Saturday, December 27, 2008

A Very Sweet Christmas

Now that things have settled down a bit I can reflect on our Christmas...quite possibly the sweetest we've ever

We spent Christmas Eve at our JV friend's, the Pitcher's - something we've been doing since 2000 when they moved here to Frydlant. Till's, Lobe
l's, Becca and Greg Strock were also there and it was such a wonderful time together....enjoying Andrea's food delights (always a highlight!), having great conversation, playing games, singing Christmas carols, sampling amazing desserts, and just enjoying the blessing of friendship.

I was savoring the evening more than usual since it's the last time we'll share Christmas Eve together at their house as they will be moving in June (first for a furlough to the States, and then to Prague). Thank you Ken and Andrea for hosting us all these years, and for sharing so much of life together!

At 10 PM we were in Ostrava at the "midnight" service on one of their town squares. Dave had the privilege of sharing the Gospel with the 1500 or so people who turned out for the service.

One of the things I love about D
ave is how passionate, yet genuine, he is when he shares the Gospel. Afterwards the people who organized it said the crowd was unusually quiet as they listened to him share, so we pray that there were some in the crowd who understood the gift that Jesus offers, and who received it for the first time that night.

Then it was home to do all the last minute prep for Christmas Day...making a cheeseball, marinating the chicken, stuffing the stockings, wrapping the last couple of gifts. I don't know how it happens every year, even when I've done a better job at planning! But Dave and I didn't go to bed until 3 AM that night! But we definitely had a Santa sighting that night, and he was most generous to our children as he left his gifts! Ho ho ho!

It had begun to s
now on Christmas Eve, but didn't look like it would amount to much. But we woke up Christmas morning to several inches of perfect snow! It made the whole world look magical!!

The kids were up early (when I came down at 8:30, Caleb was asleep on the floor next to his stocking from Santa!) but we officially started around 9 with a reading of the Christmas story, and plenty of questions from dad to the crowd...ha! He loves to ask questions and continu
e to keep the story fresh for us!

Then it was breakfast - my best attempt at our traditional Christmas morning food, yet "Caleb friendly"! While the cinnamon rolls were not sugar, corn, or rice free, they were gluten free! Not exactly Caleb f
riendly, but they tasted great (didn't look as pretty as usual but oh well! First attempts happen that way!) and only caused mild pain for Caleb. He said it was worth it!

Gifts were glorious this year...modest in price, but so very thoughtful all the way around. The kids did all their own shopping and found absolutely perfect gifts for everyone! We were slow to open gifts, just one at a time the whole way through, so everyone was savoring the gift exchange. At the end, we all said it was the best ever and felt happy, loved and satisfied. Isn't that a great way to finish Christmas?!

We did a quick clean up, put the wassail on, and welcomed Jonny and Lisa Lobel, and Mark Krupa at 2 that afternoon. They spent the rest of Christmas Day with us. We played a great game of "Loaded Questions" while sipping wassail and munching on the cheeseball in front of the fire...such a fun Christmas afternoon!

After our traditional fajita dinner we relished the delightful tastes of Jonny and Lisa's desserts - a tiramisu and chocolate chip cheesecake! YUM! Then finished up with peppermint mocha lattes...or at least we tri
ed! The espresso machine was being a little goofy, the foamer was being even goofier, and the dark chocolate mocha mix that I'd bought turned out to be spiced with hot chilis! Whew! Those were interesting lattes!

But it was so fun to share the day together, soaking in the goodness of relationships and all the good gifts the Lord has given to each of us!

Thank you Jesus for being our best gift of all!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Jesus is February

On Christmas Eve afternoon, Dave and I were out visiting our neighbors, bringing them our cards and Christmas greetings.

Among others, we stopped by the Andelovi, the brother and sister that are our closest neighbors, who I've written about before. We rang the bell from the fence and she met us halfway up the drive with: "Jesus is coming in February...don't worry, he really is going to come".

I didn't look at Dave as we headed towards the front door, but I was thinking, "I sure hope Dave understands what she's talking about because I must have misunderstood her."

We stepped inside their very humble home, amongst the cats and chickens, walking on the dirt floor and into the living room where a very "Charlie Brown-ish" Christmas tree stood. We chatted for a few moments, giving them our gift and card. While we're trying to wish them a merry Christmas, Pani Andelova is still talking about Jesus coming in February.

This was now a little disconcerting! Was she delusional? Or does she have some special information that we don't know about??

After we left, wishing them a merry Christmas, I was still trying to piece together what she'd been saying. As soon as we were out of earshot, I asked Dave if he knew what she meant. Shaking his head, he said no as we continued on to our next neighbor.

Just a few feet later, all of a sudden, Dave started laughing! "She's must be talking about the French Jesus!"

Ah yes!! The French Jesus! The needlepoint pattern that she ordered from France and wants to make for us!!!

Several months ago she gave some friends of ours one of her needlepoints...also a "French Jesus" (as opposed to the Czech or European version that she also makes). She felt bad that she's never given one to us so asked which Jesus we would prefer she make for us.

We chose "the French Jesus".

And that's who is coming in February!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

December Traditions

December is galloping away like Santa's reindeer on Christmas Eve!! Can't believe we're within a week of Christmas now!

The house is decorated (the ornament here is one my grandma made when I was a little putting it on the tree each year!), all the presents are bought and wrapped which is a first for me...I'm usually still buying and/or wrapping on Christmas Eve! I think this is a good new tradition. It makes this coming week feel so much more peaceful and enjoyable.

Another tradition in December has been a day of seminars for students at BMA, the boys' Christian outreach high school here in Frydlant. They have asked Dave to be one of the seminar teachers for the past few years, which is a favorite day in December for him!

This year he had two seminars - one on the differences between guys and girls, and one on Angels, Demons, Ghosts and Spirits...both pretty interesting topics to the mostly non-Christian students!

Questions were fast and furious in both seminars, but particularly in the one about the spirit world. One girl described how she feels a demonic presence when she goes to visit her grandpa's house, and asked Dave how she should handle it next time she's there.

After Dave gave his answer, from a believer's perspective, she said, "I'm an atheist and I don't believe in there any other way of dealing with this if you don't believe in Him?" She went on to say that she's just been trying to ignore it and it seems to have gone away, but she doesn't know if it might still be there.

Dave's reply: "If you put a bag over your head and can't feel the wind on your face anymore, does that mean the wind has stopped blowing? No...the bag doesn't stop the wind. Rather it just blocks your sense that the wind is blowing."

Later on Dave saw her sitting alone on the couch, staring off into the distance - apparently contemplating something. We pray that the witness of believers around her at school will continue to point her towards Jesus.

I don't think I've mentioned this yet, but there is a new believer at BMA that Caleb led to Christ recently! He and another student have been meeting with her this fall, going through a new believer's Bible study. Christmas will certainly have a different meaning for her this year!

Monday, December 1, 2008

JV Thanksgiving Celebration

Sixteen years ago we celebrated our first Thanksgiving with Dan and Laura Hash, having all just moved as new JV missionaries to Eastern Europe two weeks earlier.

Finding the turkey that year was difficult, not to mention all the other traditional foods we like to have! But we do have great memories of that first Thanksgiving together.

Well, maybe Laura doesn't after 10 month old Caleb threw up on her after the meal...bleh!

This year we were at Malenovice for our 16th Thanksgiving here in Eastern Europe, celebrating with 85 JV missionaries! We don't just have a meal, we have a whole retreat to celebrate now!

Wednesday night JV folks started arriving, with many bringing their special food items to add into our bountiful feast. If you could see the table we had on Thursday (we actually have to have three "stations" to fit it all!) you'd want to be there too!

For the next three days together we enjoyed lots of good food, sweet fellowship, happy laughter, rich teaching from Dave, an incredible talent show by our kids and loads of just plain fun!

Much to be thankful for!!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

More "One Thousand Gifts"

Here it is the day before Thanksgiving...a good day to write an update on my thousand gift journey! If I don't keep up with this, it will take me years to write a thousand! Oh are the latest twenty five!
  1. Little snowflakes falling outside my office window
  2. A new Christmas music CD sent by a friend, playing bright and cheery while I write
  3. Soup for dinner from Sharon last night - thank you!
  4. JV friends from various countries who are driving even now to join us at Malenovice for Thanksgiving
  5. A sweet phone call with my parents and parent in-laws yesterday
  6. Crackling fire in the fireplace, the smell of wood tickling my nose
  7. A new gray sweater I got in the States that just feels right when I have it on
  8. The gift of having been able to join Dave for the last 2x3 Vision night in Chicago
  9. Pumpkin lattes at Starbucks while I was there...mmmmmmmm
  10. My sister-in-law Kristi who brightens my day when she calls
  11. Caleb's pain down to nearly zero
  12. Wonderful time of prayer with Dave last night
  13. My new green and brown leather Bible - makes me want to read it!
  14. The thought of making pumpkin pies with Claire later this afternoon
  15. Friends to laugh with
  16. Dave's persistence in getting the water pump fixed!
  17. Feeling snug and safe in my car now that the snow tires are on
  18. The sound of Caleb walking in the door from school and greeting Lily downstairs
  19. Cheddar cheese...if I had to choose one food to live on, this would probably be it!
  20. Albert, the little grocery store in town that has just about everything I need - never fails to make me happy when I go there and find just what I was looking for
  21. Harvest Spice coffee that I picked up in the States...yummy!
  22. The Christmas tree display downtown Chicago at the Museum of Science and Industry - gorgeous!
  23. The Geneva House - a house in the Wheaton area for JV missionaries. Such a blessing!
  24. Studying minerals with Claire last night...thankful that I don't have to take the test, though I learned some things!
  25. My dear husband who adores me! Who doesn't love that??!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Ah yes, Caleb...

Since no sugar is allowed on his diet, this is the closest Caleb got to American candy while we were in the States! You gotta love "Party City" and all their great "stuff"!

On a happy note, Caleb did great while we were there...bumped up a little bit in pain, but not much. And hey, the gluten free meal on the airplane wasn't bad!

He was careful while in the States, watching everything he ate, and even foregoing regular American treats like root beer and Taco Bell...his self discipline amazes me. Then again, he knows he'll hurt if he doesn't make the right choices...good built in feedback system.

The greater news is that over the week-end, just a few days after we'd gotten back, he had a day with ZERO pain!!!!!! He said he can't ever remember a day without pain, even before this awful pain started last winter. He said he thought everyone's stomach hurt all the time!

While he's down to a very small amount of pain (it bumped up a little bit yesterday again) we will continue on his restrictive diet for now to give him the best chance of healing in his intestines.

And now that we're used to it, it's actually not that hard...especially here where root beer and Taco Bell don't exist!

Were We Really There?

Now that we've been back home for a week, it almost seems like a dream that we were in Chicago...but we were!

Being at the JV 2x3 Vision night in Chicago was so special! It was wonderful to share it with Dave and our JV team members who were there, as well as see so many dear friends from that area. Thank you to those of you who were able to join us that night!

All evening I had a smile on my face that was directed towards the Lord...I still couldn't believe He made it possible for our family to experience that evening together. But I am SO grateful that He did! It was definitely a memorable night, one we will not soon forget. If you want to read more about it, or any of the other vision nights, go to:

The days went by quickly, but we managed to get in a fun trip downtown to see the Museum of Science and Industry...that was fun! We also drove by Moody so that Caleb and Claire could see where Tyler is looking at going to school next's his top pick!

Before we knew it Caleb, Claire and I were back on a plane headed for home on Monday, leaving Dave and Tyler to do a week of college looking (which I hope Tyler will write about on his blog!). They arrived home Saturday afternoon.

Thank you for praying us through this busy season of life. It's good to be home as a family now, and we're looking forward to our Thanksgiving celebration up at Malenovice with our team this week!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Flying Tomorrow

The kids and I leave home at 2 AM tomorrow morning for the drive to Krakow to catch our flights. Tyler leaves at 8:30 and flies through Munich on his way to Chicago. The rest of us get to see a bit more of the world...ha ha! We leave two hours earlier to fly to Munich, then to London and then to Chicago!

Amazingly our flights are scheduled to land just 4 minutes apart. Wouldn't it be great if that really happened and we met up in customs??!! That's the plan...we'll see what really happens.

I was able to order gluten free meals for Caleb on our Lufthansa flights...I'm curious to see how that goes. We'll have other food with us just in case, but it would be nice if those meals agreed with much as any airline food agrees with anyone!

Dave doesn't fly in to Chicago until Thursday morning - he'll be coming from Denver where they'll have had the 10th vision night. So we'll meet up with him at the hotel where the 11th and last vision night will be in Oak Brook. We can't wait to see him as it's been almost four weeks that he's been gone!

Looking forward to seeing those of you in the Chicago area who will be there on Thursday night!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Stuzkovak Photos

These are two girls that I have known since we moved here fifteen years ago!

They are cousins who grew up in our church in Havirov...Katka on the left, Danka on the right - beautiful girls who love the Lord. It is so fun for me to see how they've grown up!

Next is Pavla, sister of Katka in the first photo, who went to "skolka" (kindergarten) with our kids. I used to drive her home from skolka a couple days a week thirteen years ago! I can't believe how beautiful all three of these girls are today! They all go to BMA with Tyler and Caleb.

Next is Tyler getting his "ribbon" (rather like a knighting ceremony...only notice the umbrella Mr. Till is using for the knighting! Funny!)

And finally, his good friend all four years of high school, Patrick Till (son of Mr. Till, the class teacher and American principal at BMA).

By the is our family's 15 YEAR ANNIVERSARY in Czech!!


I know the title of this doesn't make sense to most of you...but it has great meaning here in Czech!

Tonight Tyler, and all the other students in his high school class, got their "stuzka" (or "ribbon" in English) that makes them officially the graduating class of 2009!

It's a tradition here, something like perhaps class rings are to graduating seniors in the States. The class chooses the colors and a motto for the ribbons which are prepared for them and then pinned on at "Stuzkovak", the ribbon ceremony dinner in honor of the graduating class.

I'd never been to something like this...then again, I've never had a graduating senior in the Czech Republic! But I can say that I definitely had tears in my eyes proud of Tyler and his 13 successful years in Czech school.

This is all coming to a closure so quickly - sigh, sniff, gulp. And yet, signifying a new beginning for Tyler and that makes me excited for him.

He'll be in the States this coming week checking out colleges with his dad, praying for the Lord's leading as he makes his decision about next year.

But for now, we had a wonderful evening celebrating this occasion of his senior class moving towards graduation in the spring!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Last Dizmas Concert

Thursday night marked the last concert on the Exit 316 tour for Dizmas, the band from California who have been here the past six weeks promoting the Czech television show, Exit 316.

They have literally touched the lives of thousands of young people across Czech, speaking in schools, hanging out in youth groups, playing soccer with students, and of fabulous concerts that the students have loved!

While it has been a grueling and demanding schedule for them, they have truly been first class in giving sacrificially of themselves, pouring into the lives of young people wherever they've gone.

They finished up the tour in Zlin, arriving back home in Frydlant Friday night for a day of rest today before they shoot a music video on Sunday to be used in an Exit episode...yep, that's about how their schedule has been! Barely a moment to catch their breath!

After two more days of wrapping up things with the team here they start making their way to Prague for a few days of R & R and then the trip home to LA.

We are immensely grateful to the Lord for these guys and the impact they have had in Czech this fall. We believe that impact will have a ripple effect for the sake of the Gospel for years to come.

Thanks guys for making yourselves available and being obedient to serve the Lord here!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Such Great News

I was down in the kitchen this evening when my phone beeped, telling me I had a message.

A big smile came across my face when I read it! It was from Caleb, who was upstairs in his room - not sure why he chose to send it rather than say it, but hey! I'll take it any way I get it! It said:

Stomach: 1/10

Yep, that's right! He's down to a "1" in pain tonight. WHOOHOO!!!! We ought to have a party or something! THANK YOU LORD!! That's where the party starts!

This diet has totally been the ticket for case you don't remember it's the Specific Carbohydrate Diet from a book called "Breaking the Vicious Cycle". We're in Week 10 now of the diet and have seen a dramatic change in this short of a time. He's feeling SO much better.

I think this diet is here to least for now.

One Thousand Gifts

A while back I was reading someone's blog that I don't you ever do that? I don't even know how I got to it...probably a link that led to another link and so on.

I was captivated though by something that she's been doing for two years. She's been keeping an ongoing list on her blog of "1000 Good Gifts". At least, that was her write a thousand things that have blessed her. 

She has now exceeded that goal and is still going!
While her list was definitely about gratitude, it was about so much more. It was about how she took time to notice was about what she defined as a was about opening her eyes to see the Lord in unexpected was about what's meaningful to her. 

And of course it was an exercise in the spiritual discipline of thanksgiving and that's something I've been crazy about doing for a long time!

So...a few days ago I decided to take the plunge and try it myself. I had so much fun that it was hard to stop writing things!

I decided that I will make it specific to the day, and not just about general things. I won't update every day (she doesn't...she collects them for a few days and then posts), but rather keep a running tab in a Word file and then add on the next section when it feels right.
I don't know how long it will take me to write a thousand! Seems rather daunting as I start to post my first twenty five things. But here goes!
  1. I am saved and in Christ - best gift of all!
  2. Quiet, peaceful Sunday morning - truly a Sabbath
  3. Waking up sleepy kids in the morning...doesn't matter that they're teenagers. I still love being the first person they see in the morning!
  4. Sweet Lily (our dog) who comes looking for love throughout the day - I enjoy her so much!
  5. Inexpensive tickets to the States so we can be at the 2x3 Vision Night in Chicago
  6. Dizmas guys and their heart for the young people here in Czech
  7. Sunshine in November - almost unheard of!
  8. Quick phone call with Dave yesterday, while he was standing in baggage in San Jose, CA!
  9. The internet - what would I do without it?!
  10. Teekanne Sweet Cherry tea - my new favorite
  11. Banana chips sweetened with honey from the mall in Ostrava - so yummy!
  12. A good movie with Claire on Friday night: "Mamma Mia"
  13. Being reunited with an old book friend, "Farmer Boy"
  14. Faithful supporters who have stood with us for nearly 25 years
  15. A better exchange rate this morning
  16. A warm November day - 65 degrees. Where do I live?!
  17. Unexpectedly hearing Dave's voice when he called on Vonage this morning from LA
  18. A new chicken recipe in the oven, smelling like something from a fancy restaurant
  19. Our Nikon D80 camera - oh how I do enjoy that piece of electronics time after time!
  20. The peaceful feeling of having paid all the bills and there is still money left over
  21. Good message on Facebook from a friends
  22. Election Day in the US - thankful for a democracy no matter what the outcome
  23. My Bible, notebook, a good pen, a cup of my favorite tea, my kitchen table...ahhh, bliss
  24. A warm enough fall that we still haven't had to turn our heat on - amazing!
  25. Praying with my kids at night
So...join me if you want to! If you do, let me know. I'd love to see your lists!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

2x3 Vision Night in Portland

Dave and the team were in Portland last night for one of our Vision Nights. I know some of you reading this were there too! How I wish I'd been there to see you! But I'm glad you were able to go - I heard it was a great evening with 250 people there!

We made the decision for me to stay home with the kids while Dave is traveling these five weeks... mostly for Caleb's sake to keep going on the SCD diet. We're nine weeks into it and it's going just great! He continues to make progress as his stomach heals and the pain decreases.

But my heart is still with Dave and our team at these Vision nights - such a special time to connect with people we love, who have prayed and given and stood with us through the past 15 years of ministry here. I want to be in two places at one time!

I have totally been at peace with staying home though...and we're having a great time here, though we miss Dave. I have asked the Lord for strength for each day and He's faithfully given it. And the only thing to go wrong so far is the water pump is giving out...hopefully th
at will be solved tomorrow!

But today my brother (in the photo with my mom, dad and Dave last night) wrote to me, after having been at the Vision Night. He said, "I think you need to hop on a plane and get to one of these's a once in a lifetime opportunity".

He didn't write just once, but twice today encouraging me to think abo
ut it again - and said it on the phone today too!

So, just to say that I'd checked on it, I went on Expedia to look at ticket prices two weeks from now to Chicago where the last Vision Night will take place. Expecting them to be exorbitant and at least over a thousand dollars, as airfares have been recently, I was shocked to see tickets for five hundred!! This never happens...I can't remember when I've seen tickets for that price!

After praying about it and talking it through with Dave, we made the decision for me to go...and Claire and Caleb so I can still keep up with Caleb's diet. Tyler was already leaving to join Dave there for the last Vision Night and then on to college searching the following week.

So now we get to have this very special experience as a family...sharing in the last JV Vision Night. I can hardly wait! Oh how good the Lord us above and beyond what we could ask or imagine!

I feel very thankful tonight.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

What's a Bed Got to Do With It?

Apparently...a lot!

I took Caleb to the doctor here in town yesterday, waiting with him for an hour and a half to be seen (did you know that generally you don't make appointments to be seen by a doctor here? You show up and it's first come, first served).

When we finally got in, he took a look at Caleb's back and immediately asked, "Are you spendi
ng your day hunched over for some reason?"

Before either of us could even give an answer, he had Caleb on the exam table and CRACK went one side of his neck, and CRACK went the other! He then moved down his spine, finding the place near the base where much of his stomach and intestinal problems have stemmed from and made numerous adjustments there too. A few more came when he had him stand up.

Next thing we knew he was dictating what he'd done for Caleb to his nurse who typed it into her computer, asked me for the 30 kc for the appointment (that's a little less than $2!), and told Caleb to come back if he needs to...but that most likely he'll feel a lot better now!

Before we knew it we were out of his office. And it was then the answer to his question came to me....

Since this summer when Caleb outgrew his bunk bed and we took it down, he's been sleeping on the floor on a soft mattress. Not only does he have no support for his back when he sleeps, but any time he's on his computer or doing homework, he's sitting on the edge of the soft got it, hunched over since there's no where for him to lean!

Could the answer to Caleb's problem
this time be so simple as a new bed?? Maybe! We took off for Ikea and got home a few hours later with a "bed in a box". Caleb spent the next few hours putting it together (he was motivated) and then slept on it last night.

You'll have to trust me when I tell you...he was a completely different kid this morning when he woke up! Maybe it was the doctor's adjustment...maybe it was the bed. Who knows? But the good news is: His pain was cut in half...down to a "3". And this afternoon he told me it's even lower than that!

So, problem solved, for now, by a new bed with a good firm mattress!

Thanks so much for praying and caring! If only all problems were solved so easily as this! I'm just thankful to the Lord for His love and care for us during this time.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Will you Pray?

As so often happens, Dave leaves and we then become vulnerable and open to spiritual pressure and attack. It's something I'm very familiar with after all these years, but it takes me off guard just the same.

Out of the blue, Caleb is in pain tonight...and has been ever since Dave left on Saturday. He's eaten all the right foods, taken his pills, and had a relatively stress free couple of days...except for the pain.

This time there is a deep pain in his back that seems to be causing the pain in this stomach. He's never had that before, but it seems to be connected. The day before Dave left Caleb told me that his pain was just below a "2" (on a scale of 1-10) - that was a record! He looked and felt so good that day.

But the day Dave left it jumped up to a "6" - something he hasn't felt since June-July.

I'm at a loss as to what to do for him...we seem to be doing all the things we should...even this extremely strict diet which has been doing such good for him...and yet, here is the pain again. Is the source of it physical or is it spiritual? Hard to know.

A friend reminded me today of a doctor here in our little town who is a neurologist, but also does chiropractics (I know...odd combination!). That's one of the things our doctor in the States said could help Caleb, but we hadn't found anyone to do it here. We called today and the nurse said he could come in tomorrow. So we'll try that and see if it gives him some relief.

In the meantime, will you pray? We are...and trusting the Lord for His help and guidance.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Dave is on a Plane

Dave and I got up at 2 AM this morning and were out the door by 2:30, headed for the airport in Katowice, two hours away. A nice, hot cup of coffee at the BP station perked us up for the drive, and even though we spend hours every day talking, we still managed to find things to talk about until the minute we pulled up to the airport!

Today is 35 days and counting...that's how long he'll be gone. I've been away from home longer than that without Dave (with Caleb last spring), but I've never been here in Czech that long without him. So this will be a new stretch of road for me.

I'm sad not to be able to join him in the States for the 2x3 Campaign since I think it's going to be such a special time in each of the 11 cities where he and the team will be. But I know that keeping our family stable and well cared for right now is an important and valuable task that I take joy in providing. Just wish there were two of me - one to be 100% here and one to be 100% there!

But since there's only one of me, I'll keep my mom hat on and do my best to love and care for our family from this side of the oce

I already miss Dave though!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Coming Soon, to a City Near You!

Saturday morning at 2 AM, Dave and I will get up (hopefully we'll have gone to bed for at least a few hours!) and drive to Katowice which is two hours away. There I will drop Dave off for a 6 AM flight at the airport and say good-bye for five weeks.

That's because he's heading your direction for our JV 2x3 Campaign and Vision Nights!

Beginning on October 26th in Seattle, he and 85 of our JV staff will be in various cities throughout the US sharing the vision and fruit of JV's ministry for the past 15 years.

If you live in any of the following cities, and would like to hear what God is doing in Central and Eastern Europe among young people and young leaders, click on the link below to register for a special evening of stories and testimonies, not to mention some really yummy dessert! It's going to be a wonderful evening giving glory to God for what He's done in so many lives here!

Oct 26Bellevue, WA7:30pmCrossroads Bible Church
Oct 28Portland, OR7:00pmMarriott Downtown Waterfront
Oct 30Scottsdale, AZ7:00pmThe Westin Kierland Resort
Nov 1San Jose, CA7:00pmMarriott San Jose
Nov 3Pasadena, CA7:30pmThe Westin Pasadena
Nov 6Atlanta, GA7:00pmHyatt Regency Downtown
Nov 7Hamilton, ONT7:00pmCrowne Plaza
Nov 8Peoria, IL7:00pmThe Waterhouse
Nov 10Minneapolis, MN7:00pmMarriott City Center
Nov 11Denver, CO7:00pmHyatt Regency Downtown
Nov 13Oak Brook, IL7:00pmOak Brook Hills Marriott Resort

Click here to reserve a spot at one of these events! You'll be glad you did!

Monday, October 13, 2008


Back in February, Dave and the Exit team were talking about doing a tour in the schools across Czech to promote the new season of Exit 316. One of their ideas was to put together a band who could headline the tour, give lectures in schools, do PR for the show with young peo
ple, and of course share the Gospel with them.

Dave left for the States shortly after that and was at a JV board meeting in Chicago talking about the idea with some of our board members. Scott Ardavanis, who had been our pastor at Grace Church of DuPage (but now pastors in California) made a suggestion to contact Zach Zegan, a friend of his with a band called Dizmas.

After a few phone calls, some quick flight arrangements and a break in their touring schedule, Zach came out to Czech to see us a couple weeks later. He met with Dave and the Turbo team (the ones who promote Exit 316 and provide small group materials used in churches across the country), heard the vision, went home to pray about it...and then felt led to ask the whole band if they'd be willing to come!

Initially when Zach first came to visit, we thought only he would come for the tour...what a blessing and bonus that the Lord called all of Dizmas to be here this fall!

They've been here a few weeks now, having toured in two cities already. What an impact they are having in young people's lives! They are humble, enjoyable, God-honoring, amazing musicians and so much fun to be with! If you want to follow the tour and their experiences here, they've got a blog:

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Claire's 14th Birthday!

I remember how I felt fourteen years ago on this night as I lay in the German hospital with a baby girl by my side...I felt so full, so blessed, so happy! I had my two boys, and now I had a sweet little girl named Claire!

We celebrated Claire today, enjoying
all of who God has made her to be! She brings a lot of joy, delight, spark, warmth and love into our lives every day.

What a great gift the Lord bestowed on us fourteen years ago this very day!

I found the very first picture I took of all three kids back in October to see them at those cute ages!

And to see what they look like today!

Life does move on doesn't it?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Senior Pictures...sort of!

Tyler and I went up to a special place
to take pictures yesterday..."senior" pictures, I guess. Since we're in Czech and they don't really do that sort of thing here, we wanted to start taking some over the next few months to mark this event for him...his final year of school here in Czech.

There is a special spot just up above Malenovice that we found y
ears ago where the trees turns to magnificent colors this time of year. That seemed like a good place to take our first set of "senior pictures"! Here's a few of this proud mom's favorites!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Cooking, Baking and Learning

This has been a month of cooking for me. Not that I didn't always cook - in fact, I home-cooked a lot. But not like this past month.

I know there are others out there who have been wheat/grain/sugar/dairy free and I applaud them! I just never expected our family to be among those people. It's been an adventure, somewhat of a trial at times, but in the end, VERY SATISFYING.

The best news of all is that Caleb is healing on this new diet (called "The Specific Carbohydrate Diet"). We have seen a dramatic decrease in his pain and overall well-being. That's encouraging! He's not pain-free yet, but I think he's getting there.

We've been on this diet for five weeks now and there's no turning's definitely working!

A few invaluable cookbooks I couldn't live without: Grainfree Gourmet, Healing Foods, and Recipes for the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. Truly lifesavers!

Tonight was the trial run for pizza...had never tried that before. While it's definitely not like what I used to make, it was tasty and satisfying. Will be trying out a few more recipes to see if I can perfect that timeless, classic favorite around here!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Caleb Update

On the first day back to school Caleb and I were talking about the last time he was in school...six months ago.

He missed four months of school due to his intestinal problems. In spite of that, the principal was gracious and understanding, allowing him to graduate (he was in 9th grade, the last year before high school) and move on to high school.

Therefore it was a happy day for him to be at the high school yesterday...there were times along the way we wondered if that would happen.

Much has gone on for Caleb in these past six months. He's weathered a very difficult time in his life with great maturity. We're super proud of him.

While he's made progress towards healing, it's not as far along as we'd like it to be at this point though. He has one more month of treatment and then is supposed to be done, yet the pain persists. Granted it's not as bad as it was six months ago...but still, it's there every day.

As we evaluated his health at the end of the summer we came to the conclusion that we need to take even greater measures towards his healing process. Mainly what that means is going on a strict diet.

After reading a book my mom sent me, and being inspired by how people's intestinal problems have been turned around by a complete change of diet, Dave and I felt like it was time to make some drastic changes in his food intake.

So as of this past week-end, I've totally revamped our kitchen and my cooking skills in order to follow the Specific Carbohydrate Diet for Caleb. You can look it up if you want to - there's lot of info about it on the web.

The nice thing is that they say to try it for 30 days and see if it makes a difference...if it doesn't, all you've lost is a month. But if it makes a difference, then it's all good for Caleb.

The good news? In four days on the diet we've already seen a dramatic change in his pain level. I'm stunned by this. We've been eating fairly healthily already...but I guess it wasn't enough for what he needed. Now it seems we're on a better road to healing.

Thanks so much for your prayers and concern for Caleb and us as a family as we continue to deal with his health situation.

Already Come and Gone

Oops! The first day of school has already come and gone and I didn't get the picture posted! I know, it's not as big of a deal when your kids are as old as mine are....but still, it's fun to
have a back to school photo here on the blog!

By the way...Claire started 9th grade, Caleb 10th, and Tyler is in 13th (senior year)...that's how they do it here in Czech.

The second photo is all the American kids who go to school here in Frydlant. It's rare that they're all together so had to get a photo on this first day of school occasion! These are the Pitcher, Till and Patty children in front of our house...sure love those kids!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

End of Summer

It's hard to believe that school starts again on Monday...and that Tyler will be starting his last year of high school! This is his year of "maturita" - the leaving exams from his Czech high school.

He'll spend most of this year preparing for th
e oral exams that will happen next May. What an accomplishment it will be when he finishes...thirteen years of Czech education!

As for what's next...that's
still to be determined! He'll head for college in the States for sure, just don't know where yet...much prayer and wisdom needed for that decision.

We had what was probably our last full family vacation, at least for a while, these past few weeks. And what a good one it was!! Lots and lots of sunshine on the island
of Hvar in Croatia...we were literally drenched in it every day. Thank you Lord! You knew we all needed that!

These family vacations are such a gift from the Lord...and sweet time with our dear friends, Hash's and Ellenwood's. This was the sixth consecutive year we've vacationed together...and we still really love and enjoy each other!

There is something so good about camping together for a few weeks - it fuels and fills all of us. Truly...great times had by all!

The kids spent part of
our time in Croatia at JV Kid's camp, a highlight of the summer for them all. This camp is staffed by members of our JV team, and run by Becca McMartin who has been serving with JV for six years now as our TCK care person. Andrea Pitcher had the teaching sessions for them as they studied the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives. Very special time for everyone!

We're gearing up not only for school but for our fall JV conference in mid September, as well as the 2x3 campaign that will be in
ten major cities in the US this fall...stay tuned for more info on that as well as other updates!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Rain, Rain and More Rain

I can't remember when we've ever had a rainier summer here in Czech. Not that I mind rain, being a true Oregonian who grew up in it! But it is a bit strange to have so many rainy, cool days in the summer.

Ah well...with the rain comes beautiful rainbows...we've seen a few this summer, that's for sure! This one looks like the pot of gold is on our garden house doesn't it??!!

We're off to Croatia for vacation today...will be there until the 27th with our good friends Ellenwood's and Hash's...sixth year we've vacationed together! We're heading down south to an island called Hvar if you want to look it up! We've never been there so are excited to check it out.

More news, updates, and photos when we get back!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Glimpse of Heaven

Occasionally the Lord gives us moments where we taste what heaven will be like. We had one of those tonight.

The Gord Jackson family, who were with us in JV for ten years, living "next door" in Poland, came to Malenovice for a visit tonight. It's been four years since they've been back
as a family from Canada, where they now live. Ellenwood's, Ken and Nicholas Pitcher (Andrea and their other kids were gone), our family, and the Jackson's met for dinner at the hotel to catch up on our lives.

As if that wasn't good enough, Corrie and Hudson Jones (who were in JV with their family, living in Slovakia for 13 years, but who now live in Arkansas) are visiting for a few weeks so they were here too for dinner.

And then the cherry on the top...another one of our JV kids, Brad Nickerson, who lived in Poland with his family for many years, (but now lives in Wheaton where his dad works in our JV office), "happened"to be at the hotel for US team training with his church who is here to do an English camp! We didn't even know he would be here on this night!

The young people in the photo belonged to a group of JV Kids called "Journey" when all the kids were living here. For one night...for just a few hours...they were reunited! A few other Jour
ney kids were missing (all of them back in the States now), but it was really special to see these kids together again after so many years apart.

Don't you imagine that's what heaven will be like?!! We'll meet up with people from all different times and walks of our lives, and it will be wonderfully special to be together again!

Thank you Jackson's for coming over from Poland/Canada to see us tonight!