Skip to main content

Birthday breakfast in bed


Birthday breakfast in bed

When I was growing up, my family often missed birthdays, and what might have been a special occasion became just another day. But when Julie came into the family, she made sure that no one was left without a party.

Depending on which side of the equator we found ourselves, my birthday was celebrated either in the midst of wonderfully sunny summer days or cold and rainy winter days. This year the forecast for my birthday here in Paraguay includes rain and freezing temperatures. But it will also be cold because Julie won’t be here.

Every June 22, I can remember Julie getting up an hour earlier to make something special for me. Often a birthday breakfast would include crunchy pancakes, French toast, scrambled eggs, or fruit salad. Julie would brew special Brazilian coffee, add an extra touch to a favorite recipe, and serve it all to me while I was still in bed. Tomorrow, however, my birthday just won’t be the same. I will wake up, and, unless Anahi is asking for milk or the dog is barking, there will be only silence.

Jewls, I would give the world to have just one more breakfast with you. One more time when I could hear your voice saying, "Happy Birthday, Norb! I love you. This is your special day." I want to tell you that I cherish your intentionality in making special occasions count and in building family memories. I can only learn from you now, so I will take this valuable tradition and continue celebrating it with Anahi. It’s not the same without you, but I will not give in to defeat. I know you are celebrating in heaven.

Goodbye, Julie. Thanks for teaching me to celebrate. Thanks for showing me that life needs to be experienced in the now. I say goodbye with sadness for not having you with me, but I say goodbye also with hope that life on this side of heaven will still give me a number of years to serve, love, and celebrate with Anahi. You had so many dreams for this little one. You would be so proud of her. Her birthday is coming up in September, and, let me tell you, we are going to have a party. Anahi will be celebrated!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Christmas in Paraguay!

If you're wondering what Paraguayans do at Christmastime, they have some great traditions, including the "noche buena" meal on Christmas Eve at midnight.  They eat lots chipa guasu (a type of corn casserole, stay tuned for a recipe), asado or grilled meat (some eat it cold), salads, especially fruit salad, watermelon and drink mucho terere.


Families travel from all over the country, many even return from working in other countries like Brazil, Argentina, and Spain, to celebrate with loved ones. This is us at last year's Kurrle celebration in Asuncion. Festivities are anything but a silent night with fireworks, loud music and drinking cidra (hard cider). 



Most Paraguayans do not decorate Christmas trees (we decorate ours in shorts!) or emphasize Santa Claus.  Instead, they put beautiful nativities "pesebres" in their yards and in store fronts.  Kind of novel to focus on Christ at Christmas, isn't it!


To beat the heat, many Paraguayans go to a river to rel…

The Genesis of my story in Paraguay: Part 2

In Part 1, I shared how my first move to Paraguay was at age 5. At that time I was a minor, following my parents around. But my second move to Paraguay was at age 25 when after college, I—or better said, we—decided to move back to Paraguay. This time, the Genesis was a letter inviting us to help pioneer a new radio station there.


At the time I had just gotten married to my college sweetheart Julie. We were both enrolled in seminary, enjoying just being married and going to school. Among our hobbies at the time was traveling the U.S. and to any country that we had the funds to go to. During those days, we began running seriously and trained for our first marathons and adventure race. Our first marathon was the Flying Pig marathon in Cincinnati, Ohio. Julie and I finished together in what I thought was a pretty good time of 4 hours, 12 minutes.


One day, a letter in our mailbox got us thinking about plans beyond graduation. The letter was from Walter Franz, inviting us to help establis…

Paraguayan Weddings

On Valentine’s Day, we had the joy of attending the wedding of Sandra and Anastacio, young leaders in the church. Sandra is my assistant with Children of Promise and Anastacio, apart from his carpentry job, has a popular youth-focused radio program every night at 8:00 on our station.

We’ve been to quite a few weddings, and these are some of the uniquenesses of southern Paraguayan wedding celebrations from our North American culture:

1. Nothing is fancy. Emphasis is placed on the act of marriage and not on the decorations or food.
2. It is not an expectation that parents help pay for expenses. Most families just make it each month with regular expenses and cannot afford to pay for eleborate feasts. Most couples have to spend months saving for their own wedding.
3. Borrow as much as possible. Many times wedding dresses are borrowed 5-10 times, because few women can afford their own. Flowers, decorations, shoes and ties (Norb loans out his ties often...since he never wears them!) are …