To Read on the Journey

Friday, July 27, 2007

Azores- Part 2

I am so excited to share my journey home to the Azores with you. I hope you will enjoy all you see and read. Where to begin???
So we we're boarding the plane (Sunday) in Oakland C.A., and an 86 yr old woman grabs my Emilie, hugs her kisses her and tells her " a tu e muito linden" (you are very pretty). Emilie just stares and says, "thank you." My sister Toni comments, "get use to it," and that is true of the rest of the trip, people just grabbed, hugged, and kissed us . We were well loved. By the end of the week I joined them, embracing and kissing everyone. It is wonderful to fully show all you feel for someone.

The plane ride over (11 hrs) was not like any plane I have ever been on, the moment the seatbelt lights were off, folks were up in little clusters all over the plane meeting and greeting. It was a Festa (pronounced -feshta) on the plane.

We arrived Monday on the island of Terceira. We went to my Tia Fatima's (my grandfather's sister-in-law, and my grandmother's cousin) B&B. She is wonderful! So joyful and warm, and dependent on Jesus... oh she is beautiful! We all soaked up a bit of Terceira, and got a good night sleep before heading over to our island Flores.
We arrived in Flores Tuesday afternoon. Anticipation, tears, wonder, and excitement was worn on each of our faces as we looked out the plane window. Our eyes and hearts not wanting to miss a moment of our beloved island ( I did however glance at my grandma, seeing her home she hadn't been to for 33 yrs- beautiful!).
We stepped off the plane and on to our terra (land). I bent down and kissed it! We were then greeted by joyful and tearful family members- Ti Frank, Tia Marianna (grandmother's brother and sister she hasn't seen for 33yrs). We were greeted by other family members too. It was so overwhelming and beautiful- moments you want to hold onto forever.
We drove to our village, Faja Grande. My mouth was wide open as we passed hills covered
with hydrangea walls, waterfalls, and the Atlantic ocean against hydrangea fields. I commented that "I wanted to dance in the fields of hydrangeas." It was too much to take in!
We arrived at my Tia Marianna and Tia Everesta's house (the joined houses my grandmother and her siblings grew up in). We embraced Tia Everesta ( and immediately Emilie and Tia Everesta were taken with each other).
What fun to be in my grandmothers childhood home, to walk, live, sleep and eat for a week in the home where my grandma was born, crawled, first walked, talked, and grew in.
Mid afternoon we decided (Toni, Steve, Emilie and I) to take a walk down to the ocean. It was about 1/4 mile walk through town from the house . We passed the Teodosio market, and there met Tia Fatima's son and daughter in law Jose and Linda.

We continued on and met up with a relative Victoria who invited us to her home. On the way we met another relative Jose
Cardoso (btw- Jose is pronounced- ju zeh). Next we arrived at Victoria's house and met her husband Jose Lawrence (my grandfather's nephew). Seeing him was overwhelming, because with exception to his eyes, from head to toe, he looks identical to my grandfather.

We embraced and visited with them. He cried and commented that, "he had never met family that when they met they felt as if they had always known each other." Being with him reminded me of my grandfather in his younger years. We later went with their family to Terce (rosary). As we arrived in the center of town we were overwhelmed by all the people who approached us, embraced and kissed us, and told us they were our family members. I especially enjoyed meeting my grandfather's nephew and god son Antonio Nasciemento, and cousins Leonardo, Eliza, Victor and more. I have always kidded that I was related to everyone in Faja Grande, it turns out that I am!

It was all so overwhelming and wonderful! The most wonderful thing was that God met a need for me, and that was my need to belong. Because of my dad's drug use followed by mental illness, his existence has been ignored in our family (I do understand that the loss of a son and only brother is painful for my family), and because my dad has denied me as his daughter, these two things have made it hard for me to feel I belong. This week, however, family members only remembered my dad as a 6yr old boy. With delight, they all said (in Portuguese of course) "Your Jose Antonio Teodosio' s daughter." I can't recall ever hearing that before. There was a point that I stood tall and said, "yes, I am."
I know that I have already written so much (and I haven't even gotten to day 3 yet), but I want to share how God has met that need for me in another way here. Michael's dad is Dennis, he is a wonderful, godly, generous, handsome man with great integrity. In recent years here in our mountain community, many people have said to me, "your Dennis Jones' daughter." I think the Dennis and Denise confuses them. So, I would correct them saying, "I am his daughter- in- law." Eventually though I realized how good it was of God to have named me after Dennis in the first place, and that that wasn't by chance, but by God's plan. Now when people say " Your Dennis Jones' daughter" I stand tall, smile, and say, "yes I am." God is a very good God! He thinks of everything! And, He tells me I am His own in such tangible ways.

We finally made it down to the water 5 hours, one alley (hiding from the main road), and 2 more cousins later!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Azores Part 1

Our trip to the Azores was WONDERFUL! I have so much to share, but for now I will tell you it was a heart journey. I find myself homesick for old yet new family, hydrangea covered hills, waterfalls, cobblestone streets, and the embrace and kisses of the people of Faja Grand, Flores.
As I left, my relative Antonio Nasciemento (who I just met and absolutely love) said, " a tu via parte" which translated is, "are you going to part." I replied, "si." He said that, "parte" means- "part of you will die when you go." I didn't want to leave, and yes part of me died in the leaving, but such a big part of me came alive in being there. I look forward to sharing it with you over the next week.

#1. Hydrangeas and trees in Flores
#2. Ova (grandma) and I in Terceira.

#3. Emilie and Tia Everesta (Ova's sister)
#4. The church in Faja Grande, Flores- with the most western most point of Europe.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Emilie's 8! And Away we go!

Emilie is 8!
I often tell Emilie, "I have always wanted you."
When I was 16, I seemed to be drowning under the circumstances of life. I was hopeless, I wanted God to rescue me from the home I lived in, to bring me into more, to promise me more. He wasn't moving quickly enough, it seemed he never would. So I became angry with him, and decided I was done with him.
Sometime later a friend approached me, he had heard a song called "Emily" by Michael W. Smith. He played it for me, and told me that God had so much more for me, and not to lose hope. My heart stirred, and I asked God to make things new in my life, I asked for him to own my future, to give me more than what had been passed down through the generations, I asked to live in his promise. I also asked to one day have a daughter, my own Emily to pass a hope and a future too. Such a big prayer for a 16yr old girl. A prayer I continued to pray until July 14th 1999, when my Emilie was born.

Emily by Michael W. Smith & Wayne Kirpatrick (1989)

Caught, in an endless time
Waiting for a sign
To show you where to go
Lost, in a silent stare
Looking anywhere
For answers you don't know

On the wire,
Balancing your dreams,
Hoping ends will meet their means,
You feel alone
Does it help you to
Know that I believe in you
You're an angel waiting for wings...Emily

You, going through this stage
Its a restless age
Young and insecure
Still, there are doubts to fade
Moments to be made
and one of them is yours

On the wire
Balancing your dreams
Hoping ends will meet their means
But you feel alone
Oh does it help you to
Know that I believe in you
You're an angel waiting for wings... Emily

My Emilie is definitely one of those "moments to be made!" A blessing to our entire family.
She is tender, thoughtful, giving, considerate, sensitive, creative, a hard worker, loyal, and so beautiful. I get a kick out of Emilie because she loves to organize (a girl after my own heart), I often find her organizing her hair bands and clips, her doll clothes, even her daddy's closet!

Emilie will work all day with her daddy on a project, even when the rest of us call it quits.
She plays the piano beautifully, and works hard on all her lessons, paying attention to detail, her teacher always praises her faithfulness to practice (Noah and I rarely show up to piano practice rehearsed). I love the way she plays with Josie "mommy and sister" with their dollies, but the next moment she can be in a sword fight with Noah. Emilie is loving, she is the one who is going to jump in your lap, or be at your side showing affection and love. I love Emilie's prayers, she is so intentional, it is beautiful to listen to her talk with Jesus. Emilie is intentional about everything. She is definitely going to fly one day, I can't wait to cheer her on!

AND... we're off to the Azores! Ahhhh, nervousness mixed with excitement!


Friday, July 13, 2007

Sweet Peas

For weeks now as we have driven to town I have noticed a field of Sweet Peas. I wanted to hop the fence with my family and have pix taken in that field. So we did!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

I love the smell of summer rain (or summer sprinkle)! I've opened every window and door to invite this sweet fragrance in.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Less than a week till the Azores!

When I think about it, aahhhh! I can't believe I am going. Somebody pinch me!
So, if you have traveling experience...
What do I need to take?
What can I leave behind?
What will make a long flight more enjoyable?
Where should I get a calling card?
How should I exchange money?
What is a traveling mistake you have made that I can learn from?
What is a traveling must?

Saturday, July 7, 2007

S.L.O.'n down

The kids and I had loads of fun in S.L.O. (San Luis Obispo) this past week. It was fun to be with family. The kids especially enjoyed time with all their cousins.

Wednesday- We went to a Grace Church 4th of July picnic. The kids really enjoyed being part of the gunny sac race, water balloon toss, and the relay.

We BBQ'd on the beach on the eve of the 4th with the other Joneses (Michael's brother Christopher, his wife Michelle, and their boys Luke and Nicholas) and the Cheneys' (Michael's sister Lindsey, her husband Sean, their girls Grace and Lily, and baby #3 on the way). Uncle Christopher entertained all the kiddos with his fireworks show.

Lindsey and I sewed some purses from pillowcases, and made the girls hair clips. We also took our kids to Avila Beach. The kids had loads of fun soaking up the ocean and the sandy beach. I got some good snuggle time with my niece Lily, and a bit of a burn.
Thursday evening we went down to the S.L.O. Farmer's Market, enjoyed some tasty BBQ, music, and a cold walk home.
It is good to be with family. It is so nice that Michael's family is my family too- that I can go and enjoy them, and feel at home without him is a gift.
The kids and I came home Friday. We would have loved to stay! The weather in S.L.O. was in the mid 80's (many times we needed a sweatshirt to warm up). Our home welcomed us with 107 degree heat- aahh!

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Big Emily's Wedding

We had a terrific weekend celebrating and being a part of Emily (Durrell) Mac Gibbon's Wedding! We have known Big Emily (as we lovingly refer to her) since 1993 when she was an 8th grader, yikes! Later she was one of our Young Life kids, favorite babysitter, co-worker, and friend. We have loved Emily for many years, and we are thrilled that she has married the man God wrote for her. Paul adores her. It is wonderful to see her be loved and delighted in.

2 weeks till the Azores

In a previous blog I mentioned that I would be sharing about my g-parents, their story of how they came to the U.S.

My grandmother Josefina Greves was one of 17 children. My grandfather Antonio Teodosio was one of 12 children (11 biological and 1 adopted sister). They lived on the westernmost point of Europe, on the Portuguese island of Flores. A beautiful, but poor island.

My grandmother's grandfather Jose (pronounced- ju zeh) Greves had come to the United States, lived, worked, and obtained citizenship, and returned to the Azores.  In the early 1900's her father also Jose Greves, followed in his father's footsteps to America. When he returned to Flores, Azores he married and began a family. His wife Marie Amelia, had no desire to leave her home, and so they lived the rest of their years in Flores.

I wonder how a village on an island so small could hold a man who had seen so much of the world.  I am sure that he spoke of his adventures to America. I know his adventure ignited a passion in his daughter Josefina to live in America someday.

My grandparent's story isn't a fairytale, they grew up along side each other, and
married in 1947. They had 6 children; Violet, Marie, Victoria, Vera, Joe, and Hilda (These are their American names, changed when they moved here. Btw- with exception to Violet, all of my aunts first names are Marie). They continued living in Flores for many years, but my grandmother wanted more, and they made plans to move their family to the Unites States.

On March 19,1961, 4 days after her 35th birthday, my grandmother arrived in
California.  She left her husband to care for their children (ages 12-4), so she could establish a home for them in the U.S.  Upon her arrival she immediately went to work in a cannery.  She borrowed money and sent for her family, who arrived 4 months later on July 31st (the day after my grandparents anniversary). 
I once asked my grandmother what it was like to go to the San Francisco airport to get her husband and children.  She laughed and told me she had been advised to fix herself up as the American women do.  She wore a pretty dress, fixed up her hair, and painted her lips with red lipstick.  When my grandfather saw her he was livid.  After 3.5 months apart, he wouldn't speak to her
(I think he may have been more upset that she left him with 6 children- aahhhh!). My oldest aunt, Violet, shared that when she got off the plane in S.F. and saw her mother she didn't recognize her, "she was so beautiful."

After their arrival in America the entire family went to work picking peaches, and quickly paid off every borrowed cent that brought them to the U.S. 
Soon my grandfather (42 years old) obtained a job at a dairy, and a few years later my grandmother at Hunt's tomato cannery (where she worked for 25+ years).
In addition to raising their 6 children, they also raised my sister and I. Their family of 8 is now a family of 53!

In September of 2005 God took my grandfather home and made him new. 

(for the last 10 years of his life he slowly faded away from us as he suffered from Alzheimer's).  After God took him home, Josie (3) said, " Now Avo' (grandpa in Portugese) can run, and jump and turn around." Yes, he can!

The name Josefina, comes from Joseph which means "May God add." God has certainly added so much to our lives because of my grandmother.

I feel blessed to be a Teodosio.  I am honored to be part of a family that pursued a dream.  My grandparents gave me a rich heritage, a strong value for family, and modeled victory {overcoming obstacles} to me. 

When I feel defeated I remember their courage and determination.  I know that their story is my story, my gratitude is expressed by living a life that honors them.