Thursday, March 31, 2011

Caleb's Ukraine Trip


After a twelve hour train ride back from the Ukraine, Caleb safely arrived home this morning at 5 AM. It's been so moving to hear his stories this afternoon and into the evening.


He, along with his classmates and principal from BMA had so many great opportunities these past days to bring the love of Christ to a number of people in Uzhgorod, Ukraine.


They ministered in three locations during their days there: a special needs children's center run by the New Life Center, a Roma church, and a homeless kid's center at a Methodist church in the city.


In those locations they spent time singing, teaching songs, playing games, teaching English, doing crafts, and most importantly, spending time one on one with kids, teenagers, and young adults.


The highlight for Caleb was at the homeless children's center - he said the kids were so openly joyful and thankful, sweet and communicative, even though they spoke Russian and Ukranian and he and his classmates spoke Czech and English! But love doesn't need a common spoken language does it? A hug, a smile and a wave will do!


 It was a significant spiritual experience for all the students on the trip, one that they will surely never forget.

 

*All photos by Caleb, or were taken with his camera!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Everyday Life

It's so great having my parents here - just being together and enjoying each day!

Having coffee with my dad at Tchibo...


Checking out the cabins up at Malenovice...

  
Shopping for cards in Tesco with my mom!


The fun part of having them here is doing all the normal things in my life that they don't usually get to be a part of. It's sure great having them here!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

KPM Update

Dave returned from KPM, the youthleader training event held in Slovakia last week-end, SO excited that it took him about two hours of sitting around our living room with Claire, my parents and I, telling us all about it!

(Photo by Miriamka Linkesch, a student who attended KPM)
"There were over 700 youth leaders there! There was so much energy and passion among them, and our team did an incredible job of organizing this event, serving wholeheartedly and investing deeply into the lives of these young leaders."

"There were 153 different ministry teams that came from all over Slovakia, wanting to learn and grow so they could go back and make a difference in their homes, schools and cities. I think this is going to bring about significant fruit for the Kingdom in this coming year!"

"And do you know that there were over 100 volunteers who gave their time, energy, and skills (not to mention giving up sleep) to make this week-end happen??!!"

We're so proud of our JV team in Slovakia, for putting on such an excellent event, caring about even the smallest details. But even more so, that they were filled with God's presence as they cheerfully and sacrificially served all week-end. I know that brought the Lord much joy!

To see more photos from KPM, see Mike Sullivan's blog: http://www.pray4mike.tckompas.sk/site/Photos/Pages/KPM.html

THANKS JV SLOVAKIA for your good work for the Lord last week-end!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Celebrating Today

Were we really so young on our wedding day?!! I always think that we haven't changed much...until I see photos like this! :)


Today we're celebrating 24 years of really rich, good, sweet and wonderful years of marriage.  I am SUCH a blessed woman to be married to this good man!!

And we're also deeply blessed by those who stood with us all those years ago...so many are still dear and close to us...what a gift!


I was living in Germany at the time I was planning our wedding (and in fact, we were married in Speyer, Germany) so had to do all my planning with my mom long distance. Based on what I picked out of a JC Penney catalog I had in Germany, my mom went to the store and bought everything for the girls, from shoes to dresses to necklaces. You ladies looked so lovely that day!

Most of our photos were taken in the Schwetzingen Palace, by the photographer we hired...who ended up having to bribe the caretaker of the palace to let us inside for fifteen minutes to take ALL our photos!

We had planned on taking them outside in the gardens, but it ended up raining that day so he did what he had to in order for us to get pictures before the wedding. I'm so grateful he did. The photos were much more beautiful inside than they would've been outside since the gardens weren't blooming yet!

One note about the yellow rose in my bouquet. The first picture was taken after the ceremony, outside the cathedral we were married in. Across the street was a flower shop where a little boy and his mom stepped out just as we came out of the church. When the mom saw us, she picked out this rose from the bouquet in her hands, and sent the little boy over to present it to me. It was such a tender moment and one I've never forgotten!

That was a good day...but the days and years since then have been even better! How I thank the Lord for His awesome choice of a husband for me!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Caleb to the Ukraine

It's a traveling week-end for our family.

With Dave being in Slovakia and me having been in Poland to get my parents yesterday, it's just fitting that Caleb is off to the Ukraine today!

He left this morning with ten classmates and their principal on a school mission's trip to Uzhgorod, Ukraine. They'll be at an orphanage there until Wednesday, playing with the children, putting on a program for them, bringing gifts and supplies, and just getting exposure to something most of them don't know anything about...the life of an orphan.


It's an eleven hour train and bus ride today. They'll arrive this afternoon and meet up with students from their sister school, Kiev Christian Academy, and serve together for the next few days.

I'm sure Caleb and the other students will come back with a new perspective on life after their time there. So thankful they get this opportunity.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Safe Arrival

It's been five years since my dad was here, six for my mom. But tonight, they're here in our house!


After a long trip, made even longer in Munich when they had to wait for a new plane to replace the one with mechanical problems (that was smaller than the other one so they bumped twelve people off without even asking for volunteers! Glad it wasn't mom and dad who were bumped), they got into Krakow this evening.


Since it was later than we thought they'd be getting in, the nice dinner we were going to have at home was postponed until tomorrow and it was dinner "on the go"...KFC. That's mom and dad at the counter!

They'll be here until April 28th, so I'm sure you'll see a few more posts about their time here! It's SOOO wonderful to have them back with us.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Dave Goes to Slovakia

Dave leaves today for KPM, the 17th annual youth leader training conference in Slovakia where he is the main speaker this year.

This is the largest youth worker training conference in Central and Eastern Europe, with 600 leaders attending!

Would you take a moment to pray for our JV team as they finish the final details, for Dave as he speaks on the theme of "Gripping God's Word", and that there would be much spiritual fruit from this conference.

Not only are we asking the Lord for fruit in the lives of those attending, but we're also praying that God would stir in the hearts of the Slovaks, a passion for the world, that there would be some called to world missions as a result of this conference.

While it can seem like this is "just a conference", we're praying it's SO MUCH MORE!! That there will be a significant movement of God during and after this event.


We hope you'll stand with us and believe God for HIS movement in the lives of young people!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Prompted to Pray

On Sunday morning, as I was sleepily drinking a cup of coffee, Dave told me to look on my computer at a letter he had forwarded.

What I read took my breath away...and made me cry.

It was a letter from someone Dave knew in high school. He hasn't heard from her in over 30 years, and she lives and ministers in India now. She said she'd found us on our JV website several years ago, and has been praying for us since then.

The following is an excerpt from her letter:

"Dear David, after wrestling with my spirit for some time now, making excuses for not sending this letter, I'm just going to acquiesce....several weeks ago I felt compelled, over and over, to pray for wisdom for you, specifically, but also wisdom for Connie and for some reason, Claire, Claire, Claire! If it happened once or even twice...okay, but over the course of several weeks, the burden just wouldn't lift and during that entire time, I also felt God saying to write this letter to you and Connie to encourage you..."

WOW. Her letter overwhelmed me with God's love and care. He prompted her to pray during these past weeks when I was so sick with the migraine. Dave definitely needed wisdom during this time, as did I. And Claire needed strength and wisdom for shouldering the care of our home and meals as I was sick. So the Lord's promptings were right on...9700 kilometers away!

It was also such a good reminder to follow the promptings of the Lord when he says, "PRAY"! You never know what a difference your prayers might be making in someone's life.

Bless you Becky for listening and praying...God heard and answered your prayers.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

More on Ladies Retreat

While I'm getting caught up on life around home after the ladies retreat, I wanted to pass on Claire's blog address - she's got a great update about it since she was there with us. Click here to read some about the retreat from her perspective, and see some great pictures!


It was a joy to have two of our JVK (Josiah Venture Kids) join us this year - Claire and Laurel Jackson from Slovenia came to lovingly care for four JVB (Josiah Venture Babies!). Jackson, Maia, Benjamin and Liam got lots of face and arm time with the girls!

Thank you Claire and Laurel, for giving up a week of school and sacrificially coming to be with your little JVK "siblings"! You blessed us all by making it possible for those mommies and babies to be at ladies retreat!



Monday, March 21, 2011

Blessed Week

What a special week with my JV sisters!


This was taken in one of the rooms at the palace in Brunow, Poland where we stayed for our ladies retreat...just a small glimpse into how the Lord spoiled us this past week!

It was a blessed week of time together...one of those tastes of heaven where you feel the space not so far away between here and there. Imagine what it will be like to have eternity in a place even better than this, with even sweeter fellowship than what we experienced with each other this past week?! It boggles my mind to consider that!

The Lord was so good and kind to us all week, lavishing His presence on us, along with so many good gifts. I really don't know how it could've been a better or sweeter time.

And bless Him...every day I got stronger and stronger and today have no trace of the migraine! That was just one of my good gifts last week, but truly a much appreciated one.

I've posted more pictures of our retreat on my Facebook wall. I hope we're "friends" so you can go take a look at them! I think it will give you a sweet glimpse into the blessing we experienced in our time together.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Off to Ladies Retreat

I'm thankful to be heading off to Poland tomorrow through Saturday for our JV Ladies retreat!

A few of us from the Bteam (as well as Claire who is going to babysit four JV babies with her JVK friend, Laurel, from Slovenia) are going early to set up. We then start picking up ladies from the Wroclaw airport Tuesday morning. The rest of the ladies start arriving by cars and vans at our retreat location in the afternoon, and we begin our program with dinner. I'm so excited to see everyone!

These are always special times together...time to connect, encourage, learn, grow, worship and be nourished by the Lord. We also laugh a lot, stay up late, and eat yummy desserts...mmm, can't wait.

I continue to feel stronger and better every day. Had the energy to visit the new mama and her baby at the hospital today. What a blessing to hold that sweet new baby...welcome to our lives little Carter!

Dave and Caleb are going to hold down the fort here at home this week. You know, cooking and cleaning, a little laundry, ironing and scrubbing the floors. HA HA!! No really, they'll do their thing this week and have a good time together, no doubt! :)

Most likely I'll be offline this week...unless I can't help but post a few fun pictures of my sweet JV sisters, if I can get connected to internet!

* JV Ladies Retreat 2009. We'll have a lot of new faces this year, and be missing a lot of these faces here!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Twenty-four Hours

I would not have believed that 24 hours could really make a difference, since my logical mind says that's just not possible. But after the hours I just lived through, I have to say...it did!

It's hard to believe, and even harder to explain, how just those few hours in Prague with Dave, could bring such refreshment to my heart, soul, mind and body. But I am feeling so much better today than I was even at this time yesterday.

How is that possible??!!

All I can say is a resounding "Thank You" to the Lord for leading Dave so specifically on this one. It really was nourishing, rejuvenating, and refreshing in every way.

Each detail of those 24 hours was just what I needed...even an extra two hours in Prague this morning when I found out a baby shower I was supposed to be at was canceled because the mama was HAVING the baby today, almost three weeks earlier than the due date! I'm happy for them, and happy for me because it meant a Starbucks latte this morning, the first and only of the trip!


Once again, if you even whispered a faint prayer on my behalf, THANK YOU! I have really sought to submit myself to the Lord's ways and not fight Him on this...but I have also longed for a break from the pain. So thank you for praying, and thank you Lord for giving me such relief!

Much to do in these next couple of days before leaving on ladies retreat. But I have a new spring in my step and nourishment in my soul, thanks to the Lord's goodness these past 24 hours.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Dave is a Good Man

While the migraine is gone, my body is not recovering very quickly from the toll it's taken on my body these past weeks.

This morning, after I woke up again with swollen glands and a weary body, Dave said, "Can I take you to Prague today??"

That stopped me in my tracks! I've barely left the house for two weeks and he wants me to go to Prague??

But he does know me...I can hardly resist Prague, it being one of my most favorite places in the whole world. And maybe a quiet train ride, coffee at Starbucks, a nice dinner, and an overnight with my husband is just what I need for some rejuvenation.

Would you pray for me? That I'd be refreshed in these next hours, that it would put something back into me physically before I leave on Monday for our JV ladies retreat. I would so love to have strength and energy for that time together with my JV sisters.

And if I'm not fully replenished, I know God loves to use weakness. So I'm willing for that too.

His will be done, not mine.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

My Neighbor


Bedraggled, smudged face, dirty clothes, toothless grin, garbled speech...full of light.

That's my neighbor, Danka.

Dave led she and her brother to the Lord several years ago. They are the neighbors who live closest to us, "orphans" in their now late-50's. Their father died just before we moved to this house seven years ago, their mother had already been gone ten years.

For reasons unknown to us, they both suffer mentally. Our other neighbors say they weren't like that as children, but something happened in their teenage years that changed them. They can't really take care of themselves, don't cook or bathe. Being inside their house is an adventure all its own...smells and sights that are hard to comprehend in our modern world.

And yet...I'm telling you, they love the Lord.

Danka stopped by today for water. They've been without water now for several weeks so she comes by with a dirty red bucket nearly every day to fill up. For what, I don't know. I would be hard pressed to use any water that came out of that bucket.

But she stands at my door and talks to me about Jesus. It's always the main topic of conversation. She is so full of love and adoration for him.

She does say other things too, that usually make me grin. Today it was, "You and Claire look like sisters" and "You are so slim and look 18!"

To that Claire replied, "How old does she think I am??!"

Ha ha! She's good for my self image!

It's not always easy to stand at the door and talk with Danka...I don't fully understand what she says due to the lack of teeth and garbled-ness of her speech. She is not pleasant to look at, and the smell of her, even at a distance, just about bowls me over.

Yet, when she walks away I'm refreshed by the light and love in her eyes, and left thinking of the pureness of her heart.

Though in the world's eyes, Danka is not much...I think in Jesus' eyes she's a priceless treasure.

**Photo credit to Claire who took this photo of the gate to Danka's house, just a few meters from our driveway, one early morning in February. I don't have any recent photos of Danka...wish I did so you could see her eyes! I wonder if she'd do a photo shoot with Claire sometime??!! She adores Claire! Hmmm, will have to think about that!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Release

Was anyone praying for me this morning??

I went to bed last night still hurting, nauseous and weak, beginning to wonder when/if (you do start to wonder when it's so bad) this migraine would ever stop. It's definitely taken its toll on me (and our family).

But this morning when I woke up, I could tell something had changed, lifted. I cautiously got out of bed and...felt very little pain!

By 9 AM this morning, it had pretty much lifted. THANK YOU LORD!!!!

It's hard to describe the feeling of being without pain after having had it constantly for two weeks. It's AMAZING!! I felt like a new (albeit, a little on the weak side) woman.

I actually left the house today for the first time in two weeks (other than having gone to the hospital). Just that little trip into town to get some groceries wore me out. But on the other hand was so exhilarating...felt like I'd been released from jail or something.

Dave went to the hospital this afternoon to get my final report, and they strongly urged him to get me to the neurologist here in town tomorrow as they're still concerned about me. So I stopped by and had Claire run in to see what time he's open tomorrow. And...he's on vacation THE WHOLE MONTH OF MARCH! Can you do that?? I guess so!

Not sure what I'll do next regarding the doctor - I trust the Lord will give me the next step. I am just grateful that He released me from the grip of the migraine right now. To be pain free is so blissful!

I haven't had much of an appetite this whole time, as you can imagine. But when I was at the store today, I finally realized what kind of day it was...


A Coke and peanuts day! Yep...that's one of my "go to" things for a pick me up, a perk, a reward for having endured. I relished every peanut, and every drink of "the real thing"!

I do realize the irony of them sitting on a magazine about vegetables. Yes...I'll get back to those soon. But oh those peanuts and Coke...just the right thing after being released today!

Thanks for praying!!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Heavy Heart

Back in the late 1980's, Dave and I were in the States recruiting for Malachi Ministries at Trinity College (now Trinity International University) in Deerfield, IL.

I remember so clearly meeting a young couple after Dave had spoken in a youth ministry class that afternoon. They were vibrant in their faith, eager to serve the Lord, and wanting to know about the possibility of coming to Germany to serve on our team.

In 1990, Dan and Barb Evans did move to Germany to serve with us in Malachi/Cadence International. As the years went by, they continued to serve faithfully in youth ministry, eventually moving to Alaska in 2007 to open a hospitality house, still missionaries with Cadence. Such faithful servants!

Nineteen months ago, Barb was diagnosed with an aggressive brain cancer. As you can imagine, life completely changed for them at that point, given the gravity of the diagnosis.

However, they stayed in Alaska, ministering out of the hospitality house as they were able, staying faithful and true to their Savior each step of the way.

Last night Barb's life here on earth ended. She went home to be with her Savior to start her new forever life.

I haven't seen Dan and Barb in years, but have followed their ministry, lives and this most recent painful journey of cancer. My heart is heavy today as I think of Dan and their two children, Caleb and Audrey who must absorb the weight of this sadness today, and for days, months and years to come.


Though most of you don't know this precious family, will you pray for them today as you read this? There is no easy way through this for them, but we know the Lord has been, and will be, faithful to them.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Revelations from my Bed

After a night of deep sleep, I had about two good, pain-free hours this morning...ahh, bliss! You forget how wonderful it is to just feel "normal" until you have hours/days/weeks of pain. I was so appreciative of those hours today.

The pain has been in and out since then, seemingly connected with how well I obey the doctor's instructions to "be quiet and rest". I'm trying, I really am.

Sense of humor intact this morning I had a couple of funny revelations as I, being the good girl that I am, laid quietly in bed .

While Dave, Caleb and Claire managed life without me during my hospital days, laundry is NOT one of the things that got done while I was gone. Oh if only you could see my laundry room! On second thought...maybe not.

Caleb came in after school and told me, with a cute smirk, that he was on his third day of the socks he was wearing...and oh by the way, "How do you work the washing machine again??" Proud to say he did put a load in by himself with me shouting instructions from the bedroom. Smile!

I'm afraid poor Dave is suffering in the sock department too...we're going to have to do something about that. Now that Caleb's an "expert", maybe I'll put him on laundry duty.

I was talking with my sister-in-law today (actually at the same time as I was giving Caleb laundry instructions!) and she pointed out my next revelation. Her husband one time said, "I'm a good dad, but I'm not a very good mom." Light-bulb moment right then!

Dads are meant to be dads, and moms are meant to be moms. Sometimes I think Dave should be able to do more in the "mom" category around the house. But when I turn the table I realize, he doesn't expect me to be "dad"...to change the oil in the car, chop the wood, fix the lawnmower or kill the gophers infesting our yard! He does all those things, and more, really well. I don't. Why would I expect him to be a good mom??

It doesn't mean he can't do some of the things I do, or that I can't do some of what he does...but there is a good division of responsibility in our house that works out really well most of the time (providing one of us is not in the hospital!). That feels good to me today to think about our roles and how we live them out for and with each other.

And when I take it a little further I realize that I actually LIKE my mom responsibilities. In fact I am having a hard time not doing them right now.

The flip side of the laundry not being done is that I realize I'm kind of important around here! Yes, my family can step in and take up some of those things that I do regularly and without really thinking about it. But when I'm well and able, it's one of the ways I can serve my family and keep things going so we all do the things that we're intended to do.

So those are my revelations as I lay here in bed this afternoon. Sigh. I seriously look forward to getting up soon and doing that laundry.

PS. Dave is seriously an AWESOME dad and husband! Just wanted that out there for the record!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Sleep, Sleep...

...and more SLEEP. Can you tell what I've been doing today??

When Dave was talking with the nurses at the hospital yesterday, explaining why he'd like to have me released earlier than planned, his rationale went something like this, "She's not sleeping well here". Simple enough.

To which one of the nurses replied, "What do you expect? This is a hospital." And she wasn't smiling or laughing when she said that. Sad commentary on hospital life. But it is what it is. They have their job to do and helping you sleep is generally not one of them.

So I have spent the entire day in bed, sleeping much of the time.

Unfortunately, I'm in some pain today. Bummer. I hope it's just residual pain and will go away in the next few days (or even preferably, hours). I would much rather say that I'm feeling great, fine, back to normal. I'm finding that I'm not the greatest "patient"...in either senses of the word. I am a "do-er" so it's hard to live right now as a "be-er", if that makes sense.

These verses gave me comfort in the hospital...and all the more now:

Psalm 16:8-9

I keep my eyes always on the Lord. (Working on that minute by minute)
With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. (I know this for sure)


Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; (I keep praising the Lord no matter what)
my body also will rest secure...(I trust my body into His secure care).


Sleep is one thing...REST is another. What I really want to do in the days ahead is rest in the Lord, no matter what. Will you pray for that for me? I would appreciate that!

Someone asked if our JV ladies retreat is this week...no, it's next week, thankfully! So I do have this week to REST. My dear friend and planning partner, Amy, is taking care of lots (really, most) of the details for next week's retreat so I'm thankful for that (bless you Amy!). But I'd sure like to feel better going into the retreat, to not only enjoy our ladies, but have something to say when I teach, as well as lead worship.

The end of Psalm 16 says: "You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand." 

May I know His path of life for me, and be filled with joy in His presence as I walk that path this week.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Lord is Good

Fresh air and sunshine never felt so good!

Yes, I was miraculously released today, thanks to the persistence of Dave, a young doctor whom I'd never met before, and the Lord's mercy on me.

Yesterday they told me I'd be staying through Monday, but after yet another sleepless night, I was exhausted this morning and begged Dave to somehow get me released. Surely sleep was more important in the recovery process than just keeping me for observation.

Dave came at 10 this morning to talk with the nursing staff, who all understood my dilemma (they're quite aware of the coughing problem my one elderly roommate is experiencing, which is what was keeping me awake all night), but had no authority to release me. And because it's Saturday, there is only one doctor making rounds to all the wards and they didn't know when he would be available.

So we sat in the hallway, waiting. And praying!

Finally, a doctor I'd never seen arrived on the ward and came to talk with us. He explained that they don't usually release on the week-ends, that he was only filling in so didn't know my case, and he wasn't sure what he'd be able to do for me. He left to check on other patients with no promises.

We sat waiting in the hall some more.

An hour went by, and then all of a sudden, it was like the heavens opened up! There was a flurry of activity, paperwork, an examination, documentation, the return of my clothes and then...I WAS OUT! Not sure how all of that happened but I'm SO thankful!

Of course I'm on strict orders of bed rest and no activity (does writing on my computer count??) until Monday when we'll call back to the neurology ward and get further instructions. The young doctor said I do have a "block" in my neck that may be part of the problem so he wants that carefully checked out, and possibly rehabilitation.

But I'M HOME!!! It feels so good to be here and definitely, 100% more restful!

Upon arriving home, I immediately went to bed and slept for four hours...that's more hours in a row than I've slept the past four nights. It was truly a gift from the Lord to be able to sleep like that. I pray that I'll be able to  get a full night's sleep tonight too.

Bless you dear friends for covering me in prayer these past days. There was never a time in the hospital when I felt alone...never! The Lord was very near, and your prayers were covering me in a soft blanket of peace the entire time.

I'm thankful to be home now, and ask you to pray for full recovery in the days ahead. I am due to leave next Monday to lead our annual JV ladies retreat in Poland (retreat starts on Tuesday evening the 15th through Saturday morning the 19th) so am asking the Lord for  His strength to do that!

Friday, March 4, 2011

A Long Night

At 8 PM last night the nurse came to take my blood pressure. When she saw that it was low she told me I would need to drink a cup of coffee...really??


But you don't argue with nurses here, even the sweet ones, so I did as I was told.

And paid for it all night. Yep, not one wink of sleep. The stereo effect of my very loudly snoring roomies didn't help matters, nor the continuing coughs of the elderly lady.

So I put in my headphones that Dave had so thoughtfully brought to me just that evening and literally listened to praise music ALL NIGHT! Now that was a refreshing, redemptive night despite no sleep!

A nurse came in at 6 to tell me I would be leaving shortly for another city by ambulance to get an MRI, though I told her as a result of the acupuncture yesterday, I had no more pain (HALLELUJAH!!!). She said I would go anyway.

A doctor came in a few minutes later to tell me the same news about going for the MRI, but I
told her the same thing...no more pain. She left for a few minutes, then came back in and felt my neck and head, left the room, then came back in and said I didn't need to go. Good news!

I was having visions of being released today but that turned out to be wishful thinking. They said because the pain had been so severe for me, they need to keep me in for observation and
more pain meds until MONDAY!! Guess the Lord has different plans than what I imagined.

The good news is...I feel so much better!! Thank you for praying for release from this horrific migraine! I thank the Lord that He saw fit to release me from it's grip. I don't doubt the Lord's plan in all of this so take these extra days as from His hand. Dave may try to see if there is any budging tomorrow, but generally they don't release on weekends so I may just be here for some more days.

The Lord's plans are always good so I accept that and don't have any doubts about them. He is ministering to my soul in deep ways these days and that's priceless. Wouldn't want to miss out on one less day of His good plan for me.

Thank you for your prayers that have carried me this far. Please don't stop praying!!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Still here

I may still be in pain but my sense of humor is in tact!

Just had to give you a glimpse into my hospital life. The nurses turn on the lights at 6 AM, before it's even light outside. Today in particular was a big day in hospital life: it's "big visitation day", meaning all the doctors, including the "primar" (head doctor) come to visit. So there was a scurry of activity getting us and our room ready.

"Nothing but water out on your tables"... So away goes phones, glasses, brushes, food, books.

"No Pani Connie, you can't be wearing socks when they come in." So off go the socks, hidden away in the same place as everything else.

 (Taken with my cell phone!)

All surfaces get wiped down one, two, three times, all by different nurses.

Finally at 8, the group arrives to chat with each of us. They are actually all very kind and personal with each of us, me and my two roommates.

Dr told me that if there is no change in the pain by tomorrow he will send me to Ostrava for an MRI. The meds they are giving me don't seem to really get at this migraine. However, this afternoon a nurse came in and did acupuncture on my neck and that actually brought a bit more relief. That was a first for me!

Now to my roommates. The lady to my right is probably in her mid 60's and quite a talker...she talks to me, to our other roommate and to herself! All the while with her radio blaring. Mind you, our beds are less than 2 feet away from each other. So I am getting my fill of hits of the 80's and 90's! At least I know most of the songs.

The roomie to my left is proably in her mid 70's. While she has a kind spirit, she is a bit of a complainer...okay, a lot. Something is always hurting, she can't get out of bed so literally calls the nurse 20 times, day and night for a bed pan. She also has one of the worst coughs you will ever hear...and it goes on day and night too. And on top of all this, she has very active bowels...get the picture?!

All thing considered, I am doing ok. My head still hurts a lot, but I can pray and think despite what life is like. And when I get a little break from the pain, I am reading a missionary biography from the 1940's about war in Indonesia and what life was like then. My life is a whole lot better here in the hospital than hers was there. I can definitely endure this.

I am writing this from my phone so can't actually see the whole post until it publishes. Hope there aren't too many mistakes from my thumbs doing the typing!

Thanks for continuing to pray. I don't need to know why this happened...the Lord knows that. But would sure love to be free from pain!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Quick Update

Thank you so much for praying my dear friends. Still in hospital, meds starting to have an effect, but still have pain. 2nd CT scan was clear, praise the Lord, and is not meningitis which they were concerned about. So for now more meds for pain and they keep working on figuring out what is wrong. After a good cry this morning (so many emotions!), have been peaceful all day. Dave was with me for day which was comforting too. Please keep me in your prayers.

In the Hospital

These past seven days have been painful. Finally last night, when I couldn't take the pain of this headache anymore, Dave brought me to the emergency room at our local hospital. They did a CT scan and didn't see anything, but decided it would be safest for me to admit me for tests and observation. They gave me something for the pain through IV last night but it didn't do anything.

After a very long/short night, they had me awake at 540 this morning. They have drawn blood three times already and I've been told the doctor should be here soon for an examination.

This is sure the last place I expected to be this morning. I didn't even bring anything but my phone last night as I didn't think at all I would be admitted. Glad to have at least my phone so I can post this to ask you to pray. The migraine comes and goes in waves, getting nearly unbearable at times, and subsiding at others (like right now).

I don't know how long I will be here. Praying the doctors will find out soon what is happening. Trusting the Lord to guide them.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Smoky Split Pea Soup

When I was growing up, a can of Campbell's soup was a given at least once a week in our house.

Of course Tomato soup out of that familiar red and white can was a hit...who doesn't love that? What about Chicken Noodle or Vegetable Beef?

But if I remember right (and correct me if I'm wrong mom!), one of my favorites was Split Pea. I know...you either love it or you hate it! For me though, it's just one of those comforting tastes. Or rather...it was. It's been a long time since I've had anything from Campbell's.

The other day, trying to pass time while having this monster headache (it's Day Six now...grrrr), I was looking at recipes. My eyes don't like the computer for too long when I have this kind of headache, but you know, I had to do something to pass the time (and still do...).

I ended up on one of my familiar sites where I like to find recipes...Whole Food Markets. There are some great recipes on there that work well for us and our gluten free (mostly lactose free, for Claire's sake) diet. I was happy to find a new split pea soup to try as I really have never found one that I liked.

But...THIS IS IT! It was SO easy and SO good...if you like split pea soup! So here's the recipe, as usual with my adaptations.

10 cups vegetable broth (used 2 Maggi vegetable bouillon cubes)
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, pressed
1 teaspoon smoky paprika (for those who live here, I got it at Marks and Spencer)
1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped (they said not to use the kind packed in oil, but it's all I had...I drained off the oil and it worked fine!)
1 pound dried green split peas, rinsed
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups cooked ham, diced (my addition...made for a heartier soup)

In a large pot, bring 1/2 cup broth to a simmer over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic, cook about six minutes or until onion is translucent and tender. Stir in smoked paprika and cook 1 minutes. Add tomatoes, peas and remaining broth, and one extra cup water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer about 40 minutes or until peas are tender (I cooked it for four hours - this made it nice and tender!). Puree soup with a hand-held immersion blender (or in a blender or food processor...in small batches if you do it this way so it doesn't explode all over your kitchen, like I've had happen!) until smooth and creamy. Return to heat, add ham and let it warm all the way through. Season with black pepper and serve.

Oh, and it makes great leftovers too...one of those soups that's better the next day! Hope you'll enjoy it as much as our family did!

(Recipe adapted from: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipes/2952)