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.

31 December 2016

Christmas Memories...

The Christmas Season brings mixed emotions: Missing loved ones... Missing what were “usual” traditions... (Being more thankful than ever for early Christmas celebrations enjoyed this year...) Enjoying the joys of the moment... Always working to remember the One we celebrate, thankful that HE came to “save His people from their sins” (Mt. 1).

On Christmas Eve, we celebrated in the afternoon and evening with Daniel and Viviana and their girls.

The cousins enjoyed building the Christmas Tree Cookie once again!
We may just be able to keep this tradition from year to year... J

There didn’t seem to be as many flowers (or as many varieties) in bloom in the back yard this year...

But thankfully (and to our surprise), the double-bloom poinsettias are actually recovering!

In contrast to the pace of life the previous two weeks, Christmas Day was a quiet affair.

In JM’s words:

In Montevideo the second-most-chaotic night of the year with its music and fireworks yields to the second-quietest day of the year, a change augmented this year by the arrival of a cool rain early this morning.

We managed to record one verse of a carol that became DJ’s favorite in Music Class at BJA. But we got only so far as the first verse in Spanish. And the almost two-minute video clip includes glimpses of “real life” while recording… J

A Christmas carol from Elizabeth is still pending...

On Christmas Evening we were all able to connect via Skype – with both sides of the extended family. (Technology can be such a blessing!)

So thankful that Daniel captured this screen shot!

30 December 2016

Programs & Celebrations!

The pace of life hasn’t slowed at all since we landed in MVD (three weeks ago): hosting friends, returning to school, running errands for end-of-the-year programs and rehearsals, attending birthday parties and Christmas Programs, and – for an added challenge – having two members of our family fighting summer colds!

As I try to catch up with my own life, I feel like we went from running in MVD in mid-October, to running in the USA for seven weeks, to running even faster once we landed back here!

E and DJ were looking forward to returning to their respective schools. (And I was thankful to see them so content!)

We have so much to be thankful for!

DJ’s End-of-the-Year Program & K-5 Graduation (12/17)

The boy who would not talk at school for the entirety of K-4 and halfway through K-5 had a major speaking role in his graduation program. In spite of the fact that he was running a low-grade fever that morning, he insisted on attending and doing his part!

Christmas Programs (12/18)

In the morning, we attended the Christmas Program at Templo Calvario (almost next-door). And in the afternoon, Daniel and Viviana once again put together a simple Christmas Program, alternating Christmas songs with corresponding Scripture passages and inspiring stories, involving the congregation.

Baseball Party (12/19)

We celebrated on DJ’s actual birthday, while at HHI on the SC Coast...

...and again in Greenville at “Toys R Us” – with Geoffrey the Giraffe!

But he so much enjoyed learning a bit about baseball – and watching his Daddy’s favorite team win the World Series! – while in the USA that he kept asking for a baseball-themed party. So we threw one together on what may have been the only “free” evening on the calendar.

E’s End-of-the-Year Program (12/20)

We got a huge surprise on Tuesday, December 13, when E announced to us that she’d been chosen as an “Honor Guard” for the National Flag! This academic honor has no exact equivalent in the USA but would be similar to being “salutatorian” – except on the upper elementary level.

We’re pretty proud of her!

She’d actually been aiming for this achievement since early March (when the school year begins here) and had worked hard academically all year, but we’d figured that her “absences” (due to our trip) would make it impossible. In the end, however, her academic performance (in equivalent areas) at BJA – combined with her standardized test scores (the Iowa Assessments required to enroll at BJA) – more than made up for any “absences” from school here.

She did very well in that one month of study in what was a totally new environment for her, and it reflected well on the academic preparation she has received from the school here, especially in this past year with Nibia, the fifth-grade teacher.

Our Shepherd has proven Himself exceedingly kind in the challenges of these past two academic years – and we praise Him for proving Himself faithful, over and over again, in giving us joy in lessons learned along the way. HE is good to remind us that we desperately need His grace. And we are thankful beyond words that He stands ready to freely give us all things – including the ability to rejoice in trials – of all sorts.

He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?

28 December 2016

Reading Progress!

We knew that our Little Man had made significant strides in reading in the past two months or so, but we were still amazed when, at the table last night, he read the text on the juice bottle with admirable fluency!

I had to grab my camera and record the second and third tries.

He stumbled over “antioxidants” and “quality” (applying a rule for reading qu in Spanish the first time around). On the retry, he corrected “quality” and actually handled “unique” but did not read “100%” correctly (in contrast to what he had done on his own originally).

He’s learning! J

And please note that he skipped a line – on purpose – on the last try! Just to be funny!

09 December 2016

¡Llegando a MVD!

We’re home!

Our flight path was similar to the one taken almost a year and a half ago. It was fun to pick out the favorite landmarks again!

But this time E was the photographer from the airplane window!

08 December 2016

“Merry Christmas!”

We enjoyed several more early Christmas Celebrations when we returned to the Carolinas.

Cousins on both sides were involved in BJA Choir Concerts.

[photo credit: Tía Esther]

The Christmas Lighting and Carol Sing Event at BJU was a highlight once again. The last time we were able to attend was 2011 (according to blog records).

E and DJ were excited to see yet another cousin perform in his grade’s Christmas Program.

[photo credit: BJA]

And we celebrated with PaPa and Grandma and the extended family with the customary carol sing and reading of the Christmas Story.

[Updated on 12/29 to add a minute of the family singing O Holy Night!]


The Cousins, getting ready to sing Christmas Carols...
(Uncle Matt made everyone look – and laugh!)

“Merry Christmas, one and all!”

30 November 2016

“Thankful Lists!”

This year E and DJ made “Thankful Lists” in group settings. E made yet another variation on a “Thankful Turkey” at a Ladies’ Tea that she and I attended in mid-November, and DJ made a “Thankful Pumpkin” right before Thanksgiving Break in his first grade class at BJA.

I love both ideas!

E’s list (written on the turkey feathers) includes:
My Bible
My family
food  (This only applies to yummy food.)

DJ’s list (written on the pumpkin strips) says:
I am thankful for
My country
that I am a michinery [missionary]
My toys

I’m so thankful for all that these lists represent!

And it’s always fun to look back at lists from previous years!

[hand-print “Thankful Turkey” projects, varied from the previous year and done at home]

[hand-print “Thankful Turkey” projects, done at home]

[a spontaneous list, compiled at the dining room table]

[hand-prints “Thankful Turkey” project, done in Children’s Church]

[a spontaneous list, compiled in the car while driving home]

So much to be thankful for!

29 November 2016

“¡Feliz Navidad!”

We enjoyed an early Christmas Celebration with los Abu at their home in Jacksonville.

El Abu got a quick glimpse of the adventures of Encyclopedia Brown!

And the sun was in everyone’s eyes – and tears were in our hearts and in at least some eyes – as we prepared to pull out of JAX yesterday.

I’m especially thankful for the treasured (albeit brief) visit...

24 November 2016

Thanksgiving Day!

Though I didn’t get to take pictures of the whole family, these three are favorites of (most of) the cousins!

And this one could have been taken about 35 years ago:

“Little Matthew” and “Little JM” figuring out a project!

23 November 2016

(More) Tidbits from our Travels

A unique opportunity and month-long adventure began for E and DJ on the morning of November 9.

We’re humbled by the generosity of God’s people. And as a teacher (and as a mom!), I’m especially thankful for what the experience will add to our family’s education!

~ ~ ~

We’re enjoying “everyday life” with PaPa & Grandma:

Watching Grandma cut the Lemonade Pie!

Making faces with PaPa!

DJ got to be a “Native American” for Thanksgiving Day!

And both got haircuts at Jelly Beans – with Miss Teresa!

SO much to be thankful for!

22 November 2016

Autumn Leaves!

We’ve been enjoying the fall colors here in the Upstate since we arrived about a month ago – but they’ve been especially beautiful this week!

What variety of vibrant color!

SO thankful!

16 November 2016

¡Maestro! ♥

Oscar Washington Tabárez igualó ayer al alemán Sepp Herberger como el DT con más partidos dirigidos (167) a una misma selección nacional en la historia.

14 November 2016


About an hour ago, we stepped outside to snap a few pictures of tonight's SuperMoon. The haze from the forest fires (to the north of us) influenced the lighting, making for some cool effects.


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.