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We have lived in Romania for 16 years now. We have 6 kids. The top photo of our family is the day we met the twins, just before their 4th birthday. We were granted custody of them on their 5th birthday.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas Time!

We had a fun Christmas. My brother and his wife arrived Saturday night. They found out when they arrived in Budapest that the train workers were on strike and the trains weren't running. Fortunately, there are 22 million Romanians in the country and about that many outside the country working and so many of those 22 million come home for Christmas. Go and Pam couldn't find a bus they could get on, they were all full so my brother started looking for cars with Romanian tags and found a bunch so they hithced a ride into Romania and caught a train from Arad to Lugoj and arrived at midnight. It was bumper to bumper traffic from Budapest to the Romanian border.

Sunday night, 12/21, we had our Christmas banquet at church. Tuesday we had Zach's 10th birthday and that night we went caroling. We went to about 12 or so houses and each houses pours you a cup of soda and forces you to eat sweets. By the time you arrive at the 4th house you are full of sweets but people get upset and don't understand why you can't eat the sweets they set out before you. It started snowing a little while we were caroling.

Christmas Eve we woke up and had french toast and bacon for breakfast. Go and Pam fixed it for us. Then we had our Christmas dinner that evening. That morning my oven decided not to turn on but after lots of prayer and a couple hours later it came on so we could cook Christmas dinner. Oh, by the way, we were eagerly awaiting a box from my mom with some Christmas goodies in it and my gift for Go and Pam. We got the package slip in the mail on Christmas Eve morning and Go and Baron went to the post office in Timisoara to get the box...we had our Christmas M & M's just in time for a Christmas Eve movie!

We woke up Christmas morning to a pretty snow! The kids opened their stockings and then they longingly looked at all the gifts under the tree but we had to get ready for church. In Romania everyone goes to church on Christmas morning. So, they pain stakingly sat through a service and then had to come home and change their clothes and go out and bring up some wood before digging into the presents. They really had a great time though looking at what each other got and they were very patient while waiting for their turn to open a gift...well they were kind of patient. We had left overs that day and just relaxed and enjoyed the day. That evening we had a birthday cake for Jesus and each person lit a candle and said what Jesus had done for them this year. It was a special time and we really enjoyed it.

Today Go and Pam left. Her mom's package still hadn't arrived but we will send it on to them and it will be a nice surprise. The only disappointment was that the stuff didn't come in time to make gingerbread houses but that's ok...we'll make them next year!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Week!

Christmas always comes and goes so fast. I thought that this year I would really relax and enjoy and think about the season more. My brother and his wife arrived on Saturday. I got an email from them Saturday afternoon telling me they couldn't come by train as originally planned due to a train workers strike in Hungary. Unfortunately all the busses were full too. Fortunatley this time of year many of the 20 million Romanians that live and work outside of the country are making their way back home for Christmas so my brother went looking for cars with Romanian tags and found a ride in :-). They arrived at midnight on the 20th of December.
The 20th of December was the 19th anniversary of the revolution that took place here in Romania. I watched a little documentary about it and was amazed at the "court room" that Ceaucescu and his wife were tried in. It seemed so primitive. The trial lasted 2 hours and they were condemned to death and taken out with their hands tied behind their backs and shot to death. It just amazes me the changes that have taken place in the last 20 years in this country but also how many things really remained the same.
Something I am doing that I don't normally do...staying up late. The house is so quiet I just can't help but sit here and enjoy the tree lights. I enjoyed adult conversation with my brother and his wife this evening. It is good to get to know my sister in law. The only time I met her was at their wedding so I really didn't get to know her because it was a busy time. It is fun to see my brother so happy.

Today Baron and I went and picked up the twins and brought them home. We left at 8:30 this morning and got back home at 6:30 this evening. The twins kept asking, "When are we going to get there? OH, we are never going to get there!!" They were so excited to get home and see their brothers and meet Uncle Gogo and Aunt Pam. It was fun to walk into the kitchen and see all 4 boys come running out to greet them and hug them. It's always good to have the family all together. We are just a few weeks away from our court date. Pray for my nerves!

I look forward to celebrating Zach's 10th birthday tomorrow. It is so hard to believe it has been 10 years since we had our first baby! He actually wasn't born until the 24th but we decided to have our big Christmas dinner on the 24th and celebrate his day on the 23rd. He doesn't mind opening his presents a day early. I still remember spending Christmas in the hospital 10 years ago! What a special gift Zach has been to us.

We are still awaiting several Christmas packages in the mail. I can't usually send my brother a gift because of where he lives so this year I went all out and got a nice gift...but it hasn't arrived. I am so sad they will not have it to open on Christmas...I just pray it arrives before they leave!

Well, I really must get to bed...I have lots of baking to do tomorrow and tomorrow night we go caroling with our church...not my favorite thing to do...I'll explain later :). Good night!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Baking Story

So, I decided to publish my baking story. I had seen this wonderful looking recipe at ThePioneerWoman.com and decided I was going to do this for our neighbors for Christmas. On her website it comes complete with pictures of the process. So, if you want to see how the Cinnamon Rolls are SUPPOSED to look each step of the process you can go to her website. Mine started out ok. See how pretty the pot looks on the stove?

When I got to the rolling part my butter mixtures started oozing out eveywhere, dripping on the floor and all over the counter...she had said it may ooze a little! I even put on less butter then she said too!

Well, as I always say appearance isn't everything...they may not look that delectable but they really are delicious! I made a huge mess in the process but pray that our neighbors enjoy them.

Baron and the boys delivered the hot pans along with a book about seeking God to five of our neighbors. I made a big mess in the process and actually as I sit here and type the mess remains...maybe I can get the boys to go clean it up for me. Where is the cleaning fairy when you need her?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Guarding Your Heart.

It has been a busy and fun season so far. In all that is going on it is easy to let my quiet time with God slip away undone. But I have made an effort to have that time even if it is cut a little shorter then normal. So, yesterday as I was reading I was hit by something so simple and so well known that I wanted to share it. I think that by now in my Christian life this idea or concept should be well in practice but I will admit it isn't always. What touched me was a chapter in a book called, Just Like Jesus, by Max Lucado and I want to share this excerpt:

" Everyone knows you harvest what you sow. Galations 6:7, 'People harvest only what they plant.'
'Be careful what you think, because your thoughts run your life.' Some of our hearts are trashed out. Let any riffraff knock at the door, and we throw it open. Anger shows up, and we let him in. Revenge needs a place to stay, so we have him pull up a chair. Pity wants to have a party, so we show him the kitchen. Lust rings the bell, and we change the sheets on the bed. Don't we know how to say no?

For most of us, thought management is, well, unthought of. We think about time management, weight management, personnel management, even scalp management. But what about thought management? Shouldn't we be as concerned about managing our thoughts as we are managing anything else?

We need to deny entry to many thoughts. The Holy Spirit is ready to help you manage and filter the thoughts that try to enter. He can help you guard your heart. A thought approaches, a questionable thought. Do you throw the door open and let it enter? Of course not. You 'fight to capture every thought until it acknowledges the authority of Christ' (2 Cor. 10:5). you don't leave the door unguarded. You stand equipped with handcuffs and leg irons, ready to capture any thought not fit to enter."

I needed this simple reminder. Why do I find myself in a bad mood so often or angry...is it because life is hard? No, it is because my thoughts were not captured and brought under the authority of Christ. So many times we think life revolves around our circumstances when really as Chuck Swindoll said, "The longer I live the more convinced I become that life is 10 percent what happens to us and 90 percent how we respond to it. This may shock you. But I believe the single most significant decision I can make on a day to day basis is my choice of attitude."

So, my prayer is that I can fill my mind with Christ like thoughts so I can have a Christ like response when things go wrong...rarely does life go the way we plan it but we can make the best of a situation with our attitude!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Merry Christmas!

I just refuse to let that baa humbug spirit in...even though I live in Romania where nothing goes as planned! I won't let it get the best of me...I won't!! I have to keep telling that to myself otherwise I will get the baa humbug spirit. My husband, the dear man that he is, gave me some money and told me to buy myself some clothes for Christmas (I've been complaining that my closet is full of $1 gypsy market finds and that just isn't good enough :). So, I find that LandsEnd has good quality clothes and they send it directly to me. I didn't want my mom or Baron's mom paying postage on a gift for me. So, I place my order and low and behold it was here via UPS in like 7 days...that was just amazing. The problem was it was sitting in the UPS office in Timisoara for 2 days. So, I called to find out what was up. Well, she tells me I have to pay a tariff! What? A tariff, I have never in 7 years here paid a tariff on things I bought or boxes I received with new stuff in it. I asked if it was just a UPS thing she said no, its because you bought something on line from America. I explained to her that didn't make sense because I have bought stuff on line before from America but never used UPS before and never paid a tariff before. We will actually stop by the office today to pick up the box on our way out of town and argue a little more about it but I think we will end up paying the tariff...$50! Yes, it kind of put a damper on my Christmas present, but Baron told me not to worry about it, it was a gift from him and he would pay the tariff. He is so calm about things like that. I want to shout out, "It's not fair!!" Well, life isn't fair so get over it! Go with the flow. Do what you can to fight injustice but know that you can't save the world. It doesn't do any good to get all uptight about something you can't do anything about so don't waste your time (I'm talking to myself now, trying to convince myself I shouldn't get up tight).
So, as you are waiting in lines with grumpy people this season, do what you can to smile and spread some Christmas cheer and share the love and joy that Jesus gives us. Just think about the grumpy person this way, you have no idea what news they got this morning or what trials they are going through that made them that way.