Friday, July 27, 2012

Latest Books

1. I am not ashamed to admit that I read this again.  I may or may not have begged my small group to read it.  This time I also studied the new testament right along with it to compare and contrast.  (Quit rolling you eyes, Gena.)

2.  Kind of similar to Radical.  Kind of not as good, but interesting nonetheless.

3.  This lady is an emmy-award winning ABC news producer who happened to marry John Kennedy, Jr.'s cousin who naturally happened to be some kind of European prince.  She was on the island at John and Carolyn's house waiting for them to show up the night the plane went down and then three weeks later her John-Kennedy-Cousin-Prince-Husband dies of cancer.  It was easy to read and I don't know a women who isn't interested in some inside Kennedy drama.

4.  One of my favorite students ever gave me this book.  It's along the same thread of all the popular Christian books right now.  It's pretty basic and simple.

5.  This is the prequel to Seven.  I loved Seven, I liked this.

6.  I've never met a Beth Moore bible study I didn't like.  However, I couldn't get into this. It's probably because none of this applied to me because I'm so secure :)

I'm not one for giving life advice on my blog because I think it's pretty apparent that I, in no way, have it all together.  ("Well, duh," you are saying to yourself.)  So now let me give you some life advice:  if you want to get closer to God, learn to study His word effectively.

Because I am quite average intellectually, I have found that I need to be in a guided bible study every single day.  And I have found that Beth Moore's are the best.  Period.  (I'm also not one to have an opinion :)

I have completed almost all of her studies (most on my own and some in groups) but these are the ones that I have done recently:

Every woman on the planet needs to do this study.  It's wonderful.

This is a study on the fruits of the spirit.  Excellent.

I just started this study on the book of James. So far so good.

Get on amazon or go to a book store and find one that looks interesting - and here is the clincher:  Just.  Do.  It.  Quit making excuses and just do it.  Actually follow through for once and just do it.  Even if you don't feel like it that day, just do it.  Even if you aren't sure you believe in all of it just do it.  What can it possibly hurt?

Did my Nike themed branding of that paragraph make it that much more effective?  I thought so.

I need to save some of my ranting energy for my husband because that is his favorite thing about me, so I'll leave it at that.  Except this one thing:  If you ever want someone to do a bible study with, I'm all yours.

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Disastrous Lemonade Stand - A Right of Passage

For the past week Mia has been incessant about having a lemonade stand at our neighborhood park.  It's only 106 degrees outside no naturally I thought this sounded like an absolute blast.  I like nothing better than to sweat buckets while attracting every insect in the county with luke-warm sugary lemonade.  "Let's do this!" I exclaimed enthusiastically.
Mia set right to work planning every last detail.  She wrote out specific instructions for each of her friends on 4x6 index cards.  Let me repeat that for emphasis: She wrote out specific instructions for each of her friends on 4x6 index cards.  The neighborhood kids were lined up to get a piece of the action.  They were all, "Yes!  I would love for you to boss me around and control my every move. Count me in!"

After exactly 22 second with no customers, the girls took matters into their own hands and personally delivered the lemonade to some unsuspecting roofers.  They then demanded payment.
As you might have guessed, things did not go as planned.  Mia spent the first half of the morning crying because "No one is doing their job.  She was supposed to hand out the napkins NOT THE CUPS!!!!"

Notice Mia's friends raking in the dough while she stomps off in a fit of rage.  It looks like someone didn't read their index card.
Finally, Mia's temples stopped pulsating at rapid speed and she calmed down just enough to pour a couple of cups of lemonade.
I could have written this post before this event ever occurred because it happened just like I knew it would.  
And that is exactly why it had to be done.  It was too good of a learning opportunity to pass up.  Sometimes a mom has to get sweaty and allow her child have a meltdown in public.  We all have to learn that life never goes the we we plan it.  And some people have to learn to reserve the index cards for math problems.

Thankfully, her friends are still speaking to her.  I guess they learned to take one for the team.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

My kids aren't really that funny anymore so I don't have anything to blog about.

I'm kind of afraid that this blog is dying, along with my sense of humor.

It's either because my kids are getting less funny or because there is some big stuff going on in my life.

Or perhaps both?

I've always been one to claim that I love change.  And I do.  I love things like changing the throw pillows on my bed, or changing up my morning K-cup flavor.   I love repainting my walls exactly three shades lighter.  And I love trying new salad shops and hairstyles ("I can't buh-lieve you didn't notice my new side-swept bang layer.  See, look right here.  RIGHT HERE WHERE I'M POINTING."  I've never said this to my husband fifteen times.).

Those kind of things are fun but let's be real: Changing the way you feel for five minutes is not real change.

However, it is becoming all too apparent that returning to graduate school full-time, changing everything I've ever known about working with college students (long, really boring story unless you are into higher education), sending my youngest off to "real" school,  and still trying to be wife, mother, and domestic engineer of the year is feeling like way too much change at the moment.

I like to handle all of this by crying, eating, trying unsuccessfully to sleep, and shutting down communication with the people I love the most.

It's awesome.

But for the sake of my children's memories, I promise that as soon as they do something remotely blog worthy, I'll slap it up here and brag about it like it's the most important thing in the world.

Because it is, and I am determined to never forget that.

Friday, July 13, 2012

The people are inspiring and God is so, so good.

This is Sonya.  Sonya's husband physically abused her for 25 years.  You know what finally made her leave?  Someone told her about Christ and that crazy man wouldn't let her go to church.  That was a deal-breaker for her.
These kids thought Andy was some sort of cool American hipster.  Even Brazilians can spot one a mile away.
This picture encapsulates the church in Campinas.  Three generations, three nationalities, three languages, one purpose.  It's like a Hallmark card on steroids.
These two families teach and preach at one congregation in the morning and then travel across the city to...
...this congregation at night to do it all over again.  This room is actually an auto-garage. It was standing room only by the end of the night.
There is nothing quite like a hug from a Brazilian Grandma.
These precious ladies bought Sada and me these necklaces to thank us for coming to their church.  It was a huge financial sacrifice for them.  I have never felt more honored.
Brent was an amazing host and tour guide.  
Maria reminded me so much of Ahmo.  But then again, she never flipped me off, so may not.
I loved seeing my kids play with the kids at the orphanage.  It did my heart good.
And if I wouldn't have been arrested and sent to a Brazilian prison I would have taken this little one home with me.  He was left at the gates of the orphanage only a couple of days before we got there.  And his name - Julius Caesar.  I kid you not.
To be honest, this trip was a little bit self-indulgent.  Okay, it was a lot self-indulgent.  I went to help and I was helped.  I went to change and I was changed.  I went to serve and I was served.

It's funny how the Lord chooses to work sometimes.  

He certainly humbled me.  And, boy, did I need it.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

I'm almost done with this top ten list, I promise.

In honor of Missions Sunday this week, I am going to knock out my Brazil Trip top ten list if it kills me (or causes me to lose my last 12 readers).

It turns out that no amount of irresponsibility could have prepared us for the transportation in Brazil.  And hey, it's not like I didn't try.  But we embraced the danger and by the end of the trip I was actually offering up my kids to ride in trunks or cargo areas to save us a few bucks.

If that's not a sad commentary on the value of the American dollar I don't know what is.

In case you were wondering, four kids fit quite comfortably in the trunk of a station wagon.
Keep in mind that there are no traffic laws after 7:00 PM.  Rumor has it if you actually stop at the lights after dark you will get car jacked.   I felt pretty sure that if this ever happened to us the thief would quickly jump ship after realizing there were four obnoxious American children in the trunk.  

And I had to document the last time I put my chidlrens' lives at risk in the backseat of a Brazilian taxi.  
I kind of miss that heart racing, here-goes-nothin' feeling I had every time my family jumped into a car with a complete stranger that couldn't understand a word we said yet rocked out to techno versions of every Celine Dion song ever written.

Those were the days.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The 4th

Our small group continued our tradition of eating at Mazzio's (try not to be jealous) and going to Liberty Fest.  

 I have no words for my son's "crazy" face.  Or my daughter's of that matter.
 Mia thinks she's the Baby Whisperer.  Davis is not so sure.

 Notice the husband's shirt:
 He's a smart man, this one.

Monday, July 2, 2012

It's like "The Children of the Corn" over here.

First of all, it's never a good sign when you find that the medicine cabinet has been raided and you know you didn't do it.  By process of elimination that leaves the seven-year-old or the four-year-old. One thinks she's smarter than any doctor on the planet and the other can only read the words "cat" and "ball."  Neither makes me feel any better.
It's already so oppressively hot that the children are resorting to bizarre activities like "making space boots out of foil and duct tape." Whatever.
Then there's Snotty McCougherson whom I had the pleasure of having a 4 hour mother/son date with at the After Hours clinic.
The hubs is so consumed with work {Missions Sunday} that a hospital gown and IV won't stop him from pounding away at his e-mail and muttering all sorts of things under his breath.  More about this situation later.
And finally, this little thing is having bizarre sleep walking issues.  Last night I almost punched her in the face when my eyes snapped open at 3 AM to find her staring over our bed like a scene from Carrie or something.  An hour later I found her standing in the living room drinking a water bottle.  (I do give her props for creating this dress out of a scarf.  She's nothing if not resourceful.)
I'm officially in survival mode.  I'm googling things like "cheap airline tickets," "how much coffee is too much," and "the closest hotel to an Ikea."  
Is it August yet?