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.