Sunday, September 18, 2016

What Does a Baby Really Have to Have?

Not too long ago the ladies at church hosted a surprise baby shower for the young lady that was married just before Christmas.  She's not well off and doesn't have much.  She lives in a small house not much bigger than my living room.  As I considered what sort of message I wanted to pass on to her as this important moment, I began to think of what a mother really has to have before that baby comes home from the hospital.



Byron and I didn't have too much when little William came home from the hospital in December of 1995.  We had been in Brazil for a year and had come with four Rubbermaid action packer boxes between us.  I had in those boxes the baby quilt I had made back in the States and two maternity dresses (just in case).

My mother had been sending shoebox sized packages with onesies and assorted baby clothes all through my pregnancy.  The other missionary ladies had a baby shower for me.  We had a sturdy wooden crib donated that quite a few MK's had used over the years.  Byron fixed it up and painted it country blue!  Someone gave an inexpensive stroller which was very handy in the big city.

But if I had to say - what do you really, really have to have, what would be my answer?  Love, diapers, a crib?

This little devotional below was translated and changed somewhat from a website of free resources for Christian ladies.  I used it at the baby shower mentioned above. You can find the link for the website at the bottom of  this post.  Somethings I find on the web in English don't make sense culturally here in Brazil.  I found this very compatible and easy to modify.  I can't guarantee that the translation is perfect or any good at all, but you may feel free to use this as long as you give due credit to Julia Bettencourt of Creative Ladies Ministry.  Remember it's mostly just an outline and would need to be filled in with some personal antedotes and examples.  I filled a basket with the items and gave the expectant mother a brand new baby rattle as a gift at the end.  The items were things that had belonged to each of my boys.  As I took out each item that was in my basket, I made mention of the boy and why each was important and told some of my own story.  

Enjoy!  But I don't read Portuguese!  Google Translate works very well with this.  I've copied and pasted and most things translate well enough.  Or go to the bottom of this post and read the original devotional in English from Julia.  Check it out!

 O que é que um bebê realmente precisa? 




Uma Manta de Amor

Não se esqueça de embrulhar o seu filho no amor de Jesus para mantê-o bem aquecido. Encher sua casa com amor um pelo outro. Quanto mais o amor de Cristo é mostrado em sua casa, menos haverá de brigas, lutas e discussões, que é algo com que nenhuma criança deve crescer.

"Amados, amemo-nos uns aos outros, porque o amor é de Deus; e qualquer que ama é nascido de Deus e conhece a Deus." I João 4: 7




 Os Blocos da Vida

Dê ao seu filho os blocos de construção de caráter que ele vai precisar para toda a vida. Ensina seu filho dos passos que irão desenvolver-lo em um adulto maravilhoso. Qualidades como honestidade, integridade, obediência, responsabilidade e respeito.

"Ensina a criança no caminho em que deve andar, e até quando envelhecer não se desviará dele." Provérbios 22: 6


Um Álbum de Lembranças


Lembre-se que você está fazendo memórias todos os dias. Anote as coisas que você quer lembrar num álbum de bebê ou num jornal, tirar fotos, mas acima de tudo manter todos estes momentos com seus filhos em seu coração. Você nunca vai ter esse tempo para trás. Aproveita ao máximo, porque o seu filho é um dom maravilhoso de Deus.

"Eis que os filhos são herança do Senhor:". Salmo 127: 3


As Salvaguardas da Alma

Mães tem que ajudar a proteger o seu filho não só fisicamente mas por toda a eternidade. Levá-los para a escola bíblica e os cultos na igreja. Faz culto doméstico. Faz todo o possível para garantir que eles são mostrados as verdades do caminho da salvação em Cristo.

"E que desde a infância sabes as sagradas letras, que são capazes de fazer-te sábio para a salvação, pela fé que há em Cristo Jesus." 2 Timóteo 3:15




O Vestido de Oração

Revesti seu filho em oração. Ore diariamente para eles. Nada vai caber melhor, vai estar mais em temporada, ou vai estar mais adequado para o seu filho de ser revestido e coberto com suas orações. Há tanta coisa para orar sobre a respeito de nossos filhos - sua salvação, a sua segurança, as suas relações com os outros, a sua virtude, o seu testemunho, a sua bem-estar geral. O importante é orar sem cessar.

"Tenha cuidado para nada, mas em tudo pela oração e súplica com ações de graças sejam as vossas petições conhecidas diante de Deus." Filipenses 4: 6



O Livro da Vida 

Faça a Palavra de Deus destacada na vida do seu filho. Ajudá-los a partir do momento que eles são pequenos com versos de memória. Tem brocas de Bíblia espada com eles. Decora versos com eles e deixá-los ver que a Palavra de Deus é importante. Deixa eles ver você ler a Bíblia todos os dias!

"E te ensinar a teus filhos, e te falar deles quando te assentares em tua casa, e quando tu andas pelo caminho, e quando te deitares e ao levantar-te." Deuteronômio 6: 7



O Chocalho da Mãe 

Às vezes você apenas precisa de agitar-se e lembre-se quem você é e que você simplesmente não pode fazer tudo sozinho. Você precisa confiar em Deus para ser uma boa mãe. Aproxime-se ao Senhor nas devoções diárias e na vida de oração. Fazer de Cristo a sua força.  Divirta-se em ser uma mãe. Não leva tudo a sério.  Ser mãe, as vezes, pode ser difícil, mas desfruta do papel de ser uma mãe. Empurrou-se de todo o coração para isto. E não esquece de rir e brincar.


"Posso todas as coisas naquele que me fortalece." Filipenses 4:13

"E tudo quanto fizerdes por palavras ou por obras, fazei-o em nome do Senhor Jesus, dando graças a Deus Pai por ele." Colossenses 3.17


This devotional was gleaned, inspired, built upon and translated from the resources of Julia Bettencourt of Creative Ladies Ministry found @ Baby Shower Devotional
Images are all from ClipArt ETC where they are offered free to use. Free Clip Art

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Quilting for Love

Years and years ago I took a quilting class at a quaint little specialty cloth store in a ritzy part of Winston-Salem, North Carolina.  I was around 25 and teaching at a small Christian school.  Another teacher had found out about the class and wanted someone to go along.  I thought it would be cool as both my grandmothers had been a quilters - one perhaps more fancy than the other.  The fancy quilter had just passed away and somehow it felt like a homage to her.

My teacher friend and I had to leave school a little early missing a weekly teacher's meeting for several weeks.  Every time the principal saw us leaving he would say silly things about why would a girl going to a tropical country soon to be a missionary need to know how to make quilts?

I made a baby quilt mostly because it was less expensive and less time consuming.  Around that same time I went through the grief of two miscarriages.  Babies didn't seem to be on the agenda for my husband and I, at least not then.  We were traveling to churches all around Virginia and North Carolina on deputation to go to Brazil.  But somehow I managed to finish the country blue and dusty rose colored quilt.  Later it was included in one of my two suitcases and a few boxes when we finally did leave for Brazil in 1994.

Not long after that Baby #1 was born - William in 1995 and not long after that #2 - Dalton in 1997.  We had next to nothing, but I had that quilt!  It was laid on the baby crib of each of my boys - not much used due to the heat, but nonetheless present.  It was proudly displayed on my wall in several homes as well.  It was made with much love and is now tucked safe in my big black travel trunk.




Now I don't have all the fancy equipment that I bought way back when, but a new fellow and a new baby soon to be born have come along in my life.  So, I"m quilting again.  No ritzy cloth shoppe, no rotary cutters and fancy see-through quilting rulers.  This time old style with ruler, scissors, pins and paper, and a cat to help and much, much love!



For some reason the cat is never far behind...



This is the reverse side.  It's a bought panel that I found online in the USA,
 and dear Granny A mailed to me here in Sobradinho. 


Somewhere along the line one of my little boats got turned in the wrong direction.
I think the cat did it, but decided to leave it be after some advice of pals.



This is the top-side.  It's a typical nine-block thingy with one extra strip 
to make the top at long at the back panel.
Finding material that I like wasn't easy.


The cat was just trying it out to see if it's worthy of a sleeping baby.

I've run into some snags with pinning.  I'm not happy and haven't started actually quilting.  It won't be easy to have the back lined up with the front, so I might go with tying.  I'm giving myself until Monday to figure it out.

As soon as I'm done with this one for a little fellow that just turned one, I'll be starting on one for his soon-to-be born sissy.  It will be an all original applique quilt of pink elephants.  No, I've never done applique before - but these past few years have been full of doing new things.

It's all for love!  It's exciting to be awaiting our first grandbaby and to become a special part of the life of this little fellow below.  It will be a while before I get to meet Destinie and Chase in person, face-to-face, but I can tell you that love doesn't have to wait.  With each stitch of this little quilt, I'm adding love and prayers - and one drop of blood!  Yes, I pricked my finger one day and a nice little drop of blood landed right on a white square.  It washed out well, but hey, it is a quilt for a pirate!

It's not easy having two boys in the States.  Sometimes the harsh reality of the distance is tough.  It's a part of missions that I knew would come one day but didn't know how it would be for me.  Many factors have played into our situation leaving me often feeling quite overwhelmed.  But, I am confident of God's will in serving in Brazil right now and working hard to reach out with love and kindness from far away until we meet face to face.


Dalton, Chase and Destinie with soon-to-be sissy - 
Mariya will who be born in December.
Prayers please for these four!

By the way, I want to be called /Gran-Ma-Má/ just like the grandmother on the Addams Family.  
I hope that little Chase will give me that honor and Mariya, too.  
I'll be coming before too long, and we'll have great fun then.
In the mean time, cuddle up with the quilt I'm sending soon and feel loved.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Fun, Fun at the Doctor's Office in a Third World Country

First of all let me say that I've had some great doctors in Brazil whom I appreciated and who really work hard to treat the patients with kindness and respect.  They are few and far between, rarities in a land of public hospitals that often have no bandages or medicine.  They are fine jewels in a place where even private, paid clinics where patients get no respect.

Thursday I went in to get a sonogram at a paid clinic where I have been seen before. This time was a little different.  Each of the other visits where arranged by the doctor I had seen.  My doctor called the chief of operations at the sonogram/mammogram clinic and said basically, Put this person in line.  I'm sending them over right now and I want special treatment.  This time I was on my own and oh woe was me!

I know how these things work in Brazil.  I've stood in many a line and jumped places in a few - yes, when in Rome sometimes you have to know how to fight like a Greek wrestler to get your "rights."   Yes, I've done some pushing and shoving and even kicked a few doors (literally and figuratively).  So, I went by the clinic ahead of time, a week ahead of time and asked some basic questions about "scheduling" my sonogram.  I was told that they work on a order of arrival basis and to insure that I would be seen shortly in the morning I should arrive before 7 am when the doors of the clinic open. No problem, I got there around 6:30 am and was #4 arrivee! Woo Hoo, or so I thought.  When the doors actually opened it was every man and woman for themselves to grab a ticket with a number on it.  In all the rush I ended up with number 21!  I waited for an hour just to see a lady and say why I was there!   Oh, but how conniving these little secretary ladies can be.  When I asked how long I would be waiting I was told not to worry as there were only six others in line for what I needed so it would be that long.  Yeah, right!

I waited for two more hours after that when I was finally called to go back behind the swinging doors to a changing and then to another waiting room.  At least it was quieter!  Just as your hope begins to rise and you think you are closer to the end, you sit and sit and sit.  Seems other people with "emergencies" were being put in between those who had waited in line for a little number.  People whose doctors had made that special phone call?

Five hours I waited before it was my turn.  Complaining doesn't really help, except to make a person feel better, releasing some Yankee anger.  But I did complain every so kindly and reminded myself that next time I need to get my doctor to make the appointment as an "emergency."

The things we are not taught in missionary candidate school.




Thursday, August 11, 2016

Birthday Boy

Walnut Cove NC, 1998, Caleb's party, My weren't you cute
Dear Dalton...

This will be your first birthday away from your Mama.  You're there in the USA and I'm here in NE Brazil.  I can't make you some brownies or get Papa to grill some hamburgers.  We can't host a crazy party and invite gobs of friends.  We can't go to a skate park or down to the lake to ride the jet ski.

It's all a part of being an TCK/MK.  We can grieve a little and bemoan the facts OR we can choose to have a great day.  We can enjoy some video phone calls and a few laughs.  You can visit your Granny and get a phone call from Grandaddy.  You can receive some cards in the mail (hope you got mine).  And get lots of happy birthday messages on social media.  Maybe even you'll get a gift or two and enjoy some brother time with good old William.

Some silly ideas...

Don't let the day go past unspent - do something festive, let people know at work and the gym, tell the guy at the cash register, accept some hugs and kisses from friends and strangers.

Make your own party - buy some ice cream in your own honor and tell Granny to warm up the cake oven with some hot brownies.  Go over and enjoy some quality time.

Search for your name on your mama's crazy blog and read over past posts in your honor and enjoy some old memories.

Lastly, look forward to the next time your mama and papa will be in NC when we can all go to that little Italian pizza joint in Reidsville and enjoy a goofy movie or some silly game time in the missions house afterwards.


18th birthday, 2015, Stoneville NC

Being an MK has its downsides on birthdays and holidays but hopefully our sense of love is stronger than many families as we must cherish the times together a little more as the years go by.

We love you, birthday boy!  We're glad you are doing well and can't wait to see you in person again soon enough.  Ah, I think I'll take my own advice and enjoy the day and make some brownies for tonight!

Your Mama

Monday, August 8, 2016

The New Norm


Some time around the spring of 2016 our lives took on a new swing.  It was a quieter, less chaotic, smoother thing.  There was no more island camp wearing us out with weekend after weekend retreat.  There was no more hurrying off to catch the bus to town for my ESL teaching job which also wore me out.  There was only one boy.  William and Dalton are both in the States now working, studying and living.  And all of a sudden, it didn't seem so odd - the quiet.  It was just new.  I didn't miss the craziness of our retreat schedule.  I did miss my two stateside boys but I was worrying over them day and night any more.  I didn't miss the bus rides one bit.

 
Now I should define the word "quiet" a little better.  It doesn't really mean silence, just the lack of busyness with three boys running in and out and here and there.  It means a little less laundry, a little fewer dishes in the sink, and a little less housework and some actually quiet.  We tend to go to bed a little earlier.  We stick to a basic routine.  But there is quite a bit of noise actually between the recorders of all sizes, the flute, the clarinet, the violin, the guitar, the piano keyboard, the ocarinas and occasionally a harmonica.  Yeah, it can be noisy - but there's a certain peace about it all.

You see, for the longest time after we came back to Brazil minus Dalton and then William went to the States - I felt a sort of culture shock, trauma, grief.  We'd faced some rough battles as a family and made some tough decisions in staying in Brazil after the sale of the island camp.  With two of our boys in the USA, I felt a certain emptiness.   Dalton had been through some hard problems, was doing well, but I still worried every minute of every day.  William had decided to leave to study, and I wondered about his decisions.  I wondered if they had enough food, money, safety.  You name it.  Life felt very topsy-turvy.  Nonetheless we had topped the hill out of he valley of the worst of dark days.  We had come down the twisty-curvy mountain road, and were getting back on to a smooth path...



One day I woke up and didn't feel gloomy or tired.  I had worked really hard all through the crazy times to stay above the tide of depression but I wasn't always successful or entirely content.  Some time this spring I found myself able to smile for no good reason and started to see a brighter future for the journey ahead.  None of my problems or worries had really gone away, but they didn't seem so overwhelming anymore.  It was like I had simply arrived at that crossroads of decision and had decided to be happy again and it stuck.

I'm thankful for a heavenly Father who brought me through a long haul and into a new, sort of quiet, peaceful spot.  I don't know what the immediate or long term future holds but I can be satisfied and peaceful for each day in the mean time.  

Oh, I still wonder a little around lunch time about what my stateside boys might or might not be eating each day! 



  In peace I will lie down and sleep, 
for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.
Psalm 4:8  
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