Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Doing Dublin

Although a wedding was the real purpose of being in Ireland, I couldn't pass up at least seeing Dublin on my way out!

And it couldn't have been more fun with my Slovak friend, Darina! We traveled together back to Dublin after the wedding, in a rented car that I drove while she navigated...because you know, driving happens on the other side of the road there so I needed all the help she could give me! :)

Oh how thankful I was for her companionship, and for the sweet fellowship we experienced along the way.

Although somewhat of a gray, raindrop kind of day in Dublin, we "did the city" in about four hours, hitting as many highlights as we could.

Seeing very interesting people along the way. :)

Literally hoards of teenagers filled the streets as we navigated ourselves around the city on foot. I honestly can't remember a day in a city where I was jostled so much among the crowds!

But then the famous Trinity College emerged and we took ourselves inside to walk around the grounds, and enjoy a few less people.

Established in 1592, its Ireland's oldest university. Is it strange to say it felt like a movie set in there?

Though I have no idea who was playing (or even what exactly they were playing, though I'm guessing it was cricket?!), we stood watching for a bit as a few raindrops fell, obviously not a concern to many there as I'm guessing it happens often (Ireland=rain, right?).

We knew that the Book of Kells is one of the great sights of Dublin, but since time was limited we had to satisfy ourselves with just a glance at the building.

Wandering through the streets of Dublin, we walked by countless pubs and cafes, all full of people. Seriously, NO shortage of people in Dublin!!

Being with Darina in Dublin made my day! So thankful for this sister in Christ (and also a JV teammate who works in Bratislava with Mark and Amy Chase).

I feel quite successful for having driven in Ireland for four days, on the opposite side of the car with a manual transmission. YOU try shifting on the other side! Without a doubt though, driving through Dublin was the most complicated and I'm thankful to have had Darina to help me navigate our way to our hotel near the airport.

And look who we met up with late at night!

Caleb and Haley spent the day after the wedding with the Chase family, then took a bus from Cork to Dublin and made their way to the same airport hotel where they spent the night. Early the next morning they were back on a plane to Bulgaria where they'll continue their internship with JV until mid-August.

I'm hopeful I'll make it back to Ireland some day to see more of the beauty of the Emerald Isle. But it was mostly a delight to share in Shane and Allyson's wedding there!

Monday, June 29, 2015

An Irish Wedding: Shane & Allyson

Oh what a glorious day, celebrating the marriage of these two, Shane and Allyson, in Bandon, Ireland, where Shane is from.

The view of their joy-filled faces was priceless from where I sat with the other musicians. It's like time stood still and heaven opened up over Shane and Ally, filling us all with God's presence as they pledged themselves to one another in front of family and friends during their meaningful ceremony.

Allyson's dad, Mark, composed both the processional and recessional, ending in a joy-filled Irish jig that had everyone clapping as Ally and Shane made their way down the aisle after being pronounced husband and wife! See HERE for a link to the livestream wedding video - wedding starts at 20:30 if you want to fast forward. You're in for a treat if you have time to watch.

Although I was in the middle of fingers flying on the piano during the recessional, I'm pretty sure every face had a smile while the music played - most of all the bride and groom! It really couldn't have been a more joyous, delightful, God-honoring occasion.

A spiffy little red Triumph met them at the steps of the church, their get away car to the reception after hugs, kisses and congratulations following the ceremony.

Like royalty, they had their paparazzi for the day!

A downpour the night before ushered in a beautiful sunny wedding day which was certainly perfect for getting away in a convertible afterward!

With everyone taking photos, calling out greetings, and wishing them well, townspeople and those working in the shops even came out on their thresholds to see them off. Small town life at its very best!

Down a narrow Irish country road, The Innishannon House Hotel was the perfect location for their reception and photos afterward.

Mark and Amy Chase with Allyson & Shane

Chase family

Bridesmaids: sister, cousin, friends

Chase and O'Regan parents

Groomsmen: Brothers, brother-in-law, friends

Allyson's side of the family, including parents, siblings, grandparents, aunt, uncle and cousins

Chase siblings

Shane's side of the family

More of Shane's family!

One of my favorites!

"Shane and Allyson, your wedding day was everything a wedding should be! 

You gave glory to God, you proclaimed His goodness in bringing a man and wife together.

You radiated His presence, you let us see the depth of love you have for one another.

And you gave us a glimpse forward, towards the great wedding feast still to come when we will meet our Bridegroom, Jesus!

What joy to share in your wedding day in Ireland! May the Lord bless you and keep you, and make His face to shine upon you, as it already does!"

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Rehearsal in Ireland

There's a wedding happening here tomorrow!

In Bandon, County Cork, here in Ireland, our friend Allyson Chase will marry Shane O'Regan.

After the rehearsal for that event earlier this afternoon, another rehearsal took place this evening.

Once again Mark Chase has composed music for this wedding like he did for Caleb and Haley's wedding last year, and tonight was the one and only rehearsal for the musicians.

Which, gulp, includes me on piano! It's been a long time since I've had to learn a difficult piece of music. But oh how excited I am to play it tomorrow. He's composed something that, if we all play our parts well (nine musicians altogether) will be glorious!

What a precious gift this dad is giving his girl on her wedding day!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Beautiful Whirlwind

From the streets of Chicago, to the cornfields of Indiana, and the rolling hills of Kentucky, it's been a whirlwind trip to the States this past week.

What a joy to visit friends, churches and partners in the ministry of Josiah Venture these days and say "Thank you" for the investment they're making in the lives of young people throughout Central and Eastern Europe. We are SO grateful for all who join us in seeing many come to Christ.

Dave and I go our separate ways today. I'm headed back to Europe while Dave has more meetings here in the States.

But I'm not heading home yet. For the first time, I'm visiting Ireland! But not for just sightseeing, rather for the wedding of Allyson Chase, our daughter-in-law's sister, and daughter of our friends and JV teammates, Mark and Amy Chase.

So hopefully the next blog post will come from the Emerald Isle.

Slán go fóill! Goodbye for now!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

It's a......

This is my pretty daughter-in-law who is expecting their first baby, and our first grandchild, in November.

This is our son, the father-to-be.

And this is the waiting room at their doctor. Why am I there with them??

Several weeks ago at their regular appointment, the doctor scheduled their 'gender reveal' ultrasound, and amazingly, the date coincided with our time in Chicago. They called me at home in Czech and asked if I'd like to come and find out with them who they'd be having.

Are you kidding??? Oh how kind and gracious of them, and the Lord, to let me be there for that event when I live so far away!!

It's been a long time since I've been at a baby ultrasound...guess that would be about 21 years ago, when I was expecting Claire! It felt surreal to be sitting there with Tyler and Lara, waiting for the moment when we'd hear the news.

And there it is! The moment the sonographer confirmed....

It's a BOY!!!!!

When Tyler was young, like early elementary age, he had this uncanny way of predicting the gender of many expecting friends. And he was right again with his own baby! Everyone else thought it would be a girl, but not he and Lara!

I am positively thrilled that my firstborn son is having a firstborn son!!

And there he is...a good glimpse of their little man and our grandson!

What's a grandma to do but start the spoiling early with gifts in the parking lot and lunch at Chick Filet?! While the diaper bag is from the States, the little doggie is from Czech, the first gift I ever bought for my grandson. Definitely not the last!! HA!

After lunch we made a little trip over to Target to see if there was anything else grandma (or Nonnie, as I'd like to be called! More on that in another blog post someday) wanted to pick up for baby boy Patty.

Sure enough, there were a few fun things for him there! :)

For any JVK or JV staff at kid's camp, do you get the significance of this first little outfit???!!!

Oh my...such happiness at knowing there's a little boy in theirs and our future!

Of course no purchase is complete without adding in Pooh bear, Tyler's favorite as a little boy!

Their little man will make his appearance sometime around November 2, and perhaps earlier if Nonnie's prayers are heard! Dave and I will be in the States in October, but while I'm staying until November 12th, Dave leaves on October 31st to speak at a conference in England that scheduled before we knew baby boy was on his way. So, thus begins prayers for an October birthday for our precious little man!

No matter what his birthday is, we are trusting God for a safe development and birth in the coming months. And SOOOO looking forward to meeting him, loving him, and being part of his life for many years to come.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Chicago Treasures

What's in Chicago besides pizza?

Incredible gluten free pizza at Marcello's Father and Son restaurant in Skokie!

Right now, two out of our five children!

Tyler and Lara met us for dinner after I landed at O'Hare Tuesday afternoon, a day later than expected. But honestly it worked out just fine to have a tiny "London Vacation" (albeit in an airport hotel!) for 22 hours while I waited for my rebooked flight.

After a good night's sleep at the hotel British Air put me up in, I flew in happy to know I'd get to spend the evening with these three!

Nothing like some family time to perk me up and beat jet lag!

So thankful for hours of delightful conversation and connection with them. I treasure each and every time we get together.