Thursday, November 24, 2022

A Different Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving 2022 got off to a rough start. 

As I'm still dealing with Long Covid, I never know when I'll wake up and feel well or not. Today was a "not." 

I took something that I hoped would help and went back to bed. Only to get up several hours later and find the electricity had gone off. For the day. 

So much for cooking any Thanksgiving food!

You might ask why that matters. "Aren't you in the Czech Republic celebrating at Malenovice with your JV team?" 

No, we are not at our home in Czech for this Thanksgiving, but in Croatia, where we're on "exile." 

What's that, you ask? The United States and many European countries have a "totalization agreement" regarding their social security systems. Unless you pay into the European country's social security system and instead pay into the US's, you're required to exit the country you live in for six months every nine years. 

This happens to be the nine-year mark for us. 

We've been here for three weeks and plan to be here off and on over the remaining months. 

Lord willing, I will be able to travel with Dave later on, but for now, I'm not well enough. So we're sitting tight; I'm resting a lot and getting new medical help here in hopes God will use that to heal me. 

Side note: I know God COULD heal me in the next five minutes! But because he hasn't chosen that healing route thus far, I've been in touch with new doctors as they look for ways to help me. 

Back to Thanksgiving!

When we realized that the small Thanksgiving meal I'd hoped to make wasn't going to happen, we decided to drive to a nearby town to see if any restaurants were open. 

We're on the island of Hvar, so this is "off-season," and most everything, except the essentials, closes until April. So finding a restaurant open is not a given.

We walked through the entire town and only found one pizzeria and three coffee shops open for business. 

Since pizza or just coffee didn't cut it for our Thanksgiving meal (I was hoping for at least some chicken and potatoes to make it feel more like the holiday!), we wandered a bit more, took a few pictures, and headed back to our car without a plan for what to do next. 

Suddenly, down a small cobble-stoned street, we saw the door open to a restaurant. Unsure if it was open for business or just being worked on for repairs (like some other places we'd seen), we walked over to it and were greeted by a cheerful young woman with these words.

"Are you here for the Thanksgiving feast?" ๐Ÿฆƒ ๐Ÿ ๐Ÿฅง 

We both stammered a tentative "yes" and were then seated. In THE most darling restaurant, we hadn't known existed, called "Nook." 

Over their three-course Thanksgiving feast, we heard how this restaurant came to be. 

Dee is from Bosnia but moved to the US as a middle schooler and was there through getting her degree at university and working a job after that. Nino is from Scotland and has worked around the world as a chef. They met in Sarajevo when she returned to see family; he worked there as a chef. They fell in love and worked in other places before moving to Hvar and opening their own restaurant. In March 2020, just as the world locked down! ๐Ÿ˜‚ 

But she said it gave them time to figure out everything before they could open that summer. They've been open ever since. 

I haven't been to their restaurant before, but I can tell you that they have perfected their Thanksgiving menu - something she wanted to do for the foreigners, like us, who are on the island now! 

A delectable pumpkin carrot coconut soup started the meal, and it got better after that! 

Turkey sourced from a grower in northern Croatia starred in the meal, along with all the trimmings, including stuffing balls and cranberries (which I've never seen here before!). It makes my mouth water just looking back at the photo. This meal rivaled any Thanksgiving meal I've ever had. 

With no rush from them to hurry up and finish as they only had 20 reservations for the day (but had enough to let us in as two extras!), we enjoyed a leisurely afternoon at Nook before finishing the meal with coffee, apple pie, and homemade pumpkin ice cream!

Dave had told me earlier in the day, when the electricity went off, "When things aren't going as we expect, we have to ask, "What's God doing?" and go there with Him." 

This answer to our problem of not being able to have our Thanksgiving meal at home (or at Malenovice, for that matter!) was SO far beyond anything I could have imagined Him doing. He provided above and beyond...and then some!...through Dee and Nino.

Also, He gave me energy for the afternoon to enjoy His bountiful gifts. That was also above and beyond, not the "norm" these days. 

So I'm grateful in a new way this Thanksgiving 2022 for God's faithfulness and care, demonstrating again that He can provide whatever and whenever through whomever He wants! 

He is so good! 

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Checking in After a While

At the beginning of 2021, I took a break from blogging that lasted much longer than I'd planned. It's nearly the end of 2022, so it's been almost two years since I posted anything!

Back in January 2021, we were in the throes of yet another strict Covid lockdown here in the Czech Republic, which left me with little desire to post. Every day seemed like the last one!

Not only that, but Blogger had changed their format making it more difficult to make posts and, specifically, to drop in photos. 

I was also working hard on our online Josiah Venture Prayer Room, which meant more time on the computer than usual (and less desire to be on it in the evenings after work!). 

But more than those things, I was enjoying life in the present rather than having a part of my brain always thinking about what I'd post next. One thing led to another, and eventually, I realized that I'd come to a chapter end of chronicling our lives here on my blog as I'd done for sixteen years. 

Fast forward to May 2022. In case you want to see what we all looked like, here we are on the driveway near our home! 

The family was here for JV Spring conference at Malenovice for the first time in three years due to Covid (the first time in three years for spring conference - not the first time in three years of seeing each other!).

Simeon, (held by Tyler in the picture), who had just been born shortly before I stopped blogging, had changed the most of anyone! 

Since then, another grandchild, Wesley Emet Patty, born to Caleb and Haley, has arrived. He was born on September 10, 2022, in Albania. We're so thankful to the Lord for these precious six grandchildren!!

At the end of December 2021, I came down with Covid and have been dealing with Long-Covid ever since. I know I may not look sick in the picture, but I was and still am. This has been a season like no other, pressing deeply into the Lord as I wait for (and pursue under my doctor's guidance) healing. 

While this is a season of life like none other, it is invaluably rich with the Lord. I don't know what tomorrow will hold, so joyfully cling to Matthew 6:34 - "Don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."

This isn't a depressing verse! Rather it gives perspective and hope on how to live daily, trusting God for today rather than reaching toward tomorrow. 

I can't say whether or not I'll post here again. All I know is that the Lord put it on my heart today to write in case anyone wanders by for an update!

Thursday, December 31, 2020

Goodbye 2020

On this last day of 2020, this was a happy photo to receive from Dave! 

He is in Denver, visiting his mom and dad for a few days; mom is spoiling him with good food for every meal while he's there! 

While he's celebrating New Year's with them, I went over late this afternoon to Mel and Amy Ellenwood's house to celebrate with our regular New Year's Eve buddies!

For many years now, Patty's, Ellenwood's, and Hash's have rung in the new year together, with a variety of our children usually with us. This year Noah and Jill were visiting from Montenegro so joined in on the fun. Noah made pizza in his special new pizza oven that they're taking back home with them for pizza parties with their youth! 

Usually, we stay up past midnight, watching the fireworks together and sharing our thoughts with each other on the past and coming year. 

But this year, thanks to coronavirus, we have a curfew so I scurried out the door and made it home with two minutes to spare before the curfew started. 

I didn't actually plan to stay up until midnight, but before I knew it, the new year was here! So I stepped out on our balcony to see a few of the fireworks displays going on. 

2020 will be a year we'll never forget; we might even look back on it as the oddest and most difficult year of our collective, worldwide lives.

While I don't wish to stay in it, and pray 2021 is different, I'll also look back on it with fondness for how God led us through it, for the two new grandchildren He brought to us, and for how we all grew in faith during it. 

Goodbye, 2020! ๐ŸŽ‡ ๐ŸŽ‡ ๐ŸŽ‡ We'll never forget you!

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

In Search of Sunshine

On this gloomy day, Claire and I took a little trip into Ostrava in search of sunshine.

So happy we found it! ☀️

Simeon, Tyler and Lara's new son, is a week old today! Aunty Claire brought him a special hippo friend to celebrate.

He, along with the rest of the family, are doing well adjusting to being home with three boys!

It's still amazing to me how much babies change in their first days and weeks of life. I just saw him three days ago and he's already different!

So very proud of Lara for being such a good mom to all of them!

And proud of Tyler for leading his family so well!

Their days and nights are full of caring for their family. And they're doing it so well!

Monday, December 28, 2020

Peaceful Travels

If you look closely you'll see something a bit unusual. 

We do have deer running through our yard all the time, but we rarely have one who comes to stay for a while! 

It was a sweet scene to leave as Dave and I got in the car to head for Ostrava. I hope tomorrow is as peaceful for Dave as it is for this deer resting in our yard before he takes off again.

We are locking down again here in the Czech Republic as our Covid cases are steeply rising. But tomorrow, Dave will get on a flight early in the morning and fly to the States. 

We haven't been to the States since February so haven't seen our parents in quite a while. With his dad's health being, at times, precarious, he wants to go and spend some time with his dad and mom while he still can. 

So we said goodbye for a week and he is off to Denver just to be with them! I'm so glad he can go and pray that his flight is peaceful tomorrow, as well as his days with them. I'm sure it will be!

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Engagement in Slovenia

Yesterday afternoon I heard a FaceTime call coming in on my phone. When I looked to see who it was from, I was surprised to see it was my niece, Rebecca Patty.

Wonder why she was calling? 

Because THAT had just happened!!!

Thank you FB and Becca for these photos that I could "borrow"! 

Becca met Mitchell when he was a JV intern in Slovenia a few years ago. They've been dating for a year and came to Slovenia this year to celebrate Christmas with Becca's family (this is the daughter of Josh and Kristi, Dave's brother and our sister-in-law).

But of course, that's not all they did. They got engaged! 

It delighted me to no end that they called us to share their happy news, and tell us they're looking forward to a wedding this summer.

We'll do everything we can to be there!!

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Everyone Loves Simeon

Tyler and Lara spent Christmas night here at our house, so we woke up to them as a family of five this morning! 

I am amazed by Tyler and Lara, and their ability to bounce back into life after Simeon's birth just four days ago. Isn't Lara so lovely?! 

Tyler has pictures like this one with each of his boys. What an awesome dad he is!

And this Aunty loves all of her nephews and her niece!!

Every one of us enjoyed our turn with Simeon today!

His brothers think he is pretty special!

Dave and I recognize that it is highly unusual, as missionaries, to live close to family; we don't take it for granted, but instead, just thank the Lord for this gift of having these dear ones near us in this sweet season of our lives.