Saturday, March 31, 2018

Dear NRA

As someone who wants to protect the second amendment, and would like to vote Republican, please help me out. You are making yourselves look bad. I try hard to vote and believe on fact versus feeling, but you are making this difficult.
1. Please refrain from connecting yourselves with, or not speaking against, the extremists on your side. It just takes one bad apple to make the whole bunch look like old, cranky "Don't touch my gun" people.
(I was shocked at the sarcasm aimed at a minor by someone in government)
2. Please be open to discussion about some precautions for school shooting and other incidents involving guns (such as the tragic rate of gun deaths in Chicago). I do not feel that getting rid of guns will solve school shootings. There is no one answer to big issues and tragedy: there are many tools needed in the toolbox. Yes, kids not bullying others is another issue that needs to be addressed: but there is no either/or here.

3. Please refrain from conspiracy theories.
(When it comes to kids and dying, you better have more proof before you accuse)
4. Please realize that if it really was a liberal con, THEY WON because of your horrible response (or failure to speak out about those responding wrongly--please see bullet point #1).
(really, guys?)

5. Please take a minute to remember what it was like to be 17. (LONG PAUSE) I rest my point.
As a 17 year old, I spoke passionately about many things. Some of them I was completely wrong about. Many of my ideas came from other people around me, that I admired. I was influenced by others. I jumped on many bandwagons. This, I think, is part of growing up. And thank God I didn't have a bunch of adults making fun of, or berating, or just being plain old mean to me about it. Instead, I had a community that supported me, loved me, and corrected me (in love and by example) when I needed it.
(For shame, Internet. For shame.) 
6. Please do not think that finding another problem means that the first problem isn't valid. 
I think #walkup is valid and important. I loved the school where each student put 17 encouraging post-it notes on lockers around the school. I think addressing bullying is important. But for many people, it became a pro-gun fight to replace #walkout, which is another important and valid issue. That is twisted. Do good and be kind because it is right, not because you want to keep guns. 
7. Please realize that people fight for what they have felt and experience. Especially when they are 17 (see bullet point #5). Those kids just went through something horrible. Maybe they did bully someone. Maybe you did too when you were in high school. Maybe they are not speaking based on facts or reality. Maybe you did too when you were in high school. But if you cannot do your politics without belittling others, then you are doing it wrong. If you don't agree with the Florida shooting victims, that is fine. But let them use their first amendment right to talk about it, #walkout, and march without treating kids like trash. 

Friday, March 30, 2018

First Goodbyes

(Ana Sofia and Heloise jumping in puddles--picture by Joy)
Today we said goodbye to a friend as we dropped her off at the airport. She had come for a little over a week, to help with sports ministry, but quickly found herself attached to Ana Sofia (not always on purpose on her part). Ever since we brought home baby Jessica, Ana Sofia has been trying to figure out how things fit in our family. Her daily amount of attention-needing has gone waaaaaaaay up. And Caid and I have struggled to fill it. Enter our friend Joy.
It was a wonderful week full of coloring, phone apps, mints, and piggy-back rides as Ana Sofia had a friend (a mother of three teens) who understood her and played on her level without saying, "Hold on, I have to feed the baby." And then last night I tucked her into bed and told her the next day's plans, as I often do. "Joy go home?" she said, "Joy stay with Sofia."
My almost three-year-old has already been to the USA and back, twice (four times if you count while in my belly). But this is the first goodbye where she really understands it. I've been saying my goodbyes for shorter and longer times since 2004, and I think I have it down pretty well, but I feel lost and helpless as to how to help my daughter begin that same journey.
I remember my journal entries, processing change and grief and boys and relationships and how all normal things get shook up by goodbyes. But I was 21 then. I remember puzzling over how worlds don't stay frozen when you leave them: they keep evolving without you. How your two worlds spin in different directions and you end up miles and miles away from where you started. But it was my choice to leave. I was the one traveling away.
My daughter has none of that. She has basic schema that says, "Joy stay with Sofia."
We talked about how Joy would go back home to her daughter: how her daughter needed her. We told her that we could visit Joy when we were back in the USA. I figured if anything could help, it would be talking about it.We had lots of hugs. But at the end of the airport line, there were tears.
Money can't mend a broken heart, but getting some 'coiya-coiya' (Coca-Cola) and chips did help considerably. After the car ride home, it was "Where Joy?" and going over it again, and "I want Joy here."
In the end, goodbyes suck. That is the problem with knowing amazing people around the world. And now I pass that on to my daughter.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Wednesday Sunday Funday

Our weekly vlog gives you some insight on a local holiday:

Besides having a holiday, last week Joy Young came to visit. I had asked her to come awhile back, and she had been praying about it for awhile, so we were super excited to have her. She is an excellent basketball coach with lots of training on specific games for specific ages, to engage and build skills. In a nutshell, she was exactly what I wanted for the leaders at Guadalajara, to encourage and train them! She also has lived in Mexico, and so understands many things about being in a developing country. Last (but not least), she packed all her things in her carry on, and brought us two bags of supplies and gifts! So exciting to have Christmas in March.

It has been great and busy (hence the late post), but eventually you will get to see some videos, and hear about lots of exciting news coming up! I read some neat articles, but I am saving them up for next week to give you a double whammy:). God bless!

Monday, March 19, 2018

Squishy is 3 Months Old

This little lady is growing so fast! She loves to catch our eyes and smile so big her eyes disappear. She is super chill and really up for anything as long as she is with people and gets milk when she wants it. She hardly ever cries, but will complain quite a bit. She likes to try to stand up, and she seems to melt into you when you pick her up. We like her a lot.
This is the special yellow dress from Auntie Elaine in England: Ana Sofia wore it when she was 4 months old, and Jessica is rockin in at three months.

Holiday Sunday Funday

Walk with us through a basic (kinda sorta is there ever?) week on our vlog this week:

It was Caid's birthday on March 14th, but unfortunately, he was sick from Monday night until Friday night. He wasn't even able to eat his cake until Sunday! :( But he was a great sport about it, and we got to go to see Black Panther on Monday (Ana Sofia stayed with friends).

Reads from the Interwebs:
1. When it is not only supporters who change: another article about home assignment and the gaps that happen. I can't get enough. 
2. Opening up Christmas shoe boxes: an important discussion about how missions is and NEEDS TO change. It is continued here: Sometimes the starfish story doesn't work. The thing is, giving things makes us feel good, but if it is not in the context of personal relationship, it most often fails. It pacifies us but doesn't help the person we give it to. In the end, in a way, it is selfish. I am not calling us to give less--I am calling us to relationship more. And, as the author wrote: instead of giving things, give education (basically that is just money to organizations you trust, and not very personally gratifying, but it about you?) 
5. Expats helping expats: I find it a little weird that we are moving into the mentoring stage of things, when I feel like we are still the newbies...

Monday, March 12, 2018

Sunday Funday March

We had a surprise and NEW holiday last week (learn a bit of Brazilian history):
We are really enjoying and getting into our new weekly schedule (for this semester), and then were hit with a random and new holiday, which is fun too! Thursday was International Woman's Day, which while may be gaining traction in the USA, has always been a rather big deal (flowers, lots of messages with animated flowers in them) in Brazil. We had a special women's meeting at church where Caid hung out with all the boys that showed up (they don't seem to understand what a woman's meeting is) and I led the worship. Since half of the group was under 10, it made for an interesting dynamic, but was so fun to see the little ladies of our church (including Ana Sofia), be a part of it. 

Reads from the Interwebs:
1. Termination of Parental Rights: this is from the heart of a good friend of mine, and always puts me in a spirit of wonder of the world of foster parents
3. One thing we get terribly wrong in our response to abuse: Must read for those in ministry.
4. Empowered Women Empower Women: Happy International Woman's Day!!! Yes, this is a big and important deal. 
5. Stop with the Thank Yous! So interesting, and something I've noticed, being in a different language--also with the "I'm Sorrys" 
6. The Single Servant Survey: super interesting, and a good resource for single missionaries (since I was one for so long, I feel a great connection to this area).
7. Women's Bodies as a Battlefield: having two daughters, YES, this is an issue. It makes my heart hurt. 

Monday, March 5, 2018

March Sunday Funday

Our weekly vlog--by Ana Sofia:)
Our first full week of Living Stones and school and a regular schedule, and we loved it! Nothing like a full week to let you appreciate a lazy Saturday, which somehow turned into a "get sick" day for Ana Sofia. We are hoping it is just a change in the weather kinda thing. Jessica has been a doll--including joining me for teaching at Living Stones Guadalajara--in her baby pouch carrier.
Reads on the Interwebs:
1. We need to talk about those celebrity charity videos: Craig Greenfield with a practical guide
2. I know I am not the only one trying to fix her posture! Caid has been into learning about better health and muscle building, and found this gem for me:
4. Am I doing what's Best for my Kids? This could have totally been written by me.