Feliz Natal!

Feliz Natal

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Some of the sights and sounds of a Portuguese Christmas. For those of you who celebrate other holidays around this time of the year, I wish you the best you’ve ever enjoyed.

The Portugal Years: Photo Shoot At Camp



The Guys
The Guys

This was during the early days of the camp. The director and the teens and young adults were close to the same ages. We didn’t always know what we were doing, but we kept on trying. And even if we could travel back in time and parcel out some good advice, I daresay it would not change anything, human nature being what it is.  But how we miss them. Um grande abraço para os nossos queridos irmãos. Que saudades de vocês.


Brazilians, Americans, Portuguese all worked together…mostly well. Do you think you can tell which of them are Americans and which are not?

The Portugal Years: Year Five – Not The Momma!

Susie in the Jumper.
Susie in the Jumper.

After two years and four months with my compliant first-born, I had, I thought,  certain understandings about babies. One of them was that when people want to hold the baby, that said baby would entertain those people in an adorable and engaging manner. Another expectation was that I would have ten minutes a day all for myself.

In the early 1990’s there was a TV show called Dinosaurs where the baby dinosaur was  attached to his mother. His response to any other people was “Not the Momma.” Though we were still in the 80’s and the show debuted in the early 90’s, I am convinced that Susie was the prototype for the show. She had no time for other people, but she was a real cuddle bug with me.

I fell in love with her in spite of the lack of time alone. After she was crawling, I tried to get a solo stint in the “necessary” one night. I snuck out of the living room and tiptoed down the hall. I didn’t turn on the light or close the door. She missed me and began the trek down the hall and passed the bathroom saying “Mama, Mama………..” in time to the sound of her knees.

Sweet as she was in her devotion to me, it presented certain challenges. Her “fussy hour” coincided with time to cook dinner. I could nurse her until she fell asleep and before I could open a cookbook she was singing her “I’ve been abandoned” song. I tried putting her in the “Johnny Jump-up”  over the doorway. The idea was that she could be able to see me. Except she was crying with her eyes shut.

One day I remembered the front carrying baby tote I had received when Bethy was a toddler. I looked at the gas range and the length of my arms and decided that if I was careful, I could bundle her into it while I made dinner. It worked! Susie slept and I knew she was fine. Bethy lost her worried look because Susie was not crying and Daddy came home to a peaceful house with dinner on the table.

And the summer and the winter were the fifth year…

The Portugal Years: Acampamento Palavra de Vida (Camp Word of Life) I

When Word of Life USA began to work in Portugal, one of the long-term goals was to build a camp that would double in winter as a Bible Institute. Finding the right property took patience and time. In 1981, we bought a  property from which we could see the Atlantic Ocean and the village of Ericeira. It was a place of possibilities, pine trees, fresh air and little else. And the work began.

camp work 1

Little by little the property began to take shape. Trees fell; walkways were constructed. In the distance is the village of Ericeira.

bunks for campers

Buildings started to sprout in the sandy soil. This is one of the dormitories.

dining hall

The dining area has a fireplace and a full-sized kitchen where the cooks and helpers prepared some wonderful meals. Below the dining room is a room for singing and teaching.

apartments, soccer field

In the background you can see the apartments where staff lived in the summer. They also served as a place for visitors to stay. If you look carefully, you will see the soccer field. You really can’t have a camp without a soccer field in Portugal! Eventually, a grounds man would work on making the place beautiful He planted fruit trees and made repairs.

camp pv

A few years ago a plane flew over the campground. Can you recognize some of the buildings that you saw being build in the above pictures?