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.

15 September 2017

Expo Prado 2017

Renting the upstairs of “The Mission House” – as it has been fondly dubbed for years now – can be an (almost daily) adventure, presenting both benefits and challenges. One of the benefits (from my perspective) is setting the goal of “getting away” to spend at least one afternoon per week as a family of (only) four. The demands of life, immersed in FEBU (the college project), mean we need to regularly make time to regroup with our own two Little People!

Yesterday we got to spend about four hours at the Expo Prado. (We missed going last year due to especially inclement spring weather!) But highlights this year included amethysts mined in Artigas, Uruguay's northernmost department!

The lambs are always a highlight!

A definite favorite was getting outfitted in firefighter equipment!

Educational tidbits on innovation were presented in tour format, featuring James Watt, Louis Pasteur, Nikola Tesla, and Grace Murray Hopper.

All children got gift bags that included pamphlets for review  and fidget spinners (a first for DJ)!

Fun stuff!

12 September 2017

Recent opportunities!

Although we do not celebrate Día del Niño – consistently with gifts – this year we did do something E and DJ both considered extra special!

 NEW Bibles – in Spanish! 

And in other news: More monkeys for our own Little Monkeys!

♥ “Just Because!” 

DJ recently attended a play, featuring a story by a well-known Uruguayan author. Follow-up homework was supposed to reflect on the experience. (DJ’s drawing includes details of the historic building that houses the theater!)

“Las medias de los flamencos” (Horacio Quiroga)

Funny Little Man keeps us on our toes! Two Saturdays ago, shortly after waking up, he remarked to me:
Better late than never! is a false disjunction – because people could arrive on time!
♥ ♥  

Two years ago, E and I sang our first duet publicly. On Saturday we had opportunity to repeat the experience...

SO much to be thankful for!

06 September 2017


¡Fútbol con la Familia FEBU!

02 September 2017

Fútbol, Photos, and Eternity!

While touring the Museo del Fútbol yesterday, I paused and offered to snap pictures for visitors to the Estadio Centenario. As I handed back one smart phone, another visitor came up, asking E and me to take several pictures for him. I guessed his nationality from his friendly and confident demeanor (and the previous night’s event), but I still asked. Yes, he’s from right across the River!

In the course of our conversation, he asked where I was from and then, as many do, why our family had moved here to Uruguay. Besides telling him that I grew up here, I also mentioned our current involvement in the developing Bible College. A few minutes later, he mentioned (out of the blue) that he had an uncle and aunt in Mallorca (Spain) who “are also involved in church work” and he wondered if we might know them. JM and DJ had joined us by then. We ended up giving him a business card, linking to Jona’s Story and the message of Eternal Rescue; he said he would email us and also tell his relatives that he had met us and offered that, although he’s only a nominally religious person, he’d be interested in attending a church service with us next time he visits Montevideo.

I’m especially thankful when loves such as fútbol and photography give opportunity to share the Eternal Hope offered by the One whom we most love...

01 September 2017


One year ago today, JM posted a note about our Río de la Plata culture:
Here’s what everyone needs to know:
If Messi plays tonight, it will be the two friends and Barcelona forwards (incidentally, two of the best soccer players on the planet) Lionel Messi (Argentina) and Luis Suárez (Uruguay) facing each other. Suárez will play next to Edinson Cavani, backed up by Diego Godín, both of them also among the best in the world.
Argentina has been second for the last three international competitions (two Copa Americas and one World Cup). Before that, they lost the 2011 Copa America (held in Argentina) to their rival across the river (that would be Uruguay). Messi has never won an international competition playing for Argentina. After the last Copa America he left the team. But he came back. The game tonight is part of the qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup.
And that’s what’s going on tonight in this part of the world.

Last night (one day short of one year later) at our own Estadio Centenario, we relived “el clásico más antiguo” as Uruguay again faced Argentina in a World Cup Qualifier.

Photo credit: Asociación Uruguaya de Fútbol

Plans are underway for Uruguay and Argentina to co-host the 2030 (100th Anniversary) World Cup!

Photo credit: Asociación Uruguaya de Fútbol

I’m personally satisfied with the 0 to 0 tie (and with going to a match just to watch the plays) as well as with the privilege of taking E and DJ to see some of the world’s best athletes in person – for an amazing average price of $11 dollars per person!

Soccer is one of my Good Shepherd’s good gifts to me!

And I was also very happy to “get away” from current pressures surrounding the college project, to spend time as a family.

Tomorrow marks four years since our arrival in Uruguay...

SO thankful!

24 August 2017


DJ lost his first tooth!

I later found out (via random email) that he’d missed “National Tooth Fairy Day” by one day!

That’s okay: “Ratón Pérez” makes the rounds here in Uruguay! 😁

And in other family news...

E is participating for the second time in the national writing contest (“¡Un Cuento Celeste!”) in which she was a finalist (two years ago) when it was first held.

We’re thankful for the opportunity: “The journey is the reward!

Results will be announced in about a month...

04 August 2017

“Happy (Half) B-Day!”

We love you, Little Lady!

Celebrating – because life is just too short not to... 💕

31 July 2017

(Mini) Family Vacation!

Besides marking the end of the month, July 31 marks the beginning of second semester for FEBU this year. We’re thankful to have been able to spend a few days “off” (albeit coming and going) out at the camp in Guazuvirá.

We love “our” camp!

On the 17th, we took a drive further east, stopping at (or at least photographing) some of our favorite places.

Cerro Pan de Azúcar (“Sugarloaf” Hill)
[JM and DJ have decided that this will be
the first “mountain” they hike together!]

Mirador de Punta Ballena

Looking from Punta Ballena toward Punta del Este

♥ 18 years, learning together on this journey called life! 
[Photo credit: our very own E!]

Looking from Punta Ballena toward Piriápolis and Pan de Azúcar

Los Dedos in Punta del Este

Echoing what I said in May, I’m thankful for the gift of photography and the potential to cherish past moments like the jewels they are, holding them up and turning them so they sparkle again...

These past four weeks “off” (from teaching) have been busier than ever: organizing logistics for the FEBU block class at the camp in Paysandú (JM), taking an online course and wrapping up [late!] grading from last semester (me), and preparing teaching materials for this next semester (both of us).

The distance and our family’s school schedule did not allow us to attend the block class held up north, so we’re especially thankful for this past weekend and the time our family was able to spend with Ken Casillas (our friend and former teacher and pastor).

A highlight of his time in MVD for E & DJ was asking lots of questions
– and learning a little Hebrew! J

27 July 2017

Story Time!

Ten days ago, our Little Man (who had just become the proud owner of a brand new notebook) wrote a story (in English) on his own initiative, without our knowing that he was doing so.

“The /Sirt/ and The Flag” [by DJM]
(You can click on the picture to enlarge it.)

Please note that both the spelling (reflecting his [mis]pronunciations) and the punctuation are his original work! As a writing teacher, I’m amazed that he has managed to pick up so many rules of punctuation, seemingly by osmosis!

E’s example and enthusiasm (with “Un Cuento Celeste”), plus our being out at the camp, likely contributed to the storyline – and I especially love the theme of solidarity he displays!

 E is a great little teacher (even if she doesnt understand
the concept of Zone of Proximal Development quite yet!) 

Those wheels are always turning...!

Yesterday while DJ finished his lunch, gazing at the fire in the fireplace, he confided to JM [paraphrased]:

“You never really stop thinking. Because when you think you’ve stopped, you’re thinking about stopping!”

JM wisely replied (to our often over-tired Little Man):

“That’s why you have to go to sleep sometimes – so you can stop thinking!”

[Not much changes in two years or so, eh?!] J

25 July 2017

City Sunrise!

7:57 a.m.

On the way to school...


23 July 2017

“¡Feliz Día, Papá!”

“Father’s Day!” was last Sunday here in Uruguay. Life is crazier than usual right now, so we’ve celebrated in episodes.

E and DJ both (on their own initiative) gave gifts involving drawings that mirror aspects of our daily life as a family.

DJ’s reflect things that Daddy enjoys and/or that they enjoy together.

(You can enlarge the drawings by clicking on the collage!)

My favorites are riding the “103” (i.e. the crowded public bus!) to school, playing the piano (specifically “Milonga” as you can see if you look carefully at the next-to-last drawing), and soccer – of course!

E’s pictures are a good reflection of daily home life...

Crafts, computers, blocks, books, reading together...
(And “Abu Julia” enjoying the fireplace in winter!)

Our Little People amaze us constantly! The more I learn about cognitive psychology (especially as related to child development and education), the more I realize that our two are “normal” kids – who are being blessed with unusual opportunity!

As I read over and over again the crucial role that language development plays in cognitive development (and even in structuring the brain itself), I can’t help but wonder about the role that bilingualism is playing in these two!

I’m thankful! And humbled... Although there are educators who ignore, in practice, what they had to have been taught in theory, even those life experiences are part of the eclectic educational package that we are being gifted. The blessings include experiences that we would not have chosen ourselves but that are yielding advanced cognitive results beyond our expectations!

30 June 2017

¡Pizza a la Parrilla!

¡Celebramos el fin de otro semestre con Pizza a la Parrilla!

¡Familia FEBU! (Extrañamos a los que no pudieron estar).

¡Los cocineros! (Pero faltó el Master Chef: ¡Maxi!)

¡Feliz y Bendecido Cumple, Gabriel! Tienes mucho para celebrar...

Algunas cosas no cambian...

Nos alegramos que algunas cosas no cambien...

Estamos agradecidos por el impacto positivo que tienen nuestros “hijos adoptivos” en las vidas de nuestros hijos.

29 June 2017

Changing Seasons

A few moments from mid to late autumn and early winter...

“A Little Orange Outing!”

Candy from my childhood!

Sycamore Leaves & “Mini Moon”

Winter Weather?!