Sonidos Serranos

Sonidos Serranos: Sounds of the Sierras...
Reflecting some of my family's interests: God's wonderful creation (especially mountains and hills!), music, and language...

Psalm 121:1-2 (NASB)

I will lift up my eyes to the mountains;
From where shall my help come?
My help comes from the LORD,
Who made heaven and earth.

28 January 2009

little memory

The (not so) “Little Memory” is quite a challenge to her Mommy to take up the challenge of memorizing entire passages of Scripture (again).

This is the best clip of Elizabeth reciting the following passage...

Though the fig tree should not blossom
And there be no fruit on the vines,
Though the yield of the olive should fail
And the fields produce no food,
Though the flock should be cut off from the fold
And there be no cattle in the stalls,
Yet I will exult in the LORD,
I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.
The Lord GOD is my strength,
And He has made my feet like hinds feet,
And makes me walk on my high places.
(Habakkuk 3:16-19)

This is the first memorized passage for her; she memorizes short verses at school (such as God is love and God is light), but Im looking forward to her involvement (very soon!) in Frontline Bible Clubs and Childrens Church – because Ill be forced to work harder on Bible memory, too!

p.s. I love some of her (mis)pronunciations!

22 January 2009

little scholar

And maybe little teacher too?

Definitely a little ham! Here she is on January 8 "reading" a book to me that we gave her on January 6 for Día de los Reyes – she had heard it only twice before this! (Can you tell how much she likes the book?!)

19 January 2009

Family Christmas (cont.)

Our celebration with family who were out of town took place on Saturday, January 11. (This collage of the grandkids is especially for PaPa and Grandma!)

And the "Christmas Season" is finally over at our house. It officially ends on the anniversary of our engagement. Christmas lights, however, are still hanging around – and may have to become "winter lights" instead. I love happy little lights on a gray winter day! And the snowmen who have been slumbering all summer and fall in the Christmas trunk will have to make their appearance, too! And maybe, just maybe (IF the weatherman is correct) there'll soon be some real snow for us... We did get some flurries yesterday morning. (Please notice the "pile" of snow on the car...)

Happy 10th Anniversary!

On January 16th, we celebrated the anniversary of our engagement. That evening ten years ago on the campus of Brevard College, we exchanged rings (made of Spanish gold!) that six months later would become our wedding rings – but we wore them on the opposite hand, in keeping with Uruguayan custom. (John Mark did manage to surprise me... I didn't know that he had the rings!)

I'm thankful for the Lord's leading – for all He has taught us and is now teaching us!

And I'm thankful for a wonderful Christian husband who truly is my best friend on earth!

17 January 2009

thankful for – my Grandma

God has been exceedingly good to me. One of His many blessings has been the life testimony of Ruth Anna Fick, my maternal grandmother, who three years ago today graduated to Glory. I was unable to attend her memorial service because my Anna-Ruth Elizabeth was due "any day" at the time, so I jotted the following notes to my uncle to read during the service...

I remember…
– Grandma writing letters to Doll-Doll (my favorite doll since age 7 or so).

– My writing from Uruguay (when I was 7 or 8) to request a specific Christmas gift from her. My Mommy was SO embarrassed, but Grandma was so pleased! Her response was: “That’s what Grandmas are for!”

– Her beautiful Christmas decorations and wonderful Christmas meals at the farm.

– Her “Pudding in a Cloud” dessert.

– The profound impact her sweet, lady-like behavior had on me as a rather backward 13-year old. I remember admiring her and wanting to be like her. I especially noticed that she said “Pardon?” instead of “What?” when she wanted something to be repeated, so I started doing so too!

– The soft, plush elephant she gave me one Christmas when I was a teenager. It’s now in my baby’s room, awaiting her arrival.

– Recognizing when I was very young that Grandma was VERY special to my Mommy. Consequently, even though I grew up so far away from Grandma, she has always been very special to me too.

– Grandma’s traveling from Canada to my wedding in South Carolina six and a half years ago (even though the trip was hard on her) because she recognized without my saying anything how much I needed her after my Mommy’s Home-Going just six weeks prior.

– Being comforted knowing that Grandma was praying for John Mark and me every night.

Most of all, I remember Grandma’s sweet trust in Christ – even through more trials and losses than I have ever personally known anyone else to experience. She has left a wonderful example for us to follow…

15 January 2009

13 January 2009

We miss him…

My eyes keep welling up with tears as I think of and pray for him…

Maybe it’s partly because of Elizabeth’s response… One week ago yesterday when he came over, after telling John Mark about the car accident that claimed the lives of his sister and nephew and left his mother in critical condition, Elizabeth (with the limited understanding of an almost-three-year-old) seemed to understand that he was very, very sad because his Mommy was very, very sick and very, very far away. She went to him immediately as he sat on the couch and half kneeled beside him, placing one little arm on his shoulder and laying her head on his chest, and she stayed there – quietly! She who cannot walk across a room – but has to run to get where she’s going! We didn’t recognize this little girl as the same one we’ve nicknamed “Squirmy Worm” – she “never” sits still on our laps!

Maybe it’s because of the testimony he shared in church on Sunday morning, thanking God for these adverse circumstances… Maybe it’s because he did decide to follow the Lord in obedience and be baptized on Sunday evening… How we rejoiced – even as the tears slipped down our faces – as we witnessed that moment…

Maybe it’s because of the clear testimony of faith in Christ alone for salvation that he shared with the whole church on Sunday evening – and the passage of Scripture he requested be read – right before he was baptized…

Maybe it’s because we're beginning to realize how much we’ve been learning about loving people – as we’ve had the privilege of ministering in our church’s Hispanic outreach…

Maybe it’s because he had to leave so suddenly and unexpectedly… Two weeks ago we would never have imagined all this taking place…

Maybe it’s because I recognize my own weakness – and remember my own struggle when my loving Heavenly Father in infinite wisdom (but very unexpectedly for us) chose to take my mother Home to Him six weeks before my wedding… And I know how long it has taken for God’s truth to work into the soil of my own heart…

Maybe it’s all of the above – and the fact that he is “Tío Alfonso” to Elizabeth… And because we’ve all come to love him…

And it is certainly because of the Lord’s mercy in making our hearts tender and allowing us to learn more about Himself and His love…

Will you join us in praying for our brother (as the Apostle Paul prayed for the Ephesian believers)?

“…that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.”

08 January 2009

Twelve Days of Christmas at our House

Although The Twelve Days of Christmas is a popular carol in the USA, few seem to realize that those "twelve days" actually span the period between December 25 and January 6, which is celebrated as Día de los Reyes Magos (Day of the Magi Kings) as is the custom in Uruguay where I grew up...

It occurred to me on Sunday, December 27, that we'd been doing something Christmas-related every day, starting on December 24 when we went to the Carol Sing at our church. I therefore decided to try to do something Christmas-y (albeit simple) every day until January 6.

Here's how it went...

December 24, Christmas Eve
We weren't sure how we'd be feeling after our bout with the stomach flu earlier in the week... Thankfully we were able to attend the (now annual) Carol Sing at church – everybody is invited to bring instruments! John Mark took his accordion this year. We also had harmonicas and bells, in addition to the more traditional instruments like organ, piano, flutes, and trumpets.

December 25, Christmas Day
Aunt Shannah and Aunt Ruth and Miss Amy joined us for the day and helped to prepare a delicious meal of ham – with three accompanying potato dishes! – and other trimmings. We also helped los Abu in Uruguay install Skype on their laptop! All of the family present in Greenville (both sides) got to talk to and see all family members abroad! Technology can be such a blessing! Another highlight for me was John Mark's reading the Christmas accounts from a Harmony of the Gospels, a great way to read the whole Story – including the Deity of Christ (John 1) – in the words of Scripture!

December 26
At the last minute, we decided to take a tour of the Roper Mountain Holiday Lights. Tío Alfonso, who had just stopped by, joined us along with Aunt Shannah and Aunt Ruth.

December 27
We visited the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC. (We're still "cashing in" on the great deal we got last January during the tíos' and primas' visit!) The weather was beautiful – in the 60s with a pleasant breeze – and the air was (uncharacteristically) clear! Of course, the Christmas lights and decorations were spectacular – but the sunset was unrivaled by all of the above!

December 28, Sunday
John Mark preached for the morning Spanish service, and I led the children's Sunday School class in a study of some of the names and titles of Jesus found in the Christmas accounts.

December 29
I shopped some Christmas clearance sales at CVS and Walgreens!

December 30
I shopped even more Christmas clearance sales – and finally found a tree at Target! An added bonus was the Advent Calendar (no UPC or price tag) that they gave me for $2.99!

December 31, New Year's Eve
We were supposed to be on our way to Great-Gramma's, but car ailments changed our plans. Aunt Shannah and newly-dubbed "Aunt" Amy joined Elizabeth and me at Chick-Fil-A for a late morning breakfast (using coupons that would otherwise have expired), and then Elizabeth and I shopped the Wal*Mart Christmas clearance sales – finding her gift from PaPa and Grandma as well as bargains for celebrations yet to come. On our way to church that evening, we took pictures with Christmas lights. It was cold and windy, so we didn't stay out very long!

January 1, New Year's Day
Tío Esteban, Tía Esther, Jonatán, and Marcos joined us for a combined Christmas/New Year's celebration. Our meal was a combination of Southern-style with a taste of Uruguayan cuisine: turnip greens and black-eyed peas with roast leg of lamb (Hurrah for Publix!) and scalloped potatoes, and then Friendship Bread and panettone for dessert!

January 2
I found "Pumpkin Spice" Jell-O pudding on clearance at Publix (2 large boxes [3.4 oz] for $1.00 – expiration date: June 2010), so I stocked up for next year's Friendship Bread baking marathon! And Elizabeth "helped" me bake Christmas cookies!

January 3
Elizabeth and I decorated Christmas cookies! I'm pleased with the recipe from the Publix FamilyStyle (Winter 2008) magazine I used this year. I think I can say that I finally found THE recipe that turns out "just like mom's" – Christmas cookies decorated with colored sugar bring back very special memories...

January 4
I researched ideas for our Advent Calendar (for next year). At this point, I'm planning to include a combination of verses from Matthew, Luke, John, and Isaiah – written on cardstock and tied with ribbon (like little scrolls) – interspersed with miniature nativity ornaments (which I'm hoping to find on clearance and/or make)...

January 5
Wrapped presents for our January 6 celebration...

January 6
We opened our gifts for Día de los Reyes. Spreading out the opening of gifts has made this an exceptionally exciting year – especially for Elizabeth!

And we still have one more Christmas celebration with family who were out of town during the holidays...

02 January 2009

Happy New Year!

At church yesterday evening, our attention was directed to the first five verses of Psalm 103 – thoughts for reviewing a year that is ending and for looking forward to a year that is beginning...

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...