and practice their English. I will be teaching or conversing each day with various grades from 8:25am until 2:30pm. There are breaks throughout the day so I am not teaching constantly. On Mondays and Wednesdays I will go to Spanish class from 3pm-5pm and on Fridays I will go to Spanish class from 1pm-5pm.

An interesting observation I made today was that in Spanish a teacher is called maestro/a or profesor/a, but in the Primary School the teachers are called teachers. I thought that this was only in the English Class, but I found out that even in the Spanish Class the teachers are called teachers - the Spanish translation of the world is not used.

Well until next time....ciao!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

First Meal In Costa RIca...

Hello everyone! Peace be with you! Today I COOKED my first meal in Costa Rica! I prepared spaghetti with a bolognese sauce and spinach on the side. I also prepared a salad of cucumbers, tomato, and fresh mozzarella. There was bread too. For dessert was a chocolate bunt cake with chocolate frosting and multi-colored sprinkles. Thankfully it was a hit with the friars, as one of the friars said "You are hired!"

Tomorrow begins my first day of teaching! I meet with the director of the primary school tomorrow to find out what I will be doing! Wish me luck!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Summer Adventures Before Costa Rica...

Before my arrival in Costa Rica many wonderful moments of friendship, fellowship, and fun occurred. Below are pictures of some of them:

VISIT OF THE BAPTISTINES: On May 20 and 21st I was blessed to spend time visiting with Brothers David (One of my Novitiate classmates) and Augustine who recently formed The Brothers of St. John the Baptist; an Association of the Faithful in the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph. They are a newly formed contemplative community of religious brothers who rely on the work of their hands to support themselves (ie. soap, incense, candle making, and tailoring), as well as donations from benefactors.
Br. David and I
Brs. Augustine, David and I

VISITING WITH MAKRANCE: Lauren and I got the pleasure of seeing other during my visit home. I did not get a picture of her and I, but I do have a picture of her and my niece. Lauren and I did enjoy a great dinner out at P.F. Chang's which has a great gluten free menu.

VISIT BACK TO THE NOVITIATE: After two years since my last visit I had the grace to go back to the Novitiate. From those that do not know, the Novitiate is where I received my habit and where I professed my first vows after a year of study, prayer, discernment, and work. Below are two pictures: one is of the novices from the past year and their directors and the other is of me with the novices and Br. Paschal.

(This picture was taken by Fr. Robert)

VISIT WITH VINCENT: During my visit to the Novitiate I drove out to Carey, OH and spend some time with Vincent. Vincent and I lived in San Antonio for two years and he discerned to leave the novitiate during the past year. Carey is a very small village and it did not have a bowling alley so we drove to Findlay to be able to bowl. Below are three pictures of us at the bowling alley. First, there is one of Vincent bowling a spare. Second, is one of me bowling a strike. Third, is a picture of our final score: I won 146 to 108 and had 4 strikes that game. *Note: this is the first game I have ever won against Vincent*

Lastly is a picture of Vincent and I outside the Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation before I drove back into the Novitiate.

VISITING THE ROGER'S FAMILY FOR THE FIRST TIME: On Saturday, July 7 was the Baptism on Ruth Cecilia, the first born child of Ed and Liz Rogers. Funny story, I never actually saw the Baptism, I was stuck in traffic with Erin, Rick, Ricky, and Lauren and never saw the Baptism live. I did have the chance to watch the video of the Baptism while at the party at Ed and Liz's. Below are some pictures from that day. First, is of Ed, Liz, and Ruthie talking through Skype with Liz's family in Texas. Next, is a picture of Ed and Ruthie; followed by a picture of Liz and Ruthie. Finally in this set is a picture of Ruth and I.

VISITING THE CRAINE FAMILY: As usual, I enjoyed a lovely Sunday dinner with Erin, Rick, Ricky, Lauren, Ryan, and Laura. Here are great pictures of this fun evening. First, is a picture of Ricky, isn't he cute! Next, is a picture of Ricky and I. Then there is a picture of Rick and Ricky and one of Erin, Lauren, and Ricky. Lastly, there is a picture of Ryan and Laura.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Back from Nicaragua and baking...

Hello Everyone! Peace be with you! I hope that all is well. I had a wonderful time in Nicaragua, met some great people, saw some gorgeous churches, and ate some delicious food! I was going to post some pictures as promised, but instead I chose to make a post about a new adventure of mine. Today was the first day at baking! Over the past three weeks I have not found any gluten free bread in Costa Rica so I have begun to bake some instead. Using Pamela's Gluten Free Bread and Flour Mix I have made my first loaf of bread. Below is are pictures of the mixture I am using and my first loaf of bread - a classic white loaf with medium crust.. A second loaf is baking in the bread maker - an Italian white loaf with medium crust. I have already found out that I need to make sure that I use a TSP when the recipe says so and not a TBSP. I have been putting too much yeast in the bread and it is very dense, but you live and learn!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Nicaragua Bound...

As of tomorrow at 4am I am off to Nicaragua with Walter, Francisco, and some of the teachers from the school. I will not be back until Saturday and will post pictures, from my time before Costa Rica, My Cousin Andre's wedding, Costa Rica, and my time in Nicaragua. Sorry for being so behind. Until then...God Bless!

Sophia and I

On Saturday May 22, I finally got to meet Sophia Anne for the first time in person! All of the pictures to follow is an ode to that time!

Sophia Eating
Sophia Burping
Me trying to look at Sophia was looking at.
Sophia and I
Sophia Smiling

Sophia Sleeping in my Arms

(The pictures in this post were not taken by me)

I am an Uncle...Sophia Anne is born

Introducing SOPHIA ANNE!!! On St. Patrick's Day my family welcomed a precious gift from God. Nancy and Pete became first-time parents, my mom and dad as well as Pete's parents become first-time grandparents, and my brother Alex and I as well as Pete's brother Mike became first-time Uncles and Pete's sister Sue became a first-time aunt. As you can imagine much joy filled our hearts on that day.

Here are the Facts:
Name: Sophia Anne
Date: March 17, 2010
Time: 4:25pm (EST)
Weight: 7 pounds and 7 ounces
Length: 20.5 inches long

Above is a picture of Sophia Anne inside the womb and below is a picture of Sophia Anne outside the womb on her birthday!

(Note that Sophia is wearing a green knit hat because it is St. Patrick's Day, if she was born on any other day she would be wearing a pink hat)
The New Family: Nancy, Pete, and Sophia Anne!

My brother bearing many gifts! You can't see them in this picture, but one balloon says "Mazel Tov" and another one says "Es Nina."

Proud Uncle Alex

Proud Grandparents - My Mom and Dad

Proud Omo and Opa - Pete's Parents

Proud Taunt Sue

Sophia Yawning on Her Birthday

Isn't she precious! Next post will be of pictures of Sophia and I!

(The pictures in this post were not taken by me)

Sunday through the eyes of my camera....

Here are pictures from the day of reflection and chapter we had on Sunday! The first two are pictures of the location of our day and the view of Costa Rica from that place.

The next two pictures are of a coffee plantation. I never knew that coffee beans grew on a tree. These coffee beans will go from green to yellow and finally to red when they are ready for harvesting.

Below are pictures of mangos on a mango tree and mango that is broken open to prove it. I still like mangos though I am not supposed to eat them. I believe this is the first time I have seen a mango tree in my life.

Here are pictures of a chicken coop that the sister's have on their property. It was pretty cool to watch them during feeding time. The sister's have about 80 chickens that are separated into two rooms.

And last but not least is a picture of the friary as of Sunday. I say this because David will be going to the friary in Alajuela, CR by the end of this week and Peter will only be here until August 2.

Above are the friars that I have the pleasure of living with for the summer and for the next year. From right to left are Friars: Maury, Francisco (or Chico), Jorge, Victor, Walter, Peter, David, and Me!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Website Difficulties

Sorry folks, but something is not working with the picture uploading on the website. I will try to post up some more stuff tomorrow! Until then, sleep with the angels!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

An interesting day...

Today I wanted to make a dessert for the friars called "Dummy Cake" which tastes like a cobbler or an apple crisp when it is finished. The dessert is called "Dummy Cake" because a dummy can make it. You preheat an oven to 350°. Then you take a 9x13 pan and grease it up. Next you put two cans of pie filling, any kind, but I used apple today. After that take a box of pre-maid cake mix and spread it evenly on top of the fruit. Once that is done, cut thin slices of butter and layer the slices in rows covering the entire pan; which is about 1 1/2 to 2 sticks (max). If you miss a spot that part of the cake mix with not be cooked by the butter when baking. Anyway pop the cake in the oven for 45 minutes until golden brown and you have yourself a scrumdiddliumcious dessert which is amazing with ice cream.

Ok now back to the story, I was getting the cake all ready, but there was one problem; I could not turn the oven on! So I asked two of the friars and they said that they have never used the oven, but finally one of the friars did. Anyway they loved the dessert and it was a joy to be in the kitchen again. Besides that my day was interesting because we had a day of reflection and a house chapter on the grounds of a convent and I saw three things that I had never seen before. One was mango trees. Two was a coffee plantation, and red coffee and that. And three was a chicken barn.

Well it is time for me to go to bed, I will post pictures from today tomorrow. Adios

Thursday, July 8, 2010

My first tremblor....earthquake!

Peace be with you! Well honestly it is my second earthquake while in Costa Rica because a couple of nights ago I slept through one that occurred in the middle of the night. The earthquake that occurred today was the first one that I have ever felt. During class everything started to shake and I thought it was just me imagining things, but my professor said, "No, it was is an earthquake." It occurred for a couple seconds, but enough to make me forget how to speak in Spanish and English.

Well I am off to do my homework! Until next time...peace!

Fructose and Lactose Intolerances

Up to two months ago I was eating anything and everything in sight. As you already know I am lover of food. I like all types: Arabic, Italian, Mexican, American, Chinese, Indonesian, etc.., but as of May 3 (which happens to be my birthday) all of this changed. Over the past couple of months I have had digestive problems and have been visiting various doctors since November.

On Monday, May 3 I found out that I am lactose intolerant, which I figured already, but if I want to eat dairy products I must take a lactaid pill with my first bit.

On Thursday, May 6 I found out that I am fructose intolerant as well. This was news to me and the 6-page packet of foods that are "Intestine Friendly", "Foods to Avoid", and "Questionable Foods/Limit" was very daunting.

Fructose is a natural occurring simple sugar found in fruit, vegetables, and honey. High levels of fructose for a person who is intolerant to it can cause gas, bloating, abdominal cramping, and diarrhea. Glucose which is another natural occurring sugar is good for me, a product that has more glucose than fructose is more "intestinal friendly" for people like me.

There are four main types of food that I am to avoid:
1) Foods that have high amounts of fructose present in them or anything with High Fructose Corn Syrup.
2) Foods that have sucrose - Table Sugar (which is equal amounts of fructose and glucose) - I am to avoid. If a product has sugar as one of its first three ingredients, I am to avoid that product.
3) Foods that have fructans, which are complex molecules of fructose.
4) Foods that have sugar alcohols - ingredients ending in "ol" - like sobitol, xylitol, and maltitol.

The pictures below show some of my favorite foods that I am to avoid.
This refers to the Watermelon not to Pokey.
Ice Cream, Oreo Cookies, and Chocolate Syrup - Note:I do not need to avoid Ryan
Candy, even sugar candy because they often contains sugar alcohols. Note: I do not need to avoid Erin, only when she is around candy though :)!
Other sweets and items that contain wheat - because wheat has fructans - as I am supposed to gluten free foods too; which for those who know me that means pizza...tear!

Besides the above pictures ,other foods that I am to avoid include apples, melons, mango, canned fruit juices and concentrates, carrots, peas, corn, granola bars, Splenda, syrups, most alcohol products, and soy sauce. This is just to name a few. For more information about this look at Fructose Malabsorption and Fructose Intolerance Diet.

Below is the list that I carry around in my wallet. (Please ask before copying, reproducing, or using)

1) Fructose present in fruits and honey (High Fructose Corn Syrup)

2) Sucrose – Table Sugar (Equal glucose + fructose) In 1st 3 ingredients – NO

3) Fructans – complex molecule of fructose

No Sobitol, xylitol, isomalt, maltitol, mannitol, erythritol, and FOS/inulin


Limit/Questionable – The Specifics


Fruit: Apricot, nectarine, peach, plum, all berries, pineapple, all citrus, kiwi, passion fruit, avocado, rhubarb, tamarillo, + jackfruit

One serving per meal – 1 cup, the size of a baseball – fresh or fresh-frozen.

½ cup of water packed canned.

1 medium ripe banana.

½ cup fresh cantaloupe.

Apples, pear, guava, melons, mango, papaya, quince, star fruit (carambola).

Fruit: juice, concentrates, drinks, juice in canned fruit, and cider.

All dried fruits and fruit bars.

Tomato paste, chutney/fruit salsa, relish, plum sauce, sweet + sour sauce, + barbecue sauce.

Cherry, grape, persimmon, pomegranate seeds + lychee.

Vegetables: Broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, fresh tomato, green pepper, celery, potatoes (not sweet), cucumber, lettuce, cabbage, okra, eggplant, all types of squash, fresh herbs, turnip greens, mushrooms, hot chili peppers, brussel sprouts, jicama, cactus, + dill pickles.

Not limit to the amounts.

Fresh Garlic: limit to 1 clove per day.

Globe artichoke, dandelion greens, chicory root and greens, Belgian endive, radicchio, + garlic dill pickles

*It is okay to cook with onions, but not to eat them – cut large and remove when eating.

Onion*, leek, shallot, asparagus, green beans, + Jerusalem artichoke.

Beets, carrots, peas (green, purple hull, chick, black-eyed, sugar, and snap), sweet potatoes, corn, pea pods, parsnips, turnips, + sweet pickles.

Tomato products (puree, paste, sundried, canned, and juice)

Dairy: Lactose Intolerant, but can use lactaid pills.

Rice milk, soymilk, or flavored milk.

Sugar sweetened yogurt with allowed fruits.

Real milk w/pill is better than non at all.

Coconut milk + cream. Fructose sweetened yogurt.

Ice Cream and sherbet.

Breads/Grains/ Cereals:

Wheat-free products: bread, pasta, cereals, cakes, crackers, pastries + cookies.

Rice products: rice, noodles, crispbreads, + crackers.

Wheat-free corn products: cornflakes, cornmeal, + cripsbreads.

Potato Chips.

Limited to one serving per day:

Barley – ½ cup

Corn Chips/tortillas – 2 oz (1 tortilla = 1 oz)

Popcorn: 2 cups popped

Oatmeal okay if processed in gluten-free factories

Wheat-based foods – where wheat is the main ingredient (flour, bread, pasta, crackers, + couscous). Ezekial Bread.

Cereals sweetened with fructose, sorbitol, + dried fruits.

Cheetoes and granolas bars

Meats/Beans/Eggs/Nuts/Seeds: All plain meats, fish, and poultry. All eggs. Dried beans, lentils, + seed as tolerated. Unsweetened nuts.

Peanut Butter (Natural is better than low fat).

*Regular bacon is okay.

Honey cured ham, bacon*, + lunch meats. Beans may need to be avoided if they cause uncomfortable gas. Dried peas.

Sweets: Equal or Nutrasweet (aspartame). Sweet ‘n Low (saccharin). Sunette or Sweet One (acesulfame-K), Dextrins, Dextrose + Sucrose (sugar) consumed in moderation. Glucose: tablets, powder, + syrup.

Stevia – but check for sugar alcohols.

All sucrose in excess – cane, beet, date, palm, turbinado, brown, vanilla, invert, + confectioner’s. Carmel. Rice syrup.

Desserts with minimal sugar. Sugar-free mints. Diet and diabetic foods.

Splenda (sucralose), agave syrup, honey, jam, jelly, marmalade, syrup, molasses, coconut, treacle, high fructose corn syrup, + fructose sweeteners.

Sugar alcohols + FOS.

Beverages: Tea, coffee, herbal teas + infusions. Water. Diet beverages artificially sweetened without Splenda (sucralose). Cocoa power.

Glucose – sweetened energy/sports drinks.

Sucrose Sweetened soft drinks – limited to 1 cup.

*Gatorade: Only 1 cup per day.

*Alcohol (1-2 drinks per week) Distilled spirits: vodka, whisky, rum, gin and dry white wine.

Fortified Wines (sherry, port, etc.). Chicory-based coffee. Sugary drinks ending in ade*, punch, drink or cocktail. Tonic.

Alcohol* (See limit list). Not wine coolers champagne, beers, sweet drink mixes or tequila.

Others: Butter, margarine, oil, distilled vinegar, mayonnaise, + homemade dressings with distilled vinegar or lemon juice. Mustard (unsweetened). Horseradish. Pure spices and herbs. Tahini, but no humus.

Miracle Whip – limit to less than ¼ cup.

Balsamic vinegar – limit to 2 tbsp.

Eat 1 bite of candy after a meal particularly with meat.

Cider and Red Wine Vinegar. Honey mustard. Soy sauce made with wheat. Chewing gum. Sugar coated pills and syrups.

All children’s medicines.

Diabetic liquid supplements.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A Year Measured in Love...

Hello Everyone! As promised here is an update from the past eight months in San Antonio! That times was filled with many excited and memorable moments, below describes a few of them.
Below is a picture of Brothers Ray and Juan from the OMIs (Oblates of Mary Immaculate) after they renewed their vows on September 4, 2009. Along with Ray and Juan, Daniel, Gabriel, Sydney, and Emmanuel also renewed their vows. It was a blessing to be able to witness their renewed commitment to their vocation, to God, and to the People of God.
Next is a picture of the students from the house of formation with Marcel, a friend of the friars from Germany via Wayne, at the river walk.

Next is a picture of me in my Halloween costume, can you guess who I am??

I am St. Maximilian Kolbe, OFM Conv. St. Maximilian was arrested and sent to a concentration camp in Auschwitz in 1941. I am wearing the identification that he wore with my father's old stripped pajamas from Egypt. St. Maximilian eventually chose to die for a young husband and father while in the concentration camp and was killed by lethal injection on August 14.

Above is the San Damiano Friary Group Christmas picture (2009) and below is a picture of the post-novitiate friars living in formation houses with our formation directors and our retreat director (Adam) taken during our Mid-Year Retreat in San Antonio.

The following two pictures are of Fr. Andy's visit to San Antonio. First, is a picture of Andy and I at Chacho's and he is imitating me! Imaging hearing us say "Parteee!" Second, is one of Andy presiding at Mass at Christ the King Parish, this was my first time being at a Mass where he was the presider.

Next we have pictures that are entitled Laborare Et Ludere "Work & Play" The work picture comes from one of our workdays where we washed cars. The play picture comes from when we went out to play miniature golf later that day. (If I remember correctly, I won the mini golf game we played.)

Above is one of my favorite pictures that I have taken and let me tell you it took work to take. On Tuesday, February 23 San Antonio received it's first measurable snowfall in six years. I know that is not a lot, but it was all I needed to feel like I was home on the East Coast.

Below, is a picture of the friars praying during our Solemn Evening Prayer with Benediction on a Saturday Evening.

Next as photo take at a Spurs Game, I do not remember which one at the top of my head, but I do remember that many things were given out to the crowd though.

And last but not least, is a picture taken in Schulenburg, TX; which is halfway between Houston and San Antonio. In this picture is a former classmate of mine from Oblate - John - who is now studying for the diocese of Lake Charles. Below friends from San Antonio and I made a semi-surprise visit to him and this picture was taken in the infamous Frank's Restaurant.

I hope to make another post tomorrow with more information about me and my new found intolerances to Lactose and Fructose.