Friday, July 11, 2014

Dear Maria

Dear Maria,

Yes, it seems our home has become a Moomi talo {Moomi House} of sorts. We not only have a student live with us {we call him our adopted son} but sometimes a flow of guests come through and we make adjustments: There are rooms to delegate, the table is extended and every chair in the house is sought after. There are shower turns and when the kids hit the sack our home becomes like that of Doctor Luther in the old days. The tea is made and the intellectual conversation begins. {In fact, tonight, the Kirlat comes tonight this weekend as well}

It was so good to have you and your family at the wedding. I wish our rush to the train was caught on film. Mikko and our kids ahead, Tommi getting your kids wisped behind and us mama's checking that we have everything in hand before we lock the door. You and I running with our fabulous hair {soon to be flat} in dress shoes {you the smart one, me not so smart in heals}. We reach Tommi and I pick up F under one arm as Mikko stands in the door way so the train conductor doesn't leave us behind. We enter in huffing and puffing as on lookers smirk at our fine dress and panting disposure.

I am surprised our garden survived after a few days being away too. I am pretty much clueless with gardening but learn along the way. This year I took a mixture of Lori's city-kana {city chicken} compost from Pitsku and used that for gardening. I am also trying {key word: trying} to grow a tomato plant my neighbor gave me. Great story about how I got it from her, but I will leave that for another time. Anyway, she told me to break the lower leaves of the tomato plant off to help it grow better. So far I have one tomato. Woo hoo!

For Juhannus {Midsummer} we invited several people over. Friday the Rossit and Saturday the Suomelat and Joupilat. Normally, we are in the country side. However, we decided to go during berry picking. Although I heard there may not be as much blueberries to pick this year :(.

We have candy day too. Sometimes I think it is too much even though I try to encourage other healthier options. Still they suggest Tutti Frutti or a Lauantai pussi. Yäk! {Eewe}. I still enjoy my Pirkka brand fair trade chocolate with raw chocolate bits.

While our two of our family members had vatsa tauti {stomach virus} I took S to the outdoor flea market and met up with Hanna. You know how fun she is. I can make my much useless jokes and she laughs. If I  do not make sense she straightens her face and asks for clarification. :D I bought a whole bunch of clothes for P next year for under 20 euros. Check.

This week was Helsinki Cup and both our boys did really well. One moved up to second level instead of fourth because they won all their games by a long shot! Both boys were awarded fair play cards, those little team banners, and something else. Kind of proud parents here...

P took an art course at the same time so it was really nice that I could scream cheer in Finnish and when really excited in English. Try to remind myself they are young and it is just a game but the competitive side comes out of me! I learned from my appi {father-in-law} that when the ball goes past the goal out of the field it means it: meni keitiön puolella {went to the kitchen side}.

I finally got my new calendar made! Yes, it took six months to finally get it done. Now I can plan my ¨Own time¨, date nights, etc. It helps when those things are planned ahead of time before you realize you are overwhelmed with life and the complexities of it. I am not just a housewife, so learning to regulate that time where needed is really important. Yet, at the same time flexible to those surprising times when your family has vatsa tauti for one week. Not fun, but I think attitude is everything and embracing hard, overwhelming times is important too.

Hope your art showing is going well in Germany! 

Miss you as always, Heidi

P.S. That's right! Best party in Heaven!






Sunday, June 22, 2014

Dear Heidi


Dear Heidi,

(Dear readers, this edition will be in Finnish. If you do not understand, then you know what I get to learn everyday. Love, Heidi)
Tänään suomeksi. Kiitos kun saatiin yöpyä teillä. Kotinne on kuin Muumitalo. Aina valmiina ottamaan vieraat vastaan vaikka niiskuneitejä, myitä ja muumipeikkoja on omastakin takaa! Kiitos myös paketista, jossa oli kaikkea uhohtamaani tavaraa. Meillä on jostain syystä täällä yksi poikien pariton sukka, pikkuauto ja yksi kurahanska! Postissa tulee sitten!

Mokat: Olen tappanut monta kasviani ennen kuin ne pääsivät ulos kasvamaan. Parsaa, auringonkukkia, ja muutaman tomaatintaimi. Moni on silti onneksi vielä hengissä. Liian paljon ajateltavaa ja kukkien kastelu ei näemmä ole mahtunut mieleen!

On juhannusaatto ja sain juuri talon siivottua. Imuroidessa mietin lisää arjen ja juhlan teoriaani. Tähän asti pääsin viimeksi jutellessamme: Kumpaankin on oma aikansa ja kumpikin on hyviä asioita. Ja kumpaankin väsyy jos sitä on liikaa yksistään.
OK. Jumala tulee restauroimaan kaikki, niin että ne tuottavat Uudessa maassa sen ilon ja ylistyksen ja kunnian mitä alun alkaen pitikin. Kaikki ympärillä on vain heijastus tulevasta. Tänään mietin mitä ongelmia voi seurata jos niitä ei erottele ja sotkee yhteen. 

Suklaapatukka ostosten yhteydessä -> jenkkakahvat. 
Mutta karkkipäivä viikossa on vähän niin kuin juhlapäivä, jota myös äiti ja isi odottavat :D.

Elä joka päivä niin kuin viimeistä päivää. -> Kaikki on sekasotkussa kalenterissa, kotona ja sähköpostissa.
Mielummin, jos mahdollista, se työaika, jonka jälkeen olisi vapaata. Joka päivä. Myös kotiäideille!

Puhuimme viimeksi myös "omasta ajan oikeudesta". Vajaan viiden vuoden aikana olen usein yrittänyt sovittaa internetiä ja pienten lasten kanssa kotona olemista yhteen. Kotitöiden ja lasten sovittaminen toisiinsa. Taiteen tekoa kotona. Käsitöitä kotona. Sähköpostin kirjoittamsta lasten keskellä. Jopa karvalakkipuhelimen peruskäyttö tämän kaiken keskellä on joskus haastavaa, niin kuin läheiseni tietävät. Ja omaksi ajaksi olen kutsunut karkkipöntölle karkaamista kun silmä muilta välttää :). Fun!
Oikeasti, jotkut haluavat töihin, koska kotona tulee burn out. Meillä on jokseenkin hyvin pätenyt sääntö, jonka mukaan työtä ei saa tehdä lasten nukkumaanmenon jälkeen eli  20:00. Nyt on yksi näyttely, joka pitää saada valmiiksi, joten olemme joustaneet ja elokuvien sijaan katselleet editointiohjelmaa. Se on poikkeus eikä onneksi tule kestämään pitkään. Katson jo parin viikon päähän jolloin on deadline. Ja vapaata. (Tietyin rajoituksin.) Sitä Omaa Aikaa.

Osaan iloita arjesta, kun näin asioiden tulevan valmiiksi. Siksi olen nyt tyytyväinen. Koti on siisti, ainakin tämän päivän. Sain myös viimeinkin kirjoitettua tämän kirjeen sinulle! Pian teen juhannuskakun, koska meidän perheessä on aina ainakin kakku kun on jonkin sortin juhla. Ja sitten laitetaan pikkuisen nätimmät vaatteet. Juhannus ei lapsuudessani ja nuorudessani ollut mitenkään erityinen juhla. Pikkusiskon synttärit olivat silloin. Nyt kodin hengettärenä haluan pitää juhlat aina kun siihen on mahdollisuus. Pikku ballerinakin luultavasti haluaa esittää liihottelutanssin ohjelmanumeroksi, ja pistää juhlamekon.
Juhlahumu on tarttuvaa :D.

Hyvää juhannusta  perheellesi!

P.S. Maanantaina tulen olemaan ehkä väsynyt ja vähän ärtyinen. Olen varmaan innoissani söheltänyt itseni puhki kakkujen, kukkien ja grillijuttujen kanssa, soitellaan! 

Parhaat bileet on Taivaassa, epäilemättä!
Maria 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Falling off the blog wagon

I think I fell off the blog wagon. This happens often in May. In fact, I think I was not paying attention to my fertility chart twice and got pregnant twice {Our oldest and youngest} and it happen to be May. Oops, tee hee. Too much happened and now the wind tunnel I was in spit me out.

Phew...

I miss writing. I am looking forward to writing again. No guilt here, my blog still faithfully waits while all less than twenty followers lean over the edge to see my next post. LOL.

What happened in May?

We were in Heinola for three weeks so my hubs could complete a chunk of his Ph.D. Mother's Day was at the table so that the blueberry masacre would not revisit our sheets as last year. I received a facial care gift card from the family too.

We had our last Spring single mother's group through Itu-projekti and received two new moms. What joy! They gave a lot of valuable info helpful to improving and maintaining the group. Next school year we will resume and will also begin a post-abortion Journey group in Swedish.

I ran the women's 10k in 52 minutes. Not bad after surgery. This was a great opportunity to sport our new Itu-projekti shirts. It was a hot day and since they changed the course to more up hills I was toast! Last year, I passed a blind woman, and this year she passed me. LOL It was fun nevertheless.

Before May my husband's ninety-five year old Mummo {grandmother} died. Mikko and his sister were quite close to her. Her last years were bed ridden in a care home of excellent service. The kind of place I may want to die. You can sense the caregivers really cared. The funeral was somber and hard, yet full of wonderful memories. This was Mikko's first funeral to officiate.

My brother married at the end of the month. To make up for our absence we made a rap video with the family and sent a gift card from a hardware store.  This was all happening at once and my head was spinning from all the funeral preparations.

Speaking of weddings, a couple in our church married and had a fun wedding celebration Saturday in Helsinki. It was on a boat that was permanently glued to the dock. There was even a sauna and jacuzzi hour for us ladies.

As of this week our volunteer team from Cal Baptist University left back to the U.S. They were a great source of encouragement and served well. In between that, a volunteer couple from Texas went back home. They will be dearly missed. *Sniff*

At the moment we have a student staying with us until he finds a place to stay. We have people stay with us often. It is fun and the kids are quite used to it. We always wanted to host, especially after a couple let us stay with them with super cheap rent for a year when our oldest was a baby.

Hoping to hear from Maria soon. We had a miscommunication problem and well...surprise! She came with her beautiful family last week to join us at the wedding. We had a full house and went to bed late every night. Time to play catch up! :)

Until next time...

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Minun Astma Tarina {My Asthma Story}

It is that time of year. My favorite tree that has inspired many artists and those in the design and text tile industry are blossoming. Not so good for my asthma. It feels debilitating and I can only do so much at home with four children. The doctor visit was made and medication purchased.

I was really hoping our children would not get any allergies. All was well, until last year. It was May last year when the blossoms took off. We were at a pit stop and I noticed the last few days our youngest was itching her eyes like crazy. There she was sitting in daddy's arms with her eyes swollen shut.

This year it is much warmer and the pollen has released it's vengeance! She is worse than before. In the night she woke with only one eye open. This mother's heart melted. Now maybe I know a little how my mother felt when she noticed something rather strange happen to me. I was fifth grade.

I was born an emergency C-section, not breathing well anyway. In school I was quite tall and twiggy but never-the-less active in P.E as a child. I remember having bronchitis and pneumonia often. My mother noticed my sinuses were acting up so she got me over-the-counter drugs. The phone rang. It was my fifth grade teacher, "Is everything alright with Heidi? She has been sleeping in class."

It was obvious, the meds were causing me to doze. My mother called the doctor. We had good insurance then through my father's union. {to which I am forever grateful}. I am not sure exactly when, but somehow we found out I was diagnosed with asthma. Not sure in which order, but I remember trying out different meds, getting blood tests out in Hemet, CA {I lived in Sun City then}, having random attacks at night, my daddy taking me to E.R. to put me on a breathing machine {boy, did I feel relaxed!}, and having my grandmother recommend straight black coffee {gotta love grandma's homeopathic ideas}.

When the attack came I felt I was so desperate to breathe through my nose and out my mouth. You know, normal. Then came sports...

In high school I decided to test the sport world {with my father's encouragement}. I always had my inhaler along. By this time I had a long tube like thing attached to it so that the medicine would somehow correctly make it's way to my lungs. It was quite normal. I played basketball, track and field, and football {soccer}. Eventually somehow I was able to control my breathing. However, when the attack was so strong it felt impossible to continue practice.

Living in the Inland Empire was a bed for smog, it grabbed my bronchial tubes to death. Once it was so bad we went to our family pediatrician. I don't remember what grade in high school I was in, but he seriously told me to stop my sports and running all together. My parents thought they had heard wrong. I do not think we asked another opinion, rather, we ignored it. Somehow I began researching on athletes with asthma. Soon my idol became Jackie Joyner-Kersee. I was sure if she could continue running with asthma, so could I!

I soon found my way to California Baptist University with a partial scholarship to run. It still bothered me like it did during high school only it seemed more manageable. This time I noticed that when I had days when the smog was bad and I had loads of carbs it made my days a little more miserable. I needed the carbs, but they were causing me to slow down when the asthma came on. I also noticed I was not breathing properly on the track. I had the SISU, but there was no technique or rhythm to my breathing. It was often heard during competition, "Heidi, BREATHE!" {that was actually quite helpful}. Duh, blonde here needs to breathe.

It was 1999, and our  4 X 800 meter team made it to the NCIA Championship series in Florida. I was stoked, but also over preparing myself. I drank lots of water, prayed, stayed inside {It was quite humid}, prayed, practiced breathing. While other other athletes were displaying themselves at the hotel pool {to this day I will never understand this, they were some of the best runners too}, I was trying not to think about the race.

The last race day arrived, it was evening. I am always so pumped before a race and hunger seems to fly out the window. It was always a challenge for myself to know when to eat and when to wait. Trust me, our team ate, like at every seisova pöytä {buffet} available.

My girls were nervous and I could feel it. There was not a lot of talk. I, myself, disliked talking before a race and I think coach knew it too. I was the third leg. I was the the slow one running at about 2:15. This was one of the last races with all eyes on us. The gun shot was made and the race was off. We were tagging way behind, not that they couldn't run fast. I think the nerves got to them. It was all in their head. I mean really they were faster than I.

By the time I got the baton, I knew what I had to do. I had such a rush in me {that's the Sisu I was talking about earlier} that I somehow made a game in my head that the goal was to "knock down" or pass the girl in front of me. I was doing it slowly and by the second lap I bolted like lightening. With all the cheering and screaming I was pumped {mind you I wasn't breathing properly}. By the time I passed the baton we were first or second, I don't remember. Oh, Lorita, she gave every last bit {she had already competed in other races}. Her drive was unbelievable and every inch of her tiny Hawaiian hiney got us first.

All American. We got All American status. I was so overwhelmed that I went to the side of the inside track to puke {remember my breathing problem}. To this day, I have such good memories of that race, nothing could replace it. I truly felt the goodness of God and saw how He took my "disability" and overcame it through trust and faith.

I was engaged to Mikko this time, and had the opportunity to "get to know Finland" the April after I was engaged. Coach didn't like that that very much, he thought I'd go to Finland and get totally out of shape. But that was not true. Even in our travels I was provided some of the best cross country trails, all-weather tracks, and gyms galore. This included Kuopio, Karelia, Helskinki, etc. Welcome to Finland. Mikko made sure I stuck to my training regiment while getting to know Finns and their country.

Why would I bring this up? I did learn one thing, while many miles from home, every grandmother has their own homeopathic remedy right? I was with Mikko's family in the country side of Eno sleeping in the vinti {attic}. At the time the roof was lined with insulation and and not yet covered from the inside. I had a terrible time breathing, so I tip-toed to downstairs to sit-up and breathe until every one woke. Mummo {grandmother} too had breathing problems so she slept down stairs. I was hoping she wouldn't wake, but she did. My Finnish was nothing back then so I signaled with my hands  to my chest that I couldn't breathe. She says something with a smile and puts one finger in the air and walks to her room.

I was not expecting this, but it sure does make a good laugh even today. She comes out with a bottle of garlic vodka. *gasp* I try to say something but then realize my "ei" has no effect on her knowledge of this magical stuff. I remember praying, "Lord, please bring Mikko downstairs." Mummo was no alcoholic, she just felt at the time it was helpful for her breathing. It was too late, down the spoonful went and boy what a kick! After everyone came downstairs I shared my latest experience. They got a few chuckles out of it too.

Now I'm not saying that one should drink vodka, or straight black coffee when they can't breathe. I am sure there is a lot of great information out there these days on how to medicate and treat Athlete induced asthma. I mean with the millions kinds of different interest groups and federations in Finland I am not surprised that there is one for asthma. I think it is worth checking out. I have to say I don't have an attack every Birch pollen season but I do have sensitivities to fabric softener, perfume, second-hand smoke, aftershave, etc. This Asthma Federation gives useful information for support.

I am very thankful to my husband, parents, and coaches who pushed to be what I am today even though I had such difficulties breathing. With proper training and knowledge, one can also reach their goals such as this mother of four has. It was worth it.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Dear Maria,


Dear Maria,

I was surprised to see you write to me in English. I thought you were going to write in Finnish and myself in English. No matter, your English is much better than my "Finnglish".

So much to share, where do I start?! Two weeks ago was Mikael Agricolan Päivä {Father of the Finnish Language}. To make it more meaningful, Agricola Theological Institute got it's first government supported student. Go Jani!

Secondly, you are going to laugh. My last Friday was a blooper. Think adventures with Maria...only without Maria to cry laugh with. I had my day perfectly planned out in the city center:

11: Surgeon check-up
12: Hair cut
13: Thrift Shop to see Nora

Well, that did NOT happen...in that order. This just shows how well I double-check things. As you know I live in the country based on time, schedules, and planning. I would probably do better in Africa, {that is not true, Mikko says I am more Finn than he is}. When I say that, I mean I truly dislike being late. ARGH!

So picture me on the train at about 10:30 in the morning enjoying the ride to Helsinki ALONE (*gasp*). I decide to my blonde self to then double-check the appointment with the doctor. {You see they send you a text message AND email a few days BEFORE to remind you of the day and the time.} I swore to myself it was 11 in the morning, {I even put that on my calendar at that time}. Ha! I looked {It was 9 o'clock} and boy what a panic. This is not just some random surgeon, he is like one of the best in the country for his expertise.

Anyway, I immediately call the office and rescheduled, but she warned that at 12:50 I would be in and out. Friday is insane for this guy. I then call Eddie, and he tells me to come earlier. I run by ID Hair to say hello to a relative, stop by that cool craft shop and then off to the hair appointment.

As always, my hair appointment goes really well. Eddie and I talk about our own lives, and life in general. He likes to watch movies that have meaning or at least make you think. So this time we were talking about the movie Noah, exchanging each other's view points and I move on. Now to doctor...

Story gets interesting as I just enter the medical offices and I see my doctor leave! {I guess sometimes they need to eat right?} He was late with me this time {Oh, I so deserved it.}. I asked a lady next to me who she was waiting for and of course it was the same doctor. He comes back to his door and invites the lady in and I interrupt in my fabulous Finnish {When I am nervous my finnish is harder to speak and understand clearly}. He says something back {probably a tisk tisk for being late}. I usually understand pretty well, but for some reason I didn't and I tried to clarify, he changed his tone and said he would return. So there I sit and hear another woman next to me say, "Heidi?".

You have to see God's humor in this. It was my ex-workmate from 2001 when Mikko was in the army. Someone had to make money, so I taught second grade at a Finnish/English school. Anyway, she was really pleasant to talk with and we exchanged numbers. The doctor returns and I see him literally five minutes. He grants permission to run {more like jog and walk interchangeably} and I ask if I need to see him again, thank him for his patience and leave. That was a relief but in some ways humbling in being late.

It was real nice to see Nora. I wish I had more time to interview her. She is a volunteer there. I have to say the price is a bit on the high end for a thrift store {It is not UFF}, but then again they had some nice designer brands. The down side is that it is pretty packed and you kind of have to look for things although it is rather organized {Not stroller/pram friendly, sorry}. The plus side is that I found a new designer jacket for more than 90 percent off the original price. :D Yeah me!

As for your question about Finns and how they relate to their own relatives and the church. I have to say it may be more important to speak highly of the body of Christ and how they have blessed you. Make it personal, and be real about it. I had the same question and a colleague of mine suggests this. It is easy to see a problem with people not "getting it". But the grace of God has worked in us the same way. We too used to not "get it". The Holy Spirit does this work and yes sometimes it needs to be preached on the pulpit or taught more clearly in discipleship. The culture of keeping things to ourselves can be changed by making initiative to step outside your Finnish comfort zone. It is called the art of self-forgetfullness and I too am constantly working on this.

I also miss our accountability {vastuussa???} times. I have felt that I have learned a lot from you rather. Oh, how I wanted to start a group, but with our times and schedules. It just didn't work out. PÖH. Mikko had some good insight on this. Accountability can happen when praying with a friend and sharing felt needs with another female believer. The caution with accountability is that sometimes folks may only share what they feel like and not what they dread to share (like sin, fears, and pride). Again, it takes time to build that trust with someone who keeps a confidence. I like that when we gather we do not bash our husbands, it's all about challenging each other to be more Christ-like and showing respect towards them. {That is not always easy}.

P.S. I really respect that you want to be less wasteful {via our phone call}. This too has come to my mind. Normally I purchase things for Easter that end up being wasted. This year I only purchased flax and eggs for the easter basket. I wanted to keep the meaning and newness that Christ promises to give when we turn from our sin and trust in Him for eternity. The hope that only He can give and make things new again. One blogger, an acquaintance, talked about letting go. I too have been kind of making it a game, I will try to give something away, sell, or toss every week. I also try to plan our meals out more so I am not making too many trips or unnecessary purchases. Let's do this together!

P.S.S. Again too much to share. Like my birthday party and all the fun things the kids are learning, and Mikko and our date at Nuuksio. For now, I look forward hearing your response.

Love from our home ja Hyvää Pääsiäistä {Happy Easter},

Heidi