Monday, February 27, 2012

Half Way Home

I am in Houston.  I am ready to be home, but I was so sad to leave this afternoon.  There was a trail of tears from Amarillo to Houston.

Can someone please explain to me why an airline that can get you from Tegucigalpa to Amarillo in one day (normally) but has to delay the Houston-Amarillo leg because of weather cannot retrieve your luggage for you (even if you end up having  to fly to Oklahoma City), but the same airline cannot get you from Amarillo to Tegucigalpa in one day and say you are required to get your luggage in Houston?  I can't explain it.  I knew I was having to stay in Houston tonight.  I packed clean clothes and my one little zip-loc of toiletries and a few other essentials in my little carry-on, making that little carry-on heavier than I would I have liked.  I discover that I have to get my luggage in Houston because no one is allowed to leave luggage overnight.  Really.  I tell similar stories from Honduras on a regular basis.  And which country is the developed world and which one is the developing world? 

When I got to this hotel, I thought I would enjoy a few more of my things tonight.  Until, I opened that suitcase and remembered where some of those things were.  Anything that would suffice without the luggage, would suffice just as well with the luggage.  The little carry-on will be light tomorrow, though.  There is still room in those bags for a few more things.

Yay for hotels that still have bathtubs.  It was a hot bath kind of night.  Yay for vending machines.  And Washington red delicious apples.  Yay for a chance to pamper myself a little tonight.  Yay for the last round of talking to friends.  Yay for internet.   Yay for all the simple pleasures of life.


Sunday, February 26, 2012


I am not really missing and I haven't been in much action the last week.  I just have not had access to internet.

No real surprise, but my luggage was not in Oklahoma City.  But Pat and Kim were there waiting on me with my car.  I was frazzled and tired and they were the silver lining in my cloud.  I was so glad to see them.  We ate a quick sandwich and I was on my way to Amarillo.  My mom was home before I got to Amarillo and I went to retrieve my luggage.  It was not there, but on its way.  I filed a claim.  My luggage arrived in Amarillo shortly after I arrived in Borger.  I let Continental deliver the luggage to me and it arrived at my mom's around 11:00 p.m.  I was glad for clean clothes and was even more glad to be in bed shortly after 11:00. 

My mom is doing ok and I have spent some precious time with her in the last week.  I have also been blessed by spending time with other special people.  My cousin from Amarillo visited us on Monday afternoon.  My niece and her baby were in Borger from Little Rock and I got to see them briefly.
Dawn and Kay drove from Edmond on Friday to see me.  We hung out for a couple of hours at the Coffee Ranch having coffee and dessert.  Dawn and Kay can now say they have really lived; they have seen Borger.  They also drove my car back to Oklahoma City.  Saturday Bill and Carol came from Decatur.  Along with my mom and sister, we laughed and talked and had a grand old time.  Cousins are special.  Of course, I have seen my sister and Marc's family. 

I always have things I need to take back to Honduras.  Finding some of those things in Borger is always a challenge, this time being no exception.  Not everything is crossed off the list.  It is what it is.

Sometimes, it seems like nothing in Borger ever changes.  But there are some big changes this time.
This is where the bowling alley was.  An improvement,  I think so.

There is also a new hospital.  The old one, (where I was born) is being torn down.

I leave tomorrow and will be back in Honduras on Tuesday (another night in Houston).  Thank you for your prayers for me and my mom.


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Adventures In Travel

Yesterday was a very long day and today may prove to be another.  I awoke at 3:30 yesterday with my mind racing.  I jumped out of bed and my body raced until 9:30 when we left for the airport. 

My plane left Tegucigalpa late and I knew I had a tight connection in Houston.  I arrived in Houston 20 minutes behind.  Thankfully, the customs line was short and I breezed through.  Rechecked my bags, rode the train, and got to my connecting gate with time to spare.  The Amarillo flight was one of few that was still on time.  We boarded on time and the cabin door was shut.  But we didn't leave.  The maintenance people were servicing the plane.  That only took a few minutes.  And we still didn't leave.  In those few minutes a fast moving fog had rolled into Amarillo leaving 1/4 mile visibility.  We deboarded.  All Amarillo flights were cancelled.  There were weather related problems all over the country causing delays and cancellations.  The customer service lines were not short and the customer service agents were few.  One thing I have learned is "it is what it is."  Not everyone has learned that.  There were some really angry people and some were not very kind to the customer service agents.  I waited in line for over two hours.  I visited with a man and his wife from Amarillo.  They work for Cal Farley's Boy Ranch. 

If one treats the customer service agent kindly, one can expect to receive the same treatment.  That certainly worked for me last night.  The man tried every way to help but all flights to Amarillo were already full until Tuesday.  Hotels are not comped when it is weather related.  The man gave me a coupon for a discount at a hotel and told me to call while he worked on my ticket.  Both of us were on the phone for over 15 minutes.  Getting to Amarillo on Tuesday was not, is not, an option for me.  I am flying to Oklahoma City this morning and driving to Amarillo.

You can't retrieve your luggage when flights are cancelled.  I was told my luggage would go where I go.  We will see in about three hours, won't we.

I waited over an hour for the shuttle to the hotel.  And, yes, it was a discounted rate, for which I am very grateful.  I was not the only person whose flight was cancelled or delayed staying at the Red Roof Inn.  Another line and another delay.  Most of the people in that line were laughing about the circumstances.  Many, like myself, had not eaten.  Some people were walking to the nearby restaurants to get a sandwich or something.  They also were quickly returning empty-handed because the restaurants were closed.  I had no intention of walking around Houston by myself at night for food or any other reason.  I was thinking vending machine.  By the time, I got to the room, I was thinking hot bath, only to find no bath tub, only a shower.  The internet at the hotel was down due to the weather.

Exhausted, I fell into bed and got six good hours of sleep.  Amazing, how just a little sleep gives you a whole new outlook.  But, I was really, really hungry.  I had a good fresh sweet roll and got back on the shuttle.  I now sit in the Houston airport.  I hope to be in Oklahoma City by 11:30 and on my way to Amarillo.

My mom is better.  I appreciate all those prayers.  Let's just keep praying.


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Pre-School At Casa

Casa has three four-year-olds and a two-year-old.  Doris and Reina are not going to school this year because they were not advancing.  Nicole promised Teleton she would work with them at home.  And then there is Haley, who is also 2 years old.  Nicole looked around and saw a need for a preschool. 

Since we no longer have a counselor, we took some things out of the counseling room and added some things and made a preschool room.  Nicole has preschool four mornings a week from 8:30-11:30.  No preschool on Thursday because that is Nicole's day off.  Monday, February 13 was the first day of preschool.  Nicole is fluent in spanish and talks to the children in spanish, but most of the lessons are in english.  She is hoping to teach the kids a little english, numbers, letters, and how to sit in class.  How to sit in class is a big task, I might add.

 Nicole has learned a lot this week.  She has learned some of our four-year-olds don't know how to work a puzzle.  Of any kind. 

This week, she is teaching about the animals that God made.  Tuesday, the children were suppose to make an animal out of play-do.

Haley made a butterfly

Cris made a snake, a really big snake.

I am not sure what animal Reina made, but it is biting her right under her nose.

Doris and Reina have schools desks and the other children sit at little tables.  Doris and Reina have some specialized work, not just the preschool work.  Reina still wants homework to do when the other kids are doing homework.  Nicole is giving her homework she can do.  The staff and Reina do not have to stress over this homework the way they were with real homework from school.  

Doris could not function at even a first grade level in school.  Yet, she was sad when she found out she was not going to school.  She is very happy to be included in this school.  Today was Thursday and there was no school.  Doris had no reason to get up since there was no school.  So, she didn't.  She slept through devo and breakfast.

Please pray for Nicole as she prepares and teaches and for the kids as they learn.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

School Supplies

Yesterday was Tuesday, my day off.  And, I had so much fun.

The Casa kids have started school.  We have been busy buying uniforms and their supply lists are just starting to come home.  I expect to make two or three more trips to town before we can say that is done.  Yesterday, I spent the day buying school supplies, but not for the Casa kids.

Recently, we received a container from Fairview Heights Church of Christ, our sponsoring congregation.  On that container were many backpacks full of school supplies.  Not everyone wanted to buy supplies and put on that container.  Many sent money to buy school supplies.  Much of that money came last year after school had started.  Parkview Baptist school in Baton Rouge had a huge drive to raise money.  Those kids worked hard and raised over $2000.00.  They sold cookies and all sorts of things.  Vanessa Hill raised a lot of money for school supplies.  Money came from other places as well.  In May or June, we can't spend that much money on school supplies.  The need is not there in the same way it is in February.  That money was held until now. 

I decided to start spending some of that money.  We are grateful for the backpacks sent by Fairview Heights, but there are so many more children that need supplies.  Matt went with me, as did Melissa and Mary.  I decided to go to Utilies de Honduras.  I can walk in the door and hand them a list and they start pulling the product. 

We had two lists.  The caretaker at the farm, Roberto, has four children that needed school supplies.  Marc said he would take care of it.  Melissa had a very detailed list for his four children.  Melissa and Mary handed that list to one clerk.  And I handed mine to another.  Marc told me to spend $2000.00 now.  I was thinking, "oh, let's spend it all now."  Thankfully, I listened to Marc.  I decided to not buy the specialized notebooks, but just the basic supplies for 100 children.  100 blue pens, 100 red pens, 100 erasers, 100 pencil sharpeners, 200 pencils, 100 scissors, 100 glues, 100 boxes of colors and colored pencils, 100 notebooks, 100 packages of construction paper.   The looks on some of the clerks' faces were quite amusing. 

A clerk is helping Melissa and Mary fill the order for Roberto's children.  Five of those small baskets were filled with that one order.

100 boxes of crayolas and 100 boxes of colored pencils
Pens, pencils, scissors, and glue

Checking out was fun.
That looks like a large total, but it was about half of what I wanted to spend.

After all was said and done, I had only spent about $1000.00.  I said to duplicate this order while we take the first load to the car.  Some of the clerks said,"is she serious?''  One clerk grabbed the list from my hand and ran for the back of the store.   We headed for the car.

This is the first order.  One more to go just like it.

All of this went into the trooper fairly easily.  Had there not been another car, it would have been a tight squeeze to get all of both orders in my car.

We went back inside and there was a different kind of busyness.  We had depleted most of the stock and they were having to haul cases of school supplies right through the middle of the mall and into the store.  Again, check out was fun.  We made the second trip to the other car.  There was still room in both cars for us to ride, but I am sure glad we didn't try to spend all the available money at one time. 

I did not ask for anything from Utilies but for them to fill my orders.  I did not know it until after the second order was paid for, but they graciously gave me a 10% discount.  I think I just became a customer for life.

I probably will not participate in distributing these supplies, but I had fun just knowing 200 more kids will receive them.  

Thanks to Parkview Baptist School, Vanessa Hill, the ladies' Bible class at Borger Church of Christ, and all others who donated to buy school supplies.   


Saturday, February 11, 2012


In Honduras, soccer is the only sport.  Or the only sport that matters.  Everyone loves soccer and every child loves to play soccer.  Brayan and Antonio had had an opportunity to play on a team the past 3 months.  They practice on Wednesday and play on Saturday.

John Baird is a friend of ours.  His ministry is to kids, mostly in Ojojona, but he asked our boys to play on his team.  The discipline of practice and games has been good for the boys.

John is a Christian and incorporates Bible study into everything he does with the kids.  The kids have had fun and learned a lot.  But it is a "Bad News Bears" type of team.  They scored a goal or two.  The whole season. 

Today was my first opportunity to watch Brayan and Antonio play.  I thought it was going to be a long afternoon when the other team scored four goals in the first five minutes.  Our guys settled down and only allowed one more goal to be scored against them.  And they were not able to score this game. 

Brayan is good player and was hustling all over the place.  He made some good plays.  Antonio is not quite as good of a player.  Today, there was not a lot of action in his part of the field and when there was, he often backed away from it.  Near the end of the game, when John subbed him, Antonio changed his clothes and was through. 

Even though there was no victory today, it was fun to watch the kids play.


Friday, February 10, 2012

Another Injury

Anyone that has ever been here, knows our little Katy is fearless.  A couple of days ago, she was on rollerblades and decided to be pulled behind a bicycle.  I don't know the exact details of what happened, but she ended up burning her arm on the tire of the bicycle.  It was a huge nasty place on her arm. 

Last night, Dilma took her to Karen's apartment because it had pus and junk in it.  Karen bandaged it.  I was changing the bandage before school this morning and it started gushing blood.  Not just a little oozing, there was blood everywhere.  There was blood on her skirt, her white socks, her school shoes, all over the floor.  I took a clean rag and wrapped around her arm and applied some pressure.  But nothing was working.  Some of the other girls were in the bathroom watching all of this.  Some of the girls were starting to get quite excited with the amount of blood.  I was too.

Karen put her in the van with the other kids.  She took the kids to school and then took Katy to the doctor.  We were expecting to get some kind of ointment with which to doctor Katy's arm.  Soon Karen called and said they wanted to keep her at least overnight.  Karen came home to get books and toys, crayons, underwear, toothbrush.  All those things.  When she got back, Miss Katy is in a private room working puzzles and having the time of her life.  She told Karen she might just stay a week. 

Elena is with Katy tonight.  The dermatologist comes tomorrow.  We hope Katy is back home tomorrow.  Please pray for her.  But don't feel too sorry for her.  She is down there having a party and living it up.


Thursday, February 9, 2012

First Day Of School

Weeks ago, we began getting ready for the first day of school.  All the uniforms were pulled out and Elvia began trying them on each child.  She put names in the uniforms and marked each one that needed to be hemmed or altered.  She then got the sewing machine and began to hem and all those things.

A list of missing uniform pieces was made and I went to town to purchase those.  That is never ever accomplished in one trip. 

Yesterday, there was hair to be cut, shoes to be polished, uniforms to be ironed and made ready for this morning.  Karen had each child hang his uniform on their bed.
Well, the idea was that they would be ironed first and then hung on the bed.  This one got done in reverse.

Elvia was still sewing yesterday morning and Doris was still ironing last night.

They were eager this morning and got out of bed easily.  That won't last long.  Soon there will be groaning at 5:45.  Devo, breakfast, chores.

Baby Korbin was content in his pouch as Karen did hair.
Daniela needed a last minute bang trim.
As they get ready, they place the backpacks by the door.

Soon enough, new white socks, polished shoes, hemmed skirts, braids and all, they are ready to go.

The excite chatter begins to move from the house
to the van.
A group shot
The seventh graders as they head off for the 2nd day of orientation

After a couple of kids jump out of the van and run back to the house for a forgotten water bottle and a forgotten notebook,
they are off to the first day of school.


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Seventh Grade Orientation

Today, tomorrow and Friday is seventh grade orientation.   Another first for Casa de Esperanza.  Pamela and Brayan are our seventh graders.  Seventh through tenth grade is high school, not junior high or middle school, as we know it.  The kids did not have to wear uniforms today.  But they were certainly dressed nicely.

Both of the kids were excited and anxious and all those emotions seventh graders experience.  Brayan was just plain silly and giddy.  I drove them to school this morning.  I was expecting one or both to balk at getting out of the car.  But, they got right out of the car.  Tomorrow, they ride the bus.

Please pray for Brayan and Pamela at this important crossroads in their lives.


Tuesday, February 7, 2012


"And on the seventh day, God rested from all his work."  Genesis 2:2

God commands us to rest, and even rested Himself.  He even told the people to let the fields rest every seven years.  I don't like to rest.  I like to get as much done in a day as I possibly can.  Sometimes that means working way into the night.  I have a friend that used to say people have died in their sleep.  I believed him and do not rest enough.

Once in a while, that catches up with me.  Today was that day.  That is good, because today was my day off.  Part of the problem is I don't always take my day off.  I use it to get something more accomplished.

Today, I rested.  I renewed myself physically by taking a really long nap this afternoon.  I renewed myself mentally by not doing anything that required a decision or thinking today.  No work. I did not even have to make a decision on what to eat because I renewed myself spiritually by fasting and praying.   I had some long talks with God today.  I am at peace this evening, a peace that transcends all  understanding.

I had thought I would spend a good portion of the day stitching, but my mind and body were too tired to count the little x's.  I needed rest. Total rest.  And, now I am  ready to get busy again tomorrow.


Sunday, February 5, 2012

To Town

I like to read.  I used to think anything would do.  But now, I am a bit more particular.  I especially like history and historical fiction.  I have read about the people settling in Texas and other places and the  hardships they endured.  In most cases, people did not go to town very often.  It was a planned event and the trip was to purchase everything that would be needed for several months.  Indian attacks and sudden changes in weather were things about which they worried.  At the time, my American mind could not fathom buying things for several months, or weeks.  Or in many cases, even for several days.  There was always one more trip to Wal-Mart.

Now days, we plan our trips to town and buy everything we can while we are there.  I buy groceries for Casa for a month and we go to the market for fresh fruits and vegetables every other week.  This time, the first of the month groceries and one of the market trips coincided.  Also, the school uniforms needed to be purchased.  And we always have a list of things to buy at the hardware store.

As I get in my 1999 Isuzu Trooper, there is no way my trip to town can be compared to the early settlers' trip to town.  I am sure I have a much more comfortable journey, though the roads in Honduras may not be much better than the wagon-rutted roads of earlier days.  I don't have to worry about attacks from Indians, just about being cut off by the crazy taxi and bus drivers. 

Friday, I made that journey with my lists in my hand.  Now, that we have two houses open, the grocery store and the market are both huge tasks.  I tackled the market first.  By the time I finished, the back end of the trooper was pretty full.  I bought the school uniforms, went to the hardware store and the office supply store.  I still had to go to the grocery store.  Matt was in town.  Thankfully, he met me at PriceSmart.  I took a flatbed and he took a flatbed and we started with laundry detergent and toilet paper.  Both are consumed in huge quantities around here.  Think laundry for 24 children. 

If Matt had not been with me, it would have taken me three hours.  I load one cart, pay for it, take it to the car, go back in, load another cart, etc.  Matt and I together were able to negotiate PriceSmart in a little over an hour.  Then we loaded the things for the big house in his car and the things for the other house in my car.  I was so glad to be on my way up the mountain.  By the time I got home, I had been gone over 8 hours and the cars still had to be unloaded. 

I know sometimes the early settlers purchased a little treat while they were in town.  We got home and unloaded the cars and found Marc had pizza waiting for us.  That was just the treat I needed after a long day in town.


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Registering For School

It is that time of the year, already.  Time to register the kids for school as school starts next week.  For Nicole, it was a welcome to Honduras day.

All the birth certificates and all of last year's grades had to be taken.  Since the kids are going to same school, it seems to me this would not be necessary, but, nonetheless, it is.  Nicole went to the elementary school first.  After standing in many different  lines, she successfully registered 13 kids.  She needed 26 limpiras, 2 limpiras per child to register.  She did not have that, but they said she could bring it later.  They know we are always good for the money.

She then went to the high school to register Brayan and Pamela in 7th grade.  She had most of the paperwork they needed.  However, she needed pictures of each them and we had some in their files.  She called and asked me to bring the pictures and the 26 limpiras, which I did. 

She came home around 12:15 saying that tomorrow she had to go back to both the elementary school and the high school.  She got everything done at the high school and when she walked to the table to complete the process, the lady at the table said, "you will have to come back tomorrow."  Nicole asked why since I am here and you are here.  She said I am through today.  Nicole kept saying we are both here, lets get this done.  But it did not happen.

Nicole drove back to the elementary school to pay the L26 and they told her, " you will have to come back tomorrow.  Registration closes at 12:00."  She tried,  unsuccessfully to explain she had registered the kids and just needed to pay L26.  "I'm sorry.  You will have to come back tomorrow.  Registration closes at 12:00."

There is just some things you just never get used to.


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Mornings In The Brumley Cottage

With three new kids and two of those being babies, things have really changed around here.  I had opportunity to be in the Brumley cottage two mornings this week. 

The houseparent, Mirian, had two days off and was leaving yesterday morning.  These are her first days off since the new ones arrived.  I went to her house at 5:45 yesterday.  Josue was crying.  Mirian had fixed a bottle and he had taken part of it, but wanted no more.  I picked him up and cradled him in my arms.  He stopped crying, but did not go to sleep.  I walked around talking and singing to him.  I think he liked that.  At 6:15, some of the other kids began to arise.  I changed Yair's diaper and got him dressed for the day.  Adonis and Guadalupe changed themselves and I help Cris and Any change.  I got the girls' hair combed.  Josue pooped.  I changed him and almost immediatey peed. So, I changed him again.  At some point in time all  five of the older kids got in Yair's baby bed.  Olman woke up and was crying.  At 7:00, when Pamela and Maira arrived, I had a crying baby in each arm.  I was thankful for reinforcements.  Pamela took a baby for a couple of minutes.  Pamela left with five of the kids for devo.  I never did get socks on Yair.  I guess in the whole scheme of things, that is not horrible.

I had Olman and Maira had Josue.  I fixed a bottle for Olman and fed him.  Then he needed changed.  After I changed him, I took all the diapers that were wet and poopy and went to the pila.  In the hour and a half I had been there, there were five diapers.  I was thinking at this rate, we will be out of diapers before noon.  I washed the diapers and got them on the line. 

Pamela and the kids returned from devo.  I got breakfast ready, which was only peanut butter sandwiches, and  got it on the table.  The kids ate and began their chores.  Reina arrived at 8:00.  Was I ever glad to see her.   She got a great big hug from me.  After two hours and fifteen minutes, I felt as if I had worked for days.

This morning I got there at 6:30.  Poor Maira.  She had not slept at all because Josue had not slept at all.  There were baby bottles every where.  The older kids were up getting ready for devo.  I took Josue for a while and managed to comb the girls hair and get socks on Yair this morning.  Olman slept through it all. 

When the kids left for devo, Maira washed all the baby bottles and took the diapers from the night to the pila.  I thought I had Josue asleep.  Olman woke up and began crying and Josue decided to cry with him.   Maira and I each had a baby.  Olman had to eat and we finally got Josue to sleep.  Maira rushed to the bathroom to wash her face and brush her teeth. 

Breakfast, chores, more wet and dirty diapers.  I am getting pretty good on that pila.  I think I could use a nap.