Monthly Archives: May 2015

Honduran Trip Preparations: Confessions of a Reformed Night Owl

Or I should say, a nearly reformed night owl.

I admit it.  I have been a night owl for decades.  A night owl of night owls.   My creativity typically  burns brightest and best between the hours of 10 pm and 2 am.  I can have a hard, stressful, exhausting day, crash on the couch for an hour after dinner, and then the Energizer Bunny kicks in.  All it takes is that one spark of imagination for a creative project, and I’m off and running.  I’ll glance at the clock after what seemed like minutes, and be shocked that it’s already 2,3 or even 4 am.  Or if my ears start ringing, then I know it’s about 4 am.

So last year before my trip to Honduras, I was working on my final project in the Visual Communications program at my local community college.  That final project actually was this website, Trusty’s Mailbag, in its infancy.   When I found out that the deadline had been moved up by a couple weeks, I realized that I could no longer count on finishing this assignment after I got back home.  It had to be finished before my trip, and I only had 2 weeks to do it.

Enter the Energizer Bunny mode.  Ta-dah!

Every spare minute outside of work and packing was spent creating this website, and I was staying up till at least 2 am every night, though more often than not till 4am, and I even pulled a couple of all-nighters.  My project was submitted before my trip. I got an A on the project, an A in the class, I aced the entire program, and I was happy with a job well done.

But I was exhausted.  Exhausted, and overweight from keeping a similar intense schedule throughout the entire 2-3 years of school.

Arriving at SeaTac airport, I discovered that my suitcases were about 12 lbs overweight, so that meant going through them, pulling out all the books and anything else heavy, and stuffing them to my already way too heavy knapsack bulging with cameras, my laptop, and more.  I was casting longing eyes at the travelers who were pulling a small suitcase on wheels for their carry-on, because my knees were buckling under the weight of carrying that knapsack.

I showed up in Honduras very tired and run down, with seriously swollen, hurting ankles and knees.  Certainly not the condition that I wanted to be in for this incredibly precious trip that I had been planning all year long!  I loved every minute of my time in Honduras, but did not want a repeat performance of feeling exhausted and sick for my next trip…  or for any future trips, for that matter.

So a few months ago, I remembered all of this, and decided to make the necessary changes in my lifestyle so that I would be in good condition before heading back to Honduras in July.  Actually, I didn’t want this just for Honduras, but for my life in general~!  The Energizer Bunny kicked in again, but this time for everything that would produce health.  Top of my list was getting proper rest and losing weight.

Getting Proper Rest

Okay, so that’s easier said than done for a night owl.  But I quickly discovered that it was very do-able once I implemented all the changes that I had decided upon, like daily exercise.  My goal was to be in bed by 9:30, and let the creative Energizer Bunny go to work in the early morning… or the afternoon after I got home from work.  I haven’t made it to bed that early every night, but it’s definitely becoming more normal than not.

And wow…  I discovered that if I go to bed by 9-10, I can actually get up at 5-6 in the morning with no problem.  Who knew?  Lol…

Losing Weight

 After 3 years of school, and dealing with a few different injuries to my knees, back, and arms over the past few years, I faced the unpleasant reality that I needed to lose 40-50 lbs. 


The year before my 50th birthday, I decided to give myself a special 50th birthday present.  I would lose 50 lbs, and it was a very achievable goal by losing only 1 lb/week, with 2 weeks off for Christmas.  Lol…  But I did it.  Actually, I lost the 50 lbs in 4 months, not a year!  I was going down a dress size every 3 weeks, and went from a size 16 to a size 4.  It was so easy on my mostly raw plant food diet with its fresh raw juices and salads, exercising a little bit every day, and drinking at least 8 cups of water. 

I knew I could do it again, and this time for good.  So far I’ve achieved about 1/3 of my goal, and am determined to do the best that I can in these next 7 weeks before I leave for Honduras.  Already the swollen knee issue I was battling again is resolved, and I have tons of energy.  Yay! 

In a series of upcoming blog posts, I will share specifics of what I am doing, with recipies, ideas, and encouragement for those of you who have been struggling with some of these same issues.  I know there are many sponsors who want to visit their children, but are unable to because of health, financial, or fear issues.  I want to address each of these, and hopefully see many other sponsors set free to do the traveling that we long to do, to be a blessing, and receive His blessings as we go. 



Children’s Delight

Trusty by Reina

With all the exciting preparations for my upcoming Compassion trip to Honduras… advocating for children, shopping for gifts for my 11 children plus their siblings and a few of their friends, planning visit days, packing, and working 6 days/week to finish earning the money I need for this trip… I suddenly realized that I am waaaay behind in my correspondence with my kids~!  So while my heart is still to see the remaining 12 children I have available receive sponsors before our team arrives mid-July, I’ve been enjoying a sweet time immersed in a pile of my children’s letters.

The letters from three of my 9-10 year old girls brought an extra delight… they each included their own sweet drawing of Trusty.  Over and again, my children — from the youngest of them to my teens — remind me how delighted they are playing the “Trusty Game,” with me.  These recent drawings expressing that delight have been in response to a few different “Trusty Letters”  that I sent over the holidays.  I’m so impressed with each one of these drawings, and each child warms my heart and makes me smile.

Trusty by Reina

“Trusty’s Happy Market Day” by Reina, 9 years old, Honduras

I love the sweet face that Reina drew of Trusty, with smiling eyes even! And look at the detail on the fetlocks…  I’m impressed!  Reina’s letter spilled over onto another full sheet of paper, and I love that she answered many of my questions, shared about things she has been learning at her project, and chatted about her life.  Her whole letter reflected exuberance and delight.  Reina has such a precious heart, and I can hardly wait to meet her on her visit day in 8 weeks~!! 

When Reina wrote this letter, she wouldn’t have known that I’m coming to visit this summer, but look at how she ended her letter…


GabiGabriela delights me with her frequent letters that give me glimpses into her life in Romania, such as the food her family prepared for Christmas…  “cabbage, sausages, stake, and pig’s trotters.”  I had written to my children about my painting that I entered in the county fair last summer which took the blue ribbon, so Gabi wrote, “I do not have the chance to participate in such fairs, but I congratulate you for the prizes and your talent.  I don’t have a big talent, but I will draw something for you and send it.”  Here is her sweet picture of Trusty with the children, gathering her inspiration from the coloring pages that I sent.  I love her drawing and will continue to encourage her, and each of my children, in their artistic endeavors.

Trusty by Gabriela

“Trusty & the Children” by Gabriela, 10 years old, Romania

And again, a comment in one of her letters reminds me of the main reason that I have created this website…  to encourage sponsors (including myself~!) to write to our sponsored children, so that as many children as possible will be receiving letters.  Even little postcards or brief online email letters sent consistently throughout the year will remind our children that they are valued and loved.  I’m having so much fun catching up with my correspondence after this bit of a “drought.”

DevoraDevora is one of my World Vision children in the Dominican Republic, and she always draws delightful, full page pictures that are sent with the letters that her older sister writes on her behalf.   Devora’s drawing is in response to the Trusty’s Christmas Travels letter that I sent last fall, encouraging the children to observe beautiful art prints of Joseph and Mary traveling to Bethlehem, and then again on their flight to Egypt.  I love that she thoughtfully created her own drawing of the story, and I smile to see Trusty grazing in the bushes.  I thought it was interesting that she included a pipe for water.  And of course, how fun that she labeled her people, indicating where baby Jesus is in her drawing!

Trusty by Devora

“Trusty’s Christmas Travels” by Devora, 9 years old, Dominican Republic

By sending my children art prints of stories that I am writing to them about, they are encouraged to make their own observations and to think about the stories.  Here is Devora’s response to the winter letter…

Each of these girls recently had updated photos… I discovered Devora’s new photo last night as I was writing online letters.  Yay!  I love seeing each of these girls in their new photos, and their dear hearts and faces make my heart sing.

So if you haven’t written your child in awhile, or are looking for some ideas of what to write, check out some of the ideas in the Creative Letters section… and let your child’s heart sing to hear from you.



Awed by His Perfect Answer

Visiting Daniela's Project

Visiting at “Breezes of Paradise” with Daniela and her pastor

Last summer when I was on a trip to visit two of my sponsored children in Honduras,  I was surprised by an emotion that I didn’t anticipate feeling. 


Granted, it only happened on the last day of my wonderful trip.  I stayed an extra few days on my own after our team left for home in order to visit my girl, Daniela, who lives in a different part of the country.  Being on my own for the special day with Daniela was not the problem, but rather that there was no one to share this incredibly precious time together with.

Throughout the year, I prayed for a traveling companion for this year’s trip, not only for the safety factor in having someone to be with while I would be on my own again after the group tour, but more importantly to have someone to share the joy together in visiting more children.  Each friend or relative that I thought might be a possibility, was unable to go. 

And so I wondered…  and prayed.

As I have been advocating for precious children from His Kingdom Here project, I have been messaging back and forth with a number of people who have been interested.  Right from the beginning of talking with a precious sponsor named Lori, there was a special connection, and while she was very interested in the children who needed to be sponsored as well as the trip itself, it made no sense in the natural, as she said, for her to go on this trip.  But it was so clearly apparent that God was directing her to go, and in a series of small miracles ~~ in our opinion! ~~ God opened the door for Lori to be part of this special Vision Tour, to sponsor a child from the new project, and for us to be traveling companions together for the whole trip. 

Lori with her Guatemalan princess, Iraida

Lori is well versed in traveling to visit sponsored children ~~ Haiti, Tanzania, and Guatemala ~~  and knows the special ministry that the Lord works in our own lives as well in the lives of the children as a result of making these trips.  I think this is part of what makes this so special to both of us, that we are each anticipating seeing God’s hand at work, knowing His Presence, and hearing His voice throughout this trip.  He faithfully does this in our lives day in and day out, but there is something very special about going on these trips and seeing His heart for these children. 

God had such a perfect answer for my prayers!  Though Lori and I have never met before in person, and we live half way across the USA from each other, we’ll be meeting in Houston for our connecting flights to Honduras.  I am so grateful for this new friend, and it is already such a joy to be sharing God’s answers to prayer, as well as planning a special Princess Day together for seven of our Honduran girls in honor of the Quinceanera for two of them.  So much blessing!!

All throughout the past few weeks, God has surprised us with His “whispers”, as Lori calls them, and seeing Him work in the many details of preparing for this trip.  And the more that I see what He is doing, I am all the more excited to see what He will do on this trip.  I know I will continue to be awed by His perfect answers.

Would you like to be part of His perfect answer for a precious child?  Today is Ludin’s 10th birthday, and she has been waiting and wondering who He will provide as a sponsor for her.  I will also send the full resolution sized princess photo for her new sponsor to use as a special delight for Ludin.  You can read her story here, and if you want to be part of a beautiful answer to prayer, contact me here.   

Happy 10th birthday!

Happy 10th birthday, sweet Ludin Arely!


I’m anticipating His next whisper!