Saturday, September 29, 2012

My dearest Lover,

Six years ago today, I agreed to be yours. 

September 29th has meet us separately this year.  Here I am on the east side of the Atlantic with you on the west. You, settling into our new home with the boys. Me, here helping where I can while enjoying old friends.  As I stop to think about the path God has brought us down.  It's a little crazy the things we have found on this day these past years.

Wishing I had our engagement photo...

Year one:
You a worried husband and father as I spent more time with the toilet then anything else while losing weight by the minute.  It's how Malna made himself known to us.  Well that and the dozens of tomato's I ate in the very beginning.  Do you remember running to the store every few days for more tomato's?  How about the ziploc baggies I carried around?  You know just in case I wasn't able to find a toilet in time.

Remember our trip to Europe that year?

Year two:
At five months old I'm not sure that Man of the woods had slept more then 45 minutes at a time.  This is when I really started pushing the Doc. for help as I just knew some where in my Mommy instincts there was more then just a screaming baby in our hands.  You were so good to me to always trust me and push me to trust myself as I learned to mother.

Year three:
I was six months prego with Laughter.  It was a difficult time for me, hence the name Laughter for him.  I had already out grown all my maternity clothes and when I didn't think morning sickness could get any worse this boy showed me I was wrong.  You loved me through and saw signs that I couldn't see on my own.  Man of the woods was my best buddy by this point and you were my hero.

Year four:
Our first normal year with two amazing boys.  We went out for sea food to a restaurant we only considered on special days like this one.  It was good to be with you without a baby belly in the way of your hugs or the table as I ate come to think of it.  Actually both were really good.

Year five:
This year I think we went out to eat as well, but you know these were dark days for me as Manic-depression reared it's ugly head causing my mind to spin out of control.  Here too, you were so good to me.  Always telling me this is just like any other sickness.  It would pass but for that time I needed to focus on healing.  You were right, for a time at least it has passed.  You have loved me so well.  Not always in ways I wanted, but always in ways I needed.

Surprise your thirty...and NO you may not smear that cake all over my face.

Year six:
This year.  Miles apart from each other, but still fully satisfied in who God has grown us to be.  I'm holding my breath to see where it is he'll take us in not only this coming year but the next six.  He has surpassed my hopes and dreams even with all the pain mixed it.  I wouldn't change these years for anything.

In many ways this day means more to me then the day I said I do. On that day I was making a public promise, but in my heart this day is when I committed myself to be your wife.  I could not imagine where our journey would take us.  God has taken us down paths that I stand in awe of when I stop to think about it all.  I stand with you with anticipation to what will come our way in the future. 

I'm looking forward to being wrapped tightly in your arms as we remember our beginning.  Happy six years, Lover...Oh and I'd like to make a request? Let's run away for our anniversary this year, shall we?   You pick the place...Okay my only stipulation is that I do NOT want to hike in the snow to a cabin with an outhouse.  Maybe someday, but not this year.


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Things my boys would enjoy

Mushrooms are every where right?

That is except for this kind:

This is where the sport equipment is kept for the campers.
What I call love bugs.

Mainly because 99% of the time they are mating.

Then there's this guy:

No this guy doesn't just wander around Hungary, he's a pet.

And there's this lady dog.  These NINE puppies are maybe two hours old.

I shut off the flash so she wouldn't get stressed.  I figured she's been through enough for one day.

So tiny, but beautiful just like there Momma.

My calling

Here I am home in many ways. 
To see friends that are really family. 
To walk through the castle again. 
To hear the echo of voices and footstep from the other side. 
To smell the smoke mixed with nature. 
To have my lists. 
It is good. 

Just in the short time I've been back I can feel the excitement of work running through my veins.  The anticipation of working with new people, Remember my passion for teaching the heart of serving while also passing on life skills, and presenting a better environment for not only them but the staff but thousands of guest who pass the doors each year.  It energizes me.

This was my calling.  Once I thought I would be here for the rest of my days.  I fought hard to stay true to this place and I mourned deeply for years after I left.  I struggled to see where calling fit into cooking and diapers.  I knew I was made for something big, something like Hungary.

As I sit here helping and watching and discussing I realize that this my calling has changed.  While I am energized and still all these years later passionate about this place and the work I did.  I am not satisfied.

By being here I am even more convinced that my calling is to teach and grow others in who Jesus wants them to be. To continue passing on life skills but at a more intimate way.  To open my house showing singles what a godly family looks like.  Walking through hard times and joys together.  This is my calling.  This is my passion.  This is my calling.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Little treasures.

Today is day number six of the hoolies and I being apart.  Six days is double what I have ever done before.  I still have another 18 to go.  Today I have learned what homesick feels like.  Even though I lived all the way across the ocean for four years this is a first.  I think it's because I'm a Momma now, or maybe that I'm a wife?  Either way...It's been a long day.  I'm sure once I make myself busy again all will be well.  Now to just get through the rest of the weekend.  Tomorrow I will talk with them for the first time since I arrived.  I'm very excited about hearing the voices of the men I love most.

Once a Momma always a Momma, so oceans away from my small ones I am still on the look out for all things they love.  For example Mr. Bug here:

 A squash bug I think.

Nothing special other then my boys would have liked him.

And then there's this:

I found this when I was walking at dusk tonight.  Tomorrow I will go back to look for the nest.  Nothing amazingly Hungarian, but something my boys would enjoy.

Here are two pictures of the Toalmas' storks nest.  It famous around here.  Don't ask me why.

Notice the concrete telephone pole?  I'll try to get a better view next time I'm out in the village.

This last one is just for Laughter.

Hot dogs...long skinny hot dogs...

...for breakfast.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

I'm here. In Hungary.

I feel very much at home.  My ears where happy to hear other languages.  My eyes were happy to see the landscape.  My nose was happy to once again breathe Hungarian air.  Even my skin was happy to stretch out on Hungarian sheets.  And oh to taste!

My bed made in the Hungarian way...This style is one of the things I have missed greatly. 
Who would have thought?

Even though there are many I do not know I am quickly making new friends and I'm catching up with the old ones.  For some, most actually it seems as if I had never left.  Our friendships have picked up exactly where they left off.  Most of us here at Elet Szava are the kind of people that go straight to the heart.  It is good to be here.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Dog gone tired

I'm tired of boxes. 
I'm tired of walking through paths. 
I'm tired of telling little boys not to jump off the furniture and not to climb that unstable shelf. 
I'm tired of kissing and rubbing away there bumps and bruises (caused by disobedience, and I'm tired of telling them so.)
In the last week they have each learned to open windows "all by there own".  I'm tired of telling them not to.
I'm tired of warning them of how dangerous it is to sit/stand on the sill of a second story apartment.
I'm tired of punishments.
I'm tired of life without a schedule. 
I'm tired of the outside junk that life hands you at the most inconvenient of times.
I'm just plain old tired.

Yes, I am the same women who just days before was praising the Maker for all the gifts he had given us~a house, a play set in the back yard, friends of all kinds, furniture, among other things~I am that women.  It is all good, all a gift. 

I am still thankful. 

But I'm also still tired. 

It happens to the best of us (and me).

In two days I'm getting on a airplane headed for the place where I stepped into adulthood.  A place where I first realized God's unconditional love, beginning my friendship with Grace.  In this place I realized I never wanted to be a half in follower of Jesus.  It has been six years since I last visited Hungary I am surely looking forward to seeing old friends and making new ones.  I am looking forward to digging into some of the tasks I once did. 

However the thing I'm most looking forward to is some quiet time with God.  I hope to find my balance again. 
Here are my goals:
~I need to find some personal routines that will keep me focused each day on all that is right and good.
~I need direction in how to be the wife Strong man needs or better yet the wife God asked me to be.
~I need to fully process all that we have been given and where this brings us as far as Haven is concerned.
~I need to meditate on my parenting strategies about each boy individually. 

He caused the storm to be still, so that the waves of the sea were hushed.  Then they were glad because they were quiet, so He guided them to their desired haven.  Let them give thanks to the LORD for His lovingkindness, and for His wonders to the sons of men!
~ Psalm 107:29-31
Gifts #(someday I'll figure out where I am)
~ Learning new tricks to keeping sinuses clear.
~ In the midst of boxes two small boys to cuddle up with me getting lost in words and pictures, page after page.
~ The steadfastness of scripture.
~ The promises of an unforgetting God.
~ A husband to make me rest.
~ A husband who takes the pressure I put on myself away.
~ A gift from a friend, allowing us a special family date out instead of spending our last night together tangled in boxes.
~ To have a husband that I can trust to live out life well, even while he's picking up my share.
~ To have such a loving God that I can trust Him with every aspect of life.

EFA 2.22

Our family day in Pictures:

Birds eye view of the corn maze.

Half way through Laughter decided he was afraid.

Buddy we only want the apples not the trees too.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Not by me, but by Strong man.

I took this from Strong man's blog:

Haven Part 2

You can read Haven Part 1 here.

Haven is the name Shandy and I have given to the ministry we believe God has called us to. As we have traveled the journey He has been leading us on, the specifics of Haven have changed, but a few things have stayed the same.

1. People, in need will live under the same roof as our family.
2. We will share our lives and our faith with them
3. We will mentor them, spiritually, emotionally, practically...

My wife and I are both the type to try to 'make' things happen. We like to make a list, and have a plan, but not matter what we put on paper, something came up, and this mission has been hold, even seemed impossible for a long time, but as I said in Haven Part 1... Then the phone rang...

It was a couple from our church, who had also attend the church I grew up in. I've known them for the better part of 15 years. I helped them move into the house where they are living, enjoyed annual Christmas parties at their home, envied the way they can finish each other's sentences, and seen them be generous with all that God has given them. The wife was there when we first saw our babies via ultra sound. She has been there when my wife needed someone to bridge the gap between physician and friend during the battle with Bi-polar. I've watch the husband devote himself as both husband and father, modeling the self sacrificing love that Christ calls us to as men. We've worked together in ministry, and they even trusted us with their kids on occasion.

They called to tell us they were moving. She is taking a job in another state, but they love the home they designed together, and don't want to sell it. They want someone to take care of the place until they are ready to retire, or until God says it is time to let it go. 
We were speechless. The opportunity was too amazing to possibly be real. We had a hard time knowing what to say because we were overwhelmed by the size of the generosity and trust they were extending. It is humbling, and awesome, and exciting all at once. And that's when we thought they were asking us to do it for just a year. We littlerally couldn't talk when we found out that it might be as many as 10 years. (I will use James 4:13-16 as a disclaimer)

A week from today they will pull out of the driveway to start the next chapter of their adventure, and we will pull in to start the next chapter our ours.

I haven't told you the coolest part yet. The Haven part. The "Wow, God is Awesome" part.

They had one condition. Their condition was that we keep the house open to whomever needed a place to stay. Be it for a weekend, a week, a month, or a year. They know the house is a gift from God and they know that they should to use it to honor Him, and their one requirement of us is that we continue their ministry to those in need of a home. As the Apostle Paul once said, "The very thing we were eager to do".

We don't know who God will bring into our home, or how much time and energy this style of life will take, what the implications are for other jobs or ministries, but we do know that God has provided us with a home. God has taken away the biggest line item in our budget, provided years of the financial security that we thought was gone when we said no to the job with US Customs. He has shown us that nothing is to big for our God. He has shown us that He is the one who directs our path. The the same God who took care of Israel in the desert, who took care of Elijah in the wilderness, who feeds the birds of the air, and clothes the lillies, is our God, and is our provider.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Boxes, Hungary, & Gifts

If you walked into my house right now not only would you see boxes, but you would see toiletries in the kitchen, kitchen chairs in the living room, a suitcase packed with marshmallows and other strange things like that.  When it comes to the boys it's like playing Where's Waldo?  No joke, sometimes I can find them under the bed, behind the couch, in a box, flying off chairs, and maybe even climbing the walls.  Life seems to be pure chaos.  I would show you pictures of all this, but at the moment I'm not sure where the camera is.

In reality I have a very detailed system of packing going on.  I'm being as specific as I can in labeling and packing the boxes.  Strong man will be working two jobs, moving & unpacking, and single parenting for three weeks.  While many friends from church have offered to help him move on the 23rd I've also asked Grandpa B. If he'd come set up my kitchen.  The room where I will be the most particular about where things go.  Since the two of us are two peas in a pod and love to cook, what better person and what a great thing for Strong man to have a functioning kitchen the day he moves in.

While I'm away many friends have offered in whatever way to help Strong man with all his responsibilities.  So I have made a schedule for the men.  On Monday's and Wednesday the boys will play with friends while Strong man works.  On Tuesdays and Thursday they'll go to the office with him as he only works half days.  On these days I have put together a basket full of treasures.  Packing has helped with this as I've found along the way little toys or treats I have set aside for rewards, Christmas, long cars rides, and such things that are now in the basket.  On Saturdays they'll hang with Nana and Grandpa while he's off with the teens from church.  . 

As for my trip, with each email to many friends I am becoming more and more excited while trying to push away the sadness of being without my babies.  I haven't packed any clothes or anything practical just fun gifts and my passport.  Once while I lived in Hungary, I took a trip to Maine and realized upon arriving I hadn't packed a single pair of pants for myself.  I'm hoping to be a little more thought out on this trip.  But there is only so much room so something might have to go...

In all of this God has been so good to us.  He has given us:
~ Free furniture to use at the new place (that was also given to us for a time).-2 couches, 2 chairs, a desk, a washer (& drier, but we didn't need one), 2 treadmills (not sure what to do with that, a his and hers?), & shelves (more then I had been praying for)...Ever heard of George Muller?  More on him and our new place later.
~ Boxes. (I've only bought tape in all this packing)
~ Three pairs of pants for the total price of $7.84 (Now that the fat pills are finally out of my system I've gone down a size and thought it would be best if my pants fit while overseas.  That is if I have room to bring them.)
~ More friends that offered to help with the boys then we needed.
~ Friends to give us there time by helping us move.
~ A friend that "just happened" to want to cover the cost of my support or whatever I was not able to raise.
~ A family to cover the fun parts of the trip.
~ Well behaved boys.
~ A helpful family.
~ Just about all of the gifts that I have bought have been at a reduced price while also being incredibly specific items.


Saturday, September 8, 2012

And now for something completely different.

I have been in some type of ministry since I entered Jr. high.  When Strong man and I were first married I was sure that together we both would be neck deep in service to our King.  As we learned that our family of two was growing to a family of three I was again sure that my little Malna (that's what I called him while I carried him), would be content to sit on my hip while I continued to making organized ministry my life's work.  That is until I met the adorable little screaming child.  He screamed for the first seven months of his life (That's how long it took me to figure out his milk allergy).  While I loved that boy with all my heart I quickly realized there were somethings I would just have to sit out of. But still I was sure I would never ever fully step out of organized ministry.  That is up until last year when Manic-depression came raging into my mind.  That's when I began to realize that there was a godly life outside of ministry.  I mean I knew it, I had seen others do it, but I personally could not comprehend such a thing.  In fact I mourned like the loss of a dear friend, I mourned.  In the end I took a year off.  I mean off of everything.  I went to church and Sunday school and that was it.  If I did my weekly homework well then that was great if I never finished the book well then that was good too.  While I did build some good relationships with women I'm not sure I would have otherwise.  I was just another face in the crowd.  It was good.  It was what I needed.  It was what my family needed.  It was plain and simple all around the best choice I could have made.

As the year went on however I began to feel like I should think about leading an adult small group.  However while I can lead I don't enjoy it, so why would I even entertain such and idea, still I spent months praying it over.  This summer Strong man was telling me how he wished there was a small group for parents where we could learn what the children where learning as well.  I grabbed hold and before long we had something.  In the end I'm not leading I'm facilitating.  Not a big difference but an important one.  So tomorrow I will begin my first ever adult group.

I'm chewing my nails with anticipation and a little bit of fear.

Mania. Did you know...

Did you know that a lot of us Bipolar people are on epileptic medication?  Yep it's true.  One of the more common is Lamictal.  In fact it's one of the best meds to ward off those awful manias.  And it's one of those medications that has the least amount of side effects.  With the exception of that lethal rash you might get in the beginning if you raise the dosage to quickly.  Other then that "minor" detail it is a great medication.

Did you know that these manic episodes I suffer is caused by the same chemicals that cause seizures?  Exactly why epileptic meds works so well.  You see there are these two chemicals called glutamate and GABA receptors.  When the glutamate gets too high it causes your brain to get so excited that brain cells literally burst.  (I'm guessing this is where the saying, I'm so excited I just might burst, comes from)  The GABA receptors keep the glutamate in check...For any who understand this better correct me if I'm wrong, I'm just beginning to learn about these two.

Did you know that your body can have too much serotonin?  In fact it's just like candy too much will make your stomach sick.  While it's a chemical that needs to be stored up for things like long, dark Maine winters, I'm learning I have to find a balance.  This is where I'm at right now.  For the last month I have constantly felt sick to the point of vomiting at times.  Remember the light therapy I started at the beginning of the summer?  It works great.  The whole purpose was to increase my serotonin.  Maybe it works a little too well.

In many ways this serotonin overdose is good for me.  As life is full to over flowing I am forced to slow and take care of myself.  This slowing may protect me from a major crash.

Balance is always needed.  God is always good.

~ A stomach upset to remind me to take care of myself.
~ A God who is involved in the details of life.
~ Life adventures.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Summer smiles

I know there little hands, little toes, and little minds will not stay little forever so here I will record a little of each.

Me: Are you a monkey?
Laughter: No, I not shape like a monkey.

~Leaving a store today I told Laughter that he could jump in one puddle and then he had to get in the car so of course like any little boy near water he jumped in. Looked at me, looked at the next puddle and before I could get the word no out another huge slash. Looked up at me and asked, "Are you going to punish me?"
Me: Yes I am.
Laughter: Grabs his bottom and and begins screaming, "That hurts it hurts!"...At this point I'm still 3 ft. away from him and have only told him that he will be punished. He comes over to me and as I pick him up to put him in the car seat his scream goes up a few notches....Proof that the moments before a punishment are always worse then the act itself.

Great Uncle Cousin David H.
~ I walked in the living room today and Man of the woods said, "Hey Momma!
Me: Hi, how are you?
MOW: I'm just lovely.

~ Laughter has a camo ball cap that says, "I hunt for hugs" when asked if he hunted for hugs he replied, "bugs not hugs".

~ In church tonight we sang a song that had this line: We cry holy, holy, holy. Laughter sang along with us, only the last time through he sang this: We cry Hooooooly moooooly, we cry Hooooly moooooly.

~ Laughter had a $.25 machine toy duck with the plastic little container. When I got him out of the car I realized he has poured some lemonade into the little container for the duck to swim in...Makes sense.

~ Laughter to me: Can I have some of yours?
Me: What I have is the same as yours so you eat your half and I'll eat my half, okay?
Laughter: No mine is too tasty to eat. I want to eat yours instead.

Swinging with Great grandma Flinner

~ As I got in the car I squealed slightly as i realized I was sitting on my phone. Laughter as his name suggests busted up laughing. Man of the woods on the other hand scolded him for laughing with, "Laughter it's not funny, but very serious. Momma's butt is the biggest muscle of her body and it could have broken her phone."

~ Man of the woods two newest sayings, "I'm as hungry as a beetle...I'm as cold as a bug...

~ Man of the woods: It's so heavy Daddy I don't know if I can carry it all the way up the stairs.
Strong man: Son it's only toilet paper, I know you can do it.

~ Laughter's new way of trying to escape the wonderful time of sleep comes out in two ways. 1-He'll jump out into the living room with a big "Peek-a-boo!" or 2-He'll come out with eyes big as if terrified and whisper "I can't go in my bed there are coyotes in my bed."

~ While at my Sister friend's house Laughter came out saying that her son had pushed him and bonked him on the head. Now knowing that he often starts such things I asked if he had done anything mean first and said, " I push him and use my sharp teeth to chomp him."...I kept it together for 1/2 a second until I heard the snort come from behind us and then I lost it.

Look Momma I found a shiny mineral!!