Thursday, January 31, 2008

Win a copy of Recipe for Murder!

It's been raining for two weeks. This is wonderful for the temperature, as it was actually under 70 degrees in the house yesterday! I've had to pull out my sweater and extra blanket for the beds at night.

The only bad thing about the rain is that it makes going shopping a challenge. You can only juggle so many grocery bags while carrying an umbrella. And it takes a long time for our clothes to dry on the line.

But in exchange for the stifling hot weather, I'll take it!

Now for the free books!

If you haven't signed up to receive my newsletter click here for a chance to win one of FIVE copies of my first cozy mystery from Barbour Publishing. I'll be sending out my February newsletter next week along with the names of five winners drawn from those who are signed up.

I'm excited about this new series. (I just signed the contract for book three this week!) If you love a great mystery, with humor, and a strong spiritual message, I guarantee you'll love this book!

Sign up today!

I won't be posting until we return from our camp early next week. Please pray that we will have the courage and the vocabulary to work hard on our Portuguese during this time!



Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Happy Birthday, Mariah!

We had a wonderful birthday celebration for Mariah this past weekend. She choose to go to the mall to watch a movie then have pizza after which was exactly what we did. It's hard to believe she's just turned nine!

I've noticed that my posts are coming fewer and farther between. There never seems to be enough time for everything I want to do. We've just made it to the halfway point of our stay here and every extra minute, it seems, is used for language. This weekend we are planning to attend a Christian camp for families (five days) which will mean total immersion in Portuguese. I'm VERY nervous, but at the same time excited as I know this will be a huge boost to our language.

We would really appreciate your prayers as we make it through this final stretch of our time here and anticipate returning to Africa.



Thursday, January 24, 2008

Taste of Brazil

I know I've mentioned before how much I love trying new foods, and living in Brazil has been no exception. The beans and rice are fantastic. The bakeries even better.

One of Scott's favorite meals can be bought along the side of the road. Take your ordinary hot dog, add peas and corn,
a bit of tomato and onion relish, mayo, mustard, mashed potatoes, and fried onions and you've got a meal in a bun. (Okay, I have to admit that this is not one of my favorites.)

We decided to forgo Pizza Hut last week and go for a more Brazilian pizza. Try this pizza on for size! When they say "Super Mega Pizza" they are not joking. And for less than twenty dollars it's a great deal as well.

Want to try something different for dinner. This Stroganoff recipe has become one of our favorites. While I don't guarantee it's authenticity, Brazilians do love their stroganoff (and so do I!) I've never been one to follow a recipe, but you really can't go wrong on this one, so experiment and have enjoy! It's fast and easy.

2 pounds chicken breasts or beef strips
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion chopped
1/2 t nutmeg (don't leave this out!)
1/2 t oregano
4 T catsup
3 T yellow mustard
About 1 cup of heavy cream or creme fraiche. (You might be able to find Brazilian-style creme de leite in a Latino market.)

Cut up meat into small strips or pieces. Saute the meat, onion, and garlic and cook until meat is done. Add catsup and mustard and mix well. When ready to eat, add cream and cook for one minute.

Serve over rice and sprinkle matchstick potato chips on top.

And BTW, if you haven't signed up for my newsletter, click here. I'll be sending out my February newsletter soon with a chance to win a Taste of Brazil AND a copy of Recipe for Murder



Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Go Brazil!

Time seems to be getting shorter as each day passes and there never seems to be enough hours in the day for me to get everything done. In the process, I've perfected multi-tasking. I listen to Portuguese lessons while walking to school, help Jayden with English phonics while studying Portuguese grammar, iron the clothes while watching Portuguese TV (yes, watching TV is homework too!), listen to Portuguese music while cooking supper, and catch up on my blog while giving spelling tests.

Life has actually divided itself into three categories. Mornings are for home schooling, afternoons for Portuguese school and homework, and at night I write. Housework gets stuffed into the cracks.

Last week, while I stayed home and wrote, Scott took the kids to a soccer game with our school. As you can imagine, the boys especially loved every minute of it.

More photos later.



Wednesday, January 16, 2008

New Friends

Early Monday morning, at two a.m. a couple of cars decided to park outside our bedroom window, block traffic, and throw a block party. For an hour they talked, cars hooted, and cell phones beeped. An hour or so later, we finally found out why when a tow truck showed up, making more noise then the block party.

Even a sleepless night, though, couldn't take away from wonderful experience we had on Sunday. One of the things we've been looking for is a small home cell where we can participate in worship and build relationships with some Brazilians. Last week, we'd invited a Brazilian couple over for supper who are apart of a group of house churches. She called us Sunday night to see if she could drop by for a visit with one of their leaders who wanted to meet us.

About an hour later she arrived with nine members of their home cell. They'd come to meet us, encourage us, and worship with us. I was completely overwhelmed by the wonderful fellowship as we praised God together in Portuguese. This group, fellow Christians we barely knew, made us feel a part of their family.

This group is passionate about Christ and are currently working in an area between here and Sao Paulo to start more house churches. They have offered to give us a ride on Sundays so we can be apart of one of the small groups, worship with them, and form relationships.

This is a huge answer to prayer for us and will dramatically help with our language learning as well.



Saturday, January 12, 2008

Love a Cozy Mystery?

If you love a good cozy mystery, then you've got to check out Barbour Publishing's new book club.

Heartsong Presents--MYSTERIES! is now accepting subscription orders and the first books will ship to customers before January comes to an end.

These are fantastic books and a bargain to boot! (only $13.99, including shipping, every six weeks for four brand new mysteries!)

And subscribers receive four FREE books in addition to the four they receive in their first month's shipment and there are no commitments to sign up.

Check out the details and subscribe HERE.

One of the reasons I'm excited about this club is because I have a new series coming out with them.

In RECIPE FOR MURDER, Pricilla Crumb’s guest list has just turned into a suspect list. . .for murder. Pricilla never expected to be involved in a real life mystery, but that’s exactly where she finds herself when one of the guests at her son’s hunting lodge is found dead after sampling one of her salmon-filled tartlets. Determined to discover the truth, this unconventional busybody follows one lead after another, dishing up laughter and suspense along the way.



Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Never say never. . .

Nine months ago, I never considered moving to Mozambique let alone learning Portuguese. In fact, when we moved to South Africa four years ago, I specifically told Scott how glad I was to be moving to another primarily English speaking country because I wasn't going to learn another language. Studying both French and an African tribal language had taught me that language learning simply isn't one of my gifts.

Obviously God had other things in mind.

So I never imagined moving to Mozambique, studying Portuguese in Brazil. . .or home schooling.

Yes, homeschooling. While I can see the advantages, I've always believed that I'm not patient enough or experienced enough to teach three kids, in three different grades, let alone attempt to teach my youngest to read.


Hmmm. . .Like I just said, God must have had other things in mind.

Because here I am living in Brazil, learning Portuguese, and home schooling. And I have to admit the small amount of pride that swelled this week as Jayden started first grade. After weeks of working together he's reading!

Never say never. God just might surprise you!



Saturday, January 05, 2008

Let it Rain

It was bound to happen sooner or later.

Summer time in Brazil means rain, welcome on most days because of the heat. To escape the warm weather today, we took the kids to the movies on the bus. The moment I stepped into the air-conditioned mall I smiled despite the throng of people. I was cool at last.

The movie was fun, the kids happy, so after walking around a bit we headed back home.

We got off the bus at the apartment of one of Mariah's friends who had joined us for the day. Her mom had a baby yesterday, so we briefly visited the family, then headed home on foot.

We were still eight or so blocks from home, and the clouds had darkened considerably by the time we left the apartment building. We told the kids to hurry. We could make it. No problem.

Or so we thought. Within two minutes the heavens broke open and we were soaked. Let me tell you though, after being so hot this past week, all we could do was laugh and run through the rain with big smiles on our faces.

Enjoy your day today!


Friday, January 04, 2008

No Regrets

It’s that time of year again, isn’t it? Time to reflect over the past year, where we are, and where we want to be. Add to that, my high school graduating class recently celebrated its twentieth class reunion and while I wasn’t able to attend, it’s been fun to catch up with several people I’d lost track of. It also made me spend time reflecting once again on the past two decades and where they’ve brought me.

Through all my reflections, one thing has stood out. God has always been there. While it hasn’t always been easy, I can look back at certain moments or milestones in our life where He’s has challenged me, convicted me, and moved me in directions I’d never planned.

Providential encounters where God asked me to step out on faith and trust Him.

About six years ago, we were living in the states, working and involved in our church. While we were fairly content with life, we felt God calling us to use our talents for Him again overseas. The question was where and when. We’d prayed about joining a team in Japan and even went there on a survey trip, but God firmly shut that door.

One Sunday after a mission’s day at church, we drove home discussing this desire to move back overseas. We talked about several possibilities including working with Scott’s aunt and uncle. They’d mentioned us to join them in the past, but it had simply been a comment in passing. If they sent us a formal invitation, Scott told me, he would know God was behind it.

Scott dropped the kids and I off at the house, then went to run an errand. I sat down to check my email. There it was. A letter from his aunt and uncle.

"Dear Scott and Lisa," it read. "We know we've mentioned it in the past, but we would like to extent to you and an official invitation to join us and the work here in southern Africa. . ."

A coincidence? No way. It was God’s hand orchestrating events in our lives.

I haven’t always responded in either faith or trust. Sometimes, I’ve preferred to walk away while fear reached out and pulled me under. I’ve ignored the subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) moving of the Holy Spirit.

Yet still, He is faithful. I’ve seen it over and over.

Through the valley of infertility, He molded me. Through the miracle of adoptions, He brought me hope. Through the struggles of ministry, He’s teaching me to daily rely on him. Through childrearing and now home schooling, He’s teaching me patience and unconditional love. Through my writing, He’s opened doors I would have never thought possible. In moving to Brazil, He’s continues to stretch me and grow my faith.

My list could go on and on. The times I listened. The times I chose to ignore. His faithfulness never failed.

Any achievements have been from His hand. He’s brought good from difficulties, broadened our horizons, and stayed faithful to each and every promise. As James 1:17 says, every good and perfect gift is from above.

And when I stop and look over the past years, I realize that that very promise is true. Everything good, has come from Him.

Saying yes to His call still isn’t always easy. But my goal for the coming year is to live with no regrets. I want to hear God’s calling in everything and act. I was struck with how a friend recently put it. “I choose to say ‘I’ll go wherever You lead me….’ It is a daily process of dying to self, isn’t it?”

Wow. Powerful stuff.

Happy New Year,