Thursday, April 2, 2020

Repaying a Debt

In the midst of this crazy Coronavirus season, something came to us that made our day. 


Neither Dave nor I have ANY idea who it's from! But what an incredible letter to receive.

We don't remember letting someone use our phone, or when that incident might have happened. But the fact that this cassette tape was included, tells us it was probably from a long time ago!


We were already living in the Czech Republic when this cassette tape was made (©1994), but have no recollection of it. We DO still have a cassette player in our house so I'll have to try it sometime and see if the music brings back any memories!

This person included money for having used our phone, which I'm guessing was a long distance call to the States from Czech, at some point in time.


When I read the letter it made me wonder what might have brought about the conviction to repay this debt. Perhaps Romans 13:8 spoke to her, "Let no debt remain outstanding except the continuing debt to love on another." Or maybe it was because of something else.

But whatever the story is (and I hope we find out someday!), I want to say, "You are forgiven!"

This is a huge testimony to me, that someone would act on a conviction after this many years. The Spirit was undoubtedly at work, and this is a beautiful response to His prompting, to make right on something even after so many years!

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Worship Set

With our grandkids playing upstairs, cooking going on in the kitchen, and a Zoom meeting happening in the other room, an extraordinary moment happened at our house this afternoon. 


Our church here in Frydlant, like many other churches these days, is doing online services each Sunday. The first week it took place in the building where we normally meet with a few people there to do the service; but then more restrictive measures were mandated so online church went into our homes, from the homes of those doing the service for the past two weeks.

This means a moderator leads from their home, someone preaches at their home, and someone leads worship from theirs. Oh and people pray and give greetings from their homes too! It's quite a community effort, and honestly, very meaningful.

After last week's service I had the thought that perhaps, since one of our sons is living with us right now due to the virus, and the other one is coming over every few days for family connection, perhaps we could record together a worship set to be used for our church...like we used to do when the boys were in high school here in Frydlant.


It's been eight years since we've led worship together...but it took just a few minutes to practice and we were in the groove with each other (especially since Tyler and Caleb have led worship together over the years so still sync up quickly with each other). So we turned on the camera and did two worship sets.

And it was the sweetest of sweet moments for me, as their mom, to follow their lead and worship the Lord as we all played.


I didn't know Claire had come in to take pictures (the ones above) so after we finished I asked her to come in and take a few so I'd remember this sweet moment.


Tyler and Caleb had seen her take those first photos, but I hadn't. So I started laughing and couldn't stop when they were posing as if we were some kind of mariachi band!


It was then I found out that the real photos had already been taken!

But those photos are good memories too, and I'm just so glad for such a meaningful moment this afternoon with these two precious men who love the Lord, and know how to have fun worshipping Him!

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

His Lovingkindness

I'm finishing out the month of March with some sweet Jenna pictures, because she was definitely the best part of this crazy month!


Having an infant in the house is THE BEST reminder of resting in the Lord's care and love. Jenna knows nothing besides being loved and taken care of by her family. It wouldn't even occur to her that anything different would be possible!


I was reading Psalm 33 today and meditating on verses 4-5: "Your word, O Lord, is upright, and all your work is done in faithfulness. You love righteousness and justice; the earth is full of your lovingkindness."

Other versions say "unfailing love",  and "steadfast love" which all speak of the essence of God's love.


But in the midst of this world wide crisis, I like the word "lovingkindness". It speaks of a God who is kind in his love, even when to our eyes, we don't see the fullness of it, or understand it, given the circumstances around us.

Jenna gets it though!


Every look from her mommy, daddy, big brother, cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents...is one of love.

We all love her just because she's Jenna! She just has to open her eyes and we all smile at her and speak loving words to her. Not because of anything she's done, but because of love that flows out of our hearts to her.


Imagine how much deeper, richer, wider, higher and more awesome is God's love for us?? It's something we spend a lifetime comprehending and receiving, if we will!

This evening Caleb and Haley blessed us with a take-out dinner from our local restaurant that has just started take-out, in the midst of all restaurants having been closed due to COVID-19.


This simple act of love was all the more meaningful because they said it was for our anniversary a few days ago!

We didn't deserve that; we didn't ask for it. But in God's lovingkindness, expressed through Caleb and Haley, we received it. And we were grateful!


During these strange times, I'm praying for myself and for those around me, that God's love would be so tangible. That I would literally feel my Father holding me, in the same way that Caleb holds his precious daughter.


And as I feel that love, that I'll joyfully receive it, and know I've done nothing to earn it or deserve it except to abide in Christ who made the way to the Father possible.

I pray you, my family and friends reading this, will also know this love that is freely given by your Father who is full of lovingkindness for YOU!

Unpredictable

It was a typical "end of March" kind of day!


Sunshine and blue sky, and then...


A few snow flurries that quickly turned into something much more than what the weather report called for.


When the skies cleared, I figured that was the last of it.


But no! It has continued snowing since 3 this afternoon.


And now it's 8 PM and I think it's finally stopped!


It feels like how all of life has been this month...so unpredictable!

I can't help but wonder what April will bring; I'm praying the Lord brings healing to our land and shows Himself mighty in the midst of all this unpredictability.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Masks or No Masks

If you've been reading my blog during these past few weeks of the Coronavirus being present here in the Czech Republic (our first case was on March 1), you know that we are required by the government to wear masks at all times when we are out in public.

Claire took this when Caleb was adjusting my mask for me before walking into Tesco!

Czech was the first country in Europe to mandate this on March 18th. And until Sunday the 23rd, when the first recorded death from COVID-19 occurred, it was reportedly the country in the world with the most confirmed cases but fewest fatalities.

Czech citizens mobilized in a national effort to make and distribute home-made masks after the government decreed face-wear mandatory for everyone in an effort to combat the coronavirus. The word is that the country was covered in masks within three days.

As of today we have 3257 cases, and 25 deaths.

The following video was released on March 27th, and explains the reasoning behind masks.

They say: "Homemade masks are partly effective in individual protection, but they are essential for slowing the spread of the virus in the population. The main outcome of our studies was that they stop around 95-100% of viruses that people emit by breath, sneezing, and coughing. People are the most contagious first days without symptoms, that's why we need masks for all."



I appreciate all that the Czech government has done for its people in taking quick measures to slow the spread of the virus. If masks are a part of that, I'll gladly wear them for weeks, and even months, in order to keep myself, and all those around me well.

#Masks4ALL

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Coronavirus Days

Oh the joys of simple styrofoam airplanes!


On this beautiful spring Sunday afternoon, while we're all on quarantine (lock down, rest...or whatever you want to call it because of the Coronavirus!) all the boys, little and big, were out in the yard enjoying sunshine.

But even more so... contests to see who could keep it up in the air the longest!


The funniest part was when the little boys went inside and the big boys continued! 😂


What better way to spend a quarantine Sunday than the simple joys of flying airplanes...and climbs up into the trees when they got stuck!

Yes, that is THE oddest ladder! We can't remember who made it or why it's behind the garden shed, but today it served Caleb well! 

The temperature started to drop in the afternoon, so coats went back on for a little bit more outside time.


But then, a warm inside was more inviting!

One of our favorite activities these days are huge cities built with blocks!

Claire enjoyed some rocking chair time with Jenna who just keeps getting cuter and cuter!

Claire is cute too! 😊

After Tyler, Lara and boys headed back to Ostrava, Claire ended the day with me by helping on an organization project in the kitchen...it may not seem like a big deal, but changing our system for how to handle coats, shoes, scarves, grocery bags and masks is HUGE here!

You can't really see the extent of it to appreciate it with me!🤣

I was thankful for her initiative and help to get it done tonight.

We are all doing different kinds of things during this Coronavirus lockdown, quarantine, rest time...or whatever you'd like to call it! These are unusual days, but ones that we are trying to make the most of, while keeping our minds on the fact that "God sits enthroned over the flood..."...or the virus.

Praying you all are staying well during these days...and staying home!

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Birthday & Anniversary

Before I ever met Lara, our daughter-in-law, we wrote back and forth to get to know each other when she and Tyler were students at Moody Bible Institute.

I remember the surprise it was to find out that her birthday was on the very same day as our wedding anniversary!

Because we didn't live near them for their first six years of marriage, we didn't ever get to celebrate her on the day of her birthday. And in the past two years since they've lived in Czech, we've always been gone on her birthday/our anniversary.

So today is the first time we've all been together on this day. And what a beautiful day it was!


The sun was out and it was warm enough to be outside without coats!


Lara taught the boys how to roll down our hill (which they did over and over and over...you get the picture!).

And enjoyed being outside most of the afternoon soaking in the warmth of sun and conversation.


Dave was taking advantage of the weather to do some outside projects, with happy spectators!


Caleb, Haley, Charlie and Jenna took advantage of the beautiful day by taking a walk (complete with required masks!).


And Jenna did what Jenna does...look lovely as she sleeps!


I happened to come around the side of the house just as this was happening.


Asher, happily barefoot all day, asking Papa a question, as he often does, about what something is or how it works! 

Soon after, Dave and I went out for an anniversary "date".


I don't know what it doesn't say "Tesco" on the building, but that's where we were, at just about the only store open these days! Dave bought me anniversary flowers, and we picked up some styrofoam planes to bring back for the boys!


As the sun went down, it became cooler outside, but the boys played with their planes until their little fingers were like ice cubes! So glad I remembered to get a picture with them.


Inside, Tyler was hard at work cooking Lara's birthday dinner, after Claire had just finished her birthday dessert!


He made Tom Kha Gai soup, (Thai coconut chicken) that was out of this world!! I don't know the exact recipe he used, but I found this one and it looks pretty close. If you're looking to spice up (literally) your cooking, I highly recommend trying out this soup!


After dinner we celebrated Lara with gifts, dessert and words to bless her.


The boys, already in their pajamas, enjoyed helping their mom blow out her birthday candles!


And after they were all in bed, it was time for a birthday game night!


Need a great new family game for these days of quarantine? You have to try Dixit!! This beautifully illustrated game brings out stories and imagination, and oh so much laughter! We had the best evening playing it together, to finish out this birthday/anniversary day!