What I wanted to be when I grew up...

When I was somewhere in the ages of 11 or 12, I wanted to be a writer... more specific, I wanted to be a journalist.  Growing up in Brazil, I knew that going to college was going to be a challenge, especially since the competition to land a single spot in a good university was known to be nothing less than... let's say...  fierce.  After graduating from high school, many of the students in Brazil take an exam in the area of their choosing (one needs to know EXACTLY what they want to study prior to applying for college), and if you're really really REALLY bright (did I say, REALLY enough?), your name would be posted as the few who are privileged to attend that specific university, to study that specific area of interest.

Okay... wow.  Putting that kind of a pressure on a pre-adult "kid" is quite something...  

Fast forward a few years.  My family moved to the US when I was 15, right after I had started my first year of high school.  My plans were to finish high school and study journalism... remember?  Well, God had totally different plans for me.  Go figure.  The one area I was really interested in pursuing required a very simple skill.  The ability to write.  Not only was I dealing with the ginormous distance break from my friends and relatives in Brazil, but this time I was also faced with the reality that being a WRITER in a different country would be impossible.  How could I communicate through writing in a different country?  A different culture?  A different world?  A journalist?  A joke, right?  Right?  My dream was taken away... and many moons ago today, I have to say, I'm finally okay with that!

Because now I CAN communicate through writing in this country... in this culture... in THIS language.  

No, I didn't pursue a career in journalism, and I'm not a "professional" writer, but writing is still one of my favorite things to do.  I wish I had more set-aside time to do it.  But nonetheless a hobby I'll continue to enjoy.  By the way... did I ever tell you I've been keeping a journal, a written journal, since I was 11 years old?  Well, I've been scarcely writing these last few years, especially since having children.  One would say that this is exactly the time to record all of these "precious" memories... but who has time to sit down in the midst of chaos to record memories?  I know... I would seriously LOVE to be able to come back to these early years of parenthood, and maybe, just maybe, I'll remember how present the Lord was (and is) with me.

So, to nurture my forgotten hobby, I've decided to declare February the month of Forgotten Hobbies.  I'll be writing (aka blogging) for the next 28 days starting tomorrow.  I found this list of topics on Pinterest... it'll be a rough map for my Writing Challenge...  Feel free to take up my challenge, copy this list somewhere, or simply... join me here!

What about you?  What is YOUR forgotten hobby?  Let me know in the comments below and maybe... just maybe... together, we can bring it back to life!  What do you think?

See you tomorrow!

"Mommy, I wanna pray!"

Rustic Block Set by Mary&Martha
One of my New Year's "resolutions" (and yes, I'm putting that word in quotes because it's not a resolution, it's a life commitment!) was to intentionally and DAILY pray for my children.  Each. One. Of. Them!

So I have.  A daily prayer.  A continuous prayer.  
I'm sure you've heard that if you maintain a spirit of thanksgiving, your worries go away.
For me, praying for my children has given me a perspective I haven't had before.
I'm finding myself less tense, less irritable, on top of my short temper... and, dare I say... more patient?
Prayer has kept me from exploding.
The Lord's been given me a glimpse of the way He is pursuing me, by giving me an eternal hunger for my children... a deep desire to see them come to Jesus as their own Lord and Savior.  He pursues me.  Wow!

And... you know what else?  
My kids see me.  They watch me.  They hear me.  They notice... 
So, these last few days, I hear Joshua and Elsie say "Mommy, I want to pray!", or, "it's MY turn to pray"!  
At bedtime, Elsie is the one who eagerly volunteers to pray for "Mommy, Daddy, Elsie, Joshua, baby Noah, Daddy, Noah, Mommy, Elsie...(then whoever she thinks of that day)".  Yes, she prays for each one of us more than once every night!  
And this morning, I asked Joshua while taking him to school, "Joshua, do you want to pray for your day at school today?" and he eagerly said, "Sure!  Jesus, help me to have a good day in school, amen!"  
Those are the moments I want to cherish and remember.  They're communicating with God, whether or not they truly understand what that means.

I want to pray.  

What have you been praying for these days?  How can I pray for you?  The Lord hears my prayers.  And I know He hears yours, too!

Waking up to a New Year

Wow, today is already day 10 of 2014 and I have yet to say, HAPPY NEW YEAR to all of you who faithfully follow my blog.  
Where is the time going?  
With every start of a new year, we all have those goals and resolutions we aim to "be better", "do better", or simply... to stop doing certain things.  This year isn't any different.
I "woke up" to a new year with a deeper desire to change a few things.  But hang on... I'm not saying I want to have the so-called New Year's Resolutions, yeah, the same old ones we're all guilty of failing.  No. I'm blogging about it so I can come back to them and say, "I. Did. It!"  
So, also, I want to put it on here so I can have YOU, yes, YOU, keep me accountable.

Here are a few things I'll be attempting to do this year:
1. Daily pray for my children.  Daily.  Without excuses.
2. Exercise!
3. Books over Social Media.
4. Encourage others through notes/cards.
5. Be more giving.

I also have a ton of other things I want to "do", but I need to stop thinking that I need to "do" more in order to FEEL productive or better about myself.  Right?  It's not about perfection.  I'm learning that if I let myself drench in God's grace and mercy, there's not an ounce of me that needs to perform, entertain or pretend.  I just need to BE in His presence.  What a freeing way to take in each day.  Shouldn't I also be demonstrating such grace to my own family and friends?  What about that neighbor or cashier lady who I often overlook for the sake of my convenient schedule?

“Do not accumulate for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal.  But accumulate for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
Matthew 6:19-21 (New English Translation)

Storing treasures in Heaven.  That's It!  My theme for this year.  How can I focus more on eternal things?  How can I stop looking to temporary things to find fulfillment, and start storing up treasures in Heaven? 

May this be a year of deep pursuit of Truth.
May this be a year of greater awakening of the Spirit.
May this be a year of unseen miracles.
May this be a year of answered prayers.
May this be a year of abundant blessings.

What did YOU wake up to this New Year?