Blended Tears Live Love Laugh

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Luma, one of our classroom interpreters comforts a crying student on our final day in Rio.

Yesterday, our team flew safely into Atlanta, Georgia at 6:00 a.m. EST, just as Delta had promised. By 7:30, most of us had reached our homes, hugged our loved ones tightly, and relaxed in a hot shower or luxurious bath. Me… I was tearful, and I couldn’t seem to stop the tears.

...a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance. Ecclesiastes 3:4

While my family was finishing up a relaxing weekend in North Georgia, I came home to a quiet home, but that is not what I was tearful about…My tears were for many reasons…tears of Elation for reaching our homeland after serving in an unimaginable, impoverished community, tears of Gratitude as I walked into the radiant building that is my church home, Piedmont Church, tears of Joy as I hugged tightly many of the friends who had been thinking of us this past week, tears of Anguish as I later visited Donny’s Dad, who has been under the care of Hospice for the past week, tears of Grief as I considered the truth that 11/11/15 marks the third anniversary of my Daddy’s passing at this same place- Wellstar Tranquility Hospice, off of Kennesaw Avenue in Marietta, and blended tears of Hopefulness and Despair as I thought of each boy and girl I had touched in the past week.IMG_7164

Tears come from the heart , not from the brain. Leonardo daVinci

Now, I am quite sure that my tears were also related to fatigue from an all-night flight, but WOW! They sure were flowing yesterday!

And then, THIS picture here below was posted by my friend, Stephanie, in celebration of their 4th child while I was away. Part of the caption especially moved me …

“The world stopped for a moment as your daddy held out his hands to meet you and I waited to hear your first cry. ‘As for me, I will always have hope. I will praise You more and more.’  Psalm 71:14”

Good thing I didn’t try to wear any eye make-up yesterday.12189675_10207824332148795_2391057791809491018_n

When I was looking through the mail Donny had set aside for me, I noticed I had received yet another book.  In case you didn’t already know this about me, I LOVE books, and I usually start one each week. Anne Lamott, being one of my favorite authors, wrote a book in 2013 which I had not had a chance to read and it arrived in my hands at just the right time for all of these tears!  Just think with me for a moment about these words from Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope, and Repair printed right in the flap:

“What do we do when life lurches out of balance? How can we reconnect to one another and to what’s sustaining? In this book, Lamott explores how we find meaning and peace in these loud and frantic times; where we start again after personal and public devastation; how we recapture wholeness after loss; and how we locate our true identities in this frazzled age. We begin by collecting the ripped shreds of our emotional and spiritual fabric and sewing them back together, one stitch at a time. It’s in these stitches that the quilt of life begins, and embedded in them are strength, warmth, humor, and humanity.”

As I move forward into this week of transitioning from living in a developing community like Rio de Janeiro for a week, to now back to living here in America, where I so easily forget how very blessed I am, I pray that my blended tears will continue. Some may say I wear my heart on my sleeve, but I believe that my blended tears are confirmation to me that there is still plenty for me to do while I am here on this earth. How about you?

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This once again reminds me of my friend, Cathy, who has chosen a life of helping others, using the loss of her collegiate son, Matthew Benjamin Dyas on October 1, 2011, to make a difference in the world while there is still time.

The Christian life is not a constant high. I have my moments of deep discouragement. I have to go to God in prayer with tears in my eyes, and say 'O God, forgive me.' or 'Help me. Billy Graham

 Cathy, along with Matt’s father, David elected to donate $500.00 towards art supplies for my recent Rio Journey, because their Matt loved foreign mission trips, going on many trips, himself, before he left us too soon at the age of twenty.

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Cathy encouraging a group of friends to make 1,000 lunches for MUST ministries summer lunch program at the 2015 Matt Dyas Golf Tournament.
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Young boy wears his “Still Doing It” t-shirt to honor Matt Dyas.

Read more here. Cathy is forever challenging others and herself to make a difference however you can, and I so appreciate this challenge that she gives to me.

Make A Difference, Like Matt Did!

JUST DO IT!

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Brazil Bound

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HAPPY HALLOWEEN BIRTHDAY TO MY SIS, KATHY!

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I am Brazil Bound! Tonight I will be flying all night to Rio de Janeiro, arriving on Saturday morning, October 31, 2015. Our team of 10, including my sis, Mary Ann and her husband, Jim, from Piedmont Church will be joining another team from the U.S. to minister to the poor who live in a favela community there in Rio.[pullquote] When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’” 
Matthew 25:39-40 [/pullquote] Since 2003, this will be my 6th trip to Rio, thanks to my niece, Amy, who was a medical missionary there for several years before marrying her love, Stephen, and settling down in Tennessee with their first-born, Noah Ray. Our family of four served together in Rio in 2005. [pullquote]If you truly believe in the value of life, you care about all of the weakest and most vulnerable members of society.” Joni Eareckson Tada[/pullquote]

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A long line for the clinic begins forming the night before. (2004)

Did you know? The 2016 Summer Olympics will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil!

On this 2015 trip, in addition to holding our usual free Medical Clinic which includes vision, dental, medical, and a pharmacy, we will be working in a school with about fifty students, playing games, telling them stories, and doing art projects. Pictured below are just some of the children I got to meet in Rio in past visits.

IMG_6691 IMG_6696 IMG_6697 IMG_6690Mainly, we will be simply loving on these kids who are offsprings of prostitutes and drug dealers in Rio. Having an Elementary Education background, I am especially excited to be serving the children of Rio in this way.

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The school where we will be working in Rio.
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The school where we will be working in Rio.
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Our Portuguese Coloring Book to Use With our Kids!
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Our family at the Christ Statue, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 2005.

Once you’ve been bitten by “the mission bug”, you are forever changed and you will find yourself looking for ways to make a difference, wherever you may find yourself, while you are still here on the earth. [pullquote]How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” Anne Frank[/pullquote]Many jobs and careers are service oriented.  Whether in the U.S. or abroad, there are needs that we can meet.

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A young patient snuggles with a Happy Tails Volunteer.

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Like some of my girlfriends, your ‘difference opportunity’ may be volunteering with an organization called Happy Tails Pet Therapy, reaching out to work in a soup kitchen, sorting items in a clothes closet, art therapy with folks who are overcoming their addictions, or visiting the ill who are in the hospital. [pullquote]Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.”    James M. Barrie [/pullquote]If you are homebound, you might send greeting cards to the list of sick folks from your church. In addition, check with local churches and see what mission trips in the U.S. or abroad might be in the works.  The Matt B. Dyas Memorial Golf Scholarship Fund made a contribution towards art supplies for the students we’ll be serving and we so appreciate their support in honor of their son, Matt, who loved Mission Trips. People are willing to financially support those who go, if they cannot go. And always remember the significance and the importance of the ministry of praying.  Encouraging someone who cannot return the favor effects us in an extraordinary way. You will be surprised by the positive impact this will have on your life journey.

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As we reach out with a grateful heart to someone who is in need, OUR lives are forever changed, and hopefully we have helped to change their life, too, if only in a small way.

Our team covets your prayer support while we are gone and I’ll look forward to resuming my Pages upon my return to America on Sunday, November 8, 2015.

Two open hands in the sky with a sphere of light, symbol of gratefulness and gratitude.

How might you and I reach out to

someone in need in the days ahead?