Thursday, August 9, 2018

Bounty of Summer

Another scorching hot summer day in Frýdlant; but oh so pretty too!

Because of all the road construction in town these days, if I want to go to my regular grocery store and drugstore, I have to take a back road to get there.

Today while driving on it I actually took notice of what is on that road rather than just going from Point A to Point B. Today I decided to stop to get out at a certain spot.

For my brother, Mike (who works for Glory Bee honey in Oregon!), this is for you!

Look at all those beautiful hives!!

This was as close as I dared to walk, given that there were thousands of bees swarming around the hives.

But it was just so cool to stand there and watch, knowing those bees were hard at work making honey. I wonder if and where the owners of these hives sell it?? Would be so fun to try it!

This evening I went out on my regular walk with Kaylee, and wandered into the field next to us because...

We've got wild blackberries there!

Not only that but we've got a bunch cucumbers on the vine in our garden.

And a lot of peppers that have just suddenly come to life!

There are onions and garlic in the garden now, and lots of zucchini and squash too. I love having the bounty of the earth right outside my door!

I'm off on a little adventure tomorrow, so enjoyed soaking up the sights and sounds of home today!

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

My Other Family

Nearly ten years ago I met this dear Czech friend at a coffee shop she owned in our town back then.

She came to faith in Jesus years ago and loves Him so much! Walking with Him through the deepest storms and the greatest joys, she trusts and follows Him with all her heart. It's always a joy, blessing and encouragement to talk about spiritual things when we're together.

Her daughter is now eight years old; I've literally known her since the day she was born!

And she is a delight! Darling, clever, adorable, artistic and musical she is a very special girl. I know the Lord has beautiful plans for her life (as well as for her 17 year old brother who was at work today, so I missed seeing him).

Thank you Ingrid and Anni for such a sweet visit in your home today.

You are family!

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Playdate and Fancy Fries

After a phone call and change of plans this morning, I hopped in the car and headed down towards Frýdlant.

This is the summer of road construction in our town, so there's a temporary stoplight (which is the only one in town! We don't normally have a permanent one) that I wait at multiple times a day before heading onto the main road, which is one-way right now.

At least I had good company with me! 😁

Yesterday Tyler texted me saying that Judah told him, "Need go Nonnie's house today".  I was going to happily oblige by having them come out to our house for dinner tonight.

But when car troubles kept them from driving today, I said I could come in to Ostrava for a play date instead.

And bring Kaylee with me since she's much loved by the boys!

I wasn't there two minutes when Kaylee found her spot to lay down under a chair.

And the boys quickly went after her! 😂

She's really a good sport about it, and doesn't mind getting up again, and again, to be played with.

Oh these sweet fun to hang out here for an afternoon with them!

Asher eventually went down for a nap, which left Nonnie all to Judah's self.

Would you believe we played on the floor, for more than an hour, with just these little horses and their barn? His imagination has no end!

A little note to Great-Aunty Kristi...AWESOME gift for the boys!!!

Though the heat wave continues outside, Judah and I decided to take a little walk through Ostrava later in the afternoon.

Judah already shares my love for...

Fancy Fries!

This is a recently developed concept that originated right here in Ostrava! While they now have other locations across the country, it started right here, in this humble spot downtown.

Their vision is to "produce great French fries and homemade dips from fresh and local raw materials of the highest quality." They write on their website, "we believe that even a simple thing like fries can be a great food when it invests the right amount of energy and time. Our goal is to create quality fast food snacks with a simple and sophisticated offer."

Let me say...they TOTALLY deliver on this vision! They slice and fry the potatoes right there in front of you, serving them up in very clever packaging with a variety of dips that are fantastic.

And look who came to meet us at Fancy Fries?!

Claire had just arrived back to Ostrava from taking her friend to Prague, so surprised Judah by being here when we came to pick up fries to take back to his house for everyone.

If you come to see me here in Ostrava, I will most definitely bring you here!!

I meant to take a photo of this moment, but did a one second video instead. At least I caught the expression of Judah that is the sentiment we all feel while waiting for our Fancy Fries! 😂

We headed back over to Tyler and Lara's apartment and enjoyed a round of fries together on this very hot afternoon.

Good thing Asher was up from his nap! Who would want to miss Fancy Fries??

What a fun, impromptu afternoon of joy getting to hang out with family!

A few fries might have fallen on the ground for a certain someone to enjoy them too. 😂

Friendship Gift

Awake at 4:30 this morning, this gorgeous view welcomed me into a new day.

That's not my usual morning sight.

But that's because I was up at Selah, JV's guesthouse for our team, with these two precious women, Laura and Amy.

Every summer since 2003, we've spent time together.

It used to be for vacations with our husbands and children; but now it's just an overnight with us three here at Selah.

But oh what a good overnight slumber party it is! We pack as much as possible into those hours, loving on each other as long-time friends.

My life has been, and continues to be, so rich because of these two women's input, encouragement, spurring on in the faith and love, not to mention their deep walks with God. I am a better person because of God's gift of their friendship.

"Laura and Amy, love you two so very much! Thank you for a "good to the last drop" overnight together. You mean so much to me. How I thank the Lord for our years and years of friendship. How I thank him that we have more years ahead of us!"

Monday, August 6, 2018

Frýdlant Life

If you come to our little town of Frýdlant n.O., a stop here is a must!

"Cukrárna pod Lysou" is a family owned sweet shop in our town, with so many delectable looking items.

While you might be tempted by some of their cakes, chocolates or gelato, there is only one reason I stop there.

It's their soft serve ice cream that is positively the best I've ever had.

Anywhere. 😁

And that's a promise!

At $0.75 (17 Kc) for a small, or $1.08 (24 Kc) for a large, you're in for a huge treat when you stop by for this creamy, icy treat.

They've always got vanilla, and then a second flavor that changes every couple of days. You can get vanilla by itself, the flavor of the day by itself (which happened to be watermelon today), or you can get them mixed.

I recommend the mix!

Today was our friend, Kaci's, last day visiting after finishing up her JV summer internship. It might have been just 10:30 in the morning, but when is it ever too early for ice cream??!!

"Thank you for serving with JV this summer Kaci! Thank you for coming to visit Claire! And thank you for giving us a reason to stop by and share one of our specialties of Frýdlant with you today!"

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Birthday Came Early

This store, "Hornbach", is one of my favorite stores in the Czech Republic.

Yes, it's a "home improvement" store!

I don't know why, but every time I walk in I get this happy feeling of anticipation. Maybe it's because they've come through for us on many an occasion.

Through the years we have been here so many times, picking up "you name it" ... everything from tools, to building supplies, to dog food, to plants, flowers and trees, to gardening supplies and more. You name it, they've got it.

While we've got three different building supply stores in the area, this tends to be the one we end up buying at.

And blessing of all blessings, we found what we came looking for today, despite the fact that nearly everywhere else they're sold out.

In 25 years of living here in Czech, and another 6 years in Germany, we have never owned an air conditioning unit. So often our "hot" days have been few and far between. So we just swelter through them and move on.

But in case you haven't heard, we're in the midst of a heat wave across Europe. Here in Czech we don't even have it as bad as other places, as in, we haven't passed 100 F (37.7 C) yet, but almost! It is HOT and HUMID here right now.

Dave asked me yesterday what I wanted for my birthday (that's coming soon) and I didn't hesitate to answer.

Yes, I wanted a portable air conditioning unit! And I'd like it now, if possible.

While most other places were sold out, Hornbach came through, again. WHEW. I can hardly wait to sleep in a room that is cooled off tonight!

THANK YOU DAVE, for making my birthday wish come true; and for not making me wait until my birthday to get it! You're the best!!!

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Fusion Day

On this very hot Saturday afternoon, I drove over to the town of Čeladná for their annual music festival.

If you look off to the far right of the above picture, near the fire engine, you'll see two lovely young ladies.

These are the ones I came to meet up with this afternoon!

Claire's friend, Kaci, has been serving as a JV summer intern in Slovenia. She just finished her internship two days ago so came up to stay with Claire for a few days before she flies back to the States to continue at Moody Bible Institute.

So why did the three of us meet up at a summer music festival?

Because our church's Fusion choir had a performance there!

Though not all the students who regularly attend throughout the school year could be there, they still had enough to put on a great concert on the big venue stage!

Claire and Kaci even made it onto the jumbotron screen as they followed Fusion in their dance steps!

Just a few hours later, the three of us drove into Ostrava for yet another Fusion concert.

Some sweet little faces greeted us there. 😉

Tyler, Lara, Judah and Asher have been away this past week at their church's Fusion camp. I've missed them!

And was delighted to come see their Fusion choir perform both dance and songs this afternoon.

Wow, did they ever do an amazing concert! I think the world of JV's Fusion highway of ministry, and wish we'd developed it earlier on when I could have been involved! It's such a brilliant way of reaching young people with the Gospel through something that they enjoy so much.

During the concert, Judah melted my heart by wanting to stay up close to me.

At one point when I was pointing out his little Czech friend and her grandma, I said to him, "That's Mia's 'Nonnie'" (though of course Mia calls her the Czech name for grandma).

Judah leaned his head over onto my shoulder and said, "And that's MY Nonnie". Cue the music and pass the Kleenex. What a heart melter!

As is this little fellow!

Where was Lara during the concert?

She was IN the choir! All during camp she rehearsed with them, learning the music and motions. It was so beautiful to see her there in amongst the young people.

This was their family's first camp together, and they said they loved it!

And this guy? He's already on his way to being a Fusion drummer someday!

Though it was absolutely sweltering this afternoon, there is no place I would have rather been than at these two Fusion concerts, seeing people I love!