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.

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

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?!

23 June 2017

¿¡Cuántas estaciones!?

When our much-anticipated date to the Teatro Solís (hence the title and pictures) was cut short (initially due to work obligations and subsequently due to one of the worst migraines in years), my man watched over me with neck and foot massages and herbal teas while simultaneously taking care, more than ever, of our Little People and multi-faceted demands of the household here.

Selfie at the Solís

“Las Doce Estaciones” was the title of Tuesday’s concert, featuring works by Lamarque Pons, Vivaldi, and Piazzola on the last evening of autumn. (The pain and nausea forced us to leave before intermission...)

One night’s “sick headache” developed into a series of debilitating and discouraging migraines over the next two days but I’m thankful that – as we keep working on bettering our communication skills (well over “twelve seasons” in!) – my very best friend on earth takes careful, on-purpose care of me in all the “normal” ups and downs of daily life as well as in such details as buying ingredients and working to prepare “Chicken Noodle Soup” from scratch (when that’s the only food that sounds good while trying to recover from these latest migraines), going out to get tickets for the next major soccer game (before limited reduced prices ran out), and buying my preferred herbal toothpaste (two tubes!) just because I think the cheaper off-brand makes my gums sore right now. In so many ways, big and little, he inspires me to believe portions of the Scriptures I might otherwise doubt...

 you, JM! Thank-you for choosing to travel this journey called life with me!

19 June 2017

“Acto Escolar: 19 de Junio”

This year E and DJ got to participate together in “Flag Day” ceremonies at school.

E continues to form part of the “Honor Guard” for the National Flag,
and DJ very happily participated with his classmates.

We enjoyed the sunshine – and a few hours “off” (from school) –
in downtown Montevideo.

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

¡Delicioso!

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

¡Delicioso!

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...

¡Amiguitos!

¡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.