Thursday, October 30, 2014

Memories: A Party and All That Flannel

As I drove home from spending the day in Poland with a friend, memories flooded my mind.

It must've been something about the deep red sunset, the smoky sky, the dim light as the days are growing shorter, and of course, that fact that I was driving in Poland.

The memory was on my mind so much so that I had to come home and go digging for photos from exactly twenty years ago.

Recognize us??

We were just about to leave our house in Havířov and head over to Poland to our first costume party as relatives of "Al" from the old US television program, "Tool Time".

(And just to set the record straight...I've got pillows underneath all that flannel I'm wearing!)

Remember Al, his beard, tools and flannel shirts?! Here are a few of his relatives.

The classic "I don't want to be in this picture" photo!

Caleb looks less than pleased to be in that scratchy homemade beard, though I have to say I was pretty proud of my resourcefulness back then in being able to make beards for my little family.

That day twenty years ago we traveled over to Ustroń, Poland for Jacob Hash's first birthday party.

Dan, Laura and one year old Jacob

Our teammates, Jim and Lina Miller (who now serve in Germany with JV), were there as well, with their children Nathan and Emily. I remember laughing together when we all showed up in flannel!

Notice Claire's pearl bracelet, just to make sure everyone could tell she was a girl?!

And then there was the famous artist, (aka Susan Ellis, who still serves on our JV team in Poland along with Dan and Laura), who showed up at the party too!

Awwww, those are sweet memories from our early days here!

I had to laugh at this last photo that I found next to the party photos. On the back it said, "Some happy boys with their new gloves, hats, and green pumpkins".

Who knows where we found those pumpkins way back then. Maybe at an outdoor market sold by a farmer? It's not like there was a pumpkin patch to go to back then (nor is there today!).

But we made do and enjoyed what we had. So fun to enjoy these memories today!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Dad's Recovery and A Recipe from Mom

Last Thursday in Denver, Dave's dad had open heart surgery to replace his mitral valve.

While it hasn't been easy since then (is it ever easy the first days after major surgery?), he's making progress towards recovery and we're all so thankful for that.

The latest news this morning from Dave's sister is that he may get to go home today. Of course he still has weeks of recovery ahead of him, but at least it will be in the comfort of home, and eating mom's food!

If you've ever eaten a meal prepared by my mother-in-law, you know what a great cook she is! In our early years of marriage, when we lived down the street from them in St. Leon, Germany, I learned so much from her about cooking.

And I'm still making her recipes today!

One of her most comforting meals is Hamburger Chowder. I have made it countless times over the past years and every time it reminds me of her and her servant's heart to literally feed thousands over the years.

What a blessing that gift has been to so many.

Paired with this recipe for Carrot-Apple muffins (no kidding - very possibly the best ones I've ever made, and they're gluten free!), it was comforting to cook while thinking of, and praying for, mom and dad as they walk this road of recovery.

Want to enjoy mom's Hamburger Chowder too? Here's the recipe:

1 lb hamburger, browned
1 onion, chopped

3 cans chopped tomatoes
1 small can tomato paste
1 cup cubed potatoes
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup shredded cabbage (I think this is the secret ingredient!)
2 cups water
3 cubes beef bouillon
1 TB parsley
1-2 tsp seasoned salt (I use Lawry's)
Pepper to taste

After browning hamburger with the onion, add all other ingredients and let simmer for 1-2 hours. Serves approximately 8!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Butterfly Phenomenon

They arrived a few weeks ago.

Four or five of them. Every day.

When the sun is shining on our porch.

Maybe I've never noticed them before, or maybe they've never been here. But it's like our porch is a little butterfly sanctuary right now.

A few weeks ago I almost took out the fading summer flowers from the pot on our porch. Good thing I didn't! This is apparently why they come.

To drink the nectar.

It seems late to have butterflies. I think of them more in the spring and summer, not in late fall. Especially when we've already had frost and snow up on Lysa.

But there they are every day, fluttering and hovering, in and out of the fading flowers when the sun is shining.

I honestly can't get over the beauty of their details. God DID NOT have to do that!

Look how the edges of their wings are scalloped, and the two dots on both sides of their wings are perfectly proportioned. And then the color! So very beautiful.

Do you notice the antennae, arms and legs too? So thin and delicate.

Doesn't it look like this butterfly is lovingly caressing the flower for its nectar?

For sure I'm leaving those flowers in their pots until the butterflies are gone for the winter.

We'll enjoy another one of God's amazing creations while they last.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Complying with the Law

With only five days left, Dave and I hurried to our late afternoon appointment today.

Why the rush? If we missed the appointment and didn't get in by the end of this week, we'd be at risk for a hefty fine.

And the place we were headed to is one busy place these days so you definitely don't want to miss your slot.


From 01 November until 30 April vehicles in the Czech Republic are required to be fitted with winter equipment. This means either winter tires or radial tires with a minimum tread depth of 4 mm.

Failure to comply results in on-the-spot fines so you don't want to be caught without them! Thus our trip to Pneuservice (otherwise known as the tire service shop!).

Is this a law in the States too?

Yes this is a picture from today, even though it looks like it could've been taken 20 years ago!

Notice my "a little less than high quality" photos? Ha ha! Yes, there's a reason.

After two weeks without my phone because it was sent in for repair, I got news about it today from the gal in our office who sent it in for me:

"So they delivered back your iPhone, because the Find my iPhone service is on. I was gonna try to turn it off, but it needs apple ID password – will you have a chance to stop by this week to do it?"

Aaaagggghhh! That means no phone for at least another two weeks.

I honestly miss it most for taking "on the go" photos on days like today when I don't want to have my just seems weird to take "real" photos at a place like this!

So what did I settle for instead?

My iPad! But oh did I feel funny pulling it out while waiting at the tire shop. I was trying to be sneaky so no one would see me and wonder what I was doing! You've got to admit, taking photos with an iPad just looks funny.

But I think I managed to pull it off.

Desperate times called for desperate measures!

I'm happy to say that both Dave and I are compliant with the law now, and hopefully will be safe with our "winter equipment" back on for the next six months!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Change of Time, Change of Season

It was bound to happen sometime.

On the very day that we left Daylight's Saving Time and went back to Standard, we woke up to our first frost this morning.

So long warm fall days, hello chilly winter!

But thankfully, as you can see, the sunshine wasn't far from melting the first frost. It didn't stick around long and ended up being a beautiful day.

Maybe we've got a few more nice fall days still coming?

If you look closely you can see that there's already snow up on Lysa Hora!

While Dave was in Olomouc teaching yesterday, Kaylee and I took a crisp walk up our favorite road, the sight of many walks through the years such as this one. It was my first time to do it alone now that the kids are all in the States.

Yes, I missed them...especially Claire since I think she was the one who walked there most often with me.

Had to get creative at taking a photo of me and Kaylee since we were on our own!

While bright sunshine required sunglasses yesterday, a chilly wind also required my winter coat...and made for messy hair while trying to get a selfie...with a dog. Not an easy task!  But it's a memory (..."and I mostly did this for you, Claire!")

Kaylee and I made the most of our walk, and she was even willing to give me the traditional "flying ears" photo as she flew up the lane.

Okay it's true...I get a lot of delight from this silly little girl!

Not sure when this will all become snow-covered (and I actually won't mind when it does - I like the changing of seasons!), but am enjoying our lingering fall days for now.