četvrtak, 3. prosinca 2009.

Good news!

Jakov is almost out of his chicken pox days. There is no more itching, and he is actually full of energy, ready to go play outside again!
My Dad is already out of the hospital, feeling well and resting on his couch, with my mom as his nurse - and, well, you can't beat that!

Also, I saw my Doctor for a check up and an ultrasound, and all he said was so encouraging!! It seems that that poor stitch of mine:) is still there, holding the fort:), and Dr believes it will last three more weeks, until it's time to take it out. So, basically there are only 3 more weeks of this complete bedrest for me!! I cannot begin to tell you how much that means to me - the "real" life is close!! I can be a "full time" wife and mom again, I can be a witness for Christ in my wider community, I can be a better friend to my friends!!

Thank you SO MUCH for your prayers!! Seeing the baby on the ultrasound and hearing his (it is definitely a "he", don't ask me how I know - I saw it real well:))!!) heartbeat made me cry. Oh how I love him already. He had his little hand over his face and didn't let us get a good look, but we saw everything else, and it was all healthy and beautiful. The Lord weaved him out of nothing!!!! Oh there should be a billion of exclamation marks there. I am so amazed by Him, His power, His wisdom, His love, His mercy....

In His name I greet you and send you hugs and kisses from my little foggy town, praying that his light is never out of you sight! May we together grow in understanding and humility before Him.

nedjelja, 29. studenoga 2009.

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer

Dear friends,

there are many different ailments that are plaguing our family and friends at the moment. In addition to my ever more difficult bed rest (sounds like a contradiction in terms:), now my Jakov has chicken pox, accompanied with high fever. Poor guy, he even has little dots on the soles of his feet. Last night he spent in tears and utter frustration because of the stcratching of his back and the fact that he is not allowed to scratch, even if he could reach his back. Miro slept in the room with him, just so he could be there for him when he wakes up (which was often), or even just to raise his voice, trying to make him snap out of uncontrolablle crying while sleeping.
Since chicken pox is highly contagious, we expect Josip to get it next. Both Miro and I had it before, so that we (and the baby) are ok.

My dad, who is 63, is scheduled to have surgery tomorrow - he has some water cysts on his kidneys that the doctors want to take out, since they are bigger than 9cm (3,5 inches). My dad is not a believer, so please pray with us that he will spend this time in the hospital seeking God.

Also, our dear friend and team mate, Garret, recently found out that his mom has something on her liver. The doctors are not sure if it's a liver tumor or a liver disease, and cannot do biopsy because of her other medical issues, so that the poor woman needs to decide whether she will go straight to chemo (believing it's a tumor) or start taking antibiotics (for liver disease). I can't imagine how difficult all that is for her and for her family. But we can pray, and pray eagerly. Our God is the Lord of all creation and has plans for all of us. Oh, I pray she seeks Him and finds in Him all her comfort and cast all her worries on Him. He atoned for our sins and there is now no condemnation for those who are in Him. And that is all we REALLY need.

Please join me in prayer for these things. Let us carry each other's burdens. May the Lord bless you huundredfold for every prayer for your fellow believers.

četvrtak, 19. studenoga 2009.

A glorious, sunny day in my little town! Although I only get to see it from the inside, I still feel its enthusiasm and positiveness:) Also, I am 32 weeks pregnant and that also sounds very hope inspiring. Waiting for the miracle to come...:)

Lately I've been thinking about the layout for my Christmas cards, and lacking the option of sitting for long, have decided for this (the one with the photo) - I really like Kristina Werner's creations and this seems like a perfect fuss-free gift for me. I will change the colours, though, for I think my family of men would look better in a blue-brown combination and on a colour photo. A dear friend of mine will soon send me some winter maternity clothes and I will have something (other thatn this pink sweater that I now have on:) to wear on that Christmas photo. Although I was pregnant twice already, I don't have my own winter mater. clothes mainly because I gave birth to Jakov in the middle of the Summer and although Josip was born in November, that Autumn was so warm that I came to the hospital on November 6th wearing a T-shirt! That is why I do have maternity pants, but no shirts or sweaters...

(Miro just came in playing the mouth harmonica he bought at a local store - it sounds great:)))). He is very musical and I do have some hopes of our children playing instruments some time in the future.)

Kudos to my friend Wendy who gave birth to her son, Jonah Mark, on Monday! You go, girl:)) I am so happy that it didn't last too long for you and that you are finally done with contractions and worrying!

Have a wonderful day, dear friends!

subota, 7. studenoga 2009.

We had a wonderful time!

Really! The children were well enough behaved, there weren't too many tears and Miro was the perfect host! Our teammate Betsy was here with her adorable 3-year-old Teyla; my brother, his wife and their little son Ante came as well - what a wonderful evening. I think Josip had a blast, especially when my brother presented him with a remote control car track! There were many phonecalls and singing and fb greetings:))) Josip enjoyed it all!

I haven't seen my brother and his family for 4 months or so, and it was really good to catch up. Their little boy is just a bundle of joy - like a little sponge that remembers and imitates everything he hears or sees. My sister in law is a beautiful woman and I sometimes enjoy just looking at her:) I realized tonight that I really miss them, although our relationship was never that great. They said they will come visit when the baby is born. I am looking forward to it.

The grown-ups helped with the cleaning in the end. So good toward me, everyone. And now the boys are in bed and Miro is loading the dishwasher. My poor, tired, wonderful man... He is preaching tomorrow both in Slavonski Brod and here in Gradiška, and will probably be finishing up his sermon until late tonight. I am so thankful that God gave him, exactly him, to me. I better go pray for him:). Before I go, here are some birthday highlights:

Miro coming in with the cake!!

Lighting the No 5 candle!

The joy of a successfully blown out candle:)

Ante scaring me in his "ghost" costume:)

My birthday boy being all strong and scary:)

Well, I hope you have a good night/day:)!

petak, 6. studenoga 2009.

1 Timothy 1,17

Today has turned out to be a long day. I haven't been feeling too perky, and the kids were especially sensitive. So, we're already calling it a night. Anyway, tomorrow is a big day, full of excitement - Josip's birthday!! We are going to have a little celebration and it seems that my brother with his family will be here with us, at least for a little while. What a wonderful treat!

J, J&I made some little bookmarky things to put into kids' little treasure hunt bags, along with other yummy goodies. I am really doing my best to channel their energy and teach them something about God in the process, but today I've been feeling like such a failure. A mom that is always in bed isn't a great source of direction for her ever needy children. And I don't mean needy just in the emotional sense, but in a "real" sense: in the sense of giving them a glass of water, making pancakes, showing them some new game that includes moving, making sure they brushed their teeth properly and not just ate the toothpaste...

One thing that really made my evening was reading Dr MacArthur on wisdom of God. Just reading some verses about His magnificence, the depth and the width of His wisdom, being reminded AGAIN that true wisdom is to fear God and keep His commandments... was really uplifting for my soul. And it helps me to keep on moving, however immobile:).

Thank you so much for your prayers, dear friends...

srijeda, 4. studenoga 2009.

Hanging by a thread

Ok, here's my pregnancy update: I saw my Dr on Monday and he was very grieved to tell me that all those stitches and my resting didn't amount to much - there is only one stitch that is holding the cervix together. And I'm sure it is one tired, stretched stitch! So, goodbye blue skies, hello STRICT bedrest. Well, the skies aren't that blue any more, and my determination to make it through is getting stronger - therefore, I will not complain.The only thing that is really sad is that my hubby needs to carry his own AND my whole load now - cleaning, cooking, children, and all that children entail, which is a LOT. Anyway, enough to make you cranky in a long term way. I just pray that won't happen to him.

I'm planning Josip's birthday party on Saturday, and that also seems to be impossible with me in bed. I don't want a big thing, just a little celebration with a few kids. For a few months now, Josip has been spending his mornings playing alone: me in bed, his brother in the kindergarten and daddy working, and I think he deserves a bit of birthday fun. Unfortunately, it seems that Gradiska has no organized B-day parties, so that we'll have to come up with something on our own.

In other news, Autumn has really kicked in - there are almost no leaves on the trees anymore. Only a week ago the walnuts in our yard were covered in a gorgeous yellow colour, but it's all on the ground now - a deep yellow carpet.

Here are some nice pics of the kids taken the other day.

četvrtak, 8. listopada 2009.

Today is the Croatian Independence Day, and I'm still in bed. The boys are playing in their room and Miro is shaving (yay:). The morning is slowly dragging along. We had some hot dogs for breakfast and I'm looking forward to my second cup of coffee in the day (my favourite one, the one that I sip, unlike the first one which goes down almost in one gulp).

The house is more or less "done", which only means that the work on the kitchen is over and the gas has been installed. Well, tomorrow is the day when the Gas people come and officially connect us to the town's installations. It has been a long process, and one I wouldn't like to go through in the near future. I can' t wait for the gas installation, because I need a shower!!! and there is no hot water in the house!

Last week my mom and dad visited us for the long weekend. That whole time I couldn't find the camera, because of the mess in the house, so that there is no record of them being here:(. However, we had a wonderful time. Josip was especially smitten with his "baka" (granny), as usual. On the day of their departure, we were looking at their car slowly disappearing on the freeway, and Josip said, 'What will they do without us? They love us so much, but they just need to go.' Needless to say, I felt heartbroken. I guess, as far as I'm concerned, I don't miss their company as much as I miss the possibility of dropping by occasionaly, when I feel like it.
Well, I shouldn't pretend to be tough.... I miss them.

Anyway, it's already evening andI should just post this. (Today my aunt Vesna started following this blog, and I welcome her, it's really nice to be in touch this way:)

Have a nice and relaxing evening all you lovely people:))

subota, 26. rujna 2009.

A lovely kitchen floor and a...Card?

The laminate floor is finally in place:)) Thanks to my husband's supernatural powers, the kitchen now looks like this:

And this...

The kitchen cabinets aren't yet in place, because we need some plumbing (and gas installing) to be done before we can do that. We did put in a few, just to see how it will look with the dark floor, and I think it looks amazing:))) The cabinets are kind of old looking, just the way I wanted them. My first choice was a pale green rustic kitchen, but since it was two times more expensive, we decided on this one. I have no regrets:)!!

The walls proved to be really crooked, and it seems the only way to really fix an old house like ours would be to scrape all the way to the bricks, make them bare and then add on whichever insulation and method you prefer. However, such a process would be very costly and loooong, so that, for now, we are very pleased with what we (ahem, Miro) accomplished.

Well, there is another very exciting thing happening on my blog: this is the first time that I'm 'publishing' my handmade card and linking it to any blog that's hosting a challenge. Of course, since Nina is my greatest inspiration and the woman who introduced me to the whole card making world (or paper creativity in general:), I am joining the Stamp TV's Color Combo Challenge that she is hosting (to use any shade of red; cream or white; kraft or sand; and chocolate brown). I am sooo excited about it. Here is my card:
It was very difficult to make it look like it looks in 'real life'. Even this one, that I ended up choosing, is not true to the original (e.g. you can't really see that the ribbon is of a cream colour). Buuuut, this is my first time ever, and I am super excited, nevertheless:))

Have a wonderful weekend, dear friends:)!

utorak, 22. rujna 2009.

Kitchen renovation is afoot

But my hands are still akimbo:) - Miro is doing all the work! Since we don't have any money left to pay 'real' craftsmen, my husband is being Jack of all trades, and so far it's really working well for him:) The kitchen is completely 'gutted', but alas! parts of the wall are also falling apart. I usually see this kind of thing on TV, and often there are several people working on it. Well, it just couldn't be done that way. Lord willing, Miro will finish plastering and leveling the wall by this evening, and we may even attempt to paint one of the walls. It is so ugly now, but I know it will be so lovely when it's done.

Hm, talk about a gutted kitchen...

In other news, my doctor's appointment went really well, that is to say that I haven't dilated any more. Praise the Lord for that!! The baby is really active and I can feel him kicking and moving almost all the time. This is how I look these days (corduroy pants are just wishful thinking, it's still too warm). I forgot to rotate it before, and don'tknow how to do it here:(

Jakov and Josip are busy outside. The corn field that is near our house is harvested and now we can see the railway!! It is such an amazing event for the kids, and I too love it how the scenery has completely changed all of a sudden.
There are many fruit trees in our garden, even some that I have no idea what they are. Do you?
There are also apples, pears, grapes and walnuts. The last few days there has been a light breeze in the mornings and late afternoons, and I really enjoy that. There is something so special about a soft breeze. My Croatian Bible translates the verse from the Genesis account (3:8) where it says that God walked in the cool of the day, as 'God walked in the breeze of the day'. Oh how gloriously that rings:), as the best possible part of the day.
Another great news is that my darling friend Nina, who is an amazing artist, became a Senior Designer for GinaK Designs. Wow! How wonderful! They are lucky to have her:))
Well, that's all for now. I'll see you soon with new pics of the kitchen;)!

ponedjeljak, 14. rujna 2009.

Wooziness, the residential hero, kitchen 'befores'

Well, I've spent most of the day in bed:(. I did work on translation in the morning, but then around 1 pm I just started feeling all weak and like I was going to faint. That's when Miro came home from his meeting and saved the day, as usual. After spending the whole morning in that meeting, he finished lunch, put the kids to bed, planted flowers in the garden, took great care of me (which included large amounts of chocolate) ...and still looks like a million dollars:))

There are so many things I would love to do now, so many little projects, some of which even have to do with Christmas - antebaby fever is shaking me strongly. So much nesting to do, and so little energy. My dr appointment is on Wednesday, and I'm really afraid that he's going to send me on STRICT bed rest. Oh no...
I thought that today might be a good day for my 'befores' - you can't do much when you're in bed all day long... please pray that this goes away, my family really needs me, especially when our kitchen looks like this (actually, the cabinets are new, but are waiting for the old ones to go out, which can't be done before a zillion other things get done):
The grey spot on the wall denotes the place where there used to be a door, but my crafty husband and our Master Fixer Charlie made it disappear.
Look at those old dingy kitchen cabinets...
and those HIDEOUS tiles!!!
Something radical must be done, don't you think?!?
This does seem like a horrific intro into our house make over:))) But, hang on, it might get worse - wait till we get to the bathroom!!!

subota, 12. rujna 2009.

A lazy Saturday morning in the Balint-Feudvarski home.. Unfortunately, it is mainly caused by Miro's toothache that kept him up most of the night. It's actually gums inflamation. Apparently, one of his wisdom teeth is pressing on another tooth and gums, causing terrible pain. He's on antibiotics now, but that doesn't seem to help much. It was hard waking up at night only to see him walking around the house or tossing and turning in bed.

My allergy is also acting up these days, worse than usual. Ever since the beginning of my pregnancy, I've had to sleep with my mouth open, because the nose is completely clogged. You don't want to know how the inside of my mouth looks like in the morning:)...yuck!!

However, we didn't let it bring us down. We had our coffee(s), had a wonderful breakfast with J&J, even worked on translation for a bit (Christology, as a part of the Systematic Theology for TBA in Krapina).

Speaking of J&J, they are outside, in the yard, along with half of the neighbourhood kids:) I am so glad Josip is out there, because lately he spends all his time at home, as if we should have named him Jakov (Jacob):))

Please pray for Jakov to make friends at the kindergaten. As usual, I am freaking out, thinking that nobody wants to play with him and that the boys are just pushing him away and... please pray for him, but also for me, that I stop thinking like that, because I know I can only hurt Jakov that way, and not help him.

As a family, we are going through Hebrews. Quite a bit to swallow for a 6 and (almost) 5 year old, but we have had so many glorious opportunities to talk about Jesus with them, it has been amazing. As they are memorizing the fruit of the Spirit, Miro and I are reminded of our own faults... nothing seems as humbling as teaching someone else something you are not obedient at. With kids it becomes so obvious that faith MUST be lived out, because otherwise it is no faith at all.
Well then, here is a nice photo of my two little sinners, making nasty faces:)))

Have a wonderful day, all over the world:)!

četvrtak, 10. rujna 2009.

It was never a custom of mine to make new decisions and resolutions at the beginning of the year, and I still can't get the hang of it. For me, the year used to begin in September. When school was starting. The whole year cycle had its beginning and end there - in that time of buying school stuff, getting new (no matter how second hand) books, the smell of classrooms, a new school bag, homework, socks... It was just the most special feeling in the world.

Back in those days I had no love for the "lightness" of Summer, "the livin' is easy..." mood; I only craved shawls and jumpers. And books, and long dark afternoons, and being deep about great matters of life:))).

Nowadays, things are a lot different, in the sense that I really love the Summer season, I love it when my kids get a lot of sunshine and when they get to swim and play on the beach, get all tanned and happy. But my feelings about the September never changed.

All this to say how happy I am that we are in this month of September, in the month of new beginnings, new smells and new decisiveness:). Maybe it doesn't seem like that, especially if you live in warm areas where Autumn just won't kick off, but it's there, just around the corner.

I hope I'll see you on a rainy afternoon, when the skies are terribly gloomy and the wind is blowing the rain in every direction (the most annoying kind:) and we'll run into a nice little cafe, take off our wet coats, have a warm cup of coffee and be merry.