Sunday, November 30, 2014


Finishing sixth grade is a big deal in Honduras.  The reason is that so many do not go beyond sixth grade.  Most schools have a graduation for their sixth grade class and graduation is a huge deal.  This year we have six sixth graders, five in public school, Ana, Cindy, Daniela, Fernando and Jose and one in Manos Felices, Rosy.  Rosy's school did not have graduation.  But, the public school did  Yesterday was the big day.

 Before graduation

Ana was one of the song leaders

Signing the book by both the student and the parent is very important.  Karen signed with the girls, I signed with the boys.

Daniela was so excited.  She was standing up and we thought she was going to go before her name was even called.

Then we had cake and coke and our kids were ready to get out of there.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Let's Just Improvise On That

I have always enjoyed preparing Thanksgiving dinner.  Things have always gone smoothly and been fairly easy, even here in Honduras where I have no workspace and we have to improvise on ingredients sometimes.  That is, things have gone smoothly until this year.  I dropped things, spilled things, broke things, and made one mess after another.  And, we still served dinner only an hour late.

Normally, the kids get to come down and help cook, but a few bad decisions on the part of a few meant that no one could come into my house.  The kids still got to help with the things that could be done in the Casa kitchen or outside.

The cheese graters

The celery choppers

The onion choppers.  I was part of that group.
The potato peelers.

Since the kids were not coming to my house, Haley spent the night on Wednesday night and helped me prepare.  She was so excited that she began packing a whole week in advance.  Matt brought her to my house as soon as school was out and I could hear her running as fast as she could to my house.  She kept me laughing most of the time.

 I had been busy all day, but one of Haley's first jobs was to help knead the bread.

The bread rose, just as it should.

Hard at work

 Every good cook gets some flour on them.

Emmy got flour on her and she was not even cooking.  She tried to add sugar to something and flicked it into her eye instead of a bowl.  Emmy is a little mess.  All of the time.

At last, the bread is in the oven.

Haley called the oven mitts safety gloves and she wore them most of the night.

We were able to get a pecan pie and the apple cobbler done before Haley went to bed.  She said, "Grammy, if I were not here, you would be up all night.  Little did she know that I was up most of the night any way.

That was Wednesday.  Thursday is when the bumbling, dropping, spilling, breaking, and comedy of errors really began.

Haley was so excited about painting the turkey with butter.  We got that done and got the first turkey in the roaster.  Matt and Nicole arrived about 8:00.  Around 9:30, I asked if anyone could smell the turkey cooking.  Nicole said I smell so many good things, I can`t tell which is which.  I went to check.  Someone had accidentally unplugged the turkey roaster.  There was no way we were going to get two turkeys done on time. 

I painted the other turkey and seasoned it and got it ready.  Matt and Nicole took it to Richard and Yesenia's and put it in their oven.

We usually use Karen's oven for some of the food.  We realized quickly it was not going to be dependable.  It just would not heat.  It often has that problem.  That left a huge problem as how everything would get cooked. 

Matt just kept saying we would have to improvise.  And improvise we did. 

I did not have enough milk.  I did not enough chicken broth.  We did not have enough big pans.  We have always had enough  before.  No one here in Santa Ana carries much stock of anything.  Nicole bought two pulperias completely out of milk.  I used cubitos and made some chicken broth.  The green bean casserole was in two pans instead of one.  And, Matt improvised so well with the sweet potatoes that he almost caught Karen's kitchen on fire.  She came running down here saying look at me, look at me.  Her clothes were wet and she had marshmallows all over her.  She said this is my last sweat shirt because I had dog poop on the other one.  I did not ask, but I wondered how she got dog poop on her other sweat shirt.  Nicole jumped up and said I better go check on the other turkey, I don't want Richard's house to be on fire.  It wasn't, but it was funny that Nicole said such a thing. 

We spilled our way through the day.  I hate those little bags of milk.  We tried to clean as we went, but it did not seem as anything was getting clean.

Finally, things started to get done.

 That is a lot of macaroni and cheese.

When Emma gets hungry, she comes and gets a bowl.  She walks around saying Emma bowl.  She got a bowl and we fed her a little snack.  She carried her bowl, a rather large bowl at that, around for a couple of hours.  Right before everything was ready, she gave it up.

After doing such a good job carving the turkeys, Matt and Nicole got to move to the big table this year.

When the last dish was ready and carried up, we found every one was there.  And, everyone was hungry.

And those sweet potatoes look like they just had a little fire.

There was plenty of food, plenty of laughter and plenty of wind.

Even though things did not go as smoothly as I would have liked, we have so many blessings and many things for which we are thankful.  I enjoyed the day.

When I got back to my house, I was thinking a haz mat team might be in order, but Matt, Nicole and I worked to restore some order.  

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


Everyone already knows Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.

In years past, I have posted daily for the whole month of November one thing for which I am thankful.  I have always had and still have a lot to for which I am thankful, but the month was nearly gone before I thought of the daily postings.  I decided to it one big post.

1)  I believe in and serve a great big God.  I am not sure I would still be standing if it weren't for Him.

2)  Nathan and Nicole and their wonderful spouses, Julia and Matt, and of course the three beautiful granddaughters and the soon to be grandson.

If I had nothing more than these first items, I would be blessed beyond measure.  The fact is that I have many more things for which I am thankful.

3)  All the rest of my family, no matter how distant.  Family loves no matter what.

4)  My friends.  I am blessed to have friends everywhere.  It does not matter if I have known you all my life or I met you last week, my friends have blessed me over and over again and have stood by me through some pretty difficult circumstances.  Some of you really led me through the last 8 months.

5)  All of the individuals and churches that support me, but especially Borger Church of Christ for being my overseeing congregation.

6)  The Casa de Esperanza and Honduras Hope board of directors.  You guys really stepped up and helped keep things going.

7) Every financial supporter and every emotional supporter of Casa de Esperanza and Honduras Hope.  We could not stay here without you.

8)  Karen and Dorian, who have given nine years to this ministry.  Where would Casa and Honduras Hope be without you.

9)  Luis, he helped us keep going when it seemed impossible.

10) The staff at Casa de Esperanza, you ladies are great and are always willing to help in any way needed.

11)  Karol and Kelin, not only are they the sweetest sisters I know, but they have been a great encouragement to me in a difficult time

12) The rest of the Honduras Hope staff, like the Casa staff, you are always willing to do whatever is necessary.

13)  For the new churches at Lomas Diamonte and Zurzular.  May God be praised.

14)  For the ladies conferences held recently.

15)  This sounds shallow.  I am thankful for facebook because it helps me stay connected and reconnect with so many since I live in a foreign country.

16)  The opportunity to be at Casa de Esperanza and be a part of these children's lives.

17) My health.

18)  That I get to spend Christmas in New Hampshire with Nathan, Julia, Camille, and the new baby.

19) That my kids have jobs in their chosen professions.

20)  That I get to watch my kids parent their children.  Kids and spouses are good at that job.

21) That I was raised in a Christian home.

22) That I was taught  a  love for reading.

23) For my bed.  I love my comfortable bed with warm covers.

24)  For how good that bed is going to feel, if I ever get there tonight.

25) For music.

26)  For the almost 20 years I had Ryan.  I miss him and I love him.

27)  That we are able to find more American products in Honduras.

28)  For the groups that continue to come and work here, and fall in love with the Honduran people.

29)  For the beauty that surrounds me.

30)  For grace and forgiveness.

I am sure I could continue for a every day of the year.  I have so much to be thankful for.  I hope I do not ever take those things for granted.

Happy thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

And On The Seventh Day, She Rested

When I first moved to Honduras, I loved to go to Tegucigalpa.  Any reason would do.  Any day of the week.  Then I started doing Teleton and taking Rosy to school every day.  I hated the morning traffic.  I still do and it is worse now than it was then.  I was not as eager to go to town quite so often because I was going all the time. 

I like being here at Casa.  I still go to town to buy groceries and such, but not near as often.  Haley's school is in Tegucigalpa so Matt and Nicole go every day and they stay all day.  They are now running a lot of the Casa errands for me.  I thank God and them every time they do a Casa errand for me.

Now, when I go, I usually have a long list of errands to do and it takes all day.  I am exhausted when I get home.

Wednesday I took Donna to the airport.  I still do not ever mind going to the airport to pick up my friends or to take them back.  Then, I went to the embassy to get some documents notarized.  I found out the embassy will only notarize documents from 8:00-10:00 of a morning.  I thought the embassy was U.S. soil, but it certainly felt like a welcome to Honduras moment.  I ran a few errands while I was in town.

I had to get these documents notarized and my time frame was getting shorter.  I left on Thursday morning at 6:30 with Matt and Nicole.  After taking Haley to school, we had donuts and Dr. Peppers, our favorite treats.  They took me to the embassy and waited.  I then had the pleasure of going to the feeding center with them.  I got to watch my daughter lead the children in devo and then watch the feeding.  Watching hungry children getting fed is an awesome sight to see.  After lunch, we went to the pharmacy.  With 20 kids, I always need to go to the pharmacy.  We did a few other errands, got Haley and came home.

Friday Josue had a doctor's appointment at 3:00.  We left here at 1:30.  After blood tests, x-rays, another visit with the doctor, he had to be admitted to the hospital.  The paper work and such had to be done.  I arrived home at 9:00, exhausted.

Saturday morning I drove back to the hospital to be there when the doctor came and switch out the employees that were staying with Josue. 

Sunday morning I went in early to be there when the doctor came and tried to stay until he came back that afternoon.  Early afternoon, I left and went to the grocery store.  I came back to the hospital and waited and waited on the doctor.  I really wanted to be home before dark.  I left before he came.

We thought Josue would be dismissed yesterday, but we were not sure.  We had to wait on the results of the IGG blood test.  The doctor said he would be there on 6:30 Monday morning.  I was not there to see him.  I arrived about 9:00.  About 11:30, Karen called.  She was also in Tegucigalpa.  Everyone at Casa thought Katy was very sick.  I had Christina bring her to the hospital where I was and I took her through the emergency room there.  She, too, is sick, but not near as sick as she led everyone to believe.  I ran upstairs from the er to see the doctor at 2:30.  Still waiting on the results. 

Katy was able to go home with Matt and Nicole. 

By 6:00, I was sure Josue would be staying another night, but I was not going to leave until I was absolutely sure.  I saw the doctor at 7:00.  The test was in normal range and we could go.  I was scurrying to get to the pharmacy before it closed and to get every thing done and get out of there.  There are some follow up appointments and tests, but we were leaving.  It was after 9:00 when I got home.

I am not accustomed to going to town that many days in a row.  I was exhausted.  I am so thankful that Tuesday is my day off. 

After going to town six days in a row, on the seventh day, I am resting.  I slept late and am doing nothing today.  Thankful for days like that every once in a while and thankful that Josue and Katy are okay.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Honduras Medical Center

Baby Josue has been a bit under the weather this week.  Other kids in that house have been as well.  They got better.  He did not.  He has practically no immune system and we know not to wait too long to see a doctor.  Karen called this morning and made an appointment with Dr. Diaz for this afternoon.

Luci, Josue and I left at 1:30 for a 3:00 appointment at Honduras Medical Center.  I was driving the GMC pickup, a vehicle much larger than what I am accustomed to driving.  I got to the medical center and parked in the new parking garage.  We were in the waiting room by 2:45.  Dr. Diaz was almost on time.

He ordered a complete blood workup and a chest x-ray.  We were to go have these things done and return to his office.  We went downstairs.  First stop, the lab.  Then we went to caja to pay and back to the lab with the receipt.  Josue was very brave.  He cried just a little bit.  We went to x-ray, then to the caja to pay.  With the receipt, we returned to x-ray.  The chest x-ray was taken and we left with that.  It was going to be an hour before the results for the blood work was ready.  Before we returned to the lab, we took a little detour to Espresso Americana for 3 cookies and 2 granitas.  Josue did not get a granita.  Josue needed a little treat for being so good during those tests.  And, I thought I was starving.  I was not starving.  I live in a country where people starve to death every day.  I had had lunch.  I was not starving. We went back to the lab and waited.  We all enjoyed the cookies.  Josue kept reaching for our granitas.  He got water instead.

After we had the results in hand, it was back upstairs to Dr. Diaz's office.  White blood count was high and a little fluid in the lungs.  For someone with a normal immune system, this would have meant a round of antibiotics.  For someone with no immune system.  This means hospitalization.  Admissions was closed for the day so we had to go to emergency to be admitted.  After I signed my name and put my id number on dozens of pieces of paper, it was back to the caja to pay.  And back to emergency with the receipt.  We were taken upstairs to a room on the pediatric floor.  My i.d was still downstairs in emergency.  Someone brought it up to me.

Everyone was so nice and helpful.

Josue has been hospitalized enough times that he knew where he was and what was happening.  He was terrified.  He cried more then than he did when he was stuck with the needle downstairs.  Getting the iv going was a terrible ordeal.  Luci and I both were trying to hold him down and comfort him at the same time. 

Josue is such a little guy.  And, in that great big bed, he looked especially tiny.  I sent Luci downstairs to get something to eat since she was staying the night with him.  After the iv was going, the oxygen was going, Luci returned from downstairs, and Josue was almost asleep, Luci and I exchanged phone numbers.  I gathered my phone and papers and such and left for Santa Ana.  I will be back in the morning to see Dr. Diaz.  It has been a very long day.  I am tired.  My feet hurt.  My legs hurt.  I am not worried about me.  Please pray for little Josue and that he will soon be well and return home.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Sewing Part Three

In March my friend, Donna, came and started teaching the girls to sew.  She started with some simple hand stitching.  Then she returned in June.  Some of the older girls were able to start on machines.  Mi Esperanza graciously loaned their center, for which we were very thankful.  Donna was here for just a weekend and some of the girls started projects which they could not finish because of time.  Some measured wrong and their shirts were a bit too short.  These things happen with beginners, but the girls were a bit discouraged.

This time Donna came for a whole week.  Mi Esperanza again graciously offered their center each morning as they had classes in the afternoon.  There were some days the girls had school of a morning and the time was going to be limited again.  Donna had raised some money for machines and brought one with her.  We really wanted the treadle machines.  As the electricity went off and on all day Thursday and Friday, we were glad for this decision.  Luis had already priced the machines.  He picked Donna up at the airport and then off they went to El Centro to buy sewing machines.  We were able to set up our own mini sewing center at Casa De Esperanza.  Of course, we did not have the big cutting table and things, but two long table pushed together worked almost as well.

Thursday morning began with the younger girls making bracelets and then head bands.  They tore pieces of fabric and braided them together.  They then had to hand stitch the bracelets together.  Nohemy had a great sense of picking three fabrics that really went together.  The other girls, not so much.  But after they were braided, no matter what I thought of the combinations originally, all of the bracelets  were pretty.  This was easy and the girls loved it.  There will be 37 new bracelets for sell in the store.

Later on Thursday morning, the older girls came in.  They had to learn to measure themselves and make their own patterns.

The girls were going to make a skirt and a top.  Donna had brought fabric for nine outfits.

I was so excited about this fabric.  I thought watching the girls chose their fabric was going to be the most fun part of the whole week.  And, it was up to that point.  Something better came later.

Then came pinning their patterns on their fabric.  And cutting.  I was very nervous as the girls began to cut. 

Before fabric was placed on the machine, each girl had to spend time learning to work the machine.  I not sure I could have worked that treadle, but the girls learned fairly quickly.

At last, it was time to start sewing.  I do not like to sew and I ruined a lot of fabric when I tried to learn.  If I thought the cutting made me nervous, it was nothing compared to what I felt, when the girls started putting the fabric under the needles.  Donna did not seem to be a bit nervous.

The girls did amazingly well.  Except for the fact that Ana could not sew a straight line.

There was more than one night that Donna and one or more of the girls worked quite late.  The outfits were coming together nicely.

The younger girls had the chance to do one more project before the week came to an end.  They sewed beads or charms on some old t-shirts and made some really cute collars.

When all projects were completed, the grand finale was to be a style show.  Everyone that had made something was to participate.  The pavilion became their runway.

They all were adorable.

After individual and group shots were taken, they prissed and pranced and blew kisses down their runway.

 Yesterday was the best part as we watched them model the things they had made.  Each girl was so proud.

Next sewing class is already planned for the last of January, right before school starts.