Monday, May 2, 2011

The Circle of Prague

Two years ago Mick and I flew into Prague to make it our new home.
All our earthly possessions were in a truck on their way from Kiev, Ukraine. I’m told that Spring came to Prague that April morning…all I know is that it was a beautiful day. We had Mexican Salad with the Pearce family and then were taken to the “Guest apartment” to spend our first night in the Czech Republic.

The next few days are a blur…they were filled with shopping and putting together new pieces of furniture from Ikea. We ran back and forth from the “Guest apartment” to our apartment two blocks away. We were getting ready for the truck full of “our treasures” to arrive. Finally, it came and we were able to move into our new home, Korunni 89, 130 00 Praha 3.

It wasn’t hard to make this new place home…we loved the apartment, the location, and Prague. That first week in the new place was full of unpacking and “finding the right place” for everything. Soon our apartment was ready for guest. We were at HOME and entertaining!!!

Fast forward two years…April 2011 and my apartment looks much like it did on April 14, 2009. This time the boxes are brown not white. But no matter, all my earthly possessions are being packed again. This time they will be in storage for over twelve months.

Last night as I lay in the old “Guest apartment” (now Russell and Melinda Kyzar’s home) I realized that we had come full circle…
Two years ago it was a beautiful spring and we were embarking on a new season of life, today it is spring (I wouldn’t say it is beautiful) and we are embarking on a new season of life.

This apartment has been a great home to us for these two years. We have entertained precious friends. We have had many guest from the states…two of our sons and one daughter-in-love…my parents…Lisa Collins…wow, so many I better stop or I’ll forget someone and I’d hate to do that. We enjoyed every single person who entered our home. We pray that they were blessed as we were by being with them.

Many have asked if I’m sad. The answer is “Of course I’m sad!” But I have to add, I look forward with expectation and full trust in the Lord to the upcoming year. I pray that the seminary housing we will be living in will become home to us…a place we can bless and be blessed. And I believe that God has a wonderful new apartment for us when we return to Prague. It will be July 2012 when we return, not spring, but a new season of life for us all the same.

“From everlasting to everlasting the LORD’s love is with those who fear Him.”
Psalm 103:17

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter thoughts this fine Saturday...

I’ve just finished making a banana pudding and a chocolate-chip pie (with Carmen’s music in the background!!!) Yes, getting ready for our Easter feast with friends tomorrow. As I was cleaning up I thought of years past when the clean up was much harder because I had dye to clean off the table and sometimes the floor. Not this year…which mean, NO KIDS IN THE HOUSE…SAD.
Reminds me of the scripture…”Where there is no ox the stall is clean!” All my little oxen are gone…and I miss them so!

However, I am celebrating…Celebrating the RESURRECTION OF MY LORD and SAVIOR. Memories are a wonderful thing, sure often they make me cry…but how I savor them. Memories of the activities of EASTERS past and memories of my Savior’s presence in all those times.

I’m reading a book by Alicia Britt Chole called Finding an Unseen God. I have been following Alicia for months now by getting her weekly emails. I love her writings…I believe her to be an intellect.
Don’t laugh. I’m not saying that I am one.
I’m no Vizzini (Princess Bride) believing myself to have a dizzying intellect (…”Wait till I get going! Now, where was I?”)
I love that she is BUT that she writes to those who are not!

It has been enlightening to hear from one who knew nothing about Christ…who didn’t believe He existed…but who came to know Him in all His fullness. I’m learning so much from her and love seeing HIM through fresh eyes.

I’m choosing to look at this Easter through fresh eyes…no little children around (I do get to see the kids in a week)…just spending most of my energy on seeing Him…not the pretty Him, but the ugly Him; covered in my your sin.

But Hallelujah He is no longer covered in that sin, He is alive forever more…sitting at the right hand of the Father…Changing lives of those who don’t even know He exist…He does…and forever more shall!!!

He is Risen, He is Risen INDEED and it makes a difference!!!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

To Look like Jesus

Ian Anderson Stockwell was our 2010 Christmas gift. The only blight of the day was that his father had not arrived from Iraq. But the rest of his family was there to welcome little Ian into the BIG world.

When Mick and I finally got into the delivery room to view another male child for the Stockwell family I was over-whelmed with love…and something else. Ian didn’t look like our babies…he was beautiful (and this is not just the grandma in me speaking!) BUT he didn’t resemble the Stockwells at all. He had dark hair and, I’m told, his mom’s nose.

Funny how I kept looking at him intently to find something in him that said, even if in a quite way, “I’m a Stockwell.”

We left little Ian behind on January 13th and headed back to Prague. I watch monthly when Katherine puts up Ian’s pictures to see if he looks any more like a Stockwell. On February 25th as I was staring at that picture I had this thought...

How I long to see something of us in him. Why??? I can’t answer the why. The Lord reminded me that He wants me to LOOK LIKE HIM in this world. He wants me to show His likeness as I go through life. I wonder if He stares at me just trying to see some little something that lets the world know I’m his? Does He have to look that hard??? I pray that is not the case. I pray that I have His eyes, His ears, His hands, His feet.

The other day I was thinking of Ian and I came to the conclusion that he may never look like a Stockwell (though his Grumps seems to think that the latest picture looked somewhat like Jonathan.) For a minute I wondered if it would bother me if he didn’t look like a Stockwell…then I had this precious thought…
Who cares if he looks like a Stockwell or an Anderson, I just want him to look like JESUS. That is what I pray for our Ian…may he look like Jesus!

"For those He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers." Romans 8:29

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Walking by Faith

February 1, 2011…My how the time flies when you are having fun and when you are not…time is always flying by.

I’ve been in a nostalgic mood since we returned from our wonderful vacation in the states…what a precious time we had. The Lord allowed us to witness the birth of our first grandchild (Ian Anderson Stockwell) and to see all the kids and our parents and a few other family members and precious family friends. When the Lord gives me little handfuls on purpose like this I am always thankful…but also, a little nostalgic when the time is over.

Last night Mick and I watched a very long and drawn out movie called “Seraphim Falls.” Pierce Brosnan and Laim Neeson stared in this western movie that I found fairly dull until the end. Long story short, Liam is after Pierce the entire film for something Pierce did at Seraphim Falls…they finally meet up in a desert both about half dead. Neither can kill the other and so they walk toward the mountains in the distance without gun or knife (which had been a big part of the movie!)
Last night the ending made me think about “FORGIVENESS.”

But this morning I read today’s devotional in Jesus Calling…The first line says, “Follow Me one step at a time…that is all I require of you.” Sarah Young talks about the mountains that we see ahead of us. We often look at them and don’t look where we are stepping and get caught up in what seemed to be “little mole hills.”

Pierce and Liam kept looking toward the mountains in the distance while trudging through the desert. They saw the mountain as a place of rest…a little different from what Sarah was talking about…they thought they knew what the outcome was going to be…one would make it to safety and one would not…or they would both make it to the mountains and their ordeal would continue. The point being they were looking ahead. The future held their interest. However, the end was quite different.

Yes, that was THE END! Though I found it very boring I couldn’t stop thinking about it…last night and this morning when I read my devotional.
I thought that there would be another outcome…was not disappointed in the one given because forgiveness was the message…but still, I’d watched this movie for more.

I watched it for a HUMAN conclusion…off the BAD GUY…but in this movie there really wasn’t a bad guy. There was life. Sometimes life is not what we expect or want…or sometimes we THINK our life will not be what we want or that it will be too hard…we look to the future and we think, “I will not be able to do that!”
And we are right…we can not do it…

We have to “Keep our mind on the present journey, enjoying His Presence. Walk by faith, not by sight, trusting Him to open up the way before us.” (Paraphrased from Jesus Calling)

Time, it is flying by…but I do not have to worry about it (you do not have to worry about it)…we just have to WALK by FAITH and NOT by SIGHT!!! II Corinthians 5:7

Thursday, July 1, 2010

I just realized that it has been six months since I last posted. I guess you know that much has gone on around here since then!

Mick and I have been to Germany a couple of times, Mick has been back and forth to America, he has been to Milan and all over ITALY (yes, without me…all I got was a text message on my phone, “In Rome, what should I do?” I wrote back “Do as the Romans!”)

Lisa Collins came to visit us…we took her to Budapest and Lisa and I did a day in the baths with colleagues. I had three weeks of fun showing Lisa my city. It was hard to see her go, but I think her family wanted her home.

I have been busy teaching ESL, working with a young girls’ Bible study, and visiting with my friends from the Economic University. Many people came in and out our doors as they came to Prague, either to see it or for meetings. We would love to show you around…so go ahead, come on over!

In early May we found out we are going to be grandparents…so I guess we really found out that Jonathan and Katherine are going to be parents. Exciting news!!!

We call the baby Stryker. NO, that is not going to be the baby’s name…but we do not want to call him/her an “IT” and we do not want to always say, “Him/Her” when speaking of the child…so Mick and I (and I think Katherine does too) call our baby Stryker. We do not know if Stryker is a boy or girl yet. We wait to see…and while I wait I pray every morning before my feet touch the floor for baby Stryker. I pray specific things for Stryker. I can not wait to hold this child in my arms. But I have to wait until January.

During May I spent a week in Basel, Switzerland at a workshop. I enjoyed reviewing much I’d been told years ago (I’d like to say that I learned years ago, but…) and the fellowship with old friends and making new ones. I have to say that I found a flaw in me there…I found that I’ve become a CITY SNOB. There is no city as pretty as Prague and therefore, I walked through Basel thinking…”Wow…they are woefully lacking in beauty.”

This month has been a busy month. My parents came to visit. They did great on the public transportation (which they were allowed to use at no cost…age has its perks!) We went to Dresden, Germany one day and again I was reminded…there is no city as pretty as Prague, but I must say that Dresden was close! We stood on the balcony of Europe.

My parents enjoyed the sites of Prague and shopping for family and friends.

It was hard to let them go home but we had to leave in two days for a trip to Poland so we allowed them to go home and continue life!

Jonathan left for his first deployment on the twenty-sixth. We did much calling back and forth before that day. It wasn’t as hard as I thought…and I believe that the reason is because so many people are covering him (and his wife and mom) in prayer.

I’ve heard that he is doing fine. Not where he will be yet, but waiting on his men to show up and then he will enter Iraq.

We covet your prayers for him and his family. Katherine will move back to Fort Worth in July and live with her parents. It is their plan for Jonathan to be home for the birth of Stryker and then to return to his duty.

Katherine will remain in Texas until he returns.

Mick and I plan on being in the states for a year beginning in May of 2011. Daniel will graduate and Mick will continue working on his PhD.

So much going on with us…we know that much is going on in your lives too.

Isn’t it wonderful to know that as we make our plans to come and go (Mick leaves Saturday for the states and then we have a trip to Madrid planned for the 11th of July) that God is in control. If I did not know this I’d be over-whelmed most of the time.

I love the book, Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. This past week her devotionals have been about resting in the Lord…sensing His Presence…He is with us! What confidence I gain when I remember that. We may go and come, we may entertain or be entertained…we may be alone or in a crowd…but He is with us…We can face the day knowing our security is in Him.

HAPPY FOURTH and summer blessings…

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Streets of Prague

I walked the streets of Prague with two of my sons, a precious daughter-in-love and a treasured family friend this past Christmas. What a joy it was taking Daniel and Jonathan back to places they saw when much younger (we were in training here in Prague for about 4 weeks in 2001.) And it was exciting to watch Katherine and Eric experience the awe of this beautiful city for the first time.

They came and left…it went by so quickly…but was, oh, so very wonderful!

Yesterday I walked the streets of Old Town alone and noticed “IT.”
Today I rode Tram #16 alone (well, with many other people…but you know what I mean.)
As I rode across the bridge over the Vltava river I looked to my right and saw the steeples of St. Peter and Paul Church. I looked back to my left and could barely make out the silhouette of Prague Castle and St. Vitus Cathedral because of the misting snow and noticed “IT” again.

What is this “IT?”
I noticed that I was not depressed in the least.
Since the boys left home for college (“Why they want to leave me?”…my rendition of a line from MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING) I can not remember being with them and parting (leaving them or them leaving me) and not being just a bit depressed.
But “IT” was different today.

Okay, when I rode past the church of St. Ludmila at Namesti Miru tears did come to my eyes. I couldn’t help it when I saw the steps where just a few days ago Daniel and I stood together for a great picture (see below!) But, still, they were tears of joy and not of depression or sadness. I had a little thanksgiving service right there in my tram seat.

So what is the difference? Why is “IT” different now?
I know it isn’t because I do not miss the guys or love them less.
I’d like to think that it is because I’m a little more mature these days (not older… MATURE!)
But the truth is: The LORD has done a great work in my heart. He taught me to TRUST and He has given me HOPE FOR THE FUTURE.
I love the boys as MEN (I’ve enjoyed every stage of their lives.) I look forward to watching Jonathan and Katherine start a family (in the future…no rush guys) and be a part of their traditions.
I was truly excited about sending Daniel back to college. Only one and a half more years and he will be a man out in the world looking for a job.
Christopher and Katie didn’t get to join us this year…However, I know that God has plans for them that are worth the wait also.
And these plans will not take place if they are with me all the time. We all have to live life!
So much ahead. Such great expectations as we wait to see GOD ALIVE and WELL in the Stockwell family.

So, when Tram #16 pulled up near my apartment and I dismounted I did so with my head held high, a slight smile on my face (Okay, it was a half smile) and JOY in my heart.

I walk the streets of Prague daily with PEACE and HOPE.

“We wait for the LORD; He is our help and shield. For our hearts rejoice in Him, because we trust in His holy name. May Your faithful love rest on us, LORD, for we put our hope in You.” Psalm 33:20-22

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Since getting back from a WONDERFUL TRIP to the states (which I’ll write about later) I have been busy here in Prague.
Today I met with my two students from the Economic University. Susie Edworthy and I want to combine our “girls” and have a Christmas party before the end of the semester…a time to share with them the REAL meaning of Christmas.
After talking with Lenka about a good date to gather we continued talking about Christmas. I didn’t want to get into the subject too much because I want to be able to share the TRUE meaning with all the girls when we have the party.
However, I asked her what their “Santa Claus” was called. She informed me (quite proudly) that Czechs do not have “Santa Claus,” they have “baby Jesus.”
Before I knew what came out of my mouth I said, “That is sad, no Santa!”
She said (in her cute way!) “No sad, we have baby Jesus.”
As she continued to talk about “baby Jesus” bringing their gifts and tree I realized that it would be wonderful not to have Santa messed up with the meaning of Christmas. However, the more Lenka told me the more I saw that though they have no Santa, and have “baby Jesus” they clearly do not have TRUTH.

I’m praying that our time together will enlighten Lenka, Misha, and Susie’s two girls to the fact that Jesus did come as a baby but that He grew up and died for them. The greatest gift of all did come in the form of baby Jesus when He (as a man without sin) died on the cross for the sins of the world.

Praying that I do not get too busy to remember the TRUE meaning of Christmas and have opportunities to make the TRUE meaning known to my world. Praying the same for you…may we watch for these opportunities as the Christmas season approaches (it is upon us…I was in the malls…it is here!)