Sunday, July 31, 2016

Climbing Buddy

In the midst of many blessed meetings on this fundraising trip for our event center at Malenovice in the Czech Republic, the Lord has given some precious gifts to us.

Like this one.

Dave and I flew into Denver and met up with our Caleb in the parking lot of a Starbucks late at night.

That heartfelt hug melted my heart.

Dave is sporting a new hat, a gift from Caleb for an important reason!

As did watching these two talk a "mile a minute"!

But we weren't just meeting up with Caleb. I was actually dropping Dave off so that he could go with Caleb, drive into the Rockies and camp at a trailhead.

These two were up early, having breakfast that Caleb cooked over his cool new camp stove that we gave him for his Moody graduation.

And then? They were off on a big climb.

Caleb's been wanting to climb a "14-er", as they're known by in Colorado, so Dave came for a day to do that with him!

They said it couldn't have been a better day to do it. The weather was perfect, the company was excellent, and the climb was doable for both!

But true to Patty style, one "14-er" in a day isn't enough.

Yes, they climbed a second one as well!

It was an exquisitely perfect day for these two who love an adventure. So thankful for the Lord's kindness in giving them that time together.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Seeing Her Again

Before flying out from Oregon, God had one surprise in store for me on this unusual (as in, we're rarely here in the summer) July trip in the States.

I had a perfectly beautiful catch up with my best friend of 36 years, Michelle, who I was just with a few weeks ago in Croatia!

Michelle's role in my life has been many things over the years: discipler, mentor, friend, helper, counselor, adventurer, prayer warrior, gift giver, comforter, joy bringer and sister...and so much more. My life is deeply enriched by the goodness of her in my life.

And honestly, I'm not sure there is anyone in my life who makes me laugh harder!

I hope you, dear reader, have someone in YOUR life who makes you laugh this hard!

With a history of visiting local Oregon retailer, Fred Meyer, we just had to get in a quick trip there again this time. It resulted in some hilarity that was just the thing my heart needed in the midst of travels.

You're a blessing every time my dearest Michelle! So thankful I got to see you again!!

Friday, July 29, 2016

Day of Nostalgia

Because Dave was able to travel with one of our JV board members for a portion of the event center fundraising trip that we're on right now, it opened up space for me to make a different trip.

A trip to my beloved Oregon.

To see my brother!

He blessed me by taking a day off work so that he and I could travel over to the Oregon coast and enjoy each other and some nostalgia from our childhoods.

Growing up in Eugene meant that Florence, Oregon was the closest place for us to get away to the beach. With our parents, we made that drive so very many times and have some of our fondest memories there, along with new ones that we've made through the years when I return for visits.

Need coffee in Florence? This is your place!

After an incredible lunch at Mo's, our family favorite my entire life, we headed out to the North Jetty to walk on the beach.

While it looks beautiful, it was actually crazy windy and cool in temperature, like it often is there! It's part of the charm of the Oregon coast.

But we found a driftwood fort that someone made long ago (somehow it's never washed away!) and sat in the protection of it for several hours while we talked and talked. What a glorious afternoon with my brother, Mike!!

Walking on the beach, hearing the roar of the waves and the seagulls overhead, is balm to my soul. As is time with my brother. We probably could've talked for many more hours down there.

But since we needed to get back to Eugene, we dragged ourselves away from the beach and headed for home.

As we were driving I asked my brother, "What's the best hamburger in Eugene?" To which he replied, "Well, I don't know if it's the best, but have you heard what opened back up again??"

Oh. My. Word!!! Bob's Hamburgers is open again!

Of all the places of my childhood, this place is THE iconic spot that I associate with growing up! My mom would bring my brother and I here every Monday night before she played volleyball. Or we'd stop in on our way home from grocery shopping. Or on our way back from the beach. Or after swimming lessons. Or school events.

It was OUR go-to. And we all loved it, including Bob's secret sauce!

And now, the original Bob's is back in business, having opened in May this year. And that's where Mike and I had dinner, carrying on our day of nostalgia with each other!

I had to leave the next morning, but oh how my heart was filled up after these happy returns to childhood memories.

Thank you for treating me to such a great day Mike!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Last Morning

Aw, my dear family! Our time together was good right down to the last minutes we shared!

Ever so kind, our friend, Theresa, had generously given us the run of her house for our days in the Chicago area. That allowed us to just be ourselves! ๐Ÿ˜‰

These two! So funny together!

Happily, even Dave was able to join us for breakfast on our last morning together.

Which meant a fun picture of the three of us...

And one with my mom and dad too!

But all too soon it was time to put our things in the rental car and head for the airport. Which meant waving goodbye to my mom and dad. They too would leave just an hour later to continue on their trip in the Midwest to visit other family members.

How crazy to say goodbye to them at Theresa's house!

I'm SO glad we had that time together mom and dad!! 

The three of us headed for the airport, dropped off our car and jumped on a shuttle bus to our terminals.

One thing led to another and by the time we had to get off for our United flight (Claire was going on to another terminal for her flight) we were laughing so hard I almost missed getting off. Claire was trying to make the same faces as her dad in the selfies we took on the bus and it was absolutely cracking me up!

On one hand it was hard to say always is. But on the other hand, it was SUCH a sweet time with both Claire and my parents that my heart can't stay sad because I'm so full and content.

And I DO get to keep going through daily life with this precious man!

Plus we actually get to see Claire in Colorado next week. How kind the Lord is in letting us have another opportunity to be with her!

Monday, July 25, 2016

The Little Touches ❤️

There are some events that are just meant to be savored. Like the wedding we enjoyed this past week-end.

While I've already posted about the wedding HERE, I wanted to post about all the additional little touches that made this day so special.

My dear friend, Sharon, from my town of Frydlant in Czech, who I've had the joy of sharing life with these past twelve years, was the mother of the bride. It's hard to explain how much it meant to be there to share in this day with her and with her daughter, who has been like a niece to me all these years.

I loved being at the hotel beforehand, watching the bride and her bridesmaids get ready. And I loved watching Sharon make last minute tie adjustments on her husband, Paul!

Lisa, another one of my dear Frydlant friends, and a special person in Lucy Rose and Claire's life when they were growing up in Czech, was here for the wedding too. She was the matron of honor!

Over at the guestbook table, a sweet surprise greeted the guests.

Gifted artists, Lucy Rose and Sheldon prepared postcards from their art as a small gift to everyone in attendance!

Not only that, but Sheldon was the master arranger for all the beautiful flowers on the tables!

These dear girls, from all walks of Lucy Rose's life, served her as her bridesmaids.

A 97 degree day with what felt like 100% humidity couldn't detract from the setting of this beautiful, meaningful wedding at Pottawotamie Park in St. Charles!

There were many touching moments after the wedding was finished, like this one between Lucy and her dad's mom...a beautiful story long in the making.

I loved getting to be at the wedding with my Claire, who flew in that morning from Colorado to be one of Lucy Rose's bridesmaids.

And it was so fun to have my parents there too! They've known Lucy Rose since she first moved to Czech (because of their many visits to see us) so couldn't miss sharing in this special day as well.

Who knew the four of us would come from our different corners of the world to meet up in Chicagoland for a wedding?!

And to my dad's delight, Lucy Rose had doughnuts at her wedding!

In the evening, the mic was opened up for anyone to share a toast to Lucy Rose and Sheldon. One of the best ones was her brother, Paul Hugh. I can't even begin to describe the content of his toast, but let's just say - it was unforgettable!

And brought a lot of laughter and smiles to his sister and new brother-in-law!!

Lucy Rose's three friends from Czech were delightful too in their toast, as they shared about the first time they met her when they all began high school in Ostrava. They never could've imagined that seven years later they would be in Chicago attending her wedding!

But the best part of the wedding came at the end as Lucy Rose came to the mic to speak.

She spoke about how she lives a fractured life: part of herself comes from Czech, part of herself lives in Wheaton, part of herself was a child growing up on the north shore of Chicago, and part of herself attends a Spanish speaking church with Sheldon (where she's learning to speak Spanish!).

For one evening of her life, all of those fractured parts came together to make her whole.

And she thanked us all for making that possible.

I cried.

It was absolutely lovely to be at a wedding with so many precious little touches that made it very special.

For our Lucy Rose. ❤️

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Family Fun in Chicago

Who would've imagined that in the middle of the summer, coming from three different locations, we all would get to meet up in Chicago-land?!

After the wedding on Friday, with a treasured day of nothing to do but be together, mom, dad, Claire and I took off for downtown Chicago to enjoy time with each other.

Claire was happy to be back in her stomping grounds (she's a student at Moody Bible Institute), and was the perfect tour guide for the afternoon. My mom and dad had never experienced the "L", Chicago's transit system, so she made sure they did!

My dad remembers being in Chicago as a boy and seeing the "L" out his hotel window when he stayed there with his dad. Now he's here with his wife, daughter and granddaughter, actually getting to ride on it!

You just can't beat the view from the "L"!

This special occasion called for a selfie of us on the train. But this isn't just any selfie. This is the first one my dad's taken! He did a good job didn't he?

When in downtown Chicago, my wishes are pretty simple. A gluten free donut from Do-Rite Donuts. All is well in the world now that I've had that taste again. HA!

Although the day was cloudy, it was very hot and humid. So stops for lunch and shopping in air-conditioned places was a must.

Thankfully one of those places had an early birthday present waiting to be found for me from my mom and dad!

Thanks for the fun gift Mom and Dad!

My dad is, and always has been, such a trooper when it comes to shopping with the girls. He finds a spot to wait and never complains. However, twiddling of thumbs does occur from time to time. ๐Ÿ˜‰

He smiled right after this! ๐Ÿ˜Š

A stop at Intelligentsia in Chicago is also a "must". This is the firm Tyler worked for the past three years before his recent move to Tennessee with Lara and Judah.

"Missed seeing you at your Intelli Tyler! Coffee tasted as good as ever though."

We headed back out to the Wheaton area in the late afternoon, to our friend's home where we're staying. After dinner I loved seeing these two enjoying time together as a big old thunderstorm brewed outside.

And then, the deluge of rain and the cracks of lightening ensued! What an awesome Midwest storm to enjoy from the front porch!

Maybe one of my favorite pics ever of Claire and my dad as they enjoyed the storm together!

I am ever ever ever so thankful for the joy of sharing a few fun days with my family in Chicago!