Thursday, August 14, 2014

Motherly advice to her college bound daughter

Pearls of wisdom to pass on to my girl as she heads off to college.  I had them all neatly compiled and spaced out - one for each day of the month of her first month of college, but as the internet would have it, the draft version of this blog swallowed the blog whole - but not before I was able to write each day down on a card, and place each card in a separate envelope for Madison to open day by day.  But as those envelopes are sealed and ready to be delivered to her, I can't/don't want to open them...so...I don't have all my pearls of wisdom but I will pass on to you what I do remember...

1.  When you were 2 years old, "NO!" was not an acceptable answer to what I asked of you.  However, now, "No" is not only an acceptable answer, but given certain circumstances, the best response of all.

2.  Share what you have.  If you have two coats, give one to another.

3.  It is always better to give than to receive - but never at another's expense.  If it is a blessing to someone else to give to you - accept with a humble heart.

4.  The world is going to try and get you down - but you must remember, "You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think." - Pooh

5.  The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few...or the one... - Spock
The needs of the one are sacrificed for by The One - God

6.  I love you for your uniqueness - some others won't appreciate it, but, "The things that make me different are the things that make me." - Eeyore

7.  And remember...in "true" vampire lore - vampires NEVER say, "MUAH!"

8.  One never gets lost, you are only on an adventure.  And MAN did we have MANY an adventure.

9.  Man looks on the outside, but God looks at the heart.  You are not only beautiful on the outside, but on the inside too...God must smile when he looks at you.

10.  Your faith is your own - not your parents.  "Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it."  Proverbs 22:6

11.  When you eventually look for the man who will be your future husband, use your father as a guide.  Look at the way he treats me, and loves me.  I know those are high standards to hold to, but you deserve no less.

12.  I am your mother first and always, and although you are an incredible young woman, a part of me will always hold you in my heart as my baby.  "I'll love you forever, I'll love you for always...as long as I'm living my baby you'll be."

Anyway...there are 30 in all, but they are safely tucked away - this is just a small taste, but I hoped you enjoyed it.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Life of a circuit rider missionary

our bags started out neat, but by the end of 5 weeks everything was a mess!

Mostly gone are the days of circuit rider pastors - when there weren't enough pastors to be at each church, a pastor would go from place to place and preach to the people in a different church each Sunday. That's what we feel like :-)

In our first five weeks - these are some interesting things we have seen so far:

Transylvania County, North Carolina
Transylvania, Louisiana
Toad Suck Park, Arkansas
Prince of Persia City, Pennsylvania
The Shrine of Infant Jesus of Prague, Oklahoma
Street Road, Pennsylvania

We have been in 21 states so far in this order:

Pennsylvania
Delaware
Maryland
West Virginia
Virginia
North Carolina
South Carolina
Georgia
Missouri
Illinois
Indiana
Kentucky
Tennessee
Alabama
Mississippi
Louisiana
Arkansas
Oklahoma
Texas
New Mexico
Arizona

In addition, we have stayed in 15 different homes, hotels or locations - that's an average of 3 new places each week.
 
Having little/no/limited access to washing machines - we have been doing a lot of laundry in hotel showers/bathtubs...lived out of our suitcases for 5 weeks, and eaten more fast food than I can even imagine (uugghhhh!).

We have taught Sunday School/Preached/or had meetings with the missions committee or pastor with 8 churches in 5 different states.

After traveling 4,355 miles, this now concludes our East Coast and Southern U.S. Circuit Tour.  What an amazing way to see the U.S of A!  I LOVE this country!  It is so fast, so different and so amazing.  Now let's see what the West Coast has for us!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Travels and pushing the re-set button

We spent the last week and a half with Mission to the World doing re-connect (or "welcome back to the US") to allow us deep breaths and remember what it is like to live in the U.S. and to make sure all is well emotionally and spiritually with returning missionaries.  After that we stayed the week and attended Summer Conference.  Basically, sleeping in late, working out, attending seminars, and eating lots of yummy food.  This really was our first chance to take a deep breath and relax. 

Today Mike and Madison are flying off to Missouri to get our rental car that we will have for the rest of our time back.  They will make a stop in Nashville and check out some of the sights before they return to Georgia. 

For the first time since we have been back I have been able to go to a mall!  Did a little shopping for necessities...

Next week I will be participating in Readiness Evaluation for new missionaries. I am part of the assessment team.  This is the same evaluation that Mike and I participated in more than 9 years ago, but now I am on the evaluation end, not the "to be evaluated" end.  I am looking forward to it!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Pennsylvania

Some observations from a California chick about South-Central Pennsylvania:

1.  Stars on houses.  Originally, there was a major housing developer that used "Barn Stars" as a means of showing he built a house.  It then became a "good luck charm" similar to a horse shoe, and now it simply has become a home decoration.  I would venture to say at least 50% of the homes in this area decorate with a star.
 

2.  Candles in windows.  Originally the candles signified a safe house for people needing to escape via the underground railroad during the Civil War.  Later it became decoration during Christmas, and now many people keep candles or lights on year round
.

3.  Churches with cemeteries.  I was surprised by the amount of churches that had cemeteries as part of their property.  I think because so many of the churches have been around for 150+ years, this was the "norm" then, and less so now.


4.  Fireflies.  Now, we have fireflies in Honduras - but I have never seen so many at one time...it was awesome to see!


5.  Amish.  We were definitely in amish country.  We saw men, women, buggies, scooters, and leaned a lot about the community while we were there.


6.  County parks - Mike and I are in initial training for a marathon and wanted to take advantage of the trail runs at the county parks.  The parks were incredible and were hardly used!  As opposed to the county parks in Sacramento/Elk Grove, California where we are from which were barely tolerable but used a LOT!

7.  Harley Country.  In the almost 8 days we spent in Pennsylvania, I saw more Harley-Davidson motorcycles than I have even in California!

8.  Corn fields.  More corn fields than I have ever seen.  Apparently most of the corn that was grown was not for human consumption, but to feed the cattle (of which there were TONS of dairy farms around).


9.  Pike versus a freeway - well - pretty much didn't see ANYTHING with a "freeway" sign, but saw tons of signs that said "Pike".  Not really sure of the difference at all, but there you have it.

So, that's it folks - a California's attempts of seeing Pennsylvania through a non-Pennsylvania's eyes and of all the amazing and beautiful country I saw - these were the things that stuck out to me the most.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Furlough begins

After much planning and anticipation, furlough has begun.  So far we have been in three different locations, made three different presentations, and we haven't even been in the US for a week.  But, the fun way for things to kick off is with the 4th of July celebrations!  Cookouts and pool parties have been on the agenda for most of our dinners!  And who gets sick of that?!  The big firework display will be tomorrow, hosted by the largest chip company in the State.  We keep hearing amazing things about it and can't wait to see it!  This week we have also been spoiled, and been staying at a great Bed and Breakfast in the middle of Amish country.  We have seen many a working farmsteads and visited some farmers markets along the roadside with some amazing vegetables and baked goods. We have spoiled ourselves with some goodies including Starbucks, home made ice cream, and even lunch at an English Pub.


Thursday, June 19, 2014

I once was blind, but now I see...

This week we have a mixed group of medical and construction folks.  We put on a full medical brigade in all three of our church planting areas of La Fe, Las Delicias, and Armenia Bonito.  We had physicians, physical therapy, an optometrist, and some medical and nursing students, nurses, and other great support staff!  All in all we had 565 patient visits.

The highlight of the week was with Joe, the visiting optometrist.  We had a little five year old visit him.  Justin, the five year old, complained of having an extremely difficult time seeing anything.  His mother confirmed this, and after his examination, Joe agreed completely.  Joe said for all intense and purposes he was blind.  After looking through the glasses that were available, he placed the right ones on little Justin's face.  Justin's little face IMMEDIATELY broke out into a grin from ear to ear.  He could see....basically for the first time in his life.  He couldn't stop smiling and refused to take off his glasses.  Granted, they were adult sized glasses on a tiny little face, but he just didn't care!!!!!!

One of our visiting team mates, Linda, was standing about ten feet away from him and held up two fingers and asked him how many fingers she held up.  While he jumped up and down, clapping his little hands, with the biggest joyous smile on his face he stated, "Tiene dos!!!!!!" (You have two).  He was blind...and now he could see....

Why I do what I do...
Little Justin proudly and gleefully showing off his new eyes!

Joe peeking through his "office window" to see what's going on.

"I once was lost, but now am found....was blind but now I see..."

Friday, June 13, 2014

Dentists

People waiting to be seen...

The need for dental work in Honduras is an obvious and unfortunate reality. With only two public dentists to serve the city of La Ceiba, the needs are great and mostly unmet.  That's why having dentists come is such a huge blessing.  This week we had two working in my permanent clinic for three days.  All in all they pulled 68 teeth.  We had way more patients than we could serve, but I know those we were able to serve were truly blessed with a much happier/healthier/pain free mouth!

Next week we are hosting a full medical brigade and will be working in all three of our church plant areas of Las Delicias, La Fe, and in Armenia Bonito.

Nancy working to get this tooth out with translator Jennifer

Craig working on Pastor Jesus with translator Carlos.