Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Ana is Ten Months Old

Ana SofĂ­a has been outside of me as long as she was inside of me now. (It is ten months, people--10!) This is incredible to me. When you just stop and think about it. In this month, Ana started walking. She walks so well, she doesn't even crawl anymore. She also responds to social cues: she laughs when we laugh, babbles when we ask her questions, and generally likes saying "Da-dee" a lot. 

There are two pieces of parenting advice that have really stuck out to me:
1. Parents give their children roots and wings. 
2. Parents create "normal" for their kids. 
I found the first one in a book written by an eccentric Jewish artist. I wasn't looking for advice and she wasn't trying to give it and I didn't have kids at the time- it just reminded me that I create safe places to leave from. That I work really hard to have a hands off approach. That my daughter is on loan to me from God, who loves her even more than I do.

#2 was in a sermon from my pastor in the USA. He said that parents are like a door, letting in and out what we choose to go into our kids lives - but only for a small window of time. I want "normal" to look like my best self, the best that Ana could have by way of character, by way of making a difference in the world. To Ana, living in Brazil is normal. Helping children and families in poverty- well, doesn't everyone do that? She doesn't know anything else, and that blows my mind. 


Since having a baby, I have liked my body much better. I grew up in a conservative home where you didn't show your body off. You were careful to cover up because your body was something special. It was never spoken, but I got the idea that my body was powerful in some kind of dark way, and in general, something to be avoided. My ignorance and innocence avoided a lot of drama and issues that could have wrecked me, but it also avoided ME. Part of who I was and am. 

I never liked my stomach. Ask any woman and she will tell you her "trouble spots" and that was mine. I have a nice face, easy hair, strong arms, and thin legs: but that tummy area...crunches do nothing. And then I got pregnant. And suddenly having a little pooch was the cutest thing ever. It symbolized a new life inside of me. For the first time in my life, I stopped trying to suck it in. I stopped looking at every angle in the mirror, trying to hide it: I wanted it to show now. I had something bigger and more important in my life than worrying about if I looked fat- and that was a big deal to me. 

Then I had a baby. A perfectly whole complete person came out of my body. Out of my vagina, to be exact. All of my baby making parts had previously just been a pain in the butt to me once a month: now it was their turn to shine. Not that I particularly want to go into labor again, but it was an extremely empowering experience for me. I birthed a baby- and if I can do that, I can do anything. My body did that. 

I was, for the first time, proud of my body. Proud of its achievements. This wasn't like when I ran the mini-marathon (that was me telling my body to keep going). No: this was my body telling me to keep going. 

I held her in my arms. I am the one that creates normal for her. I want "normal" to be her being proud of her body. Knowing that this is the only one she gets, so treat it right and respect it. That it is special and powerful, but not in a dark, secret way- that is only when people use it for what it isn't meant for, or live in fear. 

I held her, and felt grateful to my body. Grateful for every jiggle and wiggle and not magazine worthy part. And I let myself rest. My body had opened up- literally, and needed to have time to heal. To close up. To re-figure out life. And so I was kind to my body in a way I never had been before. 

My body has fully recuperated from having a baby, and I am working on getting back to my healthy self (that can run for a couple miles without being winded). My tummy is now worse than it ever was before I had a baby, but I like it better. I still work to hide my tummy, but I respect it now. My body and I are getting along better, and I hope we grow old together well. 

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Sunday Funday

Not every day is happy day. And sometimes this is the only picture that isn't blurry. #thestruggleisreal
Anyway, Ana was so happy at Sunday School today, and didn't go to sleep until noon, and was walking all around the church by herself...almost 10 months old (tomorrow).

To tell the truth, this is smart. The EVILEST smart I can imagine, but smart if you are trying to destroy. How is this still happening?
I have often felt my calling was doing the dishes rather than being a missionary, because if you look at the amount of time you spend doing what each week...well...(except now that my brother is here, and does the dishes for me!!)
I think my sister Anna would like this article. A bit gritty for some audiences, but has some things to think about: parenthood vs. art?
Speaking of a calling to do the dishes...what is your calling?
Anytime I see something from the WORST missionary I click it first:)
This would be one of my favorite articles this week, even if it wasn't from one of my favorite people in the world. Since it is both--BONUS.

SO. Tomorrow Ana is 10 months old (double digits!) but there will be no video (boo! hiss!) I know-but it is because Caid and I are working on putting together a WHOLE MONTH OF VIDEOS!!! YES--every single day of May a new video on Five Minutes Of Fergie (youtube channel)! and don't worry--a link on Facebook to make it easy:). Or just subscribe!!

Monday, April 18, 2016

John's Third Update

"It is hard to believe that I have already been here for half of my time. In the past month, it has been great to help with whatever I can. A lot of times this may be just looking after Ana or getting some food. But it has also been a time when I have gotten closer to God. This time so far has been one of growth for me as well as getting closer to my Brazilian friends and to my family (Caid, Rachel, and Ana Sofia).
(John ran the scoreboard for the tournament, and helped with Ana Sofia) 

Since the Shelbyville group left, we have gone back to our normal schedule. We had a large basketball tournament the past weekend. We also have been interrupted from playing soccer by rain a couple of times but it (the rainy season) hasn't been that bad. We even got to have some fun and watch the latest Star Wars on Saturday night."
(another one of John's pictures--we so appreciate his skills!)

Sunday, April 17, 2016

April Sunday Funday

Pretty great week-- working with Guadalajara to add education to their sports ministry, as we transition into becoming the third Living Stones program:)! Wednesday was slightly disastrous, as I over planned and then attempted half of my plan, but Friday worked well.

I am working on "Branding" and figuring out our personal goals for our Five Minutes of Fergie Youtube page. I am very excited about it. I had forgotten to put our wedding video on there...opps! Also, of course, refining the Living Stones youtube page, and have more ideas than time (as always). But ideas are fun and energizing!

LOVE these questions! Love this blog!
When she writes, I feel so connected...stories of responding to poverty
This makes me want to sit down and write my own high school curriculum. yes.
Very cool idea! We need more cool ideas!! All the time! Sleep is so important!
(there are so many more pictures of me when other people are in charge of taking pictures...)

We are currently waiting to hear if the roads have washed out or not in Cajueiro Claro, to see if we can go to church this morning. #NotFirstWorldProblems

Less than a month until the Trek for Transportation!! Southeastway Park is awesome--and here are pictures from the past 5 Treks!!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Sunday Monday Funday

My favorite article this week: LEARN THEIR NAMES (and other good ideas).
A beautiful reflection about Culture and how we have so much to learn
Things like this make me so happy and thoughtful--and make my sister so depressed...depends on outlook, I guess.
I want to be an ARTISTS. a Storyteller: the difference between an Artist and an Entertainer.

It has been an amazing, incredible week working with Shelbyville--with pictures and videos to come over the next couple months from all the awesome talent and footage that Craig got. God blessed in so many ways: from passing out Zika kids to new and pregnant mothers in rural Brazil and children tasting BBQ for the first time (they thought it was spicy but yummy) to the restful shade and beauty of Olinda and singing about Tapioca with random people from Mississippi: and the personal encouragement and spiritual blessing of being with some of my favorite people--thank you guys!
(Pictures from John)

John's Second Update

Not exactly weekly, but we are working on it:). Here are my favorite pics that John took:
 (Lagoa kids)
 (view from Olinda)

"The second week here we got more settled into a routine, and we had a special Easter service that included breakfast at Cajueiro Claro. Here, it seems that Easter is more celebrated by eating--and they don't normally have Easter egg hunts. I helped out Caid and Rachel hide 12 eggs--I would hide them while Rachel was telling the Easter story. It was fun to watch the kids find the eggs.

On April 3rd we went and picked up the Shelbyville group from the airport. While they were here we were much more busy. It was nice to be able to talk to other Americans. We went to the Living Stones programs where Craig would take pictures and Taylor and Tammy would help out. We got to eat out a lot, and got to go to the steak place: Sal e Braza. Overall, it was great to catch up with them and work with them."

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Mission Trip Sunday Funday

Some amazing friends from Shelbyville just came in for a mission trip, but Ana is teething, and so she and I are home for the night while they are out.

  • Beautiful and needed--and maybe is isn't time to obey
  • My favorite blogger is adopting! And I held my breath to finally hear about it.
  • DONUTS. I just need to save this. I hardly ever eat donuts in the USA, and yet, so desperately want them when they are not available...
  • Had a good talk this week with one of my favorite TCKs in the world. It is good to remember that they are not so fragile
  • So going to counseling means you are broken, but hiding it means you are strong? We have so many things backward--like why we don't have these serious and necessary conversations with our partners. Let's be real, people. Because if not for ourselves, we need to do it so we won't screw up the next generation.  
  • This made me cry. Another favorite blogger in Africa right now. 
  • What a cool idea!! and such pretty pictures. Basically anything to do with books makes me look
We had an amazing Easter, by the way--and here is the video: