Here's some ideas I have for the title of this post, which ideally will turn into a bi-weekly (or so) series:
Thankful Thursdays (Sounds like it belongs in a fifties Sunday School magazine. Soooooo cheesy)
Czeerful (Get it? Like "Czech"? "Czeerful"??? This might even be czeesier than the last one)
Děkují! (The Czech word for "Thank you." Meh.)
Despite my conundrum about names, I've been thinking this would be a great post to do for awhile. In this cynical, often depressing world, why not give a shout out (YESSS!! I just got my title!) to the good stuff that's happening? I've been thinking about this for awhile, as I said, and today is the day I need to start. Because today I don’t feel very thankful. In the last week, a lot of things have been happening with my family back in Alaska (like a new baby) that make it hard not to be there. It’s like my heart just flew out of my body, away from Czech, and landed itself back in Fairbanks. It hurts terribly, but I must, I must wrench it back and plant it here, because here is where God has called us and here is where God is.
And today, I'm doing that by giving thanks.
This could easily turn into a backwards complaining session, because let’s just say the weather in the last week has been less than stellar. But I’m even thankful for cold and rainy weather, because it makes today’s sun that much more beautiful. It is shining clear and bright, drying the clothes on the line and drawing me out of my sweaters and into a summer skirt and tank. Hallelujah.
Four and a half months ago we received training in language acquisition. And four and a half months ago I started begging God to give me a good language helper. Here is the answer. Not only is Daya patient and encouraging, with excellent English to answer my questions, but she is also really fun and has become a good friend. She helps with so much more than the language: she has taken me shopping (how long would it have taken me to find a hair dryer in the electronics store if left to my own devises?), helped me with the bus system, and is always ready to supply a name when I mutter to her that I have forgotten! Because, oh yeah, she goes to our church and helps with the youth ministry.
It pretty much just landed in our laps. The downstairs apartment had been occupied by a family in our church, with the mother-in-law living upstairs. The family had just moved out and offered the place as in-between housing while we looked for an apartment. But… we really like it, so they’re letting us rent it! It has much more floor space than we were expecting, an open-ish layout*, is near a train and bus stop, and has a garden**. We even have a fireplace, which makes me feel at home and fulfills Greg’s love for burning things.
*Czech flats typically tend to waste lots of space in an entrance room, then partition the rest of it into tiny separate rooms. That’s a biased American perspective.
**An American would call this a yard, but with fruit trees, berry bushes, flowers, and vegetables growing everywhere. Come late June we’ll be swimming in fresh cherries!
The idealist in me hates to put this down, because it’s a big box store that represents the worst of capitalism and the death of mom and pop stores. I had visions of walking to small locally owned shops, picking up my daily needs of bread and vegetables and meat at each store. <sigh> It sounds like a fairy tale.
And it is.
Reality is driving to a huge store, finding a spot among its acres of paved parking lot, and walking into a store that feels surprisingly like Fred Meyer. I can find stuff here! Praise God! Yogurt and bananas and chocolate and ground meat. There’s even a gluten-free section. And in one stop, not only can I pick up food, but pillowcases and toilet paper and notebooks.
Amy Carmichael never had it this good.