Friday, December 26, 2008

Updated Wish List

Crunchy Peanut Butter
Peanut Butter Flavor things: Nutterbutter Cookies, PB cookies mix, PB candy
Bag of Chocolate Chips
Anything with Chocolate Chips in it: Cookies, cookie mix
Real Liquid Vanilla
Jiffy Corn Bread Mix
American Cheese Flavor: Cheese-its, Chips
Chips and Salsa (medium)
Anything Spicy or Mexican Flavored
Root Beer
Cream Soda
Big Red
Dr. Pepper
Beef Jerky
Rice Krispy Treats and/or just a bag of Rice Krispies
Big Marshmallows
Hot Chocolate Mix
Muffin Mix: Blueberry, Lemon Poppyseed, Banana Nut, Mix Berry
Starbucks Coffee
Prince of Wales Twinnings Tea
Brownie Mix
Itunes Gift Cards (to rent english movies)
Harry & David Pineapple Salsa
Pancake Mix

Friday, December 19, 2008

"Only Living People Bleed"

Story told in Ravi Zacharias' speech 'Why I'm not an Atheist'

A fellow woke up one morning and said to his wife, “I believe I’m dead.” And his wife said you know that’s a strange sense of humor. It’s alright, just go on to work and bring home the paycheck type of thing and sent him on his merry way. But this impression in his mind linger for far to many hours. Every evening he’d come back and munching on his goodies in his lazy boy, would say “You know I really think I’m dead.” Finally his wife and his children decided he needed some help. If he didn’t get help, they would need some help. So they send him along to a team of doctors and psychologist all of whom were trying to help him without success. Till one doctor latched on to this idea, to try to establish for him imperially that only living people bleed. He was trying to deny that. They brought all things of evidence overhead projects, charts, and all the data on hand. Only living people bleed, only living people bleed. Finally this man after all the evidence was weighted in said “Alright I guess I’m going to have to admit to you that only living people bleed.” As soon as he said that one of the doctors took a pin and plunged it in to his veins and the blood came spurting out. He looked at it and said “Great scott, I guess dead people bleed too!”

Listen to the whole speech free on itunes podcast: Let My People Think (RZIM)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas Prayers

It’s so wonderful how God answers unspoken prayers. The day after I wrote my ‘sad Christmas’ note, the prayers of my heart were answered. I guess I never prayed them b/c I should have been just content with Christ birth to make me happy and not need anything else. I guess I just felt guilty for not being content in Christ. Well, Jola, the wonderful girl I work with, invited me over for lunch on Sunday. She was showing me her house where her family (great grandma, grandparents, parents, and her) live. She lives on a farm with bunnies! One just had babies, so I think when I get back from holiday they will be big enough to hold!!! I wonder what the pet policy is here. Anyways, She was like I have a surprise for you and came out with a basket full of Christmas tree branches that had been arranged (Jola does a wonderful job of flower arrangements). We then her dad came in and was like I found it. They unwrapped this plastic bag to reveal a small Christmas tree. Jola was like since you didn’t have one you can use ours. Then she brought in three boxes of ornaments with hooks (complete with tree topper), garland, and tinsel. She also had a traditional Czech Christmas, I guess, it’s a wreath. We also went out and cut cherry twigs. At the end of the day, her and her mom wrapped up a big box of Christmas cookies for me. God is so good to me. So I just decorated my tree while listening to Christmas music and eating cookies.
Tomorrow, pastor is taking me and the other Ashley out to lunch. Then on Thursday, Jola’s family has invited me over to help them braid the bread. It’s traditional Czech sweet bread that you braid the dough before you bake it. We will also be making traditional Czech cookies. I have a Christmas party with my English class on Monday. We are having a ‘White Elephant Gift Exchange’!! I’m going to bring a bible. I’m having a surprise Christmas party for my class tomorrow. Daniel’s family has invited me over for Christmas Eve, which is like our Christmas day. You have a huge meal and open gifts. Yes, I’m going to eat Christmas carp.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Czech Folk Tales: The Twelve Months

I've decided that I will blog one folk tale a month. This month is the The Twelve Months.

ONCE upon a time there lived a mother who had two daughters. One was her own child, the other her stepdaughter. She was very fond of her own daughter, but she would not so much as look at her step-daughter. The only reason was that Maruša, the stepdaughter, was prettier than her own daughter, Holena. The gentle-hearted Maruša did not know how beautiful she was, and so she could never make out why her mother was so cross with her whenever she looked at her. She had to do all the housework, tidying up the cottage, cooking, washing, and sewing, and then she had to take the hay to the cow and look after her. She did all this work alone, while Holena spent the time adorning herself and lazing about. But Maruša liked work, for she was a patient girl, and when her mother scolded and rated her, she bore it like a lamb. It was no
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good, however, for they grew crueller and crueller every day, only because Maruša was growing prettier and Holena uglier every day.
At last the mother thought: "Why should I keep a pretty stepdaughter in my house? When the lads come courting here, they will fall in love with Maruša and they won't look at Holena."
From that moment the stepmother and her daughter were constantly scheming how to get rid of poor Maruša. They starved her and they beat her. But she bore it all, and in spite of all she kept on growing prettier every day. They invented torments that the cruellest of men would never have thought of. One day--it was in the middle of January--Holena felt a longing for the scent of violets. "Go, Maruša, and get me some violets from the forest; I want to wear them at my waist and to smell them," she said to her sister.
"Great heavens! sister. What a strange notion! Who ever heard of violets growing under the snow?" said poor Maruša.
"You wretched tatterdemalion! how dare you argue when I tell you to do something? Off you go at once, and if you don't bring
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me violets from the forest I'll kill you!" said Holena threateningly.
The stepmother caught hold of Maruša, turned her out of the door, and slammed it to after her. She went into the forest weeping bitterly. The snow lay deep, and there wasn't a human footprint to be seen. Maruša wandered about for a long time, tortured by hunger and trembling with cold. She begged God to take her from the world.
At last she saw a light in the distance. She went towards the glow, and came at last to the top of a mountain. A big fire was burning there, and round the fire were twelve stones with twelve men sitting on them. Three of them had snow-white beards, three were not so old, and three were still younger. The three youngest were the handsomest of them all. They were not speaking, but all sitting silent. These twelve men were the twelve months. Great January sat highest of all; his hair and beard were as white as snow, and in his hand he held a club.
Maruša was frightened. She stood still for a time in terror, but, growing bolder, she went up to them and said: "Please, kind
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sirs, let me warm my hands at your fire. I am trembling with the cold."
Great January nodded, and asked her: "Why have you come here, my dear little girl? What are you looking for?"
"I am looking for violets," answered Maruša.
"This is no time to be looking for violets, for everything is covered with snow," answered Great January.
"Yes, I know; but my sister Holena and my stepmother said that I must bring them some violets from the forest. If I don't bring them, they'll kill me. Tell me, fathers, please tell me where I can find them."
Great January stood up and went to one of the younger months--it was March--and, giving him the club, he said: "Brother, take the high seat."
March took the high seat upon the stone and waved the club over the fire. The fire blazed up, the snow began to melt, the trees began to bud, and the ground under the young beech-trees was at once covered with grass and the crimson daisy buds began to peep through the grass. It was springtime. Under the bushes the violets were blooming
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among their little leaves, and before Maruša had time to think, so many of them had sprung up that they looked like a blue cloth spread out on the ground.
"Pick them quickly, Maruša!" commanded March.
Maruša picked them joyfully till she had a big bunch. Then she thanked the months with all her heart and scampered merrily home.
Holena and the stepmother wondered when they saw Maruša bringing the violets. They opened the door to her, and the scent of violets filled all the cottage.
"Where did you get them?" asked Holena sulkily.
"They are growing under the bushes in a forest on the high mountains."
Holena put them in her waistband. She let her mother smell them, but she did not say to her sister: "Smell them."
Another day she was lolling near the stove, and now she longed for some strawberries. So she called to her sister and said: "Go, Maruša, and get me some strawberries from the forest."
"Alas! dear sister, where could I find any
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strawberries? Who ever heard of strawberries growing under the snow?" said Maruša.
"You wretched little tatterdemalion, how dare you argue when I tell you to do a thing? Go at once and get me the strawberries, or I'll kill you!"
The stepmother caught hold of Maruša and pushed her out of the door and shut it after her. Maruša went to the forest weeping bitterly. The snow was lying deep, and there wasn't a human footprint to be seen anywhere. She wandered about for a long time, tortured by hunger and trembling with cold. At last she saw the light she had seen the other day. Overjoyed, she went towards it. She came to the great fire with the twelve months sitting round it.
"Please, kind sirs, let me warm my hands at the fire. I am trembling with cold."
Great January nodded, and asked her: "Why have you come again, and what are you looking for here?"
"I am looking for strawberries."
"But it is winter now, and strawberries don't grow on the snow," said January.
"Yes, I know," said Maruša sadly; "but my sister Holena and my stepmother bade
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me bring them some strawberries, and if I don't bring them, they will kill me. Tell me, fathers, tell me, please, where I can find them."
Great January arose. He went over to the month sitting opposite to him--it was June--and handed the club to him, saying: "Brother, take the high seat."
June took the high seat upon the stone and swung the club over the fire. The fire shot up, and its heat melted the snow in a moment. The ground was all green, the trees were covered with leaves, the birds began to sing, and the forest was filled with all kinds of flowers. It was summer. The ground under the bushes was covered with white starlets, the starry blossoms were turning into strawberries every minute. They ripened at once, and before Maruša had time to think, there were so many of them that it looked as though blood had been sprinkled on the ground.
"Pick them at once, Maruša!" commanded
June. Maruša picked them joyfully till she had filled her apron full. Then she thanked the months with all her heart and scampered
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merrily home. Holena and the stepmother wondered when they saw Maruša bringing the strawberries. Her apron was full of them. They ran to open the door for her, and the scent of the strawberries filled the whole cottage.
"Where did you pick them?" asked Holena sulkily.
"There are plenty of them growing under the young beech-trees in the forest on the high mountains."
Holena took the strawberries, and went on eating them till she could eat no more. So did the stepmother too, but they didn't say to Maruša: "Here is one for you."
When Holena had enjoyed the strawberries, she grew greedy for other dainties, and so on the third day she longed for some red apples.
"Maruša, go into the forest and get me some red apples," she said to her sister.
"Alas! sister dear, how am I to get apples for you in winter?" protested Maruša.
"You wretched little tatterdemalion, how dare you argue when I tell you to do a thing? Go to the forest at once, and if you don't bring me the apples I will kill you!" threatened Holena.
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The stepmother caught hold of Maruša and pushed her out of the door and shut it after her. Maruša went to the forest weeping bitterly. The snow was lying deep; there wasn't a human footprint to be seen anywhere. But she didn't wander about this time. She ran straight to the top of the mountain where the big fire was burning. The twelve months were sitting round the fire; yes, there they certainly were, and Great January was sitting on the high seat.
"Please, kind sirs, let me warm my hands at the fire. I am trembling with cold."
Great January nodded, and asked her: "Why have you come here, and what are you looking for?"
"I am looking for red apples."
"It is winter now, and red apples don't grow in winter," answered January.
"Yes, I know," said Maruša sadly; "but my sister and my stepmother, too, bade me bring them some red apples from the forest. If I don't bring them, they will kill me. Tell me, father, tell me, please, where I could find them."
Great January rose up. He went over to
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one of the older months--it was September. He handed the club to him and said: "Brother, take the high seat."
Month September took the high seat upon the stone and swung the club over the fire. The fire began to burn with a red flame, the snow began to melt. But the trees were not covered with leaves; the leaves were wavering down one after the other, and the cold wind was driving them to and fro over the yellowing ground. This time Maruša did not see so many flowers. Only red pinks were blooming on the hillside, and meadow saffrons were flowering in the valley. High fern and thick ivy were growing under the young beech-trees. But Maruša was only looking for red apples, and at last she saw an apple-tree with red apples hanging high among its branches.
"Shake the tree at once, Maruša!" commanded the month.
Right gladly Maruša shook the tree, and one apple fell down. She shook it a second time, and another apple fell down.
"Now, Maruša, run home quickly!" shouted the month.
Maruša obeyed at once. She picked up
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the apples, thanked the months with all her heart, and ran merrily home.
Holena and the stepmother wondered when they saw Maruša bringing the apples. They ran to open the door for her, and she gave them two apples.
"Where did you get them?" asked Holena. "There are plenty of them in the forest on the high mountain."
"And why didn't you bring more? Or did you eat them on the way home?" said Holena harshly.
"Alas! sister dear, I didn't eat a single one. But when I had shaken the tree once, one apple fell down, and when I shook it a second time, another apple fell down, and they wouldn't let me shake it again. They shouted to me to go straight home," protested Maruša.
Holena began to curse her: "May you be struck to death by lightning!" and she was going to beat her.
Maruša began to cry bitterly, and she prayed to God to take her to Himself, or she would be killed by her wicked sister and her stepmother. She ran away into the kitchen.
Greedy Holena stopped cursing and began
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to eat the apple. It tasted so delicious that she told her mother she had never tasted anything so nice in all her life. The step-mother liked it too. When they had finished, they wanted some more.
"Mother, give me my fur coat. I'll go to the forest myself. That ragged little wretch would eat them all up again on her way home. I'll find the place all right, and I'll shake them all down, however they shout at me."
Her mother tried to dissuade her, but it was no good. She took her fur coat, wrapped a cloth round her head, and off she went to the forest. Her mother stood on the threshold, watching to see how Holena would manage to walk in the wintry weather.
The snow lay deep, and there wasn't a human footprint to be seen anywhere. Holena wandered about for a long time, but the desire of the sweet apple kept driving her on. At last she saw a light in the distance. She went towards it, and climbed to the top of the mountain where the big fire was burning, and round the fire on twelve stones the twelve months were sitting. She was terrified at first, but she soon recovered. She
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stepped up to the fire and stretched out her hands to warm them, but she didn't say as much as "By your leave" to the twelve months; no, she didn't say a single word to them.
"Why have you come here, and what are you looking for?" asked Great January crossly.
"Why do you want to know, you old fool? It's no business of yours," replied Holena angrily, and she turned away from the fire and went into the forest.
Great January frowned and swung the club over his head. The sky grew dark in a moment, the fire burned low, the snow began to fall as thick as if the feathers had been shaken out of a down quilt, and an icy wind began to blow through the forest. Holena couldn't see one step in front of her; she lost her way altogether, and several times she fell into snowdrifts. Then her limbs grew weak and began slowly to stiffen. The snow kept on falling and the icy wind blew more icily than ever. Holena began to curse Maruša and the Lord God. Her limbs began to freeze, despite her fur coat.
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Her mother was waiting for Holena; she kept on looking out for her, first at the window, then outside the door, but all in vain.
"Does she like the apples so much that she can't leave them, or what is the matter? I must see for myself where she is," decided the stepmother at last. So she put on her fur coat, she wrapped a shawl round her head, and went out to look for Holena. The snow was lying deep; there wasn't a human footprint to be seen; the snow fell fast, and the icy wind was blowing through the forest.
Maruša had cooked the dinner, she had seen to the cow, and yet Holena and her mother did not come back. "Where are they staying so long?" thought Maruša, as she sat down to work at the distaff. The spindle was full already and it was quite dark in the room, and yet Holena and the stepmother had not come back.
"Alas, Lord! what has come to them?" cried Maruša, peering anxiously through the window. The sky was bright and the earth was all glittering, but there wasn't a human soul to be seen. . . . Sadly she shut the
window; she crossed herself, and prayed for her sister and her mother. . . . In the morning she waited with breakfast, she waited with dinner; but however much she waited, it was no good. Neither her mother nor her sister ever came back. Both of them were frozen to death in the forest.
So good Maruša inherited the cottage, a piece of ploughland and the cow. She married a kind husband, and they both lived happily ever after.

Sad Christmas

I’m sitting here listening to ‘I’ll Home for Christmas’. “I’m dreaming tonight of a place I know, even more than I usually do.” I never realized how sad this song is…” I’ll be home for Christmas, if only in my dreams.” Who only wants to be home in their dreams?? I mean, really, what that saying is I want to be home but I can’t be. Sigh. I guess it doesn’t matter how many paper snowflakes I cut out or how many ‘Top 10 sites of London’ lists I look at, I really just want to go home. I thought it would be exciting to be out on my own in Europe, truth is I’m heartbroken. I never thought I’d say this but I rather be in Santa Rosa Mall with a cup of hot cocoa, then touring the castles of Europe. Heck, even without the cocoa. I don’t know if it’s b/c it’s my first Christmas away from home, my second Christmas without Allison, or if it’s the need to experience the ‘Christmas feeling’. I just want to work in the puzzle, to go to Grams and Gramps Christmas Eve party, or just one advent service. Maybe it’s because my homesickness is finally kicking in and it just happens to double because it’s Christmas. This might be the first Christmas I actually cry on. Who would have guess that my favorite time of year would turn into the saddest part. Drink some eggnog for me.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Well I missed Barborky or St. Barbara’s Day on Dec. 4th. According to tradition, on this day a young unmarried woman cuts off a twig from a cherry tree and puts it in water. These will be put in a vase in a dark corner, each one with a name tag, and on Christmas Day they will be eagerly examined. If it blooms by Christmas Eve, the girl will marry within a year.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Daily Discovery 5!

Well if your looking at the picture wondering what in the world that thing is, then obviously you are not an old lady in the Czech Republic. It is an ice attachment for a walking cane. It's wicked looking. You don't want to get beat with this cane! Watch out for feisty old ladies in the snow. So, I hear they have these in the state *cough Steph* But to a FL girl, these are a new discovery. :)

Locked In??

Every week the time of church changes. I have no idea why. Well, last week it was at 8am. I knew today was later but I couldn't remember if it 9am or 10am (I was pretty sure it was 10). So at almost 9 I get in the shower. Well, I had music playing, but then I heard bells. I was like oh, no church is starting! So I raced to get dressed and ran down stairs. Well, to save time I decided to see if the front door was open. One thing you must know is that there is a door you go in to get to the call box then a door someone must buzz you through. Well from the inside all you do is hit this little button and the door buzzes open. Well, NORMALLY if the outside door is locked the inside door will not open. However, this was not the case this morning. By the time I figured this out and turned around to catch the other door, it had closed. So I was stuck in this glass box for about a half hour. Oh, and by the way church didn't start till 10. Finally a man came by and I hit the windows. Seeing my problem, the man ran to the back door (lucky he had keys) and buzzed me out of the box. Goodness. What a way to start your day.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Daily Discovery 4!

So, if you ever come to the Czech Republic and after days of chicken and pork you want something to sink your teeth into. You just want some good ole American beef. Do NOT order a hamburger. For what you will get is a big, fried piece of ham. Hence the name, HAMburger. Well, now I know.

St. Nick Day

St. Nick Day is Dec. 5 in the Czech Republic. On St. Nick Day everyone wears red and Santa hats. Then St. Nick and the Devil come to your house. They ask for a song, poem, dance, or skit. If you do one then St. Nick gives you a gift. But... if you don't then the devil scares you. Ashley and I ran into St. Nick on the sidewalk. We sang 'We Wish You a Merry Christmas" in English. We got to choose something from his basket. Ashley got a banana and I thought I grab a piece of candy. Turns out to be a vitamin. Goodness.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Daily Discovery 3!

I went to the store today in search of cleaning supplies. Yes, after 3 weeks I finally broke down; I couldn't take it any more. I just wanted some clorox wipes and dish soap. I must have walked up and down the same aisle for 20 mins not wanting to believe they don't exist here. I guess the Czechs are not lazy cleaners. So next time you go clean your bathroom, just think of all the Cheez-It calories you could burn by sending me the box and scrubbing it by hand!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Info to help you pray & understand...

Here is some information about the Czech Republic that will help you pray for their needs and understand their culture a little more...

Mini-History Lesson
After World War II Czechoslovakia was ruled by a Communist regime, under Soviet influence. The “velvet revolution” of 1989 saw the collapse of Communism and a return to democracy without bloodshed. In 1993 the “velvet divorce” split the country in two, forming the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The Czech Republic wants to be a part of the European Union, but public opinion is divided about whether or not this is best way forward. In recent polls 50% of the population described themselves as atheists.

The Czechs are the #1 beer drinking nation in the world, consuming the most beer per capita in the world (160 liters or 43 gallons). They have been drinking beer since at least 900 A.D. The brewery U Fleků was established in 1499. They also brewed the first Pilsner (Pilsner Urquell made in Plzeň) and Budweiser beers. ‘Budweiser’ was originally a Czech beer, until an American brewer borrowed the name in 1876. Both companies are currently entangled in a trademark dispute involving the right to use the name ‘Budweiser’. It is part of their culture and heritage, but it also can cause may problems.

Old Church
The transition from Communism has not been easy for the Czech Republic. When the movement from Catholic to Protestant started many people join the protestant churches. So much so that they had to build bigger churches. But people joined not because they loved Jesus, but because they hated Catholics and wanted to support anything against them. Well a couple years after the movement all the people started leaving. Now we have big empty churches with very old generations. Many of the pastors here are getting old. There is a big generation gap. The avg. for Catholic priests is 69! Pray that God can equip a new generation of spiritual leaders for this nation. Many young people are really searching for answers – pray that Christians would be motivated and excited about sharing their faith.

The Czech Republic needs your prayers!

Monday, December 1, 2008


So today in class we learned colors. You know just the 8 basic colors plus pink and grey. So we are doing color by numbers. First of all doing this with adults is hilarious. They kinda looked at me like are you serious, this is our work. But they had lots of fun with it! Well, I have 4 girls and one guy. You know how they have all those really crazy names for colors. It's hard to find the 8 basic crayons with the plain names. Well, I thought I had taken all the crazy names out. But I must have missed one because when the guy should have been writing 'grey' he was writing 'timberwolf' and howling. Goodness. It was so funny.