Monday, December 27, 2010


It's almost hard to remember our family without Jason.
It's as though he always was.

And that's the way it should be with family.
Incomplete without each one.

We realize, Jason, that it really wasn't us that you thought you were
choosing when you married our daughter.
But you got us anyway.

We got the better end of the deal!
Love you so much.


Saturday, December 25, 2010

A Savior is Born!!!!

It's easy to forget that this day is not about you and me.

That it's not about the snow falling outside, as I write this,
or the cinnamon roll I just ate.

It's not about the music in the background or the good meal and family time ahead for us.

It's not even about the presents.

I forget that sometime.
And when all of the above doesn't fall into place you'll hear me say

"it just doesn't feel like Christmas".

It was a normal day for this world, as far as the people were concerned.
A day of work, of routine. Nothing special. Or so it seemed.

And yet God, in His infinite wisdom, chose that particular day to provide a way
of salvation for you and me.
And He chose it in a form of a baby.

And He didn't plan it to be "special" in the ways
that we would think it needed to be.
He had Our Saviour born to a very young, inexperienced couple.
He had the birth take place in the discomfort of a stable.
A smelly, dirty place intended for animals.
Certainly not built with the intention that a King would be born there.

He made a grand announcement,
not to the high society of the times,
but rather to a bunch of poor, dirty shepherds.

And then He put this young couple, with a small child,
on the run for their lives.
Having to trust fully in Him.
That what He had said would come to pass.

Yes, the wise men came to worship Him eventually
but I don't recall hearing of them at the foot of the cross
as He was dying.

And, now, you and I are asked to fully trust Him.
That what He said will come to pass.

No, the day doesn't always feel like what it is.
But it is what it was meant to be.

Let us not forget.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Our Family Christmas 2010 Tennessee

While our whole family was together earlier this month,
we were blessed that a good friend
of Jason and Kellie
(who just so happens to be a professional photographer)
(by his wife's nudges!)
to take some family pictures for us.

What a gift!

This guy still gives me butterflies!

Our "crazy" grandchildren.
Our cup runneth over with joy!

You can get a little bit of a glimpse of their personalities
with these pictures!

Our family has a lot of fun together
and I think Rich captured our enjoyment of each other.

side note: Notice Jake on Brett's shoulders.
While taking these picture, at some point,
Brett spit on the ground.
(he said later that right after he did it
he knew it was a mistake)
Jake copied him.
Then Brett heard,
"oh, that was a mistake."
He continued to tell Brett that he had spit but it landed
in Brett's hair - thus the mistake.
He then proceeded to try and wipe it off.
Not so good for Brett's purposely messed up hair.
Oh well, like Brett said - he made the first mistake!

Josh and Jodi thought it was a great time to have a good
picture taken of their family together....

Actually, I think it's great.
Each person is so themselves in this picture.
It's a keeper!

Thank you so much Rich Smith!
They are the greatest and we are blessed that you would do this for us.
And Heather, thank you for the little arm twisting that you may have had to do!

You guys are the best!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

One Amazing 3 Year Old!

Can it be that you are actually 3 years old already?
Where has the time gone?

It seems like only yesterday that we were dreaming of you.

You may not have been born into this family
but it has always been God's intention
for you to be a part of us.
You are.
And we couldn't be happier.

We love you so much.

Happy Birthday, sweet boy!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Listen and You Can Hear It Too

Warren sang to me during our wedding. A song he had written just for me.
Girls dreams of that sort of romantic thing!
Most every anniversary since, he has sung to me "our song".
I beg for it.
And I tear up every time.
It is my song. Written with me in mind.
So very long ago he had used this song to express himself to me.
My favorite line?

"The feelings that I have are like no others I have known."

What is it about music that stirs such emotion in us?
It ignites feelings of passion,
it soothes troubled hearts,
it calms a crying baby,
it cleanses the soul
and it is one of the greatest forms of worship.

I remember singing to the kids when they were little.
I sang about all sorts of things.
Jesus loves you. Jesus loves the little children.
And an all time favorite of mine -
You are my sunshine.
Sometimes I even made up songs as I sang. It all depended on the situation!
I continue to sing over my grandchildren.
Usually when no one else is around!

To hold a child and sing over him.
Oh, the innocence that you recognize as you look into their little faces.
I would study them as I gazed upon them. Memorizing every little detail.
Pondering in my heart.
Sometimes there would be smiles and sometimes huge tears rolling down my cheek.
Both from the awesome responsibility of being called
Mommy or Grandma
to such an extra-ordinary child as the one I was holding at that very moment.

I had dreams for each one.
Dreams because of my great love for them.
I had plans -
and they were all for the good of that particular child.
I wanted nothing but good for them
while at the same time I realized,
being an adult and all,
that having the good plan
would sometimes mean tears in their life.

And I also realized that they wouldn't always understand my intentions.
Not at the time anyway.
But I would press on because I knew that someday, hopefully,
they would understand my motive:

My unexplainable love for them.

I sang over them and marveled at the fact
that I was chosen to be an instrumental part
of this little person's life.

So blessed I am, I realized.

I was reminded of all of this when God brought this verse to mind:

Zep 3:17 The LORD your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing."

If I listen carefully I can almost hear the melody......

Monday, October 25, 2010

What's love got to do with it?

While we were in Curitiba I watched way to many movies
and to much TV on the internet.
I also did a lot of reading, studying and talking.
What else is a person suppose to do when sitting
with one leg elevated because of an injury?!

Anyway, I watched this show,
not necessarily one I would recommend to anyone,
that was about a family.
Right in the beginning of the show the father of this family dies of a heart attack
and after his death secrets of his life begin to be revealed.
Like - he had another family. A mistress for 20+ years.

The family is pretty shaken from this revelation
but the one hit the hardest by it is, of course,
his wife. The mother. The widow.

She had always thought, and so had everyone else,
that they had one of those wonderful, loved filled marriages.
Now, understandably so, she is wondering what the truth is.
Had her whole adult life been a lie?

In one scene she is crying. Hard, gut retching tears.
Her daughter tries to comfort her by saying,

"you know he loved you."

And she replied,

"yes, but he didn't give up anything to do it!"

I was so struck by that line that I paused the show and wrote it down.

It impacted me.

The idea that you need to give something up
in order to love.

I cheered on that romantic notion. Of course, loving is about dying to self.
It didn't take a genius to see that this particular man
hadn't loved at any expense to himself.
Just when it suited his purposes.
Just as long as he got something out of it.
And - is that really loving at all?

So it made me think:
Does love always cost something?

It is always best to go to the source in order
to know the truth
and so I went to God.
The source of love.
No, He is more than that.

God is love.
1Jo 4:8
He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

Wow! In looking further I saw that He had definitely given up a lot to love me.

To love you. Eph 2:4-10, I John 4:10

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

God, because He is so gentle with me,
left me to stew on that for a few months.
And then, a couple of weeks ago,
He brought it to the fore-fronts of my mind again.

I read this:

what Richard Stearns points out from Scripture, from David’s example and the widow’s two mites, is that it doesn’t matter how much we give, what matters is what it costs. What matters is our faith.

Our current giving costs us nothing. The bottom line is our current giving does not require us to live by faith. Now, please hear me that God calls all of us to different things. This is why we CANNOT COMPARE our giving with someone else’s. All we can do is look at ourselves and ask, Does my current giving cost me anything? Does my current giving require me to life by faith? And, it’s worth noting, that this is true of all giving–our time, our talents, and our treasure. It’s so much bigger than money, but where our treasure is there our heart will be too.

I am challenged to consider my monetary giving.

I do give but only to the point of it pinching a little.

I don't allow it to affect my life too much.

But beyond that, I believe that God is asking me to consider more.

The entirety of my life.

My time, my talents, my interests. What I invest in.

To mature in my love for Him. To allow it to cost me.

Mar 8:34 And when he had called the people [unto him] with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

Dying to self. Jesus' greatest act of love.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Sharing Time

I'm smiling today

because it's a extra-special day.
Double the fun,
double the excitement
and double the anticipation.

It's a double (actually triple)
birthday in our family!!!

I Remember (so long ago) when my youngest sister was born.
Not only was she a ways behind in years then the rest of us
but it was also on my Mom's birthday.

Special indeed!!!!

Where do I begin to say what these
two ladies have meant to me?

To say that my life wouldn't be complete without either of them
is under-estimating their value.

Of course, Mom, you have shaped my life.
I know I have sung your praises to everyone before.
So today, I'll just say "ditto"
and mean it with all my heart.

I only wish to be as beautiful as you-
inside and out!

And Sandee -
our family wouldn't have been complete without you.
Your compassion
for the sick amazes me
and your sense of humor has kept us all in stitches.
A great combination.

We've had some good talks,
you and I,
and at some point my little sister grew up
and became a friend.

I love you both
and I am so thankful that you are in my life.

Have a wonderful day -
and may the year be filled with God's blessing,
direction and wonderful surprises
that only HE can give.

Happy Birthday!!!!

* and one more thing -
I also have a niece born on this day.
The baby of the entire family.

Happy birthday, Janae!

You keep life interesting!
and I love you much.

(okay,okay, Janae is just as special as the other two
but I couldn't start posting for all the nieces and nephews-
I'm just too forgetful.
while at the same time, how could I not mention it,
being the same day and all?
Life's decisions are hard.....)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

One Word

Last night, at our going away party,
John asked the people here at the church
to either tell us or write down
something we have said or done to bless them personally.
Each one is a treasure to us.
And truly humbled us.

One young woman hugged me
while saying into my ear,
"There is one word I want to say.
That's what you have taught
me is possible
with God."

And suddenly, the pain and the tears were all worth it.
Once again.

Thank you, Lord.

I will restore to you the years the swarming locust have eaten.... Joel 2:25

Estados Unidos - here we come!

Today is the day we board the plane to go back to Tennessee.
To say that we have mixed feelings is putting it mildly.
We are so very excited to see Kellie and Jason at the airport in Nashville.
To see our friends at Calvary Cleveland.
And evidently, the rest of our family in December.

We have missed them all.

But in order to see them, we must leave those here in Curitiba
that we have come to know and love so very much.

I remember John praying the Sunday before he left for the states
that their would be tears when we leave
because then we would know that love had taken root.

God has been faithful to answer that prayer.

So in this last post before we leave,
I will give just a snap shot of the joy
that we found in this place.

The pictures were chosen, not because any one person
is more important to us than another
but rather because they were some of the better pictures
or they expressed a part of the church body that I wanted to convey.
And remember.
I have treasured pictures of most everyone in my possession
that I am sure I will look at often.

To our friends in Curitiba,
We love you, each one.

You have blessed us above and beyond
what we could have hoped for.
We have grown in our love for Jesus because of you.

Thank you
for the laughter,
the tears,
the honesty
and the great love shown to us.

You will not be forgotten...

Besides - this is not good-bye but only

See you later!

and God bless you until then.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Is It 58? Already?

I've already told you how wonderful I believe my parents are.
Not only have they given me a childhood full of great memories
they have given me an adulthood full of unconditional love,
Godly wisdom and the best of examples.

I couldn't love them more.

And the greatest gift they have given me:
Their love for each other.
It has only grown bigger with time.

I am blessed by you both.

Happy Anniversary!!!!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I Seem to Remember That Today is Special.....

Happy Birthday, Joni!!!

You're still not ready for purple!

So thankful that you are my sister.
We may have had our rough patches but, seriously,
they are hard to remember right now.
A history together is worth so very much.

So thankful you are my friend.
We have had fun!
The many shopping trips and the laughing until early morning hours
(or not going to bed at all!).
Sharing deep, heart felt things.
You know how to give of your time, how to laugh
& how to listen.
Very important things in friendship.

So thankful you are in my life.
I can't imagine it without you.

Have a wonderful birthday
and know you are deeply loved.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A Little Humor

This picture got me to thinking......

do you see any resemblance?.......

or is it my imagination?.....

I've got my own "Little Rascals"!!!!

the "Little Rascals", or early version "Our Gang" was a show created in the 1920's.
It was intended to be about real children doing things that real children do.
Google it and you will find a few laughs.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

God's Handiwork. Floripa.

We did it and I'm so glad that we did.
We hoped on a bus and headed for Florianopolis for a week.
I knew in my head that it's beautiful there but I always forget HOW beautiful.
Someday, when I'm not on crutches, I will explore that place...

Waiting at the church to leave for the retreat center

We found out a few days before we left that Calvary Chapel Floripa was going
to be having a retreat.
It sounded like a great time to get to know some of the people and
a great excuse to see Claudio, Jess and Zeph again.

And the sun.... the wonderful sun.

Kevin, Deigo, & Claudio

Deigo from Campo Mourao, was the guest speaker.
Powerful teachings on the last days.

A good retreat always has the following:


Teaching (and translating!)



The sweetest of times: Baptism

And fellowship.

Warren goofing off in the cafeteria with Larry,
his children and one of the other boys.

We were blessed to be a part of it.
Blessed to meet so many great people
and to again see some that we have already grown to love.

The peace of Floripa

After the retreat was over we had time to hang out with the Cazes.
It was good to get to talk about their lives, the church
and to experience life with them for a few days.
The restaurant we went to. Out on the dock. Best shrimp and fish ever.

On Wed. we took a boat taxi and headed out for the part of the island that you can't get to by car.
They had taken Warren and I there on our last trip
and we had enjoyed it so much.
We weren't disappointed this time either.
How many times do you go before it becomes "old stuff"
and you take such beauty for granted?
I don't know. But I think it would take Warren and I quite a few trips.
Warren was ready to move!

Claudio, Zeph and a new friend.
Fishing. They actually caught a couple small fish.

The group
back: Dani, Pricilia, me, Warren
front: Bruna, Jessica, Claudio & Zeph

Jess and Zeph (2)

sorry about the bad picture!

There is something bad about Floripa though -
the bugs!
I got bit by something and this swollen foot is what I had to show for it.
It itched like crazy and that lasted for a few days
but everything is back to normal now.

Our hotel patio and the view from our windows.

These are the children of Danielle and Nathan Cate.
Three of them they recently adopted while in the states.
The oldest is 6. The youngest is 13 months.
Nathan is the pastor of one of the two Calvaries in Florianopolis.
We were able to spend an afternoon with them at their home.
Such a great afternoon.
We heard their heart for Brazil and the people they serve.
Their commitment to their children.
And most importantly, their love for the Lord.

It is a privilege to know them.

Danielle, Ezekiel 13 mo., Jeremiah 2, Josiah 6, Hope 4, Nate, Grace 3, Lily 2

The whole family.
Aren't they adorable!!!!!!
I must admit I stole these pictures off of their blog.
Of course, I had forgotten to take the camera.

There is so much beauty in Floripa and the pictures show just a fraction of it.
You really must come visit.
You really must experience it.
Just let us know and we'll be sure to be there too!

Good-bye, Floripa, for now.