Erandique

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Finally, the long-promised post about Erandique. Philip and I went back for a long weekend in November, as I obviously couldn’t miss seeing my Honduran hometown. Our time there was mostly spent in meandering about town, visiting old friends and old haunts and remembering the slow pace of life there- not much to write about, but full of good memories for me. I thought my fellow gringachos might like a few pictures to peruse.

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We went past the clinic on our way to town since we were carrying a load of meds, which worked out nicely since I definitely wanted to see it in action, as well as visit the spot on the side of the mountain where Isaac is remembered.

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I’m glad to see it well taken care of, even with those of us who loved him far away now.

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My beloved pharmacy is still in action, with faithful Adeli taking care of it. Nothing beats the smell of a pharmacy, I’m telling you. Maybe somebody could make a candle that smells like ibuprofen?

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Daneri’s restaurant was our go-to for meals, and her food was simple and delicious, as always.

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We waded through the market and found our friend Lela selling arroz con leche. We sat on the little wooden bench, sipping the hot milky rice and catching up on each others’ lives before planting ourselves on the park bench with a bag of lychee fruit to people watch.

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My highlight of the trip was seeing our old friend Arturo and meeting his wife Leisy and their adorable baby. Philip and I trotted about the town, trying to find the spices to make the American spaghetti that Arturo fondly remembered from our house, then we gathered in their kitchen, showing Leisy how to make it for future days. The food was good, the conversation even better. There’s nothing like old friends with whom you can pick up right where you left off.

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My time there was too short, and there were a lot more people I would have liked to see, but it was lovely while it lasted.

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Five Ways of Measuring Arrival at Adulthood

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Leaving San Pedro Sula, Honduras.
  1. Buying airline tickets. Yes, laugh at me, seasoned world travelers. Does anyone else always have a slight moment of panic just before hitting the button to confirm? No matter how many I buy, every time…
  2. Shopping at Lowe’s for lumber and screws. That makes me an adult and tough, right? Okay, okay, the tough part is my imagination.
  3. Owning a lawn chair. Now that I have a chair to sit in beside every campfire I visit, I have officially arrived, and can join the crowds of true adults whose bones are too brittle to sit on the hard ground for hours.
  4. Subscribing to a newspaper. All I need are slippers on my feet to shuffle about in, and a pipe to smoke while I sit on my (nonexistent) porch to read it.
  5. Cooking a meal that contains both a main course AND a side or two, instead of just consisting of a bowl of peas. Bonus points if this meal is made for my parents. Nothing says adult like inviting your parents over for risotto and salad, right?
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You can see the blue shelf made with the lumber I bought at Lowe’s.

What makes you feel like you have arrived? When you enjoy the pie crust instead of eating around it? Vacuuming for fun? Reading blog posts about adulting?

Complaining About Weather, or, Stop Being a Wuss


Weather.

It’s the one thing in life that is inevitable, yes? Rain, Sunshine, Cold, Heat, Clouds, Wind…we know the cycle. It’s been the same our whole lives. And yet.

Weather is the one single thing that people complain about, All. The. Time. As one friend commented recently, you’d think we would realize that every winter it is going to be cold, and every summer heat waves will come, and each and every day will either be sunny or cloudy. But no matter what the temperature, or what the sky looks like, somebody is going to complain about it. “Why is it raining AGAIN?” “It sure is dry around here.” “Snow is such a pain!” “Man, these sticky summers are horrendous.” “It’s a gorgeous fall day, but I can’t enjoy it because I know winter’s coming and I hate winter.” You’ve heard it, and I’ve heard it. And be honest, we’ve both said things like that too.


The thing that gets me most especially is when we have a snow day here in North Carolina. These are a rare occurrence, happening maybe a handful of times each winter. And while there are plenty of people that take full advantage of each snowflake, there are the inevitable mourners, going on about how awful life is because this white stuff fell from the sky and they want us to know exactly how much they hate it. Their hearts are devoid of childlike wonder and magic. If you are a committer of this crime, I have ten words for you.

Stop it or I’ll bury you alive in a box.

Just stop. It’s ridiculous, this complaining about the weather. First of all, the weather is inevitable. Your complaining changes absolutely nothing, except making all of your listeners’ days a little sourer and aiding in the growth of your ulcers. Secondly, it’s ungodly. Did you know that? There is nothing remotely Christlike about mindless complaining. If you don’t believe me, go read the story of the Israelites in the desert with all their murmuring again.


Snow is a magical gift from God, and if you could open your eyes and your heart a little, you could see it too. So is rain, and so is the summer heat, and we are fools to waste our time complaining about these things. If you feel the need to complain, go complain about child trafficking, or starving refugees, then DO something about it. As for the weather, grow up, buy appropriate clothing, learn the art of hygge, grow out your beard, run your AC at full blast, or move to Florida or Antarctica. There are more pressing concerns in this world than your silly little #firstworldproblem of disliking the temperature.


I know two people in this great big world that have resolved to not complain about the weather- my mother, and a cousin I admire. I aspire to be like them. Sometimes I slip up, when my least favorite season is at its peak, so it’s a work in progress.  And of course, it’s possible to comment about the weather without whining. But listen to yourself, and see how many of your weather comments have a negative tone. Help me make the world a better place, will you?

2016 in Review

With all the people complaining about what an awful year 2016 was, I thought it would be nice to give you a peek into the highlights of my year. Positivity for the win! : )

Books

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I already published my complete book list from 2016, but here are a few of my top favorites. Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss was far more hilarious than I thought a book about punctuation would be. Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist is a memoir/cookbook/can’t-put-it-down kind of read. In fact, we’ve already made a recipe from it, bacon-wrapped cheese-filled dates, and they were a big hit with our guests.

Travel

I returned to some of my favorite haunts, which was loads of fun. I also went to a lot of new places this year, including some that I’d been needing to visit for a long time, and one that I sort of scorned but which ended up being quite diverting. I’ll let you guess which is which.

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PC to Luke Anderson

Harrisonburg, Virginia

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The Biltmore Estate

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Charleston, South Carolina

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North Carolina’s Beach!

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PC to Rosetta

Sarasota, Florida

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Honduras (which was of course, the best trip of the year)

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New York City (Oh yeah!)

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And downtown Lancaster City, which has the most excellent coffee and crepes you could want, and that brings me to…

Food

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Gracious, did I have some amazing food this past year. But what takes the cake is the meal I had from Mr. Soon Tofu. Noodles fried on cast iron right in front of my table, and mixed with all manner of delicious things. And this was after the most amazing spread of little appetizers that comes with every meal. If you are ever in Flushing, New York, go. You won’t be sorry, except for the rest of the year when you won’t be able to stop thinking about that meal.

Miscellany

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I got a new niece last year, bringing the total niece/nephew count to ten. She’s a dork already, and we love her to bits. Also, do you have any idea how much fun it is to have ten kiddos around to love on?

Probably my favorite single moment of the year was at our annual youth retreat. Late one night, we were standing in a cluster at the front of the room, praying for each other and singing We’ve Got the Power with our hands clasped together and held high in the air. The room was full of God and love and unity, and it was amazing. The kind of high that you can only understand if you’ve experienced that kind of thing.

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I spent the year living in downtown Mocksville and falling in love with it more and more. Every season has its perks- Christmas lights galore, bed races down Main Street, antique car shows all summer, people decked out for Saint Patrick’s day, and of course our very own and beloved O’Callahan’s and Factory Coffeehouse which I enjoy frequenting. Mocksville is redneck enough to laugh at, and charming enough to make you never want to leave.

Of course, I also have to mention the three weddings I was in last year. While being a bridesmaid can be labor-intensive, it is also a ton of fun, especially when it’s for some of your favoritest people.

So, comment below and tell me what your favorite parts of 2016 were!

Book List 2016

My focus last year was less on reading and more on other new experiences. So I read thirty books instead of a more hefty amount. But here are the titles I did read, along with a blurb about each one. Some of them were lovely, and some of them I jumped in only to find I was in a pool I didn’t wish to swim in. Maybe my mini reviews will help you avoid those. And hopefully my glowing reports will inspire you to read the excellent books I found!

Title Author Notes
The Secret Life of Bees Sue Monk Kidd Fascinating cultural read, similar to “To Kill a Mockingbird”. Had a few “parts” though, so I can’t recommend all of it.
Good to Great Jim Collins Boring. Good business concepts, but ill presented.
A Tale of Three Kings Gene Edwards Kind of interesting.
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle Barbara Kingsolver This book was mostly boring, with hilarious and interesting bits thrown in. You’ll like it if you’re a bit of a health nut.
A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet Sophie Hudson Southern tales, not very well written, but funny, and kinda sweet.
Do Hard Things Alex and Brett Harris A reread for me. Better for a younger audience than I.
Michael O’Halloran Gene Stratton Porter So sweet, and while very unrealistic, has cool culture and a charming story line.
Beaulah Augusta J Evans Long and rather boring in stretches and full of words I didn’t know. Interesting story line though, if somewhat incredible like a lot of old novels are.
Anne’s House of Dreams L. M. Montgomery Delicious. Just plain delicious.
The Total Money Makeover Dave Ramsey Inspiring. Makes me wish I had debt to pay off. Hah.
Belles on Their Toes Frank B. Gilbreth Jr Ernestine Gilbreth Caret Hilarious all over again.
Anne of Ingleside L. M. Montgomery Very full of Anne’s kids’ personalities, which I liked.
Rainbow Valley L. M. Montgomery Enjoyable, but not my favorite of the series, since it was more about the Parson’s kids than Anne’s.
Never Change Elizabeth Berg EWWW. Stay far away.
Rilla of Ingleside L. M. Montgomery Sad, but delightful in the end.
I Capture the Castle Dodie Smith Not at all what I expected, but very intriguing. Has some undesirable parts though, making it less recommendable.
The Monk and the Riddle Randy Komisar More interesting than a business book should be. Also, surprisingly challenging, in wondering what to do with my life.
A House Like a Lotus Madeleine L’Engle Ugh.
Princess Academy Shannon Hale Exceedingly well written kids’ book, making a predictable story line delightful.
Eats, Shoots & Leaves Lynne Truss Hilarious! If you have any interest at all in writing, or any grammar nazi tendencies, read this.
The Healer Dee Henderson Not as good as some of the others in the series.
Bread & Wine Shauna Niequist Makes me want to host all the parties, ever. Also eat all the food, ever. Lyn and I have even made the bacon-wrapped dates from it already, with great success.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society Mary Ann Shaffer Great writing style. I must have a thing for books formatted as letters.
Damsel in Distress PG Wodehouse I think the first long Wodehouse book I’ve read. I would totally recommend it, especially for a summer vacation book. His use of language, as always, is masterful.
Daddy-Long-Legs Jean Webster Always a pleasure.
Chronicles of Avonlea L.M. Montgomery Short stories about random people in Avonlea. Some were great, others not so much.
The Blue Castle L.M. Montgomery I may want to reread this one every few years for the next decade.
Adam of the Road Elizabeth Janet Gray Not earth shaking by any means, but a nice read for a kid interested in medieval times.
Ordering Your Private World Gordon MacDonald Rather dull, although he has good things to say.
My life in France Julia Child Very interesting start. Slightly long and too many details towards the end, as biographies tend to have. Still, I wish I could have met her.

Three conclusions:

  1. I finally finished reading the Anne of Green Gables series. Now my childhood is complete.
  2. I wish someone could teach business-book-writers how to present their good ideas in ways that you actually want to read them.
  3. I love books about food, and books written as compilations of letters.

So tell me, what have you been reading lately? I’m planning to tackle a stack already on my bookshelf, including War and Peace, so I can’t make any promises, but I still want to hear your recommendations for me this year.

Family Photos

I was rummaging through old pictures and thought I would share with you The Evolution Of My Family. Perhaps someday I’ll terrorize bless you with even earlier pictures than these. But for now, enjoy.

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In Tela, at our traditional vacation spot
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In Carrizal, when the clinic was being built
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Tela again
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In the USA on furlough. Hey, there’s a nephew now!
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In order of height. Look at darling little Philip
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The ones of us that were still living in Honduras at this point
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Thanksgiving, a few years ago. This and the pictures below were taken by Grettagraphy
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In our best form
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And finally, about a year ago at Raphael and Rosie’s wedding. Gretta did such a wonderful job. And these people…can’t even.