Tuesday May 7, 2019

Joel 2:23 O children of Zion, be glad and rejoice in the Lord your God; for he has given the early rain for your vindication, he has poured down for you abundant rain, the early and the later rain, as before.

As I read this scripture, all I can think about is our hope and promise for the future that God will provide.

Today Jeff and I celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary. It often seems surreal that we are spending our anniversary in Brasov, Romania after traveling the last 10 months volunteering and serving God’s children around the world. Jeff took the morning shift at the hospital while I stayed back with the kids and to finish my yoga. My anniversary gift to Jeff was to go and see the new Avengers:End Game movie at the theater with the kids. We decided that if the kids were going to enjoy the movie and understand what was happening, they would need to watch the previous Avengers movie, so they did that this morning while I did my yoga practice. We met Jeff at the hospital and headed to the mall for lunch and a movie.

The movie was wonderful and I think the kids enjoyed it, as did Jeff. We got the kids home and had plans of getting them settled with dinner and then the two of us heading out to dinner alone. However, we decided to go to dinner tomorrow night because things were going to be so rushed and we had to get started so late into the evening. Boy was this a good idea.

Anjali has been losing the battle with her allergies lately and for whatever reason, she got very angry and upset when we asked her to eat her dinner. Unfortunately, she has not quite learned the beauty of good communication. Well, she got angry, Jeff got angry, and before I knew what was happening World War III occurred inside our small little apartment. Things escalated and everyone was upset; the whole night went down the drain.

Jeff went for a walk to calm down, no doubt completely frustrated by Anjali’s attitude and snarky mouth, Anjali was upset because she was not feeling like she was being listened to and wanted to make her own decisions, and I was going back and forth completely lost and understanding both sides. Anjali has quite a mouth on her and very often puts herself first and tells the rest of us to take a hike because she can care less what we think or feel, and Jeff (just as I am) is sick of it–she doesn’t get to treat others (especially her parents) this way with no consequence.

This is such a hard situation. But as I sat up unable to sleep tonight, I realized that Anjali is still very much a child who is only starting to look like a young adult. She is still learning how to handle the complex emotions coursing through her and she needs us to guide her, even if she says she doesn’t (she is regularly telling us that she doesn’t need our help). I can remember being her age and that feeling of just being lost. You so desperately want to grow up, but there are so many times that you act like a silly little child and when you do, it frustrates the hell out of you! She is totally caught in the middle of the pendulum between a child and teenager, and it sucks for all of us. But I keep thinking that there has to be a way for all of us to embrace these emotions, own them, name them, and learn to respect and handle them. I don’t know how yet, other than being the calm voice of reason when she flies off the handle.

Anjali sat up with me for a bit and we had a nice talk about how she needs to work on communicating better with Jeff and I about what she is needing and feeling, and I will work on staying calm and being a better example to her of how to handle emotions. Jeff may have been the one who lost his temper this time, but I have had my fair share of moments where I was the one who went berserk. Parenting during this time is quite challenging, but I know with God’s help and grace we will all make it through it successfully and without killing each other!

Here are a few pictures of our free noon date on Saturday!

Sunday May 5, 2019

John 2:23-25 When he was in Jerusalem during the Passover festival, many believed in his name because they saw the signs that he was doing. But Jesus on his part would not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and needed no one to testify about anyone; for he himself knew what was in everyone.

Happy Cinco de Mayo!!!

Today we split up as a family, Jeff took the younger two kids down to the school for Junii, which is another celebration of Easter here in Romania, complete with a horse parade, while Anjali and I headed to church. Here is a snippet of the parade:

We all met up together at the house for lunch and then a quiet evening at home with the hope of having Mexican food and margaritas to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, but those plans fell through. The kids had something easy for dinner, while Jeff and I had a quick ravioli toss after the kids went to bed.

I was able to do get the process of obtaining my license all figured out and should be able to submit everything on Monday. I even started the readings that I will need to. I am so happy to be doing this because the types of jobs that I will now be qualified will be much more prolific. We also started looking at apartments in the same area where we were before and have at least narrowed our search down to a few.

The peace and calmness I have experience today is so wonderful. God knew that I needed this direction and because He knows me better than I do, knew just how to present it to us so we would understand. What is so funny is that this path has been here all along, we just were not following it.

Thursday May 2, 2019

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Today we were scheduled for two shifts at the hospital, morning and afternoon. Jeff did the morning shift today and I took the afternoon so he and Anjali could go play Ultimate Frisbee (adults vs kids). The hospital shifts went well for both of us and they had a great time playing ultimate frisbee. I got to meet Ann, another volunteer who comes twice a year for 3 months. We had a great time talking and getting to know one another. But in the process of sharing about some of the places we have been, I found myself really missing GSAM in India. So much so that I rushed home to make breakfast for dinner and some Chai. Though I will say I was quite disappointed because the Chai just doesn’t taste the same.

But our family in India must have known how much I was missing them because I got some messages from Cathy. She sent me several pictures of her with various people/kids. I love getting these pictures because it makes me feel like I am back there. So in order to share the feeling, I sent some pictures of our family.

Today was a good day. No fighting and bickering amongst the children, a wonderful hospital shift, and then a relaxing evening of Uno and family fun. Days like this are easy for me to praise God and thank Him for all that we have as a family. The harder thing to do is to praise God and to be thankful when things don’t go the way we want them to. This takes courage, patience, faith, and grace.

Saturday April 27, 2019

John 10:27-30 My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. What my Father has given me is greater than all else, and no one can snatch it out of the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.”

We all woke up this morning excited to celebrate Anjali’s birthday with friends at the Adventure Park here in Brasov. This place was awesome. There were so many different courses for our various levels. They had a small kids course for the little ones, which was perfect–it was challenging enough to be fun for them, it even had zip lines at the end of each course! All of the kids and even the adults had a great time. Between my ankle and still not feeling 100%, I decided to stay on the ground and enjoy watching the happy faces of everyone else. Anjali was so excited to be here for her birthday and being able to do a course that was for those 12 years and up. Jeff spent time with the kids and then within about an hour or so everyone seemed to go their separate ways using the buddy system, which is when Jeff opted to try one of the black courses. I got some great pictures of everyone having fun and enjoying being outside, even with the thunder and darkening skies.

Lucia enjoying the younger kids’ courses Lewis, obviously having a blast! Can you find Lucia? Jeff making his way through one of the beginner courses. Jason having fun and working hard, or maybe just having fun! Lucia and Elena doing what they do best, being silly and having fun! The birthday girl in her element! Jeff working hard on the black course and surveying what lies before him David and Coen enjoying the buddy system. Jeff was pretty wiped after climbing the wobbly ladder, but he is not even close to being done. Where’s Jeff?

After a quick lunch of hot dogs at the park, we all scurried out into the rain. Our family walked to the closest taxi stand to make our way to the shopping mall. Anjali and I made quick work of our needed shopping items and then a stop in the grocery store before catching a cab home and ordering pizza. All in all, it was a very successful and fun day, but I was wiped.

I am so grateful that God has healed me enough to enjoy this time with my family and celebrate the birth of our eldest child. I could have easily seen myself still in bed, sick and unable to be here, but He provided again. I may not have gotten to do the courses with them, but I absolutely enjoyed my time with friends and family, and this was definitely a gift from God.

Thursday April 25, 2019

Deuteronomy 33:12 Of Benjamin he said: The beloved of the Lord rests in safety—the High God surrounds him all day long—the beloved rests between his shoulders.

Today was an interesting day. I went up to the support center to help with donation sorting and ended up clearing out and organizing the office in order to stack and put more boxes of donations. Since I love organizing things I had a lot of fun, plus Katie’s company is always a bonus! I was able to finish that up in about an hour and then headed to the store to get everything else I needed for Anjali’s birthday cake. I can’t believe she is going to be 12 years old tomorrow, where does the time go.

I came home just before Jeff had to leave for his afternoon shift at the hospital. The kids were pretty much done with school so I started to make Anjali’s birthday cake for tomorrow, Red Velvet per her request. Unfortunately, I misjudged the quantity of some ingredients and was short on sugar and oil. Fortunately our neighbor downstairs helped with the sugar and I used butter to substitute for the oil. Even with the mishaps and missing ingredients, I was able to make 3 cakes to layer with cream cheese frosting.

When I finished making her cakes it really hit me how incredibly tired I was, actually complete exhaustion is a better description of how I felt. But I managed to muster enough energy to get dinner prepared and ready so we could eat once Jeff got home. I really couldn’t explain why I was so tired, but as I was getting ready for bed I realized that my lymph nodes were swollen behind my ears, I was getting sick. Jeff agreed to take my shift in the morning because if I wasn’t feeling well now, the hospital was not where I should be tomorrow. I needed to be healthy so we could celebrate Anjali’s birthday!

Wednesday April 24, 2019

Proverbs 4:20-22 My child, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them escape from your sight; keep them within your heart. For they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh.

Today was my day at the hospital while Jeff stayed home with the kids. They are so close to being done with school and I can’t wait to do more things around Brasov. There are so many museums and forts/castles to see in this area of Transylvania that we have not yet explored, and once the kids are done with the common core curriculum we can take advantage of the many learning opportunities around us.

Jeff and I had a nice schedule that accommodated the bi-monthly FFR meetings and store for the nurses that Jeff and I are attending/helping, however, with my travels back to Phoenix we have been thrown off our schedule. Because of this, we both totally forgot the staff meeting that was scheduled for today. Thankfully Katie texted me just before the meeting started and I was able to quickly get ready and then race to the support center for the meeting. I made it, but was 25 minutes late. I hate being late and missing things like this. I always end up feeling totally irresponsible. I helped out at the support center sorting through donations before heading to the hospital for my shift.

My shift today was wonderful, but quite boring. We only had a few kids at the hospital and 4 volunteers to do the work; it is such a wonderful blessing, but it makes the shift really long. On the third floor we only had 3 children, but one was sound asleep and the other doesn’t like to be held or touched, so we had one child to entertain and one to snuggle amongst the 4 of us. There were more kids on the other floor, so we each had a baby to snuggle. After the shift I made our daily stop at the grocery store and then home for dinner.

When I was in Phoenix I was able to find a game called Exploding Kittens and the kids just love playing it, so we played for a bit after dinner and before bed. This is definitely a great family game that gets everybody laughing. I think Lucia laughed so hard during this game she wore herself out because she fell asleep pretty quick and by the time I was leaving the kids’ room I found her like this….

img_4835

This scripture is so wonderful. It reminds us to keep God’s words within our hearts because that is where we can find Him. If God is in our heart we have nothing to fear and we have a never ending love and eternal life with Him.

Friday April 19, 2019

2 Corinthians 6:2 For he says, “At an acceptable time I have listened to you, and on a day of salvation I have helped you.”

I finally got a decent night’s sleep despite going to bed quite late (or early depending on your frame of reference). Jeff headed out at 9:15 and I got up shortly thereafter. The kids were kind enough to let me sleep this morning and we just skipped school. Today was a big day for FFR, their yearly shipment of donations arrived from Germany. The donations arrived by semi, but the truck was too big to come into town, so several cars/vans/trucks were arranged to meet the truck outside the city limits, unload and reload to take to various locations in Brasov for storage. Jeff was part of the crew unloading the semi while the kids and I headed up to the support center for unloading. In total we unloaded approximately 250 boxes and stacked them 10 high in the center. My kids were wonderful helpers and I am so proud of their efforts and hard work today. We left the center at about 3:00 in the afternoon and headed home for a quiet evening.

Here are some pictures of today’s workload:

Tomorrow Jeff will run in the Braşov Half-Marathon where he will run Tampa Mountain a total of 3 times, so we had an early night for everyone. He is really excited for this run because he has been raising money for Mission:University, a new mission of The Good Shepherd Agricultural Mission in Banbasa, India to send 10 young adults to university. We both are so grateful for the donations and prayers we received during this fundraiser. We will be able to share a total amount raised next week!

I still don’t feel normal yet, but it will happen soon I am sure. The jet lag this go ’round is nothing like my time in Phoenix. I was tired there, but unable to sleep. Now that I am home I am able to catch up and get some rest. It may take a day or so to finally feel rested, but I can see that I’m getting there.

It is so weird being here during this Easter holiday and Holy Week because here in Romania they observe the Orthodox calendar, in which Easter and Holy Week is next week. For us, today is Good Friday and we didn’t attend services or really get to experience any of Holy Week, which was difficult for me though I am hopeful that we will get to celebrate it next week.

Honestly it didn’t feel like Good Friday at all, until Jeff showed me this picture he took on his walk home from the store. I won’t share what I see here, but rather let you decide what you see. I promise no editing has been done to this photo.