.:| 2014 |:.

Just like that, we closed the books on 2014. Been there. Done that. Time to buy a new calendar.
Meanwhile, I’m still getting used to writing 2015… So, I don’t suppose this post is too-far overdue.

For those of you who have been left hanging since July, I used to post monthly snapshots, but now I have no idea how I ever had time to do that…But! For the sake of these memories being remembered and celebrated, here is our 2014! Our first year living overseas. SO much new…

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When we arrived in December, the house we’re living in was still being built. The boys and I couldn’t say much more than “obrigado,” but we tried to show our gratitude by taking Coke to those working on it.
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We got nothing but warm welcomes. [I wrote more about that here.]2013-12-12 10.47.39
Speaking of warm, it was our first 90-degree December. Baking Christmas cookies in the heat was quite a shock. But, we had fun having our new friends over to decorate cut-outs. 2013-12-28 11.47.42
Andy and I celebrated 13 years by introducing the fam to one of our favorite spots–Salto Corumba.2014-01-13 17.45.34
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“Mom, can we play in the mud?” never registered in my mind as this. But, we survived our first rainy season.
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Both Andy and I had to get used to teaching (him because of preparing 1 1/2 hour classes in portuguese, me because of schooling 3 boys who would rather be outside). But, we’re both loving it!
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IMG_57442014-03-01 12.47.372014-05-26 20.45.072014-06-12 16.52.232014-06-16 12.33.032014-08-21 15.37.12
2014-03-23 12.13.372014-04-08 19.53.032014-06-12 05.52.312014-06-12 16.55.522014-06-16 19.11.552014-09-29 15.26.33
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2014-10-04 20.13.382014-10-04 20.21.472014-10-01 17.30.1210262135_273550209482669_8552716559276749593_n2014-05-27 21.09.322014-06-19 12.11.59
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We all are enjoying getting to know the students and staff here–hosting movie nights and World Cup games, cafezinhos and baby showers, prayer gatherings and zumba, volleyball and churrascos.
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It’s been so neat to watch these boys’ friendship grow. Kinda by necessity, but they’re making memories of their own that I imagine they will talk about years from now. Remember when…
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Sledding looks a little different here, but still super fun! No need to bundle up. Just need some cardboard and tropical grass.
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We survived our first broken arm. And the cast survived this guy…although, barely.
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2014-09-20 16.45.492014-05-03 16.41.41
Birthday parties are kinda a big deal here, and we got invited to several, which was perfect for culture/language-learning. Sometimes the kids even let me wear their Elsa wig and let it go.
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We’re thankful to live closer to Andy’s parents (closer…as in 12 hours away:)
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2014-04-04 13.53.012014-03-28 17.19.22
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What a blessing it was to have my parents visit! AND friends visit!
So grateful for the refreshment and FUN! our time together brought.
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Now, here we are–2015!
There’s just something about a New Year.
Clean slates–waiting to be colored with new adventures in love and life.
Blank calendars–bursting with possibilities.
New resolves–wanting to BE the change.

I’ve been thinking alot about what I want my life to be characterized by. One word that I want to describe my living and being and going and doing. For me. This year. I resolve to JOY!
Not just superficial-laughter, smile-on-the-outside, happy-when-things-go-my-way–JOY.
But deeply-rooted, my-hope-is-in-You-Lord, can’t-touch-this, regardless-of-circumstances–JOY!

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The Bible has a lot to say about joy.
Here’s some of my favorites:

You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of Your presence and the pleasures of living with You forever. | Psalm 16.11

The joy of the Lord is your strength! | Nehemiah 8.10

All who seek the Lord will praise him. Their hearts will rejoice with everlasting joy. | Psalm 22.6

Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy. | Psalm 34.5

Joy fills hearts that are planning peace! | Proverbs 12.20

For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a Mighty Savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With His love, He will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joy.” | Zephaniah 3.17

“But for you who fear My name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in His wings. And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture. | Malachi 4.2

You have shown me the way of life, and you will fill me with the joy of your presence.’ | Acts 2.28

I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in Him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. | Romans 15.13

Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—Rejoice! | Philippians 4.4

When all you owned was taken from you, you accepted it with joy. You knew there were better things waiting for you that will last forever. | Hebrews 10.34

When troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. | James 1.2

So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. | 1 Peter 1.6

Satisfy us each morning with your unfailing love, so we may sing for joy to the end of our lives. | Psalm 90.14

Those who live at the ends of the earth stand in awe of Your wonders.
From where the sun rises to where it sets, You inspire shouts of JOY! 
| Psalm 65.8

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Happy 2015, all! EnJOY.

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