Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Budding Artist?

Without any art instruction at all, our almost 9 yr old daughter Brooklyn drew this picture. She LOVES to draw and likes to test her ability. The Portuguese love art. In just about every store there are paints, brushes, canvases and pallets. Brooklyn makes a bee line for these items and stands in amazement. She says that we moved to the "right" country!! She knows her birthday is in a week, so her wish list includes these items. Pray for Brooklyn, she is a precious young lady.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

My Mom, America & Apple Pie

My mom will be here in less than 3 days! There is much excitement in this house! We're praying for pretty weather so we can show her around this beautiful country.

Today during our language class we struck up a conversation attempting to speak only in Portuguese. (Which we're supposed to do every class, I just always break that rule.) Our topic of discussion was "America". We told our teacher all about America and specifically the "American Traditions". You know.... homemade peach ice pie....etc. About half way through the discussion I got a real yearning for my homeland. Not the little passing fancy I've had a time or two since arriving in Portugal, but a real strong tug in my heart to see the open highways, SUV's, McDonalds and Baptist Churches on every corner. To smell the clean smelling breeze instead of the fragrances that waft through here most of the time.

Our teacher was shocked that the average family in America DIDN'T eat rabbit, had a library where you could check out up to 35 books at a time, and owned an ice cream maker that costs less than 30 dollars. (They are about $150 here, IF you can find them.) We talked about how everything in America is done on a large scale. If you've never left The States, then you won't understand this, but America is a very unique place. Most Americans are very wasteful without even realizing it.

Mississippi has approximately 2,500,000 people. Portugal and Mississippi are about the same size. Only Portugal has about 11,000,000 people. So there isn't a lot of room for "large" things. The cars are tiny, the roads are narrow, the grocery stores are small and the people are short. Everything is very different....

Thanks for helping us pray about our paperwork. Today we made our 4th trip back to the office and finalized the details. We paid for all 7 of us and we're supposed to receive the cards in the mail sometime within the next 6 weeks. When we get them, we'll all shout and thank the Lord, then I'll take a picture of them and show you what all the trouble was about.

So what did you think about the surprise visit from my favorite guest blogger? Isn't he great?! Anyone up for a challenge? If you like to be featured as a "guest blogger, just send me an email.

Sunday, April 27, 2008


Kids are funny people

A little girl had just finished her first week of school. 'I'm just wasting my time,' she said to her mother. 'I can't read, I can't write, and they won't let me talk!'

On the first day of school, a first-grader handed his teacher a note from his mother. The note read, 'The opinions expressed by this child are not necessarily those of his parents.'

While taking a routine vandalism report at an elementary school, I was interrupted by a little girl about 6 years old. Looking up and down at my uniform, she asked, 'Are you a cop?' Yes,' I answered and continued writing the report.' My mother said if I ever needed help I should ask the police. Is that right?' 'Yes, that's right,' I told her. 'Well, then,' she said as she extended her foot toward me, 'would you please tie my shoe?'

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Springtime Pictures



They were supposed to be picking up rocks...

Salt -n- Pepper


Brookly & Faith...digging in the dirt

Faith was the photographer. Not a good angle.


I have no idea what these are. We call them "tee pees"

Plums, we think.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Manual Labor

Who knew being missionaries meant you had to do a lot of manual labor? But the funny thing is that it is so much fun! I just ran outside and took this picture of Michael, Vino and Brooklyn working in the garden. It's almost 5:00 am to you guys in the eastern United States, and it's almost lunch time here! Brooklyn stayed up til about 10:00 last night doing her school work for today, so she could help daddy in the garden this morning and help me bake cookies today.

Michael and Vino have really become friends in spite of the language barrier. Vino speaks ZERO English, so it's excellent practice for Michael. Vino is very helpful and is always bringing some type of produce to the rock wall for us.

Later today will will go to a basketball game in Porto. Michael has been trying to establish relationships with the Americans that have come here to play ball. It is difficult not being able to share the gospel with the Portuguese people right now. So having other English speaking people to minister too helps. The guys playing ball are all single and we've promised them some good ol' homemade chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin cookies. There eyes lit up when Michael said he'd bring some the next time he came. Help us pray that they'd let us share with them about the Lord and what He did for them.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Before and After

Here is a before and after shot of the vineyard next door to us. The first one was taken about a month ago. The second one was taken yesterday. I'm anxious for the grapes to grow and ripen. What fun I can have taking those pictures....

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Guest Blogger and Lettuce Patches

This post is courtesy of my husband, Michael, who will appear from time to time as a guest blogger with all sorts of wonderful information. So, without any further delay.........introducing Michael Andrzejewski.

Thank you, thank you. I have heard so much about this wonderful blog and wanted to share just a few of my thoughts. As many of you know, we recently plowed up a good portion of our yard so that we could have a vegetable garden this summer. We received some help from some new found friends and have been working diligently, whenever the rain subsides. Today was the first nice day we have had here in about two weeks, so Nina and I worked in the yard this afternoon. While I was raking rocks and plowed up weeds out of the garden area, the girls called to me that our neighbor wanted to see me over at our normal meeting place - the rock wall that separates our properties. When I arrived at the rock wall, Vino was holding five heads of lettuce out to me. He explained that I needed to take off the large pieces on the outside and leave the core and smaller pieces to plant. We spoke for a few minutes about the weather, when I should plant tomatoes and cucumbers, and more importantly, when he could help me - before we parted ways. I called Nina over and explained to her what Vino said so she could take off the outer pieces of lettuce and we could plant the "cores" in our garden. So, that now makes 48 "feet" as they call them in Portuguese of lettuce in our garden. We have 43 that are very small and 5 that are mature that Vino gave us today. What will we do with all of that lettuce? We'll share of course.
Anyway, to the important part - just after I got saved, I remember a preacher once saying as he read through his text that we have in the Bible a lettuce patch. Initially, I was unsure of what he was saying, until finally hearing him read from the 12th chapter of Hebrews, "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, LET US lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and LET US run with patience the race that is set before us..." I count 13 times in 12 verses throughout Hebrews where we are admonished with these words - LET US. Think on this. Let us, which means that we should allow ourselves as believers in Christ and members of His body to...fear (4:1), labor (4:11), hold fast our profession (4:14), come boldly unto the throne of grace (4:16), go on unto perfection (6:1)....well, you get the hint. That is just in the first six chapters of Hebrews. Consider the lettuce (let us) throughout the Bible and we have a lot to consider. Seeing all of the lettuce in our garden just made me think about some of these things like going on to perfection and laying aside those things which so easily beset us. Now, next time you sit down for salad, you just might consider your Christian duties, and our wonderful little Portuguese lettuce patch. If you do, please pray for us.


Saturday, April 19, 2008

Dinner Guests and Downpours

Last night we had our first Portuguese dinner guests. Even though our guests spoke very good English, there was a rule, a self imposed rule, that there would only be Portuguese spoken.

I cleaned the house, and prepared the food all day. I started about 9:00 am and didn't stop until our guests arrived at 8:00pm. (yes 8:00 and that's early for supper!) I was very nervous. I have no idea why. I've prepared many meals for guests over the years. Perhaps it was that I knew I had to speak Portuguese, and it intimidated me.

Our guests were our real estate agent that helped us with renting this house and buying a van when we were here in December, his wife, our language teacher and their 13 yr old daughter. As a thank you for all his help in December and a way to practice our Portuguese we asked them over for supper. An "American" supper.

Our guests arrived right on time with olives in hand. They usually come with wine, but they knew we didn't drink it, so they brought olives instead. It's customary to bring wine or flowers when you're invited to someones home.

Shortly thereafter we sat down to Chili, (which by the way, was the last of our chili seasoning...sniff) grilled cheese sandwiches, salad & bread and a variety of desserts that included homemade peanut butter bars, brownie delight and oatmeal raisin cookies. They said they had heard of chili in the movies, but had never seen or eaten it. (All the American movies are here with Portuguese subtitles. Which apparently helps them speak English fairly well!)

All during the meal and afterwards Michael spoke Portuguese very well. I could hardly get a word in edgewise! Seriously...he does very well. I am amazed at how well he is doing. But when it was my turn to speak, I spoke so slowly and had to think before each word that my husband would say, "Today!" in Portuguese trying to be funny. I was less intimidated speaking with their daughter. Maybe I need to find the kids to practice my Portuguese......

....We have never seen as much rain as we've seen the last 2 months! It's raining again today. Not just the little afternoon showers like I'm use to, but downpours that last for hours. When it's sunny, it's beautiful. But when it rains, it's cold and dreary. My mother is coming for a visit in two weeks. She wants the weather to be pretty so we can see some sights. I expected it to be pretty the first of May, but now I'm beginning to wonder...sorry Mom!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

"I'm going to make a friend"

Today, Michael got up, got ready and told us, "I'm going to make a friend." One of the girls asked, "With who, Dad?" He replied, "With anyone who will talk to me."

We're trying to get the ground tilled up and ready to work with, but we only have a few garden tools that were left here by the owner. A hoe, garden rake and shovel. I guess we could have turned up the dirt with these archaic devices, but we weren't really into torturing ourselves today. So Michael walked down to the corner hardware store looking to rent a tiller. Nothing like the hardware stores you are used to in the States...more like a walk in closet with things hanging all over the walls, ceiling and lined up on the curb outside. While he was there he determined there was no where to rent tillers, but the owner had one he'd let Michael borrow. So within a half hour, they had gone to get the tiller, put gas and oil in it and even brought it to our house for us. As the young man and young lady were getting back into their car after dropping it off, the Lord nudged me and said, "there are your friends". The friends Michael went in search of today. These are just some of the people the Lord has put in our path. These are the people we will minister to. As I waved good bye and said "thank you,"I could see them in my minds eye getting into their car to leave from a bible study we held in our house where one, if not both of them, received the Lord as their Savior....Would you help us pray?

The Hardware Store

Monday, April 14, 2008

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Meet Salt 'n' pepper

Yes, these are rodents, and yes, they are our pets...and YES I have lost my mind!~~~We wanted something for the kids. Something low maintenance that they could take care of themselves. Hamsters seemed like a good and cheap idea. These poor little guys (well..girls) have already gotten squeezed, dropped, and thrown across the room. We've only had them for about 9 hrs. Bless their hearts.

Here are a few pictures of the kids playing with their snail collection. What's the deal with us...rodents...snails...yuck!

And another few pictures of the flowers I planted a week ago. They survived the week with rain everyday and no sunshine. The sun came out for a little while yesterday and they opened back up. So thumb isn't completely black..maybe a little gray!

Hope everyone has a great day in the House of the Lord tomorrow. Pray for us please.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

I Miss You Guys!

I miss my family. This pictures was taken at my grandmothers graveside service. I'm the only one not there...and well...Grandma.

I miss you guys!!

I've not had the best day today. Language lessons were a bomb. I felt like the 3 hrs were really 6 hrs and I kept watching the clock. I didn't do very well at all. I need to study harder so that my next class will be better. Pray for me please.

This is our garage. All these things belong to Ms. Dawne Hart, our co-worker who is scheduled to arrive May 27. ---I thought you'd like to see your things, Ms. Dawne! We're eager for you to get here!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Sunday Stroll

Sunday after church we took a stroll on the beach. Here are a few pictures. Not the best quality, but pictures nonetheless.

We are all doing well here in Portugal. Studying the language is difficult for me but I can see it all coming together now. The verbs that I've learned to conjugate are starting to make sense to me now. I can actually form some sentences and get out thoughts. Which is a big improvement.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Quilting 101

Look at what my sweet girls made!! They all used the sewing machine by themselves, with me sitting next to them. Brooklyn was a little spazy like normal...Faith got bored..Liberty had no fear of the machine at all and went full's amazing how different sisters this close in age can be. Trinity just sat and watched and told me to make one for her, thank goodness!

They plan to finish with hand quilting and use these as doll blankets. Didn't they do a great job?

My Black Thumb

Brooklyn sitting under the tangerine tree, eating and reading. Two things she does best!

Those of you who know me, know that I don't do well with plants. That was always the joke when we were in LaGrange....when we only had girls...that I raised girls, not flowers. I always said, "Who has time to fool with flowers?!"---Well, apparently I do, cause I put these pretty little things, whatever they are called, in pots on either side of our front steps. Now I kind of feel like Tori, over in Croatia or Ms. Jenny down in smart! I thought they were pretty. Now, I'll have to take a picture of them in a month or two...that will be the true test!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Sunny Days

Man, has it been beautiful! It's very difficult for me to be inside studying Portuguese right now. I'm sneaking away to do a new post and show you some of our "Sunny Day" pictures.

Here are a few pictures from "around the neighborhood".

And here are some showing all the food our neighbor, Vino shared with us. Michael offered to help him in his fields without payment, just to make a friend and practice his Portuguese. But Vino insisted we take food from his fields as payment. (By the way, how do I cook those big green leafy things?)....notice how small Vino is!