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.

17 June 2017

TCKs! ♥

Our sweet boy seems to understand (in his own terms) his TCK (“third culture kid”) identity – and mine! He recently confided, tenderly holding my hand, that he loves going to the USA (in the context, of course, of life at Grandmas house!) but “I like to belong here in Uruguay with you, too!”

12 June 2017

Thoughts on change...

Four years ago today we landed in Montevideo, exhausted but extremely happy to be here – finally – after many months of hoping and planning and preparing. We had no way of knowing on that clear and cool late autumn morning, how much life would change in those next weeks (with news of the break-in at our house in SC, where packed boxes were waiting to be shipped) or in the next months and years (with ups and downs in ministries we planned to be involved in and others that we had not planned on but that our Loving Shepherd had ordained for us).

We immediately started immigration paperwork for the family – and very quickly discovered that shipping plans were not what we had been led to believe they would be. Then, because we had to return to SC (five weeks after our arrival) in order to sort through and sell or donate most of what we’d been planning to ship, our anniversary date of arrival in Uruguay changed to September 2, 2013.

And all of that was only the beginning of our roller coaster ride... Change – more often than not unexpected – very quickly began to touch every area of our life: family, schooling, living quarters, church, work, friendships...

As you pray, please remember our Little People especially!

These two have certainly grown and changed since late 2013!

Our Loving Shepherd is undoubtedly at work: not only guiding what we thought we came to do but also – more importantly – molding us. And that molding often takes forms we were not planning on and at times would prefer not to choose! But we are HIS work, and HE remains faithful. Looking back, we can be thankful:
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 [including the ability to rejoice in unexpected change]?
(Romans 8)
And I again find myself returning to thoughts I’ve posted before.
Periods of night-time wakefulness can be profitable times to think...and pray...and recognize that God is lovingly at work in our lives. In the midst of my foggy, sleep-deprived state, He gently reminds me of great truths He has used to comfort me in the past: None of these circumstances come as a surprise to Him; as my loving and all-wise Father, He has ordained them!
These difficulties are part of the “all things” He is causing to work together for our good. After all, we have been called according to His purpose, and He has determined the boundaries of that purpose: Those who know Christ personally as Savior from sin and its eternal penalty can rejoice that God will conform us to the image of Christ, the only perfect Person who has ever lived on this planet! The ultimate result will be that HE, the Son, will be glorified; He will be the pre-eminent one among many who have been made like Him – they are called brethren! (cf. Romans 8)
This conformity to Christ’s image comes about through the “all things” – including sleepless nights, fussy children, runny noses, and infinitely more serious situations that try us to the depths of our beings as parents... God has predetermined this perfecting; it is His purpose – it will happen! He loves us that much!
As I renew my mind with these truths, the Author comforts me; He gives me hope in the depths of the night when I am tempted by despairing thoughts... So... Don’t feel sorry for us as you read this. If you know God, He is also using “all things” in your life to conform you to the image of His Son! “All things” in your life probably look quite different from “all things” in mine, but God is just as certainly at work in your life if you are His child. He loves you!

10 June 2017


Sometimes our adopted kids [aka: students] feel especially generous...


In this case, three of them brought us a huge plate of hot grilled ribs and sausage to enjoy late last night! J

09 June 2017

Gingerbread & Donut Day!

I’m thankful for good “check-ups” for both E and DJ this afternoon. With the exception of a “check-up” for DJ in SC last November (when we realized he had to have a polio booster not required here), neither had been to the doctor since mid-April of last year – a fact which did not go unnoticed by their doctor today! (We battle occasional “colds” or 24-hour fevers, like “everybody” does.) Good health is not to be taken for granted, and we are humbled and grateful...

DJ was especially looking forward to today’s visit. He was taking a gift to his doctor: a play doctor set we’d picked up at Toys R Us bargain bins in November of last year, inspired by her sharing her play set with him on his first visit to her office in early 2014. In follow-up visits (the next two years) he’d noticed that she did not have that set anymore...

The doctor couldn’t get over the fact that DJ had remembered her during his travels late last year! She expressed her appreciation profusely – and we had a wonderful visit and check-up. Our Little Man has come a long way since 2014 and most of 2015 when he refused to speak at school...

We celebrated with Gingerbread Men – from the hospital cafeteria!

They’re imitating the expressions on their cookies… J

And since we found out this afternoon that we’d missed “National Donut Day” by a week (according to the Highlights wall calendar), we had to make up for that by trying out “donuts” from a local supermarket.

They were pretty good!

(As I post this, I do see the paradox between rare doctor’s visits and gingerbread & donuts! That said, the rarity of the latter in our house may help to explain the reality of the former...) J

05 June 2017

We ♥ MVD!

Aunque crecí en el interior del país, también disfruto la vida en Montevideo.

Salida del sol, por una callecita capitalina...
#MVD  #sunrise  #BeautyEveryDay

Acabo de enterarme que, mientras yo sacaba esta foto, mi sobrina también sacaba una – a la misma hora – pero en el Obelisco.

¡Me encanta que hayamos pensado igual!

Photo credit: Florencia

04 June 2017

¡Familia FEBU! ♥

This past week we enjoyed organizing and hosting two fellowship opportunities with our FEBU Family.

Mini Surprise Baby Shower on Tuesday!

Last-Minute Pizza Party on Friday!

And I’m often blessed (and always challenged!) beyond words by random, spontaneous moments (as I chop vegetables for soup or make pasta sauce) when students come early in the afternoons and lean on the doorposts of the kitchen entryway and begin to share their burdens, questions, doubts...

Those are humbling moments; I often see my own heart and struggles in theirs. And those moments – more than most – make cramped living quarters, shared kitchen space, or the dribbling shower (due to “pressure” equal only to the pull of gravity) worth the investment they represent.

But such “living space challenges” also pale as I remember the words of my Loving Shepherd:
“The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head...” (Matthew 8:18-20)
You call me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them...” (John 13)
And we rejoice in these moments while they are ours... 

28 May 2017

Iglesia Bíblica Maranatha

¡Gracias a Dios (y a pesar de la lluvia y el frío) pasamos relindo hoy!

Sigamos orando que Dios obre por medio de su Palabra compartida...


¡El comité organizador! (¡Con dos más infiltrados!)

27 May 2017

Remembering... Celebrating Life...

Today is cold and rainy and gray – and rather sad... I’m choosing to celebrate life...

Making guava jam, remembering my Mommy, who taught me far more than canning (and who’d be celebrating her 50th wedding anniversary today).

Also remembering my Grampa and Gramma in-love, who were also proficient at canning many home-grown goods (and who would’ve been celebrating a wedding anniversary yesterday).

And all the seals (on the “recycled” jam jars) resealed! SO thankful!

24 May 2017

Art & Lit!

I love the intensity with which both Little People “get into” books!

Note how Esun catcher shows up in both pics!

DJ loves to “See Inside” “How Things Work!

He’s been working on art projects of various sorts:

This one was inspired by several of E’s art projects.

But actual production was exhausting!

This “card” was crafted with extra love for El Abu:

Note the autumn leaves theme and
the hidden “GET WELL SOON!!!!”
(in the banner at the bottom).

Our favorite sweetgum is especially inspiring in autumn!

And I love all the detail in this drawing!

Wild weather, huge waves, sea creatures, anchors...

23 May 2017

Late Autumn!

We’re experiencing the first few days of truly cold weather for 2017.

I love the late autumn weather – and the beauty of fall leaves and flowers! The emblematic bright yellow leaves are almost gone now, but the last of the muted yellows and browns of the ubiquitous sycamores are still clinging to trees that line many of our avenues here in Montevideo.

Throughout the day, as we come and go, we enjoy the views from both extremes of the long hall that divides the downstairs of this house almost exactly in half.

Poinsettias & bougainvillea!

The poinsettias, greatly affected during last winter’s wind storms, are recovering nicely!

We’ve now harvested all but the last dozen or so from the guava tree in the back yard, bringing this year’s crop to over 400! I’ve quartered and then frozen most of the fruit (for use in smoothies throughout the year) but may also try canning some jam (like we did two years ago).

About three dozen comprised yesterday’s harvest!

17 May 2017

“¡Felices Cumples!”

Esta noche, durante la pausa entre horas de clase, celebramos a todos los que cumplimos o vamos a cumplir en abril y mayo.

¡Gracias, chichos, por pausar para festejar la vida conmigo!

Les queremos muchísimo y les deseamos las más ricas bendiciones de parte de nuestro Dios.

15 May 2017

“Mother’s Day!”

“Mother’s Day!” is one of mixed emotions for meemotions that (among other things) make me thankful for the blessings that are mine today...

At school on Friday, I especially loved the smiles I got when E and DJ found me in the crowd!

DJ recited a poem from memory with his class – quite a bit more bravely than he did last year! E played the part of a little girl in her class skit and sang with the (newly-founded) school choir.

On Saturday evening E organized her own “Treasure Hunt” for me – with clues that led to further clues and finally to my gifts: a cuddly capybara (which I’d requested) and dark chocolate (which she’d purchased with her own pennies). DJ added a mint chocolate bar to complete the stash!

We tried to get some “good” pictures yesterday... And we ended up with snapshots of real life – which I love!

SO thankful for my family! 

DJ is in an especially mischievous stage right now; he loves to tease his favorite girl – in typical boy fashion!

12 May 2017

Congratulations to Marcos!

SO proud of this guy! SO thankful for technology that allowed us to be part of this important milestone in his life!

We you, Marcos!

05 May 2017

We ♥ Camp!

Camp ministry impacted both JM and me in our later teen and/or early adult years. Taxing though it is, our whole family loves camp ministry now – especially EMU’s Campamento Emanuel on Uruguay’s coast!

Due to the schedule this year – with the end of camp season overlapping the beginning of the academic year – I was not able to take (or post!) as many pictures as I have in past years (though I did post a few from Es week at camp).

Here are a few more favorites from this past summer camp season...

Showing off our Nigerian garb!

We always admire details in God’s creation when we’re at camp!

SO beautiful!

04 May 2017

Memory Lane: Maldonado

Going through snapshots while working with E on a school project, makes me thankful – all over again! – for the gift of photography and the potential to cherish moments from the past like the jewels they are, holding them up and turning them so they sparkle again...

Los Dedos (Punta del Este)

Sunset at Casa Pueblo (Punta Ballena)

Art detail by Carlos Páez Vilaró (Casa Pueblo)

Puente Ondulado (Punta del Este)

Rambla (Piriápolis)


Cerro Pan de Azúcar

Looking (from Punta Ballena) toward Piriápolis and Pan de Azúcar

When life gets extra busy, snapshots remind me of memory-making breaks we have been able to take in the midst of all the busyness...

SO thankful!