baixo & voz

When we moved to Brazil we were concerned with finding someone to continue teaching Jackson guitar. He had been taking lessons from one of Mike's very talented friends. Ashley GRACIOUSLY worked with Jackson for FREE which is unheard of!! He started working with Jack when he was seven and could barely get his fingers around the chords. Ashley was so patient and he gave Jackson a love for the guitar that we are truly grateful for!!

Jackson also had the opportunity to learn under Herb Chapman (Steven Curtis's dad) for a period of time. He learned SO much in his short time with Herb. Herb's last words to us were to make sure that Jackson continued his learning even while we lived out of the country. We assumed it would be impossible to match the talent that had already invested so much into Jackson. We never could imagine what God had in store for him.

Only a couple of weeks into living here in Ribeirão, we met several people that put us in contact with a man named Sergio Pimenta. He teaches drums, piano, guitar, electric guitar and bass. He took Jackson on as a new student and one of our good friends/language school instructors helps to translate right now for the two of them. We were blessed last night to watch he and his wife perform together. We found this video of them on youtube. See what you think of his bass SKILLS!!?!!!



Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.
ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Back home in Kentucky I have some of the most amazing friends that pray and intercede for me and for my family. I have known them since my kiddos were babies. I count it such an honor to call them friends and I'm so thankful that no distance can break our QUINTUPLE BRAIDED CORD! ;)

~~We know now that no matter how far we travel on our own separate paths...
Somehow we will always find our way back to each other.
And with that, we can get through anything.~~


Truckin' Along

OK...I really have been doing everything I can to avoid blogging about my Crohns but it seems inevitable. This week has really been a tough week. I'll have a really GOOD day and then the very next day is COMPLETELY AWFUL!!!! This has been going on for some time now and I'm just worn out to be honest and I'm pretty sure my family is tired as well. Poor Mike gets to play the role of mom and dad on days when I'm down and although he's great...it's more than either of us bargained for.

I began reading through James this week and God used this verse to really speak to me:

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let the steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

Through all of this we know that we are being refined just as we had asked so many months ago. We know that God will use all of this for HIS glory and that we'll look more like HIM on the other side of these trials. It doesn't make going through the valley any easier but to know HE is there with us through it gives me all the comfort in the world.

Jayden has been a sick lil' puppy this week too. He has some sort of nasal/chest cold. He coughs all night and is so hoarse when he talks. We kept him home from school on Wednesday and sent him back yesterday. I realized when we picked him up yesterday and he sneezed in the car on the way home about 10 times that we had sent him back a bit too early. Poor guy...He is still sleeping right now at 10:20 a.m. our time because he coughed all night!!! He is just exhausted.

Also, Mike sent out some prayer requests and we have been overwhelmed with, not only the response by all of you that are praying, but by the RESPONSE of God to your prayers. PRAYER is powerful guys so I plead with you all to continue praying for us. Pray for all the people serving around the world and the spiritual/physical battles they are facing. It has been a REALLY hard week but I can't imagine how hard things would be if you weren't praying for us.

Also...I had the opportunity to have dinner with my Brazilian friend that speaks only Portuguese. We (somehow) spent 2 1/2 hours conversing and enjoying one another. (Those of you that know me well are probably thinking this is not a big deal at all with my gabbing abilities...BUT when every thought has to be translated though a filter in my wee little mind first AND THEN come out my big mouth...it is much more of a challenge!!!) ;);)

Regardless, THIS is a praise not only for my language learning but for the fact that God has given me a Brazilian Christian friend that I can trust here! Letícia is a huge answer to prayers for me!

Oh and I can't forget...GO UK Wildcats!!!! Thank you CBS for streaming the games. I can't believe we're able to watch all of March Madness from Brazil!!!


my new dishwasher

I promise this is not a forced child. However...I would have no problems with him having this chore. I just didn't think of it, nor did I think he was big enough. He began to plead with us after supper to help...no not help...but to do the dishes all by himself!!! We saw no reason to keep him from his wish! I'm wandering how long his newfound love for soapy water lasts!


Don't Tell.

Jackson has been having a hard time with life in Brazil. Up until recently...he had done so well but lately I think he has started suffering from a bit of culture shock. He has been making comments to Mike and I like, "This just isn't what I thought it would be." and "I thought there'd be less buildings and more trees, like in the jungle!" (I like that one!) He also struggles with being tired all of the time which I sympathize with cause I'm right there with him. He gets out of bed for school and puts his clothes on then he lays back down on my bed and falls asleep.

Today was particularly hard and I was feeling it as well. All morning long he was saying that he was missing Mike and I and that we never get to spend time together. WOW!! You know the way you feel when your kids are sad and there is just nothing you can do to make it better?!? I was feeling "that kinda sad" all through class this morning. SO...after MY language school was over I just decided to go and get the little guy. We picked him up from school right in the middle of his day and decided it would be a GREAT day to SKIP!!! He went to the store with Mike and I and we had a blast.

At the store, I snuck a HUGE bag of bubble gum in the cart. He saw it when were checking out and I saw him grinning from ear to ear!!! When we got to the car, Mike started putting all the groceries in the trunk and I slid into the backseat with Jackson. (just me and HIM) We got the bag of gum and divided it out between the two of us. I think we both had like 8 pieces each. I made him promise not to tell anyone what we were about to do. I proceeded to show him how we were going to chew all 8 pieces at once and have a bit of a sugar rush. (and boy did we!!)

After we were finally able to stop laughing and breathe again through all the gum I told him to try and blow a bigger bubble than me. He confessed that he couldn't blow a bubble. I couldn't believe it. I had no idea he wasn't able to do this. I had seen Jayden (our 7 year old) do it many times so I just assumed he could as well.

We decided:

I took some photos of his attempts and after about an hour he finally got it!


no pictures cause it just didn't seem appropriate at the time

It's been SOOOOOO hot in Ribeirao lately. I made the "remark" to Mike the other day that if we just had a rain storm, everything would cool off!

This afternoon we were watching sweet little Karis (the baby from the before mentioned post) for her mom and dad so they could move. I was also making dinner for some friends that were coming over tonight and trying to clean all at the same time. Then....GUESS WHAT HAPPENED!?!

We finally got our rain storm.

I was so excited to see it clouding up that I was almost giddy. I went in to get Karis up from her nap and laid her down next to Mike on the couch. I went through the house closing all the windows (A MUST BEFORE EVERY RAIN) and then back to the chores. All of a sudden it sounded like our apartment was being hit by a train. We looked outside and you couldn't see ANYTHING! It even started hailing which it never does here. I decided to make one more check through the house as Mike grabbed the baby and took her into the hall. She was SCREAMING at this point. (poor thing)

I took Karis from Michael to calm her down and went to the bedroom to get her pacifier. When I got there, I noticed rain POURING onto the floor/bed through the window. I'm not talking a little sprinkle, I'm talking BUCKETFULS of rain coming through the edges of all the windows. The floor was a pond and the bed was getting soaked. I screamed for Mike to come and bring towels. As he came in and tried to make sense of all the madness going on in our room, Karis (still really horrified at this point) and I go into the boy's room to find the exact same situation. Realizing there's not much left to do but laugh...I quietly walked back to Mike and told him to check the other rooms when he had a handle on ours. I walked back to the living room to the couch and started singing Baby Beluga to Karis. (very appropriate song for the situation, I thought)

Once things calmed down we realized the power was out! The apartment was a COMPLETE disaster and dinner was only half finished so we decided to call our sweet friends Daniel and Letícia to reschedule. Steven and Emily made it back to their only slightly traumatized baby after climbing 13 MARVELOUS flights of stairs. When the power goes out up here in the heavenlies we are sorta out of luck!!! I'm really hoping I get a do-over with Karis but it might be awhile before Steven and Emily want to entrust her to us again!

So that was my day!!! How was yours!?!
And for those of you unfamiliar with Baby Beluga...let me introduce you to the smooth sounds of Raffi!


Karis is here!!!

The Gillums have been here for over a week now and are adjusting nicely to Brazil and language school. We lived with Steven and Emily in Virginia all throughout Emily's pregnancy and watched little Karis grow inside her mommy. It was such a wonderful treat to get to finally see and hold this sweet little baby!
Pray for all the grandparents that had to say goodbye to Karis back home. Many people give up alot while we are gone from home for so long. Remember to pray for all the missionaries' moms, dads, grandparents, and adult children that are missing their loved ones!!


slowly but surely

For the last few days, our teachers at language school have been intentionally trying to speak in only portugues!  The first few weeks when they did this I remember feeling like I was on another planet and now when this happens, I ACTUALLY UNDERSTAND THEM!!!  I'm not sure how but God is slowly making this language come alive in our hearts.  Don't get me wrong.  We have A LONG WAY TO GO, and by long...I mean l.........o........n..........g but it is wonderful to see a little improvement along the way.

I'm also finding myself really enjoying my life here.  This week we had afternoon classes so our mornings have been relatively free.  Mike let me sleep in this morning and he got the kids ready and took them to school all while I snoozed!  This might have something to do with my gleeful spirit today. :)  Anyway, I love waking up in Brazil.  There is just something about waking up with your windows open and life pouring into your room. We have the most refreshing breezes up here in the heavenlies (13th floor) and it takes the edge off of the heat quite nicely.

God has been so good to us over the past month and a half during our time of transition.  We've had struggles but each of them has made us stronger as a family.  We know that He will not give us more than we can handle.  

We received our first care package in the mail yesterday and it was SO GREAT!!!  Many of you have asked about sending stuff to us.  Just contact us on here or via facebook and we'll get you the address and how to go about shipping items.


12 years ago today in Nashville, TN...

I had a 9.1 lb baby boy that stole my heart.  That same fella now wears a size 11 men's shoe and TOWERS over me.


We picked the boys up from school after an EXTREMELY busy day and we came home to get them cleaned up.  JohnMark walked in his room and found his new GINORMOUS bean bag.  He has been asking for one since we arrived in Brazil.  There is a lil' shop that sells them and we pass it every day.  It made a perfect gift for him.  He also got an itunes gift card that Mike picked up before we left the states.

We took him to a churrascaria for dinner.  At these Brazilian steakhouses, passadores (meat waiters) come to your table with knives and a skewer, and serve you until you are so full that you feel literally sick! Mike describes it as heaven on earth.  The kids agree wholeheartedly.  It's a bit much for me but my household of men seem to think it's the best possible way to spend a night out on the town. Everyone is hanging out watching a movie in the middle of the floor right now eating popcorn and finishing up cupcakes. (not sure where they're putting it all!)  We had planned on staying out and doing something fun but he turned down a night of bowling for a quiet night in.  He is a young man after my own heart!!!


no corn fields here!!!

Some friends took us fishing over the weekend to a place out in the country about 30 kilometers away. We were grateful to leave the city for a few hours and enjoy some surroundings that felt more like home to us. On the drive out we were surrounded by fields of sugar cane and if you just glanced at it quickly it sorta resembled corn fields. (Remember...I said glance quickly. I know I'm probably stretching on this one!)

Anyway, we had a really good afternoon and now Mike has a new FAVORITE place to take the boys on the weekends. We started off pretty slow because the kids weren't familiar with using cane poles. Jackson's first fish was pretty tiny.

 Jayden caught a REALLY BIG fish. I think the cane pole made it easier for him to manage fighting the fish. I'm so grateful because he's never been an avid fisherman. He usually prefers just staying home with me and misses out on a lot of their trips. I think he's hooked now...no pun intended! ;)

Jackson finally caught several that were bigger but poor JohnMark was on a dry spell all day. I realized when I was uploading pictures that there were none of him! :(
To both of you Grandmas...I promise to have a picture of him this week at some point. He has a special day coming up and I'm sure to have my camera charged and ready!!!