A Random General Life Update

Well, it’s September and Love and Marriage month here on my blog is officially over – not that I won’t write about these things anymore, but the official themed month is done. This was the first time I’ve done a theme for a month and honestly it was hard for me. There were a lot of things I planned on writing about that I never got around to and there were plenty of times that I wanted to write about other things that didn’t fit with the theme.  I’m kind of glad that it’s done now and I again have freedom to write about WHATEVER.

So, today is dedicated to a little “whatever”. This is my random processing about a whole lot of things…

HEALTH

Yesterday I realized that the baby and I have been sick in one form or another (from Roseola, to food poisoning, to viruses, to bad head colds) all but about 6 days this month (and those days were pretty spread out). Literally it has been one thing after another. Usually this is a pretty good sign to me that I haven’t been listening to my body and that there are some emotional/spiritual issues I also haven’t been dealing with. Guess I should start listening…

RETURNING TO PRAGUE

We have now been back in Prague for 2 weeks – most of that time we’ve been sick. Not exactly the best way to return to a foreign country or ease our way through the culture shock. Thankfully we are finally starting to get back on Prague time and get Thaddeus to take naps and go to bed at almost normal hours… almost being the key word there. This has by far been the hardest it has ever been for me to come back to Prague. I miss the states. I miss English. I miss my family. I miss Bryan’s family. I miss all the conveniences of being in a familiar place.

FRIENDS

I’ve missed our friends here. They are what make coming back worth it. But, because we’ve been sick we haven’t seen very many people yet. Those we have seen have been so sweet though. One friend even made us a big batch of soup, which was WONDERFUL. What a blessing to not have to cook our first few days back. Then last Thursday we went over to dinner at some of our closest friends and it was just so nice to be with them and just relax with them. We need friends on this journey and I’m glad that I have the one’s I do.

MOTHERING

Lately I have sort of really hated being a mom. I mean most days this week I just feel like I’m not cut out for this. I can’t do it. It’s too much. It’s too overwhelming. It’s too constant. It’s the worst on days when Thad doesn’t sleep (which is often lately). I feel like I can’t even sit down and have a glass of water without being pulled on or screamed at. Bryan has been a lifesaver and so sweet through it all. He’s taken Thad for a little bit each day so that I can rest and get better. But, he can only do so much – he has to work too. Even with all Bryan’s help there have been multiple moments lately where I have SERIOUSLY wished that I never had a child. I know – I’m a terrible mom for even thinking these things. Like I said, I wasn’t cut out for this. I am not a natural born mama. It’s just not me.

ANIMALS

This is random, but I’ve realized more and more something else that just isn’t “me” – owning pets. I am just not an animal person. I mean I wish I was. I admire people who are. But, I’m not. I just don’t get the whole animal thing.

BLOGGING

I’ve been doing a lot of processing about the blog lately. I’ve been really struggling with what direction I want to take my blog and what type of place I want it to be. I’m realizing more and more than I’m actually not really “a blogger”. I mean I love blogging and have for years, I love writing and I do enjoy the people I meet through it. But, I’m not good at marketing my blog, I’m not consistent with my blogging, I don’t want to write in a specific theme or with a specific focus. I don’t want to spend hours upon hours a day working on my blog to make it into a business. I am realizing that I am not that kind of blogger. But, I also know that I’m not really just a personal blogger who just writes about her kids and she did that day. So, where does that put me? I’m not really sure. I guess I’m still trying to figure it out.

TWO FOR TUESDAYS BLOG HOP

Many of you who are regulars here may have noticed that I haven’t participated in/hosted Two for Tuesdays the past two weeks. I’ve been meaning to give an update on that and just keep forgetting – sorry. So, basically after much discussion and thought I’ve decided that the requirements for hosting are just too much of a commitment for me at this time. I just didn’t feel like I could do the event justice. In general I’ve been trying to weed through what aspects of blogging are really important and necessary for me and which aren’t – I have felt a little bit like blogging has started to interfere with my mothering and I don’t want that to happen. So, Two for Tuesdays was the thing that contributed most to my stress level and thus it was the thing to go. I do still love what the group is doing with it though and really like the other hosts who are involved. I do still plan on participating as a contributor whenever possible and I hope that you all will too. If you want to continue participating visit any of the hosts sites, for example, Alex at A Moderate Life.

FUTURE

I’ve felt very confused lately about the future. It looks so unclear. For so long even though the future was unclear it didn’t really bother me, I felt like I at least knew that I was where God wanted me and we would figure out the next step as it came at us. But, lately I want a plan, I want some stability. I am not 100% sure that we are where God wants us. I don’t know where He wants us to be. I feel less convinced than ever of my ability to discern that and more confused about where we should be and what we should be doing.

MARRIAGE

If you haven’t guessed from all that I’ve written already, Love and Marriage Month wasn’t exactly love and marriage month for us in real life. It was a difficult season, not an easy celebratory one. We loved each other well, and we aren’t fighting or anything, but it just feels like there’s a lot that’s been thrown at us both internally and externally lately. We’ve held hands and faced it all together, but it hasn’t left much time for turning towards each other. That’s been sad for me.

Well, that’s my random update for now. So, how are you all doing??

Rejoicing in the journey-
Bethany Stedman

If you'd like to help with medical bills or the other expenses related to Bryan's cancer or Sage's special needs click here. Thank you! We are forever so grateful to so many who have gotten us this far and continue to carry us forward. Grace and peace.

Scenes From My Life: Our Neighborhood

Today I wanted to give you all a little tour of our neighborhood here in Prague, so you could catch a little glimpse of what life is like for an American mommy living in Europe. I’ll show you the street we live on, our local grocery store, our local health food store, the park nearby, and a few other little things in the blocks right around our house.

A little background which you may or may not find interesting…

Prague is made up of a number of different quarters.  We live in Karlin, which was the first district to be built just outside the walls of old Prague and is situated just to the east of city center, along the river. It was first established as a town in the early 1800’s and grew very quickly. It’s proximity to Wenceslas Square and Old Town Square made it appealing then and continue to make it an appealing district today. Industrial plants played an important part in the areas original development as well, with a number of significant factories located in Karlin. Today most of those old factory buildings have been turned into office buildings and shops.

Karlin became part of Greater Prague in 1922 and has sense then gone through many transitions. Originally it was a very nice area to live in with a lot of money poured into the beautiful buildings and architecture. One site I read said this about it, “This area was very, very interesting from a social point of view… The bourgeoisie lived here together with workers, and there were no social problems. The whole spectrum of society lived together in Karlin.” In the 1950’s the area began to decline and eventually it got a little bit of a bad reputation.

In 2002, the whole area was completely flooded. Karlin had the most damage from the flood and the whole district was two or three meters under water. This meant that after the flood there was a lot of reconstruction in the area and many of the old buildings were redone. Some are still being re-built and renovated. All this construction gave Karlin a new image and a number of new companies moved into the area.

I kind of feel like, now, Karlin has returned back to its roots of being a place where “the whole spectrum of society” lives together.

Well, here’s a little bit of Karlin for you to enjoy!

Rejoicing in the journey-
Bethany Stedman

If you'd like to help with medical bills or the other expenses related to Bryan's cancer or Sage's special needs click here. Thank you! We are forever so grateful to so many who have gotten us this far and continue to carry us forward. Grace and peace.

Scenes From my Life

I think I’m going to make Sunday’s picture day. I say that hesitantly though because I know I’ve never been good at keeping a schedule or structure. So, for now Sunday’s will be picture day, but next week… well… who knows?

First up, I love Dutch Baby Pancakes. I tried making them with soaked flour recently and with sourdough, but neither of them turned out very well, so these ones were a special treat. Whole wheat Dutch Baby’s with coconut milk and maple syrup.

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A few weeks ago a good friend of ours organized a charity walk/run to raise support for at risk children here in Prague. It was a really great afternoon and they raised a good amount of money. Here are a few pictures from our time there:

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I love my husband so much and my “little man”. These pictures of my boys are from mother’s day and they make me smile:

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Hope you enjoyed this little peek into my life. There will be more to come next week… well, probably.

Rejoicing in the journey –
Beth Stedman

If you'd like to help with medical bills or the other expenses related to Bryan's cancer or Sage's special needs click here. Thank you! We are forever so grateful to so many who have gotten us this far and continue to carry us forward. Grace and peace.

My Story: My Walk with God

I was raised in the church. Some of my first memories are from going to church. My parents were involved in starting a number of churches while I was growing up and my dad now serves on the elder board of their church. They were always close friends with our pastors and I have very vivid and positive memories of my parents (my dad in particular) having theological conversations with my pastor as a young child. I think it’s where my interest and love for theology and philosophy first started.

So, that’s a little bit of my parents and the background I was born into, but what’s my story…well…

I “accepted Christ” when I was 5 years old because they had talked about hell at church. I remember sitting at the top of the stairs with my mom and praying “the sinner’s prayer”. I was terrified of going to hell and my decision to accept Christ was based almost solely on that fear. The fear of hell then haunted me for years; I remember asking Jesus into my heart nearly every night for most of my childhood.

In 8th grade my mom baptized me in a friend’s pool. That was the beginning of what I could call the “God years”. High school was for me a time when I deeply pursued God and felt his presence. I was involved in everything and would spend long hours praying and reading scripture. I was good – I did my devotionals, I obeyed my parents, I didn’t party, I got good grades. Looking back I can recognize that in many ways I thought I could earn my way into God’s favor and out of hell.

It wasn’t until freshman year of college that things started to really fall apart and I had what could classically be called a “crisis of faith”. I think I had always carried a lot of doubt and questions in my mind and heart when it came to God, but there were some things that happened during this time in my life that really brought those questions to the forefront. Suddenly nothing seemed solid and God didn’t seem to fit in the nice neat box I had been told (and had believed) He should fit in.

There are a lot of things that eventually lead to the quieting of those questions (notice I said quieting and not resolving). I think one of the most significant things that brought me through that time in my life were a handful of very dear friends. God surrounded me with people who weren’t afraid to let me really dig into the questions. He brought people into my life, who really listened to me, and spoke truth to me and were willing to share their own struggles with God. I don’t think I had ever before that time seen someone honestly and authentically struggle with God and that made my own struggle seem so terrifying. But, in a few close friends in particular I saw people who struggled openly with God, and people who loved God desperately even while they struggled with him. And that gave me incredible freedom to wrestle with God myself.

This was also when I first began to realize that the narratives and theologies that I had grown up with weren’t the only Christian answers to the questions. I became to discover that Christians had answered theological questions differently throughout history and there was not a consistent theological narrative like I had always thought. But, I also began to see that even with all the diversity in the church throughout history God was still clearly at work and His spirit was clearly moving among his people.

It was also around this time that I began blogging and reading blogs and I discovered that there were other people out there were in the same boat I was in. Knowing that others were asking the same questions, wrestling with God and with his church, was incredibly freeing for me. Knowing that others were also re-thinking what it really means to be a Christian, to walk with Jesus, to love Him and love people was incredibly encouraging to me.

Eventually I came to a place where I could love God for Himself and not what I thought he was or should be. Eventually I came to a place where I could choose to follow him even if I didn’t understand him. Since then God and I have been on a wild journey of discovery. He continues to take me inward, allowing me to ask all the difficult questions that arise in my soul, allowing me to live the questions, and walking through them with me.

There is still so much farther I have to walk with God. He is still so unknown to me. There are still places of my heart that I keep hidden. There are still questions that I haven’t found answers for. There are still places of brokenness in my soul that need to be healed. There are still sins in my life that need to be washed. There are still journeys God and I need to take.

So, I just keep walking, clinging to faith and trusting that God walks beside me.

Rejoicing in the journey –
Bethany Stedman

If you'd like to help with medical bills or the other expenses related to Bryan's cancer or Sage's special needs click here. Thank you! We are forever so grateful to so many who have gotten us this far and continue to carry us forward. Grace and peace.

My Story Blog Series

Lately I’ve thought it would be nice for those of you who visit this small place on the web to get a feel for who I am and where I come from. So, I thought we’d do a little series entitled “My Story.” I plan on writing about various aspects of my life and history, covering everything from my walk with God, to my family, my education, various jobs I’ve held, and how I met my husband. So, tomorrow I plan to post “My Story: My Walk with God”.

What would you like to know about me? Anything specific you’d like me to cover in this series?

If you have something that you’d like to know about me please leave a comment or contact me and let me know. I’d LOVE to hear suggestions for what I should include in this series. Thanks!

Rejoicing in the journey –
Bethany Stedman

If you'd like to help with medical bills or the other expenses related to Bryan's cancer or Sage's special needs click here. Thank you! We are forever so grateful to so many who have gotten us this far and continue to carry us forward. Grace and peace.