Friday, April 25, 2008

Twenty-one Things I've Loved about My First Week in Brazil

1) Being with Kristy, Demps, Duncan, Meg and Kate
2) Hearing Kate ask God's blessing on our food
3) Açai with bananas and granola
4) Guarana
5) Black beans, rice and vinegrette
6) Pinto beans, rice and vinegrette
7) Josie and watching Maggie try to talk to her
8) Riding with Kristy while she drives like she is in a race at LeMans
9) Having Meg sit on my lap
10) Watching Duncan do his homework.
11) Being within "walking distance"
12) Seeing the grandchildren in their school uniforms
13) Going to the flower fair

14) Pao de Queijo
15) Being with other Campus Outreach staff
16) Seeing Tim relax
17) The internet phone so I can keep in touch with home
18) Massages, pedicures, manicures and haircuts
19) Did I happen to mention beans, rice and vinegrette
20) The gorgeous weather
21) Rio de Janeiro

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Massages and Broken Hearts

Today began as a great day! A few weeks ago, I fell in my office at Furman and hurt both knees but the worst pain has been in my back where as my mama always said, "I stove it up." I think sleeping in the plane and also sleeping on a different mattress along with the fall, has had me saying, "oh, my aching back." AND I've meant it literally. Kris and Demps had told me about a therapeutic masseuse who charges only $20/hour. Oh, did I need this! Demps called, made me an appointment and I went this morning at 8:30 a.m. Isis worked on me until a little after 10 a.m. (for the same $20) and did it ever feel good. My back has felt so much better today.

As we were leaving the masseuse salon, there was a police car out front. Kris said, "look, Mom, they have a little boy." I looked and there was a little boy in the back seat of the car with huge crocodile tears rolling down his cheeks. My heart broke then and all afternoon he has come to my mind and I have prayed that whatever his circumstances, that God would be with him, comfort his little boy heart and put somebody in his path who will love him and take care of him. It would be so hard for me to be here all the time and see the hurt on the faces of the children. I'd want to bring them all home with me and love on them, hoping love would overcome their pain. I do know that for every one that is helped, there are millions more who need a hug and someone to love them. But for today, I do pray for the one who had trouble with the police today. Pray for him with me.

James 1:27 "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."

You Tube Slide Show of Homeless Children in Belo Horizonte, Brazil

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Our Lil' Girly-girl

It's hard for me to believe that our Meg was born 10 years ago. One of the joys of seeing your children grow up is seeing them with their own children. What a precious moment it is to walk into a hospital room and see your child holding her own child. There is no feeling in the world like it.

Meg is a very special little girl. She is as beautiful inside as out. She is very tender-hearted. She loves me and Pe-pop along with her Mama and Papa Dempsey dearly and is loved back just as dearly. Meg gives the "bestest and tightest" hugs in the world. She loves to sit on your lap and loves loves loves to hear stories about her parents when they were children her age.

I hope Meg has a wonderful birthday and by the way, we're celebrating with her in Rio! Who would have ever thought it!

Friday, April 18, 2008

BELO...HERE WE COME!!! - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more

When we mention to people that Kris and Demps live in Belo Horizonte, many people have never even heard of it. BUT, did you know that Belo is the 4th largest city coming after Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Salvador. It is a huge, modern city of ~2.15 MILLION people!! It is never quiet; it never sleeps; people and traffic are everywhere and it is BEAUTIFUL.

I cannot begin to tell you how grateful we are to get to go again. It's been 4 years (when Kate was born) when I last went and Tim hasn't been since 1999. Maggie has never been and in fact, she hasn't even flown since we brought her and Charlie to America from Venezuela in 1991. It is going to be such a treat to see her on the plane and what a joy for all of us to visit Kris, Demps, Meg, Duncan and Kate. I'll try to keep my blog updated while there so you all can keep up with what we're doing and the sights we're seeing. I'm sorry I can't stick you all in my pocket and take you with me.

One of the things that we love to do while in Brazil is visit the hippie fair, a market where individuals set up tents, the streets are blocked and the downtown area becomes a "flea market." Some of the things sold are typical flea market type items and some of the things are very nice. I've bought some gorgeous baby clothes, leather items, jewelry, etc. at the hippie fair. I worry about taking Maggie there though because those of you who know her, know her penchant for shopping. She is going to think she's died and gone to shopping heaven.

I found the following on the web for those of you who are interested in Belo. I'll think about you all here working away while I'm vacationing (NOT).

Belo Horizonte (pop. Approx. 2.7 million), the first modern Brazilian city to spring from an architect's drawing board, was expressly designed for its role as the capital of the state of Minas Gerais. Its wide, landscaped avenues and carefully planned residential suburbs have, however, suffered the impact of the country's high rate of urbanization. Belo Horizonte is the distribution and processing center of a rich agricultural and mining region and the nucleus of a burgeoning industrial complex. Its chief manufacturing is steel, steel products, automobiles, and textiles. Gold, manganese, and gem stones of the surrounding region are processed in the city. Belo Horizonte is also a leading cultural center, with three universities, a historical museum, numerous libraries, and sports stadiums. Because of its altitude (850m) the climate is refreshing and cool. (

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Doubly Thankful!

To Al: Philippians 1:3 "Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God. Each exclamation is a trigger to prayer. I find myself praying for you with a glad heart."
Well, if you know us, you know why we are so thankful today:

Three years ago, we downsized and moved to a cottage-style home. The housing market was booming and we knew it would not take long to sell our old 3600 sq ft. house. To make a long, long story short, to this date, it has not sold. We nor our realtors can figure out why. It is a great "family" home. The master is on the ground floor with two bedrooms and two bonus rooms upstairs. The bonus rooms are great playroom/tv rooms/billiard/game rooms for a family with children. OR one bonus could be used as a bedroom with the other a playroom. In addition to those two rooms, there is a 24' X 24' family room with a fireplace. It is in the country on a circular street with no main streets entering into the neighborhood. Children can ride their bicycles and skate or skateboard with no fear of traffic.

All that was said to say this: for almost 4 years, we have had two mortgages and therefore, all our "play" money has been going toward these mortgages. We didn't know when we would ever get to go to Brazil again to visit Kris and Demps.

Fast forward to about 6 weeks ago when Kristy called me and asked if she were able to get Friends and Family passes for us to fly, would there be any possibility we could come. My first response was, "no, I don't think so." Then the more we talked, the more excited I got and we thought "well, we might be able to work this out." Fast forward again to today...WE ARE GOING tomorrow. We are meeting Kris and Demps in Rio, spending a couple of days there and then driving on to Belo.

I am thankful for Kris' friend who is always so generous (this is the second time we've flown on a pass).

I am thankful for the opportunity to take Maggie.

I am thankful for the opportunity to be with Meg on her 10th birthday.

I am thankful for the opportunity to see, up close and personal, "Christ the Redeemer" statue in Rio.

I am thankful for 2 weeks with family.

I am thankful that Tim could get vacation time.

Today I am just PLAIN THANKFUL.

Monday, April 14, 2008

The Check's (oops...VISA's) in the Mail - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more Hallelujah!!! Hallelujah!!! Maggie's VISA came today so all is a go for blast off to Brazil on Friday. How exciting it will be to see and hear (I'm sure we'll hear) her fly again. She was only 9 years old when we brought her to America from Venezuela and doesn't remember a lot about the flight. She will be so fun on the flight to Brazil.

We went yesterday and stocked up on necessities for travel. Travel sizes of toiletries that we can carry in our carry-on. Wet wipes for the overnight flight there. Snacks because you never get enough (ha) to eat. Reading material in case of insomnia. What fun it's going to be.

Say a prayer for us that the rest of our week goes smoothly and for traveling mercies for a safe flight with no delays or cancellations. Remember us while we're gone and we'll think about you all.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Thankful Thursdays!

Although I'm a day late this week, I am going to try to start doing "Thankful Thursdays" on my blog and will do them each Thursday.

You know when we have to stop and think of the things that we thank God for, it makes us all the more thankful for what we have and what He's given us. I am also going to include a different scripture with each Thankful Thursday posting.

Psalm 69:30 (NIV) 30 "I will praise God's name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving."

1) I am thankful for salvation through the shed blood of Jesus Christ.

2) I am thankful for my Bible and the freedom to read it. I am thankful that the answers to life lie between the covers.

3) I am thankful for music.

4) I am thankful for my precious family and their love for me.

5) I am thankful for spring and that I am able to get out and work in my yard.

6) I am thankful for Al and the tickets to Brazil :).

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Sunrise Sunset

When I was a little girl, Mama would call us outside to see a beautiful sunset (or sometimes sunrise). I guess we all love to see them but I think she had a special affinity for the beauty of the sunset and I'm glad I "inherited" her love of sunrises and sunsets.

Once when we were campers, we camped at Hunting Island State Park. I got up early one morning and went to the beach, taking a shot about every two-three minutes for the 30 minutes or so that it took the sun to rise. I have a series of these photos and they are beautiful. To people who admire these photos, I say, "how can you mess up a beautiful sunrise."

Some of the most beautiful sunrises I see are in the lives of my children. Who would have thought that the 7# 11oz. baby I held on June 27, 1967 would be the beautiful Diana/wife/mother/cheerleader for her children that we love today. Did I even dream that Charlie would have grown into the fine Christian man that he is? Did I hope that my 9# 2 oz. Kristy would be the wonderful wife, mother and missionary that she is? Did I dare to wish for Maggie to be my friend and love me so much? I probably couldn't have planned my children's lives to turn out any more satisfying than they have. In them, God created His most precious (to me) sunrises.

Is this the little girl I carried?
Is this the little boy at play?

I don't remember growing older
When did they?

When did she get to be a beauty?When did he get to be so tall?

Wasn't it yesterday
When they were small?

Sunrise, sunset
Sunrise, sunset

Swiftly flow the days
Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers
Blossoming even as we gaze

Sunrise, sunset
Sunrise, sunset
Swiftly fly the years
One season following another
Laden with happiness and tears

Monday, April 7, 2008


Four jobs I have had in my life:
1. Administrative Assistant
2. Secretary
4. Physician's Receptionist

Four movies I've watched more than once:
1. Sound of Music
2. The Christmas Story
3. Gone With the Wind
4. The Wizard of Oz

Four places I've lived:
1. SC
2. NC - Gastonia
3. NC - Statesville
4. Tennessee

Four TV shows I watch:
1. American Idol
2. Extreme Makeover
3. Prison Break

Four places I have been:
1. Caracas, VZ
2. Sao Paulo, BR
3. Rio de Janeiro, BR
4. Puerto Rico

Four favorite foods:
1. Italian
2. Veggies
3. anything chocolate!
4. flavored coffee

Four places I'd rather be right now:
1. somewhere warm and sunny
2. somewhere sunny and warm
3. snowed in anywhere
4. home

Four things I'm looking forward to this year:
1. family vacation
2. trip to Brazil
3. Bele Chere

Four places I love to shop:
1. Target
2. Coldwater Creek
3. Dress Barn
4. Bed, Bath and Beyond

Test Your Typing Speed

This is kinda fun...see how fast you are!

75 words


Friday, April 4, 2008

Pass the Kudzu, please.

I've been thinking a lot lately about how blessed I am to have grown up with and to still have the two sisters I have. They are my best friends and always have been. Before you get the idea that we were perfect children, let me tell you that I got the worst beatings (and scars) at the hands of my sisters. However, best friends we were, are and always will be. It's scary sometimes when I know what they are thinking or can complete their sentences.

Growing up with them was interesting to say the least. Bibby was the "mama" in the family. She is 7 years older than me and 10 years older than Kathy. She loves to tell the story of giving me a birthday party when Mama was in the hospital giving birth to Kathy. When I say a party, I mean a PARTY complete with cake and ice cream and the neighbor kids. Because she was older and the pseudo-mama, she's always been the boss. She thinks she still is :). As we got older, she watched us for mama to work and I guess that did give her the right to "boss us around" although we still didn't like it.

Once Bibby was in the backyard burning leaves and grass. At the same time, she was supposed to be watching me while Mama washed her hair. I was, of course, helping rake the leaves. The fire spread quickly and caught the leg of my overalls on fire. Mama heard me screaming, came outside with soapy, wet hair and jumped to the ground from a 12 foot porch. She "slapped" at my firey pants leg putting the fire out. Thank goodness her wet hands kept the fire from burning her.

Kathy and I were cohorts in crime. Looking back on some of the things we did, it is small wonder that we ever survived childhood. One of our favorite things to do was play house. We stripped the leafy part off kudzu leaves, leaving the stemmy part that runs through the middle of the leaf. With DOUBLE EDGE RAZOR BLADES, we would cut that stem up into little pieces, pretending it was bologna we were slicing.

Once, Daddy was supposed to be keeping Kathy and I but he had the chance to go rabbit hunting, leaving us home alone. I am unsure how old we were but we moved from the house we were living in when I was 9 years old so I think we were too young to be left alone. Kathy and I seized the opportunity to get into mischief again...we loved sugar and butter sandwiches...just white bread spread with butter and about 1/4 cup of sugar made into a sandwich. That day while we were home alone, Kathy and I ate 5 lbs. of sugar!

When we lived "in the country," (mind you, country is not the opposite of city, in this instance) Daddy had built a storage shed over the well. The well house became our playhouse. It had a gable roof and we would climb up the ladder into the "attic" space of the well house to play. We thought Daddy had built it just for us :).

Speaking of wells, I remember a season of drought when our well went dry. All three of us girls would carry 5 gallon buckets to Daddy's cousin's house across the road, fill the buckets and carry water. I can't remember how long, but this went on for a while.

I won't go into details here, but if you know Kathy, ask her about strings and using the bathroom out in the yard. She and I both have a tale to tell about that.

I'll admit to having a thing with chalk and the outhouse. Just ask.

My sisters and I didn't have a lot of "things" growing up, thus, playing with razor blades, broken pieces of glass, chalk and spools from Carolina Blouse; however, we had love for each other and we knew we were loved. To this day, all I would have to do is pick up the phone, say "I need you" and either of my sisters would be with me as soon as they could drive to me. I love and appreciate them more than they ever could know and I hope I show it to them everyday. (Yep, we talk EVERYDAY!) Love you Bibby and Kathy.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

"Virtues are what's good about us."... Janis, age 6

The Virtues Project Educator's Guide: Simple Ways to Create a Culture of Character

assertiveness; caring; cleanliness; commitment; compassion; confidence; consideration; cooperation; courage; courtesy; creativity; detachment; determination; diligence; enthusiasm; excellence; flexibility; forgiveness; friendliness; generosity; gentleness; helpfulness; honesty; honor; humility; idealism; integrity; joyfulness; justice; kindness; love; loyalty; moderation; modesty; orderliness; patience; peacefulness; perseverance; purposefulness; reliability; respect; responsibility; self-discipline; service; tact; thankfulness;
tolerance; trust; trustworthiness; truthfulness; understanding; unity...

I recently read on my favorite online bulletin board, ( the question, “What is the most overrated virtue?” I sat a minute just contemplating the meaning of the question. I honestly couldn’t think of an overrated virtue. I looked online and found the list that I’ve copied and pasted above. In looking it over, I now KNOW that there are NO overrated virtues. I can think of a lot of underrated virtues … underrated by society in 2008 but as for me as a Christian, none of the virtue listed can be overrated.

Living a Christian life and seeking to serve Christ with my life so that others can see Him through me, I want to have and stand for the virtues listed above. However, I especially want to exhibit those virtues found in Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.”

Living my life for Jesus Christ and striving to be more like Him everyday, is and will be my ultimate goal in this life and that certainly can't be overrated.

I Looked Like a Bag Lady...maybe Hubba Hubba

I went yesterday to have a passport photo made so we could send for our Brazilian Visas. First, the girl gave me no warning that she was about to snap the photo. I backed up to the white panel behind me and she snapped. Gave me no warning; no "say cheese"; no "smile" or anything; just SNAP! I was hesitant to even send it in to the consulate fearing that they would compare my passport photo taken in 1999 with the photo taken yesterday and say, "No way this is the same person! We're not issuing this homeless bag lady a visa." When I have my picture taken, I try to raise my eyebrows so it'll lift some of the saggy baggy skin hanging around my eyes; I try to smile with my mouth open to show my teeth so my cockeyed smile won't show. Secondly, it was after 4 p.m. and I'd just gotten off work. My hair had significantly flattened so that I looked like a man with a bad comb-over. Maybe that is the way I'd looked all day but nobody told me that I looked like Donald Trump with gray hair.

Just so you know, I'm putting the one photo in the mail today and then I'm setting fire to the other. Nope, you'll never lay eyes on the "Donald of TR". If I thought I looked that way every day, all day long, I'd stay home curled up in a fetal position in my bed. Can you tell how bad it was? I hope the people at the consulate get a good laugh out of this one.