Cookie Mania

The timer will ding in 2.5 minutes and I'll be back to work! December is cookie month. We make chocolate chip cookies and wrap them up pretty to sell to friends and neighbors. They like to give this special treat to friends and family for Christmas, so far, it's proven to be nothing less than success! Welp, there's the ding, gotta run!


Home Sweet Home

One week ago we began our 24 hour journey back home to Brazil. 7 days has already seemed like months! We are settled in and getting back into the swing of things. We both caught a stomach virus en route. Maicol was nice enough to let me get sick the first day while he unpacked, and then he took his turn to hang his head over the toilet on day 2. Sharing is such fun :)

Our friends dropped meals by and Stella's god parents stocked our fridge with food. What a huge help. We found everything just as we left it. The white car we left parked in the garage for nearly 6 months however was black. A huge praise - our car started and runs beautifully despite sitting for so long.

Sunday at church was everything we hoped for and more. A big happy reunion. Of course everyone was happy to see Stella and how much she's grown, we were a side note. The pastors planned a lunch after church where we had lots of time to catch up with old friends and meet new people who have been coming to church. Sunday was the highlight of our week. We came home feeling so blessed to have so many caring friends.

Stella is still having a hard time with so many adjustments. Which caught me by surprise since her whole life as she's known it has been one big trip! I think part of the complication is that she is now at an age where she gets attached to people, places, smells, tastes etc. Brazil bananas are by far the best, but because she's never had them, she doesn't love them. She'll come around. A hunger strike can only last so long right?!? And the time change seems hard for her too. 3am brings this jolly little adventurer right to life!

Walking around the neighborhood in the late afternoon and grabbing a snack on the street has been a nice treat for all of us. Stella got her first taste of chocolate ice cream and based on her expression,her whole concept of "yummy" was completely overhauled. Surely she'll get used to all the new things, and if everything else fails, bribery with chocolate ice cream is definitely one idea I've tucked away.

From the moment the plane touched down we've been so thrilled to be back where we know we belong. It amazes me how God was building in me an anticipation to get here. Of course I was sad to say good-bye to my other home and definitely my family and friends, but when you know where you belong, it just feels right. Maicol has every reason to feel at home here; I on the other hand am delightfully amused how God has stirred in me the very same sentiments as if I'd also originated here.

As I sit in my living room - I hear the distant hum of honking horns, constant traffic, and the occasional rumble of diesel engines. There's a gentle breeze bringing in all the familiar smells of Home Sweet Home. Ironically, these same smells, sounds, and sentiments were the very things that felt like such a huge adjustment in the beginning. And in fact I try to imagine someone else sitting here and I realize, it's not everyone that would appreciate this ambiance. One more ironic and yet typical condition of pursuing the Creator of life itself. His ways are so mysterious and powerful and His simple yet immense existence boggles minds everyday - He is capable of creating amazing realities in the lives of those who will allow him. I'm astounded that my satisfaction and comfort today comes from the same source which brought me so much frustration and grief at one time.

Change is good, and so is God.


Blast Off!

If you know me well, you know I'm a "Get Ready, Get Set..." kinda gal. I've got my checklists, my re-check lists. I've been meticulously packing for a week and making my final farewell visits to Starbucks. On my mini-breaks between packing and tidying up, I find myself checking the weather in Porto Alegre. Each time I'm ecstatic to see 85 and sunny. "Blast Off" can get here soon enough.

We ate churrasco today with family and I kept imagining we were at our favorite Churrascarias in Brazil. I had to imagine because the meat was just not salty enough to be authentic churrasco from the South. However, it was a delicious dining experience.  

It has really amazed me how ready I feel.  I'd begun to wonder about a month ago if I would dread the return date as it approached.  But true to God's perfect timing, He's readied me at just the right moment.

I'm thankful for a God that can change my heart in many different circumstances. He knew September 18 would come and go and that I might feel worried we'd "missed the bus". Yet in His great compassion, He secretly showed my heart the blessings He had for me here. He tweaked my worry into a chance to humbly admire His perfection and compassion. He is truly a "right on time" kind of Wonder Worker.


$5,000 Reasons to Keep praying

We all have those seasons. Mine usually looks like winter - everything has a bleak and sad tone of blue overshadowing it. Snow is nice for a few hours, then I'm ready for summer again. So my winter was melted away today. I found myself singing, and leaping through the kitchen. Songs I forgot I knew! Songs thanking God for an awesome answer that ended a long, treacherous winter.

What do your long, grueling, at times confusing seasons of prayer look like?

The seasons that keep you begging - your heart staying above it's normal beats per minute for months on end. You think you're not worrying, but you realize when a sudden calm moment of peace overtakes you that it feels great to have forgotten what has been eating at you for so long and has estranged you from this surprising moment of calm in your soul. You begin to enjoy these fleeting moments of serenity since you've forgotten that pitiful worry which plagues your every to do list. And just as you settle in to the free feeling in the pit of your stomach, reality drops in and you remember that horrible worry. And to think you had mistakenly forgotten it for one glorious moment?!?!

Now the peace, tranquility, and freedom is real. The trial is over and the answer has come, and this time - it's THE answer I'd hoped for. Although this is not always the case, and God is still sovereign and perfect no matter what answer He gives, today I rejoiced with sheer amazement that what I'd pleaded for, He thought was a worthy request.

Blue Cross paid the bills from Stella's birth - in full! To some of you you're like - "yea, that's what insurance is supposed to do." But there were quite a few setbacks and lawsuit scares... so in the end - it's resolved.done.answered.checked-off. and I can't stop thanking God for the way He answered (so many details that would bore you to tears) and His perfect timing. I'm making up my own verses to "God is so good" because the ones I know are all played out in my head, I've song it all day.

Thank you to each of you who prayed us through. My knees may be calloused but my heart is full, my faith is bolstered, and my God showed Himself able, again.

"He's so good to me..."



We had an awesome time unplugged. Well, mostly unplugged. We visited a few cabins in Tennessee and one of them had no cell service or WiFi at all. 

Yea, you old folks are laughing like " you don't remember life without cell phones and internet do you!?!" Well we spent 8 days unplugged and really loved all the extra time we found and the clarity of thought we discovered. We liked it so much we came home early! - feeling refreshed, recharged and ready to plug back in to our ministry in Brazil. 

The countdown is on. In 12 days we will be home. And we are so excited about all God has put in our hearts to do for his glory! We decided our retreat was so vital, we are going to "unplug" once a month from now on. And who knows when I'll reactivate my FaceBook, if ever. 


Flour, Sugar, Salt

We're looking forward to our return to Brazil. It's been too long. And yet, not long enough. The beautiful irony is that we feel wholly and completely torn between two homes, at all times. No matter if we are here or there, we're missing somewhere. Mostly someone's. Today however, we're missing some things. The simplicity of flour, sugar, and salt grocery lists. Fresh bread daily from the bakery across the street. Lunch buffets that make us full and feeling healthy afterwards. Parks full of friends walking around enjoying life. Walking to the bank. Chocolate mousse. Churrasco. Okay I realize most of these "things" are food. That's because Maicol and I have Lots of good memories with people that involved some delightful dish. So really we miss our whole lives in Brazil, food just puts an aroma to it. Saudades. We don't even have a sincere translation for this in English, but the idea is a really deep nostalgic remembrance. It means so much more than, "I miss you" or whatever you miss. It's like, thinking about it brings flavors, memories, and emotions right to the surface. Yep. Temos muitos saudades....


"In his shoes"?

The first time I noticed beggars in the intersection I thought, "isn't that illegal?" Well, in the U.S. it probably is. Impeding the flow of traffic or something. In Brazil, it's the best way to expose yourself to lots of people with lots of money. If they're driving a car, they've got something to spare. Often times, I see people hand a beggar some change. I told Maicol beggars like that aren't so common in the U.S. Or at least I hadn't noticed them until today.

It's been raining non-stop for three days. He was in a wheelchair, yellow poncho that didn't cover his head fully, dripping wet and no shoes. His socks were gray and dirty, and sopping wet. He held out a to-go cup and his head hung low. He appeared to have a disability of some type. My first thought many of you might relate to, "if I give him my money, he might waste it on drugs. he may even be faking it! maybe he's not really poor and disabled". And then my second thought, which I haven't had until recently. Maicol and I have been talking about empathy. Getting in someone else's shoes to understand their perspective better.

"In his shoes"? He didn't even have shoes! For crying out loud, the man was soaking wet and in a wheel chair. Even if he was a fake, he sure was working hard at it. If a man is willing to show his face in public and beg, that alone shows his desperation. What if someone recognized him? Most certainly, someone does recognize him, and he knows it.

I'm sure the glares and mocking looks can be enough to make you want to quit. But to see one healthy shopper after the next walk by and not offer a penny? That would make me too angry to even want the next person's penny. Forget that.

Begging. It's a weighty word. To put yourself at the mercy of apathetic, snide, better off than you strangers - that takes a lot of courage. And it takes giving up a whole lot of dignity. Sure, there are those who play the game and put on a show because they care more about drug money than dignity. But I imagine that wasn't the case today.

A hard day at work? You earned your wage, it was worth it. I may be out there a bit, but this man quite possibly musters more strength to get out and beg each day than many of us do on our most challenging work days. He puts it all out on the line, day after day, for PENNIES.

And to think I hadn't noticed him, or others like him before. Not because they weren't before me, but because I've been too haughty in my own shoes for too long. It may be time for me to take off my shoes.

I handed him 85 cents. I should have given him more.

As I was walking away, I heard a faint “thank you”, it sounded like he struggled to get it out. That should have been me, thanking him. Struggling to explain to him that he opened my eyes today to something God's been trying to teach me and my stubborn heart for some time now.

And whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.


time flies.period.

You know how the saying goes, Time flies when you're having fun! Fun, doesn't do justice to the 18 months which have passed since our last blog post. We've had the perilous fights, the hopes bursting in air, our temper's red glare. Yet our faith filled, tattered banner still waves, with the wind of the Almighty lifting our sails.

"Um. Mom? How many did you say we can take?"

And even better, we have a gorgeous 8 month old gift which reminds us of God's abundant blessing and mercy. Stella has been nothing short of the sweetest delight! Stay posted. More laments and thoughtful scribblings are sure to come.