Monday, March 09, 2009

Mama Monday

Today's Mama Monday is a very special and dear friend to me. I have known Rebecca for close to 11 years. Ever since I met her she has been enthusiastic and ready to embrace all that life and the Lord bring her way. She has always been an inspiration to me!

Rebecca is the amazing mother to 5 (and one on the way) children.
Before you say, "Wow!" let me also say not only is she a fabulous mother, but she also lives in Slovakia-- where she and her husband are missionaries--ministering to the families and individuals in their community. They were most certainly called to this role, and embrace it beautifully and wnole-heartedly, which is wonderful to see...an inspiration.

Doting parents on their brood.

Oldest daughter Isabel taking part in a community dance in traditional Slovak dress.

Ladies, I bring you
Rebecca:
Current Living Situation: We live in a small village in Slovakia (Central Europe- former communist country). We moved here, just outside of the town where our ministry team is located, so that we could study/learn the language and still be close enough to the ministry center. We have really grown planted here and are much a part of the community even though we are quite odd as a 5 child (6 on the way) home birthing, English speaking family.
How is it raising children in another country: wonderful and hard. Being a big family, we miss the camaraderie of other like minded larger families. Most of the families here are one child or large spaces between children families. We miss family and friends that are there to help and encourage you. It takes more time to do things here and we’re still learning what we can do, and can’t. On the positive side, we spend lots of time together because we are more home centered- have a less busy social life.
What gets you through tough days: Talking to my mom each day. Even though we live so far away, the blessing of Skype has allowed me to stay connected with my mom. She calls nearly every day on the way home from work. My husband is kind enough to allow me to stop whatever we’re doing in the evening to chat with her about the little things the kids did that day. She’s the one other person, besides my husband, who delights in them just as much as I do.
Email- sometimes the most exciting email I get is my recipe of the day from Allrecipes.com. And believe me, this excites me. But it’s the days that I get a real live, I was thinking about you, note from a good friend that really cheers me on a tough day. I also like to briefly visit the two or three blogs of good friends (Andrea ☺) to check up on what’s going on in their lives and be inspired and encouraged. And of course, nothing beats real live mail!
Cool things you've done while in Slovakia:
• Beach trip to Croatia,
• hikes to castle ruins,
• learn to speak Slovak
• watch my kids participate in the may day festival dance wearing traditional Slovak dress,
• pond skating (on a frozen pond),
• picking mushrooms (great day with the family even if we found out later all the ones we picked were poisonous),
• Riding the bus- totally inconvenient and hot and crowded but so Europe! (We solely used the bus for over a year- until we were able to get a vehicle of our own).
• Went to Italy for the weekend with my husband- no children.
• Have a baby! Started a home birthing movement in Slovakia- 4 Slovak women have used my midwife from Vienna since I gave birth! This has never been a feasible option for women in Slovakia.
• And in April the whole family is going to Spain and Portugal for a retreat and small vacation with another 5 kid family!
What is one thing on my mind lately: How to become thrifty shopping overseas, learning to budget well even though I’m still learning so much about products, currency etc. Also, I’m trying to get over the hump in organizing my meal planning- making it suitable to our life here.
My favorite color: Green and Orange. Not necessarily together. The living room in the house we rent is orange (Slovaks gravitate towards some pretty brave colors). I never would have picked it myself but I really love it. It goes well with my cherry colored overstuffed, American chair and my Klimt print with all it’s oranges and purples and metallic (stages of woman).
Hobbies/interests:
scrap booking, breastfeeding, childbirth- home birth, cooking, canning, mentoring young girls, reading. I used to be able to list a lot more but this is my life right now.
Books that changed your life besides the Bible:
• Stepping Heavenward, definitely! This is my one yearly reread. I learn something new about myself every time I read it.
• Safely Home by Randy Alcorn,

• The Hiding Place.
Why did you want to be a missionary: I think it’s a strange desire that God just puts in you because it’s just not natural to desire to leave home, family, all that’s familiar to go where everything is different and harder. But it’s something that I have desired since college and God gave me a husband who was wired this way too. I really view life wherever you live as missions, especially in today’s world, it’s just that some are called to do it further away.
Hardest part about being a mom: Having to know what to do all the time. There are times that I just think, “I have no clue how to handle this situation (usually child squabbles and misbehavior). My encouragement for the past 6 months has come from Psalm 16. I am learning to turn from frustration and/or trying to handle it in my flesh to “I Praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I have set the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.”
Best part about being a mom: Becoming a better person. Being a mom has made me more patient (not always with my kids), compassionate, caring, less selfish. (may not be obvious to all, but believe me, it’s improved!) I truly am “being saved through childbearing”. (I Timothy 2:15)
What I wish I would have known with one child: Training. How to train and what to train! We were blessed with an amazing first born, so despite our knowledge in this we’ve got a well-trained kid but having a jump start in all this would have us in a much better place with the 5, almost 6 kids, we have now.
How do I find balance in my life:
I have learned/am learning to love being at home. This is the greatest thing to keep balance in my life. I say no to things and stop looking for things to get involved in. It keeps me sane and running my house more smoothly and paying proper attention to my children and their training and, as I’m currently learning more about, it allows me to promote my husband and be a better help meet to him.
Secret indulgences that keep me sane:
Ok, I confess. I have on several occasions splurged and bought $11 pint of Haagan Dazs ice cream. But it was for date night and it’s not like we can go anywhere anyway, and it was cookies and cream! And the people in the store were really rude and it made me mad and so I felt I deserved to buy it!
• Also a little wine from time to time is soooo nice and relaxing.
• And in the first trimester of pregnancy I usually buy a bag of “pregnancy cereal” (cocoa crunchies, or whatever they’re called. My kids think it’s just for pregnant mommies).
One word that describes me:
Pregnant! I seem to always be pregnant! But I love it! (I would have answered “growing” but saw your last mama said that. But it’s so true (the belly and my “self”) 
Thank you Rebecca!!!

7 comments:

The Browns said...

This was so encouraging to me! Her reminder to pray Ps. 16 when faced with parenting challenges was so timely for me. Does Rebecca have a blog address?
niniandjb@yahoo.com

Elise said...

What an inspiration! I loved reading this one- I've loved all of them, but this one in particular made me smile. We will keep this family in our prayers!

Anonymous said...

Thank you! May God bless your family with the new addition and in your ministry. Mary Brooke

Beth said...

I met Rebecca and her precious family when they came to our church to raise support for their ministry. My family has loved "Growing with the Gregoires" as they have been working to overcome cultural challenges and learn a forgein language. She is such an inspiration and encouragement to this mother of six. I have searching through my Bible for encouragement with my kids and am so grateful for Rebecca sharing Ps 16. I can't wait to dig in. Thank you for giving us this insight into the life of such a spiritual mother.

Meredith said...

Hi,
I met Rebecca and her family through some interesting circumstances. They were visiting my in-law's church in Indiana raising support. We live in Georgia not five minutes from where they were based before they left for Slovakia. My mother-in-law suggested I call her and I'm so glad I did. Meeting and getting to know Rebecca in the limited time I had with her changed my perspective on mothering a lot. I went from a legalistic, prideful, Gary Ezzo-type approach to being able to accept and even rejoice in other approaches to parenting. I remember the day she walked into my house with their third baby in a sling. A sling! I couldn't believe it. I, who was so into scheduling thought that all Christian mothers did that. Since then I've come to respect and admire Rebecca and her devotion to God and her family. Thanks so much for sharing. I laughed about the Cocoa Krispies!

Blessings,
Meredith B.

sally apokedak said...

What a wonderful interview!

Rebecca is inspirational--just brimming with life and love and joy.

la artista said...

Excellent interview---good questions and a great way to get to know more about my friend, Rebecca. Her mom, also my friend, is definitely the wind beneath her wings.