Avery tried to eat a Czech crown today. Thankfully it was the smallest coin of the lot, but in her attempt to do so it caused her to throw up…all over our bed. Avery has been sick like the rest of us, and kind of like me, she’s slow to recover. I realize she’s only three years old, but when she gets sick it lingers. Today she found a little pile of coins on my night stand (I will often empty my pockets at night and leave coins there) and in the process just decided to see what it would taste like. As Bethany describes it, Avery immediately threw up and then told Bethany, “I ate the money! I ate the money!” and then it actually came out the second time she threw up just a few seconds later. Thankfully she didn’t swallow it and her body did what it was supposed to do–that is, reject foreign objects. Bethany gave her a bath afterward and she seemed to be feeling better. Crisis avoided, I guess. Well, at least the first one.
Later today, Avery was napping and Titus was having “rest time” after he had come home from school. Sometimes Titus will nap in our room while Avery naps in their room because it’s just easier for Avery to fall asleep. Titus doesn’t nap every day, but we still like him to have a little rest time even if he doesn’t fall asleep, which was exactly the case today. Bethany was in the living room when she heard a crash in the bedroom and upon arrival there Titus was sitting on the bed with a broken glass picture frame. It had begun to rain hard this afternoon and he got up to look out the window and when he did that he knocked the picture frame on to the floor, thus breaking the glass, but then he decided it pick it up (yes, even the broken glass) and put it on the bed. When Bethany got there he was crying, not because he was hurt (thankfully), but because he was sad about breaking it. He said to her, “Mommy, I’m sorry. I’m sorry!” She told him she didn’t care about the frame but wanted to make sure he was OK. He was and all was alright. I think it was just shortly after this event that I received a text from Bethany which read, “It’s been a rough day. Do you know when you’re leaving?” (as in, when I would be leaving the JV offices). I left the office soon after and came home.
Bethany is 39 weeks pregnant and she’s been pretty uncomfortable the past few days. Today was hard on her, but she still amazes me with her attitude in the midst of it. She wasn’t complaining when I came home, but just mostly tired and in need of help. I did my best to pick up the house and help get things cleaned up (including the glass) but my job was so minimal compared to hers today. I tried to explain this to Titus tonight when he wanted to play with me. I said, “Buddy, mommy has been taking care of you and Avery all day and now she needs our help. We need to work and help her and then if we have time we can do something else.” The kids did help me. They picked up different things and Titus helped me vacuum. They also recognize when mommy needs help, even though they don’t always know what that looks like.
Thank you, wife, for always being an example to me of godly character in the midst of life’s chaos.
It was another day of sickness and lots of sleep. Not only did I sleep in today, but I ended up taking two naps, both of which were more than two hours in length. Avery, Titus, and I continue to hack and cough while sharing the Kleenex box which is running low. Thankfully, Bethany has been able to stay healthy thus far although she said she’s a little worried she might be sick by tomorrow. This is our life and for me it feels like I’ve written this same blog many times before.
Bethany has gone in to full “nesting” mode. I asked her today if pregnancy nesting was scientifically proven and she affirmed it so it must be true (plus, I’m pretty sure it’s scientifically proven that challenging a pregnant woman is unwise). This has happened with all of our kids, but right before she’s about to give birth (either a few days or weeks before), Bethany gets a little crazy with getting things organized, purchased, or whatever else may be required. With Titus I vividly remember running around Sears trying to find a new dishwasher for our house. Bethany was dead set on having a new dishwasher before that baby came. That same night she ended up going in to labor. I don’t remember the specifics for when Avery was born, but I think it had something to do with Christmas decorations or cleaning the house. For the past few days it’s been a bunch of the same.
Today she really wanted to make sure we went to the mall and got a few things that we’ve been needing. Even though I’m sick, we packed in to the car and off we went (I should be clear that she didn’t force me–I went of my volition). She also followed up on a tax accountant in the U.S. to help us with international tax law. She was working with the kids to make sure they cleaned up the living room and got things organized. She did all the dishes. She got a box out of the garage with baby clothes that she’s been wanting to loan to another family (which I hand delivered today). Earlier this week we were reorganizing our bedroom, throwing out old clothes, and even taking things down to the basement storage. Maybe some of these things sound normal to you, but I’m telling you things have ramped up around here. At one point she asked me if I wanted her to drive the car because I wasn’t feeling well and I told her I was too scared of her driving us because of her super nesting mode she’s in. Her response, “We gotta get this stuff done.” Yes, mam!
It’s weird that Saturday feels like Thursday. I’ve been thrown off with the days all week because the conference started on Wednesday night and the days have been full. Today was probably the fullest day yet, but it was another good one!
Today was just non-stop with two main session in the morning. During the first session this morning our friend Tanya Miller who serves in Poland did this incredible recitation of Scripture called The History of Redemption in which she literally was just quoting a series of Bible verses for at least twenty minutes straight, all set to music and accompanying artwork. It was a very moving and rich time of just listening to God’s Word being recited. The verses are all organized in such a way that it goes from Creation to Revelation and walks through the redemption story. Towards the end when she was reciting from Revelation I’m not sure there was a dry eye in the room including her own. It was an incredible thing to witness and both Bethany and I were in awe of the amount of work that must have taken, but more importantly with the truth of the Scripture.
After lunch today I went from rehearsal to a meeting and then to a larger “Communications” meeting that I spoke at. As the director of the communications team for JV I got the opportunity to speak to a number of different communication areas and get the whole JV family excited about different things we’re working on and serving them in. I had fun with them and hopefully they enjoyed the meeting and left with a few things that are helpful to them in the future.
Tonight we had a special worship night in the big tent that we’re meeting in and I again had the privilege of playing the drums and being part of leading people in song. It was a family-focused event and so all the kids were with us and I got the above photo of them singing and playing in the front of the room near the stage. A little later they all congregated on the actual stage and we sang worship songs that were for kids and then for everyone. It was a sweet time tonight and I had a lot of fun.
Bethany has been having a lot more discomfort today than previous days in this pregnancy. She has been an absolute trooper with taking care of the kids and other things while I have been involved with various things at this conference. I have been so impressed with her this week and she heart has not been one of complaint. She’s a model of sacrificial love to both me and the kids and that couldn’t have been more true than today.
I really haven’t had much sleep this week, but I believe the Lord has really sustained me and given me the energy needed to serve the Josiah Venture family this week. It was one of my joys to serve and support others and I have been blessed this week just to be part of the conference. I go to bed tired tonight but hopefully that’s because I spent my energy on others and not on my self. As I’ve heard said by others, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.”
After 3 days away in Krakow, Bethany came back today around 4pm to the delight of the kids and me. I did my best to have the house clean and ready for her return because well, I think that’s some kind husband law. We actually left the house shortly after she arrived to take the kids to play, so I enjoyed hearing about her time with the ladies. They did a study through the book of Job on “Doing Hard Things Well” and Bethany was blessed. She also told me that the weather was pretty wild today in Poland with wind, rain, sleet, and snow coming down as they were trying to grab lunch and leave town. It’s never easy being pregnant and walking through an old city when its cold and miserable. Thankfully they all made it home safe and we’re happy to have mommy back!
Speaking of the weather, it’s been a little wild here in Czech. This afternoon we saw rain and hail, but tonight there were crashes of lightning, thunder, and heavy rains as we were getting the kids ready for bed. Like yesterday it was pretty gloomy and cold today, but the sun broke through late in the day and gave us a wonderful view from our kitchen. Above is a fifteen second timelapse video I did, but it’s actually tewnty minutes of footage that has been condensed down.
Before Bethany came home today we had some unexpected visitors. Zach and Kara stopped by late this morning because they were in town for a Czech conference. I actually didn’t know they were going to be in town, but it was nice to see them for a short time this morning. They moved to Prague late last year and they used to be only about twenty minutes from us. They brought the kids some chocolate and treats and even a few things for Bethany and me, so that was fun. One thing they brought are these caramel wafers that melt in your tea or coffee…mmm…can’t wait to try those. And with that, I’m out!
Bethany and I both agree that this has been the longest week, or at least it feels like it is never ending. Maybe it’s because we have basically slept for half of the normal waking hours and our schedules have just been way off, but whatever the reason it’s felt like the last five days were equal to a month’s worth of time.
Tonight I feel like I might be over the hump of the worst sickness. By no means have I reached the bottom of the hill, and I’ve been genuinely surprised how long it has taken me to recover. Through all the sleeping, the intake of juice and liquids, and now antibiotics I’ve still had a rough day today which included a new addition of a headache most of the day. My voice is still a little raspy from all the congestion, but I’m hopeful that another good night of sleep tonight will bring it back.
Despite all the sickness, I think we’re doing alright thanks to God’s grace which was seen this week through my wife. Bethany has been incredible even when I’ve literally just been stuck in bed for three or four hours during the day. She has made us meals, worked with the kids, done the dishes, done laundry, taken Titus to school, picked him up, and all this while being pregnant and even sick herself! I don’t remember her complaining (although I’m sure in her humility she’ll contest that statement). I’m constantly amazed at her and her willingness to lay down herself for me and our family. She is an example to me of someone who loves Christ more than her own life because I see it in her example to us and her faith. I write this tonight as way of building her up and in the vein of Proverbs 31:28, “Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her” (my emphasis). As sick as I’ve been this week, I really don’t know what we would’ve done without her self-sacrifice. I have more than once this week been reminded in my own heart of the vow we made, “…in sickness and in health…” and that Bethany is a woman of her word. Thank you, wife, for your love and care of this broken man. I love you. You are a helper suitable and I am blessed beyond words to call you my wife.