My Average Child…

308_30563434049_1181_n

“Average Ada” age 2 at the NLC

Keep soaring, our girl!

I can seriously not stop laughing.  My daughter, my firstborn, my pride and utter joy has written two different things that she would like me to help edit.  The first is part one of a children’s book—seriously the cutest book ever.  Can’t wait to share it with you here!

And then.  Then there is her resume.  My daughter is saving all of her gift and babysitting money to buy a phone.  But, as we all know, phones are very expensive.  Well, my little ray of sunshine, my decade plus 2 daughter, will see her Nana and Papa for a few weeks this summer, so she has decided to submit a resume for them.  On her resume, which I won’t share the entire thing, she wrote:  Average student.  If that was not brutally honest enough, the rest would make you laugh out loud.

Things such as:  Good at—Loving her grandparents.  And so much more.

My “Average Daughter” is just so ABOVE AVERAGE in the good feels department!

And, to be fair to her, she studies in the Polish language, all her subjects.  So those average grades are really QUITE impressive for me 😉  Her father and I will take them, at least!  I can barely help her study for her History or Science tests (no smile and wink here).

Oh, my average daughter, I love you so average PLUS much!

Thanks for bringing sunshine to my EVERY DAY!!!!!!!

 

It’s amazing when life comes full circle!

richard and jarek_together!!!!!!

This beautiful soul with my husband is one of my favorite people in the entire world.  And I know a lot of people all over the world.

This man, let’s call him the English name Jared, hugging Richard is one of the FIRST men that ever walked into our soup kitchen in Poznan, well over a decade ago.  LONG before I even had my first child (and she is a decade plus 2).

In fact, after we returned with Adelyne to Poznan/Poland, at around 5 weeks old, bringing her to our soup kitchen around 6-10 weeks old, HE was actually one of the first to hold our baby.  At our soup kitchen.  In Poland. It was the Holy Start soup kitchen (HS closed a couple years ago).

This beautiful soul that ALWAYS brightened my every day that I saw him…He is now the AMAZING volunteer at an unbelievable SOUP BUS located in Poznan, Poland, with the charity christianer.org … (find them on Facebook—it will BRIGHTEN your life)

Isn’t it AWESOME how you can watch one man go from served to SERVING!

Life — in full circle — makes my heart burst with joy.  Tears. Happiness.  And just an overwhelming sense of #itiswell .

It truly is.

It is well, with my soul.

Jared reminds me of that!

May Jared be your reminder to always invest in the beauty and hearts of others.  Your full circle will come.  And it IS worth it!

God bless.

Bucket List? Become a Musher!

Mushing Nungessers

Okay.  So, technically, I had to look up the word Musher.  And really figure out what it meant.  I mean, we went dog sledding.  That one is obvious.  Musher.  I mean, I am a mommy, I am a “Professional Musher” of mashed potatoes, right?  That sounds like a musher.  You know, like smashing a lot of potatoes so they are mushy and buttery and delicious.

Or I love my children so much my daughter sighs, rolls her eyes, and proclaims, “Oh, Mommy, you are SO MUSHY!”  Making me a Musher Mommy, right?

Well, according to the real dictionaries my Mommy-ition of Mushers is all wrong.  Apparently a Musher is a driver of a dog sled.

So, I am happy to report that as of nearly 1 week ago, I have become officially (for an hour) a real-live Musher.

Also joining the “Musher Nungesser Crew” are:  Richard (the dad), Adelyne (the decade plus two eye roller), Maxwell (the Half-Musher as he helped the Main Musher French Fred), and Me (Brookie—the Mommy Musher).  Josephine was not a Musher.  She was a Musher’s company—meaning that she was plopped into her daddy’s front part of his sled and got to enjoy the VERY bumpy ride.  Good thing Daddy Musher did not tip, eh?!

Anyhow, dog sledding was an absolute and lovely blast that I highly recommend for all!

You first have to arrive where all of the dogs are chained up (just like in Iron Will) and then prepare with the instructions of driving your sled.  Let me tell you, I nearly wanted to be a passenger after the mini-Mushing-class (kid you not timid smile and nervous laugh inserted here).

Our instructor, Elizabeth got out a sled and said, “OKAY!  Here is your brake.  It is VERY important.”

Yes, Elizabeth—you were SO right!  Holy COW!!!!  Know how to use your brake!

Then she said, “ALWAYS hold onto your sled.  IF YOU LET GO, THEY WILL LEAVE YOU AND THEN YOU WILL HAVE TO RUN AFTER THEM…In the mountains.  In the snow. ”

BRRRRR.  And, NO THANK YOU.  I don’t even run after my own children, much less DOGS!

Finally she said, “BE THE BOSS!”

Yeah, right!

Easy for a lady that WAS the boss of the dogs.

But, in the end.  She was right.  You had to be the boss or those crazy huskies would roll around on the snow and want to go whichever way the butterfly traveled.

Okay—so there weren’t really butterflies considering it was like 19F, but, whatever.  Those dogs were hilarious.

Therefore, not only did you have to be “The Boss” (Sorry, Springsteen) of the dogs, you HAD to…Like a MUST…know the lead dog’s name.  Without that name, the dogs following were like, “La-di-da-da-da!”

With the lead dog’s name and a rowdy, “Let’s go, Chaussettes (Socks),” the others would pop up and follow your Socks (literally, the name of my dog in French was Socks). Which would then give you an opportunity to “Woo-hoo” while holding on tight—at times, bending the knees for the little “pop” over the crazy hill so you could feel like you were a true Musher and sway with the sled (lest you fall off and then are dragged while HANGING on so your dogs don’t run away for like…ever).

And there you have it.  You have officially become a Musher. For an hour.

And the hour goes FAR TOO QUICKLY.  And you wish you had the whole day. And you loved every minute although you and your family laughingly recall the moments you almost went over the railing of the bridge or smashed into the tree or tilted to the extreme sideways as your dogs did not stay on the path but crossed the icy hill ahead of you to take a shortcut.  Those lazy dogs (smile and wink for the feistiness of the husky).

Yes.  All things that pretty much happened in your hour as a professional Musher.  Or your professional Bucket List kicker!

Which is, after all, what you just did!  Filled and kicked that Bucket List right up with an awesome experience that your GoPro actually recorded so you have evidence of every “Woo Hoo” and “WATCH OUT FOR THE BRIDGE” moment.

Life with children can sometimes be mundane.  Messy. Tiring. And well…a million other things.

But life with a Bucket List and littles keeps life #fresh and #exciting and #exhilarating.

And Mushing.  Yes, I recommend putting that one on your list.

As long as you #hangontight!

“Everyone has a need to serve others…”

“Everyone has this need to serve others.  And, to me, Bread of Life gives me opportunity to accomplish this desire.”

Monika Bacik, project coordinator, Betlejem z Bread of Life 

When I write for And 2 Makes Crazy, I write, for the large majority of the time, about my personal family life or issues that deal with my family personally.

I usually leave the church my husband has been pastoring for the last 17 years out of the blog posts (Poznan International Church).

I hardly speak of our work to help Rescue the Forgotten around the world…

But I want to share with you this.

Why now?

Well, part of what makes the 2 of us actually crazy is the fact that as newlyweds, at 25 years of age, we started a foundation in a foreign country that began to rescue the forgotten individuals left and alone on the streets and in the train stations of Poland after decades of communism and extreme unemployment, suffering from horrible drinking problems that also left them in states of complete hopelessness.

This foundation was started with the mere fact that we could feed them bread for a day, but we wanted to give them love for a lifetime.  And we believe with our entire core that love comes from Jesus.

But we were not fools.  In a post-communist country where weather falls below freezing for months upon end, we knew that love was good for the heart and soul—and food for the body.  So we incorporated both.  On top of loving them with all of our hearts because Jesus loves us, we also fed and clothed and opened a home for individuals on the street—hoping to meet their very physical needs so that they would be safe and warm and fed and realize that their precious lives were worth fighting for.

Years later, our foundation serves consistently in 3 countries (Poland, Moldova, and Ivory Coast) and has been built up to more than just serving the homeless and forgotten.

Today we also focus on education and medical.  We focus on counseling and families—for the children and mothers or fathers lives.

We focus on people.

How can we best help people?

By doing all we can in their times of greatest needs!

This video shows a program in the city of Poznan that does just that.  We fight alongside of 3 precious warrior heroes: Ania, Artur, and Klaudyna.  We fight alongside of their families, and we let them know that their battles are Everest, but we are there to walk beside them to provide the oxygen they need to conquer their mountains!

And that is what we do.  365 days a year.  For the past 17 years.

We walk.  We climb.  We keep going.

Humanity without Barriers…to help the smallest to the oldest.  The most frail to the most lost.  To know that they are not forgotten.

Their lives are worth fighting for … And we will walk next to them in their battles!

Enjoy the Poznan Betlejem z Bread of Life video of one amazing day where we fought for 3 children by collectively coming together as a city to raise funding for 3 precious warrior heroes!

And find us on Facebook to like and follow to keep up with what is going on in the world around us and how you can get involved and help out:  https://www.facebook.com/boflministries

Thank you!

Brooke HJ Nungesser, Co-Founder Bread of Life International

 

 

Worms on the ceiling…

worms

I wish I was kidding.  I am not.

Besides the mice that seem to occupy both the upstairs and downstairs of our home, we have had a huge trail of worms on our ceiling for the last week.

Like a trail of them…crawling.  Across our kitchen ceiling.

It’s so delightful.  NOT!

Sometimes you think, “Momma don’t have time for that!”

And then worms appear.

Crawling across your ceiling.

Yes.  This is how seemingly life is handed to people, eh?

If it’s not children in and out of doctors.  It’s mice pooping everywhere.  Then it’s camping baths for at least a week while they convert your home from coal to gas.  Lastly there are worms.

You can make a list similar to mine.  Well, hopefully not the hospitals and mice and worms.  The camping baths are okay.  A good bucket of hot water can help a momma get kids clean…

But I know you have this list.  And you think, “Do I REALLY need to stand on a stool and KILL these worms—or can I just let them continue to crawl?”

Or, perhaps, “Is it ABSOLUTELY necessary for me to discover WHERE these worms are originating from???”

You may even give yourself a few days to just let everything overrun your home.  And that’s okay.  It’s called rest.  Believe me.  If you don’t sit and take it, life is not going to get any cleaner.

And after that coffee and rest you may FINALLY muster up the courage to try and find the source of the worms.

You may EVEN be married to a brilliant man that actually has an epiphany, “HOT CHOCOLATE!”

That’s when you both rush to the cabinet above the sink and open it up.  Out fly moths.  Out crawl worms.  And at the bottom of that shelf is a bag of natural “homemade” fruit tea dried compote.  Hence the worms.

With great rejoicing that you have found the source, you dump the entire contents in the trash and begin the new process…

Clean up the mess on the shelves and get rid of the worms that were beginning to turn into moths.  Because you know what moths do?  Destroy.

Yes.  Worms on the ceiling.  It is a thing.  And perhaps you have them, too.

I hope you are able to find the source of your frustration, get rid of it, clean it up, and begin  the next moment fresh!

Because, after all, this isn’t really just about worms, is it?!

Listen to your children when they talk about their bodies…

IMG_2735

“Adelyne, what is your greatest fear right now,” I asked my 11-year-old over a private Italian dinner we were eating, just the two of us, following the EEG she just had in Poznan, Poland.

“My biggest fear,” she repeated the question.

“Yes, with all that has been going on in your life, what is your current greatest fear,” I wanted to hear the heart of my daughter, and I had her alone, no little brothers or sisters to distract her.  Just Ada and Momma.  Together.

“The fear of being afraid,” she replied.

It makes tears come into my eyes right now.

If there is one thing we want to do as parents, it is to protect our children.  To be their stalwarts.  To be their walls.  To be their protections.  To be their everything.

And then you realize you can’t.

Unless you lock your child in a bubble, never letting them escape the house, you will quickly come to realize that you cannot be your child’s everything.

With the very act of living, they will experience many different joys and pains.

And sometimes, in that living, they experience very scary moments.

A little over a month ago, my daughter experienced at school what she describes as a heart attack.  She then spent the next three days in a foreign hospital, hooked up to heart monitors and enduring multiple blood draws and tests to see what is going on with her body.

Then, not even 3 weeks after that, she experienced what is described as seizure-like behaviors before slipping in and out of semi-consciousness.  Once again, at school.

This daughter of mine.  It’s not that she is completely fearless—but, out of EVERYONE I know in the world, she is the bravest kid that I know.  She has traveled the world. She has surfed.  She has crossed borders.  She has been surrounded by machine guns on territory where we literally have NO voice.  And she hasn’t even batted an eye.

So for her to say that her biggest fear is fear itself, makes me, as her mom, sad.  The freedom for her to live a life of great adventure is the greatest gift I wish to give her.  And now she is wondering if she will be okay to ride her bike.  Or swim.  Or paddle board.

Will she surf again?

Can she jump off a mountain like she plans in February?

Can she jump out of an airplane, like she tells us she’ll do at 18?

Afraid of being afraid.

It’s a life-changer, for sure.

And I hold her hand and tell her that we are doing everything we can to eliminate a bunch of scary stuff in hopes that we find out she is perfectly healthy and just had some bad stuff happen to her for reasons unknown.

But that doesn’t erase what happened.  And it doesn’t change the fact that now she may not live quite as carefree.

And I need to listen to her.  I need to listen to her body.  I need to listen when she speaks.  Because she is the one living inside of her body, and she knows how it feels and needs to be able to communicate that to me.

A childhood friend of mine recently watched her son go through his third concussion.  And, with that concussion, his entire life changed.  Now, together, they are realizing that life has a different journey than the one he was walking.  And it is something he must do to remain healthy and able.

She listened to her son.  Now together they are fighting for his best life.

Here is his recent news interview, telling his story:  http://www.azfamily.com/story/36611797/chandler-hs-senior-quits-football-due-to-concussion

Here is a second story on concussions and high school sports:  http://www.azfamily.com/story/36162154/concussion-study-reveals-most-valley-parents-will-let-kids-play-football

Here is another childhood friend, Dr. Javier Cardenas, speaking of concussions and how to identify one in your child, as well as an App that can be used to teach children about concussions:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vHm4RPFgwEM

In the end, all we can do is live and teach our children to do so, as well.  But, in living, we also need to stop and listen.  What is our body telling us?  What is our children’s bodies telling them?

Growing up, we learn that if you ever catch on fire, you are to do three things:  Stop; Drop; Roll.

I find myself in this same position with my daughter:

Stop.  How are you feeling?

Drop.  Let’s stop everything to figure out why you feel the way you do.

And Roll.  Let’s put out this “fire” in your life, so you can go on to live your best life possible.

It may be with a little more hesitation than before.  But it’s still living.

And, in the end, that’s what counts the most!

 

Your windowsill is important in Poland

parapetowka

Photo source

Your windows are your eyes to your world.  But a windowsill, in Poland, is so much more than that.

For example, when you move into a new home or apartment, in Poland, your windowsill becomes your welcoming table.

In fact, you throw a party BASED around your windowsill.  The party is even named after your windowsill.  It is called a parapetowka.  And this is what is involved:  welcoming drinks and snacks and more welcoming drinks.

What do I mean by welcoming drinks?  Well, in Poland, that generally means vodka.  I mean, it is Poland, right?!

If you are not big drinkers, no worries.  Set up juice on your windowsill and partner it with some salty sticks (or pretzels) and perhaps some cookies, too.

The entire point of the party is not the food, anyhow, it is the welcoming of your friends into your home.  Your new place where you will reside.

In fact, oftentimes, especially in the past, the parapetowka was when there wasn’t even a drop of furniture in the home.  Literally, no furniture.

You sat on the floor.  You had your snacks. You drank your drinks.  And you visited, with your friends, in your new home.

As uncomfortable as that may sound, when you are surrounded by friends, it completely makes up for the lack of cushions.

You are with those important to you in your home. Home is where the heart is. Hence your windowsills are the eyes to your heart, where, at your parapetowka, you see those most important to your heart and home.

***

How important is your windowsill in your life?  Does it hold any special meaning to you?  What about any other traditions that may help make your move into a new place a home?  I look forward to hearing back from you!