Saturday, October 29, 2011


Several weeks ago, Nicole and I signed up to go to a ladies retreat.  It is a retreat for American missionaries.  It is a well done, well planned, well organized retreat hosted by a group of ladies in Belpre, Ohio/Parkersburg, West Virginia area.  It costs nothing for the missionaries.  It started Thursday afternoon and end Monday morning.  I kind of like sleeping in my own bed with my own blankie and drinking coffee out of my own mug.  And I am not a huge fan of sleeping in a bunk bed in a room full of people I don't know.  Haley really likes her mommy to put her to bed.  Karen went for the whole time, but Nicole I decided to leave Friday afternoon and stay until right before supper on Saturday.

There was more than once this week I wished I had not signed up to go.  Nicole said the same thing. 

Yesterday I got the kids up, breakfast, chores and off to school. I returned at 8:05.  I got the clothes on the line, washed the dished, ate my breakfast, and gave Matt and Nicole a few instructions.  Among these instructions were: 1st grade gets out at 10:00, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade gets out at 11:00, and 2nd grade  gets out at 12:20.  I then left for the market.  I had everything timed down to the second.

I was so totally relaxed at the market.  I had no worries, no concerns, nothing on my mind.  So much so that the clotheslines Matt and Nicole asked my to buy, I forgot.  I don't mean I forgot to buy them.  For some reason, there were not many cart boys at the market.  I still hired a kid to carry the fruits and vegetables.  He carried the big bags and I carried the smaller ones.  I put the clotheslines down to pay for the Casa stuff.  As I begin to gather the small bags, I never ever thought of the clotheslines again until I was very near Casa.  Oh well, I guess I owe Matt and Nicole two clotheslines.

Matt and Nicole were running back and forth to the school, running to get gasoline for the weedeater, among other things.  Matt got there at 11:00 and no one got out.  He waited.  And waited.  And waited.  He ended up waiting until 12:00 when everyone was dismissed.  It seemed as if the school was just trying to further complicate an already complicated morning. 

I knew Matt was waiting at the school and asked him to wait there on me.

I drove in and asked Dennis to unload the car for me and ran to the house and inhaled a sandwich.  I walked into Casa to get the needed things for visitation in Sabana Grande.  Dilcia reminded me to get toilet paper, which I did.  I gathered the bags and headed out the door.  Dilcia very calmly asked me if I wanted to take Doris with me.  I was thinking I was getting everyone at the school and had forgotten that Doris was already home. 

I got to school and six kids jumped out of the van and ran to the car.  Wait, a minute, Cindy wasn't suppose to go with me.  I was about 15 minutes behind schedule, but I was really ready for the next few hours to be over.  I was more than ready for this retreat. 

Meanwhile,  the other kids are starting a new visitation routine and Nicole was a bit anxious about that. 

Things went well with both visitations.  I arrived home at 3:40.  I began to throw my stuff together and I Nicole and I finally left at 4:10.  I enjoyed the hour and a half drive with my daughter.  I knew immediately it would be a good retreat.

And, I was not disappointed.  I saw several friends from both Ohio and Honduras.  I met a couple of new friends, too.  We Texas girls almost always have an instant bond.  Even though we were both on top bunks last night, Nicole and I had a good time visiting about things that were not Casa related. 

The Women of Purpose team did a great job of hosting this retreat.  There was laughing, crying, praying, eating, sharing, singing.  The worship stations this afternoon were intense and caused some self-searching and reflection.  A  huge thank you to the entire Women of Purpose team, but special thank yous to Lisa Gould, Karen Burnfield, and Kathy Guise.  You know what for.

I am really glad to be back in my own bed tonight, but I so needed that brief escape.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Water For Gracie

In June 2010, our friends from Tupelo built a house for a young mother named Gracie.  This young lady has three children.  She lives in a village called Nueva Arcadia.  She has no water in her house and has to haul it a long way.  Our friends from Tupelo wanted to help her get water to her house and were willingly to pay for it.

We had tried to put water to a house in that community before.  There has to be permissions and a certain type pipe and many rules and regulations.  One committee that has to give its permission only meets every six months.  And we only think we have to deal with a lot of red tape when we want something done in the States.  Little do we know what Hondurans have to go through.  But being persistent is becoming one of our strong points. 

Marc has met with people and asked permission and on and on.  We thought we would get the approved water pipes in last week while the group from California was here.  But non stop rain and knee deep water prevented us from getting into Nueva Arcadia.  Even if we could have got there, we would not have been able to trench.

Marc met with the community leaders again today.  Everything is done.  The equipment is purchased.   And on Tuesday, Gracie will have water.  Praise God.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Santa Katarina

The heavy rains of late have caused damage and devastation all across this country.  Many people have lost everything, which in many cases is not much, but it is everything they have. 

A few years ago we did some work in Santa Katarina, a poor village south of Choluteca.  Sometimes, when the heavy rains fall, this village is cut off from the world as waters rise, covering the road in several places.  Three years ago, after the rains fell, we were not able to get to them.  They had to swim to us to get to food.  We have visited Santa Katarina several times since then.  I love that village, but it is always sad.  Most people in this village never receive above a fifth or sixth grade education, if that much.  They are a farming community that depends on the fall crops.  And they are community.  They take care of each other. 

I am always excited when Marc decides to visit Santa Katarina on Tuesday, my day off.  It means I can go.  In addition to Marc and I, Pamela and Byron, Dorian and Luis went with us.  That meant taking two trucks.  I asked Marc if I didn't go, would one truck suffice.  He said yes.  But convinced me he really wanted me to go. 

In times past, when we have taken food to Santa Katarina, we have driven to Choluteca and bought a lot of food at Maxi Bodega.  Someone said they knew a  cheaper place.  Off we went to the El Centro market, always an interesting experience.  We soon discovered we could buy food much cheaper, meaning we could buy more food.

Marc and Luis went to work buying food. 

We quickly made this little lady's day.  I am not sure she had ever sold this much in one day.  I would be crazy if I had to work all day in quarters this small.  She did not seem to mind.

Carts and carts of food were hauled to the trucks.

It is a good thing I went and we had two trucks because we had two truckloads of food. 

We then headed for Santa Katarina.  We had learned we would be able to get all the way to Santa Katarina.  The rains stopped a week ago and water has receded, but there were several places the water still crossed the road.

And flooded fields.

One place the people of Santa Katarina had filled with sticks.  The mud was so thick and deep, it would have been impassable otherwise.
After we arrived, we learned the crops had been flooded out.  For the second year in a row.

There are at least 130 families in Santa Katarina and they were coming from all directions.  These folks were hungry.  And not just a little bit.  Everyone helped us unload the trucks and organize the food.  There were lots of hands to help bag the beans and rice.

Not sure this guy really knows who is in the World Series or even what the World Series is

Food for every family was a welcome site in this village of hungry people, where many did not have shoes,

some did not have clothes,

where lightened hair and distended bellies (both signs of malnourishment) were common.

Happy people, thanking God and walking home knowing they can feed their kids tonight.

Then after a quick stop at Wendy's in Choluteca, we were blessed with some awesome God art.

I am glad I got to be part of this, another great day in Honduras.


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Another Saturday Night

The California group left this afternoon.  It has been a good week.  A really good week.

After we saw our friends off at the airport, Marc and I ran a couple of errands.  Then went to Chili's.  Just the two of us.  We were in no hurry.  We visited over our dinner and then headed back for Santa Ana.  We were not home before Nicole called and said they had the trooper stuck in the mud at their house.  Since we were close, we went to help.  I mean Marc went to help.  I sat in the truck.  Richard, Matt, Dorian, and Marc worked on "unstucking"  the car.  With the car out of the mud, Marc and I came on home.

I sat down to check my email and stuff and noticed something had pooped on a stack of receipts.  I cleaned it up.  Being the boring person I am, I decided to get a little work done.  As I sit here in my office at 9:30 on Saturday night working on receipts, I am not alone.  There is a bird in here with me.  Thus, the source of the poop. He is flying around.  I am sitting at the desk.    I don't know where he came from or how he got in my house or how I am going to get him out. 

But, I am thinking these receipts might wait until tomorrow.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Life With Haley

It is so wonderful having Matt and Nicole here working with us.  And, oh so fun to have Haley here.  To hug her every day.  To hear her say "I love you, Grammy."

Haley is two.  She is in that mocking bird stage where she repeats everything she hears.  She laughs and giggles and makes others around her laugh.  Of course, Grammy laughs at everything.  All the Casa kids love her.

Haley is also potty-training.  Most of the time she does a good job of getting to the potty.

We are so enjoying singing songs of praise and worship every night with the group.  Last night we were singing away and I looked behind me and there was Haley.  She had pulled her clothes down around her ankles.  She was walking that funny walk that one walks when their clothes are around their ankles and she was saying, "pee-pee, pee-pee."  I jumped up and ran to her.  It was a little too late.  When I jumped up, everyone turned to see what was happening.  Almost everyone got a good laugh from that one.  And little Haley is totally oblivious to the fact that everyone is laughing at her.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Another Home Run For Team California

A small group of eight people arrived from California on Saturday morning  After getting through customs and all the stuff that has to be done, they went to the market and bought fruits and vegetables.  They then bagged them and distributed them in Buen Samaritano, a poor community near the dump.

Sunday was pizza with the Casa kids (see previous blog).

Monday construction began.  Team California built a house for a lady named Paola.  She has two kids and used to live in the dump.  She is trying to get away from the dump.
Today, the group started at the feeding center at Nueva Oriental.  Everyone got to help cook and serve 225 kids.  Kids that probably would not have eaten today if it had not been for the feeding center.

After all children were fed and dishes were done, the group divided into two small groups.  One group went to buy food for Paola.  After the house was finished, it was discovered she had no food.  They bought food and took it back to her house.

The other group hit the mall.  We are helping two young ladies.  They are sisters.  One is single.  The other has 3 small boys, ages 5,3, and 1.  Her husband was beating her and abusing her.  She and the children recently left that horrible situation.  They have no family.  Only each other.  They are both looking for jobs and one of the girls will start a new job at Dunkin Donuts on Monday.  They have nothing.  Nothing.  The girls had one jacket.  Not one jacket a piece.  One jacket.  In this cold rainy weather, they were sharing one jacket.  The kids had holes in the shoes.  These young ladies and the boys are staying the same place the group is.  The group has fallen in love with this little family.

The group that went shopping at the mall were not shopping for themselves, but for Melissa and Lisette and the boys.  All five of them got new shoes and new clothes.  The boys got trucks and blocks and, of course, a soccer ball.  Then there was also groceries and personal items.

Tonight after supper, the clothes and toys were given to this family. 

Marla watched the presents come out of the bags and she said,"I can't stand it any longer.  These trucks have got to be opened and these kids start playing with them."  She opened each one and gave to one of the boys.

There were many tears tonight, by both the recipients and the givers.

We sang songs of praise and worship as three little boys played with brand new trucks.  They have never had a truck or toy of any kind.  That was sweet music to our ears.

It is only the bottom of the fourth and Team California has hit at least one homerun a day and are currently batting 1000.


Monday, October 17, 2011

A Break For The Children

For the seventh straight day it has rained without ceasing.  It is so damp and cold.  In the 72 hours that were Friday, Saturday and Sunday, it rained 13"  There was no school Friday or today.  The children are inside day and night.  They need to play. 

Team California arrived Saturday morning.  Marc decided on Saturday afternoon that Team California needed to get to know the children of Casa de Esperanza.  After church Sunday we loaded the van and took everyone to Pizza Hut.  The Pizza Hut here has a great big indoor playground.  The kids ran and played and screamed and had a great time.  Marc ordered 10 large pizzas.  Antonio ate 9 pieces.  He was so proud of himself.  Others ate a lot, too.  And I am sure there was a lot of wet beds this morning.  Reina went around and finished everyone's soda.  I didn't know that until after we got home.  There was a huge amount of soda consumed by all of the kids.

If that wasn't enough, Marc then ordered 10 of those super large ice cream sundaes.  The kind that four or five people can share one.  I didn't see any ice cream left either.  After we pizzaed and sodaed and ice creamed them up good, we took them back to Casa.  The power was out from 4:30 until 11:30.  I really feel sorry for the staff on duty, having to deal with the kids after having that much sugar.  And in the dark, too.

The kids did burn up a lot of stored energy.  And ate too much.  And had a great time.  The adults had a good time, too.  I know I did.


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Soup Weather

The rain continued to hammer away all night, with another four inches falling.  It was so hard to get up out of my warm bed this morning.  I was on kid duty and there was no choice.  Even the warm shower didn't help much. 

Soon after the housekeeping staff arrived, they began to think about lunch and began making chicken soup.  All morning I could smell the soup as it simmered on the stove.  I was working up a big appetite as I smelled it all morning.  When the kids sat down for lunch, I could see the steam circling above the pot.  After the kids were served, Elvia brought me a good steaming bowl.  Oh, that chicken soup was so good.  And so satisfying.  It definitely warmed by cold bones.  The only thing missing was some good sweet Texas cornbread.

It was so satisfying and filling, curling up with a blanket for a nap would have felt good. 

Please pray for this continue as the nonstop rain continues to fall.  People are losing everything they have.


Friday, October 14, 2011

The Rains Came Down

It has rained without ceasing since Tuesday. (And we still have internet).  Right now it is a foggy, windy, rainy, blustery afternoon.  The kind that invites one to have a cup of hot coffee in the middle of the afternoon, especially after being in Tegucigalpa for eight hours.  In and out of the car makes one slightly damp.

Water is oozing out of every where since everything is soaked.  The main roads are thoroughly pot-holed. The side roads are washing away or as slick as snot.  I am really glad for four wheel drive.  Water is puddled.  I am glad for rain boots, too.  The kids have been indoors all day.  Right now a few are making bracelets.  Most are getting antsy.  Showers in the rain aren't as fun as they were last week.

There are many villages where houses are washing away.  Where whole mountains are crumbling. 

In town, people were still smiling and helpful.  At one store, someone ran out with an umbrella and walked us in.  As we left with our purchases, he walked us to the car again, all the while he was wearing a great big smile. 

Appearance and presentation is so important here.  In every store, someone was stationed to mop the messes people were tracking in.  Those people too, were smiling and welcoming us to come on in.  I am fairly sure I would not have been mopping after each person that entered or left and been smiling.

We can't stop this rain until it decides to stop, so I guess smiling is the very best thing to do.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Every one of us at Casa love every single one of the kids, but if we were all perfectly honest, I think we would all admit there is one or two kids to which we are slightly partial.  For me that would be Nohemy (pronounced No-Amy, with the accent on the MY). 

Nohemy came to live at Casa in November, 2009, almost two years ago.  I went with Karen to get her and Josue.  I fell in love with her the second I saw her.  She was five years old at the time and was scared to death.  She had lived at Casitas Kennedy for seven months and before that had lived in the extremest of poverty.  Josue was nearly dead from starvation when IHNFA took them.  Most of her rotten little teeth had been pulled.  She was so scared and confused.  

After we got to Casa, everyone was making over the new baby (Josue) and we were beginning sign language classes with Manos Felices.  There was a lot going on and Nohemy was overwhelmed.  She looked around at all that was going on and began to cry.  Karen and I took her to show her her room and bed and new clothes.  Casitas always sends any belongings the children may have.  Nohemy and Josue came with clothes on their backs.  She smiled her toothless grin, but still wasn't too sure.  She cried a lot those first few days.  My heart broke every time she did. 

In late December, she let out a cry from the depths of her soul saying "Mommy."   And I knew she wasn't talking to any of us. 

I have watched this little girl over the last two years and I love her more every day.  She often calls me mommy now.  I like that.  One time her mother was really late to visitation.  I didn't know this as I had taken the other kids to visitation in Sabana Grande and I had not had a chance to talk to Karen after we all returned.  She walked up to me and said your my mommy.  When I found out about her mother being late, I was deeply touched.
 Sometimes she even acts a little jealous if someone else calls me Mommy.  She says in a bossy, gruff voice, "no, that is my mommy."

Yesterday I had a very long, very productive office day.  I got up to do something in another room and I heard Marc's voice some where on campus.  I was glad he was back.  I sat down at the computer again and saw I had a new email.  The email had horrible, horrible news about some of our good friends.  I jumped up and was screaming and crying and ran for the front door to find Marc.  By this time, Marc was nearly at the front door.  I was sobbing and screaming and trying to tell Marc what had happened.  He told me to sit down.  I did.  He walked outside to make a phone call.  To be perfectly honest, I don't remember how I got outside but I must have followed Marc.

Marc was crying.  I was sobbing and screaming and shaking all over.  I did not know how, when, or why I got outside and I sure did not know how I was going to get back inside.  I did notice several of the girls gathering around us, but no one said a word.  They all stared big-eyed at us.  No one had ever seen me like that before.  They didn't know what to do or what to say.

All of a sudden, above my sobs, I heard one little voice saying, "I love you, Mommy."  Nohemy jumped in my lap and hugged me.  She held tight to me and continued to say, " I love you, Mommy, I love you."  She kissed my face and hugged a little tighter, even as the other girls continued to stare and not know what to do.

Nothing could ease the grief and the pain I was feeling, but that little girl touched something deep within me.  Deep, deep within me.  I held her a few minutes and then I was able to get up and walk back in the house.

Oh yes, that one has a special place in my heart.


Monday, October 10, 2011


We have eighteen kids in school.  And five of those are also in Teleton.  There is mountains of homework every night.  Some of it is ridiculous homework, but that is not for us to decide.  It still has to be done.  Some of the kids get theirs done and have the rest of the day to play.  Some choose to battle us and it takes hours to get the simplest thing done and multiples of hours to get more complicated ones done.  Some are not capable of doing what has been assigned them and someone has to diligently stay by their side and help and coax and plead it out of them.  Some days there are tears.  And some days there are big smiles as something clicks for someone.  There is almost big sighs of relief when, and if, it is all finished.


Sunday, October 9, 2011

How To Entertain 19 Kids On A Rainy Saturday Afternoon

Yesterday I went on shift with the kids at 3:00.  They were just getting up from their naps and rushing outdoors to play as I walked up.  Most of them wanted to jump on the trampoline.  I was letting two boys jump for 10 minutes and then 2 girls for ten minutes.  Just as Maryuri and Ana got on the trampoline, the sky opened up and rain began to dump on us.  To the kids disliking, we all went inside the house.  Dilma got some games out and they began to play.

Normally on Saturday, showers begin somewhere around 5:30.  We decided to let them shower and shampoo in the rain.  If we had said we were taking them to the circus, they would not have been one bit more excited.  They were jumping and screaming.  Of course, the boys and girls were not in the same place.

It rained 2 1/4 inches in less than an hour, so the rain was coming down quite hard.  But they decided to stand under the roof drip which was even harder.  No one around here ever gets to shower with that much pressure.  They were really lathering up, possibly using a bit more shampoo than was really necessary.  There were laughs and giggles and squeals.

Nearly everyone decided to shower in the rain, but the few that didn't had to go ahead and take their showers in the house.  Everyone was showered and in their pajamas by 4:30.  Then we played games until supper time.

Kind of unusual entertainment, I know.  But it was a get-in-your-pajamas-and-play-games kind of day.


Friday, October 7, 2011


For over two years, we have had Doris, Reina, and Maryuri in Teleton.  I can see the number of people needing help and the number of people working and I know they are severely understaffed.  Most months, our girls have one 30 minute appointment per month.  When I consider how long it takes to get there and how long it takes it get back, I have often wondered if it was worth it.  Once in a while, the teacher will take all three for an hour and a half.  I do feel like that is worth it. I can look around and see little children learning to walk and I know others are being helped, but not sure if ours are.

Now Teleton wants to start seeing the girls once a week.  This has got to be an improvement in helping them.  It is not easy to get a child in Teleton.  Reina, the employee, has been to Teleton several times to get two more enrolled.  Guadalupe has started Teleton for speech therapy ( and believe me, she needs it), and Fernando has started for dyslexia.  Nicole felt sure after today's appointment, Fernando would be helped.

We now have five children in Teleton, with at least some of them going every week.   We hope this really helps the children and that it is not just a huge burden to us.  Nicole has taken over the Teleton responsibilities, doing both the driving and overseeing all their homework.  I can say I am very thankful for that.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Nursery Rhymes

I have always liked the Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes.  As a young child, I think I knew all of them.  After I had kids, I would rock my babies and say nursery rhymes to them.  And I continued to repeat them as the kids grew older.  Sometimes they, the boys especially, just got sick and tired of them.  But I still loved them.  And still do.  After a long day of running errands, I often say "home again, home again jiggity jog.

Tonight, Nicole was on shift with the Casa kids and had to help put them to bed.  After I fed and bathed Haley, I took her up to watch the movie with the other kids.  But then I went to get her so Nicole could put kids to bed.  Nicole really wanted to tuck Haley in as well.  I brought Haley down here and played with her while we waited on her mommy.  I began to read a couple of books to Haley.  I had bought a book of nursery rhymes that were in both in English and Spanish.  Amazingly, enough, they still rhyme in Spanish and, most of them, still have a fairly close meaning.

I will  have to teach the nursery rhymes to Haley, but if I can learn them in Spanish, I have a new audience of 19 kids that need to hear and learn the nursery rhymes.  I think I could start with "There was an old woman (me) who lived in a shoe.  She had so many children, she didn't know what to do....


Tuesday, October 4, 2011


Adonis came here to live in April.  He is eight years old.  A little boy.

Before he came here, he had not been disciplined a day in his life.  He did what he wanted, when he wanted.  The mother admitted he was completely out of control.  Well, duh!

We could not get him enrolled in school this year so he is home all morning with two younger kids.  None of our kids go very many places, so Adonis is here almost all of the time.  Rules and structure are difficult for him.  And because of that, he is in trouble frequently. 

I don't know whether he was a little stir crazy, fed up with the rules and being in trouble, or a combination, but he decided to leave this afternoon.  Matt left in a car and Nicole left on foot.  Both were looking for Adonis. I guess it should have been the other way around.

Denis, the groundskeeper, saw him leave.  He followed and watched.  When he saw him heading for Ojojona, Denis got to the police post and asked them to stop that kid.   Which they did.  We knew he was probably headed for Ojojona because his dad lives there.  When Matt drove through the police post, there was Denis, Adonis and the preacher.  This was a short-lived escape.

Please pray for this little boy as he tries to adjust to a world that is so completely foreign to him. 


Sunday, October 2, 2011


Since returning home, it has been a busy week.  I was glad when they said unto me, "let us go into the house of the Lord."  I was ready for church today.  Ready to worship and release my burdens.  Yes, I know I should be releasing my burdens every day.

I love to worship in English when we are in the States, and miss it when we are not there.  But I was ready to be in our church this morning.  The singing is good in Spanish, too and this morning was no exception.  The singing was much louder this morning.  There were more people than before we left.  There were at least 50 adults and at least 60 children.  Several new faces.  And a couple of new dogs as well.

After Sunday School, each of the kids' classes sang one song and a few children said a Bible verse they had learned. The younger kids came in first.  Sisi, for some reason handed the microphone to Haley.  Haley didn't know the song, but she sang and talked and said whatever came to her two year old mind.  Finally, Sisi took

the microphone from her.  I doubt that Josue knew the words either, but he was sure having a grand time.

The second group came in and sang.  The sang nicely, but it wasn't as funny as the first group.
Our kids have to learn a Bible verse every week.  Ana said the one we learned last week. 

I was proud of shy little Cindy.  She doesn't always like to speak in front of others.  I was proud of all the kids.


Saturday, October 1, 2011


Yesterday was a sad day at Casa de Esperanza.  It was Pamela's last day to work here.  Pamela started working for us in January 2010.  She lives close enough that she has come every morning there was school and helped fix all this hair (12 girls).  Then she has been on homework duty also.  Pamela has been very diligent with overseeing homework. 

Most of the kids and most of the staff have become friends with Pamela and there were tears yesterday.  A lot of tears.  Saturday was always Pamela's day off, but it is going to be weird tomorrow when she doesn't show up at 1:00. 

Pamela is going to finish her degree and, soon, she just might have another thing or two to occupy her time.

Pamela still lives right out the back and still goes to church with us.  We still will see her frequently, just not as an employee.  Thanks Pamela.