Saturday, July 4, 2015

Celebrating the Fourth

As a little girl growing up near Eugene, Oregon I remember family picnics, running in sprinklers, waving sparklers and going to see the big fireworks display at Autzen Stadium on the 4th of July.

While it's the fourth of July here in Czech, none of those things are happening today. BUT! My nod to America's birthday is my first ever harvest of cherries from our own tree after eleven years of living at our house.

To say we've had problems with our fruit trees around here is an understatement! Our yard is a haven for birds and deer, and both have decimated any hope of cherries through the years. I think we're on our third try with this particular tree as the deer like the bark and constantly chew on it, which ultimately kills the tree.

But somehow this tree finally managed to survive after all the unwanted attention from the deer, and today rewarded us with some beautiful red cherries in celebration of America's birthday. At least that's what I told myself as I picked today!

Although there are no fireworks going off here this evening in honor of America's 239th birthday, I'm happy to celebrate with something red to honor my home country.

Happy Birthday America!

Friday, July 3, 2015

Quick Drive to Krakow

Just me and the taxi drivers hanging out on a hot summer day.

The Krakow International Airport is undergoing a huge reconstruction project, thus all flights arrive into the small domestic terminal which is a ZOO right now. It was definitely not set up for the masses of travelers flying in.

And dogs allowed at the zoo. Hee hee! :)

With hardly any room inside the little terminal anyway, Kaylee kept me company outside so she too could have the joy of welcoming a certain somebody home.

And there he is! Safe and sound!

It doesn't matter that I just saw him a week ago - it's still good to be back together again.

The two hour drive back home whizzed by much quicker with lots to catch up on since saying goodbye last Wednesday. How is it we never run out of things to say to each other?! I like sharing life with this man.

So thankful he's home.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Gull Lake Surprise

Our Claire is on summer staff at Gull Lake Ministries right now, serving as a counselor in this incredible family camp setting.

"Claire, I love that you're wearing the JV camp t-shirt!"

Dave's had the privilege of speaking at Gull Lake every other year since 2008 (and will be back in 2016!), but since this is the "off" year, we didn't make it up there to see her while we were in the States.

But, to my delight, Dave was able to drive up to Michigan yesterday and see her!

You can imagine how fun it was to wake up to these sweet pictures this morning!

Claire comes home to Czech later this month. I can't wait to see her soon too!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Letter of Blessing

I'm playing a bit of catch up on my blog since these past weeks we've been out and about, traveling a myriad of places.

The day before Caleb and Haley left JV summer intern training for Bulgaria, Caleb pulled something out of his backpack for me, something he'd had for us since February.

While driving in the car the next day, I pulled it out to read to Dave.

And the tears began to fall.

During Moody Founders Week back in February, a long-ago friend found Caleb at Joe's, the coffee shop on campus where he works. I don't know her side of the story, how she knew who he was or how they struck up a conversation. But the end resulted in the most precious letter that she wrote to Dave and I, blessing us with her words and a sweet gift.

She was a single girl in our Malachi Ministry days, nearly 30 years ago, who married a military man, eventually moved to Kiev, Ukraine as missionaries, raised a family, and is now back in the States. We haven't seen her in many, many years.

And yet she thought to bless us with her words and gift!

"Dearest Neva, BLESS YOU!! What a surprise to receive this note, via Caleb and his backpack! He'd carefully saved it all this time to make sure he could put it in our hands, eventually. Though it took four months to see it, you have no idea how meaningful it was to hear from you! Thank you for both the note and gift. Next time we're in the States we'll share it with Caleb and Haley at Joe's!! May God richly bless you for your thoughtfulness and kindness, and may He bring our paths together again someday!"

My dear readers, is there someone from your past that you need to write and bless today??!!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Doing Dublin

Although a wedding was the real purpose of being in Ireland, I couldn't pass up at least seeing Dublin on my way out!

And it couldn't have been more fun with my Slovak friend, Darina! We traveled together back to Dublin after the wedding, in a rented car that I drove while she navigated...because you know, driving happens on the other side of the road there so I needed all the help she could give me! :)

Oh how thankful I was for her companionship, and for the sweet fellowship we experienced along the way.

Although somewhat of a gray, raindrop kind of day in Dublin, we "did the city" in about four hours, hitting as many highlights as we could.

Seeing very interesting people along the way. :)

Literally hoards of teenagers filled the streets as we navigated ourselves around the city on foot. I honestly can't remember a day in a city where I was jostled so much among the crowds!

But then the famous Trinity College emerged and we took ourselves inside to walk around the grounds, and enjoy a few less people.

Established in 1592, its Ireland's oldest university. Is it strange to say it felt like a movie set in there?

Though I have no idea who was playing (or even what exactly they were playing, though I'm guessing it was cricket?!), we stood watching for a bit as a few raindrops fell, obviously not a concern to many there as I'm guessing it happens often (Ireland=rain, right?).

We knew that the Book of Kells is one of the great sights of Dublin, but since time was limited we had to satisfy ourselves with just a glance at the building.

Wandering through the streets of Dublin, we walked by countless pubs and cafes, all full of people. Seriously, NO shortage of people in Dublin!!

Being with Darina in Dublin made my day! So thankful for this sister in Christ (and also a JV teammate who works in Bratislava with Mark and Amy Chase).

I feel quite successful for having driven in Ireland for four days, on the opposite side of the car with a manual transmission. YOU try shifting on the other side! Without a doubt though, driving through Dublin was the most complicated and I'm thankful to have had Darina to help me navigate our way to our hotel near the airport.

And look who we met up with late at night!

Caleb and Haley spent the day after the wedding with the Chase family, then took a bus from Cork to Dublin and made their way to the same airport hotel where they spent the night. Early the next morning they were back on a plane to Bulgaria where they'll continue their internship with JV until mid-August.

I'm hopeful I'll make it back to Ireland some day to see more of the beauty of the Emerald Isle. But it was mostly a delight to share in Shane and Allyson's wedding there!