country · entertainment · family · fun · photography · Vacation

Memories To Remember – Brazil Part 1

img_8515Visiting the hometowns after almost 30 years… 

Brazil stretches roughly 2,700 miles from north to south and from east to west to form a vast irregular triangle that encompasses a wide range of tropical and subtropical landscapes, including wetlands, savannas, plateaus, and low mountains. Brazil contains most of the Amazon River basin, which has the world’s largest river system and the world’s most-extensive virgin rainforest. The country contains no desert, high-mountain, or arctic environments.

Chris and I were born in Brazil and we haven’t been back to visit our family in a very long time. We finally decided to plan our trip with the boys. We went in May 2021 for 22 days and the weather was around 80-100°F daily. There’s no real winter season. We had a blast and enjoyed our family trip. I decided to post some tips and ideas in the hopes it will help you make a decision to visiting this amazing country. Despite all the media negative reports of kidnappings and murders taking place in Rio and elsewhere in the country, these occurrences are actually incredibly rare, especially for tourists. That is not to say that the country is free from crime. Fortunately, we didn’t experience or witnessed any. It was a memorable trip for us and the boys and we plan ongoing back sometime soon. =) 

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The reality is the majority of tourists will leave Brazil thinking the media paint an unfair picture, yet unfortunately incidents and accidents do happen and not always crime related.

#1 Deciding if we wanted to enter as a Visitor or as Native. 
Since we have multiple nationalities, this was the first thing we needed to decide on.
We decided we wanted to enter as a native (We had Brazilian passports) and the kids as a visitor (American passport only) to save time and question from custom. Well, that didn’t workout as planned. The immigration customs in Brazil were a little ridiculous. Even though we had our Brazilian passport, they asked a million questions and ended up causing issues to let the boys in to the country. (Because they have multiple nationality Brazilian and American) After a while they decided that it was ok to let them enter as visitors. My suggestion for anyone with multiple nationalities is to have ALL passports in hand. 

#2 GETTING A PASSPORT/VISA
* You will need: A valid U.S. passport. U.S. citizens do not need a visa if they are traveling to Brazil for tourism, business, transit, artistic or sport activities, with no intention of establishing residence.
* Passport Photo: Photo should be 2”x2” (51 x 51 mm) with the head centered and sized between 1” and 1.4” (25 and 35 mm). (We took our photos at CVS and I believe we paid $17.00 each.)
* Apply Early! Getting your passport in the mail takes about 6-11 weeks. Find forms online, print them and fill them out prior to your appointment to either your Town Hall or US Post Office. I don’t recommend mailing the application in, as this could potentially cause major delays.
* Fees- Passport book: You will pay -$165 for a standard passport book (Valid for all international travel by air, land, and sea)
#3 Immigration and Customs Regulations
* When arriving at Airport:
Everyone has to do an immigration and customs declaration. Airline must distribute both immigration and customs forms to fill out before your arrival. However, it is recommended to download and fill out the forms before traveling. You should be careful with this form, as it must be returned when you leave the country. There are two different doors at customs, as in most airports: the green line (“Nothing to declare”) for those who carry allowed items (clothes, books, personal equipment, etc.) and the red line (“merchandise to be declared” ) for those who are bringing some special items to Brazil. At this point, you will be asked to deliver the customs form to the agents and open your luggage for inspection.
*Currency Restrictions for Entry: More than 10,000 BR ($1,850.20 USD) must be declared to Customs
(Today’s Exchange Rate $1 USD = $5.40 BRL) This amount is per person. Trust me, you do not want to bring more cash than stated above. Not only for safety but customs are a little tricky when you bring 
more than enough. Avoid using ATMs in unfamiliar, secluded, or lightly protected areas. You can use your personal credit cards anywhere and the currency is exchanged on the spot so you know exactly how much you are spending in US dollars. Plus, it’s the safest way. 
* Luggage What can you carry: Items in Brazil comparing the value of the dollar up on top is very cheap. Pack light and buy what you need after you arrive and settle in. – clothes and other articles for personal use only (quantities must be compatible with the duration of stay and be for personal use only). This includes all type of electronics. Don’t bring more than one item per traveler. 
REMOVE all price tags – I packed a few clothing items for my personal use, and the items were brand new. I did not remove the tags on them when we went through customs. They tried to charge me a Tax fee for my PERSONAL clothing (ridiculous if you ask me.) 
* Brazil Airport Tax regulations: If you bring new things, worth more than US$500, you must fill out the customs form. All new products valued at more than US$500 are taxable. The exemption limit is personal. Passengers traveling with family members (spouse and children) cannot combine their personal exemptions. The tax is 50% on the value that exceeds the above-mentioned exemption limits. The tax will be assessed by customs officials and its payment is a condition for the release of the goods. (Basically they look up the highest value and tax you half of it.) If you don’t pay, you leave the airport without your items. 

#4 Driving – License or Permit (IDP) and Car Rental (If you decide to drive)

It’s not necessary to have an international driver’s license to rent a car in Brazil. You can drive a car if you obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP) within your first 30 days in Brazil. You should not drive in Brazil if you do not have an IDP unless you have acquired a permanent 

Consider avoiding the use of public, municipal buses in Brazil at any time of day, and especially at night. Crime trends indicate an elevated risk of robbery or assault on public bus systems throughout Brazil. The U.S. government recommends against personnel using public, municipal buses in all parts of Brazil.

We decided to drive as Chris knows his way around and wanted to drive to other states instead of taking a bus or train. (as mentioned above, just not as safe) It was easy for him to obtain an international driving permit (IDP) with AAA to drive legally and worry free. Anyone with a valid driver’s license can apply for an IDP. 
* How to Apply:  AAA is one of only two private entities in the U.S. authorized by the U.S. Department of State to issue an IDP. You will need to provide: An application, two original passport pictures, a valid U.S. driver’s license and pay $20 permit fee and you’re ready to go!
* Car Rental: Renting a car in Brazil is one of the best ways to explore as much of the country as possible. Renting a car might not be worth the hassle if you are just planning to remain in one place. Drivers tend to be reckless in big cities, and they do not always comply with traffic laws. There’s a wide variety of rental companies to choose from in Brazil. We opted to rent and pay for everything in advance online (We used Booking as our go to for all we needed as the safest option and rented from Foco Aluguel de Carros ) We rented a Jeep Renegade (The biggest car available to fit 5 passenger – Note the luggage space is very limited to 2 bags) for 22 days and paid a total of $470.32 USD. We picked up at Rio de Janeiro International Airport and dropped it off at the same location. 

aerial view of city buildings during daytime


The violent crime rate is high in most Brazilian urban centers. Public transportation, hotel sectors, and tourist areas report high crime rates, but these incidents can happen anywhere and at any time. Be aware of your surroundings.


#5 Safety & Security  
*Thieves: 
Unfortunately, robbery is a major challenge for Brazil. Sometimes the larger the car is, the more targeted you will be. You will need to stay vigilant to reduce the threats. If you can avoid it,  don’t drive at night. After 8 pm, you can even ride through red lights to make sure criminals don’t target you. However, you will need to be very careful when doing this. Carjackings and hold-ups can occur at any time of the day or night, especially at intersections and in tunnels. Some robberies involve individuals robbed at gunpoint and taken to make purchases or to withdraw as much money as possible from one or more ATMs. You should also be mindful that Brazil’s road conditions can be incredibly unpredictable. Parking is limited and you might want to check with street guards if any around if you need to pay to park off the street. You will be able to park your car only in public parking spaces, and these are marked on the street with a white line. Yellow means you’re unable to park at any time. 

* Do not travel to: 
Informal housing developments in Brazil (commonly referred to in Brazil as favelas), even on a guided tour, at any time of day due to crime. Neither the tour companies nor the police can guarantee your safety when entering these areas. Even in favelas that the police or local governments deem safe, the situation can change quickly and without notice. In addition, exercise caution in areas surrounding favelas, as occasionally, inter-gang fighting and confrontations with police move beyond the confines of these communities.

To reduce the chance of becoming the victim of a crime, limit the belongings you carry with you. Carry your money in your front pockets and limit the number of credit cards you carry. Make copies of all of your personal documents – including your credit cards, license, passport, etc. – and keep them in a safe place. This will be helpful if you lose your documents. Do not carry or wear valuable items that will attract the attention of thieves. (I personally removed all jewelry, including my diamond ring.) If you need to wear expensive jewelry or carry a camera, conceal it until you arrive at your destination. Be aware of the street environment and avoid contact with those who may be looking for robbery targets. Seek a safer location. Go into a store, bank, or simply cross the street. Do not walk on beaches after dark. Assaults are common. Use increased caution when hiking in isolated areas, particularly near popular tourist locations in the city of Rio de Janeiro. 
* Victims of Crime: Hope this won’t happen to you but if it does you should contact the local authorities to file a Brazilian police report before departing Brazil. In most instances, you can report crimes to the tourist or civil police. You should also inform the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate, but local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.
* The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in Brazil is divided among four services:
* 190 – Police * 191 – Police on interstate roads * 192 -Ambulance * 193 – Fire Department and the U.S. Embassy at 011-55-61-3312-7000 Be aware that U.S. Medicare/Medicaid does not apply overseas. Most hospitals and doctors overseas do not accept U.S. health insurance. 

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Brazil is impossible to summarize in just a few paragraphs. In other words, this will be in multiple parts. Stay tuned……

Hope you enjoy reading.. If I missed anything or if you have any question, let me know in the comments below.

family · love · photography · Poem

In Loving Memory of my Niece #RIPJocelyn #lovingmemoryJKS

” I cannot bring the old days back
Your smile I cannot see
I can only treasure the memories
Of days that used to be. “

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It is with great sadness and very heavy heart that our family announces
the passing of our beloved
Jocelyn K Schirmer
after a terrible alcohol-related car accident,
on Saturday, March 11, 2017, at the age of 18 years.
Jocelyn was pronounced dead at the scene.

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She was Born in Massachusetts, traveled to Brazil for a while when she was little and was currently living in Florida.

Ever since she was little she loved to sing and dance. She was a member of a church where she would sing together with PJ.
She loved swimming  and playing with her cousins.

We lived in the same apartment for a long time.
They became very close to each other.

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They grew up and still loved to do the same.
She was a very happy girl.
There was never a dull moment around her.

Even though a lot of people will try to speak bad about her or what she did, didn’t do.
My Niece did many great things that help change a lot of peoples lives…
She served her church and her community. She did a lot of things no one knew about.
and like every teenager, she had her fun too..

Today all we have left is her memories 😥

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” In Gods garden up above
Stands a rose we dearly love
She stands with petals open wide
Watered by the tears we’ve cried
Her fragrance fills our lives each day
Locked in our hearts she will always stay.”

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Jocelyn was a wonderful woman that was loved, is missed, and will always be cherished.
Jocelyn will be lovingly remembered by my sister (her mother Elaine Ribeiro), her father Paul Schirmer, her brother Paul Junior, John Thomas, her sister Jacquelyn, her sister Lyah, her Grandmother Grimalde & Dores. Jocelyn will also be fondly remembered by all her Aunts, Uncles, her cousins and friends.

Our lives will NEVER be the same 😥

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“May the winds of love blow softly
And whisper for you to hear
That we’ll always love and miss you
And wish that you were here.”

A Funeral Service in her memory is still to be scheduled. 

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I ask Kindly if you can
Please Share her Gofundme page and Donate if possible.

 >> Jocelyn’s Funeral Fund’s  <<

All Photos and Memories  will be uploaded here

>><<  CLICK HERE  >><<

blackandwhite · brazilian · family · Fashion · kids · love · photography · World VS Life

SneakPeek Senior #Photography

A lot of people know I’m a passionate photographer.
I decided to send my son out to get his photos taken instead by another professional.
I couldn’t be happier how these came out. I can’t wait to see the rest of the photos.

Lisa ( The photographer ) did an amazing job 🙂

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This is how you can contact her

there are many ways to contact us:
via email bryceaustinphotography@yahoo.com
via telephone 617-852-7748
via facebook bryce austin photography
via mail po box 335, raynham center, ma 02768

This is her website http://www.bryceaustinphotography.com/portfolio.html

dad · family · fatherhood · kids · love · mom · motherhood · photography · Poem · reeding · Style · teens · women · Wordless · World VS Life

First Day of College #momlife 


FIRST DAY OF COLLEGE

I miss the days when you would just crawl into my arms and my hugs and kisses were all you seemed to need….. I can only hope that we have taught you the most important lessons about life….ethics, morality….if not in words then at least through our actions and deeds.

You will have temptation from every direction, and will need to have the guts to know what is right and not just follow the ‘pack’! If you still have any doubt on how to proceed…..REMEMBER…now that you are 18, you will always be tried as an adult!

There is always someone smarter than you, dumber than you, more confused than you, more secure, less confident, more sensitive, less reserved….and even more dysfunctional! Enjoy the benefits of meeting some, and show compassion for the others. Roles may be reversed next week!

In these upcoming years, don’t be afraid to roll up your sleeves and work hard for what you want! You have never shied away from hard work…..don’t start now! Believe in yourself and never be afraid to say what you really think or feel. You will be facing adversity……make sure you get up when you are kicked down, holding your head high! Continue to be the loving, caring son/friend I know you to be. Compassion is everything in life!

You have been so focused on who and what you want to be since you were 5 years of age. With the endless possibilities in front of you, don’t be afraid if your goals take a couple of twists and turns. This is only natural and expected. You are surrounded by our love and support.

I am so proud to be your Mom. You are a true gift from God and one of my greatest accomplishments. I cannot wait to see what your future holds, the possibilities are endless.

I Love you ❤

 
Author unknown
blackandwhite · family · kids · love · Niche · photography · Style · women · World VS Life

5 issues to be addressed in Premarital Counseling

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Planning your wedding is stressful enough, but it’s a piece of buttercream-frosted cake compared to the day-to-day reality of actual marriage.

Indeed, so often couples get caught up with everything involved in prepping for their Big Day and romanticizing the concept of marriage that they forget to (or don’t realize that they should) address all of the less-romantic issues that will inevitably arise when two people commit to sharing their lives together.

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Premarital counseling is an excellent way to confront these issues upfront and establish a stronger, healthier relationship moving into matrimony.

1. Money
Finances are a common cause of contention between those about to be married.

2. Time
Time can also be a big problem in a relationship. One may feel neglected if their partner is often away at work, school or other functions. Conversely, a partner may value their space and wish they could spend more time alone.

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3. In-Laws
When you marry someone, you’re not just marrying them – you’re essentially marrying their family as well. It’s important for you to learn how to get along with the whole family, especially if at this point you’re already on shaky ground. It’s also helpful to establish what sort of boundaries as a couple you will put in place. Some family members may be in the habit of just dropping by for a visit. This may upset your new partner. Also, it would be helpful to discuss how you plan to spend time with both sets of in-laws during holidays.

4. Resolving conflict
All couples disagree sometimes. What’s less important than the frequency of conflict (though frequent fighting is a serious issue that must be addressed, of course) is how a couple reacts to said engagements.

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5. Religion
Again, now is not the time to sweep lingering issues under the rug. Statistically, couples that share the same faith (or lack thereof) are more likely to stay together than those that don’t. If your partner is of a different faith, you need to decide whether this is something that will bother you long-term or not. This can be a critical issue.

Be sure to discuss these critical issues during premarital counseling. Ultimately, it all comes down to honesty and respect.

If you’re able to be honest with your partner and respect their traits and beliefs even when you don’t like or agree with them, and if your partner can do the same, then the future of your marriage looks bright.

 

blackandwhite · dad · Devotion · family · food · fun · love · mom · photography · Vacation · women · Wordless · World VS Life

Overflowing with joy.

Dear Heavenly Father,

May our lives be filled to overflowing with joy. Whether we’re waiting on You for our next step or living according to plan, may we discover peace and joy that come to those who trust in Your will.
Give us the strength and courage to hold onto joy when others are dragging us down. For nobody can rob us of that which flows from Your Spirit.


It’s not easy to rejoice in tribulation, or to give thanks when we experience loss, but all things are possible to those who believe. All things are beautiful to those who put their trust in Your hands.

blackandwhite · brazilian · family · Fashion · kids · mom · photography · Style · Wordless · World VS Life

{Wordless} Wednesday with my favorites from 2010 

These are just a few of my favorites of 2010 as a lover of the photography profession I got the privilege to experience what it was like to photograph a bride at her most special day and do a Photoshoot of a this beautiful little girl that her natural was what made her perfect. My little cousins on her first birthday. Being natural on her porch.  And of course with a camera in my hand I always got to experience, capture and register my boys most silly special moments. 

  

” Photography can only represent the present. Once photographed, the subject becomes part of the past.”

  

” Photography for me is not looking, it’s feeling. If you can’t feel what you’re looking at, then you’re never going to get others to feel anything when they look at your pictures.”

  

“Photography is about capturing souls not smiles. ” 

  

” When people ask me what type of equipment I use —I tell them My Eyes. “

blackandwhite · book · Devotion · family · love · Niche · photography · Poem · reeding · Review · review · sunday devotion · women · Wordless · World VS Life

Marriage: The Final Frontier

  
Marriage: The Final Frontier
What is it about human nature? Our ability to appreciate the majestic is only rivaled by one thing: our ability to grow bored with it.

In 1961, President John Kennedy challenged the United States to put a man on the moon. Throughout that decade, the American public had an insatiable appetite for space flight. The media covered nearly every detail of NASA’s efforts, and the astronauts became national heroes. The euphoria culminated in 1969 when Neil Armstrong’s crew landed on the moon, an event witnessed by an estimated half a billion people.

But, amazingly, less than a year later, public interest in moon landings had all but evaporated. Imagine that: A feat as incredible as humans walking on the surface of the moon had become little more than a footnote on the nightly news.

It really shouldn’t surprise us. It’s human nature to lose interest in things that ought to inspire us. Like marriage. A man and a woman stand at an altar, and it seems impossible that their passion could ever fade. Yet, fast forward to the not-too-distant-future, and in all too many cases their life together has begun to drift toward the mundane.

  
It’s natural. But it’s all the more reason why couples must fight this tendency. Make time in your day to connect with one another. Get a babysitter and do something special. Use your imagination, but whatever you do, be proactive about reviving the fire that God used to draw you to your spouse in the first place.

“Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot sweep it away. If one were to give all the wealth of one’s house for love, it would be utterly scorned.”

‭‭Song of Solomon‬ ‭8:6-7‬ ‭NIV‬‬

For a daily dose of encouragement and perspective, check out Jim Daly

Anxiety · Causes · Depressed · family · Family Share · Health · kids · Mental Health · mom · motherhood · photography · reeding · teens · women · World VS Life

6 things you should never say to someone with depression

6 things you should never say to someone with depression

Chances are, you know someone struggling with depression. If you want to help instead of hurt, avoid these six common mistakes.

  • 1. “Get over it”

    Depression is a serious matter that is not always easily dealt with. Getting professional treatment in a number of modalities, including prescription medication, therapy and even alternative treatments can help, but saying this won’t make anything better.

  • 2. “It’s not that bad”

    You don’t know how bad it is to them. The event that triggered the depression may not seem significant on the surface, but depression could be doing major damage on the inside once it has taken root. Try not to undermine or minimize how someone feels if you can’t understand what she’s going through.

  • 3. “You’re weak”

    Illness is not weakness. And projecting an ableist attitude onto someone who is suffering shows a lack of compassion and understanding that only makes you appear weak in character. Although a person may feel weak due to his ailment, calling him so will not give him strength.

  • 4. “Stop whining”

    Shaming a person with a psychological disorder is cruel and can cause further damage. Yes, constantly reinforcing the feelings he wants to rid himself of seems illogical and can be irritating, but it comes from a feeling of helplessness. As humans, we tend to express what we feel the most. If he were happy, he would be expressing that instead.

  • 5. “I got over it”

    What works for you will not work for everyone. Another’s experience with depression or its inciting events may be quite different from yours. Everyone has his own predispositions, chemical makeup and personal history, making for a unique treatment and healing plan. Plus, getting over something doesn’t mean you got through it. You may have put something behind you, but if it’s not entirely resolved, it could resurface and rear its ugly head again.

  • 6. “You’ll be fine”

    Be careful using these words. It can appear dismissive, uncaring or cold if said in the wrong way. Keep eye contact, smile kindly, and if you are close enough with the person, reach out and give him a warm hug and firm pat on the shoulder or back when saying this. If you believe he will get through this, let him know you mean it.

     

    Remember to keep your feelings about life and all of its ups and downs in perspective when addressing someone with depression. Even if you see a simple solution, a depressed person may see hopelessness and nothing in her future. Keep communication open and the bonds strong in your spiritual and biological family. This is the time your loved one needs you the most.

Georgia D. Lee seeks to empower, inspire, enrich and educate anyone with an open mind, heart and spirit through her most treasured medium – black and white!
Website: http://authorgeorgiadlee.weebly.com
Devotion · family · Family Night · Family Share · love · photography · sunday devotion · women · World VS Life

Loving the Stranger #Marriage

Loving the Stranger
You wouldn’t marry a complete stranger, would you? Well – surprise! – if you’re married, that’s exactly what you’ve done.

On our wedding day, we all innocently believe the same myth: that we know and understand the person we’re marrying. But every newlywed eventually discovers that getting to know the depths of someone’s heart takes years. That’s the nature of relationship, especially one as intimate as marriage. So in that sense, we all marry a stranger. We’re in love with what little we know about our spouse, but we don’t know them. Not really.

  
Maybe that’s why Stanley Hauerwas defines a successful marriage as “learning how to love and care for the stranger to whom you find yourself married.” What does he mean? Simply this: In countless ways, the person we commit to on our wedding day will not be the same person five, ten, or twenty years from now. In fact, neither will we. Marriage changes us. So does raising children, careers, the aging process, and other significant events in our lives.

That’s why it’s important to understand that marriage is not a stopping point where we instantly know our spouse fully and completely. It’s a journey through life between a man and woman, both of whom continually grow and change across their years together. As one speaker said, “When people get married, they tend to believe they’ve found a finished statue, when in reality, they’ve merely found the block of marble from which their spouse will emerge.” Commit to loving your spouse and helping them grow more Christ-like each day.

“Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.”

‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭4:15‬ ‭NIV‬‬