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Camino – Day 1

Sorry my English speaking readers. I still don’t have energy to write in both languages so here it goes, the text in Portuguese if you want to try to read it. English version coming soon!

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Saímos de León, Espanha rumo a Santiago de Compostela.

Ainda em León passamos num dos albergues para pegar a credencia do peregrino. Pegamos uma para cada um, e do caminho coletamos carimbos dos lugares (bares, restaurantes ou albergues) por onde passamos. Compramos também gás para o fogão de camping do Esdras.

A saída de León foi bem difícil, com muitas subidas (muitas mesmo!)

Mas saímos. :) E o Esdras fez polenta pra gente no almoço!

Desde a cidade nós percebemos setas amarelas no chão,  postes,  muros. Essa é a forma como os peregrinos sabem o caminho quw devem seguir. Isso logo virou um jogo para a Evelyn. Logo que saímos da rodovia ela pediu pra sair do carrinho e andar com a gente,  e andou um bocadão! A Melissa que levou mais tempo pra decidir andar, mas elas curtiram procurar as setas no caminho.

Já percebemos que o peso que temos que carregar é demais pras nossas costas, então decidimos que a partir de amanhã vamos levar só o necessário conosco e mandar uma das mochilas com o resto via transporte. É um serviço oferecido aqui. Eles deixam a nossa bagagem na próxima cidade onde vamos ficar.

Agora estamos no hotel. Andamos mais de 20km e esperamos que a noite seja menos turbulenta que a de ontem! Aprendemos muitas coisas hoje e conhecemos pessoas que provavelmente veremos novamente pelo Caminho. Sem contar que viramos atração: ninguém viu uma família andar o caminho com 3 crianças!

Mas desejamos que tudo, a dor no corpo, o cansaço físico, o fato de sermos uma família com 3 crianças pequenas, o fato de estarmos em hotéis, que tudo seja usado pra honra e glória do nome do Senhor Jesus. E para que mais pessoas conheçam o verdadeiro Caminho: Jesus.

Obrigada pelas suas orações.

Ready? – pre Camino

Sorry to my English speaking readers. Time is short so I only posted in Portuguese! I promise the English version will come when I put the kids in bed earlier :)

– × — × –

Hoje, novamente, passeamos em Madri. Andamos bastante procurando um botijão de gás pro fogão de camping do Esdras e também fomks ao teleférico.

Descobrimos que nem todas as estações de metrô de Madri são boas para passear de carrinho. Aliás que metrô legal o de Madri!

Andando com a mochila e a bebê já deu pra sentir um pouco como vai ser a caminhada. Meu preparo físico é praticamente zero… mas o que tá pegando mesmo é dormir no mesmo quarto queas crianças (tossindo,  resmungando,  se mexendo). Eu tenho o sono muoto leve então quase não durmo.

Viemos de trem para Leon e amanhã começamos a andar. O plano é acordar cedo, pegar a credencial de peregrino e tentar achar o tal gás pra podermos fazer comida no caminho.

Orem por nós. :)

Buen Camino!

We’re back, but leaving

Welcome back to AlvesPassos.com. The purpose of our blog is to share things that money cannot buy, like our own experiences and knowledge.

The blog has been a bit abandoned since Melissa was born, because mother’s life is really busy (no matter if the mother works outside the house, or stays home with the kids, if she has 1, 2, 3, or 10 kids) Melissa is turning 3 years old next month! And we already have another baby girls called Andrea. I wanted to post about her birth here but blogging wasn’t amongst my priorities: sleeping has been by far the top priority!

What has changed for me to be back here? Well, we want to share with you our next trip: we’re going to walk part of the Camino de Santiago (The Way of St. James.) Have you heard of it? There are actually lots of paths, but most of them end in the town of Santiago de Compostella, in Spain, where you find the burial place of St. James, an apostle of Jesus. It used to be a pilgrimage walk, so the people who walk it, being religious or not, are called “pilgrims”. If you want to know more about the history of the way, click on the link above. I intend to write a series of posts about our trip: preparations, getting there, what we’ve learned etc. I don’t know if I’ll be able to post from there, but the posts will come.

That’s why I said we’re back but we’re leaving. Our flight to Spain is this coming Tuesday, March 24th. And if you think it’s only Esdras and I, you’re wrong! All the 5 of us are going to be pilgrims for nearly 2 weeks. Of course we’re not doing all that pilgrims do: most of them sleep in public hostels (albergues), and, because of the small kids, we preferred to book hotels (imagine the baby crying at night with 100 other pilgrims in one big room?)

The plan is walking around 20km (12.5 miles) per day. Some days more, some days less. I can already hear you ask “What about the kids? Are they walking too?” The baby is going in the baby carrier (she’s 7 months.) Evelyn and Melissa will walk as much as they want and can handle. When they get tired they”ll hop on our double stroller and we’ll push them. I’ll write another post about packing our bags, I mean, our backpacks (I can already see your face: “Travelling with kids, and without bags?” HOW?)

2 weeks of clothes in 2 backpacks

The fact is that many people who walk this Way are searching for something, maybe trying to find the Way in their lives?! And we know well  the Way, the Truth and the Life: Jesus. The Bible tells is to take every opportunity, so our trip won’t be only holidays, or a “family project” in sharing our passion for travelling with our kids. It’ll be all of that but it’ll also be a mission. I know you might think we’re weirdos but we want to serve the Lord even with our holidays.

The trip itself will present loads of challenges. Simple holidays with kids are already challenging, even staying the whole time in one place, having a car to drive around and with no luggage limit. But we want to use our holidays to bring glory to our Lord Jesus. Can we count with your prayers? We’ll need a lot of physical strength, perseverance, and emotional control. Pray that none of us will get sick while there, pray for the people we’ll meet along the way: pilgrims, priests, hotel attendants, the people in the shops, and residents from the villages.

So, we’ll leave our house this coming Tuesday at 2am to get the plane in Dublin at 6am. And let the fun/challenges begin!

Buon Camino!

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Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6

Be very careful, then, how you live —not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:15-16

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 1 Peter 3:15

Missing you

Hey! I miss you! – says a friend that I haven’t seen in a while.

Yeah, I miss myself too.

I don’t know where that encouraging, reference Mariana is. She probably got lost in the middle of all the sleepless nights, which were the rule in the last 2 months. She surely left a track in the middle of the fussy cries, the kids disobedience, and the peed bedsheets.

Congratulations if you can spend months sleeping 3h per night and be fine. I can’t. And it’s not just spending nights awake and having problem-free days, it’s sleepless nights and having to see your little daughter suffer with a horrible pain that no doctor can explain (even when they tried to investigate), it’s seeing your oldest daughter learning your grouchiness, and having no energy to celebrate when they do things right.

And I can’t blame them. It’s not their fault that I’m grouchy. Melissa didn’t choose to feel that pain in her tummy nights in a row (countless…) Evelyn didn’t choose the bad role model of a mother that I’ve recently become. And Andrea didn’t choose to be teething exactly when everything else is falling apart.

I also didn’t choose that all of this is happening at once and I’m surely not dealing with it well with my own tiredness, never mind with their problems…

Someone once told me that mothers have no time to get sick. This person surely never had depression, or met a mother with depression. It feels like a whole that in theory you know the way out, but you just can’t get to it.

And I know all your Bible verses for that. The encouraging ones and the correction ones. And it makes me feel even worse because I just can’t put them into practice right now.

I know, God is sitting on the throne. And He’s not done with me yet.

Sorry, it was just another bad (normal?!) night…

Real Life and PPD

Andrea Alves Passos was born on the first of August 2014, at 8am sharp. She was the only of my babies who was born in the morning and she came in a different labor room than the other 2 girls. Gorgeous, smaller than the others, but still big: 8lb 5oz (3.77kg.) She was born with the same face as Evelyn.

Here, when you have a normal delivery and it’s not your first baby you only have to stay in hospital for a bit over 24h, so the pediatrician can check on the baby on “day 2″. Then you can go home. But this time I asked to stay an extra night to rest. It’s not like you can rest a lot when you have a newborn, but at home I’d have the baby plus the two girls.

When Evelyn was born, it was getting cold, she was a horrible feeder and it was tough! Now, looking back, I realize that I had PPD (Post Partum Depression.) I don’t have family here in Ireland, my friends were too busy with either small babies or kids in school, and none of them lived close enough that I could visit by foot. It was TOUGH!

When Melissa was born, I came home after 3 sleepless nights and had to face the baby, the toddler, the house and cooking on my own. Esdras had to go to the office the day after I arrived. Melissa suffered a lot with gas and needed to be held upright a lot, and Evelyn was 19 months old and demanded a lot of attention. It was HORRIBLE too. I remember telling Esdras that there was not a day when I didn’t think about getting out of the door and never coming back… See, PPD again!

It was different this time. I spent the extra night in hospital, having people cooking for me, not having to worry about cleaning, laundry, my girls being well looked after by their loving dad. I only had to feed the baby, eat and sleep. First week at home, this time Esdras had paternity leave, so he took over the girls, the cooking, the cleaning, the laundry and even brought me food in bed! I spent as much time as I could in bed, and all the visitor were saying that my house looked too clean and organized for someone who JUST had a baby! Second week, a dear friend-sister took Melissa and Evelyn to spend the week at her house, and she has kids who are friends with the girls so they all enjoyed. So I rested. I slept as much as I could, did something in the house, here and there, but I R.E.S.T.E.D. And look, PPD didn’t come around this time!

It’s not being easy: Melissa is doing wrong things to get attention, Evelyn still fights us saying she doesn’t need to go toilet, prepare the 3 (and myself!) to get out of the door is a challenge, breastfeeding when the other 2 want attention is crazy, besides hearing them screaming “mommy mommy mommy!” the whole day in between the newborn cries.
But those first 2 weeks with LOADS of help were essential to help keeping PPD at bay. I didn’t take medicine the other times, even because I only acknowledged that that’s what I had now on the 3rd pregnancy. But this time I firmly believe that it won’t even show up! I praise God for surrounding me with loving people to take care of me.

Being a mother of 1, 2, 3 or 10 is not easy, but without depression it surelly is less difficult!

* Did you have PPD? Talk to your friends and family, and accept all the help they can offer. There’s nothing wrong in assuming that this is what it is, and there’s nothing wrong in needing meds if that’s your case!

* Do you know someone who suffers with PPD? Offer practical help: clean the house, do the dishes, cook, fold her laundry, take over the older kids for a day or even some hours. It all relieves the burden on the new mom’s shoulders (and conscience.)

Share this! Who knows if my experience won’t help someone you know?
God bless

Real Life

This post will be available in English soon.

If you’d like to read the Portuguese version, click on the Brazilian flag on the right hand side.

Thanks for your patience.

Plans

I’m sorry for my last posts have started with an apology. Sorry for this one as well. But keeping a blog is not easy, especially when I do another thousand things, all at once. I didn’t manage to post even once a month, nevermind every week!

So, the blog has dropped in my list of priorities. :(

I know it’s nearly March, but I want to wish you all a Happy 2014, because I didn’t say it here yet. (Hey, better late than never!)

For those who don’t know, AlvesPassos #3 is on the way! Yes! We’re pregnant again! Nearly four months now, and because it’s the third pregnancy (and because my bump grew REALLY fast this time) it feels like I’ve been pregnant forever :)

Other plans and projects:

- Evelyn and Melissa are very active. They never stop talking and singing. It’s very cute, but it can be tiring at times. Especially being pregnant and having bad/short nights of sleep. They still don’t go to any school. Evelyn will start pre-school n September, and Melissa only next year. So, I need loads of creativity and energy to keep them busy, and to educate them (besides cleaning the house, washing/folding/organizing clothes, cooking, discipleship and church meetings, and time for the husband!)

- Besides the 12-hour shift with the girls, while they are awake, I’m also working every evening. Does anyone remember what my profession is (besides being a mother?) This current project I’m working with is very different from all the others I had before, but I’m learning a lot from it and it’s been worth joining it.

- In my free time (does that even exist?) I make planks for the new house. Yes! We’re moving again. At the moment, Esdras and some friends are paiting everything, then we’ll have to buy furniture (nearly everything) and move, in 1 month!

- And still, after all, we’ll go on a family holidays in the end of March (after moving houses), so I still have to save time to plan what to do in the trip…

*yawn* did I make you tired? I know, it makes me want to go straight to bed and sleep… but I can’t. My work shift has started… ONE HOUR ago! I gotta run!

Do you remember my profession?

May God bless your coming weeks! I’ll be surely busy ;)

One Blade (Portuguese translation)

Hi all!

I know it’s been quite a while that I don’t post. Life’s been more busy than usual, sorry for that! I assume everyone wants news on us, the Alves Passos. But today I’m doing a different post. I read a handful of moms blogs (and devotions blogs) and this devotion really spoke to me, so I decided to as the writer, Megan Breedlove, permission to translate her text to Portuguese into my blog. She agreed, so I did it. If you read Portuguese, click on the Brazilian flag on the top right-hand side of the blog and read my translation. If you don’t read Portuguese, I’m gonna give you a taster of what her text was like.

“Recently, I was having a stressful day. I had some things on my mind, and I was tired of doing child care. I told my husband I needed a break. He went outside and came back in a half hour later. “I weed-eated around the fence line, the shed, the swing set, and everything else out there,” he said, referring to the back yard. “Why don’t you go mow the rest?

[...] Romans 8:13—For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.”

Wanna read the rest? Visit Megan’s blog – Manna For Moms. The text is named “One Blade

I hope to be back soon to give you some news about us!

May God bring you peace in your heart, even in the midst of the business of life, and the troubles than it brings.

Lapland adventure – Feb-2013

Hi guys,

I’m writting this from inside a train going from Stockholm/Sweden to Narvik/Norway.

I will post some pictures and some info, but don’t expect much since the Internet here and the conditions are not very favorable.

The RyanAir flight from Dublin to Stockholm was fine but they did not play the song since it was not very on time (kind of).

The bus from the airport was fine, I was very worried in because there was a major disruption on the road going to Stockholm (due to snow), but it ended up well.

The train is great, we are sleeping in 6 beds carriages and it’s not bad, they provide linen, water, power sockets and light. There is a restaurant in the train and I got a cup of hot water to prepare my soup :)

Our next stop is Boden and from there we will stop for a night in Abisko to visit the Sky Station, From Abisko we are going to Narvik and from there to Tromso. Wow! Its a great adventure! (Later update, Sky station was fully booked, but we had a great time in Abisko)

Our group at the Dublin airport

Inside the train

** this post was edited/updated after the trip ended**

Me again, after trip now. :-)

After ~12 hours on the train we arrived in Boden,  the guys were doing great. No complaints and enjoying every moment. My 5 cents for you, don’t join a trip like this if you don’t like adventure.

At  Boden station waiting for our next train to Narvik.

Man, I know that sounds funny and even silly but this was my second time crossing the Arctic circle by train and I was very excited when that happened… We all have a desire to go beyond our limits and cross the borders that are difficult, going far like this is something that makes me think about our limits. What limits do you have in your life? Don’t allow the situation you are living or the wrong voices limit yourself. 

N 66′ 42.

Abisko Turistation! They are very good, they even have their own train station… We just loved that hostel! And we did not know it but that would be our best Aurora night, the Aurora was dancing in different colors and shapes.

Great! We arrived on our first destination Abisko!

We were: Hungry – Tired – Sleepy – Excited

That may be the first night that my 4 friends would see the famous Aurora.

Question for you, how long have you being waiting for something? Don’t give up!

After a meal and leaving our stuff in the room we went to chase the lights, 7:15pm was the time showing on the clock and our walk to the frozen lake without light pollution would take around 20 minutes.

 That’s it! We went twice that night to chase the lights and we saw fantastic displays both times.  Me and the guys were tired and we almost canceled the second walk, however, I did not traveled 20 hours to give up! The picture below were taken during our second walk.

Now we woke up at 7am to catch the train to Narvik, from there we will get a bus to Tromso where we will collect our car. Narvik is a lovely little town and the train journey was amazing…

The train was going through fjords and the red/orange light from the dawning of the day was creating a perfect scenery.

We arrived in Narvik around 9:40 and the bus to Tromso will departure at 12:50, 5 hours inside a bus! Again, beautiful way to Tromso, the guys could not sleep because the Mountains on the way were speaking loud.

While in Tromso we got the car and went to our Cabin, really perfect place for us! 

This is the view from the front of our Cabin, our car there rented with avis.no, which again provided a great service for the adventure. No surprises, the car just worked and drove us where we wanted. Thanks Avis!

The Cabin was fantastic, the camping site name is Strandbu and it’s a family business. Very little light pollution as you can see on this image and the provided for us as much logs we wanted to burn in our stove.

Comfortable, cozy and clean. What more should we ask for? Continue reading Lapland adventure – Feb-2013

My New Birthday

THIS POST WILL SOON BE AVAILABLE IN ENGLISH!

Parece que eu comecei o ano olhando pra trás! É que janeiro, para os Alves Passos, é um mês cheio de motivos para comemorar. Já passamos o aniversário de casamento (oba! 7 anos juntos!), na próxima segunda-feira é o meu aniversário de nascimento, e sábado passado foi outro dia especial.

Dia 19 de janeiro de 2003 foi o dia em que eu nasci de novo! Hein?! É, nasci de novo! Quando você ouve pessoas falarem que “nasceram de novo”, geralmente está relacionado a algum acidente que a pessoa sofreu e superou, ou alguma cirurgia grande que a pessoa fez. Mas o meu nascer de novo não tem nada a ver com acidentes nem cirurgias.

O meu novo nascimento surgiu das orações de alguns amigos. Eu não acreditava em Deus, odiava igrejas porque achava que tudo o que todas elas queriam era o nosso dinheiro (eu sei, infelizmente isso é verdade para algumas delas… e eu não concordo com isso). O lugar favorito para beber (muito!) com os amigos era na porta de uma igreja dessas. Eu achava que assim, bebendo em frente à igreja fechada, faria o meu protesto… Mas um desses amigos tinha algo que eu não tinha…

E à medida que nos aproximamos, eu via cada vez mais que ele tinha um conforto, um sei-lá-o-quê que eu não tinha. Lembro de uma conversa em que eu disse “às vezes tenho inveja de você. Eu às vezes sinto falta de ter algo para acreditar”. Parecia que o que ele acreditava o deixava mais confiante, mais forte. E eu parecia forte e confiante quando estava com os meus amigos, mas quando ia pra casa e os confetes acabavam, eu me sentia vazia.

Ele era cristão. E eu tenho certeza que ele não me convidou pra ir à igreja dele porque sabia do nojo que eu tinha a igrejas evangélicas (com todo o meu preconceito, sem não ter nem visitado nenhuma…). Mas ele orava por mim, ele e alguns outros amigos, eles oravam por mim. E um dia, do nada, eu disse pra ele: “Quero ir com você na sua igreja neste domingo!”

Não sei dizer o que me fez tomar essa decisão, o que me fez deixar meu preconceito de lado, mas eu fui. E naquele domingo, Deus falou comigo. Ele primeiro usou o pastor e a mensagem (pregação, sermão, como você preferir) para me tocar, mostrando que Ele me conhece mesmo sem eu nunca ter falado com Ele. Ele me fez, Ele me atraiu até ali, Ele me via chorando em segredo, Ele sabia que a minha “sabedoria, força e extroversão” eram máscaras pra cobrir o meu coração partido e rejeitado. E Ele era o único que podia mudar a minha vida.

Eu só precisava de uma mudança de referenciais. Os que eu tinha (mãe, família, escola, amigos) não estavam de acordo com o que Deus falou. Mas eu poderia tomar o próprio Deus e a sua Palavra como referenciais dali pra frente. A decisão era minha. Ninguém me coagiu, ninguém podia me forçar a nada… era só entre eu e Deus.

Nascer de novo é uma decisão. Jesus explicou para um homem chamado Nicodemos, no capítulo 3 do evangelho de João que quando nascemos, todos nós somos “frutos da carne”, e o que é só carne não pode entrar no Reino dos céus. Precisamos nascer do Espírito para podermos ter acesso a Deus. E nascer do Espírito pode parecer simples, uma oração de confissão, uma mão levantada na igreja, uma lágrima correndo junto a um sorriso, mas envolve uma mudança muito complexa.

Uma mudança de atitude. Eu decidi, ali, naquele dia 19 de janeiro de 2003, que viveria tendo como referencial a palavra de Deus. E dali em diante a minha vida começou a mudar. Muita gente diz que eu perdi muita coisa ao decidir seguir Jesus, minha “fama”, popularidade e alguns amigos que não me aceitaram depois que eu mudei, mas eu ganhei algo que não se pode medir: a vida eterna, o próprio Deus me guiando e cuidando de mim!

Assim, faz 10 anos que eu nasci de novo, não da carne, mas do Espírito de Deus. Agora eu sou nova criação, as coisas velhas passaram, tudo foi feito novo! Glória a Deus, pois Ele é bom demais!