Sunday, June 30, 2013

Standing Guard

Almost as if it's standing guard over our region, the church in Malenovice sits atop the hill not far from our house. I can even see it from the window of my office as I type this.

How many, many times over the years have I gazed up there to catch a glimpse of its beauty? Or listened to its bells toll over the land? Or prayed that people from all over this region would seek God?

It sits up there as a reminder to me of what we long for across this region...a movement of God among the youth of Central and Eastern Europe that finds its home in the local church and transforms society.

A church was first built on this hill in September of 1673.

Can you imagine that??!!

Three hundred and forty years of "calling" people back to their Creator. Years and years of standing as a beacon of hope, through many dark years of oppression.

Oh the stories this hill and church could tell!

We've hiked up to it many times, but oddly enough, never with a camera! So Claire and I decided we'd better do it while she's still here.

 An awesome view greets you when you reach the top. So peaceful, so serene.

The old cemetery has some very old grave sites that are maintained to this day (a woman and her daughter were there working on one as we walked around), but others look abandoned.

You can't help but wonder how many of those people passed through these doors, and whether or not they knew the One who was spoken of inside.

Our walk back was contemplative as we stepped back into our reality and lives. So thankful that we DO know and love the One who was and is spoken of to this day!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Special Favor

Since sunny summer days are not necessarily the norm around here, we take advantage of them when they're here.

While our yard's looking good after a day's work outside, one of the things Dave did was a special favor to Claire and I.

And to every hiker who passes nearby our house on their way up to Lysá Hora.

One of the main trails up the mountain (which includes both roads and paths) goes in front of our house, and on down to a pathway where no cars are allowed.

It's ideal for all those who pass by, and one of our favorite places to walk.

Trouble is, it doesn't really "belong" to anyone, and therefore a big section of it gets overgrown during the summer making it not as pleasant to walk on.

 Enter my willing husband who answered Claire's and my plea for help!

While the first section of the path is cared for by the neighbor who lives to the side of it, I've never seen anyone go on down the rest of the path to clear it. We must've been quite the sight heading down there, Dave with his goggles on and string trimmer in hand.

But he got the job done. And it sure brought smiles to his favorite girls' faces!

It definitely makes walking there a WHOLE LOT easier now!

Dave said hikers thanked him as they were walking by while he was working.

It's nice to do that favor for everyone who'll be on the path this summer!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Cool Summer Walks

Within one week we've gone from the hottest days -- over 90 degrees and suffocating.

To the coolest -- low 50's and chilly.

Ah well...doesn't stop us from taking our walks and enjoying the beauty around us no matter what!

We took a different route and happened onto this abandoned hangar up by our little airport.

 Claire's good eye found that reflection in the cool!

On days like this, the distinctive colors of this region can really be seen...the vibrant greens and misty blues. Those colors will forever characterize our little valley.

To Claire's left is the airport runway...yes, it's a grassy runway! And perfect for walking on (when there aren't any planes landing or taking off!)

 Like most dogs, Kaylee loves nothing more than a good walk with her people.

Until she decides she's had enough! Oh how she cracks us up when she starts jumping up on us as if to say, "I've had enough now. Please carry me the rest of the way".

Silly girl! She gets a little paw holding and a pat on the head before we tell her to get going again.

Sure love my walks with these two!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

A Boy's Dream Day

If only our boys were home...and still little! It would've been a "dream come true" day because this is what we woke up to this morning.

 Yes, a nice yellow digger, and a whole bunch of men in our yard.

Just happened to be looking outside when this nice worker stopped to say hello to Kaylee. You know someone is nice when they stop to pet the little dog at the worksite!

For the past nine years we've heated with propane gas...from a tank that gets filled by a truck. There are no gas lines to our house so when we built our house we opted for a tank to be put in the ground to provide us with heat.

The company that has filled our tank has become increasingly difficult (and expensive) to work with over the years. Some people are in the midst of lawsuits with them over their work ethic and business practices.

We didn't want to go that way. Instead, our way of dealing with it is to remove their tank and put in another one.

So today was tank removal, and tank installation day!

I'm so bummed I missed the moment when they lifted this big bad boy out of the ground and placed it out front! 

From faraway, you see just how big that thing is in between the house and the woodpile!

I came back from a walk in the evening to find Dave down there in the hole! I'm pretty sure that's where Caleb and Tyler would've been if they were here...about nine years ago! :)

The nice man with the digger stayed through this evening and put all that dirt back, with the new tank settled into its spot underneath.

It's a bit of a mess (and I know whose paws will be dirty for quite a while before the grass grows back!). But at least it was done in a day.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Now Arriving on Track 4

Took another trip to our most often visited train station this evening.

On this chilly, rainy, gray evening, Claire and I were there to pick up a super important person, arriving on that train coming in just down the track.

I wonder if the train conductor knows just who he's carrying on his train??

HA HA!! Yep, a most important person in our lives!

Dave's only been gone ten days, but oh how good it feels to have him home again.

This has been a busy year of traveling for him, so it's probably the accumulative effect of it all that makes another homecoming, among so many, this meaningful.

Claire laughed when she saw this last picture I snapped as we walked out of the station.

"Is this what our backwards pictures have come to??"

You'll have to click HERE to see what she means! :)

"Glad you're home Dave!"

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Rainy Day, Sick Day

If there ever was a day when it feels right to stay inside because you're sick, it's today.

Last night I came down with a touch of something...virus, food poisoning, or ? Not sure what, but it's kept me down all day today.

But in the spirit of capturing real life, I sent Claire outside to take some pictures for me on this rainy, cool, cloudy summer day.

Though I'm inside, I actually love a day like this. The "not feeling great" part is not so fun. But the coolness of the day, the brilliant green outside the window, and the coziness of curling up under a blanket inside makes it a good day.

Over the years we've tried growing a garden at our house. And while I know it's possible here because I see others having one, it just never worked well for us (despite the fact that Dave is actually a great gardener!).

One of our favorite family sayings is "We know how to grow green things really well", as evidenced by the photo above.

That just doesn't necessarily mean edible green things though!

What we DO have is some pretty green grass growing nice and strong in our yard!

Even Kaylee hasn't really wanted to venture outside into the rain much today. Instead she's just chosen to sit contentedly on the doorstep out back. It's that kind of a day.

Glad I didn't have to be anywhere today, but could enjoy a rainy, sick day inside.

**Thanks for the pretty photos Claire!**

Monday, June 24, 2013

GLM Weekend

Look who Dave got to be with at Gull Lake Ministries this week-end!

After finishing his JV board meeting in Chicago, he drove up to Michigan on Saturday so he could see these two who are serving at Gull Lake this summer.

Oh and by the way...for the summer, they're not Caleb and Haley but "Czechy Cheese" and "Mello Yellow"! Every Gull Lake staffer gets a fun name that they keep no matter how long they serve at Gull Lake. It's a great ice breaker at a meal when you're being served by one of these awesome summer staff.

"So...why were you named Czechy Cheese???"

Dave leaves this morning to drive back down to Chicago, turn in his rental car, and get on a plane to head home to "Czechy"! HA!!