Thursday, September 03, 2009


Happy Birthday to Eric on his 6th!!! I love you! His was a waterworld theme that his Mommy knows how to create very well. I ate too much!!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Our firstborn, our sunshine! For her birthday celebration we ate pancit, a Philippino dish. Reesha brought the recipe back from the Philippians years ago where she spent her internship. Happy, happy birthday, dear daughter! Love you mucho!

Monday, August 24, 2009


In February 1974 Pat and I and our smiley, two-year-old daughter, Reesha, boarded a plane in Minneapolis, USA in the dead of winter and landed in Brazil in the middle of summer. It was magical. We left our bulky winter coats behind at the airport with family and just a few hours later walked off the plane in Brazil as light as sheered sheep.

We gradually settled down into a very different lifestyle in the polluted industrial region of Coronel Fabriciano, MG. One fine day in May, working in the Bethany seminary kitchen helping with the noon meal, director Larry Darby stopped by for a few minutes to chit chat. All of a sudden he looked at me and said, “Your eyes look yellow.” Taken aback, I looked in the mirror for myself and sure enough, the whites of my eyes were as yellow as cat eyes in the dark. I was sure the doctor's diagnosis would be hepatitis. It was.

Language study stopped, a gate was put in the doorway to our bedroom so our little Reesha couldn't come in, poor thing, and my sister, Cathie, also a missionary in Brazil, came to see me and set up a sterilization system to wash my dishes so others wouldn't get what I had. I spent my days lying on my back looking at the blue walls of our bedroom, memorizing every defect in the plaster, wishing someone would remember to turn off the compressor that shook the ground (and my brain) below my window as it pumped well water into the cistern several times a day. And I thought.

I had lots to think about, mainly about our financial security which appeared quite fragile. We were a faith mission that believed we should work with our hands and trust God for the rest. That was the sticky part, the trusting. We lived rent-free and ate together in a common dining room with students and staff, and in those days adult staff received a small monthly stipend of US$25 each with a stunning addition of US$5 per child. I guess I wasn't a very good Christian because I worried about the money, or more precisely, the lack of it. The day I discovered my yellow eyes, Pat went to the director for money to pay for a doctor’s appointment and was told there was none. The till was empty. That´s definitely unsettling when you're new to the company. It's not that I was afraid of living simply. I came from a simple family and well remember the day we had only potatoes to eat for lunch. But now I was in a foreign country, I'd only known the director for three months, I didn't understand how this place was run, I couldn't speak Portuguese very well and understood even less. I was scared.

For two months I was bedridden and that's a long time to think. One day a small parcel arrived from the USA. It was an audio cassette tape from the junior class at Bethany Bible School in Minneapolis. They felt God directed them to record songs from the Scriptures and I immediately fell in love with the simple words and melodies. My favorite was Psalm 19 because the chorus of the song was about money, even though the principal theme of the psalm was the Word of God. I sang along with the tape over and over:

More to be desired are they [God’s words] than gold
Yeah, than much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey
And the honeycomb.

And as I sang the Holy Spirit whispered to my soul, “My Word is trustworthy; you can trust me…but will you? When there's no money in the till at the seminary, you can trust me; now will you?”

At the end of two months the doctor gave his okay for me to get out of bed. My body was whole, but more importantly, my soul had been healed. I wasn't worried about the money question anymore. Singing the Word over and over again had worked its wonder in my soul, slowly eroding my doubts like water wearing down the hardest rock. Like the psalmist, I had tasted the Word and found it was indeed sweeter than honey, but more importantly, I now knew, deep down in my heart, that trusting in His Word brought more security than a pocketful of 24-karat gold.

Friday, August 21, 2009

New Secretary

Please check out this video of my new secretary. She's very efficient, Ms. Gabriella Dugan!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Coffee Girl Confessions

Check out this great blog for a fresh look at cross-cultural experiences...through the eyes of missionary women. Click on

Friday, June 26, 2009

Grandkids! Grandkids!

There was a 'young' grandmother
Lived in a brown house
She had many grandkids
And even a mouse (or two...
Downstairs in Cari's house!)

One day they decided
A fine place to play
Would be under the piano
And there they did stay
(For a few minutes.)

Grandma fed them some hot dogs
Then sent them to bed
Before she konked out
From hitting her head!
(She didn't fit under the piano.)

P.S. She really didn't hit her head.

Happy Birthday, Delicious Dessert!

Patricia is my baby and we had the privilege of being in her home for her 24th birthday! This is the last of the banana/walnut muffins we had for her birthday breakfast.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Grace is Gone

While Cari was in the States, the 'caring' of her two precious children fell to her marvelous husband...and me. Tuesdays and Thursdays were Michael's full days--leaving home at 6:30 a.m. and returning at 11 p.m. On those days my hands were quite busy (as you can imagine!), but the kids were angels, they got along together most of the time, didn't balk at naptime or bedtime and played happily during the day. My only explanation for this was "God's Grace"--it had fallen on them in full measure, making our days easier. (Can you imagine what we'd have done if they'd cried for their Mommy day and night?) Well, they did cry for Mommy when they got hurt or during time-outs, but that is certainly to be expected. I bragged about their good behavior to all who would listen.

Saturday dawned and Mommy came home. The kids were beside themselves with joy.

Sunday dawned and Daddy and Mommy went out for dinner for their 6th wedding anniversary while Grandma took the children to church and afterwards put them to bed. But Gabriella balked, "Mommy said she was putting me to bed." Tears flowed in abundance and there seemed to be no way to stop the fountain. I gave my explanations. She countered with hers. I insisted. She insisted. We had reached an impasse so I decided to repeat the familiar blessing from Numbers 6: 24-26 that we had prayed over our children when they were young, hoping it would work its magic: "The Lord bless you and keep you...." Somewhere, in the middle of "the Lord make his face shine upon you", an angry head popped up and an angry voice said, "Jesus told me you're going to jail."

The blessing froze mid-sentence and I arose quietly and left the room.

Caleb, the compassionate, tucked in his bed across the hall, heard the angry outburst and the word, "jail". "Tama, tama," he called out to me, "Bella said jail." His words were hard to understand, but it was obvious he was worried. I reassured him everything was okay and proceeded to the living room. I had no sooner sat down when I heard an angry little voice and started toward Bella's room. There she was, standing in the doorway to her bedroom, arms crossed in front of her looking like Custer's Last Stand. "I'm telling the truth, " she bristled self-righteously. After a few more 'words' I ordered her to her bed.

When Michael and Cari returned and were listening to the evening's adventures, Michael looked at me and said, "Looks like the grace is gone, Mom. Cari's home."

The next morning I was standing by the kitchen corner shelves when Gabriella came up the stairs for her breakfast. She immediately came to me and very sweetly said, "I'm sorry, Grandma," and it felt good to say back, "I forgive you," while squeezing her tight. She was all sugar and spice and all that's nice--just what little girls are made of.


It was a promise waiting to be kept: "Grandma, can we have a tea party with your special dishes some day?" And now that their Mommy was in the USA, it seemed like this was the right time--a moment that would brighten up their day. So, even though it wasn't an afternoon tea (I suggested we wait until the next afternoon when it would be sunny, etc. but they quickly put the kibosh on that!) we had our tea party at night. We had made "totlate tookies" and one cookie filled up the entire little china plate. I served snackies (made from yucca root) which filled up the tureen. There were many "be carefuls" "pour slowlies" isn't this nicies? And after all my recommendations for safety, it was my foot that Gabriella tripped over while carrying one of the precious china plates, making her fall to the floor--without breaking the dish! Whew! After all, this Grandma had gotten those china dishes when she was a little girl and none had broken to date. Needless to say, a marvelous time was had by all and instead of each of us eating two cookies and a few snackies, I'm afraid I must admit we each gobbled up 4? or 5? or? cookies and piles of little snackies!! But the look on their faces was worth it all!


Let's just say the best part is licking the beater.. and the spatula...

Mommy, I Love You

Even though Mommy Cari returned from the USA before I got this posted, I still wanted to share it with you all.

Thursday, June 04, 2009


My cute little cupids! Oops! Looks like some little guy found my heels! Sorry about that, Mommy & Daddy!


We sang, we prayed, we listened, we laughed (a lot), we cried, we ate and it was wonderful!

Friday, May 29, 2009


This is how Bella and Caleb greeted their guests who'd come to play with them. They had just awakened from their naps, but after getting some treats from the guests (chocolate milk) and the special cookies their Daddy had bought, they warmed up to them and played nicely for several hours. Thank you, Michele and Rúbia for helping me out as well to prepare for the Women's Seminar that starts tomorrow.


Grandpa came to the rescue this morning to rescue two cute kids who locked themselves in Bellla's bedroom. Grandpa had to climb the ladder and take off the wooden shutters to climb through the window. No one got scared or even cried! Brave kids!


Caleb is a good taster--letting me know if the juice is good or not. I believe he liked it!

Thursday, May 28, 2009


Going to cell group was exciting. Bella packed hers and Caleb's backpacks full of toys and fun things to do. She even put in Caleb's emergency medicine, explaining very seriously what needed to be done. We were back at home having a snack at 11 p.m. when their Daddy drove in from work. What a party!


Bella has the most fertile imagination of any four-year-old that I know. You can see a little part of the bed her Daddy made for her doll.


The kids had a blast helping sort beans. It was quite a trick getting the clean beans in the right bowl, but every effort was worth it!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The time has come to fly!

I don't want Mommy to go.
A tearful goodbye

Just the three of us...

C: It's not a little plane!

G: I want Mommy.

Mama is somewhere inside that airplane.

There she goes!!
I just talked to Mama on the phone!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Happy Birthday, Trio!

May is birthday month in our family. Julia is first on May 10th, followed by Caleb on May 22nd, Pat on May 24th, Cari on May 26th (her Golden Birthday is this year) and Neval on May 27th. We had a weekend of partying...
Cari is getting her birthday wish--to spend the day with her friends in the States! Go, Cari!

Happy Birthday, 3 yr.old Caleb!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Jill Briscoe & friends

The gal who coordinated the retreat handing me my copy of the book.

This gal was my 'soul mate' at the retreat.

Just Jill and me

Part of the group of authors.

I was recently at a women's retreat where I heard Jill Briscoe speak. I wasn't disappointed. Her life is an inspiration and an aspiration! (Can one say that--it's quite catchy!) Jill is 74 and traveling around the world training leaders in sometimes dangerous places! She and her husband are giving 10 years of their lives to this ministry. Just as we were parting ways, she gave me her book, "The Deep Place Where Nobody Goes" (Conversations with God on the steps of my soul), which I am eating up! I also had the joy of writing a chapter in a book about women in ministry. It's scary reading your writing in another language, especially when you can understand the translation and might like to improve on it!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


Dick & Pat had fun playing together in many different kinds of meetings. Here they are playing at Bethany Church in Camaquã.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

We are enjoying having Dick & Shane with us. It's been fun showing Shane Brazil for the first time and Dick's ministry has been enriching.