One of Many Reflections

I’ve had  many adventures and revelations since my last entry, and living in Europe is still somewhat of a novelty to me.

God is helping me to improve the talents (playing my flute, baking, cooking, writing, communicating with people :] ) He has given me. This reminds me of

Philippians 1:6, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;

Recently, I starting listening to Family Life Network’s, Living on the Edge,  via online.  The past month, the messages have been about spiritual warfare and how to discover and use the spiritual gifts God has given me. God’s timing is so impeccable. Only about a week before, I had a Skype prayer session with Wellsprings Ministry. It was an amazing time of encouragement for my faith, confirmation that I am exactly where God desires me to be, and a time to learn more how God has equipped me for ministry.  The beautiful truth about God is that the time I spent with Him will never be lost; His truth can never be taken away from me.

Illustration by Scott T. Peterson

Illustration by Scott T. Peterson

My desire to be prepared to fight against the evil in this world has been renewed. Ephesians 6:10-20 says, “10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— 19 and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.”

We have victory through Jesus Christ! Each day we need to chose to listen for God’s voice, and we need to practice thinking about His truth.

New language lesson

About seven days ago, I learned that modern Czech is actually an artificial language. It was originally its own Slavic language; but, some language scholars created the modern complex Czech grammar.

In 1620 after the Battle of White Mountain, the same year the Pilgrims came to modern day Massachusetts, Bohemia came  under deeper control by  the Hapsburg Empire.  It became highly influenced by German culture and politics. For about 250 years, German was the official language in Czech. In the late 18th century until 1848, there was a huge Czech Revival. At this time in Czech history, the Czech culture started to have its own voice.

Czech writers of the period often looked to the countryside for inspiration. In a similar fashion to how the Brothers Grimm recorded German folklore, Karel Jaromír Erben wrote Prostonárodní české písně a říkadla (Czech Folk Songs and Nursery Rhymes) which brought together various folktales. The countryside was looked to as the true Bohemia, where Czech folklore and traditions had survived away from the foreign influences of the cities. This can be seen in the work of Božena Němcová whose The Grandmother explores life in a rural Bohemian village. (from Wikipedia)

Josef Jungmann was very influential in the revival of the Czech language. He wrote a 5 volume Czech-German Dictionary in which he laid out the basis for modern Czech. He also studied historical documents and other Slavic languages to form the Czech language. As Charles Dickens invented new English words, Josef Jungmann created new Czech words.

Bake Sale Queen Humbled

Last week, I decided to make chocolate chip cookies for the Bible study my roommate and I host. It was also my roommates birthday on Thursday,  so I wanted  make her an apple pie.

I found an apple pie  and cookie recipe online. After writing down all the ingredients, I Google translated everything so I could buy them at the grocery store.  I went to Albert and searched all over the store for the ingredients constantly checking my bilingual list.  However, I couldn’t find shortening or a pie dish.  I found most of the ingredients though. I even went to the Korean store (a mini department store) near King George Square. I found a light wood rolling pin and a cookie sheet. With all the ingredients in tow,  I came back to the flat and started to get the ingredients together. I looked for measuring cups in the drawer of our flat, but I realized  I should have brought some from Buffalo (a week later I still haven’t found a set in any store). I ended up using  a liquid measuring cup for dry ingredients. I was getting so nervous thinking these cookies will taste terribly. To make the baking project even more crazy,  I realized I forgot to buy white sugar. I dashed to the store, but I  couldn’t figure out what sugar to get: Krystal or Pastel sugar, and with time racing I grabbed the Pastel sugar. I dashed back to my flat.  The chocolate I crushed up to put in the dough made Hershey taste like Godiva. I kept praying they would taste delicious. I finally got all the ingredients mixed, even though it may not have been exactly to the book. I put a batch on the cookie sheet I had bought. But, it didn’t fit into the small European oven. Praise the Lord Anetka had bought a small sheet pan, so I transferred the cookies to the smaller pan.

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First cookie batch

Twenty-five minutes later (instead of the usual 8-10 minutes), I took out the first batch of cookies. They looked more dense than other cookies I’ve made. It must have been  the powered sugar (pastel) that I used instead of the granulated (Krystal) sugar. After sampling one if the cookies, I thought it tasted nasty.

Anetka came back from work and I she gladly tried one of them She loved it! The best part of baking that day was wearing the apron my Mom and I  got at Delish Cooking school in downtown Buffalo. I wore my pearls while baking too, check that  off the bucket list (wearing pearls while cooking or baking).

When the girls came for the Bible study, by the end of the night they  ate all but one of the 4 dozen cookies!! They loved them, a lot.

When I made the apple pie on Friday to celebrate Anetka’s B-day I still hadn’t found shortening to make the pie crust. I used butter instead, hoping it would work. After pealing and cutting all the apples, it didn’t fit into the pan very well (I had found a small tin pie pan). I put a the same sheet pan I used for the cookies, and  put the pan underneath the pie dish in case the apple juice sizzled out. When it was finished, it looked and smelled delicious. After Tomas and Misha came to our flat to celebrate. I served the pie to my friends. Anetka and Misha had two slices. I thought, oh I need to try this again. It isn’t what it should taste like, but it is delicious.

This adventure taught me, be careful, Lisa, even if you think you’ve become a baking diva, you can always learn more. The two baking days were their own adventure in themselves. We will leave perfecting to another day.

Communcation: essential

Here are a few words in the Czech Language.

Last week, some of my Czech friends were sitting on the couch in my flat, and they were laughing and talking in Czech. I would catch a word or phrase, but not enough to understand what they were talking about. They were laughing and talking just as any American would do. Language is a necessity in life.

Starting Czech lessons is very exciting. My teacher speaks mainly in Czech, and if I don’t understand she says it in English. Czech is a fascinating language. There are do many ways to form words.  Unlike any other language I’ve studied (Spanish and English the only two really) or even learned a smidgen about, each adjective, noun, and even a person’s name changes depending on the case of the sentence. It amazes me that even its native speakers can learn it.

Czech shows the amazing complexity of the brain. God has truly created so much to reflect Himself and His nature. He is beyond our comprehension. He has created every language in the world, and He is more fluent in each language than a linguist devoted to a life of study.

Oh Father! You have created language to communicate to you and to each other. Help me learn by Your wisdom.

What was it like?

Across the castle, on the other side of the river is a bike path.

It always been a dream of mine to live in Europe, to learn another language, and to experience a different way of living. God has allowed me  to fulfill that dream in moving to Poděbrady, Czech Republic. In my small mind (compared to God’s infinite mind), I could never imagine actually moving to a different country.

The other day, I walked to the River Elbe and and sat across from Poděbrady Castle. As I tried to studied Czech numbers, my mind began to wonder, trying to imagine what life would have been like when the castle was first built in the second half of the 13th century. The cobble-stone and paved streets I walked today were probably  dirt roads with horses and wagons instead of cars and bicycles. The lifestyle of the people would have been so different too: their clothes, hobbies and occupations. It’s amazing to think that one city has remained throughout so much history.

What great opportunities are now before me? I have yet to discover each one.

Bye for Now

Ahoj!

Lisa