Tuesday, September 5, 2017

"With All My Heart:" Celebrating 40

On Thursday of last week, my sweet students planned a really sweet surprise birthay celebration for me.  I was touched by their love and "carinho."  One of my student's mother made this delicious chocolate cake.






"I will give thanks to you, LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your marvelous works!"
Psalm 1:9




This was my birthday card from them.  We have fun selfies together, but unfortunately as they are minors I cannot post those.  They were quite pleased with themselves in surprising me!


Some of my sweet gifts.
 Friday, September 1st was my actual birthday.  Big 4.0.  I shared the scripture above because while last year I was in panic mode at the thought of leaving my precious 30s behind...this week I just felt overwhelmed with gratitude.  I am well.  I am healthy.  I am raising my children.  My husband and I are nearing our 10 year anniversary.  Our children are healthy.  How.blessed.am.I?

My precious friend, Juliana, spent Friday afternoon with me while the children were at school.  She brought me cinnamon rolls and we sat and talked and talked and talked.  Perfect birthday afternoon.  Thanks, Ju, for sharing my special day with me!


Saturday I just wanted to eat Mexican food with my three favorite people.  That is exactly what we did.  It was fantastic!

I have decided my son doesn't know how to take a normal picture.  Ever.  Someday he will love these pictures!!

One of our two huge plates of food!



This special gift came from a dear friend of mine, a fellow teacher and sister in Christ.  She gave it to me saying that owls are a symbol for teachers and it just really touched my heart.  This semester has been super, super challenging and difficult on many levels for me and most of August was spent overwhelmed and frustrated.  This gift, with its simple message, gave me hope.  While I never dreamed I would be a teacher, God has put me there and will keep me there.  Thank you, sweet Camila.  God used you this weekend to encourage and inspire me.
And so to my parents who called me, to the many Whatsapp messages and untold numbers of Facebook messages to a few special emails to my husband who took me to lunch and my mother in law who cooked on Sunday so I did not have to, to my precious High School students, THANK YOU!!!  My world is so full.  My heart is so full.  I am so loved and incredibly blessed and each of you are a special part of that blessing.

                                                                       Celebrating 40,
                                                                                    Jama

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

That Our Sons & Daughters...

***I wrote this post over a month ago...that is pretty much how my life is these days!  I was tempted to delete it and start over, but man, it took me awhile to create it so here it is...five weeks later.  I hope you enjoy.***

***I know I have some faithful followers that really do care about us and pray for us and its because of them (and my mother, of course!) that I have been agonizing over my little blog.  How can I keep up on my blogging in the midst of what feels like an overwhelming schedule right now?  How can I avoid giving it up altogether or blogging once every few months??  I am not sure I have a great answer but I have an idea.  Let's see how it goes from here on out!***


My mother sent me this verse this week and i thought it was beautiful.  I confess my first thought was "How???"  I find myself more and more running to the WORD for answers to all the hows? in my life.     

I am well aware of the date of my last entry.  
I am also well aware of the fact that to fill you in, even briefly, on our lives the last four months would take many, many posts.
I am even more aware that I simply don't have the time I would like to do justice to the past semester.

Yes, I see my life in semesters now.  My children's semesters.  My semesters.  My husband's semesters.  Our lives are broke up into Feb-June=1st semester.  July=much needed Winter break. Aug-Nov=2nd semester.  Mid Dec-Jan=much needed Summer break.  And then we start all over again.

So, here we are entering the final week of our marvelous month of vacation.  Daddy is home. Mommy is home.  The two kiddos are home.  Grammie came to visit for 19 marvelous days and all too quickly flew home to her world this past Wednesday.  Did we ever enjoy our days with her.



I am quite pleased to announce that after much struggle and many tears and even more prayers, our Chloe Maria has learned to read!  She is even enjoying it and is writing up a storm on every piece of paper she can get her hands on.  I find little notes all over the place and it does my mommy heart GOOD!  In four months she went from stubbornly declaring it is completely unnecessary to know how to read to reading everything.  My mother spent hours reading to the children during her visit and Chloe even started reading in English.  Wow.  Whew.  God is good!  Huge Victory #1 for our semester #1. 



Noah Miguel had a very shaky start at his new school behavioral wise but after finding out his teacher is stronger and more stubborn than he is, he has settled down and became a favorite in his classroom.  I can only thank God for both of my children's teachers.  Patient, loving women of God who have looked beyond my children's strong wills and seen potential, building on their strengths and always encouraging growth in their weaknesses.  Both Pro Jessica and Pro Ellen have brought out the best in my children and we all look forward to semester #2.  





My husband is officially a graduated Environmental Engineer!  Our semester was so incredibly full of victories and this was one of our greatest.  After a tough, tough four years, he has completed his engineering degree.  It goes without saying that the children and I deserve that diploma too!  I am so proud of him for never, ever giving up and in spite of immense obstacles, he remainded disciplined and motivated to the very end.

June 2017-Brazilian Valentine's Day
Igreja Comunidade Restauracao
Couple's Dinner
And by God's amazing, abundant GRACE, I completed my first semester as the High School teacher at C.A.S.A and finished well. I fell in love with my students this semester and am incredibly proud of them for their hard work, dedication and diligence to the very end.  Theirs is not an easy road, two school programs simultaneaously, but they are committed and so am I.  So, here is to semester #2 of 1/2 credit Fine Arts and 1/2 credit Health.

                                                                Blessings be yours,
                                                                                      Jama










Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Seven

It's Her Day


And Just Like That...She's Seven!

Seven years ago she made me a momma.  She came so quietly into our world that I worried she wasn't breathing.  She was laid on my belly and instinctly just crawled up until she found what she wanted.  Today she isn't so quiet as that day she was born, but she is just as determined to get what she wants.  

*She will go far.
*She will change the world because the world certainly will NOT change her!
*She can be whatever she wants to be. 
*Most recently she told me she wants to be a teacher because a teacher gets to boss everyone around.
*She is a wonderful momma to her "children," her many dolls that truly are her children in her mind (I even have to babysit them while she is at school!)
*At 7 years old she is bilingual and can interpret and translate in either language.
*She is as tall as most 9 or 10 year old Brazilians and no one can believe she is "just seven?"!
*She is the queen of drama.
*She feels everything deeply and completely.
*She loves Jesus so much and really truly wants to honor Him in her life.
*She composes her own music and dances like no one is watching.
*But LOVES when we watch her! :)
*Most of all, she is our joy-child.
*Our answer to prayer for a daughter.
*Chloe Maria: a new shoot, new life.

My prayer for her:  that truly everywhere she goes, her words, actions and attitudes will bring new life to those around her and she will always be excited to share about LIFE in Jesus!

Sunday we celebrated HER with a small, quiet family sunday dinner.  She was thrilled and told me it was "the best birthday ever"!  Like I said, she is dramatic.   But it was a lovely day.  She and her brother enjoyed grandma's pool.
She did not want birthday cake.  She asked for lots and lots of lemon tart and tacos.  In that order!







Her Tio Wellington praying a blessing over her life.

A few other events of the past month:

My son's dream was to ride "daddy's train."  For the kids it is a wonderful adventure.  For my husband who rides public transportation up to five hours a day, it is a bit of a torture!  BUT we enjoyed watching their joy in the simple things, like riding the train downtown Sao Paulo for a fun Saturday family outing.



We visited Catavento  in Sao Paulo.  It is a wonderful place that you have to visit several times to see everything.  This time we did the atronaut and Lego events.  We waited in line for "forever" but it was worth it.  The kids loved it and we all learned so much.  It reminds me a bit of the Exploratorium in San Francisco.






When they are not fighting and fussing among themselves...they are very much in love!  Recently, Noah has started calling his sister, "Amor" this and "Amor" that!!!









Headed home.  Hot and tired but very happy!
Noah playing with daddy at church...


Oh my gosh, this picture just melts.my.heart!

Celebrating cousin Isaac Jorge...two years old.  Already.





Makes this auntie very, very happy that this little guy LOVES all things chocolate and especially loves his aunties brownies and chocolate cakes!

First Day of Class for High School
My coordinator did a fantastic job of decorating our classroom for the first day of class.  She prepared a wonderful table of snacks and fresh juice.  It was quite lovely!

Our classroom guidelines




Legally I am not able to post pictures of my students without their parents consent but my class has grown to 12 students and I have grown quite attached to them already.

They are super intelligent kids who really are trying to track with me as we wade our way through US History, with a textbook four inches thick and a mere 18 weeks to "learn it all." I am so proud of them and know they will survive...as will I...right?

It is taking everything I have in me and when I have nothing else, God has surrounded me with an amazing support team to help me, give counsel, encourage me that I will survive and help in practical ways like teaching ideas, activities to keep the kids' attention, etc.

It is tough.  It is good.  I am being stretched way beyond anything in my life before professionally speaking.  I am excited to get paid to go back to High School to refresh my memory in so many subjects.  I am most blessed.

Have a marvelous week and until next time,
Jama