hotels Amish friends food

Dear friends and family…  greeting from Ohio! Yes Ohio.  We’re off again on another adventure.  Back to AZ!  While I’m very excited to be headed back, I wasn’t quite mentally prepared. I had too many loose ends.  I made too many plans with too many people. Not enough packing and a household sale to pay for the trip back. So here I sit in a holiday inn after I swore I’d never stay I in another. However since the GPS on my cell took us through a cornfield… I think stopping at the nearest hotel at 9 pm was the prudent move to make.  We did stop to visit our Amish friends.  They served us some yummy pie. Yes I ate it, crust and all. We won’t talk about the chick fil a waffle fries either.  Nor will we discuss my poor belly. The dairy queen burger is what really put me over the edge.  Food is not my friend today.  Although this hotel has what appears to be an awesome treadmill…


I will write more as we travel. Think happy thoughts and prayers for us.  This is unusually short but it’s really late and I have a Stephen king book to relax with.  Blessings.

June, not July

Good Morning starshine! The earth says hello!


That sounds so bright and cheery when I’m not feeling bright and cheery at all.

Should we start with the last 6 weeks and go forward, or today and go back? ah….. let’s see.

I wanted to start with last May, however, just now when I went to get my memory card out of my camera, it was gone.  I uploaded pictures in Rochester at my mother’s house, and that’s the last I’ve seen of it.  Good grief.  I went on a roaring rampage to no avail.  I’ve searched every bag and pocket.  It’s gone.  I have another card, but it’s only 4 gigs, that card was 8.  AND it had pictures on it.


I’ve been in NY for almost 3 weeks now.  It hardly seems it.  A week in Rochester, and starting my second week here in Salamanca. So far I’ve managed to leave all my shirts in Rochester, lose my memory card, and forget how humid and buggy WNY is.  I am covered in mosquito bites on my legs.  Was WNY always this humid and yucky?  It is a beautiful area.  It’s so green!  However, I really did lose touch with the gnats and flying biting things.  11 months in AZ has cured me of grey skies, bugs, and humidity.  We’ve had one or two really nice sunny days in 3 weeks.  Yes, I’m complaining.  Even Ethan said he’s ready to go back.

Next topic.  How we finished the year.  You’d think I’d dedicate an entire page to the excitement of finishing our year.  Probably not.  I can say after 11 months, my nurse’s office is ‘mostly’ clean, ‘mostly’ organized, and ‘mostly’ ready for the 2014 school year.  How’s that?  I’m already looking forward to another year there.  The last few days and weeks in the dorm were good and bad.  Good, because we knew the end was in sight, we were ready to head to NY, and bad because I felt I had just spent an entire school year living with 7 boys I felt like I hardly knew.  I said good bye to one student and told him I hoped to see him next year.  He turned around and said aghast, “You DO?!”.   wow.  Did i feel bad? yes!  I said, yes, I do.  Don’t i want to make a better impression than that?  It motivates me to try harder next school year.  One mother cornered me on the last day, yes I was hiding in the laundry room,  yes, i was avoiding this family.  Yes, her son and I don’t see I to eye on his behaviour, but she came in and stood in the door way.  There was no avoiding her.  She said, “I want to talk to you.”  Oh dear.  I sucked it up and responded.  She said, “Thank you for putting up with my son and taking care of him for the year.”  Really?   I could have fallen over.  Wow.

Speaking of the laundry room.  One of the students came in and sat on the dryer while I was ironing.  He had done this a few times.  So i just waited for him to start talking.  He did.  Big changes.  Moving.  8th grade is over.  What’s next?  SVIS only goes to 8th.  He was probably moving hundreds and hundreds of miles away to a new state, new school.  It was a good way to say goodbye.  I hope he finds another washing machine to sit on and another dorm Mom who will let him.

For our last meal together, Daryl and I took the boys out to a Mexican restaurant.  We made them all wear suits and ties.  If I had my memory card (UGH!) I’d upload the pictures.  They looked so sharp.  We really had a great time.  They were so well behaved.  It was a pretty expensive endeavor,  next time, I’ll start saving ahead of time! but so worth it.  We stopped at McDonald’s on the way home for ice cream.  I think we scared the manager.  He asked us why we were there.  I figured we either looked like a mafia family, or a bunch of Mormons.  No offense to Mormons, but that’s all I could think.  If the boys had little name tags clipped to their shirts, we could have been the Traveling Osmonds Family look alikes!

Oh, one more last goodbye story.  One student asked for our phone number.  Now logic says you don’t give students your phone number.  But I did.  I was comfortable doing it.  The dorm was empty.  All the boys are gone.  No more underwear or shoes in the hallway.  We’re going… it’s so quiet. What now?  Then my phone rings.  He wasn’t gone an hour and he called.  Loved it.

So.  We spent several days cleaning out the dorm, I cleaned my office, and I worked on the basement donation store.  A group of teens came in and painted some shelves.  I wish I had a before and after picture of that basement!  And then… back to NY.

The trip back was fairly uneventful.  Nothing stands out in my mind.  We left at 4:40 am Wednesday morning and rolled in to Rochester about 4 pm Friday afternoon.  It was quite the bombing run.  Drive. Drive. Drive.  We went to Chilli’s  and surprised my Mother.  I have it on video.  When she realizes it’s me talking to her, she screamed.  It was pretty funny.  Not viral material, but funny.  Ethan and I stayed in Rochester for a week and discovered a place on South Avenue called Cheesie Eddies.  Wow.  Someone can make a cheesecake better than mine?! yes, yes they can.  Now most of you know I’m pretty Paleo in my diet, but everyone needs to visit this place and at least TASTE their cheesecake.  Order online? Why, yes, yes I can.  And I will.  I MUST have another piece of their cheesecake.  I’d love to order one for the boys!  See? I’m still thinking of them.  Actually, I am.  I’d like to print out the pictures from our dinner out and mail them each their own copies, but I can’t do that WITHOUT MY MEMORY CARD!!!!


Getting back to Salamanca was interesting.  My daughter and her husband have moved in.  I’m not sure they moved in, but just sort of landed here. That’s probably a better way of putting it.  They landed here a few months ago.  So, now that I’ve cleaned, we’re going to start again.  I’m so OCD about my cleaning.  I realize not everyone is.  Right now my dresser is in disarray.  However, blue hair dye all over, and I do mean all over, my bathroom is something that I can’t live with.  It’s all better now.  We’ve settled in.

I think I’ve gained two pounds since we got back.  Tim Horton’s chilli has not let me down! However, my favourite yogurt smoothie in the whole world is gone!  I’m miserable!  I looked so forward to having one.  All they have now is strawberry and orange! Yuck!  I don’t want strawberry and I HATE orange.  ew!  No more mixed berry yogurt smoothies at Tim Hortons.  Very sad.

I’ve started running at the Allegany State Park.  It’s nothing like running in the gym at school, or a treadmill… or even out on the school trail in the dirt.  with the snakes.  and the lizards.  It’s BUGGY and humid.  It’s also so green and beautiful.  It’s hard to run and not want to stop and take it all in.  It’s also hard to do the hills!  No real hills on treadmills.  So, I’m finding out what running is really all about.  I’m hoping to do my first 5K this Saturday.  I know I can.  I know i can easily run 3.1 miles, I’m doing a bout 5 an hour.  It’s just actually running the first one.  Running with people.  Running with people and having other people watch you.  We’ll see.  I did get new running shoes.  They’re just cheap asics and they’re butt ugly.  Not even pink.  But they work and my right shin wasn’t screaming at me when I was done.  My skechers are so much better.  Or they were.  Til they died after 3 months.  I can’t afford $80 every 3 months for shoes.  The asics offer so much more support, but the skechers are so much more comfortable!!! bah.  What a trade off.  Considering the amount of excruciating of pain in my right shin, I’ll take the butt ugly.  Because of the pain I can’t run every day like I want, so I”ve learned, but every other day.  However I can walk in between, and go alot farther on the days i do run.  Obsess much? Yes. Yes I do.  Everything I do, eating, drinking, and living, revolves around my next run.  Tommie, you’ve created a monster.  I no longer run to lose weight.  It’s no longer about the weight.  It’s running to get that runner’s high.  It sets in and then you’re in go mode… your mind is empty, they music is good, it’s just you and the wind.  For about an hour your free.  Nothing else matters.  That’s someone else’s pain … someone else’s body… your just in your head. Going. and Going.  Unless of course you have to go to the bathroom.  So I’m at the park, I’ve just run 4.5 miles and I have to go.  Badly.  Really badly.  And there is this port-o-potty.  There are no port o potties in the Allegany State Park.  But that day, there was.  Just sitting there.  Now I’ve had to go since mile 2.  Now I really have to go, and there’s this port o potty.  I’m not seeing a mirage.  It’s there.  What do you do? What DO YOU DO?  I used it.  So I’m thinking as soon as I go in and sit down, they’ll come and take it away, with me in it.  Or worse, I’ll get locked in.  I think about these things.  And worry about them.  I used it, as obviously several people had already done, and I didn’t get locked in, and no one came and carted it off with me in it.  There was a triathlon at the park that day.  Apparently they provide port o potties to their participants.  And now guests of the park as well.  It was gone yesterday when I did my 5 miles.  But I didn’t have to go, so all was well.

Speaking of losing weight, visit   if you want to hear an amazing story of a man who lost weight.  I don’t know him ‘personally’, but I’ve seen him at Open Arms Community Church many, many times over the past two years.  He was just on Good Morning America.  AWESOME!

I’ve run out of things to type, I think.  I just wanted to catch up.  I’m using my neighbors internet, and it is SLOW.  With permission I might add.  They have a guest access thingy.  It’s slow, but it works.  If I ever find my memory card, I’ll upload pictures.

Kudos to Carol Creswall for coming to meet me.  I’m really sorry to hear our friends L. and B. are dealing with some health issues.  I would very much have liked to meet them and share the pictures with them of our year at Sun Valley Indian School.

It’s almost noon and time to go.  Not that I have anywhere to go… or anything to do.  What an odd feeling… there’s a treadmill in the basement… hm….



*EDIT* I just realized I never explained the title.  I woke up this morning thinking I missed someone’s birthday by one day.  I got online to search for flowers and excuses as to why I missed this 85 year old’s birthday.  Just as I was ordering them, my laptop over heated and shut off.  At that point, I realized her birthday is July 24, not JUNE.  Yeah…  Just Gail being Gail. Sigh.

A month has gone by and what I learned.

vacation 083Nicholas with the fireman’s gear.  Fire safety and prevention time.

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Bird in the rapids.

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view from the bench.


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The reflection of The Wild Horse Pass Resort and Spa.  Candler, Arizona.

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the golf course at the Wild Horse Pass Resort and Spa.

vacation 363Ducks, using flash.

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The hotel again.


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Down the little river from the Wild Horse Pass Resort and Spa.vacation 271

reflection of a tree at sunset.


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Sunset at the Sheraton.


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Sunset by the golf course.


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In Chapel waiting to see the fireman.

Greetings, family, friends, and people I have yet to meet.

I am pleased when people say, “You haven’t blogged!”.  It does make me feel good.  It also makes me feel like a heel.  I know I promised.  I know, I know!  It’s been over a month!  I think of thinks to type, and then I don’t.

Part of it is, we went on vacation.  Part of it is lack of motivation.  Part of it is I had NO CLUE what was going on as far as staying or going.  Ah…

The best laid plains of mice and men…  Excellent book.  But I’m not here to speak of books.  I’m here to announce two things.  First, I am 99.9% sure we will be here one more year.  So, to my family, I’m sorry you’re reading it here first.  However, my time zone of 3 hours makes it inconvenient to call.  Between being the school nurse, living and helping in the dorm, AND now doing the school clothing store…  my life is usually not my own.  Most of the time I don’t mind.  Honestly I don’t.  If you want something done, ask the busiest people.  It’s true.  I’m really excited about the store.  Let me explain.  Funci, you’ll get this.  It’s a ‘clothing’ store.  Well, it’s in the basement of the residence of our administrator.    It’s small, and loaded with tons of clothes that were donated over the years.  Sadly, it’s had very little real upkeep.  This is not by choice.  People truly have done what the could.  So, now I’m trying to clean it out. Which is why my back hurts so bad… but that’s another story.  There are three piles, Keep, Toss, and Salvation Army.  There is a lot of TOSS.  Trust me.  We’re talking serious polyester here.  I’ve lost it laughing hysterical down there.  I’m sorry, but there is no one who needs a 1960s orange vinyl and polyester moth-eaten suit.  On the plus side, in going through bags, bags, boxes and more bins, I am finding quality clothing that can be sold or used by our staff and students.  That’s pretty awesome.  I have a woman named Donna working with a little bit from the current Work and Witness Team that’s here.

She’s a bit older than me, but we’re having a great time.  She’s like me, get rid of it.  She’s got a great sense of humour.  I will miss her help when she leaves tomorrow.  Her and I found a really old coat with the name KIM embossed on it with 1981.  I don’t know what Kim did in 1981, but I have her coat.  Actually I don’t.  It’s at the bottom of the dumpster.  I’m really having a great time down there.  However, I’m not made for heaving lifting, and my back really hurts.

In addition to hurt back, Ethan and I were sick.  Ethan went to the dr.  He had the flu so bad he lost 3 pounds.  From where, I do not know.  I laid in bed for two days and just moaned.  I feel so bad because I made him at least try class.  Then I got sick.  My stomach hasn’t been that sick since chemo.  I don’t know how Ethan managed.  I have guilt now.  I didn’t eat for 3 days.  Not how I want to lose weight.  Tonight was the first night I have a full meal since Monday.  Our current chef, Kathy, made a full turkey dinner.  It was fantastic.  A perfect meal to end my fast on.  Some fast. Ha.  I hate being sick.  It makes me resentful. Sick? Me? who’s got time?!

The funny thing is, I’ve been running.  Last February, I couldn’t clear a mile without dying.  I couldn’t even walk the path around the school without getting winded.  Now I run 3 to 5 miles a day.  That’s not the funny part.  Monday I did my laps and thought, “i’m dying, why does my stomach hurt?”  But I’m told, or read, runners take the pain, you get used to it, it goes away.  I could not figure out why my stomach hurt so bad and I could barely get three miles out.  So I went home.  It took me til Tuesday afternoon, a fever of 101.4 and vomiting to realize I was sick.  That’s the funny part.    I didn’t even realize I was sick.  Ah well.

Now the second thing.  I believe we are coming home for three weeks. I don’t have exact dates.  Daryl will stay in Salamanca, I’m sure.  I will stay in Rochester for most of it.  I know Ethan will want to be in Salamanca to see his friends.  It will be interesting working out the logistics of it all.

Although I did promise Ethan we’d come home for Christmas next year.  It really is hard to be gone so long.  Ethan has really changed.  From wanting to go home, to being excited about being in 7th grade next year.  I”m looking forward to seeing the Allegany State Parke and eating Tim Hortons.  And Salen ham.  And Tony’s  and Perry’s sherbet.  ahh… real food.

speaking of food.  I really like this Paleo diet.  I won’t say too much about it since I got so much FLACK from people, AHEM, however, I have lost a lot of weight, yes running helps, but even if you never exercised and went Paleo, you’d still lose weight.

Meanwhile, Carol if you’re reading this, I’d love to finally meet you.  If there’s any way I can meet the “Betts” too, that’d be awesome.  I can thank you all in person.  Let me know if it can be arranged while we’re in Rochester.

So what have I learned?  Well, here’s the thing, when I wrote that title, then uploaded pictures, I had an intense, spiritual, epiphany.  However, I was so sick, I went to bed, and that was three days ago.  Anyone knowing how flighty I am, realizes I have no idea what I was going to type. Sigh.  A day in the life.

I have nothing deep or profound to type.  No insights.  No words about poverty. I could type about our vacation we were blessed with, but even that seems to fall short at the moment.  We did break in to our ‘jar’ to help pay for it.  Who knew saving change for a year could add up??

I will write more when my back isn’t screaming.  Honestly, it hurts.  I can  hear the little boys down the hall watching a movie, so I’m going to shut the door and take a bath.  I can hear my name, “Miss Gail”, so I better go shut the door! Funny!  I love the little boys coming in.  I really do enjoy them.  I’ve loved reading to them, with the BookIt program, cooking and baking with them, even just watching them play on the little race track someone gave us.  However…  it’s almost 8 pm, Daryl’s out with the older boys for a prayer walk, and “Miss Gail” feels a bath would be in her best interest.


next time… next time…  and not in a month.


I will add this.  Our Amish friends called!  They want us to write when we’re coming in so they can have a meal ready for us.  Coolness.



April! Sun! another goodbye.

If April showers bring May flowers, what do May flowers bring?  The answer: Pilgrims.


Glad you enjoyed my joke.  Moving on…  No one told me Arizona was windy.  And not just a little bit.  Alot.  I’ve survived my first real sand storm, although it was mild, I swear I was eating sand in my sleep.  There was a huge brown wall on the horizon.  Sand and dirt.  After a day of it, it’s under your nails and in your hair, not to mention your eyes and mouth.

Moving on…  We had a student leave.  It’s really too bad.  I thought he was really coming around, too.  Since he’s going to be 16 very soon and was only in the 7th grade, I’m guessing he’s not transferring anywhere.  He’s done.  Maybe we made a little difference.  I thought he’d stick it out through next year.  This school only goes to the 8th grade.  But he always said he felt safe here.  He liked that he was fed and taken care of.  We went from him refusing to read the Bible, to asking questions, to saying it wasn’t so bad here.  Now he’s gone.  I do wish him well, but still…  Daryl had talked to him a great deal about getting his GED and going in a branch of the military.  This kid really had changed.  Well, like Shelle says, we can’t change these kids, only the Holy Spirit can do that…  Shelle is the dorm parent to the 6th to 8th grade girls.  We are the same age, although she’d never had kids or been married.  She’s really got it going on with those girls.  It’s more than I could ever handle.  I definitely work better with the boys.  They’re so much less complicated.  I’m not saying they don’t have their issues. Good grief, no. 

I have to thank the people who mailed us money, sent various items, and those who remember to pray for us and our ‘wards’.  Those gifts have gone so far.  It’s so nice to see the boys (and some of the girls) in clean new shirts, socks without holes, (although that’s not too much of a big deal around here a sock is a sock), underwear, personal items…  Thank you so much.  Also, to Carol for the Easter cards and dollars and balloons.  All the boys have a dollar now to spend at the Snack Shack tomorrow.  That’s always nice when they all can go, and not just a few.

We got paid!  Enough donations finally came through to make payroll.  So that’s exciting.  We don’t make much, Daryl and I each maek a little over $700 a month.  Not a whole lot, but it does pay for groceries.  I bought the guys some fiber gummies, too.  They are around $12 a bottle, but they need the fiber.  I’d explain why… but I’m not sure I can type that much.  To keep it simple, the boys constantly have gas.  They’re boys.  They’re middle school boys.  I get it.  But still….  The fiber helps 100% so I buy the fiber gummies.  I wish I could afford to buy them all supplements, but the fiber gummies are full of B vitamins too, so it’s what I can afford.  Daryl uses his extra money to buy extra groceries… chicken BBQ for the weekends their here, or hotdogs, tacos every two weeks for the boys who have clean rooms two weeks in a row… stuff like that.  It’s not cheap out here.  I really need to thank you all for everything for the school year we’ve been here.

Speaking of being here….  it’s time to decide whether or not to stay.  Daryl flip flops, as do I.  One day we’re talking packing to go home, the next we talk about another year here.  WOW!  I tell myself if I’m staying, all is well, but if I’m not, I  need to finish getting the nurse’s office in order for the next person!  Last fall I had a whole year to do it, in January I was motivated again… now I think, if it’s me, it doesn’t matter, but if we’re leaving, I have 2 months to get that office up and organized for the next person.  I’d like to stay another year.  I really do like my job.  I love Arizona.  I love what I’ve learned here.  But, it has its stressors.  Sometimes the hopelessness and futility get to me. Talking to an 11 year old who is only in 4th grade about their future, when they are telling you they just don’t care is frustrating.  It’s really heart wrenching.  Some of the students really do not care.  You have to convince them to care against all odds.  Where are all the missionaries to the Native Americans?  Why do some of the Native Americans still see Jesus as the “white man’s God”?  Churches send droves of missionaries all over the world to reach the unreachable… the needy… the unevangelized…the poor… and what about right here?  Honestly, this reservation is not like Salamanca back home.  We’re talking the difference between 3,000 and 300,000. 

Well, let’s stay happy here.  Does anyone reading this have any suggestions for Easter?  I asked the boys if they were too old for Easter baskets and they all said NO.  Funny!  but the problem is, a week from this Friday they go home for ten days, so we have this  week, weekend, and then 5 days next week.  Do we have a small party on Sunday?  or give them stuff to take home?  Here, it’s theirs and all their own, on the other hand, taking something home is important because they have something to take to their families.  When it comes to food, one thing these kids do, is share.  The pastor of the church we attend is Navajo and he said sharing food is a way of life.  He said growing up there was one pot of stew or soup, and everyone got a little bread and shared out of one pot.  It’s all they had, but everyone got some.  We went to a different Navajo church a back in February as sort of a staff field trip.  There was a man at our table who was so funny.  Maybe I already typed this… but we were served Navajo tacos.  He was an elderly Navajo man.  He said to us, all the white visitors want Navajo tacos.  He said, they’re not Navjao!  Tacos are Mexican!  He said to us, why don’t you ask for real Navajo food… LAMB STEW!  He said if anyone had asked HIM, he would have gladly made us a good hot pot of lamb stew.  He was so funny.  I”ve never had mutton so that would have been interesting.  He did give those of us sitting with him each a lollipop so that was pretty cool.

Last weekend we went to Mesa on a mini family vacation.  It was a good get a way for Ethan.  I took him to a small, very small, water park, but it had mini golf, bumper boats, and go karts.  Daryl stayed at the hotel but Ethan and I had a great time.  It was good to relax and hang out with him.  He needed some Mom time, and some time away to relax and be a kid.  Although another staff member here asked me how long it took Ethan to fit in.  I’m not sure Ethan ever ‘not’ fit in.  It’s more like how long did it take the girls in his class to adjust to him.  funny!  He was the only boy for the first few months with 5 girls.  There is another boy in there now.  He and Ethan get along for the most part.  If it’s just the two of them, they do well together, but this 6th graders older cousin is here, and his behaviour radically changes around his cousin.  Today they were in line to take turns seeing a fireman that came to talk to the kids.  I couldn’t find Ethan in the crowd!  I’m almost burst out laughing because I honestly couldn’t find him in with the kids!  I’ll try to remember to post pictures later of the crowd and you all see if you can find Ethan in there. Too funny.  Although he takes a Navajo language class and really loves it.  Even if he did tell people he was Puerto Rican.  Yes, go ahead and burst out laughing.  I’ll explain that one privately.

Spring break is coming up for us.  Daryl has a little money set aside, plus Ethan and I have our jar.  A year ago, last March maybe?, Ethan and decided we were saving to go to Hawaii.  Well, we’re going to open our jar and use it toward spring break.  We’ll find a little hotel somewhere with a pool and get away for a few days at least.  It’s sad because every time we do something, or I buy something, I have a terrible sense of guilt that I should be doing something more for the boys, or something I’m out of in the nurse’s office.  I guess the longer I’m here the more blessed I realize I am.

Friday Night. Quiet Night.

Good evening dear friends and family.

It’s long overdue, eh?  I think of many times in my head when I thought, “Oh … so and so would find that funny, I should blog about that.” Or, That would make a great topic to blog about….  or, “I wish I weren’t so tired… I’d go blog.”  My three words for today.  Tired.  Exhausted.  Hungry.

First a few shout outs.  There is a dear couple living somewhere in NY.  They sent us financial support to purchase shirts for the boys.  We were able to buy shirts for those who needed them, along with several packages of socks and underwear.  We also had enough left to purchase two packages of socks for the ‘little boys’ at the other end of the dorm.  I need this couple to know how much it means to us to be able to purchase such items.  I don’t want to go into what little these children have.  I want to be gracious and thankful that there are people out there, 2,000 miles away, who care.  Please, know that we are so grateful to have these items.  I do become sad when I know families are asked if they have clothes.  I wish I had the wherewithal to start a clothing ministry here.  They do have a small ‘thrift store’ in a house basement here.  There are clothing items, books, shoes that get donated.  We have made use of what we could as far as pants and some clothes.  A lot of what’s down there though is adult clothing, which is fine, too.  I found a shirt in there I can wear!  So, one of our students mothers is a weaver.  We bought a Navajo blanket from her and mailed it to the couple that has so graciously and generously supported these boys.  Eventually, Carol, if you’re reading this, we hope to purchase one for you as well, for all your prayers and cards you’ve sent.  Weavings have special meanings to the Navajo.  I didn’t think to ask if the pattern was of any significance.  Really though, we appreciate prayers.  I would buy one sooner, but sadly in the past two weeks enough donations didn’t come in to the school to make payroll.  While we do have Daryl’s small pension to fall back on, about $28,000 a year, it still is hard when neither of us got a paycheck this month.  If you think it’s hard for us, can you imagine the young people here struggling?  We have just enough to cover our mortgage back home and our car payment…  but I have a new appreciation for missionaries who live solely on donations!  What an act of faith it must be to know you rely totally on the prayers and generosity of others.  Coming here was an act of faith. 

Speaking of coming here…  we have to decide very soon whether we’re staying on another year.  What a decision!  On one hand it’s such a beautiful area.  It’s a dry and barren land, yet despite that, it’s amazing.  Even after being here 8 months, I scarce can take it in.  We went to the Grand Canyon two weeks ago.  I’m not sure if I blogged about that!  I can’t even remember when I last blogged.  No pictures, no words, can describe the majesty, they glory of God, of the Grand Canyon.  I’ve never experienced anything like it.  I can’t wait to go again.  It was definitely much, much more expensive then I anticipated.  Speaking of money… here’s how God works things out.  We really wanted to go on a vacation to Florida for a week.  A whole entire week of just relaxing… no kids, no office, no anything…  so when our request for time off was turned down, we were crushed.  I was really angry.  However, when we got our taxes back this year, in stead of the 3,000 we usually get, we only got $300!  HOLY COW!  That was a HUGE shock to the system.  Not only that, but we actually had to PAY IN for Arizona taxes.  Apparently NY is no longer giving child care credits.  And, Daryl forgot to claim our foster kids.  Although I”m not sure we had them for 6 months and one day…  it would have been close.  But I guess it wouldn’t have mattered with no NY child care credit.  So praise God we didn’t make plans to go to Florida!  We would have been in some big debt.    There’s a huge difference when you’re expecting $3,000 and you get $300… and most of that will go to AZ taxes.  Then, the administrator here announced there wasn’t enough money for payroll… yikes.  So God really was looking out for us.

We may be able to save a few hundred between now and the end of April and at lease drive to Phoenix or maybe back to the Grand Canyon for a night or two.  It’s good for us to get away.  We’ve headed in to the 4th marking period.  We’re almost done!   I think the kids are getting a bit stir crazy, the weather is warming up by leaps and bounds…  and we’re just ready for another long break.  Daryl has been struggling with one boy in particular.  Me, I can shut the doors and turn the tv or computer on.  There’s no cable, but we can watch a movie and drown out the noise!  Funny!  I really do feel bad for the boys when they act up.  They are just not taught any better.  I see kids in stores, and they just run all over the place.  They take toys apart, destroy food products, they’re loud, rude… foul mouthed…  but their parents are young, inattentive, and just seem to have no idea how to parent.  How much easier is it to ignore the behavior than deal with it…  It’s really hard to stay on top of your kids.  But we have to.  We are called to as parents!  I honestly think some people just don’t care, and some just don’t know how.  They are young themselves.  Ah, I don’t want to ramble on about parenting.  I think we all see the condition of the world.  We just need to provide loving guidance when we can.

Christian children can be just as bad.  We at times tend to think more highly of our own children than we ought.   Ethan is a great kid, but there are times when I’m told he’s done something.  It’s hard to think he would do anything, but he’s still an 11 year old boy.  We recently had an incident where some Christian children being brought up in a Christian home, I know this for a fact, where making nasty racial remarks to me and a student here who is biracial.  I wasn’t ‘hurt’ or really offended for myself, but I felt just awful for the student.  That hurt me deeply.  Then today I was reading a story on the internet about a young lady who won Miss Navajo.  She is biracial.  Her story is pretty amazing.  You can read about her here.   Miss Navajo Link

I read her story and was really impressed at this girl’s courage.

So it’s Friday night and Daryl has gone with the older kids to a Camp Meeting.  There is a revival up in Leuppe ( not sure of the spelling but it’s pronounced ‘loop’).  It’s for kids/teens so they took the older kids up.  It’s a good hour drive.  So, I have some quiet with Ethan. I don’t know if Ethan was expected to go or not.  Either way, he’s been sick with a nasty raspy cough.  Today he was running a fever but the dr is so booked up I can’t get him in until Monday morning.  Daryl will have to take him because I’ve been teaching Healthy Living (aka sex ed) first period to the 7th and 8th graders 5 days a week.  I teach the 4th to 6th graders Healthy Living two days a week after school.  I am so tired by the time I get back to the dorm.  Even backing off from helping Daryl as much with the boys, I’m still involved to some degree, I DO live here after all, so my days sometimes seem to never end.  Today was women’s BIble study at 7 am, then right to 8:30 Healthy Living, work til 3:30, then come home and work on the boys’ never ending laundry, then went to the store to buy yogurt, then home for dinner.  THEN a quiet movie with Ethan.  Now, I decided to finally update this blog!

Busy, busy days.  I wish I had more downtime!  I wish the boys did!  They really need more toys to play with.  I’d love to buy them a couple marbleworks playsets or even a racetrack and some cars.  There aren’t really any toys here.  They do play with Ethan’s Playmobil once in a while, but these kids don’t have a huge concept of PLAY.  Relax and PLAY.

They get up around 7 am or so, breakfast is at 7:55, back to the dorm to brush their teeth, make their beds, then school at 8:30.  Monday and Thrusday am is Chapel days before school.  Then classes til 3:30 for the little boys and 4 pm for the big boys.  Come home, have a snack, homework, cleaning, study hall, or Healthy Living for the girls, then dinner around 6, then activities, such as gym, computer lab etc.  Tuesday nights are prayer meetings, and Wedneday nights are kids’ clubs.  Get the idea?  not enough down time, and not enough play time… sometimes kids just need to be kids!

As long as I’m talking about kids, I need to add, if you’re reading this, please pray for healing for these children, and our staff too.  There is a nasty bug going around and we could use some prayers for healing.  Many of our staff do not have health insurance.  Going to the dr. is a hardship.  Everything is out of pocket for some of our staff, so this cold is especially hard on them.  The students don’t always have access to health care… Being Navajo doesn’t guarantee you health insurance.  Yes, they do have some, but they also have to pay.  They have to get what’s called Access, which is like NY Medicaid.  So they rely heavily on Arizona’s welfare system.  Their Nation insurance pays some, but not all.

On a funny note, I had a conversation with a dorm parent of the little girls.  I was laughing because I swear in 8 months, I have yet to have a single day pass where one of the boys doesn’t pass gas.  Farting.  I swear all these boys do is fart.  I bought fiber gummies.  The boys call them fart pills, because they really do break up the gas and get things moving.  They really need more fiber in their diets.  However, it’s $12 for a bottle and they don’t last long!  I wish I had the money to pay for vitamins for these kids.  I give Ethan two megavitamins a day, but it would cost a fortune to buy them for 8 students.

Oh, totally changing the subject, back to Miss Navajo, there is no swimsuit competition, they have to butcher a sheep.  Yes, really. Amongst other things, this is a requirement.  Interesting to read.  While I don’t care to think about the slaughter of animals, I do like to eat meat occasionally.  So, sadly you can’t have one without the other.

Speaking of eating, I have lost about 10 pounds.    It’s taken me about 6 weeks.  Two words, PORTION CONTROL.  I was eating half a bag of chex mix and looked at the portion size one day.  It was a third of a cup.  wow.  I was really surprised.  I measured out 1/3 of a cop of chex mix, and it’s not much!  I also have been walking a mile or more a day.  Between portion controll and daily walks, I’m really doing well.  I’ve had to totally rethink my eating habits!

There isn’t much more to say.  Well, there is, but I”m honestly falling asleep at the wheel here.  It’s 1:30 am in NY!  But I took some cough medicine so literally nodding off.  We’re out of Delsym in the nurse’s office.  Pray for Delsym too.  Ha ha!  Sounds funny, but it’s true!  Last summer and Fall we had a lot of donations, benadryl, tylenol, female items, etc.  But I think once winter rolls around  people have heating bills, and it makes it harder in the winter.  It’s really hard to live in a place solely run on donations and the good will of others.  We go without a lot.  On the other hand, the rewards of working with these children more than make up for sometimes!  We need more missionaries to the Native Americans.  Sure we go off to Paupua New Guinea, or Africa, or Russia,but what about right here in Arizona? 

AH well, let’s stay happy.  HOpefully I can write more tomorrow, my eyes are closing….