12 June 2010

hApPy hApPy dAy !!!!


Just a couple of days after finishing our strawbale building workshop we had lots of friends and family for a "baby party"... (go to the other blog to see how it all went... it was great!!!)

This was definitely a happy day… a celebration day for many reasons…
For my twin nephews’ 3rd birthday, Nelson and Joshua, and also for Nolan’s 2nd birthday that would be later this month…
We also had little Diogo with us, only few months old, son of Pedro and Lisanne, my sister’s best friends…
And Kiara, Lua’s daughter was also with us…
so, a party with and for children… I think we all became a bit like children, except for the alcohol consumption ☺, but hey, it was a party !!!
Another big big reason for celebrating was that my mom came from Angola ☺ …



Nelson, Edna, Nolan and Lyna(almost out), ready to blow out the candles...

Edna and Lisanne

baby Diogo, Lisanne and Pedro's son

Kiara...Lua's daugther...

my mom was in great form… laughing, dancing and being surrounded by family (what she misses most in Angola)… my cousin Paulinho (below, behind my mom and Pedro who opened the “dance floor” with Angolan music), Ricardo, his wife Nelia , (no pictures of them , tssss…what a shame, it was so nice to be with them)

and Pedro who is like my little brother...they all came to join us…

Orfeu and Diana (hard to see in the far back), friends of Paulo and Edna… (but you can see that Chrissy was still here after the workshop…eh, eh)

and also our other brother, Nico (on the right, next to Lyna and Nolan) wouldn’t miss it…

of course we had to have some german friends around, Miri (from Goerlitz)

and Peter...here giving gelatin to Paulo... it went around till we all tried to eat it with our hands...eh, eh...
Miri and Peter were in Porto visiting Juran and Ulli (their little daughter Fiona was born just few weeks ago, so they couldn’t come this time ) ...
Nuno, our friend who lives nearby also showed up… (below, on the left, near Nolan)...he has been busy with his amazing stone work, check it out here … he's a good friend from us here...

… we can see better Orfeu now, with the tattoos, speaking with Pedro, Lisanne’s husband, and Diogo’s father...(it's better to explain cuz there was another Pedro, eh, eh)

Whitney Hurst (laughing at Emma eating the gelatin ☺…)…Whitney got a lift with Ricardo and Nelia from Lisbon…the rest of the family couldn't come cuz they are busy moving to Algarve...Isaac really wanted to come, but for some last minute reason he couldn't... he would love it !!!

Emma also came from Ireland specially for the party and also to meet my mom…
Wow, what a nice family gathering !!! It’s been a looooong time… It was a pity my dad couldn’t come this time…but I’m sure soon he will ☺ …

Nelson and Joshua enjoying the gelatin my mom made specially at their request...

Nico and my mom showing us how to dance …Angolan style ☺


This was a really special day for me for many reasons as you can see… and I thought this could be a good opportunity to share something that is also very special for me…
It ‘s been a while since I’ve been wanting to write a post about it… I wanted it to be special, and I wanted to write when I had a relaxed time to seat and write … as you know, it’s been quite busy around here lately …

Some of you already know, most of those who were at this party knew… those who didn’t , it was either obvious or they end up knowing after my little brother Pedro make a sort of “announcement” for everyone to hear…

It was lovely actually, but a bit embarrassing I have to say… specially for Emma, who couldn’t help but blush on the other side of the table ☺…
but that’s Pedro !!! he’s always been like that since we were kids…☺
it was sweet as well… I have no idea what he was speaking about but then he turned to Emma on the other side and said something like “ you’re getting engaged into a biiiiiiig family …”
and actually that is the truth… Emma is not only engaged with me, but with this beautiful people, family and close friends, who know me, and are happy with our commitment…
Edna has been the first and the most supportive of our relationship… my mom received the news filled with joy through a letter I sent her to Angola… she was looking forward to meet Emma here and Emma excited to meet my mom… :-)
This was another big thing that made this day special and worthy of celebration… you cannot imagine my joy…
Specially because our relationship has not been celebrated by all of my friends…
Probably one of the reasons why it made me cautious to share it here , or to share with others… it is hard when others don’t rejoice with something that is so precious for me…(unfortunately for some it even seems like someone died or something)
Sharing with some people, close friends and not so close friends, has been mainly a way to start discussions… if it’s right or wrong, if it’s God’s will or not… some don’t even use the “if”, but clearly say that “it is wrong”… without many explanations I have to say… without any interest of hearing our journey, not only together, but with God too… “the Bible is clear” , they say… but when I ask for more depth, I get no replies, or else, I get “teachings” and web sites of “ex-gay ministries” for me to research for myself…
The thing is that I have been searching and researching from the beginning… It was not something I took lightly and easily… it was a confrontation to all that it was passed to me and that I assumed to be “true” in my own mind… it was a huge struggle between my mind, my spirit and my feelings…
From the early start (one and a half year ago) I shared with my closest friends… some of them were rejoicing… yet, others said “it is wrong…the Bible is clear”… so I kept praying and went to the Bible… all the verses I was tired of knowing… I’m not going to make this longer than it is already, but just to let you know that I’ve always struggled with my sexuality, so that was something that would interested me particularly…in my journey with Jesus, being discipled by others, I learned well all the passages that seem to condemn same-sex relationships… I went on the journey knowing in my mind that it was not the best for me… to be honest I didn’t even think about relationships until maybe 4 years ago… I was happy alone with my love with God… so, I really didn’t need to think much about it…
About 3 years ago, when I was opening up my heart for the possibility of having a relationship (of course I had in mind a lovely man and kids, cuz that was the only possible option in my mind to be the “right thing”), I found myself trapped … I had feelings for a woman… “Oh no”… it was a big struggle… I felt ashamed, with guilt and condemnation… I had conversations with my best friends and my prayer partners in this new season of my life (the past 5 years), and they challenged my mind saying that there is nothing wrong for me to love a woman… but I couldn’t handle it , it was out of question in my mind…
Time passed… more than a year… and again my feelings were awaken… but this time was not another woman… it was Emma, my best friend since 5 years… she had come to the land for a month after finishing her master’s dissertation…
And a loooooong journey was about to begin…
I don’t want to get so detailed here… but all this journey led me to seek God as never before… to study in depth the Bible as never before (and I can tell you that the Bible is not at all clear about condemning same-sex relationships)… and above all , to realize God’s amazing love and grace, as never before… understanding the meaning of the cross as never before…
Accepting the biggest challenge of my life… to be truly me… a broken vessel filled with God’s love …
“embrace your feelings” was all I could hear from God in the midst of the storm of all my thoughts… of course I resisted it time after time, cuz “that couldn’t be from God”… “feelings are deceitful”, how could God ask me such a thing?
The honest truth is that , when I surrendered to that invitation, I felt God’s love as never before… I felt God’s acceptance as never before…
I was aware then, and at the same time, Emma was also aware, that this journey would be a long one… and a hard one …
On the other hand, Emma was also praying about it all… God challenge for her was different… in a picture, God offered her a cup, and asked her “would my love and Barbara’s love be enough for you?”… she knew the cup was filled with joy, but also pain… (thankfully) she said yes to God…
And we said yes to one another… ☺
We got engaged last year, and we will celebrate our union and commitment with our friends and family (if all goes well) next Autumn !!!
After that, Emma will finally move to the land… it has not been easy to be distant, and all those who experience that will know what it costs… but our love grows stronger and deeper, and we are looking forward for the steps ahead…

I want to thank all of our friends who have been faithfully supporting us… our families and their love and acceptance… we’re also thankful for those who don’t really know what to say or how to respond… we're thankful for all those who have been challenging us by sharing a different opinion, who have actually strengthen our conviction and our commitment to share a different point of view as children of God...

Above all, we're thankful for God in our midst... another clear picture we have from the beginning... walking together, hand in hand with Jesus with us and along side us...















15 comments:

The Winters said...

What a great day. We are so sorry to have missed it Shanti.

That picture of you and Emma is soooo beautiful. You are both tremendous women full of faith and a love that is inspiring to be around. When you 2 are together you really bring the best out in each other. Its truly a very lovely thing.

Thanks for sharing some of your journey on this one. As always so honest and vulnerable. Surely thats the very nature of love.

Keep treading the path that few have the strength or belief to choose. More light. More hope. More love. More WOW! Memphis. xxxx

Rock on girls!!! River. xxx

Baba said...

thank you so much Memphis and River... you know how much you played a part on this journey since the early beginnings :-)...
I love you and miss you a lot.
thanks for all your love and support.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the comment!
I was reading this meditation and wanted to share:
All we are asked to do is love. That is all Christ asked his followers to do. Maybe it is because we rely so much on our human efforts. If we see ourselves as expressions of God's love, instruments of God's love, it will become easier for us to love.
You are in the world only to love - Blaise Pascal
Amen

tom said...

Thanks for writing! Och makes me miss you and everyone lots, wish I could have been there this past while. Aye and thanks for being so open about your journey. Your integrity and love, and commitment to seeking God in everything is such a brilliant example to us all. Love and peace,
Tom

Baba said...

thanks BT, you are an example for me and Emma too...we admire your commitment and relationship with God too...
I loved hearing your heart last time we briefly met in Belfast... looking forward to hear how things going in your urban garden :-)
thanks for your friendship, support and always wise words... :-)

Miz Melly said...

Dear Shanti Pilgrim, You don't know me. I've been dipping in and out of your blog for a while. I've been so inspired by your journey, your love for God and your passion for the land. I just want to say that I send you and Emma lots of love and congratulations and I affirm your commitment to one another and to God. May God bless you both with many wonderful things in your journey together,
Much love, a sister and friend in Christ, Melanie

lyna said...

you will burn in the fire of hell.....ok sorry u know me im jocking....its funny to post something on your blog cause we are actually living together and see each other faces each day god make...and its a blessing to have you at my side sista shanty....be happy and in joy with your love...god in you god with you..looking forword this wedding and to see you wearing a dress....yes you will ahahaah....your sista lyna

Baba said...

Hmmm, I don't know about that dress stuff Lyna... don't even try to picture a "wedding dress" cuz that won't happen... it just wouldn't be me...a nice long skirt yes, I think... it's not something I spend much time thinking about anyway :-)... Emma probably yes... :-)
Love you Lyna... thanks for the comment,and the humour (I hope no one gets offended)...

Baba said...

Thanks Melanie, for your encouraging words and for your blessing as sister in Christ... I saw your profile and realised you are from Ireland... maybe we will meet one day... we never know...
Bless you too

Anonymous said...

Hi Barbara,
you dont know me but I have been reading your blog for a while, kind of stumbled into it because of some rumors I heard about emma and you :), I had a kind of similar story as you describe it, now living happily with God and with my partner finally :) .. dunno, I just wanted to sent lots of blessings to the both of you and I loved reading this post very very much, I loved the honesty and weakness in it, and it touches my heart.. rock it .. francesca

Baba said...

thanks Francesca...your comment touches my heart too...May God bless your relationship with your partner as well... and may your relationship with God grow deeper and more real than ever... :-)

Anonymous said...

Hey Barbara, what a lovely post about you and your family, they look gorgeous. Emma came home completely glowing, so fair play :o) Having a partner is a great thing, and you guys are doing it so thoughtfully, I admire yiz, cos it's not easy. Tonnes of love, Miriam x

Whitney said...

Hi Baba,
The party was so nice! I really enjoyed being at the land again with everyone and celebrating together!
I wish I could've been there for the whole time...It would have been fun to dance with everyone and would have been funny to see Emma blush =)
The pictures are great. I especially love the one of you and Pedro!
I hope you and Emma have a great and blessed time in the States!
Shalom,
Whitney

Edna said...

YeS, it was a HappY HappY Day !!!!... for many Special reasons :-) My heart was filled with Joy when i read your post and when i see that you finally share your LovE story with Emma .. That's a Beautiful LoVe story and i think it deserves to be share.. i can't be more HaPPy for you :-)
When i started to walk with Jesus i realized how far i was from myself, my real me, who i really am .. I realized to that He Loves me as i am and i dont have to pretend to be different. Iam the way iam cause He Created me this way, and He Loves me so much more that i can ever imagine ..And He Created us to LoVe .. He Is LoVe !! So , seing you being what you really are and accepting to live with the one you really Love , is wonderful to me.. When i knew about your Love relationship with Emma i just cry of happiness..and i felt God's Happiness too :-) i'm so thankful .. I Prayed for your streight to face this relationship with the others and i always felt His Peace and Joy .. He won't give us more than we can handle with and i Believe, knowing How Great women of Faith and Love you both are that You will shake things that God wants to :-)
Can't wait for the Celebration of Your Love :-) I 'll Cry of Happiness i'm sure, but then i know that my sister Emma will help me in that hehehehe .. I LOVE YOU SISTER BÁBÁ AND SISTER EMMA !!! May GoD AlwaYs Bless You and May You Be an Example as a Couple and as Children of God :-)

gaffycowan said...

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