One thing that I'm learning, over and over again, is that a life lived in the Spirit is gloriously joyful, although the tests do get harder as onward we go!  After I wrote that line, I had to stop and sing "The Battle Hymn of the Republic!"  Glory!
 
We are back home, again, in our flat in Tbilisi; after staying all week out in Msketa at Dato and Nata's dacha.  It is a bit cooler out there and I love having our own yard where we can eat our dinner out on our own patio/yard area and where I can climb up and up to a terraced place in the back yard to have my morning quiet times!  I was going to count the steps up there, but never got around to it!  I'm sure there are well over 100.
 
The building of this dacha was started by Nata's father and the street it is on is named after him: Punchalidzi Street.  He first built the dacha (summer house) that her brother and family live in during the summer with their baby girl which is directly across the street.  There are high walls around each dacha so there is privacy!  Nearly every house on the street has a swimming pool.  Nata's brother has one and Dato and Nata plan to build one soon. 

The house is built into the side of a hill and it has three floors.  The first with a kitchen and large eating room, a nice big bath, and utility room.  The whole east side of this floor is glass. 

The second floor has a gorgeous native rock wall all along the west side which Nata's father built and huge windows across the east side.  A large room with a bar and fireplace are on this floor.  The top floor has another big living room with a fireplace and lovely sliding doors, and wide hallway, a nice bathroom, and two bedrooms with shuttered windows.
 
You can walk out on ground level from the end of the hall on the west onto a nice yard.  There are rock walls and terraces and steps going up and up and up.  This has been landscaped so beautifully and the view from up there is wonderful!  However, I had to climb up fairly early as the hot summer weather continued until a couple days ago.  We are getting nice rain showers and cooler temperatures, now, which is such a relief to all!
 
It is about a 25-minute drive from the school to the dacha, so Earl traveled back and forth each day!  The hardest part for me out there was that there is no phone and so Earl couldn't call me when he was going to be late.  There are many car accidents on the highway that goes from Tbilisi to Mskheta and beyond, so when he would not get home until nearly dark, I  prayed hard and tried not to worry!  One night, he came up on an accident that was just down from us about 1/2 mile where at least one car had taken out a roadside stand and careened over a bank down into a river bed.  The police and ambulance had not gotten there, but many cars had stopped to help, so Earl didn't stop. 
 
djvari_church.jpgOne evening, we went out to eat at the "Bean Place".  This is what we call a unique roadside restaurant that is quite popular. They serve, along with other typical Georgian cuisine, the delicious bean soup called lobio that is from west Georgia and with it the fried corn bread called chadee.  We sit on low three-legged stools around a low table.  The view of the ancient Djvari (Cross) church on the mountain from the place where we usually sit outside on the balcony is just lovely.  It was built around the 9th century, I believe.
 
As we were driving home, Earl was passing a truck that threw a rock, just missing going into my open window.  It hit the windshield and made a deep pit.  We thanked God for His protection and just minutes later as we drove off on our exit, a family was walking across the highway all dressed in black and very hard to see!  I yelled, as Earl hadn't yet seen them, and we came just a couple feet from hitting them as Earl swerved and braked the van!  Isn't it wonderful - His awesome protection over us all?!  The serenity and peace of knowing that we are in His hands is worth more than gold and silver, for sure!
 
What did I do out at the dacha?  I read two wonderful books about women in the Bible, wrote more on my book, "Jan's Journeys!" which is a document of my life to pass down to our grandchildren, prayed and sang, visited my neighbors, swam in their swimming pools, did some planning for the teacher's training for this fall, and kept up with the general things of cleaning and cooking. 
 
Mostly, I did a lot of waiting and listening.
 
One morning I wrote in my journal: "Deliverance comes through release.  When you hold on to the past, the pain, the fear, you cannot be set free. I give you all you need to be free, to let go, to be released!  Do not look about anxiously as if you will miss it for I the Lord God am He that sets the captives free!  Remember, 'No good thing do I withhold from those that do righteously or walk uprightly.'"
 
Blessings - from Jan