7.18.2018

House Hunters International Fans


I assume you all know that House Hunters International isn't real... and while we haven't seen the episode yet (so don't really know how everything plays out), we still need to come clean on two things.

1. Ligia never would've shown us an apartment with two holes in the wall. This is the apartment we'd already been living in for 6 months, and our own kids made those holes.

We had trouble finding contractors to even come and look at them, let alone fix them, and we felt terrible that they remained for filming. They have been fixed now. Mostly. Could do with another coat of paint... Hopefully they never make the episode...

And--


2. Ligia is wonderful, but we did not use a real estate agent to find our apartment. In fact, it would've been nearly impossible for us to rent an apartment long term in Portugal without the invaluable help of a Senior Missionary couple--Elder and Sister Roque--working under the direction of their Mission President, Manoel Amorim. We are extremely grateful to them.


Oh, and... we know our reasoning for "choosing" the apartment we did, doesn't make a lot of sense. We kind of had to make up something on the fly and weren't very good at it. We're not complete idiots about budget and space required. Sorry about that.

That is all. Thank you.


7.15.2018

July--The Best Month of the Year!


This week would have have been a quiet summer week if it hadn't been for Penelope and Woo's birthdays! Penelope is the best thing that ever happened to Woo's birthday. His birthday used to be the absolute worst day of his year, but with Penelope being so excited for her own birthday and so excited to be sharing it with him, it brightens his day.


There was only one throwback incident, where he was stung by a weever fish while bodysurfing with the kids. He decided to consult local knowledge, and the lifeguard put his foot in scalding hot water for as long as Woo could handle and the pain was gone.


Penelope was thrilled to get a few princess dresses and a hula hoop, all of which the entire family enjoyed. There was a hula hoop contest one evening. Herbie is hands down the best hula-hooper; Penelope is the best jump-roper; Woo was a close second in both.


There was a lot of pretend play with the princess costumes. Even Ruby fit in some, but I didn't get a picture.

Nellpea (to Archie): Lets go to the wedding! 
Archie (coming along): Okay, but I have a war at 10:35... 

Other than that, we mostly settled into our summer groove. Moses and Linus made a lot of folded paper creations and taught everyone else. A pretty neat one was the "hexa-flexa-gon" they learned from Khan Academy. Also these giant paper airplanes were fun.

Moses: I love summer, summer is great! But I hate the dreams!! 
Me: The dreams? 
Moses: Yeah, they’re horrible. I keep dreaming I’m in school and my teacher says, “one more day until summer.” And it never is, it’s always one more day! 

The kids had lots of fun at the beach, made more fun for me (I'm on constant lifeguard duty) by limiting our time there to 1 hour a day, frank discussions about water safety (after Linus was swept away one morning, but saved by a nearby Woo), and all the kids carrying their own water toys themselves.

Penelope: I'm going to do what old people do when they’re hot!
And by old people she means anyone over the age of 8 who wears a wetsuit to the beach on a hot day.


Look closely at Woo behind Archie. This sit-down surfing was a big hit with the kids who laughed and laughed and then laughed some more when they all tried it themselves.


There's also been some time at the park, where Archie has begun to feel comfortable playing soccer with his brothers, and even occasionally making or saving a goal.

Anyway, that's our week. Hope yours was great!


Talk Below:

Several years ago, whenever I was in an argument and would seek proof that I was right from the scriptures, I would read Romans 3:10-12.
10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
12 They are ALL gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. 
After a couple times of this I came to realize that it did not matter if I was right in this particular argument. I was a sinner somewhere else, and it was my job to forgive.

One scripture that has helped me to be patient with others and myself is in Leviticus 5:4-6.
When he knoweth of it, then he shall be guilty. And it shall be, when he shall be guilty in one of these things, that he shall confess that he hath sinned in that thing: And he shall bring his trespass offering unto the Lord for his sin which he hath sinned, and the priest shall make an atonement for him concerning his sin. 
All of us sin in ways we don’t even know. And when we do figure it out, as soon as we repent the Lord will forgive us.

We need to remember this is true of ourselves and also of others. The Lord will make our sins known to us when we are humble and seeking after Him.

A few years ago, I made two big changes. I started to spend much more time in the scriptures and to spend much more time doing family history. About a year after that, we spent 8 fast Sunday’s fasting for each member of our family in turn.

When it was my turn, it was made known to me that I had two serious weaknesses. The scriptures call them “vanity of heart” and “seeking to excel.”

I was very embarrassed when I finally understood and I could see that these had been a problem my entire life. It was painful.

Once I discovered my sin and repented, I was given extra strength to overcome it. We read this scripture a lot, but that’s because it is so good.
Ether 12:27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them. 
God made my weaknesses known to me because He loves me. He wanted me to repent so that I could be made whole through the atonement of His Son.

If we truly are seeking Christ we need to expect that we are going to be humbled, and that is wonderful because “there is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah.”

We are completely and totally reliant on Him and His forgiveness, which is so freely given when we repent.

I know these things to be true. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

**********************

Muitos anos atrás, sempre quando eu estava em uma discussão e buscava provas de que eu estava certo nas escrituras, eu lia Romanos 3:10-12.
10 Como está escrito: Não há justo, nem sequer um;
11 Não há ninguém que entenda; não há ninguém que busque a Deus.
12 Todos se extraviaram, e juntamente se fizeram inúteis. Não há quem faça o bem, não há nem um só. 
Depois de algumas vezes, percebi que não importava se eu estava certo nessa discussão em particular porque eu sou uma pecador em outras coisas, e meu trabalho é perdoar.

Uma escritura que me ajudou a ter paciência com os outros e comigo é em Levítico 5:4-6.
E o souber depois, culpada será numa dessas coisas. Acontecerá, pois, que, sendo ela culpada numa dessas coisas, confessará aquilo em que pecou. E a sua oferta pela culpa trará ao Senhor pelo seu pecado que pecou: assim o sacerdote por ela fará expiação do seu pecado. 
Todos nós pecamos de formas que nem conhecemos. E quando descobrirmos e nos arrependermos, o Senhor vai nos perdoar.

Precisamos lembrar que isso é verdade sobre nós mesmos e também sobre os outros. O Senhor vai nos dar conhecidos quando formos humildes e buscarmos por Ele.

Há alguns anos, fiz duas grandes mudanças. Comecei a passar muito mais tempo nas escrituras e muito mais tempo fazendo a história da família. Cerca de um ano depois disso, nossa família usamos oito domingos de jejum para jejuar por cada membro de nossa família em vez.

Quando chegou a minha vez, descobri que tinha duas fraquezas sérias. As escrituras os chamam de “vaidade de coração” e “procura sobressair-se”.

Fiquei muito envergonhada quando finalmente entendi e pude ver que eu tinha estas problemas durante toda a minha vida. Foi doloroso.

Quando descobri o meu pecado e me arrependi, recebi força para superá-lo. Nós lemos muitos essa escritura em Éter 12, mas isso é porque é tão bom.
E se os homens vierem a mim, mostrar-lhes-ei sua fraqueza. E dou a fraqueza aos homens a fim de que sejam humildes; e minha graça basta a todos os que se humilham perante mim; porque caso se humilhem perante mim e tenham fé em mim, então farei com que as coisas fracas se tornem fortes para eles. 
Deus mostrou-me minhas fraquezas porque ele me ama. Ele queria que eu me arrependesse para que eu pudesse ser curado através da expiação de Seu Filho.

Se realmente buscamos o Cristo, precisamos esperar que seremos humilhados, e isso é bom porque “nenhuma carne pode habitar na presença de Deus a menos que seja por meio dos méritos e misericórdia e graça do Santo Messias”.

Somos todos completamente e totalmente dependentes Dele e do Seu perdão, que é dado tão livremente quando nos arrependemos.

Eu sei que estas coisas são verdadeiras. Em nome de Jesus Cristo, amém.

Extra, Extra Pictures

7.08.2018

One Year


It's been one year since we arrived in Portugal. And we celebrated by driving to Spain to attend the temple.

No, that wasn't really our plan, but that's how it worked out since our district temple trip was scheduled for this week. I still had vague ideas of eating out or doing something celebratory on the 4th for Independence Day and our anniversary, but in the end we were just too exhausted and/or sick.

I'm not usually one to notice opposition before attending the temple---I just go, but this trip... from the very beginning, there were signs that something was up.

After reservations being cancelled without reason, told there was no space, applications rejected, looking into camping areas, it almost looked like we wouldn't be able to go at all--there was no where for us to sleep! But finally Woo found us an Airbnb that was expensive and a tight fit, but had parking, was within a 30 min walk of the temple and most importantly, available.

It was a tough trip. I don't really feel like listing everything... there were the usual tough-trip-with-kids episodes: bloody noses, throw up, lack of sleep, cranky kids, etc. Also, Woo had asthma and a stomach bug (emergency pitstop on the side of the road?--yay!).

A good thing was that Ruby and Herbie got to do baptisms with the youth from our district and hang out with them most of the day. It seemed kind of like a youth conference. They loved it and they made new friends. But they only let Ruby and Herbie be baptized for 10 people at a time (and they had 120 names!)--they were never going to get through them...

That night, praying for revelation, I got: Even a hard temple trip with only a few names done is completely worth it. Any sacrifice is worth one person receiving the saving ordinances of Jesus Christ available only in His temples.

That was comforting, but did not make the trip easier. Highlights from the next day include me driving the van through crowded Madrid streets with the horn blaring constantly (and it was piercingly loud!). I guess you haven't lived until you have hundreds (or thousands?) of people stop everything they're doing to stare at you. I tried to make what I guessed was the universal sign for "I don't know what the heck's going on either" occasionally, but I'm not sure I was understood.

The horn problem was miraculously resolved when Woo next started the van; although, he knew how to handle it and Herbie too. And Moses said he did too, but he was in the van with me and never said a word... Maybe because Penelope was laughing and laughing and laughing the entire time. I couldn't quite do the same myself in the moment, but it did remind me that this was going to be a fun memory one day.

The good news was it prepared me to not be embarrassed at all when I fainted at the altar an hour later. Mostly, it was awesome to be lying on the floor of the temple, getting a break and everyone running to get me a water and mopping my face off with kleenex... we left for home soon after that.

Other events of the day: they did eventually let Ruby and Herbie finish all their names in a marathon last baptism session, and Woo and I, through a series of misdirections, accidentally found ourselves witnessing a live sealing of an older couple.

At first I felt like I was trespassing on some private, sacred moment when the groom was so clearly touched and appeared to be experiencing one of the happiest moments of his life, but in the end, I loved it. It was so sweet, and I was happy we could see it.

That's pretty much it, except that Madrid has a lot of ornamental plum trees and Moses and Linus found several little plums for us to eat. Linus' soccer ball popped. And Archie found a little Lamborghini buried in playground sand that he loved so much, but unfortunately (like seemingly all his toys) he lost, by dropping it through a fence and down a steep hill while staring at a swimming pool, just before we left.

And I think that's it. I'm looking forward to a lazy week next week. Hope your Fourth of July was great!