Monday, February 9, 2015

Coffee with a Friend

I had coffee with a friend this morning.

She asked me, "Why Portugal" was fun telling her our story.  She also got told the very funny story of me snorting like a pig at the butcher.  Yep....true story.

I don't get asked to coffee very fact I can count on one hand how many times someone outside the church has asked me to do anything.  Seven years later, I'm still strange to the folks around us.  I mean I wear tennis shoes when I'm not supposed to, I walk around with my travel coffee mug and I hang my clothes out to dry in an unorganized fashion.  In this small village, things like this matter.  To me... they don't matter at all.

The fact that a new friend asked me to coffee today was a victory.

Yay for having friends.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Blogging Again?

I'm not even sure how to do this any more.

Times have babies aren't, well, babies anymore.  I've got 3 teenagers now and they'll probably be very disappointed/embarrassed if I blog about them now.  I know I'll have to have all pictures approved before any posts goes 'live'. --- My, times have changed.....

Michael and I were talking about what the date was when we first arrived in Portugal.  We knew it was the middle of February 2008, but the date.....well, we couldn't remember anymore.  I used to know it by heart. And each year on that date we celebrated one more year on the foreign mission field....each and every year spent here was a victory.  It's still a victory, but not quite like it used to be.   Battles are different's not just surviving the language barrier or figuring out where to take our babies with an ear infection. This is home to us now and home is comfortable.  There are still battles, mind you....just different.  We all have them, regardless of our address.

Well, I turned to the old blog to figure out what date we actually arrived and learned it was February 19, 2008.

This was taken about a week after arriving.

In another week or so we'll be celebrating 7 years in Portugal.

God is good........

So thankful He's trusted us......

It's been an awesome 7 years.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Fun Times with Our Church Family

Christmas Play

Christmas Eve Dinner

Two precious Angles

One Angel and One Shepherd

A Journalist and Mary

Church outing to Viana do Castelo

Two sweeties eating some sweets

At the train station 

Viana do Castelo!

McDonalds is always a treat.

My Love and I on the train.

Other cuties we saw on the train.

We certainly don't take for granted our precious friends from church.  This morning, I'm thanking the Lord for friendships and co-laborers in the ministry.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Churrasco (Shur-ha-scoo) - BBQ Brazilian Style

During a lunch conversation I had recently with a precious Brazilian friend of mine, she told me that she thought I'd do very well in Brazil. She said that I had the 'lingo' down.  I loved Brazilian food.  I was goofy and I liked to laugh. 

Then I told her that I thought she'd do very well in America too.  She so sweetly tells me, almost daily, "Nina, I LOVE YOU!" (In English...just about the only English she knows!)  She despises apples dipped in peanut butter, but loves peanut butter balls.  She loves to have cook-outs (or "Churrasco" in Portuguese) and she's the most giving person I know.----To my surprise she told me that she found Americans a bit 'cold' and 'stand-offish'.  After she spent time in 4 major American cities....Houston, Denver, Miami and one other that I can't remember...she said that she didn't really enjoy her time in America.

Churrasco at our home a few weeks ago

Her neighbors weren't very friendly in America.  ---This made me pause to think......

What would I have done had a Brazilian family moved into my neighborhood when I lived in the States?  Would I have been stand-offish, judgemental, mean?  Would I have allowed my kids to play with theirs?
I want to say a loud YES to all these questions....but I'm not so sure I can.

I'm ashamed to admit that.....especially now.  Knowing what I now know and being where I am has changed me for the better.  My adorable, goofy, precious, giving, thoughtful Brazilian friends have made such an impact on my life.....and the lives of my children.

Now, we are the foreigners.  I know how it hurts to be treated badly, or even worse...ignored.
Americans are proud.  Sometimes this is good, I believe.  But mostly it's bad.  Lord, help us.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanksgiving Blessing

Our Thanksgiving was certainly a blessed day.  In the past, since arriving in Portugal, we've celebrated Thanksgiving on the weekend after because the kids were always in school on Thanksgiving Day.  While I enjoyed each of those celebrations, it always made me feel a little sad when Thursday came and went without any celebration.  Normal routines, normal day, nothing special really.....sad day.

But this past Thursday, there was a nation wide strike planned throughout all of Portugal.   So this meant that there may or may not be a bus driver for the kids that morning.  If they made it to school, there may or may not be a teacher for the first class, or the second, or the get the idea....

We've been here long enough to know that anything could happen on these days, so we took advantage of the uncertainly and allowed the kids to stay home Thanksgiving Day.  We planned a lunch with other Americans and together we celebrated and shared about the blessings God has bestowed upon us this year.
This was our table and our honored guests.

Earlier than the kids would have liked, the buzzer rang from the front gate.  The kids know what that means!  No one visits unannounced before noon around here, so a visitor at this hour only means one thing......A PACKAGE FROM THE STATES!!  Since it's not a holiday around here, the mailman was still working and delivered a special box of goodies from Mimi!

Brooklyn with our special friend, Ms. Pat.

The kids going through the box of goodies.

This was after our bellies were full and we were being lazy by the fire, watching football.

John, our sweet friend and cancer survivor, with Faith.

Justice showing off his new hat from Mimi.  Just in time for the Alabama/Auburn game.

The kiddos table.

Michael and I

Bro. Mosely and Ms. Pat

Sweet Taneski and Lovely Lauren, basketball players from the States here playing ball in Barcelos.

Our day was so special and for the first time in 4 years, it actually felt like Thanksgiving!  We may have to let the kids play hooky on Thanksgiving day from now on???  Maybe the school will excuse it for religious reasons?!  Wouldn't that be awesome!

I hope you're all doing well.  We are moving right along.  God is working in miraculous ways, but the devil is doing his share too.  Please be in pray for the Andrzejewski Family as we continue to try to serve Him faithfully here where He has put us.

Happy Christmastime to You All!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Christmas On The Mind

Don't judge me please.  I'm not one of those people that puts up a tree in November and then completely skips over Thanksgiving.  I promise.

It's just that winters seem so wet...and so lonely at times, that having a tree up helps with the winter blues.

Monday night, after a failed attempt last Friday, was the night we finally got it all out.

I couldn't believe how quickly we got it done.  Proof my kids are growing up quickly, and know better how to do this stuff than I do.  Next year, I'll sit by the fire with a cup of coffee and give orders!

They even walked around with the camera snapping away.  Which means that Mom got to be in some of the photos!

At this rate, we could have a few more trees around the house! (I'm only kidding, my Love!")

(Speaking of more than one tree.....Are you one of those people?  You know...the ones that have a tree in every room of the house?!  If so, please explain this to me....I find it very confusing.)

Liberty looking a little bit like a character from bible times......

Me, being very thankful for free, picture editing websites.  I've aged quite a bit in the last few years....that complexion smoother deal is a blessing!

Trinity got lazy, it appears....

With 4 girls in this house, each within 5 years of another, it's amazing how different they are.

Personalities ringing out....sometimes accompanied with a little attitude.....but each so very precious to me.

So, there you have it.  A Christmas tree is up and twinkling in this little village in a cold, dark, rainy northern Portugal.  Only confirms to our neighbors that we are indeed, the crazy Americans!


Oh, and speaking of being Americans.....yesterday we were invited, Michael and I, to go to Trinity and Justices school next Wednesday morning to talk to the students about the American holiday, Thanksgiving!  And then today, we were invited to go to the Jr/Sr high school and do the same thing!  What an opportunity this is!!  Be praying for us, would you?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Faith and Friends

Faith had a pajama party for her 11th birthday.

I've decided that I like doing sleep overs better than 'Saturday afternoon--invite the whole class parties'.  They're a lot easier and the kids are so much calmer.  Just buy a bunch of junk food, let them giggle until at least midnight maybe 1:00, and make pancakes the next morning......wha-lah!  A perfect party for an 11 year old girl!

Faith started going to what amounts to the Jr./Sr. high this year, so she met new friends.  These three girls have become inseperable in the few short weeks since school started.

The fact that they were allowed to stay the night with our family, is a pretty big deal.  We're the weird ones, strange Americans that have funny beliefs.....I'm so thankful their parents thought enough of us that they allowed their girls to come. 

Her friends wanted to sing happy birthday in should have heard it!  It was a hoot!

Later in the evening I snuck into the living room to find them looking at my old pictures.  There were a lot of giggles and pointings going on!  I'm sure they were laughing at my 80's hairstyles!

There was even some discussion about where in the bible it says that you can't get to heaven on good works.  Faith, being a little missionary.

Then finally, the next morning, pancakes!  I made these to show them how it was done then I turned the griddle over to them.  They designed their own creations and ate themselves sick!

Now, as is my custom, I will list the top 11 reasons why I Love My Faith!

1.)  She's tenderhearted.  Especially towards those less fortunate, and animals.
2.)  She's always laughing.  Can be annoying at times, but it's certainly what makes Faith herself.
3.)  She's a whiz in the right hand girl.
4.)  She frequently requests that I stop what I'm doing and sit on the sofa to cuddle with her.
5.)  She's easy to please.  Doesn't expect much and appreciates thoughtfulness.
6.)  She's not embarrassed by me.  She loves when I'm goofy in front of her friends.
7.)  She's a beautiful, child of the King!
8.)  She's taught us so much....especially about having "Faith" in the Lord!
9.)  She's a pretty good big sister.  Only aggravating the younger ones, every once in a while. ;)
10.)  She's still her Daddy's 2x4.
11.) And she will always be my Faithy!!

"Thank You Lord for this perfect addition to our family.  You knew what you were doing in giving her to us.  My prayer is that she grow and mature in you.  Always having a desire to serve You with her whole heart."

Happy 11th Birthday sweet girl!
Mom and Dad love you greatly!