Thursday, December 30, 2010


Uh-oh. Walker texted last night with the great news that she had found a trustworthy mechanic with fair prices. She said her truck was not running well, so she took it in to discover that it needed a new coil. I have no idea what a coil might be or do. I do know that my same make and model Mom Mobile gets a nasty case of the shakes on an incline. This seemed like a good time to ask if her version of "not well" might include a vibration. Uh-huh. Oh. With confirmation that the vibration tends to get more exciting on an incline or while accelerating, I asked that she please pass along the contact. I'm not going to mention a coil when I call the guy, but I will not be too surprised if it turns out that our similar issues turn out to have a similar cause.

The truck is currently very likely to end up as the learning vehicle for the kids. (If they can park an Expedition in a tiny parking spot, then they might be ready to drive.) As we considered the potential for teen drivers looming on the horizon, my mister commented that it's time for my Mom Mobile to go kablooey. (Actually, he used a rather effective sound effect, but I cannot spell that, so be content with the relatively clear, "kablooey".) This conversation, of course, came a day or so ahead of Walker's text. We're more accurate than Murphy's Law around here. The conversation is one that has been ongoing as part of the larger one on whether or not to consider a third vehicle because it is time for The Boy to be in possession of his learner's permit, and our intent had been to put him in driver's classes in January with an eye toward a license in the Summer.
Instead, he will probably end up eligible to drive about the same time as Middle Child. That way we can add not one, but two teen drivers to the insurance at one time. And "Why not?!" since that pair have so often hit milestones together despite their two year age difference. The reality of the Daring Duo being behind the wheel in three years... wait a minute. Today is the 30th... so from 2011 that's two years. They can both be driving without a grown-up in the car to stomp ineffectually on the absentee passenger side brake while hissing and hyperventilating in 2013. So my math is still off. That means a permit could be in Middle Child's hands in 2012.
It seems like so many decisions come back around to the unknowns around the Boy... Should we save for a replacement Mom Mobile, and let the offspring learn to drive in the tank-like safety of the Expedition? Will we be able to afford both of them driving at once? I think that simply getting whatever is giving the Expedition the shimmy, shimmy, shake-shakes fixed is about as far into the future as I am prepared to peer this morning. Everything else just circles back in on itself. Raspberries. And how could I have failed to realize that my girl is only seventeen months from eligibility for a driver's permit?! She's still kind of little. In my head.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


It's been an exciting day. The mister and I made a trip over to get his oral Typhoid immunization. It never fails to amuse me when we have Typhoid in the fridge, and I can now entertain myself by saying so for the next week. The oral Typhoid seemed like a better bet than an injection after the mister's unfortunate incident a couple of weeks ago. We picked up the mosquito repellent spray to treat our clothes and anti-Malarial prescriptions at the same time before heading on to our next trip-related stops.
A stop at the notary saw our paperwork for the trip ready to go, and we headed over to turn in our fee and forms for the stay at House of Hope. In case the plane tickets to San Pedro Sula were not a commitment, we've added another set of vaccinations and the reservations at House of Hope. Driving home, the idea of departing in about seven weeks still seemed a little unreal. I wonder if that will change before the landing gear is retracted? How can we possibly be so blessed as to go back just three months after our last trip?!
The message to the Familia Alastero sponsors went out offering the opportunity to send a card, photo, or gift along with us for delivery to their children. (It made for a fun opportunity to introduce myself to the sponsors as their administrative helper, too.) Hopefully, our friends who sponsor kids at the various children's homes will be able to send a little something along as remembrances for the kids with a month's notice. We will have some preparations to make ourselves to that effect. Our sweet Claudia's mommy had a brand new baby girl a couple of days ago, and I have several bags of the sweetest baby girl layette from friends in Pleasant Suburb to take for the new arrival. That may be my favorite goody we get to deliver!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Tidbits: Should

  • Walker and I met before dawn for Girly Coffee while our guys had their weekly Man Meeting. We really ought to be walking, but it was both too early and too cold for either of us to feel remotely motivated.
  • Ow.  I had a crown seated. Woo. Or, perhaps Boo. My theory that this should be a quick and done appointment flew out the window with the administration of antibiotics because, "...this might be a little complicated." Eh? No. Just pop out the temporary crown, and cement the new one in place. Mmm. No. There were bad things happenin', and now I am sore despite having been numbed so that I cannot feel my nostrils two hours later even though the medication should have been a fast-acting one that wore off quickly.
  • The mister had a cleaning while I was being poked and prodded. He? Still has his wisdom teeth. At least, he does for the moment. Those should have already been taken out. Lovely.
  • I should knock out a couple of loads of laundry, e-mail the Familia Alastero sponsors to invite them to send letters, cards, photos, and/or gifts to their sponsor children, finish bagging some donations, and take down the Christmas decorations.
  • Words like "should" and "ought" tend to force some small rebellious seed buried within me to sprout into a writhing, live thing from time to time. This is usually a strong internal hint that a Day Off is due. Sooo... since it's cold, I am going to crawl back under the covers and catch a movie or read instead of working on the things that could perhaps otherwise (not better, just otherwise) occupy the afternoon.

Monday, December 27, 2010


Abshire Girls in Puerto Lempira
We booked our return tickets for the next trip to Honduras on Christmas Day! This time there will be four of us going. It's going to be a different sort of trip than the last two, and not only because the mister will be joining us. The first was about an introduction to the world where our friends were going to live. The second trip was expanding our family's involvement to include Little Bit, meeting Familia Alastero and beginning the process of setting up sponsorships for the children and young people. This will be a visit. We go to see old friends, to hopefully deepen relationships with acquaintances, and to rejoice at seeing old faces and new ones who have all been as glad to hear we are coming as we are to pass on that news.
Katie and Chris who keep in touch via e-mail between visits

Morning Sunshine

Worship with Familia Alastero



Claudia and Romy at Mama Tara's

Me with Claudia
Not only will we be feelin' the love on Valentine's Day when we arrive in Puerto Lempira, but I will turn 37 during our stay. I cannot imagine any sweeter way to celebrate than sitting on the guest house porch as the littlest children wander over first thing in the morning. Or over at Mama Tara's where Laura has suggested we go for a daily Bible study with Claudia. (Claudia is a post all on her own.) I hope we will get to visit again with Familia Alastero, and to bring cards and small gifts from the children's sponsors. (Yes, we will also bring a little something for those who have yet to receive the ongoing gift of sponsorship.) To do whatever project or task needs doing, but to be there is really the closest thing to an itinerary we have prepared at the moment. Laura claims that the Waits are the Most Excited, but I suspect we can give them a run for that title!

The Waits! (left-right Adam, Alex, Aidan, Arlee, Laura, Aaron, Arnol)

Sunday, December 26, 2010


Today, I was making sure that I had the appropriate undergarment to wear beneath my dress for New Year's Day. I think there's a gold medal somewhere with my name on it based on the gymnastic performance involved in getting the one-piece "smoother" over all my, eh... junk. I used to think support hose were challenging. Right. This particular undergarment is flesh tone and it runs from just under the girls right on down to the thighs. This is ideal for holding one's goodies at bay under a fitted dress. (I seriously planned on something that would allow me to eat like a trucker, but the mister made this funny little sound low in his throat when I stepped out of the dressing one in the one that is going to require me to avoid breathing, so...)
I was half in and half out of the vise smoother when I heard a kid coming up the stairs. Looking down, I realized that my royal blue chenille socks and ratty bra were the only other garments currently on my body. Yanking and tugging the top of the unyielding elastic sheath upward with one hand while mashing the excess of my hips down into the depths with the other I hot-footed it to the bedroom door hoping to be either fast enough to shut the open door, or at least going to get the worst of this vision under cover before one of the children went blind. (Or worse: posted my predicament on Facebook.) Thankfully, the cat shot past headed downstairs buying me precious seconds while our youngest stopped her ascent to declare, "Hello, Zoey!" That was just the time needed to shut and lock the door long enough to finish the undergarment fitting. Eesh.
The good news is that my dress will fit properly Saturday, and my mister will be impressed. The bad news is that I'm going to have to get back into that blasted undergarment again. Last year, I had a wee tantrum  High Maintenance Moment proclaiming that it wasn't much of a date if the mister sucked all the mystery out of my feminine mystique by being present in the bathroom while I was practicing beauty secrets. He remembered this, and now he has already graciously pointed out that New House has more bathrooms and bedrooms than Old House. He seemed so pleased with this consideration of my delicate feelings. I'm just thankful that I'll be able to lock him out while I wrestle with my drawers.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Picture Post: Merry

The tree never did get so much as a single ornament on the branches.

Christmas Eve worship rocked. The bass player is hot.

Christmas Eve lunch with my parents, brother, and sister-in-law was yummy.

Bored with waiting for teenagers to wake up on Christmas morning, I started taking pictures with full flash. Middle Child's first waking words were, "Oh, this can not be good..."

Little Bit was very, very Nice this year.

The blanket and the coffee were both entirely necessary to ward off the chill despite last week's 80+ degree heat. It was feeling a lot like Christmas around here today.
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a Good Night!

Friday, December 24, 2010


Last Christmas was a little weird. This Christmas has been hard to even recognize. A pep talk from Walker kick started the conversations with the fam identifying just what needed to be a priority as the Advent Calendar dipped from double digits into single with alarming speed. Still, it's been a challenge to find the joy in the season. And then, it was here. Our church opted for two Christmas Eve services. The first Christmas Eve Service ran December 23rd earning it the title "Christmas Eve Eve".
Turns out that was just the thing. Traditionally, the 23rd is the day and evening for running crazy to finish up grocery and gift shopping. There are eight One Last Trip drives to the store with each one involving impulse purchases in hopes of avoiding the subsequent trip. There was still some of that with a couple of small gifts still on the list, milk and coffee both needed, and the mister and I trying to finish up holiday party attire for the Company Christmas Party (that has conveniently rescheduled to be a Company Holiday Party on New Year's Day). Little Bit's shoes were also trashed and her foot is growing. Anywho. The point here is not all the running around during the daylight hours. After dark, we left the main streets and the crazed drivers to join those arriving at the church building.
There, we greeted our loved ones exchanging hugs, chatter, and Christmas wishes until the lights began to lower with the filling of the sanctuary. The music swelled. It filled the room transforming from notes into Worship. The congregation became Worshippers. After a month spent examining the names of Jesus,  the final name "Yeshua" was woven into the narrative of the Christmas Story as Shakespeare's Juliet was quoted asking what was in a name. The answer was that the name we celebrated last night was not any ordinary name, but that brought on Angel's mighty lips from Heaven itself. A name spoken first to Mary and then to Joseph, and last night proclaimed again and again.
I lay awake until just past midnight thinking of God's Son on a night usually given over to the worldly and cultural trappings of Christmas. And even though all is not right in the world, there is peace in it because the day when we celebrate the birth of the Mighty King is upon us. And in the dark and stillness, there was a sweet, quiet joy that had been missing. If you wish to join in the celebration with Christ Fellowship, a live online service will run tonight at 7:00 Central.

Thursday, December 23, 2010


In today's mail, there was a card from the Boy. Not that he has access to a store or funds to buy such a thing. Yet, there was unmistakeably a card with the Boy's return address mixed in with the less interesting pieces. I opened the slightly mangled envelope to see a deep blue card featuring Mary, Joseph, and a donkey headed up a hill where a star shown brightly (if a smidge prematurely). A church group had been to visit the young people, and they brought candy and Christmas cards. Our Boy, who had no card to send us, chose to write his own greeting on the blank left side of the card he received so he could pass it on to us. (The value of those things least available... and he chose to give us from what little he had received. Oh. My.) It is quite a gift to have this folded rectangle of paper that he held in his hands just days ago.

If you happen to be someone who visits those who are alone this Christmas, thank you. It's a gift not only to those who are alone, but also to those who are lonely for them.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Because this is Texas, the temps were in the 80's yesterday. This made our Christmas tradition of walking through neighborhoods to look at the light displays entirely reasonable since it was still 68 well after dark. We wandered up and down the streets of new neighborhood pointing out the spectacular and the strange alike. This year had a couple of memorable moments including a Christmas Tree made of lights with a bizarre strobing effect that looks like the star is shooting lasers at the grass a la Star Trek, a creepy light-up reindeer that looked more like a llama with a head that turned to follow us in our progress, and an inflatable Santa and reindeer who (thanks to under inflation) appeared to be wrestling in one of the yards.
As we attempted to uneventfully move on by a house where Middle Child wished to remain unobserved by the Mean-Girl-Who-Lives-There (who probably wasn't watching or listening, but...), Erin proceeded to ask in her best outside voice, "Who lives there?! Who did you say?!" Repeatedly. A few houses further along the same street, I noticed an intriguing ornament above a garage door. I stated, "Oh, look... a cat in a... bucket? How... festive." This blond moment perplexed the mister and the girls initially. On further inspection of the decoration in question, they laughingly informed me that the cat-in-a-bucket was actually a pair of bells with a bow. Which made more sense, but kind of lacked originality.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Middle Child's Christmas observance was all about the gifts. She wants to make lists of potential gifts and recipients, shop-til-she-drops (which is way past when her middle-aged mother drops), wrap lots of gifts in festive paper, and make piles of pretty packages. This year, when I cry, "Uncle!" opting for gift cards, has seen multiple trips out exhaustively searching for just the right items to suit Middle Child's gift-giving penchants. Not that she's been monetarily extravagant, but she is particular. She's one of those gifty sorts (I read Gary Chapman's Love Languages, and that chapter was written about this girl child.) who shows love through gifts. Which also means she receives love through gifts.
Have I mentioned that I wimped out and went with the universally easy and likable gift cards? Even Middle Child will find a gift card or two tucked amongst her goodies, but they were oh-so-carefully chosen to reflect her personal preferences. Because an inappropriate or poorly chosen gift is worse than no gift at all for her. (No pressure, though. Really.) Of course, the item she most wants to find under the tree is a plane ticket to Honduras.
Speaking of gifts and Honduras, today our family received a surprise gift. We received a Christmas Gift that speaks directly to our hearts. A gift was given to the Reach Out Honduras Education Fund in our name. This was given by the same friends who have heard me lament, whine, fuss, and try to work out an answer to how on earth a group of children who live at subsistence levels can possibly gain an education. About the kids who dream of going to school that is out of reach financially. About the tias (aunts) who prefer that funds from sponsors go to provide education before other basic needs. About the individual stories of this one who would be a doctor, and that one who wants to learn about Social Studies... It is the gift of hope for these children who we love that we have received for Christmas.

Monday, December 20, 2010


Pretzels... only better.
Because I have discovered a distinct inability to do it all, I asked the family to please indicate just what specifically was most important about Christmas tradition/celebration/revelry/expectations so that I could prioritize appropriately.  Little Bit's unequivocal statement was "baking and making treats," followed by a request for chocolate-dipped pretzels.

My mister steered me down the baking, candy, and chip aisles at Super Store to toss bags of white and milk chocolate chips, Starlight mints, and regular M&M's in the cart along with a bag of great big pretzels. My inner Grinch grumbled about how we could have picked up the conveniently prepackaged M&M variety that already had a pretzel inside and a package of peppermint bark with similar results, less cost, and way less mess.
Back at home, the makings out on the counter, I called the girls to the kitchen saying I needed some help. They actually showed up despite the likelihood that chores would be involved with such a summons. Those two were instantly certain of what the particular ingredients laying on the counter signaled.
As "The Nutcracker" played on the living room t.v., we melted the chocolate in small batches. The girls were delighted to take a hammer to ziploc bags of candies to produce the finely crushed consistency needed for adorning our chocolaty treats. The mess-making commenced even as Herr Drosselmeier was tossing the wooden nutcracker offstage so he could pop back up on stage as a real boy complete with tights and poufy hair. The task went quickly, and we had a line-up of pretty munchies before the herd of dancing snowflakes could fill the screen with their whirling tutus.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Holiday Home Tour

It's beginning to feel a little like Christmas around here. The signs of the Season are everywhere in the community, but have been sort of ho-hum around the house. The girls identified shopping, wrapping, and exchanging gifts and baking as priorities. Okay. Will do. I wanted at least one Nativity displayed, and the mister felt the tree was a necessity. So we pulled out the bare basics. Stockings were hung by the chimney with care, a garland draped here, and some snowmen stuck there... but we just sort of lost interest. I have no excuse. Nor any real explanation for the absence of full place settings of Spode on the dining table. Though, I am secretly a little amused that the ziploc baggies where we stow the kids ornaments are still parked by the fireplace while the tree sits bare but for the garland and lights. It's a weird year.
We did send out Christmas Cards. Middle Child and I watched the Nutcracker at midnight over the satellite feed on a school night, and I've been humming the beloved strains ever since. The mister is practicing to play at the church's Christmas Eve and Christmas Eve Eve (12/23) services, and the worship inspired by the set list is already awesome so I can only imagine what it will be like with a whole congregation to share it. We are not without joy for the celebration of Christ's birth. We're just a little lacking in the trappings that so often add to the celebratory feeling of this sweet season.
That said, on with this year's Holiday Home Tour (as seen at Green Girl's and Fannie's where one can find all sorts of inspiration) despite the incomplete nature of our festive preparations we still managed to at least give a nod to Christmas...

The snowmen and a few poinsettias at least brought a bit of festive to the nook where Little Bit likes to read and play on the computer.

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, and a batch of choice pretties all gathered there....

This Nativity is my favorite. It's made of FIMO clay and the bottoms are rounded so the figures need the rice to stabilize them in their little terra cotta planter. Sort of Southwestern perhaps?

Our tree sits unfinished... We keep suggesting the girls hang their ornaments, but it just has not been done. Maybe tomorrow?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Tidbits: Sticky

  • I totally forgot about that roll of "self-adhesive" gift wrap that was lurking in the midst of the pretty papers. That stuff is no less likely to cause a hissy fit this year than last. Waste not, want not... but...
  • I am officially in the know on how a week in Honduras during the school year could draw the unwanted attention of truancy court. Fortunately, we have lots of wiggle room thanks to no absences for Little Bit at all and only one for Middle Child of the allowable ten before things get messy. The week I hoped to go to Honduras has a 4th Grade Writing TAKS Test scheduled, and it would be mean to keep our kid out the day of the test all her writing teachers for the past four years have been working toward... We'll have to go a week sooner or later. I wish we could just go now.
  • Travel is not a good idea today. My Bronchitis may also be Strep after all. After two days of an antibiotic not ideally suited to treat Strep, the giant q-tip is failing to show positive despite what the doc's little flashlight and my nerve endings are proclaiming. If the sore throat is still blazing away in the morning, we'll have to piggyback a second antibiotic. Yuck.
  • Despite the Illness du jour, my great uncle passed away today. I'm wondering if the antibiotics will kick in in time to make the trip for his funeral service. His widow is a great lady who hosted our wedding shower. He was a giant of a man (as is true of all my Mammy's brothers), and he will be missed by many. Oh, and no one in our family aside from the grands and the immediate aunties and uncles knew The Boy was gone last year. Or that he is gone again. That might get sticky.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tidbits: Posted

  • The Boy left at 5:30 a.m. yesterday to go to an interim location where he will be evaluated for the next 30-45 days. Last night, it was 10:00 and I couldn't really picture where my kid was even though I have been given an address. This is not okay.
  • Little Bit finished up her Intro to Skating class last night. Her teacher recommended skipping the Beginner level, so Alpha classes (pretty foot work and spins on one foot) begin January 4th. Walker commented yesterday that the skates were definitely not a waste.
  • The mister's passport has arrived. Funds to cover the mister's and my airfare have been allotted. We're going to have to decide whether or not the girls will be going. They would be unenthusiastic about being left behind. I would like for the mister to not only be introduced to the Honduras that draws me, but also to see how our girls are similarly drawn.
  • On the way home from ice skating, I suggested a stop at the Urgent Care Center. Good thing. My "sore throat" and "drainage" have settled into my lower left lung. Bronchitis treated right away is less likely to turn into a case of Christmas Pneumonia. While my plans were to have my arms full of babies at the children's emergency shelter today, I am instead cradling a cup of hot tea and lounging in my jammies until the nurse can get here later today to administer some I.V. meds. Boo. Well, the tea is lovely. It's just less snuggly than rocking and praying blessings over babies.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


We were wondering whether or not to go forward with a return trip to Honduras in the next couple of months. There is not inconsiderable expense involved in such travel, and there are real needs that could be met in Puerto Lempira with the same dollars that might go to plane tickets and travel expenses. Except that I keep seeing how there are funds that are simply not mine to allocate.
Last week, the mister had to make a business trip to splashy, trashy Las Vegas. The excesses of every sort there bothered him, and he was all-too-aware of the costs involved for his company to cover the expenses involved in the trip. Then again, the funds are the company's to allocate. So the mister flew across the country, ate the meals provided, slept on high thread count sheets, and accepted what was given to him.
He returned home Sunday to hear that there was a 6 month old baby in Honduras who weighs only 8 pounds, and that there were issues with getting enough formula to feed the babies in the milk program at House of Hope. The contrast between an opulent dinners for my mister and his coworkers and the hunger of malnourished babies a continent away was stark. We are fortunate to be able to choose to be part of the solution that meets the needs of those babies.
We again wrestled that night with the question of travel to Honduras for short-term outreach compared to the relative expenses of meeting needs for food, clothing, clean water, and education. It is not solely a question to be answered by finances, though. The Boy's situation remains challenging, and the questions of how to carry on our ministry to the children who grew under my heart is no less important to ask than those questions related to the children who capture my heart across town or across the world.
Yesterday, we arrived for the meeting that would see the Boy's disposition set for the next year or two. The professional team making determinations for the Boy's future completed the task of deciding What To Do in about two hours. (It was difficult to avoid shrieking as people lined up to tell the mister and I what great parents we are... because great parents don't have to let others make decisions for their kids. Or be separated from them before those kids are adults.) One of the professionals assisting had yet to define his fee. We expected to pay a substantial sum, but were instead told to apply the entire fee to our next short-term mission trip as his donation. This is unorthodox to say the least.
Even in a time of great challenge, we are blessed. And we see further confirmation of our likely plan to return to Honduras in the near future. I wonder if we will see Honduras or our son next? Both feel so very far away this morning. But neither is out of God's reach.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Picture Post: Prayer Sowers

Reach Out Honduras Thanksgiving Team 2010

Aidan marked the spots where the team prayed with stones that brought to mind Joshua 4 where God stopped his people from moving forward instead requiring them to focus on Him rather than on the tasks they were undertaking. Victoria's Land is a field where we prayed for opportunity in Puerto Lempira whether that means a garden that provides fresh fruit and vegetables or perhaps the addition of a home for street boys...

Our team prayed at the hospital during the prayer walk on our first day. This photo serves as a representation of those whose situations need not appear in an image to be remembered.
Laura used the 2 1/2 minute iShare video on an iPad to show the gospel in Spanish to the kids at Mama Tara's while I prayed. The sweet girl next to me is Claudia. There will no doubt be more words devoted to this sweet new friend in days to come. She and the boy in orange are both new believers in Jesus!

Thursday, December 9, 2010


*sigh*Our family endured almost a year of separation while the Boy was "away" for his freshman year in high school. It was a bit like what has been described in amputees as a "phantom limb" where one can feel a limb that is no longer present after an amputation. Still, there was more joy in the reattachment of our missing limb to the family body last Summer for having come through the time of separation.
The week before the girls and I left for Honduras, a phone call came as I sat with a friend in the hospital waiting for medical tests on her son. The call was one of the few that could have taken me from her side at that moment. Our son was in trouble at school, and we were being notified of an In School Suspension. Stomach clenched into a hard, cold knot and mind numb, I phoned the people who have authority over our son thanks to his previous poor choices to ask what would come next. Listening to the instructions, the grief carefully walled away long enough to manage the brief explanation to my friend as to why I would leave in her time of need. The drive north was uneventful, or at least unnoticed. I pulled into the driveway, and the Boy climbed into the Mom Mobile. As we drove, I fielded phone calls from the various people who have the power to dictate our lives based on our son's choices.
The meeting we attended yielded several results. I was instructed to go to Honduras. To keep plans made with our daughters. To hold our family together as it splintered again. The mister would remain home over Thanksgiving not for the Guys' Week anticipated with the Boy, but alone. Home alone in the house we chose to provide our family with a fresh start. The place we chose for our Boy to come home to... The Boy was to be returned to his previous housing.
Yesterday, I sat waiting. Our advisor was on vacation, and the Boy's provider was not present. Nothing would be resolved. I received approval for a "pass" that will enable us to wait until next week to hear The Boy's fate decreed by those who seek to help him. We pray for him, we miss him, and we wait for him to realize his potential. Most of all, we love him. It is expected that he will be taken further away this time. A year of him across town produced a constant awareness that he was just out of reach. The delight and the strain of having him home was a challenge, but worthwhile. Having him torn away again is a grief that I cannot quite give myself over to while we are as yet unsettled.


Yesterday, a friend proudly showed me the Christmas cards to benefit our local homeless shelter. The front featured a somewhat haphazard drawing of a decorated tree and a glowing hearth on a solid white background. "Haphazard," because there were an array of seemingly unrelated items in the foreground of the drawing. She proudly turned over the package of cards to show the sticker on the back proclaiming that the cards were drawn by "Jennifer, age 14" who lives at The Samaritan Inn with her mother and two brothers. Our friend stated that the name was a pseudonym for her daughter whose drawing was selected to grace this year's Christmas card.
If sending or receiving these particular cards, "Jennifer" took special care to draw the orange tabby cat on the bottom left of the card. While the family had other pets, this particular cat was lost in the shuffle of their lives. The family lives at the inn for this moment, but they have not forgotten the sweetness of their own home. They have not lost the hope of regaining a place of their own, either. Today's exchange, and the cards benefiting the inn provide a poignant reminder that not everyone will be home for the holidays this year. And that those experiencing homelessness are not faceless strangers.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


The mister went in yesterday for his Hep A & B vaccinations. He ended up with a concussion. Seriously. He felt a little woozy after the injections, and he passed out hitting his head. His blood sugar and blood pressure were normal, but he had every sign of a concussion. With him holding a plastic bag for his, ah, stomach contents, we left the doctor's office with an order for an emergency CT scan. Fortunately, all the CT revealed was a brain. Still, it was not quite the day either of us had planned.
The good news? Our practitioner goes to church with friends from Casa de Esperanza, and we had a great conversation with her before the mister's appointment went south. I was a little concerned that she might forget the conversation, but Don took care of that by making sure everyone in the office would remember us. The admitting representative at the hospital was also interested in hearing more about Reach Out Honduras. While Don was having his head scanned, she came tearing into the x-ray department excited about what she had already read online. These two new contacts made our unpleasant circumstances feel much  more positive, especially now that the mister appears to be fine despite some lingering headache and tiredness.

Sunday, December 5, 2010


I'm thinking of the twenty-five kids at Familia Alastero this morning who Reach Out Honduras is ministering to through child sponsorships. At the last Board meeting, a vote was passed to administrate sponsorships for supplemental food, clothing, and educational expenses. In the scant weeks since that vote was passed, the first sponsorship was donated. Two more have been spoken of, and a fourth came over the week of Thanksgiving. In week since the short-term team returned home, two more of the children have received sponsorships. For the scorekeepers, that's four down, two anticipated, and nineteen to go.
There is consistent prayer for the provision of this sweet extended family. We visited the home where 18 of the children live with two tias (aunts), and the space was roughly equivalent to my family's living room. There are two sets of triple-decker wide bunk beds built last Spring by a short-term team from New York over Spring Break that sleep all 18 kids who range from preschool to their late teens. The family's relatively few possessions are neatly organized, and their home is clearly well kept. The kids sang hymns and songs in Spanish, and then treated us to recitations of Scripture. A picture post or two later will follow to better illustrate. The visit, and meeting the individual kids and tias, has added depth and even greater desire to the prayers for the provision of this children's home.
This morning, praying again as I pulled up the spreadsheets related to the sponsorships, I was surprised to see a familiar name in the sponsor field next to one of this week's recipients. The name was only familiar because I have seen her comment on another friend's Facebook posts. This is the power of social media for ministry. It is the power of the story teller. The common friend has been faithful to "like" Reach Out Honduras-related posts and links on the social networking site, and has also "liked" or commented on personal posts or photos related to the ministry to help spread the word. God provides, but seeing how His people are working together through new technology to be part of the solution to the age old question of how to help the poor, and I cannot help but imagine the potential for word to spread until nineteen more people hear of the Alastero kids.

*Since I seem to be slow in posting the details of the Thanksgiving Team's week, I offer up Phil Morgan's perspective of his experience as one of the eight who spent Thanksgiving week planting seeds in Honduras.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Picture Post: Getting There

We travel by plane from Dallas/Fort Worth to San Salvador and then onto San Pedro Sula, Honduras.
 In San Pedro Sula, the girls and I hopped into the shortest customs line. We were in between a Mommy with a toddler in her arms and a Mommy & Grandma with a toddler peeking out of the forest of grown-up lady legs. My girls were reasonably indulgent with my penchant for making goo-goo eyes and silly faces at the babies ahead of and behind us. The toddlers were delighted, their attending relatives friendly. The rest of our team passed on through a longer line and went to retrieve the 500 pounds of luggage while we cooled our heels with a slow customs agent and games of peek-a-boo and waving at the little ones.
Reach Out Honduras Thanksgiving 2010 Team at Hotel Villa Nuria with the van that would drive us three hours across Honduras through Tela to La Ceiba.
From our hotel, it was just a short walk down this thoroughfare, a sharp left, and we were on the strip with KFC, Pizza Hut, Wendy's, and the mall all waiting for our business.

Our half day in La Ceiba saw us riding in the van, the back of a pick-up truck, and zipping around in taxis as well as our adventures on foot.

Boarding the hour+ flight from La Ceiba to Puerto Lempira in the moments before dawn.

I had to look at pictures to decipher the welcome sign because I only had eyes for our friends on arrival.


Katie's arms did not stay empty for long once we arrived at Casa de Esperanza and she saw Rodrigo.

I was right behind Katie with arms full of Baticia (left) and Baby Grace (right) as quickly as I could scoop them up.

There are 1500 images to tell the story of a week in Honduras. There are many little stories, quips, and longer tales. There were precious moments, frustrations, joys, irritations, blood, sweat, tears, and eight people stuffed into a Ford Fiesta for a brief ride in a clown car/taxi. There will be more to come, but there has simply been too little time to compress a week into a manageable packet of information...

And rumor has it is past time to get on with the baking, decorating, and selection of gifts for loved ones at some point in the next couple of weeks. I may be far enough behind on Christmas this year to have to claim to be ahead for next year.