Monday, September 23, 2013

Incredible Weight Loss Program

Fishy lost 3/4 his body weight in one night!

No thanks, Kaiya. I'll stick to the regimen we have. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

I fell in love...

I have been back from Honduras for less than 24 hours, and I have to admit that I fell in love while I was there.

View from the terrace at our hotel
I fell in love with the country.  The views are absolutely breathtaking.  Even in the many poor areas of Tegu, there is a beauty in the tired faces, the shacks the people live in, and the roads with no names.  The church we attended on Sunday was small, but it was evident that God's loved filled the building and the hearts of those in it.  

Girls with their puppets
Boys with their new shoes
I fell in love with the people.  Everyone I encountered was so warm and friendly.  The kids at the orphanages and schools we visited were very sweet and polite.  They participated whole-heartedly in games we played.  They repeated every word as we prayed with them.  And even though they loved stickers, we had to persuade them to take more, more, more, because we brought plenty for everyone.  A few even gave me gifts- one gave a picture she drew with her uncle, another gave one of her princess stickers from her prized collection. 

Albert, Ana, Nery, Eduardo, Carlos, Eny
Our interpreters were amazing.  They not only helped us bridge the language gap, but jumped in to joke and play with the kids.  They put in long hours, and many of the kids we saw already recognized them from the many hours they volunteer to work with them. 

On our final day working with the kids, we went to Casitas Kennedy Orphanage, which is a government run center.  The mood there (and at Octubre 21, the other orphanage we visited) was much different than the schools.  While the kids are poor and have very little in Tegu, you can tell the kids at the school have love in their homes and hope for a future.  The children at the orphanage may have parents, but cannot go home because of drugs there, physical abuse, sexual abuse, or other awful situations.  You can pick out the kids who are new because they haven't become hardened yet.  Many of these kids will remain at in government run centers until they age out at 18, and without an education or family support system, their prospects are dim.
It was at Kennedy that I fell in love with David.  While I have several pictures of him, I cannot post them here.  (We are unable to put pictures of the kids in the orphanage online because of their home situations and the need for these kids to be protected.)  But trust me when I say he is absolutely beautiful.  I called him my little trouble-maker, because he enjoyed throwing socks and stuffed animals over the couch for me to collect and throw back.  While his friend Victoria (who was 18 months) blew bubbles, David chased her and attempted to eat the bubble wand in her hand.  As we folded laundry, he would swipe the clothes we folded and throw them back into a pile.  It was impossible to be upset with his shenanigans because he would grin at you as soon as he was caught and would giggle as you tried to keep up with his mischief.  I found that he could be distracted with pizza, and he sat sweetly on my lap and ate an entire slice.  He also loved for me to hug him tightly and cover him with kisses as I turned him upside down.  My reward was the beautiful sound of his laughter.  I'm sure I whispered "te amo" in his ear at least a hundred times, as I tried to make up for the fact that he surely wouldn't hear those words as often as a child should.  My heart broke when it was time to go, and David cried and clung to me tightly so that I couldn't put him down. 

Sight seeing in St Lucia

I fell more in love with God in Honduras.  As tough as parts of the week were, and as heartbreaking as some of it was, I know that God is there.  He is there in the volunteers that spend many hours with the kids.  He is there in the teachers who are paid very little and work very hard to teach these kids (one teacher had 43 third grade boys in her class!!).  He is there in the men and women who run the centers and schools.  He is there in workers who so clearly love these kids and work hard to care for them.  God is there in the many missions groups that come from America to share his love and bring much needed aid for the people there.  It is reassuring to know that regardless of their situation, God is holding each of these kids in his hands and whispering in their ears that he loves them.  And this has helped me to fall even more in love with my Father, and look to him for whatever he has next for me. 

Thursday, September 12, 2013


This evening, G headed off to prepare for bed ten minutes before his show was over.  I foolishly gave myself some extra knitting/reading time while he brushed his teeth.  The kid is not quite four.  Generally, when he brushes his teeth alone, he smears toothpaste all over the counter.  The book was good though, and I was near the end of the chapter.  I knew wiping up the mess wouldn't take long.  

All of a sudden, he emerged from the bathroom to complain "...swiped it!  I tried to brush my teeth and...swiped it!"  At first, I thought he meant the dog stole his toothbrush, but then I noticed she was laying at my feet.  I couldn't make out the pronoun--he? she? it?, so I asked him to repeat.  I still couldn't make out what he was saying.  

I really did not want to confront whatever was in the bathroom.  I really, really didn't.  I reluctantly followed him to the counter where he pointed to the sink.  "Swiped my toothbrush!"

Josh was hanging out with his dad.  I assessed the situation and decided to go for tweezers.  I could not find the tweezers anywhere in the other bathroom.  G came running with "tweezies", but upon closer examination, they were nail clippers.  We have a lot of nail clippers, all of which he proclaimed as "tweezies" for the next three minutes.  

Finally, I perused our first aid kit.  Sure enough, there was a set of black plastic tweezies.  If you look really closely at my photo above, you can just make out the tippy top of those tweezies below and slightly to the right of the swiped toothbrush.  

After I tried fishing the tweezies out with a couple cuticle pushers and safety pins, I realized the P-trap would have to be removed.  Don't ask me how I know that much about the anatomy of a sink.  I dialed Josh's cell phone and told him about the toothbrush and tweezies.  You have to know when to fold 'em, people.  Josh offered to disassemble the sink tomorrow to retrieve those treasure.  

Here's to hoping we don't find any splinters or ticks tonight!  Straight to bed, boys, and right to sleep.  

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Time to Move It, Move It

Meet Kaiya, the personal-training wonderpup.  Kaiya joined our family in the middle of August.  She can be a bit hyper, so I make an effort to get her consistent exercise.  A couple weeks after Kaiya moved in, I started back at work.  To work out some of her energy, I began taking her for a walk around our country yard each weekday morning.

Kaiya has become conditioned to an outside walk when the alarm goes off.  Just after the alarm buzzes, I hear the persistent thumping of her tail against the wall.  Soon thereafter, she adds a squeaky whine.  Kaiya has decided we need to walk every morning the alarm sounds.  She's conditioned me not to "sleep" through to the alarm after the snooze button.

Last week, it became too dark in the mornings to see. I carried a flashlight for one morning, then promptly lost it.  Josh directed me to the headlamp on a hook by the back door.  I've never been much of a jogger or runner, but it turns out I jog farther when I can't see how far I'm going.  I'll think I've just started on a trail, but I'm actually almost to the end.  Kaiya keeps up or runs just ahead, which is super motivating since I fear I might need her protection from potential bears or other critters.

Thanks, Kaiya.

Sunday, September 8, 2013


In the dark hours of early morning/middle of the night yesterday, Cassie left for her trip to the Honduras.  She was called to go on this trip back in June.  We have heard through text, email, and Facebook that she changed planes during her layover without issue, arrived safely, ate a yummy dinner, and attended church this morning.  I am so proud as her older sister to see her do this.  Cassie is usually quite a nervous Nelly when traveling.  We know that God has called her, since the money and little details all worked out so well. I had wanted to go on a missions trip to Venezuela when I graduated high school, but it wasn't a calling.  That was clear when things didn't fall into place despite my efforts. 

This year, I was called to return to the classroom after eight years of a teacher training position.  Truly, it is a calling.  I spend hours outside of school hours planning and grading so that I can focus on students during school hours.  After four busy days on my feet and working "overtime", I can say that I have not once regretted the decision to return.  I know this is where I am to be this school year  God may lead me other places after this school year; we shall see what He does. 

Speaking of calling...I'm a bit lost without my sister.  We phone each other while driving and cooking.  It's so quiet without my phone friend.  I'm going to borrow a phrase: this is a "first world problem".  For the next few days, I'm going to have to find someone who wants to know that we lost a shoe or had to clean up pee before we left the house. 

Thanks for keeping up with us!  I can't wait to hear what Cassie learns, and see how this changes her.  Stay tuned!