Monday, December 31, 2012

Year End

It has been quite a week.  We are blessed beyond measure with friends and family.  Many, many people prayed for Marc while he was in the hospital and having tests.  Praise God, nothing is seriously wrong.  I know many were praying for me, too.  Praying for peace and praying that I rested.  I felt your prayers.  We left the hospital and went to have Christmas with our kids and grandaughters.  With all things checking out, we left for the States as planned on Saturday.  We both ran around all day Friday trying to get things done.  We should have continued to pray that I would rest.  Friday went way into the night and Saturday started for me just a few hours later.

We both got on the plane exhausted.  We both need to rest.

We flew to Oklahoma City.  It always is good to be greeted by Kim and Pat.  As tired as I was, I still stayed up way later than I should have.  It is just so easy to keep talking with Kim. 

Sunday, we left for Memphis.  Camille was with her other grandparents.  We were friends with Mike and Martha long before our children fell in love.  Mike and Martha asked us to come there.  We had so much fun spending the night there.  We got to start Camille's birthday with her and we will get to end her birthday with her. 
Camille started her day with a birthday brownie for breakfast, made by Emmy.

We loaded the car, which was completely packed and made the short drive to Jackson.  My niece and great-niece also drove to Jackson.  We all met for lunch.  Chinese. 

After we finished eating, we came to Nathan and Julia's.  Camille had a big birthday surprise.  A new kitten.  She and Julia had been wanting that a long time.   Daddy finally gave in.

Julia bought the prettiest cupcakes.  And maybe the biggest cupcakes I have ever seen.
We all put ourselves into sugar induced comas.

The neighbors had some fireworks.
Camille enjoyed the fireworks.  Esther did not.

It has been a great day.  Family time.  Football.  Pizza.  Sitting around the chimenea.  Celebrating with the birthday girl.  Cupcakes.  More family time.  Resting.  Skying with Nicole, Haley and the Casa kids.  I am love-love-loving this.


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas At Casa

Christmas at Casa de Esperanza begins on Christmas Eve.  We always let our entire staff off for Christmas  Eve beginning at 2:00 p.m. and no one has to return to work until 3:00 the next day, giving them plenty of time to spend with their own families.  The ones of us that are here step up to the plate and pull extra duty.  This year, for the first time, that was all of us:  Karen and Dorian, Nicole and Matt, Christina, Marc and I.

The kids wake up on Christmas Eve excited, but at 2:00, when the staff leaves, the kids crank up the excitement by several notches.  After showers and supper, everyone went back outside.   First, Dorian set off some fireworks.
The kids sitting on the concrete pad watching the fireworks.  I don't know what they would do if they ever saw a real fireworks display.

Then, there was trampoline time
and candy canes

and bicycle and running-around-on-the-cancha time.

At least one, slept through all of this.

It was getting really cold, so we herded them inside.  Once inside "Just Dance"  was a big hit,

all the while we were having popcorn and malteadas.
I normally say, "I don't care what they have.  I am not on sleep duty."  But, I was on sleep duty, and I still did not care.  They were having so much fun.  I put on a movie at 9:00 and sent them to bed at 10:15.

Some did not make it that long.

In the past, we have always brought the gifts in, after everyone was asleep.  Someone is always still awake and they get up all night to see what is under the tree.  This year we told them no presents until morning.  Either they believed us or were really tired.  Or both.  No one got up in the night to check on the presents.  Karen and I began hauling presents in at 7:00 a.m. and then woke the kids.

They all sat in a circle, sang one Christmas song and prayed.  Then it was time for the craziness to begin.

One by one, the children were called.  Each one sat in the center of the circle and opened their gift.  
Some ripped through that paper
and others carefully unwrapped so they could reuse the paper.

Each child received a jacket 
and a pair of slippers.

The stockings still needed to be checked out.

Each stocking had a pinquino (chocolate cup cake) and candy.

Then the kids opened the gift from Ronnie and Cheryl, a gift for everyone.  It was "Just Dance 4" and more controllers.  A big cheer went up.

While, Marc began his famous Christmas breakfast, many snacked on pinguinos and candy.

I hope you had as merry of a Christmas as we did.

Monday, December 24, 2012

The First Of Many Christmases

Last night began several days of Christmasing.  Karol and Kelin, Heidy, Melissa Lizeth and their children, Christina, Shtepany, Carla, Matt's family and and all of us had dinner at my house.

I really had fun preparing yesterday.  I kept making huge messes and wished Sisi was back to clean up after me.  I managed to keep things fairly clean and still have dinner ready on time.

I had a great time.  I hope everyone else did, too.

Marco Andreas and Emma.  That lasted until Marco Andreas bit Emma.
Baby April made her first appearance.  She was all decked out in Christmas attire.
The moms and the babies
Dinner consisted of chicken lasagne.  This pan gave a whole new meaning to deep dish lasagne.

And chocolate cake.  Heidy ate the biggest piece.

And M&M's.  Gabriel especially loved those M&M's.  He was one big sticky mess.
Last year, Fernando and Alejandro got cars.  When Gabriel opened his present, he proudly proclaimed, "My car!"

A new dump truck for Fernando
Blocks for Alejandro
Haley got princess shoes and a tiarra.
The blocks were a big hit,
even for a princess.

The girls all got scarves.  Karol and Kelin stayed to work on homework.  When I finished the dishes, both of them had their scarves wrapped around their necks and working away.


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Helpful Sisi

Tonight, I am having dinner and Christmas for some of the girls that work for Honduras Hope. Reina normally cleans my house on Friday.  Almost every employee has asked for extra time off.  Reina included. 
It dawned on me on Thursday evening that Reina was not going to be here on Friday.  I was thinking I could clean my own house.  Karen told me one of the girls could help me clean.  She also said that Sisi was quite diligent.  I asked Sisi if she would help me.  She was beaming when she said yes.  I told her to come at 2:00.

Karen was right.  Sisi is diligent.  And thorough.  She cleaned and cleaned and worked so hard.  She cleaned under things and pulled some of my clutter out onto the table, forcing me to deal with it.  I found a proper place for everything and threw some of it away.  She helped me for two hours.

It was a great help to me.  Some things were much cleaner than they have been in months.   Sisi struggles with a low self-esteem.  She thrived on that one on one attention she got for two hours.  It was a win-win situation for both of us. 


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Sweet Katy

Several months ago, Karen and I made the decision to start giving all the medicines ourselves.  I always do the 6:00 a.m. medicine.  Right now, Katy has to have medicine at 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.  I go into her room and say, " Katy, I have your medicine."  Because it is so dark in the bedroom, we go to the hall for me to give the medicine.  She stumbles out behind me with her bedhead and rubbing her eyes.  Every morning she takes the medicine and then she throws her arms around me and says, "I lahv you."

It is a pretty sweet way to start my day.


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Making Tortillas

Corn tortillas are a staple in Honduras.  Many places, they are served with every meal.  At Casa, they are served at lunch and supper.  For years, we have had a neighbor make our tortillas.  They would show up at the gate just about noon every day.  They weren't expensive.

After we built the outdoor stove, we decided the kids needed to learn to make tortillas.  There are several steps to making tortillas.  Every morning, someone has to take the corn to be ground.  Wood has to gathered, chopped, and brought down to the stove.  Dough has to be made, rolled, patted.  The fire has to be kept hot or the tortillas will stick.  It is quite a process.  I do want to go up some morning and see if I can learn to make tortillas.  It has to be better than grinding the beans. 

I did watch part of the process as the kids did it. 

Matt is starting the fire
We can dry shoes at the same time we cook tortillas

Ana says she can do every step now.  I think some of the other kids can, too.  Don't expect any prize-winning tortillas the day I do it.


Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Final grades are out for everyone.  Everyone passed, some by the skin of their teeth.  We have decided that even though Guadalupe passed, she would benefit from repeating first grade.  Everyone else will move to the next grade.

Some time ago, Byron and Pamela promised a special trip to town to the three kids with the highest grades.  Rosy had the highest overall average with 90.  Ana and Daniela tied with 82.  Nohemy had 80.   Pamela just could not stand it that Nohemy's grades were so close to Ana's and Daniela's.  Pamela insisted that Nohemy go too. 

The girls dressed for town and were treated to a movie, dinner and the arcade.  I am sure they  had fun. 

Congratulations to all of the kids and all of the staff who work so diligently on overseeing homework.

Next year we will be rewarding for good grades each partial and at the end of the year.  


Monday, December 17, 2012

April Melissa

I got a frantic call this afternoon around 4:00 that Melissa's water had broken.  I went flying out of here without changing clothes, without brushing my teeth, or going to the bathroom.  I got Melissa and drove as fast as I dared, which was much faster than I have ever driven in Honduras.  Nicole was at Casa when I left.  I shouted that I was leaving.  After I was well on my way, I called and asked her to take care of things I usually take care of.  Then, I prayed.  And prayed some more.  We were pretty sure the baby was breech.  From Santa Ana to the hospital, is an hour on a good day.  A week before Christmas in afternoon traffic is not what I consider a good day.

When I got to the city, if a light was green, I prayed for it to stay green.  I prayed for the traffic to go.  I prayed for everything.  I was praying out loud.  And I was thanking God for those things out loud.  Melissa may have thought I  had gone crazy.  One thing I forgot to pray for was a parking place, but my God is so awesome, he provided one any way. 

I helped Melissa into the emergency room and she went into hard, fast labor.  I was so thankful we were in the hospital.  I don't know how to deliver a baby, much less one that is breech.  Her doctor was upstairs still seeing patients.  The er people sent us up there.  He quickly examined her.  The baby was still breech.  He told all the waiting patients he would see them tomorrow at 2:00 and we went down to the second floor to prepare for a c-section. 

I was allowed to stay with Melissa until they wheeled her into surgery.  I held her hand.  I rubbed her legs and feet.  She was scared.  And contractions just kept coming.  I really thought the baby would come into this world, feet first, before the section was started.  Heidy arrived and came in with us.

After prep was complete and they had come to take her into surgery, Melissa, Heidy and I held hands and I prayed.

Miss April Melissa made her appearance shortly before 7:00 p.m.  She is beautiful.  I waited until I could see Melissa.  Melissa looked great for someone who had just had a baby.

I am so thankful Melissa and April are ok.   Please pray for them.


Sunday, December 16, 2012


This is the time of year for graduations.  There have been three this weekend.

Reina has been going to Teleton for four years.  She recently was evaluated and her teacher decided she could go to the next class.  Teleton does a really good job of building self-esteem.  There was a small graduation Friday afternoon for Reina and four boys.  Reina was so pretty and happy.  I was proud of her. 

Yesterday, was sixth grade graduation, which is a huge deal in this country.  Antonio was our only graduate this year.  He was quite handsome.  Karen and Dorian went to this graduation.

Last night, Marc went to Daniel's  graduation from high school.  Daniel started hanging out with the groups last summer.  Marc let it be known he did not have money to pay Daniel.  Daniel didn't care he liked being with the groups and he liked working.  He was such a good worker that he worked himself into a job.  Tonight, there was a dinner to celebrate his graduation.  We all got to go to that. 

Daniel and Emma Kate

Congratulations to these three for their accomplishments.