Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Afternoon at Nonnie's

After our regular Tuesday morning iTeam meeting at the office, I hurried home to see my dear little fellows for the afternoon.

Tyler and Lara needed to car shop today (they've been borrowing mine since they arrived), and asked if I'd watch the boys for them, to which I replied, "Of course!"

Judah and I started playing at 11:30 and honestly didn't stop until 4 when his mommy and daddy got home!

We were up and down and all around the house, changing locations every few minutes, as a two year old does! 🤣

But he was in the most cheerful mood so it was quite entertaining to discover new nooks and crannies with him at Nonnie's house.

Notice his constant companion? Kaylee is never more than a few steps away when Judah is here! I don't know if it's because she thinks he might drop a wonderful morsel at some point, or if she just honestly enjoys the activity! But she's definitely part of his entertainment when he's here.

Asher was having a bit harder day today.

Tyler and Lara, along with the boys, had to make a trip to Zagreb, Croatia on Sunday in order to apply for her residency visa on Monday morning at the Czech embassy there.

When applying for your first visa, you must complete the paperwork out of country. Tyler has permanent residency (because he grew up here), which qualified the boys as well for the same status. But Lara has to go through the regular process.

This meant the boys were in car seats 8 hours on Sunday to Zagreb, and 8 hours home to Czech on Monday, yesterday. Asher was a little out of sorts today after that trip.

Thankfully his older brother tuned in to his needs and was the only one to truly make him happy today!

They were laughing so hard that I could barely keep my phone still to take a picture, because I was laughing so hard too!

It's hard to describe just how precious it is to be part of their lives now. I love getting to see all sides of their personalities, and loving on them no matter how they're doing on a given day.

I love these little grandsons of ours. Can't wait for their cousin, Charlie, to join them here at Nonnie's house someday! What a grand time that will be!

Monday, February 19, 2018

German Friends

Winter skies in Czech are the best after a rare sunny day!

The forecast for the rest of this week is for completely cloudy/snowy skies so I'm happy I had a reason to go outside and see that view at that moment.

Dave was on his way from our offices in Frýdlant to pick me up, so I just met him at the end of our snowy lane.

On a summer day I would have walked to where we were going, but in the late afternoon chill of this snowy winter, I chose to be picked up as we headed to our little village of Malenovice.

A number of years ago a man from the village tore down the old pub and built this beautiful restaurant, a favorite of ours to frequent when friends and guests are in town. It's the neighborhood hangout!

We're on an international theme these days regarding guests. And today's fits right in, having come from Germany.

This is my very long-time dear friend, Lina, who I've known for more than thirty years! We knew each other as single women, then shared life, early marriage, babies and ministry back in our Heidelberg, Germany days with Malachi Ministries.

A year after we moved into Czech in 1993 to begin JV, she and Jim, along with their two children, moved to Havířov and served with us there. Now, twenty five years later, she and her husband serve with JV in Germany.

And today they brought their pastor and his family from Leipzig to meet us!

We had a delightful time getting to know them, and of course any time with Jim and Lina is wonderful! It couldn't have been a more pleasant evening spending time with these friends.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Norwegian Friends

When friends come all the way from Norway to visit us and hear about JV, you make the most of a quick week-end together!

These friends arrived yesterday afternoon to spend two days with us, which meant we wanted to maximize our time with them.

We put together quite an itinerary for today, our one full day together, starting out at the Moravian museum in Suchdol to tell them the story of the Moravians, which I've written about HERE.

From there we headed one hour east to H20, our JV Poland training center. There we met with Bartek and his dear wife, Kasia for lunch, and then an explanation of the ministry there.

Though it was slightly bone chilling outside, you can't visit H20 without a tour outside as well!

From there we headed back towards home, but first stopping in another city in Poland to introduce our friends to the the Božon's, a JV family who normally live in Czech. But due to a new law regarding the US social security system, Lauren (being American) must spend 6 months outside of Czech in order to keep her SS status in the US.

It's a strange law. But they're keeping it with integrity and making the most of it by living in a rented house there. Petr takes the kids back to Czech every day for school (40 minutes one way), just so they can be US law-abiding citizens (though it doesn't matter to Petr since he is Czech).

Well done Božon family!

From there we continued on back into Czech, stopping in Frydek Mistek to meet with Shelby, who is on our International Fusion team.

And then it was on to our house to see the last people of the day.

Tyler, Lara, Judah, Asher and our daughter, Claire, were already at the house by the time we arrived! It was so delightful to host our friends with our family!

Judah made his debut as a pianist for our guests. 😂 (Seriously though...this guy has potential! You should hear his rhythm.)

This was the first time I've ever hosted anyone while having grandchildren in the house...that's pretty fun, kisses and all!

It looks like Judah, and the rest of the family, will up for being around for a few more dinner guests at Papa and Nonnie's house!

Thanks to all who met with us today! It was a joy sharing you and our JV world with our Norwegian friends.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Winter in our World

On this first day back at home in Czech, I needed to run something up to Malenovice, which is covered in snow!

Oh how many times I've walked up and down this hill over the years!! And you know what? It never really gets any easier! 😂 Okay, well maybe it's a bit easier without snow. But today was not one of those days!

I have memories of walking up here before we even had stairs.

And before we had a parking lot at the bottom of the hill! Oh I shudder to think about those days when I had to park alongside the road, hoping that in the night a bus or truck wouldn't run into me.

It never did. But there was that time our car rolled backwards down the road and crashed into a barn and stopped only because of a bank of trees. 😱 Yes, not a fan of that road when it's icy and snowy like today.

Which is why I walked!

Back at home, the sun peeked its head out for just a couple of minutes.

In winter here, you learn to stop and take in that amazing site of shadows thanks to glimmers of sunlight.

And do you see that beautiful blue sky? I actually went outside to enjoy it because I didn't know how long it would be there (not long...I think it was all of ten minutes).

And so goes winter here in our part of the world. It's sometimes like living in a snow globe!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Downtown Ostrava: Completed Cycle

When we moved to Czech in November 1993 I made a trip to downtown Ostrava every few weeks, parking in this parking lot.

Why did I travel thirty minutes to get here a couple times a month? Because right down this street was a Kodak store, the only one I ever knew of back then, that would develop film into prints. I'm sure there must have been other places to do it, but once I learned about this one, I just kept going there.

The Kodak store is gone now, though in its place is a Fuji camera shop. But that's not why I was here on the Ostrava square today!

There are some important people who live here now. Recognize a name on this apartment call box?

In amongst a variety of names is a Patty family who has moved into their apartment downtown! And look who's here to greet Papa and Nonnie!

While Dave and I were away, Tyler, Lara, Judah and Asher made their move to this wonderful place that they now call home!

I'd been to see it twice before they moved in, but this was Dave's first time to see it! Judah was anxious to show us all the important aspects of it, according to him. 😉

Tyler and Lara told us ahead of time how "at home" he is here, but it was very sweet to see it with our own eyes! He loved showing us detail after detail about his "new home", as he calls it.

It's crazy to think that he most likely won't remember making this move, in the same way that his daddy doesn't remember moving to Czech. It just became home for him, and will do the same for Judah and Asher!

The boys share a room, a place that has become very important to this little guy! I think he and I could have stayed in it for quite a while as there are so many interesting things in there.

Including his daddy's old bed! How fun to walk in and see that, along with the bookshelf and toy trunk that came from Tyler's old room. Now it's Judah's happy place!

I managed to convince Judah to come out to the living room with me so I could visit with his mommy and daddy. While he sat on my lap, he took a few fun pictures on my phone to capture our first visit!

Here's another one with photo credit going to Judah!

It's also crazy to think that this will be a place we come to visit often to see these loved ones. I'm sure they'll be at our house a time or two as well...HAHA! Gotta get in our grandson snuggle times whenever we can!

In the midst of trying to soak in all the joy of being in their new home, I missed getting any pictures of Lara or me. Not a big deal about me, but I'm sad I didn't get one of Lara. This cute one with her hand on Asher will have to do!

It still feels rather surreal to know that they are HOME here in Ostrava now. Who EVER would have dreamed that Tyler and his family would live here, when this square used to be a place that HE came to with us to play!

The city didn't have such wonderful things back then like a sledding hill set up in the middle of the square in honor of the Olympics, but still...it was a place we came to often and that our kids have fond memories of.

And now this will be a place where Judah and Asher grow up making memories.

I truly never saw that coming back in the day when I'd pull out of that parking lot, and pay the man in the booth...the very same booth that exists today!

I guess in this case the saying is true: "What goes around, comes around!"

By the way, I know there's an old Justin Timberlake song with those words as lyrics, but I'm NOT referring to that song! Rather to the definition on Wiktionary that says, "The status eventually returns to its original value after completing some sort of cycle."

We are almost at our 25 year anniversary of living here in Czech, and I'd say that's definitely some sort of completed cycle!