Saturday, September 17, 2016

Cape Elizabeth Lighthouse And Portland

Today was a perfect day.  Weather wise and otherwise.  I spent it with Nathan, Julia and Thatcher.  We went to Portland.

After stops at the Derry post office and the Portsmouth Wal-Mart to buy Thatcher new clothes after he got car sick, we were on our way to Portland.  I have never been to  Maine.  Maine is the 2nd new state I have visited this trip.  The first stop in Maine was the Cape Elizabeth lighthouse.  I love lighthouses.  I was so excited.  I was not disappointed.  Cape Elizabeth has a beautiful lighthouse.  Of course, I took pictures from different angles.

Then, I took some of the water and shore, too

I took a lot more pictures than what I am posting.  If you know me, that goes without saying.

The drive into Portland was short.  Our main goal was lunch.  We were hungry.  Since it was a perfect day,there were a lot of people out and about in Portland and most places had a line, even though it was after 1:00.  We chose J's Oysters, mostly because it had the shortest line.  We looked at the menu while we waited.  We were ready to order as soon as we were seated.  I had a cup of clam chowder and a lobster roll.  The lobster roll had a very generous portion of lobster.

And, a couple of pictures in Portland.

I think the day can best be described by the following picture taken while we were at the lighthouse.
I thank you.. for most this amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirit of trees and a blue true dream of sky and for everything which is natural which is infinite, which is yes.

e.e. cummings

I would also add and thank you for this time with my family.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Jigsaw Puzzles And Whopper Breaks

On December 31, 2004 my first grandchild was born.  She was perfect in every way.  In my eyes, she still is.  It soon became evident that this child loved puzzles.  I, also, love puzzles.  But, it would not have mattered if I did or did not love puzzles, I would have worked them with her just to be with her. 

With each passing visit, our puzzles became more difficult.  We have worked one 1000 piece one, one that had a metallic finish on it.  When the overhead light was shining on the pieces, it transformed the colors.  We did finish that one.  And, then there was the one I ordered of her new hometown.  Little did I know, as a bigger challenge, it came with no picture.  We worked and worked on it.  We never did finish that one.  Now, at least, we can laugh about it.

Two years ago I went to help them move.  Camille and I went off to pack some boxes of linens and pillows.  She had some whoppers.  Not whoppers as in Burger King, but whoppers as in chocolate malt balls.  We would put a few things in a box and she would say, "I think it is time for a whopper break."  We would laugh and have a whopper or two.  We had so much fun.  After we arrived in New Hampshire, we went to get some whoppers so we could unpack.  Since then, we always need whoppers when I come to visit.  Always.

We bought whoppers last Thursday at Target and started on our puzzle later that day.  This year, we have no table for the puzzle.  We have a somewhat stiff mat on the carpet of her bedroom.  We have to put the pieces that have not been used away every night.  It is okay, we are up to the challenge.  Some days, we just have a few minutes to work on the puzzle.  Some days, we have more.  We may finish the puzzle tomorrow.  We finished the whoppers last night.

This is a very special time.  I love every minute of it.  I may not be the sharpest tool in the shed, but I don't think I am the dullest either.  Camille will soon be 12.  She is swimming 5 days a week.  While, I would like to think, there will always be jigsaw puzzles and whopper breaks,  I realize some time I will come to visit and she won't have time to work puzzles.

Trust me, I am treasuring every second we spend working jigsaw puzzles and taking whopper breaks.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

In Full Glory Reflected

Thursday, one thing after another happened making packing difficult.  It was late when I started, and Thursday night turned into Friday morning before I realized.  At 3:00, I decided going to bed was pointless. 

At 9:00, Matt and I left for the airport.  Both Nicole and I forgot to give each things to each other. Oh, well. 

The minute I got on the plane I went to sleep.  And, when I woke up 2 hours later, we were still sitting on the tarmac in Tegucigalpa.  I was really thankful that I had a 4 hour layover in Atlanta.  I was also, thankful the flight from Atlanta left on time, 10:15 p.m.  All luggage arrived.  I was glad to see Linda and Larry.  It has been six years since I had seen them. 

We were all so tired, but we still stayed up to visit.  Saturday meant sleeping in a bit.  Quite a bit.  And, lounging around visiting some more.  We took a quick drive and saw some of Baltimore, returned home to have Dr Peppers.  Yay. 

Erica and Zach and the boys came over for dinner.  I had never met Zach, much less the boys.  Those 3 boys sure need to get with my Haley, Emma and Paige.  We had a pleasant evening, with way to much food.  I ate so much that I had to say no to ice cream. Another late, late night of visiting.

Today, we did Baltimore in a day.  We met Erica's family for breakfast at the Paper Moon, a truly Baltimore joint.  Zach was off to work, Erica and the boys off to the park.  We then did Fort McHenry, the Baltimore Museum of Art and Phillips Seafood for crab cakes.

We got to Fort McHenry just in time for the flag changing ceremony.  This was beautiful and I am glad we did not miss it.

This was a very meaningful ceremony.   The flag has 15 stripes and 15 stars. 

We walked around and I took a bunch of pictures of the harbor.

We went back into the visitor's center and watched the video.  I think the video is designed to be seen first, but it was time for the flag ceremony when we arrived.  I like the order we did it.  The video was a brief history of the battle and the writing of  The Star Spangled Banner, our national anthem.  As it ended the words were being sung.  Everyone in the room rose, as did the video screen.  Behind the video screen was a big picture window and we could see the big flag that we had just witnessed being raised.  The big flag was gently blowing in the breeze.  Pride swelled in my heart.  As the song ended, there was not a dry eye in the place.

This was just so great and loved being at Fort McHenry today.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Baby Shower For Pamela

Two years ago, when Pamela left, we were so sad.  Now she is married and expecting their first baby in  a month.  We see her and Suami every week at church and she often comes to visitation.  We are glad she is still part of our lives.  She was always the big sister to the other girls and, to some degree, still is.  They all love her.

Today we gave her a baby shower.  All of the Casa girls went and the three oldest boys.  A couple of employees went.  Suami's family.  Yesenia, Marta, Karol and Kelin.  It was small and intimate.  And very sweet.

All week Haley has insisted that she was going to pull the chicken for barbecue.  I worked all day yesterday and finally got the chicken on to boil about 6:00.  The first couple of pans of potatoes went on then too.  Haley and Emma spent the night.  We had our popcorn and coke picnic and played a couple of games of skunk.  When the chicken was cool enough to start pulling, Haley and Emma went to work.  Emma pulled hers into really big pieces.  Haley and I repulled later.  It was her first time and she was so excited to be helping.

I continued to boil potatoes and peel them way into the night.  Until I ran out of gas.  That seemed as good of place as any to stop.  I got the potatoes in the marinade and went to bed.

After church, I began to boil the eggs.  Thankfully, that goes faster than the potatoes.  Nicole and the girls left at 1:30 to go decorate the comedor.  Paige had a blowout and at 2:30 Nicole called asking for more clothes.  I was in shorts, t-shirt and flip-flops and was just putting the potato salad together.  The shower was supposed to start at 3:00.  But, we are in Honduras.

All this food was heavy and I called for reinforcements to get it in the van.

We had put together enough stuff that all of the girls could give Pamela something.  They were so excited as they loaded the van, and I do mean loaded.

Nicole had done an outstanding job decorating. 

Everyone loves Suami.   They want to be where he is every time they see him
I got some really sweet shots

After a couple of fun games, it was time for gifts.  Emma delivered the gifts to Pamela and Suami.  Pamela opened most of them.   Suami opened a couple.  The girls had all written a note to Pamela.  Before she opened each gift, she read the note.  Their words were very endearing.  I felt my eyes wanting to leak, but they did not.

Matt had to load the gifts, Pamela, Suami and his family in the truck and take them home.

This is a picture of all the women.  Jackson and Fernando managed to sneak into the photo as well.

Today was a fun afternoon.  I am tired, but I would have been tired if we did not do this.  We love Pamela and pray for a healthy baby boy next month.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

A New Church Building

Today has been a busy day.  For everyone. 

I took my Borger friends to the airport and then to the bank.  I came flying in here so that I could do payroll.  I decided to check my email and facebook.  While I chose not to share, there was a memory from five years ago that showed on my page.  It was a blog titled "The Last Sunday in July".   I read the blog and was reminded that the last Sunday in July in 2003 we worshiped in the brand new church building in Los Pinos.  On the last Sunday in July, 2005 we worshiped in the brand new church building in Santa Ana.

Today, the last Sunday in July, 2016, the Starkville group worshiped in the brand new church building in Tierras del Padre.  These guys have worked hard to get this building finished while they were here.  They were human concrete mixers.  I know they worked hard, but there was no complaining.  Each night in devotional they were tired.  Really tired.  But there was excitement in their voices as they shared of the day's events.

The church in Tierras del Padre was started about a year ago.  With much hard work, there has been steady growth.  With much hard work, there in now a new building in which they can worship. 

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Youth Rally

Yesterday the teams from Nashville and Baton Rouge had a youth rally for the youth groups of Ojojona and Santa Ana.  It was to start at 1:00 p.m.  I spent most of the morning laughing.  Laughing at our girls.  They regularly go to youth group. They spent hours getting themselves ready for this youth rally.  I found two of them sitting in the sinks shaving their legs.

They were beautiful when they finally finished getting themselves ready at 1:15.  I knew their would be singing and a lesson and games.  Games like water balloon fights, tug-of-war, a slip and slide.
At 1:15, I was trying to rush us out of the door and did not get pictures of the girls in all their beauty.  Trust me.  The boys did not spend that much time getting ready.

We started with the fun song "Hip-Hip-Hippopatumus. And, then some other fun songs.

We did a lot of singing.  A lot of beautiful singing.  First a song in Spanish, then one in English.  Or vice-versa.  We sang many songs in both languages. The singing was so pretty.

After many songs were sung, Jaime Serrano spoke and had a meaningful lesson for everyone.   Nicole translated. 

 I loved the way the kids from Baton Rouge did not just bunch up with each other, but sat with kids from Ojojona and Santa Ana.  Language was no barrier.  It is sometimes hard for teenagers to sit with someone they don't know, when everyone speaks the same language.

After a short break, there were skits.   The youth group from Santa Ana did their skit first.  The kids practiced a couple of weeks on this skit.

 Yes, that is Jackson with the long black hair.  I did not recognize him until he began speaking his lines.  Then the kids from Baton Rouge did their skit.

After the skits were finished, the games started.  There was laughter and squealing for hours. 

Richard really got into the water balloons.

Haley was the first one down the slip and slide.

Emma liked to walk up the slip and slide.

 Jackson tried to surf. 

 Several times, Fernando went down with this little boy.  Finally, the little boy decided to go by himself.

 When Yesenia came to start cooking, Javier was with her.  Someone dragged him onto the slip and slide.  Though, he did not get on willingly, looks like he is having fun.

 Not only did the kids and I get in the van to go home, we asked all the people from Santa Ana to go with us.  There were so many people in that van.  When I looked into the rear view mirror, all I could see was Rosy's eyes.

This was a great day, with beautiful singing, a good lesson and tons of fun.  Many thanks to the Nashville and Baton Rouge groups for hosting this youth rally.  Adults and kids told me how good they thought it was.