Declaring Independence

Welcome to My Place to Yours!  It’s 11pm in Brazil, and I’m just starting to write this post.  Renaissance Man and I arrived in Campinas this morning after a crazy-busy week in the U.S. which left me with no time to do a tablescape.  As I left town, I prayed, “Lord, this is the first week I won’t have done a tablescape post, and I’ve really enjoyed doing them.  But if a post is going to be done this week, you’re going to have to give it to me because I’m getting on a plane and leaving my dishes behind…”


Well, as always, the Lord doth provide, and I’m sharing with you a table I experienced today at lunchtime — a very few short hours after landing in Brazil.


Any day that includes cheerful handmade linens …


pretty dishes …



a rooftop view …


open space for dining …


and delicious fresh food … is going to be a good day!


But when it’s spent at the graduate transition home for recent female graduates of Hope Unlimited for Children, it’s a fantastic day!  If you didn’t see the post I did about the Very BEST tablescape ever, I hope you’ll read it HERE. You’ll understand better why today was so meaningful to me.


Normally, on a weekday, these girls wouldn’t be home at lunchtime.  They would be working.  But September 7th is Brazil’s independence day, so the girls had the day off … and invited us to lunch.


This home houses 12 young ladies.  They are in various stages of declaring their own independence as some have finished all of their classes at Hope Unlimited and have begun new jobs.  Others are splitting their time between final classes and internships.  All are learning to live independently — how to budget their money, buy groceries, cook meals, do their laundry, choose friends wisely …
The man in this picture is Philip Smith, co-founder of Hope Unlimited for Children and “Uncle Philip” to the girls


And so “Uncle David” (aka Renaissance Man) and I joined them for lunch …


… and caught up on the latest happenings in their lives.


We made a few new friends, too.


We thanked God for the hands — both His and houseparents — that have cared for these girls and Hope’s other children.  Hands that have helped them through their difficult pasts, brought transformation to their lives, and continue to usher them through the doorway to their future filled with hope.


Their life stories are riddled with all sorts of abuse and neglect … but they found Hope.  Their smiles are genuine.  They are young ladies moving forward into adulthood.  One of these girls has a scholarship to flight attendant school. I hope I can be on her first flight someday …


Maybe it’s just the “mother of two daughters” part of me coming out, but I can still see the little girls I met on my first trip to Hope four years ago … and I’m so thankful that in some tiny way God has used Renaissance Man and me to bring eternal hope to these beautiful little girls now (almost) all grown up.


I wonder what the future holds for them.

I pray it’s as bright as their smiles …


And if you believe in the power of prayer, I’d appreciate yours as we work in Brazil this week.  Big decisions are being made, and we need wisdom …


Stop by Renaissance Man’s blog HERE to read the latest on God’s interaction in the ministry of Hope.


I’m linking to Tablescape Thursday at Between Naps on the Porch AND Inspiration Friday at At The Picket Fence.


  1. Wishing you a wonderful trip! It sounds like you are truly making a difference for these young ladies and the women they will become.. Bless you and your husband. I have made a note to check out his blog and learn more about Hope Unlimited for Children. Brazil holds a special place in my heart … though I was born in Portugal .. since I was a little girl I have always heard how much the children in Brazil go without. We sponsor a little girl in Brazil through Plan Canada … and Brazil is on our list of places to visit and hopefully help hands on….

    Blessings and hugs across the ocean, xo HHL

  2. I believe in the power of prayer! I’ll intercede for you.

    What beautiful, beautiful girls, Susan. They all have a light in their eyes. You can’t miss it.

  3. Brazil? Oh, my goodness! How wonderful! And how wonderful that you were able to spend time with these beautiful young women to chat and share and be a part of their lives. Safe travel!

  4. So happy you get to celebrate this milestone with such a special group of young ladies. Praying God’s protection and blessing as they move into this next phase of their lives. Thank you for taking us along with you Susan. The light in their eyes speaks volumes to the blessings they have received through the ministry of Hope Unlimited. So glad you shared with us at Inspiration Friday!


  5. What a wonderful testimony.