Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Knowing Him More

Earlier this summer, when I was experiencing a great amount of pain in my body, I would wake up between 3 and 5 AM most days, no matter when I'd gone to bed.

Those were some of the hardest, and some of the sweetest, mornings. 

Over the past three weeks the pain has gradually faded, and I am feeling better every day now. It's shocking how much pain impacts you; and equally shocking how good it feels to be almost pain-free.

This morning I woke up at 5 AM, but not because of pain. My body was just alert and ready to get started on the day. What a gift from the Lord to be moving forward into feeling better.

As I watched the sun rise out our back window, my heart flooded with love for the Lord, who has seen me through this pain journey since March of this year. I still don't really know the cause of the pain, though have spent hours, literally, in prayer, walking into it, rather than avoiding it.

The pain was physical, for sure. But because it moved around so much (and I did seek medical care in the midst of it to make sure it wasn't disease), I was pretty sure that while the manifestation was physical, that there were other underlying things causing it.

I'd be the first one to say that I don't like pain, of any sort, and try to avoid it. But this time the Lord made it clear that I was to live into it, and go to Him with all of it.

So, over these past months I have released much pain to Him. Anything He showed me, I dealt with, with Him. And because of that, it's been one of the most exquisite times of my life in terms of my relationship with the Lord. I would have said our relationship was good, even great, before this all started.

Now I wouldn't use either of those terms. I'd simply say, I know Him more.

We're headed on vacation soon and I'm actually hoping to pray through some more things while we're away. It's become a whole new way of life, leaning into anything the Lord brings up. I'm learning to listen, respond, repent, receive and cherish these days, and now months, of walking into pain.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Running Buddies

These two make me smile!

This summer they have started running together as both of them are quite avid runners.

Dave says Claire wins on the hills, and he wins on endurance! In any case, they're talking about training sometime for a long run/race together.

I did that once; I'd be happy this time to be their support staff!

Monday, August 10, 2020

Birthday Bouquet

For years now I've been ordering bouquets online and having them sent to my mom in the United States for various occasions because I know how much she loves fresh flowers.

And now she's given me flowers!

While she didn't order them, she DID tell me to go buy a bouquet for my upcoming birthday!

We have a joint bank account where she can put money in that I can then draw out here in Czech. So all I had to do was pick out a bouquet that I knew both of us would enjoy and buy it as a gift from her (and my dad too!).

I knew I didn't have a vase that would work for this bouquet (I have just one tall glass vase that I make work for all flowers!) so decided to get this pretty white pitcher to put my birthday flowers in.

When I sent my mom photos, she sent one back to me of flowers she has in her kitchen right now. Notice her vase?!

I didn't even remember that she has my Grandma France's old ironstone white pitcher that looks similar to the one that I have now!

"Thank you for the suggestion to buy birthday flowers from you, Mom!"

Sunday, August 9, 2020

New View

Yesterday morning before I left for Hukvaldy with Claire, I took this picture from the patio, just outside our kitchen door.

And this morning, at the same time of day as yesterday, I took this one. Notice anything different?!

For several years we've been talking about taking these trees down because of how they block our view to Lysá hora (the highest mountain in the Beskydy range).

Yesterday was finally the day they came down!

I came home in the afternoon yesterday and found Dave hard at work, sawing, chopping, hauling and cleaning up from his big project.

It doesn't completely solve our view problem as the other trees that block it are on our neighbor's property.

But it did open up our view quite a bit; plus we know those 25 year old trees would have only KEPT growing! So it feels good to have opened up that space.

Dave chopped up some of the wood to be used for campfires outside (it's too "pitchy" for our fireplace), and then dragged the rest of the branches out into the field behind us (owned by friends!) to wait for a rainy day when he can burn them.

And now we're enjoying the new view from two directions!

Those trees were in the far corner of our yard so we've never seen this view before.

I'm thankful for Dave, who worked tirelessly these past two days to make the vision of our new view a reality!

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Hukvaldy Charm

What a gorgeous summer Saturday morning in Hukvaldy, a town first mentioned in the year 1228!

There is a castle here that was first built between 1260 and 1270, which has since been rebuilt five times. Fire destroyed it in 1762 and it was never rebuilt; but today it is in the process of being restored.

However, on this wonderfully hot summer day, I didn't take the hike up to it, but instead headed into town.

Claire and I came to enjoy Kavárna fara Hukvaldy, a new coffee shop that we love here!

We debated on whether or not to sit outside since the sun was so intense. But the barista told us it would go behind the building within a half hour, and sure enough, it did!

Would you believe we sat here for 3 1/2 hours?!

There was so much for us to catch up on, and besides that, it was just one of those idyllic summer days to enjoy and linger in.

How I love time with Claire, walking through life together!

And doing it every now and then in such a pretty place makes it all the more special. While it's only a 25 minutes drive here to Hukvaldy from our house, it feels like we've entered a whole different world when we come here!

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Timehop Fun

A number of years ago I downloaded an app called "Timehop" that pulls pictures from my blog, phone, Facebook and Instagram, and shows them to me on the day they were taken.

It's my favorite app and never fails to bring a smile to my face when I see pictures like this one, taken in Salzburg in 2007 while we were on family vacation.

Or like this one, taken up above the Salzburg area with the kids.

Sometimes it doesn't get the dates right, because I know those photos were taken in late August that year! But it was still fun to get that reminder today of vacation days with our family way back when.

And just for comparison, here we are today, at home here in Frydlant.

I was just 45 in those pictures from 2007, and today am 58 (almost 59!). I wonder what I'll look like in another 13 years when I'm 71! 🤣

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Life is Grand

This morning was play time with the grandkids!

Tyler and Lara asked if they could come over today so Tyler could work in the garden, even though it's such a rainy day.

One of the garden beds was ready to be harvested, so you know, rain or shine, it's got to be done! Love that Tyler has so much resilience!

Back inside, we were having such a fun time up in the play room. 

During coronavirus lockdown, Dave and I completely cleared out what used to be Tyler's room and made it into a play room for the grandkids. That was one of the smartest things we did during quarantine!

It's the first place the kids want to go when they arrive. And of course they want us to come with them!

Judah was in a picture taking mood today, so asked if he could use my phone to do it. Don't you love that those photos are all free?!

He completely set me up there, with the bears, and the balls, and the little dog in my lap, with a ball for his pillow! 🤣

Then he asked me to set him up and take a similar photo. 

You just gotta love kids' creativity! 

And his need for a little "cozy corner" time, with a book and tea!

But then it was back to playtime!

In the meantime, Tyler was out there as the rain poured down even harder, pressing on to get all the vegetables dug out so we can start using them. 

Onion, garlic, turnips and carrots are all ready, with just a few (three to be exact) tomatoes. We are seriously lagging in the tomato department this year!

But Grandpa Patty, the gardener of all gardeners, is going to be very proud of Tyler for his harvest of other things!

They all stayed through lunch as Tyler finished the harvesting, and then spent time planting more in the empty garden bed. He's an optimist that the weather will turn one of these days and we'll get some good sunshine and warmth to help those plants bear more fruit. 

I'm so happy for the garden, and that it brings Tyler, Lara and our dear grandkids over for a morning and afternoon of joy!