Thursday, May 31, 2007

Do You Want to Get Well?

I just read this on my friend's blog...Auny's blog. It is so true and so good to hear. It totally preaches to me right now. I'm not ready to say goodbye to all of my "American" bad for you foods that I won't be able to get in Brazil, but this still spoke to me and made me excited about getting healthy again soon. Hope you don't mind my copy and paste, Auny.

Do You Want to Get Well?

When I was back in the press room at the Dove Awards, I heard a doctor speaking. He is a naturalistic doctor. He said that when people come into his office, he asks them if they want to get well. Jesus asked the man at the pool of Bethesda if he wanted to get well (John 5:6). The truth is, some people don't.

There are so many natural ways to cure health problems. For example, I have had allergy issues for years. After cutting out dairy products and eating wheat sparingly, I rarely have a problem at all. However, when someone says that they have had trouble with sinuses lately and I suggest that they cut out dairy for a while, their response is, "I cannot live without my ice cream everyday." When I tell people that I have more energy, am less moody, and lost a couple of pants' sizes after cutting out sodas, they say that they cannot live without it!

Therefore, you have to make the choice. Do you want to get well or not? This doctor says that he doesn't help anyone unless they are willing to make a couple of sacrifices in order to get there. It's been well worth it to me!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Do You See A Resemblance?

Are You Nervous?

I hear that alot these days. I started thinking about how I don't think I've even written about that here. So...

I'm not nervous. I don't know why. I'm excited. I'm ready. Maybe it just hasn't hit me yet.

Here's what I'm not looking forward to...not being able to participate in conversations. Not knowing what people are discussing. Not being able to communicate my needs, wants, opinions. Things like not being able to fully take part in something as big as deciding what church we will attend. I won't even be able to understand the pastor and what he has to say.

I'm not just so super duper excited about the inconveniences of living in a place like Brazil. Things like no hot water except for at the shower. Things like not being able to rely on, say, electricity or water at all (although growing up in Readhimer, LA kind of prepared me for that...ha). In a way, it's kind of exciting to think about how we are going to get to totally start over...buying EVERYTHING for a house from beds to silverware. In another way, it's very overwhelming and tiring thinking about that.

The thing that (after I learn the language) I will probably have to get most used to is the lack of order and customer service. We went to a birthday party on Sunday...there are lots of Brazilian people in the Boston area (don't ask me gets cold up here) and this party was for a little 1-yr. old girl. There were only Brazilians there. One of them said (as translated to me) that the thing they love most about the U.S. is that the law works. :) Things are much more gray in Brazil. People are used to getting the run-around there and it's ok because that's all they know. Joel says there is no such thing as customer service there. The whole "the customer is always right" thing does not exist. You buy something that doesn't work...too bad. I think I'm a pretty patient person, but that patience will probably be tried in that area.

So, it will be very interesting the person I will be when we come back to the states in 3 years. I will be spouting off Portuguese (that's so cool) for sure. About the language may wonder why I haven't tried to learn it here. Well, I did...even bought the Rosetta Stone program (which is excellent by the way). But, it is just nearly impossible to do on your own...for me anyway. If I was single or even without kids, maybe. There has been so much transition in my life since I got that just wasn't going to happen. I would use it and learn a few things, then not be able to do it again for a couple of weeks and forget what I had learned. Besides that, my friend Kristin who is a missionary there already and has been there for 8 years gave me some counsel...she told me to just spend time with family, enjoy my last few months here. The language will come quickly when I get there. And...I will actually have a language teacher and class with her (one-on-one) at least twice a week, so I'll be able to communicate before I know it.

Oh, I'm also not excited about missing family stuff here like:
--Joel's sister will be having a baby in July...we won't see him until he is 3 as far as we know
--I just found out that my cousin, Luke, is now engaged...we will miss that wedding
--chances are that we will miss many other weddings and births (and even deaths) of family members and friends while we are gone
--holidays, family traditions and get-togethers, family reunions, all of Tucker's softball games and basketball games and track meets, etc.

I'm used to not seeing family for 6-8 months at a time, but not 3 years, so that will take some getting used to. But, we do plan to come back sometime in 2010 and be here for Tucker's graduation. It will be crazy to see how things have changed and people have aged in that amount of time.

BUT...remember that there are plenty of planes going to Brazil. Come see us!!

Anyhow, just wanted to share with everyone how I am feeling at this point. Many have asked so I thought I'd let you know.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Oregon Pictures

Like I said, we had such a great time in Oregon. We loved hanging out with Onildo and Nilza and their family. They are such a fun family. Onildo is probably the funniest person I've ever met. They have 4 children: Renatto (18), Andre (13), Anna (9), and Lukas (6). Nilza homeschools (Renatto started attending a private Christian school when he was a sophomore), so I got some great advice and counsel concerning homeschooling. We just had a great time.

Here are LOTS of pictures to show you all about it. Enjoy.

Asa with her first Cheerio in her mouth...not a fan yet.

My special day...the 17th was my birthday. Aunt Nilza made me a big special meal (super yummy salmon and lots of great sides) and got me a cake, balloon, and rose. I even had a special plate. It was a great birthday.

This picture cracks me up. I have no idea what I was laughing at, but it is just funny to me. (side note: it is a 3 with a question mark beside it on the cake, not "39)
This is the Brito's house. Onildo built it himself. It is beautiful.

Some shots of Asa outside.

A crooked little smile.

Hadley, Grady, and Lukas.

Anna is in gymnastics and was showing us some of her moves. Joel, Andre, and Anna had a whole gymnastics session out there on the grass doing round-offs, cartwheels, walking on their hands, standing on their heads, etc.

I like this shot of Hadley walking away with her hands behind her back.

Andre's awesome jump out of the swing.

We had already eaten some of the cake after lunch, but the kids had already gone to take naps. So, that night we all had some. Hadley helped me blow the candles out.
Grady's new best friend (one of many), Lukas.

Renatto (pronounced Hen-ot-to) decided to run track this year for the first time, his senior year. He made it to state in the 100m dash and the long jump. We went to see him run.

After Renatto's race we went to the ocean. It was really pretty, but pretty cold. Asa was miserable, so we took a few pictures and then went and hung out in the van while everyone else played.

Hadley would get down on her hands and knees and lick the shore like a lollilop...such a weirdo. :) She liked it. Is she missing some kind of minerals from her diet or something? :)
I love this picture of Onildo and Nilza. Nilza was born and raised in Brazil. She married a Brazilian, Onildo. They've been in the states for about 22 years now.

This picture of Asa cracks me up.

This is the nice posed shot.

The Joel Ebersole family on the Pacific Coast.
Saturday Joel went and shot machine guns for Danny Robinson's bachelor party. They had a lot of fun.
Me and Hadley at Danny's wedding on Sunday.
The ceremony. They said it was a typical outside Oregon wedding...umbrellas and all.
Mat Beck (friend from LeTourneau), Danny, Joel, and Asa.
Joel and me with the happy newly married couple, Danny and Liz.

Paul, Kamerin, and Beniah Williams. Our great adoptive "family" in Longview, Ernie and Trudy...this is their son and his family. They actually live nearby in Oregon now.

Grady and Lukas happened to have the same exact coloring book, so they enjoyed coloring the same pictures at the same time.

Onildo feeing Asa.

Nilza gives her kids piano lessons. Hadley was helping Anna practice her piano our last day there.

We had such a great time!! Thank you, Brito's!!!!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

We're In Boston

Just a quick post to let you all know that we are now in Boston.

We left Saline last Tuesday, the 15th. We got to Oregon on Wednesday night. We stayed there and had a great time with Joel's aunt and uncle, Nilza and Onildo until Monday afternoon. We flew all night Monday night and arrived in Boston safe and sound (and anyway...not possible to sleep on a plane holding a baby) on Tuesday morning.

Happenings since I last posted:
--I turned 33!
--Asa had her first cheerio, which she wasn't into at all actually.
--The kids visited the Pacific Ocean for the first time.
--Joel shot machine guns for the first time.
--We attended Danny Robinson's wedding to Liz Lewis.
--We met Paul and Kamerin Williams' really cute baby, Beniah.
--We saw Mat Beck again...haven't seen him in years.
--We barely saw Grady. Joel's little 1st cousin, Lukas (age 6) had a little shadow all week long (Grady). Lukas was so sweet to Grady and very patient. Grady thoroughly enjoyed himself.

I tried to post some pictures, but I keep losing internet service randomly. So, I will post them whenever I have a better signal. By the way, we post pictures by months on our website, and in case I haven't told you yet, you can see pictures of March on our website now:

Friday, May 11, 2007

Busy Busy

Just a quick post to keep you all up to date. We are just wrapping things up here in Saline. If I had more time I would post a lot of pictures of this week. We've done alot.

--We went to 2 crawfish boils last weekend, so Joel got a tood taste of Louisiana. Mmmm!
--I had a 15-yr. high school class reunion.
--Joel spoke at 2 churches.
--We went swimming for the first time on Monday. That was Asa's first swim ever (except at birth I guess) :)...SO FUN! We spent 4 hours at the lake and I was loving it!!
--We went to Tucker's first softball game of the season.
--ALL DAY Tuesday and Wednesday were spent at doctors' appointments and getting shots. We still have more of that to go next week.
--Joel spoke at the Senior Banquet last night...he did a great job.
--We've met up with lots of people the last few days to say our goodbyes to them. Today my great uncle and his son are driving from Baton Rouge to have lunch with us and visit with us for the day, then they are driving back this afternoon.

My brother (Jared) is also coming in for the weekend, our last weekend here in Saline. We will be having Mama's fried shrimp tonight for supper. Then tomorrow we will be at the lake. We are having a last little lake party/fish fry with the whole family. Sunday everyone is going to church with us at Carolina. We will be prayed for and sent out. Then we'll go out to eat for Mother's Day. Gillian's graduation is that night and everyone will go over to her house after graduation. Monday morning we will go eat breakfast with Jared before he heads out and then we will head out too.

Not sure when we will be able to actually finish up laundry and our packing. :) Minor detail. But, it'll all work out. It's been a fun week and we plan to have a great weekend.

We leave Monday to go to Kilgore/Longview for more doctors' appointments and more shots on Monday and Tuesday. Then, we fly out to Oregon on Wednesday to go to a friend's wedding. We will be in Oregon until Monday, the 21st...then we fly to Boston to spend about 3 weeks with Joel's family. Then off to Brazil June 12th.

I'm not sure how much posting I will be able to do, esp. in the next week or so. I'm sure things will probably slow down a little bit once we get to Boston. But, just keep us in your prayers. There's a lot going on. And, goodbyes are never easy...but when people know that they aren't going to see you for 3 years, it makes it tougher, esp. thinking about not seeing the kids for 3 years. Thank God for His abundant grace and peace that He provides in all things.

For new pictures (from March), go to our website. We will try to have the April pictures up soon too. But here are a couple from Monday just so you can see the kiddos. Enjoy.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

The Black Cloud and KJV

I'm not a King-James-Only kind of person. This isn't what this post is trying to imply. But, I was reminded of something the other day and something was pointed out about a specific verse that REALLY validated something in my life. Let me explain...

I love all different translations of the Bible. My personal favorite for just reading pleasure is the New Living Translation (NLT). I also really like the Amplified, it's pretty thorough. Others swear by the New American Standard (NASB) and the New International Version (NIV), so I throw those into my mix as well. Some are of the persuasion that the King James Version is the only accurate version (it is the authorized version after all). While I don't go that far (although they have great arguments), when I'm really studying or teaching on a passage, I always look at it in the KJV too. There is reason for that. Several times I have read something in the NLT or even NIV, then read it in the KJV and it seems to be very different. I actually have a side-by-side Bible with NIV and KJV, so it's easy to see. Like I said, over the years I've noticed several verses and passages where things were left out or seemingly changed. Since I know neither Greek or Hebrew, I rely on others to translate for me.

On to the specific verse I was talking about at the beginning. Romans 8:1 in NLT reads:

"So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus."

In the NIV it reads:

"Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,"

In the NASB it reads:

"Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."

That's what I've heard taught for years now...that there is no condemnation if you belong to Christ. Conviction yes, but no condemnation. Basically, there should be a Godly sorrow when you've wronged, but God forgives you and you shouldn't have this heaviness that comes on you and should confess, be truly sorry and turn from your sin, and move on. I totally agree with that order of things. But there was one particular thing that happened in my life that I just couldn't explain according to that verse and that teaching.

At one point a few years ago, when I was totally running after God with all I had and things were so amazing, I totally messed up bigtime. I won't go into details about what it was, just because it involves other people and that wouldn't be respectful. But, let's just say that it was a huge setback in my holiness. Oh, it was horrible. I felt horrible. I was so sorry, I confessed, I cried out to God, I definitely turned from my sin. But...there was this very, very heavy heaviness that would not leave. I cried and cried. I cried at work, I cried in my car, I cried at home...I just couldn't stop crying...for 3 weeks solid. I am not exaggerating. Finally it lifted. The Message describes condemnation like this (in Rom. 8:1): "to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud." When I have shared about that time with others, I would always say, "I know that there is no condemnation in Christ, but it felt like it. If that wasn't condemnation, I know I definitely never want condemnation." In my heart of hearts, I knew it was condemnation. I had definitely felt the low-lying black cloud over me.

Recently in our Sunday School class, our awesome teacher, Mrs. Donna Cheatwood (she was one of my youth teachers also, back in the her) was quoting Romans 8:1. She read it from her Bible. She read, "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus." Then she looked up and said that she just hates it when people leave off the last part of this's a pet peeve of hers. Then she read on, "who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."

What? What did she say? A huge light bulb came on over my head. I'm sure everyone in class saw it. All at once, that past event in my life made sense. It was condemnation and there it was, validated in the Bible itself.

Isn't it true that the toughest times, if you cling to Jesus and grow through them, end up being the most precious and important times to you? Many times people hear the word "condemnation" and they get the picture of some lost soul...surely a Christian is not really a Christian if he/she is feeling condemnation. I tell you, I felt it and it is one of the best tools of my testimony that I have. I'll tell you another thing too...I never ever again fell into that sin for which I felt that condemnation. Condemnation did me good.

Another great lady in that Sunday School class that day (Mrs. Gail Ferguson) read one of the newer translations along with the KJV of Romans 8:1 and pointed out that no wonder people leave that part's not in there on most translations.

The Amplified:

"Therefore, [there is] now no condemnation (no adjudging guilty of wrong) for those who are in Christ Jesus, who live [and] walk not after the dictates of the flesh, but after the dictates of the Spirit."

Let us walk after the dictates of the Spirit, for when we don't, when we walk after the dictates of the flesh...yes, condemnation will come. I believe it. I am also thankful for it.

I pray that we all get a good dose of condemnation when we walk after the flesh.

Friday, May 04, 2007

It's Official

Asa is definitely crawling!

Probably about 5 weeks ago now, she started the thing where they rock back and forth on their hands and knees. Immediately after she started that, she started trying to go from that position to sitting up, even though she couldn’t even sit up on her own at all (even when I placed her in the sitting up position…she would fall over). About 2 weeks ago, she actually started being able to sit up when placed in the sitting position...and then started being able to sit up from the hands and knees position. Also the past couple of weeks, she’s really been moving…not crawling, just scooting and such. Well…

Yesterday was the day…she just up and crawled about 20 feet at one time!! It’s so crazy how when they decide to do something, they really do it. :)

Also, the past week or so she has been pulling up in her crib (and other places too of course). First it was only to her knees, then suddenly to a standing position, that little smarty pants. Well, last night I actually moved her into the pack-n-play so we could get some sleep. She will wake up, abruptly get up in her standing position (when she used to just go back to sleep, esp. if we gave her a pacifier…maybe she’s just excited to be able to get up, I don’t know), and then get stuck there I guess. Whatever…to the pack-n-play she went…she can’t pull up on the sides of that.

Another happening…she got her 3rd tooth this past week…the top front right tooth.

Anywho, she’s had a very busy few weeks. She’s really growing up…it’s crazy. She’ll be 7 months old on the 10th. She’s really fun and the kids are really starting to enjoy playing with her more and more. Fun fun stuff.

Sorry I've been a little delinquent in my blogging lately. So, you get the bonus of an extra post today. Keep reading and you will see one of the reasons why I haven't posted lately.

Goodbye, Stuff

This is what happened on Tuesday, May 1st. Yep, our stuff is on its way to Brazil as we speak. Craziness.

We packed it all up in 5 crates. Mama kept the older 2 kids all last week so that we could get it all done. It was a very interesting time, but so non-emotional. People kept asking me how I was. Really, it was a big job, but at the same time, we’ve been “purging” for 6 years now. So, it was kind of straightforward. Since we didn’t have much at this point anyway, we mostly just put what we had in the crates. I say that, but we probably have about 2 of those crates full of stuff we need to give away. Anyhoo, it’s done. It is finished. We now have only what we will be traveling with.

As for our stuff, it is supposed to get to the port in Brazil June 4th. Then from there it is supposed to arrive in Anapolis (where we will be living) “7-8 days later.” So, if everything goes according to plan, we will be arriving about the same time as our crates. I’m not putting my hopes in that or anything. It’ll be nice if it happens that way, but if it doesn’t, that’s ok too. As long as it does get there. :)

Asa helping us pack up.

Joel securing the tops on the crates, with Lucas Ferguson's help.

3 of the 5 crates.

Of course we had to decorate, a-hem, I mean label, the crates. Here are Daria and Grady doing their part.

Loading them up. Looking on are Mrs. Gail Ferguson, Grady, Dallas, Daria, and Hadley.

Grady and Hadley waving goodbye to our stuff. They were totally fine with it all. Hadley is not really grasping what is going on. I'm sure Grady isn't totally aware either, but although he absolutely loves where we are now, he has also been asking for months to go to Brazil. So, when we told him that the man in the big truck was coming to take our stuff to Brazil, he grinned from ear to ear and got really excited. Today when he asked if we could go to Brazil (a daily thing) and I told him not right now, he asked me, "What are we waiting for?" I'm sure he truly wonders the answer to that question, since we've been planning this for months (what seems like years and years to him probably). Anyhow, God's grace is so abundant during this time. It's so wonderful that the kids are excited about what we are doing.

"Goodbye, stuff. See you in Brazil!"