Today was spring cleaning day at the Josiah Venture offices. This was a first for me, but it’s an annual event that’s actually on the schedule for us to clean anything and everything. For the international team, this not only includes our own offices, but also the garages (yes, plural) with tons of ministry materials that tend to get disorganized over the course of the year. I actually arrived late (shucks!) because Bethany had her last doctor’s appointment with her OBGYN. From now on she’ll be meeting with the doctors at the hospital that she’ll be delivering at because she’s officially in her 39th week! She’s only nine days away from her due date and we can’t wait to meet this little baby girl.
Speaking of baby girls, I got the above photo of Avery this evening as we were playing in the yard. She was just looking really cute and staring at me so I grabbed my iPhone and got this shot. Almost nightly we go outside and play, which usually means Titus and I play tennis, baseball, or basketball while Avery walks around picking daisies and telling me stories. Almost all of her stories involve animals of some kind, but I was surprised by tonight’s tale of “monsters all around.” She ended up giving me “monster powers” so I could fight all the monsters which turned in to Titus and turning our tennis rackets in to what I’ll describe not as guns, but as Ghostbuster-like weaponry (cause guns aren’t for kids, ya know). These kids never cease to crack me.
There is a dog that continues to come around the JV offices and she was there today was we were cleaning out everything. I believe she has an owner with a garage near ours, but almost every day since the cold left us she has been around. Often I found her chasing butterflies and just wandering around the office. She seems friendly and everyone has fun petting and playing with her, but I still feel at odds with her. I actually like dogs and grew up with many of them, but I can’t seem to commit to this dog. I foresee and ongoing saga on how I feel towards this canine, so you’ll have to stay tuned for that. In the above photo you can see her wandering through the grass.
I spent a lot of time tonight working on our taxes. I haven’t written much about it (or at all) on the blog, but we’ve been on the search for someone to help us with international tax law as things get really complicated when you move overseas. By God’s grace, one of our friends in the States was able to get us in contact with a guy who has 32 years of experience in taxes, along with a ton of clients who live overseas. I was able to speak with him on the phone tonight and we’re getting things moving which is great! Now you might be thinking that April 15 has already passed and we missed the deadline. Well, that’s actually a bonus of living overseas because we get an automatic extension. I’m really hoping our new tax guy can help us and get us all those wonderful deductions we cherish so much. He was really great on the phone and I’m excited to kind of get that stuff of my shoulders.
I’m still not feeling great and don’t have my sense of taste back. In fact, I actually had a lot of sinus pressure today that was really bothering me so that’s a bummer. If you think of us, continue to pray for health. The kids and Bethany seem to be recovering quickly but I trail behind still clinging to my box of Kleenex.
The inevitable appears to have happened: Bethany got sick. She woke up this morning feeling stuffy like the rest of us and now we’re hoping here super pregnancy hormones will allow her to bounce back faster than we are (I don’t know if that’s scientifically proven or possible, but I can dream right?). Needless to say with everyone hacking, sneezing, and sniffling we didn’t make it to church today. I took NyQuill last night and was out cold so even when I woke up I was pretty groggy. Bethany can’t take anything really because of the baby so again we’re just hoping she doesn’t get it as bad. To further complicate things, Avery threw up tonight at dinner which means she’s still battling. I ended up buying three boxes of tissues at the store last night and I’m pretty sure I already single-handedly used up a half a box. It’s just been one of those sick days that have become oh so common for us.
Something that’s kind of new for me is whenever I get sick I have been losing all sense of taste. I say new because it’s only really been in the past year or so that I’ve experienced this phenomena. I’m pretty sure it’s just related to how congested I am, but for the past three days I have been unable to taste anything. It’s very strange to bite in to a banana or eat a salad with dressing and taste nothing. My brain has the memory of what it should taste like, but there’s just nothing there. I hate it. You realize really quickly the incredible grace of God that exists in your sense of taste when you don’t have it anymore. God didn’t have to make food taste different. He could’ve just made it tasteless and only allowed food to give your nourishment. Instead He made food taste different and internationally we have some many different varieties to enjoy. That’s a grace of the Lord that I’m missing today.
We did manage to make it outside for a bit today. Titus and Avery love all the dandelions growing right now and at one point Titus just laid down in the long grass near the park where we walked to tonight. I took this photo of him because he looked so happy. It’s nice to see such joy in spite of sickness. That’s the heart I want to have right now. It truly remind me of the words of the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18. This is my prayer this evening,
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
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!
Above is a photo of me sleeping on the floor of my office today. I don’t remember a time in my life where I’ve done something like that, but I guess there’s always a first time for everything. The back story goes like this. I had a long meeting in the morning and got back to the office around 1:15pm. I hadn’t had any lunch, so a few of us went and grabbed some lunch. Upon returning I just didn’t feel well. I figured I would just go home, but the thought of driving for 30 minutes just didn’t sound possible considering how I was feeling. As soon as we walked back in to the office, I laid down on the ground and feel asleep for what I think was about 45 minutes. My body just basically shut down. During that time time, my teammate Daniel got this photo of me presumably because the thought it was just weird that I would fall asleep right there. I literally used my wallet as a pillow.
After my nap, I did feel well enough to get to the car and drive home. However, as soon as I got home I laid down and slept for another 2 hours. Titus ended up convincing Bethany to send me in some medicine because he thought it would instantly make me well enough to take him outside and play baseball. I took the medicine, but it definitely wasn’t enough to get me outside and on my feet. I feel completely and utterly exhausted even now.
Tonight we ended up taking a meal to one of our missionary friends and teammates, but while we were driving Titus said he was going to throw up. We pulled over and sure enough he took care of that in the parking lot of a grocery store. We honestly thought he was getting better even though he’s still really stuffed up, but I think we’re going to keep him out of school again tomorrow. Avery doesn’t seem to have it as bad as Titus and I, but she’s still battling something too. This really isn’t my favorite time to be sick with Bethany so close to her due date. We’re in that place where anything could happen and my hope would be that we could all feel better before that baby arrives. Not only do I not want to be sick when the baby comes (simply because that’s usually not good for babies), but I also want to be well enough to help with all the other details. Lord willing, we’ll be healthy and ready but even if that doesn’t happen we’ll just have to figure out how to respond well.
Our streak is over. It’s been about two months since we’ve been sick, but it all came back the last couple days. No doubt that is the longest health streak we’ve had since arriving in Czech, so that’s a blessing.
The sickness started with Titus on Sunday night and has worked it’s way through the family with only one survivor at this point and that’s Bethany. I’m not complaining. This seems like a normal sickness, maybe like a cold which has given Titus, Avery, and me runny noses, congestion, and soar throats. The only bummer is that last night Titus woke up in the middle of the night throwing up in his bed which severely alters any kind of sleep pattern a human might have. All I remember doing is take the sheets on his bed and putting them in the washer–beyond that it’s anyone’s guess. It was almost cruel for Bethany to ask me today if I had put both his top sheet and fitted sheet in there (she didn’t want to have to reach in and see, which makes sense). But who is going to remember that!? I’m pretty sure I slept through most of the event.
Needless to say I’m a little tired this evening. The kids are stuffy and fussy. And Bethany is just flat out ready to get that baby out and not be sick in the process. We’re mostly in good spirits, but I think we’ll be battling this sickness for a few days. Despite this, I did manage to make it to the grocery store tonight for food and Titus and I took out the recycling (shown above) which was getting full. Beyond that we haven’t done much else. I was at the JV office most of the day since I’m not as a sick as usual, but we’ll just have to see how the rest of the week goes. I’ve actually got an important meeting in the morning and I’m hoping to get a good night’s sleep tonight and feel better tomorrow. I’m doing my best to take as much zinc as I can in hopes of reducing the amount of time I’m sick as well as the symptoms. Again, I’m hopeful this too will work!
That’s all for this Wednesday. It’s time to put the kids to bed and I’m going to try to be close behind them. Good night!