Wednesday, June 29, 2016

A Good, Good Friend

This morning, bright and early, I said goodbye to my friend, Michelle, at the Split Airport. She's headed to her home in Oregon, and I'm headed back to Czech.

Oh the memories we've made this week as we've shared precious girlfriend time together on my beloved island of Hvar.

Six years since our last extended time together, we made the most of every opportunity, every day.

Sometimes that meant long, lingering conversations over meals, while other times it meant sightseeing in all the nooks and crannies of this place I love so much. How fun it was to share Hvar with her!

But no matter where we went or what we did, we talked of our walks with the Lord, of our hearts for Him, and our desires to be His hands and feet wherever we are.

When I met Michelle thirty six summers ago in Vancouver, Washington, I never imagined that we'd be best friends all these years later. But the Lord has woven our hearts and lives together time and time again, even though we've lived on different continents most of those years.

I am a richer person for having her in my life, even from a distance, and so thankful for the ways she has challenged, blessed, cared for and touched my life all these years.

She's a good, good friend who shares a good, good Father with me! :)

Love you much Michelle!!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Exquisite Lavender Fields

How exquisite are God's lavender fields!!!!

Across the island of Hvar, we searched out as many lavender fields as we could find, quite literally soaking in the glorious scent of this amazing creation.

Although we took picture after picture, you just can't capture the beauty of the fields in a photo - especially on a phone. But it was not for lack of trying! Honestly, I didn't want to leave any field that we discovered, each one more beautiful than the next.

And do you know what else was in the fields? Thousands of butterflies! They're a bit camera shy (literally flew up out of the fields as soon as we entered), but at least I captured a few.

This one was kind enough to stay in place for a second while I snapped a photo.

We only picked a tiny little piece of lavender to remember this experience of a lifetime.

But I will admit to standing in the middle of a few fields smelling it to my heart's content.

This day was one of my most cherished ones on the island. I am infinitely thankful to the Lord for creating such beauty, and for allowing me to experience it with my own eyes.

Truly, I'll never forget it!

Friday, June 24, 2016

Dream Come True

If someone asked you what your dreams are, what would you say?

One of mine has been to see the lavender fields in bloom on our beloved island of Hvar in the month of June. Today I saw my first field! Granted it was alongside the road (we'll see more tomorrow) but I can say that my heart was happy and I couldn't resist getting out of the car to take that picture!

A second dream is to be here for the annual Lavender Festival.

Held in Velo Grablje, a tiny village on the island, Michelle and I made our way there this afternoon.

Yes, we were kind of giddy about being here to check it out!

Lavender and rosemary essential oil production began in this little town in 1892. At one time 10% of all lavender oil in the world was produced here. But blight and fire devastated the fields over the years, and it's only been in the last 8-10 years that it's been revived.

Eight years ago they started a two-day lavender festival to celebrate the revival of this precious fruit of the land. In a town that had only five residents (it has 15 today, we were told), that's quite a feat!

With fifteen (give or take a few!) booths, and about 60 people, including the vendors, it was THE sweetest little festival I've ever been to! We stopped at almost every booth and had a most enjoyable and informative conversation with each vendor.

And yes, bought a few special items too, from new friends like Ivana who makes her own essential oils.

And what's not to be missed at the lavender festival?? Why, lavender infused gelato, of course! :)

The village is one of those "little bit of a magic" places on earth. With a view out to the Pakleni islands, its quaint stone buildings make a truly lovely setting for a festival and photos!

There are only so many parking places along the road in the village, so we'd meandered our way down a dirt road to find a spot before heading up to the festival.

As we walked back to the car we noticed a darling restaurant just a bit further down the road, and decided that was our dinner spot.

We laughed, talked, ate, took photos and laughed some more, enjoying our evening together in the village of Velo Grablje.

This dear gal, Marija, was our waitress and server for the evening and could not have been any sweeter. How much both Michelle and I are enjoying the dearness of the Croatian people this week. It has been kindness upon kindness that we've experienced from them.

We'll drive up into the actual lavender fields tomorrow to finish the fulfillment of my dream to be here at this time.

Oh how kind GOD is to give me this good gift!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Girlfriend Time

Forgive me if I'm a bit quiet on my blog this week. Here's why.

My sweet friend Michelle, best friend of 36 years, is with me in Croatia for a little vacation.

It's been six years since she's been here to Europe to see me, so we are soaking in girlfriend time for the next week.

So thankful for the gift of girlfriends!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Father's Day 2016

I'm at the Chicago airport, waiting at my gate for a flight back across the Atlantic. But before I go, I wanted to post some pictures and thoughts on yesterday, Father's Day, which we had the joy of spending here.

What joy to be with Tyler on his first Father's Day, and for Dave to now have the joy of sharing this holiday with his son!

Judah was his happy self in the morning, showing off his smiles and newly learned skills (like pulling himself up on his dad's hands) when we stopped by before heading to church with them.

Since travel these days is usually just Dave and I, the backseat is not my usual spot. But with this little guy back there, it was the perfect place to be!

We enjoyed lunch together after church, at a great BBQ place in Highland Park, where Tyler and Lara have lived these past two years.

We headed down to Lake Michigan for a nice walk, though Judah was not too impressed by it! :)

These are the kinds of photos that we'll probably giggle over as he grows up!

I will admit, it was awfully hot and humid down there, and he was much happier once his clothes come off and we took a walk outside while his mom and dad made dinner!

I'm so thankful that we had those hours together with these dear ones. Every time is just so sweet!

I'm writing fast now...they're calling me to my gate! So I'll sign off with one last photo, which was Judah's goodbye to Papa!

Oh and one last photo...Judah's first "selfie" on Nonnie's phone!

Thank you Tyler, Lara and Judah for such a special day together! Love you all much!