Your little bag of hope

The first of many surprises in Brazil
The first of many surprises in Brazil

Only hours after touching down in Sao Paulo, I received this little bag of hope.

See, I had no underwear. 

It’s a long story, but I promised Dad, I’d keep it short (see below). On our drive into the remote mountains of Sao Paulo, my friend and I stopped at a mall for cash (no ATMS in the forest). This part of the journey felt all hazy, the way things do when you’ve flown a red-eye across the world.

We didn’t have much time because my friend wanted to take me for a hike up to the stone–part of a caminho de fe, walk of faith, by her home. Since life hadn’t given me much time for caminhos in the months before, I longed for the kind of caminho my soul and spirit needed. Desperate to walk, I wanted to hug nature and breathe the cool Brazilian mountain air.

In no time, I found a great lingerie store. I loved their fabrics and designs but had no clue when it came to speaking Portuguese, similar to Spanish which is a language I speak. The languages even share common words. Sadly, none of the Spanish words they shared were the ones I needed to ask for the right size and color of panties. My friend gave me lots of help.

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No, not the butt enhancers. Brazil loves to surprise. When the sales woman handed me my bag, I thanked her for speaking English with my first Portuguese word, obrigado.

I held up the bag and said, “I have a little bag of hope.”

My friend gave me a hug and pointed at the store’s marquee. The jet lag, pain from a health issue and the general sense of rushing combined to make me a little loopy. I hadn’t noticed the name of the store. HOPE.

“It’s great energy,” my friend said. Afterwards, we laughed and caught up over an incredible Brazilian coffee then tucked my little bag of hope into my friend’s car and hit the road for our journey into the mountains.

Defender of hope
Defender of hope

I love how The Holy Spirit gives us signs and messages. How God works through our desires and longings.

Sometimes, He’s found in the perfect song at the perfect time. Sometimes in the words of a friend. At other times, He arrives in the form of intuition. Through whispered messages on gentle breezes.

But I’d never in all my life received a red ribboned, gilded message of HOPE in English in a Portuguese-speaking country before. Hope had nearly run out for me by the time I arrived in Brazil. God felt the need to shout this time. He got my attention.

Here’s your little bag of hope. 

I’m handing it to you on a busy day. A day you aren’t feeling well and a little bit rushed. When you aren’t sure about life, maybe not feeling like yourself. A day when all that you believed and expected are in question. Here it is. Open it up. You don’t need much.

A thank you:

This is the first post Dad will not read. Last year, just before I set out to do my first mission work in Prague, right before I walked El Camino de Santiago, Dad told me that I’d have to be his eyes in the world now. Through Laurasmagicday over the last few years of Dad’s life I brought the world to him as he had done with me when I was a child.

I miss him every day and yet, it seems that he’s closer to me than ever before. The last time I spoke with Dad in the hospital, he asked what I’d written lately. I told him my job in Spain was very demanding and I’d barely had time to journal. He closed his eyes, shook his head and said, “write a short story.” This post is that short story.

Thank you for your support and encouragement. Your good wishes and prayers have been a comfort. I hope to keep Dad’s spirit of curiosity, peace, joy and excitement alive here and in all my future projects. Life is short. Make it fun.

Intuition

Your book is written. Curiously, you’re finding, that wasn’t the hard part. No, writing the 50K, 100K, 200K words wasn’t hard by a long-shot. What’s the hardest part? You want to share it with the world. And you say, very publicly, “I’ve written a book.” It might be at a party. It might be a passing comment to a friend, maybe after a yoga class, or over a beer. It might be at the supermarket or in front of a clerk at a bookstore who you’re hoping might take your book on consignment. Maybe in front of an agent or editor at a conference. And the reply? Continue reading Intuition