Posts tagged ‘ministry’

Group Number Two :D

Well, good morning to everyone!!!!!!

The second group arrived on Saturday and we’ve already had a great time! Yesterday there was an activity time for the children of the community, and about 100 kids showed up! It was awesome!!!!! In this group, there are 5 graduating seniors and 5 adults. Its been really nice to be able to hang out with some people who are closer to my age!!!!

Personally, I’ve been on a major emotional roller coaster the past week, mostly because of stress, I think. My hope is that I’ll stabilize a little bit more this week because I won’t be going out early in the morning to work with the group as much….we’ll mostly see each other at dinner. The on;y downside to this is that I actually have to do my schoolwork! 😛 Its been really nice to be able to take a week off! hahahaha

Sorry for the absence of pictures…I haven’t been taking any because I keep on leaving my SD card in my laptop, and forgetting to put it back in my camera….oh well! I promise there will be pics (and a recipe) tomorrow!

For now, though, I want to touch on a subject that is very important to me. Last week, Janae wrote an amazing guest post about the difference between running (or exercising) to lose weight and running because its what you enjoy doing. I want to talk briefly about how too much of a good thing (exercise) can actually have negative effects. Personally, I LOOOVE to do challenging workouts, such as running or even kickboxing. About a year and a half ago, I began participating in these types of workouts. I loved them, felt stronger and even noticed that I stressed out less. Then, it became something that I had to do every day, and if I missed a workout, it felt like the end of the world. I wouldn’t just get sad about missing the workout, I’d get depressed. Instead of working out when I felt like it, for the positive effects, I was working out to prove to everyone else that I could and lost the ability to be flexible in my schedule. There’s no telling what I missed out on while I was busy being upset at not getting to work out on a given day. Exercise shouldn’t control your attitude so completely, and that’s another area that I’ve been trying to work on!

Sorry for the super long rambling…..its just a topic that I wanted to mention at least once….:P

What do you think about exercise? Can it be excessive or am I overreacting? I really want to know what you think! 😀

Hope you all have a wonderful day!


March 21, 2011 at 2:59 am 13 comments

Beach Day

Well, today’s the beach day for this group, and we’re trying to get out the door even earlier, so here are some pictures of what we’ve been doing this past week:

Cement Mixing

Painting a window

Some more painting

Throwing stucco

Activities with children

Laying bricks


Busy, busy, busy!!! 😀 Everyone has had an awesome time!!!!! This has definitely been a great group!

How has your week gone? Hope you have an awesome weekend!

March 18, 2011 at 2:25 am 14 comments

Pre-Birthday Bash

Ok, so it wasn’t really a “birthday bash” per se, but my sister and I had a super fun time last night having a little mini birthday celebration because a group will be here on her birthday, and her party with friends will be afterward.

There were two parts to the surprise:

Part 1- Baking

I told you all that I was going to bake a little somethin’ simple for my sister. Sooo I made sugar cookies based on this recipe from cooking light. I just omitted the icing. Of course, the cookies were lightened which gave me the perfect excuse to whip up some ganache and make sandwich cookies!!! =D Here are both of the recipes:

Sugar Cookies

  • 2 1/2  cups  all-purpose flour (about 11 1/4 ounces)
  • 1/2  teaspoon  baking powder
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 1  cup  granulated sugar
  • 10  tablespoon  butter, softened
  • 1 1/2  teaspoons  vanilla extract
  • 2  large egg whites


To prepare cookies, lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt, stirring well with a whisk. Place granulated sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla and egg whites. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, beating at low speed just until combined. Divide dough in half. Shape each dough half into a ball; wrap each dough half in plastic wrap. Chill 1 hour.

Unwrap 1 dough ball. Press dough into a 4-inch circle on heavy-duty plastic wrap. Cover with additional plastic wrap. Roll dough, still covered, to a 1/4-inch thickness. Repeat procedure with remaining dough ball. Chill dough 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375°.

Remove one dough portion from refrigerator. Remove top sheet of plastic wrap; turn dough over. Remove remaining plastic wrap. Using a 2 1/2-inch cutter, cut dough into 18 cookies. Place cookies 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake at 375° for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on pans 5 minutes. Remove cookies from pans; cool completely on wire racks. Repeat procedure with remaining dough half.

The only thing about these cookies is that I definitely baked them longer than 10 minutes, but that may just have been our oven.  They tasted wonderful!!!!!

Ganache-ish (I used a couple of different recipes and made up my own…its not true ganache, but it tasted good)

About 1 cup heavy cream

9 T cocoa powder

2 T oil

1/4 C brown sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

So basically, I combined the heavy cream and sugar and heated until simmering. Then, I stirred in the cocoa powder, oil and extract. And let thicken. It was pretty tasty. I was originally going to make a whipped icing (hence the brown sugar), that required no heating, but when it did not “whip”, I researched some ganache recipes, and because I didn’t have any actual baking chocolate, just sort of made up the recipe as I went along. This filling was pretty dark and bitter, but it went perfectly with the sweet cookies!

And now, for the pics:

Yes, I drizzled caramel on one of them. Yes, I have issues.


Part 2- Movie and Popcorn

I let my sister pick out a movie (Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants) to watch and made us some popcorn! Salty for me, spicy for her!

All in all, we had a bunch of fun last night and I really think that she was surprised!

As ya’ll know, we have a group getting here later on today. We’re basically running around like crazy trying to get everything ready, and we’re all super excited!

I had better go….this was an uber long post!

Hope ya’ll have a great Friday!

What are your weekend plans?

March 11, 2011 at 5:40 am 16 comments


Good morning! Hope ya’ll are all doing great! =D

I’m officially crazy. This morning, I opened the microwave so I could heat up some stuff for breakfast, and I found a bowl of grits sitting there. I have absolutely no idea when they were made other than it would have to have been after dinner last night because we used the micro. So guess what I had for breakfast? hahaha They were tasty, though….. =P

Yesterday was a lot of fun! After school in the morning, we watched some more Lost (only 6 episodes to go!!!!) and then Dad treated us to a trip to the acai place close by! I got my ginormous fruit salad (sans guava….blech) and proceeded to eat the entire bowl in about 2 minutes flat. Then, while we were shopping to pick up some snacks, we found french onion dip for the first time ever in this country! Mom and my sister were super-duper excited!!!! And, because my dad informed us that dip can only be eaten while watching sporting events, we watched Remember the Titans! I had never seen it before, but I definitely loved it!!! =D All in all, it was a pretty fun day!

I would like to ask for your prayers today, though. A man who lives in the community where we work was shot in the head the other day and died last night. My dad is about to go to the funeral, and everyone is pretty upset. This man’s sons were involved in some bad stuff, and he was targeted as well. I believe that he was shot twice, the first grazed his head and the other hit his throat, and underwent surgery. He had been in the hospital for a few days, but was severely injured. I ask for prayers for his family during this time.

Now, I have a lighter question for you all. I want to surprise my family with a healthy, but decadent-tasting breakfast tomorrow, but have absolutely no idea what to make…..any ideas?

Well, I had better get going….happy Tuesday!

March 8, 2011 at 7:21 am 19 comments

Why We’re Here

First of all, I hope everyone’s weekend is off to a great start!!!!

We bought a new printer yesterday, and look who decided he like the box that it came in:


So yesterday, Alex asked me why me family’s in Brasil. So, I thought I’d dedicate today’s post to what we do here.

Since 2004, we’ve lived in Recife, Brasil,population of about 4 million, located on the northeaster coast of the country, about 9 degrees south of the equator. My parents are missionaries here, and originally came to help out with a children home located in one of the poorer areas of our city. While there, they made visits to families in the surrounding community and felt called by God to start work there. About 3 and a half years ago we went to the States on furlough, and when we came back, we began working in this community, called Dois Unidos.

Here’s some pictures:

Food Bank

Soccer Project

Before/After of a house

Building a Church

Over the past 3 years, God has helped us build 25 houses, a church, operate a food bank and soup kitchen along with another church nearby, open a music studio, have activities for children in the community, and start a soccer project. We work with Brazilians, and have a couple of US work teams come every year to complete special projects. God is good and everything we do is because of Him. We’re missionaries with South America Mission and have been for about 3 years.

I love living here! Its home to me! =D If any of ya’ll have any more questions about us being here, feel free to ask them!!!! =D

Hope you have an awesome weekend!

God bless!!!!!

February 26, 2011 at 8:16 am 22 comments

I Improvised

This morning, I decided to do the second circuit workout. I’ve done it before, but I was working out in my parents’  room and had access to a stool to do the step-ups. Today, I chose to do it in my room and had no such thing. So what did I do? I improvised. Here’s what I came up with:

Yup! Its a bunch of my books stacked on top of each other! I actually probably got a bit of a core workout, since I was trying to balance myself on my “step”! =P I did get a pretty great workout in, though!!!!

Here’s a cool tradition of ours. Every year that I’ve been in school, my mom has saved a yearbook picture, and we have this frame with a slot for each year.

So now I have all of my school pictures together!!! Isn’t it neat? My sister has one, too!!!!

Well, hopefully someone will be coming to actually fix the fridge this afternoon. The repairman came yesterday to figure out the problem but couldn’t actually fix it because he needed to go back to the office, figure out the cost, and we had to approve it yesterday. My mom wasn’t here when they called with the price, but I was instructed to approve WHATEVER they asked of us! =P

I’m hoping that the repairman comes early so that I can bake later on! We’ve been having the same thing for breakfast the past couple of days and I really want to get in the kitchen. With my mom’s approval, of course. =P Not complaining about the breakfasts….we have fresh, homemade bread every day from our local bread store. It is sooooo good!!!!! Sort of looks like a mini french loaf, but tastes sweeter.And its not like I don’t get in breakfast ruts anyway. Oats and grits! =D

What’s your favorite thing to have for breakfast?

We’re going to church tonight and I’m already thinking about what to wear. Only doing this because I usually wear gym clothes…..sometimes I’ll even sleep in them so that I can get up and get my day started! =P I’m actually going to have to wear jeans! hahahahahahaha

Do you have a go-to outfit?

Well, I do have some school to do, so I guess this is it for today! =D

February 3, 2011 at 7:23 am 14 comments

When Your Freezer won’t Freeze…

….your smoothie isn’t thick and creamy. I found this out today. After I finished my all time favorite circuit workout (the FitSugar total body workout on my Workin’ It page) followed up by a jump rope cardio workout, I was ready for a nice, cold smoothie. So I pour my milk and coffee into the blender, and I open the freezer to get some frozen banana chunks, and they’re not frozen. The smoothie still tasted fine, just not very smoothie-like. More like juice. Well, now at least we know there’s a problem! =D

Anyway, I really want to say that if any of ya’ll are looking for a good circuit workout to do, you should try the Total Body one!!!! Its quick (20 minutes) and you can definitely switch it up and sub your favorite exercises. Its good for me because I really don’t like strength training, so if I can tell myself:

“Ok, you only have 12 reps of this to do before you move on.”, the workout goes by a whole lot faster and keeps the ADD side of me happy! =D

Anyway, today my mom, sister and I are going downtown to meet up with some of the ministry team! We’re going shopping for some things to make Ben’s Bells with. If you haven’t heard of Ben’s Bells, here’s an excerpt from their website:

March 29th, 2002 started as a very normal day in our lives. Our sons, Matthew – nearly 6 and Ben – nearly 3 – were home playing with a playmate. Ben had a cold and a bit of a croupy cough. We were not alarmed. Never did it enter our minds that Ben was seriously ill or that he could die. And then he did. It only took seconds for him to become unconscious after his airway swelled shut. Jeannette’s efforts at rescue breathing and CPR were in vain as Ben’s airway was completely closed. In those moments on the morning of Good Friday our lives changed forever.

The depth of pain we were experiencing was beyond description. Every parent’s worst nightmare was our reality and we didn’t know how we would possibly survive. More than anything we just wished we could die. Perhaps we would have died if not for Matthew. He was still alive and he needed us as he had never needed us before.

Slowly, we began incorporating coping strategies into our lives. We came up with a design for Ben’s Bells and started making them in our back yard studio with friends. The therapeutic effect of working with clay was amazing as was the power of being surrounded by people talking and working toward a common goal. We decided to make hundreds of the Bells and distribute them randomly in our community to encourage the kindness that we so depended on to get through each day. Since Ben’s death, it had been the kindness of others, strangers and friends, that had helped us begin to heal. We wanted to find a way to pass on that kindness and to help others in the process.

On the first anniversary of his death, hundreds of Ben’s Bells were distributed throughout Tucson, hung randomly in trees, on bike paths, and in parks with a written message to simply take one home and pass on the kindness.

The ripple effect that followed was wonderful and startling. Individuals finding the Bells had stories to tell – lots of them – about grief and healing and hope. Our local newspaper printed the story – front page – next to fast breaking news of the recent war in Iraq. School groups and businesses and individuals began calling to see how they could get involved and in no time, hundreds and hundreds of Tucsonans were involved in crafting Ben’s Bells.

Ben’s Bells symbolize kindness and its power in healing. We hope that they will touch others’ lives and help to make our community a more gentle place to live. We are so very grateful for our community’s incredible enthusiasm for the project and we know that we can make a difference.

Sweet, huh?

So I’m trying to cram all of my schoolwork in this morning so that I can go this afternoon!!!!!

What’s your favorite type of workout?

I go back and forth (again, ADD) but now I’m lovin’ on circuit workouts! Cardio and (much needed) strength training in one, baby! =P

See ya tomorrow!

February 1, 2011 at 7:37 am 18 comments

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