Friday, November 29, 2013


I love Thanksgiving.  It is my favorite holiday.  I usually have a pretty tight schedule on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.  I have learned, after all these years, to allow some Honduran things to happen. I started earlier and everything was fine.

That is until this year.

I normally make bread on Tuesday.   Tuesday morning Jackson had surgery and Josue had an appointment with the neurologist on Tuesday afternoon.  I only got half the bread made.  But what a joy that was, as Haley helped me. 

Only having half the bread done was an obstacle that could still be overcome.

Wednesday is the day the kids chop the onions and celery, grate the cheese and peel the potatoes.  Wednesday afternoon, they help me make cornbread and Haley and I make the pumpkin pies. 

Morning devotional was a bit crazy because the kids were so excited.  The noise level only grew as the morning passed.  When we started the tasks, everyone knew what they wanted to do and no one wanted to chop the onions.  Imagine that.  Reina said she would.

If Nicole and Debora had not helped chop onions, Reina would still be at it.  But she was diligent and did not stop until the very last onion was chopped.

Josue has not ever helped before.  He was standing there looking all sad because he did not have a job.  I was peeling potatoes.  I did not want him using a knife to peel potatoes, so I gave up my potato peeler and I peeled with a knife.  Josue did not like the potato peeler and soon put it down for a much better utensil, a butter knife.

Some of his potatoes were odd looking, but, he too, was diligent.  He even chopped a few onions with his butter knife.  He was so proud of his peeled potatoes.

Everyone worked happily at their chosen job.

I wasn't sure we would be able to get the table clean before lunch.  It took great effort, but we did.

Wednesday afternoon, Haley helped with the biscuits and Cindy did the first 2 pans of cornbread.

When I realized what still had to be done on Wednesday, I decided I just did not have time to make cornbread with the kids.  I can work faster alone.  Marc, Matt, Nicole and others were going to the soccer game and I was going to start marking things off that list.

I did.  It just took much longer than planned.  I am so thankful I have a gas stove. The electricity went shortly after everyone left for the soccer game.  I am thankful I have a lantern and plenty of batteries, too.  It is much slower to work by lantern light and have to carry the lantern every where you go.  I felt so pioneerish.  I got everything done that needed to be done by Wednesday night, but it was quite late.  Except the pumpkin pies.  The electricity came back on right before I went to bed.

To cover my bases, I earnestly prayed that the electricity would stay on at least until after the turkeys were cooked on Thursday.  I cook the turkeys in an electric roaster.

I was blessed that Marc moved an extra gas oven in for Thanksgiving this year.  I did not know at the time how big a blessing that would be.

I got the first turkey on about 45 minutes late and I was really ok with that.  It is what it is.  Brayan was helping with dressing and we got that in the oven  really late.  I was ok with that because we were going to be ok with that second oven.

At 9:15, the power went off.  I was confident it would be off for just a few minutes.  An hour later, I pulled the turkey out of the roaster and into the second oven.  A few years ago, I would have been having a complete meltdown.  I was really ok with everything. 

It was really cold and windy.  We decided to eat inside instead of outside.  That was being taken care of by other people. 

The kids were so excited.  It was too windy and cold to play out and the employees were busy in the Casa kitchen.

I have no work space in my house and had moved two tables in, both of which I had covered with with things.  Nicole moved the kids little table down into my living room.  She then brought all the boys from the big house down and they made oreo balls.

Jackson did well one-handed.

The boys wanted to eat the oreo balls.  We did not let them.  I wasn't sure there would be any oreo balls on the dessert table. 

Then the girls came to make chocolate no bake cookies.  As we more and more space was being used, Ana had to hold the bowl so the ingredients could be put into the pan.

Katy got to stir and she just could not keep her hands out of it.

Then there was a friendly little discussion as to whom would get the last scrape out of the pan.

And while the girls discussed it, Brayan said he would guard the oreo balls and the no bakes.
I am not even sure why Brayan was still there while the girls were.

Nicole, then went to get the kids in the little house to make banana pudding.  We are completely out of workspace, so she moves to the floor.

At some point, every single child except the twins got to do something.  And we still have no power.

Cindy worked on macaroni and cheese.  Ana worked on sweet potatoes.  And, Haley and I found time to get the pies done.

Even Emmy found something to sample.

The turkey samplers gave their approval.

After 4 hours, the power came back on.  There was a huge cheer.

All of the kids came to my house and watched tv.  I have always said Thanksgiving was about family, friends, food and football.  We had family, friends,  food and cartoons.  Three out of four is not bad. 

From early on, it was obvious lunch would be late. As guests began to arrive, the employees congregated at Casa and everyone else in my house.  It was so much fun.  As more and more people arrived, I kept saying I would put on a pot of coffee, but I can't. 

With all the problems, dinner was only an hour and half late.

I don't know of a time when more things have gone wrong. Or, when we have enjoyed it more.  The kids had great fun.  The fact that we pulled it off was a miracle in itself.  It was a huge team effort. 

I wanted to write this story last night, but when the power went off again, I decided it was time for me to go to bed.

I hope you had as happy of a Thanksgiving as we did.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A Zip Line, A Broken Wrist, And Tonsilitis

Jackson is a very creative soul.  I am always amazed at his creations and inventions. 

Yesterday, he and Brayan made a zip line between two trees.  I must admit, it was pretty clever.

 (These were taken after the accident)

Clever, but not too intelligent, since there were no ropes or harnesses.  I was not there, so I do not know exactly what happened.  But one can pretty well imagine given the fact that there were no ropes or harnesses. 

Matt took him to the hospital in Ojojona and they said he needs surgery and you need to go to Tegucigalpa.  Matt took him on in.  Nicole called the doctor before Matt got there and we were able to bypass the emergency room. 

I was sure Jackson would be hospitalized and I said this is going to cost a fortune.  Nicole thought that was not very nice of me.  She said,"Mom, he has to have the surgery."  I knew that.  I was not worried about that.  I was worried about what it would cost us to replace the remote, the tv, the air conditioner and everything else after he disassembled everything.  He will be an engineer some day I am sure.  Nicole said he will only have one hand.  Maybe he can't disassemble everything. 

The doctor decided to do the surgery this morning at 7:30.  Nicole and Jackson left here at 5:30.  He is now pinned and casted and not too much pain. 

When I walked in the back door this morning, Dilcia met me and said Maryuri had a high fever.  She did. 104.  I gave her some novalgina and we got the fever down, but she still felt horrible and was complaining of a tremendous headache.  About 10:00 I sent her and an employee to the doctor in Ojojona.  Maryuri has a very severe case of tonsilitis.  I know she feels awful, but she is milking this for all it is worth.  And, then some. 

Oh, what an exciting life we live with 23 kids here.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Election Day

Yesterday was election day in Honduras.  A president is voted in for one four year term.  This is the second election since I have lived in Honduras. 

In June 2009, a president was constitutionally removed from office.  There was much anxiety in this country from June to November.  There were rumors of potential riots and other problems if a certain party won.  There were a few issues, but once the election was over, things got back to normal quickly.

Election day is the last Sunday of November.  Laws concerning this day are very different from anything we would know in the United States.  There is a dry law from 6:00 p.m. on Friday until 3:00 p.m. on Monday.  A person cannot even be seen drinking in his own yard.  This does not mean anything to me, since I don't drink any way, but to a lot of people it is a big deal.  All the groceries stores takes tarps and completely cover any and all alcohol.

Churches are not suppose to have services until after 6:00 p.m., after the polls close.  I guess the power of prayer could swing the elections one way or another.  Our church had church yesterday morning and I know of others that did, too.

Most places of business were closed yesterday.  And, the ones that were open had severely reduced hours.  There was almost no traffic.  The mall was open, but more than half of the stores in it were closed.  We will never see the streets of Tegucigalpa that traffic free again.

Most polling places are in walking distance since so many people do not have cars.  Therefore, there are many, many polling places.  The lines to vote did not seem especially long, but there hundreds of people outside of each place.

The counting is done my hand.  In my opinion, that opens the door to all kinds of corruption.   There were rumors swirling of corruption.  And, I know it happened.  Melissa said she did not usually vote because she thought all candidates were crooked.  Probably so.  But, yesterday Melissa voted because she was given 500 lempiras to do so.  That is $25.00  There was no attempt to hide this bribery.  Poor people that have nothing can be bought fairly easily.

I can tell that the mayor has just been re-elected as the fireworks go off and horns are honking and there is yelling and cheering in the streets.  This whole town has erupted into victory chants.  It is a bit crazy.

Yesterday, two different parties declared their candidate a winner for president.  There are marches now in Tegucigalpa near the presidential house.  The official winner will be declared at 4:00 p.m.  Who knows what will happen.

Many places anticipated problems and closed for the day.  Haley and Karla did not have school.  Teleton was closed, as was other places.

Please pray for peaceful resolution. 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Prayer Warriors Unite

I have a huge favor to ask of everyone that is reading this blog.  We need prayers and more prayers for Baby Josue.  He is the little twin.  He is very fragile and delicate and is always sick.  He is now in the hospital with pneumonia.  The right lung has so much fluid in it that it is almost completely closed.

Because of his fragile condition and because he is always sick, we have been seeing doctors to find out what is wrong with him.  We know he needs tubes in his ears.  There have been a lot of tests.  And more tests and more tests.  In almost every test, something is in an abnormal range. 

Yesterday was the fourth visit to the immunologist.  It was a hard day for us.  He has an immune deficiency and to determine what exactly he has, he needs more tests.  But, the problem is, these tests are not given any where in Honduras.  He also has a urinary tract infection.  That in itself is not so unusual.  But, the bacteria in his urine is a bit unusual.  It is not so uncommon if someone has been in the hospital and had a catheter.  Since he has not, until tonight, been in the hospital and certainly had no catheter, it is uncommon.  The doctor said he was quite concerned and that probably Josue had no defenses that were able to protect him from anything.

He is allergic to milk and eggs.  He was supposed to have had more allergy testing yesterday, but that could not be done because he was sick.  On December 2, he is scheduled to have a human immunoglobulin.  This procedure will take all day and he probably will have to have it done two or three times.

We started new antibiotics today to fight that infection.  Every time I went in to give medicine, I thought we was worse.  His cough was worse.  Nicole agreed with me.  She called the doctor and he said bring him back.  Matt and Nicole and Mirian left with him around 3:30.  I scrambled to get a relief person in here and Emma Kate and Haley stayed with me.

Josue has been admitted to the hospital, iv antibiotics are being administered and a chest x-ray has been done.  There is no telling what else will be done.  Pray that nothing else is found.  And pray for quick and complete healing for this little guy.


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Tree Houses and Tepees

Most of our kids have good imaginations.  And, I like that.  They have been quite creative lately. 

First, some of the boys built a tree house.  This was some tree house.  It is anchored and supported properly.

I especially like this ladder.
Katy stood at the door welcoming her guests.
The inside as seen from the ground, because I was not going up that ladder.

After the tree house was completed and furnished, a tepee was built.

A nice clean little tepee, and they were sweeping it this morning.
And, that cardboard door will close.

School is out and the kids are enjoying these days in the tepee and the tree house.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

A Little Boy And A Christmas Tree

Yesterday Brayan and Fernando put up the Christmas tree in Mirian's house.  I was in there holding baby Josue when they finished.  Mirian asked Brayan to move one of the short sofas in front of the tree.  Brayan angled it across, hoping this would keep Olman away from the tree.

Olman immediately squeezed back there and came running back with an ornament.  Thankfully, they are plastic as he bounced it across the floor and went running after it.

Later, when I was in there to give medicine all the furniture had been rearranged. The Christmas tree was boxed in with 2 sofas. 

This morning when I went to give medicine, Olman was trying to climb over the top of the sofa to get to the tree.  He was really quite cute in his pajamas, smiling, and trying with all his might to get to that tree.  Mirian and I both laughed. 

It is a long time until Christmas to keep him away from that tree.  But imagine his joy on Christmas morning.  Won't that be fun?

Saturday, November 16, 2013

A Hurricane and An Earthquake

From birth, Haley was curious and independent.  Her very first words were "I can do it myself."  Because she is so curious, so is checking out many things.  When she is at my house, often say it looks like a hurricane hit.  Hurricane Haley.

Emma, on the other hand, was very placid and loved to be held and coddled. We obliged her because we never got to coddle Haley much.  That is Emma was placid until she found the freedom of walking.  She goes around pulling things out of shelves and off of anything in her reach.  We keep doors closed and move things when she is here.  When someone says No, Emma, she begins to shake her head at them.  She is no where near two years old.  Because she keeps things shaking and rumbling, I have nicknamed her Earthquake Emma. 

Last night was date night for Matt and Nicole.  Grammy willingly said she would keep the girls.  Haley spent the night.  Emma did not.  Haley and I always have popcorn when she is here.  Marc fixed Emma a scrambled egg.  She did eat some of it, but she managed to get it everywhere.  Then she reached in the popcorn bowl and grabbed some popcorn.  I think she is too little for popcorn, but she quickly put in her mouth.  And, she loved it.  She would get some popcorn and take off running as fast as she could.  She went to the other side of the house and ate it. 

When I got the Earthquake to bed, the tremors subsided immensely.  By that time, the Hurricane was wearing herself out.  After, Haley went to bed, I began to pick up.  I put stuff away and put stuff away.  When Nicole came for Emma, she looked around and laughed.  All I could say was you can't believe how much stuff I have already put away.

My house my have looked like a hurricane and an earthquake hit, but I would not trade those special moments for anything.  

Thursday, November 14, 2013

More From The Feeding Center

We are so excited about this new feeding center that we can't stop talking about it.

Monday, the first day, 140 kids were served, 180 plates, but 140 kids.  Some of the kids got seconds.  Each day the number of kids served has grown.  Today, 190 kids were served.  There wasn't quite enough food, but everyone made it work.

The two ladies that Matt hired to work in the feeding center are poor.  Very poor.  And, even though, they now have jobs, they are still poor.  When one realized that not everyone would get cheese, she went home and got cheese from her house.  Of course, Matt offered to pay her and she said no.  Both of the ladies are taking ownership and this was one way she could help.  I cried after Matt told me this.  Out of her poverty, she gave everything she had so all of the children could have cheese.

Another lady has six kids.  She also knows Matt can only pay two people.  She comes and helps serve the children every day because she is so grateful that her kids are eating.

I think there will be many lessons that can be learned from this new feeding center.  I am praising God daily that these kids are getting to eat.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


Olman (and Josue) will be two years old in less than 2 weeks.  They came here when they were two months old.  Olman was, and is, the bigger one, but when they came, they both were so tiny.  Olman was only 6 pounds. 

Almost immediately, we thought Josue had the sweeter personality.  All Olman did was scream and cry.  If I had been a paid employee in that house, I might have quit my job.  Olman cried when someone walked in that house.  And when someone left.  He cried if you looked at him.  And if you didn't .  Going to the doctor was a nightmare.  He screamed when we got in the car.  When we got in the elevator.  In the doctor's waiting room.  In the doctor's exam room.  He still turns and runs the other direction when a man comes near, but at least he is not screaming every time. The first few weeks in church were a screamfest.

As of late, Olman is beginning to develop a much sweeter personality.  He smiles and laughs.  Many times, when I go in at 6:00 to give medicine, he comes running to me and gives a big hug.  He allows me to give medicine.  He plays outside.  He does not like to share and can still turn on the crying and screaming.

Oh, what a joy it is to see this little personality develop.

Monday, November 11, 2013

El Comedor Nueva Vida

Today is another great day Honduras. 

The feeding center in Buen Samaritano opened its doors.  Today 140 kids were fed lunch.  Kids that might not have otherwise been fed.  The feeding center will feed kids lunch every day Monday- Friday.  The menu will be beans and rice on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, spaghetti on Tuesday, and soup on Thursday.  Due to a slight complication spaghetti was served today and beans and rice will be served Tuesday and Wednesday. 

Matt is in charge of this project and he has done an awesome getting things ready.  He has diligently worked for two weeks.  He hired 2 people.  He has found a someone from whom he can purchase wood and another person from whom he can purchase water.  The people he hired have scrubbed the feeding center clean and painted the tables.  I had the extreme privilege of going with Matt to purchase pots and cooking utensils, buckets, mops, brooms, bleach. spray bottles, scrubbers and all sorts of necessities. 
I am quite sure Matt thought of every single little detail.

Saturday, he went to the market and purchased beans and rice and other things.

This morning, Matt, and all of us were very excited about the opening of the feeding center. 

Some feeding centers only feed children of school age.  We will be feeding all children in this community.

A ton of spaghetti

A long line of hungry kids

It has definitely been another great day in Honduras.  Congratulations, Matt on a job very well done.


Sunday, November 10, 2013

Political Shenanigans

In Honduras, election day is two weeks from today.  There are rallies and all sorts of stuff going on.  The rallies are sometimes quite loud and I don't mind that too much as long as streets are blocked to allow the rallies to take place. 

Rallies are one thing, but some of the other things that are going on, are a bit too much.  Not that I have any control over any of it.  A person I know is poor, as are most people in Honduras.  She was needing help getting electricity.  This is a much different process here than in the States.  A person has to buy their poles and everything and then be hooked up.  This person went to the city and asked if they could help her get her electricity.  Since the mayor is running for re-election, of course he could help her.  After she received her electricity, and while she was at work, someone came and put a red flag on her house.  Red is the color of the liberal party and the part to which the mayor belongs.  She was not happy.  But, she does not want to remove the flag for fear that her electricity will also be removed.

Then someone representing the national party (the blue party) came giving an item away.  She really wanted this item, but they said she could only have it if she signed an agreement to vote for the blue party and removed the red flag.  She would not sign the agreement and is afraid to move the red flag so she did not receive the item.  She said she did not want anyone to know how she was voting and did not want any flag on her house.

I really don't like anyone being intimidated.  And, I sure have a different opinion of all those flags flying over people's houses.

The other night we were at at a Christian concert.  During the prayer, the person praying prayed for a certain candidate to win the presidential election.  The whole crowd booed.  The venue wasn't really appropriate to introduce politics or the person praying's  political opinion.

Today Nicole went to a mandatory meeting at the high school.  There was a presentation of the new entrance to the school, provided by none other than the mayor.  So this required meeting became a political rally for the red party. 

I cannot vote here.  I am a US citizen, something of which I am very proud.  And, I stay at Casa de Esperanza most of the time and don't really know what is going on if it is not happening on this property.  These are just a very few instances of which I am aware.  I cannot imagine the full scope of intimidation and bribery that is taking place by all the parties. 

More rallies, more intimidation and more bribery and no telling what else will occur in the next two weeks.  Be sure of it.

Friday, November 8, 2013

A Walk

This morning some of the kids did not have school.  After I took the ones that did, I assessed the situation of who was with me this morning.  Mirian generally does not allow to her kids to play out of a morning.  So we could play or we could do something a bit different and go on a walk.  I asked the kids and they wanted to go on a walk.

They asked if we were going to the park and I said maybe.  But I turned as if we were.  We took the long route to the park.  As we crossed some water, the observant one, Rosy, saw a little tiny frog in the water.  We stopped and watched that little frog for a while.  Then, we went up by the rose garden.  We stood and looked at that for a while.  Our eyes and our noses were delighted with what we saw and smelled. 

I then chose a path I had never taken before.  We walked a ways and found ourselves looking down on a small waterfall.  The kids wanted to go further down.  I would have been ok with that, if my knee had been wrapped.  I didn't want to get down there and not be able to get back up. 

We walked in the back of the park.  I told them we were staying 20 minutes.  We stayed 30.  No one asked to stay longer, I just decided.  Everyone was having so much fun and I was enjoying just sitting and listening to the wind rustle through the pines.  Everyone played well together and I allowed them to do some things I normally would not do when the whole group is along.  The reckless one, Katy, made me nervous on more than one occasion.  She is just about as resilient as she is reckless, so all was well.

As we walked back, we stopped and threw rocks into the water. 

Sometimes it is fun for the kids to go to the park in a smaller group and sometimes, it is kind of nice for the adult, too. 

I did not get up in time to do my workout this morning, but I still managed to get a good hill workout.

I am thankful for those special moments this morning.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

La Finca California

La Finca California is the name of the farm.  Yesterday, for the first time, I got to see the farm.  Oh my!  It is beautiful.  The farm is 70 acres and I think 30 acres of it is coffee.  There are plantains, oranges, lemons, grapefruit, avocados, and so much more.

The property line

A young coffee plant

More mature coffee

Coffee beans are red when they are ripe and ready for the harvest.  The first beans are turning red.  Soon there will be bright red covering these plants.  Some of the Casa kids will go to the farm and learn to harvest coffee, a skill that will serve them well in this country.

This is a mahogany tree.  There are other mahogany trees growing on the farm.  One day, this will be worth a lot of money.

And the fruit, the beautiful succulent fruit

Someone left a ladder out for me to harvest the fruit.  Just kidding.  Not me on that ladder.

And squash.  I was thinking fried squash and squash casserole

 The farm house, Don and Cheryl

A few other shots.

 There were all sorts of medicinal herbs growing.  I know nothing about medicinal herbs, but I might want to learn.

All of the fruits and vegetables for Casa de Esperanza will be grown here.  The kids will be taught to farm and harvest.  We hope some day to use this farm to rescue more boys and teach to love the land and love the Lord.

When I was standing on this farm, surrounded by its beauty, it was quite easy to get lost in dreams.  Won't it be fun to see what God has in mind for His farm.