Cups of coffee and an attitude of the heart

 

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I am not even sure where to begin with this post, but I guess if I just start to write the story of this morning…it will pour out. Hopefully after reading this no one hates me, because we all want to be accepted, right? But today, I’m exposing my heart for what is was and confess the attitude of my heart needed an adjustment. And I guess that all of us have done things or not done things we should have done and then regretted it later.

It was around 7:00am and I was taking the dog for a walk. The jefe of the watchman stopped me to give Abby a pat on the head. He also told me that she should have a shirt on because it was chilly outside. I didn’t think it was that cold, but the mornings have been fresh lately.

After we were finished our walk and I passed under the guard rail, two of the guards sat on the curb. Both were wearing their jackets. One of them even had a hat. The other one spoke to me after I said “hasta pronto”. He told me that they wanted to me to bring them a regalo de cafe. I didn’t think that I heard right..for one I had never heard it worded like that before…a gift of coffee..so I said “Como?” And again, he repeated what I thought he said, and I continued across the road and acted like I didn’t understand.

However inside I was kind of fuming. I was thinking how it was rude of him to ask me to bring him coffee…and that something like that would not happen in Canada. But in Canada, how many people have a guard outside their neighbourhood?  See, to back up a little, over the course of the three years we have lived here, I have occasionaly bought the guards a coke, paleta (popsicle) or brought them  home made goodies. It is not something I make a habit of doing…just once in a while. So, I guess it made me a little mad that now it is an expectation brought on by none other than myself  that I will give them stuff….when I had just wanted to bless them at the time. So, yeah, I was mad at him for expecting me to bring them coffee…Maybe I set myself up for it.

And then I felt God speak into the attitude of my heart. It was like he was saying “Carolyn, serioulsy…it’s a cup of coffee” And I saw my heart for what it was at that moment…exposed and ugly .    How hard would it have been to add a little extra water and coffee grounds into the coffee maker?  How hard would it have been to pour the hot coffee into two paper cups and walk across the road with it? How hard would it have been to give the two men that have been pulling a 24 hour shift, while sitting outside the whole time with really no way to get warm when the there is a chill in the air….a cup of stinkin’  coffee? Meanwhile, while they work to keep that neighborhood safe; a neighboorhood they allow me freely walk in even though I don’t actually  live in it.  Because you know what? Looking back at them sitting on the curb… they they did look cold. I’d like to say I listened to the voice of the Holy Spirit, but sadly, I  was stubborn and ignored the promptings upon my heart.

The bible talks about the heart though doesn’t it?

The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked, who really knows how bad it is? Jer 17:9 NLT

Wasnt it just this week that I was reading in 1 Peter about loving others and practicing hospitality? And again in Romans 12:13?

1 Peter 4: 8

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.”

Ouch!

So I end this by saying how deeply I regret not doing what I knew I should have done. I feel kind of raw and broken about it actually…because these two guards are good people. I talk to them all the time.  I know their names.  No harm was meant by the request.  I can still see me walking away from them sitting on that curb…cold and wanting coffee….

Psalm 139:23; 24 Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if thee is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Ezekiel 36:26

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh..” Oh, God let it be so!

produce of Honduras

 

 

When life is but a blur…

It is early in the morning as I sit here and write. My coffee has long since gone cold, and I’ve already had the dog out for a morning walk. I only went half the distance though because my energy waned and so did hers as she wanted me to pick her up and carry her. It’s not even that hot out ….only 16°c at the moment.

I have wanted to write the last few days, but what do I write about? Do I write about how empty and quiet the house is now that our eldest child has moved back to Canada? Do I share how I miss his hugs goodnight, how I actually miss the music coming from his room, the empty coffee pot? Do I share about our last vacation as a family to Trujillo were we took a few needed days off for some rest and relaxation? About how I conquered my fear on that vacation and actually went snorkeling for the first time….and loved, loved, loved it!

 

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So much has happened in the last few weeks it just seems like a blur. We had Breanne here for a month as our unofficial intern, then immediately after she took the bus to El Salvador, Ben’s best friend Dane, from Canada came.  He is still here for a week and a half.  Ben and Elisa head to MK camp the beginning of August…then Dane heads back to Canada. Jake will be turning 18 in Canada and this will be the first year I’ve not made him a cake since he was 5 years old. Then kids head back to school and Elisa turns 15. I’ve said it before I wish there were a pause button on this thing called life.

In my last post I mentioned how things don’t always go as planned.  That happened the other day. It was day of the lempira, and there were no classes in any of the schools. However there were all kinds of festivities at school. Kids dressed up in traditional Honduran dress or like Indians, and there was lots of typical Honduran food.  Now, normally Wednesday is a teaching day, but because of the special day, we were not able to teach. We were however invited to one of our schools that we ourselves don’t teach in. It is one of Timy’s schools.  We were told to be there by 7 am.  I am normally up by 5, but lately with the kids being home from school, I have been sleeping in. So having to be up and on the road and actually be somewhere by 7 was a bit of a stretch for me. (Although normally we arriving at our schools by 8.)  I confess I might have grumbled a bit heading up so early in the morning.  But on the way up we were driving above the clouds and it was such a beautiful sight and I would have missed it if I had not gone.  And then at the school, the clouds were so close…I had to snap a pic.  It was one of those “wow” moments. So when I say things don’t go as planned…remember they wanted us there for 7?  Well, things really did not get started until after 8:30. So we stood around a lot, watching loads and loads of food walk past, and we watched as they decorated these hut like structures.  We had been told everything would be done by 9, but it was closer to noon or even later by the time we were in the car and heading home.

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They had a head table set up that they sat us at, along with Timy and Elisa.  They love to honour people here and it’s quite humbling because I sure did not feel worthy of it, especially with my grumpy attitude at the start of the day. They wanted us to be judges of the costumes…who had the best or most authentic looking.  They had a straw carpet of sorts set up for the kids to walk along and then they were to pause and stop briefly at our table. However before the “parade” of kids started the teacher in charge said that there were too many Indians and we would just be judging the finalists from the those that the kids in the audience chose (by applause) as their favorite. . In all honesty it seemed more like a popularity contest, because there were kids that we thought should have won, like for example  the one little  boy carrying a live chicken, that did not even place as a finalist. Anyway, regardless, it was great fun.

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We also had to judge who had the best “home”.  Each grade was also responsible for making and decorating a hut made from bamboo, wood and palm brances and banana leaves. There was a hut for each region of Honduras…Fransico Moraza, La Paz, Copan, Atlantida etc.  Each hut had food typical to that region and also décor. I didn’t want to offend them by not eating or drinking what was offered so I did try what was directly handed to me.  For example  sopa mondongo ( cows stomach soup), vino Jamaica , and horchata from a cocounut shell.   Now, I happened to love horchata and often order it often from a restaurant. I am pretty sure the soup and beverages were not made with purified water so I prayed before I ate or drank that it would not harm me and that I would not get sick from eating or drinking unpurified water.  I don’t want to get sick…that goes without saying, but I also did not want to offend them or hurt their feelings . And the soup was actually not bad.

 

Yesterday we taught our bible classes at one of the smaller schools we teach in.  During the recess, a teacher pulled Dale aside and told him how another ministry had come last year to teach Bible classes. Sadly, they came once and never came back like they promised.  He said they left books behind, but as a teacher he is forbidden to teach Bible because they have a specific schedule to adhere to. ..Spanish, Math, Science.  Bible is not on the list. He thanked us for coming regularly and not quiting after only one class and for keeping our word.  It was encouraging to hear this from a teacher and makes our hearts happy and it encourages us to continue on with what we are doing. Of course receiving about 250 hugs or more each time we teach also helps!

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An unexpected turn of events

There are many times in this life that things do not go as expected. Tonight is a good example of that. You see, it is Jacob’s last night here in Honduras before he flies back to Canada to start his journey into adulthood. Dale and I had planned to take him out for dinner at the restaurant of his choice.  Believe it or not he chose La Creperia.  After dinner we planned that another family would arrive for an early birthday cake and ice cream  Also so they could say goodbye .  But, we got back from teaching later than we expected and we still had to go to the grocery store to get the ice cream. We finally arrived home, had five minutes to change quick and the head to La Creperia.  We were almost there when the car all of a sudden died.. we had enough energy to coast into the building next door (Mapfre. ) However the guards there did not want us parking there as it is a private lot. I told Dale that since we have been teaching on Mercy or “Misericordia” We needed to explain our situation and ask the guard to please have mercy on us.  Otherwise we would have to skip our “last supper” with Jake and take care of the car so we could be back in time for the friends that were arriving. I think Jake would have been chill about missing out on the meal but I wanted to make it happen. I didn’t want to disappoint him even though he would have been ok with it.  It was only right.  But,  wouldn’t you know it, neither Dale or I had saldo on our phone to make a call to our mechanic or anyone else.  Yet one more reason why we need to get a plan for our phone as we always seem to run out of minutes when we need them most.  Anyway, the guards reluctantly told us we could park there for an hour. I am so thankful for their mercy even though I could tell they really didn’t want to .

Jake and I walked to the restaurant while Dale walked down the street to the Puma station to put saldo on his phone. Eventually Dale came back and I used the free wifi in the restaurant to message our guests to see if they could come a bit later than originally planned.  I felt bad for Jake because dinner seemed so rushed and stressful.  It wasn’t how I pictured it. We only had an hour to eat and get back to the car.  Dale got a hold of our mechanic and arranged to meet him where the car was now sitting, in that “private” lot.

After dinner Jake and I began the walk home because  it was not too far and still light out. Dale stayed with the car and waited for the mechanic.  Our guests were at the gate waiting for us when we arrived at the house.  I had planned to make creamy guacamole…which I did but put too much yogurt and sour cream in it and almost forgot to add the avocados.  Serioulsy!  Can we say I was a tad frazzled?  Then I remember that the tortillas I bought for the guac were still in the car. So the guacamole was pretty much pointless.

Eventually Dale called because the mechanic never showed and the guards wanted the car gone from their private lot. The hour had long ago passed. I really am not sure what they expected him to do. The car obviously would not start. So Dale, our friend Kjell and my two boys pushed it to the Puma station where the watchmen there said they would watch over the car til the morning for ten bucks.

So, now Jake needs to be at the airport in the morning and we have no car. However  we do have a ride…

So in all the chaos and in all the stress of tonight, despite all the things that happened beyond our control, I am still choosing to be thankful.  The car could have broken down on one of the remote roads coming home from vacation. Then we really would have been in a fix. Not to mention it could have been dangerous.  It could have broken down in the mountains on our way home from teaching. That would have also been dangerous. It could have broken down tomorrow on the way to the airport.  Jake could have decided on a different restaurant further away from home and then we would have had to forgo dinner. So I am thankful the car basically died right next to the restaurant. I am thankful it broke down close enough that we could walk home. I am thankful for the mercy of the guards even though they were hesitant to show us any. I am thankful for the motorist that helped the guys push the car to the Puma station without wanting anything in return.

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And tonight, my son will lay his head down on his pillow in his bed for one last time. I am not really sure if it has hit me yet. Not fully.   I’ve shed my share of tears in a lone hammock on Trujillo, pretending to be reading while instead I watched as the waves washed upon the shore and I was alone with my thoughts, alone with my memories. Memories of years gone all too fast.  And more tears will flow tomorrow for sure.  After that final goodbye and one last hug…

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