Thursday, March 27, 2008

Linda tagged me!’s my list of 10 Things You May Not Know About Me

1. I went to a one-room country school from 1st grade through the middle of 5th grade, then graduated from 8th grade in a much larger school ( It had two rooms: upper and lower grades).
2. I was a cheer leader for the Nash Ramblers, our grade school basketball team and I loved it!!!!!! (Give me an "N" clap, clap, Give me an "A"....)
3. My sister Cyndee and I would sing duets in church and sometimes get the giggles so badly we couldn’t finish the song.
4. I got my driver’s permit when I was 12 years old and my license at 13. Sometimes I drove the neighbor kids home from school. Scary???
5. I fell into the river that ran behind our house while trying to walk my puppy Posie across a large tree that had fallen across the river. My puppy quickly swam to shore while I stood up, bawling, and walked out of the river with the help of my mother. Fortunately, the water only came up to my chest.
6. I love to collect stamps, salt & pepper shakers and spoons!
7. My childhood dream is to see the redwood trees in California.
8. I love country music.
9. My first airplane ride was in Mexico with missionary Danny Ost piloting a small plane. Pat was told to throw tracts out the window as we circled low over a village. I gave my approval from the back seat. The missionary was pamphleting the whole country this way.
10. I attended a summer conference at Bethany in the 60s when they ran out of water and had to bring in a water truck. I discovered later that my future father-in-law was also present that year and we may have been at the water truck at the same time!!! Think about those implications!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter is...

...coloring eggs with Eric & Emily
feasting on baked salmon

eating sticky buns for Easter breakfast

...being with family

eating lots of chocolate!!!

It's Time to Color Eggs with my Grandkids

Thursday, March 20, 2008


Ever see this many chocolate eggs?? Brazil is a champion at producing them. It's fun to walk under a ceiling of chocolate!!!! A bite, anyone??
Vive chocolate!!


After living 20 years in the mideastern part of Brazil, we moved to the far south and a new reality. One of the happy surprises was Easter. This part of the country had been settled by German immigrants, and I discovered we had some things in common--hiding Easter baskets, for instance (which my husband says is what his Mom always did). Here people talked about "making a nest" and stores actually sold Easter baskets. Some families color eggs, but more common is the tradition (in other parts of Brazil as well) of filling the empty egg shell with candied peanuts. I somehow felt like I had come home!
In the USA, with Easter always falling in the spring, Christ's ressurrection was a perfect fit with nature bursting with new life: baby chicks and rabbits, the first robins, tender green grass, baby leaves to dress dry, bare branches, snow melting, crocuses and tulips blooming. The whole earth is an orchestra of color and song shouting "Christ is risen!" Well, in the southern hemisphere, the analogy isn't so perfect. Easter comes in the fall of the year. Ah! but I have found nature's thrilling signs of Easter in this country as well. First of all, the kapok trees bloom. The pink petals fall softly to the ground, making a beautiful carpet. How many times did my kids look for eggs on grass covered by kapok petals?? Then there is the uncultivated maricá bush that grows in ditches alongside the road and in town. It is native to only the southern part of Brazil as well as to Paraguay, Argentina and Uruaguay, and the southern part of the US. The maricá's white bloosoms resemble miniature snow balls and paint a landscape of white. Last, but not least, is marcela, a medicinal plant, ie. (achyrocline satureioides). The legend associated with this plant is that in order to obtain its therapeutic benefits one must gather it during holy week, preferably early in the morning on Good Friday before the dew disappears. A few days ago on one of my walks, I accidently came across a huge area covered with it. Since I don't believe in the legend, I happily gathered an armload of marcela to decorate my house for Easter--I love its fragrance--and for making tea. (They say it is good for tummy upsets.)
Although I still associate those beautiful white lilies with Easter I have found other symbols in my adopted country that give me the same happy feeling that Easter is just around the corner. Christ the Lord is risen today! Alleluia!


Since my blogsite has a mind of its own and will not accept captions under the pictures, I will have to explain. 1. The church where we worshipped for many years and I attended my very first Easter service in Brazil. 2. Michael & Patricia looking for eggs inside the house. At this point in time, we lived in the big city and had no yard. 3. Cousin Sheri lived with us and taught school at the Bethany Academy.


I left church that Easter Sunday feeling so let down. I hadn’t been expecting Easter to be the same in Brasil as it had been back in North Dakota, but to not even mention the word “Easter” was just too much. No Easter hymns were sung, no Easter lilies (of course!) and no Easter sermon. Nothing was said about Jesus dying and rising from the dead!!
(Maybe that’s when I resolved I would change that and little by little American customs began appearing….Easter hymns were sung in church, staff kids gathered around me every year to color eggs and hunting for Easter eggs became a tradition!! One year I even made Easter baskets for everyone. Old Easter cards were salvaged from a“missionary” care package and made into centerpieces for the dining room tables. One year I organized an Easter sunrise service and posted students on the terraces of our three high buildings to shout out the clarion call: Christ is risen!! I was thrilled--whether or not any one else was I couldn’t be sure.

I was proud of myself for all the "advances" I’d made to help the Brazilian culture along. (If you know an anthropologist, please don’t tell him/her what I did.) Missionaries are supposed to adapt to the host culture—not vice versa. I know. I know. I know that, but my deep yearnings for my own culture propelled me forward because my main motivation was giving my children an "American" Easter. The ironic twist in this is that as a child, I’m not certain I ever hunted for Easter eggs, much less colored them or owned an Easter basket.

Now all of that is years behind me and I am left with delightful memories of my kids, sleepy-eyed, looking for their Easter baskets and devouring chocolate Easter bunnies for breakfast. And looking through the pictures brings it all back again and again.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Four-Act Play

Act I: Frenzied Husband

6: 40 p.m. Husband hurries out to car to drive into town to work out at the gym. Time is at a premium because we have a meeting at 8 p.m. Starts car.
6:41 p.m. Husband remembers he forgot to grab rented video to return to video store and gets out of running car, closes door and hollers to wife, "I forgot to get the video."
6:42 p.m. Wife comes out of house with video in hand and delivers it to hubby.
6:43 p.m. Husband goes back to get into the car, but the door is locked! (The car has a device which automatically locks doors if car is running--which it was.)

Act II: Stupified Husband

6:44 p.m. Both husband and wife stand unbelieving by running, locked car. They wish this were just a dream.
6:46 p.m. Husband decides there is nothing he can do to remedy the situation and decides to call the car insurance man.
6:47 p.m. Car insurance is activated and help is promised to arrive in 40 minutes!!


Act III: Demystified Husband

7:30 p.m. Motorcycle arrives from Porto Alegre--some 35 quilometers away-- carrying locksmith. A neat device is employed to force an opening in the door to then pump up the device. (My understanding is deficient at this point.)
7:35 p.m. Door is unlocked and car is still running.

Act IV: Intelligent Husband

He will never do this again!!
P.S. All times are estimated.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


Fishing on a lazy summer afternoon...

Born and raised right here!

A rebuilt house-to-be-restaurant

Last Saturday we drove to a little German town called Ivoti. Our first stop was a well-stocked antique shop and one of the trivia that caught my eye was a View Master projector for kids that came with one slide card. Our kids had had a View Master, now broken, so I was happy to find this used one for sale. The price: $24! (I quickly decided I'd look for one at garage sales in the USA this summer!) I also found a candle holder exactly like mine (and I'm not antique) and a Blue Willow dessert plate for $24. Nah! I don't need that either. The friendly owner of the shop directed us to a new colonial village that was being inaugurated that weekend. The road took us through town and wound down a hill to an ancient bridge built for Don John VI. The one house that had been restored for public viewing was closed, but we did meet an interesting man who was born and raised in the house you see in the photo. It was a step back into time.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


...I see beautiful flowering trees that make me wish you could enjoy them with me. I feel blessed to be living in a subtropical climate where we feast year round on a rich variety of flowering trees and plants. I once again stand amazed at my heavenly Father's creative hands and love of beauty.

Friday, March 07, 2008


"How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand..." Psalm 139:17-18a


10 a.m. 5:40 p.m.

Victory at 12: 05 a.m.
Thanks for inspiring this, Linda!!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008


"A view from the hotel looking over the valley"

For your next vacation: The Wine Spa at Villa Europa in the Vineyard Valley. Because of the grape harvest, the hotel is offering special package deals, as in:

*2 nights with breakfast (taxes already included)
*straw hat, britola (?) and basket for picking grapes
*cold cuts & cheeses with music!
*1 typical Italian dinner including wine

You can choose between 3 different rooms:
Luxurious Apartment--$360 (single); $514 (double)
Prince Suite--$548 (single); $632 (double)
Master Suite--$817 (single); $901 (double)

And there's more--special package deals for one day with creams, massages, exfoliation, facial treatments--all with grape products. For instance, you can get a scalp massage for only $95.80. What could be better with a breathtaking view of Vineyard Valley?

On our trip through the vineyards last week, we stopped by this hotel without knowing about its fame. We read that before opening day there were already 300 reservations!

Check out their site at

Choose your wine and take a trip into a new world of special treatments made with grape seed oil, honey, creams, perfumed oils and more!!!! Enjoy that vacation!!

Sunday, March 02, 2008


I've always admired women who could tear up (as in cry) at a sad story, then seconds later act normal as if nothing had happened. Those kind of women exuded femininity, softness, tenderness-- qualities I admired but which I seemed to have in short supply. My tearful moments more closely resembled that of a dam bursting open producing long, drawn-out, blubbery boo-hoos with the red eyes, runny nose and a certain woebegone Eyore look. I'm an all or nothing person, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised that it shows up in this emotional area of my life as well. However, it has bothered me so much (like the fact that I never cried at my father's funeral) that I have actually prayed about it--and wondered if there was something wrong with me! Then a neat thing happened. After writing my blog about my grandfather, I had an insight. Certainly a child is influenced by his parents and grandparents, and in my case, a grandfather who didn't even hug me after a scary, choking incident sent me a message not to show emotion. Moments after writing that blog I remembered another incident when I was nine years old at my maternal grandfather's funeral. I never had any emotional attachment to him; in fact, my only recollection of him was of that day in his casket. I sat through the funeral service without feeling any reason to cry, but after the funeral as people were leaving the chapel, I began to cry. My father saw me, put his arms around me and said, "Don't cry! Don't cry!" So I stopped right on the spot! He didn't explain his reasons and I never asked for them, because asking was something I didn't do.

I have analyzed how I handle situations involving good-byes or moments for expressing emotion and I've discovered that I'm very good at stuffing those feelings so I don't have to face them. Could these two situations be windows God is allowing me to peek through to help me understand myself (and not condemn myself as well)? I think so. Human beings are a complex tangle of wires like a mother board on the computer and only God knows how we are wired up and how we got a blocked-up connection along our walk through life, yet his love for us is so great that he yearns to work with us to remove all the blockages to allow his love to flow out in its widest dimensions through us to the world.

And oh, I actually cried at a film we watched the other day and I didn't get blubbery or end up with red-rimmed eyelids and a runny nose. I'm making progress!

Saturday, March 01, 2008


The end of our "Grape Day" was at the Grape Festival, held every two years in Caxias do Sul. Beautiful, suculent grapes of many different hues hung on display behind glass. Many had names of women. In one pavillion there were free grapes for everyone, the only rule being: "No grapes can leave this room!" For some reason, I couldn't eat very many. It was a wonderful, grapey day!!!!!!


We stopped alongside the road to admire the grapes, then noticed a 51-yr.0ld lady with a plastic tub hanging from her neck We struck up a conversation. She told us this vineyard had been in the family for many years, now left to herself and her nephew. (She also took care of her 80-ish mother.) "Would you like some grapes?" she asked. We said yes as Pat started fishing in his pockets for some money. "No, no, no," she said, "Imagine! You don't have to pay for them!" After more insisting on our part, we decided she must be sincere and we each accepted great handfuls of purple "Isabel" grapes. We returned to our car feeling we had met a "grape" angel. I had just read that the grape seeds and skins contain most of what is "good for you"--the very things I have an aversion to eating--but, inspired by my reading and feeling inclined to health that day, I began to chomp on the seeds and swallow the skins like a deprived war prisoner. I felt soooo full when I finished.


It's always nice to have a good excuse for making a trip to Vineyard Valley--and this year we had one--a visitor from Minas Gerais. We drove past miles and miles of vineyards, stopping occasionally to admire and take pictures. Enjoy!