Saturday, September 12, 2015

A Train Whistle In The Night

I have said it before, but I will say it again.  I grew up in the Texas panhandle.  Borger, to be exact.  Over the years, I have grown to love the Texas panhandle more and more.  I have heard people say that it is the ugliest spot on earth.  I disagree.  I think the Texas panhandle has a beauty all its own and a person has to be from here to appreciate it.

As I drove from Enid last week, I felt the tensions draining out of my body.  I had just spent five hours with Laura so a lot of tensions were already gone.  I wish I had a day to just drive through the panhandle.  With no place to go, just drive.  Stop and take a picture when the mood hits.  Maybe, next time but not this time.

I drove to Childress Wednesday and back on Thursday.  I do not know what it is about these treeless plains and waterless rivers that give me such peace.  The windmills, the oilfields, an abandoned farm house.  The web of roads and backroads that connect everything to everything.   Peace floods my soul as I drive.

I always love being in Childress.  After church, I was wound up.  As I frequently do when I am in other people's homes, I stayed up late visiting.  I need that, too.  I went into the bedroom in which I was sleeping.  I was going to read a bit and unwind.  Almost immediately I heard a train whistle.  What a comforting sound.  A lullaby of sorts.  Before I shut off the light, I heard two more.  I think the train whistles soothed my soul more than reading.  I snuggled down in that bed knowing there would probably be train whistle all night.  What a comforting thought with which I would be sleeping.  Train whistles in the night.

Happy to be in the Texas panhandle for a few more days.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Fun In New Hampshire

I arrived in Manchester a week ago, around midnight.  I was so glad to see Nathan and Camille.  And, the next morning to see Julia and Thatcher.  There has been lots of hugs and kisses. Lots of puzzles.   Camille and I have made our guacamole. I am resting, which I badly needed.  If nothing else,  I would say I was having a great time.

But, there has been more.  Thursday, we went to Boston and walked the Freedom Trail.  I love history, and, sometimes, I am even a nerd about it.  This was awesome to get to do this.  We drove about 25 miles and then rode the train the rest of the way.

The tour began in Boston Common.

I captured this picture of the State House before the tour began.

There was a lot of history that I did not know before the tour.  We were able to see 16 different sites, but did not stop at all of them.

After leaving Boston Common, the next stop was the Granary cemetery.   Many famous people are buried here.

 The five victims of the Boston Massacre are also buried here.

We saw the Old North church, the site of the corner bookstore and the site of the Boston massacre, among other things. 

It was interesting to me, but maybe not to everyone.

We knew we were going to eat in Boston.  We started walking back to the train station, knowing we would find something.  We found a whole street with nothing but Italian restaurants.  The first decision was made for us.  The next decision was which one?    The first one we tried to enter, said they did not allow strollers and had no high chairs.  We decided on one called Mama Anna's.  It was a great choice.

Camille had chicken parmesan.   A lot of food for a little girl.

I had shrimp and mushrooms in the most delectable sauce.

As we arrived at the train station at 5:30, I could see I-93 north and I was glad we were riding the train.  And, since Nathan was the driver, I am sure he was glad we were on the train.

Then Saturday, was another day of sightseeing.  

First stop, Portsmouth.  Portsmouth is a beautiful town and I loved every minute.  We arrived just in time for lunch.

It was a perfect day to eat outside;not too hot, not too cold and slight ocean breeze blowing. 

Camille got a shrimp sandwich.
Julia and I each got a lobster roll.  Nathan had a haddock basket and a bowl of clam chowder.  We all sampled the clam chowder. 

We walked around Portsmouth for a while and then drove to Newcastle Island to Fort Constitution.  This fort was built during the War of 1812.  It was pleasant and the views were awesome.

Before heading back to Derry, we went to Odiorne State Park.  We went to the marine science center.

We walked through the park enjoying the views of rocky, rugged shore.  The views were amazingly beautiful.

 Precious time.  Precious memories.  Seeing beautiful sights of the Northeast and spending time with my family.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Construction Zone

In the summer, there is always projects going on at Casa de Esperanza.  And, even though groups have been gone a week and a half, some of the projects were not finished when I left on Monday.  With three projects going on at the same time, it definitely looked like a construction zone.

Work on the wall continued through the summer.  Both Torch and Honduras Hope groups worked on the wall.  There was a lot of progress made, but I think that project is going to be available again next summer.

The wall now goes behind Mirian's house and the dorm.  A bit more has to be done because there is a gap right now and anyone or anything could walk right in.

Another project that is nearing completion was the long awaited for bike barn.  This bike barn was paid for by the Ballenger Church of Christ in Ballenger, Texas, a very generous gift.  As the project started there was building materials all over campus.

They only thought these footers were deep enough.

When I left the roof, the door and the floor were all that was lacking to have the bike barn completed.  I hope by now the bicycles are enjoying their new home.

We were desperately needing a new gate.  There were several reasons that this was such a need.  One was some bars were missing from the old gate, allowing people and animal to enter and leave whenever they felt the need.

Also, when the old rock wall was torn down last summer and the new block wall was started, the city made us give up some space.  The old gate and the new wall were not at the same angle, making it, sometimes awkward to get in and out of the gate.  At the new angle, one of the gates did not open far enough.

Installing a new gate sounds like a simple thing.  But it was not as simple as it sounds.  The guard shack that Don Cross and his son built had to be taken town.  And some concrete poured.  And other things, too.  On Saturday and Sunday, we could not drive a car in or out.  Saturday night there was no gate at all and I had to hire someone to sit out there and make sure no one came in.

The new gate was completely finished by Monday afternoon.

We appreciate the groups and individuals that provided labor and/or money for these projects.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The Great Shoe Adventure

The high school kids go to school of an afternoon.  The shower, eat and do chores right before they go.  According to Ana, she took her whole uniform, including shoes into the bathroom and put them on one of the toilets while she showered.  She finished her shower and her shirt and one shoe was there and nothing else.  I have a huge suspicion what happened, but can't prove it yet.

We looked for the shoe and for some pants.  We finally found some pants that were too big.  Elvia basted in a hem and did a quick tuck in the waist.  That took care of the pants.  There was one pair of new shoes in the office.  I went to get them.  They were a tad big for Ana, but I thought they would do for today.  She said she could wear 2 pairs of socks and if she had to, put paper in the toes.

After she left, went through everything, including the trash, looking for those pants and that shoe.  All I found was the shoes I had taken from the office.  I was stunned.  What did Ana wear to school.  Sisi's shoes are too small for Ana and Sisi's shoes were there. 

When Ana got home this afternoon, I asked her what shoes she wore.  She said these.  I looked at the shoes.  They looked like the one shoe of hers she had, but the inside was different.  Her shoe had writing inside and the ones she was holding had no writing inside. 

I began to think that maybe she had Reina's shoes, except that Reina was at school when Ana left.  I asked Reina where her school shoes were and she said she did not know.  I said look for them.  Then I asked her what she wore to school and where they were.  They were beside her bed ready for in the morning.  I said why did you tell me you did not know where your shoes were?  And she said, because I have 2 pairs.  Well, I did not know anyone had two pairs. 

I still think Ana has Reina's shoes, but both Reina and Ana denied that even though Reina did not know where her other pair was. 

I threw up my hands and said how complicated.

I still think I know who took one shoe and the pants, but that remains to be seen yet. 

Don't you wish you lived with a bunch of 14 year old girls?  It is really fun.

I am pretty sure Ana has Reina's shoes and I am pretty sure

Friday, August 7, 2015

Helpful Haley

Haley has a very sweet personality, knows Spanish well, and loves what we do in Honduras.  She is helpful in all sorts of ways to all sorts of people. She is a personal translator for some people.  She goes to the dump frequently, but is never allowed out of the back of truck.

She likes to go to the house sites and help build.  She even has her own pink tool belt.  And we all know that girls with their own pink tool belts rock.

Haley has helped translate in the hospital.   She got scared in the orthopedic ward and led the group out and asked where the new born babies were.  When the nurse replied, Haley led the whole group to the new born babies.

She told me one day that she even led a "mawket gwoup".

One of her favorite things to do is to help in the store.  If one of the Casa kids is not with me, she says, "looks like it is just you and me tonight, Grammy"  She is very good at getting drinks out of the refrigerator and candy and chips off the shelves.  She has even tried to write the sales in the book.  That works with a small group, but not quite so well with a large group.

This summer I decided I would put something on sale every night.  Many days, Haley has suggested what we need to put on sale.  I started calling her my marketing manager. 

It was a lot of work to put something on display every night and then take it down.  Many, many times Haley has helped with the display.  She is never around when it is time to take it down.  She can't stay awake that long.

One night she did the whole junco display.

One night after I carried the Lenca pottery out and had it set up, Haley put flowers in the vases.  It certainly added a needed touch.

Last night was the best, though.  I called it Christmas in August and put all of our Christmas items on sale.  Haley asked Nicole for a Santa hat to wear.  She was really wanting to get into the spirit of the sale.  Nicole did not know where a Santa hat was so Haley wore the Christmas tree skirt, as well as helping with the display.

She did help with the display, but she did not touch those angels on the top shelf.

I love this girl, her sweet attitude and her helpful heart.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Mid Air Collision

Saturday afternoon is normally a peaceful time.  I love it. 

Yesterday was no exception.  The weather was pleasant.  The kids were playing.  No one was arguing or fighting.  It is such a pleasant sound to hear kids laughing and playing.  I was enjoying every second of it.

Any and Yair were in the swings, both having so much fun.  They both got to going crooked about the same time.  And crash.  I heard the swings hit.  I saw blood every where.  Yair's mouth was bleeding profusely.  I know a mouth bleeds heavily no matter how small the cut and was hoping it was small.  I put a wet compress on it and stopped the bleeding enough to see that it was way too deep to not do anything about.   I grabbed my purse and off we went to the local hospital. 

I was holding Yair's hand and he was calm.  A pretty female doctor that was very kind and calm walked in and he went crazy.  He was screaming and crying, before she said a word or touched him. She looked at the lip and said he needed stitches. She deadened the whole lip.  It took three people to hold him down to get two little stitches in.  I think he might have been speaking in tongues.  I certainly did not understand what he was saying.

In less than an hour we were back home.  He is on antibiotics and ibuprofen. 

So much for the peaceful Saturday afternoon.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

God Works In Mysterious Ways

I have always heard that you should be careful what you pray for because you might get it.  Last year we prayed for something and were shocked at the answer we received.  Just recently, God answered two prayers in a way we did not expect.  I am not comfortable sharing these publicly, but it you want to know, private message me and I will share them.

I will admit I am tired, very tired now.  I was looking forward to Randy Mcadam's group visiting Casa today.  I love for groups to visit us.  I was looking forward to showing them around and showing them how some of the kids have improved and some of the improvements we have made since they last visited us.

But, I was also hoping to squeeze in a short nap between church and their visit.

Well, I have certainly squeezed in a nap or two.  Or more.  I am sitting here in the hospital with Jackson after he had an emergency appendectomy last night (really early this morning).  I think I am sleeping more than he is and he is taking pain meds.  I am not.  And sleeping in a hospital chair is usually not easy, but I am so tired, it has not been a problem.

I am not happy that Jackson had to have emergency surgery, but I am thankful for a day or two of slowing down.