Thursday, July 31, 2014

Tucked Away in Frýdek

Just fifteen minutes from where we live in Frýdlant n.O is the larger town of Frýdek Místek.

It was there that Claire and I discovered something very near and dear to our hearts this week.

If you walk back behind those colorful buildings to the church tower, you're getting close.

Down through the small streets where no one else is walking is a new shop that I've only dreamed of, but certainly never expected to find here.

Now just to keep it real, you do pass by this not so quaint building on your way there.

Yes, not every view here is quaintly European!

How's that for a jumble of styles, textures, and historical items? (No idea what the statue is).

But then, at the end of the cobblestones, on the right, is our treasured location.

Labužník Celiac.


A Gourmet Gluten Free bakery and sweet shop!!!!

I have never seen anything like this in my life...not in the States, not here in Czech.

This is a bakery and sweet shop that sells all the iconic, wonderful Czech breads and pastries...GLUTEN FREE!!!

I don't know how they did it. But someone put a lot of time, effort and chemistry work into figuring out how to create everything gluten free that you'd find in a normal "pekařství" or "cukrárna" here in Czech.


And the results? Absolutely amazing!

In fact, to be honest, everything that I've tasted so far tastes better than the normal offerings at a regular bakery! I'm really not kidding. It's that good.

Kolače, rohlíky, větrníky, chleba, linecké's all there, and more!

Hurry home Caleb for some special Czech treats!!

What a special little gift tucked away on the back streets of Frýdek.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Praying, Thinking, Writing

Since arriving back at home in Czech, when Dave hasn't been at the JV office, or in meetings, or out seeing people, he's been at home.

In his office.

Writing. Writing.

And writing.

No, he's not working on his book. Or working on another one yet.

He's in the midst of writing a revision of our main training curriculum that will be rolled out to the JV team in September at fall conference.

Entitled "Walk 2:6", this is JV's core training material for leaders on how to do ministry like Jesus.

The name comes from 1 John 2:6 where it says, "Anyone who claims to abide in him must walk as Jesus walked."

Packaged in a new format that will work better for learning communities (aka small groups), Dave is hard at work to make the material more interactive, more transformative and more "sticky"- he wants people to remember it more easily.

The original version was written twenty years ago by Dann Spader, but Dave re-wrote it in 1994 and again in 2003 for our context here in Central and Eastern Europe.

Now he's at it again for another revision.

I don't know if that sounds easy or hard to you, but I can tell you from watching Dave up close here at our house, it's HARD!!

He prays and thinks, writes a few sentences...then prays and thinks again. It's literally taking tens of hours for him to do this revision. But he loves it!

Well, maybe not the long grueling process of re-writing.

But as a visionary, he can already see how it will be used in the thirteen countries where we have JV staff and that keeps him there in his chair as he spends time praying, thinking and writing day after day.

Pray for him right now, would you?

Pray that he'll have the Lord's heart and mind as he writes, and that this tool will be effective in training leaders how to walk like Jesus walked.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Hidden Gems

One of the things I love about living here in Czech is the surprise of finding hidden gems in unusual places.

This morning Claire and I had errands to run like taking our dog to the vet for her check-up and stopping in at the Czech insurance office. After finishing we drove to the upper square of Frýdek-Místek.

While actually in search of something else, we stumbled across a new store on the square.

Through that door you enter into an incredibly adorable French home decor store with so many treasures.

During our time in the States I'd often find these types of stores tucked away here and there. Oh how I loved wandering and seeking out little treasures.

You'll sometimes find this type of store in bigger cities here in Czech, but they're not the norm, and definitely not in our area so it was special to come across one like this not far from where we live!

Claire found a treasure there today: a touch of Europe to take back to her dorm room in Chicago. Yes, it's probably a scene in France, but charming nonetheless!

For my friends here in Czech, you'll find the store on the south side of the square in Frýdek, just to the right of the Cheesy Boutique!

There was another special gem we found in Frýdek-Místek today - in fact it's just behind the church shown here!

But that's a story for another day.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Eugene Half Marathon: My Brother's Day

If you're a runner, or follow Track and Field in the United States, you recognize this special place.

Hayward Field is in Eugene, Oregon (aka Tracktown USA) on the campus of the University of Oregon. It's host to all sorts of national and international track and field events, as well as Olympic Trials.

Eugene is where the Nike shoe was born, where they say running was born, and where being a "Duck" is special (it's the mascot of the university..."Go Ducks!").

I know this because it's the city where I was born and raised as a child.

During my freshman year of college I lived in a U of O dorm right across the street from Hayward field where I could watch runners on the track from my second floor window.

It looks exactly the same today as it did thirty five years ago!

Notice the Czech flag hanging from a window? Who would've guessed 35 years ago that a girl who lived in that dorm would move to the Czech Republic one day!
I would've given anything to be at Hayward Field yesterday as it was not only the host of the IAAF Junior Championships this past week-end, but was also the finish line for the Eugene Half Marathon.

That my brother ran in.

After only finding out ten days ago that he had a free entry compliments of a friend!

In order to be done in time for the Junior Championships to resume their day, the half marathon started at 6 AM, thus the early morning light in the photo above.

Mike is a great runner, a true Eugenian! But even if you're a good runner, it doesn't mean you can train for a half marathon in ten days.

But he did, despite calf cramps for a few days that kept him from running, and flu like symptoms for a few other that also kept him home.

Despite those circumstances, yesterday morning, bright and early, he decided to go ahead and give it a try.

He not only did it, but finished in 2:21!!!

A very respectable half marathon time even for someone who DID train. But an amazing time for someone who didn't!! I'm SOOO proud of him, and told him to send me photos so I could enjoy his victory, and write about it today!

CONGRATULATIONS Mike!!! Hey, and you even got a medal! :)

One other significance about Eugene: perhaps the greatest runner ever to come out of the U of O was Steve Prefontaine. That's him in the photo above. He competed in the 1972 Olympics, and once held the American record in seven track events.

Sadly he died in a car accident in 1975 at just 24 years of age.

But the month or so before he died, he'd been to our family's house in Coburg, Oregon. He was interested in buying it since it was on the market because my dad had received a job promotion to Portland, Oregon and we were moving.

Even as little kids, Mike and I knew who he was and it was a pretty exciting day to have him at our home. I think we both feel a connection to him because of that, though he didn't end up buying our house.

I'm proud to be from Eugene, Oregon, and super proud of my brother for his success at the Eugene half marathon yesterday!!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Going to Market

Before Claire came home we talked about the things she wanted to do this summer while home. One of those was accomplished today.

Farmer's Market in Ostrava? Check!

We discovered this market two years ago when they started it in the parking lot of a local mall.

And now it's one of our favorite places to go in the summer!

The market is full of local vendors who I love to support with all their yummy fresh produce.

But one of our favorite is the honey lady. You can be sure that Claire stocked up with another round of honey to take back to college!

A little raspberry flavored mineral water for 3 kc (14 cents!) a bottle? Yes!

So glad we could make it to our little farmer's market at the mall this morning!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Twenty Nine Years

Thirty years ago, while in Germany with Malachi Ministries, I met a girl named Yvonne.

We spent a week together in Heidelberg on the military base where our team led a week of ministry for high school students. She was home from her first year of college, but joined in with her high school aged brother.

The next summer we saw each other again in Heidelberg and a friendship was solidified.

But that was the last time I saw her.

Until yesterday when she arrived with her son!

We've stayed in touch all these years but somehow were never in the same place at the same time.

A few months ago she contacted me and said she and her son were coming to Czech to do an English camp and asked if they could come visit.


Her church in Ohio partners with a church here in Czech and has sent teams in the past few years. When she heard they needed people again this year, she and her son jumped at the chance to come. We're so glad they did!

As we talked and caught up over dinner after they arrived, somehow the fact of Krakow being just two hours came up in the conversation.

"Do you want to go tomorrow?" I asked.

With great big smiles, they answered yes! So off we went this morning to see what we could see in an afternoon.

It turned out to be one of the prettiest days of the summer so far, perfect for taking in the city.

We grabbed a typical lunch of gyros and sat ourselves down in the square to soak in the view. No better place than that for lunch!

Everywhere you looked it was pretty! Krakow is one of my favorite places to go for a day trip in the summer, especially when it's sunny and warm.

We headed up to the Wawel Castle on the hill, enjoying their gardens loaded with beautiful summer flowers. Someone sure has a green thumb up there.

It was a very sweet day with Yvonne and Kyle, as well as with Claire who came along with us. So happy to have her here with us again!

And so glad that friendships go on over the years, even if you don't get to see each other for twenty nine years!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

What Some Days are Made Of

Yesterday was sunny and beautiful, a sweet and happy day with both my girlies at home.

Today was dark and rainy, completely opposite of yesterday. Still had both girlies at home, but one was on the couch sick with the stomach flu, and the other took advantage of a gloomy day and hung out in her little bed.

It was just "one of those days", sweet in its own way.

I made a trip into Ostrava this evening to wait for a friend to arrive from the USA via Berlin, then Prague.

I haven't seen this friend in twenty nine years! As I stood waiting on the platform I wondered if I'd recognize her.

I did, and we spent the whole evening talking and catching up!

More of our story tomorrow.