Thursday, May 31, 2012

Changes Down the Road

For over a month I have been wanting to blog about something happening in our "neighborhood", but for one reason or another (mainly that I kept forgetting to bring my camera with me to document it!) I haven't.

After yesterday's emotional post about Caleb leaving, I thought this was a good one to follow up with...nice and normal news! :)

I actually forgot my camera again when I was on my way down into Frydlant to pick up Claire from school. But as I was sitting at the light waiting to cross the bridge, I decided my phone camera would just have to do the trick.

For over ten years now, we have been crossing this bridge daily. Many days, multiple times a day. A few weeks ago I did a quick calculation of approximately how many times we have crossed this bridge.

I think it's safe to say over 12,000 times. It's a big part of our lives!

A few years ago we started hearing rumors (you know how small towns are!) that they were going to tear this bridge down and build a new one. (It's been there since least that's what the little sign on the bridge says).

If they were to do that, it would severely impact our life, as there is no other way into town except for very L-O-N-G detours around in two different directions. And bridges around here take over a year to build. I know because they just rebuilt the next bridge down the river last year and it took them 15 months to do it.

Right now it takes about 4 minutes to drive into town from our house. If we went around either way, it would be about 12-15 minutes, just going one way (clocked one of the ways this afternoon and it was a full 15 minutes).

Multiply that times several trips a day and that equals: lots of time in the car, and lots more spent on gas (as if $8 gallon isn't already enough!).

Thankfully (big sigh of relief), the city planners decided to keep this bridge for walkers and bikers, and build a new one off to the side of the old one.

However, the latest news is they will have to close the old bridge for six weeks while they put in a particular section of road leading up to the new bridge.

I am SERIOUSLY hoping that they are closing it the six weeks we are in the States! What a nice surprise that would be.

One can always hope, right??

**Update on Caleb: he arrived in the States yesterday and was picked up by Tyler. So all is well!

**Update on me: I am going to tentatively say that I think I am feeling better today. I had another fever yesterday evening, but by this afternoon I feel like I'm turning the corner. I hope so!! Claire and I leave for Prague tomorrow. Thanks for your prayers.

***Later update on me: had a terrible fever in Prague, and then an even worse on on the flight to the States for Tyler and Lara's wedding. Had it that whole week, though by God's grace was still able to enjoy all the pre-wedding festivities. Made it through their lovely wedding day, but ended up in the hospital in Chattanooga the day after for six days, being treated for an intestinal infection. You just never know what's going to happen in life, do you?!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Today's Reality

Morning came really early today...3:45 to be exact.

Caleb put the last few things in his bags and then headed downstairs.

On one hand it felt like he might just be heading off to camp or a school trip.

But the reality is, this is it. He is heading off to work for the summer and then going straight to college.

While we will see him in a few days as we all meet up in Chattanooga for Tyler and Lara's wedding, he won't be back here at home until Christmas.

Reality for me today as a missionary mom is this: there are no week-ends at home with my college kids, no stopping by with friends, no doing a load of laundry quick before heading back for class, no cooking or baking for them, no late night chats in the kitchen to catch up. And we will only spend a few holidays here and there from this point on. He won't ever really belong at home again.

I truly wouldn't have it any other way...I'm happy to launch him as it is the right time for that to happen and he's ready for it.

But, it's a sad day too, and I know it's okay to acknowledge that.

I will miss the day to day life with Caleb, as I still do with Tyler...and will with Claire after she leaves next year. They are great kids young adults and I really like who they are, who they are becoming, and where they are headed.

But I'll sure miss spending time together as a family.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


We had, what we thought, was our last family time with the four of us on Sunday night.

Yesterday Caleb was gone all day, spending time in Bratislava with Haley, his girlfriend, celebrating her birthday. Yes, it's official that they are dating!

Caleb and Haley have known each other for years as her parents served in one of our supporting churches in Colorado so we'd see them from time to time over the years.

The Chase family recently moved to Slovakia, and are now serving with JV there. That is a blessing for us and our JV family as they are a gifted family and bring many years of experience to the ministry here. It's a joy to have our friends serving with us in JV!

It's also a special blessing for Caleb and Haley who have had the opportunity to spend time in person together after many years of Skype only. We are all delighted by this development in their relationship!

They will be together at Moody this fall.

We thought we'd only have a few hours today to get Caleb packed and off on the train to Prague for his early morning flight to Chicago (he's going there to spend a few days with Tyler and then they'll fly together to Chattanooga on Saturday).

But the blessing for today is that Caleb remembered our friend Petr saying he was going to Prague tomorrow morning to also catch a flight to the States. He called to see what time his flight leaves, and it's only fifteen minutes different than Caleb's. So now he can drive along with Petr early tomorrow and not have to spend the night alone in a hotel tonight.

So we're having some extra, blessed time with Caleb today.

He and Claire are downstairs working on a song for Tyler and Lara's wedding...which is in just NINE days!! So sweet to hear him play guitar at home one last time.

I am still not feeling well today...a bit better, but in such a small increment. Whatever this virus is, it's tenacious. Please continue to pray for me! I would love the blessing of feeling better soon.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Can't Remember...

...when I have been so sick.

I came down with a fever and all sorts of symptoms, too numerous and unpleasant to list, on Friday night while Dave and I were away for the week-end.

And here it is Monday morning, 5:30 AM, and I am awake with the fever again.

While it's really not fun and I feel pretty downright lousy, this wouldn't be a problem except for the fact that I am supposed to leave for the Prague on Friday with Claire so she can take the SAT's Saturday morning. And then Sunday morning, with Dave and Claire, we leave for Chattanooga.

So before I go take some Ibuprofen again, I'm calling out to you, my friends who read my blog, to pray. Pray I will be well and back to myself by Friday.

Saturday, May 26, 2012


Caleb captured some great moments while we were in Israel. There are too many to post but these are a few that remind me of the precious time we had there.

 Dave and I up at Temple Mount...Caleb at the Western Wall (also known as the Wailing Wall).

Dave and Caleb praying there.

On the southern steps of Temple Mount...Dave is teaching at this moment. This is most certainly one of the places where Jesus walked. Though our friend mark looks like he's sleeping, he's not! We're all just tired, but still soaking in all that we're hearing.

I just like this one of Dave (and Caleb in his reflection!)

And this one of Claire! She and I were never without our hats there...if you ever go, wear a hat! It definitely helps keep you cool when it's hot.

Walking through the markets in Jerusalem.

I was standing right there at this man's stall looking at his wares, while he slept!

You can't tell, but this is actually in Bethlehem!

Downtown on Ben Yehuda street in cute of Claire!

And dad and his kids down there as well.

Found a coffee shop that night that made a decaf latte...awesome!

And one last funny photo...taken at the hotel we stayed at in Jerusalem. Can you see who's been there?!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Hezekiah's Tunnel

I am still catching up on a few Israel posts that I don't want to miss remembering!

One of those was visiting the city of David, which is the oldest established neighborhood in Jerusalem, and the site where King David built his palace and established his capital.  This is the ridge where he built his palace and ruled from.

And this is where the underground tunnels begin that were built to provide an aqueduct that would supply Jerusalem with water during the time of a siege in Hezekiah's day.

You can now walk down through those tunnels, which is totally a cool experience! Water is still running in those tunnels, up to your thigh in some places! So we went in knowing we'd get wet, which was actually a lot of fun.

The picture above is deceiving because actually it is completely dark in there! You have to bring a flashlight so you can find your way through those narrow tunnels which can feel pretty claustrophobic during the 35 or so minutes you're in there!

Seven of us from our group went down in the tunnels, singing and laughing our way through, thinking up every "water" song we could think of!

Think, "I've got a river of life flowing out of me..."!!

It was one of those very memorable moments in Israel!

**Thanks to Caleb for all the photos of this experience!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Girlfriend Time

Two weeks ago God gave Amy, Laura and I an unexpected gift...a night together at Selah!

Selah is our JV retreat house, available to our missionaries throughout the year. It's such a special and beautiful place, perched up on the side of a mountain on the other side of the valley from where we live. You can look across from Selah and see Malenovice on the other side. Very cool of God to do that!

Mel and Amy spearheaded this very precious project for our team, seeing it through to completion a few years ago along with the help of many others. They cared for many volunteers who came to give their time here, and still to this day, give of themselves to take care of the facility.

Yet, Amy had never spent the night here...nor had I! Thus Laura made it happen that the three of us could sneak in a night up there together, in between other JV missionaries who were using it! Thank you Laura for making that happen!

Sipping coffee on the porch in three rocking chairs, we soaked in the view the next morning, and more importantly, deeply enjoyed some girl time before we all take off in different directions this summer.

We're hoping for a reunion up there in the fall when we can debrief our busy summers!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A Familiar Place

 Our kids have walked up to this doorway literally hundreds of times over the past years....

And pushed this button...

All so they could see this man, Jirka.

Since 2002, he has been our kids' Czech tutor. Caleb was in 3rd grade when he started seeing his wife, and then all three kids transitioned over to Jirka a few years later.

That translates into thousands of hours our kids have spent with him these past ten years. He has spent a LOT of time doing homework, helping with Czech grammar, teaching and dialoguing about all sorts of subjects during their tutoring hours.

I am thankful for every hour he spent with Tyler, Caleb and Claire over the years, helping them to be successful in Czech school.

Just have to tutor ever!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

May Memories

I like all sorts of weather, and every season.

But if you really pressed me, I'd have to declare the middle of May as my favorite time of year here in Czech.

Here's why!