Friday, April 17, 2015

Home and Starting the Next Phase

After ten hours in the car by myself yesterday, I'm safely back home in Czech.

Why by myself when I was just with these dear ones for breakfast at McDonalds yesterday morning?

Because I dropped Dave, Mel and Amy off at the airport in Zagreb, Croatia before driving home alone!

They are all headed to the Global Youth Initiative Israel Summit, a conference and tour of the Holy Land for disciple making partners with the GYI movement worldwide. They'll be there for the next two weeks with participants from nearly 100 countries.

I had lots of time in the car to think, pray and enjoy spring as I drove through Croatia, Austria and Czech on my way back. After heavy traffic much of the way, it was a relief to cross over the Czech border at Mikulov which always feels like I'm nearly home, even if it's still several hours before reaching Frydlant.

But last week was so refreshing, spending quality time in Croatia with our dear friends. My heart and soul are happy!

What's ahead while Dave's gone?

The editor who's been working on my book for the past few months just finished the whole manuscript. So now it's my turn to go through all her edits. I've set aside this next week to buckle down and go through it all, line by line.

I'm excited to begin this part of the process. Although I don't know exactly how time consuming or difficult it will be since it's my first time to work with the editor, it's satisfying to finally be moving forward on my book project again.

If interesting things occur to me along the way, I'll definitely blog about it!

But if not, know I'm buried in the technical aspect of getting a book finished. Whoohoo!!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Thankful for Hvar

It doesn't matter the month, season or even time of day...I never tire of seeing Hvar. Long a family vacation destination, it holds so many special memories, both in the town and on the island itself.

Here to spend time with our dear friends, Ellenwood's and Hash's, I still soak up the sights and sounds as if it's the first time.

Though we've been coming here for years, I marvel at, and enjoy, the beauty of this place.

And love capturing moments like these: two little guys, having a great time fishing at water's edge! It won't be long before the riva is filled with yachts for the summer, making it impossible for them to share such a boyish moment. Glad they're out there while they still can be!

Tourist season hasn't started yet so there are still mostly just fishing boats in the harbor. I love seeing it that way.

For the townspeople, it must be refreshing to have a normal Sunday where mostly it's just family and friends meeting up for time together in the evening, rather than having the square packed with all the people who come throughout the summer months (which often included us!).

I feel happy to have the streets to myself this evening too!

While everyone else was busy, I wandered off to take photos at what we call "golden hour"...the moment before the sun sets, when everything has that magical glow to it.

Looking up...and down the same staircase!

It was absolutely quiet, except for the sound of seagulls as I went to take a photo of this cool looking door...

And then a nano second later a whole group came barging out of it and startled me like crazy. But at least I got the photo!

As the sun set over the island for another evening, I thanked the Lord for this dear place that means so much to me. It's hard to describe why, but it's just a place that brings my heart and soul much delight, joy and rest. I'm so thankful for Hvar.

Thankful for the people I get to share it with, and for its beauty!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Chance Meeting on the Road

Look who I met today!

I saw her years ago when we first came to vacation on Hvar. I don't know why but quite honestly I always wished I could see her up close...she's just got a sweet look about her, don't you think?! (I love an animal with character and personality)

Well today was my happy day! She came walking along the road with her owner and I actually got to talk with him and find out a few details about her.

Want to take a guess at how old she is?

Sokolnice (at least I think that's her name) is thirty two years old. Hard to believe, she looks so good!

Her owner told me that her favorite thing is chocolate milk (!!) and that it's ruining her teeth. That just made me giggle!

She was a sweet old gal, and her owner was so kind and enjoyable. I wish we could've talked more as I would've loved to have heard his and the donkey's story.

But it at least made my day to finally get an "up close and personal" with this sweet, good-natured, endearing animal.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Road Trip

Our dear friends and JV teammates, Mel and Amy Ellenwood, are on sabbatical in the States this year. But, because of several upcoming events they needed to be at on this side of the ocean, they arrived back in Czech last week.

But before those events occur, we're getting some time with them.

Starting with a road trip together!

Because we all enjoy Croatia so much (after many years of camping vacations there together), we came down to spend some time with them on Hvar.

It was a bit of a harrowing trip complete with a blinding snowstorm and powerful windstorm, numerous traffic jams and a few other twists and turns! But we're safely here now and delighted to have some days together.

Our fellow JV teammates and vacation friends, Dan and Laura Hash, will join us in a few days. We're so thankful for these dear long-time friends, and for this time in a place we all love.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Easter Hope

The sunny Easter mornings of my childhood in Oregon were nowhere to be found yesterday morning!

But snow has come to define Easter these past few years here in Czech and honestly, I don't mind. There is something peaceful and glorious about it.

After breakfast at the hotel with our church family, I drove back down to Frýdlant to pick up someone for church. By the time we came back, the skies had cleared and we were treated to a different view as we walked up the hill. Aww, that's a little better!

For many years now, we've had our Easter service here, celebrating with guests staying at the hotel, friends and family from the area, and of course our own church members.

Bogdan, Martina and the group they assembled for worship did such a fabulous job leading us in praise and worship. Loved every minute of it, and could've sung for an hour!

The hotel staff prepared a beautiful space to celebrate and worship in...

And my heart was full of joy as we gave praise to our resurrected Savior.

Dave preached a powerful and passionate sermon, one of the best Easter messages I've heard him give! If I find the link to it on our church's website, I'll put it here later...for all of those who speak Czech! :)

The sun made an appearance after church so families hurried out into the cold for a few photos.

Our dear Jonny and Lisa Lobel, who lived with us years ago, serve with BMA in Frydlant, and are a precious part of our lives...and their kids too!

I found these daffodils blooming outside the hotel, working so hard to poke their heads out from the ice and snow. It reminded me of how it's possible for life to bloom amidst difficult circumstances, even when the conditions are bleak.

This is hope.

And where is my hope? In my risen Savior!

"My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness. 
I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus name.

On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.
All other ground is sinking sand."