Thursday, July 24, 2014

What Some Days are Made Of

Yesterday was sunny and beautiful, a sweet and happy day with both my girlies at home.

Today was dark and rainy, completely opposite of yesterday. Still had both girlies at home, but one was on the couch sick with the stomach flu, and the other took advantage of a gloomy day and hung out in her little bed.

It was just "one of those days", sweet in its own way.

I made a trip into Ostrava this evening to wait for a friend to arrive from the USA via Berlin, then Prague.

I haven't seen this friend in twenty nine years! As I stood waiting on the platform I wondered if I'd recognize her.

I did, and we spent the whole evening talking and catching up!

More of our story tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

I Am Third

Have you ever wondered what the world looks like through the eyes of a missionary kid? If so, we've got something special for you.

Yesterday on Amazon we released a book written by our own JV Kids!

My friend and co-worker, Amy Ellenwood, wrote a post about it on our JV blog saying:

"Third culture kids are flexible, complex, and rich because of what they have lived and how they see the world. They juggle many cultural influences, and it may seem from the outside that it would simplify life just to live in one. But as they grow and draw on the whole of their life, they have a lot to offer. Michele Phoenix, a TCK expert, said it like this, “It would be tragic to lose the depth and wealth of the background God ordained for them to have, in exchange for ‘simple’ identity.”"

To see her post in entirety, click HERE.

During our spring conference this past May, all our school age kids participated in a writing course led by Aleisha Stephens, one of our JV missionaries. Along with two friends from the States, they put together a wonderful opportunity for our JVK to express themselves. As they learned the mechanics, technique and heart of writing a story, they offered to us what the world looks like through their eyes.

This book is the culmination of that project, and one that we're so excited about!

It's on sale at Amazon right now for $18, with the proceeds going directly to our JV Kids ministry. Click HERE to see it and pick up a copy for yourself.

We're not only passionate about raising up a new generation of young "Josiah's" in the countries we serve in, but among our JV Kids as well!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Michigan Birthday

Happy Birthday to our Tyler who turned 24 on Sunday after a birthday trip up to Michigan on Saturday.

Why Michigan??

Since Claire needed to be picked up from Gull Lake and brought down to Chicago for her flight home, the rest of our Patty family in the US made it an outing that included the pick-up and a birthday celebration as well.

Claire's last day at Gull Lake

When Tyler and Lara were up in Grand Rapids, Michigan last March for the Midwest Regional ETS conference, they discovered Madcap Coffee.

With Grand Rapids less than an hour away from Hickory Corners (where GLM is located) they thought it'd be fun to introduce their siblings to it, so headed over to spend the rest of the day celebrating Tyler's birthday.

After coffee, lunch and a movie together, they celebrated with gifts down on the boardwalk of the Grand River.

It was fun to see this picture ("Thanks for taking all of these Claire!") of a gift from my mom and dad.

My dad is making these incredibly fun, whimsical and colorful bird houses these days...I think he's made over 20? I'll have to confirm that with him, as maybe it's even more now.

I'm glad Tyler gets to have one now too!

Much love to you Tyler! I am SOOO thankful for the man of God that you are, for the way you love your wife, for the care you give to your sister, and for the privilege of being your mom...even when you're all grown up! :)

Monday, July 21, 2014

Happy Arrival

While it was certainly a beautiful morning here at home, it was far from any ordinary day.

I left for Krakow, Poland at 8:30 and headed for the airport. Driving on the new highway that now connects us was an entirely different driving experience than the past twenty years. I can't say I missed the small Polish roads, potholes, stoplights and traffic on the route we used to take there!

Construction and a missing small parking lot out front of the terminal greeted me at the airport when I arrived.

Having forgotten to tell the arriving passenger to come out when she got her bags, I wound my way up to the fourth floor of the parking garage, then hurried across the way, knowing I was now late.

With my camera in hand I wound through the other arriving passengers, waiting for that first glimpse of wherever she might be.

"Kayleeeeeee", called a sweet voice from the end of the corridor.

Letting go of the leash, a little doggie ran for her girl. Aw, such a sweet reunion!!

Yes, Kaylee and I were there to welcome Claire home!!!!

And yes, it's perfectly acceptable to bring your dog into the airport here!

After six weeks of working at Gull Lake summer camp in Michigan, she's home for a month!

This is her first time back since leaving for college a year ago. She didn't get to come home at Christmas since we were in the States, so it's a special day for her, and for us.

Just like we used to do for first and last days of school (like HERE, HERE and HERE), we had to take a "first day back at home" picture before going in the house.

Oh how good to see her walk in those familiar doors, and on into the kitchen where we love to hang out!

The final welcome came from dad just a few hours later. Yes, he's glad to have his girl home!

She'll get to be here until August 22nd. Oh how we're all going to enjoy these days with her at home again!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Caleb and Haley's Wedding: A Day to Remember

Caleb and Haley's wedding in May was one of those days you just want to savor, a day all of us will remember forever.

Truly a God-honoring and joyful day, I've been waiting for the professional photos to come so I could share them here on my blog, and enjoy their day one more time!

Caleb's friend from Czech and fellow Moody student, Pavel Adamek, along with the assistance of our niece, Kyrie Schroeder, captured their day so beautifully, from the very first look!

Not only was there a first look for Caleb, but for Haley's dad as well. I love getting to see these sweet moments between the two of them.

After their first looks, and a walk through the sanctuary where they would be married just a few hours later, they went up to Horsetooth Resevoir for pictures with their wedding party.

 The backdrop of the mountains made for some stunning photos!

One of my all time favorites!!

Then it was back to the church for last minute touch-ups, a bite of lunch, and a very precious time of prayer with the bridesmaids, flower girl, moms, a friend, an aunt and a grandma!

Of course there were a few tears shed back there as we waited for the big moment to arrive.

Haley's bridal party from back to front: Lara (sister-in-law), Lucie (friend from Moody, who also happens to be from Czech), Molly (childhood friend from Colorado) Allyson (sister and maid of honor), Claire (sister-in-law), and Carolyn (the flower girl and Haley's cousin).

Soon after, the amazingly beautiful music that Haley's dad, Mark, composed and orchestrated, began to be played by the 20 piece orchestra seated behind where Caleb and Dave are standing.

Caleb and his wedding party waited with him as the music signaled the beginning of a very magical event.

L to R: Shane (friend from Moody), Justin (cousin), Jacob (friend he grew up with in JV, from Poland), Noah (friend he grew up with in JV, in Czech), Tyler (older brother) and Luke (cousin from Slovenia)

Haley's grandpa, who is now in heaven, was present through the playing of his violin, played by the man with the white shirt and tie on the far left.

The music was exquisitely beautiful, and emotional, to say the least!

Coming down the aisle to "A Beautiful Bride" which Mark wrote for Haley to walk to, was so very precious. It was like watching an incredibly touching movie, only better because it was real!

Of course I cried, as did Amy, Haley's mom. They were, of course, the happiest of tears!

 After some tender words from Haley's dad, it was time to give her away to Caleb.

Dave had the privilege of marrying them, giving both the sermon and leading them in their vows. Not an easy task for the dad! He'll be the first to tell you that he had tears in his eyes too during the wedding.

Caleb also composed a song for the wedding, one he sang to Haley with much heart and emotion while Tyler played the guitar for him.

Caleb and Haley chose to symbolize their unity in a different way than I've ever seen before.

We brought soil from the Czech Republic for Caleb, and Haley's dad collected soil from their family home in Fort Collins where Haley grew up. This is what they poured into the pot with a tree, symbolizing the two becoming one.

My favorite part of the wedding was being invited up on stage with them to witness their vows!

Thank you Caleb and Haley for such a privilege!

Alongside siblings, parents and grandparents all on stage, Amy and I had the joy of praying for Caleb and Haley in those moments before they said their vows.

Getting to stand beside them and witness up close as they solemnly pledged their lives to one another was unbelievably precious and meaningful.

 We stayed there through the giving of the rings....

And for the first kiss!

Then they became man and wife and walked out to begin their life together!

Following them out with Mark and Amy, all of us arm in arm, was also incredibly touching. Seeing our children marry each other put a whole new meaning to our 20+ year friendship with each other!

After a beautiful reception at the church, Caleb and Haley walked out to bubbles...

 And lots of smiles and loving wishes!

 There are so many happy faces, smiles, and waves goodbye in this photo - I love it!!

Along with their wedding party, they headed to a park nearby for a few more photos to capture their lovely day.

After an absolutely beautiful wedding supper (which I wrote about HERE) at the home of dear friends of the Chase's, the day was over and we sent them off to begin their life as Caleb and Haley Patty.

Seven weeks later, they're happily settled into their apartment in Chicago, both working at Moody Radio this summer before school starts again in the fall.

They're going to have a great life together, and we are infinitely pleased that God has done such a great thing in bringing them together!!!

** Thanks to Pavel Adamek for his photography and editing of these photos.**