Monday, December 20, 2010


This is our topic of discussion in our family for the last 3 weeks.  I did an advent calendar as well. It is a good reminder for the boys how long we still need to wait till Christmas.
But also advent in Latin means coming.  So we are looking for the coming of Christmas but also we talked with the boys that advent is much more than waiting for the holiday of Jesus being born on the earth.  We are looking forward to His second coming. We had a great time discussing that Jesus will come back again but not as a baby anymore but as  Powerful King. Ryan asked me one night “When is He coming back? How many days till He is coming?” So I told him that we don’t know when but we are expecting Him to come any day. The longer the waiting the greater will be the joy to see Him.

Of course the boys are looking to open their presents wrapped under the tree. It is normal and fun. We decided to put their presents under the tree very early this year as a reason to teach them about waiting. In my family the presents “appeared” under the tree just on Christmas Eve. I want for them to experience anticipation and longing, to see what is inside each box, and the analogy that we as Christians should long for the return of Christ.
We are counting the days until Christmas and the boys are doing fine on not trying to open any of the presents. Of course they are looking at them every evening and Ryan and Kevin are still arranging the boxes under the tree.  I keep one candle in the middle of our dining room table and we lite it every night. I ask them, “why is that candle there?” Ryan had some cute answers “To give us light. That you and daddy can have a romantic dinner. For Kevin to have something to blow out at the end of the meal…” We again explained to them that it is helping to remind us that Christmas is not just about gifts and good food and cookies but it is about Jesus. He is the center of our holiday.

Gifts are fun and we are thankful for them. It reminds us that the magi brought gifts to Jesus when He was born. This year Dennis will go with Ryan to an orphanage. Our church and the school that Ryan is attending will go there and deliver gifts to the children. We want for Ryan to experience more on the side of giving not just receiving gifts. I am praying for good weather so all could drive there safely. I wish I could go but it will be hard focusing on the kids having a baby in my arms. So on Thursday if you remember pray for all that will go to the orphanage.

I told Dennis that I miss hearing about the coming of the Lord at church.  Then Dennis was asked to preach. Without realizing when he was scheduled to preach he decided to prepare a sermon on that topic. The day he preached was exactly the first Sunday of Advent. What a great way to start the season. Please make time a listen to his sermon here:

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Ryan's kindergarten

Ryan loves to go to kindergarten. Every time we drive by the school where Ryan is, Kevin call out from the back of the car full of enthusiasm “Ryan’s school”.
He has 2 other boys that are Americans and they are buddies. I am not sure how much is on their side but Ryan calls them his friends.  So far it is a great fit for Ryan and we are happy that we chose the English kindergarten for him. He is blooming being able to talk with other kids and be able to understand everything.
He comes home singing new songs he learned, talking about recess, retelling me the stories he heard, showing me his drawing. He is in the 100 Club. This means that he is able to count to 100. He is funny and eager to have more homework J. He is waking up every day looking forward for the “school day”. We are grateful for the privilege we have to have him in a Christian school. Bellow are some picture for you to enjoy.
By the way this is the “Christmas month -every day is Christmas”-says Ryan. More about the advent in the next post.

Friday, November 26, 2010


We had a great time for Thanksgiving. Our dear friends Tommy and Dana decided to invite us and another family to their place. This was perfect as Ryan’s best friend is Aaron – Dana’s boy.  Also the other family has 2 girls and one of them is in the same class with Dana’s girl. The fun part is that Karen is Ryan’s teacher. What a great time to get to know her outside of school. So we had 6 adults and 8 kids. Anna who is Dana’s girl was excited because when we see each other she is surrounded by boys. She has 2 younger brothers and Kevin is very fond of her.

We had tons of food, more than we could eat, lots of sweets, and a very sweet fellowship. We shared reasons for thanksgiving that day and we enjoyed each other company. The kids listen to Karen as she told them couple of stories about Thanksgiving and enjoyed her yummy “pilgrims’ hats”.
Here are my top 3 reasons of thanks:
1.       I am thankful for God who is lavishes me with his love every single day. He is never bored or tired of me. He is always there for me and the more I get to know Him the more I am in love with Him.
2.       I am thankful for my sweet husband. He is a great companion and it is a joy to have him around. He has a heart for God and is very kind and gentle.
3.       I am thankful for our 3 cute boys.
Ryan is very smart kid and he is full of imagination. He can play pretend with the most ordinary toys. He loves to sing and can make a song for every thing he has or see. He loves to laugh and he likes any books with silly stories.
Kevin is a talker. He is a full of energy, loves to climb on anything that is dangerous. He loves to play in the water- so no surprise why our water bill is so high-. He is echoing Dennis’ prayers at the meals every single time. He loves to wrestle with daddy and it is very enthusiastic to have dad home.
Nathan is a very calm and patient baby. He loves to eat and smile. He likes mom (he knows where the “bread and butter” comes from) and wants mom to hold him as much as possible.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Saturday adventure

What a beautiful day! Sunshine, pretty warm. A great day to be outside. So we decided to go to a nearby village to get a nice walk and look for walnuts. I know it is too late in the season but that village has walnuts tree 2 meter apart on every single street. We stopped first at a store to buy a few more things and then we arrived in the walnut area. Nathan is sleeping in the car seat. First I don’t want to wake him up as he will think he needs to nurse. So Dennis takes Ryan and Kevin out and locks the car and hands me the keys. I am quite tired as I woke up a  lot last night with a nursing baby and another one who had bad dreams. I stayed inside the car for a little but it is so nice outside so I decided that I better get out and walk too. I open the door and it is so warm outside. I take my coat off as I want to get the front pack on (baby carrier), throw the coat on the front seat and get ready to get the baby. In a split second I push my door closed. OOPS!

The moment I hear the sound of the door I realize that the car key are in my coat pocket. I locked the key and the baby in the car. I panicked. Check my pants pockets in a desperate attempt to find keys. I try all the doors hoping for a miracle. Nothing. Dennis is still close and I wave to him to come back. Ryan is coming too and I tell him. I am scared. What to do now. It will take 5-6 hours even to walk home. Ryan picked up my emotions and started to cry. He is panicked and is bawling “the baby, the baby… I need to go to the bathroom… I am hungry… We will starve here and the baby will die… What we will do?….”

Dennis suggested we pray. Dennis had a cell phone with him. Mine is in the coat which is staying nice in the car. People pass and wonder about us and Ryan is attracting a lot of attention.  Dennis started to call some of our colleagues who live in that village. One is in a meeting, one is driving to a student retreat and is outside of Budapest already, the other one is not home. Ryan is pouring tears and I can’t comfort him. “no one will come…We will be here forever…   I need a bathroom…  the baby mommy, the baby… what will we do??? “. I am already thinking about breaking a window. Where will I find a rock, I have no idea. Ryan said: “ we should pray”. I am asking right now that the baby stay asleep a little longer. I can’t stay watching him cry inside because he is hungry. It is not so hot outside anymore but Nathan is in a car seat with a blanket on him. As we pray I see Nathan open his eyes and start to cry, for a few seconds and he is back asleep. 

Our last solution is my friend Dana. Dennis tried her husband but he is not answering. (We found out later that he was in an exam. He took a financial course and now was the final exam). Dana lives close to our house. She is home alone with her 3 small children. We call Dana and she agrees to go to our house to get our other car keys and we are praying that our neighbor is home. The neighbor has a key from our house. If Eva is not home than Dana will need to come pick up Dennis, drive to our house, and then back to us to rescue us.

Dana is amazing. She got all 3 kids in her car in couple of minutes and called us from our house to direct her to where the other set of car keys are. She then came in 15 minutes and rescued us.  Ryan was asking me every couple of seconds if the 15 minutes passed. “what if she is getting lost? What if she will never find us?” I never was happier to see those car keys.  Ryan is beaming now. He suggested on the way back: ”Next time mom you better lock me and Nathan inside. I will open the car for you.”  I hope and pray there will never be a next time.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Nathan is almost six weeks old. This was the most intense time in my life. The third is the easiest people said. Not till now...Life should get easier from now or at least this is my prayer. Nathan got jaundice in the second day of his life and that plus other things that are different here in the hospital make him very sleepy and not nursing. They gave him plain water with a bottle because he didn't have a wet diaper. He ate only twice in 24 hours so... Anyway I was glad to be out of the hospital with him. I didn't have any milk as he was not nursing more than couple of minutes. We went to the doctor at one week and his weight dropped farther 3750 g. (He was born with 4200g, he was 3800g when we left the hospital). We were very concerned and I worked hard to nurse him every 2 hours. After I would spend 1 hour trying to nurse him then I would spend more time pumping. He got also colic so it was the worst combination. I was exhausted. I could sleep even standing up. My parents were here so it was a great help.

At 2 weeks his weight was 3820g so the ordeal was not over. We worked hard to keep him awake to eat, nurse often even than 2 hours.
At 1 month his weight is 4400g. I feel I am getting out of the fog. He is cute and Kevin is very fond of him. He wants to hold Nathan and kiss him. The funniest thing is that now every time I sit down to nurse Nathan, Kevin is coming and sit down and says "Put Nate here" and he is pointing to his lap. Then he is lifting up his shirt and says" I'll do it. I'll do it".

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Nathan Clark Strellman was born 3:00am on 9/9/10 weighing 4.200 kg (9.2 pounds)

Nathan (means gift of God) was a bonus after we had given up on 3 and decided 2 were enough.
Lewis and Clark led the expedition to find a land route across North America to the Pacific, making it to Oregon and back.

Luiza woke up at 1:50am because Kevin came in and wanted to get in our bed.
In the bathroom she noticed that the contractions were 10 minutes apart.
She woke me at 2:05am and we left the house at 2:15am
We drove to Telki hospital in the pouring rain, making the 45 minute trip in 20.

A man came to the front desk, telling us to have a seat and a nurse would come soon. Here we had been risking our lives to get there and other people were not in as big a hurry. At 2:45am the nurse took us up the elevator to the second floor and asked Luiza to sit down and fill out a form in English. Her water broke and the contractions were 3 minutes apart. (I don’t need a form I need to push!!!) Then we went to the birth room and the head was showing. A doctor came and things got busy.

Friday, September 10, 2010

First week of school

Ryan is going to kindergarten. He was waiting and talking about this for a long long time. He loves being with other kids so we counted the days till September 1st when the school started. The night before he woke up at 5 am and told me he is ready to go. He is already going for 1 week and he loves it. He has 2 new friends Weston and Oliver. More picture will come later.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Are you spending time alone with God?

I enjoy reading. I love to read. Going here in Hungary for the prenatal check-up  is a good thing to do as usually I need to wait for a long time even if I have an appointment. On average I am at the doctor office for 2 ½ hours. I found a book that I didn’t read yet  by Richard Burr “Developing your secret closet of prayer”. It is a great book and if you didn’t read it yet I will encourage you to do it. I will not told you everything that is written there but for me was a great reminder of the importance of spending time alone with God in prayer. I love to pray with Dennis or as the need arise but I need to go alone and dedicate a certain time to be with my Father to talk to Him and to listen to Him all by myself. I will just give you two quotes that stir me up. One is from William Temple the former Archbishop of Canterbury and tell you more about the benefits of spending time with God.
“To worship is:
To quicken the conscience by the holiness of God
To feed the mind with the truth of God
To purge the imagination by the beauty of God
To open the heart to the love of God and
To devote the will to the purpose of God.”

“Where there is no remembrance of past mercies and no consideration of present blessings, there will be the certainty of future rebellion!”

So let’s go and spend every day time alone with our heavenly Father so our hearts will not forget all His benefits!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Living on the road

Right now we are living out of suitcases. That is a challenge for a family of 4 1/2. Our various hosts have been kind, all our needs are provided, but finding ways to exercise and spend time with God are tough. All our habits go out the window and we have to flex. That is furlough right now for our life as missionaries. Now I see why many husbands will just go and raise support by themselves, leaving the family home.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


Last couple of weeks I went through a hard time.  I was praying and asking God why life is so hard here. Why Christians go through such painful times as we have a Father who deeply loves us. Why a parent should see his little one die? I prayed and prayed but it seems that the answer I expected never came.  Yes I know that Heaven is far better than the life here on earth but it is still painful. As I was struggling with all these questions and praying and spending extended time with my Lord I got an answer. It came on Sunday listening to our pastor preaching. So I decided to share with you too.

1.    Life here will be painful and hard for believers. Suffering is a part of our Christian life. “Those who want to live for Jesus Christ will suffer” Suffering can take different forms. From sickness, death, shattered dreams, persecution… but all is part of the same category: Suffering. As long as we want to live for our Lord than we will suffer. This was a great reminder for me and an awakening call not to lose sight and hope.

2.    Life here on this earth is not a promise that we will get all the blessings. Life here is just a shadow of what life in heaven will be. We live here for just a short time and then we will have all the eternity with God. “How foolish will be to say to God: if you don’t bless me now in this life time I am not interested. If you don’t bless me right now God you can forget it I am not interested”. Can we compare this short life with all the eternity? How many blessings await for us Home? We were created for that world. It is like a child in the womb who will want all that is good right there in that tight space. How much love, and hugs and kisses he will get when he is out of that place? But sometimes we act that all it is good need to come here in this life on the earth. It is not true.

No matter what you are going through right now, I hope you will be encouraged and comforted with the thoughts above.

Friday, February 19, 2010

New milestones

Ryan is growing up a lot. He will be 5 this summer. He is excited as he wanted to go to school. Yesterday I went and register him for the preschool. We still need to pass the interview but I don’t think it will be a problem. In the fall he will be able to go to the preschool for the mornings. He is very happy. He loves being with other children so being in an English preschool will help a lot.

Kevin on the other hand has an interest in sleeping in a big bed. He is 1 1/2 year old.I think he sees his brother using one so the crib is not too much appealing. So for nap time he gets his big bed. I am not eager to put him in it for the night as he could wake us all up walking in our rooms at 6 am. So for now he is still in the crib. But I am guessing not too long…

Friday, January 15, 2010

Romania is wired!...5 girls = 5 computers

Ana went to visit two girls at the Politecnic university who had left comment cards from the Fitzuica magazine.  In the dorm room she found that 5 girls lived there and they had 5 computers (4 laptops).

During the conversation both girls continued to chat online using Yahoo messenger with friends, with no apparent difficulty maintaining multiple conversations simultaneously. Ionela was chatting with her best friend, she had met this boy online.  Petrutsa was chatting with friends back home in Constansta.

After the talk they exchanged IDs for Yahoo and AnaMaria was able to invite them via Yahoo to the Christmas party, providing links to maps.  She also gave them a link to, which has great articles and apologetics to understand why a relationship with God makes all the difference.