Monthly Archives: May 2014

Golden Years

It’s my parents’ Golden Anniversary!
Fitty years! C’MON now er’body…holla!!!
[OR in the spirit of 1964, a more proper greeting]

Oh mom and dad, if I weren’t a continent away, you know I would be going to Cedar Point today! (Just kidding 🙂 )
How I wish we were there to fill your home with golden balloons and your lawn with those who have stood by your side through the years to come party and have “a gas”! (You may have to be over 60 to catch that, or look it up.)
But, I’m here…so I write.

Fifty years ago…
average yearly income: $6,000
minimum wage: $1.15/hour
gallon of gasoline: 25 cents
gallon of milk: 93 cents
average cost of a new car: $3,500
brand new Ford Mustang: $2,320
average house price: $3,360
average monthly pent: $115
loaf of bread: 21 cents
US postal stamp: 5 cents
ticket to the movies: $1.25
ticket to Broadway: under $10
Are we having fun yet?

Fifty years ago…Diet Pepsi was introduced. Michelle Obama and Sarah Palin were born. Lucky Charms and Pop-Tarts made their appearance on supermarket shelves. US decided to enter the Vietnam War. The Beatles debuted on Ed Sullivan Show. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer aired on TV. Arby’s opened. And my dad and mom said “I do” on May 23, 1964.filename-1You guys, what a reason to celebrate!!

1/2 a CENTURY!
18,250 DAYS!
438,000 HOURS!
26,280,000 MINUTES!
1,576,800,000 SECONDS!
of I still do.

I am sure a few of those 1,576,800,000 seconds probably didn’t seem like “happily ever after.” A LOT has changed in the last 50 years. Besides the above…plans changed, wars broke out, soldiers drafted, tantrums happened (referring to us kids, of course 🙂 ), jobs ended, uncertainties surfaced, the nest emptied…to name a few.
BUT! Some things have never changed, like your commitment to have and to hold…for better OR worse, richer OR poorer, in sickness AND in health. I am sure vows have been put to the test. But, there has never been a time in my life when I wondered whether your marriage would make it until “death do us part.” How rare and priceless that is.
of you’re still the one.

Torquato Tasso, an Italian poet said it well: Perduto Ú tutto il tempo che in amor non si spende.
You guys have lived it well: Lost is all the time that you do not spend in love.
While the 50th Anniversary has been named the Golden Year, I’d say you have strived to make all your years together golden. You have been refined by fire and come out purer than ever.
of conscious coupling.

Your love that goes deeper than how you feel is a gift.
Your resolve to encourage the heck out of others is a blessing.
Your commitment to look for the lovely and focus on the positive is an inspiration.
Oh, how I wish today we could give back a fraction of all that you have given to us.
of experiencing and giving God’s grace.

Being away makes me long all the more for the Golden Years ahead!
For that One Fine Day when our Bridegroom returns for us.
When we are carried across the threshold into the place He is preparing for His bride.
Forget golden balloons…we’re gonna dance on golden streets!
For all these days we have to catch up on, we will have eternity together!

You raised us to face the sun for good pictures. (As your eldest says “OK everyone, now stare directly into the sun!”) You also taught us to face the Son, because the best is yet to come…
So also Christ died once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people.
He will come again, not to deal with our sins, but to bring salvation to
all who are eagerly waiting for Him.
(Hebrews 9.28)

Dad and Mom, you are one fine golden example of love and commitment.
Today, we celebrate YOU! Always, we love you dearly.


Between 2 Worlds

Some people have asked why I’m taking some weeks off facebook.

The easier answers are …
We have to wait to watch The Voice finale until it airs on hulu, and I don’t want facebook feed to spoil it for me! OR
After taking out 7 hours of my day (to teach kids, study portuguese, hang laundry), something had to go. OR
I’m really horrible at keeping up with 500 friends. To many, that’s not a big deal. But to some, it has been.
All true.
But not all. I’m not sure I can explain exactly why, but here’s a try.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this place we find ourselves today. We’ve now lived in Brazil for 6 months. CrAzY!! In many ways, it feels like the time has flown. Can hardly believe it’s been that long since a Papa John’s pizza, coffee with our life group, Noa Noa spinach dip, a church service in English…
Kinda amazed we’ve survived! 🙂

Yet in other ways it seems the more time that passes, the farther away we feel. While we are the ones who moved away, sometimes it feels like we aren’t the ones who moved on. Our kids talk about things that happened at school in September like it was yesterday. (When it was really 9 months ago! I just have to wonder how long that will go on.)

In the olden days, missionaries left one country and moved to another. Maybe they’d get a snail mail letter now and then. But that was it. I think that would be SO much harder. Imagine stepping off the plane, it wouldn’t take long until they met up with isolation and loneliness. But it probably was easier to learn to be “all there.” There was nothing else to compare their day with. So, they learned to live it. Sure, there were memories of what they left behind, but the sights of everything they were missing wasn’t always before them.

Nowadays it is much easier to remain connected. Thank you All Gore for our internets! We are so thankful for technology…for the chance to catch up with family over skype, watch our friends’ kids graduate from preschool on instagram, listen to the latest sermons and podcasts, read what’s on people’s minds, know what they think of the weather and all the snowdays on facebook 😉 An English speaker is only a phone call away! We can even save a stamp (and 3 weeks) and send off letters via email! How all this has helped our transition!

But with all this “connection” comes trying to figure out how to live between 2 worlds.
How to keep up with those we care about deeply in a world that is so instant and informationalAND…How to get to know people here in a world that is more relaxed and relational. (Sidenote: It’s crazy how many drink coffee here without taking pictures of it! Who knew it could still be done?? 😉 )

We miss our family and friends so bad it hurts!
In portuguese, the expression for “I miss you” is “I feel your absence.” We feel it.
I’ve gotten pretty good at keeping my emotions under control. I just need to cry once a week about it all, and it’s all good. But, our boys will share at some point each day something they miss. That’s what gets me. To hear our youngest crying in his bed because he feels like he has “zero friends here…ZERO!” and just wants to play with those back in Indiana. To read the notes they write to their grandma – “I wish you were sitting next to me right now.” I can’t even type that without coming undone.

I keep telling our kids “If we’re so focused on what we miss, we’ll miss out on being here.” We want to learn how to be present here. How to be a good friend here. How to rejoice in this day that the Lord has made for us here. Because I can really see us missing this one day.
photo 3The other day as we were going through all this…Jude sharing how much he misses his friends, me scooping him up on my lap, holding him close, praying over him…it was different. I pictured the Lord scooping us onto His lap, holding us close, comforting us both.
I knew we weren’t alone.
Our God is with us. Our God is for us.

I love the description of the first missionaries to leave a country to venture into the unknown:

They agreed that they were no more than foreigners and nomads here on earth.
And obviously people who talk like that are looking forward to a country they can call their own.
If they had meant the country they came from, they would have found a way to go back.
But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland.
THAT IS WHY God is not ashamed to be called their God.
(Hebrews 11.13b-16a)

This is where God has led us. No doubt in my mind!
So, no use dreaming about a one-way ticket back to familiar.
We must dig our hands down deep in this place we find ourselves.
And should we long for another world, let’s be sure it’s not of this earth.

As for those moments when the isolation and loneliness show up at our door?
Well, guess what. We don’t have to face them on our own!
There is a Holy Lap we can climb upon.
An Almighty Embrace waiting to happen.

For The Lord your God has arrived to live among you.
He is a mighty Savior, He will rejoice over you with great gladness.
With His love, He will calm your fears.
He will exult over you by singing a happy song.
(Zephaniah 3.17)

So, what does this all have to do with facebook?
I don’t really know  🙂
Maybe I just need to step back and figure out how to do our new “normal”…
and all of the above. It won’t be forever.
But until then, let’s make space to listen for that happy song.

Love in Focus (February.March.April)

When one month passed, I knew how to explain the delay. Now that it’s been 3 months, all I can say is that when I started homeschooling, some other things had to give. Posting our month in pics was one of them. But everyday I’m taking pics of life here and not scrapbooking them…nor printing them. So, rather than scrapping posting snapshots of these months, these pics will just have to do most the talking 🙂

February DSC_0010 Classes started in February. Which means this is how AndrĂ© spends his mornings. 2014-02-05 05.31.18 And this is how I spend my mornings. I am surprised by how much I love homeschooling. It’s quite a balancing act to figure how to do everything else. But these faces!
2014-02-28 09.30.46IMG_20140316_13154720140319_1730052014-02-09 10.58.19
You would have never known the Olympics happened..still only futebol on TV here. 2014-02-11 12.13.51 Care packages from the States = Happy boys!! This one even smelled like grandma’s house. 2014-02-20 17.54.52 2014-02-14 09.05.182014-02-14 10.31.42  2014-02-22 17.50.38
We had to cancel our Valentine’s Party because Jack and Jude got really sick. They were ok enough to decorate salt dough ornaments, eat heart jello (with some tylenol).
And when they got better, André and I escaped to our favorite juice place. 2014-02-23 15.28.28
2014-02-12 19.12.09
2014-03-04 17.41.152014-02-18 12.21.212014-02-16 23.26.53
This little mutt found its way to our home, and quickly into our hearts. We weren’t sure how our allergies would do, but gave it a go. But when the hives started to appear and noses wouldn’t stop running, she had to go. Sad sad day. But, happy happy memories.
2014-02-08 00.02.002014-02-24 21.16.32  2014-02-23 19.28.12 2014-03-03 11.01.43
20140313_1200082014-02-14 21.33.23
2014-02-14 21.38.55

2014-03-04 18.37.382014-04-07 13.03.50
March and April brought visits from both sets of grandparents!!
(and many sweet memories)
2014-03-01 12.47.37
2014-03-28 17.20.322014-04-03 20.45.15
2014-03-29 17.08.13
2014-03-31 17.35.582014-03-30 16.48.20
2014-03-31 15.38.28
2014-04-05 19.01.262014-04-04 13.53.01photo (4)
Coffee doesn’t get any fresher than this. Straight from grove to roaster to grinder to mug!
photo (5)2014-03-31 14.34.27
2014-03-04 16.57.12
2014-04-05 19.05.472014-04-21 09.24.002014-03-03 11.17.332014-04-27 15.58.25 2014-04-11 15.06.25
2014-04-24 16.35.452014-04-05 11.03.40 photo (3)

There’s our last 3 months, folks!

You know that’s not even close to the half of it, but some of the beauty that makes up our days. I would feel bad leaving you with the impression that it’s always so picture-perfect over here. [Which is why I’ve written about some of our very own struggles that come with adjusting to a new way of living life.] But it also wouldn’t be right if we only focused on the difficulty….because there is SO much good we would miss in doing so.

One thing these last months have taught me is that sometimes deep loss and grief over life as we once knew it can [and does!] co-exist with thoroughly enjoying and rejoicing in this day that the Lord has made. So yes, sometimes the pain of missing loved ones seems almost unbearable. But then, I look out the window at my 3 boys playing soccer in the sunset and think today is such a gift. If we numb ourselves to the loneliness and heartache that comes from being away, I wonder if we then wouldn’t be able to fully feel the excitement and blessing that comes with being here. The whole earth is full of His glory! 20140308_170725