Home: (n) 1. a house, apartment, or other shelter that is the usual residence of a person, family, or household; 2. any place of residence or refuge

Where is home? My idea of home has changed a lot over the past couple of years. For a long time, home was always the house in the middle of the woods in Mississippi, where all my family lived together. I loved being with my family, and I loved being home. Even after going on a trip where we were all together, I always looked forward to driving down the driveway, getting to sleep in my own bed (or my sister’s), and waking up to drink coffee from our coffee pot out of one of my favorite mugs.

When I moved to Florida College, it took a while, but my dorm room also became a place of “home” for me. It was a comfortable place I could go when I was stressed or overwhelmed, and after going on cross country trips I would look forward to returning and being able to sleep in my dorm bed. I still always referred to Mississippi as home, but sometimes I would catch myself referring to FC as home as well. It was just a home for a little while.

According to the above definition, since Sam and I got married we have had many homes, many places of residence or refuge. After we returned from our honeymoon we lived with my parents in the house in the middle of the woods in Mississippi for seven weeks. During those seven weeks we traveled all over the country, staying with multiple Christian families as Sam went to various congregations giving a report on the work in Romania.

When we arrived in Romania there was a great deal of uncertainty as to where we would live, and whether or not we would stay in Severin, where Sam had previously lived. So we set up to live with Sam’s parents for a little while until we could figure out what to do.

After a week we found a lovely apartment in the center of Severin and signed a contract for three months. I scrubbed the apartment from top to bottom and we filled it with little things from home, artwork painted by my sisters and homemade wedding gifts from friends, making it look and feel like home. We called that apartment home for three months before we made the decision to move to Craiova, a city two hours away.

Again we found a place to call home, and again I made it clean and filled it with the special items to make the space feel like our own. This time we called the space home for eight months.

Last week I packed everything up in anticipation of moving yet again. By the time I was done clearing out all our things the apartment looked clean and empty, no longer like our cozy home.

For the past week we have been living in Constanta with Sam’s parents in the apartment of a brother who is currently working out of the country. Today we leave to fly back to the States. We keep saying we are flying home.

We will live with my parents again until we find a house, a place of residence to call home.

But what really is home? Is it America? Or a house in the middle of the woods in Mississippi? Or a comfortable place in a foreign country?

For me, on this earth, home is a comfortable place of refuge where I am with those that I love. Anywhere I can retreat to be with Sam is home, whether we live there for a week, or eight months, or five years.

But ultimately, nowhere on this earth is home. I hope I never get so completely settled in a place of residence here on earth that I feel it is my ultimate home. Our ultimate home is in Heaven with God, and though we may find places of refuge and comfort here on earth, it is a comfort to know that our ultimate home is to come, and it is perfect.

“For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.” Philippians 3.20-21

Pregnancy Story: Part Two

First Trimester

I am only a few weeks into my third trimester, but so far the first trimester was the hardest for me. Thankfully, I was not terribly sick and I never actually threw up. However, I did deal with morning sickness and fatigue for about six weeks. It could have been so much worse, but when I was in the middle of it I thought it was pretty bad.

The strangest part to me was that I could not stand even the thought of foods I had been eating regularly for so long. I used to eat oatmeal for breakfast every morning, but even the smell of it made me nauseous. I didn’t want to eat beans or cabbage, or anything else with a strong smell or taste.

My wonderful husband brought me juice and crackers in bed every morning when I woke up (and I began sleeping much later than the 5:00 mornings I was used to), and that would usually curb my nausea enough to get up and putter around a bit. Sam would also cook me eggs for breakfast every morning, and he also got used to cooking his own food pretty often. I still tried to cook him beans and chop his cabbage, but often I would do it in the biggest batches I could and put them in the refrigerator for him to fix for himself the rest of the way.

I lived on eggs, toast, potatoes, and yogurt, and I ended up losing a few pounds during the first trimester.

In addition to the sickness, I also struggled a lot with discouragement during the first several weeks. I went from running with Sam every single day (typically six miles a day) to sitting in the apartment all day. This was in January/February and it was very cold outside, often with snow, which discouraged me even more from getting out.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I was still terrified about becoming a mother and our future plans in Romania. Quite often I was sad and mopey, feeling sorry for myself that I was feeling sick and cooped up inside, and being overall quite selfish. I know it was discouraging and hard for Sam, but he was extremely kind and encouraging through it all. He sympathized with my sickness, cooked and cleaned for me, and constantly thanked me for carrying our child.

Looking back now, I wish I had been much more positive and thankful for my many blessings despite my small hardships. I wish I had been more attentive and loving to Sam instead of feeling sorry for myself.

Now I am immensely thankful for all the mornings I feel well and the afternoons I feel energized. I am so thankful for my wonderful, thoughtful husband who constantly sacrifices so much for me. And I pray I will take heed to the lessons I am learning looking back on that time and if I go through that again (and I pray that I will someday!), that I will have a better attitude and always be thankful and aware of my blessings.

Even when I physically feel bad or I am discouraged, being pregnant and anticipating our child has been and is such a blessing!

It was such a blessing when I transitioned to the second trimester and began progressively feeling better and better.

Second Trimester

One day I woke up and I did not feel quite so nauseous. Each day after that I began feeling better and better, and I even began cooking breakfast for Sam because I felt well enough to get out of bed and prepare his coffee and oatmeal.

I began running again, just a few exhausting miles at a time, but I was thrilled to be running again. I also began walking much more regularly, and I finally started going to the store by myself, which gave me a boost and a feeling of independence.

I was suddenly surprised at how hungry I was all the time, and I almost didn’t care what food it was! I went back to eating almost normally for me (although it still took me a while to want coffee again), and I was eating all the time. It took me a little while to catch up I guess, but I did start gaining weight.

I was so happy to be feeling better, but of course, I still found something to be discontent about. I just wanted to look pregnant! I could not wait to have a real bump, or to feel the baby move. People were still so surprised when I told them I was pregnant, and several people even told me they never would have guessed by looking at me. I could see my stomach growing and feel myself changing, but it still wasn’t quite noticeable to others. I would ask Sam all the time if he could see my bump, and I wondered when I might need maternity clothes.

When my family came to visit I was 23 weeks. I was wearing a large, flowy dress when they first saw me, and when I asked them if I looked pregnant they politely said “yes, kind of.” However, it did not take long for me to actually start showing after that. A few days later when I was wearing maternity pants Mama had brought me and a smaller maternity top Mama said, “Oh my, you look pregnant!”

I was about 18 weeks when I first felt the baby move, and it still excites me even now every time I feel a kick.

Pregnancy continues to be such a blessing and I am so thankful for this sweet, fleeting time.


Evangelism in Romania: Events

 Earlier this year in May Sam and his dad planned, studied, passed out flyers, hung up posters, advertised, and rented a room at a recreational center in downtown Craiova for two nights for a lectureship on the resurrection.

Sam giving a lecture on the resurrection

The event took a lot of time, planning, and effort, but it was worth it when we had 6-7 new visitors each night, some of whom became contacts interested in further study.

The only downside to the two-night event was that there was some miscommunication and the room Sam rented and got a contract for was not available either night. Since we were forced to use a less-ideal room both nights, even though we had paid for another room, we were allowed one more night a month later for free.

Again, Sam and his dad began studying and preparing lectures for this one night event titled “The Story of the Bible in 80 minutes.” I designed posters to advertise on Facebook, and both Sam and Dad passed out thousands of flyers and talked to many people.

This is the poster I designed for Facebook and to hang up at the piata

Dad also went to the big piata in Craiova (something similar to a huge farmer’s market) to see about hanging up posters in the high-traffic area. When Sam asked before they said the policy was 1 leu per poster per day, with a minimum of 30 days. Unfortunately the process ended up being much more involved than anticipated, and it looked like the president of our association (the organization that allows us to get a long term visa and stay for more than 90 days in Romania) would have to drive two hours from Severin to sign a paper before the posters could be hung. Thankfully, the piata director’s son talked him into allowing us to put up the posters without all the paperwork, for free!

The night of the event arrived dreary, windy, and rainy. We did not want to be pessimistic, but I wondered if anyone would show up because of the weather.

Our great friend and translator, Eugen, and Dad doing the lecture on the New Testament

However, we had seven guests, which is an impressive and encouraging number! One visitor was Sam’s parent’s 93 year old neighbor. Another man came straight from the piata, carrying the eggs he had just purchased. Other visitors were people we had met before or curious people who had received a flyer or seen a poster.

Some of our visitors

The result was an extremely encouraging night, with new contacts and potential new opportunities to study and share the gospel with others. It was a wonderful way to end our time in Craiova for the time being.