The Newest Little Boy Dove

Look at those cheeks, and those sweet little fingers
– so precious!

He’s here!

We are so excited for Josh & Savannah (Zack’s brother & his wife). Their first child, a healthy and beautiful baby boy, was born March 5 at 3:33 PM EST.

It’s hard to believe Zack’s baby brother is a daddy now!

Everyone is doing well, and we are so thankful for this new little life!

I prayed for this child, and God gave me what I asked for.
And now I have dedicated him to God. He’s dedicated to God for life.
1 Samuel 1:27-28
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Denne gutten var det jeg ba om, og Herren har gitt meg det jeg ba ham om.
Nå gir jeg ham tilbake til Herren for hele hans levetid. Han skal tilhøre Herren.
Første Samuelsbok 1.27-28

A New Baby Dove… our nephew/cousin is on his way!!

We are excited and anxious in Norway!
Zack’s brother and his wife are expecting their first baby. The boys are so excited about their new baby cousin. And I’m excited that Zack was able to make it to Georgia for the birth of his nephew (and a little jealous!).
Josh and Savannah will go to the hospital tonight, and we are praying that Ben Curtis will make his safe and healthy entry into the world sometime tomorrow.
Please join us in praying for this new little man, and for Savannah. Hooray for another Dove boy!

A Day in the Life

We received a suggestion to write a post about what a typical day looks like for Zack and me.So what does our typical day look like? Honestly, our schedule varies every day. Some days we find ourselves buried in language learning activities, others meeting friends and local partners in the city, and others doing practical office type work. But most days include a blend of a lot of different things.

So here is a glimpse at what a typical weekday might look like while we are not taking language classes (maybe I’ll do another post once we’re back in language school)…

6:25: Jenn wakes up, packs the boys’ lunches, gets breakfast going
7:00: Zack and the boys get up, get dressed
7:20: breakfast, devotions, prayer
8:00: boys walk to the bus station
8:00: watch the news (great language practice!)
9:00: work out
9:30: emails, office work
10:30: clean up, language learning time
12:00: this can vary: lunch, time in the city, appointments, errands, work stuff
2:50: leave to pick up the boys from school
3:15: back home, snacks, homework

From here, it can go a lot of different directions. Sometimes we have to eat dinner at 4:00 or 4:30 because of football practice, appointments in the city, or house church. Sometimes we relax a little, eat dinner later, and then do something as a family (play cards, read a chapter from a book, play Wii, watch a TV show, etc). The boys typically go to bed at 8:00 (Daniel) and 9:00 (William).

What’s it Like: Driving

It’s always an adventure to drive in a new place. But driving in a new country is something even more interesting!
In Norway, we drive on the right side of the road, just like in the states. But there are many things that are different. Here’s a look at some of what we’ve become accustomed to…
Roundabouts (or rotaries) are quite common here. While they are not terribly confusing, they took some time to learn!
This picture shows the entrance into a large rotary.
The signs above let you know what lies in each direction, and
which lane you should be in.
As you enter the roundabout: signal right if you plan to take the first right
(for example here, the E18 freeway to Oslo)
Don’t signal if you plan to take the roundabout exit that is straight ahead
(for example, Kilen)
Signal left if you plan to go three-quarters around and take the exit that is to the left
(in this case, Sentrum S, or the South side of downtown)
As you are about to exit the roundabout, you should signal right.
This is as you are just about to enter the roundabout.
The blue sign lets you know it’s a roundabout.
And you always have to yield to cars already in the roundabout.

 

The blue arrow lets you know that the road is dividing, and
which direction you should go. This is especially helpful
when there is a lot of snow!
You are entering a No Passing Zone.
This sign lets you know you are leaving the no pass zone.
Anytime you see the sign all in gray with the diagonal lines,
it means you’re leaving that particular zone (could be no passing,
or a speed limit, etc.)

 

Pedestrian Sign – these are important!!
Pedestrians have the right-of-way at all
crosswalks, unless it is controlled by a traffic light.
You must stop, so you always need to be looking to the
sides of the street as you approach a crosswalk.

 

This indicates a 60 kph speed zone. Currently,
Norway’s highest allowed speed is 100 (on some
portions of the freeway/E18).

Our biggest learning curve came with the yellow diamond, seen below. If you see this sign, it means you’re on a main road. You have the right of way and do not have to yield to traffic from other roads. Okay, that isn’t a problem. But when you don’t have the yellow diamond, you must yield to roads on your right. So if a car is coming from the road on the right, you have to stop and let them out. This one was strange for us!

Ah, the yellow diamond. This is the one that
confused us the most as we learned to drive here!

 

Pray for Ukraine

My heart is breaking for my sons’ birth country. People trying to achieve freedom. But on the brink of war.

Please join us in praying for a peaceful resolution, and that these people will be able to experience the freedom they desire. Pray for the new/interim leadership to act with wisdom. Pray for Russia to back down and remove their troops. Pray for people there to be able to discern the truth amongst a lot of propaganda and lies.
Pray for peace.
(pictures from 2010 in Kyiv)

 

 

19 Years Cancer Free

How did you spend your senior year of high school? I would imagine that most of you would say finishing projects, waiting on college acceptance letters, skipping a few classes, making memories with friends, and looking towards graduation and new chapters.

©Billy Howard Photography
(1994) from the art show & book
Angels & Monsters: A Child’s Eye View of Cancer
(find it HERE on Amazon)

That’s how I thought I’d spend my senior year, too. But sometimes life throws you a curve ball (for my European friends, it’s a baseball analogy for something difficult or tricky). And that’s exactly what happened to me.

It started with strange pains in my right leg/hip. Multiple doctor visits, blood work and a biopsy resulted in an appendectomy and exploratory abdominal surgery. Turns out, my appendix was fine. What didn’t seem fine was a lymph node the size of an egg. It was sent off for testing, but the results said it was benign.

That was October/November 1993. By January 1994, I was in excruciating pain. I couldn’t stand up straight unless I pulled my left leg up towards my chest. I was frequenting the chiropractor who, through x-rays, could see what he called a ‘gas pocket’. Most nights as my family slept, I would toss and turn, trying to make myself comfortable with stacks of pillows and piles of ibuprofen, or attempting to soak in a hot bath to relieve the pain.

©Billy Howard Photography
follow-up photo for the book
(@2001)

By the beginning of February, I found myself in the hospital with a diagnosis of Stage IV Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. That ‘gas pocket’ was a large tumor pressing on my spine.

And thus began my life of living with the C word: Cancer.

There were times where I laid in a drug-induced coma, the doctors telling my family that the chances were slim and they needed to pray. Sometimes it was because of the cancer. Other times it was because of a gram-negative infection or meningitis, brought on when my immune system had been weakened by the chemo.

But through it all, God gave me peace. Looking back, I can’t remember a single time that I thought I was going to die. I guess others must have thought it, but it never crossed my mind.

Yesterday, February 28, 2014, I celebrated 19 years since I finished chemo. 19 years since I was declared cancer-free. It hit me that more of my life has been as a cancer-survivor than not.

©Billy Howard Photography
Billy graciously took
family portraits when we
first brought William home
(2008)

During my treatment I was invited to participate in an art project, which was later turned into a book (Angels & Monsters: A Child’s Eye View of Cancer). In the project, I shared about a dream I had shortly after my diagnosis. You’ll have to read the book to get the whole story, but one of the lines I wrote at age 18 was “It then occurred to me that perhaps I hadn’t yet fulfilled all that God planned for me.”

I’m thankful that God chose to heal me this side of heaven. And thankful that all of this is part of my testimony. Thankful for the way he led me to a husband who loves me, even when I’m moody and difficult (I still blame that on the chemo side-effects!). Thankful for the way he built our family across continents. Thankful for the opportunity He has given us to work in a new country and culture. Thankful that He is patient with me when I don’t get it right.

Nineteen years later, I have so much to be thankful for. This anniversary reminded me of that, and reminded me not to forget the journey God has allowed me to take.

 

*Special thanks to my friend Billy Howard (Billy Howard Photography) for capturing some special milestones of my our journey. Billy, you and your camera are quite a pair!