Monday, January 29, 2018

Sunday Funday still January

I caught up on family vlogs:
New Years

Lots of firsts

Dedicating Jessica

We had a lovely week: most all our friends are back from vacation, and that makes life so much fuller! I started planning for teaching at the International school this semester, Ana Sofia got to hang out with her friends, and Jessica grew out of all her clothes (she is now 5 weeks old, wearing 3 month old outfits!). She had a doctor check-up, and she is doing very well, and is slightly above the large range of her age group. Considering Ana Sofia is almost below the small range of her age group, they are going to be sharing clothes in no time! 

I've been reading! Two books to recommend to you:
All the Light we Cannot see: a beautiful novel set in WW2 (it reminded me of "The Book Thief" another good one). Favorite quote: "We all come into existence as a single cell, smaller than a speck of dust. Much smaller. Divide. Multiply. Add and subtract. Matter changes hands, atoms flow in and out, molecules pivot, proteins stitch together, mitochondria send out their oxidative dictates; we begin as a microscopic electrical swarm. The lungs the brain the heart. Forty weeks later, six trillion cells get crushed in the vise of our mother’s birth canal and we howl. Then the world starts in on us."

Disunity in Christ: Uncovering the hidden forces that keep us apart by Christena Cleveland (I REALLY like her! I heard her speak at the Justice Conference. Google her sometime). This is a great book for those of you aching to reconcile the church, especially about race issues. Favorite quote: "Four elements are needed for positive crosscultural interaction: 1. Working toward a larger goal, 2. Creating equal status, 3. Engaging in personal interaction and 4. Providing leadership" (This is a how-to book). 

Reads from the Interwebs:
1. Three vital skills for Ministry: another good Craig Greenfield one!
3. Six permissions most Missionary kids need: I need these! You need these! YES!
4. Ten reasons why expats should start a blog, even in 2018: and why all of you should start a blog--so I can read it:)
5. Favorite movies for a cozy winter night: a solid list of goodies, especially when you are looking for ones that leave you feeling good about your choice! 
6. The day that tourists took pictures with my African child: thinking about it being YOUR kid...changes everything

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Sunday Funday January

So I have NOT caught up on all the precious moments for our family, but I did catch up on Living Stones videos (five of them, actually), so please check them out! (And don't worry mom--I will work on Fergie videos this week!)
I woke up last Monday and went jogging with Ana Sofia: very excited to prove my new-found freedom as the baby was almost a month old, and we were getting back on schedule. And then by the afternoon, Ana Sofia had a 102 degree temperature. So it was more of a sick week than a "back to it" week. But by Friday she was feeling better and Saturday we went to Heloise's (Pastor Flavio's daughter) party, and Sunday went back to church and dedicated Jessica to Jesus. It was a weekend full of love and friends, and we are grateful!
Perhaps this week we will "get back to it."

Reads from the Interwebs:
1. Let your life be your response: awesome response to President Trump's recent ****hole comments.
2. Ten ideas for professional development on the field: come on, lifelong learners!
3. Learning from those who pray all night: this is a thing in Brazil too...and one I have managed to do until like 2am or something, once in my life...
4. Figuring out where we fit: I enjoyed reading this new (to me) blogger

Have a wonderful week, and be ready for lots of Fergie videos this next week!

I see. I choose. I change.

When you see it, you are given a choice. Choices change you.

I was walking to the store, very proud of myself for getting so much done in one morning: and then I saw it. A small box with a tiny kitten and some cat food in the middle of the sidewalk. I don’t even think it is big enough to eat cat food yet. But someone abandoned it there, not wanting it or not wanting to see it die or hoping someone else would take responsibility.
I recoil in horror. My stomachs turns in me. Who would do such a horrible thing? Why should the little, the innocent suffer? Why is the world such a cruel place? My day turns dark- and all this with a little box.

There are little boxes with little “kittens” in them everywhere: injustice, suffering, death. But so many days I don’t see them in my path. so many days they aren’t real to me because I haven’t seen them or acknowledged them personally. Many days I can live in ignorant bliss because I didn’t look down and see the little box, or I don’t even take a path that will hold any little boxes.

As a child of God, I believe I am called to open my eyes. To not hide from or ignore, but face head on the sadness and evil in this world. Even when I feel it may break me. And as a Christian, I am not only called to see, but to seek. To walk different paths that will open even more pain as more boxes are uncovered. I am called to seek friendships with those not like me. Who look different, who talk different, who vote different. And I am called to love them.

“You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed.” But you first must open your eyes and see. First you must take a path that will put little boxes at your feet. And once you do, everything changes.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

January Sunday Funday

Here is our weekly vlog:
We had a pretty uneventful week, as Jessica is pretty little to go anywhere, and everyone is on vacation, so it is pretty much a ghost town. The electric company decided to take advantage of this time, and Saturday and Sunday cut the electricity to fix some wiring around our apartment. Unfortunately, it is hot hot summer, and Jessica sweats like her dad. We had to get out of the house to escape the heat (no electricity mean no fans, no lights for Ana to play with her toys, no TV, no internet, no opening the fridge...) and so we ran off to the mall in Recife to enjoy the air conditioner for a couple of hours on Saturday. They have a special "Family Space" with changing tables and a private place to breastfeed and all--and free strollers--it went really well as our first "outing" with Jessica. On Sunday we ate out for lunch and then sat on a shady bench in the center of town, watching ants take our cookie crumbs. It made for some lovely moments in some sweaty times! 

*Interesting note* In Brazil they not only have paid maternity leave, but it is also traditional to not leave the house with the baby (or the mom) for the first month. As a do-it-all-now American, it has been quite challenging for me to allow myself to rest that long (ok, so i made it about 2.5 weeks...). Jessica will be a month old this Friday! YAY!

Reads from the Interwebs:
1. Six Marks of a Heathy Missions Partnership: as someone who works with missions partnerships, this is right on! Love it, and love the amazing people/churches we partner with!
2. The way we talk to our kids about sexting is failing our girls: this is a secular and important look at how we approach the conversations we need to have: why are we FOCUSING on telling girls not to send nudes, instead of FOCUSING (or even equally) on telling boys NOT TO ASK/PRESSURE for nudes? 
4. A hard look at Prejudice (in missions): “Missio Dei is not a call to culturalize and patronize nonbelievers; rather, it is delivering the Gospel without judgment or cultural bias. A decision to devote your life to missions means you agree to represent the heart of God as best you can and as accurately as you can.” “Missions is living the way things should be. Missions is a way of life devoted to making justice, equality, and grace prevail in broken lives, including our own. It is making shalom reality.”
5. The Ministry of a Missionary Mama: I am still working on this...
6. Luxeccesities: Yes! This word:). This is by my cousin (second cousin?) serving in Africa
7. Three Missions Resolutions to keep Hope Alive: Souls, not Statistics, Pray against Distractions, Embolden others to Serve

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

New Year of Sunday Fundays

Catching up on life a bit late, here is our year in review vlog:
and our Christmas vlog:

Disclaimer: It is called "Sunday Funday" because throughout the week I save up all the interesting things I find on the Internet, and read them on Sunday. I then comment on them, add our weekly vlog, and a little bit about us...eventually. Lately, that second part has been on Tuesday. Hope that my different posting times are not throwing you off:). 

As we enjoy our HOT summer vacation time (mostly in the house because: newborn baby) getting used to our new life (because: newborn baby) with two kids and not sleeping so much (because: newborn baby), I am putting together some reviews of last year, and goals for this year:

It means a lot to me to be able to continue doing all the random things I call "paperwork," and I am so grateful to my awesome husband who does more than his fair share of things so I can curl up with my computer. 

Reads from the Interwebs:
1. The Proverbs 32 Man: haha! LOVE it:)
2. Maybe this is your New Years Resolution: Sarah Bessey is my newest blog subscribe, and I really appreciate her! It took being pregnant/giving birth for me to really value my body, and be kind to it. "Kind" like really attempt to shower at least daily because I am being burped, peed, and pooped on all the time. She points out the difference between self-care (important! DO it!) and self-comfort (slippery slope into lazy mopey land), which is so important. Three weeks after giving birth, I am back to my pre-birth weight: but my body looks completely different. My muscles are all flab. My flab is wiggly-er. And I feel like I have a long way to go, because my goal isn't the scale, it is to be healthy and strong and able to thrive through the day, not survive until naptime. But I regress...
3. Ask a counselor: annual self-care check-up: yes self-care! Yes counselor! Need to ask question for everyone, not just missionaries. 
4. When your missionary stories aren't sexy: OMG so true! 98% of my life! You just get to hear the 2% over and over I guess!
5. My one word for 2018: I love this idea, and I do it...eventually. Currently, I have a blank spot for my word this year. It hasn't come yet. Last year the word was "Intentional." 

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Goals for 2018

I enjoy having some time at the beginning of the year to reflect on the past year (hence all the top 10 of 2017 posts) and to organize (in my head) and think about what is coming up the current new year, as well as a couple of things I would like to add to the new year: accomplishments or goals.

Most of my goals are "roll overs" from last year, because they are good goals I will probably always want to continue in my life. For the past couple of years, I have divided my goals under the different rolls that I fulfill: Woman (personal, spiritual, and physical), Wife, Mother, and Missionary. I also like to have a yearly verse, and a yearly word (which I haven't thought of yet this year, so I left it blank).

My lovely husband also took time to talk with me about his goals, and our goals together in life and ministry: it isn't his favorite thing to do, but it ended up blessing us both. Just to give you an idea, here are my goals for 2018:

As a Woman:
1.       Personal: know myself
a.       Blog once a week (Sunday Funday)
b.      Have a book (or kindle) always available
c.       Publish a book (stories, Bible, ABC missions)
d.      Have some kind of fun project on hand to do
e.      Look into moving to a place with yard/garage
2.       Spiritual: intimate connection with God and my heart
a.       Morning Moment with God (reading Bible)
b.      Once a week family worship time
c.       Sunday Family Prayer time
3.       Physical: strong with energy to thrive not survive
a.       Continue to drink more water and eat healthy
b.      Jan-February: walk/home video, Mar-June: work up to 4 classes a week
c.       July- Dec: weightlifting 4 times a week (2 leg days), 45 minutes each
As a Wife:
a.       Every other week Date night (check out with Kirbys/Turners playdates)
b.      Focus on him in the evenings after kids are asleep
c.       Plan and make healthy meals
d.      Keep the house clean and light
e.      Deep clean the house once a week
As a Mom:
a.       Daily Snapchat/appreciate my daughters time (each one)
b.      Weekly Sunday family phone calls
c.       2girlsncurls Instagram updated, and learning more hairstyles
d.      Ana: finish potty training, doing well at school, training with many different “tools”
e.      Jessica: breastfeed, keep up baby book
As a Missionary:
a.       Vlog once a week
b.      Upkeep LS and FMF websites and e-newsletters (monthly)
c.       End of and beginning of the month finance for LS and FMF reports
d.      World Help paperwork done timely and well
e.      Trek for Transportation done well
f.        20 year of LS celebration book/promotional stuff done well
g.       Teach well at the International school
h.      Do taxes (refund is saving for house)
i.         March/April: Joy, Easter, Friends? 
j.        June/July: STMT

k.       Ready to return to USA in December: plan meetings, presentations, presents…

Top 10 Blog Posts from Five Minutes of Fergie in 2017

1. Sunday Funday. Not any specific one, but I have been very excited, proud, and blessed to post these every week: they have our weekly vlog, a bit about us, and then some awesome reads from the Interwebs, which is better than oversharing them all on Facebook:).

2. New Years Resolutions from my Daughter

3. Three things learned from the Women's March on Washington

4. Ten Myths about Brazil that many Americans believe

5. The Missionary Fashion Series (all links in here)

6. A Week of Grief

7. Debriefing 

8. 3rd Pregnancy

9. 1st Pregnancy vs. Now Reality

10. Pinterest: A Tool for Missionaries

Top 10 Vlogs from Five Minutes of Fergie 2017

Friday, January 5, 2018

Top 10 Books That I Read in 2017

Note: not all, or many of these actually came out in 2017. I am a bit behind. But as a mother, missionary, and wife, and I proud I made it to actually READING 10 books this year! :)

1. The Alongsiders Story: (gasp: I got to pre-read this and write some reviews for it! Totally an honor, and I loved every minute of it!)

This is not a normal book. And it really isn’t for a normal audience. But if you have a passion for discipleship, for building leadership, and for finding viable ways for changing the world (specifically focused on developing countries), then this is a book for you.
As I read it, I felt a deep pang in my heart and wished I would have had this book in my hands ten years ago when I was brainstorming, with a couple of other missionaries, about what Living Stones was and should look like on paper. Because in many ways, this is a manual for guiding principles and practical steps to starting a movement: raising up leaders to walk alongside chosen “little brothers and sisters,” and disciple them.
While there are many differences between Living Stones and Alongsiders (the ministry this book shares the story, vision, and how to of), the heart is the same, and the practicality is something I am learning from and hope to implement more in my own coordinating efforts. While reading this book, I was either nodding my head in agreement, laughing softly as we’d (Living stones) lived or learned the same lesson, or jotting down notes of ideas of things to do for the future.
This book, more than any other I have ever read on missions, is practical and step by step. Since it is telling the story of, and inviting you into, the Alongsiders movement, it is clear and concise in a way that all of my college mission’s books were not (and oh how they frustrated me!). As someone who kind of “fell into missions” and worked to get training as I went, I have not found many books to be practical in this sense.
It is also just darn exciting. The vision is clear and simple and you pick it up and say “Wow! I want me some of that!” Obviously, this book is most useful for someone who is looking to join in the Alongsiders movement actively and directly, but the book is also very important to those not as directly related to developing countries/discipleship of youth in understanding where missions in general is heading and some good guidelines in stepping back and letting God work, especially through local leadership.

2. Subversive Jesus (by Craig Greenfield--same guy who wrote book #1 on this list) I already blogged a ton about it HERE.

3. Justice Calling by Palmer Chinchen: “The three cries of the future church: they long for purpose: “Why am I here?” they demand authenticity: “Don’t sell us cheap imitations.” And they want justice:  “We are for the common good and against oppression.” I just especially liked the author's enthusiasm.

4. Unoffendable by Brant Hansen: This is THE BOOK FOR THE TIMES (at least if you semi-live on social media), and I wrote more about it HERE.

5. Assimilate or Go Home by D.L.Mayfield: probably my favorite book this year, read right when I needed it. SO much more written about it HERE

6. All Things New by John Eldredge: just finished this today! Such a good encouragement to be living with eternity in mind--just what I needed.

7. Peter and Starcatchers series by Dave Barry: these were fun books to read when I couldn't do anything else and was waiting (for 6 weeks) for my baby to pop out.

8. The Broken Way by Ann Voskamp: I actually haven't quite finished this. I am savoring each page and kinda really don't want it to ever end.

9. It's What I Do by Lynsey Addario: Lynsey is a war photographer, and she shares her life in this story I randomly found at the library for my kindle (which is how I get my books in Brazil)

10. Executing Grace by Shane Claiborne: Looking Biblically at the death penalty, something I really hadn't done. Made me think, reconsider, wonder, and cry.

Top 10 TV Shows of 2017 (that we watched in 2017)

New Year: time to write down/remember last year:). Here is our list, not in any particular order:

1. The Good Place (Netflix) short show with an interesting twist

2. The Bletchley Circle (Netflix) mysteries set in England after the war with some amazing women

3. Anne with an E (Netflix) ahem. Enough said. Interesting take on some of the book events, but I appreciated the perspective.

4. The Crown (Netflix) started off a bit slow, but then grabbed me (Rachel) in.

5. Stranger Things (Netflix) this is Caid's kinda show (science fiction), but I finally gave in and loved it too

6. Call the Midwife (Netflix) We had to pause watching this as me being pregnant made me too emotionally involved--but beautifully done show

7. Series of Unfortunate Events (Netflix) loved the movie, love the show

8. The Flash: we like superhero genre, and this one leaves the others in the dust.

9. Blackish: short fun show that covers relevant issues

10. The Librarians: a fun magical show that doesn't take itself too seriously

Netflix has been big with us because it seems to take less Internet connection, something we often don't have much of. We have some other shows we have watched, but so many of them are hit or miss, or have things we wouldn't recommend to others. I was going to add a list of our top 10 movies this year, but I can't remember too much that we really liked besides Wonder Woman and Spiderman: Homecoming, and since I was pregnant basically all year, we didn't go to the movies much this year.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

New Years Sunday Funday

See our (clean) birth video! Our little lady is finally here!
An amazing Christmas and relaxing (well, as relaxing as it can be when you are adjusting to having two children) week between holidays. Friday was our checkup at the hospital, and both Jessica and I are good to go. Our New Years Eve celebration was all you can eat sushi as a family. Note: while pregnant, a sushi place opened right next to our apartment. I showed incredible restraint (as sushi is not recommended for pregnant women) and waited until now to indulge. Ana Sofia liked the noodles, and Jessica slept through it all.

Reads from the Interwebs:
1. Emmanuel: the presence of God: "To be present is to be absent somewhere else. And this is the tension of living in two worlds."

2. The Great Annual Examen: I heard about Examen through Word Made Flesh. This has a lot of introspective questions...I love these things! 

Happy New Year!! Little Peanut is two weeks today:).