Plus a little extra…

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WOW… July 28, 2009

Filed under: faith,plus a little extra...,thought — plusalittleextra @ 1:46 am

A while back, a friend of ours in our bible study had us pray for some friends of theirs who had lost their baby about a week before he was due. She had already had 3 miscarriages and then lost this fully grown baby right before he was going to be born. Well, I stumbled across their blog the other day and read just about every post and just sat there teary eyed and amazed at how God is keeping them strong throughout this whole process. Here I am posting a post from their blog from right after it happened. I ask myself, could I write something like this after such a tragedy? Do I really see my life as belonging to God and not myself? Could I be this strong? Praise God for this family and their encouragement to others who are going through far less!! Here’s their blog site if you’re interested in more (you’ll have to go back a bit to read about their loss because most of the recent posts are about the adoption process they are now currently going through):

March 17th,                            

 To our dear friends and family.  There simply are no words to express the deep sorrow in our hearts.  Today our little boy, Titus, lost his heartbeat somewhere between this morning and this afternoon and went to be with Jesus.  This comes as such a shock to us all.  We have shared tears and prayers and joy from the very second he was discovered in Renee’s tummy.  We cannot express enough how grateful we are to have had the chance to be Titus’ mom and dad for these past 9 months, and truly count that as a blessing, and a deep honor.  We stand on the hope of the cross of Jesus, without His love, grace, and faithfulness, and His sovereignty, we have nothing.  These past weeks as we as a body have been in Philippians, I have thought so much about Paul’s words about sharing in the sufferings of Jesus.  We humbly, and obediently walk forward in this.  Our desire is to allow ourselves to feel the full weight of this tragedy, emotionally, physically and spiritually, and yet choose hope, choose rest, and choose to continue to glorify God with our lives and with our family.  Titus belongs to God.  We belong to God.  It is our deep prayer that this circumstance would leave such an echo of the realness and presence of Jesus in this world.  May He receive all glory, every minute of the way.  I pray for everyone we will come into contact with in this process, that the Holy Spirit would make Himself evident and that their lives will be saved for eternity in Christ, that is our only end in this life.

We want you to grieve with us and share our burdens, but be affirmed, Titus needs no grief for himself, he is in a better place, we hold tightly to that. The more despair you have on our behalf, even if well intended, will only make it harder for us.  We have the people we need to walk us through this. We appreciate your words and thoughts, but what we need is your prayers and your silence.  Thank you for honoring that, it is a difficult thing for me to write. 

Allow us room and space, and trust us to communicate our needs and wants as they come. As you can imagine, we are spinning.  Renee goes in tonight for a C-section, we don’t have any details as to what went wrong, and we may not.  We will communicate those to the church leadership as soon as we know.

I do not know what else to say.  We love you.  We know we are loved by you.  Thank you for being our family.  May His kingdom come and His will be done.

Feel free to pass this email along if you feel led to.  The more people that know, the better, and the less we have to explain the situation.

C.J. and Renee’

“We’ll forever have stories to tell”


Lately… June 15, 2009

Filed under: adventure,faith,plus a little extra...,thought,to do — plusalittleextra @ 2:30 pm

Lately –

we’ve been tempted to work on our house
we’ve been too busy with editing to be able to work on our house
we’ve noticed we have a bird that likes to slam into one of the office windows (he really wants to come in i think)
we’ve had a flood in the bathroom
we’ve found a huge beetle (about 2 1/2 inches long!)
we’ve seen lots of bunnies running around our backyard
we’ve bought plane tickets
we’ve been to a funeral
we’ve been to a wedding
we’ve held a newborn
we’ve watched some good movies
we’ve watched some crappy movies
we’ve been to the fair
we’ve felt blessed

needless to say…lately we’ve been busy! i think the saying is true “when it rains it pours” because everything has seemed to hit all at once… but we should be catching up over the summer and by fall our lives will be much calmer (i hope!)


Photo Friday #19 May 16, 2009

Filed under: faith,family,love,plus a little extra...,to see — plusalittleextra @ 6:33 pm
Today’s photo Friday is a bittersweet one. My opa passed away on Thursday. His health has been fading and I’m so grateful that he is out of pain and that I got a chance to say goodbye. He was a wonderful grandfather and we will all miss him. He and I always had an understanding. He never questioned my living abroad for so long and always wanted to hear about my next great adventure. Since I’m the only granddaughter on that side of the family, he had a bit of a sweet spot for me 🙂 Of course he loved all his grandsons as well. He easily accepted the gentleman as a new grandson in the family when we got married. I’m so happy I was able to know my opa for as long as I did. He had a full life of adventures, travel, farming and family. He loved John Deere tractors and loved having four daughters. He was a tall, strong man but there was always tenderness in his eyes.
Goodbye opa, rest in peace

Advent Part 2 December 20, 2008

Filed under: faith,plus a little extra...,to see — plusalittleextra @ 10:50 pm
Here’s our part 2 of Advent. The theme for the week is Bethlehem. Here are the pictures we put up along with the text. We tried to make all these pictures look simple since Jesus came to Earth in a simple way. The next two themes are Praise and Jesus. I’ll post them soon 🙂
“And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the leaders of Judah; For out of you shall come forth A RULER who will shepherd my people Israel.
When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.”
Tell me what you think about this project so far…I would love some constructive criticism.

Advent December 17, 2008

Filed under: faith,plus a little extra...,to see — plusalittleextra @ 6:39 pm
We are part of our worship service’s (Resonate) creative team. A while back the worship leader thought of gathering a team of people to come up with creative ways to keep the service interesting and fresh. We didn’t want people coming to this service expecting the same thing week in and week out. We came up with lots of ideas to incorporate art including painting, photography, videography and murals. Of course we were mostly intrigued with using photography and videography. It has been a fun adventure and we have enjoyed using our God-given talents in this way!
So the most recent project we worked on for the Christmas season was Advent. The gentleman grew up with his family celebrating advent but I wasn’t super familiar with it. Advent in Latin means coming and it is meant to put you in the right mindset for the true meaning of Christmas. You light candles and do a devotional reading of a few verses per night to remember that we are celebrating Christ coming into the world. It’s second purpose is to remind ourselves that we are waiting for the second coming as well. So our project for the chapel was to come up with photos that depict the different themes of each week of advent. Week one’s theme is Prophecy. Here are the photos and text that we put up.

PROPHECY – “the people who walk in darkness will see a great light…For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us…And his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace”
If you haven’t celebrated Advent before, check it out. Don’t make it something that makes you too busy in this already crazy season, but maybe take some time out and read the story of Jesus’s birth or just pray and thank God for all the things we are blessed with including salvation! Even in rough times, living here in the U.S. is a blessing, we have so many freedoms and so so much here.
There is always something to be thankful for.
I’ll post the rest of the Advent weeks as we finish them. I’ll also try to post more things that we do for Resonate, including Songs of Christmas! If you aren’t doing anything on the 20th (this coming Saturday) come to Resonate for our Christmas concert. We will be filming it so if anything we’ll post a few songs online. Happy Advent!

Leaving Portugal September 4, 2008

Filed under: adventure,faith,plus a little extra...,to see — plusalittleextra @ 3:36 am
Ok, I think this will probably be the last post from Portugal…

A few more pictures, a video and a slide show 🙂
So the last night we were there we threw a festa (pronounced feshta) also known as a fiesta! We had brought ingredients for s’mores, we had glow sticks and music and we quickly made some paper decorations. It was not the best party, but throwing it together while we were there (and not knowing we’d do one in the first place) it wasn’t too bad. The s’mores were a hit!! None of them had even had marshmallows before so that was a treat. Also, no one knew how to eat them, and a few of them even asked if there was cheese in it!

That night was Armando’s last night (one of the camp directors). He took a group photo with us and told us that it was a blessing that we came. I guess last year a bunch of the kids got salmonella from eggs (most everything is donated to this camp so it was probably that the eggs were donated and probably not the highest of quality) and ended up in the hospital. The government wanted to shut them down and not allow the camp but ended up allowing it in the end. Then Armando and Vera didn’t want to even deal with it because of all the drama but since we were coming, they decided to make it work. They figured with our help they could make it happen this year. That was definitely a great thing to hear on our last night, feeling like we were useful during these two weeks.

The last day we pulled out a bunch of crafts and just hung out with the kids all morning. Paula brought her jewelry drill and drilled holes in a bunch of the shells we picked up over our time. Jackie and Paula made a bunch of necklaces and gave them all to the kids. The idea is that we are all unique, all different shapes and sizes but all in all, we are the same, we’re all shells together.

As we were about to leave, the kids gave us some paintings they had made for us and said that they would miss us.

We took a group picture and were off! We thought the goodbyes would be really sad and we would all cry but it seemed like the kids were ok with hugs and kisses and they didn’t get emotional at all. That made me sad later because I realized they are probably used to people leaving them in their lives. They also tease anyone who is emotional so no one wanted to cry for self-preservation! Poor kids!! I truly will miss them and pray for them as often as I can remember. Now I have faces and people I know that I can pray for and remember forever!

Here’s our slide show we put together. You will probably recognize photos I posted earlier but there are a bunch on here.

And here’s the video. I apologize for the weird layout, let me know if you want to see a full-quality video, come on over! Also, we’re doing a recap at the church on Sept. 14th at 12:30 under the chapel if you want to come.

p.s. totally unrelated but did anyone see the Sarah Palin speech tonight?? She’s pretty awesome I’ve decided.

Week 2 at Aldeia do Meco August 28, 2008

Filed under: adventure,faith,plus a little extra...,to see — plusalittleextra @ 2:10 am

Hey All,

So after our lovely weekend in Lisbon and Sintra, we headed back to the camp. The kids were pretty excited to see us, and we were excited to see what this new week would have for us. Because of all our scheduling problems and communication, we didn’t get to do as many activities as we had brought to do. So we decided in this second week that we would try and do a jam-packed craft and activity week! That and we were showing part 5 of the Jesus film and the wordless Bible.


The kids were really excited about all the crafts and it seemed like we couldn’t get enough out for them to do! But what was really interested was how excited they were to watch the Jesus film. It could be that they were excited about any movie we put in the player (like Chronicles of Narnia in English – they didn’t have any movies) or they were truly interested to know about it. I guess we’ll never know, but after each showing, we would ask them questions and talk about what it means that we are all sinners and what it means that Jesus came to save us from sin.


I think the most interesting moment for me was when I was listening to our translator Eva talk to these boys about the wordless Bible. She asked them if they had ever done anything wrong and they admitted they had. She asked if they believed that Jesus could take away sin, and they said they did. (Sounding good so far) But then she asked about specifics…will Jesus forgive us for a lie? YES! Will Jesus forgive us for hitting someone? YES! Will Jesus forgive us for killing someone? NO! So I think for them, it will take a lot of understanding that Jesus can truly love and forgive us unconditionally if we choose it but they have probably had so many people in their lives love them conditionally and love them for a while but then give them up again. It was really sad and eye-opening for me. And even if I wanted to with all my heart, I can’t love them unconditionally either, that’s why they need Jesus.


Now for some photos! I have one more Portugal post after this which will have the video and slide show! yippee!
We did devotionals together every morning and took turns leading them. This is the larger room where most everyone slept and where we did our morning and evening meetings. (and it’s where we made coffee during all hours of the day!)


Playing “Red Light, Green Light”, they loved learning this game! And they were incredibly strict about moving. Seriously, we could not even scratch our noses or we’d have to go back to the beginning!


Painting nails was a big hit! They were very reciprocal about it too, we’d paint theirs and they’d paint ours right after. I had glitter all over my fingers for the rest of the week 🙂


The gentleman with Rafaela.


Jessica and me


Sarah and Catarina

N8 made friends with lots of the kids because he was out there all the time playing soccer!

Eva with the Pequininas (the itty bitties as I liked to call them) They were the best and were the most forgiving about language. They would just chatter away for the longest time.

Another Jessica and Paula. This girl was a trooper! She got a really bad sunburn on her face and someone put some cream on it which irritated it even more. She was miserable for a while until we could get it all off and put aloe on instead. Then she got pricked by a sea urchin, the lifeguard had to take all 3 “needles” out of her foot.

The beautiful praia (very similar to the Spanish Playa) The Atlantic water was pretty cold and the waves were strong and dangerous but the kids absolutely loved every beach day.

The gentleman took a bunch of really cool pictures like this, he’s just showing off 😉

This is my little Jessie (the 3rd Jessica of the bunch) and I think she looks like she could be my daughter. Couldn’t I just go back and bring her here in my suitcase?


And so here we are enjoying our last day at the beach. Ciao!



We’re Back August 26, 2008

Filed under: adventure,faith,plus a little extra...,to see — plusalittleextra @ 6:36 pm
Well, we just got back last Friday from Portugal. I will still have a few more posts about it though because I have plenty of photos and stories to share. For this post I’ll update you on the weekend in between.


So, after our first week, we headed back to Lisbon for a much needed weekend off. We stayed with the Farmers and made most of our meals together there. It was really great.

On Saturday morning we did a walking tour of Lisbon and the castle there with the SunDeo group also from EFCC. They were in Portugal around the same time we were just working on different projects. After that we had the afternoon off and did a little shopping and eating.

At the Castelo, of course

Safety guard rails in Portugal?? Who needs them?

We  stop to have a tea break overlooking the city.

I discover Portugal’s unique obsession with roosters…it reminded me of all the random roosters running around in kauai, hmm.

Eden hopes that Scott will pick some grapes for her. We found them on our walk, I just love her hopeful face.
enjoying our Lisbon moment!


Sunday was great, we went to another home church (like we did the day we got to Portugal) and worshiped together with the missionaries and others. It was really refreshing to be in a small group all fellowshipping together and eating a potluck breakfast together.
After that we got to go up to Sintra. It’s a small, quaint little town with a castle on the hill. There are plenty of “touristy” things to do there but mostly we were pretty tired and just saw some shops and ate. About half of us went there, everyone else stayed in town.


Seriously though, statues are pretty boring on their own in photos. Isn’t imitation the highest form of flattery?

That’s all for now. Stay tuned for photos/stories from week 2 with the lovely kids!


Week 1 update from Portugal! August 17, 2008

Filed under: adventure,faith,plus a little extra...,to see — plusalittleextra @ 7:15 am
Hey Everyone! So I’m writing a very quick update while we’re in Lisbon and have a chance to use the internet.
So, since we got here, lots of things have changed and our expectations have had to be flexible. Thankfully for us, a lot of things have been for the better! First of all, in the last post I said we didn’t have tents. Well, not only were tents provided but once we got to the camp site, we didn’t even need them! We had heard that there was going to be a room for us to put our valuables into but that room turned out to be a large meeting room plus kitchenette and two little rooms, plus our own bathroom! So the two married couples are in the little rooms and everyone else is in the big room. It’s been great because it has provided us a bit of a sanctuary when we’ve needed time away from the kids and a nice place to meet together as a team.
The kids are great! They are overwhelming and need a lot of attention, but they are so great, loving and so much fun! They are also mostly patient with us as we struggle to communicate to them through language. What’s nice is that smiles and hugs are universal and we can speak that way to them.
We’re all pretty tired and will be happy to have rest when we get home, so if you could please pray that we can have extra energy for the rest of this week. We’ve still got 4 more days with the kids and find that it’s hard to pull ourselves away for rest and alone time.
I’ve got some pictures for you all to see. I don’t have time to organize them and put them all in a nice order, so I’ll just put a sentence of commentary and you can figure it out. I’ll also put tons more up when we get back, this is just a snack for you 🙂 if you click on them you can see them full size…
an example of many of the buildings here, just abandonded
this is the only way we’ve found to have a somewhat normal sized coffee! cappucino!

Us in the doors of a cathedral in lisbon

our team at the castle in lisbon

where we’re staying, aldeia de meco (15 minute walk from the nude beach!)

view of lisbon. in this photo you can see the bridge designed by the same guy who did the golden gate bridge…look familiar?? also you can see the jesus statue in the background that looks just like the one in brazil!

one of the kids on the bracelet making day. they loved this! the boys and the girls! they are so sweet 🙂


and comic relief from the gentleman, come on, what are we supposed to be, mature???


laura and ines during our “american food” day. i think they got a kick out of us being in the kitchen for once!


all the kids watching a portion of the jesus film. they are really interested in it, i’m really excited to see what they think once they’ve seen the whole thing. please pray that they will take it all in and really understand the message we’re telling them.


me and rafaela. she took the gentleman”s hand and mine and we walked together to the beach. i think she would really love for us to be her parents. she is so precious! and she’s wearing n8’s glasses, she thought they were cool!


playing beach volleyball with the kids, something different than soccer!!!


the kids at the nude beach, it doesn’t phase them a bit! we were quite shocked however! (notice we had to crop the picture carefully when we took it)

our van! the gentleman is doing a great job learning portuguese driving habits with a group of 10 or 11 sometimes in our 9 person van. also notice n8’s newly acquired habit of poking into photos

some more of the kids. obviously 🙂

hope you all are having a great time without us! we are having one last afternoon off and then headed back to the camp. you won’t hear from us again until possibly thursday night and then we’re going home! keep us in your thoughts and prayers!



“Nothin’ we can’t git around” August 10, 2008

Filed under: adventure,faith,plus a little extra...,to see — plusalittleextra @ 2:37 pm

So just a quick blog to let everyone know that we made it here to Lisbon all in one piece! On the first leg of our trip our pilot was awesome and was telling us about some turbulence we were going to have and what he said about it is what is going to be our motto for this trip.

“Nothin’ we can’t git around”

We thought, this will be a great quote and now that we’re here, we’re having to use it a lot! Flexibility is a virtue on trips like these and right away we have had to be flexible. We’re tent camping on this trip and found out today that there are no tents! So we’ll figure that out. Also, we’re having technical difficulties with my computer (which definitely limits video editing!). So, our motto will have to do.

Anyway, we had a 5 hour layover in Philadelphia, got off and saw the Liberty Bell and ate Philly cheese steaks in Liberty Park! Then we got here at 8:30 am and are working on staying awake all day so we’ll sleep all night!

Tomorrow we’re off to the orphanage and I won’t be able to update again until Friday or Saturday. Sorry there are no pictures, hopefully my computer will work soon! Please pray for it, my little old mac laptop…i want it to be better!!!