Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas Goodness





I love Christmas...there's no way around it!

I love thinking of Mary giving birth to Jesus, and what that birth has meant to me.

I love buying gifts and giving them to people I love in honor of Jesus' birth.

I love spending time with family and friends when life is slowed down a bit.

And I love feeling warm and cozy at home, with pretty Christmas lights and decorations around me, as well as sweet scents that only come at this time of year.

Yes, yes...truly for me, "It's the most wonderful time of the year!"

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Tyler's Home!




For those of you who know me well, you won't think it's too strange that I waited outside of customs with my camera "on" for a full 40 minutes, hoping to get that first perfect shot of Tyler arriving from the States! It paid off...I got it!

I had no idea what a big deal it is to have your college son come home for the first time...it's wonderful!!

He arrived on Sunday into Prague, three hours late from Paris...but with all his bags! Paris is notorious for losing bags - honestly, I think this is the first time one of our family members has come through there with all luggage intact!

It's great to be a family of five again for a few weeks...we're all soaking it in and looking forward to celebrating Christmas together!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

One of Those Funny Things




A couple of days ago Caleb's youth group leader called and asked him if he wanted to be on a "brigada".

Basically that's a work crew that can get hired here in Czech for around minimum wage, without being "employed".

Lots of young people do it because it's basically one of the only ways they have to ma
ke money (few have jobs like American teenagers do. By the way...minimum wage is about $3 an hour, which is more than I made when I started working at McDonalds back in 1977 for $2.10 an hour!).

When I asked him what he'd be doing, he said, "Boža says we'll be running lights at the 'Disney on Ice' program at CEZ arena".

"WHAT??" I exclaimed! "I can't imagine that you'll be running lights! He must mean you'll be helping some guy run his lights".

You know...I'm figuring that they have a whole tech crew and just need some grunt workers to do any leftover work.

So...off he goes to CEZ arena last night. And what does he do???

RUN one of the huge spotlights from up in the rafters...trained on Peter Pan, Mickey and Minnie, the Little Mermaid, Lilo and Stitch, etc, skating around entertaining those who've paid good money to attend the show!!!

They had five untrained guys working lights for Disney on Ice!!!! Funny! After about 15 minutes of instruction on how to run the spotlight, they were "on", getting instructions by headset throughout the show from an American with a Mexican accent!

About halfway through the show that man said, "Hey Number Five (Caleb had spotlight number 5), where are you from?" Caleb replied, "Oh I've grown up in Czech and gone to school here but I'm an American". To which the man exclaimed, "Well man! You sure have good English!" LOL!

Caleb said it wasn't much of a compliment...it is, after all, his mother language!

He's back there tonight running light number five for two performances...one of which is being attended by our good friend Petr and his little girl, Lia!! They waved at Caleb from just below where he was with his big spotlight, ready to be part of making 'Disney on Ice' sparkle for Lia and thousands of other little kids who are there!

Wow...the things we get to do here are just funny sometimes!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Thoughts and Moments of the Day

Outside my window...it's totally dark at 6:15 PM - actually has been dark since 4:40. I know because I was picking up Claire from the tutor at that time.


I am thinking...about what time we'll have dinner after the kids get home from their worship evening - Caleb leads this event on Monday nights, every other week, for kids in the youth group.

I am thankful...for the good doctor's appointment I had today - finally I understand the thyroid disease I've lived with for 18 years thanks to a new doctor.

From the kitchen...Chili, cheese and chips...almond flour chocolate chip cookies for dessert. YUM!


I am wearing...my favorite black sweater, favorite Orsay jeans, my fuzzy Crocs

I am reading...a book called "A Journey to Victorious Praying" by Bill Thrasher - it's rockin' my world.

I am hoping...that Dave and the Slovenia team have an awesome time together these next three days as they study spiritual healing.



I am going...to Poland tomorrow to Christmas shop, talk and drink coffee with my friend, Sharon.

I am creating...Christmas 2009 at our house! Hope to get some more decorating done this week after the painter leaves (he's painting our ceiling after part of it fell in late one night in September...now that's a story I haven't told yet!)

I am hearing...quiet, quiet, quiet. Dave is downstairs in his office prepping for Slovenia, kids are gone, Lily (the dog) is sleeping on her little rug in t
he kitchen. It's peaceful.

I am praying...for Tyler as he begins to study for his first final exams at Moody next week.

Around the house...are big sheets of plastic hanging in the living room, thanks to the aforementioned painting activity going on.

One of my favorite things...still...my daily hom
emade latte, with pumpkin spice syrup. Mmmm, so soothing and comforting.

A few plans for the rest of the week...get kids to bus station at 5:30 AM tomorrow morning for a school trip to Vienna, see Dave off at 7 AM for trip to Slovenia, greet painter at 7:30 AM and hope he finishes by 10, find perfect Christmas tree tomorrow so I can decorate asap, Bible study Thursday morning, watch Biggest Loser Finale sometime this week...anyone else watching??!! Don't tell me who won!



A picture I am sharing...of Claire and I on her birthday this year with the gluten free German Chocolate Cake that I baked for her. You can't imagine how yummy it was!

Idea taken from: http://thesimplewomansdaybook.blogspot.com/

In a Rut


I'm sitting here at my desk looking out the window at this view. While it's beautiful and at times inspires me, I feel myself in a little bit of a writing rut. Ever been there?

Oh there are plenty of things going on around here...never a lack in that department!


But unfortunately...there are a lot of things that I just can't write about. It seems like so much of what we do here is just not shareable.

I wish I could...we see God moving around us EVERY SINGLE DAY. It often astounds me.


And yet...I can't write about it so much of the time because it involves people's lives and stories that are not for me to share.
So...what to write about?

Just today I came across a post on someone's blog that inspired me. It was about capturing the simple moments and thoughts of a day.

Now that's something I can do!
And maybe it will help me get out of this rut. So...on to some simple moments and thoughts...

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Thanksgiving at Malenovice



Our JV team from Poland, Slovakia and Czech (and Brittney from the Ukraine!) gathered Wednesday night through Friday morning to celebrate Thanksgiving. What a great time it was!


Good food, wonderful connection with friends, and a great talent show Thursday evening to cap it all off. Wow...such a rich time.

This was our 17th consecutive year of celebrating Thanksgiving with our JV team...hard to believe it's been that many! Sometimes it just doesn't seem possible that we've lived here that long!

It was also our first holiday without Tyler. He spent it in Wisconsin with a
friend from Moody. So thankful that he gets to come and spend Christmas with us though!

Some of the things I'm most thankful for? God's continual goodness, kindness and mercy on me each day. For His faithfulness and daily provisions. That He is always near.

Oh, and how thankful I am for my precious family...Dave and
the kids, my parents and brother, my in-laws, our JV team, and my brothers and sisters in Christ around the world. Ah, I am a rich and thankful woman indeed!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Šluskolona



There are a lot of wonderful things about living in Czech, and we just experienced another one of them this week-end.

In nearly every city across the country, dance lessons are offered to high school students, particularly in the second year of high school. It's something that is sponsored by the city, so there are students from various high schools who gather together on Friday nights to l
earn how to dance.

I love driving in Frydlant on Fridays around 5 PM! Kids are walking from all corners of town towards the cultural ce
nter, dressed in suits and ties and pretty dresses. You can't show up for the lessons in jeans and a t-shirt!

While they're mainly there to learn to fox trot, cha cha and tango, among other dances, they're also being instructed in proper cultural etiquette. I think that's so cool!

Caleb and his friend from youth group, Kača, were dance partners for this fall's classes. Every Friday night Caleb got his suit on and headed into town with everyone else for the week's lesson.

An hour and forty five minutes later, he'd be ready to come home, with another dance learned! Honestly, I don't think I could learn those dances that fast!

Twelve weeks later, with ten dances ready to be performed, the "Šluskolona" begins! Parents and friends come to the cultural house and are seated at tables around the dance floor. In walk the dancers, dressed in gorgeous ball gowns and handsome suits and ties, ready to show off what they've learned.


It was a two and a half hour pro
gram, interspersed with their dances, a professional dance couple's performance, and traditional gift giving where guys give the girls flowers and a gift, and girls give the guys a handkerchief and a gift. A nice tradition!

We had a great time watching Caleb, and all the other kids that we knew there. And were very impressed by what they all had learned in twelve weeks!


Monday, November 9, 2009

Season of Teaching













This fall has been full of opportunities to teach God's Word for both Dave and I.

We both taught at our JV fall conference, shortly after I'd come back from teaching in Romania.

Dave spoke for the Campus Crusade Conference in Australia for a week in September.

He taught at the Baptist youth conference in Sumperk the last week-end in October.

During that week-end he also taught at another youth conference for one day.

This past week-end he spoke on Angels and Demons for a conference Friday and part of Saturday, then headed to a church and taught Saturday evening and Sunday morning on spiritual warfare.

While he was teaching Friday night, I was also teaching! I had a very sweet evening with a group of girls in Havirov, (where we used to live) speaking on what it means to know Jesus in everyday life.

It's a joy to open God's Word, study it and then get to teach it!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

To Chicago and Back












Such good gifts from the Lord these past 12 days!

** Visiting Tyler at Moody, meeting his friends, seeing his room, being in his world - delightful!

** Having my mom and dad come for a week, morning breakfasts together, daily Starbucks, shopping trips, downtown Chicago to see Tyler and the city, lots of good talks - wonderful!

** Grace Church of DuPage's 25th anniversary, seeing many friends, a special evening with all the missionary women and Grace Church ladies, singing in the choir, an evening of celebrating all that has happened in and through the church - memorable!

** Lunches, dinners, coffee and tea with good friends - thankful!

** Did I mention daily Starbucks??!! HA! Thanks to my dad, I got my fill of pumpkin spice lattes every day! You're the best, Dad!!

Our days were filled to the brim while we were there. Most days we left the house after breakfast and didn't return until late in the evening. But I wouldn't have it any other way!

We feel full, nourished, blessed, and loved. Thank you to all who made our time in Chicago special and memorable!!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Celebrating Claire



Feels like only a few years ago I was in a hospital in Schwetzingen, Germany, with my new little baby girl.

And now, she's already fifteen. How does that happen??!

She had a sweet birthday celebration today - more low key than other years, but still sweet.

Tyler called at 6:30 this morning to be the first to wish her happy birthday!


Her class at school surprised her with a cake and gift.

My friend Ingrid lavished her with two bags of all her favorite teas and chocolates.

She and her friend, Hayley, got in an afternoon birthday photo shoot.

We took her to Frydek to buy a special gift.

Ate a special dinner that she'd requested.

I made a gluten free German chocolate birthday cake that was yummy!

And now...we're packing to leave for the States in the morning!! Yes, it's a little crazy around here tonight trying to get all the last minute things done.

But in the midst of it all, we're remembering that the Lord brought us a very special girl fifteen years ago! She is our sunshine, our princess, our blossoming young woman.

We love you Claire!!!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Running a Half Marathon

















The last race I ran was in 4th grade. It was a 50 yard dash...I didn't win.


Athletics have not been a major part of my life...okay, not even a minor one! In high school I did music, drama, and student government. College years were even more about music, with little to no athletic activity.


In the years following that I attempted to jog now and then, but had no real motivation to do it, not to mention any self perception of being athletic.

But a year ago, when we switched our diet to deal with Caleb's ongoing stomach problems, I took some time to evaluate where I was at personally in my body.


In more recent years I had tried weight training in an attempt to stave off middle age weight gain, but had not stuck to it and gained back what I'd lost. 

However, since we were going to a much more simplified and healthier diet, I decided to seriously give weight training another try and see if I could make a lifestyle change.

This was all with much prayer and conversation with Dave. As I began
to weight train, there were other issues inside me that began to come out...such as my incorrect self perception of not being a person who could be athletic or in shape. We spent many evenings praying through these things and asking the Lord to change and heal those incorrect perceptions.

As the months went b
y, I added in running to the weight training and was surprised to find out out I really liked it! This, along with the changes that were happening inside me, is what led me to consider training for the half marathon.


In May I did some searching on the internet for half marathons that were within reach and found one in Kosice, Slovakia - about a five hour drive from us. I calculated the training for it and felt like I could do it in the coming four months so...registered and began training!


You have to know...the farthest up to this point that I'd ever run was 2 kilometers at a time! In the weight training, I was only running for short 5 minute bursts in between sets. You wonder how I knew I liked running, right??! I know...it's kind of crazy. And even crazier that I thought I could train for a half marathon with practically no running before this.


But I felt like it was part of what the Lord wanted to do to solidify the changes that He'd made in me...for me to do something that was so far beyond me, and yet within reach because HE was leading me to it.

So off I went, following a half marathon training schedule. And let me tell you..
.it was brutal at the beginning. There were SO many days I thought to myself, "What in the heck am I thinking???"


But with the Lord's help, and Dave cheering me on, I persisted with my training throughout the summer. Dave has been a runner for years (ran a marathon with his brother when he was in college) so was a major help and inspiration to me along the way. He also said he'd train and run the half marathon with me - a really sweet offer considering that he could have run it much faster than me!


The longest run I did during my training was 17 kilometers...not as far as the half marathon which is 21 kilometers (or 13 miles). But I was consistent in training, for the most part, and just kept putting in the kilometers, day after day after day.

Two weeks ago Dave left for Australia where he was speaking for a conference. So my last two weeks were completely on my own. You can't imagine how many times I didn't want to run!

But running, I've found, is
often more about your mental ability rather than your physical ability. So with the Lord's help, I fixed my mind on the goal of finishing and persevered on.

Saturday the 3rd of October came. 

The kids and I piled into the car, along with our little dog, Lily, and headed off to Kosice. We met up with our dear friends, Mel and Amy Ellenwood, because they too had trained to run the half marathon with us. It was so fun to share that with them, even running while we were on vacation in Croatia with each other!



Arriving in Kosice that afternoon, we headed to registration where we picked up our running packets, including bibs with our names and numbers, and the chip that goes on your shoe to calculate your time. As we were doing that, and then out and about seeing all the other runners, I felt like I was going to cry much of the time!! It was a super emotional experience as I was about to culminate my year of a lifestyle change.

That night at 10 PM, Caleb and
I went to the Kosice airport where we picked up Dave...remember, he'd been in Australia and was just now arriving back in Europe in time to run this race with me!!! That is sheer will, determination and love after 42 hours en route!!

Waking up the next morning was a surreal experience. In fact, the whole day was! Several people had encouraged me to really soak in the whole experience, rem
embering what had brought me here, and relishing in the moment of being there. 

I did both those things from the moment I woke up until the end of the day.


One of the best moments was starting the race. Remember...the last time I'd raced was when I was 9 years old!! And let me tell you...this was NOTHING like that! It was a powerful, exhilarating, awesome moment. One of the greatest thrills of my life, I'd have to say!

The people of Kosice came out in droves for this race, and were literally lined up on the road, every kilometer of the way. I don't know what I wo
uld've done sometimes without their clapping and cheering...it motivated me and kept me going many times.

Caleb, Claire and the Ellenwood kids were in the crowds too - racing from point to point in hopes of seeing us and taking photos. They were an AWESOME encouragement!! Again...I don't know what I would've done without that!



Of course Dave was so deeply encouraging to me along the way...especially at times when I didn't think I could keep going. He gently (and sometimes not so gently!) pushed and prodded, particularly towards the end when I was getting so tired.

The last kilometer was the killer - I really thought I was going to collapse in a heap! However, the crowds of people cheering that last kilometer helped push me through...NO WAY was I going to stop running in front of them!

Of course, the most glorious moment was crossing the finish line!! Exhilaration doesn't even begin to describe the feeling of having accomplished this seemingly i
nsurmountable goal. I collapsed into Dave's arms, crying...no, sobbing...as I soaked in what I'd just finished.

Never before in my life had I ever had such a powerful, first-hand experience of H
ebrews 12, verses one and two:

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith..."

I tell you...surrounded by all those witnesses cheering for us, giving every last bit of what I had in me to run to the end, and fixing my eyes on the finish line was I believe a taste of what it will feel like someday when I run to the finish line at the end of my life. At least that's how I WANT it to be!! I don't want to walk, much less limp, to the finish line. I want to RUN!! Just like I did to this finish line!

There was something so sati
sfying at having cast all caution aside and run with complete abandonment at the end. I don't think I've ever felt more proud of myself, except for maybe when I gave birth to our kids! :) That's the only thing I can compare this experience with, though honestly, I think this half marathon was even harder for me than that!

I am not an athlete in the classic sense...that I've been running or training all my life. But I AM an athlete in the sense that God has given me a fabulous body to use for HIS GLORY!! And that's really what this was all about. Doing something that displayed his glory in me.

So while I celebrate what I did...I celebrate even more, what He has done in me. I am definitely a work in progress. This isn't the end!

But it sure was an awesome moment at the finish line in Kosice!!!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Celebrating Dave



In the midst of JV fall conference, Dave had a birthday! His 48th, to be exact!

We wished him a happy birthday that morning at home, and all of JV sang happy birthday and gave him flowers and a gift on his day.

But it wasn't
until yesterday that we had our family celebration of him.

It wasn't a big celebration...we'll save that for the 50th! :)

But we did t
ake a few pictures (strange to not have Tyler in them...) and go out for our favorite fast food Asian meal at the mall!

We love you SO much Dave, and are deeply blessed by who you are and how you live your life!

May this coming year be filled with more knowledge, wisdom and love from the Lord. And may you know our love for you even deeper as well!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Passing the Baton



Every JV conference is special! There is nothing like being together with like-hearted friends and co-workers!

But this year's conference was especially meaningful and applicable for me as I love the concept and practice of discipleship.

Discipleship is a highly val
ued part of our ministry here in Central and Eastern Europe. Once someone comes to know Christ, it's our joy, privilege and responsibility to disciple, teach, mentor and coach them in their new faith.

While we live out and talk about discipleship often, it's such a critical component of ministry here that we spent this year's JV fall conference teaching, talking, discussing and putting into practice what it means to be an excellent, faithful and faith-filled discipler who passes on the baton of faith to the next generation.

The conference was full of helpful sessions, seminars and practical help on discipleship. All of those were taught "internally", meaning it was our team members from 11 countries (both Americans and nationals) who were sharing their knowledge and wisdom in this area...and that was powerful! These are people who are "on
the ground" doing it day after day. I loved hearing from them!

During one morning session, the speaker, Daniel from Poland, had Claire come and share about the discipleship Bible study she had last year. She was so poised and relaxed as she shared her experience in front of 160 people. We were proud of her!

We'll all be chewing on the things we learned, and hopefully putting them into practice in the months to come.


Saturday, September 12, 2009

Summer Life



A whole month of life has sped by without a blog post. That probably isn't a big deal to you, but it is to me! Blogging is how I keep track of our life!

In a nutshell...


Vacation - camping on Hvar in Croatia...ahhh, nothing better! Good coffee mornings with our dear friends...warm days at the beach...fabulous dinners we took turns making for each other...movie nights (doesn't everyone bring a VPU camping??)...cliff jumping...island hopping...gelato...boat trips...starry nights.

Tyler - sweet final days together at the campground...last songs on the guitar...a boat ride to Split...early morning coffee at 6:30
AM in the airport...final waves through the glass doors of security...good-bye...off to college at Moody. We miss him!!!

JV Kid's Camp - bless Mel and Amy and all the JV staff who ran camp this summer in Slovenia! Delightful week for our kids...memorizing Scripture...great talks with counselors...fun treats...happy days.

School starts - Claire is off to high school, Caleb already in second year of it...good friends Hannah and Hayley join them
at BMA (it's like having your cousins at school with you!)...Claire has fun week-end retreat getting to know her class...lots of homework...they love BMA in spite of homework!

Romania - the second day of school for the kids, I left on a 21 hour train ride to Romania where I spoke for 120 young women...beautiful faces...talking about "Intimacy with Jesus"...sweet prayer times...fun with my friend Laurie from the States...fell in love with Romanian girls and Rom
anian worship songs...left part of my heart there.

Whew! That is SO far from all that happened this past month! But it will have to do. Who would read it if I wrote everything? Okay...my mom and mother-in-law would! But no one else! :)

We start JV fall conference on M
onday - Dave is teaching three main sessions, I have two sessions of a seminar on Discipling Women. Can't wait to see all 160 who will be here for it!

And so goes our lives!!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

This is It




It's our last day at home with Tyler today. Not sure what to feel about that...it's definitely a strange and new feeling.

We leave tomorrow morning on vacation and begin the final countdown to his leaving for Chicago, Moody Bible Institute, and a whole new life.
He leaves us on Thursday the 13th.

This past week has been full of good-byes for him...a commissioning time at church, a surprise party by the youth group, time with friends and one final family night for us (a tradition we've had since the kids were very young).

I know other missionary families have sent their kids off to the States for college, but it's new to us so we're all experiencing the emotion of it for the first time.

The good part about grieving is that it expresses the depth of love we have shared as a family, which I'm thankful for.

But I wish someone would remind me of that when we're standing at the airport next Thursday saying good-bye and I'm crying...

Ah well...I am confident the Lord will see us all through this time of transition.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Some of the "Lasts"




The days are winding down towards Tyler leaving for college.

Next Friday we'll head down to Croatia on our annual camping vacation. Tyler will be with us for five days and then fly from Split, Croatia to Prague on the 13th, and on to Chicago the 14th of August.

Our dear friend, Theresa, "aunt" to Tyler, will pick him up and he'll spend the night at her house before she takes him to Moody the next day to begin orientation on the 15th. Whew! It's surreal that this is really happening!

Not that we talk about it all the time, but I'm definitely aware that we're in the last days as a family of five living under one roof. We've had some very sweet times as a family - in fact, some of our best days - this summer! It's nice to "end" on a high note.

Last night was one of those "lasts" as he, Caleb and our dear friend, Hannah (also JV missionary kid) lead worship at the US team training for English camps. They've been leading worship at various events over the years and had one last time to do it with Tyler still living here. I'm sure there will be more of those times later on, but this was the last of "life as it is".

We are excited about what lies ahead for Tyler...and grieving a bit too that this phase of life is coming to a close. It's a good mixture of joy and sadness...both appropriate and a reality of life. These 19 years as we've known them have been so very good.

And I'm sure what's ahead will have a new flavor or sweetness to it as well! Pray for us to savor and thank God for all the tastes of life in the days to come.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Celebrating in Cesky Krumlov




Yep, Tyler had a birthday yesterday so we were in the celebratin' mode! He turned 19...hard to believe. Seems like not so long ago that we were in Schwetzingen, Germany, having our firstborn!

He wanted to take a trip for his birthday and chose Cesky Krumlov as the destination, a place in southern Bohemia that we'd never visited.

It's GORGEOUS!!! I can't believe we've never been there before...what a little gem of a city!


We had a great family day, enjoying some of our last times together before Tyler heads to Chicago for college in August.

Though that's in my mind now and then these days, I try to not to dwell on it...just live in today. And as was the case yesterday, God gave us a very sweet day to enjoy all together, and
I fully lived in it.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Frydlant English Camp





It's already been a week since camp ended, but God is still moving in the hearts of young people who were there!

Six young people trusted Christ at the camp, and Tyler prayed with another one just two nights ago at a follow-up evening here in Frydlant!! PRAISE GOD for these new believers!!

Saturday morning when I went to pick up the kids, our Czech youth group leader told me in all his years of ministry he'd never had an experience like what happened the last night of camp. The Gospel was presented and an opportunity given for students to stay in the room if they were interested in praying or asking questions.

Normally three or four students stay and the rest leave the room....very typical response here in Czech (coming to faith is a long process for many).

But this time three or four LEFT the room, and all the rest of the students STAYED!! For an hour and a half there were people all over the room talking, praying, crying, and rejoicing when someone would come to Christ. How I wish I'd been a little mouse in the corner to see it happening!

I woke up Saturday morning to this text message from Claire: "Just led my roommate to Christ during evening program! It went great. The program was really powerful - all God's work! I bought her a bible with the money you gave me!" I cried when I finished reading that...so precious.

Each one of our kids had the privilege of praying with someone at camp as they trusted Christ. What an awesome experience for them to be in the presence of someone going from dark to light!

We are hearing similar stories of kids coming to Christ from all around our 11 JV countries where camps are going on. Thanks for praying and standing with us to see this next generation of young people put their faith in Jesus!

PS. The picture is Patty and Till siblings who all served on the team at camp this year!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Three Dates



It's not often that Dave and I are home by ourselves...for a whole week! In fact, I think the last time it happened was the summer of 2004...five years ago!

While we did work during the day (lest you think we goofed off the whole time...ha ha!), we got in three date nights while the kids were at camp...definitely a record!

Tonight we finished up our date night at the mall with frappes at Tchibo. Ever had one? Oooh, you don't know what you're missing out on if you haven't! Let's just say it was a little coffee with your whip cream and caramel!

Looking forward to picking up the kids in the morning - then life will get back to normal.

But it was a great week to spend with just each other! :)

Checking In




Dave and I were up at Velke Karlovice (an hour away from our house) last night to visit the kids at English camp. So fun to see them there!

But even better was hearing what God's doing in the lives of students this week. Two have trusted Christ! Several others have come back to the Lord after a period of wandering. Many are interested in coming to church. Others have questions and want to talk more about God. All are having a good time!

We were there for the evening program so got a taste of what it's been like for them all week. You can see in the picture, Tyler is leading worship, Caleb's off to the left playing bass (and running the PowerPoint!), and Claire is in there too - you just can't see her! Though it doesn't look like it in the picture, there are 62 at the camp - a nice size!

They have one more evening program tonight where they will share the Gospel an
d give students an opportunity to respond. Pray for that!

One of the elements of this year's program has been to tell the story of God each evening in story form - picture a dad telling his kids a story and you'll kind of have the essence
of it.

Though it's not easy to see (it was dark in the meeting room!) the picture is Tyler translating as Matt (the leader from the Lancaster, PA team) asks questions and dialogues with the students about it. Loved seeing that part of the program!

Everyone will come back to Frydlant tomorrow morning (Saturday) for two days of "follow-up" with the American team still around. They'll all be at church on Sunday too - one of my favorite Sundays of the year when all those young people are there! How I pray that many of them will continue to come and hear more of the "stories of God"!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Claire's Last Day



Does anyone else go to school until the very last day of June??! That's the "rule" here in Czech...school finishes on June 30th, unless it falls on a Saturday or Sunday!

While Tyler finished a month ago, and Caleb finished early so he could go to English camp in Poland, Claire finished out "zakladni skola" (basic school) TODAY!! She is now officially a high schooler!

It was a little sad taking the "last day of school" photo today with only Claire (and Lily!) in it. Tyler was on a train to Prague to pick up the team from Lancaster, PA who will be at the Frydlant English camp which starts on Saturday, and of course Caleb's been gone to Poland since last week.

But...traditions ARE traditions! So Claire gamely posed by herself and let me take that famous photo that I love! She knows how important it is to her mama!

Just Dave, Claire and I went out for dinner to celebrate tonight...wonderful to be with just her, but strange to have the boys missing. Hmmm, shades of a life to come one day in the not too distant future!

But for now, we'll enjoy and soak in summer vacation with whoever happens to be at home!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Happenings


While Claire is still home sick, life continues on for the rest of the family.

Caleb came home last night from a three day class trip with his school. He brought a friend home to spend the night and they rode bikes up to the hotel later in the evening to see other school friends at a retreat there, getting home at midnight!

This morning Caleb returned books to school, said good-bye for the summer, then headed off to Poland for the next ten days. He'll be at an English/Volleyball camp with a church from Katowice, serving on the team.

That camp finishes the same day the Frydlant English camp begins, so he'll barely come home before taking off again for another week of camp!

In the meantime, Dave and Tyler are hiking in the Alps, staying in huts and campgrounds around the Interlaken and Lauterbrunnen area. This is our graduation gift to Tyler - a memory with his dad. Dave wrote today and said the hiking was great, the views awesome, and the time together (along with two friends of Tyler's) superb!

While the guys are out and about, I spent the evening ministering to a hurting friend for three hours here in my office. We cried together, prayed together, and trusted in Jesus together for her future. It was a precious, though difficult time as her situation is really a mess.

Where oh where would we be without the love, compassion and help of the Lord? Thankfully she trusted Christ three months ago so is looking to him for help. She does need it oh so desperately.

Claire is getting a bit better...enough so to have a friend come over tomorrow night. Will be good for her to have a little company!

And so goes life at our house!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Sick Days


Amidst a very rainy, foggy and so far, cold summer, we've got sickness in our house.

Claire is in her third week at home with a bronchial infection that just doesn't want to clear up. We were back at the doctor today for blood work, just trying to cover all the bases and make sure there's not something else going on. We'll get the results tomorrow.

She's missing school as our Czech schools don't actually finish until June 30th. And believe it or not, that's hard on her! These are the last weeks with her classmates that she's been with since second grade. Next year when they all head back to school, it will be to different ones since they all start high school in the fall. So it's k
ind of a bummer that she is missing these last days.

But not one to wallow in any self pity, she's been keeping herself busy at home being artistic. Generally if Claire has any extra time on her hands, she spends it doing something creative! So these past weeks she's been working on a few fun things.

For Father's Day she did this pencil drawing for her dad, based on a photograph she'd taken a while back.

Thanks to a sweet gift that Dave brought back from a friend in the States (thanks Sandy!) she's spent the last few days learning the art of calligraphy.

We hope she gets better soon since our Frydlant English camp is coming in a little more than a week (starts July 4th). All three kids will be at it this year. Pray that they're all healthy and well for it!