Monday, December 12, 2011


I love this video.
It's a video of worship and my church, the Community Church of Lagoa de Itaenga.
It's also a video of Elivelton, a teenager with Down's Syndrome who attends our church.
I love this video because Elivelton has become part of our church.
He at times causes a ruckus in the middle of the service
But it's ok.  He's not just "special", he's a special child of God.
I love this video because everyone in it is worshipping God.
It doesn't matter that Elivelton is "disrupting" the music.
No.  As I stood, praising the Lord, it wasn't in spite of Elivelton, it was because of him.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Leaving Week

I have chosen to love you these past several years.
At first, I did it because it was my job.
But now, I love you because it overwhelms me when I look at you.
I knew it would come to this point.
To leaving week.
When I have to face the fact that I'm not here forever
When I have to look in your eyes and say Good-bye.
I don't know when I'll see you again.
I don't know if I'll see you again.
All I can do is leave you in the hands of the Lord, most high.
All I can do is trust that He loves you more than I do.
I don't know what the future looks like but I will trust you
To the one who's love is so much greater than mine.

Friday, November 25, 2011

My List of Thanksgivings Turned Into an Acceptance Speech

I'm thankful for
So much.

Counting my blessings
Sounds appropriate.
But on some level
Counting diminishes 
What is and what was.
A list of the things that I hold dearly
Seems small.
Not expressing thankfulness
Is the equivalent of 
Being unthankful 
(on some levels).

I'm thankful for
My family.
Over the years, traveling.  
Coming and going.
Friends have become less constant.
Family remains.
They are forever my cheerleaders
Support and my sounding table.
They know who I am
And they love me.

I'm thankful for
My friends.
Those friends who are constant
Have become family.

I'm thankful for
My church.
Some churches, it seems, 
are full of perfect people
Mine isn't
We're a ragtag group
But we follow the Savior
And He is good beyond measure

I'm thankful for
My students.
Why do I love them?
I dunno.
But I do.
And watching them grow
Is joy.

I'm thankful for
My supporters.
How to express the significance
Of having a person 
The money is good
I needed it.
But more: 
The thought that
This person believes in me
To the point of sacrifice.

I'm thankful for
The hard times.
The struggles have made the good times
Change has happened in me.
I would have been content 
To continue to live easily.
Now I can't.

I'm thankful for
The good times
They're fun.

I'm thankful for
My Lord
His faithfulness
Strength and Love
Carry me
And I will forever follow Him.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Dia Das Flores Bonitas

Today is Day of the Dead
I must say, on holidays like this, I ain't no expert.
But from my observations, I'd say it's pretty equivalent to the U.S.'s Memorial Day
With an addition of praying for dead relatives.
But the best part of Dia Dos Finados is the flowers.
It's become a bit of a tradition,
Going to the market to buy flowers on November 2nd.
Lindsay and I got all sorts of cheap, beautiful flowers this morning.
I paid from the change that had been collecting in the jar on my bedside table.
That means they were basically free, right?
And now my apartment is tão bonita.
More pretty flower pictures on Picasa

Monday, October 31, 2011


I wrote notes home to five parents today
I told 'em that their kids had done an excellent job
They're the kids that at the beginning of the year I wondered how in the world I would ever get to
Sit, pay attention, and obey
Let alone
Speak & Listen.  Read & English.
But today I was listening to these kids
I sat back and tutored
While the other munchkins played with a train.
"Don't forget to say 'Chugga-Chugga-Chugga-Chugga-Choo-Choo"
(We learned about the "Ch" sound today)
And they Chugga-Chuggad
"Hugo, what time is it?"
"2:49.  Thanks Hugo.  It's time to clean up."
"Thiago, what's your mom's name?"
"I wrote a note to your mom to tell her that you did a good job.  Make sure to show her when you get home, ok?"
"Yes, Teacher Emily", his face beamed.
Every year, in the beginning,
I wonder how I will ever be successful with any given group.
I wonder if this teaching thing is really for me.
Talk to me about two months in, and I'm probably playing around with the idea of switching careers.
But the end.
The end is when I can see its worth.
All those hours of painstakingly taking the students through the rules, the procedures, the basics.
All those hours of laying a foundation,
Forming a classroom environment that leads to growth.
And then one day, at the end of the second semester, I look at them
And I realize how far they've come.
How they've changed.
Oh yeah, their English has developed.
But it's not just that.
They've developed as people.
I smile when I think of them,
I can't help but praying for them to become passionate followers of Jesus Christ
Because I love them.
And the truth is that I've changed because of them.
The difficulty I had in the beginning of the year
Was because these kids were little hoodlums.
But it was also because my actions weren't affected by the pull of love.
As we spent time listening and understanding each other,
We all changed.
We have been molded by each other.
And I thank my students for that.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Cooking Day

Have I ever told you how much I enjoy cooking?
I do.
As long as there isn't some deadline looming over my head.
Like the end of a grading period.
Or emails that need to be sent.
Or an apartment that needs to be cleaned by six o'clock, when it will be invaded by unusual, uncanny, and underhanded folks.
But, if those deadlines have passed,
If parent-teacher conferences were last week,
If the emails are answered,
And only usual, canny, sufficiently handed folks will be in my apartment,
I love it.
Sunday is my day off,
Which means it's often cooking day.
Modifying or rejecting recipes based on their ingredient list is the norm.
Peanut butter.
Cheddar cheese.
Hard/impossible to find and/or expensive.
Until today pumpkin was on that list too.
There's lots of pumpkin here,
But in my mind
Changing a big ol' pumpkin into the stuff you get out of a can
Was way too much work.
But there was this recipe.
I knew the moment I saw it.
I had to make it.
Pumpkin granola.
FYI:  making pumpkin puree is super easy.
Menu for the week:
Pumpkin Granola
Pumpkin Latte
Italian Chicken Soup

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Cocoa Fruit

Did you know that Chocolate comes from a fruit?
It does.
Did you know that the outside is really hard?  Like, you have to saw through it?

It is.
A student brought me this fruit from a tree in his yard.  It was good!  There are a bunch of seeds inside.  The fruit is on the outside of the seeds.  You suck on the seeds and then spit it out once the fruit is removed.  Evidently making chocolate is a really intricate process.  First they dry the seeds.  Then roast them and grind them.  And add other stuff too.  That's what the kids tell me, at least.  I don't know who thought up the process.  But they were genius.  Genius, I say.

Friday, September 30, 2011


September had some fun happenings.  Check out the pictures on Picasa!

September Photos

Monday, September 5, 2011

English & Pie! Pie & English! English Pie! Pied English Pae!

Tonight was the first night of English class at Guadalajara.  And I made pie.
Look at that.  The top is fully intact.  The innards are in.  Even the edges are edible! The apple part was apple-cinnamon-yumminess.  I hereby deem this pie delicious.  And on this momentous occasion of making an edible pie, I would like to take this moment to thank Pam.  Thank you Pam.
Here's Victor, an energetic, super sweet kid, picking the crust out of the pan.
Anyways, besides the pie, the first class was pretty good.  We were a little short on numbers, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.  Plus there's a good chance we'll have more next week.  Pray for us as we start a new semester.  Pray that I will teach well.  That my teaching will draw students to the church, especially those who don't already have a church home.  Pray that Pastor Carlos would be able to build strong relationships with the students.  Pray that the students will be ready to learn about English and about the Lord.  

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Crazy Kids

This is Igor.  He's one of my English students at the International School of Carpina.
Friday was Shopping Day.  The kids used their merits to buy little toys and games and such.  So, among other things, Igor bought this toy frog.  He came outside to where his friends and I were playing Crazy 8's and began telling us about his new friend "James Podoski da Silva".  I begged him for ten minutes to let me take a video of him introducing his friend.  He finally agreed.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Not Unique. But Honest.

Can I just be a little honest here?
The truth is that I while I can try,
I probably can't accurately convey these simple ideas.
Cause I'm really not very good with words.
I've gotta think, develop, massage an idea into existence.
I like conversations where I can sit and listen most of the time.
Jump in occasionally.
But when I have to step out with my own thoughts on a topic...
I freeze.
I have thoughts.
Believe it or not.
I just...don't really know what they are until I start to speak.
And even then...
Sometimes as I'm speaking I realize that what I said in my first sentence isn't exactly right.
So, the third sentence is contradictory.
I think that's why I don't like praying aloud.
Cause my conversations with God are more thrown up there,
More round about than group prayers are supposed to be.
They aren't in a neat little package
And if they are, I'm not comfortable with them.
Blogging annoys me sometimes.
Cause I feel like each entry has to be tied up in a little package.
It needs to end on a positive note
Spiritual or thoughtful
But what may one day end up as a pretty little package
Today may be a pile of dirty clothes, empty lesson plans and Ramen noodles.
I don't really want to show nameless people my piles of trash and tears.
Not so much because I'm too proud
...Well, ok. That's part of it.
But also because I don't want people to worry.
I don't want my mom to worry.
And when you only hear from your daughter once every couple of weeks
A blog post about tiredness or frustrations
Is going hang on your heart.
So, maybe the moral of this story is that I need to call my mom more.
Maybe it's that I need to blog more, so that a few spatterings of the negative aren't going to leave a flavor of sadness for long.
I dunno.
But I want to write an entry that goes something like this:
Being a missionary is...
I wouldn't trade the past several years.
But it's not the movies.
There are times when I'm able to share the love of Christ and it's...fulfilling to the max.
Sometimes I'm tired.
Sometimes I don't fit in.
Sometimes I just want to be understood without the asterisk that says 
*I'm pretty sure that's what she was trying to say in her broken language.
Sometimes I wonder why...(fill in the blank)
And then when I post that blog,
I don't want people to jump to the conclusion that I'm depressed.
Or when I post a blog in a month about returning to the States
I don't want them to believe that the story of my stay in Brazil
And return to the States was based upon some depressing life that was Brazil
Cause I'm not and it isn't
And I love Brazil
And I love ministry
And I love my part here.
But we look forward to heaven for a reason.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Pineapple Mint Deliciousness

You gotta try it.
Get a fresh pineapple.
Put it in a blender with some water
And sugar
And mint.
So good.

I know.  You're thinking "Pineapple and mint?  Really?"  And I will forever respond "Really."

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Head Fake

Learning English is a perk
It's a head fake.
The real goal is drawing the students to Jesus.
And that's done through love.
Love them.
Each of them individually
Even the tough ones.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

This Little Light of Mine

We're changing things up at church.  Started doing a kids' service before the adults' service.  Other than the difficulties we have in starting at a reasonable time, it's going well.  Pray for us and that we will be a light for the Lord in Lagoa de Itaenga.

Saturday, July 30, 2011


Dude.  July was busy.  'Twas good.  But busy.
Here are some photos documenting my sister's stay, a trip to the beach, VBS, a big outreach to Lagoa de Itaenga--March for Jesus, English Camp, and the Youth Conference.  I relied on Sarah to take the majority of the pictures and then she inadvertently gave a really good birthday present to the kid who used the bathroom after she did.  Sooo...I've got a sparse collection of pictures. But it'll have to do.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


So, as most of you know, I'm planning on returning to the States in mid-December.  While I am taking steps towards the next part of my life, I don't know what the future holds.  But, the closer I get to December, the more I realize that I am surrounded by many people with great plans for me.  I'm fairly certain that if I were to hand my life over to any of these people, I wouldn't have to make any more decisions as long as I shall live.

The International School's Plan
I will leave Brazil in December, much to the sadness of those at the school.  Upon arriving in Indiana, I will discover that I have an enormous sense of saudades for Brazil.  I'll stay in the U.S. until January, and return to Brazil.  I will return at the same time that Brent, a short term teacher, arrives.  We'll fall in love and he'll decide to stay in Brazil forever.  We'll have a giant wedding at the Community Church of Carpina, since more people can fit in the church there.  We'll have three kids and live happily ever after.

My Parents' Plan
I will arrive in the United States in December, much to the jubilation of my parents.    Upon arriving in Indiana, I will spend the first couple of weeks looking for a job.  I will then be hired for a maternity leave position at J.B. Stevens.  They'll love me so much, that when the original teacher decides she can't possibly leave her thirteen week old baby at the local Fun Palace Day Care, they'll hire me on as a full time teacher.  I'll work with the kids at Brookville Road Community Church, where I'll meet Rob, a thirty year-old dermatologist who just finished medical school and moved to the Indianapolis area to be near his family. We'll fall in love and have a medium-sized wedding at a chapel in Brown County.  We'll buy my childhood house, at 1305 Greenhills Rd. and have ten kids.

Lindsay's Plan
I will leave Brazil in December, much to the chagrin of my friends in Brazil.  Upon returning to the beautiful United States, I will land a high-paying teaching position in Boston.  There I will tutor Brazilian immigrants and eat plenty of bolo de rolo.  I'll move into an apartment next door to a lovely little Brazilian family. Each Sunday afternoon, they'll invite me over for a dinner of beans, rice, potatoes, fish, and vinaigrette.  After a couple of months, the mother's brother will arrive in town.  He's been living in Chicago, going to seminary and dreaming of starting a church in northeastern Brazil.  I'll share my contacts and in the midst of explaining what my role in the ministry was, we'll fall in love. A year later, we'll have a large wedding in Indiana and move back to Carpina.  We'll wait a couple of years, and then have two kids.  A boy and a girl.  

Sarah's plan
I will arrive in the United States in December, much to the excitement of my crazy sister.  Upon arriving in Indiana, I will promptly move into my parents' basement.  I will construct walls out of sheets and either buy a dog or a gerbil.  I'll cook for Sarah until she gets a little chubby.  At which point she'll choose a husband for me.  We'll have the perfect little wedding.  Sarah will be my maid of honor.  Her dog will be my ringbearer.  I'll move next door to my parents so that I will be able to continue to cook for her.  I'll have five kids, one named after Sarah, of course, and we'll live happily ever after.

The wonderful part of all this is that I know that each one of these people want the best for me...except maybe Sarah.  I thank God for their love.  And I also thank Him that He is the one directing my path.  
Proverbs 19:21  Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Happy Birthday, My Dear

Wednesday was my little sister's 16th birthday.  She arrived here in Brazil this morning.  After a nap, we had some friends over, ate spetinhos (meat on a stick) and churros and played a game.   'Twas a nice evening.  
I thank the Lord for you, Sarah.  Happy birthday.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Show & Tell

Do you have any idea how frustrating it is to move pictures around in Blogger?  Very.  You move one photo and all the others move too.  I was going to put a description under each picture, but words also move the pictures.  An hour after beginning the "simple" task of arranging these pictures, I have given up.
So, top three pictures are of the end of the semester English party in Gualdajara.  Next four are cute kids at the International School.  Next is Jeff, Lindsay, and Melody Turner (my neighbors and friends).  The next five pictures are from Sao Joao, a holiday celebrating John the Baptist and the corn harvest.  Next six are random pictures of fun we've had while on vacation.
And I am done with this post.

Friday, June 24, 2011

I Don't Like Spitting.

Thus far the Lord has helped me.
But sometimes, 
In the midst of it,
I wonder were God is.
Coming to Brazil was difficult.  I never imagined myself here.  I never really wanted to be here.  But the Lord led me and I followed.  And now I love this part of my life.
But now I'm preparing to leave.  I committed to lead the English program for two years.  It's been two years.  I decided to finish the school year, stay til December.  But...with departure within spitting range, it means I have to admit it's there.  I hate it.  I love the people here.  I love the work here.  But this is a temporary place. 
But then I ask why?
Lord, WHY?
Why did you give me a temporary place?  Why is it time to think about transitioning yet again?  I'm not good with transitions.  I like to stay where I am.  I like to be comfortable.  
Whenever this topic of conversation comes up, I want to cry.  I want to stomp my feet.  I want to throw a fit.
Sometimes I do.
And while I hate even thinking about the fact that I will be leaving my home, my work, and my friends, I know that I can and will say

Tuesday, May 31, 2011


 May brought the end of the semester for the English class in Lagoa de Itaenga.  Which meant brownies, ice cream, diplomas, snap bracelets, sticky hands, tattoos, and Bible stories.  

Monday, May 30, 2011


We welcomed Melody Anabel Cart Turner on May 18th. 
Cute kid, she is.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A Breeze That Lets Me Breathe

It's four thirty
in the morning
and I'm hot
it's raining
which means
it's cool
but my room's
a brick box

I open
the window
I open
the door
there's a breeze
a breeze
that lets me breathe

It's four thirty
in the morning
and I'm tense
the King presides
which means
but my mind's
a brick box

I open
the window
I open
the door
there's a breeze
a breeze
that lets me breathe

Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Essence of a Conversation when Jeff's Not Around

Brittney:  What do you think about shooting stars?  I think they're giant balls of fire circling the Earth.
Emily:  I know that's what they look like.  However, I once read that they're really tiny bits of rock burning up in the Earth's atmosphere.
Lindsay:  No.  They're really zombies on unicorns.  When they try to enter the Earth's atmosphere, the unicorn cuts a hole with its horn.  But it gets too hot, so that's why we don't see any unicorns on Earth.  Cause they burn up and die.  But if they ever figure out a better system, we'll be in big trouble because nothing's worse than a zombie with the power of a unicorn to help it fly through the air.  Just sayin'
Emily:  I have a headache.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Christ the Lord is Risen Today

I love Easter.
The excitement surrounding our Savior
Makes me want to giggle like a little girl.
Jesus conquered death.
He is the victor.
I love thinking about Good Friday, the sadness and dispair that I can imagine engulfing the disciples.
Then Easter comes.
Imagine being in that room.
Knowing that Jesus is more powerful than just conquering the Romans.
He conquered death.
Imagine the disciples eyes.
They're smiles going from ear to ear.
It's true!
He is RISEN!

This morning we had a sunrise service...with an amazing breakfast.
Then a perfect Sunday afternoon nap.
Tonight we had all the Americans (and a quasi-American) over for an Easter dinner.
Wonderful food.
Full stomachs.  
An egg dying contest.
Easter egg hunt.
'Twas lovely.
Just lovely.
Wordle: Easter

Thursday, April 21, 2011

My Brain Started Working the Day I Finished College

Lindsay and I have been mulling over theories on developmental stages tonight.
It's one of those conversations that lots of people probably have when they're drunk and then forget what they said.
But in reality, they're long rambling conversations that build up to nothing.
We on the other hand are fully sober.
But we have had a number of cookies, and have watched Pride and Prejudice, the six hour version.
I stayed awake.
Be proud of me.
Ok, but really.
I didn't really think before the age of 22.
I did but...
something changed.
Let me break down the stages for you.

Stage number 1:  Wood panel.
One of my earliest memories is studying the wood paneling in our living room.
That's it.  Wood panel.

Stage number 2:  My finger hurt.
A door was closed on my pinkie.  My dad rushed me to the hospital.
You know its serious when a cardiologist says it's an emergency.
I thought about my finger hurting.

Stage number 3:  Poor Baby Jessica.
My dad brought me home late one night.  Mom was watching the news.  About Baby Jessica.  She fell in a well.  And was stuck, like duck.  They saved her.  But the mom was crying.  The baby was scared.  The rescuers were scared and working...and I was scared and sad.
It was emotional.  I empathized.

Stage number 4:  It's not fair.
My brothers often went outside without shirts on.  One day I decided it was a beautiful day.  I took a blanket and laid it carefully in the soft grass on the left side of the driveway and removed my shirt.  My brothers told my mom. My mom told me no.  I threw a fit.  She sent me to my room and continued my fit.

Stage number 5:  For me?
I went to summer camp.  There was an invitation.  I went outside and prayed with a counselor.  In the middle of our prayer, I got a nosebleed.  It was dripping.  I was amazed that Jesus would die for me.

Stage number 6:  I MUST call Amanda.
Middle school brought reliance upon friends.  Calling was not optional.  We talked for hours...about babies and war and God and abortion and sometimes we would just sit on the phone and say nothing while we were both doing homework.

Stage number 7:  Things are changing.
The last get together before I went to college was at Jeffrey Turner's house.  I was driving home in my Thunderbird. It was late. And I was sobbing.  Really sobbing.  I was never going to see any of my friends again.  My life was going to be completely different.  I was half pleading that a cop wouldn't pull me over and half pleading that one would, so I could share my woes and scare the cop with my tears.

Stage number 8:  Almost a real thought.
In college I had a project.  I had to join a group that I did not fit in to.  I thought it was a stupid project.  I chose an Islamic group.  I went to their Mosque for a Ramadan celebration.  First was a class thing.  He talked about differences in Christianity and Islam.  Then the men prayed and the women ate.  I ate with the women and talked.  And asked questions.  And thought...."Hmmmm....maybe these people are real....hmmmm...."

Stage number 9:  A real thought. (a.k.a. God has a plan beyond me.)
I stood in the children's home in Namibia, listening to the 55 kids belt out a song to the Lord.   All I could do was worship the Lord for what He was doing in the lives of these children, these people.

While many of these stages seem to have nothing to do with my spiritual development, they are representative of where I was emotionally and where I was in my understanding of the world and of God.
Life makes a little more sense now...thinking helps.  I'd say my relationship with God makes a little more sense now, too
On the the other hand...perhaps this post proves "wood panel".

Thursday, March 31, 2011


 The beginning of March brought Carnival, a national holiday in Brazil. To celebrate our week off, we planned to go to the beach, but the morning we were planning to go, it got called off.  Lindsay, Brittney, and I decided we couldn't just spend the day at home.  So, we headed to the mall.  This my friends, is quite an achievement, since we have never been to a mall without a male.  Driving in Recife can be a bit difficult, so we've always had someone else with us.  This time, though, Lindsay took the bull by the horns...or rather, the wheel by the...round....ness.  Shopping with just the girls is vastly more fun than with guys...just sayin'  :)  
The pictures above are a few of the interesting things we found.  Awesome English t-shirts,  eighties-style pants, and a product with a truly inspiring translation of its description. 

At the end of our Carnival vacation, a group of us went to the beach.  It was a rainy day, with a muddy road that we had to trek up and down, but even so, it was a lovely day with good friends.

After a nice, week-long break, normal life began again.  Outreaches in Lagoa de Itaenga and Guadalajara and teaching at the International School.  There are real students at the school, but the only pictures on my camera are pictures of the book.  Projecting pictures of the activities onto the board has been a nice way to show the beginners what I'm talking about.

A couple weekends ago the women from the ministry had a baby shower for Lindsay.  We're all looking forward to meeting Melody Anabel in May.

And that, my friends, was March, 2011, or at least the parts that I have pictures of.  

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Gettin' on My Good Side

I was complaining yesterday that I never get to see the advanced students at the school anymore.  I teach the beginners' class, but as soon as the students are confidently conversing, they move up to the advanced class.  So, I don't teach some of the kids that I had last year, or the year before...or in 2008.  As a matter of fact, the vast majority of them aren't in my class any more.
Anyways, today one of the older advanced boys came down to my class just to say hi.  "I come to see you, Teacher Emily".  
A good kid, that one is.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

And Then We Laughed

I was sitting at the gas station with Lindsay today, waiting for the guy to pump our gas, 'cause you don't get your own gas in Brazil.  When all of a sudden, we heard the guy next to us belting something to the tune of Alanis Morisette's "What if God Was One of Us".
It was way off key
And way loud.
We looked at each other and giggled...until we realized the song playing was in English.
Then we were intrigued.
What had he just sung?
When the chorus came back, he once again belted the only line that he knew:

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Dear Snot,

Snot, oh snot, why doest thou love my sinus cavities so?
Your role of protecting from dirt and dust is greatly appreciated
However, the issue at the moment, dear friend, involves the fact that the continued reproduction of yourself is leaving no room for oxygen to arrive in the necessary locations.
My other concern with your party in my face, is that there frankly isn't space in the party room for you. The Nasal Cavity will need to either continue it's policy of periodic expulsions from the premises or explode.
The other option would be you voluntarily leaving.
I prefer that option.
Again, thank you for your consistent defense.  You normally do truly magnificent work.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

First Grade

May I take a moment to discuss 1st grade students?
I don't think I've ever had a cuter class.
Full of energy.
They take chances.
They make mistakes.
They get messy.
They find fun in anything.
But, sitting in a desk isn't so much fun, really.
Understanding the lack of effectiveness in repeating yourself eight times in Portuguese, is still a difficult concept.
Mastering the importance of sharing, is still slightly iffy.
Listening to someone explain things in another language, just doesn't flow with their personal goals.
Pretty much, my 1st graders are kinda killing me.
I'm pretty stubborn.  
They will be able to write in their notebooks properly, 
listen to directions,
and not interrupt during story time by the time we have parent-teacher conferences.
Of course, there are other, more academic goals.
But if we could just get those three goals down,
the academic ones would be much easier.
What it comes down to is that Lindsay should be teaching these classes.
She's good with crianças that can't sit still.
She has fun with little ones who can barely get anything done.
Cause she sees the goals in the games.
I get that.
But it's not me.
I like to accomplish things.
I like to check things off my little list.
Second, third, eighth grades....I can accomplish each little part of my lesson.
First grade just doesn't really check very well.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

And, the Semester Has Begun

So, pretty much everything started this week.  School & ministry stuff, that is.
I spent the week training our newbies.  Taught their classes and meeting-ed with them.
(I just wanted to spell "meet" m-i-t.  Sigh...Portuguese, English, they start to confuse my brain after a while. Perhaps teaching English isn't the best career choice for me...)
Next week they'll teach, I'll watch and meeting some more.  And THEN, I'll go back to my class and get settled in with the munchkins of level 1.  Woot!
This weekend was also the start of English outreaches.  I teach a kids' English class in Lagoa de Itaenga on Saturday afternoons, an adults' English class in Guadalajara on Monday evenings, and each Saturday night we either have an outreach in Lagoa de Itaenga or Guadalajara.
We started English class in Lagoa yesterday.  We only had about 10 students show up for the first class, but they were excited to be there.  I always tell a Bible story at the end of the class.  That's the fun part.  Watching their faces as you tell them about Pentecost, seeing them make connections from the Bible verse, to the Bible story, to their own lives.
Last night was American night at Guadalajara.  It was the kick off for the English class.  We had an English class there 2 semesters ago, but due to a lack of people to help with the class, we had to cancel it last semester.  So, this semester we're excited about what God's going to do through the class and especially through the outreaches.  Anyways, last night the American night was focused on food.  We had hot dogs, peanut butter, pancakes, chips, veggies, & ranch dressing, brownies, and root beer.   The band played, Ricardo preached, everyone ate, and then the kids & I played soccer.  It was hot.  I was tired.  But it was good.    
Today is my day off...lovely.  Tonight I teach Sunday school at the church.  And tomorrow is a new week.  Please pray for the International School, the English classes, the outreaches, the churches, and that we will glorify God through all of this.

Monday, January 31, 2011


I just spent 3 hours taking everything I own apart.  Looking, searching, for 400 Reais.
I found it!   Yaaaay!
Last week, I spent about 5 hours with Ivana, scheduling the classes for the coming semester.  It's done!   Yaaaay!
Last week also included many hours of organizing a dusty English closet.  It's organized!  Yaaaay!
Today we had a meeting with the English teachers.  They know their schedules, curriculum, and general procedures.  Yaaaay!
All the English books have been bought and are at the school!   Yaaaay!
Ricardo and Kattia moved to Carpina.  Now we can hang out more easily.   Yaaaay!
We have two new teachers!  Two new friends!   Yaaaay!
We've meeting-ed out the wazoo.  They're close to being finished and everyone's close to being informed.  Yaaaay!
The apartment is all organized and my two new roommates are here, settling in.  Yaaaay!
Lindsay and I taught Sunday school last night.  The kids learned stuff about Joseph.  Yaaaay!
God is good.  All the time.  Yaaaay!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

*Cue Sappy Voice*

"Different isn't bad.  It's just different" -Classic Mom Quote
Here would be a short clip illustrating my dear mother's point.
I often see cultural elements that could maybe be classified as "more effective" or "less effective" than other cultures, but when it comes down to it, they probably have their root in a different expectations and/or standards.  And so, I look upon the annual laid back month of January in Brazil, and I say "ahhh....", that is until tomorrow, when I start preparing for February.

Saturday, January 22, 2011


The other day I was thinking about this blog and wondering why I keep it up.
"I really hate it!", I thought.
But, then I had to stop myself.
Because I know I don't hate it.
I know that there are times when I have to save material for the next month,
so I don't go over my quota of three posts each month.
I know there are times I wonder why I made the quota three and not four or more.
Then I realized,
I hate posting when there's a lot going on,
When I have lots to write about but not enough time to process it all.
Sometimes I feel like writing about one thing makes everything else seem less important.
Do I write about the pain of leaving the U.S.
Or the joy of being in Brazil?
The wonderful evenings in the States
Or the beautiful mornings in Brazil?
And so, I write & erase, and write & erase
Over and over again,
Looking for ways to include everyone
And their unique and lovely characteristics
Into one paragraph that doesn't exceed my attention span.

Friday, December 31, 2010

The Final Adventure of the Year.

Peter and Jacob
were walkin' through the woods
they saw
a big, big dinosaur.
The name was T-Rex.
And it wasn't just any dinosaur.  It was a flying dinosaur.
Peter and Jacob were like WOAH!
And then they crept up and jumped on it and the dinosaur took them for a ride.
It was so fun.
The end.

Written by my 6 year-old nephew, Mr. James Byron Taylor

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Details in this Post May or May Not Be Accurate.

I often make the excuse that I have to come home for Christmas because my mother would murder me if I didn't.  I explain that no one has ever missed a Christmas and I wouldn't dare to be the first one. 
But the truth of the matter is that I had a dream. 
A dream that one day, I would be an actress in the Best Christmas Skit.  I was fully aware that if this were going to become a reality, I must show up for the Taylor Christmas celebrations.  And so, year after year, wherever I was in the world, I returned to the Taylor home base. 
I toiled year after year.  Whether with the Christmas story painted on feet, the PowerPoint version of the Christmas story, or raps done to intimidate other rappers, Sarah and I tried with all our might. 
But every year we failed.
And every year I thought, next year.  Next year we will be victorious.
The stakes were raised last year as a trophy was introduced. The Yodeling Pickle of Christmas was introduced and snatched up by Peter & Dan's "The Verbs of Christmas".  I cried a little bit that night.
But I was determined that 2010 would be the year that Sarah & I would snatch that Pickle. 
I awoke on the morning of the twenty-fourth, fully aware of what needed to be done that day.  After sitting on my sister and forcing her awake, we descended into the basement, we photographed, video-ed, sang, and recorded.  And then we edited it.  It was a beaut.  As we saw the time come near, we knew that we were ready.  Ready for the Yodel. 
Once again we descended the stairs.  We opened the laptop.  We plugged in the projector.  We pushed "fn" and "f3" simultaneously.  And alas, nothing happened.  Despair fell upon us.  We saw the pickle slipping from our fingers.  Just as we were about to sit and feign laughter at the other skits, the Tech Guy that surpasses all tech guys appeared.  We were unable to see his fingers, as they became a blur on the keyboard.  We saw drivers downloading and wondered what a driver actually is.  We saw cords being switched.  We saw computers being restarted.  And then we saw our hope for the Yodeling Pickle of Christmas upon the wall. 
The rest is history. 
Dan saved us.
Sarah was laughed at.
And we won.
For the first time in Taylor history, females are the victors.
We are the Picklettes of Christmas.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

End of the Semester Check List

Semester completed?  Check.  
Children hugged?  Check.
Grades figured and printed?  Check and check.  
Levels assigned for next semester?  Check.  
Books bought for next year? Chec..well, not completely checked, but almost.
Note to parents written/translated?  Check/check.  
Parents conferenced?  Check.  
Classroom clean? can wait.
Apartment clean?  Check.
Gifts prepared?  Check.
Bags prepared?  Workin' on that one.
Itinerary printed?  I'd classify that as a priority.
Ready to see my family and friends?  Checkity check.


Sunday, November 28, 2010


Thanksgiving.  Giving thanks.
Food.  Lots of food.
People.  Enough for me to feel at home.
Conversation.  Chatter everywhere.
Laughter.  Smiles.  Friends.  Noise.
This is Thanksgiving.
The group, minus Lindsay, Rebecca, & Christopher

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Oh, the Strides We Have Made

You know you're an English teacher when the following exchange makes you a wee bit excited:

Me: (to the class) Please sit down.
Pedro proceeds to sit in my chair.
Me: Pedro?
Pedro:  You said sit down.

Now, I know this kind of thing happens every day with countless numbers of sweet, yet ornery, fourth graders all over the world...but dude, did you notice the perfection of his answer?  "You said sit down".  Makes me tear up a little bit...ok, maybe not.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Most Beautiful Sound

I heard the most beautiful sound Sunday night.
It was the cacophony of singing at church.
Now, our church isn't known for what you would call "beautiful" worship.
We have one guitar, we could use some intensive classes in clapping as a group, and the church as a whole has trouble carrying a tune.
But on Sunday night something got into the multitude of kids we had.
They decided to sing for all they were worth, at points you could have classified it more as shouting and less as singing.
And it was beautiful.
All I could think of, during this assault on the eardrums, was how the majority of these kids had never been to an evangelical church six months ago.
They began coming...mostly for the snack.
And now they sing, or rather, make a joyful noise.

Sunday, October 31, 2010


In July, Andy & Becky Flink, my mom, and my brother & sister helped to put on a VBS program at the church in Lagoa de Itanega.  We had a bunch of kids.  Since then, the church at Lagoa de Itaenga has been overflowing with children.  We consistantly average 30 kids on a Sunday night...which is a ton, when you consider that we average about 20 adults.   The vast majority of them come from the neighborhood surrounding the church.  And most of them are very consistent in attendance.

I have switched from teaching the adults' English class to the childrens' class.  I teach the younger kids (6-10 year olds), while Pastor Ricardo teaches the older kids (11-14 year olds).  We normally have around 25 or 30 kids.  They are all eager to learn.  My class normally starts with an English lesson and ends with a very basic Bible story.  A friend of mine, Junior, helps me teach the class.  We have been using the left over material from the VBS for the Bible story.  We finished one of the little coloring books last week and the kids were super excited to take them home.

 Last night was our first youth night at the church.  Twenty teenagers came for "Inside-Out Night".  Though the program was only for teenagers, there was a group of little kids at the back of the church, wishing they were old enough to play the games and get points for their teams.

We have begun building relationships with these kids and are excited to see how God is using this little church to work in the lives of these kids.  Please pray that the Lord will continue to bless our children's ministry and our church.