"Preach the gospel at all times; if necessary, use words." Saint Francis of Assisi

Monday, February 28, 2011

First Day

Today Giovanni starts his first day of school. My girlfriend did a blog about the same thing. You mom's will like it. Click here to read it.

Giovanni will only go for two hours today. It will be like that for all the kids for the first 5-6 days. These short days will help the little guys get acclimated to their new life.

First school days are exciting for our family. Especially for the baby who always has lots of help.

This morning Giovanni had two good helpers as he put on his uniform.

He then went and showed it off to Anderson.

Anderson, who is Captain Excitement about everything, met Giovanni first with a big hug......

.....and then with a "first day of school uniform dance."

I told you, first day of school days are exciting in our house.

We'll let you know how it goes.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

God's Forgiveness of Us

By Chuck Swindoll

Truth be told, it's God's forgiveness of us that makes possible our forgiving others.

When on the cross Jesus Christ paid in full the penalty of our sin, God's wrath was expressed against Him---the One who took our place. God was therefore satisfied in the epochal sacrifice . . . allowing all who would turn, in faith, to the Son of God to be totally, once-for-all, forgiven. Christ's blood washed away our sin. And from the moment we believe in Him, we stand forgiven, relieved of guilt, before a satisfied God, thereby freeing Him to shower upon us His grace and love.

Remember the verse from that grand old song the church has sung for years?

My sin---O, the bliss of this glorious tho't---
My sin---not in part, but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!¹

That says it well but not as beautifully as the song from the oldest of all hymnals---the Psalms:

Bless the LORD, O my soul,
And all that is within me, bless His holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
And forget none of His benefits;
Who pardons all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases;
Who redeems your life from the pit,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion;
Who satisfies your years with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle. . . .
. . . He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him.
As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.

(Psalm 103:1-5, 10-12)

It's important to understand that we can never forgive others, horizontally, if not for what Christ has already done for us, vertically. Not until we fully accept and appropriate God's infinite and complete forgiveness on our behalf can we carry out the tough assignment of forgiving others.

It isn't long before anyone who gets serious about serving others must come to terms with forgiving others as well.

Yes, must.

Friday, February 25, 2011


Dear Bronwyn (and our other Inter fans),

We played at home on Wednesday night in the second game of the Libertadores.

We were going to go but mom got sick that day so we stayed at home. Thankfully RBS showed it on regular tv. Garrett and I stayed up to watch it.

We didn't play great but we won. That sounds crazy when you find out we won 4-0 but it just wasn't one of our best games. We are playing without Bolivar, Sobis, Tinga and D'Alessandro who are all hurt.

Our new guy Bolatti scored two more, Damião scored one and is playing awesome and Ansley's new Inter boyfriend, Oscar, scored the last one with a nice little curve ball.

Our next game is against Jorge Wilstermann from Bolivia. Their goalie is Machado's brother, Mauro. Were you here when we met him last month and Garrett actually got to practice kicking falta's against him? Very cool for Garrett to get to play against a professional goalie. Anyway, when they play here we are going to take Machado. Even though he's a gremista and even though we've been beaten the two times I've taken him to Beira-Rio, we still are going to sit together to watch his brother. I told him we might even sit in the enemy territory to support Mauro. Should be fun.

Here are your goals.

And here is the report from Bom Dia Rio Grande (so you can practice your Spanish).

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


We returned this past Sunday from a two week vacation. We spent a week visiting our friends in São Paulo state. We then spent a week with just our family at the beach to celebrate Ansley's recent high school graduation.

We had lots of time to relax which meant lots of time to read to Giovanni.

His new favorite book is Spiderman.

He reads it for you here:

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Birthday Video


We asked your creative sister to put together a video for you of all the videos we took last week at your mom's birthday meal with Ramilo, Flaviana and Paola.  She quickly spliced the videos together and then added some music to it. What took her 10 minutes would've taken us an hour. Not surprising.

We all wished you were there with us.

I know you'll like Ansley's video.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Benay's Birthday

Today is my girlfriend's birthday. As is our family tradition on this blog we always allow the rest of the family to share how we feel about the birthday boy or girl. Here's what we think about my girlfriend:

Bronwyn: "She's so sweet to everyone! She loves people. All of us are so lucky that we get to call her our mom. Love you Mama!"

Ansley: "She is pretty, sweet and always ready to help. She has been especially loving and helpful with me this past month and I want to thank her for that! Love you mom, happy birthday! "

Garrett: "She's the best mom in the world. I love her!"

Carys: "I wouldn't trade her for anything. She's the best mom ever and I love her!"

Anderson: "She's funny. She makes really good food and I love her!"

Giovanni: "Mom is silly. Mom buys me a lot of cool toys. She reads to me and makes funny faces to make me laugh and I love her." (Translation help from Anderson and Ansley)

Me: "I'm one of those blessed men who happens to be in love and married to his best friend. I'm also one of those rare blessed men whose best friend is, in my opinion, the best looking woman in the world and who happens to be even better looking on the inside than out. She loves God, loves her family and shares God's love to everyone she meets. I've said it before but she not only preaches grace, she is the best example of living and sharing God's grace of anyone I've ever met in my entire life. "

I don't know how you actually show someone's inner beauty (go ahead, try to take a picture of it) but I tried to find a picture that could show it. This is one I came up with.
Finding a picture that shows the outward beauty of my girlfriend is always easy. Here she is on Ansley's recent graduation night.

In my bible there are many verses that make me think of my wife. When I read them I literally write her name in my bible next to those verses and thank God for her. I believe Proverbs 31 was written with my wife in mind. If you've never read them then feel free to read verses 10-30 to get more of an idea of what we think of our mom/girlfriend. Not all verses will apply (she's never actually gone out and inspected a field, bought it and then planted a vineyard) but you will get the idea.

Happy Birthday mom/Benay!

Monday, February 07, 2011


It's been two years since our family has been on a Brasilian vacation together.

That's a long time for a family our size to not be together. Just us. We needed to get out of our city and our routine for a few days to recharge our batteries.

We left Porto Alegre on Saturday at 5:30 in the morning, picked up Ansley about 5 hours later (who was with her friend Laura in Florianopolis) and came to a place called Itajaí.

We've never stayed here before. It's a beach town and it's very, very small.

The name of the beach is Praia Brava which, literally, means Angry Beach.

There are a lot of surfers here and the waves are definitely a little bit angry. You get beat up pretty good but we are having a great time.

We've been playing a lot. We love the beach and our kids are a bunch of fishes. They love to be in any kind of water.

While others swam, some enjoyed beach food while sporting an awesome hairdo.

We are big fans of this little guys toothy smile.
Beach time also leads to lots of "chill" time later. Like napping,
 hanging out in a hamock (she's actually watching a movie on the itouch) cocoon style,
 watching a movie on a computer,
 watching soccer (of course) on tv,
 reading Diary of a Wimpy Kid,
 and reading in a hammock.
Bronwyn, Anderson even recorded a personal video just for you complete with, as usual, him showing his crack and exaggerating.

We all wish you were here with us but since you can't we hope you enjoy your first day back to school (as we all laugh).

Anyway, we leave today for São Paulo state to see some of our best friends.

We'll be there for a week before coming back to this place for a few more days.

We would appreciate your prayers for our safety.

Friday, February 04, 2011

New Season


I took your brothers to our first game of the year last night.

We played Juventude.

They are ripping up and redoing sections of Beiro Rio to get ready for the World Cup.

Last night was the first night our starters played this year. The B team has been playing every game in the Gauchão so the starters can get ready for the Libertadores. That changed last night.

We looked rusty but played okay.

At halftime I told the guys I wanted to take a picture of them. You already know how that went.

Anderson then asked to take some pictures during the game.....

.....and after.

He's not just a photographer, he's an artist.

By the way, we won 3-1.

Here's a homemade video of D'Alesandro's first goal.

And here are all the goals.

We had a great time.

P.S. Since you insist on rubbing it in about the snow you are playing in we decided to rub it in about going to a game.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011


Bronwyn has been rubbing it in the last two days about the fact that they haven't had school because of snow.

She is experiencing her first (maybe since she was about 9 or 10 years old) snow days and she's loving it.

She's called us to show us video and she's sent us emails. Basically she's bragging, and that's not being very Christlike to her family.

This is Bronwyn and her roommate, Asia, who is from Thailand.

Asia always takes pictures. She's the perfect roommate for Bronwyn because Bronwyn never takes pictures. So thanks for these pics, Asia. They both were pretty jacked because they never get to see snow, much less play in it.

Here are some pictures of the rest of Bronwyn's best buddies.

They are having a ball.

While they are freezing we've had a hot spell in our city. Today has actually been tolerable, but the last few days were pretty hot.

When it's hot like that you look for any way to cool off.

We tried the swimming pool in our backyard.

But it ended up being too small for 5 people and a dog.

Then we started going to a pool in our city.

I think we spent 4 straight evenings there.

The last night we stayed until 9:30. The kids loved it.

There is always a breeze at this pool, and it's so much better than staying in our hot house.

But, as you know Bronwyn, sometimes even the pools don't cool you off enough.

When that happens, you just have to go buck.

And if that doesn't work you can always just go visit Bronwyn and her buds.
P.S. Bronwyn, Quigs is no longer afraid of the water. This is good and bad. Good because he's not scared. Bad because he's not scared and wants to jump in on his own.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011


I'm sure that most have heard about the horrible flooding in Brasil that happened in the middle of January.

We've been asked by a few people how it affected us.

What you may have seen on the news or read online or in a newspaper happened many miles from us. It happened in the state of Rio de Janeiro. We live in the state of Rio Grande do Sul.

A day or two after they received so much rain up north we had a day where we got pounded with rain here in our city.

In fact, Benay, Garrett, Giovanni and myself were imprisoned by water for two hours. We were at Garrett's soccer school paying for a tournament that he was going to play in. As soon as we got there it started to rain. Pour really.

When it rains quick and hard for an hour or two our city floods. We have a few low areas and it can flood quickly.

We got stuck in one of the low areas. We stayed in our car for hours - hours because we could not get out of a one block area without flooding our car.

After two hours we finally just decided to blast through one of the flooded streets to try to get home. We had to take some alternate routes to get home but we finally made it.

The next day Freitas sent us some pictures from the city during the flooding. He told me water was about 3 inches from entering his hardware store before the rain stopped and the flooding subsided.

Below are a few of the pictures that Freitas sent.

This is the area around where we were trapped.

This is where we were wanting to go. These pictures were taken two blocks from our house.

It was a bad flood but everything was pretty much back to normal within 4-5 hours after the start of the rain. As you can see from the pictures some cars were damaged and I'm sure, some houses/businesses had some water damage issues as well. We didn't hear of anyone losing their life.

We had nothing to complain about. Nothing.

In Rio, it was a different story.

As of last Sunday there were 856 confirmed deaths.

The mudslides were horrible. If you haven't seen any pictures of the destruction then you can click here and see a slideshow of just how bad things were and are there in Rio state. The size of the rocks that rained down on the houses will amaze you. I can't imagine how horrible some of those deaths were to be crushed by those rocks and buried by the mud.

If you want to read more about it in English then click here.

Please pray for those affected.