Sunday, September 30, 2007

Marc and a Honduran Map

I fully expected to have a blog or two to post about language school and/or Copan and/or the missionary conference. I never thought about needing to post after driving up here. Everything, the internet, the guide books, everything says the best way to Copan from Tegucigalpa is to come through San Pedro Sula. But Marc has a map of Honduras and his map says there is shorter (in miles) way. His map also said we would be on a major highway all the way. But remember this is a third world country and major highway does not always mean paved. It does not always mean open. We were trucking along pretty well on CA11 when all of a sudden the highway turned to dirt. That was ok at first, but it continued to get worse. Then we had to stop because of a barricade. You don't think a little wooden gated barricade stopped Marc do you. He unlatched that gate and through we went. The road continued to worsen. At one point, Marc got out of the car and walked a ways to see if he thought we could make it in a car. You already know the answer, don't you? Of course, we could make it. When I was little we drove down the rail bed right after the train tracks had been taken up on the way to Cripple Creek, Colorado. The road was every bit as bad as that and worse. Oh Janet, you would have loved some of these steep roads. We drove through mud holes half the size of the car. One bridge that had to be crossed Marc sped up. He said he wanted to be going fast enough that we would be airborne if the bridge didn't hold. We had so much fun as we bounced along. And the scenery we saw. It was undescribably beautiful. At one point, we saw ever shade of green known to man and then some. Smith and Binney would have a heyday thinking up names for some of those colors. I saw large cornfields. A first in Honduras, not just the usual row or two. I do not know how they plant or harvest corn on sides of hills that steep. We saw orchards and banana plantations and some coffee plants, too. Oh my, God is so good to have thought up all that beauty. At one point, we saw a sign that said pelegro zona de derrumbos. Knowing that pelegro meant danger, I said where is that dictionary, I want to see what that word means. I couldn't reach the dictionary. I later learned that meant demolish. That made sense, since there huge chunks of road that had caved in.

Our goal was to get to Copan before dark. We didn't quite make it. In fact, it was a couple of hours after dark when we finally got to Copan. It only took us 8 hours to drive that 300 miles.
I think we might put the map away and go home through San Pedro Sula.

Copan is going to be great. The streets are cobblestone. I can't wait to see it in the daylight. Our hotel room is exceptionally clean and exceptionally small. We get hot water, a/c, high speed internet, or so they say. At least it is internet. I guess we can't expect a large room for $34.00 a

If getting here was so much fun, just think of what the experience of being here will be.


Saturday, September 29, 2007

Santa Ana Home Sweet Home

I arrived safely in Honduras on time yesterday. I had to get up at 2:30 a.m. Matt and Nicole took me to Little Rock, leaving their apartment at 3:30. I had 3 pieces of checked luggage and 2 carry ons. Of course, I had to pay for that 3 rd piece, but I knew that in advance. Someone should have taken a picture of me with all that luggage. I do not know how, but none of my checked luggage was over 50 pounds. Everyone that handled it thought it would be, including the ticket agent at Continental in Little Rock. We put each piece on the scale, and the biggest one weighed exactly 50 pounds. All 5 pieces were packed as full as they could be. I left stuff that I really wanted to bring at both Nicole's and my mom's. I hope to get some of it in December. Unlike Marc's luggage, all of mine arrived with me. I panicked when I saw a customs agent going through a bag of the lady in front of me. He was taking everything out of her suitcase. Not that I had anything to hide, but if someone went through my luggage like that, I would never get it all back in those suitcases. Not to worry, I guess they were randomly selecting someone to do that to. Marc picked me up and we had errands to run. He was in a Dodge Dakota pickup. We had to put my luggage in the truck bed. Everywhere we stopped, we had to move all this luggage into the cab, go in take care of our business, come out and unload it all out of the cab back into the truck bed. Again, someone should have taken a picture.

After the errands, we headed to Santa Ana, which is now our home. I am glad to finally be here. Moving is never really over until the furniture arrive and you get your things into your house. I container is leaving the coast today. It should be here by the time we get back from language school. We are still living out of suitcases. At least, now, I don't have to find a hiding place for my clothes and suitcases when someone looks at the houses.

And my little house is small and crude. It is a cinder block house. We are going to stucco and paint the inside which will make it much better. The lighting is poor. I think I will be buying 75 watt light bulbs and lamps on my first trip to Tegucigalpa. A very pleasant surprise, I can flush my toilet paper. Can't do that in Tegucigalpa or at the mission house. We also are going to add on another bedroom and an office. Work will begin on that while we are at language school. I am looking forward to making this little place home.

Last night, I got hugs and kisses from 15 sweet little people before I came over to go to bed. I got off the plane with itchy, runny eyes and nose. I took two benadryl before bed. The benadryl, combined with being exhausted, rain on a tin roof and the coolness of the night sure made for some good sleeping.

This morning Marc and I have walked around the property and discussed the plans for enlarging our house.

Thank you all for your prayers and your words of encouragement.


Monday, September 24, 2007

Leaving Illinois Part 2 or Adventures in Moving Part 2

The lunches with friends, the see you laters, and the tears of sadness quickly turned into no time to eat and tears of frustration and exhaustion. I knew by Tuesday that I was not leaving on Thursday. And I would not have left on Friday had my good friend, Sandy Dawson, not given so graciously of her time to help me. I thought nearly all the stuff was gone, but it seemed to keep multiplying. There was a huge pile in the living room floor and another in one of the bedrooms that had to be put in the car to go to Texas as well as my luggage. Sandy looked at all of that and said no way is all that going in the car. I must admit I thought the same thing. Just in case it didn't, I knew I could take it to Steve and Karen's garage. I would say I have replaced Marc as the ultimate packer since I got every bit of it in, with room to spare. At long last, by 10:30 Friday morning everything was out of the house, which no longer seemed like home. Everything inside the house was clean. I must admit, though, there was still stuff in the garage. Thanks to those people that are taking that out for me. I was tired when I left and did not know how I would drive 12 hours to Texas. At that point in time, the only thing I felt was relief that the house was empty and clean. All other emotions seemed to be forgotten. I had a burst of energy when I got to Tulsa and another when I crossed the Texas state line. I still had to stop in Shamrock for coffee to get me that last 90 miles. Worst cup of coffee I ever had in my life. I was looking forward to being with family and some more see ya laters.

We always play spades while I am here. I always leave saying I am coming back to redeem myself. Well, I have one more day to redeem myself.

As for the moving adventures, first of all Marc's luggage did not arrive in Honduras with him and the dog. This is the few clothes that I did not send on the container.

We decided we would use Marc's parents address as our legal address. Therefore, I had to register the car, get insurance, get a Texas driver's license, etc. Today was the day for those errands. I went to register the car first since that was the nearest place to my mom's house. Only thing you have to have a Texas state inspection sticker before you can register the car and you have to have insurance before you can get a sticker. And you have to have all of the above before you get a driver's license. I got insurance, finally. I went to get a sticker and the person that inspects was gone to lunch and would not be back until 1:00 and it was 12:25. That meant coke break for me. I got the sticker and went back to the tag and title place. Can you imagine going to the DMV twice in one day in Illinois? By the time your number was called the first time, you would not have time to do anything else that day. Got the car registered. Things look like they are falling into place. Right? Wrong. I went to get my driver's license. I have had a Texas driver's license before. I surrendered it in 1988 when we moved to Memphis. There is no record of me ever having had a Texas license. That' ok. I can still get one. I have this folder full of birth certificates, marriage license, all the kids and Marc's original social security cards, I have my passport. I have everything you can think of but my original social security card. But I had a copy. Not good enough. I had a file box in the car of all 2007 records, which has my pay stubs with my social security number on it. None of that is what they want. They said they needed a transcript of my grades with my social on it. So, I went to Borger High school and got my transcript. I am dating myself, but there was no social on it. I went to the college and my transcript is not in the computer so they have to do it by hand and it will be ready in the morning. I will be able to pick it up in the morning and then go get my driver's license. I have heard the stories of getting the paper work for residency and driver's licenses in Honduras. I do not believe that Honduras has any thing on the great state of Texas.

Well, the moving part of this adventure is nearly over and the real stories will begin. Stay tuned.


Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Leaving Illinois

Four years ago, when Marc was offered a job in Belleville, we knew he had to accept due to changes that were being made within Sara Lee. Marc started a brand new job on Nicole's first day of her senior year in high school. Thus, the decision for Nicole and I to stay in Mississippi for nine more months. I already loved Columbus, but after Nicole and I staying that much longer, I loved Columbus even more. By June 2004, not only did I not want to move, I sure did not want to move to Illinois. Moving is hard. You have to find new doctors, new church, new hair stylist, new bank, new grocery store, new friends. And, I was moving without my kids. I always needed my kids when we moved. Because of youth group and soccer and such, they helped me find my way and meet new people. Since saying goodbye is hard and the kids weren't going to be there to help me find my way, I decided I just would not meet new friends. After Nathan's wedding and getting Nicole off to Harding, I did not know what I was going to do in Illinois.

On weekends, Marc and I began to ride our bikes again. Well, one good thing to say about Illinois is there sure were good bike trails. Better than anything we had seen in a long while. Ok, mark one thing positive for Illinois. Then there was the four distinct seasons. Something you don't see in Mississippi. Oh my, the fall colors are beautiful. I must add, that winter season was sure something my southern bones weren't used to. I thought I might freeze to death. I have always loved the Mississippi River. It was almost in my backyard. Not to mention the Illinois and Missouri Rivers as well. I got to see the river high and low. I got to see the Illinois frozen. I got to ride my bike along the rivers. Illinois might not be so bad after all.

Then I ate fried ravioli. Well, I might be hooked for life. On both fried ravioli and Illinois. And then there was Carolos O'Kelley's. Real Mexican food in Illinois. All the while the friend factor was making its presence. I was making friends and going to lunch and attending things at church and having things in my home and planning things at church. I was really feeling at home and having fun. Something I was sure, I would never do. All of a sudden, I find myself with a lot of friends, and a church we like .

I never thought when I crossed the river and it said welcome to Illinois, I would be glad, but I was. I never thought it would be sad to leave Illinois, but it is. Oh yes, I am excited to be going to Honduras, but still sad to leave.

Debbie, we needed one more cup of coffee, didn't we. Sandy and Sarah, I never had so much fun on a ladies retreat. Yay for Sarah. She rescued the chocolate as Sandy was falling in the pool. Too many memories and good times to name them all. Too many people involved in those good memories. I would surely leave someone out. To Fairview Heights church of Christ, thank you for loving us and letting us love you. Thank you for allowing us to work with you. Thank you for your encouragement, support and prayers. Thank you for the send off tonight. To our small group, thank you for everything. You have helped me many times and allowed me to help you. We have prayed together, eaten together, laughed together. Precious memories. Thanks to the friends that helped us pack and hold a yard sale and run errands and take care of little things after we leave. To the folks at Okaw Valley. I had been out of the work force for over 5 years. There was some apprehension about reentering. You not only made that transition a smooth and easy one for me, you became my friends as well. Thank you for lunch yesterday.

This week has been one of packing and cleaning and running errands. Of eating at Carlos O'Kelley's one more time, with friends of course, doing lunch with friends, of remembering just how great the last 3 years has been.

I hope I leave a part of myself here, because I know I am definitely taking a part of each one of you with me. I am not saying goodbye; I am saying see you later.

Please keep Marc and I in your prayers as we begin the next chapter in our lives.

Love to all,

Monday, September 10, 2007

Adventures in Moving

My stuff

We as Americans are enamored with our stuff. We want more stuff. I am no exception.
I agonized and prayed and cried over the decision to go to Honduras. Once I decided, and I was the hold out; Marc decided long before me and patiently waited on me, the decision about my stuff was more agonizing. At first, I thought I would either take or store all my stuff. There was too much to do either, but I thought that is what I would do. Then those great sermons on discipleship came along and one Sunday Joe Taylor what was keeping you from being a disciple. I said my stuff. I might have spoken orally, I am not sure. I told Nicole that I had had this life changing event and I was going to get rid of my stuff. She laughed at me. She did not believe me. I told my small group as well. I had to be accountable to someone or, for sure, I would not get rid of my stuff.

Then I seriously began going through the stuff. I threw it away. I hauled it to the garage so I could have the yard sale to end all yard sales. When the garage got full, I stored it in the basement. Eventually, it had to be hauled up to the garage as well.

Then Tuesday of last week we began to pack and load the stuff we were keeping or storing. I said all day long I am taking too much to Honduras and I am storing too much. I should have not kept so much stuff. But at 1:00 a.m on Friday morning, when I did not even have all the stuff out of boxes, much less priced, I was really thankful there was no more stuff in that garage. I sold a ton of stuff, but not enough. Today, Marc and I have to haul all that stuff to Goodwill. Stuff who needs it?

I have not had to do a do-it-yourself move since 1977. We have always had corporate moves. The company hired someone to come in and pack and load everything in the house. And I do mean everything. Even the garbage was packed unless it was in the do not pack pile. Thus, the reason I guess I accumulated so much stuff. I never had to pack it myself. I had some really good help packing Tuesday, a couple of good friends. But when Marc left in the truck on Wednesday morning, I immediately found stuff that should have gone to Honduras, stuff that should have gone to Mississippi for storage, stuff everywhere. I have still have a few days to get rid of the rest of this. It just did not all disappear like in a corporate move.

Speaking of the do not pack pile. In every corporate move, Marc has received this new assignment and left immediately. The movers would get there and do their thing and we would see Marc on the other end. There was always a do not pack pile. But since Marc has never been in on a move, he would not know that. He packed his clothes to ship to Honduras and left everything he needed for the next two weeks hanging in the closet. I took everything I needed for the next two weeks and put in a do not pack pile. While my friends were packing up the kitchen and Marc was loading the truck, I packed our bedroom. Yes, I packed everything in the closet including Marc's clothes for the next 2 weeks or so. Maybe longer, because we don't really know when we will see our container again. He had moved the bedroom furniture out and never again went into our bedroom. He left in the truck on Wednesday and got back on Thursday night. After the initial rush of the yard sale slowed down, he went in to take a shower. Imagine his surprise when there is no clean clothes. Not even his suit and he had to preach on Sunday morning in Topeka and has another presentation in Lubbock on Thursday. By his own admission, he did not have the attitude of Christ. For some reason, I thought it was a lot funnier than he did. All is not lost. I have washed and washed laundry. I have not folded any of it. This is the first time in my whole life, I can honestly say thank goodness I have not folded any laundry in days. There are socks and underwear and all kinds of clothes. Somehow I even forgot to pack the dress shoes to go with the suit. Our friends, Steve and Karen, brought some of their things over the yard sale. Steve had a couple of suits marked $5.00 each. They fit Marc like they were taylor-made. See, all things work out. Now, 3 days later, Marc is laughing about this situation.

We are living out of suitcases, scatttering things about, pushing them in a closet when the house is shown. We both are ready for the moving adventure to end and the next adventure to begin.

Marc will be leaving for Honduras next week on the 20th. I will leave here that day for Texas to spend time with family. I will leave for Honduras on the 28th. Hang on to your hats, we still have more than a week to go. There might be Adventures in Moving Part II by the time we actually leave.

Monday, September 3, 2007

If my kitchen table could talk

Many years ago, while living in Amarillo, Marc and I bought a dining table. We didn't have to worry much about anything happening to it. We rarely ate on it. We moved to Lubbock and began to have babies and it was the only place in the house to eat. I kept it covered in plastic at all times. When we moved to Collierville, TN in 1988, we had a house with both a dining room and an eating area in the kitchen. I went to Sam's and bought a kitchen table, a leaf, and 6 chairs. If my kitchen table could talk, what stories would it tell. I think it would have many tales to tell. The first thing it would say was plastic was quickly replaced with paper tablecloths for birthday parties and newspaper for coloring easter eggs. Through the years there were many of both of those activities. There were many meals, many prayers and much laughter. It became the place for homework and science fair projects, art projects, and history projects. One Sunday evening, back in the days when the grocery store was the only thing open on Sunday, Ryan announced he had a project due the next morning and it had to be a replica on a European land mark. I remember clearly that Marc was not home. I loaded those kids in the car and off we went to Kroger. I bought a quart of milk, some paint, construction paper etc. School supplies are very limited in the grocery store. Several hours later, after the milk had been dumped into a pitcher, we had a pretty good Big Ben. The teacher wrote she really appreciated the thought and time that went into that project. Little did she know. There is still bronze colored paint on the kitchen table from that little project. I am sure there are many other tales of last minute projects. Of breakfasts hurriedly eaten so as not to be late for school.

Many family members and friends have sat around that table sharing meals, sharing secrets, sharing memories over a cup of coffee or a coke. Many of the world's problems have been solved at that table. Our friends brought food in and placed on that table when we lost Ryan. They sat there and held our hands and wiped our tears and prayed with us. They tried to insist we eat. Letters have been composed there. Menus created there. Wedding invitation lists, Christmas card lists, most of my lists of lists have been written there. Each of the kids sat there to write their thank you notes after graduation and yes, I sat there trying to write thank you notes for each kindness shown during the loss of our precious son and the table had to bear my endless tears fall as they fell upon its surface.

Many celebrations happened on that table. From birthday parties, to graduation parties to good grades and everything in between. The red plate has been placed numerous times at each person's seat.

Recently, another little person has got to sit there and eat. The table could tell of stupid grandparents thinking everything she said and did was the absolute cutest thing in the world. I am sure the table did not mind having spills on it again. I didn't mind, surely the table didn't.
I am sure the kitchen table could go on and on and perhaps share one story about each person that sat there. That table is ringed and dented and scarred and faded. Each ring and dent and scar is a precious story.

As we left that table in Searcy, that table that has so many stories to tell, if it was able to tell, there might have been one tear in my eye. I did feel like I was saying good bye to an old friend,, the kind of friend that shares the good, the bad and the ugly with you.

I hope many more memories are made on that kitchen table and if it could talk, it will be talking for many years to come.