Sunday, September 22, 2013

Happy Birthday!

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Happy birthday to the love of my life!

The Lord bless you
    and keep you;
 the Lord make his face shine on you
    and be gracious to you;
 the Lord turn his face toward you
    and give you peace.

Numbers 6:24-26

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Weekend links

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These are my notes from a podcast from Pastor Ed Young. 
They truly don't do it justice. If you are interested, subscribe to his podcasts!

This week I came across an honest post and new link up I just might need to try. 

I found a new way to look at the reason why we go to church, and I couldn't agree more. 

As someone who grew up watching my parents' marriage end in divorce, I am always thankful to find posts like these, on Godly marriages. 

And last, but not least, I've been working on this for quite a while, and am getting much better at it. But it's always good to be reminded.

Have a blessed weekend! 

Friday, September 20, 2013

Rainy days

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A rainy day is not the end of the world. However, when you start working in Early Education, you quickly learn that a raining week can cause havoc. The words wet play send a chill down any teacher's soul, as she comes up with images of children bored out of their minds attempting to destroy everything in sight and get into trouble through all means available.

As we grow in our career we begin to learn tricks. Chop up playtime into different chunks, adding calming activities in the middle of them. Rotate toys often to offer variety. Bring in new items or explore them in a new way. Some teachers use the Netflix approach, which I am not a fan, but I can understand the despair sometimes.

I find it quite interesting, that when we have a day or two of something, such as rain, it's quite ok. Sometimes it's even welcomed. However, as the days turn into weeks, all of a sudden, we all act like those kids. We get restless. We get bored. And we begin to find ways to entertain ourselves, even if they aren't the most helpful or healthy ways to go about it. 

The lesson I learned was to bring that same bag of tricks into my own life when I notice the restless-ness coming. Chop up my chores so I don't feel overwhelmed. Cave in and delegate. Call up friends I haven't seen for a season. Help somebody in need. Take a blogging break. Anything that shakes things up and makes you change perspective is game.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Dried up

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This weekend we had an issue with our water supply, from Friday morning until Sunday afternoon there was no water pumped into our community. Needless to say, I was not a happy camper.

The funny thing is, each house stores a certain supply of water. I was told in gallons just how much I would have to brave through this, but two main points were missing: A- How long do I need to make it last? and B- Just what does that mean? A five minute shower? Two minute shower? Can I wash any crusty dishes? Oh my Lord, will I have enough water to flush the toilet?

Just like any other human being, the first thing we do is to moan and complain. And then pray for God to just this once, help a sister out and restore my water supply for His Glory. Very mature, I know. But I see how this silly situation was used to teach me a couple of things, and I'd like to share them with you. 

First of all, the magnitude of it hit me in the face. I don't have to do anything to have access to running water, I just turn a faucet. What about the people who have to walk miles? What about the people who live in droughts? What about the people who depend of muddy and dirty sources? No water taught me compassion. 

How big was my crisis, really? I still had access to water on tap. I have family two blocks down who opened their home for us to shower. I was able to afford going out for lunch on Sunday to avoid piling up dishes. I did not need to skip on bathing, washing hands, brushing teeth or drinking water. No water taught me how small my problems really are.

Can I even say I had no water? Or was I just focusing on the worst all along?I just had the nagging feeling that if I was not careful, I would be in trouble later on. No water taught me to put things into perspective. 

At the end of the day, a water shut off showed me God's incredible grace and mercy through the little things. And I am so thankful for those few days I spent worried about the lack, all the while focusing on what God has to offer that is so abundant. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Worship Wednesday

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"Blessed To Be A Witness"
Ben Harper

Corcovado parted the skyAnd through the darknessOn us he shinedCrucified in stoneStill his blood is my ownGlory behold all my eyes have seenHave seen

I am blessedI am blessedI am blessedI am blessedI am blessed to be a witness

Some have flown awayAnd can't be with us here todayLike the hills of my homeSome have crumbled and now are goneGather around for today won't come againWon't come again

I am blessedI am blessedI am blessedI am blessedI am blessedI am blessedI am blessed to be a witness

So much sorrow and painStill I will not live in vainLike good questions never askedIs wisdom wasted on the pastOnly by the grace of God go IGo I

I am blessedI am blessedI am blessedI am blessedI am blessedI am blessedI am blessed to be a witness

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


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It seems like this week will be one of those weeks. You know the ones. When Sunday comes and you already feel tired for the upcoming days. When the weekend is full of joy, loved ones and anticipation, but lacks in any rest. When Monday hits you in the face with crying toddlers, missing coworkers and stressed out bosses. So yeah, that's how my last few couple of days have been. But how are you?

In the midst of all this, I am reminded of one thing. To rejoice. 

And I was reminded about my little 2013 word. You know the one. Wholeheartedly. 

Because at the end of the day, it's easy to be wholehearted when things go well. It is easy to plan, execute and check off what you enjoy and what goes your way. Not so much when you wake up to find there is no running water in your house and you have a medical semi-crisis in your hands. 

But, as in with everything else, it's all good. It always is. 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Couple's devotional

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Last year my husband and I went on a newlywed couples retreat. It was two and a half days of spending time in a gorgeous house, with yummy food, lovely company and some amazing outbreaks in our marriage. We discovered more about how similar our dreams were and how God's direction for both was confirmed in those two days than we had in the first two years of our marriage.

To enhance the experience we were asked to read this devotional. We started strong, but after we got back routine got the best of us, and it took us a little over eight months to complete it. But once we did, we were pumped to continue and strengthen our quality time as a couple, so we began considering a new devotional. 

Some weeks later our pastor mentioned this Bible Study guide. We looked into it and liked what we saw. It is a three year Bible study, which sounded like 'Bible Study for slackers' to me. But then I realized that the point wasn't completing it in one year. The point was savoring your Bible study. Spending time together, talking, praying, learning. And considering the reality of how busy our days are, and how we will be adding a baby to the mix within two months, we jumped on it.

In a whole week we have completed five days. Not ideal, I know. But we began slowly so we can truly enjoy it and do it when we have the proper time, energy and disposition towards it. And it has been lovely. Just lovely.

We share our thoughts and we connect through scripture. We discuss points of view and enjoy hearing what touched each of our hearts. And we grow closer to each other as we grow closer to God. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Worship Wednesday

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"My Hope Is You"
Third Day
To you, O Lord, I lift my soul
In you, O God, I place my trust
Do not let me be put to shame
Nor let my enemies triumph over me

My hope is you
Show me your ways
Guide me in Truth
In all my days
My hope is you

I am, O Lord, filled with your love
You are, O God, my salvation
Guard my life and rescue me
My broken spirit shouts
My mended heart cries out...

My hope is you
Show me your ways
Guide me in Truth
In all my days
My hope is you

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

On loving those neighbors

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I live in a gated community with forty houses. All houses are attached, so I have neighbors in front of me, behind me and on both sides. Rationally speaking, that is the worst idea known to men. I hear pillow talk from the neighbors next to my bedroom, people showering at 5 am on the bathroom side, people chatting underneath my bedroom window and every noise the kids make on the backyard attached to mine.

I won't lie, it bothers me. Especially because I am always so concerned about not making any noise. More than wishing they would be quiet, sometimes I just wish they were more considerate. 

And then I got a new neighbor. Her house is southeast of mine, but our backyards connect. She spends the entire day on her backyard, doing house chores or working as a hair stylist out of her backyard. And from the moment her three girls, all under ten, wake up to the time they go to bed, she screams at them. I am not joking. Or exaggerating. 

She screams threats of beating them up (although she never follows through, thankfully), tells them just what an idiot they are and tends to add an absurd amount of profanities into every other sentence. She always, always, always sounds so mad. So frustrated. At the end of her rope.

And for a long time, I hated her. I hated how she talked to her girls. How she was constantly scarring them for life. How she was unable to show love. How she was unable to realize that the entire community can hear her. How she could at least keep some naughty words out of her rants. All I wanted to do was report her to the manager, to the police, and make her feel horrible, just like she does to her daughters.

Until God pointed out to me how similar we are. How I lose my temper with my dogs. How I get frustrated. How I have no idea of what her life is like. How I have no idea of what motherhood is like. And how He calls me to love. Not judge. Love. Not hate. Love. 

So now I can see how He does use everything for His glory. A noisy neighbor goes from being a disturbance to being a chance to show Christ. A lesson on being a kind, gentle spoken mom. An opportunity to extend grace to a tired mom and joy to some ignored children. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Why I left facebook

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Before I begin, let me make something clear: I don't think facebook is evil. When I came back to Brazil, facebook was the only quick and easy way to contact my Georgia friends, and I did enjoy getting news from them all.

However, somewhere along the way I think it lost its charm. It went from something that propagated important info and reached out to old friends to a pile of status updates on what people had for lunch, memes and youtube links on them.

I could probably write a long post on how the tagging device was it's death sentence to me and how people who spend countless hours on it liking every post and base their entire conversations on what others publish make me cringe. However, that would be a useless rant (and not very fun reading). So instead of focusing on its faults, I'll just share why I chose to remove myself from it altogether. 

First of all, I became aware of how people tell themselves they are socializing. They like a post or make a one sentence comment, and they feel connected to someone else. But what happened to picking up the phone? Meeting up for coffee? Offering a hug? There is no need for that anymore. And personally, I think that is just sad. I think the internet is great and I think there is room for both in-person and online relationships, but one should never take over the other. 

Secondly, I thought about what it added to my life. Was it truly important to watch a video of a child on a bike, to know my friends are stuck in traffic or to see pictures of someone in a Caribbean cruise? These things are nice, but how relevant are they? Do I really want that to be the description of how I spent my day?

And finally, I thought about what I would do with the time I used to waste on facebook. Read more. Spend more time with my husband. With my dogs. With the Lord. And that was a no-brainer for me. 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Path of life

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You make known to me the path of life;
    you will fill me with joy in your presence,
    with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Psalm 16:11

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Weekend links

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As a soon-to-be Christian mommy, this week two posts captured my heart about raising children in a God-glorifying way: this one and this one.

I loved this video. Don't get me wrong, I am a football fan, but that makes it even more beautiful to me. 

This post really hit home with me. We are in the midst of a transition phase, and I feel tugged just like the young man, between what I know to be true and what my heart seems to desire. 

Have a trully blessed weekend!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

All about baby

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People warn you that life will never be the same when you have a baby, that your entire existence will surround another life the moment that life comes out of you. I came to learn that that is a lie.

Don't get me wrong, it does happen. At least for the first couple of years of your child's life, they are dependent on you physically and emotionally. That part will indeed happen. But the after part is a big misconception.

I have learned in these 28 weeks of pregnancy that life begins revolving around that little one way before. For some couples, the planning, dreaming and waiting for a baby can take years. Years of preparing for someone who doesn't exist yet. Years of longing. Years of prayer. For us, we did think about baby every once in a while, but we did not shift our focus from our own life or from our marriage. That was until those two blue lines showed up, anyway.

However, the moment you learn that there is something, someone, growing inside of you, it is quite impossible not to shift your focus. Anything and everything became about baby. What I can eat. What I should eat. How much rest I should get. How much exercise I should make sure I get. Sun care. Dental care. Skin care. It wasn't anymore about my wants, but about his needs. 

That is why I have been so strict in my pregnancy. For me, there were no questions about whether I would accept a sip of wine or cave into the sushi temptation. No discussion about whether I was too lazy to work out or too hot to wear those bloody tights. No guessing which allergies medication I could take, even though I felt like death itself from hay fever. 

It's been about baby Arthur all along. And although I was warned that it would be a hard road and I would feel deprived many times, I have to say, I disagree. Placing my child's needs before my own has been simple and easy. And it taught me a new way to look at an old favorite verse:

If you cling to your life, you will lose it; 
but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.
Matthew 10:38-40

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Worship Wednesday

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"O Praise Him"
David Crowder Band

Turn your ear
To heaven and hear
The noise inside
The sound of angels' awe
The sound of angels' songs
And all this for a King
We could join and sing
All to Christ the King

How constant, how divine
This song of ours will rise
O, how constant, how divine
This love of ours will rise
Will rise

O praise Him
O praise him
He is Holy
He is Holy (yeah)

Turn your gaze
To heaven and raise
A joyous noise
The sound of salvation come
The sound of rescued ones
And all this for a King
Angels join to sing
All for Christ our King

Oh la, la, la, la, la, la

How infinite and sweet
This love so rescuing
O, how infinitely sweet
This great love that has redeemed
As one we sing

He is Holy
He is Holy (yeah)

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

31 days

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I took part in a (not so) little project called 31 days last year. During the month of October, The Nester hosts this huge linking party in which we all write for 31 days about something. Anything. Last week she announced that it would happen again this October, and I was thrilled. 

Not only was it a great way for me to choose a topic, stick to it and truly develop it, it was a great way to find new blogs. It gets a bit overwhelming at first (something about twelve hundred blogs in a linking party tends to do that to you), but if you take it slow and remember that you do have all the time in the world to cruise through the titles that grab your attention, even after October is gone, you'll be sure to come across some blogging gems!

As usual, as soon as I saw her post I began thinking about what to write. My intention was to post today with the info, title of my series and logo for it. Call me anxious, I call myself efficient. But I have learned that is not the best way to go about things. I need to think. I need to digest. I need to pray. I am writing only to share with you that this is such a great project, and in case you want to join, you'll probably need more than a couple of days' notice to plan ahead.

Last year I wrote on 31 Days in search of a Spirit-led life. This time around, I am inclined to do something related to motherhood, considering I will be a mom in November. But we'll see. I'll keep you updated. And please let me know if you do decide to join, I'd love to follow your series!  

Monday, September 2, 2013

Infinitely more

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Some people live a long, healthy young life with no intentions of settling down. If I were to be completely honest, I think I started seriously considering marriage when I was, oh, I don't know, maybe nine. Maybe it is because I've always known I wanted to be a mom. Maybe it is because I had some sort of low self-esteem and needed to have someone by my side to feel worth something. Maybe it is because this has always been a God-given dream.

I know what it is like to be a teenager surrounded by friends with their boys-in-tow and be alone. I know what it is like to graduate from high school never having been kissed. I know what it is like to lie to a group of girls that of course I had already french kissed. I know what it is like to go through college watching peers 'hook up', get STDs, get pregnant, and wreck their sanity over messy sex lives, all the while thinking that I am light years away from being that grown up. 

I know what it is like to come to Christ and all of a sudden be extremely grateful for God's protection. Learning the meaning of the word holy and understanding why I was set apart. And yet, even after becoming a Christian, I also know what it is like to look through the youth group wondering if my future husband is somewhere there. Pray that the one close friend you have sees what a Godly wife you'd make. 

For my entire life, I placed marriage in a pedestal. At first, for the lack of a romantic relationship. And then, when I was twenty-two my parents got divorced, and my need to have someone just got worst. My husband was a childhood friend of mine, and he came back into my life a couple of years later. I finally had what I had always wanted, and yet, for a long time, I kept expecting things to fall apart. 

He couldn't be that great of a boyfriend. Our relationship couldn't be that peaceful. Our love couldn't be that strong. I beat myself for not knowing how to behave in an adult relationship, and attempted to follow the examples of friends and family only to see that it did not work. I cried countless nights over the idea that he might just get fed up with me and leave me. 

Yet, he never did. He has never raised his voice to me. Never spoken unkind words. Never stormed out of the room. Never treated me with disrespect, in private or public. He has been showing me Christ's love way before he understood who Christ was himself. I was willing to settle for much less. I would have been content with much less. Yet, God had infinitely more for me than I had planned. 

Daddy listening to baby Arthur's heartbeat

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Indeed, nothing

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"No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Romans 8:39