Friday, January 18, 2019

In the Swing of Things

The Holidays are over and life is back to normal.  Well, as normal as it can get. Our Portuguese classes have started back, which let me tell you, I have a love-hate relationship with those classes. 😀  You see, when we go to class, I am excited to be going, and excited about what we'll learn that day; but then about halfway through the 2 hour class, my brain starts trying to convince me that I have lost too many brain cells to learn a new language. Those moms out there who go back to school after they have kids, I hand it to them! That's amazing to me!

  To me, the hardest part of learning a language is just accepting what is. When a kid is learning to speak, they learn easily because they just accept that is how it is supposed to be. When an adult learns a new language, there is the constant comparison to the language they already know. You can't do that, you just have to accept that this is the how they say things or how their grammar is and no it won't make sense compared to English because it's not English.

 Anyways, my oldest seems to be picking up things quite well. She is always singing the Portuguese songs from church, and getting quite a few of the words correct. She also asked me the other day how many Reais her shirt cost. That shocked me because that is the Brazilian currency and we haven't really talked to her about money here. While we are at language school, the girl that watches our kids teaches them a few words every time as well, and the kids love to practice them at home. They also ask quite often "what is this in Portuguese?".

 A few other happenings...

We upgraded to a big girl chair!

We found a great Pinterest activity for hot days. Freeze toys in a bowl of water and then chizzle them out. Just to clarify, those are butter spatulas they are using. They are not knives and are not sharp in any way. 

We also tried to dress ourselves for church. This one has a style that is like no other. 

That's all going on for us, how's your new year going??

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Are You Talking to Me?

I did not want to be a missionary when I was growing up. I did not grow up in a missions-minded church, and the few missionaries that came through were ... odd. At least, I thought they were. All the missionaries had the same three basic problems in my childish mind:

First, they dressed as if they got their clothes from a refugee barrel. None of them were very stylish. Second, all of them were socially awkward. And third, they all had only one message:  GO.

These "flaws" greatly annoyed me. I didn't realize that missionaries dress that way because sometimes they can't afford anything else. And it never occurred to me that spending hours locked into your vehicle with only your family while you were on deputation might make you lack a little in social graces. As for their message, I figured that's what they were supposed to say, but their message did not motivate me. In fact, my exact words were, "I'd surrender to be a missionary, but with my luck, God would send me to Africa."

Fast forward twenty years. My husband and I were in the ministry, and we had close friends that surrendered to be missionaries. As we watched them prepare to follow God's calling, we felt like our experiences with them helped us to have a better view of how to help missionaries through the local church.

After a while our conversations turned from helping missionaries to becoming missionaries. I didn't really aspire to be a missionary, but my view had grown past my childhood impressions. I freely admit that I have never been called to the mission field. But I am called to follow my husband, so I watched and prayed with him as he went back and forth over this decision. Sometimes we thought God might be calling us. At other times we thought He was equipping us to better help missionaries. And then sometimes we thought He might be preparing us to become missionaries someday in the future. When Terry asked my opinion, I told him I'd follow him anywhere, but please make sure God was actually calling us before he committed us to something.

We struggled back and forth with this decision all through our church's missions conference. Then, the Sunday after the conference, our Pastor preached on, "I'll make a difference if I can make a deal." I was sitting with the choir during the sermon and I was shocked as he started preaching. Was this message for us?

I couldn't see Terry from where I sat, but the longer the sermon went, the more I was convinced that God was speaking to us. When the invitation started, I tried to inconspicuously watch, but Terry didn't come down the aisle. I think we sang over a hundred verses that day and with each one I prayed a little harder that my husband would follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. Then I suddenly saw him halfway down the aisle, headed for the altar. My prayer was answered, but I had the overwhelming urge to shout for him to go back to the pew and think about it a little more.

It was a frightening step, but I never doubted the fact that God was right with us every step of the way. And so much of the blessings and growth in our lives since then have been a result of that step of obedience.

God may not be calling you to a foreign field, but if you're His child, He is calling you to do something. Are you listening? Are you following?

Monday, January 14, 2019

A Novel Idea

In my last post I mentioned that one of my goals for this year was to read more. I had a novel idea that I would try to read at least one book a month in addition to my Bible reading. I know that isn't a very tough goal to accomplish, but I thought it was a good start. Finding time to read in my spare time is a hilarious thought, is there even such a thing as spare time for a wife and mother of four? I suppose there is that time slot between two and four a.m. that's free, although I think sleep is more appealing. 

Fun fact. I don’t even like reading, but I want to change that which is why I even set the goal in the first place. Back when I was in grade school we had to do what was called “Accelerated Reading”, it was where you read a book or several books and take a test which was about ten questions based off of what you read. If you passed your test you were invited to go to the accelerated reading party at the end of that month. Since I didn’t like reading it was a real struggle for me to comprehend what I was reading so when it came time to take my test, it was questionable whether or not I would pass.

I remember one time pretty clearly when I didn’t pass that silly little test. That meant I had to miss the party, which was super sad to my little 5th grade self. From then on I tried really hard to focus and pay attention to what I was reading so I didn't have to miss another party, but that didn’t mean I began liking it.

Fast forward to now, I really have a desire to read and want to love it. Truth be told I don’t even really know where to start, or what genre of books I even like.

As for my goal, I haven’t started one for this month yet. Don’t judge, I still have half the month left!

 So, tell me. What is your favorite book?

Friday, January 11, 2019

A Mother's Truth

   Motherhood... You can't really sum up that word. It has it's wonderful moments, and it's terrible moments. The moments of accomplishment when your child excels. The moments of guilt just about every day when you feel you have failed. Recently, one of my sisters in law shared with me a few feelings of motherhood that fit us all, and I felt like they must be passed on.

She shared this one after a video call, and this exact scenario happened...

Personal space is not a thing anymore.

We've all been there. 
The closet is also a great place to vacation. 

Because it's not sitting on the couch eating Bon bons despiste popular opinion. 

That's why they make cute dresses with pockets these days! 

And lastly, for those of you who have or know a talker. My daughter like to retell every event of her life. It's mind numbing... fun! 

Can you relate???

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

To Tell the Tooth

Raise your hand if you hate going to the dentist. (Raise your hand if you feel ridiculous sitting there with your hand raised while you read this on your phone.)

I am not a fan of anyone that messes with my teeth. I practice good oral hygiene and a you-don't-bother-me-and-I-won't-bother-you attitude as far as my teeth are concerned, but lately I have one tooth that hasn't been living up to the bargain. This causes a problem for me because I have a genuine fear of going to the dentist. I'm afraid they'll pull the wrong tooth. I'm afraid there will never be enough novocain to stop the pain. I'm afraid there will be too much novocain and it will numb both my throat and my nose so I can't breathe or swallow.

I'm not sure why I have such an aversion to dentists, but I do have a long history of more than usual unpleasantness when it comes to dentists. For instance, when I was seven my dentist decided that he should pull all four of my top front teeth at the same time, even though two of them weren't even loose yet. I spent two toothless years until finally my permanent teeth came in. Or maybe it was because, when I had two wisdom teeth removed, the dentist numbed the wrong side of my mouth and I ended up numb on both sides from my nose to my throat for the next eight hours. Then I needed stitches once he was through pulling the teeth, and he accidentally sewed my cheek to my gum.

My history of terrible dentist experiences has continued, and it has been a four month odyssey to get this stupid tooth taken care of, but it was finally extracted yesterday. I knew I needed a root canal because they told me so, but they said they needed to clear up the infection first, so they put me on antibiotic. Then they didn't have an appointment opening for another month. Then the dentist scolded me for waiting for a month. (!) Then she started the root canal, but couldn't finish because it was too involved and there was a discussion about razors and lasers being needed. Then she just decided to pull it.

Since I didn't want to go around with a gap in my teeth making me look like I was a backwoods mountain woman (no offense to backwoods mountain women intended), they offered to have a "flipper" made to take the spot of the missing tooth. Raise your hand if that gives you a mental image of a tooth that you can flick until it spins in your mouth.

They said the flipper would take 2-3 weeks to make and then they couldn't give me another appointment for several weeks after that, although I'm beginning to wonder why this particular dentist office is so popular. Then the dentist that was working on me quit the office at the end of the year (I didn't mind losing her because she was not a pleasant person) so I had to have a new dentist take over.

I was supposed to get the tooth pulled last Thursday, but the day before the appointment they called to say that they couldn't find the flipper. That changed to somehow they forgot to send the impression off to the lab to have the flipper made. That changed to they made the wrong impression of my mouth and could I come in so they could do it again. I did that on Thursday and somehow the lab miraculously finished the flipper in two business days so I'm not sure why it was going to take 2-3 weeks before.

At any rate, the new dentist pulled my tooth yesterday. She was very nice and seemed competent. It did take nine injections of novocain before I was numb enough not to feel anything. In the meantime, if I'd had any State secrets, I would have gladly spilled them. Everything went well overall until the dentist realized that the lab had made the wrong kind of flipper. This one has a hard plastic piece that goes across the roof of my mouth. It is uncomfortable, doesn't fit well and gives me a speech impediment.

They said the new piece should be done in a week. Should I believe them?

Monday, January 7, 2019

New Year, New Goals

Resolutions, Goals, "Words", these are all things we think about at the start of each new year. You might choose one or the other, or you may even try out two. Last Year, I chose the word: Organize. I wanted to be more organized in my work, and at home. I tried to focus my attention on certain areas at a time and over all, I think I was successful.

This year, I chose to make a few new goals!

1. Continue organizing- Is there such a thing as being too organized? I don't think so.

2. Be more structured- There are six of us now, so between work, home schooling, side jobs, projects and just everyday home life, things can get a little hectic. I want a more structured schedule, not military precision, but I don't think flying by the seat of our pants is going to cut it.

3. I want to read more- I want to be able to find time to ready something in addition to my Bible!

4. Get back to the gym- Notice I didn't say lose weight? Although, I could stand to lost some. I just didn't want to sound cliche! I have yet to start back in the new year but I really want to. Perhaps, once I nail down this new schedule it will be easier to go?

Here are a few of my goals for this new year.

Do you have a "word" for this year? What are some goals or resolutions you have made?

Friday, January 4, 2019

The Little Things

I've told you all a lot about the strange and the difficult here in Brazil, but it hasn't all been strange and difficult. There have been quite a few exciting things.

  • In our marriage, we have shopped for furniture one time, and I don't know if you could call it "shopping".  It was a "let's just run in here and see if they have anything in their discount room", and we walked away with a used couch and love seat. Moving here, we did not bring any furniture with us, so for the first time in our marriage, we were able to go actual furniture shopping. The kind of furniture shopping where you get to go and pick whatever you want... in your budget of course. So that was a big thing to me. A shopping spree that you don't have to feel guilty about because you literally have to shop! What's not to love??
  • My three year old with a very expensive favorite food, steak, get's to have that favorite food quite often actually. Steak is not expensive here, and when you have a group of people over for dinner, it is common to do what is called a churrasco. A churrasco is when you grill a bunch of meat including steak. So, my three year old gets her steak pretty often here. 
A churrasco we had for labor day. 

  • Learning another language means that whether we are in Brazil or in America, we are going to know a language that most of the people around us don't know. Which means we can have a private conversation without being in private. We all have that "honey, I'm ready to leave look" that the honey doesn't always catch, but wouldn't it be nice to be able to just say "let's go" without the fear of offending someone?? Now I will be able to. It's the little things. 😏
  • In Brazil, not much is withheld from children. You don't tell them no, you don't take things away from them. If they come up for their fifth piece of cake at the church fellowship, you give it to them. That's just how it is. While I am not for that, it does have it's perks. For instance, there are checkout lines at every store that are for mothers with young children. There are also playgrounds at nearly every restaurant, including nice ones. So, you can go on a date and still have something for your kids to do.  Also, at a shopping center there is usually a place where you can "rent" a stroller.. for free. They also have a whole area for mother's with babies. There is a place to nurse, changing table, and even a place to give your baby a bath. These are not your typical restroom areas either, it almost looks like a nursery in someone's home. So, there are perks. 
  • Playing at a restaurant playground
  • Lastly, being in Brazil we have been able to see God work in ways like never before. In getting our house, He worked out details that only He could fix. He also worked out for us to go to a language school near another missionary, so that we are not alone and we have someone we know to care for our kids. One of my biggest fears was that we would have to go to language school and put our kids in a daycare with people who we didn't know and who didn't speak any English. I know kids are resilient, but that would have been incredibly scary for both them and myself. It's been amazing to see God work out details before we even ask sometimes. 

Some of these may not seem big to you, but they're blessings in our eyes. Everyone has those little blessings that wouldn't mean anything to anyone else. What's yours?