Friday, October 31, 2008

Favorite Bakery

In my last post I mentioned the bakery so when I went down for my reward for cleaning out more drawers and shelves, I took my camera along. As you see, they have decorated for Christmas and it is very cheerful with all the delightful cookies on display. These wonderful cookies will be gone long before Christmas arrives as people are already buying several packages at a time. I decided I had better get mine before the ones I wanted were all gone, so they are now safely in a sealed tupperware container at my house, ready for the flight home in December.
I was introduced to Homero and Nelci my first week in Brazil and they have become good friends over the years. I will miss walking down the hill for coffee, cinnamon rolls and conversation.
These cinnamon rolls have become quite famous in this area because it is not an item you will find anywhere else. A new missionary couple taught Nelci how to make them and they have become in such demand that she now makes them three times a week for their customers. One time, a lady from a city 4 hours away (Curitiba) bought the entire day's supply to take back with her....much to the chagrin of the regular customers who came in later that day! Homero, Nelci and their daughters, Alesandra and Aline have been my language helpers, my problem solvers and good friends these past eight years. Sometimes they have even been my tour guides and this Sunday if it does not rain, we will be going to a beach area about an hour south of here where the whales gather each year to give birth to their young. We will be getting on a boat to go out and view these whales "up close and personal." I am looking forward to getting some great photos and to spending the day with their family. I am sure it will become another fond memory of good times with Brazilian friends.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

All fun and games

As you can see, Alegria is enjoying the packing and sorting process. At least she enjoys playing hide and seek in the semi-empty boxes! Alegria is my Brazilian bi-lingual Persian cat. She is five years old and is a typical cat in that she thinks everything is all about her. Her name in Portuguese means "Joy" and she does live up to that name because she loves to play and often does funny things that make me laugh. Right now she is sleeping behind me in the desk chair because I got up early and she wanted to continue sleeping. Alegria does not know that her world is about to change; she is focused on the task at hand...sleeping, playing with her ball, bugging me to play chase, etc. Even if cats could worry, it would not help her much since I do not know what her new home will be like or even when I am going to find that new home! How much more important it is for me to live each of these days in the reality that my Master knows exactly what His plans are for me...where I will live, work...all of it! Do I need to look ahead and make plans? Yes! Do I need to fret and sigh and worry? No! Just like Alegria, I can enjoy the moments and focus on the tasks at hand. Today, that task seems to be more packing and sorting as it is raining right now and it does not look like I will be able to teach the sports classes out in Frei Damiao. So maybe I can reward myself with a treat at my favorite bakery after I get a few more drawers cleaned out this morning? hmmm

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Four of my favorite things

...And all in the same place! Today I took advantage of the two hour break between my morning and afternoon sports classes and enjoyed my favorite lunch time activity: eating fresh grilled shrimp and fish at an ocean-side table with a view of the mountains! Yes, this activity for sure goes on the list of "things I will miss." I usually arrive at restaurants before the noon rush and enjoy listening to the waves lapping against the shore and the sea gulls squawking at each other. The affordable price will also be missed and that alone motivates me to schedule more of these before I leave! After enduring many years of gulping down school cafeteria food in the allotted 15-20 minutes, these occasional relaxing long lunch breaks are a great blessing. So now you know four of my favorite things that I will miss when I return to the states: fresh grilled fish, jumbo fresh grilled shrimp, the sounds of the ocean and the views of the mountains. I am so grateful for the beauty of Brazil I have been privileged to enjoy here in Florianopolis over the past years. I can honestly say however, that I am also starting to look forward to discovering new places as I travel in the US participating in Mission conferences and I anticipate traveling to new picturesque places internationally in the years to come.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Greetings from Brazil

I can not believe that I only have 42 more days before I return to the states! I should be sorting, trashing, packing and cleaning right now, but this is much more fun. Besides it is on my list of things to do so I am at least getting something checked off the long "to do" list.

So why the title "Joyful Heart?" Because even though leaving will be sad, I want to focus on having a joyful heart. Grateful for the eight wonderful years, God has allowed me to serve here in Brazil and thankful that I can look forward with joy to what God has planned for me in the future. On this blog I hope to post thoughts and photos related to the process of leaving my life and ministries here in Brazil and returning to life in the states.

This cool photo was taken by Ron Greenwich at one of our favorite places to take volunteer teams for those wonderful ocean view photos.
"OK"...back to work for now...more to come...