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.

26 December 2015

Christmas Memories...

These Christmas holidays were a bit more nostalgic than most for extended family this year. Besides missing our loved ones, we in Uruguay missed our traditional gathering at “The Ranch” (my Dad and Pat’s place) in Totoral.

So we had to start some new traditions:

We grilled out in our own back yard!

And we had to keep some old traditions, too:

I got pictures of the flowers in season – in our back yard this time!

We celebrated Abu Dosila’s birthday a week early.

The volcano candle was more impressive than ever! J

We communicated with family far-away by prerecorded video clips or Google Hangouts or Skype.

And the cousins assembled the Christmas Tree Cookie! (Thank-you, Grandma, for once again baking and sending the star cookies and frostings! Thank-you, Uncle Will and Aunt Carol, for bringing them when you visited!)

The tree turned out a bit topsy-turvy!

We’re more thankful than ever for memories made this year – as well as those made in the past couple of years since our arrival in Uruguay.

Most of all, we’re thankful for opportunity to pause and be especially thankful for the coming of our Saviour:
“It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners...” 
 (I Timothy 1:15)

25 December 2015

Merry Christmas!

Singing carols together as extended family has been an important part of our celebration over the years; we’ve treasured that. Since we’re so far away from most of you (family) this year, we decided to try to participate by contributing several “special numbers” via video clips.

This evening, E recorded ¿Qué Niño Es Este? (She sang it yesterday at the nursing home, half a block from where we live.)

E & DJ recorded Away in a Manger together. (DJ especially mentioned “el Abu, who’s been sick” when we were recording.)

[Click on the song titles to go to the videos.]

It’s fun to look back at their “special solos” from two years ago, too:

We love you all ~ and we miss you especially today!

The Christmas Moon!

The (almost) full moon as seen from Montevideo, Uruguay...

[Photo taken at 11:59 p.m. on December 24]

24 December 2015

The Christmas Story!

Merry Christmas Eve!

This morning my brother Daniel shared a video (filmed by our uncle) of our Grandma reading the Christmas Story (from Luke 2). We’re thankful for the Christmases we shared with her at the farmhouse in Tillsonburg, Ontario. And I’m especially thankful for the memories of this Christmas (in 2004) at her little apartment.

Today, she and Jona are both rejoicing in the presence of our Saviour.

[Click on the picture to go to the video.]

As my brother Daniel said:
“What a way to hear the Christmas Story read!” 

22 December 2015

Special Programs

The school year has ended! (The Christmas and New Year’s holidays occur during summer vacation.) This past Friday evening we attended the end-of-the-year program at E’s school.

DJ assumed the theme was going to be Peter Pan  like his was!

But it was “only” the sixth grade graduation. J

We’re thankful for how well our girl has done in school!

This past Sunday morning, both E and DJ participated in special Christmas music with new friends at Templo Calvario, almost next-door to our house.

This past Sunday evening, Daniel and Viviana put together a simple, but very nice, Christmas program, alternating Christmas songs with corresponding Scripture passages, involving the congregation.

The ladies and girls sang “¡Cristianos, hoy cantad a Dios!” DJ also surprised us by singing his current favorite as a solo.

Afterward, we all shared a time of fellowship and snacks, including budín, a Christmas cake made with dried fruit and – this time – with ñandú [rhea, “ostrich”] egg!

[DJ insisted I take a picture!]

We’re very thankful for what our Loving Shepherd continues to do in our little group on the outskirts of Pando.

And just this afternoon, we were able to get a good video clip of DJ singing his villancico.

¡Pastorcitos, id! ¡Pastorcitos, ya!

[And stay tuned for a carol sung by our E.]

19 December 2015


It’s summer here. (Technically, it’s late spring!) Either way, the heat index doesn’t keep us from decorating with snow for Christmas! JM and I were discussing that fact last night; we suspect it has more to do with Spanish and Italian heritage than with any “outside” influence (from television, internet, and so on).

The five main malls (“shoppings” as they’re called) here in the greater Montevideo area go all out with Christmas decorations.

This year at one on the coast, a carousel was set up for the kids to ride – for free!

They loved it!

Praying for “Missionary” Moms

A Hidden Anger Within...” Amy’s blog post is refreshingly transparent and can help us all learn to pray meaningfully for partners in ministry all across the globe.

Even with (native) fluency in the target language (and culture), this same dynamic exists. Language acquisition aside, the pressures accompanying the immersion of the entire family in the target culture coupled with the (at least perceived if not real) challenges of what friends, family, and ministry partners across the ocean (or to the north) think or communicate are very real.

Add to that the “extra” time required to move through life on a day-by-day basis, where mundane tasks seem to take much more effort and require being done much more often, and you get a general glimpse into the daily challenges of cross-cultural living and ministry.

We moms of Little People with these added cultural responsibilities, so far from home and family, especially need humbly informed and compassionate intercession on our behalf.

16 December 2015

Boy, Indian, and Pirate!

It’s time for end-of-the-year programs. We took a trip to “Never Land” with DJ and his friends last night...

Because he enjoyed the rehearsals so much, he ended up participating as a Native American... And...

And also as one of Wendy’s (three!) brothers...

He can fly – with JM’s help, that is!

But mostly, he enjoyed playing the part of a pirate!

(And I got to experiment with YouTube’s Video Editor for the first time!)

We’re thankful for the lessons learned since mid-March! We rejoice to say that our Loving Shepherd has carried us faithfully through HIS plan for this academic year!

SO much to be thankful for...

12 December 2015


Recent visitors sent us this gem:

Six years ago I posted a similar video clip.

SO thankful!

11 December 2015

Praying for Marissa

Please join us in praying for Marissa; you will be blessed by her story (and her family’s story), posted at “Tracing His Goodness” (her mother’s blog). She writes beautifully!

Excerpts from a recent post were a blessing to me this morning:

“...When the hard times come, we need a heart of truth. We need a heart that has sought God, a heart that has found Him. We need a heart that knows Him. It won’t be enough that we can say the right words. It won’t matter what we look like or where we are–what will matter is what we believe.

What we feed our soul–it matters. What our heart is holding on to–it makes a difference. What fills up the nooks and crannies of our mind–it changes us.

What we love makes us who we are...”

08 December 2015

My Reading Challenge for 2016

For several years now I’ve looked longingly at reports that friends post on books they’re currently reading or recently finished reading. And I’ve wondered: How do they manage to read so much – and especially on such a variety of topics?!

I, too, love to read; however, I currently find myself challenged in several specific ways. But I keep thinking about needing to read more – like I used to do! So I recently had this (liberating!) thought: Why not create a Reading List for 2016 (for myself) that takes my specific challenges (and current interests) into account?!

Not too long ago, I learned (from a friend who presents workshops on developing better reading skills) that what I’d considered a weakness – i.e. starting several books at once – is actually considered a strength! So I plan to turn one of my main challenges (that of actually finishing books I start reading!) into a tool to help me achieve my reading goals for this next year...

Two days ago I sat down and started compiling a list; I ended up with 13 books (two of them in both English and Spanish) plus parts of two book sets that I plan to read (or finish reading!) during 2016. The list is comprised of four categories that address my current challenges and interests.

These book titles also highlight four main emphases for me right now: spiritual challenge; family relationships; general education; and Uruguay, specifically our cultural, historical, and political contexts, in an effort to develop even greater cross-cultural understanding, while also developing greater appreciation for the phenomenon of TCKs (third-culture kids).

Most of my list is available in Kindle format.

Books to Read:

No Hope but God: Featuring The Christian Checklist
(“Claude L. Fly’s own story of his 8-month ordeal as a political prisoner”)

Books to Finish Reading!

I invested in the audio book, too, and have been listening (and re-listening!) as I follow along with the print version (studying and questioning!) on the public bus to and from church on (most) Sunday afternoons (i.e. those trips when JM and I aren’t “catching up” while the kids listen to Patch the Pirate via earbuds). J

A Grief Observed (C.S. Lewis)

Eternity in their Hearts (Don Richardson)

He’s undoubtedly one of our most famous (albeit controversial) actors on the world stage. (In June, I wrote an extended post on why we love him!)

Books to RE-Read:

Peace Child (Don Richardson)

I’ve loved these ever since I first read (and re-read) them in third grade! (I read them that second time in chronological order!) Although I caught snatches here and there as JM read them all with E (and DJ) this year, I’ve been moved more powerfully than ever as I’ve started re-reading them as an adult. (I’d also like to start reading these in Spanish.)

Books to Read with The Little People:

(Joanne Brubaker, illustrator)

My Book House (Olive Beaupre Miller, editor)
I dearly loved this 12-volume set as a child and young teen! And while I do not plan to read the entire set during this next year, I do hope to read the age-appropriate volumes for E and DJ.

I’ll undoubtedly be reading many more books with The Little People...

And I hope to post book reviews as I go along. And I’ll undoubtedly add to this list, but penning these goals gives me a realistic (attainable) plan, especially for finishing books that I’ve already started. And I hope that this post can be encouraging to other (would-be) readers, specifically in 2016!

05 December 2015

Compartiendo ¡y hablando español!

Ya se termina el año escolar; el jueves pasado en el Jardín se le entregó a DJ la carpeta de expresión plástica y a nosotros, sus cuadernos y evaluaciones.

Aún queda mucho para aprender, pero estamos sumamente agradecidos por lo transcurrido – y aprendido – desde marzo.

En el siguiente video, capturamos algunos de los momentos en que DJ compartía la Carpeta del Jardín con su prima, Florencia:

¡Me encanta como le explica sus obras de arte en español! 

04 December 2015

The Works and Word of God!

The heavens are telling of the glory of God;
And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands...

Day to day pours forth speech...

And night to night reveals knowledge...

The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul;
The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple...

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in your sight,
O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

02 December 2015

End-of-the-Year Activities!

We’re getting ready for all the end-of-the-year (school) activities...

E recently took part in several vignettes depicting some of the miracles of Jesus in the Gospels.

We think she did a good job!

And look who showed up at our house this afternoon?!

He’s one of Cap’n Hook’s Pirate Band!