Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Picture Post: Honduras


Our friends the Waits (who Middle Child and I followed to Honduras mere weeks ago) have a line of scripture at the end of their e-mails. The words are those given to King Lemuel by his mother and detailed in Proverbs Chapter 31 verses 8-9 saying, "Open your mouth for the mute, For the rights of all the unfortunate. Open your mouth and judge righteously, And defend the rights of the afflicted and the needy." These words wait at the end of each message. With each reading, they become ever more firmly planted seeds.
Still, many seeds fall on inhospitable soil never to sprout. Last night, these may have begun to germinate. Four student artists at a small college near Pleasant Suburb are speaking out for the afflicted and needy. They are crying out for the mute. Three women climbed into a car for a road trip into the world these young people have visited. The students' journey into shade is detailed in a documentary on human trafficking that led them to India last year, and will draw them back this year with a larger group. Their road does not end far east of the Eden from which the women hailed, though.
The documentary moved swiftly from the red light district of Pune, India to a suburban strip mall in Houston, Texas. A quarter of calls reporting human trafficking in the U.S. come from Houston according to the film. Having brought their report to our doorstep, the artists asked those present to be part of their as-yet-incomplete film. Prior to the screening, each entrant passed through a dramatic recreation of massage parlor footage to be seen later in the film as he or she walked into the ballroom where the movie would be shown. At the end of this hall of sorrows, a 1'X1' square of styrofoam with a colored sticker was given to each person on which to write a message to the young women being rescued from the sex trade in India. The night's events saw each of those squares used to fill in the outline of a universal woman symbol that was surrounded by the attendees for part of the film's ending.
The three of us who headed back to Pleasant Suburb after the screening were somewhat quieter. Each one given over to her own thoughts that occasionally broke out into speech. The feeling as we hurtled over the highway pavement was not quite subdued, but perhaps the sense of something unfurling. Or germinating? But what?
I fell asleep last night praying for an answer to that, "What?" Praying in renewed consciousness of those women who would know no rest during the same hours in which I would immerse myself in troubled dreams.
If nothing else at this moment, then through this forum I can share the message of Rescue the Girl! immediately. The web site loads after one patiently watches the numbers fly past. Numbers that represent women. Girls. Slaves. Four students made their journey, and they brought back seeds to scatter in hopes that some yield a harvest to benefit those mutely crying out to God for rescue. In the days to come, perhaps the seeds planted will begin to reveal just what has been planted.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


I am at a loss. Or maybe a crossroads? I find that in too many moments these days, I feel as if I should be doing something. Am missing something. I cannot quite seem to get a handle on what it is that needs doing though. Usually, I do whatever comes to hand without every experiencing an unappreciated lull. My head warns that this could be a mid-life crisis. My heart says otherwise.
Which led to the consideration of the possibility that this is a Waiting Place. Waiting for what precisely? Possibly for opportunity to knock. So many possibilities exist, but, thus far, none have been mine. I am an observer, and a teller of tales; yet, for the moment, I have nothing new to report.
Instead, I will offer Gentle Reader the images that have consumed my heart and my mind's eye of late.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


Saturday morning Walker arrived at 7:00 a.m. We made a surveillance pass to determine the parking opportunities close to the site before swinging through the drive-through at Starbucks. Coffee in hand, we circled back to park at the YMCA. We headed for check-in to receive our packets avidly discussing the threatened promised, "aerodynamic shirts" to be received by participants in the day's events. We spent the next hour saying hellos and milling amongst the growing crowd.
Just after 8:00, there was a brief welcome, a moment of prayer, and an introduction by a current resident of Pleasant Suburb's local shelter for the homeless. Her words briefly and simply dispelled stereotypical images of vagrants to paint a more personal portrait of homelessness that could have described any number of her listeners with the exception of the residence. Her humble thanks was for each person who had given the price of the Run For Cover 1K, 5K, or 10K entry fee that would go toward the total of $20,000 in added support for the Samaritan Inn. Her subtle spell was broken by the announcement of the 1K Family Fun Run's beginning, and the call to the starting line for the 10K.
Walker and I walked over to the starting area with all the serious runners. Our goals were simple. We wanted to walk the 6.2 miles in under an hour and a half (especially after having our usual distance and time challenged questioned recently), and as a bonus we hoped to finish in a spot other than last. We set out walking behind the runners on a route that was simply an extended variation on our usual one. Well, an extension with hills. We traipsed along trying to keep the runners in sight, and even passed one pair momentarily. As we fell far enough behind to have difficulty seeing the runners, we opted to try running off and on over the final third of the race.
In the last half mile, we passed the last pair of runners again. As we came around the final curve and topped the hill before the finish line, we could see the digital timer's oversized readout. The numbers reflected our 1:27 time as we crossed the line.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


There are still boxes left to be unloaded. All six are packed full of papers, photographs, decorative items, and a hodgepodge of whatnot from batteries to ballpoint pens. These are the boxes of stuff I did not know what to do with before we moved. Somehow, I thought they would have a home once we found our new one. Not so much. I wonder how the new Homeowner's Association regards backyard bonfires?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Every year the third graders at Pleasant Suburban Elementary create and present solar system projects. Big sister Katie's massive rendition of the solar system in paper mache swirling with realistic looking metallic paint in fiery bronze and gold close to the 9" diameter sun that cooled to icy pearl as one reached teensy Pluto earned her the top grade available. It was doubly impressive that she did so well when her work was showcased against that of all the other parents kids. The word, "planet," still causes Mom to produce an involuntary tic.
Erin's class received the dreaded assignment on Monday. Erin opted to not mention it the first night. (Mom's dislike of this assignment is well known, and Erin avoids conflict like the plague.) Yesterday, as we drove her to school, she dropped the bombshell news of the recurrence in our lives of the Solar System Project. The conversation in the carpool lane went very much like this:
Erin: "Do we still have Katie's Solar System Project?"
Mom: "No way. That... that... monstrosity is long gone."
Erin: "Oh. I was just thinking that if we could find it, I could just turn in Katie's project."
Mom: "Um. No. That would not be okay. You need to do your own work; otherwise, it's called cheating."

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


In one of those Dorky Mom moments, I headed over to the middle school with the camera during afternoon athletics practice. The track was dotted with 7th and 8th grade runners, but my attention was drawn to the protective cage set out in a field between the tennis courts and the track. There a familiar gray and blue dot with windblown hair was throwing a speck. Having just missed KT's throw, I discovered the camera had no memory card. Ugh.
Back at the house, I quickly popped the card out of the computer and into the slot in the camera before racing back over to the school. Sure enough, the second arrival coincided with KT's turn again. As the lens focused on her, I heard, "Oh! That's my Mom! I can't throw with my Mom watching--- and she has the camera!" Yeah, yeah. Whatever. She did throw, but the Mom Factor was distracting, and it was not a great result. She cringed, went to see what the throw measured, and slunk back into line hiding behind a friend.
The coach had no such qualms with an audience. He called out offering a better vantage point from which to grossly embarrass photograph the soon-to-be teen during discus practice. Ever obliging, I walked over to snap shots from the closer location. KT swung her arm back while twisting her body and loosening her shoulder before swinging around to release the wooden disc. The disc, in response, went gliding across the field for a new best distance topping 60 feet to qualify for the third (and final) available slot on the team headed for the district meet.
And.I.was.there. Better. I caught her throwing in a vaguely blurred image. It was SOOOOO worth being the Dorky Mom. Even more worth it was seeing her smile when the coach gave her the news about the district meet, and having the opportunity to celebrate her achievement in the moment.

Monday, April 5, 2010


Having been much in mind of the last few chapters of Job lately, Easter struck home with thoughts of Christ's resounding triumph over the grave. Death is as natural to man as birth. From first breath, humanity is dying; yet, this most basic course of nature was defeated by Jesus's Resurrection. The very course of Nature designed and put in place by the Creator of the Universe was put aside by Jesus to change the course of humanity that was headed mindlessly over the cliff of destruction like so many lemmings.
What do I know of the natural world? What do I know of the God who set the world into being? Who am I to question any more than Job when faced with tragedy? Standing on the red, dirt of Puerto Lempira being whipped by blowing wind and watching through a chain link fence as fat purple and gray clouds raced one another across the sky on Heaven's breath brought to mind the words of God to Job who dared to question suffering. Considering the slight weight of a too-thin infant in my arms, the idea of a 10 year-old being responsible for his own medical care after sustaining a machete injury, the struggles of a little girl with braids in her hair to breathe, and the many children too small for their ages due to too little nourishment brought into sharp focus Job's anguish. And the response of God asking Job, who dared to question when faced with tragedy, "Where were you?" as the world was set into motion. Something of a Pride Smackdown.
Yes, Lord. Where was I? As occasional fat drops of intermittent rain escaped from the clouds rushing overhead, the wind continued to swirl as thoughts came and went of how little I knew of the realities of daily life in Puerto Lempira. Of how little I would ever know of the fates of the children there. Of how little I knew of the natural sciences. And of how much scientists cannot explain... and how much more those same scholars must retract as time reveals "new" or "changing" information because man fails to comprehend the fullness of God's Creation. We simply lack the power to absolutely comprehend Creation or Creator.
If we cannot understand the forces of nature (Who would not wish to predict a hurricane or an earthquake to prevent injury or loss of life?), then how dare we... I... be so full of pride as to challenge the ills I see as if I could somehow guess at the intentions of God? How do I know the purposes He has for what seems good, bad, or otherwise to me?
In recognition of my lack of perception, there is a measure of freedom regained. In celebration of Easter, there is a renewed appreciation of Christ's ability to overcome what I cannot even comprehend fully, and a renewal of resolve to be a drop in the bucket of relief to a suffering world. Because enough drops in the bucket will eventually overflow.

Sunday, April 4, 2010


Note: the following message is not for those who cringe at words like, "vomit". We thought we would perhaps just leave the carpet in New House for a while. Then Buster threw up on it. The new flooring planks were picked up and stacked in the dining room to wait for installation. Well, what's the rush? This weekend is Easter... then Buster threw up on the carpet again.
Good Friday saw furniture moved, carpet pulled up, and a race to purchase a larger saw before DIY Big Box closed for the night. Saturday was a long day of the mister's hard work, smashed fingers, and the new floor creeping across the concrete from wall to wall. Sunday dawned, and we took a break from Home Improvement to celebrate Easter.
Immediately after marking the biggest day of the year with the great herds of the faithful, we returned home to breakfast al fresco on the back patio where all the dining room chairs resided temporarily. After six hours of solid work, the mister took another brief, but well-deserved, break to eat Easter dinner in the living room. We were at the dining room table, having brought the chairs in from the patio long enough to eat. (I can see the women's and lifestyle magazines racing to get to the newsstand with the headline, Progressive Easter Dining.) Anyway.
No sooner was our feast concluded than the man was back at work on the floors. As I finished the dishes, he discovered an insufficiency in his supplies. We headed over to DIY Big Box to procure one more package of moisture barrier. It was the closest thing to a date we are likely to enjoy in the weeks to come. On the way, we talked about what a pain the floors were, and how it was taking up all of the weekend. The mister again mentioned repeatedly thinking about leaving the carpet, but that Buster had convinced him otherwise.
While we were out, the phone rang with a call from the girls at home. From the mister's conversation, it became quickly evident that something had thrown up on the floor. At least the floor wasn't carpet.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Too Little

Yesterday, we heard that one of the babies at House of Hope had passed away, gone to be with Jesus... died. But which baby was not immediately known. Contact was made with Dr. Tom Bryan (a local dentist from our area who also heads the mission to the medically and nutritionally needy children of La Mosquitia) who revealed that he did not know the child's name, but that she was a baby to whom I had the privilege of giving breathing treatments while our team visited.
Oh. Oh, but NO. To the surface rose the memory of this little girl fighting for breath two weeks earlier, her chest retracting, respiration too fast, and breathing labored. Eyes closed, but filled with tears, I retreated into prayer. Too late for her, but not for others.
While incredibly thankful to have been part of those offering moments of help to this little one, it does not feel like enough. My heart goes out to her mother, her twin brother, and those who joined in her care. Her mama had a look of resignation, but also emotional toughness. How far will that stretch in the confrontation of the loss of her chubby-cheeked, curly-haired, baby girl? For this child, there is mourning. House of Hope's very existence means fewer children who meet her fate. There will be fewer mothers facing the sorrow of a child unaided and lost too soon. For this seed of hope cast in the shadow of grief, I praise God and pray for the continued support of House of Hope.