Saturday, February 6, 2016

Day with Judah

Dave has waited nearly three months for this special day.

Though Judah appears to be unsure of who this stranger is, it didn't take long for him to warm up to his Papa, who he met for the first time today!

Oh such delight this morning, spending time with Lara and Judah!

While Tyler worked in the city at his Intelligentsia, we lingered over coffee at their house, soaking in our little beloved grandson and precious daughter-in-law.

Have I said that I like being a Nonnie?? :)

There really is no end to delighting in and enjoying every single look, move and facial expression of this dear baby boy!

In the afternoon we drove into the city, to Lincoln Park.

Where we met up with Tyler!

And enjoyed walking around the indoor botanical gardens together.

What a treasured afternoon with these three!

Eventually Judah woke from his nap and got turned around in the little front pack so we could watch him and all his funny expressions.

And he could get a look at the funny animals!

This hippo was having fun up against the glass, which was why I snapped this photo. I had no idea I was capturing Judah at the same time!

Three Patty men, enjoying the meercats down below!

And the giraffes on the other side. See them?!

What a treasured gift this day was, to spend time together with Tyler, Lara and Judah.

Thankful, thankful, THANKFUL!!!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Sweet Ending

A beautiful, snowy morning greeted us as we woke at home this morning. But we didn't have much time to enjoy it.

After a quick breakfast, tidying the house, closing suitcases and loading them into the car, Dave and I headed to Krakow.

We're off to the States today!

We've got JV board meetings in Arizona, along with a number of other things over the next two weeks.

But you know what's happening tonight? We get to see a sweet little grandson in Chicago! Pretty excited that this trip starts off with a stop in Chicago to be with Tyler, Lara, Judah...and Claire too!

It's a long day of travel ahead, but with a very sweet ending.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Frýdlant Conversations

Pulling up in front of the cultural center in Frýdlant this evening brought back so many memories.

We've attended concerts, balls, conferences, recitals and other events here over the past 15 years since we moved to Frýdlant.

But tonight's event was a first.

The "Frýdlantske Hovory", or in English, "Frydlant Conversation" took place with...Dave!

In cooperation between the city of Frýdlant and our local church, they've been hosting these 'conversations' for the past four years as an opportunity for local townspeople to come listen and discuss life with various prominent personalities from around the country, who come to speak on topics of culture, economics, community, academics or sports from a Christian perspective.

Dave is not a prominent personality in the country! But he IS an American living here in Frýdlant so they thought he'd bring an interesting point of view to the conversation.

Our friend, Dušan, and the mayor of Frýdlant, opened the evening with a few words of greeting to the 90 people who came, and then Dušan introduced Dave.

What followed was so dear and winsome! In a comfortable and informal manner, Dušan asked Dave some questions to begin with.

And then Dave spoke for 45 minutes, sharing our story of how we came to the Czech Republic nearly 23 years ago.

He told stories that got people laughing, and even clapping at one point, sharing what it's been like for him as an American to live here.

This was taken the summer that we moved to Frydlant in 2001

He was also able to openly share about his faith and the work of God going on in the Czech Republic, as well as throughout Central and Eastern Europe.

Once he finished with what he'd prepared, they opened the mic up to anyone who wanted to ask him a question.

They asked great ones like, "Why is it that people only like America when the world is in crisis and they need leadership?"

"What's the difference between the Czech school system and the American one?"

"You say that you work with the church, what do you mean by the church? What exactly is that?"

"What kinds of food were the biggest surprise to you here in Czech?"

"How long did it take you to learn the language, and how did you manage living here before you learned to speak?"

"Have you seen any changes in the way people relate in stores or in offices since you moved here? Has it gotten better?"

I was SO proud of Dave as he stood there and fielded all those questions! It's one thing to prepare what you're going to say. It's another thing to be asked a question and have to respond immediately. He was gracious, open, warm and kind with his answers.

Our prayer going into this evening was that Dave would be a fragrance of Christ, sharing himself and his faith in an open, genuine manner so that the dialogue about God would continue in this town. We pray God answered that!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Learning to Breathe

Two years ago I saw numerous doctors, including a physical therapist, to get help for migraines that I suffered from.

While the physical therapist worked with me on exercises for relaxing my neck muscles, she made a comment that surprised me.

"Did you know you don't swallow correctly?"

What?? I don't?? Is that really possible?

She told me I put stress on my neck muscles by swallowing improperly, and thus was causing tension on my already stressed neck and head. I had no idea there was a right and wrong way to swallow.

We spent a portion of every session retraining me to swallow properly, and eventually it became my new normal. (See HERE to find out if you swallow correctly or not. If you don't, you'll find an easy exercise to help retrain what you thought was a very basic skill!).

Now that I've relearned swallowing (can't believe I'm even saying that!), I have another task in front of me, thanks to a new physical therapist.

"Did you know you don't breathe correctly?"

Here we go again!

After nearly two years of relief from migraines, I can feel some of the symptoms returning so sought out a physical therapist for help. Rather than go straight to steroid injections that were necessary last time to reduce swelling in my vertebrae, which brought on the cycle of migraines, I wanted to try a more natural approach.

And that's when I found out I don't breathe properly!

Following our first session he encouraged me to practice new breathing techniques in order to retrain my diaphragm and gain better spinal stabilization. Hopefully that will be one of the keys to stabilize my neck and keep those pesky migraines away!

I'm always up for learning something new. Just didn't expect it to be how to breathe!

Want to read one of my most embarrassing moments? Click HERE. It was the last time I had the injections for the migraines. Go ahead and have a good laugh at my expense today!

Sunday, January 31, 2016

If We'll Lift Our Eyes

Dave and I were leaving Hornbach, a building supply store in Ostrava, this afternoon, when I suddenly asked him to pull over and let me take a picture.

When I got back in the car he asked me, "Why did you want that picture?"

"Because I think there's a blog post in my head about it," I replied with a laugh.

"Do you know what it is?"

"No, but I can feel it somewhere inside of me."

And so goes blogging for me! With eyes, ears and heart open, I actively try to seek and look for God's story every day...his perspective, his provision, his peace, his power.

Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually.

Seek the Lord your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul.

With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments.

These are His words that I try, with all my heart, to live out each day. Why? Because I want to know, see, worship and adore Him all the days of my life. And when I keep my eyes open for Him, I find Him.

So what did he show me in these pictures today?

When I took them I was honestly focused on the drab, dreariness of winter and didn't see anything until I got home and uploaded the photos. But then I saw it.

The line between heaven and earth.

What I'd originally seen was true. There wasn't much beauty to admire on the ground at the spot where I took the photos.

But if I'd just lifted my eyes in the moment I would've seen something else.

A glimpse of heaven in the sunset.

As soon as I saw it on the photos I felt a catch in my breath. It was so beautiful, especially in contrast to the brown, scrubby earth. With smokestacks in the distance and unkempt ground in front of me, I only had my eyes turned downward. But just a little lifting of my eyes brought such a different viewpoint!

I'm still in this school of seeking and seeing God each day. But it's a school I want to stay in.

Yes, a lot of life on this earth is messy, complicated, painful, even ugly. BUT GOD! There is always hope, light, beauty and redemption to be found in Him.

If we'll lift our eyes, we'll get a glimpse of heaven.