Friday, January 18, 2008

Once Upon a Time, a doozy

Last night I was stalking googling old friends, a fav internet pasttime for me, when I came across the following story.

Jeff and I were in missionary orientation with Mike and Jeanne Melon and their kids, Jeanne and Gregory, back in 2001. They served an ISC term in Paraguay. I'm just proud to know 'em. This article is from a blog called "Remember Me".

Jeanne and Gregory left New Orleans mid-day on Saturday before Katrina hit. Mike, a bi-vocational pastor, completed his work shift and got home just after Jeanne had left. He had planned to leave immediately. But, when he got home he discovered that two senior adults had no way out of the city and would not leave. Mike purposed to ride out the storm and try to take care of them.

Mike’s . . .house began taking water about 8:30am and he watched as the water came up the road. He said it was almost surreal. He and the dog relocated to the attic with some food and an axe in case he had to cut his way out. About 1pm in the afternoon after writing his name and [wife's cell phone] number on his body, Mike and his dog came out of the attic. He waded in chest deep water to see how the two women had fared. He went first to Ms. Shirley’s. She had been standing on tiptoes for several hours unable to get out of the flood water. He then went to Ms. Connie’s. Carrying both women and his dog he swam to Mirabeau and Press Drive. It was all he could do to keep their heads above water. Exhausted, he saw a boat and was able to get all of them into the boat and to dry ground on Gentilly Blvd.

Mike stayed through the week and did not leave until Friday. He worked with Bethel Colony out of their building in Indian Village trying to get as many people to high ground as possible.
Now that, folks, is a pastor!

NOTE: The BP version of the story is here

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Not all issues are created equal

I just did the Presidential Candidate Calculator. It's a little self-test that tells you which presidential candidate you're most in agreement with on certain issues.
Mostly, I learned that I know NOTHING about the major political issues being discussed in the US right now. [They do offer good explanations of the pro- and con- side of each issue.] My result was very surprising.
The only thing I can figure is that, even though they weight issues, they don't weight them strongly enough.

Either that, or I've been watching too many Alias episodes. . .

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

An Igreja by any other name. . .

I'm taking advantage of Parker's loooonnnng summer break to teach him his letters. We can't start our reading program until he can recognize both upper- and lower-case of all letters. He has learned some letter names in Portuguese, which makes for some interesting interchanges.

We're up to I.

Mommy: This is a Big I and this is a Little i. What's this (pointing to Big I)?

Park: EEEE!

Mom: No, it is pronounced EE in Portuguese, but we say I (aye) in English.

Park: Aye!

Mom: This is an igloo. I makes an ih sound like in igloo. What other words start with the ih sound?

Park: CHURCH! Church starts with I!

[clicking sound is heard as pieces fall into place in Mommy's brain]

Mom: Very Good! Igreja starts with I.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Merry Christmas, all!

Sorry, I'm running a little late.

I hope that everyone had a very happy holiday season. We really did.
We spent our December in Porto Alegre as a family, just the four of us.

We had never had Christmas with just the four of us, so I wanted to take the chance to really teach the kids about Christmas, what it means, and start some traditions for them to enjoy through the years. (This was all inspired by the fact that we spent the entire day of Thanksgiving in the car rushing to get to Florianopolis that we totally forgot to ACTUALLY GIVE THANKS or EVEN TALK about the holiday with the kids). [BAD missionary mom, BAD, BAD missionary mom]

Anyway, we did have a good season. Here are some things we did:

We listened to LOTS of Chrismas music. I DO recommend Charlie Brown Christmas, I DO NOT recommend Christmas with the Rat Pack (they change a lot of words to things that were apparently cute back in the 1950s). We really enjoyed, as much as anything, the weekly Free on Itunes holiday choices.

We watched some Christmas specials, but not nearly enough. Surprisingly, I DO recommend Mr. Bean's Christmas. I think it will turn into a family tradition. It's the funniest I've ever seen of Bean. Next year, we'll get on Amazon in September and order some DVDs.

We re-created, sort of, my mother-in-law's tradition of a Christmas Eve hors d'oeuvres buffet. We called it our "Feast of Festive Finery." Of course, "Finery" is a lot easier to pull off when the audience is 3 and 8 years old. Vienna sausages and cheese cubes are very chique.

We discovered we owned two Christmas trees. How this happened? I have no idea.

I learned how to NOT buy a Christmas ham in Brazil. After 3 tries I DID learn to:
a. Make sure that the wording "pre-cooked" is on the package. (if you don't, you'll defrost 10 pounds of raw pork that takes approximately 18 hours in the oven to cook).
b. Avoid anything that comes in a perfectly spherical shape, especially if they have 30 of them in a row on the shelf.
c. Enjoy turkey for Christmas.

Although, we did enjoy a great "Week of Pork" following Christmas, in which I made Barbeque from the mistaken ham attempts.

I did make some resolutions for Holiday Season 2008. I resolve to:

Put up the decorations earlier. This always trips me up, as we travel for Thanksgiving. We frequently don't get them up before mid-December. Next year, I'll try for December 1st.

Order the holiday special DVDs earlier, probably September.

Shop all year long, putting items in my "gift idea list" on Amazon. Then, fill the cart and place the order on December 1st. This year I left all shopping for the last minute and almost missed some gifts getting there on time, not to mention my gift-giving discernment probably wasn't at it's best. [Didn't you know 2008 was the UN declared "Year of the Polartec Vest"?]

Use Amazon's wrapping service. My best friend used this service this year, and it really works well. Gifts come in a nice pretty box with a label. This eliminates the need for a cryptic email sent weeks prior in which you try to describe whose gift is whose without actually describing the gifts.

Enjoy turkey for Christmas. Continue the Barbeque week tradition following.

Well, I hope by posting those to hold myself to them next year. Have a very Happy New Year!