Sunday, May 13, 2007

Lingering Spring

I can’t believe that it has been almost a year since I have updated here. There is so much that has happened. One of the more significant events in my life is the fact I lost 50 lbs this past year and am feeling so healthy and enriched because of the change in my body as well as my heart. It is amazing what being healthy can do for one’s attitude and view on life.

Timothy and Abigail continue to grow at such a rapid pace, I want to slow time down and grasp each moment as it comes. Abby has become a blond headed princess, doted on by everyone who meets her. Tim is tall and strong, healthy despite his periodic bouts with Asthma. He loves to run and play and frequently knocks his little sister over in his exuberance. Life is a book to him, each page opening to find new worlds to explore, new experiences to walk through, with every new aspect greeted by a thousand questions. “What is that mama? What does that do? Where are we going? When will we get there?” It is a nonstop monolog of questions, interrupted by a few replies from his parents. Because Tim has some problems hearing, due to large gland’s blocking his ear canal, his questions are twice as loud as a normal child’s, a fact which draws attention to us when we ride on public transport.

I quit work at the International Clinic to stay home full time with the children. They are plenty of work wrapped up in two bundles of energy. I struggled, however, with the sudden decrease in interaction with other adults and found myself discouraged during the long dark winter, hungering for fellowship with other women. It continues to be a large area I miss in my life. I feel isolated from the world, lonely at times. It is during these times that the Lord reaches out to me and reminds me that he is ever near – and that fellowship with him is sweetest of all. As the summer months approach and we are able to get out of the apartment more frequently, the children and I spend up to two hours a day walking, playing, and roller-blading in our courtyard or nearby parks.

Golden sunlight streams through our window at 5 am in the morning now and doesn’t stop till 10 pm. The long days of spring are upon us. This is the time I love most in our city, when twilight lingers for hours as the sun slowly dips below the horizon to rise again in a few hours. Plants grow madly in the long days, and couples can be seen strolling the along the canal till late at night, enjoying the golden glow. Children play in the courtyard until well past their bedtime – a constant arguing point with Tim – and boats with loads of tourists prowl the canals. Tim, like the sun, is getting up earlier and earlier – I’m threatening to put black paper over his windows so he won’t get up at 4 am later this spring. Life slows down, and we all enjoy the beauty of this time of year.

Please pray for Aaron and Kelly as they continue to work on starting their business. Our family will have to make a decision within the next month or so on whether we are to stay in Russia or return home. It was our hope that the business would be started by the end of this month, but it looks like there are some delays to expect. Our resources are dwindling so we need to know for certain if the business will start soon or not.

Continue to pray for my sister Rebbecca as well. She is battling for her life with bone cancer and is one of the bravest persons I know.

Blessings and in His Love


Saturday, July 29, 2006

Under the summer sun...

It is late at night and I am weary, but determined. It has been a long time since I’ve updated my journal and things are happening fast and furious. I feel out of touch with many of you and I am sure you feel the same with me.

Aaron and I returned to Russia following our visit with my sister and family. Before long we were off to celebrate Aaron’s brother’s wedding in Slovakia. We spent a wonderful 10 days celebrating with friends and family – taking a side trip to Prague and Vienna. So much rich culture and history in these ancient cities! Prague was breathtakingly beautiful with its cobblestone streets and towering cathedrals. Massive thundershowers dumped periodic bucket-loads of rain on hot tourists and shop keepers alike, while gargoyles spewed the rain off steep roofs onto passersby below. Vienna was prim and proper, with its streets laid out in perfect order with neatly trimmed gardens and lovely lily pad draped fountains. The lilting tones of Mozart and other famous composers could be heard piped into the gardens near the town center. Dear Abby and Tim were dragged from one amazing site to the next. Tim walked for miles with little complaining, eager to take in the new sites, sounds, and tastes of the world around him.

Back in Slovakia we stalked the halls of an ancient castle where the Hungarian kings once held sway over vast tracts of land. And we ate, and ate, and ate some more. Our Slovakian hosts (Danka’s Parents) fed us till we couldn’t move. I tried, probably for the first and last time in my life, Absinthe liqueur, one of the highest proof alcohols sold. Tasted like bitter mint mouthwash with a major kick. Two sips was enough! 

Beautiful memories made with beautiful friends, a time we will never forget. Our prayer for John and Danka as we left them was that they would find the beauty and love of a Christ centered marriage as wonderful as Aaron and I have.

Back in Russia Aaron is busy hitting the road, traveling from one side of the city to the other, looking for potential sites for the new business he is working on starting. Kelly and he are meeting three times a week in Sestroretks, a 1.5 to 2 hour commute for Aaron. He comes home weary and ready to sleep standing up. They continue to look for major investors so they can open up the first Fast Lube Service Center in Russia. Please pray for them, that God will open the storehouses of heaven, and bless them in this endeavor. It is hard living on faith that this is what God wants us to do, as our savings slowly dwindle away. God is faithful, however, and we put our trust in him daily.

I continue to work at the clinic 2 times a week for 4 hours a day. Recently, Tim spent 3 days there in intensive care during a severe asthmatic attack with underlying bronchitis. They could not get him off oxygen without his oxygen levels dropping dangerously low and his heart rate trying to compensate by going much too fast. After 3 days of antibiotic therapy to get his bronchitis under control, as well as inhalation therapy and massage to get the secretions moving, he was finally released into my care at home with nebulizer treatments 3 times a day, and a host of other medications. I spent 2 days and 3 nights of almost no sleep by his side until he was out of danger. It’s terrible watching your child struggle for every breath. It pains me to think of it now.

My sister Rachel is visiting with us now and will be with us for the next 3 weeks. We have had some wonderful conversations and times of prayer together. She has been a huge encouragement to me.

It is now 2am and far past my bedtime. Love to all of you, and know that we miss you and hold you close to our hearts.

Aaron and Ramona

Monday, April 10, 2006


We made it safe and sound all 13 hours of flying. I got no sleep on the way over but the kids and my husband did. We are flying home to be with my sister, Rabecca, for several weeks who has been diagnosed with terminal bone cancer.

It is awesome being with family again. My family is large. With seven of us and our children things can be a little crazy. When we get together it is absolute mayhem - but a fun mayhem nonetheless. Kids and babies everywhere, adults trying to talk - my papa who is mostly deaf just sits and takes it all in, looking with love over his large clan. We chat, laugh, play games, go for hikes in the mountains, go skiing, golf in the Columbia River Gorge, watch movies with all the girls crying at the sad ones while the guys pass the tissues and laugh at us. Fellowship is sweet as is God’s presence in our midst.

I glance at my sister, not wanting to go. Tears come as I gently take her hand. Today is the hardest goodbye I will ever have to say. I may not see her alive again as cancer ravages her body.

She is frail now, finding it hard to even stand, unable to eat for weeks due to unrelenting nausea. I remember her whole and healthy leading the way on our long mountain hikes, water bottle in hand eager to see what is around the next bend in the trail.

She bows her head matching tears making a wet path down her own cheeks. "You'll come if things go bad quickly?" She pleads in a quiet voice. I want to grab her and hold her close in a tight hug, but even touching her hurts her bones and every move I make has to be gentle and slow.

"I'll be on the first plane out" my voice catches as I promise to come for her death. We sit there quietly heads bowed, hearts heavy. I know thousands suffer from diseases such as this, but this is my sister and if only I could take some of her pain on myself, I would do so in an instant. "This isn't goodbye," I whisper, "only a see you later, in this life or the next". She smiles up at me, her dark curly hair a halo around her pale face.

"I know" she whispers back.

Becky, I love you, you will always be my hero! God is your strength and refuge!

With Love