March 31, 2012

How'd It Happen?

This week Daddy was asked to write an article for our church magazine in Colombia. They requested that the article be on the story of his conversion. So for today's Devotional Post, here's his story:

 Have you ever been in a place where you felt different from everybody else? And not in a particularly good way? That is how I felt the first time I visited the Seventh-Day Adventist Reform Movement Church which today I gladly call "My Church". But before I go into that, I will tell you where I come from.

 I am the youngest of four children, and growing up, I was the only one still living with my mother; my two sisters were married and my brother was living with my father in Uberlândia, a town 600 km away from the small town in which I grew up and was still living in.

 We were poor and in order to help support my mother and I, I started working when I was five-years old. I gathered old pieces of iron, aluminum, bones, glass etc. to sell to the local scrapyard. Then when I turned seven I began my schooling, and as soon as I learned to add and multiply, I got a better job; I started selling Popsicles. Two years later I got a job in a clothes store where I worked for five years.

 Between school and work, there were hours spent playing with the neighborhood boys. We swam in the creek, we spent hours and hours playing soccer in the streets, and up to normal boyhood mischief. This was my childhood, and it was wonderful.

 When I was ten-years old, I decided I wanted to be baptized. My mother was Catholic, but since my father was a Reformer both of them never came to an agreement about my baptism. But as I continued attending the Catholic Church, I understood that as I was not baptized I was considered a pagan, and that if I would die in such a state I would be lost; hence my desire to be baptized. So, it was decided that my eldest sister and my brother-in-law would be my godparents, and I was baptized. Soon after my baptism I began preparing for my First Communion Ceremony; to me it was all very exciting.

 When I was fourteen, I moved in with my brother and father in Uberlândia in order to attend a school in electronics. Though it was hard to leave my mother, we promised each other that it would be only temporary. She would soon move to that city, and we would be together again.

 Upon my arrival, my father and brother explained to me that they were vegetarians and did not eat meat, but that they'd give me money and I was free to buy and eat it whenever I wanted to. They kindly explained to me that they would also give me a pan that I could use to cook the meat in, and asked me not to use the ones they used to make their food. They did so with great love and care, doing what they could to help me understand and not be offended. This love and gentleness they expressed towards me, encouraged me to visit "their church".

 The first time I attended the Reform church, I was wearing my regular clothes; jeans and a t-shirt. Entering the church, I noticed that these people were all wearing nice clothes, as if they were going to a special party. I felt embarrassed; it seemed I was not properly dressed. I felt awkward, as if everybody was looking at me. My father and brother always wore special clothes on Sabbath (Saturday), but I was comfortable around them. Now, seeing everyone in church that well dressed called my attention and at the same time made me feel as if I was out of place, different from everyone else. And not in a particularly good way.

 The next Sabbath before going to church, I went to my closet and picked up the only long sleeve dress shirt I had, and I thought to myself, "Now I will feel better! Wearing this shirt I will fit in." It was the shirt I wore for my First Communion. When I put it on I noticed that I had outgrown it and the sleeves were short! I had an idea! I disguised the shortness of the sleeves by folding them up. There. Nobody would notice; they would think I was just wearing it that way. I felt much better.

 From then on I continued going to church with my father and brother, (and from then on I also bought a church shirt that fit).

 The things that most caught my attention during my first visits to the church were: the love and care of the members, and their knowledge of the Bible. Their knowledge and comfort with that Book motivated me to start reading the Bible. The pastor could call out the verses from the pulpit and the members would find it with ease. I wanted to be able to know my Bible that well too! Then, one Sabbath, the Bible worker explained the 2300 days prophecy, and I sat in awe of the wisdom of the people in that congregation. I felt even more compelled to study the Bible. My father had given me one, but I had never read it. I decided to begin doing so.

 Soon I started preparing for baptism. As most Brazilians, I had a great passion for soccer; I was used to the competition, the rivalry, the challenge, the obsession. Therefore quitting soccer and meat eating were the two hardest things for me, but thank God I received enough help from my father, my brother, the young people of the church and from studying the Bible, as well as strength from Above to help me overcome. "So then faith [cometh] by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God." Romans 10:17

 It was a very happy day when I committed myself to serving the Lord and was received into His family. I remember coming out of the water, what a feeling!-- the feeling of being His child, of being part of the heavenly family! I was fifteen years old then, and I am so thankful that I had the privilege of meeting the Lord when I was still young. He saved me when I was just starting to get involved with the carnival and alcoholic beverages. Praised be the Lord.

 God not only changed my life, but also the life of my parents. After living apart for many years, now, right after my baptism, the Lord brought them back together, and today, twenty-seven years later they still live happily together.

 I started working as a colporteur when I was fifteen; at seventeen the Lord called me to be a colporteur leader in the state of São Paulo; at twenty the call came for me to be a Bible worker, and at twenty-six I was ordained a pastor.

 I thank God because in a world of over six billion people, He looked at a simply small town boy poor  of a poor family, and said "I want you. You are my child."

 Praised be the Lord, because He is able to use the weakest vases to glorify His name. May He use me and you always."

If you haven't yet read Our Story. then read it to see where the story went from there. Happy Weekend!

March 30, 2012

Object Silliness for Humor Me Friday.

The truth is it's become second nature. I'm not looking for them anymore. They just, show up. 

Last week, while on the road, I kept seeing them on the sides of houses. The windows were arranged specifically to form smiles, faces, etc.

Like this one..

The library had plenty to contribute...

A lopsided toothy grin.


And there he is again.


On our way out, Victor spotted him ^


And when we got to the church, on the piano... there was another grinner. 


We went for a walk, ended up at the outdoor portion of a museum, and there was the smiley.


In the same museum, behind the fence, was an onlooker...


At the small town consignment shop...there was a clock face.


And in the church cafeteria.. the doorknobs and trash grinned.

Keep smiling. Keep searching for the happy. And speaking of happy, Happy Friday Y'all!

March 28, 2012

Or Something Like It.

I did a descriptive post yesterday, today's post will be more photo centered. Here are a few of the photos I took while at the Seattle Public Library last week. It was book nerd heaven. Or something like it.

This library isn't only amazing because it has ten floors of aisles and aisles of books on innumerable subjects, but also because of its architecture. The building itself, void of its contents is stunning outside and in. 

Apparently, it's quite easy to take a tour of this library, but because we are incapable of following directions awesome like that, we just wandered around seeing where the stairs would take us.

They lead us to the blood-red hallways. (Oh. And if you're wondering why the Kid is carrying Arturo [mom's laptop] it's because there was wifi.)

More red stairs.

And we're at the top. 

Like I said... free wifi. 

And as the escalators took us up ... my knees grew shaky and happiness soared.

I love love love the use of color and the unusual or different throughout the library. On the walls, stairs,

...the ceiling.

Dictionaries of Literary Biographies!

I took time to rapidly flip through that one.. (:

Each shelf on this floor ended with vintage posters of movies of yesteryear.

This was one of my favorite aisles. It consists of music books aplenty. But my favorite thing about it is, the colors.

Consort Music of Four Parts.


Again, the use of color displays itself.

I immediately thought of you, MauiShopGirl!

I walked around and found multiple aisles loaded with volumes on engineering, architecture, records, a whole section devoted to hang gliding and another on "Good Housekeeping", vintage as well as ancient copies of CQ, Gourmet, In Style, etc.

The Seattle Police Officer's Guild from the beautiful month of November on the wonderful year of 1994.

Pretty Pretty Pretty!


Way back when that was its name...


Ah the luxury of having a room ... with drawers filled with maps of continents and cities and places you've only ever dreamed of. How's that for finding inspiration for a setting of a story?

And I was happy .... 

March 27, 2012

As I Sit and Wait.

 As you may know, we left on Thursday to Washington and returned yesterday. What you might not have known, was that we left on Thursday to make it to the Canadian consulate in Seattle.

 We left around four in the morning and, as usual, arrived early, and Victor and I waited in the lobby. As I was still half asleep when we left the car, I forgot to take a notebook or my computer along and took instead, a book. My brain, however, is not very apt to immersing in fiction before seven in the morning so instead of reading I reached into my mother's purse for a few random bits and pieces of paper. Onto them I jotted down my surroundings.

Might I share?


 The sun hasn't risen yet and the clouds are being hurried along by an icy wind. The whole city seems to be stirring slowly from a restful sleep. Its eyes are blinking slowly and it inhales deeply. It's a chilling breath, cold, and maybe a little salty; the harbor is just over yonder. The city snuggles back into its warm grey blanket, just a little while longer before the sun comes out and jolts it wide awake.

 We left the car in one of those covered parking lots a couple of blocks away and the elevator we took down to the first floor was already full this early in the morning. The streets were already abuzz and buses swished past, their exhaust pipes sighing and announcing they'd been up all night and were ready for bed.

 We crossed the streets along with handfuls of other dawn witnesses. Women with tight holds on their coffee cups, men scanning their papers while managing impressive sprints from one sidewalk to the other, each one with places to go, answers to give, questions to ask, things to accomplish. Smiles sprinkled the crowd, as did frowns, laughs, determined glances, and a couple of hazy not quite awake expressions completed the array of expressions.

 On the corner, an older black male sings a few lines of "He's got the whole world, in His hands" until he glances up at us grins and hollers, "Only a dollar folks! News right here!" and holds up a copy of The Seattle Times. Daddy smiles and greets him with a "Good morning" He answers, "Good morning, young man!" Making Daddy promote him to the smartest man in Seattle.

 We arrive at the consulate and pick a comfy seat facing the doors to wait. Victor and I will be there for a while. Up above the doors is a circular glass window sparkling and through it the sunrise reflected on the windows of the adjacent building is seen. The glass doors at the entrance are gleaming and telling of someone's hard work. I can see through those doors; I can see the people scurrying by. I wonder where they are all going. I wonder what type of lives they lead, where they have to be, where they have to go. I wonder about their mistakes, I wonder about their successes. What are their names? I will never know any of this.

 Inside the building heels click on the tile floor. The floor is a creamy beige and when the beige ends pastel tiles alternate instead. It was shined recently. Good mornings are exchanged by the clusters of people passing through the building's first floor. Some go upstairs to their respective workplaces, other are simply passing through to get to the other side of the street, or to stop like bees for their nectar at the Starbucks across the hall. The bartista laughs an easy laugh and confirms orders. I imagine the whole building probably smells of Latte's, Macchiatos, and caramel.

 A couple of ladies sit on a sofa nearby while they sip their coffees. Fragments of their conversations whiff over to me. They are gossiping about the "control freak upstairs" who obsesses about how food should be placed on the table and how atrocious that is, and the like.

Outside a flash of pink passes by. Sometimes I wonder why people dye their hair such stunning colors, and whether I'd ever be brave enough to do such a thing. A siren wails and moans somewhere near then it drifts off out of reach from my ears. Heels click and gossips continue inside. I wonder how they're doing upstairs.

Young women in short coats and even shorter skirts pass by; they teeter atop summits they erroneously call heels. Aren't they cold? Other ladies pass by in vans and jackets; they are smiling. I think they're warm. My thoughts are interrupted by Thank-you's being shouted back to bartistas over the whirling noise of the coffee machines.

 There is such a variety of coats! Coats with fur trimmings, coats with rose buds embroidered on the waist, lilac coats, plaid coats, purple coats, green coats, beige coats, trench coats, rain coats, dress coats. Red coats are abundant as are the classic blacks. Lengths differ so much I don't believe I've seen two with the same hem length yet. Boots are another species with an astounding array. Boots with heels rivaling skyscrapers, comfortable flats, rain boots, cowboy boots, pointed tips, rounded tips, squared tips, and I've been here only an hour.

In front of me a man sits and laughs into his cell phone. His laugh makes me smile. I never heard a laugh replicate a choppy ha ha ha ha so well. He gesticulates with his free arm an startles an elderly woman walking past him. He smiles apologetically. His voice is so whistley! It must be hard to be on the other side of the phone with him I think.

 The entrance officer has changed. A straw-blonde boy stands in the place of the last guard. He is about a foot shorter than the last guard, an African-American lady with a pleasant smile and a calm demeanor. This boy seems bored to death at his post.

 Three joggers jog by. Wait. Joggers? In the middle of Seattle? Yes. I suppose it is a common sight for big city dwellers, I though, would never have put the two together for some reason, so I found it interesting.

The bartista walks into a hidden door and comes out with four gallon of milk. These people are busy! I wonder if somewhere, anywhere! there's a Starbucks that isn't busy. I make a mental note to study their marketing history.

 Clomp. Clomp. Clomp. Someone is wearing unusually heavy heels. Two men pass by and one exclaims, "That's sad" to which the other replies, "That's very sad." What is? A school bus darts by the building. What's it like to grow up here in such a city? I wonder. Oh my. Four more gallons of milk!

 The pastel tiles aren't as shiny anymore.





March 23, 2012

Seattle, Nerd Happiness.

So we're taking the day to roam Seattle. First stop? The Seattle Public Library. And don't even get into the "Geek. Nerd. Dork." Speech with me. I know.

I am presently at the Seattle Public Library, and I'd say all my dreams have come true but in order for them to really have come true I would have to be allowed to live here until I have gone through each and every book, magazine, and file. And that, blogosphere, would take years.

I am so nerd happy at the moment. So in utter bliss.

I have photos to share already. But I am not yet finished. And then they must be edited and chosen carefully. Soon. I will share with you and you too will love it, I hope.

It's just too beautiful! The architecture, the quiet busyness of everyone around. The books! Oh heavens the books! Public records, biographies, books on singing, Dictionary of Literary Biography!!! Yes. It deserves three exclamation points. The whole library does. So here they are.

Seattle Public Library!!!

Books are everywhere. And from the reading room I can see the tops of adjacent buildings, the sky is oh so blue today not a cloud in the sky. I think I'll accept this as gift Washington is offering.

Being envious isn't precisely my thing ... but if there's someone that is making me turn green right now ... it's this Betty Jane Narver lady ... she. has. her. own. reading room!

I'm off to get lost in aisles and aisles of colorful books. If you don't hear from me again, it will quite possible be because I became a permanent resident of this glorious place. It could happen you know ... I'd find a way. 

The Green Girl at the Seattle Library.

P.S. They even have music practice rooms here! The sounds coming from there are delightful!

March 21, 2012

Object Silliness.

Happy Wednesday! (I still don't spell that right on the first try. One day ...)

I'm packing. Washington awaits me. We're finally going to church this weekend. We have our own services here every week, but it'll be so nice to get to see everyone again, and worship in our own church, in a building, with fellow believers. 

So after that first Object Silliness post, we've managed to find a few more. 

I was half asleep in the car on our way back from Washington a few weeks ago, when I opened my eyes and saw a face staring out at me from the darkness. The lights on the truck ahead .... Do you see it?

Victor was watching his class when he called me from the living room. I walked over to him and he turned over the remote control. Smiley!

Last but not least, the shower caddy always has a big grin. Freaks me out at times...especially when the eyes start increasing and I start seeing...

That's when I know shower time is over.

P.S. In case my drawing abilities aren't um ... quite clear, it's a spider. (:

March 20, 2012

TidBits of March.

I'm excited about two more posts coming up. In fact I'm doing the I've-got-blog-posts-in-the-making happy dance, right now. But here are a few tidbits from my twitter, Facebook, and around...from March:

I follow a bunch of athletes on Twitter. Then I just sit here exercising vicariously. (:

Put cookies to cool outside. And then came a masked- I'm assuming- thief. 

Mother asked me to make Victor a sandwich. 
I did. According to him, "It tastes like charcoal! But delicious! Crunchy! It takes like it was baked!"
I'm taking it as a compliment

He was rattling off facts again, while I was studying for a Chem test.
"Larissa do you want another fact?" 
*sigh* "No. Not right now!" 
"Well I don't care, did you know that Colombia prints more stamps than any other country?"
I grow wiser daily.

The amount of energy necessary to break up a nucleus into its component nucleons is called binding energy. Ironic Maybe?

Luck be a Gentleman! (To paraphrase #Sinatra)

“I admire anybody who has the guts to write anything at all.” - E.B. White

I check out the children books we don't finish.#BigReadingBuddyConfession #1
I buy enough treats so that there are some leftover for me.#BigReadingBuddyConfession #2

It has yet to be confirmed, but I'm pretty sure my first word..was food.

Surround yourself with people you want to be like. Find out what makes them tick. Implement.

Bianca Juarez  @BiancaOlthof
My strategy for Words With Friends: play a bunch of fancy sounding words until I make up a real one

Everything stinks till it’s finished. DR. SEUSS

And last but not least, something I have always believed in but had never been able to capture into words or explain,

"Without a destination, you’re left to wander. And while wandering may teach you things, expose you to new experiences, even shape who you are, it’s unlikely to bring you the sense of satisfaction that you so crave. You never feel the accomplishment of reaching the destination on your journey." -Scoutie Girl

Hope y'all are having a great week so far. If not, cheer up, tomorrow's Wednesday already!
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