Thursday, October 31, 2013

Life on the Go

I'm sitting in the midst of a pile of clothes as I write - literally.

Actually, we've got piles of his clothes, her clothes, and our stuff. 

We planned to go to the States this month to visit family, but now we've got an entirely different agenda. Questions rise.

How long will we be there? What will our days be like? Where will we stay? What will we need or want? When will we return home to Prague?

I'm beginning to think God's got me in the classroom titled The Unknown. 

The Father surely knows facing The Unknown is one of my weakest points. My first reaction is that since I don't know any details I will most likely not survive what's going to happen. In order to counter that irrational thought my mind and body shift into overdrive to do everything possible and/or imaginable to keep whatever The Unknown is from taking place OR at least from allowing it any sway in my life. 

I plot and plan and scurry all over the place doing my very best to turn aside, soften, or neutralize any and every facet of the events that threaten my equilibrium. 

To say it's exhausting is an understatement of the highest magnitude. And now that I've been in this mode for more than a month I'm beginning to consider that the position may need to be reconsidered.

By God's perfect timing, I recently saw an offer for a free kindle version of a book. I've made a commitment not to spend any money on downloadable books so the word FREE caught my eye. At the time I made a joke about the title written by Randy and Nanci Alcorn possibly being appropriate, Women Under Stress.   I think God has a rather dry sense of humor.

I finally ran out of things to read yesterday so I bravely opened to page 1.

There's a lot of information; statistics, personal stories, even exercises to evaluate the amount of stress the reader may be carrying. No, I will not tell you that my score was well over the health risk level. I admit it has grabbed my attention.

BUT more than all the general information, the Scriptural insights are having an impact on this thick skull. Chapter 4 is an excellent example, How God Uses Stress for Your Good and His Glory. A lot of the verses that are quoted are ones that have appeared on this blog. The way the authors are putting them together though builds a stronger, more coordinated and intricate framework . . . or bulwark. 

It feels as if Jesus is calling me to bow my head afresh and settle His yoke on my shoulders that I might learn about and take on an entirely new perspective of life in this fallen world. 


ONE THING I know for sure, this path of struggles and tears, trials and fears will draw me closer to my God. How do I know? Because I know enough to know that looking into His face, meditating on who He is, and contemplating His powerful and active love for me is the only way I'll survive. 

The Father is confirming this Truth through another resource He brought into my life. A Mighty Fortress is Our God is a series Nancy Leigh DeMoss is conducting at Revive Our Hearts. The title of the first program is what caught my attention, When Your World is in a Tailspin. The insights into the Psalm below are feeding my soul.

Of course every day life does not slow down or stop for us to move into such perspective shifts, especially not when it includes cross-cultural living and international travel. The piles are still in front of us.

  • The cardiac surgery is ahead of us. 
  • The plane will likely leave on time.
  • The things that need to happen between now and then have to be accomplished.
  • Our energy was sapped a bit extra last night with the final game of the World Series.
  • Hallelujah! God is still on His throne and all is RIGHT with the world.

The word 'thankful' arises again as we look forward to our friends from Brno arriving tomorrow to help us get all our things into two reasonable size suitcases. I'm thinking we may have to go through and put some items back on our shelves or in our closets. One way or another it will happen.

We'll make our way as God guides and enables us.
I pray the same is happening in your life. Amen

Psalm 46

For the director of music. Of the Sons of Korah.
According to alamoth. A song.

God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, 
though the earth give way 
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the moutains quake with their surging.  Selah

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts.

The LORD Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.  Selah

Come and see the works of the LORD,
the desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth;
he breaks the bow and shatters the spear,
he burns the shields with fire.
"Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations.
I will be exalted in the earth."

The LORD Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.  Selah

Monday, October 28, 2013

Back on Track?

Today is Monday and I suppose it could be said I am back on track.

My schedule has been to post on Monday and Thursday so in that sense I suppose I am . . . back on track, that is. 

On the other hand, I'm not sure what a 'track' is nor which 'track' I was on or am on.

That's what a month of life and death stress can do to a person.

My Honey is now home and we're making our way in the new set of circumstances God has arranged for us. 

He wrapped us in the peace and quiet of our top floor flat for the weekend for which we are thankful. As a matter of fact, 'thankful' fills our conversations and prayers these days. 

I will keep you updated about our journey through the health issues facing us as I return to my routine. Scripture is my Monday focus, and I want to share with you some of the tremendous power of the Truth of God's infallible Word that has been sustaining me.

I didn't choose the battles I've had to fight. 
I don't like them and I've told God just how much.
They have been violent and bitter and painful, and I hate them. 
Shock, confusion, and fear have caused me to panic and I am ashamed.
I've told the LORD all about it.

There was the night I rushed to the hospital because Curt texted me that they were bringing him up to the main building for tests at 9:30pm. It just didn't make sense. Then, while I was on the bus, he sent me a text saying they were prepping him for surgery. I was beside myself.

As the hospital came into view I caught my breath. Could it possibly be God's intent for Curt to graduate from this earth there . . . tonight? 

"Surely not," my raw emotions screamed. 

"Only the Father knows," the Comforter whispered. 

My breathing evened out as the Truth of His sovereign and loving hand settled my heart. 

"Man's days are determined;
you have decreed the number of his months 
and have set limits he cannot exceed."  Job 14:5

I took my hands off and gave my Honey into the Father's everlasting arms, knowing that was the best place for him to be. It was an act of the will based on the witness of His Truth in my life. Since it was merely my acknowledgement of His Truth, I guess it wasn't as big a deal as it felt.

God held the activity in check until I arrived. Curt and I reviewed the situation and give informed consent. Then my loving Father stepped in and saved my Honey's life.

I suppose it's pretty easy to give God the glory and gratitude when the outcome is what we desire. Neither of us took the result for granted. We praised God for His mercy over the next 10 roller coaster days. I admit that I made the preparations to bring him home with a bit of hesitation - surgical recovery, new diet, serious exhaustion, more unknowns.

I opened the door to head out to assist with my Honey's discharge and transport. A one word text from him appeared on my phone, "sick". My text reply was, "No, nooo, nooooooo." I called to the friend who came to care for us, asking her to pray. Then I dashed to the bus. My thoughts raced over the same ground again.

God is in control. He knows everything that's happening. He saved Curt's life once so I know He can do it again, if He chooses. 

I froze.

It really is all up to the LORD

No words or actions, no amount of effort or cajoling, no offer of exchange or deals would alter His plan. God knows the end from the beginning and His plan is perfect. AND He loves me and my Honey enough to have sent His own Beloved Son to die that we might spend eternity in fellowship with Him. 

And yet, this could be the graduation day set for my Honey that only He knows.

I'd already given up my 'right' to keep Curt with me. What else was there to face? 

Losing my Honey was again a likely reality. Pain, agony, grief, heartache, despair, . . . flooded over me. Anger, discontent, resentment, bitterness . . . made themselves known to me.

This time I submitted my own life to the Father who loves me. I let Him know that I trusted Him in the midst of my fear and the unknown I could not fathom. I told Him of my purpose to accept, even embrace, His will without ugly retribution, if this were to be Curt's final battle. I pleaded with my LORD to step in and cause me to be faithful to my intention no matter when or how that event might occur.

The peace I was given held me as I descended the steps of the bus and crossed the street. It even kept me calm as I entered the hospital and read Curt's next text, "heart attack". 

I admit the next few hours are a blurr. God had arranged for two pastors to be part of the transport team so they were with me for support. Two friends came to be with me as well. When we left the hospital my Honey was resting peacefully in the Cardiac ICU. My nerves were shot.

Hallelujah for this day that the LORD has made.

It's two weeks later and we are sitting together at home. We praise our Gracious God for carrying us through such horrific trials. We look to Him to make His way for us in the days and weeks ahead. 

I loved God in the midst of the battles I've had to fight.
I will love Him in the ones yet before us. 
I've told Him so and will continue to declare it. 
I trust and rely on Him in the face of the violence and pain I abhor. 
I look into His face, knowing that He is Sovereign over every aspect of our lives, thanking Him for keeping me free from any bitterness that might threaten to rise.

I am indeed back on track, the Truth track, and pleased to echo the words of Samuel, Job, and Naomi.

"He is the LORD; let Him do what is right in His eyes."  1 Samuel 3:18

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Joy, Trials, Testing, Perseverance

I’m writing this post for YOU today.

to inform you

to thank you

to assure you

My Honey came home from the hospital yesterday afternoon, 25 October. It was the day we were supposed to leave for a weekend visit with dear friends in Brno. Instead our journey was from Motol Hospital to Wuchterlova street. 

Wonderful friends blessed us by helping with the transfer, affected between 3 and 5pm. Curt is pleased that he made it up the stairs with minimal assistance. His two main jobs at this point are to rest and keep track of his medication schedule. 

Though my Honey is the one in the midst of the trial, I am drained in every aspect of my being as well. My stresses have been different, but very real and demanding. My two jobs at this point are to rest and keep Curt well fed.

We enjoyed a quiet evening, dinner by candlelight, and a good night’s rest together in our own bed - no people chatting in the hallway, no blood pressure checks, no early morning blood draws, no buzzing emergency alarms. It was truly a divine gift.

It appears that God’s plan is for us to spend 10 days recovering here at home. The friends we were to visit in Brno will come to spend next weekend with us to help us pack and get us to the airport. It’s not the kind of visit we planned, but we know the fellowship will be s-w-e-e-t. 

Once we’re in the States we will both see a gastroenterologist to follow up with Curt’s abdominal surgery and to verify my gastric health. This specialist will consult with Curt’s cardiologist as plans are made for his bypass surgery. The procedure will be a trial of its own, but we are looking to God to restore full cardiac function.

We want to thank you warmly, deeply, thoroughly for the way you have been standing with us in this ongoing trial. God tells us through James to “Consider it pure joy . . . whenever you face trials of many kinds.”  We’re doing pretty well on the second half of that exhortation as we grow in the first half of it. 

Hearing meaningful messages of your loving concern for us, reading many notes about prayer being raised on our behalf, and receiving tangible evidence of your commitment to encourage us on the path God has ordained for us all increase our honest joy. THANK YOU again and again from the bottom of our hearts. 

In our gratitude we continually ask God to bless you 100 fold for all you are pouring out to us!!

We are in a waiting phase for now, but the string of trials stretch out before us. It would be preferable for all of us if we could say we’re done. Instead we find ourselves asking you to PLEASE continue your prayers throughout the transition and into the next phase of health care.

It has been suggested to us by our family and Board, and confirmed by the LORD that we take a sabbatical time to offer praise and thanksgiving for His great goodness to us. Therefore, once this update is posted, we are strongly committed to stay away from technology for a time, except to relax (sports for Curt, movies for me). We will do our best to reconnect and update you when we come back online. Thank you for your understanding.

Our final task here is to assure you, and so we offer the convictions that have been guiding and sustaining us and will continue to do so in the days ahead.

God is love.
God is able.
God is good.
God is caring.
God is faithful.
God is personal.
God is sovereign.
God is trustworthy.
God is all-powerful.
God knows my frame.
God is an ontime God.
God is wherever we are.
God is all-sufficient.

We rest in His hands as He accomplishes His perfect will in our lives. 

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”  James 1:2-4

Monday, October 21, 2013

Monday Message, 21 October 2013

A lot has happened since Curt went to be checked by the doctor on 2 October. The top praises go to God for saving his life multiple times when it could easily have ended. 

I bought flowers to welcome Curt home after his initial abdominal surgery. The complicating heart attack struck that day so the flowers remained stuffed in a container of water. 

During the following days Curt continued to bleed, needing additional transfusions. Still not enough time or energy or focus to give to the flowers. 

Bethany returned to the States Friday night. On Saturday I made time to make the arrangements you see throughout this post. The task absorbed my thoughts for the few minutes it required.

I want you to understand the meaning of these floral arrangements and why I'm sharing this detail with you. 

Curt told me recently that he quite enjoys it when I buy flowers and set them around the flat. He said he likes watching me arrange them and finding the touch of beauty they add in the following days. 

My decision to have fresh flowers on display when he returned home was a way to honor him by providing something I knew he would find pleasing. 'Little things' like this often communicate a richness that reminds us of who God is, the One whose love is ever-present, displayed in large and small ways.

My Honey didn't come home that day, but by the Father's grace we trust he will before long. In a way, placing the cheery white blooms around the flat was/is an offering to our Great God to confirm our love and faith in who He is and how He cherishes His people. We continue to embrace His will in the refining process of this life.

We are both extremely thankful to God for the blanket of love He is wrapping around us. It is not the soft, fluffy, merely-there kind. This heavenly blanket is soft but tightly-woven and serviceable wool, the effective kind that insulates from the cold that seeks to penetrate to the heart and extinguish life. We praise His Name for this glorious provision and ask that He bless each of you according to His perfect knowledge and will for you.

Though I will not be able to name every individual, I would like to offer the following as examples of the people around the globe who are appealing to and representing heaven in various ways on our behalf:
  • our Czech friends here in Prague who circled around us immediately - sitting with me that first horrid night, putting money on our phones, keeping me company when I didn't want to be alone, praying with and for us, hugging me, visiting Curt, checking in with us, continuing to actively and intentionally love us
  • our American friends who helped with information gathering, staying in touch with us, visiting Curt, praying with and for us, bringing meals, offering their time and energy
  • our beloved sister Bethany who gave up a planned rest week with her family to travel Dulles-Moscow-Prague and back to serve us both in countless ways for a whole week
  • Pastors Farnik and Harsh whom God brought to us following Curt's heart attack, upholding both of us in prayer and wisdom
  • Tomas Hampi, a manager at KB bank who has been educating me on how to make financial arrangements since Curt took care of all of that
  • an outpouring of emails, messages, prayers, encouragement, and donations from near and far remind us so powerfully of the Almighty's faithfulness toward us.
We have both been moved to tears on more than one occasion by God's grace as evidenced in your loving care.  Please keep it all up as we seem to be only entering the second phase of the tri-athlon.

Curt texted me this morning that he's been up and had his first post-op shower, one of the "real, stand up and get all wet" kind. He is still being fed intravenously and it seems the intestinal issue is more troubling than the cardiac one at this point. 

It appears the Chief of Cardiac Care is in communication with American medical people for which we are grateful. We still do not have even a hint about timing for travel and would covet your ongoing prayers concerning these details. Thank you.

AND the LORD continues to sustain us:

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD  your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you."  Deuteronomy 31:6 
     sent to me by Curt from his morning reading.

"I am under vows to you, O God;
I will present my thank offerings to you.
For you have delivered me from death
and my feet from stumbling,
that I may walk before God in the light of life."  Psalm 56:12-13
     from me to Curt out of my morning devotions

May you also find such sweet compassion, divine encouragement, and blessed peace in the Word this very day. Amen

Thursday, October 17, 2013

And so the Tri-athlon Continues

It's hard to believe it's been five days since I posted here.

It seems like enough has happened in those five days to last a lifetime.

The first and most important thing to share is that Curt is resting in the cardiac unit at Motol Hospital. 

This photo is how I found him when I arrived yesterday afternoon - dozing with the Word of God open before him.

I made that red bookmark as a Christmas gift for him in 1976.

We are both overwhelmed by the expressions of love, notifications of prayer, and messages of encouragement that are pouring in from all around the world. We praise God for connecting us with each of you over the years. You have blessed our lives in warmth and richness that is difficult to describe. May He bless you lavishly in return for your graciousness to us in these needy circumstances. Amen

We know you are anxious for news and thank you for being patient. Here's a brief time line:

Sunday was a day of worship. I gained some special meaning for Curt from Acts 14:11-20. Read it to find out why. His supposed last day in the hospital was uneventful.

Monday was filled with one shock after another: 
Curt reporting severe chest pains,
me finding him alone in his room,
a trip to cardiology,
the placement of a stent,
a room in the cardiac care unit,
questions and questions and questions galore, and
no answers yet.

Praising and thanking God for saving Curt's life again and for surrounding me with His people; Pastor Farnick, Pastor Harsh, Bethany, Blanka, and others by mobile/cell. 

Tuesday morning powwow with attending physician clarifies diagnosis of arteriosclerosis and the connection to the abdominal surgery. Evidently a blockage in the artery that brought fresh blood to the intestines caused a large portion of it to die. This is what led to the various symptoms and eventual arterial bleeding.  We breathed a joint sigh of relief that none of these details can be applied to me and my health.

Our pastor read 1 Thessalonians chapter 1 over Curt. Read this passage to discover another totally accurate and powerful message.

Later that night, unbeknownst to me, Curt had further bleeding and needed a transfusion. They had difficulty finding the source of the blood. They had difficulty stopping the bleeding from the femoral artery they used to insert the cardio-scope. They conferred with the abdominal surgeon and performed a colonoscopy to check for bleeding points there. They discovered he has/had bleeding ulcers and cauterized them. He was put on a 36 hour fast.

Wednesday I was pleased to find Curt stable and responsive. He shared the above details and we praised and thanked God for saving his life yet again. The day nurse that is assigned to Curt said with a lovely smile on her face that he is a nice patient. There was a bit of joking back and forth as she drew more blood - the poor guy.

Curt opened an envelope filled with colorful drawings and heartfelt messages from the children of friends in Norway. He cherishes such expressions of love and we are beginning to realize that they are being multiplied by God far and wide. Once again we are humbled.

Thursday, today, brings the news that hospital policy dictates patients must remain in the hospital one week after an infarction. That means Curt will be there until at least Monday. The ICU staffs are quite professional and the setting is more conducive to recovery than the general wards. For that reason I will be watching for that move. PLEASE PRAY with me.

Everyday I find it's not enough for me to speak to any of these doctors and staff with the words, "Thank you for saving my husband's life."  They seem somehow inadequate to share the Truth. Instead I purposefully hold a hand firmly with both of mine as I look into a set of serious eyes and testify over and over again, "I want you to know that God brought us to Prague. God brought us to Motol. God chose you to save my husband's life. Thank you! May God bless you."

Coming days will be filled with plans to bring Curt to the USA. It's become clear that we both need the support of our children and grandchildren during the healing process. It is our plea to the Lord to provide a full recovery and carry us back to our beloved Prague as soon as possible. Obviously we need to make numerous decisions and make our way over countless hurdles. All of that may seem overwhelming to you, and in many ways it does to us as well.

We are learning more fully through this excruciating process that we do not need to know the future. We merely need to trust the One who holds it in His hands. May He draw you into such a deep and abiding faith by His all-sufficient grace. Amen

As it is written: "For your sake we face death all day long; 
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered."

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 8:36-39

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Saturday Catch-Up

Phew, I finally have some time to share what’s been going on the last couple of days. 

I knew I was getting tired on Wednesday, but it wasn’t until Thursday that I realized just how tired I was. 

It was a cold and rainy day which wasn’t any fun. When I got to the hospital around 2pm Curt was looking pale and ragged. He wasn’t complaining of much pain, but his whole personna was down. I stayed for a shorter time than I’d planned to make space for both of us to rest in the afternoon.

I headed out at the normal time for my dinner visit. 

The bus ride tells the story.

Though I rushed to get there, I missed the trip I really wanted to take and the next bus was later than scheduled.

All I could do was pray and trust.

I couldn’t see out the windows, but the stop and go motion told me we were in the midst of a lot of traffic.

All I could do was pray and trust.

Countless minutes went by and I grew anxious, yet I couldn’t see any clues about where I was or how much longer it would take to reach my destination.

All I could do was pray and trust.

My mind and heart returned to the previous Thursday night and the same bus ride to the hospital, once again I wanted . . . needed to get there NOW, but there was nothing I could do about it.

All I could do was pray and trust.

The foggy windows and seat at the back somehow became my life. I had no control over the timing or the schedule. I wasn’t able to maneuver around the traffic or increase the speed. I couldn’t be sure when I would get there or what I would find once I got to Curt's room. 

All I could do was pray and trust.

Suddenly it dawned on me to the core of my being that what was true for my trip on Bus 180 from Dejvická to nemocnice Motol applies to every other detail of my life and the world around me. The sensation was overwhelming and at the same time somehow reassuring. 

All I can do is pray and trust.

I was face to face with God in the knowledge that my Honey’s life was completely in His hands. I couldn't see anything and had no idea where we were or what was going to happen. There was not one thing I could say or do that could manipulate the outcome I wanted. 

Then just as suddenly there was peace no matter the outcome.

Sorry, can’t explain it any better than that.

Maybe Moses could do a better job by describing his burning bush encounter from Exodus 3.  God called out “Moses! Moses!” from a burning bush and Moses responded, “Here I am.” There’s no report that he screamed or fainted or stood there with a slack jaw. He simply let God know that he was present and accounted for. 

When Moses raised some doubt about how he was going to handle the assignment God had for him, God provided the one fact Moses needed to know, “I will be with you.” 

We finally made it to the stop and as I stood to step off I realized that the driver had a clear view of everything right out through the windshield. He knew exactly where we were, where we were going, and when we would get there. 

God is far above any human agent. He is beyond everything He has created and sustains. He is omniscient and omnipotent. He is perfect in all His attributes and activities. And He calls me by name. Isaiah 43:1

Curt was even weaker and our visit left me more concerned. God took me home and caused me to connect with a number of people on line. He provided the name of a believer who is a doctor from Africa. I spoke with Dr. L. Friday morning. He understands what we've been trying to explain and assured me he would communicate with Curt's surgeon this morning.

That news + a massive increase in Curt's strength + the arrival of Bethany + God's grace = good rest last night. Praise God!

An hour ago I discovered that I've lost 9 pounds (4 kilos) in the last 7-10 days. I have been eating three meals a day, all standard except for two small dinners. It's too much even for the situation and losing weight was an early sign of Curt's deterioration. Please pray!

I am not the woman of superior faith that some of you tell me you see. My heart is racing as I consider the path my Honey is going down and the likelihood that I will follow it. 

The message returns.

All I can do is pray and trust.

And God said, "I will be with you."  Exodus 3:12

It was good enough for Moses and it’s good enough for me.   Selah

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Weary on Wednesday

Today was a landmark day. 

The photos you'll see are those I planned to share as markers that Curt was making progress in the physical battle - last bag of IV food, critical care supplies and machines with dust covers. They were going to let you know that he would probably leave the ICU soon. 

Instead Curt was moved out of the ICU last night. If he hadn't sent me a text I wouldn't have known.

A Czech friend came with me this morning to the appointment we had requested with the surgeon. 

We were pleased to discover that Curt's new room in the post-surgical ward is right down the hall from his surgeon's office. He'll be seen twice a day by Dr. Hladik who is a peach of a man. 

I started by telling him that God brought us to Prague. God brought us to Motol Hospital. God gave him to us as Curt's doctor. Thank you for saving my husband's life.

Dr. Hladik answered all of our questions in wonderful English, needing to ask our friend for a word only once. 

He is pleased with Curt's progress so far and confident about his recovery. 

When asked when Curt might come home he said that without complications it is usually 10 to 14 days after surgery for something so major. That means we've got at least another 5 days to go. 

Please pray that God will prevent any secondary issues from happening, such as adhesions or infections or anything. Thank you.

At this point Curt has no IV lines, can get up and walk by himself, sits at a table to take his 'meals' - mashed potatoes, yogurt, bullion, bananas, fish, peaches, . . .  And his body seems to be processing it all the way it should. He is receiving pain medication by injection.  I'm allowed to visit him whenever I want though they said mornings until about 11 are rather busy. I'm really rejoicing in that last bit!

Today added a few things to my already substantial list.

In the midst of all the positive news, I'm beginning to consider the changes we'll need to make around the house to accommodate Curt's needs when he comes home - diet, grocery shopping, furniture changes, medications, and anything else I'm forgetting. 

In addition, since Curt's been gone for nearly a week various errands and responsibilities he handled are mounting. He's always been really wonderful about taking the roles of provider, protector, priest very seriously. Now there's a gap and I'm thinking I may be standing in the need of prayer right beside him.

I've been eating three meals a day and getting as much rest as I can - by napping if my nights are short. I've cut back to only the essential tasks, such as writing deadlines. Nevertheless I can feel myself getting a bit 'thin'. 

The next couple of days I have several activities to fill my mornings so I won't get to the hospital until after lunch. The way Curt's improving it's probably just as well since it will give him more time to just rest and recover. However, I won't know how he really is until I see him so that will be a strain. 

Please pray that God will meet my needs as well as he's meeting Curt's. Hmmmm  Maybe just ask him to continue to remind me of how well He knows us and is caring for us right where we are. Thank you.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will - to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment - to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.  Ephesians 1:3-10

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Triumphs on Tuesday

The LORD is in charge of every single detail of all of these trying circumstances. He has arranged every single one of them to show forth His glory as He prepares us to share in His glory forever. We KNOW that to be true.

And yet . . . 

                 and yet . . .

the struggle remains.

I already feel as if my Honey and I are groaning along with creation for the return of the Risen King. How long, O LORD? is my cry.

Last night when I arrived at the hospital Curt's body was wracked with a major episode of pain. It caused him to hyperventilate, sweat, and call out for help. The nurses responded quickly and their care brought relief.

In the midst of the battle I held his hand and softly sang hymns to tend his soul. The enemy can attack where he will, but God protects His people, His property, His chosen ones. And so we rested in His hands with praises for His faithful love. 

I admit it felt more like standing upright in the middle of cannon fire than it did overcoming anything. 

Today I know different. It was victory . . . victory in Jesus.

The night doctor came and evaluated Curt with the report that he was doing well, and the reminder that these things take time and include many ups and downs. By the time I left he was resting relatively pain free. I prayed over him for God to grant him a good night, relief from pain and refreshing sleep. 

I admit I walked away wondering if my Honey would be there in the morning. I rode the bus home feeling overwhelmed by the acrid scent of battle. 

Today I know different. It was victory . . . victory in the Savior's Name.

Curt texted me this morning that God granted him a "good night of sleep". I cried tears of joy that not only was my Honey there, but he was praising God for His gift of healing rest. Hallelujah!

I admit I have no idea what the future holds. In many ways it looks kind of dark. I'm trying to meet the various writing deadlines we've got, take care of myself as Curt directs, and lavish the love I have on him. It's a pretty heavy load for an old lady to carry and the ups and downs are already draining my strength. 

Today I want to know more of the difference. I want more of the victory . . . victory in God's endless grace. 

Curt just sent a text to say he walked the hall again, "better but unsteady".

Time for me to head to the hospital.

We thank each of you for your prayers. The love you share through the messages you send are part of what our Sovereign Father is using to move us along the journey He is laying out for us, a journey of victory. Amen

"For I know the plans I have for you," declared the LORD, "plans to  prosper you and no tto harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all  your heart."  Jeremiah 29:11-13

Monday, October 7, 2013

Another Day OUTSIDE Paradise

I intended to fill this post with loads of encouraging words, especially those from the Word of God. 

Instead I just finished a phone call with Curt with a tight stomach. He doesn't sound nearly like the cheery guy I left in bed last night. So it's off to the hospital I go.

The photo at the right shows the bag of 'food' Curt started receiving yesterday along with bouillion-type soup at lunch and dinner.  

I'm doing my best to keep all of you loving supporters informed, but it's a bit difficult to answer each message of concern and prayer. Actually I feel a bit guilty, so many messages coming in and so few going out.

Please keep us in prayer. 

We are definitely NOT out of the woods yet.

May the Lord bless each of you for your loving kindness!!!


I made a hectic dash to the hospital and found Curt peaceful and calm. I nearly fell into his arms in relief. 

Evidently the ragged breathing I heard on the phone was the result of the morning's activities - a walk across the hall for a bird bath, changed bandages on his wound, fresh johnny coat and linens, etc.    PHEW!!

Now I'll recount all of God's goodness to us.

The nurses have taken the (itchy, too warm) ace bandage wraps off his legs with the reminder for him to continue doing the leg exercises given by the physical therapist. 

He has only two IV Lines at this point, one for the lovely cream sauce pictured above, and his pain medication was administered with a syringe this morning.

We got to walk down the hallway together, with him pushing a small version of a grocery cart and me beside him - really. He paused a couple of times but walked the whole way down and back. 

He ate a bowl of bouillon-type soup for lunch even though he doesn't particularly care for the taste.

We were even able to accomplish a bit of work together.

I was able to apply lotion all over his legs and arms this time since the leg wraps, IVs, and blood pressure cuff were off. 

He said he was relaxing into a nap so I took my leave.

I stopped on the way home for a slice of pizza for lunch which would please my Honey immeasurably.

I'm home now for a rest.

I'm happy to have shared a bit of that with you. Now it's time for me to lie down, close my eyes, and catch a few winks.

"I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living."   Psalm 27:13

May you also see the goodness of the LORD both here and in eternity. Amen

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Yet More on Czech Medical Care

Okay, now we're getting to the serious stuff.

What we thought was going to be a couple of days of tests to figure out what was causing his abdominal distress turned into a major medical emergency. 

After a day of medical tests which drained the already exhausted Honey of mine, he was taken back to his room in Building 22. A couple of hours later he started bleeding badly. 

As they were taking him back to the main building he texted me that they were taking him for more tests. That didn't ring true for me so I decided to head back to the hospital. 

That 20 to 30 minute trip was one of the most harrowing of my life. 

When I finally arrived I got to see Curt and talk with the doctor. We made the final decision, prayed and signed the release. I walked with Curt to the next transfer point and went outside to meet a friend who came to be with me. 

Fast forward four hours to approximately 2am.

A very hurtin' puppy appeared on a gurney in the hallway outside the intensive care unit. He looked up and said, "There's my girl friend." At least I knew they returned the same guy. 

I have to admit that it was hard to leave him that night. I wasn't sure if I'd see him in the morning. And when I didn't hear any bad news I was afraid to see him. The sight of his body in so much pain and misery was not something I wanted to repeat.

The first nervous peek was a treat because he looked much more like himself. Each following visit has been feeding me confidence as I note a bit of improvement. I thank the Lord for the gift of another day.

Prayer points:
Praise for God's attention to detail in caring for Curt.
Protection from any secondary post-surgical issues.
Praise for the friendly, kind, and professional attitudes and care Curt's been receiving.
Gifts of miraculous levels and speed of healing.
Energy for me to meet deadlines as I express my love to my Honey.

We want to thank each of you for your thoughts and prayers aimed heavenward on our behalf.

That's Curt's hand waving at you below all the machines. It's his best side at this point.

We'll do our best to keep you updated as much as time and energy will allow.

May the LORD grant you all the joy and peace you can handle as you make your way through times of rest and seasons of challenges. Amen

Thursday, October 3, 2013

More on Czech Medical Care

Last week I wrote about accessing medical care in my Thursday glimpse into cross-cultural living. By God's design I have more to add this week.

The follow up appointment with Dr. Dvořak was in one of the outbuildings behind the big main building of Fakultní nemocnice v Motole, Motole Hospital. 

That meant we had to ride the #180 bus to the hospital then take #167 to go around the back of the hospital complex. 

As we walked along it seemed to us that each little building is set up for a particular medical specialty.

We made it to Building 22 right on time. It was a bit of an effort, but we were really looking forward to hearing the results of the lab work. 

There's my brave Honey heading through the proper door.

This is the hallway where we sat. The secretary is sitting at her desk straight ahead. The door on the left leads to the office itself.

Once again everybody treated us graciously. It's truly amazing how much can be communicated using charades.

The nurses seem to use this room while doctors use two smaller rooms off to the right, too private for photos.

When we chatted with Dr. Dvořak (he speaks English well) the door was left open until Nurse Smiley closed it to talk with another patient.

The really difficult part of this appointment was that one sample showed everything to be normal and the other sample could not be found.

With no definitive test results nor any improvement after three weeks, Dr. Dvořak said it only made sense for Curt to stay in the hospital for a couple of days - to treat the symptoms, run more tests, hopefully come up with a diagnosis, and get him on the road to recover his health. 

Actually, he said Curt "deserved proper monitoring and care."

We agreed.

Nurse Smiley gave him some forms to read and sign and before long another lady came to take him down to Room #6. The simple and clean space was a short walk down the hall and through a door. 

The new lady gave him a nice pair of cotton pajamas and carefully inventoried his clothes. 

It seems most Czechs play charades really well.  

We chatted about what I should leave, take, and bring back. We mostly guessed as we built the list.

When Dr. Dvořak came by for an examination Curt told him he was hungry as he'd missed lunch. Dr. Dvořak asked the floor nurse to bring a snack which was a warm bowl of soup accompanied by a pot full of tea. She kindly did her best to speak with us, making it clear she knows four languages. 
Sadly English is not one of them.

It was a bit surreal to shoulder Curt's backpack and say good-bye. I mean there's a nice view and all, but I had to head home alone.

Once again, as so many times in the last two years we're facing the unknown - just the two of us with God.

Are we wondering what will happen next? Yes.

Are we panicked? No.

By God's perfect plan we were both prepared for this specific portion of refining challenges. 

He's been offering and applying lessons to us about His complete and loving sovereignty in special ways over the last few months. 

His Word has been strengthening our hearts and minds and continues to sustain us. 

There's no better place to be than in the hands of the One who handles everything.

It is with deep confidence we can echo the words of Eli, "He is the LORD, let him do what is good in his eyes."  1 Samuel 3:18