Adventures in Horses


Untying G from the trailer, he thoughtfully lowered his head down, allowing me to place the reigns over his ears.  After coaxing my horse over as close to our trailer as I could possible get him to go,  I climbed up onto the finder well.  Leaning over, carefully reaching for the saddle horn, I jumped from the trailer onto the saddle.  He stood very quiet while I leaned over, situating my feet in the stirrups.   Reaching for the reigns now, I was ready to go and so was he.

I rode over to where my dad was waiting, and he led us to the arena and we went over the barrel pattern a couple of times while waiting for my turn.  “Right inside… figure 8 to the left inside…head to the right side of the third barrel and then bring him home.”  Nothing too complicated, especially when the majority of the ride, for this little girl, was done at a trot.

In the alley way now, my dad pats me on the knee and smiles.  Meanwhile, I am pleading with him to please not swat G on the rear with his hat, like he does with my older sisters, as I head out.  I was happy to come out of the alley way at a very slow trot.  He assures me that he won’t, but I still keep a close eye on his hand, making sure he doesn’t bring it up to his hat as I kick my horse forward, toward the first barrel.  He keeps his word, of course.1931542_65036701756_5574220_n

I round the first barrel, no problem.  The second barrel is in my sights and we trot around it and head to the third.  G begins to slow so I kick a little to keep his speed at a trot, but he is being stubborn, insisting on slowing down and I immediately recognize this suspicious behavior.

I begin kicking frantically to no avail.  G comes to a complete stop right between the second and third barrels and I begin to hear all the people in the stands laughing.


I understand that when you got to go, you got to go, but come on!  He couldn’t of waited just a couple more seconds before relieving himself? I was so mad I could have spit.  I should have spit, right between his ears! I kicked, and kicked, and kicked, for what seemed like an eternity, and he pooped.

I was beyond relieved when he finally finished and began moving forward again.  I think I rounded that third barrel and ran that stinkin horse “home” as fast I had ever rode, just to get out of sight of all those people.

Daddy was waiting, as always, to tell me I had done a good job, and he did.  I don’t remember much else after that, except the feeling of being laughed at while I sat on a pooping horse is etched in my memory forever.  Needless to say, I probably had the slowest time in the history of barrel racing.

Although, at the time I was furious with my horse and embarrassed beyond consoling, moments like these were what made my childhood great.  These are the things I look back on now and laugh at.  These are the moments I cherish.

G and I didn’t always see eye to eye, but he left hoof prints on my heart.

Best Peanut Butter Cookies, EVER!

With the temperatures finally beginning to drop a little, I don’t mind using my oven quite as much.  So, when I had a craving for something sweet, I was more inclined to whip up something from scratch then drive 20 minutes into town to satisfy my craving.

I wanted something quick and easy, so I decided on my peanut butter cookies.  This recipe is very simple but still so very good. cookiescookie-recipe-2

First, preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  Next, mix together in a medium sized mixing bowl your sugars, peanut butter, shortening, margarine, vanilla extract, and egg.

Next, stir in your remaining ingredient.  This will be your flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. This will form a stiff cookie dough.


Shape into about one inch balls of dough, and place them on a non-greased cookie sheet, about an inch to an inch and a half apart.  Using a fork, gently press down on the dough in one direction and then press in the opposite direction, creating a crisscross pattern.

Bake in a 375 degree, preheated oven for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned.  Cool for 2 minutes and remove from cookie sheet.  This makes approximately 40 cookies.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.


A Fun and Free Approach to Teaching Geography

wp-1475509997625.pngWe are approaching Geography a little different this year.  Because it seems that my kids have been enjoying it much more this year, I would like to share what we are doing.

I read an article a while back on how one homeschool mom alternates Science, History, and Geography throughout the year.  I really liked the thought of this approach, and so, we decided to try it this year.

We chose to study one subject and alternate weekly.  Our first week we chose Geography.  I gave a lot of thought about what I wanted to teach: geographical terms, how to study a map, Longitude and Latitude lines, or a specific country, continent, state, or city.   After racking my brain for several minutes and looking into some online resources, I came up with an idea.

I sat my kids down and began to lay out the plan, mainly to see what kind of reaction I would get.  In my dreams, I would have received huge smiles, great big hugs, along with unending praise of what an awesome mom I am and how fun this was going to be. There would also be balloons, streamers, and a huge slice of cheesecake. It’s my dream, okay!  Instead, I got what I usually get, which was a couple of, “okays”, and shoulder shrugs.  In my house, unless we  just announced that we were going to Disney World, this is a typical acceptance of things to come.

My plan was to have them close their eyes, spin the globe and wherever their finger landed on the globe, stopping it, they would do research on that area.  I decided to make it four days of research, and on Friday they would present their project.

Some of the things I wanted them to learn about was what continent and country they had landed on.  They had to give me the Longitude and Latitude lines, what bordered their country, whether it be other countries or water.  They were encouraged to list some geographical features, climate, and what animals lived in that area as well.  My son went as far as telling me if his country was a democracy or not.  They had to give references of where they obtained their information as well.  They were to work on their project each day for 15-30 minutes.

I can not tell you how many times they came up to me throughout the week showing me something interesting they had found and telling me all about it.

On Friday, they took turns standing in front of their sibling and myself, reading off all the cool facts and information they had found.  Not only did they learn about their own country.  They also got to listen to each other, learning about another country as well.

The following Monday, my daughter asked when were we going to start Geography for the day, and I reminded her that this week was science.  To my amazement, she was very disappointed that she had to wait to do Geography for a couple of weeks.

I can safely say, this one is a keeper.

Learning to Milk a Cow

First fieldtrip of the year, we learned all about pasteurization and even got to milk a cow.  We also got to bring home 3/4 of a gallon of raw milk that we milked that day.

Meet Anna Bell.  She is a full blooded Jersey cow.0915161319.jpg

Anna Bell was very patient with my kids as they struggled to learn the technique of milking.  Our friend, who was kind enough to let us come out to experience this first hand, was a fantastic teacher, and it wasn’t long before my daughter had a good grasp on the situation.  No pun intended, haha.0915161327a.jpg


My son, even at a small disadvantage, managed to help fill the bucket.


All in all it was a fantastic day and very educational.  Homeschooling at its finest, in my opinion.

Don’t Interrupt Me!

I am trying desperately to have a civilized, adult conversation with my friend.  We are right in the middle of trying to convince the other who is more worn out.  I did say “civilized”, we weren’t fighting, and “adult”, two adults conversing.  Don’t judge!  Suddenly, to my right, I feel a tap.

All of my nerves are in complete working order.  I felt the tap, I just chose to ignore it and hope that it would go back from whence it came.  Unfortunately, I am not that lucky.  Another tap, a little more aggressive this time.  Yes, I felt that one too.  I guess I am a glutton for punishment, because I chose to shrug that one off and continue in my conversation.

Then the, “Mom”, starts.  I turn my head to the direction of the interrupter, with such force I almost give myself whiplash.  Then I shoot that horrific glare that promises pain and agony if they continue down the path they are on.  They take the hint and decide to stand and wait patiently for an opening.  Obviously, this opening didn’t come quick enough so, the tapping starts again.

That is IT!  I can’t take it anymore, I spin around and let ’em have it.  “Do not EVER interrupt two adults when they are speaking.  That is so rude!  You know better!”  Then, “But mom!”  “Don’t ‘but mom’ me!”  Said child, then slinks off rather defeated and embarrassed from the lashing I just gave him in front of my friend, who is grinning the whole time, because she too has been there and is just grateful that at that moment in time her child is off playing and not causing the problem.

The rest of my adult conversation consisted of head shakes, eye rolls, and when will they learn, all from my end, of course.

We have all been there.  I remember on numerous occasions growing up, trying to wait patiently while my mom talked.  It was so agonizing to have to wait for a break in the conversation, that you were not sure would ever even come.  I even catch myself doing the same thing to my husband when I am needing his attention.  I am sure we have all done it or at least experienced the frustrations of being interrupted.

The reason I am sharing all this is because, while I was working with my son on his math lesson today, he said something that will change the way I interact with him from now on.  He said, “This is so easy.”  I rolled my eyes and said, “This is exactly what we did yesterday that took you two hours to get through.” “But since you sat with me and helped me through each problem, I am able to do it by myself today, without your help,” he continued, “you didn’t let me tell you that yesterday.”

See, yesterday was one of those days where I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong.  He was just doing basic division, for crying out loud.  He knows this, he has done it a million times, without my help.  He shouldn’t need it now.

Everytime  he would start to say something or ask for help, I would INTERRUPT him.  Everytime he looked distracted, when actually he just needed help, I wouldn’t listen to him. I would tell him that he knows this and should be able to do it on his own.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I ended up sitting next to him and walking him through each problem, but my attitude about having to do that made him feel “stupid”.   Instead of telling him it was okay and we all need a good refresher, I reiterated the fact that he had done this before and shouldn’t need help.

My point is, if I had just let him speak, without interrupting him and really listened to what he was trying to tell me, maybe yesterday would have gone a whole lot smoother for both of us.  I would have realized that he wasn’t just makin excuses and trying to get out of doing his math.  He just needed some refreshing and a little bit of patience on my part.  That is a work in progress, by the way.

If I am expecting him to be respectful and not interrupt me when I am speaking, then I should at least give him the same respect.  I find myself cutting him off a lot.  I don’t allow him the opportunity to explain his point of view without jumping in and letting him know how my view is better.  He is a smart kid and I need to learn to be a better listener and to stop interrupting.

Back to School

wp-1471533585893.pngWe officially started back to school this week.  I had initially planned on starting back on August the 8th, but due to some family stuff, we started on the 15th (one of the awesome benefits of homeschooling).

So, I just wanted to give a few words of encouragement, by letting you in on how our week went.  Yes, the beginning may not seem very encouraging, but I promise, it gets better.

Let me just start off by saying that our Monday was a typical Monday.  You know, the kind of Monday that makes you want to crawl back in your bed, hide under your covers, and continually repeat, “This too shall pass,” over and over in your head.  Yep, that was my Monday.

See, we are trying a new internet program.  My daughter loves it and like I have mentioned before, she is very self motivated, so I don’t have to do much for her unless she has a question about something.  My son, on the other hand, hated the program and face planted on my bed after about an hour of arguing with his tablet, and mumbling under his breath all the things he would rather be doing.

So, there I was, thinking that I had everything set for the year and he throws a rather impressive curve ball.  I left the pitiful child on my bed and retreated to the computer.  After a small meltdown on my part, (at least I didn’t face plant on my bed along with my child) I began figuring out what his school year would look like… again.  BTW, I don’t know what I would do if I was homeschooling during a time without the internet and all the resources it provides.

Needless to say, I got my ducks back in a row or at least in the same pond, and set him up with a more hands on approach that he needs.  I printed out multiple worksheets and a planner to write down his daily assignments on, and there you are.  I crawled out from under my blankets and acted like an adult.  By the way, I hate adulting, just FYI.

The remainder of the week went without incident, or at least nothing interesting enough to share.  Now I am just waiting for the next pitch and hopefully, with the help of my children, we can hit it out of the park.  There will always be those days where you just want to retreat to a dark corner and give up, but if you just hang in there, “This too shall pass.”

Leave a comment, I would love to hear about how your first days back are going.


10 Ways to Keep Your Sanity as a Homeschool Mom

Being a mom is a huge responsibility and at times can be very stressful and even overwhelming, but then, add homeschool to the title of “mom” and you have added whole new level of anxiety and stress.  Because of this, I have compiled a short list to help keep you sane during your homeschooling journey.wp-1470419943881.png

    No, I am not talking about a textbook or a book about homeschooling.  Get a book from your favorite author and READ!
    Field trips are awesome.  They get you out of the house, and your kids are still learning.  Take advantage of every opportunity you have.  Find a homeschool group in your area and get active.
    I have found that if I stay active and exercise, my overall energy level and mood are better.
    There are some weeks that just need to be four days instead of five.  Take advantage of the fact that you can do this now that you homeschool.  In fact, our typical homeschool week is four days.  It works better for us and we use that fifth day to go visiting, hang out with our friends, or just chill out at the house.
    Let your children help around the house.  Depending on the age of your children, there are plenty of things they can do to help you around the house, allowing you extra time to do things that only you can do.  Teaching your children to cook and clean won’t just benefit you, but it will be something they will use for the rest of their lives.
    It is so important that you don’t put your relationship with your husband on the back burner.  That relationship comes before your children.  It isn’t going to do your kids any good if their parents are having marital issues due to a lack of intimate time together.  You need that time with one another to reconnect and just have fun.
    Obviously these aren’t in any particular order, or this would be #1.  I can not tell you how many times I have had to just stop what I was doing (teaching) and put my head in my hands and pray.  Nothing long and extensive, just a couple of seconds of, “please help me through this and not lose my cool.”  It is unreal how much that can relax me, just acknowledging that I need help. This also gives you the opportunity to just take a couple of deep breaths and regroup.  Prayer has been huge for me during this whole process.  Don’t put God on the back burner either.  Earlier I said your relationship with your husband comes first, well, that is right after your relationship with God!
    Being able to discuss your issues and concerns about homeschooling with other people who are also going through the same things, is such a blessing.  You will find out really quick that you are not alone, and having this support is truly a must.  It is also nice to just be able to vent sometimes, release that tension.
    This is so important, at least for me. I need my alone time to recharge my battery so I am at least a halfway, normal functioning, human being.  I am never a fully normal, normal is overrated.
    If you aren’t liking the curriculum you are using, find something else.  If your kids are dreading their work, every, single day, then maybe it is time to try something different.  Mix it up, and have fun with it.  I am fully aware that there are always going to be things that we have to teach our kids, that are just not as fun or interesting as other subjects, but it shouldn’t always be a drag and a constant dread.

Learning should be fun and if you aren’t taking care of yourself then it is going to become just another chore that you are just trying to get through, each day.

May God bless you, as you find joy within your journey.

Living in a Third World Country (Part 5: The Close of a Chapter)


Me singing with a small group of Christians from the San Fernando church of Christ.

As time went on and the weeks turned into months and months into years, Trinidad became a part of who I was.  Just like every move before, I adjusted and thrived.  I was very active with the young people at San Fernando Church of Christ and was even able to participate in my dad’s six week Greek class at the school.  I participated in any crusades we were having or tent meetings.  On multiply occasions, while my dad preached on a street corner, I was there and enjoying the fellowship with other Christians and the opportunity to share the Good News to anyone who was willing to listen.


My dad holding a “spot” meeting.


The food became something I craved and still do to this day. Oh, to be able to bite into some Shark and Bake, while gazing out over the ocean at Maracas Bay.  What I wouldn’t give to be able to have my dad walk through the front door with our mid-morning snack, Doubles.  I wish I had payed more attention to my good friend Kiba, as she tried to teach me how to cook some of my favorite dishes.  I keep saying that one day I am going to attempt to cook some Roti.  As many times as I complained about the smell of the curry dishes cooking so early in the morning, I would give anything to smell that smell again.  You don’t miss it till it’s gone.


My awesome friend Kiba and one of the best Trini cooks I know.


Being in Trinidad for two years was one of the most amazing experiences of my life.  I grew so much as a person and as a Christian and I know that I am a better person because of it.  I know my parents had their doubts about uprooting their two youngest children and moving them to another part of the world, but I am so glad that they took the chance and allowed us those opportunities that so few get to experience.

As I think back on it all, I am reminded of something my oldest sister told me not long before we moved.  She and I were riding in her truck and knowing how upset and scared I was about leaving, she reminded me of the scripture in First Corinthians 10:13.  Even though this scripture was referring to temptations and that God would not allow you to be tempted more than you could handle and He would always provide a way to escape those temptations, at this moment in my life, it reminded me that I was not alone in this journey, God would be with me.  God would see me through the difficult times and help me to overcome, and He did!

Living In a Third World Country (Part 4: Clean Your Plate)



I had mentioned earlier in, Living in a Third World Country (Part 2: Getting Settled), that we stayed with an American couple for a couple of weeks, while waiting for our own house to be ready and our crates to arrive.  We had to stay with them for around two or three weeks, and while there was plenty of room for us in their house, it still wasn’t 100% comfortable for me.  This wasn’t my house so I always felt like I had to be on my absolute best behavior.  I wasn’t really happy being in Trinidad yet, and I felt like I had to put on a happy face while I was there.

Parker and Donna had been missionaries for the majority of their lives.  They lived and worked in Thailand for many years before moving to Trinidad where they had been for around 20 years.  Parker was the director, and taught different Biblical topics at the San Fernando School of Preaching and Teaching, and Donna passionately taught music there also.  They both took there jobs very seriously and were very well respected there.  It wasn’t long before I felt the same towards them as the majority of anyone who ever met them would.  They were and still are a very cherished couple to many, many people.

That being said, I can’t say that this was how I felt about them to begin with, and it took a little while before I did.  Don’t get me wrong, I always appreciated them and was thankful for everything they did for us during those first several weeks, but at this point, I needed to be coddled and handled very carefully or I lost it and would start crying, again.  I know, I sound like a big baby, and I was!  I am not denying that one bit.  I was always a very sensitive child and in this particular situation, I was extra sensitive.

Parker, for me, was just easier to get along with in the beginning than Donna.  I don’t know if he felt sorry for me and made a point to be extra kind, or if he was just scared of me, walking on egg shells around me, so as not to set off the overly emotional teenage girl living in his home.  Either way, I don’t remember having too much of an issue with him in particular.

Now, Donna, on the other hand, she was and still is, I’m sure, a very strong willed woman.  She was tough, and strong and to be honest, she scared me a little, and if I wasn’t living in her house, with her rules, we probably would have gotten along swimmingly from the start.  What is funny about the whole thing is that the stuff that really irked me the most, while I was there, is the same things that I make my own children do now, like keeping your bed made and room clean, and picking up after yourself after you eat.  I mean really, can you imagine having to make your own bed and put away your dishes, WOW, was I ever mistreated.  HA!!  I have one particular story I want to share that describes the whole atmosphere perfectly.

Every place has critters that tend to enjoy the comforts of our homes, even if we don’t particularly enjoy their company.  In Trinidad, ours was the dreaded sugar ants.  You know, those teeny, tiny black ants that tend to get in your sugar or cereal.  Well, one afternoon we had been invited over to eat lunch at Parker and Donna’s house.  I took my regular seat, to the right of Parker, who sat at the foot of the table.  The food was blessed and it began making its way around the table.

Everyone began eating and I took a couple of bites of my food, including a bite or two of some peas.  While I was chewing and rather enjoying my peas I began peering down into my plate, I realized that something wasn’t quite right about the peas I was enjoying so very much.  As I took a closer look, I realized that, sure enough, these weren’t your ordinary peas, nope these peas were extra special.  As discretely as I possible could, I got my mom’s attention and directed it to the peas on my plate.  As she studied them, she came to the same realization and confirmed my deepest fears, that wasn’t pepper mixed in with our peas, nope, those were ants, not just a couple of ants, there were enough ants in those peas to give you the protein you needed in order to survive for a week without food.

We informed Donna of this and she examined them and decided that they were not ants, it was just pepper but she sure didn’t convince me and I don’t think she convinced anyone else around the table of it either, but being the respectful individuals that we were and knowing that in this house you completely cleaned your plate, we continued eating.

I was so proud of myself when I finally finished that last bite, so proud, that I pointed it out to whoever it was that was sitting to my right, which couldn’t have been but a couple of seconds of bragging triumphantly.  As I settled back into my chair with a proud sigh of relief, I glanced down, one last time, at my plate. To my astonishment and horror, there was another serving of those ant peas.  I wish I could’ve had a picture taken right at that moment of what my face must have looked like as I tried to figure out where in the world these things came from.  Manna from above was not an option, and Donna was at the opposite end of the table, there was no way she served it to me.

This bewilderment, on my part, only lasted a second or two, it became as clear as crystal, as soon as I glanced to my left. See, the quiet little man, sitting to my left, who had decided he wasn’t going to eat his peas, he was going to be brave and defy the woman sitting on the opposite side of the table, regardless of the consequences or at least this was what I thought as I watched him not eat his peas, while I forced mine down.  No, this man, seeing that I was able to keep them down, while I was turned to the right, bragging about finishing mine, dumped his, on my plate, and then sat, just as proud and triumphant as I had been five seconds earlier.  It was written all over his face.  Parker had won, he was still in good with his wife, and he knew good and well that I would eat those peas without a word, which I did.  You would think that this would’ve angered me but oddly enough, it just endeared him to me more, because now we had a moment, a secret, and a story to tell.

As the months continued on, Parker and Donna, easily became my family.  I adopted them as my grandparents and I adored them and still do today.  One of my proudest moments was when Donna asked me to teach her a song.  She new the basics to it but needed help with the alto.  She was a very strong alto and so for her to be asking me for help was one of the proudest moments for me.  I loved sitting next to her during church or anywhere we went.  She is one of those people that when she hugs you, you had better take a deep breath and brace yourself, because she hugs like a bear.  It was the same when she would hold your hand, tight and strong.  I love them dearly and they will always hold a very special place in my heart.


Living in a Third World Country (Part 3: Waking Up My Senses)


If you have not read, Living in a Third World Country: Part 1 and 2, you can find them here, Living in a Third World Country (part 1: Another Move), Living in a Third World Country (Part 2: Getting Settled)

That was the turning point for me, I believe.  After that night I had my “group”.  After that night I had been drawn out of my bubble and it opened up a whole new and exciting world.

Now, I haven’t done much descriptive talk about living in this country and how different everything really was for me.  Coming from Texas, I was unfamiliar with how the tropics looked and even felt.  I moved from a very dry, west Texas, and so the differences in atmosphere alone were shocking enough.  Yes, I was use to an overwhelming heat, but the humidity in this place was something I had never experienced before.  We were dealing with a 90 to 100% humidity at all times.  If you are unfamiliar with the Caribbean, it basically has two seasons, the rainy season and the dry season.  In the rainy season it rained everyday, the dry season was every other day.  I did enjoy the showers we would get during the day.

The smells, on the other hand, weren’t quite as enjoyable, especially in the beginning.  For the most part, people did not have air conditioning in their homes, we were not an exception.  So, because of this, our windows, along with everyone else on the Island, stayed open 24-7.  This promised that you were going to experience all the sounds and smells of the Island.  Sometimes, like after a rain, those smells were fantastic.  Other times, and for the majority of the time, you were smelling what everyone was cooking, and this didn’t begin around lunch, nope, this started first thing in the morning.  It was the most intrusive curry smell I had ever experienced.  I had not began to even tolerate this smell until months after we had moved there, mainly because I was not a fan of the food, quite yet.

Then there was the fantastic smell of the sugarcane factory.  If you have never smelled a sugarcane factory, there is no way to describe it.  It is a smell all in its own, and for me, it wasn’t a good one.  Now, the longer you live in an area, the less offensive these smells become, sometimes they even begin to grow on you and don’t cause you to completely gag.  The sugarcane mills did grow on me and that smell no longer bothered me too bad.  The continued curry smell, on the other hand, was never a smell I looked forward to at 6 o’clock in the morning.  By the time lunch rolled around, it smelled better, but bacon or coffee is all anyone should have to smell, that early, or donuts!

One of the only things I didn’t ever find myself complaining about was the scenery.  It was the Caribbean, after all.  It was amazing to me to finally see a palm tree that wasn’t on television or in a magazine.   The majority of the beaches in Trinidad weren’t much to write home about, but it was still a beach, something else I had never experienced.  Don’t get me wrong, there were beaches on the Island that were magazine worthy.  Maracas Bay was that place for us.  Tobago, Trinidad’s sister island was the place you really wanted to be, if you were a tourist and the only reason you were there was for the beaches.  I did make it over to Tobago for a week, and it didn’t disappoint.

Our home was what most people would consider a beach house.  It was on stilts and we lived upstairs and parked underneath.  The inside of our particular house was pretty normal. Three bedroom, two bath, with an open floor living, dining, and kitchen area.  It was a nice house for this country.  I think the oddest thing about it was that it was gated.  There was a doorbell on the gate and  if you had a visitor, instead of knocking on the front door, you rang the bell and we would come out to the balcony and yell from there.  You can keep your gate open but with dad gone most of the day at school, we typically kept it closed and locked.  Now I am aware that this is not strictly a Trinidad thing, but when you live in Texas, it is odd.


Now, as I ventured off with my dad, when he was evangelizing and going from door to door to share the Gospel, I came to a quick realization that we were truly blessed to be living where we were.  I remember going in one home that was pretty much on 4 posts and had a wooden ladder you climbed to get in.  It was tiny inside for this young, growing, three person family.  One small couch was in the living room and the bedroom was about 3 feet, directly across from the couch, separated by a curtain.  The kitchen was large enough to have a stove and a small fridge and one person in it at a time.  I do not remember seeing a bathroom.  A rain barrel was the only “fresh” water they had for cooking and cleaning, which was a typical fixture for all the houses on the Island.  Despite all of this, they were the most hospitable people I had ever met, offering up something to drink and large plates of food.  They just wanted to share anything they had and were beyond joyful to do it.   Seeing something like that and then seeing how generous they are, really makes you reevaluate everything.

I would come to appreciate things I never even considered before, things I easily took for granted.  It was impossible not to.