Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Every Four Years

How could I miss a post on LEAP YEAR?!

I almost did...was up much earlier than I usually am so was going to head to bed early tonight. But thanks to my brother's timely reminder (thanks Mike!), I'll get in a quick post on this rare day. (Very cool photo from here!)

My week is full of preparations for our annual JV ladies retreat which starts next Tuesday, the 6th of March. Today found me in a couple places, buying a few treats for these precious ladies, as well as praying for each of them (photo is from last year's retreat).

Today also found me at the post office, mailing transcripts off to another college that Caleb is applying to. Yes, it's that's season of our lives! Caleb hopes to hear by April 1st, what exactly God has in store for him next fall.

We do know one thing that's ahead of him, and that is a summer of service at Gull Lake Ministries in Michigan. He just found out a few days ago that he's been hired as summer staff! If you don't know about Gull Lake, go check out their website. Our family is crazy about them and their ministry! Dave will be speaking there again this summer, June 23-29, so we'll even get to see Caleb for a week while we're still in the States.

Speaking of being in the's just 100 days until Tyler and Lara's wedding! These are busy, but happy, days for them as they are in school, have jobs, serve in ministry, and are preparing for a June 8th wedding. Can hardly wait for it!

And last, on this rare Leap Year day...a thought from a devotional I read today:

I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow.

The application that struck me today is how each of us have our place in God's work. If I do my part, and you do yours, God weaves it together in getting HIS work done!

I like doing my part!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

She Spoils Me

It's a dark, cold, snowy February evening. Claire and I are home alone. The big question is: what do we make for dinner for the two of us?

I had another plan...something quite ordinary. I really intended to make it.

But while at the grocery store this afternoon getting things for the ordinary meal, I also picked up a carton of strawberries that looked like they might be perfectly tasty.

So what are two girls to do for dinner when the box of strawberries is near perfection?

Make strawberry shortcake!

The best part though?

Claire made it! And served it. And took the photo.

Yep. Spoiled by my daughter today!

Thank you Claire!

It was the best part of the day!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Capturing Memories

There are so many things going on in our lives these days...good things, difficult things, challenges, joys...all a part of normal life.

But in the midst of those things, I wanted to capture and remember a few more memories from our family time in Hvar last week, like Caleb taking Claire out for a ride on a scooter!

 And Dave taking a moment to read the of his favorite past times!

Ah, now this was a moment for me! Sitting on the dock in the sunshine with Kaylee, enjoying a familiar taste from summer's past. FYI...that cherry pastry is not gluten free. But every once in a while, it's worth a little pain for that amazing taste!

A late afternoon stroll with Claire down by the harbor.

Picking up some locally grown oregano to take back home...there is nothing like that smell and taste!

In the summer this square is literally teeming with people, outdoor restaurants and noise. But in February, it's just an ordinary place to walk home from the grocery store.

I loved it!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Hopefully not a Habit

I didn't plan it this way but...

It was my second day in a row at our new McDonald's!

This time...lunch and coffee with Dave.

I don't mind that so much when coffee looks like this!'s the small things in life that make it so good.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Girl Time

We have been in the midst of JV's annual "Advance" Conference this week up at Malenovice - 120 people involved in church planting, here to be fed from the Word, connect with others doing the same thing, and to be encouraged. It was a great conference!

One of the bonuses about it was having some girl time along the way with a number of friends this week.

Today it was with Jackson and Ellenwood ladies at our local McCafe!

So enjoyed time with everyone!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The JV Story - Video

Every summer Dave tells the JV story at intern training, and three other times throughout the summer, for all those who come to Czech to serve in our camps. He does such a great job at it, and always tells it with a lot of passion and vision.

It was videoed this past summer during intern training and published on JV's Vimeo site by our fellow Bteam member, Lauree Austin.

It's 52 minutes probably not something you have time for today! But if you're ever having a quiet afternoon at home and don't know what to do with yourself, you might enjoy listening to Dave tell the story as it's definitely a compelling one!

As a side note...our sons, Tyler and Caleb, as well as our nephew, Justin, are in the front row listening!

Josiah Venture Story: Dave Patty from Josiah Venture on Vimeo.

Monday, February 20, 2012

My Neighbor's Gift

Back in December, just before Tyler and Lara came, I realized I hadn't told our dear neighbor lady that Tyler was getting married. When she stopped by one day, I told her the news. She asked lots of questions and seemed genuinely delighted that I had shared it with her.

About a half hour later, she came again. This time, with a gift.

It was a needlepoint that she literally took off the wall of her house and brought over, framed and all! What had once been a birthday present to her brother (she scratched out the writing on the back to him!) was now Tyler and Lara's first wedding gift!

I exclaimed repeatedly how beautiful I thought it was (I genuinely thought so, though maybe said it a few too many times just to make sure she understood me), and that it meant a lot to me that she would give it to them.

This led to nearly daily visits from her. Why? She decided to make the same one for me!

The daily visits were to update me on the progress of it...and, I think, because it gave her a good reason to chit chat, which she loves to do. So I have seen quite a lot of my neighbor these past two months.

Yesterday morning, she started ringing our doorbell very early that we didn't get up to answer the door since we'd arrived home so late from Croatia.

But eventually we answered and it was a good thing we did...because she'd finished the needlepoint for me!

I asked if it was okay if we took a picture together and she giggled and said she'd have to take off her hat to take a picture, which she did!

I wish you could see her craftsmanship - she really has a gift for doing these pictures.

We stood outside for quite a while, admiring her work (she almost never comes inside, even if I invite her)...I'm glad Claire got the camera and captured this because it's just priceless to me.

It's sweet to think that Tyler and Lara will have the same precious gift in their home as we do in ours!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

On the Way Back

One of the highlights of returning from Croatia was a stop in Ljubljana to see Dave's brother and family: Josh and Kristi, Blake, Becca, Kendra and Luke!

They've been serving in Slovenia for over ten years now with JV. What a privilege to have family so relatively close!

I love the joy of seeing these nieces and nephews several times a year!

We're so thankful for the unusual joy of being missionaries with family on the same team.

Which means cousins who've gotten to grow up together!

What a happy 24 hours we got to spend altogether.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Lovely Hvar

Last day in Hvar...oh how nourishing the sunshine has been, even if the temperature is cool!

We hear there is a lot of snow at home so we're trying to soak up the sunshine today. So very thankful to the Lord for giving us these precious days here as a family.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

With My Valentine's

We made it safely down to Hvar, despite snow (on the sides of the road) the entire 12 hours getting here!

Split, the big city on the mainland where we cross to Hvar, had the first snow in 50 years just a few days before we arrived . Made us wonder what we would find on the island last night.

Driving off the ferry and seeing snow there too surprised us, as did the temperature of 32F!

But as we came through the tunnel to the south side of the island, the snow disappeared and we woke up to sunshine (though still on the chilly side) this morning! I realized how sun deprived I have been feeling when I took Kaylee out for a walk and just stood in the middle of the road letting it warm my face for several minutes while she anxiously tugged at the leash!

What a great Valentine's day gift to just walk and enjoy the sun with Dave, Caleb and Claire today!

Internet at the place we are staying is at a snail's pace so I probably won't post much this week. And anyway, want to enjoy these sweet days with my family!

Will try to post a couple of pictures, though am on yet another new program trying to make that happen and don't know if it will or not. Here goes!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Baby It's Cold Outside

I've never seen the thermometer at our house with this temperature outside: -25C/-13F.

Baby it's cold outside!!

That didn't stop Caleb from taking a walk with the Frydek Fusion up to Malenovice yesterday. Kaylee went along too, though didn't last long with her little paws on the icy roads. Brr!

Caleb was kind to give her a lift.

Which she loved!

She was none the worse for wear, though outside in those cold temps for about an hour would do me in!

Caleb and Claire have spring break from school this next week. Yes, we're on the early end of the cycle and spring is no where to be had anywhere in Europe right now, so it's really more like a winter break.

We've decided to jump in the car early tomorrow morning and head south, about twelve hours by car, to Hvar, Croatia to at least look for sunshine, and a little bit higher temperatures!

Dave arrived back from the States at 2:30 AM this morning, so he'll be jet lagging for a few days, but at least we'll all be together on our favorite island, hopefully catching a little warmth in our faces, and even celebrating Valentine's Day together!

No idea how internet will be - we'll see if I get to blog or not.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Makes me Happy

Are there things in your life that just make you HAPPY?

The Fusion ministry in JV is one of those things for me!! I can't get the smile off my face after having been at a Fusion concert tonight with three different Fusion groups from Frydlant, Haviřov and Karvina who performed here in Frydlant tonight.

There are so many awesome aspects to the ministry - one of which is to give kids a chance to sing and play instruments in public...for FUN! 

There are no choirs or bands in high schools here so the only way you get that opportunity is if you go to the local music school and perform in a recital.

But Fusion is all about having fun, singing in a choir, and learning to play an instrument (one of the girls performing tonight had only learned the bass guitar two weeks ago!).

And there are also dance workshops in Fusion...

...that everyone gets a chance to participate in!

This was such a great dance number tonight by these guys!

Drama is also a part of Fusion and this group did a great job on their skit tonight!

Each group has their own style, depending on the leader and the ability of those who are playing instruments.

But the great part is it's a fun, loving environment where kids can not only express their gifts, or learn a new talent...but they also get to hear about the Lord on a regular basis.

That just makes me crazy HAPPY!!!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Here and There

You may have heard about the cold snap here in Europe for the past few weeks.

It's been day after day of unusually cold temperatures. Many nights it's been down to 0 degrees F, and in the day it "warms up" to 10F or so. Today was even a balmy 15!

Dave has been all over the States these past two weeks...New Jersey, New York, Wyoming, Washington, Idaho, and Indiana - he's had plenty of cold weather along the way in some of those places.

Yesterday he called from the last place on this trip...Phoenix, Arizona where he has the winter JV board meeting. He said it was a warm 70 degrees, and that he was in shorts!! That is just hard to conceive of when we're bundled up in sweaters!

It's hard to imagine that there is sunshine and warmth anywhere in the world when it's so cold here. It's nice to look at a picture of Phoenix, and imagine being warm though!

Sunshine, green grass and warm days WILL come again, I'm reminding myself!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Back to školka

September 1995 found us here.

 This was the first Czech school that Tyler started in...a "školka", (kindergarten) in Havirov.

I remember going up to his classroom, first entering in through the šatna (changing room) where kids changed into their play clothes and house shoes, excited and nervous about entering into this whole new world of "school"!

We spent five years at this školka, as Tyler, Caleb and Claire all went there. That little changing room became very familiar to me, as did this building. Note the old cars back then!

Fast forward to today. It's been twelve years since I've been inside that školka, which is kind of funny because I remember having feelings of "Will we ever move on from here??" all those years ago!

We did move on, but the školka remained - this is what it still looks like today! It really hasn't changed a whole lot in twelve years.

I went with my friend, Barča, a Wycliffe missionary home from Indonesia on furlough, to pick up her daughter who now goes there. I feel fairly certain that at least once sometime between twelve to seventeen years ago, she either picked up, or was at least with me, to pick up one of our kids back then - we've known her that long!

But now she's there, in that same šatna, with her four year old daughter, going through the same motions that I did all those years ago.

It was so sweet to be there with them today, and remember the beginnings of our kids' journey in Czech schools.

Hard to believe we're just one and a half years away from being all done with it!