Saturday, June 28, 2008

Clothesline Saturday


This is me today!!---Only skinnier....

Can you believe that I actually had to learn the right and wrong way to hang clothes? This is the first time in my life I've used a clothes line. I've learned that if you hang a shirt by it's sleeves the sleeves grow twice their original size. I've learned that you could twist your ankle in the kids "digging hole" if you're not careful. I've learned that I actually like that crispy feel to my clothes, and it makes it easier to fold. I've learned that I iron less, because I don't leave a load of clothes in the dryer for 3 days. I've learned that "at the clothesline" I can have some pretty meaningful conversations with my daughters...and always with my Lord.

Enjoy your Saturday.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Guest Blogger Returns!

It's very good to be back with you once again. I have been begging to post on this highly prestigious and excitingly informative corner of cyber-space; however, I have been repeatedly shunned for much weightier matters as new camaras and oil explorations north of the border. (If I were to be completely honest, Nina asked me late last night to make an appearance, and I told her that I just wasn't feeling it then. It was worse than writer's block, whatever that may be...writer's clip, writer's tackle, writer's push-in-the-back?) However, after a three hour Portuguese class and some southern style sweet tea, I am now "feeling it." Therefore, I will begin by stealing the favorite word of Gardendale's own Danielle Pelkey....

So, I was taking a break from Portuguese earlier and I ran across an article that I believe could potentially turn out to be of epic proportions, that is if the media doesn't bury it because of their own liberal agenda. The article's headline alone hijacked my attention. It reads, "Faked certificate suggests that Obama may not be 'natural born' US citizen." (Click here for the article in its entirety.) According to its author, Reuven Koret, Barack Hussein Obama II - the presumptive Democratic candidate for the highest office in the United States of America may be trying to pawn a fake birth certificate! Yes, you read that correctly. There are now serious doubts about the credibility of the birth certificate that the Obama campaign has been touting as an accurate representation of the Illinois Senator's live birth.

Please understand the gravity of this situation. This is not an adolescent born in Cuba, now living in New York City and playing little league baseball against kids three or fours years his junior. This is not even falsifying a job application or cheating on one's taxes. We are talking about the Presidency of the United States of America. The Land of the free and the home of the brave. It's not about skin color or even religious affiliation. This is about the audacity, not of hope, but rather of arrogance. This clearly creates several gargantuan problems.

Allow me to clarify. According to the article, "if he were registered as being born in Hawaii, Barack Obama -- because only he or another member of his immediate family could by law request a 'Certification of Live Birth' -- must have a certified paper copy, with embossed stamp or seal, or he could request one. But what his campaign has put forward as genuine, according to the senior spokesman in the relevant department of the State of Hawaii, is not in fact a certified copy. It is not valid." Big deal you might say. What I want to know is why he would do such a thing. Can you imagine such activity from our founding fathers? (Pause for a moment and consider his opponent. Whether you like his policies or not, can you imagine such activity from John McCain?) It seems to me that Barack Obama is nothing more than a slick salesman of "change." He is conducting this affair as nothing more than a "shyster" and an aloof one at that.

Consider another quote from the article - "Until now, it has been thought that there might be some embarrassing information on the real certificate: was the candidate's name something other than Barack Hussein Obama II, as it is claimed? Was no father listed because of the uncertainty over Obama's paternity? Was his father's race listed as Arab, or Muslim, rather than African? These revelations might be embarrassing, and further undermine his credibility, but he could disavow and downplay their significance. Would revealing such embarrassment outweigh the far greater risks involved in perpetuating a palpable forgery, or passing off an uncertified official document as being certified?"

As bad as those possibilities seem for Mr. Obama, there could be something even worse, which brings us back to the title of the article - the crux of the matter. Was Barack Obama even actually born in Hawaii? If not, he is not even eligible to run for president. Again, this is not a matter of race or political preference, but instead a simple matter of honesty and integrity - something that most of our modern politicians greatly lack.

Adeus.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Cards, Spiked Hair & Spain

Remember back when I posted and asked you all to help us pray concerning our necessary paperwork to be in Portugal? Well, we finally received our cards....yippee! They are 1 year temporary residence cards. We will have to renew them next spring and then hopefully we'll get cards that will be good for 2 yrs. Here they are!



He is too cute!

The girls with a friend from school.

Procession at the "end of the school year" celebration.

I love my new camera!---My kids don't stay still long enough to get a good shot of them, so flowers are my victims!


Monday night we drove up into Spain. Our main objective was to find cheaper gas. What we found was cheaper gas, but not cheap enough to go to Spain to get it! We decided quickly that we liked Portugal just fine and was actually relieved when we crossed the boarder heading back in to Portugal. We were only in Spain for about 1.5 hrs...but long enough to miss our "home"! Here are a few pictures. Not the best quality though, they were taken from inside the car. Now I can say I've been to Spain. Been there, done that...don't care to go back.



Friday, June 20, 2008

"It Followed Me Home"

Seriously, no kidding! This adorable little thing stumbled after me in the dirty mud puddle filled road last Monday. As I walked home from dropping the girls off at school, I came upon a dirty mud puddle that this little cutie was trying to find it's way out of. It had eye infections so bad that it couldn't open them for the swelling. It had a runny nose worse than any I've seen and it cried this pitiful little"help me" sort of cry. It was having trouble breathing and I was expecting it to kill over at any moment. My heart went out to it. I picked it up by the nap of the neck afraid of what disease it had. Carried it a few doors down to our house and put it in the back yard. All the while I was telling it that I was going to get in trouble for bringing it home.

I called to Michael and he came outside. We tried to feed it and give it water..but it wasn't interested. It just kept crying and stumbling around. I was about to go grocery shopping, so I left it in the back yard and left. When I returned home a few hrs later I was half way hoping that it would be gone and I wouldn't be faced with the heart breaking decision to put it out of it's misery. Well, it wasn't gone, it was still there crying. Michael said..."Take it to the vet."

So before he changed his mind, I hopped in the car and Trinity and I flew down to the nearest vet as it was almost 5:00. The vet was still open and saw us without any charge. She said if I would give it a home, she'd do it for free. So...after we spent about $20 at the pharmacy, fed her the right food and loved on her for a few days, this is what she looks like! She is doing so much better...and by the way, her name is Tigra.




Working out the Kinks

My new camera has finally arrived! Nothing happens quickly around here for some reason. I'm working on all the settings and I've been snapping pictures like crazy all day today. So here are a few:

Trin and Justice cleaning their room

A distant neighbor flying the Portuguese flag

Brooklyn, Faith & Justice

Brooklyn hanging out the clothes

Faith trying to look sweet...only trying. Don't let her fool you!

Faith trying to look cool....again, only trying! Tonight we had a "family night out". These don't happen too often as we try to watch the amount of gas that we use. Gas is about $9.50 a gallon! Anyway, we went to McDonald's!! Yep! The girls got Happy Meals and these cool glasses were their surprise.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Right or Wrong?

As a mother of 5 relatively small children, I sometimes struggle with the decisions we've made or are going to make in regards to our children. I guess we all do. Homeschooling was a decision we made years ago when our first daughter was just a baby. It's worked well for our family. Not without the normal struggles, however. Homeschoolers are excepted for the most part. They have the same liberties as children who attend public schools. But things have changed....

We've moved to another country where our children are already feeling the isolation from the cultural barrier. The differences between us and the average Portuguese family are significant. They have one maybe two children, they work constantly and the children are either in school or in after school programs. When they are home they eat, watch TV and go to sleep. They watch us through the windows and wonder why we're here and why on earth our kids aren't in school.

The decision to put them in school wasn't an easy one. It was made with much prayer and consideration for what was best for our kids.

They've already had friends come to play several times and the playmates have spent hours here in our home. These friends are my best tutor! I'm not embarrassed to try out my Portuguese on them and they think I'm funny when I mess up. They like me..I guess they think I'm crazy....but it's great practice! They help my girls with the language as well, always sticking an English word in every now and then.

Today I received a comment on my blog. I don't know this nice lady but her words were like a balm to my concerned heart....'did we make the right decision?' Read her words for yourself....

"Hello! My parents were missionaries in Portugal when I was a child. They sent me to a Portuguese school only knowing about 10 words in Portuguese. I am so excited to hear you sent your children. I like to share this experience with those who are curious. It was honestly the best decision my parents ever made for us children. We spoke Portuguese fluently within three months. All of us children had a burden for the Portuguese people (my brother is returning to Portugal as a missionary, and my husband and I are going to England. Anyway...I'm very happy for your children. They will relate to the Portuguese children and brake the barriers that lay between them. They will grow to appreciate the Portuguese customs and culture. I'm thrilled for your family. You will find things are very different in school over there....sometimes my teacher just wouldn't show up! I am still close to my classmates and when I go to Portugal to visit my brother I'm planning on visiting my teacher (you keep the same teacher 1-4 grade). We were able to see many of our classmates come to Sunday School and visit with there families to share God's plan of salvation. Also, my father had the privilege to teach English in our school. This gave him many opportunities to make even more contacts. Wow, this is long...I'm sorry, it's just very special to me! My blog is "theruwersmafamily.blogspot.com"

Thank You Anna! God Bless you for your words of encouragement! We will be in prayer for you and your husband as you go to England and for your brother as he comes to Portugal! Praise the Lord for fellow laborers in this barren field!

Friday, June 13, 2008

First day of School?

Update: The girls did great! The first thing Brooklyn said to me as we were leaving the school was, "Mom, I wish tomorrow wasn't Saturday, but Monday!" As we were all walking down the sidewalk, kids kept running up to the girls to say "bye". Liberty responded to one boy, "Bye, potato boy!". I said, "Liberty, why did you call that kid 'potato boy'?" She said, "Mom, all day he would come up to me and say...potato, chicken, rooster & banana....he kept saying potato over and over again!" I laughed, visualizing these boys and girls using the English that they had been taught. Even if it meant saying 'potato' over and over again!----And get this...usually the few kids in the neighborhood look at us funny, as if we're changing colors right in front of them. We've had a hard time meeting other kids for our children to play with. Well, today...two girls came to our house to play with the girls!! These two girls had seen our girls at school yesterday and one of them had played with our girls, so they came over today to play!! This is a really big step for us. Please pray for our children and the Portuguese girls, Carla and Clada.

Yesterday, my husband went to the local school here in our small village to discuss with them the "possibility" of our three oldest children attending next year. He wanted to see if they were prepared to have students who understood very little Portuguese. In America, any kid, no matter what he or she speaks is welcome in school. But we don't live in America. You have to do things their way around here, or they don't get done! So we wanted to know 'the rules".

Everyone who has asked why our children weren't in school this year thought it very odd that we "schooled at home". They have no idea what this means and would always ask if that's even possible to do here in Portugal. "Of course it's possible...we're doing it aren't we?!?" (That's what I'd like to say...)

So Michael walked down to the local school yesterday with Brooklyn. They took a short tour (it's a very small school) and talked with the director who spoke no English, but was a very friendly lady. They went into the 3rd grade classroom and met the teacher. All the kids called out to Brooklyn, using the English they had been taught..."Hello!" "Hello, my friend!" Brooklyn's response was, "Ola". (Which is the only way she knows to respond right now.)

Later when they returned home, Michael and Brooklyn both walked in with wide eyes and smirks on their faces. I was eagerly awaiting their return as I desperately wanted to know what the outcome of this meeting would be. Michael started off with, "Brooklyn, do you want to tell her or do you want me to do it? Brooklyn giggled, "You do it Daddy." Michael responded..... "They're going to school tomorrow."

"Tomorrow...!!" "No...not tomorrow...I'm not ready..."

"Why tomorrow?....schools almost out....they don't have 'school clothes'....I don't have snacks to send with them...I'm not ready for this...THEY'RE not ready for this...they don't speak Portuguese for goodness sake!!"---All these thoughts ran through my mind in less than a second.

After Michael told me how everything went while at the school it was determined that going to school today and all next week, which is the last week of school, would help them know what to expect next September.

After talking with Brooklyn, Faith and Liberty, I felt better because they were all pretty excited about going. Each had their reservations, but the excitement was to great to ignore.

"Maybe they were ready...maybe it's just me who liked the security of keeping them safe at home...shielding them from the sneers, giggles and cruelty of other children....Maybe it's time to test them...to see what they can do...to let them try to make it in a foreign place. They've seen their parents try to do it in a foreign place, so they know how to mess up.....I'm sure of that! But maybe they also learned how to do it with 'grace'."

Brooklyn's alarm clock went off this morning and within 3 minutes, she was dressed and standing at my bedroom door rubbing sleep out of her eyes telling me she was ready to go. She was so very excited.

Faith had her usual, "I don't really care" attitude. She's fine either way.

Liberty was a little sad acting with a worried look on her face. She got upset when we were trying to pick out a bag to carry her snack in. The one I chose was too big, she said. Liberty turned 6 in January. The average 1st grader in Portugal is 7 when he/she begins the year. So I'm concerned about her age. But when she left, she was fine.

So.....after much prayer and a few tears....this was our departing moment this morning. Michael took them. It's a 10 minute walk. I had to let him do it, cause if I had taken them I would have brought all three back home with me!



video

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Prayer Letter


Here is our most recent prayer letter. Just click on it to enlarge it.

Just stuff

I haven't been able to take any pictures lately. I found my camera on the ground and not in working order. I'm afraid Justice found it and played soccer with it or something like that. Anyway, I'm having "picture taking" withdrawals if that's possible. I have expensive taste in cameras, so I couldn't just run out and buy a new one, I've had to do some research first. Which we're pretty good about doing when we have a major purchase in front of us. Well, my precious husband ordered me one online and I'm anxiously awaiting it's arrival. Our anniversary is Saturday, so maybe it'll be here by then, since Michael is calling this new camera my anniversary gift! There is a holiday here in Portugal this Tuesday which means the mail won't run for about 4 days....they take their holidays seriously around here! They started partying yesterday and won't stop till later in the week. Fireworks and street parties are constant with music played on loud speakers so the entire village can enjoy it...whether we want to or not.

Our co-worker, Dawne Hart arrived safely and we've been busy helping her get her apartment set up and showing her around. She's already been a blessing in the church services, playing instruments and singing. She has conversational Portuguese down pretty good, so she was able to move right in and begin to minister without any delay. Please help us pray as the Lord is opening doors. We can really see things coming together now and it's very exciting.

Language study for me is still moving along pretty slowly. I understand most of what people say in casual conversation, but I have a hard time understanding preaching. I don't speak near as much as I understand, but it will come in time. Continue to pray for us as we all study the language.

Is school ever going to end?!

Just us girls!

Baby grapes.

These were real!

Planting watermelon and cantaloupe.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Red Light, Green Light

The other day Faith was required to color a traffic light as part of her school work. She called to me and asked, "Mom, will you remind me what colors are in a traffic light, and which one goes on top?"

At first I thought she was kidding, then I realized she wasn't. She said, "I can't remember."

Here, we only see one traffic light each week and that is when we make the trip into Braga for church on Sunday morning. It's a small, dinky light that was put in a very awkward place, but nonetheless, it's a traffic light and it's the only one we ever see.

On the other hand, there are rotundas everywhere. This is how they control traffic at the congested areas and if you ask my opinion, it's the way to go! I love these things. If there isn't any traffic coming in the rotunda, you can zip right through without having to slow down at all. This eliminates stopping unnecessarily at stop signs and red lights. Don't you hate to come to a complete stop when there are clearly no cars coming? Or worse, waiting at a red light at 11:00 at night when you're the only person on the road?

Everyone in the rest of the world wants to be like "America". Well, I think "America" could learn a few things from the rest of the world!


Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Free Stuff From Israel

Pam in Jerusalem is giving away some pretty neat things. Take a look and see!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

"They" became "We"

Today, while on our drive back from church, a driver in the lane next to us did something really silly. He put on his brakes rather quickly to stop at a road side produce stand and buy cherries. While doing so, he caused a pretty major traffic problem behind him. Well, my husband said, "OK, just stop right in the middle of the road to buy cherries...cause that's they way we do things in Portugal!"

Did any of you catch that?....He said, "...cause that's the way WE do them in Portugal".

He said WE instead of THEY.

Do you know the significance of this word, "WE"?

It goes back a few years. Back to when we first started letting God burden our hearts for the people of Portugal. When we first made the decision to come here and share the good news of the Gospel. We spent 16 months on the road to raise support so we could come and once we arrived, everything was wonderful. Then reality hits and the same people you had a burden for become "THEY". The people that aggravate you because of all the weird things they do and because they look at you funny, they smell weird and they are extremely noisy. You quickly find yourself saying..."they this and they that..." Not really meaning to sound so harsh.....

That's where the good news comes in!! Today Michael said "WE". That means the Portuguese are no longer "THEY" and we've come to accept them as as "WE"!!

This feels really good....maybe you other missionaries out there will understand this more than most folks, but this is a really big deal to me....the day we all became "WE".