• 2015 and choosing to DREAM

    IMG_7103There is something wonderful about starting the new year.  When you think about it, anything new is almost always loved.  New clothes, new gadgets, new cars, new houses.  We love to start over with something fresh and different.  The new year is no different.  The beginning of January always feels so hopeful to me.  So much unknown lies ahead, and it feels good to start over,  make some changes and expect better.

    I have never been one to make resolutions.  They always seemed a bit silly to me.  As if the new year suddenly gave one magical powers to overcome things they never have been able to before.  I avoid them.  But I don’t avoid self reflection and being intentional with with my goals and the beginning of the year is great time to do that.

    For the past few years I have chosen a single word to focus on.  Just one area of my life that I wanted to make improvements on or make a theme in my life.  It’s not something I take lightly.  It’s not something I chose on a whim, but prayerfully consider.  It’s not necesarily a spiritual word.   Then again everything is in a sense spiritual when Christ is the centre of our  lives, and we invite Him to clean up our mess.  Last year I chose the word “GROW”.  I wanted to be stretched, challenged and motivated to learn and change.  I forgot one thing though.  It’s kind of funny to me now.

    Growth is painful.

    It just is.  Being stretched and challenegd is anything but comfortable.

    Thankfully I forgot that when I chose the word, because grow I did and to be honest it was a very hard year.  I wouldn’t change it for anything, because I learned so much in the process.  I grew as a person, in my relationship in Christ and as a leader.  It was so hard, but so good.  I have changed so much for the better.  But honestly, I am so glad it’s over, ha ha.  Of course I will never settle to stay the same, I will strive for growth and improvement always, but it’s a new year with a new focus and I am excited about that.

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    This year, the word I chose is DREAM.

    I have had so many dreams stored in my heart for so long.  I have been stuffing them aside for longer than I want to admit, and God is telling me it’s time to take them out.  They are His dreams after all, and they have been put in my heart for a reason.  I am so excited and hopeful, for big and beautiful dreams.  It’s going to be great year!

    What do you do to start a new year? I would love to hear about it!

     

    “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” – C. S. Lewis

  • An Invitation

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    Consider this your official invitation, if you are from Edmonton area (or willing to travel) we would love to see you in person!  We are so thankful to be here for my brothers wedding, and to have a much needed rest.  Unfortunately we had to leave the older kids behind again, as we have not been able to even get their passports, let alone the visas, which are much more difficult to obtain.  It was a disappointment to us for sure, but we are trusting God to work out things in his timing.  We will keep on trying.  They were left with well trusted family members and friends.

    We will be here until the 8th of December, and are so grateful to have been given a van to drive home in.  We are so excited about having a vehicle our whole family can fit in.  Such a blessing.

    The time here always goes so fast, and as hard as we try we never get to see all the people we want to.  We decided to make a plan to change this a bit.

    So this is your invitation to come and see us at our church, North Edmonton Christian Fellowship.

    On Saturday November 29 we will be there from 2pm – to 7:30pm

    From 2:00 to 6:00pm we will be there just hanging out, so please feel free to stop by for a visit.

    At  6:00pm we will have a presentation, sharing our hearts, and giving an update about what we are doing.

    Please come!  If you can’t make it for 6:00pm , please stop by in the afternoon, we really want to see as many people as possible.  The church address is

    9004 153 Av. Edmonton, AB. T5Z 3L6

    We hope to see you there!

  • Up Close: Settling In

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    I have missed writing so much.  I keep on trying to get back into this, but I feel so overwhelmed with where to start.  I have lots to say, lots of things I want to share about my family, me,and our crazy lives, but struggle with how to to share.  Plus I know more people are listening, and that kind of scares me.   I decided to just jump in today.  Nothing too serious.  Just a quick update and some pics of our family.

    It’s been one year since we started working with Welcome Home.  It’s been an intense year of learning and adjusting.  Not easy.  We have grown and learned so much.  Thinking back over the year I mostly see good.  We work with a great team of staff, we have been able to make some positive changes, have made some wonderful new friends, and have finally settled into where God has placed us.

     

    The kids are good._MG_0905

    Brielle

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    Spunky, smart, a little dramatic (ha ha, ok more than a little), and a imgaination that surprises us a little more each day.

    _MG_0244_MG_0753  She fills our home with sweet songs, stories and giggles, and lights up every room  she walks into.  This is her last year at home, before kindergarten.  I plan to enjoy every minute of it.

    Kayden

    _MG_0996 Toothless, calm, inteligent, and funny.  Transitioning into elementry school was quite hard for him, but he seems to be doing great so far this year.  He got to go to kids camp this year as camper, and he LOVED it. _MG_0345_MG_1013This boy, is a delight.  He is always eager to learn new things, and is fun to be around… most of the time. He is learning how to be a friend and how to have self control and respect for others.  He has come a long way.  I think this will be a good year for him!

    Moises

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    Handsome, outgoing, talented, and loud.  These days this boy brings me a lot more smiles than ever before.  His heart is healing, he’s learning to trust, has confidence, and is maturing.  He took a break from school last year.

    Best.  Desicion.  Ever.

    He  starts a home school like program this year.  Keeping him close to us has been so good for him.

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    I am excited about this boy’s future.  He will do great things.

     

    Gloria

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    Gentle, sweet, fun, and beautiful.  She has persevered  through school, when she wanted nothing more than to give up. She graduated highschool, and we are so proud of her.  This year she has to do some upgrading, hopes to get a part time job, and will pursue some personal goals and hobbies.  This year was hard for her emotionally, as some family members became a part of her life again.  She had to make some tough choices, which she did with caution and maturity.

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    We are so proud of her!

    Us

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    _MG_0071We are growing as leaders.  Succeeding at some things and failing in others.  Trying our best to balance ministry and family.  We are thankful for where we are right now, even though we often feel overwhelmed and humbled to be doing what we do.   More than anything we are hopeful for new and good things and are trusting God in and for everything.

    It has been a hard year, but a good year!

    Other News

    We just had our very first summer here at Welcome Home, and it was busy!   We are thankful for the opportunity to serve with many people from all over the US and Canda, loving the people in our community.  We made many new friends in the process, and got to be a part of helping and blessing a lot of families and ministries in our community.

    The little kids and I got to go Canada for a few weeks this summer.  IMG_5834_MG_0496

    We enjoyed a very restful time at our favorite camp, which was exactly why we went.

    The kids had so much fun, and I was so thankful to enjoy quality time with them without any outside distractions.

    _MG_0296If you have been where I live, you know exactly what I am talking about it.  It can be incredibly busy and chaotic at times, so time away is really needed.  We also enjoyed some great time with family and a few friends.  Most the people we saw where at the camp, as we had very little time to visit many others while we are Edmonton, so sorry if we missed you!  We will be coming as a family in November though, and will be there a few weeks, so we will have more time to visit those that we missed.

     

    Prayer Requests

    For wisdom as we continue to balance our family life with ministry, it is soooooo hard!

    We are working on getting paper work to bring Gloria and Moi with us to Canada.  It’s not an easy process and the visas we need to bring them can be very difficult to obtain, especially since we have no legal documents proving that they are part of our family. Please pray for miracles.  We are hoping to bring them to Canada in November.

    For an increase in our financial support.  We struggle.  That’s all I am going to say.

    We NEED a new vehicle.  We have outgrown the one we have (a 5 seater SUV) and have recently had a lot of problems with the one that we have.

    For health and safety.  I have had a LOT of stomach/digestive problems this past year, partly due to parasites, food poisening and other fun stuff that are a part of living in a foreign country, and also due to stress.  Please pray for healing and for safety for our family where we live and where we go.

     

    Thanks for your interest, care and love for our family!

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  • Why being a Mom is not enough (for me)

    IMG_0366I love being a Mom.  Nothing in my life as been more difficult and rewarding than loving my 4 kids.  I love being home home with them, learning with them, laughing with them, and crying with them too.  Being a Mom consumes my life in every way.  It determines when I wake up, how I eat, how busy my day is, what makes me laugh, how I spend my evenings, weekends and extra time.    I could easily live every moment for them, consumed on how I could be better, do more and love larger.  Yes, I want to be better, the books beside my bed tell of my dedication to be a better Mom, my never ending to-do list speaks of my dedication to the job that never ends, and my willingness to give my self for them every single day shows a love deeper than I thought possible.IMG_0712

    But it is not enough.

    My kids may be the one of the greatest things in my life but they are not the centre of the world.  If I live my life as a Mom letting them believe that they are, I am not only doing great damage to them, but am also hurting myself, my marriage and the other people I am called to serve.IMG_5789

    This is harder to live than it is to stay.    Because the truth is, I would absolutely love to live my life in a happy little Mom bubble of fun. I can just see it…. A life with more activities, sports, crafts and cooking.  Long days spent at home, just me and the kids, enjoying our perfect little world as a family.  Of course there would be tantrums, disobediance, impatience, tiredness and frustration in between all that, because that just comes with the job… but life would be ideal if all my choices were based on the happiness of me and my kids.

    At least it seems that way.  IMG_4903

    I think most Mom’s get pulled into that idea, at one time or another.  Being a Mom is so consuming that it tends to just take over your life, and you tell yourself that “This is it, this is what I am meant to be and do”, and it is… but that’s just part of your story.IMG_5849

    The other part of the story is pretty inconvenient.  It’s living a life with open eyes, aware that the world is far bigger, complicated and hurting than you have ever imagined.

    Denying that is living a lie, and teaching your kids to do the same.

    Moms you were meant for more.

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    I know the days are long, and many days we feel like we can hardly make it through, and it’s hard to imagine giving more than you are already…. but you are called to live a life of LOVE.  A love that goes beyond the walls of your home and into the world.  All that God given, sacrificial Mom love needs to be shared.

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    In the village where we serve some of the ladies have told me that I am like their Mom.

    Just last week a lady told me

    ” I never had a Mom.  You are like my Mom.”

    This both shocked and humbled me.  The lady is older than me, how could I be her Mom?  But I get it… us Moms, we live a life sacrificing for our kids.  Our love needs to be patient and kind, even after receiving the worst treatment from little people who are just learning how to do life.  Our love teaches grace, kindness, and service.  Our  God given love has the power to transform and touch lives.IMG_5560

    If we can can learn to love our kids so well, shouldn’t we pass on that love to those who have never experienced it?

    Wouldn’t it be a shame and a diservice to the world to only give that love to our offspring and not to the countless people hurting, and hungry for a love like that?  The old, young, single Moms, abandoned, abused, neglected, divorced, poor, self loathing, angry, lonely, hurt, imprissioned, the difficult… the unloved._MG_0324

    I believe, know and have experienced that love changes everything.IMG_1598

    Your kids need to see you loving.  If you want to be the best Mom you can be then show them the truth.

    Life is not about them.

    There is a whole world of hurting people (adults and children) out there, who need some one to show the sweet compassion you give to your kids every single day..  You may not be able to help them all, but you can do what you can to help those around you.

    You can be love to some one else.7

    You can take a meal, give a ride, make a visit, open your home, make a call, listen, give your time, give your stuff, open your arms, and love.

    If you live a life of love, your kids will live by your example to do the same.IMG_6467

    You can help change a generation of kids who believe they are entitled to it all, and show them that their is so much more to life than just being “happy”

    You can raise  world changers.IMG_6234

    That is more than enough.

     

     

  • Upclose: Our lives are CRAZY!

    IMG_5144So I thought it was about time to pop in here, and give a little Machado update.  So where do we start….

    It’s been almost 4 months since we started serving with Welcome Home, and we moved onto the base here.  It has been more than a little crazy.  We have spent the last few months adjusting to our new roles, getting to know our coworkers better, and trying to see how we can be most helpful.  We have learned  a lot, and will continue to do so.  We are still very excited about the opportunity to serve here, and are looking forward to see how we can use our gifts.  It’s an exciting time for us!  It’s also a crazy time…  Our lives have be turned complettely upside down.   After enjoying a few very calm and quite months, in a little house in the country, where we  had a lot of time to be together as a family, we are now living in the middle of chaos.

    It’s hard to explain… but I will try.

    Let me tell you about yesterday.

    I started the day with plans.  I needed to take care of some paper work and e-mails from the office (it’s on the property, but not in my house), go to a baby shower, do some more work on the computer in the office, and watch my friends kids for a couple of hours.  Busy day.  Kayden woke up not feeling good, after listening to him cough his way through the morning routine, we decided to keep him home.  IMG_5561Saul ended up being able to change his plans, so he could stay around for the morning.  After reading a couple of books with Kayden, I headed to the office.  After an hour there, I returned home to finish up  the work on my own computer.  Honestly, it was a simple job, except the fact that Kayden was making typical boy sound effects and it was really hard for me concentrate.  I was losing my patience fast, and by the time I was the done the job, I was almost in tears.  I took everything in me not to lash out at him in frustration.

    From there I rushed to get a gift ready, to make it to a baby shower.  Only when I got there, I realized I was the only guest, and Mommy and baby were not even home.  I stayed and visited with the kids in the home for a bit, then got back in the car and headed home to make it in time for lunch.  IMG_5538We eat in the big kitchen with the staff and daycare kids.  It’s great saving the money on groceries, and eating with staff and visitors, but hard on my youngest 2 kids, who some times just want to eat at home.  Today it wasn’t too much of an issue, thankfully.  After lingering over lunch a bit, trying to catch my breath, I proceeded to help put lunch away.  Two friends dropped off their (awesome, amazing and well behaved ) kids to play in my house.  One of them was working in the office, the other had an appointed to go to.  After helping our friend get started on a job in the office, I returned home to watch the kids.  There was a total of 4  teenagers, 5 kids, and one baby in and around my home.  IMG_5553Thankfully, Saul was also around, and kept the older ones busy out side.  After 10 minutes of trying to shush 4 school age kids, to not to wake up Brielle as she napped, I decided a movie would be best.  I settled in to watch the movie with the kids, enjoying the almost quiteness and the chance to snuggle and feed a two month old sweet baby boy.  Just as the movie started, an older lady, who we have been helping, stops in for a visit, and some advice about something.  Thankfully, she doesn’t stay too long, and I am able to rest a bit more.  Brielle wakes, slightly offended I have a baby in my arms, but gets over it quickly and snuggles close beside me.  Just as the movie ends, I am surprised by some other visitors, the Mommy from the morning “baby shower” had  come to find me.

    IMG_5560I welcome her, her husband, mom and 2 sisters inside to chat for a bit.  I was genuinely happy to see them, it had been awhile.  AT this time there are  18n people hanging inside and around my home.  Eighteen.  Shortly aftere, 3 of the kids get picked up by there Mom, the visiting Mom leaves and then a little later 2 more kids get picked up by there Dad.  The house seemed empty with just the 6 of us, but I was done.  I just wanted to be alone.  Thankfully I had plans to go out for the night, and was able to do just that., but usually that is not an option.

    This is my life people.

    It is insane.

    And although, not every day looks like this, to be honest it is becoming the norm.  We have a never ending list of things to do, people stopping by, and people to visit.  I have no idea how to balance it all.  My very best attempts to establish some type of routine for my kids and boundaries from the outside world, are constantly being challenged and defeated.  There is so much good in it all, but also so much stress.   I have no spare time for anything.  Not for hobbies (crafts, photography, blogging), writing family and friends, or me time (this has been my first time out alone since September).  We try to use  any free time we have with the kids or to go out as a couple, but even our evenings and weekends are often interrupted by unannounced visitors and others needing help.  Last weekend, for example, we ended up having to go to 4 different meetings (each was about 2 hrs long), from 3 separate ministries, when just days before the entire weekend looked like it was going to be laid back and free.  It’s crazy how quickly things can change!

    I hesitated in sharing this, but this is our reality.  I want to be real and vulnerable here, because I know people like you care about us.

    Thankfully, we are heading out for some time away this next week.  Please pray that we can enjoy the week resting and enjoying our family.  Also if you have any thoughts, wisdom, or advice on how to manage both ministry and family, please feel free to share.  Please keep us in your prayers as we figure this out.