Sunday, August 19, 2012

Notice that change?

Have you ever been gone long enough to notice some change the next time you were there?  Has it ever been a mirror to the ways you have changed yourself? I found this to be true when we were back in America for our furlough and especially when I was at something or with someone familiar. It may not have changed, but I had! Maybe my tastes had changed, maybe I was less insecure {Praise God!}… There were clues that I was different in encouraging ways for the most part.


Now we’re back in Portugal. We love discovering changes or new things in our town since we had left. For instance, most of the road construction that’s been happening for years it seems is nearly finished! Our city made some great choices with new sidewalks and flowerbeds, even using cobblestones in white and black to make the crosswalks. Another item that got a big “WOW” from the family were the parking covers at our local LIDL, similar to ALDI if you’re familiar with that.


To see how much our plants and trees had grown at our home was nearly overwhelming! We get a lot of sun here, and since we have sprinklers, all the green things are loving life. I wish I had a before so you could see the difference. Needless to say, we had a bit of pruning to do to make the front of our house look less like a jungle!


This flower bed needed a rehaul with some flowers dead and others overtaking. The giant cabbage had to go! We actually took babies growing from it and replanted those. That’s a large onion stem that got broke off, not a snake—made great baked onion rings though!


The other big surprise was our nectarine tree. It’s on year three since we planted it. We got maybe four fruit from it last year. Check out our coming harvest!


So, we continue to look for changes in all places: finding non-vacuumed-packed corn-on-the-cob and Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup at our local grocer for the first time ever was a recent win! I was amazed!

I can tell I am still in adjustment phase as I start week 3 of being back in Portugal. It’s not bad, just weird. I look forward to noticing what has changed in me {for the good hopefully!} once the dust has settled.

How about you? Any recent victories with desired changes around you or in you?

Monday, August 13, 2012

Better Each Time

I’ve been back in Portugal for a week today and was actually able to get out of bed by 7:10AM!  Quite a victory when noon felt like 7AM days ago. I’ve been on a blogging hiatus for nearly four months. Several times I felt inspired to write while we were on our three month stint in America but… here I am now. I hope to recount some of the good things we’ve experienced still.


Before we left Portugal, I felt like the Lord encouraged me to believe that every mode of transportation would be better than the last for this trip. I had nine flights in the last 90 days. My husband had 14!  I didn’t keep count of miles driven. The return overseas flight was my least favorite to look forward to. We had 10.5 hours Houston to Frankfurt before flying to Lisbon. Normally we have a short 6.5 hour jaunt from Newark to Lisbon! I know people were praying {I had Facebooked that request—thanks if it was you!}.

Even though I am not a great plane sleeper, I got a little sleep every time I thought I couldn’t make it any longer—when slumber party nausea tried to set in—how you feel when you stay up all night and don’t eat. My kids and husband slept wonderfully. I really enjoyed a book I started reading, got some cards written even in the midst of prolonged turbulence and really felt encouraged in the Lord. Try listening to Bethel’s The Loft Sessions on a flight. Makes an hour fly by wonderfully!


On our last flight the daughter I was sitting with graciously said she wanted to rest rather than me help her with an activity. A little more sleep for me! It was a joy to be on a flight where people were excited to be landing in Portugal. Some were taking pictures out the window; many clapped upon our arrival. I was thrilled to have made it back.

Two years ago, I had been praying some declarations out of Steve Backlund’s book, Igniting Faith in 40 Days, and I had no idea it would affect me in travel. I had previously been dealing with fear including quite a bit in flying (not just having a crash but also getting sick as I had in the past flights). Within the first few minutes of our flight from Houston to Newark, I felt the Lord say in my mind “Be as if you never had fear,” and I was filled with an amazing peace and joy. I’ve had plenty of chances to test that word since then!

So, on this side of all the travel this summer held, I see that every time I was going from one place to the next, there was grace for me to respond in my heart better than the last, even with lots of turbulence.


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