December 31, 2011

That End of the Year Post.

You know the one.. The cliche post everyone does at the end of the year? Everybody's wishing everyone a happy 2012, full of good health, cheers and what not. Twitter is full of 2012 tweets, Facebook feeds are full of goodwill, and I'm dreading writing a post that will be just as corny. 
But sometimes corny is what we need in life, and really there's no other way to come out and say it, so here it goes:

I wish for you in two-thousand and twelve:
Everything you truly need,
Some of the good things you want,
And the wisdom to know the difference. 

I wish for you in two-thousand and twelve: 
Love, prosperity, energy, faith,
Family, friends, the kind that are true, and loyal,
And that you may, fulfill your own expectations and resolutions.

I wish for you in two-thousand and twelve:
Renewed closeness with God,
Time for God, yourself, and for family.
Time to get everything done well.

I wish for you in two-thousand and twelve: 
Lots of yummy food, 
Then the energy to exercise,
And desire to try new recipes.

I wish for you in two-thousand and twelve:
Vigor to accomplish all your new year resolutions,
Wisdom to discern what you can realistically accomplish next year,
And just enough dreaming to make your resolutions ambitious.

I wish for you in two-thousand and twelve:
Perseverance in the blogging world,
Many comments, good writing, and more blogging friends,
May your adventures take you to beautiful places.

I wish for you in two-thousand and twelve:
Blessings, joy, good health of body and spirit.
Everything, and anything I'm missing.
Blessings, blessings, and more blessings.


The sun is setting, for the last time in 2011. The last sunset, of the last day, of the last week, of the last month, of this year. So, from our family, to yours, have a blessed, and brilliant, 2012!

December 30, 2011

Humor Me Friday & The Gift of You.

I keep forgetting, that on weekends I already have post topics. (Humor Me Fridays, and Saturday Devotionals) So technically I should have written this post yesterday, but I forgot, so I'm posting it today, along with a Humor Me Friday video.

If there is one gift, that December has given me, it is all of you. Increased readership, comments, and members. Melissa, from BlogHer, wrote a post on The Gift of Comments in November. Oh how true the words!
When I began blogging, I had no idea what blogs were, what purpose they served, or where I was headed. I simply had things from daily life I wanted to share, and I realized FaceBook wasn't the place to do so, Twitter much less. So I began a blog. I began with small quotes from around the house, little "pearls" as we call them. Then I realized I had room for more than just quotes, so I began to increase the content, adding photos, and on it went.
I never payed any attention to stats, comments were far apart and few in number, mostly by friends who were nice enough to pay me a visit. Then, in the last few weeks of October, I came across BlogHer. And that's where it all began. NaBloPoMo in November brought to surface the geekyness in me. And got me hooked on writing daily.
In two months of daily writing, I met wonderful people, came across gorgeous blogs, and all of it inspired me. I focused on blog design a little, I tried to "up" the blog content, and then..magic happened. Little by little, our "members" increased from nine, to twenty-three.
When I sign in to blogger in the morning, and go to the posts page, every single post has at least one comment, and for this, I can't thank you enough. I know, I'm coming across as the desperate girlfriend, comment hogger, but truth is, we will all blog.for.comments. What would the blogging world be with silence and no feedback? Don't answer that. I'm sure we've all experienced it. In the beginning. Do you remember?
I am so terribly grateful for all of you who keep coming back, day after day, and leaving your wonderful comments on my little blurbs. I love how I began to recognize names on the December Soup list. And then started recognizing blogs, names, and commentators. We've formed a little support group I'd say, and I'm loving being included. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
I treasure each of you, your posts, blogs, and comments. And as the 2012 comes in, I wish to all of you many many comments, wonderful blog posts, loyal followers and members, strength to keep going, loads of creative juices, and blog fun!
Happy Friday everyone! Two-thousand and twelve, better watch out for us! We'll be blogging it all away! (Can you believe it's just two days away? Still giving the the butterflies!)

I assure you, my happy dance is nothing like this. Had you seen this video before? What would you do if you were iceskating, and this happened?!
Happy Friday Y'all!~*


December 29, 2011

The One in Which I Won Something and Am Smiling..

You know that scene? When Scarlett Johansson is in line at a check out, and she wins the mini cooler and gets so excited because she had never before won anything, that she screams, jumps up and down, and hugs the random person behind her? (Which of course had to be Bradley Cooper?)
Well, stuff like winning mini coolers at check outs doesn't happen to me. (Much much less getting to shop/hug/see Bradley Cooper) Didn't anyway. Until I entered April's (from Beyond the Small Gate), her giveaway. I won it. I did the happy dance (it's sad to look at. you don't wanna see it.)
This morning a package arrived from clear across the country, as well as a lovely Holiday card! I couldn't have been more thrilled and touched.

Thank again April!
Speaking of blog giveaways, rises up a question I've been having for a while.
How do giveaways in the blog world work anyways? Is it an investment into her blog that the blogger makes? Or are they a cooperation between someone selling products and a blogger? How do the big guys do it?
Do any of you have the answers? Similar questions? Do you host blog giveaways on your blog?
Hope you all have/had a lovely Thursday!

December 28, 2011

Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down.

This month for NaBloPoMo the theme was "Gifts". Yes, I know that's such. old. news. The thing is, obviously, I haven't been following the prompts, in fact, I haven't even gone once to see what the prompt of the day was. I can't decide whether that's good, or bad.
Last month, during November's NaBloPoMo I thought it was good because it made me feel all "super creative" and what-not. But then this month, I started looking around at awesome blogs (such as Periphery) that not only write super duper well, but manage to stick to the "Gift" topic, and make each post interesting and different! A
nd then I scrunched up my nose and began to turn green. With envy.  I can't exactly turn around and begin December again and stick to one topic, so instead I've decide to close December (on the 31st) with a gift post. I'm excited.
But for today, here's another installment of Thumbs Up! or Thumbs Down!

  • The obvious. The flu! I don't exactly enjoy being ill, but this weekend? Ah! Not very nice Mr. Flu, very dirty trick. I missed going to the gym, but I had schoolwork to catch up with and I was afraid if I did make it to the gym, I'd get dizzy and, well, it wouldn't be pretty. It'd be pretty lame to be doing planks and crunches then get into a coughing fit and have to hang on to the wall for dear life because the world was spinning. Awkward much.
  • Photoscape not being Mac compatible. I'm really really sad about this. I've always used Photoscape to edit my photos, and I haven't been able to edit photos since I switched to Mac because..well I'm just a bit too lazy to learn how to use GIMP. Therefore I'm suffering from editing withdraws. It's killing me. (When the pain gets too big I'll stop being lazy and learn how to mess around with GIMP.) 
  • Having to fight the really strong urge to embark on January's NaBloPoMo. I want to do it again. I can't though. Really I mustn't. Must. Resist. (Am I the only one who's become...addicted? *gasp* I just admitted it.)
  • Math. I've begun studying for my SAT's (any helpful tips/hints out there?) and the math part has me scared silly. 

  • Books. I'm just finishing up Daniel and the Revelation by Uriah Smith. Oh my word this book is awesome! (If you're into history check. this. book. out!)
  • Starting another course! I'm really excited. In a couple of months, I'll be a certified swim instructor. (: Should improve my own strokes as well. (I should probably work on getting back to the pool, haven't been in about three months.) (Wow has it really been that long?)
  • Blogger. Did you know, that blogger has this awesome little feature now, that sends all spam comments into a separate folder?! Because blogger. is. awesome like that. This means that the whole word verification thing? Is useless. It only makes people too lazy to post comments. Hooray! Word verification? Unnecessary. I'm happy.
  • MacBook Pro. Ok, so it isn't Photoscape compatible *cries* but it's been so so so truly amazing and worth it. You're fast. You can keep up with my crazy hundred tabs a minute. With my GIMP photo edits, and blog code changes. Thank. You.
  • Awesome friends who send me SAT prep material through the mail. I feel so special and supported. *smiles* Thanks Renata!!
There you have it folks, the good, outweighing the bad as is customary. I could sit here all day listing things, but I won't do that to you. I hope all have a lovely Monday afternoon!

P.S. I read this verse this morning, thought it was so beautiful I'd share:
"Know ye not that the unrighteous 
shall not inherit the kingdom of God?
Be not deceived: neither fornicators,
nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate,
nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards,
nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the
kingdom of God.
And such were some of you:
but ye are washed,
but ye are sanctified,
but ye are justified
in the name of the Lord Jesus,
and by the Spirit of our God."
-1 Corinthians 6:9-11
What a promise!

December 27, 2011


As a consequence of our whereabouts never being certain, when we moved to Abbotsford, daddy decided to rent. Buying a house and then leaving and having to sell a few months later wouldn't make any sense. It turned out to be a good thing because here we are, a year later packing our boxes up again.
Speaking of boxes, you'd probably guess we've become pros at reducing things to minimal space and packing just the necessary. But we're not. We're hoarders. One of the things we've been holding on to for way too long, is VHS tapes. It's sort of depressing to think, that my kids will not experience VHS tapes, bulky VCR's, fat screens versus flat screens, or boxes full of hefty VHS tapes.
We brought over from our old house, an impressively large box full of these dinosaurs. Home videos, nature videos, national geographic collections, etc. Last week, however, daddy decided to diminish that box into a package of DVD's. Our Shirley Temple collection, all our home videos, and all our nature videos, are being turned into DVD's.
So far, he's managed to convert half of our box. This is the result:

From This:

To This:

Now. Which do you think is easier to pack away and move with?
We're disposing of the VHS, and taking the DVD pack with us. Please don't tell me I need to upgrade to Blue-Ray. I know, DVD's are going to become extinct. But for now, this is progress!
Are you decluttering (apparently this isn't a word) this winter? Do you hang on to VHS tapes too?


December 26, 2011

Holiday Shopping. Yikes.

I think it's hilarious. Really I do. I scurry down the mall aisles shaking my head and giggling to myself.
The difference between female enjoyment of shopping, and male enjoyment of shopping, is ignormous. Everybody knows that.
Sure, some of us ladies don't enjoy shopping so much, and some men actually like it. But in most cases, that's just the way it goes. Men hate torturous hours inside mall building, women thrive on it. It's therapy women say.
When I'm in the mood, I enjoy shopping. But only when I'm "feelin' it." If I've got tons to do at home, forget it, I don't want to leave the house. However, on occasion, mother and I leave the boys at home, and we head out for some fun.
This month, I made the trip to the mall twice. The day before Christmas, and then the after. Worst possible days to shop? Definitely. The whole place was packed with people. Girls, couples, and men.
The day before Christmas I counted at least five panicked teenage boys followed by their somewhat amused fathers. Why were these boys panicked? Because they had "No idea what I'm going to get her!" They had officially waited until the last minute to purchase their Christmas gifts, and now they were running around the mall, with bewildered eyes, lost in a world of possibilities to get the perfect gift, or to make a mess out of things. I heard two of these boys being asked if they were sure they had enough money left, they simply nodded their heads. I doubt they heard the question. They seemed so lost in a state of unutterable perplexity. A guy walked into Clair's, turned to his buddy and said, "I feel so weird in here." I shook my head and chuckled.
Today I went back to the mall. It was boxing day here in Canada. The place was packed with people. Girls, couples, and men. As I scurried back and forth down the crowded halls, I heard male voices asking, "Are you ready to go yet?", and assuring "I'm sure she'll love it, now let's go." And of course, the exasperated "Keep going, keep going, keep moving, go, go."
A teacher of mine once said he loved going to the mall with his wife. He'd simply sit on a mall bench, and watch the people passing by. He said you could see a lot of interesting people if you sat there long enough. Another teacher said he'd always have to prepare himself for shopping. He had to focus, and put it into his head that he was simply going to spend time holding his wife's purse.
Ah, the purse. If you observe shopping couples, whatever age they may be, teens, middle aged, elderly, the man will eventually end up holding the purse. He will be the one trudging along with it, a look of dire misery and boredom on his face. If you go into lingerie stores, you'll see men holding various pairs of 'ahem', undergarments, sheepishly in his hands. Sometimes they stare at the ceiling, or zone off into space, and then if you accidentally catch their eye, they immediately blush and attempt hiding the hangers of feminine apparel.  I find it all quite amusing- seeing grown men, holding purses. Seeing teenage guys shopping in Clair's. Seeing boys falling asleep on random benches. I think it's funny, and even kinda cute.
It all makes me appreciate the boys here at home, who "patiently" drive mother and I to the mall, and on occasion "patiently" wait for us, in the car, or on a mall bench, with our bags.

Victor, this summer. This is how Victor "patiently" waits for us at Sears. 
P.S. I haven't been feeling very well, but I plan on getting caught up with everyone's posts as soon as I'm back to my usual self. Thank you all very much for the get well soon wishes.

December 25, 2011


Yep. It happened. The flu got me. Or I got it. I don't know. My head feels too swollen for me to think that through. My nose is stuffy and runny. Eyes are puffy, and my ears are ringing. The power went out for a few hours this morning, so now that it's back, I'm passing by to wish you all a merry rest of the day. We're playing board games, and I'm working on getting well enough to do my schoolwork tomorrow.
We're planning a wonderful dinner tonight, I can't wait. For now, I wish you a wonderful evening with family and friends.
A Photo of earlier this year ... because this year we're still dreaming of snow ... 


December 24, 2011

Gold, Myrrh, and Frankenstein.

Last night at sunset, Daddy read us the Christmas story. (Luke 2) When he got to the part of the wisemen, he asked, "What were the three gifts the wise men gave baby Jesus?" Victor popped up and answered, "Gold, Myrrh, and Frankenstein!" He then proceeded to ask questions about how many wise men had gone to see Jesus, and when I burst into giggles he looked at me funny. He didn't notice. "Frankincense," We corrected.
Today I won't be posting a devotional, I thought I'd simply share a few texts about the way Christmas may be celebrated.

“The Day Is Not to Be Ignored.--As the twenty-fifth of December is observed to commemorate the birth of Christ, as the children have been instructed by precept and example that this was indeed a day of gladness and rejoicing, you will find it a difficult matter to pass over this period without giving it some attention. It can be made to serve a very good purpose.”
Adventist Home pg. 479

“The 25th of December has long been commemorated as the day of Jesus' birth, and . . . it is not my purpose to affirm or question the propriety of celebrating this event on this day, but to dwell upon the childhood and life of our Saviour. It is my purpose to call the attention of the children to the humble manner in which the Redeemer came to the world.” TDG 352 
“Let not the parents take the position that an evergreen placed in the church for the amusement of the Sabbath school scholars is a sin, for it may be made a great blessing. Keep before their minds benevolent objects.” AH 483
“God would be well pleased if on Christmas, each church would have a Christmas tree on which shall be hung offerings, great and small, for these houses of worship.”
 {RH, December 11, 1879 par. 15} 

“I see no objection to placing even in our churches a Christmas or New Year tree bearing fruit in gifts and offerings for the cause of God. We may thus take advantage of the occasion to turn the customary gifts of the season into the right channel. And such a holiday celebration is a useful lesson to our children, teaching them to bestow their gifts in a manner to honor their Redeemer.” ST January 4, 1883

“The tree may be as tall and its branches as wide as shall best suit the occasion; but let its boughs be laden with the golden and silver fruit of your beneficence, and present this to Him as your Christmas gift.”

{RH, December 11, 1879 par. 16}  
“Seek to be an evergreen tree. Wear the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. Cherish the grace of love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness. This is the fruit of the Christian tree.”
{My Life Today 51}
“I entreat you, my brethren and sisters, to make . . . Christmas a blessing to yourselves and others. [The birth of Jesus] was celebrated by the heavenly host.”
{Reflecting Christ 359}

May in this Christmas give Jesus the present He asks, "My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways."


December 23, 2011

Humor Me Friday.

I can't believe it's already Friday. Nope I can't. Won't sink in. I have things planned for "later this week", but um, it's sort of Friday already. Which of course means, a video.
Honestly, what would you do in this situation?

Happy Friday! Blessings ~* 

December 22, 2011

Randomness Galore.

I just accidentally figured out how to make this symbol --> † Instead of pressing command + T I accidentally pressed option + T, and this was the result †††††. Now I've found out every letter does something ... lame, and old, but I just figured it out so I'm pretty excited.
The above paragraph was absolutely random, just as today's post will be. While I was doing the ChildHood series, a bunch of things came to mind for me to write about. I became cranky because I was limited to one topic. So I jotted all my thoughts down and decided I should be happy because this "creative overflow" just guaranteed posts for the rest of the month.
The thing is, I'm generally a very organized person, to a fault even. But when it comes to writing, I'm hopelessly unorganized. I have jotted down thoughts on tissues, cellphone notepads, notecards, math textbooks, or worse- on the infamous scrap sheet of loose paper. Which is precisely where I wrote down the list of future posts. I can't find it today. So instead I'm posting a few random tidbits of life.

This year, Victor and I have attempted to make our first ever, gingerbread house. I had always thought gingerbread houses were cute, adorable, and fun, but I had never had the chance to make one. So this year, on our way back from Seattle, Victor and I bought a gingerbread house. The Kid kept bugging me the whole week to put it together, so we did eventually.

Ginge- the gingerbread boy. 

We began the process on the kitchen table ... It all resulted in such a sticky, gooey, beautiful mess. I'm not exactly a pro with the icing. So um, it sort of, kind of, stuck. Everywhere.

But we got the icing to look like little icicles. And of this, we are proud! 


 Ok, so it's not perfect. The Christmas tree, nor Ginge can stand up on their own... And in the end there was icing all over the table, my hands, and at least two spoons, a spatula, and a knife. But we had fun, and for starters ... I'd say it's not that bad. It's cute!

We got a Christmas card from school this week. It was the first one we've ever received, (I believe it's a recent addition), but it was all pretty exciting. Victor and I "checked off" all the teachers we've already had, and peered curiously at the ones we'll be having next year. We missed a few ... Especially Mrs. Schmuck, my favorite "English teacher". She passed away this year. I had hopes of meeting her one day when I graduated, but unfortunately that's not to be.

My brother wants to be a Chemist. Have I mentioned that already? I've told him he then needs to become a Chemical Engineer. He shrugs. I know, all he really wants is to wear a white lab coat and make things go "KA-BOOM". In order to get him going, we've begun a series of science experiments. I bought him a science project book last year for his birthday, (from one nerd to her brother), and this year I've assigned him one experiment per day. He does his experiment, and then he rights down a description of the chosen experiment, as well as his observations. Let's see how this goes. Hopefully I'll get some cool results to share on here as well.

The End! If you'd like, I invite you to peek into a few earlier posts ... all the way to oh ... let's say ... February? Happy Randomness Day!

December 21, 2011

ChildHood - Installment V

Allrighty-O! ( <-- no idea where that came from.)
It's time for me to close up my ChildHood Installment Series by getting right down to the point. Time to Answer Tiffanie's request. "I would love to hear about how that [moving around] affected you, if it was positive/negative, how it carried into your adult life."

If you're just beginning this series, remember the beginning is the best place to start:
Find Previous Installments Here:
ChildHood - Installment I 
In all honesty, I have to admit I love moving around. I didn't always. There were plenty plenty of times growing up when I'd look to my cousins, who have lived in the same house for their whole life, the same city, the same church, with burning envy. They know everyone, everyone knows them. They're used to their city's ways, know it like the back of their hands.  

I didn't have that. I had to memorize numerous new telephone numbers and addresses, and usually just about the time I was getting used to my surroundings, we'd move and the process began all over again. 

I had this idea of small towns, that it would be just like in the movies, you'd walk down the city street and people would call you out by name, would know everything about you just like you knew everything about them. And I knew it was true. Because my father comes from a small town, and every time we go there, people call out his name, wave, know where his parents live (in a non stalking creepy way), and one of his childhood buddies eventually became town mayor. My cousin lives there, and she walks down the street and can name all the owners of the little shops, they all know her, and she could walk the whole town blindfolded.

But I haven't lived in a small town in ages, and even if I did, by the time everyone got to know me, we'd be gone again. 

Yet, I'll tell you what I did have. What I do have. I have the opportunity to go places, see things, meet people, have different experiences. The beauty of a small town to me, was always the closely knit relationship of the community. It made me feel safe. Like I'd always have a place to come back to. But I've come to realize, that although I can't exactly name my hometown, because I moved away from the city I was born in when I was ten days old, I will always have a place to come back to. No. I will have many places I may always return to. Everywhere I've lived, I have left a little piece of me. And I know that if I ever need to, I can go back there. But even more importantly, because we've moved around so much, my immediate family has become quite closely knit, and I know for sure, that wherever life takes Victor and I, no matter what happens, we can always come home- wherever home might be at the time. 

We've been homeschooled, which I believe was the best choice for several reasons, but truth be told, I don't know what we would have done if school were a constant hindrance to moving around. We'd have to be buckled down by school too much. However, moving, traveling, and homeschooling have gone hand in hand. Because we move and travel, we homeschool. But because we homeschool, we move and travel. If we were in a public school, we couldn't take so many trips, see so many things, meet so many people. Yet, every time someone fears for our "socialization skills", they worry in vain, for with all the trips and moves we've made, we've become acquainted with just as much culture and different people as if we were in school. (Read my homeschooling post here.)

All these changes, all these moves, have shaped me into who I am. Every new place has impacted me in a different way. All the new people I've met, have imprinted something in my life. I don't know who I'd be if we hadn't moved around so much. Oftentimes I wonder what would've happened if father hadn't been stationed out of Brazil. How would I be? Who would I be? I'd have gone to public school, but would I have ever learnt English as I now know it? Would I be close to my family still? Would I have seen the small percentage of the world as I currently have, or would I have seen less? More? Would I have met all the people I have? Would I know different people? Would I be better? Or worse? 

The truth is, I'm glad I didn't have to make that choice. Someone did it for me; He knows who I would be had we not moved. So He sent me to a different path instead. I have every confidence He knows what He's doing. I'm glad I don't have to figure it out because I can't see the big picture. He can. I believe that if this is where He wants me right now, then I'm here for a reason. If I didn't grow up in a small town where everybody knows my name, knows everything about me just like I know everything about them, then it's all for the best. 

I suppose if I really had to, I could make myself adjust to living in one place for the rest of my life. I could get used to it, make the best of it. But for now I'm content with getting restless every five years, it's as if there's a built in clock in me, and its timer is on. Every five years or so it's time to move on, pack up and go some place new.  The thought of living in one house, in one city for thirty odd years ... somehow isn't appealing anymore. I don't want to settle, not right now anyways. I like this rhythm. 
Take what you can from the people you meet, take what you can from the places you go. The experience, the wisdom they can share. Learn all you can, see all you can, do all you can in the time you have here. Enjoy it to it's full potential so you'll have no regrets when you look back. Then move on. It was good while it lasted, now it's time for something new!

I have left little pieces of me everywhere I've been, but everywhere I've been has given me a little piece of it so that I'm now a patchwork quilt. No, I'm not made of one fine linen, I have rough spots, faults. I have soft spots, weaknesses. I have pieces that are unique and don't match, my oddness. All of them have come together by a Master quilt maker, to form me. I'm not perfect, but I'm me. I couldn't be who I am today without all our moves. So in the long run, I'm pretty happy with how everything has worked together. I'm pleased with my experiences and their outcomes. It's taught me to hang on, and then when the time comes, to let go. Moving has its ups and downs, but if that's the path that's laid out in front of you, it's because you're awesome and you can handle it. The ups outweigh the downs. Always. 

P.S. Unfortunately this method of raising your kids does not come with a guarantee that your kids will not be silly, weird, result in people asking if you have dropped your kids once or twice when they were babies.
Keremeos BC - 2011
Niagara Falls - 2009

Toronto ON - 2010
I hope this gave a bit more insight and proved to be somewhat of a satisfactory series (: 
If not, I'll try again sometime in the future. Thank you all for reading and commenting, feedback is so terribly appreciated. 

December 20, 2011

ChildHood - Installment IV

I baked last night- I baked the same recipe I've been baking since October (for our Canadian Thanksgiving). It was a hit, and when I find something different to bake, that is actually accepted here at home (trust me the three I bake for are a fussy batch. I can't say too much, I'm just as fussy if not worse) I tend to stick to it. I might, might, might post a few recipes this month. But we have to finish this ChildHood series first:

If you're just beginning this series, remember the beginning is the best place to start:
Find Previous Installments Here:
ChildHood - Installment I 

Our future destination was again tossed up into the air, and uncertain. For a minute there it had seemed as if we were finally going to return to Brazil. I began making plans, began to hoard English books. Books I'd normally never buy where bought and stored into boxes because, I did not want to get rusty on my English, and I had every intention of making Victor read English literature every day for the res of his life in order to keep his native language polished. But in the end, it all turned out to be a false alarm, and Brazil was not to be mine for keeps. Instead, we were to move to the West Coast- to Beautiful British Columbia.

I've tried to explain before, my ardent desire to move back to Brazil, but maybe I didn't do a very good job. Brazil is my homeland, and I am very patriotic. Many times I've seen immigrants come to North America and become very patriotic towards their new country. But to me, the sense of pride of Americans and Canadians to their country, is something that I do admire, but it only infected me to be patriotic of my own home land. Brazil. No I'm not over fanatic or anything, I simply love Brazil. I could list reasons, maybe I will next Independence Day, but Brazil is more to me than just a wonderful country. It's where my family lives, my grandparents, my cousins, aunts, uncles, friends. They're all there! We're the only ones living far away, and we miss our boisterous family terribly. There's also the matter that it's a different culture all together. Brazilians, although we don't speak Spanish, have quite a few similarities with our Hispanic neighbors. We're a warm society, a warm culture, respectful to other's differences, and we do our best to accommodate your wants and needs. We try to be inclusive, and overall Brazilians are a happy, teasing sort. I missed it all, and I wanted to go back.

So it's a wonder that when it was decided we weren't going to Brazil, I wasn't crushed. I had announced to family and friends that I was coming home, (they doubted it) but I was sure this time we would make it. But then a meeting was held, and our future was to be resolved. I should be used to this, the uncertainty, but it still gives me butterflies in my stomach every time it happens. The meetings held were to discuss several church matters, including our move, and they lasted a couple of days. It gave me time to pray. I prayed to God, that if it were His will to allow us to move back home, I was ready. However, if He had something else in mind, He was going to have to do something about it. He was going to have to change my heart. And He did. Yes. Just like that.

Dad came home announcing the committee had decided it might be best for us to stay in Canada for a while, just until the GC meetings in August through September. So they were stationing us to the West Coast. With no trouble I began to google British Columbia, and cities, and my attention was fully absorbed in West Canada. Seems fickle, but I'm glad the transition was so smooth, I'm glad I didn't get disappointed, it was a lot easier than I expected, and for this I am grateful.
 We knew there was a chance we'd stay here permanently (which is why we're still living out of suitcases and haven't bought but the most basic furniture), but we also knew there was a chance they'd move us again. So I made plans, but I didn't write them in stone. I studied, I looked for Universities nearby, I scanned the area for possible jobs, I took courses preparing for a job, I got my driver's permit, and life continued.

Abbotsford has been a lovely phase. We have no church here, but we have a small weekly group that gets together often to study God's word. I think, Abbotsford has been some what of a time of rest. We came out of a storm, and God gave us a time of smooth sailing. We've been here for almost a year now. Daddy traveled a lot this past year for his job. Victor went from, being afraid to put his head underwater in the bathtub, to touching the bottom of the pool's deep end. I've finished a year and a half of school-work, become a certified lifeguard, and begun a blog. Mother has made new friends, learnt to surf the net on her own, and had time to begin new projects. It was a great year, a year to pause a little bit and wait. To learn patience.

Then in September, it was decided that Abbotsford really was only temporary. We are to move again. As soon as our paperwork is figured out, we move to Virginia! I can't say much about Abbotsford that I haven't already blogged about. British Columbia is beautiful, and the people of Abbotsford quite friendly. I've enjoyed living here, and I don't think I'd mind to much if we had to stay. But I've missed going to church, (I never thought I as a Preacher's kid would ever have to say that) but I do. And I've got plans for Virginia. Plans, that aren't written out in stone, and are very likely to change, but I've got ideas and silhouettes for the future.

I'm glad we came to Abbotsford, and I'm quite excited to see where the next leg of our journey will take us and how it will unfold. If you're excited too, don't worry, I'll keep you posted. 

When we moved, Sister Brenda gave us a puzzle with thousands of pieces. We finished it during the first few lonely winter months here in BC. It took us a while, but we finished it! Thank you Sister Brenda!


December 19, 2011

ChildHood Installment - III

It's Monday. It's drizzling outside. I feel like sleeping in, or baking something. I'll bake after school this afternoon, but for now, ChildHood Installment - III

If you're just beginning this series, remember the beginning is the best place to start:
Find Previous Installments Here:
ChildHood - Installment I 

ChildHood - Installment II

I like to think of my family, as a little ship. Life is an ocean, and God is God. He's the One who decides what weather we're ready to face. He's also the Captain. When we allow Him to, He helps us through the weather he has sent to us. Cliche. I know. That's ok. We all need little cliches in our lives.
Texas was to me, the beginning of our sea voyage. Our arrival there marked our leaving the safe harbor of the known world, to the foreign beyond. Maybe Texas wasn't alway smooth sailing, maybe it had its choppy waters, but Toronto was a storm that we were about to face.

Daddy had applied for permanent residence in Texas, and for three years we didn't have our yearly visit to our family in Brazil. After three years of waiting, we were informed that we had to restart the process. It was decided that instead of restarting the process, our family was to be moved further north, to Canada. We spent two months in Brazil prior to making the move,  I was ten years old, and Victor turned five during our stay in Brazil.

To me, that year was a very difficult year. As a preteen, I had just moved away from everything and everyone I was used to. I had gotten accustomed to my people there in Texas, to the extent they were a second family to me. Now I was taken away from family, again. I cried myself to sleep every night for a whole year and a half. Then I just stopped caring. Victor wasn't allowed to watch our home videos anymore, because he'd start sobbing because he wanted to go home to Terrell.

I had become so used to the open land, air, sky, freedom, and now we were moved to the middle of a Toronto municipality. We lived in the back apartment on the church lot, which meant our backyard was paved parking lots, and a few square feet of pine trees. That first year I'd walk out there barefoot, and sit under the pine trees, listening to the wind whisper to the pines. But it was missing the Texan drawl. It wasn't the same. At the end of the church property there was a high fence, and behind it is a provincial park that's quite large. I suppose I didn't have it to bad, but at the time I felt suffocated. I wasn't allowed outside on my own, there were fences on each side of the property, neighbors came and went silently, never even giving you an acknowledging glance when you happened to catch them scurrying into their cars.

I could hear ambulance and police sirens, planes passed overhead every day and night, and occasionally a helicopter flew overhead, and sometimes its search lights would pass over the treetops. It was a whole new strange, noisy world for me. And I hated it. I wanted to go home. I wanted to get back to my horse neighbors, cow smelling, sun scored, vast prairies. I wanted to go home!! Now! I was lonely! I missed my friends! I missed my house! We were renting now, we had owned a home in Texas. We had had abundant land, now anyone could drop by at any moment. That included random strangers who decided they needed a place to park to um- mess around, walk their dogs, or a place to smoke. I remember every night having to close the driveway with a chain, or Daddy having to go outside and ask someone if they needed anything, or at least to make sure they knew there were people on the property.

One time a bike was hidden under the bushes in the front of the church, we have no idea where it came from, or whether it was stolen and hid. Another time a guy we dubbed "the hoodie" jumped the neighbor's fence, into the church yard, looked around, jumped into the other neighbor's yard, stole something and ran away. By the time we called the police, and they arrived, he was gone.
The neighbors were a funny lot. Every week as father and I swept the parking lot, and maintained the yard, we would look up to see neighbors peering through their curtains, or pretending to be gardening, but they were eyeing us from behind the tomato plants.

Eventually the church bought a leaf blower, and as dad cleaned the yard one Friday, a lady hollered from the other side of the fence, "Keep you dirt on your side of the fence!" Father wasn't even near to her yard, but he shook his head, smiled, shrugged and continue cleaning. Then he realized that that wasn't a nice way to leave things, so he stopped the blower, came over to her fence and introduced himself. She immediately changed her demeanor, and asked "Oh! So you're the new priest here now?" From then on, Albina became one of our friendliest neighbors there in Toronto. One fall she presented us with a few peaches from her peach tree, and every Friday she was out tending her garden, and we were cleaning the yard, she would walk over to the fence to say hello. 

The lady who peered through her curtains, would call us a few times every spring, to complain that our grass was too big, and that the dandelions were going to get into her yard. Father would always keep the grass mowed, but she'd continue calling. Then one time, he asked her about her husband, and how he was doing because we'd never seen him in the yard. As she told Daddy about her husband having passed away recently, she broke into tears. They talked for a while, and never again did she call to complain about dandelions. Instead, every time she was in her yard, and father was out in ours, she'd greet him and say hello. 

Dorothy, a neighbor a few houses away, became friends with us as well, and she was constantly inviting us to play in her pool every summer. Every week, however, we'd hear the neighbor's fight, and although at first is was so very different from our small town folks in Terrell, we began to find it humorous, and even joked about missing their bickering when they hadn't fought in a while.

In Texas I had grown into a child, in Toronto I had to grow up for real. Fast. I learned things there, that I believe I was taught a bit young, but I've come to acknowledge the fact that it was better that way, because children heal faster sometimes. I was taught you can't trust everyone, I was taught oftentimes people like you for who you are, oftentimes they don't. And then there's the oftentimes when they pretend to like you, only to extract you from your shell, and stab you in the back. It hurts, but children heal faster sometimes.

Toronto wasn't all bad, though. In fact there were many many good things, lulls in the storm if you will. We had the opportunity to visit our family in Brazil every year, which sometimes made it hard to come back to Canada, but we enjoyed the time spent there immensely.

Camping trips were often, and I found out Canada is beautiful, and its lakes are freezin' cold. I found out what snow is. I thought I knew. In Texas it "snowed" for about two days every year, and we'd go outside in pajamas and gather up handfuls of "snow" to make a muddy little snowman. I write "snow" because compared to Canadian snow, Texas gets flurries. No really. It does. I used to pray and pray and pray so hard in Texas for those little flakes. Our first year in Toronto I just stood with my mouth gaping. Snow. Packing snow. Up. to. my. knees. I marveled. Little did I know that in the city, it barely snows. We headed up north for a church Christmas retreat. There it snowed. Packing snow. Up. to. my. waist. It was beautiful! I learnt to make real snowmen. The ones that are taller than human beings, the ones that you can punch and they keep right on smiling because your hand is the one that gets hurt. I learnt what an astronaut feels like in their space suits. I had fun. Until it was time to shovel out the snow in the parking lot, I started to pray, and pray, and pray so hard that it wouldn't snow. Ever! Again! By the third winter of shoveling, salty boots, slushy streets, black snow, and being wet from snow fights, I decided snow was nice for about a month of heavy snowfall, then it had to go. Then in the blazing summer sun, you begin to miss it again .... Oh Life...

I made new friends in Toronto, we saw each other every week, and got together every now and then for special activities. One friend in particular was special. They say every brunette has her blonde, I am blessed enough to have two. Crystal from Texas, and Xenia from Toronto. Her parents and sisters were so open, friendly, and simply amazing. They were inclusive, and made me feel special. I love them all and miss them so much.

Father, shortly after our move, was given a second job, as Youth Leader for our church headquarters, which means he traveled the world over to preach in youth conventions. He left me big shoes to fill. Mother and I tried. Which resulted in me learning to buy plane tickets on my own, learning to say goodbye various times a year, to read a map and give my mother driving directions, pay bills online, among other things. I was growing up.

As I said, Toronto wasn't all bad all the time. I began A Beka homeschooling, church outings were mostly fun, skiing trips hilarious. During those years, I laughed many times, smiled, accomplished things, and our family was together. One year, my uncle came to visit us, and then the next he brought his family with him. It was such a special year, such a special winter, for them, but even more I'd wager, for us. The last two years especially, which were building up to the climax of the storm, weren't all that bad. Somehow I believe we were ready. So no matter how many times I cried myself to sleep every night for six years, no matter how many things I didn't understand, no matter how dark the storm got, I don't have any regrets. Would I do things differently if I were given a second chance? Maybe. I probably would have tried a bit more, to brush things off without taking them to heart so much. I'd probably try to bite my tongue too, but then again, that's part of me. I say it like it is, and I don't hide behind a smile. I guess I probably would go back, and try to find those who were hiding behind smiles, peel of their fake layer of friendliness and not trust human nature so much. I'd try to accept the fact that I'll never fit in in certain places, but that honestly, I shouldn't even want to.

The whole time we spent in Toronto, I thought I wanted to move to Brazil. To move back to our family and old friends, to go back to a place where I felt loved and comfortable. But when our move to Brazil didn't work out, and we moved out West instead, I realized that really, all I wanted, was to move away from there. From where I was. So to everyone who hurt me those years, all I really have to say, is Thank You. Thank you for teaching me  such important truths so young, thank you for making me realize that I shouldn't change in order to fit in, but instead truly question whether God wants me to fit in with such a group anyways. I pity you, and pray for you, but for now, you're simply part of my past.

To all those wonderful people who supported me instead, I thank Heavens for you. A very special church lady payed my ticket to Europe one summer, two others were my piano teachers, and others provided moral support, and friendship. Thank you.

Today's post was a little vague wasn't it? Well tomorrow's will be more meaty, and cheerful! But for now, TTFN! Ta-Ta For Now!
Fall, circa 2009. Toronto.

December 18, 2011

ChildHood - Installment II

Today's been quite a day. I have done positively... nothing.
In order to change that I have come to add another ChildHood Installment. If you're just beginning this series, remember the beginning is the best place to start:

Find Previous Installments Here:
ChildHood - Installment I 

Terrell was a stage, a time, in which I ran free across the prairies. I made childhood memories and experiences. I learnt that electric fences really do shock you. (Don't even ask), that hard work is important, and should be a part of life, that families should be close, and friends are important.
The people I associated with were simple people, mostly neighbors that lived in a small town, church friends (mostly friendly Hispanics, Americans, and Brazilians), and all our social groups were small and closely knit.

I spent a lot of times outdoors. I loved the moaning of the wind; he enjoyed making the grass seeds dance and sigh in awe of his power. He played with them for while, then moved on to tease the horses' manes and make them all giddy with his attention. The wind ruled the prairies, that was certain.

Killdeer, however, ruled our driveway. Daddy laid about three-hundred-fifty feet of white rocks from the road up front to the garage, and apparently, killdeer think driveways are the absolute perfect place for a nest. Oh, and get this, if you come anywhere near their nest, you're in for a series of disapproving squeaks that will make your ears ring! The female pretends to have a hurt wing in order to  lure you into going after her instead of the eggs, but if that doesn't work, you watch out! Poor things, every time we used the driveway they'd get worked up into a frenzy. But Killdeer weren't the only birds out west. We had scissor tails, and swallows, and plenty plenty of crows. (See scarecrow in photo below.)

The sun is hot in Texas. (Well there goes the understatement of the year! Right on time too, I was afraid this year wouldn't have an understatement!) The Texan sun is a little tiny foretaste of hell. It dries up the already dehydrated ground until it cracks into large open wounds. The grass is long, tall, and as dry as dust, and the whole state seems to want to pause and be scorched in peace. Everything is hazy, and the sun just makes you want to be lazy, and die in peace.

But when you live on ten acres of land, you've got lots to do! My chore was to clean the chicken coop, and under the Texas sun, chicken poop wasn't quite appealing. (Is it ever?) But it had to be done, and I did my chores as well as my schoolwork. Father had the maintenance around the house including watering the fruit trees, tend the garden and keep up with his mission work. Mother had a toddler on her hand, a garden to tend, a house to keep running, and my schoolwork to give out. We were busy, and we were happy.

One of my other chores, was to keep the grass on the first five acres in front of our house, at a decent height. Which means the small lawn tractor and I became best buddies. (I crashed him. Once. Only once, into the back porch column. Luckily the porch wood was stronger than my impact, and only the tractor was hurt, not me, nor the did the porch come crashing down.) I drove that tractor up and down our yard mowing, or taking buckets of water, loaded onto the small little trailer it pulled, to our precious fruit trees in the back portion.

Keeping fruit trees in Texas soil, takes work. And my parents? My parents planted a grand total of thirty-four trees! counting with the four pine trees in the front yard, a few shade trees around the front porch, a few berry trees around the house in order to block some of the sun's piercing rays, fruit trees and all. Daddy had to carve (one doesn't dig Texas soil, one carves the earth instead) out a place for each tree, then he added compost, planted the tree, and then every few weeks he'd stir the soil around the tree, add mulch, and water it. And boy did we water them! Every blessed evening, every blessed summer. It was hard work, and I don't remember ever arguing against bedtime.

I was happy. I had three best friends, (Ilea, Alina, and Crystal, all girls from church who like me, were also home schooled) two dogs that belonged to the neighbors, but were always on our property, which meant I had the benefit of dog company, without the feeding, and upkeep. When I had finished my schoolwork, as well as my chores, I was allowed to go take on the land and do with it what ever came to mind. Crystal and I played in the rare lush green grass of spring, sneaked under barbwire to get to the neighbor's pond just for the fun of trespassing (it was not my idea, but I didn't try to dissuade her either because 1. it's impossible to change Crystal's mind, and 2. I didn't want to be a sissy).

Time with friends was special, sleepovers prevalent, planned outings such as camping trips, and zoo outings also occurred and we bonded over the "Practical Lessons Series" planned by the church ladies. Every week an adult would teach our little children's group, something practical. Women taught us to bake bread, arts and crafts, and the men taught us how to, um, change car tires, and plant fruit trees.

One summer I worked for our Bible Worker's wife, filling up cloth trivets with sand, because I 'needed' money to by a purse (of all things) from Claire's. I almost changed my mind, spending my hard earned money all at once. But I spent it anyways, and I still have that purse. I don't use it, it's much too small, but I keep it as a reminder of the first time I learned the value of earned money.
Texan weather is a crazy thing. Weather is crazy everywhere, but in Texas, things can get even weirder. One time, I awoke to the deafening split of lightening nearby. When I sat up in bed, I noticed the light in the living room was on. My parents were at the window looking up at the sky outside. The heavens were being lighted up, reminding me of something you'd see in a mad scientist's lab in the movies. The lightenings crashed nonstop. It wasn't raining, there were no clouds in the sky it was a clear black background for the lightening that kept coming and coming one after the other, and eventually we couldn't stand the brightness any longer. Daddy closed the blinds, turned off the light, and we sat on the couch. The couch was facing a window, and we sat there, for a long time, just staring at the closed blind that wouldn't stop lighting up as if someone were turning a light on and off and the light just wouldn't burn out.

Where we lived, happened to be the tornado valley. Thankfully, we never had a tornado in our area. Except for a mini one. Once. We had just come home from a shopping trip in Dallas, and I was happy because I had gotten Polly Pockets. Father was on the phone, and Victor was taking a nap. Mother was the only one paying any attention to the skies. They were dark. They were mean looking, and the clouds kept coming closer and closer. Eventually I stood beside my mother and held her hand as we looked outside our kitchen door. My swing set crashed over, the small plastic pool flew two lots over, and everything kept flying around- leaves, trash, wood pieces, branches, anything the wind picked up. But after it was all over, the sky became so so clear, and I witnessed one of the most gorgeous sunsets I have ever seen. Which sort of makes me wonder, if perhaps, the uglier the storm, the brighter and prettier the sunset.

My buddy, the Craftsman tractor with the trailer he pulled. Daddy's driving, Grandma and Grandpa were visiting us for the second time. Victor and I were loving it. 

Texas was beautiful, and I loved my freedom there, but then ...

December 17, 2011

From: Him. To: You.

Mother dictated this story to me this afternoon. I don't remember this all too well. Although I probably should because it really wasn't that long ago. I fear it also emphasizes my love for shoes ... just a little.

"O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever." - Psalm 118:29

The year Larissa turned nine years old, was one of the last few years we were living in Texas. That year I bought her a pair of shoes, which soon became one of her favorite pairs.
One week she wore them to church. Church at the time was actually a enlarged living room in the Bible Worker's home. As we entered the house along with various other families, Larissa took off her shoes and left them outside, totally forgetting about the resident dog. The Bible Worker's family had just bought a new puppy. This puppy was quite a mischievous one, and it found particular pleasure in chewing shoes. Quite many a pair of shoes had "mysteriously" disappeared from the porch, only to be found somewhere in the yard, later on, completely mangled.
The service ended, and we were leaving the house. As we opened the door, Larissa looked for her shoes, and to her surprise and disappointment, her shoes were destroyed and chewed to pieces. Naturally she was very upset, and her day was dampened. Also leaving, were a few church friends who ended up noticing her sadness.
The days passed, and in the middle of that week, my husband walked to our mailbox, and in it he found a package. The package was addressed:
From: Jesus,
To Larissa.

When Larissa opened the package, she found a brand new pair of shoes that, although they weren't the same as the ones that had been ruined, they still left her happy, grateful, and feeling blessed. 
As my husband examined the package, he said, "Today Jesus passed by my house, and I didn't see him."We soon figured out who had put the package in our mailbox, it was one of the families that were there at church on that day.
Today when Jesus passes through your life, may your eyes be opened to notice Him. He can pass by your life, as in our case, through a friend, or perhaps through the smile of a child, through the song of a bird, or through the fragrance of a flower. Don't let His presence pass by unnoticed. And remember, He can make everything right. Every situation, if you allow Him, He can fix it.

December 16, 2011

Humor Me Friday.

I just noticed something. Thursdays are a bad day for me to start an installment of posts, as I do Humor Me Friday posts on Fridays, and small devotional paragraphs on Saturdays. I apologize for my thoughtlessness, and promise we'll pick up where I left off (in Terrell that is), on Sunday.
Do you have five? I promise this will be worth it. If you haven't seen it yet, watch! You need to.
If you have seen it already, watch! You know you need it too.

Happy Friday Y'all!~*


December 15, 2011

ChildHood - Installment I.

Victor was bugging me this morning, so in typical fashion I hollered out "MOOOOOMM" (just to scare him..) it worked and he left me alone. He passed by her room and she asked "What does your sister want?" "Oh nothing, she just wanted to say she loves you."
And that was how my day started.
And now I sit here with a package of cookies, and a cup of hot tea in my hands to write. Just kidding I got busted while trying to get the cookies and my tea is cold so I'm not touching' it.
On a better note:
[I've finally decided to quit procrastinating and actually write a post. Tiffanie asked if I had yet posted about how moving around has affected me. If it was positive/negative, etc. Tania said she'd love to hear about our travels as well. So I've decided to make a series of posts telling you accounts of my childhood and our moving around. When I finish, I'll have a post with the pros and cons, for now, here I go: ]

When I was younger, let's say as a toddler, I honestly didn't give it [it being moving around so much] a second's thought. As long as my parents were with me, that was fine. But then again, I was only five or younger, and most kids think that way anyways. We moved around from city to city, and that was all right. I didn't go to school yet, and the friends I had were from church, and those were everywhere I went.

Then I turned five and we moved away from our family and to far away Dallas, Texas. I didn't speak English, neither did my parents. I felt my parent's sadness and how much they missed their families. They had a drive however, they had a reason to be in Texas (they were missionaries), and that helped them get through the lonely days. As children often do, I picked up on that motivation as well. Everything was just fine.

Our small church family was open enough, my parents and I were together, and again to me that was all that mattered. Soon, I began attending school, I learnt the language, I made friends.
Then we moved to a small town about an hour away from Dallas, a town called Terrell, and I began homeschooling.

Terrell is a somewhat of a country town, well at least it was. I had always been a city girl. Always. Tomboy? Yes. Country Girl? NOT! We moved onto ten acres of land on the suburbs. That means country. Which means the neighbors in front of us had a ranch and every morning you could smell cow manure, stare at cows, and gaze back into the eyes of the gorgeous horses who stretched their necks to chew the grass on the other side of the fence. I named them, naturally. Especially the Palomino. I probably named him Spirit (who knows why?)

Anyways, my dad had bought the land and payed a brother from our church to build our house. As soon as our house was finished, we moved in.

The dry prairie grass out there in the "yard" came up to my shoulders, and grasshoppers were abundant. Oh pooh, that doesn't do it justice. They were everywhere! In swarms! If you were to walk outside (which I had no intention of doing), as you'd part the grass the hoppers would leap out from in front of you in hundreds, (Ok, in fifties, but I was seven, to me they seemed like trillions, give me the the chance to hyperbolize a little!)

But, without exaggeration, I came to the point that I wouldn't step outside. I was afraid. Afraid of the grasshoppers and their spiky disgusting legs. I remember once being asked to take the compost out. I looked up at my mother in utter horror and disbelief! She would actually do that?! She would actually send me out there to be devoured by those horrendous beasts?!

Daddy borrowed the neighbor's tractor to "mow the lawn" (cut the huge prairie grass on ten acres of land), and sometimes mother would ask me to take him a glass of water. My heart would beat fifty times faster, and I'd put on my courage. I felt like a hero sacrificing herself for a noble cause. (Taking my father a glass of water that is.)

Poor little me. I really knew nothing of Texas. If I had known anything at all, I'd know grasshoppers were the least of my worries.  Soon dad had mowed everything down decently, and the grasshoppers moved to the two lots beside us that were abandoned, unused, and the grass was thriving and tall. We bought chickens, and the grasshoppers that were left, well, they weren't left after the chickens were through with them.

The brother who built us the house, lived in the same neighborhood. In fact, his property connected with ours. He had two daughters living with them at the time, one of which was only nine months older than I. Her name is Crystal, and in no time at all, there was a beaten little path from my house, to her house. (It was on that trail, that at the age of ten, I learnt to drive our green Honda Civic. Yes, I felt quite proud. No I never hit anything, thank God!) Anyways, Crystal was/is a country girl. She was born and raised down South, and looked at me with sincere pity at my weird city ways. But to me, she was the weird one. She wasn't afraid of grasshoppers, no sir. She. caught. them. With her BARE HANDS! The strangeness lasted only for a while however, because soon I was galloping across the prairies snatching up grasshopper babies. With my BARE HANDS! On occasion I'd pick up the old ones, (the ones with the disgusting spiky legs that looked like an Aunt Sherry with unshaven legs), to stick in spider webs. Yes. I did. I was cruel, I fully repent.

I also played Cowboys and Indians, and my Barbies had picnics to the background music of rattlesnake rattles. As I mentioned 'afore, grasshoppers should have been the least of my worries.
Little did we know, that in Texas, when you mess with the rock bed layer (as you do when you build a foundation for a house), you disturb some other residents as well. Residents that were there first. They are called, scorpions. As you can imagine, they do not take kindly to strangers messing up their homes, taking over and building a home where theirs used to be. Not at all. So quite often, we'd have an unexpected guest come in. Through everywhere. Doors, windows, from underneath the fridge/oven/cupboards. They'd sneak in through who knows where. So, "Oh be careful little toes where you step," had its meaning. Victor was a toddler at the time, just learning to walk, and my parents to this day have no idea what they were thinking living in a house that could have scorpions in it at any moment. Every time one would find its way inside our house, my dad was immediately hollered for, and he'd attempt squashing its shell. Which isn't always an easy task, after all, its shell was meant to protect, and it's one hard casing! As a result of these experiences, however, I now know very well what a scorpion looks like, and how to kill one too. I also know it's a reality, not just something in a textbook.

On the two neighboring lots on each side of our house, we could often hear rattles. I never saw a rattlesnake in all my days of walking to and fro from my house to Crystal's but I could hear them. We knew they were there, but none of them bothered us, and we sure as anything didn't bother them. Other snakes often made an appearance, and when father wasn't home, mother valiantly beat up any snake that came near our porch. When dad got home, she'd show him the snake. He'd tell her it wasn't dangerous or poisonous, and the chickens would've probably eaten it anyways, and really it could have caused no harm. She glared making sure it was clear she didn't care whether they were poisonous or not, she wanted them dead. I shrugged, they were part of life for me now.

Coyotes were frequent visitors to our chicken coop, as were the skunks. Huge hawks didn't keep their presence from us either! My poor poor chickens. I named them. My favorite one was Rebecca. She was mine, and she was special. Rebecca was my favorite name at the time, (this was way before the whole Rebecca Black thing.) so she also had that special honor upon her. One winter however, an animal took desperate measures, got into the coop, and did away with all my babies. Daddy rose up early, and cleaned up the mess before I woke up. I haven't had chickens since. It hurt. (And I still harbor dark feelings towards coyotes!)

June beetles would flock in hundreds to our porch lights. It was disgusting. During the summer nights, we had to use only the back or side doors, because the front door was absolutely taken over by ugly black beetles. The porch would become black with upside down bugs, and the next morning it had to be swept clean. Ready for the next night's event of what appears to me to be, beetle suicide.
I hate to leave Texas with such a bad impression, but please, read again tomorrow, because as I continue to write about Terrell, I'll tell you why I loved it so very very much.

But for today I log off because ...
"I really can't stay .. I've gotta go away ... you've really been grand .. "

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