Monday May 20, 2019

2 Corinthians 5:1-5 For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling— if indeed, when we have taken it off we will not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan under our burden, because we wish not to be unclothed but to be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.

Today was a busy day. We still had our rental car that needed be returned, so I dropped Jeff off at the hospital and made a quick detour to the store. I will say it was so nice to have a car and be able to get a fair amount of groceries at one time and then not have to carry them back to the apartment. I hope I never take that for granted again! I had enough time to drop the groceries off and the kids agreed to put them all away for me, so I headed back out to drop the car back to the rental agency. All was good and now I got to enjoy a long walk home (about 50 minutes).

I really enjoyed this time alone, walking through Brasov, surrounded by the Carpathian Mountains. It was so peaceful and relaxing, such a nice change from the busy and fast-pace of Bucharest. I found so much peace walking home, listening to my music and just enjoying where God has placed me today.

I got home and found the kids running around having a wonderful time outside. Jeff ended up staying at the support center for some donations to arrive, so he didn’t get home until about 2 pm. There wasn’t much to the afternoon, I had ambitions of doing yoga, but that didn’t happen. Instead I got caught up on laundry and getting everything settled after being gone for the weekend. Then I went straight into studying.

Preparing for this licensing exam is a lot, but it feels so good to be refreshing myself on what I put so much time and energy into so many years ago. Thankfully it is all coming back to me pretty quickly, though I would say the theories are the ones I have forgotten. What I find interesting is that I do remember the application of the theories, I just mix up the names. But with some practice and studying I am sure things will be fresh in my mind again. My goal is spend the month of June preparing for the exam so I will be ready to take it before we head to Germany to visit with our friends. I am hopeful that I can be done with it and truly relax and enjoy a last vacation before we head back to reality in the States.

We have no pictures from today, so I am going to say that we just enjoyed the moment and didn’t have an opportunity to snap any photos!

Wednesday May 15, 2019

Hebrews 6:10 For God is not unjust; he will not overlook your work and the love that you showed for his sake in serving the saints, as you still do.

A busy, but wonderful day today shows just how amazing God is and how much He does in our lives. I went to the hospital today and Jeff stayed with the kids. Our neighbors downstairs don’t get out often just as a couple seeing that they have 4 kids, so we offered to watch their kids. As it turned out, we were able to allow Anjali to “be in charge” of the youngest, Martin, who is just under a year. Both Jeff and I were here during the whole afternoon, but Anjali really was watching and babysitting Martin and she did a great job. She was attentive and acted very responsibly.

I spent a good portion of the day studying for my licensing exam, but had a wonderful coffee break with Amy when they got home from their afternoon date. We have been trying to have coffee for some time, but our schedules seem to be conflicting, so it was nice to sit down and visit.

We still are no closer to answers about our future (what are we doing after June 2, where we will live in August, will we have jobs, etc), but I don’t feel as scared or anxious. We have heard that there is a possibility (though very slim) that we may be able to extend our time in Romania for a few weeks and continue helping here until the end of June. In order to even explore this as an option we need to find a Romanian speaker to join us for a visit to the Head of Police here in Brasov and ask for an extension. We have been searching for another place to serve after our time here ends on June 2, but we truly have not found anything we are feeling called to do. I think our hearts are still here and not wanting to leave. I am sure we are going to be able to find someone to help us with this task and I am praying that God will find a way for us to stay for a bit longer.

I know that God will take care of us and that whatever the outcomes may be, it will be wonderful because, just as the scripture says, For God is not unjust; he will not overlook your work and the love that you showed for his sake in serving the saints, as you still do. (Hebrews 6:10)

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!

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.

Wednesday May 1, 2019

Romans 8:26-28 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.

Today was an interesting day, both Jeff and I had massage therapy sessions today, mine was at 12:15 pm and his was at 5:00 pm. So Jeff worked the morning shift at the hospital so I could do the appointment at 12:15. The kids busted through school (well almost all of them) and I headed out at 11:40 for my appointment. This was way more than just a massage, it was absolutely therapy and it was just what my body needed; a little attention to work some of the knots and kinks out. I have been dealing with headaches more frequently lately and after feeling how tied up my neck and shoulders were it is no wonder. I am sure this is going to have a positive impact on how I feel.

Jeff picked up some groceries and stuff for dinner after his hospital shift and by the time I got home he was already working on preparing a gourmet meal of a whole BBQ chicken with Au Gratin Potatoes and stuffing. We ran into a bit of a snag though when he started the coals for our small little barbecue.

The apartment we are living is just below the landlord’s mother who suffers from Alzheimer’s. She saw the smoke and thought the house was on fire. Thankfully Amy from downstairs was here to translate and talk with her because she does not speak any English. But boy was she upset. She walked through the apartment to check it out and make sure all was good, and from what Amy said didn’t have nice things to say about us because the outside stairs were dirty. Mind you it had just rained and there are 6 kids running around in the mud and dirt, the outside stairs will never be clean. But after talking with Amy, I told her that we will sweep the stairs regularly to keep them clean.

Jeff headed out for his massage and I finished up dinner while the kids played inside; Amy thought it would be best not to be loud outside since the landlord’s mother was already upset. A few games were played and they all seemed to have fun. Dinner went much better this evening and Jeff even made it back in time to eat a warm meal.

With all the commotion today I didn’t get any pictures. But I did find out that Anjali took our camera and got some pictures of her brother and sister, as well as their friends from downstairs.

I think we have a photographer in the making!

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!