Friday, December 31, 2010
If there is one word that describes my heart on this last day of 2010, it's THANKFUL. This has been a year full of God's care, mercy, goodness, provision and love. Take a quick look back with me...
January...in Krakow for our first ever JV marriage conference. God richly blessed this time for all our JV couples as they soaked in God's Word, spent quality time with each other and made changes in their marriages as God led them.
March...a very meaningful retreat in England for our JV single women that I was privileged to be at with them
March...Caleb developed a rapid case of pneumonia and was hospitalized for nearly a week but after great care in the Czech hospital, recovered.
March...Dave is unusually sick for a week with the flu, which leads to finding out he needs open heart surgery. Crazy turn of events! And yet at every turn, God led and cared for him.
April...I had the privilege of going to the States to speak for the Grace Church of DuPage ladies retreat which was a delightful time for me...then went on to visit my parents in Oregon by myself for the first time since before having children! Flew back to Chicago, assuming I'd continue on home but ended up being stuck for a week due to the Icelandic volcano that blew! Had extra time with Tyler at Moody, which was a blessing!
May...Dave has open heart surgery that is successful, spends a month at home in recovery which was actually a very sweet time! My best friend from the States came during that time and we had some wonderful days together in the midst of all that.
May...Tyler comes home from Moody to spend the summer as a JV intern in Croatia - we were able to meet up with him at the end of the summer for our annual camping vacation in Croatia.
June...off to Gull Lake Ministries in Michigan where Dave spoke for a week - definitely one of the highlights of the year for us.
August...the gift of our Croatia camping vacation for the 8th year in a row with our dearest friends and family
September...a delightful trip to Romania to speak at a girl's conference and an absolutely awesome JV fall staff conference centered on studying God's Word
October...Claire turns sweet 16 and celebrates with a ball on her birthday (for the dance class she was attending!)
November...Dave breaks his ankle at our JV Thanksgiving celebration but has it taken care of in at the local clinic in town for $2. So thankful for Czech insurance!
December...the day before my parents were to fly here for Christmas, my dad goes to the emergency room with heart trouble and finds out he needs a pacemaker implanted. They put it in the very next day. So thankful for God's provision and care for my dad, even though it meant they weren't able to come.
December...in spite of a change of plans, the Lord blessed us with a very meaningful and sweet Christmas together.
There are certainly many more stories I could add to this list...but these highlight the goodness of the Lord in 2010. I'm excited for all that He has for us in the year to come!
Saturday, December 25, 2010
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Several friends here have had, or are having, babies these days. It sure makes life fun with these precious little ones around! And it's a time of life when I really enjoy blessing them by enjoying their children!
While the girls slept (the babies...not the moms!), we had coffee, tea, goodies that Claire had baked...we opened gifts...we sang...we laughed...and we shared in the joy of celebrating the birth of Jesus.
It was a delightful morning with my two precious girls...and their moms!
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Just a quick note to say that Tyler arrived at the Krakow airport from Chicago today, despite bad weather in a lot of places.
Although his plane was late, and the roads home were snowy, icy and scary...we're all home safely tonight, sleeping under one roof.
Even though my parents aren't here (and by the way...my dad is tired, but doing well as he recovers from having the pacemaker put in) there is so much to be thankful for this Christmas...my dad's alive, for one! And of course thankful that the five of us get to be together again for a few weeks.
But mostly thankful for the baby who came all those years ago. He means the world to me!
Thursday, December 16, 2010
|Looking from our driveway up to Lysa Hora|
Having grown up in Oregon, I'm much more used to rain than snow.
In fact, I can only remember one big snow storm when I was growing up - January 1969 when I was 7 years old! Within two days we had three feet of snow! It was probably chaos for the adults, but oh so fun for us kids!
|The road out of our driveway|
|The hill I drive up and down every day...always hoping that they've graveled it before I drive on it!|
|Just happened to take the photo when the deer was going by!|
Monday, December 13, 2010
Thanks to so many of you for notes you've written and prayers you've prayed for my dad. It means the world to me, and to him.
It's Monday morning...the one I had been looking forward to for a while - when the kids were in school and Dave was at the office, and it was just my parents and me here at home for the morning having coffee together and talking. But they're not here and the reality is, it's sad.
The good news is that the surgery to put in the pacemaker went well and my dad's heart is beating steadily now - probably for the first time in a long time. The doctor said this problem, and its resolve with the pacemaker, could actually be the answer to some other problems he's been experiencing. What a great gift that would be to my dad, and all of us, if it's true.
He spent two nights in the hospital but was able to go home on Saturday afternoon where he's been resting since then, and will continue to for the next weeks. When he's feeling better, they'll think about rescheduling their trip out here for this spring sometime.
We're readjusting to what these days will look like now that my parents are not coming. Somehow the Lord has something different for all of us than what we'd planned for this Christmas. Knowing the Lord and His ways, it will be a blessing to all of us, even though it's different.
Friday, December 10, 2010
My parents are supposed to be getting on a plane today to come and spend a month with us through the Christmas holidays.
Instead...my dad spent last night in the hospital, and is getting a pacemaker today.
Literally, in the eleventh hour, the Lord has stopped my parents from coming on this trip. Yesterday afternoon when I made what I thought was one last phone call before they came, my dad said he was experiencing dizziness and just not feeling right. After calls to his heart doctor, he was advised to go to the emergency room.
While there, they discovered that his heart is stopping for 5-6 seconds at a time, which they consider life threatening. The decision was made to hospitalize him immediately, and to put a pacemaker in to try and regulate his heart beats. We'll know the outcome of that procedure later on today...I am so praying that it solves the problem.
In the meantime, a dear friend of mine called the airlines for my parents to figure out what to do about their tickets. With just hours to spare, they were able to cancel the tickets and receive a full refund. The doctor says it could be possible for them to travel within two weeks, but with the uncertainty of my dad's situation, they felt it was best to cancel these tickets.
Timing is everything. This didn't surprise the Lord. Even though it surprises us, this was part of His good, sovereign plan for my dad and for us.
I'm sad. I'm disappointed. I'm thankful.
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Two years ago when we discovered that Caleb, Claire and I are all gluten intolerant, we gave up, among other things, bread.
At first it was hard - we missed sandwiches, we missed toast in the morning. We missed all the good bread that's available here in Czech.
I tried my hand at making gluten free bread but given the lack of available, unusual ingredients necessary, I pretty much gave up any hope of having bread on a regular basis, and we've just learned to live without it.
Enter...DM! What is DM you ask? My favorite drugstore in the Czech Republic. And why a post about DM today?
Until a week ago, the nearest DM was in Ostrava - a 35 minute drive away. They carry a limited range of gluten free products which I stock up on when I'm in town.
But last Friday...a new DM opened up right here in our little town of Frydlant! Honestly, I've been so excited as I've watched it being built this fall...I could hardly wait for opening day. And yes, you better believe it...I was there on that very day in spite of a snowstorm!
The best news though?? They carry an awesome gluten free bread that was never even available at the other DM!!
And...it's not just any old gluten free bread as we've found out...believe me, I've had some bad ones! But this one tastes, toasts and looks just like real wheat bread.
Sometimes it's just the small things in life that count...and today I'm thanking the Lord for DM and its Rustico gluten free bread.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Born just one block from the University of Oregon campus, it was inevitable that I would grow up to be an Oregon Duck fan.
Actually...you really can't live in Eugene, Oregon WITHOUT being one! Seriously...being a Duck is taken very, well...seriously!!
I went to U of O games when I was young, spent my freshmen year of college there, worked in the concessions for football and basketball games, sold U of O merchandise for the university at the local mall, and have cheered on the Ducks from afar for years.
And it finally paid off!!!
The U of O football team is undefeated this year and going to the BCS bowl game (the most prestigious college bowl game in the country, I might add!) against Auburn on January 10th!!!
I have a JV friend who is an Auburn alumni...so of course my Ducks better pull through or I'll be eating humble pie for a while!
Monday, December 6, 2010
There is tradition...and then there is TRADITION.
Some traditions I fully understand and participate in...you know, eating pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving or staying up late on Christmas Eve to wrap last presents.
Playing a game of American touch football on Thanksgiving Day with the JV team, is not one of the traditions I participate in...nor understand! Oh it's exciting to watch, and everyone who participates looks like they're having a great time.
But...every year they play, someone gets hurt. And not just a little...big injuries tend to happen on that playing field.
One year it was a broken ankle...by one of our year long interns who was only months into her time here. She ended up having to go back to the States for surgery and never came back...she met her husband while she was there!
Another year it was not just one, but two, concussions...one of those being Caleb. Ouch.
This year there were two injuries...one blown out knee and yet another broken ankle. That would be Dave's broken ankle.
Thinking it was just a bad sprain, he's been hobbling around on it ever since Thanksgiving. But today he decided he should probably go in and have it checked since it's not gotten any better. Good thing. The doctor said it was a break, clean through the bone. That needs a cast. For a month. And crutches too. No "walking" casts here.
So Dave will spend Christmas in a cast...his first! He's nearly 50 and never broken a bone!
I hope this will not become a tradition in our house. One concussion and one broken bone is enough for me.
And do you think they'd consider stopping the football tradition on Thanksgiving??
Something tells me they probably won't!
Thursday, December 2, 2010
One of those hopes was for a friend of ours who I was hoping for a miracle of transformation in her heart. And in the past five weeks, I have definitely seen signs of that transformation. "Oh Lord...THANK YOU!" She needs this transformation so badly...even she knows how much she needs it.
We've been meeting regularly to pray and talk together, and each time there is a softening to her that I've never seen in the years I've known her...it's even visible on her face.
But God's work is not done yet...so I'm still hoping and believing God for His sovereign, beautiful, transforming work in her life.
The other thing I was hoping for...perhaps less "spiritual" but nonetheless meaningful...was a visit from my parents for Christmas.
And this hope has been fully realized! My parents are coming for Christmas (and will stay a whole month!!) for the very first time since I've lived in Europe. Over the past 27 years, I've spent 24 of those Christmases without my mom and dad...the three I was with them for were in the US.
Honestly...it never gets easier to be away. I miss them every year, even though I have a wonderful husband, awesome kids, and precious teammates to celebrate with.
It's a sacrifice my parents have lovingly made all these years. They didn't sign up to have their daughter be a missionary living far away. Yet, they've graciously let me go with no strings attached...no bitterness, just love.
It's a sacrifice I've made to follow God's calling in my life. I DID sign up for this! And my life is full, rich and blessed because of it.
But I still miss my parents.
So to have them come for Christmas this year is just AWESOME!!!! We talked on the phone tonight about all the things we'll do together while they're here...we have PLANS!
But the ones that I'm looking forward to most? It's the simple things. Waking up in the morning and having coffee and breakfast with my mom and dad....sitting by the fire in the evenings together and talking...having my mom do my laundry...HA HA! She offered!!! Who am I to say no to that??!!
Thank you Lord for hearing my "hope" and for answering.