Thursday, November 30, 2017

It's All in the Contrast

It rained all day yesterday here on Hvar, which was fine with me. I slept nearly 15 hours. As I used to say to my kids when they slept a lot, "Your body must have needed it". Guess the same applied to me.

Today we had rain in the morning, and more rain tonight (wow, what a storm it was!). But in between today, we had such a variety of "faces" in the sky.

For the one hour we had sunshine, Dave took advantage of it as he worked on writing outside.

Then the clouds began to really roll in, causing a spectacular sunset.

The significance of this didn't escape me. Without those clouds, it would have been just an ordinary sunset.

But because of the clouds, it produced more color, more texture, more spectacular-ness! Isn't that the way life is too? It would be boring to have only blue sky every day. The "clouds" is what provides variety and contrast. In fact, that's one of Dave's favorite sayings, "It's all in the contrast!"

That was no more true than what the Lord produced tonight in this sunset!

It is so good to be here, letting the Lord refresh and nourish me, body and soul.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Last Minute Booking

With all the traveling we do, I am always trying to stay a few steps ahead of our bookings to keep up with it all. But every once in a while I book "last minute", which is what happened last night as we drove from Vienna to Split.

Trying to find the best deal for the money, I normally read dozens of reviews and usually keep track of the ones that look good in various locations where I know we'll be staying.

But in the case of last night, I just went on, found a good price, and booked it. What a nice surprise to get there and find out it was something really special!

As we ate breakfast this morning, we chatted with the woman at the front desk (who was also making us breakfast) and found out that this place was renovated just a year ago, and has been so popular that they rarely have any open rooms!

The only reason I got a room was that a businessman had cancelled yesterday evening. So when I went online last minute while driving in the car at 10 PM, a room was available!

The other surprise was finding out what the rooms cost in the summer ... five times the amount that I paid for last night! Now that's what I call a good deal.

Our view out the window of our room

The little hotel is in the old section of the palace in Split, just around the corner from the main section.

We wandered around for a bit this morning after breakfast, enjoying the charm of the city as always.

While we needed coats, the sun was out making everything sparkle.

I had to chuckle as we passed by here, a scene I've seen many times while in the city.

When was the last time you saw an old scale, ready for you to get on and be weighed for a small fee?!

We didn't take her up on her offer to be weighed (😂), but instead did what I love doing ... poking around nooks and crannies in the old city.

Soon we headed back to check out of the hotel. It's the one tucked into the corner between the two buildings. While it doesn't look like it, there are little side streets that go on either side of the building!

Parking was included in the price for the night (very unusual for the city) so we walked over to the garage to get our car, taking in a different scene of the city than we usually see.

Oh what a gorgeous day here in lovely Split!

After running errands, we had dinner at our favorite restaurant, tucked away in the old palace.

Yes, one of our errands was to get Dave a haircut! 😉

Finally it was time to head to the ferry, which turned out to be very empty tonight.

That made for a very quiet crossing over to Hvar.

We're now tucked away here for a couple of weeks while Dave works ahead on all of his teaching preparations for the next six months, and I catch up on all sorts of things!

Monday, November 27, 2017

On the Road Again

Normally goodbyes are hard, something I sure never look forward to. But thankfully, we will see Charlie and his parents in just three weeks so this made today's goodbye a whole lot nicer!

Nevertheless, Charlie won't be back here at our house for quite a while, so in that way I want to document and remember his first visit to our house, right down to the last moments of it.

Three weeks from now, we'll all be in Illinois for the wedding of a very dear friend of ours. That will be so fun to blog about!

But for now, we're off to Bratislava, Slovakia to take Caleb, Haley and Charlie to see Haley's dad, mom, sister and brother.

Once again, Charlie went along with the plan, and literally slept the entire way there, nearly three hours. He's already a really good traveler.

After a quick stop in the IKEA parking lot at a mall in Bratislava where we met up with Haley's family, we said quick goodbyes and headed on to Vienna.

It's such a funny thing to go downtown, NOT because we're sight-seeing, but because I need to pick up a prescription for medicine! It was a nice excuse to walk around and see the Christmas market at St. Stephens though.

We then got ourselves situated in the car and drove for 8 hours, down to Split, Croatia where we are spending the night.

We'll head over to Hvar sometime tomorrow!

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Family Sunday

Look who came to church with us this morning!

Throughout the time of worship, Charlie was so attentive, hardly taking his eyes off the girl playing piano right in front of him. You always wonder what's going through a baby's mind don't you?!

Our friend Dušan brought the three of them up front to share about where God is leading them, and then so kindly prayed over them. It was great to have them here this morning.

After church we went into Ostrava to have lunch at our favorite mall.

Charlie is so easy going (his parents are too!) that he contentedly goes along with whatever the plan is!

For my Czech friends...we thought he looked like a cute little trpaslík!

We enjoyed a good meal together, and then wandered the mall a bit. It's decked out in its Christmas finery which feels so festive.

A stop for some good coffee at Ostravanka was a must!

While the ever changing mood lights in the mall make for some pretty funny looking pictures, this was such a sweet moment connecting with Charlie!

One last family photo at the mall, and then we headed for home and our last evening together.

I was happy to hold Charlie for his evening nap!

And Papa got in some more smiles with Charlie.

It has been ever so sweet to watch Caleb and Haley parent their son - they are really good at it!

I had to chuckle when I looked up on the wall in Caleb's childhood room and noticed this sign.

Bought by Caleb almost nine years ago on a trip to Berlin, it turned out to be prophetic in the naming of his son!

I'm so thankful we had these wonderful days with Caleb, Haley and Charlie!

Come back again soon! 😉

Saturday, November 25, 2017

David and Katka's Wedding Day

On this windy Saturday afternoon, a groom stood waiting for his bride!

David, an American who came to serve with JV in Latvia, stood at the alter waiting for his beautiful bride, Katka. She trusted Christ in Havirov as a high schooler, then became part of our family as a beloved older sister/daughter/friend. She went on to Bible college in the States and then came back to serve with us in Czech, until a few years ago when she sensed God leading her to join our JV Latvia team.

That turned out to be a very good thing!

Today, David and Katka came here to join their lives together as husband and wife in front of these witnesses, who love these two people so very much!

As she came down the aisle, she radiated as a bride who is already well loved by her soon to be husband!

It was a privilege for Dave to be asked to bring the message and marry them! They chose for him to speak in English, and our good friend Dušan translated into Czech for those in the audience that needed it.

There were so many points along the way where I choked up as I watched our dear Katka pledge her life to David. I've known her for twenty two years, so we've walked through a lot of life together. It made this day all the sweeter, getting to share in this very significant event with her.

After saying their vows, they took communion and were pronounced husband and wife. A great cheer went up as they walked down the aisle as a newly married couple!

One of the traditions at a Czech wedding that I love is a picture taken of the bride and groom with all their guests. They came back in to the front and we all gathered around them for the photo.

My heart just soared with love for them, and the joy of sharing in this day together with them.

Hugging Katka afterward was the sweetest moment ... rejoicing with her in God's goodness to bring she and David together.

Introducing Mr and Mrs David Roney!!

It was also special to share in this day with so many of our JV family members, as well as our own family members!

Our first picture all together with Charlie, his parents and all his grandparents!

Later in the afternoon we all headed over to the reception location to continue the celebration with David and Katka.

This picture may be a bit blurry, since I was taking it quickly not to impede their walk to the head table, but I love the joy it captures in both of their faces!

They were headed here to join their wedding party which included these three lovely ladies...a Czech, a Latvian and an American who served with JV in Slovakia a few years ago!

L-R: Martina, Lelda and Laura

The rest of the evening was absolutely full of fun, joy, fellowship, dancing and great food! It was a night I won't soon forget, being with so many people that we love and enjoy, all celebrating our dear friends, David and Katka.

David and Katka, how we all are rejoicing over God's amazing design that brought you two together! 
We pray for a long, happy, rich, meaningful marriage that brings honor to the Lord and much delight to the two of you! 
You are SO well suited for each other, and I know you're going to love each other well for many, many years to come! 
We love you so much and wish you every blessing from the Lord!!!