Saturday, March 31, 2007

Dads visit

As most of you know my dad spent a week here with me getting to know my kiddos and the place I now call home. It was an amazing week full of laughter, joy, and lots of love. Not only was I happy he was here but the kids loved the time they got to spend with him. He took to them just as quickly as they took to him. Before the end of his first day here he had taken over the spot of favorite in little Maryuri's life. He spent the week working with them, playing with them, and above all else loving them. He taught them how to say Cool Cat, jump off the end of the coach, and do lots of other things they probably shouldn't have been doing!:) It was a great week. Here are some pictures for you all to look at.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Final shout out to Max Greuey

Max flew out yesterday. I think after being in our crazy country for a month he was ready to be home. He enjoyed his time with us but was finding that longing for home. However, before we say our final goodbye to him I thought I would take the time to update you all on some final Max stories.

Last Saturday upon Max request we headed out for the day to see a few of the sights. Well at some point in our drive we stopped to buy some strawberries from a girl along the road. She said something to us in Spanish to which Max quickly answered "Ohio." Though she had spoken in Spanish he had heard in perfect English "where do you live." We all got quite a kick out of the situation.

During his time here Max started singing for the kiddos. He sang ol' McDonald and There's a Hole in the Bottom of the ocean. No matter what song he was singing he was always getting into it no matter if it was in voice or in animal songs. It was amazing to watch. The kids were not the only ones giggling and smiling whenever he started up again!
Last Friday we went into the city to the science museum Chiminike with all the kiddos. It was a long day for all of us ...especially the adults who chased, carried, and watched kids for hours. Well just toward the end of our time there we were coming out of one of the rooms when I looked over and found Max stretched out on a bench sleeping! It was so funny and thankfully for all of you I got a picture!:)

Since Max wasn't picking up on the Spanish language very quickly he decided it was best to begin speaking "in tongues." He would talk really fast in a bunch of gibberish. They weren't words simply sounds forced together in awkward ways that left the people he was attempting to more confused than if he had simply spoken in English. The funny part is he was actually quite good at it. I think he had some of them convinced he was speaking an actual language.

On Monday dad, Jen, Max and I went into town. We dropped off Max to have another massage while we ran some errands. Then returned to pick him up later. We had just left the Marriott and came to an intersection where this one old lady constantly stands begging for money. When I say old...I'm talking old! Lots of wrinkles! She came up to our window to ask for money and Max began speaking to her in English. He told her how pretty she was and asking if she wanted to go home with him. He probably said a few other things that cannot be repeated on here but you know how he is! She ended up winking at him and saying something in English. It was then that we asked if she spoke English and she told us a little bit! So funny. If you get the chance remember to ask him about his "girlfriend" as we know call her.

As much as Max was starting to long for home it was still obviously hard for him to leave these kiddos. He came over very early yesterday morning to spend some time with kids. He then pulled Fernando "his buddy" aside and gave him his hat that he had worn while being here. He gave them each a big hug and obviously was communicating so much with those embraces.

Finally let me just say that we loved having Max here. Not only was he very handy and got so much done for us but also brought a new dynamic to the place. The kids most certainly loved having him around. The boys spent hours working with him and were constantly begging to be allowed to go with him. They bonded well to him. He will be missed for sure.

Monday, March 26, 2007

La Tigra

On Saturday Carlos, Jen, Max, Dad, and I took the kids for a day outing. We were all over the place. We ended the day at a Park called La Tigra. Again just wanted to give you some pictures of the great times the kiddos are experiencing. At one point we let them play in the water of a creek. lets just say that a couple ended up slipping and falling completely in. The others were soaked to their knees or had wet butts from sitting down. Lets just say it was a good thing that we had chosen that for the last destination of the day instead of the first. It was another sweet sweet day making memories with my babies.


On Friday we took the kids into the city to Chiminike which is a Cosi type place. It is a science center. Every so often they allow a class or kid center to come in for free and enjoy a day. We were the chosen group this month and boy did our kids love it. We took our workers and their kids as well as all of us and our kids. It was a good day. The kids were so excited and are still doing the Chiminike chant!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Paint by numbers

If nothing else I want this blog to be a reflection of my true thoughts and feelings. I want it to be a place where I can be honest with my fears, joy, struggles, and experiences. So in keeping with that belief I want to be completely honest that I DO NOT HAVE IT ALL TOGETHER. I've said before that I don't want to be idolized for what I'm doing. I'm not better than anyone else who is doing God's work. In fact at times I feel like I'm less than worthy to be doing what I'm doing. I look at the faith and spiritual walks of others and I begin to wonder. I wonder just how it is I was the chosen child of God to be sent to this amazing job when there are so many others far more capable than I. I look upon the masterpieces of those around me and think how much I have to learn. They take the canvas God has given them and paint beautiful images that glorify Him and speak volumes of their love for Him. All while I am still struggling with the paint by numbers page that was set before me. I love what I am doing here and am proud to be chosen. However, there are moments when those inadequate feelings slip in and get a strong hold on my heart. So for all of you that think I'm confident or "spiritual" or have it all together you should know ....I don't. I'm just like all of you who wake up every day thinking God can't possibly be calling them to do a certain task. However, if God can speak through a donkey I guess he can use me to minister to the heart of Honduras and he can use you to do any number of jobs that He may be calling you to. We simply have to be willing to let Him. So even though my paint by numbers picture may look pathetic next to the great masterpieces of others I know that my Father is proud of me for simply picking up the brush.

Happy Birthday Monica

We celebrated Monica's 6th birthday on Sunday. It was a great day of games, cake, and just letting Monica be princess for a day. She was even allowed to go to the pulperia with Dorian to pick out a special snack for her and the other kids. She had a blast!

Monday, March 19, 2007


As a 21 year old girl I have thought little about being a mom or what that would really mean. I don't dwell on the day I will have kids and how that will change my life. I certainly didn't think about how challenging that task might be. Well the day I stepped off of the plane and into the lives of these little ones that all changed. I had become a mom over night to not only one child but 10. With that fact came the realization that being a parent isn't easy. I was shocked to find out how quickly it came. You know what I'm talking about...that protective, loving, scared feeling that you get. That feeling that grabs tight to your heart and won't ever let go. These aren't my kids. They aren't my flesh and blood and I had no part in bringing them into the world. However, I feel just as connected to those children as their own mothers. They are a part of me now even if it is only because they each own a piece of my heart. Again I'm amazed at how quickly it came...that feeling you get each time you look at them. The desire to see them grow into healthy happy adults. The desire to keep them from harm. The desire to want the best for them and see them become successful in life. I've heard tons of people tell me that they wish they could make decisions for their children or lock them away until they were older. However, never before had I understood just what that meant until now. There are moments when they are walking to school, talking about girlfriends/boyfriends, or just looking especially mature that I want to take them into my arms and never let them get any older. I want to shield them from the ways of the world and any hurt it may bring. I want them to be the best at everything yet am afraid to let them try. Yep I would say that I'm fast on my way to knowing just what it is like to be a mom...and if that doesn't convince you let me share a couple stories that are sure to bring a smile. On Saturday Carlos and I were the only ones home watching the kids. Well early in the evening one of our boys had been sitting in "the seat" because he was in trouble. He had begun to play and apparently slipped and fell. Lets just say his face was the first thing to hit and he is already one that gets nose bleeds easily. One of our workers came running into the room yelling. Even though I didn't have any idea what she said I knew enough by her frantic behavior that I needed to move quickly. As I rounded the turn there was Mario screaming his head off with blood EVERYWHERE! For those of you that don't know me that well...I HATE BLOOD! I stopped dead in my tracks and stood their thinking "that is a lot of blood, that is a lot of blood, that is A LOT OF BLOOD!" I froze and was not real sure just what to do. Thankfully Carlos jumped to it like he did that sort of thing every day. Before I could get past "that is a lot of blood" he had towels and was taking Mario into his arms. Things finally started to click (or maybe it was the fact that Carlos had covered most of the blood with a towel) and I started to help. He ended up splitting his lip open and cracking his nose pretty good. He had a big bump on his head as well. After getting him cleaned up I took him into my arms and sat cradling him while holding ice to his mouth and nose. It was then that I lost it. I sat comforting him and shushing his tears while I was sobbing. The rest of the kids came over to the chair and had looks on their faces like what is wrong with Ashley. They all took turns kissing my knees and arms since that was all they could reach. They were comforting me while I did my best to comfort Mario. All I could think was that I wasn't cut out for this mom stuff. We are both fine now and Mario is quickly healing. However, I'm just glad to have that experience over and hope to be a little more prepared the second time around. To top the weekend off yesterday (Sunday) I had a little one throw up on me. I handle vomit about as well as I handle blood. I did manage to get her showered and then even cleaned up the floor/chair where she puked. Lets hope that was a sign that I'm getting better at this mom thing. When expressing my concerns of being a mom to a friend he responded "if you aren't cut out for this mom stuff then all the other women in this world are screwed!" Needless to say it was just what I needed to hear. That and the fact that bloody situations are a common occurrence.:) So to all you moms out there...and dads too...I applaud you for jobs well done. For devoting years to caring for little ones who bleed, vomited, and scared the day lights out of you. I understand how having children can age you! :)

Saturday, March 17, 2007


So never before have I realized just how sweet prayer is until I So never before have I realized just how sweet prayer is until I watched my little ones put their hands together, bow their heads, and talk to God. Every day at meals they beg to be the one that gets to do the meal prayer. Then the one that is chosen begins thanking God for the food and then names off each one of the kids and adults in their lives and thanks God for them as well. However, more often than not there are one or two other kids that sit with their eyes closed repeating each name that the child saying prayer says. At first I wanted to shush them and give the other child their moment but how could I ever tell a child they shouldn't be praying or even repeating a prayer? When was the last time we begged to be the one that prayed? When was the last time that praying mattered that much to us? It is serious business for them and should be for us too. It is amazing how watching a child can remind us of the way our own spiritual lives should look. Just a reminder that just because they are children doesn't mean we can't learn something from them.

Bath Time

I just want to go on record as saying, "I love....LOVE night time with the kids." I love everything about it. I enjoy how cuddly they are and how cute. I enjoy the special moments of watching the play in the shower. I live to hear their giggles and bursts of laughter. I love the smell the scent of their shampoo, soap, and baby lotion as they snuggle onto my lap. I especially love putting them to bed and hearing them say their prayers. Then curling up with them until they fall asleep. All this to explain what a special time of day it is for me. They are fun at this time of day and the only care we have is having fun! I can't give words to do those sweet moments justice. I'll have to leave you with this feeble attempt and a few good pictures of just how cute they are.


So I've been telling all kinds of stories on Max but thought it was about time I added a few pictures for your viewing pleasure. The kids have really taken to him. Whenever he walks into a room you instantly hear little voices saying "Max Max."

Thursday, March 15, 2007


So this post is long over due...we went to the beach almost 2 weeks ago and I am just now getting you all the pictures of it. However, we had some computer problems and we have been unable to get them up. So I hope you enjoy. I most certainly enjoyed the experience. I learned what it meant to see something through the eyes of another. When we got to the beach our little ones were amazed. I heard things like "look mommy water" "hurry Mario lets go" "look at that pool." They were amazed. It was more fun for me to be able to watch their reactions than to enjoy the beach for myself. I saw the ocean in a whole new light. I must say I've been to the ocean dozens of times but never enjoyed it more than when I was able to enjoy it with those little ones. However, I did love the amazing as well. I've always said if I could have the ocean and the mountains it would be perfect....well I found that perfect spot.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


In a world full of depression and grief I can't help but wonder just what it is that makes happiness so hard to find. I recently read this quote by Helen Keller "When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us." It made me wonder if we are living in a depressed world because we can't take our eyes off of those closed doors. How often do we find ourselves standing in front of that closed door trying to figure out a way to open it back up? I know I'm guilty of that at times. My life will be moving along smoothly when out of nowhere something happens. Instead of adjusting and seeing where those changes take me I dwell on what I lost and what it was I had wanted to happen. That is just the thing though I look at a closed door as what I lost instead of what God is doing in my life. In Isaiah 55: 8-9 it says, "For My thoughs are not you thoughts, nor are your ways My ways," says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts." HE may decide to close a door that YOU'RE sure is the only one that will ever lead to happiness. However, the entire time you are standing there staring at that closed door contemplating attempting to battering it down He is there trying to get your eyes away from the door and back on HIM so that He can show you a new better door to happiness. So instead of being a society full of depression and sadness lets get our eyes off those closed doors and instead look at what God could be trying to show us.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Giving until it hurts

For a couple of weeks now I have been thinking a lot about what it truly means to give until it hurts. Being in Honduras has opened my eyes to a new way of living. It has reminded me of how little some people have while others live comfortable lives. Then a few weeks ago I witnessed one of the sweetest acts of kindness I could have imagined. One morning Deborah mentioned that she liked Dilcia's earrings. The day went on and right before it was time for Dilcia to leave she came into the apartment to find Deborah and gave her those earrings simply because Deborah had liked them. Dilcia works for us...she doesn't have a lot and works hard for what she has. To give her earrings away without a second thought simply because someone else thought they were pretty is an amazing gesture. I mean how many times does someone tell you they like your shirt, earrings, shoes, etc. and how often does the thought of giving that item away come into your mind. Rarely. Then today I opened my devotional up and saw that todays title was "You can't Buy Happiness." It went on to say this

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:16-18
According to an article in USA TOday, you can't buy happiness-no matter how rich you become. In fact, University of Illinois psychologist Ed Diener was quoted in the story as saying "Materialism is toxic for happiness." True happiness doesn't come from acquiring things for oneself; true happiness comes from giving to others. I am not saying shopping is bad. I am, however, saying that Jesus' words "It is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35) are true. God created us to be givers because we are made in His image, and He is the greatest give of all. He gave His one and only Son to die on a cross so that we could have eternal life with Him. As Christians, the desire to give should be strong in us, too. If you have felt unfulfilled and less than happy lately, look at you own generosity. Have you become a taker more than a giver? When is the last time you looked forward to placing a tithe in the offering plate? Have you recently done anything totally unselfish for someone else? If it has been too long, then get back into the giving mode. Call the frazzled single mother in your neighborhood and offer to watch her children for awhile. Invite that widower in you church over for dinner and fellowship. Buy school supplies for an underprivileged child. And do it all unto the Lord. You will find that giving is the greatest high.

I have realized that I never knew the meaning of giving until it hurts. I have never had to live a life of want and I'm guessing most of you haven't either. I've never known what it felt like to take one of my few pairs of earrings out of my ears and give them to another person. Giving doesn't have to mean taking out a huge chunk of change from the bank and giving it away. It certainly doesn't have to be a big horray of taking it out of your wallet and handing it over. It can be small like babysitting for free or cleaning someones house. It can be something nobody else knows about. We are just called to DO...something. SO I challenge you to do something. I'm not begging for money for here just do something somewhere. If you are called to give give. If you are called to give to here that is great if it is for something else still great. Lets just do something. Lets decide that the world has been messed up for far too long. Lets agree that we HATE seeing a fellow human being living in a shack barely able to get enough money to eat with. Being here has opened my eyes to a whole new world of that. I love these people and wish there were some magic trick to be done to change their lives for the better. Sadly there isn't. The only hope there is would be that WE take a stand and start changing the world. Seems impossible I know but try. Put a dollar in a jar every day for a year and donate it to something. Volunteer somewhere. Pick up trash. ANYTHING! When was the last time any of us gave until it hurt. Again this isn't a plug to get money just some things I've been thinking about. However, if you would like to donate money or items you can contact me or send donations with missions in the memo section to Stockport Church at Market St. Stockport Ohio 43787 or click on the Casa link on the right side of my screen. Lets do something to make a difference.

Friday, March 9, 2007

More about Max

So before I tell more stories on just how funny it is to have Max here I thought I would first tell a cute one about this morning. A group of people were heading in to the city this morning to get supplies and to take Jen to the airport. Max happened to be holding Marjuri and when he went to put her down she kept arching her back and refusing to put her feet down. She began to cry and say no. She didn't want him to leave her. He kept telling her he would be back and we kept reassuring her it was true but she really did not want him to leave. It was cute to watch not only how attached the kids are to Max but also how visibly attached he is becoming to them. It was a sweet moment.
Ok now for the funny stories. First let me mention that the word for boy is nino. The other day Max had a couple of the boys dangling from each arm when he walked into the kitchen. I needed them to do something so simply said "ninos" and then whatever it was needed to be done. Max looked at me with the most confused look and said "I thought this ones name was Fernando but you just called him nino!" Boy did I want to die laughing. However, I kindly kept a straight face and told him that was the word for boy!:)
So in my last blog I teased about the fact that Max always talks to people here and when trying to do so thinks if he talks slow and loud they will get it. Well even better is the fact that he always seems to get his point across. The other day he ordered ice cream by himself in English and get exactly what he wanted. We still aren't sure how he is doing it but are quite frustrated with that fact that everyone seems to understand him but could never understand us!
That same day in town Max declared that he needed to go to the store to buy some food because he couldn't handle eating beans and rice one more day!:) He also was dropped off at the Marriott so that he could get a full body massage! They left him there all by himself to get an hour long massage while they went to run errands. YOU will have to ask him about that Honduran experience. I'm not permitted to write about such things on here.
Today Max had his first experience of having to push start Gracie because she died while in the city. I haven't heard just what he thought of this experience. However, let me just say he has been working on her ever since he got home. Every so often he comes into the house to get something he needs muttering to himself about what he would do with "that car."
While we were at the beach Max needed to use the rest room and like a good ol' boy didn't complain when he found out there was no bathroom. He simply grabbed the TP, turned, and headed for the woods. On that same day he ate his first Honduran fish. (that I might add came with its head still attached)
Needless to say we are having a great time with Max and laughing...A LOT. I'm sure there will be more fun stories to come.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Max Greuey

On Max's first day with us he mentioned that he was lucky to be able to find the on button on a computer. Therefore, I thought it would be safe to tell stories on so that you all might find the same enjoyment I have found in watching him do life here. Max arrived 4 days ago. From the moment we picked him up from the airport he has attempted to speak English to every Spanish speaking person he has come across. It is like he thinks that if he talks loud and slow they will somehow understand what he is saying. However, watching him try and speak Spanish is even funnier. For any of you that have seen the Friends episode where Pheobie is teaching Joey a foreign language, it is much like that. Through the episode Pheobie will say a word such as llama and Joey would say something like Helezader. With Max it is the same way. We can say a phrase in Spanish and when he repeats it is nothing like the original sentence. It is cute because he tries so hard.
The next story I HAVE to tell is about Honduran driving. The day we picked Jen up from the airport Max informed her that her driving was in need of some improvement. This came up right after she went to pass someone on a turn. Hondurans drive 3 wide here all the time. Max just wasn't quite prepared for that. The next time we headed for town Jen offered Max the keys and HE TOOK THEM. She mentioned that we only had 30 minutes to get to where we needed to be and he told us to get in and hold on and boy he wasn't kidding. AND he thought Jen was crazy. Lets just say we made it in plenty of time and Max was driving 3 wide before you could say boo. Nobody on the road would have been able to tell that he wasn't a true Honduran driver. He fit in well.
I do enjoy watching him with the people here. He is a typical small town boy. He waves to all the people on the streets. He wants to talk to people and call them Sr. (here is when we get back into the speaking English to Spanish speaking people) He is constantly concerned that our driving Gracie down the road is stirring up dust that will cover the clean clothes people have hung up to dry. He invites our grounds keeper in to eat lunch with us or wants to share his candy/peanuts/etc. with the guards. It is refreshing to watch someone come in and totally accept the people of Honduras. He sees them as equals and wants to befriend them all. It is fun to watch.
Finally, as lots of you know Max is a bit of a neat freak. He likes life to be organized and clean. Things here are far from that. I spent the first full day with Max hearing phrases like, "its hard to tell what you have, no better than things are organized" or "I bet you waste a lot of money buying things you already have but can't find." He has many fix it ideas for how we can be better organized. Thankfully, all those ideas are things he is willing to do himself!:) Also his first morning here he went in to wake Jen up out of bed. He informed her that people die in bed and she had better get up. Did I mention that he did this on our only day off and our only chance to sleep in. Went over well!:)
I should tell you that although we like to give him a hard time he has been great with the kids. They love having him here. The first night he was here they had him by the hand leading him around or giving him lots of hugs. At one point he sat down and had about 5 of them on his lap in a matter of seconds. They fight over who he is sitting beside for meals and who he is going to play with. Furthermore, we adults are enjoying having him around almost as much as the kids. He is a good reminder of home. He acts just like my father and the other men in my life would act. He is handy and a fix-it. The girls joked on his first day here that we were like grandfather and granddaughter the way I followed him around all day. I was his "personal assistant." It is nice to have a reminder from home. It is nice to have him here and watch him do life outside his comfort zone. It is nice to share this with others that have the same background as I do. All in all we think we will just keep him here.

Friday, March 2, 2007


So since the beginning of this whole adventure I have had words thrown at me like missionary, missions work, missions trip, or missions. As I began to hear those words more and more I found myself thinking “who me?” Surely they weren't using the word missionary to describe me. How could I be worthy of such a title as missionary? So I began to think just what it meant to be a missionary. I pondered what the word missions really meant. So in my search for answers I turned to handy dandy Mr. Webster. The word missions was defined as "a sending or being sent for some duty or purpose." I began to compare Websters simple definition with the loaded definition we had placed on that word. It was then that I realized how wrong we are with our definition. Being a missionary doesn't have to mean leaving my country and living in a dirt shack to serve a higher purpose. Going on a "missions trip" simply means what it says. You are taking a trip that has a specific mission or goal. That trip could be to another country or another state. However, it could simply be a trip to the next street over or another town close by. No trip is better than another is. It isn't how much you spend to get to that place that is important, it is the work you do once there. The mission or purpose behind your going. So as I began to see those words in a new light I turned then to the word missionary. Webster defines it as "a person who is sent on a mission." Boy was I surprised to find that I really do fall under the category of missionary. Why then do I still cringe when referred to as a "missionary." I guess it would be because I feel as though that word places me in a higher place in the minds of those that are using it. I did not come on this trip for my own personal gratification and I in no way feel that it makes me any better than anyone else. The last thing I want is for people to say “oh yea Ashley Lauer she is really doing what God wants for her life she is a missionary.” I truly am striving to do what God wants me to be doing. However, I would never want people to look at that and think that meant I was better than anyone else. God’s mission for my life simply took me farther from home than the mission of others. That fact does not in any way make me better than those that have found their mission field in their backyard. I was listening to a song the other day that spoke this in better words than I could ever express. It simply said….
On the other side of the world
She stands on the ocean shore
Gazing at the heavens she wonders
Is there something more
Never been told the name of Jesus
She turns and walks away
What a shame

Just across the street in your hometown
Leaving from his nine to five
Gazing down the road he wonders
Is this all there is to life
Never been told the name of Jesus
He continues on his way
What a shame

Whom shall I send
Who will go for me
To the ends of the earth
Who will rise up for the King
Here am I send me
Here am I send me

Whether foreign land or neighbors
Everyone's the same
Searching for the answers
That lie within your name
I want to proclaim the love of Jesus
In all I do and say


How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news
Proclaiming peace and your salvation

It reminded me that no matter where we are there are people that need to hear the name of God. I was called to spread His name many miles from home but that isn't any more important than those that stay at home and spread His name daily. We all have a mission for our lives and we should all be living as "missionaries." Some of you may be thinking what not me I would be a terrible missionary. However, remember what the definition was for missionary.."a person who is sent on a mission." God placed us all on this earth with a mission. That mission was to tell others about him. So I challenge you all to live your lives with a mission. I pray my fellow missionaries that you will allow God to use those missions for His good.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Swimming Pool

We recently bought and set up a little pool for the kids to play in. Let me tell you they love it. Not only is it a nice way to cool down in 90 degree weather but they love splashing around in it for hours. I have had such a good time just watching them. I even got in with them one of the days!! Needless to say it was the first day and since then I've steered clear of the pool because who knows how many little kiddos have peed in that pool!:) I just thought you all might enjoy seeing some pictures of our kids having loads of fun.