Tuesday, February 20, 2018



Happy New Year and Happy Valentines Day,

I have been out of pocket. I had planned to stay the full month of December here in Honduras, but we had a tragic death in the family.  Thanks for all the prayers for our family.   I returned shortly afterward to Honduras to do Christmas with the girls at PTC. 

Last year, I was invited by my girls to take my first real vacation in years.  We had such a good time, that I was invited by my girls to take another vacation with them this year.  So this is a real treat for me to be able to be with my family on our second annual Mother-Daughter vacation! We packed Thanksgiving, Christmas, birthdays, and any other holiday we missed through the year into this vacation. 
My daughters, are extremely thrifty and they organized every aspect of the holiday.  One of my daughters is brilliant about finding travel deals. She found the one last year, and found that if we travel on "off season" it is crazy affordable.  The instructions for this groupon was not to try to see everything, but they don't know my girls.  Last year, I termed a phrase of "extreme tourism" being with my girls for 5 days.  It was our own version of the Amazing Race.  We try to do everything and see everything, and eat everything in a small period of time and we succeed.  Depending on whose pedometer was correct, we walk 6 to 7 miles each day, and that is not including the miles that we put on our passes for the public transport system.  I thought because the deal was so inexpensive, that the accommodations for hotel and food, might be a little under par, but this was not the case.  Everything was so amazing and I am so thankful that God made a way for us to have these memories together.   

We only had a couple of snafus. One was that we took a lot of metros.  These trains are like you find at the biggest airports, only they don't give you a warning about the doors closing.  The train have vacuum doors and move faster than my girls at the farm, when I announce that I have ice cream.  The trains schedules were very complicated and so 3 months ago we agreed on the daughter who needed to be in charge of that particular job of transport.  She was amazing with her phone apps. Because of the speed of closing doors, she would look at all of us and instruct us, "If for whatever reason, we get separated, just stay at the station you are at and we will come back and get you".  I don't know if it was just me, but I thought my girls were always looking at me during her announcement.  They would say repeatedly, "Mama we are going to get off in 2 stops, then, In one stop, and then, Mom are you ready?" and we would  disembark.  I was glad really, that they were keeping me on my toes. 

 One time, though our fearless leader, stepped back around to grab her water bottle and the door closed.  She put both hands on the window with a look of her phone Emojis  "OH NO!!".   WE thought, " OK, she has the phone, the app, and the directions.  We have an appointment at 11:00 a.m. for my youngest's birthday celebration".  I said, "OK we will wait".  My oldest said, "I am going down and meet her on the landing".  Which I said with my Mama Knows Best Voice and Look, "No, we are to stay together".  She looked at me with her, "Mama, I Am a Grown Woman Look", and I realized, she is right, she is smart and had been watching her sister and learned how to use this transit system too.  So I acquiesced and knew she was right.  It is a very cool thing to see your kids grown, able to process whatever life hands them.  My girls are fearless!  Fifteen minutes later, my runaway daughter, jumped onto the station platform, arms extend with a "TADA" announcement, rewarding us with her huge signature smile.  All was forgotten and we all started walking to continued our journey and made our appointment to the High Tea Birthday Party.  

Usually, at the beginning of the year, I pray towards what God wants me to accomplish and set some goals for the year.  Even with all our activity and my travels, God showed me so many things about myself, our ministry here in Honduras and Stateside while I was touring around with my girls.  During our time of our public transport, I observed how everyone knew everyone else even though though their transport system went miles around the city.  I marveled at how the people were warm, kind and extremely helpful to us.  The people had community on their bus and train systems with each other and with strangers.  They would be laughing and talking to each other everyday as each traveler would enter the vacuum sealed doors.  Even though they didn't live in the same community, they interacted with each other during their ride.  There were a few young people who had the proverbial head phones on, but they seemed aware of who was around them and what was transpiring.    The  bus and train became a  different kind of mobile community.  

Contrasting this way of transportation with the system in the United States, we get into our own cars, and turn on our own personal music playlist and arrive at a destination. On my ride to Atlanta, there were only a few vehicles that were in the "Ride Share" lane.  I got a phrase "immunity of community" come into my mind.  We need to get to work, do our jobs, and race to the house to tend to our own full lives.  Maybe we'll see each other at church, but many watch podcasts, or go at the 11:00 service and miss the folks they know because they went to the 9:45 service.  Our children have friends at school, but because of the diversity of schools and the demise of the local schools, they won't see a neighborhood child at school, nor their parents. They might see each other at a game for their children. Our culture out of necessity, have both parents working and the community is not connecting.  
Missionaries visiting their families while on furlough, traditionally have a hard time connecting with their family and friends. Everyone's lives are so busy.  It is hard to jump in and find a time to visit. Everyone has so many commitments.

 It seems crazy with all the personal cell phones, Facebook, instagram, twitter, and chat rooms on our personal computers, that we should making huge strides in connecting with each other.  It should be easier to be up close and personal, but it seems, we are more estranged than ever.  I was told that many people don't even know who their neighbors are or if they do know their neighbors, they just throw their hand up and wave, but really don't have that close connection with the people who have lived steps away from their own house for years.

Now lest you think I am judging, as a missionary, I find myself doing the same thing here at the mission.  I am "busy" with our girls, our staff, the farm and the teams who come to minister to us.  I throw up my hand to wave at my neighbors, but I am not entering into a relationship or praying for the "unity of community" with them. The girls and I have done visitations, which we all love doing, put we have to be purposeful to do so. Even in our tiny rural community we have been bitten by the "busy" bug too.  
Last year, I started off doing better about staying on point with my prayer time, my family and friends, but I find that I get too busy.   "Busy" is a very small word, but it keeps us worlds apart. Busy: having a great deal to do, concentrating on a particular activity or object of attention. Full of activity, being very occupied. None of those definitions sounds like where God is with us nor where He wants me to be. I heard a statement years ago from a pastor, "If the enemy can't get you to take your foot off the gas pedal, he will press it gas pedal to the floor.", both have the same result.  I want the object of my attention to be the Lord.

So for this year, my desire is to put my attention more towards God not be too "busy" to see what direction He is pointing.   I pray that I can know more about Him first and then my neighbor this year.  I pray He will do the same for our girls here at PTC. This morning at devotions, one of the teachers said, "You never know how much a kind word or a purposed visit might mean to someone."  

Thanks to all of you who continue to pray for us .  I am refreshedly exhausted, but blessed seeing so much of the God inspired beauty this world has been given.  Thanks to all of you who continue to pray for our ministry here in Honduras.  Our boys home, Casa de Nain, run by Wesley and Suzanne Jarrard, now has three boys.  God is continuing to complete His vision for the ministry. 

Blessings to all of you from the Thankful For the Time with My Family, Recuperating from her Vacation,Honduran MOM 


Sunday, December 3, 2017

Be a Little More Christmas-Like

So my sisters and I were talking the other day and they said "You don't have a mean bone in your body".  I started to snort with laughter, until I realized they were serious.  On my second thought, I wanted to believe it myself and not dispel their thoughts about me.  I got pretty convicted about it, so I said to myself that I would tell them later and then since I didn't really move fast enough, God helped me out..

We had been to a family funeral.  So extremely sad and it was a military funeral of a very young, but talented recruit.  I flew home to be able to be with my family.  It was the saddest thing.  Also during that same week, I found out that while I was away, the Hondurans had their elections.  The Hondurans always have a lively election, just like the United States.  I have yet to pick who was going to win correctly in either country.  However, after I left, there was a hesitation in the results of the vote, which spawned a huge problem there in the country.  Today, Honduras is under marshal law and have closed the airports for right now until everything gets calmer.  I have my Honduran children there.   I love the country, my kids, my staff, the interns and the Honduran people.  I was reading scripture today in Psalms 46.  God reassuring me that He is our refuge and strength and a very present help in time of need. I contacted interns families, and went to our family gathering at the funeral home to encourage the family that our lovely nephew left waiting on the other side of the glass. 

So we ate a huge Southern Style lunch at a church, who graciously made lunch for our family and the fellow recruits from the Army, who came down to help with the military funeral. Afterward we went to my oldest daughter's house and visited with my kids and grand kids for a bit before they had to go to work or go home.  I just wanted to do something normal and so we decided because of the stressed filled day, we would order pizza and watch a movie at the house.  So we called the pizza place and asked if they take credit cards. "Yes," was the resounding answer.  We continued with our wonderful plan.  "Do you have a white spinach pizza? "  Again "Yes", it is called the Mondo Cheesey".  "Okay" we said, "that is what we want".  They said, "But it is going to cost you more".  "Okay," we said a little more reluctantly.  WE were on a roll, but we had to go pick it up.  

We arrived and they said "Your pizza is ready".  I gave them my credit card.  "Oh", they said, "We don't take that credit card, do you have another card?"  I told them I that I did, but I thought they said they took credit cards.  "Who said that?"  I thought to myself, "Someone here must have", but I didn't say anything as I reached in my wallet for my debit card.  While they were running my card, they told me to look at the pizza to make sure that they had my order correct.  I first I thought that I didn't need to look, because we had been so specific, but they insisted.  So I looked at the pizza.  No spinach. I asked about why there wasn't any spinach.  They said, "That would be the Napolitano and you order the Mondo cheesy." We countered with, " But we were told the Mondo Cheesy came with spinach".  "Who said that"?  Again, I thought, "Hmmmm, ", but I didn't say anything. I was irritated, and as she gave me a receipt, she said said all perky and peppy, "Hey, here is your receipt," and on the back is a survey for you to tell us how we are doing.  She continued "If you fill it out you can get a cup of our cheesy whiz sauce, the next time you come back to get your Napolitano". She finished her speech with a big smile.  I couldn't look at my daughter and she couldn't look at me, lest we burst out laughing.  I got in the car, ticked off about our order. (Remember we had already had an unusally big meal that afternoon)  I thought, "because my order was mishandled, I should have asked for my cup of cheesy whiz, and they should have given us breadsticks to go with it".   I continued with my dissertation, "That the next time we will write down who it is that we talk too, and when they ask, "Who said that?" I will say, "It was you!"  As I slung my hand into the air for dramatic effect, I saw that I had my jewelry on my indignant arm and fingers.  The girl that waited on us clearly was struggling with life.  I had a hard week, and she has had a hard life.  I was laughing at situation to relieve stress, but I thought about if I had of acted on what I was thinking and saying at hardship of someone else, then that is mean.  

I know there is a lot of stress out there during the holidays.  There are a lot of things that are really not that important, that seem to be important.  These events are even more concentrated during the holidays. WE need not to be looking so much about how we can be blessed or served, but about how to bless and serve others even in small ways.  Being kind and looking for ways to be kind to others is scriptural.  Even when we are having a bad days, we can be loving, we can be kind and we can be Christmas-like.  Have a Merry Christmas                         r