Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Goodbye For Now

Well, bad news first. I woke up with a sore throat again. And nausea. Will you pray for me??? We are heading to the States and I would SURE like to be well for this trip!

The good news now. It was the warmest day of our whole time here on Hvar! The wind died down to just a whisper as we closed up the house for the winter.

Although I wasn't feeling great, I still managed to get everything cleaned, packed and tucked away during the last sunset of this trip.

A little surge of energy came over me (thank you Lord!) as Dave and I carried all the outdoor furniture inside and closed the shutters.

And we took one last picture before getting in the car.

With time to spare before needing to be at the ferry, we opted to take the dirt road along the cliffs of Hvar. It did not disappoint!

A project is actually underway to widen the entire road (and put in guardrails!), and about half of it is finished already. But this is the section that we can't figure out how they'll manage!

It's a spectacular drive as you hug the edge of the mountain, and affords incredibly beautiful views. Especially at sunset!

We're on the ferry now, and will spend the night in Split tonight before heading to Prague tomorrow. Again, pray for me please! We fly on Thursday morning. My bold prayer is that I will have no sore throat, and will have gained some energy by then!

Monday, December 11, 2017

Riding out the Jugo

Do you hear me cheering in Croatia?? It was my best day yet after weeks of being super sick. I finally had a little energy today, and my throat isn't sore anymore. I also didn't need to sleep 16 hours today. While that was actually pretty wonderful for a few weeks, I'm ready to get back to regular life!

Wouldn't you know, a huge storm blew in today giving me a chance to get out for the first time in many days so I could see its beauty and power.

This is the famous tree of the small village of Sveta Nedjela. The very first morning we arrived onto this island in 2008, we saw this tree. I'm almost certain I've seen it every time since then over the past 9 years. It wouldn't be a complete trip here without seeing it!

But today, it was in spectacular mode.

Croatia is known for its winds, and today is one of them called "Jugo".

A low pressure, warm wind that's not as strong as the infamous Bura, blew onto the Adriatic from the African Sahara. Seriously!

It causes high and choppy waves, with showers in between and people are often quite depressed by it, especially since it can last for more than two weeks. Actually, Jugo is usually to blame for bad moods and bad behavior in Croatia. I've heard that if someone notices you are having a bad day, they’ll ask “Južina?” referring to the wind. All you need to do is nod and you are forgiven for your sins that day.  Hmmmm! 🤔

I had yet to experience a winter Jugo so the fact that I felt well enough to go out into it (with its reputation!) say's something!

I'm only wearing a hat to keep my hair from blowing away. It's actually 60 degrees, despite what my attire says!

Nobody else was down at the marina today. Why would you be?? It's crazy down there!

There are some serious waves out there, and even the boaters (well, except for one) have sense enough to take theirs out of the harbor. You don't want to play around with this wind storm.

It might be hard to see, but just over the horizon of the boat is a wall, that looks like its split in two. That's because it DID yesterday! The waves were pounding so hard it broke an iron reinforced wall. Does that tell you something about what this wind does?

Those buildings are a restaurant in the summer, and that harbor often has some pretty fancy yachts tied up as they enjoy a long, leisurely lunch or dinner at the marina. Not today!

I have to say, it was pretty freaky watching the force of those winds bash against the walls. Yet who can believe how beautiful its fierceness is??? Just best enjoyed from a distance!

All I could think of was how awful it would be to ride out a storm like this in a boat. NEVER!

Dave went down closer than I did, hoping for some spectacular shots. He got them, and he got a bit wet!

Since we were out, Dave suggested we drive down the road to Camp Lili, the campground we vacationed at in 2008, the time we fell in love with this island. We've been coming back ever since.

It too was, of course, deserted, (though our friend who stopped by this evening said, "Oh yeah, Aunt Lina said you were there today! This is small village life at its best!).

I don't know why I didn't think to get a picture of Dave and I down here...I guess because he was down at the beach capturing some more incredible shots while I stayed safer (and drier) up on the path!

We leave from here tomorrow...just when I was starting to feel better. 😌  But we are headed for a wedding in the States, to be with our camping/vacationing buddies to celebrate the marriage of one of their sons who is getting married.

I'll take more Croatia memories with me as I rendezvous with our dear friend this week-end!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Immanuel, God With Me

I was telling Dave today that I have not stayed put like this in a LONG time. Being sick has kept me inside for almost two weeks now as we've been here on Hvar.

But when you have a sight like this outside, who needs to leave?!

Today was a most spectacular day, with a seemingly epic movie scene going on outside our windows.

It was frame after frame of visual scenes with epic proportions.

And just when I thought it was over...the sunset started. Maybe the best one yet.

It almost looked like the island of Vis was on fire!

As the sun made its descent, the colors kept getting richer and richer.

While my face may be looking a little tired from all my body's been suffering, my spirits were definitely in good shape this evening. I LOVE the beauty here!

It seemed like this sunset would never end as it sent its light curving up to highlight those beautiful clouds.

By this time the wind had really picked up and it was not only breezy, but cold.

However there was no way I was going inside...I had to stay out to be a witness to this!

Finally, in one last flare, it sent up a spotlight of pink as if it was gushing out of the horizon.

And then day began its fade into night. And I seriously had to make myself stop taking pictures!

Wow, was that ever an afternoon of spectacular.

I'm sure there were others enjoying it, but I felt like it was such a kindness from the Lord to me personally ... a reminder that he is, in fact, Immanuel ... God with me!

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Stormy Day on Hvar

The clouds rolled in today and gave us a good old storm out the window.

Since I'm fighting this infection and still not feeling well, it was yet another day on the couch for me. I'm thankful for a warm fire, a good cup of tea, the Lord's presence, and a beautiful view!

Despite the rain, Dave was outside working to fix a problem here at the house. This man knows how to persevere!

By sundown, the skies were dark, except for that little bit of light over the neighboring island of Vis. Pretty spectacular!

Out to sea the other direction, the clouds let loose a good amount of rain it looks like. Sure made for a awesome sight, though I wish I'd taken this picture with a camera rather than just my phone...it could've been even more awesome!

This evening's entertainment came through my computer, from the city of Ostrava in Czech, not far from where we live.

For the fifth year, JV team members and members of the community led by Terry English, produced another absolutely outstanding gospel concert. It's become such a draw that they were able to hold their performance in the "Gong" this year, Ostrava's premiere venue for concerts.

Terry wrote on his Facebook page: "Yesterday we were contacted by a travel agent based 80 miles away asking when Ostrava Zpiva Gospel will happen next year so they can add it to their "Christmas offers". Their 2017 offers are Christmas events in Rome, Vienna, Salzburg, Prague and Krakow. (anyone who knows Ostrava will understand why I find this very funny and flattering!)"

Well, with a concert as good as this, with a delightful children's choir, an amazing strings and horn section, and of course a fantastic band and choir, who wouldn't want it to be among their Christmas offers?!

And the reason he said he thinks it's funny they would offer it is that Ostrava isn't usually known as a "place to go" in this region. But with high quality events like this, who knows...maybe it will find its cultural place on the map?!

On an important side note about this concert: Terry shared his testimony with the audience of nearly 2000, and talked about how God has changed his life. May tonight have been the beginning of someone's journey with the Lord as a result of coming to hear "Ostrava Zpiva Gospel"!

Friday, December 8, 2017

From A Distance

When I look back in a week, month or even a year from now, I am going to treasure these days when the highlight of my day was another beautiful sunset.

I can't remember the last time I was this sick, and needed to sleep and sleep and sleep. Last night was another 12 hour night for me, and today has been another day on the couch. But I think finally this evening the antibiotic has started to work as my throat is feeling less like it has knives in it. 😣

Being sick hasn't stopped me from working on my beloved JV Prayer Room project, so today has been a day with the computer propped up in my lap as I've laid here praying, and working on it.

Through the window I watched the day pass by, windier and colder than yesterday.

The forecast says we're heading towards a big storm that will produce some huge waves in the sea. I hope I feel better by Monday so I can go down to the harbor to watch them crash!

The farthest I went today was just off our porch this afternoon to capture the sunset. And these.

I've never noticed them before, but thought they were so beautiful. I had a feeling what they were so came inside to do a Google search, and sure enough...they're juniper berries.

Having no idea what they're good for, I read up on them, finding there are many uses. But...if you don't have the right kind, they can be poisonous! So to be on the safe side, I'll just leave them on their branches and enjoy them from a distance.

And that seems to be the theme for these days on Hvar. Enjoy it from a distance. Which I am!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Sunrise to Sunset

Happy, but also sad to say, I watched the sunrise this morning after an agonizingly miserable night of pain and no sleep.

The sore throat that began yesterday morning, turned into a raging fire as the evening and night went on. Then the fever came, as well as a blinding headache and body pain so deep I wondered what was really happening to me.

Thankfully a group of faithful prayer warriors stood by me through the night, some even awakened in the night who wrote to tell me of their prayers. I certainly needed them as it was one of the most painful nights of my life.

But morning came, as it always does, and Dave drove me to the clinic in a town 30 minutes from where we're staying.

Where to go wasn't obvious once we arrived, and it took many attempts before finding the right office.

But once we found the doctor and his nurse, they were quick and helpful.

"You definitely have an infection, though it doesn't look like strep. I'll give you our number one antibiotic in Croatia and you should feel better within 48 hours."

"Oh, and where did you say you're from? The US? Did you know our Croatian President is there right now? I met her just last week and shook her hand!"

Though I was having a hard time even standing, it was nice to be treated warmly in his office.

Dave paid the equivalent of $40 for the doctor visit, and the doctor gave me a prescription so we could head to the pharmacy.

While I waited in the car, still raging with pain in my throat and feeling feverish, Dave ran into the pharmacy to get what the doctor had prescribed.

When he got back in the car he handed this to me, which at first I thought was a sandwich. I couldn't figure out why he was giving that to me.

But it turned out to be the prescription. They wrapped it in paper, rather than putting it in a bag. I think that's a first for me.

I barely remember the drive home. Climbing into bed as soon we arrived (well, after taking the meds I was supposed to take), I slept hard for four and a half hours.

When I woke up, the pain was still raging in my throat, and when I looked at it, I saw no change. But remembering that the doctor told me to sleep, drink lots of fluid and wait, I went out onto the porch to soak in the last warmth of the afternoon.

Our son, Tyler, just happened to text me as I settled in, so for the next half hour I enjoyed pictures, texts and videos of his boys, Judah and Asher. That lifted my spirits!

The sunset was long and beautiful this afternoon, and nourished my soul as it went in for the finale.

Though I don't know what the next few days will hold, I'm thankful today brought medicine, sleep (eventually!) joy of grandchildren, and a gorgeous ending in the sky.