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

Wednesday, May 21, 2014


I've been thinking a lot lately about family.

If you are a follower of this blog then you know that God blessed me with an airline ticket to go to B and Stephen's recent graduation from college. God continues to bless our family with everything we need and we thank Him for those blessings.

On my recent trip I spent about a week in Texas. B and Stephen graciously opened their home to me and let me stay with them in the middle of all the graduation/moving chaos. We had fun.

Not only did I get to hang out with our 3 college kids but their friends as well.

I also got to be with my mom on Mother's Day for the first time in 12 years. She and my dad made the 11 hour drive to Texas to be a part of the graduation.
While we were together Stephen's parents and my parents blessed the rest of us with meals.

The last night we spent in Abilene my parents blessed me and B with a place to stay as Stephen had left the city to move all their furniture/stuff from their apartment to his parents city 4 hours away.

Although my time there was brief I soaked up being around my blood family. Family that we don't get to be around much anymore. I was blessed and it made me look forward to eternity together.

Towards the end of my visit our plans changed a bit. I changed my flight out from Dallas instead of Abilene. It turned out to be a blessing because I got to drive the first 3+ hours of the 11 hour trip for my parents and allowed my dad to rest a bit as his back was bothering him.

My plans changed on a Saturday night and on Sunday morning we were on our way to Dallas.  The problem was we, B and me, didn't have a place to stay for the next couple of nights. I wasn't worried. Why? Because we have family in Dallas. Not the blood kind but the Jesus family kind.

Before we left Abilene, B and I went to visit Daryl and Rebekah. They are friends of ours from when we lived there 13 years ago. I can't tell you how much they mean to us. They always have an open house for us. I was going to stay the last couple of nights with them in Abilene but when my plans changed I called Daryl to explain. He understood completely. They are easy friends. By that I mean they are mature and understanding and loving and funny. We went by their house to see them briefly before we left.  We laughed, hugged and goofed on each other.  Just the way we like it. This picture is a perfect representation of who they are.
As we left Abilene I called my old college roommate, Andy, to see if we could crash at their place in Dallas. When we visit the states every 2 years Andy and his family allow us to make their home our home. They are so good to us and make us feel so welcomed. I wasn't able to reach him. It was Mother's Day and they were, I found out later, busy with those activities and away from their phone.

As B and I treated my mom to an awesome Mother's Day lunch at Wendy's (I know, I know) we talked about who to call next. We were an hour outside of Dallas with no place to stay and big bags in the trunk of my parents car. They wouldn't say it but we knew they were in a rush and needed to get back to their home which was another 7+ hours away.

We were debating between calling our ex-teammates John/Sam or Sascha/Jennifer. We asked ourselves who we would be less of a burden to. We knew both would graciously open their homes. Our dilemma on who to call was because Sascha and Jennifer have two small girls at home and Jennifer is pregnant with twins. The day before I arrived in the states we received an email from John asking for prayers for Sam's mom who was just placed into hospice care. So you can see why we were thinking about not wanting to burden either of these families in their already stressful times.

I decided to call the Terry family. I got Sascha first. He was driving and quickly handed the phone to Jennifer. I began to explain what our situation was and before I could finish she said, "You are staying with us right?" There was joy in her response and it touched my heart. We were at their place an hour later. In an hour we were unloading our stuff in their house.

They shared beds, food and even their car with us for the two days we were together.  Even though they had to go to their jobs and we didn't get to spend tons of time together we were greatly blessed by them. When I left to go to the airport Jennifer told me that their house is always open. She and Sascha thanked us for staying with them. We arrived last minute at their house and they thanked us for doing so. Who does that? God's family does that. Sascha took me to the airport where we laughed and goofed around some more.

I got home last week. A couple of days ago I called John to see how they were doing and how Sam's mom is doing. I then told him we were in Dallas and the whole process of why we didn't reach out to them. He understood but let me know that nothing would keep them from wanting us to stay with them. In his subtle way he let me know he was disappointed in me for not calling. In the middle of their family stuff they wanted us to be with them. His response touched my heart.

Why do I share all this? Is our family so awesome that everyone wants us to stay with them? Uh no. If you know us then you know the answer is no.

I share all this because we are part of Jesus' family with the Zellers, the Thomas', the Jewells, the Terrys, Justin, Jennifer, Will, the Cases and, thankfully, our blood family.  We all know people that have blood family members that don't follow Jesus. Thankfully our blood family is our Jesus family too.

All of the people I mentioned would do anything for our family. I've known that for a long time but somehow over the last few days God has really impressed on my heart what these guys mean to me/us.

Blood family can be so good but there is nothing better than God's family. It's eternal, it starts here and together we are bringing His kingdom to earth.

Here we are with the Jewells and the Terrys a couple of months ago. Family.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

For My Girlfriend

You asked for graduation pics of your kids. Here you go.

Nursing specific ceremony on Thursday night:
 Friday Graduation practice:
 Graduation Saturday:
Wish you could have been with us but I'm thankful God provided a way for one of us to be here. It's been an amazing week with the punks.

Videos to come when I get home.

Can't wait to see you soon!!!

Friday, May 09, 2014

Graduation Week-The Surprise

God blessed us with a last minute plane ticket to surprise B and Stephen for their graduation.  I called Ans two weeks ago to let her know I was coming. I told her I wanted to keep it a surprise. We hatched a plan on how and when to surprise them. She only let a handful of people know that I would be coming.

Will picked me up at the airport Wednesday afternoon and we went to meet Ans, Jennifer and Justin, who were in on it as well, and B and Stephen at a restaurant. We got there and Will went in while I waited a couple of minutes to come in alone.

Ans did a great job of doing a fake interview to keep B and Stephen focused on her instead of the door. She did great. It was pretty awesome.

So, family back in Brasil, thanks for letting me come and do this (especially you girlfriend who is a single parent for a few days during the busiest cookie sales time of the year). It has been an amazing blessing for me. Wish you guys could be here with me! I love you and I'll see you in a few days.

Here is your video of when I arrived.

Monday, May 05, 2014

Graduation Week

On Saturday our oldest child and her husband will graduate from college. We love them and are very proud of them.

We wish we could be there with them but it just isn't possible.

So we will have to congratulate them from 6,000 miles away.

So Congratulation Dorks!!!

They are perfect for each other don't you think?

(Credit for this blog post is shared with Asia Todd. Nice job Asia! You nailed them.)

Saturday, May 03, 2014


Did I mention it was a little bit windy when we visited the rehab farm on Thursday?

I know it's hard to see, because the wind was shaking the camera so badly, but in the middle of the video you can see Anderson, Lucas and Brinquedo (the dog) playing in a hole as they try to get some protection because the wind was throwing dirt and stinging legs.

The rehab farm sits on a hill with a big open field in front of it so there is no protection from the wind and days like this aren't uncommon.

It wasn't that bad on Thursday because it was still a little warm but imagine what a wind like that will feel like in a couple of months when the temperature gets in the 30's and 40's. It isn't fun for the men who live there.

Friday, May 02, 2014

Labor Day

Yesterday was Brasilian Labor Day.

Most everything was closed in the city. That included schools. So our family, minus Carys who had to stay home and study for tests and plus Lucas, Anderson's best friend, decided to spend the day at the rehab farm with our brothers. On the way we picked up Anderson, who left the farm in March, and his girlfriend Cris.

We all had a blessed day.