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!