Sunday, July 30, 2017

Still July Sunday Funday

As we had a missions trip this week, I made a video about missions trips:).
This was actually from the beginning of July, but I am still working on all the set up:

It was an incredibly full week,with Caid gone most all the time (doing an amazing job with the amazing soccer outreach team of Americans and Brazilians!) and I running our home, first attempts at potty training Ana Sofia, and making sure the details of the mission trip went well. 
We were very blessed by the 13 teens (and their leader) who came to give their lives here in Brazil for a week. It is always a beautiful thing to see God work through open hearts! 

Reads from the Interwebs: 
1. The fine line between expat chaos and rhythm: they had me at the picture:). This is why we try to always stay longer than 6 weeks in the USA on home assignment. But I totally identified with a lot of this. 
2. Five sure signs you've been hoodwinked by the "Prosperity Gospel": basically, I like everything this guy posts. 
3. Is conflict with teammates really the top reason for missionaries leaving the field? This is a longer, more technical article, but totally worth the read if that is what you are into (like me). It brings up a bunch of different issues and the importance for gathering information from the past for the future. 
4. All.The.Things.. a great read, for all of us in our middle 30s especially. 

It is almost August people! What? School and Living Stones start next week!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

End of July Sunday Funday

My computer was acting up, so this is a bit late, but it is summer so who is counting? Besides, I am half-way through creating a human. That is a doin' pretty good!

We visited hospitals, Ana had her two year check-up, we did a lot of second semester planning, and got ready to receive the last mission's trip of the summer (well, our winter). Some good reads from the Interwebs:
1. Thank you for hosting my niece: as someone very involved with short term missions, I like to read different people's perspective on it. 
2. Ten reasons this pregnant lady misses home: nodding my head in agreement:).

Have a wonderful week (what is left of it)!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Sunday Funday July

We spent a lot of this week organizing and unpacking the week before, which was quite an adventure:
And some food adventures:

And thinking about how the year is more than half over:

We had time to think and enjoy each other (in our small family, and with our team/coworkers here in Brazil), and I had a lovely time with other pregnant women (and share some of my story). We are so blessed with the new (to us--less than 28,000 kilometers) car--and the added blessing? It is semi-automatic! Like, enough of an automatic to make me feel alright about driving in Brazil! (Many of you do not know of my struggles to learn to drive a manual. Let's just say it isn't pretty).
Next week we have meetings and preparations for the last summer missions trip (coming in next Sunday! please pray for their traveling mercies!) and for the fall semester. We appreciate your prayers for wisdom and grace in all the plans/actualities.

Reads from the Interwebs:
1. Thoughts on entry, reentry, and TCK: Every time I read things about third culture kids (TCK) I feel semi-guilty about creating one without asking her opinion. And then I feel a rush of worries about all the issues she will face. And then I take a deep breath and remember that growing up is easy for NO ONE. And EVERYONE has issues. And life is just hard, even if you aren't a TCK.
2. Let's bring motherhood down a notch: I am looking forward to 40. Especially if it is more chill-lax than 30.
3. What a dollar gets you around the world: I find these things so interesting! BTW, minimum wage in Brazil is less than $300 dollars a month. BTW, no way I ever made near to average American salary ever!
4. Strong in the Broken: an amazing testimony

Friday, July 14, 2017

3rd Pregnancy

(not my belly, by the way)

Last night, some friends of mine arraigned an evening where women (and their families) could come and have a safe place to talk and learn about pregnancy and birth. We went around and introduced ourselves, we shared our children’s name and ages, and if we had had a natural birth or C-section.

Every woman, I repeat: EVERY. WOMAN. Had had a C-section except those who had experienced some kind of deliberate intervention: either another woman, or a doctor, or they themselves were educated and prepared to then have a natural birth. This is Brazil—at least my part of Brazil. (Well, there was the one woman who planned a C-section, but the baby came too quick on its own…which is why private hospitals in our area of Brazil have a 98% rate of C-sections rather than 100%). 

There were three professional doulas there, who were also nurses, who spoke to fears and lies and past trauma. One woman shared how her mother told her, “Don’t cry or scream while giving birth or the doctors will yell at you.” Because that is what happened to her mother. And so she scheduled a C-section to avoid it. One woman was told her baby was too big, at 39 weeks, and she had to get an immediate C-section. One was told the baby was in the wrong position, and had to get a C-section. One was told natural birth would hurt too much. One was told she was too skinny to have a natural birth. And so on. All lies told by the medical community and society who didn’t have the training and/or time and/or desire to deal with more difficult birth situations. 

Some of the women had had wonderful experiences: natural and C-section. The doulas were good to explain that their goal for women was that in any situation, it would be a humanized birth. Where in the amazing, incredible, and most challenging experience of bringing life into the world, the woman is loved, respected, and cared for. That she is not lied to, misinformed, belittled or ignored. That in her most vulnerable moments in life, she is treated as a valuable human. 

I was able to share how Lindsay introduced me to a great team of people who cheered me on for 15 hours, who reassured me my baby was safe and my body was doing what it was supposed to do: have a baby. That didn’t make the experience less painful, but it did make it sacred and valuable. And I came away from the experience with a new respect for my body. If I could give birth, I could do about anything ever. 

It was beautiful to see these ladies coming together to share this love and experience and education for future mothers to be blessed with positive and humanized births. This is how movements are started and generations changed. 

For me, there is another story. A story of a miscarriage. A story of my body failing me. A story of a new pregnancy, with new fears I never thought of the first time around. Questioning my body about things I just accepted before. The main thing: what if when it comes down to it, my body fails me again? It is a story of control, and where my illusion of previous control has been torn down. 

And so I need to write a new story of trust and forgiveness. Trust that God still holds everything in His hands, and forgiveness to my body. I need to let go of what happened. My body is still really incredible, and is preparing itself for this baby. It (I) has all it (I) needs to succeed. I need to care for, love, and respect this body I have been given. I will not hold the past as a form of control or worry, but will give the same forgiveness and love I am freely given. 

It might sound a bit weird to talk about my body as another entity, but that is the best way to describe how I feel, and the process I am going through. Lindsay is again walking with me through this journey, as we figure out doctors and birth plan and all things done differently in Brazil, and done differently after a miscarriage. I am grateful for the journey. 

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Rainy Sunday Funday

I hope everyone enjoyed some time off and holiday food and fireworks and all: we will be celebrating Independence day here in September. This week was full of fun, amazing times, and rain as the Short Term Mission Trip from Shelbyville was here! Because of our very full week, last week I made extra videos, and next week will have lots of fun ones as well (to catch up). This week, I am posting our Living Stones mid-year update (the Fergie update to come soon!):

The Shelbyville group is on their way home (only a couple mud slides and scares), and we are snuggled up (it has gotten into the low 70s here!) inside from the rain and extra mosquitoes (many of whom have managed to bite Ana Sofia especially). 

Reads from the Interwebs:
1. The shock of being (almost) normal: well-written fresh perspective of the first bits of home assignment
2. Married for More: love the question "What couples inspire you?" I remember being totally shocked as I flipped through the Bible itself and realized there were fewer couples in the Bible that inspired me than in real life...
3. When Missionaries think they know everything: (really, it could be changed to "when anyone thinks they know everything")
4. Ideas for celebrating the 4th of July (when not in the USA)
5. Birth: I am so excited about this! I loved "Kisses from Katie" and have been following Katie (blog wise) ever since. And now there is a new book!!! I know what I want for my birthday!

Sunday, July 2, 2017

July Sunday Funday

Last Sunday was Ana Sofia's second birthday!
Here is some of our first moments back in Brazil:
And our new (to us) car!

It was a wonderful week, meeting with Living Stone's leaders and planning upcoming trips and meeting the short term mission trip group from New Jersey. Caid is currently at the airport, picking up the Shelbyville group! We are so excited!

Here is a good read as we head into the holiday weekend: God bless America (and other dangerous prayers). 

Have a wonderful week!