Warmth – Brazilian style

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photo 5Temperatures plummet all around the country but we experienced a heat wave of sorts. A Brazilian blast of kindness warmed our family these past few weeks as we enjoyed spending time with Chico’s parents. I have loved ones in Qatar, Chicago, El Salvador and Brazil – we’re all over the map!

Since last May, the Lord opened the door for new people to enter our home. Most who entered as friends left as members of our family. Some through actual marriage proposals (Lu and Kelsie) but others through spending extended time in our home – they became W-H’s, an extension of our olive shoot branch.

And it’s interesting, the timing of it all. Disease and deception ushered a person out of our lives. Without a proper goodbye, a thank you, a warm embrace, nothing, nada, zilch, poof, he was gone. I don’t recommend it. So while recovering from the pangs of loss, these people have been a healing balm to our family. We haven’t forgotten this person but we have moved on in order to survive. He hasn’t been replaced but God has opened new chambers of our hearts. I know many people who have experienced a loss can empathize.

On Sunday, we said our goodbyes to Francisco and Leyla. We enjoyed going to church together and I was deeply touched to sit by Chico’s mom and to hear her singing the refrain “Hallelujah” in one of the songs. Tears streamed from both of our eyes as the music played. It’s safe to say that a year ago none of us had any notion how close we would feel to one another. I didn’t really personally know any Brazilian people until September. Now it’s like our family has grown exponentially just by adding one charming borrowed Brazilian olive shoot into our home.

After church, we went to a restaurant. As the meal was ending, Chico’s dad went out to his car to get something. When he returned, he approached the Hubs holding something small in his fingers. He then gently took the corner of the Hub’s jacket and carefully attached a small gold item to the collar. With a few emotional words in Portuguese, he embraced and kissed my husband and that’s when we saw this.

photo 4In some way, it re- minded me of when Nate was pinned as an officer at West Point. Our dear friend Colonel Eric Kail com missioned Nate. We will never forget that moment or that man.

It also reminded me of the kindred moment when Nate was tabbed by his brothers after completing Ranger School those memories flooded back to me.

I’m not sure Francisco understood the significance of his gesture but based on the tears that flowed afterward, perhaps we all did. Francisco’s gift to my husband was an acknowledgement of trust and connection. That pin proudly sits next to the Army pin on my husband’s coat. The cold weather allows him opportunity to display some of our dearest and deepest connections.2013-07-12 12.17.27

The  feeling of being deemed worthy and proven can warm a heart and that little pin of our two flags was a profound symbol between 2013-07-12 11.19.16men. When people enter our lives, they leave an impression. In this case, it was an enduring and deep connection neither family could have expected.

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Blustery heart

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photoA cold morning finds
a mama worried –
about a Soldier,
a ministry-minded middle
and an orange hair, freckle face olive shoot.
Tears flow.
They’re not in trouble or doing anything wrong (or at least not that I, I mean she know/s of!).

Two hours later
she reads Scripture for a weekly Bible study
Gently, unexpectedly
God tucks comfort and assurance into her heart.

“It is good for a man to bear the yoke

while he is young.”

Lamentations, of course, this totally makes sense
This mama can be
a big time lamenter

And just like that
Worries find solace and melt away.

On this January day
She breathes.

I’ll Be Home For Christmas

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Kudos to you bloggers out there that are able to consistently post during the holidays. I’ve been swamped with projects and family stuff. My mom was in the hospital for four days and that was a bummer. Thankfully she’s home but since my last blog, I’ve been sewing and creating, cleaning, cooking, working, complaining, planning and everything in between.

We also went to the Army/Navy game. Thanks to nine layers of clothing and two blankets, I was able to enjoy the event despite our big loss to Navy. 


Hopefully by this evening, my oldest OS will be home. I was watching Good Morning America yesterday morning and they were discussing the weather. “A winter storm is blanketing the Midwest and the Northeast today with snow up to 10 inches in some areas…” It’s interesting how weather events become personal. I looked at the map and knew someone I loved was trapped. My heart sunk. 

Our OS was leaving West Point, catching a flight from Stewart Airport to Detroit and despite the cheery voices on GMA, I knew my boy wasn’t coming home on Friday night. He was going from a place of snow (West Point) to another place of even more snow (Detroit). How ironic because at the same time in our neck of the woods, we had the windows open and our other OS were in shorts! While driving, I even had to put on the AC! How crazy is that?!

I had warned Nate that he would soon experience snow in proportions the likes of which he had never known. I was hoping it would have waited until January but that was not to be. After four years at West Point, I’m sure Nate will have wracked up many winter stories which he can embellish for his own kids one day beginning with his travels back home for the holidays as a lowly plebe. As soon as the bus arrived at Stewart Airport and learned flights had been cancelled, our plebe was back on the bus returning to West Point for the night. 

I told him to make sure he wore his uniform and to be nice and polite. He says that uniform is the most uncomfortable thing he’s ever worn in his life but I chided him to remember manners on a handsome young man in a uniform can go a long way.

This morning he texted me and said it was so freezing at West Point that there was ice on his jacket! I think he’s going to appreciate the warmth of our home more than ever. 

Although I am disappointed that my OS is not home yet, I am looking forward to seeing him tonight. He might be tired and grouchy but he’ll be here and our five piece puzzle will be together again.