Sunday, March 31, 2013

A Cachorro Quente Kind of Life

Sometimes life is like a Brazilian cachorro quente (hot dog)
...full of just about everything...

Yes, there is a hot dog under there...under the friend potato sticks, mashed tomatoes, peas, corn, vinaigrette (tomatoes with onions), ketchup, mustard and mayo is a hot dog.

Actually quite a tasty hot dog.

Life these last couple of weeks has been as full as this yummy meal was.  
Most of our days are spent in language studies.  Thankfully, we have seen some improvement in our language skills, but have far to go and much to learn.  

A beautiful view of our city
We also have add some fun opportunities for fun as a family...visiting a nearby lake...
...and a couple of parks...

Love the giant palm trees!

So, that is a quick look at our cachorro quente kind of life
...full, satisfying, maybe a little quirky, and more often than not followed by smiles.

A friend's Flat Stanley is visiting us and enjoyed the Brazilian hot dog too!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Big Red Bowl of Grace

 I didn't really want to buy it.  I wasn't happy about the situation for which we needed it and therefore wasn't happy about buying it.  It looked nice though, was fairly cheap (yay Target!) and would work for what we needed.

My Big Red Bowl.

I still am not sure how it ended up being packed for Brazil.  It was on the floor holding some kitchen items and spices as we packed.  Somehow David fit it in among all the other items...a big red bowl of socks and various other things.

When I unpacked it, I was surprised and a little put out at its size.  Where am I going to put a big red bowl in this tiny kitchen with no counter space.  I put it to the side, not realizing yet how thankful I would be for the big red bowl. 

For you see, that is how grace is.  Grace takes that which is rejected as less than useful, unwanted and in the way  and uses it in a mighty way.

In reality, I often see myself as that big red bowl- less than useful and in the way.  I fail big time daily. My tongue is sharp and cuts deep into the hearts of those I love.  My heart is anxious and my thoughts are full of my own plans instead of resting in God's.  I am selfish and try to manipulate things to my advantage.  Honestly, in the grand scheme of things God could view me as I once saw my big red bowl...useless, unwanted and in the way.

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace [we] have been saved— (Eph. 2:4)

 God's grace-filled love overwhelms and overflows the big red bowl.  It is not dependent on what we do or whether we fail or succeed.  God's grace-filled love is not even dependent on our potential.  These days I am thankful for my big red bowl.  It has been useful as a fruit bowl, mixing bowl, washing pan and much more.  While my affection for the bowl has grown with its usefulness, God's grace-filled love for us does not grow nor decrease.

God does not love you because of what you have done or because He sees what you could be.  God loves you because you are His.  Simply, fully and wonderfully His. 

As I pass by my bowl and as you go throughout your day, may we all remember this truth and be overwhelmed by the grace-filled love of God.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Farewell Dear Friend

Lady Skyline, the Duchess of Terrydale
September 3, 2002-March 16, 2013

Faithful Friend.
Lover of Popcorn.
Graceful runner.
Cold nose of comfort.
Our babies' nursemaid.
Joyfully exuberant
Giver of unconditional love.
Praiser of God in your own special way.

You will always hold a special place in our hearts
and will be missed dearly.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

I Wanted to Write this Week...

I wanted to write this week...

But sometimes the only things worth writing on are those you hold so close to your heart, that it is hard to find the words to describe them. 

I wanted to write this week...

But sometimes there are times when you think, maybe if I just don't write about it/ think about it/ dwell on it, it will just disappear quicker or be easier...even just a little.

I wanted to write this week...

To tell you about our dear dog Sky and her becoming suddenly ill.  To tell you about how much we miss her and hate not being there for her.  To tell you how thankful we are for David's parents and their fabulous care of her.

 I wanted to write this week...

To let you know that Sky is still having a rough time of it.  The vet thinks there will not be a long-term recovery and we are thankful for all the time which God graces us with her...even if it is time spent far away.

I wanted to write this week...

To say thank you to everyone who is praying for us and holding us close to their hearts as ours hurt over Sky.

I wanted to write this week...

But sometimes the things worth writing about the most bring tears and it is hard to see, let alone type through them flowing down your face. 

I wanted to write this week...

But sometimes the things worth writing are those that you don't even know where to start....

Friday, March 1, 2013


Two red lines flank the white page on both sides.   Stretching from top to bottom, the lines define the usable space.  I am not sure who it was that first instilled respect for these two lines deep in my heart.  Thinking back, I hear whispers of grade school teachers reminding me over and over again, “We don’t write outside the red lines.  That is the margin. That is to be clear space. “  

Margin. Clear, empty, uncluttered space.

Truly, there are two ways to think about the use of margins.  For many, margins are too defining- just a box to be broken and challenged.  But what if for a moment we consider that the margin may not just be for defining a space, but also for protecting what lies within that space?

At one pf our trainings in preparation for serving cross-culturally, we spoke about this idea of margin briefly.  Imagine your life is like a sheet of paper, full of the many duties and opportunities that fill your day.  Day by day, we fill line after line, getting closer to the margin.  Then comes the day when we feel the need to do a little more and cross over into the margin just a bit.  As life continues on this path, crossing the margin slowly becomes the norm.  Life can often then become so full that there is little to no margin left.  

That is where I am many days.  Little to no margin left.  

Our days are filled with good things- school, language learning, preparing meals, buying food, spending time with friends, loving on the boys. So many good things, that I find it hard to keep within the margins that my soul needs.  

Margin. Clear, empty, uncluttered space.

To think. To read. To pray. To dream.  Simply to be.

Allowing for margin in life is easier said than done for me.  I can’t help but to think of all the things that need to be done, all the things that I want to do…and the seeming lack of time available to accomplish everything.  With this in mind, I begin to feel guilty whenever I take the time to do something mindless or relaxing.  I look at any margin left over and think that it is space to be filled instead of space to be enjoyed.  

I have been praying often these days for God to help me to make the most of every opportunity.  It is only recently that I have begun to think that includes the margin.  Not to make the most of it by filling every moment to overflowing, but to make the most of the margin as He intends it to be.  

Margin. Clear, empty, uncluttered space.  

Space to stop in His presence, to bask in His goodness and to rest in His love.  

May we all learn the value of margin as He fills our entire page with His presence.
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