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.

29 September 2016

Spring Ladies’ Retreat in “33”

During the Ladies’ Retreat at Campamento Emanuel last October, I was invited to speak at the September retreat at Campamento Bethel in Treinta y Tres, about four hours northeast of Montevideo. So that’s where we spent the last half of last week. Because both E and DJ had Spring Break then, we were able to make this a family trip – though it wasn’t a vacation for me!

We enjoyed a spectacular sunrise on the way!

The scenery going northeast on Route 8, through Canelones, Lavalleja, and into Treinta y Tres, is some of our family’s favorite.

We enjoyed the flora and fauna in “33” as well.

Happy Campers!

On Friday afternoon we went to La Charqueada, about half an hour from the camp, where we hosted “Un Café para el Alma” – serving ladies from the area and generating Gospel-sharing opportunities.

While there in La Charqueada, DJ befriended a very gentle horse:

I love his little jump of joy!

The theme of the retreat was: “Meditaciones del Evangelio” with special emphasis on the truths of Romans 8:28-30 once again. The teaching was well received, and the fellowship was some of the sweetest I’ve ever enjoyed. I’m thankful.

This was my first time teaching with a Portuguese translator.
(She was good!)

The total attendance was about seventy, including about twenty from neighboring Brazil.

In JM’s words: “Great grace, excellent response, and beautiful days. Thank you for praying.”

16 September 2016

A South Atlantic Cyclone?!

The South Atlantic is generally not thought of by meteorologists as a place where tropical cyclones can form. The water temperatures are generally too cool and the vertical wind shear too strong. The area is so devoid of tropical storm activity that no government agency has an official warning system for storms there...

Click here to read the rest of that article, and click here to read a more in-depth explanation of this rare phenomenon.

Nevertheless, southern Brazil and the Río de la Plata region have experienced a number of extremely strong wind storms in these years since (what later became known as) “Hurricane Catarina” hit southern Brazil in 2004.

Just this winter we’ve experienced several extremely strong wind storms here in Uruguay.

The “cyclone” depicted in the following image hit in late July during FEBU’s block class.

[Photo credit: MetSul Meteorologia]

And the storm that hit Uruguay this past Tuesday (Sep13) certainly caused a stir! Comments with the image (on the MetSul fb page) also point out the snow-capped Andes to the west and smoke from fires in the Amazon further north (at the top of the picture).

[Photo credit: NASA via MetSul Meteorologia]

The storm was called a “meteorological bomb” and a “super cyclone” by MetSul Meteorologia.

These images (from GOES) highlight the cyclone’s impressive size.

11 September 2016


[from JM]

Why not forget? Because we learned too much, at too high a cost. We went into work not remembering there was a sky. We left having seen it—clear, blue, beautiful, and real—but at a hellish cost. We saw reality clearly that moment, that week. We didn’t know we would live another fifteen years, but we knew how we wanted to live them. We knew then. We dare not forget because the price was too high.

09 September 2016

Remembering “Dad Wyckoff”

[from JM]

Alaska has lost a grandfather, father, and friend. For us he was a bit of all three. Lyn Wyckoff is now with the Lord.

He was to Deborah like a dad. [“Dad Wyckoff” we called him...] He gave us counsel and showed us much kindness. Most mornings I still wear an Iditarod cap that he saw me admiring, a gift from him.

He loved the cause of making disciples of Jesus around the world. He was another way that God showed many His grace.

08 September 2016


One week ago, La Celeste faced Argentina’s national team in Mendoza. JM wrote what I called a “cultural news flash” previous to that game.

The final score was 1 to 0. As JM commented the next day: “For us, it was a match we could afford to lose... And we did.”

But we enjoyed a little outing (and some brick-oven pizza!) as a family.

On Tuesday evening, the game was local – in the Estadio Centenario, only a couple blocks from where we live. So we went – thanks especially to the gracious gift of friends who accompanied us to the local match against Chile (back in mid-November).

A cold drizzle threatened to dampen the mood of the evening – but not for long!

The first half ended with Uruguay winning 3 to 0 – with goals from Edi Cavani, Cristian Rodríguez, and Luis Suárez.

I especially loved seeing Cavani celebrate that first goal of the match by going to hug the coaching staff on the sidelines, visibly showing support for their management of the team; in a world quick to criticize and be disloyal, he was a good example to my Little People...

We went on to win the match with 4 to 0! From our vantage point, right behind the opponent’s net during the second half, we got to see Cavani’s second goal up close!

SO thankful!

06 September 2016

A “Sort of” Letter (for E)

On August 31 I posted a “sort of” letter for DJ and promised to post another (also begun on June 23 but then still in the works) for our E:

“YOU” (at almost ten and a half)
[Photo credit: FotoGonza]

[How did our Precious Little Punkin Spice get to be ten and a half...?!]

You’re as energetic as ever, still running or jumping (rarely walking) from one place (or one topic) to another.

You love reading – in both English and Spanish – more than ever. You’ve added Encyclopedia Brown (Boy Detective”) to your perennial favorites (the adventures of Sapo Ruperto, The Chronicles of Narnia and The Hobbit).

You’re a good student, though often and easily distracted. (Ahem!)

You seem to be gifted in writing. (And I’m still very proud of your having placed in the top seven out of 260+ contestants in your category in last year’s national writing contest.)

You love crafts, especially making jewelry with beads and (most recently) learning crochet and origami.

You love Uruguay and – to the delight of your Mommy’s heart – consider yourself Uruguayan!

You love soccer – and especially our national team!

You are a highly sensitive (and rather dramatic!) person.

You love music and are doing well in piano lessons (and miscellaneous impromptu singing opportunities).

You’re a “people person” – in spite of your initial tendency to feel shy.

You’re very tender-hearted; you notice which classmates are “left out” and are quick to be a friend.

At the end of August and in this last week, I’ve added a few more notes...

This school year you’ve been on the receiving end of unkindness and discrimination. But we’re encouraged that you’re continuing to learn “to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.”

There are so many more aspects we treasure about you, the kind of moments that are practically impossible to capture with a camera. We’re especially thankful that you like to talk about “everything” with your Daddy and me.

We’re so glad you’re our Little Lady! We love you very much!

[She’s Elizabeth, and she approved this post!]

04 September 2016

¡Y lee en español!

DJ sure took his time before beginning to speak Spanish (at school), but he didn’t waste any time before applying the pre-reading skills he’s being taught in jardinera – and starting to read (quite fluently!) in Spanish.

I’d been trying to focus on teaching him to read English fluently first, basing my decision, in part, on the fact that E did so. (And then, when halfway through K-5 and while on a Christmas trip to Uruguay, she figured out the basics of reading Spanish for herself!) Now DJ seems to be keeping the two languages safely separate and – without apparent interference or confusion – he continues to learn the basics of reading English, too.

The following little video clip gives a glimpse of his developing ability
in Spanish!

Y ahora Dani lee en español también.

01 September 2016

Cultural News Flash!

[from JM]

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.

[Photo credit: Ovación]

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.