Wednesday, January 27, 2010

My daughters

My dear friend Betty Taylor sent this to me a couple weeks ago. It is written to fathers, but I have applied it to us mothers too. And especially to me. I know I fall short in so many ways, but since it IS a prayer, this is my prayer for me - and for you.

Every year about this time I receive a phone call from Dr. Spencer Tilley, asking me to write a bit of poetry to go on a bookmark. He oversees a Father/Daughter Dance for Westover dads and daughters. It is a time for fathers to arrange a "date" with their daughters and spend a very special evening with them. Spencer got the idea--at least eight years ago--to have a bookmark printed and laminated for each father, as a reminder to pray for his daughter each day. I have just e-mailed this to him:

Father, I thank You for

my daughter.

I pray that You will enrich

my spiritual energy

to nurture her

in all the ways You have designed.

Please remind me daily

what a treasure she is!

Show me how

to encourage

her heart to become

all You have

in Your heart

for her to become.

I am blessed

to be her father (mother).

I desire to be faithful

always to You

and to my daughter.

©2010 by betty henry taylor

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Hanna's have another baby!

No, no, no, I didn't say, "I'm a Grandma again." I just said the Hanna's have another baby!! Eden Spring is a healthy beautiful 10 months old. And the new baby, Dakota, is a 10 week old Pit Bull Terrier puppy. And she's a cutie! She very loving, does a great job of cleaning the floor after meals, keeps us entertained with her shenanigans, and is carefully watched by Maria and Lluvia from the safe confines of the couch! They're terrified of her! But today was a bit better - they at least talked to her. One of these days they'll realize that she's just a sweet, fun-loving puppy who loves to lick their faces and they'll learn to not just "like" her, but to love her! At least that's the hope! She spends most of her time outdoors, but when let in, she thinks she's arrived in DOG HEAVEN!

Talk about spoiled! Her own bed (well, ok, crate), her own pillow, lots of toys, a blanket....

...and, WAIT, doesn't that shirt look familiar?? Seems I've seen it on "Papi's" back before!

Friday, January 22, 2010

The El Paso Hannas

You'll never in a thousand years guess what I made tonight, so I'll just have to tell you - or show you! Check out the picture below! When I'm at Kris' house, she dreams up all kinds of interesting and unusual items for me to sew, but Ken and Esme took the prize for interesting and unusual!! Who would have thought I'd ever make a Maya Wrap (if you don't know what that is, check it out on the internet)! It came out great and actually fits better than any others Esme has worn, probably because she's short and all the others she's used are too long for her! And what does Eden think? Well, you can see for yourself!

For awhile the doc was concerned that Eden was so tiny, but he's not concerned anymore! She can eat, that girl! Wow! No teeth yet, but who needs teeth? Just gum it to death! And she's usually a happy explorer around the house. Maria and Lluvia adore her and sometimes exasperate her with all their loving and kisses!

Can you think of anything more fun to do after a nice rain??

Eden is the PRINCESA of the house! Here she is showing off that cute T-shirt Aunt Beth and Uncle Alan sent for her!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Carmen Angel Beltran

July 16, 1931 - January 18, 2009

A woman of principle, of strong convictions
A woman of loyalty--to family and frineds
A woman of tenacity, courage, spunk--
With a sense of humor.
A woman of encouragement
A woman of faith
The most colorful woman I ever knew:
My dear sister and a true friend to me.

A body that once was strong and straight
Became bent and weakened, but
When I visited her last Saturday,
Her spirit was strong.
However, she did long to go Home.
The Lord granted the desire of her heart.

"Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His godly ones."
Psalm 116:15

Written by Betty Henry Taylor
Adapted by Beth Hanna

Yes! Her name really was Carmen Angel!! We called her our angel! When I read this beautiful poem, it seemed to be written for Carmen, my dear sister and friend! So, I adapted it! I didn't ask permission of the author - is it OK, Betty? If not, I'll remove it! Thank you for expressing just how I felt - in a beautiful way that I never could!!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Carmen update

This afternoon Eliud, Carmen's sister called me and said, "I just called to tell you that Carmen is much better today. She's much better because she's with the Lord." This morning at 8:15 a number of family members were surrounding her singing and praying when she left and went to heaven. We're sad, but happy for her, for she was suffering so much and really, really wanted to go. I'm just thankful for the wonderful, happy years I had with Carmen - she was such a joy to ALL of us!

Sunday, January 17, 2010


My siblings and I have a beloved Mexican sister named Carmen. She came to live with our family in Mexico City when I was just 5 years old. And she's been our "adopted" sister ever since! She studied primary school, then high school, then nurses training and was one of Mexico's best nurses - and still is, even though she's retired! I love her dearly and spent a few hours with her yesterday and this morning. But this wasn't the same lively, happy, cheerful, beautiful Carmen that I remember. She's in the hospital in Mexico City, very ill with liver failure. My heart hurt when I first saw her yesterday. She's suffering so much, as we all are. Her sister Eliud (Eli), Eli's two daughters Natalia and Velva (Beba) were there, as well as her son Felix, a niece Yolanda, her daughter Gudelia, and Carmen's nephew Rafael. We're all hurting together. We pray that Carmen will heal, but we're also praying the prayer that never fails: "May your will be done." Will you pray with us?

Carmen, Felix and me a few years ago at the occasion of a happy birthday party for my grandson Cameron.

Carmen, Felix and me just yesterday, a difficult place to be.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I forgot my pleases

I forgot my pleases

by David E. Gregory

I forgot my pleases;
they couldn't have gone far.
I wonder if my pleases
are somewhere in a jar.

I forgot my pleases,
and everyone's upset.
I'll bet all my pleases
are on a zooming jet.

I forgot my pleases.
I left them out all night.
Now a bunch of pleases
All have frostbite!

I forgot my pleases,
and nothing's getting done.
If I could only find my pleases,
I'd say them one by one.

And if you can't say PLEASE in English, here's some help in other languages:
Swedish - Var snall och (vaw-shnel oh)
German - Bitte (Bit-tuh)
Italian - Per favore (pear fah-voh-reh)
French S'il vous plait (See voo play)
Japanese - Dozo (Dough-zoh)
And OF COURSE ESPAÑOL - Por favor (pour fah-vore)

Don't forget your pleases and PLEASE don't lose them!

On Call

I just finished the most wonderful book, called On Call by David C. Thompson, missionary doctor to Gabon, West Africa. Just to give you a taste and whet your appetite, here's how one of the chapters starts out:

"The old woman paused at the top of the hill to catch her breath and to survey the hospital. She adjusted the woven bamboo strap that supported the small basket on her back. Leaning on her walking stick, she shuffled forward, her swollen, toeless feet sliding slowly over the smooth path. The veins in her neck bulged in the late afternoon sun and several times she wiped her face with a filthy cloth. She had come more than 10 miles alone and on foot. Her children had promised to follow in a day or so, but because of her leprosy they had long since ceased to care about her. She knew they would not be coming."

What happened to this lady? Did she die? Did she live? Did they treat her with kindness at this hospital she was approaching? Did her children ever come?

I translated this chapter for the ladies in my prayer group because it was extremely meaningful and helpful to all of us!

Find it! Check it out! Borrow it! Steal it! (Not really!!), but see if you can find this book. The author's heart is described thus: "To heal their diseases, to turn them from darkness to light, to give them hope. A greater joy and satisfaction money can never buy."

Sunday, January 10, 2010

ChuBRRRrch on Sunday morning

You get in your nice warm car
Head for church,
Take off your heavy coats, gloves, hats, whatever else
Hang them up just inside the door...
And head for Sunday School
or the morning service.

(Like my "poetry"? Nice huh?)

NOT SO in San Juan del Rio

We leave our COLD house
Head for church
(me in my nice warm car!)
others on the bus or taxi or their cars
Or walking.
We arrive at church
all bundled up
and carrying an extra blanket
to put over our knees!

And we STAY bundled up
It's 40 degrees today

But the fellowship is warm,
So we can put up with the cold,
As our worship leader reminds us...
Some folks have no warmth,
no coats, no nice home, no place to get warm.
So, let's be thankful
to the Lord
for the warmth He has given us!

Know any worship teams in the States bundled up like this??

Not many people at church today - too cold, I guess! (Actually, more folks showed up after I took this picture!)

See one of the reasons it's so cold in our church? It only has two walls - the other two are either open or curtains - which don't keep out the cold and wind! Thankfully there's not much wind these days!

The pink cloth covers our "kitchen", as we say, "for mientras" (for now!). We're building, it's going slowly, but surely!

And suddenly in March, it'll be hot weather again! No spring, just sudden summer! We can't wait!! And you know what? Then everyone will be complaining about how hot it is!

Not me!

Baby's here!!!

Last night, after the baby shower for Minerva, we all left and went home. Apparently, Minerva left too - for the hospital! She and Miguel now have another beautiful baby boy! Whew! We got that baby shower in just in time! Two other showers we were planning for her, with two of her other kiddos, never happened because she had the baby early! We're all very happy for her and Miguel - and Adaia and Miguelito and Adrianita and Angel and Laurita! And their abuela from Guadalajara who is staying with them during this exciting time!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Baby's Coming

Miguel and Minerva have five darling children: Adaia, Miguel, Adriana, Angel and Laura. But wait! Minerva seems to be gaining a lot of weight lately! Yep, Baby #6 is on the way! And the doc says it's a boy! So, we had a Baby Shower last night! I of course forgot to take pictures until it was almost too late, but got a few not-so-good ones.

Everyone had a label, a NEW NAME. I was Rattle all evening, simply because I obeyed the rules of the game! We couldn't call each other by our REAL names, but by the name given us for the evening! Bethie was Cobija (blanket). If anyone called us by our REAL name, we could take her label and that person was then given another name to complicate things! It was really hard to remember our "new" names and for Mexican ladies, who, in the course of a conversation, will say your name at least a dozen times, it was really, really rough! I ended up with three new labels, as did Bethie and Ivonne! It was crazy, but fun!

I had two jars of safety pins and it was anyone's guess how many were in each jar. Bethie guessed, on a whim that there were 350 (round number) in one jar, thinking that was CRAZY! Well, she won, being closest to the right number!

Ruth gave a little talk using verses of the Bible that described characteristics that are Christ-like and how we should "dress" in those characteristics and teach our children to dress the same. It was great and very meaningful to the Mama-to-be! She's already doing such an excellent job with her five little ones, but as she said, there's always room for improvement and so much to still learn!

Thanks, Minerva, for giving us an excuse for a FUN PARTY!!

First we each read the verses on our piece of baby clothing, then we hung it on the line.

All of Minerva's kiddos were excited! Here Angel would love to help Mama open that gift!

Two mamas-to-be! We already had a shower for Cruz (on the right),
now it's Minerva's turn! On each side of them are two of Minerva's children:
Adriana and Laura (Adrianita and Laurita!)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Just an update on the tingly finger

Hey! It works! I can click the mouse with my left hand. I don't work quite as fast, but with practice...! All day today I worked on ObreroFiel, and used the mouse with my LEFT HAND!! And I won't have a tingy flinger, because I use two fingers - the middle one on the left and the index finger on the right and for the little knob in the middle. Works great. Good thing I'm ambidextrous!

Tingly fingers

Ever try to work the mouse with your left hand??? Well, as of today, that's what I'm going to try to do! I noticed yesterday, after many hours of clicking with my right index finger, that it was feeling tingly. Not a good sign! So, today, let's exercise the LEFT index finger and see what happens!

In Case the Pictures Don't Come Out

First, imagine a woman - she could be the mama or the grandma or even the abuela - sitting under a tree watching, watching a small child having a WONDERFUL day....

In case the pictures don't come out,
It was a perfect day.
You wore the big red rubber boots
When we went out to play.
You plucked a long worm from the dirt
And held it in your hand.
You buried seven magic rocks
Forever in the sand.
You spun until you spun too fast
And stared up at the sky.
You called to beetles, birds, and planes,
And spread your wings to fly.
You gave me gifts of violets
With your sweet, crooked smile.
You studied spots on ladybugs
And hummed a song awhile.
You kissed me once, you kissed me twice,
And then you ran away.
In case the pictures don't come out,
It was a perfect day.

By Paula Lesso

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Just for fun

Sometimes I take pictures just for fun. Just cause they're there.

First, we have Joel, taking his nap at the Jornada Espiritual office. His mama failed to bring the stroller today, so she improvised! He doesn't really fit in that bin, but hey! It works!
And he appears to be getting a good nap!

I almost didn't get this picture. I was driving, so quick dug my camera out of my purse and clicked! See the car in the background taking a piñata home for the New Year's festivities? Pretty original, don't you think? If it doesn't fit, improvise - I guess that goes for babies OR piñatas!

While up at camp, we wanted to put our heated tortillas in something, but what? We found this basket, a cloth, perfect! Again, improvise! Actually, the basket is made for tortillas or bread, whichever you happen to be having for dinner. I thought this was something originally Mexican!

Happy New Year!

It's always an adventure plus to do anything with my Mexican friends. It all started New Year's Eve day at 5 PM. I went to pick up Yolanda and her kids Paty, Alejandra and Luis. Their luggage, plus mine, was STUFFED in the trunk of my car. Back at the Jornada office, we decided to go with Ivonne and her family in their 15 passenger van. But we weren't ready to leave yet. We had to wait for Adrian to get out of work. At about 6:30 we finally took off for Camp Koinonia which is in Amealco, about 40 minutes from San Juan. But wait! Monica had to stop at Comer (the grocery store) for bread and something or other else, so we were to meet her just beyond the Comer. We waited a bit - not too long really, but by now it was dark. And riding with Julio (Ivonne's son) driving the 15 passenger, diesel van, it took longer than the normal 40 minutes, because he takes those steep hills mighty slow! Following us were Victor and his family and Monica and her family. 8 PM arrival!!

We all got ourselves organized into cabins, the food in the big tent, chairs, tables in the tent and we were ready to CELEBRATE New Year's! First we just sat around talking, eating botanas (snacks). Someone brought chips and I brought a cheeseball and cookies that Bethie made as well as a crab dip that disappeared like magic, it was so yummy! Lots of soda pop too. Here in Mexico we can't survive without it - we think!! (Actually, I can, I say "we" editorially!) We later played games until almost midnight. And midnight is the magic hour to eat supper! Everyone brought something to share: a delicious meat dish, tortilla pie, roasted chicken, sopa (which is spaggeti with cheese and cream mixed in), bolillos (rolls) to make sandwiches, lots and lots of tortillas, salsas, and only one person thought of dessert - me! I provided the M&M cookies! At exactly midnight everyone got up from the table to give the traditional New Year's abrazo (hug). After supper were more games, and I was fading fast.

Lynette, age 2, was part of the evening's entertainment. When she got ahold of the microphone, she'd say, "Papá" "Papá" "Papá". Someone would suggest she say something else, so she´s say, "Mamá" "Mamá" "Mamá". But then it was "papá" again. She doesn´t know a lot of words besides those two! She´s mighty cute!

I realize this story is a little mixed up, with some things not in any good order, but maybe the pictures will help show you what a fun New Year´s party I was at this year! No pictures of me, but then, who do you think was TAKING the pictures? Yes, I definitely was there!

Lisa, age 4, was part of the entertainment for the evening. "Hola a todos. ¿Cómo están?" "Hello everyone. How're you doing?" She then proceeded to sing several songs for us. I always thought Lisa was SO QUIET, but I guess when she's comfortable with people, she really opens up! Well, it was obvious she was VERY COMFORTABLE with us!

Marta (L) and Victor (R) have an interesting family. Son Adrian married Ietzira and their little girl is Lisa. Son Victor (by Marta) is a teen, still home). Daughter Susy married Victor and they have a little girl names Lynette Victoria. Grandpa wanted her name to be Victoria Lynette, but Susy set her foot down on this one! Too many Victors in one family is too many!

Lynette was the littlest one there. Actually, on the 1st, Francisco and Gaby came with their two kids Vanessa and Joel, and Joel is younger than Lynette, but Lynette got in on more of the activities. Here her auntie Ale helps her with her supper - yes! At midnight!

Bible games, Uno games, card games, lots of games going on before and after midnight. One man was there who isn't a Christian, but even he got into the games! He tried to answer the Bible questions with silly answers, but sometimes even got them right!

At 1 AM I left and headed for the cabin. But, since my cabin was near the tent, I noticed they had started a bonfire, so I came out again with my S'mores. What a delight! Luis (on the right above) especially LOOOOOOVED the S'mores and informed us that this was his favofite thing - it was actually the first time any of them had experienced them! By 2 I had faded completely and went to bed. Several other folks did the same.

But some stayed up all night, chatting, doing firecrackers (I didn't hear a thing!), sitting by the fire and in general just enjoying the cold (very cold!) night air! Camp is at 9,000 feet, so it's COLD at night there, and often cold all the time, not just at night! But we bundled up and were fine!

Next morning I woke up at 9. Some in my cabin were up, others were still snoozing - or maybe they'd just gotten there, I don't know! Breakfast was pancakes with Lechera (sweetened condensed milk - ever try it??), strawberry jam and cajeta. But you had a choice, you could have pancakes or make yourself a ham and cheese sandwich, or have a bowl of pozole! I chose the pancakes and an orange. I love pozole, but somehow, it doesn't set well at breakfast time!

Julio enjoying his pozole for breakfast. Notice we're all in heavy coats and scarves?
It was CHILLY there at camp!

Rosy (left) opted for a ham and cheese sandwich and
Janett did the "traditional" pancakes! Rosy forgot her jacket, but her scarf
kept her warm (well, sort of!)

Several decided to play volleyball and/or soccer. Others of us walked around and checked out the beginnings of the new auditorium - just the posts are up, but it's coming! We also checked out Rich and Sara Musgrave's house that's in the process of being built. And of course, like all good Mexicans, there were many opinions as to what it was going to really look like, how it should have been "this" way or "that" way, or shouldn't the door have been here? Or, why did they do it this way? Typical. 10 Mexicans and you'll get 11 opinions. Actually, that's true of Americans too, right?? But on one item we were all agreed: Rich and Sara DESERVE a nice house and we're all delighted they'll soon have it! They're living in their trailer now - definitely rustic! And their son Matt has his "bedroom" in another trailer!

Someone gave Paty (on right) a yaca. So, what is it? We haven't decided! It's supposed to be a fruit kind of like guanabana (I know, you don't even know what THAT is!!). But I think this yaca wasn't ready - it wasn't edible! Adrian tried biting it and said it didn't taste like anything and it was stringy, which he didn't think it was supposed to be! Ah well. We tried! I have seen this fruit hanging from tropical trees in Guatemala, but have never tasted it.

We decided to leave camp at 5. Of COURSE!! On the dot. At 5 several, even the one (Victor) who wanted VERY MUCH to leave at 5, were still playing soccer. Since it was so cold by now, the rest of us waited in our cars for them for an hour and a half! 6:30 we headed home!

What a fun way to spend New Year's Eve! Wanna join us next year??