Saturday, May 31, 2008

Dear God...

Tonight I got owned in a mud fight. Actually, that's been the past three days now. The rain has come pouring down on Roatan and we've taken full advantage of playing in it. Some of the younger kids don't know how to play properly i.e. throwing mud in the eye and the older boys took full advantage of getting to beat the girls up..they didn't hold back at all. I got thrown down and nailed down to the ground more times than I can count..mud pushed all over my face and in my mouth..they were ruthless! I think I will have mud caked in certain parts of my body for weeks to come. All that said I have created some amazing memories the past few days. Tonight after the mud war six of us went down to the ocean and swam in it to clean off. The sky was lighted up by the storm headed our way and it was glorious even though I cried like a little baby going down to the beach because I was scared of the dark and the nasty, barking dog. All the children, except Sarah who starts real school Monday, will be home for next few weeks for summer break. I'm preparing myself to lose all remaining sanity! Also, as of Thursday we will be down three more volunteers. Our amazing Canadian couple leaves us Monday and Lucia heads home to Houston on Thursday. Leaving Brett, Tonya, Scotty, Leslie, and I here. Cutting our work force nearly in half from what was...

Three weeks from today I will be back home in Houston. It's so weird to think about. This place is home to me now and these kids feel like part of my family. I can't even began to grasp what it will be like to walk out the doors of this place on June 21 and board a plane for Houston. Every day these little rascals grow on me more than I ever thought possible. I've gotten to the point where I know excatly what will make each one smile when they are sad or how they will react when they are mad. I know each ones scream just as well as their voice. They are my family, at least for awhile, and I love them dearly. When I was putting the younger boys to bed the other night Gabriel, our most mischevious little rascal, was praying and it was the most precious thing and I found myself fighting with all my might to not tear up during it. It went something like this Dear God, thank you for today, thank you for making us, thank you for (insert everything you can think of), and then I heard his small, little body thank God that no one hits him heart broke and when he was finished and looked up into my eyes I just smiled at him full of love and heartbreak and trying to fight back tears. Then Kerry prayed and Gabriel asked if he could pray one more time because he forgot something. Dear God, thank you for making us cute. Yes Lord, thank you...

Peace & Love,

Monday, May 26, 2008

You Gettin' Me Mad

Today has been incredible! I spent the day snorkeling, reading, and eating some pretty damn good food in West End soaking in the beauty of this Island that I'm blessed to call my home. Let me restate that initial was incredible but tonight was a disaster! Wanting to sit outside and continue enjoying the beautiful scenary I brought my computer outside where Nolan, who was throwing rocks, ended up hitting my computer. Now the screen of my computer is ruined...sorry dad (this is his computer after all, not mine). In the end it's just a computer, just an EXPENSIVE material possesion..but really..COME ON-this would happen to me!

To keep you all up to date on the boys and school they officially started today. However, this is just a test run week so if they do well this week they stay in and if they don't..well, you get the picture. Sarah was not approved for school due to how far behind she is so things are not looking good for her and the whole school situation. All the ninos are done with school Friday and out for the summer..Lord help us all! But the school the boys got into runs all year long and only has a two week summer break. Also, some of the kids may end up in summer school due to failed courses, so we'll see. Alright, enough briefing on school..I'd like to share with you some thoughts I've been having.

A book we have been reading collectively called Discipling Nations has made me evaluate my agenda, my worldview, my opinion of things and what I label is right in comparrsion to the Christian worldview. Awareness that they don't always match up and keeping that in check. All that to say I have been thinking a lot about outsiders coming in and wanting to impose what they see as best for these kids. I don't doubt good intentions are behind peoples imposing thoughts and ideas. But the reality is that what's best to us in our eyes as Americans usually doesn't match up to what's best for these Honduran orphans. It's easy to try and think we can fix their lives by imposing ours but that's missing the point. It's a constant battle trying to remind ourselves that our ideas and our opinions don't necessarily benefit the recipient. I'm too tired to go more into detail about the matter but hopefully you get the idea...

Anyhow, sorry for not keeping up with the blog..I've been playing outside more at night and am too tired to blog when I get in. Maybe Alison can post from back home and let you all know what she's been up to :)

Peace & Love,

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Dream Big!

Well, Alison left me...jerk! Jason suggested I retitle the blog All By Myself (On the Island) but I feel like that sounds a bit too much like the title of a Lost episode and I'm one of the few unaddicted fans of that show. Don't worry I have full faith I'll buy them all on DVD at one point and spend a solid few weeks wasting my life devoted to watching every episode. As Juno would say, dream big!...

I had day off today with Lucia and spent the extent of the day getting eatin' alive by bugs, as usual, and shooing away Islanders trying to sell everything from necklaces to fake Armani sunglasses on the beach taking me for a "cruiser" wanting to buy overpriced souvenirs. Well, I did buy a necklace...but hey, it was only $10 and I have to support the economy here, right? Apparently the ninos were going CRAZY today and yesterday was no exception to that. Perhaps their's something in the water here or perhaps Alison carried the small amount of sanity in this place back home with her to Houston..thanks a lot Alison. Let's all hope that tomorrow is a day without screaming, hitting, throwing, slapping, or whining of small children..yet again, dream big-Juno style! Also, on a positive note it looks like the three kids we homeschool are FINALLY going to real school! This will be a huge stress relief for those of us here that teach them as well as a great opportunity for the kids. It's all around great news! Anyhow, I hope all is well back home. Just to keep everyone up to date my new arrival back in the States will be June 21 and then I'm off to Iran from June 29-July 17!

Peace & love,

Saturday, May 17, 2008

swan song

Well, tonight is officially my last night in least for now, anyway. Tomorrow I head back home to Houston. It's a strange mixture of emotions: in some ways I am looking forward to being back and in some ways I am sad to leave the island. I'll try to post at least once to let y'all know how I am adjusting to being back in the States. Naseem is going to keep posting after I've left so be sure to keep checking back for more updates on island life. I feel that the children's home is moving in a positive direction and I would encourage y'all to keep the kids here in your thoughts and prayers.

Thanks so much for accompanying me on this journey. It's really meant a lot to me that people have kept up so faithfully with our posts. I'll be seeing you all (or a lot of y'all, anyway) soon.


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Be Thirsty No More

Today has been a long day. It's been nothing out of the ordinary, it's just felt very long...sometimes I swear more hours are added to certain days. Tonight the kids have chosen to use their usual amount of never ending energy and exert it in mainly negative ways instead of positive ones. Screaming, hitting, crying, slamming doors...the whole spill. On a positive note last night Ricky, the oldest boy, chose to sit in the living room with Alison and I after the younger kids were in bed and sit and talk with us as we looked through pictures. I felt like his usual air of pride, typical teenage brattiness and disrespect had been stripped away, at least for that brief moment, and I got time to bond with the real Ricky for the first time since our arrival in March. I don't expect to experience it very often with him but I was thankful for it...

Yet again, sorry to disappoint but I'm putting off finishing my blog on living missionally. I feel a lot of pressure the more I put it off...I promise I will do it one day...I need to re-gather my thoughts so I can best articulate them. The past week or so my sleep habits have been very interrupted. Between incessant itching from bug bites and my mind that won't shut up I feel like the hope for a peaceful, restful nights sleep is beginning to get hopeless. The other day at the beach I borrowed Alison's IPOD and played Robbie Seay's Beautiful Scandalous Night and I felt overwhelmed with God's presence as I listened to that song and stared out into the vast ocean that I'm fortunate enough to have located in my front yard. I've listened to it about twenty times since. There's something about those lyrics that I can't get out of my mind. The song starts off...

"Go on up to the mountain of mercy
To the crimson perpetual tide
Kneel down on the shore
Be thirsty no more
Go under and be purified
Follow Christ to the holy mountain
Sinner sorry and wrecked by the fall
Cleanse your heart and your soul
In the fountain that flows
For you and for me and for all"...

I just thinks those lyrics are full of so much beautiful, freeing truth. As you all know I teach three of the kids here at the orphanage. The most frustrating thing about teaching the kids is the lack of motivation to do most things here, but it feels especially, to learn. They just don't see a reason. I think some of them have it in their heads that they are never going to amount to anything and don't see a reason to try. It's such a fatalistic mindset to live with and such a debilitating one. How many of us to live with this mindset? Perhaps for us it's not that we feel we'll never amount to anything and as a result lack wanting to learn, but we feel like whatever thing it is will always be there and so we must live with it. For the kids it's that they will never get anywhere so they settle for that, content in that and never feel the motivation to try for anything better and live their lives this way. Clearly you can live your life this way but how fully are you living life with this mindset? Of course that is an opinion based question, however as a Christian I think we are called to be living life to the fullest. I have full faith that our Father wants the best for us in every aspect of our lives. He doesn't call us to live simple, easy lives but he wants us to live freely in him. C.S. Lewis remarks that, "that the only fatal thing to do is sit down content with anything less than perfection." Don't be mistaken..I'm not claiming God asserts that we are going to ever reach perfection but I do firmly believe it is through Christ we are freed and whatever stands there in our way holding us back from doing so he wants to free us from. "Kneel down on the shore, be thirsty no more, go under and be purified.."

peace & love,

Sunday, May 11, 2008

mother's day

So it's been awhile since we blogged. Honestly it's been too hot to do anything except for sit around in as little clothing as possible (without creeping out my roommates) and try not to sweat to death. Attractive, I know. All that to say, there's not much motivation to blog when you're trying not to drown in a pool of your own sweat. There's greater issues at hand.

I wanted to share a bit about the orphanage, and luckily for you, I'm not going to delve too far into the quirky inner workings of my brain tonight. I thought instead I would give a brief rundown of what's new here.

Sarah had her birthday on Wednesday and acted like a little princess. It was miserable. Naseem and I tried as hard as we could to make it the shindig she was praying for (think a banner, cards, streamers, balloons, etc) and guess what happened. The balloons were popped, the cards strewn carelessly around her room, the streamers ignored, and the banner was crumpled in a sad little heap on the floor. It was sad...and annoying. She finally apologized for being such a prima donna (my words), so that was really good, but it made for a rough few days. Luckily now we seem to be on pretty good terms, but tomorrow is a new day...and the next minute is a new minute, really, so God only knows how we'll fare.

Shenice also had a mega-meltdown today. What began as a five minute time-out transformed over a span of fifteen minutes into a full-blown debacle. To make a long story short, she ended up in her room for a good chunk of time. At one point, I stuck my head into her room and promptly wanted to run far, far away: she was sitting on the floor, not sobbing, because to me, sobbing implies a racking of the body, a shaking of the shoulders, but instead she was howling, loud and low and guttural. It was unnatural. I was waiting for her to projectile vomit and have her head spin around, Exorcist-style. After a bit, I felt myself drawn by the howling to her room once again and this time she was curled up on a little low shelf in her room. I inched in quietly and silently began to rub her back, not knowing how she would respond to my presence (she had already told me that she had hated me for putting her in time-out...ouch). But almost as soon as I touched her, she lept into my arms, letting loose that inhuman cry; I rocked her and tried to whisper motherly kinds of things to her. I'm not sure how long we sat there, her long arms wrapped around my shoulders, her sweaty little cheek pressed against my chest: another picture of motherhood personified by an armful of a warm, whimpering weight on my lap. I thought then of what it must be like to be a mother; it must mean your heart is broken everyday and rebuilt sometimes slowly and barely noticeably and sometimes recreated through a feeling as vibrant and alive as an explosion of fireworks. How must God feel, then, when we scream and howl and tell him how much we hate him? And how beautiful it must be for him when we crawl into his lap and press our sweaty cheeks into his shoulder? Just a thought. Shenice and I ended up sitting in her room for dinner. It was lovely. I was so thankful. Interesting sidenote: Tonya thought maybe Shenice's meltdown spurred from her realization that the arrival of new faces (our new girls from Friendswood) meant the impending departure of familiar ones (i.e.mine). It broke my heart to think about that, so please, for those of our readers who pray, pray for me as I begin the long process of saying goodbye.

Missing you and will be seeing you all soon.

Thursday, May 8, 2008


So here's our little video we made..the quality is not as good as it is on the original but it'll do!..Hope y'all like it!

Monday, May 5, 2008


I'm in a weird mood tonight, I feel a bit melancholy. My mind is full of so many conflicting thoughts and emotions..not that this is anything out of the ordinary. Today has been fairly relaxed. This morning the children we homeschool went with Brett and Tonya to look for a school for them. They were all loaded in the van waiting to be taken and as I waited with them I felt like a mom trying to ease her nerves as they waited nervously to go to "real" school. Everyday I find more things that feel daunting, yet daily I grow more attached to these kids and see more beauty in the simple, small things with them. Pretending to ride a motorcycle with Jeffrie, making silly faces with Shenice, reading to Gabriel, dancing with's not what we're's the smiles that each face holds while we do's the laughter that comes from them that makes me smile..I know it's cheesy and Alison just blogged about beauty but deal with it because this is me sharing how I feel, this is me being real with you.

Also, I know I promised to blog more about living holistic missional lives next time I blogged but something else has been on my mind the past few days so please be patient and it will come...

The past few days I've been thinking a lot about things done in the past and their effect on our present. Those people we were from whom we feel like we can't escape, or at least that's my struggle. The ghost of our former selves still makes its presence known. I feel like no matter how far away I get from that person who lacked character, that girl who was blinded by illusion and who didn't hold a lot of self confidence..I feel I'm still seen as her by some. Or is it all just in my mind, a manifestation of my discontent with myself? Part of me feels like it's a little of both. In the end it doesn't, and shouldn't, matter who a few individuals may see me as. However, that doesn't stop me from being distracted and upset about it time to time. When we move forward from something and transform into something new and beautiful it's almost like if not everyone acknowledges it (and it's always the few we really wanted to acknowledge it in the first place that don't), then it isn't real. That we're still stuck as that old person. That's not true, obviously..that's just how it makes me feel. There will always be people who see us as better or worse than we really are. Our perception of others is always distorted by our own blinders. How do we clear away those blinders to see others how we should? Or can we ever really? Also, how do we become so content in our Father's abundant love for us that we don't seek approval from man? When someone makes us feel small, inadequate and unworthy is it all just us not having enough confidence in one's self or is it justified emotions?..

Anyhow, enough rambling..the internet is out and I won't be able to post this until tomorrow. In the mean time I need some sleep!

Peace & Love,

Saturday, May 3, 2008


I need to bring something beautiful into this world. Right now.

1. Today the rays of the sun broke the waves of the ocean in way that made it look not like water, but instead like a divine treasury, a golden irridescence of a transcendent loveliness.

2. We took Sarah, David, and Jeffrie to a fair. Yes, like in the movie Big. There is something almost enchanting about fairs, at least for me. Even the really sketchy ones you can see from I-45...I drive by them and am weirdly enticed by the lights, the way the yellows and reds pierce the night sky. I can't quite pinpoint it exactly but I suppose it's the idea that if there is a carnival in town, the day inherently holds an adventure. It's this place that draws in families, lovers, loners, and connects them by bringing out an anticipation and excitement and curiosity we are too often too grown-up to admit that we harbor. Anyway, so Jeffrie was elated that we were going. The whole way there he sat on Naseem's lap with his head out of the window of the van; I wondered if when the wind hit his face he felt somehow in own little toddler way that he was a part of everything which we passed, the way I feel when I roll the windows down and let the wind race against my fingertips. When we arrived, he was bouncing up and down and laughing, and I saw true joy. It was so beautiful and pure.

3. Naseem and I rode a ferris wheel in a third world country. It was another one of those magic fair moments...I am trying not to sound too cheesy but really. It was so much more priceless than you can imagine. The ferris wheel was all rickety and rusty and made all these loud, unsettling noises but it went fast, like faster than a normal American ferris wheel. Incidentally, those are now wicked lame in comparison, probably because they are actually "safe." Naseem and I were already giddy from being a little nervous (laugh all you want, but seriously, you should have seen this piece of crap) and so as the ride started, as it set itself into a whir of motion, faster and faster, we were laughing so hard and gripping the bar across our laps, while trying not lean against the backs of our seats because they were a bit disconnected from the actual seat itself. We looked down and saw Brandon and Debra, and Brandon was smiling and they were laughing together. There it was again: joy. We shouted at them, laughing too, right along with them, we called their names but they never heard us. It didn't matter. We were all joined together. Then Naseem called out look, and I turned around, and it was Gardena. She was smiling too and she waved at us, and then we were all off again, as the rickety old machine sent us flying, flying over the fairgrounds. It was a connection: I've mentioned it before but it was the feeling of being separate people, coupled in pairs in these trashy little cars, rusty with the paint peeling, but all bound together by something much more infinite. We loomed over Roatan and saw the dark jungle unfolding beneath and to the sides of us and we knew that just on the other side of this road was the ocean and then I was overcome by a feeling of holiness and a feeling of love so immanent that I could wrap it around me, and around Debra and Naseem and Brandon and Gardena.

So that's it. Three beautiful things tonight.