Saturday, December 19, 2009

Faith like Potatoes

De By Star Filmes

"Sometimes you watch a movie, and the story hangs with you, like the scent of perfume or the lyrics of a song, for days afterward. This movie is like that. (...) Faith like Potatoes is the true story of Angus Bachan, a farmer from Zambia but who moves his young family to South Africa in 1978. It’s a HARD life. He’s starting from scratch, trying to clear his hard-scrabble land, raise his kids, and get out of debt all at the same time. He nearly has a nervous breakdown from worry, financial problems, and overwork. His wife drags him to church where he gave his life, his heart, his family, and his farm to Jesus Christ. And amazing things start to happen.

The real Angus Bachan is still alive, still living in South Africa. You can read his biography from his website. Probably the most compelling element to the film is that all this stuff REALLY happened (and is still happening). After Angus dedicates his life to Christ, his farming takes on new meaning. Where he once was a nasty, angry man, he is kinder but still full of Scottish spunk. He and his Zulu foreman, Simeon Benghu, form a close brotherhood that is today, three decades strong, “My children are his children, and his children are my children.” (...)

The DVD also came with a stunning documentary featuring Angus Bachan, his wife Jill, and the actors and film crew of Faith like Potatoes. We like the documentary as much as the film. The film is kid-friendly, except for the part when a little boy is injured by a tractor. It’s pretty gory at that part– I’ve seen some gory war movies but this was absolutely heart-wrenching because it was a little boy. We had to skip it for the kids’ sakes.

Watch the movie. You won’t be the same." (Freak Frugalite)

Prepare your heart for Christmas!

Jill and Angus Buchan
De By Star Filmes

Simeon Benghu
De By Star Filmes

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Christmas with a Capital C

Let's say:
Feliz Natal! Feliz Navidad! Joyeux Nöel! Fröhliche Weihnachten! Buone Feste Natalizie! God Jul! Sarbatori Fericite! Merry Christmas!

Thursday, November 12, 2009


February 8, is the feast of St Josephine Bakhita, the first saint of Sudan. I was lucky to be at Saint Peter's Square in October, 2000, when she was declared a saint by Pope John Paul II in the Jubilee Year 2000. I was there because Saint Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer was canonized the same day. After renting the movie "Bakhita", from Giacomo Campiotti, I realized how fortunate I was to be in Rome that special day.

"Josephine was born in Darfur, Sudan somewhere around 1869 and taken by muslim slavers when she was only about 7 years old. She was sold to various master’s including one who beat her nearly to death and then the Turkish General whose wife had her tattooed. She was 13 when this happened. A woman was hired who put 114 cuts all over the saint’s body (not her face) and rubbed them with flour and salt to ensure maximum scarring. The pain and blood-loss this child suffered is beyond imagining.

She had no memory of her own name and was named Bakhita by her captors. It means ‘fortunate one’- a cruel joke but one that she was to treasure. All her life she sought God and Truth, believing she would find it some day and as she sought Him, she was bound to find Him.

Finally little Bakhita was bought by an Italian consul Callisto Legnani who rescued her with the intention of setting her free. But the war with the Arab factions was heating up in Africa, the Italians needed to leave and he gave Bakhita over to a friend whose Orthodox wife was expecting a child. They escaped to Italy and Bakhita became nurse to the little girl Minimma.

Some time later Minimma’s parent’s left for business and Bakhita was to take the child and live under the care of the Canossian sisters. It was here, at last that she found what she was looking for.

There is a crucifix in the chapel there, where she first set eyes on her Lord and Saviour. She never hated those who had tormented her so much and as the sisters taught her about Jesus and the Church she found a Lord who loved her and a freedom she had never had.

When Minimma’s parent’s returned they wanted to take Bakhita back with them, but she was granted her freedom in an Italian court.

In 1890 she was baptised and took the name Josephine-or more correctly Guiseppina Margarita. She joined the Canossian sisters and worked as portress for something like 45 years. She seems to have had a great love of the children and they of her, calling her ‘la nostra madre moretta’ (our little brown mother).

Her years of slavery had knocked her about though and she suffered with poor health. She died on Feb 8th 1947, undoubtedly having suffered to watch Italy go through upheaval of war.

I love her because she never let what happened to her as a child destroy her life. She loved no matter what and was never resentful. Her ability to forgive, just astonishes me.

I love the fact she genuinely wanted to know who God is-where He was to be found-and He guided her to Himself."

From "Thinking Love, No Twaddle"

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Christian Meditation

"Meditation is a universal spiritual practice, the oldest practical wisdom of humanity. It is present at the heart of all religion, open to the mystery of God - of ultimate reality.

Silence, stillness and simplicity are its essential elements; compassion, joy and generosity of spirit are its fruits."

Fr. Laurence Freeman, OSB - Director, WCCM - Founder, JMC Georgetown

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Monday, October 12, 2009


My Lord and my God,
I offer You this day.
Bless me, protect me, guide my way.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Rio de Janeiro, I love you!

People of Rio de Janeiro were considered the happiest on Earth, in a recent research. The beauty of our beaches, mountains and the symbol of the city must count for it, I'm pretty sure. How can you be sad if you raise your eyes and see Jesus with His arms opened to you? The Christ Redeemer statue reminds us that we are loved and must love in return.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

What Sort of Exercise Can Make You Smarter?

By Gretchen Reynolds

Allow a laboratory mouse to run as much as it likes, and its brainpower improves. Force it to run harder than it otherwise might, and its thinking improves even more. This is the finding of an experiment led by researchers at National Cheng Kung University in Taiwan and placed online in May.

(...) For some time, researchers have known that exercise changes the structure of the brain and affects thinking. Ten years ago scientists at the Salk Institute in California published the groundbreaking finding that exercise stimulates the creation of new brain cells. But fundamental questions remain, like whether exercise must be strenuous to be beneficial. Should it be aerobic? What about weight lifting? And are the cognitive improvements permanent or fleeting?

(...) Why should exercise need to be aerobic to affect the brain? “It appears that various growth factors must be carried from the periphery of the body into the brain to start a molecular cascade there,” creating new neurons and brain connections, says Henriette van Praag, an investigator in the Laboratory of Neurosciences at the National Institute on Aging. For that to happen, “you need a fairly dramatic change in blood flow,” like the one that occurs when you run or cycle or swim. Weight lifting, on the other hand, stimulates the production of “growth factors in the muscles that stay in the muscles and aren’t transported to the brain,” van Praag says.

(...) “It would be fair to say that any form of regular exercise,” Chauying J. Jen says, if it is aerobic, “should be able to maintain or even increase our brain functions.”

Complete details at the NYT site:

Thursday, September 3, 2009


Paraty is one of the most beautiful cities at Rio de Janeiro. Even if you don't care about colonial architecture or the wonderful beaches around the village, you still can eat well at different restaurants, or taste a delicious icecream at "Miracolo".

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Flower and Love

My love gave me these flowers for our 36th anniversary. It's very useful to remind him of special dates in advance...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


"Love — caritas — is an extraordinary force which leads people to opt for courageous and generous engagement in the field of justice and peace. It is a force that has its origin in God, Eternal Love and Absolute Truth. Each person finds his good by adherence to God's plan for him, in order to realize it fully: in this plan, he finds his truth, and through adherence to this truth he becomes free (cf. Jn 8:22). To defend the truth, to articulate it with humility and conviction, and to bear witness to it in life are therefore exacting and indispensable forms of charity. Charity, in fact, “rejoices in the truth” (1 Cor 13:6). All people feel the interior impulse to love authentically: love and truth never abandon them completely, because these are the vocation planted by God in the heart and mind of every human person."

Monday, June 15, 2009

Have Dreams, Will Travel

De By Star Filmes

Also known as "A West Texas Children's Story", is a lovely movie from director Brad Isaacs. One of its charms is the music by Glen Ballard "Dream it Out Loud", sung by Lissie. The movie was released on DVD in Brasil, but never in USA. Originally set for a US theatrical release in late 2007 and then 2008, it languished in a vault secondary to the production company going bankrupt after post-production was already completed.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Chilly Rio

Today is so cold in Rio! Cold for "cariocas", of course. When thermometers show 18ºC, we begin to shiver and complain. Particularly, I rejoice. Cups of tea, good books and movies are always available to help us enjoy these rare moments. A chilly breeze suggests its polar origin and I can imagine glaciers, penguins, and seals it kissed before freezing my cheeks. Lovely day!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Airfrance Flight 447

Christ taking leave of His Mother by Lorenzo Lotto

Is there any hope of finding Airfrance flight 447 ? It's a troubled time for every soul.

"Look in compassion, O heavenly Father, upon this troubled and divided world. Though we cannot trace thy footsteps or understand thy working, give us grace to trust thee with an undoubting faith; and when thine own time is come, reveal, O Lord, that new heaven and new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness, where the Prince of Peace ruleth, thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ."

Charles John Vaughan (1816 - 1897)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Our black Marley

Who would say this poetic pet, holding a delicate leaf in his mouth, would turn out to be an impetuous and strenuous giant dog? Nevertheless, he's so loving, as we can see in the black and white picture, almost licking Pedro's face. Lugh, irish god of light, has an enemy in the house: the cat Neela, a small, grumpy, but charming female. And as the big one insists in pissing everywhere, whenever we let him in, we keep him out. It's a pity, because he's a great buddy.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Botanic Garden - Rio de Janeiro

Mornings at our Botanic Garden are magic and restoring. Walking, talking with a friend, taking pictures, looking at flowers, trees, birds and squirrels, breathing the fresh air, make us brand new, in love with life.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Hummingbird visits

Yesterday a hummingbird visited our little garden. In less than one minute he tasted all the new orange flowers that blossomed this week.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


De A Sorrir

De A Sorrir

This lovely flower blossomed in our mini-pond during the night. Its name is "aguape". There is a beautiful music from Edmundo Souto and Paulinho Tapajós with this title. Simone Guimarães sings it beautifully.


Lá do outro lado do arvoredo
Vive o meu amor escondido
Um passarinho contou
Voa sabiá vá encontrar
Meu bem querer vá lá dizer
Meu bem te vi longe daqui
Sou curió cantando só
Uirapuru do Pajeú
Sem um xodó num cafundó
Volta prá aqui meu colibri
Lembra do fubá do gravatá
Do cangerê do Pererê
Do jaboti do Guarani
Do bororó do mocotó
Do meu bambu do babassú
Do Marajó do Tororó
Jamais te vi meu colibri
Lembra do cajá do butiá
Do aguapé pé de café
Da juriti do açaí
Do abricó de Mossoró
Do inhambú mandacarú
Do pão de ló nó de jiló
Volta pra aqui meu bem-te-vi
Tenho um ninho guardado
Para o meu namorado
Deixei lá em segredo
Porque ainda era cedo
Aguardando o pedido
Tenho um ninho escondido
Ele vive guardado
Pra você me guardar

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Thank You Lord!

"Oh Lord, that lends me life,
Lend me a heart replete with thankfulness!"

Henry IV, Part 2
William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

The Land of Might-Have-Been - Novello/Marsh

The Land of might-have-been, such a beautiful music, sung by Jeremy Northam, disappeared from Deezer! But we still can find it at YouTube. &...