Monday April 29, 2019

Deuteronomy 32:2 May my teaching drop like the rain, my speech condense like the dew; like gentle rain on grass, like showers on new growth.

This week was Jeff’s week at the hospital on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday while I stayed home to teach the children and will work on Tuesday and Thursday. There is not much to report. The kids worked a fair amount today and should be done with their main curriculum this week, leaving only a few things to finish up next week in Social Studies and Science. After school the kids went outside and played most of the afternoon with their friends, while I took advantage of applying for several different jobs. I now have over 10 applications out there. I know God has a plan for what is to come in the future for our family, but I would really appreciate a bit of insight into his path. I know it will come with time, but I will admit that I am getting a bit impatient!

We sat down to dinner this evening and even after 10 years I still can’t figure out why David takes so long to eat his food. Tonight he took just over an hour to eat and because he was not just the last one to eat, but was actually still eating (and talking) after I had cleaned the kitchen and Jeff had taken out the garbage, David was left to take his plate with the food remains outside to the garbage and do it alone. He did not like this one bit because he tends to get scared about being outside by himself, but this was an opportunity for me to show him why taking this long to eat was not working.

I was hoping that he would learn the lesson and then just move on, but I was wrong. Maybe because it was 8:30 at night, or maybe he just bypassed the lesson because he was so upset that I made him throw his food out in the garbage can outside, in the dark, but whatever the reason it backfired on me. Instead of him coming in saying, “I don’t want to do that again”, he came inside almost in tears and then proceeded to not go to bed and flop around on the floor until the wee hours of the night.

As I reflect back on this evening and this scripture I am pretty sure that my teachings today did not go this way. I am not sure David experienced new growth. I guess time will tell, but I feel like tonight just eroded away some of his self-confidence (or maybe that is him playing me, again). I pray that God will guide my discipline and guidance for my children so that the lessons I attempt to teach them will actually stick! I think one of the hardest things as a parent, at least for me, is to not know whether your actions really make a difference in your children’s behaviors. It is like a delayed reaction because even if the lesson did spark new growth in your child, you are not likely to see the new growth for some time; it is definitely not an instant gratification and requires a lot of patience.

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Sunday April 28, 2019

Isaiah 30:21 And when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left, your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

Happy Orthodox Easter! This is so weird to be celebrating Christ’s resurrection again, but we are embracing it. I guess in reality we need to be celebrating this event every single day, because every day is a celebration of Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection.

Jeff took the family to church this morning, but I was still feeling pretty tired after the last 2 days. I stayed in bed and rested, which gave me an opportunity to do some more job searches. I am excited to have found several possibilities, but am worried that I will continue to run into the problem that I haven’t worked for the last 12 years, so my job experience is quite out-dated. I know that I have a great work ethic and I will do my very best in any position that I acquire, but I need someone to take a chance on me and give me the opportunity to prove my abilities.

This scripture is a wonderful reminder of God’s plan for me, as long as I am willing to listen to that voice behind me saying “This is the way; walk in it”. So I have made a decision to apply for all jobs that fall in line with my experience and passions, and trust in the Lord to show me the way; He will guide me. This does make me a bit nervous because some of these jobs are not in Madison and some not even in the States. But I have faith that God will place us where we need to be.

Yesterday at the grocery store we picked up some Romanian seasoned pork to grill. I am not sure what “Romanian seasoned pork” actually is, but I do know it tastes wonderful. We had a great meal together as a family and finished the evening with a game of Exploding Kittens.

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….

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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.

Tuesday April 23, 2019

Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.

We didn’t have a shift at the hospital this morning, but both Jeff and I were scheduled this afternoon. We tried to get school done before we left and managed to do that with Lucia. David had a rough go of Math today, but he finally came around, just in time for us to leave for our shift. Anjali claimed to be working on her Math as we were leaving, but failed to finish it and her Science. On top of the frustrations with the lack of determination with school, the kids were asked to clean up the kitchen while we were gone, but as I walked in the door after the shift I walked into a messy kitchen that needed to be cleaned before I was able to start dinner.

Our shift at the hospital was wonderful, though we were surprised to see that one of the children that had been there for a month was no longer there. We had been praying that God would find a home for him and according to the limited conversation I was able to have with the nurses, they were able to find a placement for him. We are hoping our understanding of the nurses explanation was correct because that would be an answer to our prayers. God knew this little boy needed a home and He provided what was “acceptable and perfect”.

This scripture follows yesterday scripture perfectly. Paul’s letter to the Romans is reminding us to open our minds so we can “discern what is the will of God” and, in my opinion, this will allow us to live out our belief that “… God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid, for the Lord God is my strength and my might; he has become my salvation” (Isaiah 12:2). When we give our lives to God and allow Him to work on our behalf, we will experience a life without fear. We will still have ups and downs, trials and tribulations, joys and concerns, etc., but with God as our foundation the outcome of each situation will always be His will, which means it will be “good and acceptable and perfect”.

Wednesday April 10, 2019

Psalm 91 Assurance of God’s Protection

You who live in the shelter of the Most High,
    who abide in the shadow of the Almighty,
will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress;
    my God, in whom I trust.”
For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
    and from the deadly pestilence;
he will cover you with his pinions,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
You will not fear the terror of the night,
    or the arrow that flies by day,
or the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
    or the destruction that wastes at noonday.

A thousand may fall at your side,
    ten thousand at your right hand,
    but it will not come near you.
You will only look with your eyes
    and see the punishment of the wicked.

Because you have made the Lord your refuge,
    the Most High your dwelling place,
no evil shall befall you,
    no scourge come near your tent.

For he will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you in all your ways.
On their hands they will bear you up,
    so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.
You will tread on the lion and the adder,
    the young lion and the serpent you will trample under foot.

Those who love me, I will deliver;
    I will protect those who know my name.
When they call to me, I will answer them;
    I will be with them in trouble,
    I will rescue them and honor them.
With long life I will satisfy them,
    and show them my salvation.

God’s promise to us is real and He will never forsake us. I can’t help but look at this scripture and think of the children in the hospital who are needing so much love and attention; more than I or Jeff can give. This scripture is a reminder that God is always with us and He will protect us forever, and I know that He will do all these things for the beautiful angels here in the Brasov Children’s Hospital. There are a few children that have been in the hospital for some time with no one coming to see them except us. I know that God has put us here for a reason and I truly think that Jeff and I would adopt all of them, if we could, just to be sure that they receive the love and care they deserve. But I also know that God will continue to look after them and provide them the care and love they need. As I read this scripture I am so thankful that we were listening for God’s call and that we were willing to follow when He put the path of Romania in front of us. I still am shocked that I found this opportunity, but I can see that this was His plan for us and we are now acting as His hands to love these children. God is protecting them, comforting them in times of trouble, and showing them love and He is doing His work through us. I am so thankful that He has chosen us to do this because these children deserve every morsel of love I have to give.

I am also amazed with my children and their eagerness to know and hear about these kids in the hospital. Even though they cannot be at the hospital with us, I feel like they know these children and love them just the same. Both Jeff and I talk about them like they are part of our family and our children don’t seemed threatened or jealous in any way, but rather have welcomed them into our family and our hearts.

Today was a pretty good day of school work, not the best, but definitely not the worst. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and I know that the schoolwork is coming to an end, hopefully sooner than later. I can totally understand the frustration teachers have towards the end of the year and I am acting like a student because I just want it done! But I am also reflecting on what homeschooling has meant for our children. I have seen them all excel in school much more than they ever have. Shoot, Lucia finished her Kindergarten curriculum in October and will be done with First Grade Language Arts/Math and Second Grade Science/Social Studies by the end of April. It is amazing. She has become a proficient reader and the math doesn’t even seem to challenge her any more. I am not sure what we are going to do when she is ready to start public school again. As for Anjali and David, I have been able to see them excel and really learn where their passions are for learning. This is a wonderful insight to have because we now can stoke those interests and help them to grow even more. I am very interested to see how they all adjust back to public school.

Anjali has been trying so hard with her relationship with David and Lucia. Today, while David and Lucia were outside playing, she came in early to make them a bit of a snack. She took some grilled tortillas we had and made some Nutella roll-ups topped with bananas. She put a lot of effort into this snack and created a beautiful treat for her brother and sister, who were very excited and absolutely loved the treat. It is times like this that I can see the benefits of this trip, our kids are starting to look beyond themselves and starting to go out of their way to do things that will make others happy. They are starting to learn that when they contribute to someone’s joy, they in turn experience it too.

Saturday April 6, 2019

2 Corinthians 4:8 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair

We had a great opportunity to join a “house party” with our neighbors this morning. The house in which we are staying is actually four different apartments. Our neighbors downstairs are a wonderful family with four children with whom our kids have made a quick friendship.  They seemingly have not stopped playing outside since we first arrived. We are in the middle apartment and on the top floor are two one-bedroom apartments for two long-term FFR volunteers, Katie and Calah. So our brunch this morning was truly a “house party”, everyone in the house came together for fellowship and food. What a wonderful start to our day.

Afterwards we walked with the kids to Coresi Mall for some new shoes for David and Lucia. Jeff made the comment during our 40 minute walk that he was really wanting to enjoy the beautiful day by grilling outside and he was hoping to find a small grill at the mall. It was a successful afternoon of shopping; new shoes for David and Lucia and a new grill for dad! Our last stop for the day was to the grocery store for some charcoal and our meat for dinner.

It was such a beautiful day, and not just the amazing weather! Though I am still plowing through this internal struggle for control, I am finding that I am consciously reminding myself to let go. It hasn’t happened yet, but I am hopeful that the constant reminder from scripture, from Jeff, and through prayer I will get there. As Jeff and I were talking (after putting the kids to bed), I read today’s scripture and just had to laugh out loud. Paul is reminding us that by following God we do not eliminate afflictions or trials, but rather that we will not be destroyed by them. This was comical given the fact that Jeff had just made the brilliant point that I am a list maker who desires to be able to check off completed tasks and that most of my frustration/anxiety/fear/uncertainty (call it what you will) is caused by the fact that God hasn’t given me my new “list” yet. This too made me laugh because it could not be more true. I realized that in my head this journey was a 12-month journey and I have checked off August, September, October, November, December, January, February, and March already, but am getting antsy for the new list because all that is left on my first list is April, May, and June! But of course my husband politely and gently reminded me that God did not give us the timeframe of 12 months, we did and for now God still needs us to finish our tasks of April, May, and June before we can move on to the next. I love my husband so much and I am still amazed that there are many times that he knows me better than I do. This was very obvious to him and I am sure he has even said this to me before now, but this time it actually made sense. I love these conversations I get to have with him because he is always challenging me to see things from a different perspective. His faith in God is so amazing and I love that we are on this journey together. I can remember sitting back in our house in Madison, Wisconsin having a similar conversation with him, but that time our roles were reversed! God has brought us together to strengthen each other during the times we are weak and I am amazed how much we are able to balance each other; when one is struggling the other is standing firm in their faith. “Faith and doubt aren’t opposites: they are, it turns out, excellent dance partners.” (Rob Bell, What We Talk About When We Talk About God). So I guess Jeff and I are just dancing our hearts out throughout this journey and I hope and pray that it continues for the rest of our lives.

Saturday March 30, 2019

Isaiah 43:18-19 Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it. I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.

This made me laugh out loud. I actually asked Jeff when he picked these scriptures, just because it just seemed too perfect of timing and just as I had guessed, he did these back in December. So just another affirmation that God is using this daily scripture as a way to speak to me and of course His timing is ALWAYS perfect.

When I read this scripture all I could hear in my head was the part where God says “do you not perceive it?”. Let’s see if I can explain what I heard…Do you hear it? It’s coming. Do you hear it? Come on, you know you hear it. Here it is. Just around the corner. It’s happening. Very soon. Here it comes……The voice I heard when I read this scripture was so encouraging and playful, almost teasing. But it was also very reassuring because I have really struggled with being patient for God’s timing and this scripture is telling me that the answers are just around the corner. As I read the previous verses of this chapter God is telling Isaiah that He is always there for us “because you are precious in my sight, and honored, and I love you.” (Isaiah 43:4). God has staked claim to our lives, as long as we are willing to give it to Him. He tells us “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.” (Isaiah 43: 1-2) Two different times in this chapter God tells us “Do not fear” because He is with us, He will not forsake us, but rather protect and lead us. This chapter is so touching. God is clearly acting as a parent trying to convince his child of his unconditional and unending love, as well as the lengths he will go to protect his offspring. He loves us unconditionally and He will do anything to protect us, He will forget all our transgressions for His sake and only asks us to love Him in return.

I love that God chose this chapter to speak to me because it is exactly what I needed. I have been very anxious over all the opportunities and paths that lie before us; I just can’t see the outcome of anything. I know that God’s plans are perfect and that He is working on my behalf and I just love that He is not just asking me to be patient anymore, He is providing me with the anticipation of what is to come, almost like Christmas. I may not know what the gift is, but I very quickly realized that the anticipation of said gift is actually part of it. This is exactly what God is saying to me in this scripture reading, I have something new for you, something that will be fulfilling and bring you many blessings (because that is how much He loves me and all of His children), and it is just around the corner. He is even asking me if I can perceive it because it is that close. I can’t wait to see what He has in store and just like that my anxiety has been transformed into anticipation and excitement.

We had a slow start to our day with some fun plans of an adventure park (aka: a rope course), but the delay of getting to the mall for some new gear for Jeff’s marathon in a couple weeks didn’t allow us enough time to fully enjoy the rope course. So after a quick impromptu family meeting, we all decided to postpone that to another day when we were guaranteed more time there by an earlier start to the day. So we made the 45 minute walk back to the apartment with a short stop at the grocery store. Unfortunately this stop quickly turned our pleasant and happy day into fighting and arguing over who got to carry the paper towels home (silly, right?).  This is one of those parenting moments that you just look at your children is dismay. Why are you fighting over something so stupid? Our walk home from the store carried the same frustration, but once we got home the kids were all quick to recover and were soon outside running, playing, and screaming together.

In the end, God always comes through with changing the tides and guiding us through the storms of our lives, as long as we are willing to listen and follow His call. His plans will bring us more blessings than we could ever conjure up ourselves. He does this because He is our father, always looking out for our best interest because He loves us unconditionally as His children.

Friday March 22, 2019

Isaiah 62:1-4 For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until her vindication shines out like the dawn, and her salvation like a burning torch. The nations shall see your vindication, and all the kings your glory; and you shall be called by a new name that the mouth of the Lord will give. You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God. You shall no more be termed Forsaken, and your land shall no more be termed Desolate; but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her, and your land Married; for the Lord delights in you, and your land shall be married.

Tonight my silent prayer at dinner was for God to show me my path and to give me the patience to see it on His time. I know this seems like a weird prayer, but I know that the path for my family after these last two volunteer projects is still unknown, I just have to be patient enough to see it when He is ready for me too. It took reading this passage a couple times once the kids were in bed to really understand what Isaiah is actually doing, but it seems clear (at least to me) that Isaiah is talking with God and telling Him that he will not be silenced or stopped until God upholds His promises to the exiled Jews. Now I am definitely not exiled nor have I never felt abandoned by God, so maybe that’s why this scripture is so difficult for me to understand, but nonetheless I can understand Isaiah’s frustration. Our impatience makes waiting for God’s timing really difficult. We want the answers or the solution to our questions/problems/etc. now not later; we don’t want to wait. I can tell you that this is probably one of the most difficult things for me to do, be patient and wait until God is ready to show me. It’s been so freeing to give my life to God and let Him lead me down the path designed for me; however, waiting for Him to reveal it, that is a different story. That is a whole new kind of patience, especially for someone like me who wants to have everything planned out ahead of time. I think that is why the second part of my prayer is probably more important than the first and how I can relate to Isaiah. I need God to give me the patience to wait for His time because He will show me my path and He will lead me where He wants/needs me to be, I just have to wait (and wait) for Him to do it.

I have seen firsthand the benefit of waiting for His time. Our time here in Romania is a perfect example. We were supposed to be in Kenya right now, but God had different plans and because we were patient, we witnessed His divine plan work out in ways beyond my imagination. David asked me today at dinner what my favorite part about our time here in Romania has been and it took me only a minute to respond. I shared with him a conversation I had earlier today with Katie (a long-term volunteer) in which she shared with us how grateful she was that we were able to change our plans to come here earlier. She told me that because they are so short-staffed right now it would have been extremely difficult to have shifts at the hospital with the babies if we were not here. So my favorite part of our time here in Romania was learning that God’s timing is perfect and I just need to learn patience. God will provide because He has made this promise to ALL of His children. We not only have to trust that He will honor His commitment to us, but we also need to have patience because only His timing is perfect and only He can put us right where we need to be. And we needed to be here in Romania, right now.

I worked at the hospital today and we only had 5 babies with no parent, which is wonderful. But the hospital was still full, it was full of parents staying with their children, which meant more Baby Bundles to be delivered. For those that missed the previous post about the Baby Bundles, these are bags of clothes, bibs, jackets, shoes, etc that are given to parents that stay with their children. FFR gives these Baby Bundles out every Friday and we volunteers (even our kids) work together to put the bags together. Again, God’s timing is perfect. Katie needed help delivering all these Baby Bundles because there were so many and since we only had 5 children we were done with our shift early, so we joined Katie with the deliveries. Here are a few pictures!

Delivering Baby Bundles with Katie and Steffi

These were the bundles for 1 floor.

I will leave you with this prayer…

Dear Lord,

Thank you for your plan for me. Please give me the courage and strength to follow it, the patience to wait for you to show it to me, and the wisdom to know when it comes. Lord your timing is always perfect, never early and never late. Knowing that you hold my future is definitely worth the wait.

Amen.

Wednesday March 20, 2019

Proverbs 10:8 The wise of heart will heed commandments, but a babbling fool will come to ruin.

I love this verse because it is not only a wonderful reminder of what God expects of us, but it is also a recipe for success and it could not be any more clear…listen. Over the last several years I have tried really hard to get better at this, but I can tell you it requires constant effort. It is really hard to listen to others, but the more I practice it, the more I see the truth behind these words.

Today I actually found myself listening even though my instincts wanted to be a “babbling fool”. I was helping out with the afternoon shift at the hospital with Katie because there were 8 children in the neonatal unit and the nurses needed help feeding them. After 3 children of my own combined with many more years of nannying I really feel competent at feeding a newborn. However, when I was feeding a second baby one of the nurses came over to adjust the bottle for me and tell me something in Romanian. I will be completely honest, my first response was to get very defensive–“I know how to feed a baby!” However, these nurses know these babies way better than I do because they spend their days caring for them, just as I knew my babies better than anyone else. I am so glad I held my tongue because the nurse was actually sharing with me why the baby was eating so slow and also was giving me a heads up that he vomits when he is done eating. And although she was adjusting the bottle while I was trying to feed the baby I realized very quickly that she knew what was going on more so than me; my years of experience as a mom and nanny was helpful in many ways just not this one. This nurse was much more knowledgeable than I was and I was happy to listen to her orders.

In situations like this it can be very difficult to accept the direction of another, especially those times that you feel you don’t need direction. I can’t help but think of the quote by Epictetus “we have two ears and one mouth so that we may listen twice as much as we speak”. I really believe that listening is one of the hardest things God asks us to do because it completely goes against our self-serving ego and our nature to put ourselves first. Instinctively we think that we know we we are doing and that we have all the answers. I also believe that this is why following Jesus and giving our lives to God is so difficult to do because we have to admit that we are not in control and that there is someone else who knows what we need better than we do. What I find so incredible about this is that while handing our lives over to God is probably one of the hardest things to do, once we do it we find that everything in our life is easier to do! Our egos get in the way of a fulfilling life and quickly turn us into babbling fools.

I’m stepping down from my soapbox now and I will share a little bit more about our day today. Today was my day for the hospital shifts and I was so happy to be able to help with the newborns this afternoon. We also got packages from home today and we all were thrilled to see what our families sent us. My parents sent a box for the kids filled with candy, even Toxic Waste–Anjali’s request since we left the states which is basically flavored citric acid. Our church family in Madison also sent a box filled with wonderful cards for all of us and a bit of candy. Needless to say my kids are not needing any more sugar anytime soon. It is always so wonderful to get these gifts of love from our many families back home.

Check out the video of the kids opening the box from our church! We did a FaceTime with Grandma and Grandpa so unfortunately we only have 1 video.

We all have really been missing our time in India so we made one of the meals we frequently had during our time there, Chicken Curry with chapati and chutney. Oh my, it was so good. We even enjoyed the company of Katie, one of FFR’s long-term volunteers. And while we weren’t with our Banbasa family, they all were close to our hearts as we enjoyed this meal and got to share our experiences in India with Katie. It was a beautiful day and I am so grateful for God’s blessings.

Step 1: Chutney—cook the peppers
Step 2: Chutney—Add the tomatoes
Step 3: Chutney—Blend the goodness together!
Anjali helping to make chapatis. First you quickly cook them on each side in a pan and then set them over the flame
Chicken Curry in honor of our friends back in Banbasa.
Enjoying the company of a new friend.

Tuesday March 19, 2019

Matthew 26:41 Stay awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Today started with a bit of excitement. I got a text from our neighbor downstairs informing me that our water was going to be turned off this morning for most of the day. Once I saw the message I jumped out of bed and into the shower. Jeff quickly followed suit once I was done. Since we were going to have no water at the apartment, I decided to have the children do their schoolwork at the FFR Support Center which also allowed me to sort through donations, but as soon as we walked in the door and Jeff left for his hospital shift, I started to hear the complaining. It is like a light switch–they were all in good moods on the walk there but as soon as it was time to work, they went off!

Anjali (sporting her new scrubs) and David walking cheerfully to the hospital before they flipped the switch.

As I read through this scripture reading, I had to refresh myself on the context, so bear with me. Jesus says this to Peter after finding him asleep when Jesus asked him to stay awake to pray with him. Jesus was grieving about His impending betrayal by Judas and His crucifixion and wanted the support of his closest friends. I really had to read through this many times to get a full grasp on what Jesus meant by this and what I came up with was that Jesus understood and lived with the weakness of the flesh, our human shortcomings, but He overcame it by praying to God And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what you want.” Matthew 26:39. Jesus understands that we are going to make many mistakes and that we are going to fail to call upon Him in our time of trial because “the flesh is weak”, but that doesn’t mean that we should not still try. It is not easy to be attentive to God’s word and His ways. I imagine that we miss of lot of what He tries to say to us because we are asleep, just like the disciples.

Back to today, my patience with my children was definitely tried today. It started when we did school somewhere other than home and it continued as we went for lunch and some shopping. Anjali actually skipped lunch entirely because she was so upset by the fact that we ate at an Italian restaurant (I mean in tears upset and angry at all of us–she didn’t want to eat here, so how dare we select this place). I tried for an hour to get her to calm down, not be angry, etc. and she finally came around back to her normal happy self. But I tell you, I was definitely exhausted after that. I find it so difficult to stay calm and patient when my children are so irrational, and to be honest there are many times I fail completely at this. Thankfully today I was able to maintain, for the most part, and I am so grateful for the grace God gave to me. I was able to remain calm, encouraging, and patient with Anjali long enough for her to come out of her funk, but this is not always the case. There are many times that I just don’t have the patience for my children being children. It is these times that I can relate to this scripture, I fall asleep and do not keep watch or pray for God to help, my human weakness takes over and I don’t feel the strength of the Spirit.

I guess I take comfort knowing that Jesus understood the shortcomings and failings of His most trusted disciples, so I am confident that He also knows mine. When I am awake and praying I can feel the power of the Spirit, I guess I just need to remember to pay attention to my own “weakness of flesh” and ask God to strengthen me during those times.