Wednesday, August 12, 2015

So, it has been a long time since I have blogged.  Ok, it has been a VERY LONG time.  Life gets busy.  I have all intentions of writing something, but it never happens.  I am a horrible blogger.  Yep, I admit it.  However, today I am going to catch everyone up on what has been going on in the Redmond house and at ESUMC Prague.  Hold your hats.... is going to be a long one....

Since my last post was in February (GASP!), there have been a lot of things that have happened.  I will give you an outline and then give you some more details about the important stuff.

March -- Not sure what happened in March.  It was too long ago.  :-)


  • Bed Bugs - We found out we had bed bugs after John got bit at night.  The flat had to be sprayed.  In order for the bugs to die, they had to walk through the spray.  In order for the bugs to come out, we had to be the bait.  Fun times!  Oh, I couldn't clean the floor or vacuum for 27 days.  Nice clean fun! 

  • Trip to the States:  We were able to take a wonderful trip to the states on April 7th.  We were there for a month and had a wonderful time with friends and family.  It was just what we needed to rejuvenate us.

  • Visits with friends:  After coming back from the States, we were able to go to Salzburg, Austria to meet up with the wonderful Hawkins family.  We had fun touring Salzburg in the rain.  It was only one day, but we had the best time.  Also, I was able to meet up with a former student of mine in Prague.  We only met for 30 minutes or so, but it was so sweet to see Faith Cambron again.  She has grown up to be such a wonderful woman of God.  I am so grateful for the opportunities to see the people you love.

  • Class, Conference, and Camping:  John was gone from home a lot in June.  He is currently taking online classes in Theology and has to meet with his class.  So he met with them in Germany for a week.   He also had to go to the annual conference in Slovakia.  Fortunately, after him being gone, we were able to go camping with the families from our Mom's club.  It was fun!  

  • We MOVED:  In between John going to Germany and going camping, we moved to a new flat.  We are so fortunate to have more space and a balcony now!  We are so excited to be in the new flat and look forward to having groups over for bible study and fellowship.

July (CRAZY, but fun month)

  • Mission Teams:  In July, we had many mission teams come to visit us.  It has been a revolving door!  One time, John brought a group back to the airport, and an hour later, he picked up another group.  Here is how July went...
  1. Seth O Kegley came to help us with music.  We had fun showing him around town and getting to know him.  
  2. Sam Barnett and group came for a couple of days before they went to another town for baseball camp.  We were able to show them around Prague and went to Dresden, Germany for a day.
  3. Our family went to Brno for a week to help with VBS.  We had so much fun with the entire group, especially Jana, Betty, and Deban.
  4. When we got back, a group of guys came for a week to help do construction on our sanctuary.  They had fun tearing down walls and getting it ready to paint.  We hope to make the sanctuary a multi purpose room for the church services, Mom's club, and community events.
  5. As soon as they left, a mission group came to have VBS at our church.  The first day we had only Ada and Eli.  It was a little depressing.  However, as always, God provided.  By the end of the week, I think we had about 15 kids.  It was amazing.  We were able to become friendly with a Vietnamese family that owns a local shop near the church.  We invited them to come to VBS. Not only did their two girls come, but they also brought their cousin and a friend.  It was wonderful to see God moving that week.On Saturday, we have another mission group coming to help us at ESUMC Prague.  They will be working on the sanctuary.
  6. On Saturday, we have another mission group coming to help us at ESUMC Prague.  They will be working on the sanctuary.

    • The ALPS:  Just the other week, John and I were able to go to the Alps for a much needed break.  It was BEAUTIFUL!  I will have to post some pictures.  Hopefully some of you saw them on Facebook.  It was amazing to see God's gorgeous masterpiece.

    • School:  Next week, I will be starting in-service at the Christian International School of Prague (CISP).  Yes, I will be teaching again!  I will be teaching 3rd grade.  Life is going to be a bit different!  We are excited about the change.  Eli will be starting 1st grade at CISP.  He is excited since he didn't really have the Kindergarten experience here.  School officially starts in 1st grade, so this will be his first year of "real" school.  Ada will continue to go to Czech kindergarten (preschool) for one more year.  
    So, I think I have caught you up on the important things that have happened in our lives.  Unfortunately, I don't have all my photos uploaded on to my computer.  I hope to post pictures soon, but if you can't wait until my next post (who knows when that will be), you can see some on my Facebook page.

    Monday, February 23, 2015

    Holidays: Part 2

    I am horrible at blogging!  My mom even told me so.

    I am not sure if it is because I am afraid to tell everyone how I feel or afraid that people will critique every word and sentence I write.  Either way, I have fallen short on this thing called a blog.  I hope that I will get better at writing on here.  No more excuses...

    On to the holidays...

    Thanksgiving:  I know... Thanksgiving comes before Christmas.  I can't believe that I forgot to include it in my other post.  We had a wonderful Thanksgiving this year.  Although we couldn't be with family, we were definitely surrounded by lots of friends.  My friend Kenna and I cooked all day long.  I think we had enough mashed potatoes to feed an army.  We were so blessed to be able to spend Thanksgiving with some new Czech friends.  Many of my Czech friends had never experienced Thanksgiving before.  It was great when they tried the new foods and found it funny how we gorge ourselves on Thanksgiving.  Along with the new friends, we were able to spend some time with some old friends.  (Not old in age, just old in time that I have known them.)  My friend Brian Zajick and his family came to spend Thanksgiving with us.  I have known Brian since I was born.  Our families are long-time friends.  Growing up, our families would get together for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  The holidays were never the same when we moved from Richmond, VA (where we all lived) to Tennessee.  Since Brian, his wife, and 3 children live in Germany, they made the 5 hour trip to see us.  Brian and I had not seen each other in over 20 years!!!  It was fun to see them.  Plus, our kids became good friends.  Eli, Ada, and Gabe play games over the internet together.

    That is Brian holding me when I was just 10 days old. 


    After a wonderful Christmas, John, Eli, and Ada and I went to Cerny Dul, CZ.  We stayed in a nice hotel in the mountains.  It was beautiful!  There was snow everywhere.  We actually had to leave the car that we rented at the base of the mountain.  The owners of the hotel had to pick us up and drive us up the mountain in a Land Rover with chains on the tires.  We were definitely in a winter wonderland.   We had planned to go to Poland to get some Polish pottery after our trip since we were near the border.  However, I got sick the last night we were there and spent the night in the bathroom.  Fun times!

    On New Years, John and the kids went to see the fireworks in Prague.  I stayed home recovering from the stomach bug.  The kids loved the fireworks!  Our friend, Celieta, who took our Christmas photos, took a picture of the fireworks.  She gave us a magnet to put on the fridge so we will always remember the beauty that night.

    After New Years, we got back into the swing of every day life.  I must admit, it was a little depressing.  The beautiful Christmas markets were no longer full of life in the squares around town.  The lights were taken down.  Prague in January is overcast and cloudy.  However, we pressed on and looked forward to the days ahead.

    Sunday, January 25, 2015

    Holidays: Part 1

    I realize that it has been several months since I have blogged.  Goodness!  Time just flies by.  I'll give you a quick lowdown on what has been happening here in the Czech Republic.

    Holidays:  One thing that is great about living in a different country is that you get to celebrate a ton of holidays!  Since my last blog, we had Halloween (US), St. Martin's Day (CZ), Thanksgiving (US), St. Nicholas Day(CZ), Christmas Eve (US/CZ), Christmas Day (US/CZ), St Stephen's Day (CZ), New Year's Day (US/CZ), Restoration of the Czech Independence Day (CZ), and Three Kings Day (CZ).  I am sure I forgot one or two.  Some of these holidays we celebrated with friends, and some we just recognized, but didn't do anything to celebrate.

    Halloween was special mainly because the kids wanted to go trick or treating.  Since they really don't celebrate it here, the kids were disappointed that they wouldn't be able to go trick or treating.  Our new friends really made trick or treating special.  The University students that live behind our building got candy and allowed us to walk through the dormitory and trick or treat.  They did it only for our two kids.  Talk about a Halloween we will never forget!

    We loved going on a lantern parade with the kids from our Mom's club for St. Martin's Day.  Each child held a paper lantern and we walked through their village.  At the end, we lit the Chinese lanterns that floated up into the air.  We have really been blessed with wonderful friends through the Mom's Club.

    We also got to experience eating baked goose for the first time.   It is suppose to be eaten on St. Martin's Day to get you "fattened up" for the winter months ahead.

    St. Nicholas Day was a little different.  I had gotten sick so we couldn't go and spend time with our Mother's club friends and celebrate.  However, we need to do a little shopping for some necessities.  While we were out and about, we saw some young adults and teenagers dressed up as St. Nicholas, an angel, and a devil.  They usually go around Prague and hand out candy to the children.  My kids liked getting the candy.  It was interesting because we kept seeing angels that looked like they had come from Victoria Secret or something.  They left no room for imagination.  John and I kept saying that you wouldn't see something like that in America.  :-)

    Christmas Eve and Christmas were bittersweet.  We definitely enjoyed spending time with friends here, but we missed our friends and family back in the states.  We did however spend Christmas Eve with some friends that killed a carp in their bathtub.  A big tradition in the Czech Republic is to have carp at Christmas time.  Many people buy carp from the guy selling it on the side of the road.  They take it home and let it swim in the bathtub for a couple of days.  Then, they kill it and eat it.  We arrived to late to see the actual killing of the carp, but we got to see the blood in the bathtub.  It definitely was interesting.  The carp tasted pretty good since it was fried and had plenty of seasoning on it!!!
     Here are the guys selling carp on the side of the street.

    More holiday fun to be continued....

    Tuesday, October 28, 2014

    A Long Overdue Update

    I realize that it has been over a month since I have blogged.  Goodness!  My hope was to write every week.  This blog is mostly for friends, family, and churches that support us.  I want to keep you updated so that you know what is going on in our lives.  I am so sorry that I have fallen behind on my blogs, but I am sure you will understand why.

    Life in Prague has been busy!  We are definitely in the "swing of things".  Every week we have a Sunday service, Mom's Club on Tuesdays, and fellowship with the University students on Thursdays.  Of course in between those activities, we are getting ready and preparing for those activities.  Don't forget every day life!  Laundry has been a challenge since I can only dry three loads at a time. I only have three drying racks!   If I forget to do the laundry, it takes me awhile to catch back up.  Also, grocery shopping is a whole other topic!  Having a small refrigerator and no car makes grocery shopping a little difficult.  If I can't carry it, I can't buy it.  Many times I will need something, but I will have to wait until another time to return to the store.  I just can't carry it all.  Oh, add in the 101 steps to our flat.  Goodness!  I should have buns of steel by now.

    A couple of weeks ago, the newness of Prague started to wear off.  I am getting homesick more often.  I miss tons of people from home.  I miss going over to a friends house to talk about motherhood and eat her delicious cooking.  I miss running with my running buddy.  I miss going on the Creeper trail and enjoying nature.  I miss sitting on our back porch and looking at the mountains.  I desperately miss my dog, Lucy.  I know my parents are taking great care of her, but I still miss her like crazy.  As you can see, I miss a lot of things from back in the states.  It has caused me to cry at various times.  I struggle with the tight quarters of our flat and living in a city.  We do not get to go to the Charles Bridge or the astronomical clock very often.  Our neighbourhood consists of trash on the street, graffiti on the walls, and some very unhappy people.  Get on a bus and you will know what I mean.  People here rarely smile, and everyone is silent on the bus.  I need smiles.  I need laughter.

    Also, I had a hard time with all the things that I needed to be doing.  I am taking an online TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) class.  I have not been working on it as diligently as I should.  Also, I feel like I am falling behind on teaching the kids English.  There is just so much to do in the day.   A couple of weeks ago,  I was feeling stressed and overwhelmed.  Not a good feeling!

    I had a hard couple of days, and things got a little worse.  John came home two weeks ago after playing football or "soccer".  He hobbled in the door with a sprained ankle.  After a couple of days of keeping it elevated, John went to a doctor.  They put his ankle / leg in a cast.  The cast goes all the way to his knee.  The doctor said that he could not put weight on it for 5 weeks!  Talk about a hardship!  We have 101 stairs to go up and down to get into our flat and no elevator.  So, as I missed home and was frustrated and overwhelmed, I now had to take care of John and the kids.   It has been hard to do everything.  It has also been frustrating for John.  He can't get up to do anything either.  As you know, John is a very active guy.  Sitting in a chair all day for several days is not his idea of fun.

    Fortunately, John goes to the doctor on Friday.  We are hopefully that he will have the cast taken off and that he will be able to start walking around.  At the last visit to the doctor last week, the doctor had said that perhaps he would start physical therapy next week.  We are very hopeful for a speedy recovery.

    As I have gone through this time of frustration and sadness, I realize that I need to focus on the gifts that our Creator has given us.  It is so easy to live in the past.  I miss so many things, but it does nothing for me to dwell on the things that I left behind.  Instead, I need to focus on the wonderful things that God has put in our lives.  My plan is to start a gratitude journal.  I think if my focus is on God, His greatness, His faithfulness, and His love for me, then missing the things from the states won't make me as sad.  I think it is ok to grieve over the things that I have lost, but it can't consume me.  I need to be grateful for the many wonderful things in Prague.  I am thankful for the Vietnamese man at the local potraviny (store) who smiles and gives my kids candy.  I am thankful for the new friends that I have met.   I am thankful for the bible study that I attend with women from the United States that are there for me to encourage me when I am down.  Like I said, there is so much for which to be grateful.

    Please continue to pray for our family during this time.  We are so grateful for your prayers!!!

    Tuesday, September 16, 2014

    Sunday Services, School, and our Shipment

    There are so many days that I want to sit down and blog about everything that we are experiencing. However, there are many things that have been happening, and I don't have the time to write. Here is a short synopsis of some of the exciting things that have happened in the past weeks...

    On Sunday afternoons at 4pm, we have our worship services. We have been fortunate to have 8-12 people attend each service. John is new to being a pastor and preaching every Sunday. Plus, we are new at leading an entire service. There have been a few hiccups with the computer and slide shows, but overall we have been able to worship the Lord with gladness. It is always exciting to see the different faces that show up on Sunday afternoon. There are the regulars and then the people just passing through. No matter if they come every Sunday or if they are new, it is great to fellowship with other believers.

     Eli and Ada started Kindergarten/Preschool on September 1st. In the Czech Republic, they do not officially start school until 1st grade. So, both Eli and Ada are attending a Kindergarten that is really like a preschool. They go from 8am-12:30pm. They can stay all the way up until 5:30pm, but I figure that a half day is enough. They only speak Czech at this school. There are a few teachers that know a little English, so that is a blessing. They have someone come in to teach the kids a little English and German, but I don't think it will be much. So, I plan to teach Eli and Ada English in the afternoons. I will start "English Homeschooling" in October. Right now things are still crazy with getting settled... 

    It seems that Eli and Ada like school. The first week was a little difficult. The first couple of days the kids loved school. Ada was a little chatterbox after the first day. I think they really wanted to play with other kids their age. After a couple of days, Ada started crying and said that she did not want to go to school. I think this was mostly because she missed me. Eli and Ada have been with me since the end of May. If we were in the US, I think we would have had the same problem. It does make it difficult that everyone at the school speaks Czech. However, the kids have already picked up a few Czech words. I won't be surprised if they speak Czech by the end of the year.

    Surprisingly, many of the parents have reached out to us! There is one father of a child in Ada's class that speaks English. (I think he is British.) I have not met him yet, but he sent his business card home with Ada. I have emailed him, and we plan to get our families together sometime soon. Yesterday, a mom started talking to me in English. She said if I needed anything to call her. So far, everyone has been pleasant to us. We are very thankful!!! Someday I will have to blog about the difference between Czech Kindergarten and US preschool. It is very different!

    (The new foot attire you have to wear inside the building.)


    We received our shipment from the United States last week!!! We were so excited to have our things. It felt like Christmas. It made me smile to unpack our everyday dishes. It seems like little things make me happy. I am so glad to be using more than 4 plates a day. The only sad thing is that some of my baking pans do not fit in the oven and some of our pans are too big for the stove. Oh, well. I am just glad that our things made it over the ocean.

    Friday, September 5, 2014

    Mom's Club Garden Party

    Last week, we were invited to a "garden party" hosted by some of the moms in the Mom's Club at ESUMC Prague.  We were excited to meet some of the moms that we will be working with this year.  We had met some of them when we came in April to visit Prague and see if we wanted to move here.  I was eager to see how Eli and Ada would get along with the other children.

    To get to the garden party, we had to take a train out of town.  Eli was thrilled to ride the train.  He had never been on a train before.  One of our friends had written down in Czech what tickets we would need.  That way if the person at the ticket counter would understand us even if they didn't know English.  Of course, the lady at the counter didn't know English, so I just showed her my little piece of paper.  She gave us some tickets and we were ready to go.  With about 10 minutes until the train was to arrive, we tried to figure out to which platform to go.  We could not figure it out.  We finally asked a young lady if she new English.  When she told us where to go, she said our train would come in 30 minutes.  The train we were suppose to take was to come in 8 minutes or so.  It took us a little time (and a little arguing between John and I) to figure out that the ticket lady gave us the wrong tickets!  With 4 minutes left, we hurried to the ticket desk.  With some gesturing and pointing, she realized she had made a mistake.  She quickly gave us new tickets, and we ran to catch the train.  They only give you 1 minute to board the train.  As we got to the platform, the train arrived!  Whoo!  We just made it in time.

    The train ride was fun.  The train was a double decker so we rode on the top level.  The kids loved it. The view was beautiful as we watched the countryside roll by.  When we arrived at the train stop, one of the moms met us at the train stop.  She drove us to her house in the little village in which she lived.  It was great to be in a house again.  It really made me miss our house in Virginia.

    We spend the majority of our time at the house talking and eating.  It was so nice to talk to other moms in English.  All the moms were great!  I can see myself becoming friends with them quickly.  They were also able to answer my questions like... Where do I get good quality clothes for the kids?  Where do I buy inexpensive, but good quality shoes?  The moms were so supportive and kind. The kids also had lots of fun playing outside.  Eli was able to play with a wooden sword and shield.  Ada found a new friend close to her age.

    One of the highlights was eating dinner.  Our hosts had a swiss grill.  It is called a Raclette grill.  It was awesome.  As you can see in the picture, you can grill veggies and meat on top and cheese on the bottom.  We seriously are thinking of buying one.

    We ate for a couple of hours just snacking on different types of cheese (some were stinky cheese!), veggies, and chicken.  It was definitely relaxing and enjoyable.  We felt right at home.  They truly knew how to make us feel welcome.

    I can't wait until the end of September when we meet again.

    Tuesday, August 26, 2014

    The Ministry and Randomness

    I just put the kids to bed, and there is plenty to do. I need to clean the dishes, do some laundry, and take a shower.  I am trying to get use to the small water heater in the flat.  I have not had my shower today because there was no hot water at the time I wanted to take one.  I have to be strategic in my planning when it comes to the water.  (I know you needed to know that pointless fact. :-)

    I thought I would write a quick post and update you on the latest with our ministry.  I know that all of my posts have been about living in Prague, but I would like to update you on the real reason we are here.  We have not had a real church service yet.  John's first service will be on Sunday. (Please say a prayer for him as he prepares.)  He is very excited, but nervous at the same time.  Everything is new so it is quite overwhelming.  Up until now, we have had a couple of meetings and a devotion.  It has been great to get to know the members of the church.  The hard thing is that it is August, and everyone goes on vacation in August.  So, hopefully, we will have more people attend Sunday afternoon service once September arrives.  I'll have to blog again to let you know how our first church service goes.

    Tomorrow, we go to visit with the moms that are in the mom's group at the church.  We are going to what they call a "garden party."  We have to take a train to get to the house, so it will be fun for the kids.  I am looking forward to getting to know the other moms and make some friends.

    Monday, the kids start school!  It seems like the adjustments never end.  I think the kids are excited.  I am excited for them to make some friends.  They play together pretty well, but they have more arguments recently.  I know I am ready to have a little break from them.  :-)

    I know this post is a little random, so I will leave you with another pointless fact.  Did you know that over in the Czech Republic, they individually wrap their chicken hot dogs in plastic?  Neither did I!  I actually thought that the plastic was just a hard casing. (They came in a normal hot dog package.)The hot dogs were hard to cut and difficult to chew.  Even little Ada at some too.  I realised my mistake when we bought a different brand of hot dogs that had writing on the plastic around the hotdog.  Oops!