Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Coming out of a blog fog....with Doughnuts!

Writing on this blog is weird for me.  Sometimes I can think of a million things to write about and sometimes, especially after a long period of not writing, I can't think of anything.  Today is one of those days.  I know I haven't posted on here in a while (except for Bronwyn's birthday) and I don't want to quit, but I haven't got my inspirational juices flowing in the blog-writing department yet.

So.... let's get started with some doughnuts.  Sweets are always inspirational to me!

 I made these doughnuts for Carys's birthday. I should say WE made them because it required Kevin and Ansley's help also.  But they were SO GOOD.
(I know Ansley appreciates me putting this picture on here.  You're welcome, Ansley.)

Here in Brazil, or at least in our city, we don't have doughnuts.  Sometimes a bakery will make a doughnut shaped pastry, but it is pretty chewy and bready and not like a yummy doughnut should be.  But these, were so light and not chewy at all.  So good.

I made this chocolate glaze to go on top.

So if you live in a doughnut deprived zone, I would recommend these.

OR if you just want to spend a few hours making doughnuts instead of going out to the local doughnut shop, you can try them, too.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Happy Birthday, Bronwyn

Dear Bronwyn,

Well, 20 years ago, you made me a mom.  My life changed when you were born - for the better.  And those 20 years have FLOWN by.

I would love for us to be able to be together on your birthday.  And if it were possible, we would all jump on a plane and go there to spend the weekend with you.  I hope your day is really special.

I am so proud of you, Bronwyn.  I always have been.  You have always had such a sweet and gracious spirit.  I love your big smile.  I love the way that you care about people and feel compelled to help.  You are a beautiful girl on the inside and on the outside.

I love your heart that is so strong, yet so soft.  I am so excited to see all the ways that God will use you.

Your dad and I are very, very proud of you in every way.

I love you,

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Leaning on the Faith of Others

Faith is believing what you can't see with your eyes.  It is knowing in your heart that God is in control.  It is also ACTING like you know that.  Not wringing your hands with worry or being consumed by fear.  Acting like you believe what you say you believe.

But what about when you just can't seem to do that?

For example, I have had two miscarriages.  Both times, the baby just died inside of me towards the end of my first trimester.  I didn't find out that they had died until several weeks later.  Those losses were terrible and heartbreaking.

The first time was after Garrett and before Carys.  When I got pregnant with Carys, I prayed that God would let me feel her move early and confirm to me that she was OK.  He answered that prayer.  She moved early and a lot.  That was good because at that time, in the US, I would have only one ultrasound halfway through my pregnancy.  So the moving was good.  It was a confirmation that she was OK.  Losing that baby was hard, but I accepted it as one of those things that just happens sometimes.

The second time was after Anderson and before Giovanni.  This time I was an "old" mama.  I was almost 43 years old.  I found out during an ultrasound at 11 weeks that the baby had died around 2 weeks earlier.  That day I was going to pick up my parents from the airport and "surprise" them with the good news that we were having a baby.  Instead I got to surprise them with sad news.  It was one of the hardest times in my life.

Then I tried for a year to get pregnant.  2007.  Not a fun year.  What was I even doing?  I was 43 and had a junior in high school.  But, it seemed that God had put this desire in our hearts and it wouldn't go away - it was from Him.  At the end of that  year, we decided to give up.  We didn't have it in us to go through another year trying.  Maybe I was just too old.  When we decided to give up, I was already pregnant.  God had his way.

OK, here's the faith part.  After I found out I was pregnant, I was scared to death.  Like consumed with fear.  And I felt horrible.  I didn't throw up (I never do), but I felt like I had a stomach virus about 80% of the time, and I was exhausted.  I could accomplish about 2 things a day.  I knew I should have faith and not be afraid.  I knew God was in control.  But I felt SO bad that I just couldn't summon up the will to believe and be strong.

God gave me a faith partner.  A good friend told my husband to read Psalms 91 to me every night before bedtime.  Or anytime I felt overcome by fear.  He did that.  It didn't ease my queasy stomach (I was actually thankful for that because it was a sign of a healthy pregnancy), but it did calm my heart.

Remember the verse in James 5:14?  "Are any among you sick?  They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord.  And their prayer offered in faith will heal the sick and the Lord will make them well."  Whose faith would help the sick person?  The sick persons, or the ones praying?  It seems to me it is the one praying.  Because the sick person is, obviously, sick.  When you are so sick, it is hard to have active, trusting, believing faith.  If you don't believe that, wait til you are feeling horrible and try to think about being positive.

Look at what James tells the sick person to do.  Call.  Call someone, call out, let someone know, share, open up.  Don't try to be a super-hero.  Be OK with getting help.  It is actually even OK to not feel like you have any faith at all.  Just have enough faith to call.

My point is that sometimes we have to lean on the faith of others. And sometimes we have to allow others to lean on our faith, too.  We don't have to do it all alone.

PS. That pregnancy story has a happy ending.  Here he is:

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Happy Birthday Carys!!

Today is Carys's birthday.  She is turning 12!!  12??

When we moved to Brazil, she was 3 1/2.  She was, and continues to be, a spunky little thing.  Her reaction to culture shock when we moved here was to cut about half of her hair off.  I really couldn't blame her, I felt like doing something like that a lot back then, too!

We took her to preschool after living here for 2 months.  She walked right in and never looked back.  She is scared of NOTHING - except maybe if she watches a scary movie or TV show right before bedtime.


I love her and I love being her mom!!

Here she is at her birthday party last week with her classmates.  She has lots of good friends and we are thankful for that.

Today's activities include doughnut making, present opening, skyping with sister and grandparents, burgers and fries, game room, Mammy's chocolate cake, and movie.  It will be a fun day!

Happy Birthday Carys!!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Pray for Little Gabriel

You may remember my friend, Daiana, from other posts on this blog or our family blog.  She, her husband, Everton, and their kids are part of our church family.  They have come a long way since we first got to know them when Everton was in the drug rehab center that our church sponsors.

Daiana (pronounced like Diana) gave birth to her 6th baby last Saturday.  Her water broke early at home and she was in labor for 24 hours before he was finally born.

His name is Gabriel.

When Gabriel was born, he wasn't breathing well on his own and he had an infection.  He was put on a ventilator and went immediately to the NICU.  Daiana had to leave the hospital without him.

Gabriel has improved in his breathing.  He now is just in an oxygen tent and is off of the ventilator.  But, the infection has not improved and is now in his blood.

If my baby were in the NICU, I would want to be there with him as much as possible.  Because of the other kids,  Daiana is only able to go to the hospital at the end of each day when Everton gets home from work.  She is worried, and physically and emotionally worn out - as you can probably imagine.

I don't know a lot of details about Gabriel's condition. This has been a super crazy week for us and it has been hard to keep up with this situation and help as much as we would have liked to.

But, I can pray and ask you to pray also.  Pray for Gabriel and for his parents and brothers and sisters.  Pray that any of us who can, will rally around this family and make this situation a little easier for them in some way.

Thank you.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Parking (and preschool update)

We all know what this means.....

I've taken advantage of this one a few times in Brazil....

But this one was a new one for me....

It was in the grocery store at the beach.
Isn't it cute??

PS... Giovanni's second day of school was MUCH better.  Kevin still had to stay in the room with him, but he sat in a little chair in the corner and Giovanni mainly interacted with the kids and the teacher, occasionally coming over to Kevin if he was unsure of what was going on.  He's trying to fit in and get the hang of it!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

First Day, Chocolate Cake, and Thank You

* Well, Giovanni's first day was kind of stressful.

My husband wrote about it in detail on our family blog.  I felt sorry for Giovanni and for his teacher.  There were several times yesterday when he was frustrated because he couldn't communicate with her, and I'm sure she felt the same.  She knew a few English words, so every now and then she would say, "come on" trying to encourage him to participate.  I was afraid that after yesterday he would have a completely negative attitude about school, but this morning Garrett asked him about going back to class and he said "OK."  So we'll see....

*  Last week was really, really busy and tiring.  It included:  returning from vacation, kids starting school, buying school supplies, uniforms, and books (with what was left in the monthly budget ! yikes!), helping friends with marriage difficulties, taking an expectant mother to the hospital and staying for 12 hours while she was in labor - and other things that I can't even remember right now.  Anyway, after a tough week like that, we all needed to chill a little.  So we decided to rent a family movie, make some pizza and have a family night.

As a special treat, Carys and I decided to make a chocolate cake from the cookbook that she got for Christmas from her grandparents.  Here is the cake we chose:

It is called Hershey's Kisses Birthday Cake.

Here is our cake:

Pretty much the same thing, right?  I mean except for the Hershey's Kisses on top, which we can't get in Brazil.  But besides that, it looks the same.

I'm happy to report that it tasted much better than it looked.  It was gobbled up quickly.  Apparently kids don't really care about looks when it comes to chocolate cake.

*  My parents and my in-laws gave me some money for my birthday with the instructions to buy something that made me feel special.  So, on a rainy day during our vacation we went to a big department store that has lots of bargains.
I cheerfully spent all of my birthday money there on stuff that I really like and makes me happy.  Stuff I wouldn't have ordinarily bought because I don't usually spend money on myself.
So, thanks Mama and Daddy, Gary and Marie for my new dishes......

my rainbow serving plate.....

and my new funky tea kettle.

I love my birthday presents! Thank you!