Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Book Club update

Well, I´m not much of a book club leader. I finished Blue Like Jazz in 2 days, staying up till 3am finishing it. So if you cannot stay up late, I recommend waiting till you can.
I totally enjoyed the book and will probably read it again sometime soon. It is laugh out loud hilarious and deeply thought provoking usually in the same chapter. I went through most of the people I know and couldnt think of one person who wouldnt like it for one reason or another. Whether conservative, liberal, Christian or non, democrat or republican. Let me know what you think if you do pick it up. I wrote a lot of quotes in my journal and was going to put them here but i forgot my camera. Otro dia.
I also was so excited to meet Jesus last night. Amber and i went to the hardware store and he finaly showed up after they paged him. We saw another missionary there tht Amber knows and he knows Jesus too! No seriously, he goes to the states for weeks at a time to work with churches and so speaks pretty good english. He made my day when he asked if i was from here. He said i spoke clearer and faster in spanish than amber, but she still understands ands knows a lot more than me. she does have over a year on me here. So he came over with his wife later and put up my closet and a picture hanging shelf in the living room. Good times!
To close, please pray for the school here and the director. We just finished the 2nd quarter and lost 3 students to other schools. The director is sad but worried too about it. Things are the same otherwise. My moms coming Feb.21st. I think I´ll get to see her for a good 8 hours. She´s coming with friends on a cruise that docks on a honduran island just for the day, so Amber and I are going to drive up to spend the day with her. Yea! or as they say here in Honduras, Cheque! Checkay leckay pancekay!

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Back to the future...sort of

Just some pictures from last months Christmas staff dinner and school program. My fourth graders sang O Holy Night after performing the "Nativity", but I couldnt get any pictures of that. Sorry. And of my high schoolers performing "The Grinch" with puppets.
oh, and the last day of classes before Christmas break, we made gingerbread houses, without gingerbread. More like Vanilla wafer houses. But they sure had fun! And then I just sent them home to their parents, all sugared up! Go miss speaks!

Laura's Book Club

Laura’s Book Club

I’ve done more reading here in the last month…three books! Well, now I’m on my fourth but the month is almost over. Any who, this is nearly a miracle considering how much we had to read in 12th grade English class, I thought I’d never read so many books so close together again! But alas, I have read 3.5 beautiful, quality books lately and thought I’d share them with you, and if you have any inclination to join me now, or catch up, welcome to my book club! Yea, cheesy, but I’m prideful enough to think I can choose better books than Oprah. Can I get a “What what?!” Not really, in fact, I am a little sheepish to admit, but I know what her current book club book is…”Night”, by, oh well, I can’t really remember the author’s name, so you can’t be that impressed, and I guess I can’t be that embarrassed, but I’d like to read that book sometime soon, about a holocaust survivor and his experience in Auschwitz. There are numerous books out there about that subject, but I don’t think I could ever get “bored” reading about it, and pray I never become numb to the stories of those who experienced it. Which reminds of Corrie Ten Boom. If you’ve not read her book “The Hiding Place”, I suggest picking one up very soon, most likely at your nearest Christian book store, although it’s pretty popular outside that circle, I believe.
Any who, all I wanted to say is that I’ve really enjoyed these books and hope some of you will read along with me so that we can have some intellectual dialogue. I miss that! Not that I don’t have that with my friends here, we do. But I just thought it’d be fun to have that over the blog waves.
So without further ado, a little commentary on each one. “The Good Earth” by Pearl S. Buck, is historical fiction in my opinion, chronicling the life of a Chinaman in Pre-Revolutionary China. Many details are inspiringly accurate because Buck grew up and lived more than half her life in China during the time in which she writes.
“Hinds Feet on Hinds’ Places” by Hannah Hurnard, is an allegory of our Christian walk. Deep yet super corny as well, but worth a try.
“The Poisonwood Bible”, by Barbara Kingsolver, is my most recently finished book and superb! It’s about 11 years old now and I’m sure many of you have already read it, but it’s a book I could read twice, and I’ve never done that. Movies are much easier repeated in my opinion than books. This fiction novel details the lives of a family of four young girls from the States and their move to the Congo in the fourties. I was just dissed (notified, rather) by my spell check, that there isn’t a “u” in “fourties”, but isn’t that stupid? So I’m leaving it there. And I clicked “Add to dictionary” for the words “fourties” and “dissed”. I feel so free! Anyways, their father is a “fire and brimstone” type of preacher who so pushes his religion on the natives that he neglects his own family. Very engaging, entertaining, and most of all, thought provoking.
Right now, I’m reading “Blue Like Jazz” by Donald Miller. No doubt some of you have heard of this, it being a “Christian” book and all. It could be compared to Anne Lamott’s “Traveling Mercies”, also an excellent read. It’s a memoir, which I love because it’s so personal and I feel like I’m reading a letter from a friend. I laugh out loud when I’m alone at some parts, it’s that funny. But it’s also so honest and relevant that I hum “hmm…wow” out loud at some parts too. Read along with me. I’m only on the third chapter.
Finally, I’m also reading now “The Alchemist”, by Paulo Coelho. It’s my morning “devotional” read, if you will; a fictional inspirational story about a young shepherd boy and his journey from Spain to the Egyptian pyramids in search of a treasure buried there. Along the way he meets different people willing to help point him in the right direction. It’s also like an allegory to the journey in life to follow and fulfill our dreams. A short yet deeply profound book. Join me; I’m only on page 33. Its theme reminds of me of that of “Wild at Heart”, by John Eldridge. Actually, I remember now that that’s the only book I’ve only read all the way through twice. Definitely a favorite.
So without further ado, get to reading, and I’ll end sharing with you that I can hear the voice in my head that says, “You’re such a dork!” I think you’re just jealous cuz you didn’t think of it first! You know who you are. y te quiero tambien.

Cement walls and electric drills do NOT mix!

So I just tried to put up a shelf on the wall, one we’ve owned for about 3 weeks, but we just borrowed an electric drill about 4 days ago. But we’ve found that the drill is too weak for these cement walls, or it’s us. But Amber, who loves to put furniture together, truly my polar opposite, after a couple hours of setting up the right places in the wall to put up my bedroom shelves/closet, couldn’t put up anything because of the walls, and drill. Jesus, at the local Home Depot equivalent, hasn’t been in when we go to ask for him to come put up our shelves. Frankly, I’m getting a little impatient for Jesus to come.
Also note that the picture of my half hanging shelf is in another blog. sure you can find that too


I’d like to share something that happened to me yesterday that I’m proud of. Really, I don’t have anything for which to take credit. I wasn’t knowledgeable, just took a lucky guess, pure and simple. Amber and I were in the grocery store. She hollered, “You like pineapple?” “Yes, I do!” “Well”, she asked, “do you know how to tell which one’s are good?” “No, not really, but this one looks good. It’s not too green or too yellow.” Since neither of us was sure, we each asked someone else nearby, she to an employee and I to a fellow “pina” buyer like ourselves. Turns out, I was right. Now I can chalk that skill up there with knowing how to tell if a watermelon is good. Go Speaks, go Speaks! Whoop, whoop! Any who, if you want to buy a pineapple, get one that’s not too green or too yellow. Just yellow enough, know what I mean? Good luck, cuz that’s all it is when it comes to buying fruit.
Note: the picture of the prized pineapple is in another blog. sure you can find it.

Kathy's bday

Some dear friends from church. Julia(blue shirt) learned to say "What'dya want, huh?!" in english and has the face here to prove it. Her sisters bday cake. Those are raspberries i bought in the cloud forest. A regular sized box like in the stores, but only $1! and gotta love the tealights on the cake. Hey, when it's all you have...

House and stuff

New things I’m now used to after living in our new house for 1 month:

1. Pumping clean water from our five gallon “Sparklets-like” jug in the kitchen
2. Listening for the water man to come by yelling “Aguazul!”, then paying him 24 “limps”, our currency in short, or less than $1.50 for another 5 gallons of water. Drink up!
3. Walking everywhere. A 30-minute walk to somewhere is a treat.
4. Watching fun reality shows, a very new thing for me. “Beauty and the Geek” is my favorite. Love Josh. He reminds of me of David Crowder.
5. The neighbors’ dog sneaking through the space between our walls. She’s cute but got her nose half whacked off by a machete. She ate the guard’s food, but goodness, just kick her or yell at her or something! Anywho, her nose is still gross and bloody and I’m not as compassionate towards bloody dogs as Amber is, so I just talk to her through the window. To the dog, that is, not to Amber. But one day a little girl from church was over when Amber was trying to call over our “unnamed” dog friend by saying, “Come here! Come here!” Well, the little girl thought that was the dog’s name! So now, that is her name to us, “Kameer.” Sounds pretty ethnic if you ask me. “Cheque”, as they say here, pronounced “Check-hay” and meaning “Cool.”
6. Writing long, drawn-out blogs.
7. Watching TV/movies with subtitles in Spanish or English. It’s so hard to understand what they say in English anymore.
8. Waiting a long time for things to get done, mostly because I’m forgetful.
9. Folding stiff laundry after being dried in the sunshine. I do miss dryers.
10. Internet cafĂ©’s.
11. Not having a closet
12. Wiping the dishscruber in the soap dish a few times during a washing session (see picture). Do we even have these in the states? I don’t remember.
13. And finally, I’m used to manually shutting the freezer or fridge doors after getting something out. My parents’ were so magnetized you could take off the doors completely and leave them in the kitchen and they’d stick back together. I got more muscle tone from opening those doors than from going to the gym!
14. Smelling “camp-fire” smoke from burning trash.
15. A personal trash bin outside the house to put trash in…of course!
16. Being able to get only $5 or $10 from the ATM instead of $20.
17. Taxi drivers claiming we don’t know where we live. “No, you don’t live in Altos de Miramontes!”, they say. Lo que sea! Whatever!

18. The cistern filling up with water. Scared us half to death last night. Sounds like some monster is going to come up from the ground and eat us, and Kameer!

19. hot water to bathe with, but not in the sinks, and water all the time! woo hoo!

20. still having to throw toilet paper in the trash can. boy sure wish i'd taken a picture of that for ya!

21. Doorbell!

22. Peaceful sleep all night, silently, without the sound of bugs and whatnot running around. I did kill a cockroach last night, and we do have mosquitos and ants, still a reminder that we do live in Honduras!

The pictures above: one of the awesome view of the city from the church Amber attends.

The soccer field we took the youth to a couple saturdays ago. This is a beautiful country! After soccer we took them to swim in the river and there's a brother carrrying his sis across. Sweet.

And some pictures of our kitchen and living/dining room. The picture of the buildings is my view from my bedroom.

La Tigra

We’re still having a great time in our new house, though we still don’t have a house fone. In Honduras you’re lucky if you get one in two weeks after applying, or asking, for one. Our connector cables were oh so graciously flung over the balcony of the apt. next door by our neighbor. So as soon as we can get those hooked to something that works, we’ll be considered civilized again. Our landlords actually live in Virginia, we learned, but the mediator between us, she’s nice. Her brother was supposed to come last week but I guess he forgot. Maybe trying to get his fone hooked up too.
My class is eagerly learning Psalm 118:24, their verse of this month, “This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.” They seem to enjoy it, which for some students is a surprise. Thursday, January 26, the whole school went on a field trip to the national park, La Tigra, about a 90 minute drive from the city. As we sat in the minivan like clowns in a Volkswagen beetle, I thought, “Are we almost to Guatemala?!” I had heard it was far, but by the time we arrived, the city was no where in sight. I didn’t expect that. It was incredibly beautiful and the air was so crisp and clear. Like being in the mountains. Well, we were in mountains. The drive up in some parts reminded me of the drive to King’s Kamp. The kids were amazingly well-behaved for having to hike in a high-altitude cloud forest, wet and very cold. Not a complaining voice was heard over the course of the nearly 3 hour “walk.” My legs were weak and shaky by the end from having walked downhill so much the last half, and my ears were sore from hearing another teacher shouting, “Be careful! Don’t run! Don’t shout, you’ll scare the animals! Don’t…” whatever she could think of. I had a good conversation with her in Spanish to keep her from focusing so much on the kids for awhile.
We had this trip and then the next day, Friday, January 27, we didn’t have school because we finished the second quarter. We had conferences with parents and report cards two days before. Those went surprisingly smoothly. Of course, as usual, the parents that I really needed to talk to, those of the students I have the most problems with, didn’t show up. I decided to do a new thing also with my kids the same day as the field trip, just before we left. Each one got an award for a certain subject that they did really well in, and for a certain skill: organization, responsibility, perseverance, class work skills, most improved, and best effort. Thanks for your prayers. Things are going better there and I think I have less stress because I live in a better area closer to school.
Friday, my day off, I slept in after waking up at 7:30, 8:30, and then 9:30. My body, even though exhausted from hiking for about 3 miles, is so used to getting up early. Amber and I did some errands and took advantage of the “Executive” weekday lunch special at Tony Roma’s. Now, I’m not a huge fan of that place. Haven’t been there in years, and that was only once, but this was great. A drink, nonalcoholic, of course, an appetizer, a plate of lots of food, a premeal soup or salad, and dessert for only 317 lempira, or about $16 total. Wow!
When we came home I made a cake and we had a little birthday party for a little girl from church, just her mom and sister. They are our good friends and Amber’s known them for a long time.
Thanks for your time! !Que le vaya bien!

Friday, January 20, 2006

Christmas in Honduras...in January

Here we are celebrating Christmas in our new house with some boys that Amber works with. The first is "Cachete", or dimple, then all of us in front of the treeeee, and getting dinner, buffet style, which they're totally not used to. It was a great time had by all and Amber blessed me with a stocking and a coffee maker!!! yea!

Christmas in Honduras...in January

Here we are celebrating Christmas in our new house with some boys that Amber works with. The first is "Cachete", or dimple, then all of us in front of the treeeee, and getting dinner, buffet style, which they're totally not used to. It was a great time had by all and Amber blessed me with a stocking and a coffee maker!!! yea!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

And finally...

Did I mention there are Taco Bell's in Guate? Well, there are 2 that I know of, and we went to one and let's just say that that's the day I started with my sickness. You can't say you're surprised! I don't have any great pictures of that, of our excursion to Taco Bell, that is, not that you'd want to see them.

The first pic is of pretty much the whole of Beto's family just before I left to return to Honduras. He has 7 brothers and sister, 3 of which are married with kids.

There's me enjoying ice cream after being sick and hardly eating anything fun for 5 days. And the funky looking church I like where Beto graduated from High School.

Well, thank you all for your support and prayers. I am doing much better since I went to Baxter's free clinic and got some meds. I still havn't been brave enough to have coffee, my favorite drink, but I see that special day of my first sip again on the horizon. yippee!!!

Tomorrow completes the first week back to school and it went really well, and fast. I feel less stress because of the better living situation and only having to walk 5 minutes to school. Everyday we pray in class, and starting Monday I'm going to introduce memorizing a Bible verse each month. Pray that the kids will "hide God's word in their hearts" and let it grow them spiritually throughout their lifetimes.

Please pray for guidance as I search for another avenue of ministry come Summer. I am excited about the possibilities.

Much love and prayers to you all! and Happy New Year!

Christmas Eve 2005

This is one of the only pictures I have of Christmas Eve...Beto helping the neighboors wash the sidewalks. They do it every year, only to totally trash the streets worse than before a few house later with fireworks lasting all day and into the wee morning hours. We ate our "Christmas dinner" at midnight. They celebrate Christmas the 24th instead of the 25th. Very different. Let's just say it was the loudest Christmas Eve I've ever had.
The building is of the National Palace in the city center which I don't think is home to anyone now, except some art merchants during the day. And the beautiful fountain across the street.

Gotta go, Gotta go!

I love this, an outdoor urinal. Sorry, ladies. A far view and extreme closeup. Don't worry, no "pee-ers" were embarassed in the taking of the foto. The inscription, which I've never known there to be one on a urinal, reads..."Pee happy, pee content, but please, pee inside!"

Gotta go, Gotta go!

I love this, an outdoor urinal. Sorry, ladies. I mean, why do men need this anyways? They can go whenever, wherever. Maybe the laws are different from Honduras and they're not allowed to pee anywhere, I don't know.
A far view and extreme closeup. Don't worry, no "pee-ers" were embarassed in the taking of the foto. The inscription, which I've never known there to be one on a urinal, reads..."Pee happy, pee content, but please, pee inside!"


After about 12 hours over 2 days, we finally made it to Guatemala, or Guate, and waited about an hour and a half for Beto's brother to come pick us up. Luckily, we had yummy snacks sent to me from the States.

The next day we happened along Herbie. I havn't seen the new version but love the old one. Boy is he cute!

Beto loves his family. These are 4 of his 7 nieces and nephews, with another on the way! Cristalita, Kenneth, and Alessandro(the baby).

Another day, we visited Beto's sister who works at McDonalds and enjoyed lunch on her, well, we didnt actually eat on her like a table, well, you know. But the McDonalds there are so much nicer, and the workers friendlier. When I asked for more ketchup, two guys almost tripped and fell over each other to help me, and the ladies were like that too. They also have a "McCafe" on another wing complete with couches, like Starbucks. I don't know why the states hasn't plugged into that scene yet! It was a nice change, even if it was McDonalds.

And the Christmas tree in Guatemala City is HUGE! of course, it is sponsored by the national beer company of the country.