Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Family Circus Kind of Day

On this wintry last day of February, with Siberian type temps of -12C (10F), we've got a bit of "Family Circus" going on at our house today.

Growing up in the States, reading the comics in the newspaper was a regular occurrence at my house every day of the week. But especially on Sundays! It was always in color, was usually four pages, and had longer strips for some of the most beloved comics.

And one of those was a comic strip called "Family Circus", which featured, as you can imagine, a family: a dad, mom, three little kids, grandparents, two dogs and one cat. It's been going since 1960, and the kids have never grown up, nor have the parents aged!

But what got me thinking about that comic strip today was having Judah and Asher over for the day while Lara was at a KAM ladies retreat day at Malenovice. Tyler brought the boys over this morning and all three of them spent the day here.

My favorite strips of Family Circus were always the ones showing Billy, the oldest boy, as he made his way from one place to another...with a lot of stops in between!

Billy reminds of Judah whenever I have him at our house! His delightful sense of curiosity and wonder leads him up and down, over and under, here and there and everywhere as he spends a day at Nonnie's house.

He goes inquisitively from one place to the next, exploring, chattering, asking questions, and figuring things out all along the way.

There is no way that I could capture everything he does in one day. For one thing, I wouldn't be interacting with him if I was just taking pictures every minute. And second, I'd be taking a thousand pictures (or more) to capture the change that comes every minute or two with this little guy!

But today, since both Tyler and Claire were here all day too (so could keep Asher) I wanted to at least capture a little bit of his two year old energetic self. So the following is in order, over the course of the day...and only a fragment of what actually took place!

One of the things Judah discovered early on in our "toy box" was a bunch of old flashlights that belonged to Caleb many years ago. I'm glad I kept them because they're a fun assortment that Judah has repurposed for all sorts of happy activity.

But none of them had batteries! So today Nonnie found batteries for several of them and we spent a good amount of time going to places in the house that could be explored, in the dark, with a working flashlight, like a storage room and Papa's closet!

 Once that fun was finished, he was off to "duppers" (upstairs) for more play.

Caleb's old boyhood room has become the play room now; and is called, by Judah, "Judah's room", since he slept there when they first moved here! There are endless possibilities in here that keep him occupied the longest of anywhere in the house.

Which can be for anywhere between two minutes and thirty, before we're off to somewhere new! Which in this case was back downstairs, to find the "flute" (an old recorder that I'm glad I kept around!) which he carried around for a while, as he worked on other imaginative fitting the key into the hole of this cabinet.

That's been one of his favorite activities every time he comes over. I'm surprised we haven't lost the key yet!

Since there are toys right next to the cabinet, it was just a hop over there to find "Honey Bunny" who is always waiting at Nonnie's house when Judah comes over. He loves her!

After some play with her, he dug into the toy box nearby and found an old cell phone, his daddy's first one when he was about 13 or 14! That led to some good phone conversation between he and I!

Then it was literally a minute here...

And a minute here...

And then a good ten minutes of cooking in the kitchen!

After that, we were back upstairs to Judah's room, and in particular, to the inside of the closet that has what we call, "the cozy spot"! He likes to climb in here and make all kinds of imaginative play from here.

But soon he was calling out to Claire to come upstairs with us, and explore the attic - a new place he's recently discovered.

He found this Minnie Mouse balloon the last time he was here, so wanted to go get it out of its box; which happens to be a box of Claire's childhood memorabilia. Would you believe that balloon was given to her by a friend of ours when she was three years old?? How it is still inflated (and how it is that we still even HAVE it) is a mystery to me! But it sure was entertaining to Judah.

As was a previously unopened cupboard upstairs where he discovered our collection of VHS movies.

Someday it will be fun to watch some of those movies with him...if our VHS machine is still working!

Thought it's hard to know if those old Disney movies will capture his imagination in the same way that flashlights and balloons do. Probably not.

Shortly after our venture upstairs to the attic we were back down to Judah's room to pull out the basket of big duplo blocks.

And then it was on to a book which I read twice to him as he sat in my lap, and Asher crawled around!

More block playing followed, along with putting stuffed animals into drawers, pretending to take naps in the cozy spot, jumping with Curious George the stuffed animal, turning on and off the lights, rolling a ball to Kaylee, riding around the kitchen on a little push car, eating grapes, playing the drum while I played the piano, playing with Hot Wheel cars, and on and on and on!

He's a busy boy! But it's all so good! He is interactive, imaginative, enjoyable and full of spunk; and of course I love that I get to opportunity now to watch him grow. That brings me a lot of joy!

Of course there were other things that happened today Asher interacting with his daddy and Aunt Claire over theological discussions. 😉

And these two little boys enjoying their daddy!

And their daddy enjoying reading the Bible outloud in Hebrew to my friend Sharon, who stopped by for a visit (and is studying Hebrew in seminary right now).

It was a full "Family Circus" kind of day inside our house, and I loved every minutes of it!

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Fun in 45 Minutes

How much fun can you have in 45 minutes?

If you're at the cultural house in Frydlant while the KAM (JV Czech) team is meeting, and these two are hanging out with you while their parents are in the can have a lot of fun in 45 minutes!

Every Tuesday is team meeting day, both for JV Czech and for our iTeam. One meets at 8 AM at the cultural house, and the other meets at 9 AM at the office.

Tyler and Lara would like to be at that meeting together, so whenever possible, I'll try to take care of the boys for 45 minutes, out in the hallway, before needing to leave for my meeting.

With a nice long hallway and a couple of toys, everyone is happy, including Nonnie!

Judah did so much running he had to come and lay down for a minute to catch his breath...and then he was back at it!

Asher was his cheerful self today, giving me lots of smiles and giggles as we watched Judah run.

Oh my still my heart! This little guy is a heart melter!

Too cute not to capture, he and I used some of our 45 minutes to just laugh and take selfies!

I'm using an old phone (after accidentally smashing's in at the Apple Service center now so we'll see what they do about it for me) that doesn't quite have the camera capability I'm used sorry for cutting off Judah! We kept trying to get a good one of the three of us but this was the best we could do!

I could never have dreamed I'd get these kinds of moments with my grandsons...even just 45 minutes at a time!

Monday, February 26, 2018

My Fault

This may be the saddest picture I've ever posted on my blog!

This week-end while our South African friends were visiting, Dave and I switched places in our car on the way to church on Sunday so that he could get to church early since he was preaching, and I could drive to pick up our friends at the hotel where they were staying.

In that very short moment when I got out of the car and walked around to the other side, my phone apparently fell out of my pocket onto the ground.

I didn't discover it was missing for several hours, until we were home from church (I assumed I'd left it at home). When Dave started calling it to see if we could hear it somewhere in the house, a woman answered it in Czech! She explained that she'd been out for a walk and found it on the ground, but had picked it up in hopes that whoever lost it would call and she could answer.

Praise the Lord for her honesty! Dave quickly drove back into town and picked it up from her.

But as you can see, it was most likely run over on the road as the front and back are severely cracked.

I do have the Apple Care Protection coverage on my phone, but do they cover the cost of damage when it's your own fault???

I'm about to find out what Apple Care covers as I take it in later on today and see what happens from here. I've never had this happen before so this will be a new experience.

Of course I've gone back over what happened many times since yesterday; but doing so never changes the fact. And in fact, it makes it worse!

So I'm standing in faith on God's sovereignty; he knew that would happen; it's no surprise to him; he's got something in this for me. I'll keep you posted!

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Tucked Away in the Snow Globe

I have some beautiful snowy pictures taken from inside our cozy house this week-end. It was like living in a "snow globe" as we watched the snow fall and fall and fall all week-end while we spent time in prayer and fellowship with our dear South African friends.

But alas, due to an unfortunate accident with my phone (which I'll write about later), the only photo I have to post is from Dave's phone during our last evening with them tonight. I'm glad I at least have this one!

"Thank you Andrew and Ali for coming all this way to see us! What deep joy to share this week-end with you and experience such richness together. It's definitely a week-end we'll all cherish for years to come. See you in South Africa next time, right?!"

Friday, February 23, 2018

South African Friends

If you've been reading my blog this month you know we've had a few guests visiting us lately. And all of them have been from outside our borders!

First we had Norwegian friends, then friends from Germany, and today it's South African friends!

What richness all of these people bring to our lives.

I know to their ears we have accents, but to our ears, their accent is just delightful to us!

We're looking forward to spending the week-end with these dear believers.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Visiting Cattaleya

This morning I picked up a friend that I haven't spent time with for a few months, and we headed out to a cafe for coffee. Wanting to show her the apartment building where Claire will be living, we drove to Čeladná to see it, intending to stop at a place nearby.

But as we came up to the traffic circle, I saw an advertisement for another place and was reminded that I wanted to try it out. So off we headed into the snowy hills.

My friend calls me adventurous, which I don't know if that's an accurate description of me! But what I do like is trying new things and discovering new places. This place sure fit that description.

Cattaleya is a new resort in the heart of the Beskydy Mountains, with a hotel, restaurant and spa. Set into the forest up in the mountains, it feels like you are entering into another world when you arrive.

I wasn't sure if the restaurant was open, but happily it was! My friend and I ordered breakfast and coffee, which is from Laura Coffee in Ostrava - one of my favorites.

There aren't a lot of place that do breakfast in our area, so it was a pleasant surprise to be given a menu with options. We thought we were just going for coffee, but enjoyed having a tasty breakfast too!

Some of the most delicious oats, with toppings, that I've ever had in a restaurant!

We sat for several hours, catching up and enjoying the snowy world outside from the comfort of the glassed-in, warm interior.

This could definitely become a beloved place to come for coffee dates. And after such a good breakfast, for sure I want to try out their lunch and dinner menus sometime too.

Just fifteen minutes from our house, I felt as if I'd traveled a great distance to get here to this peaceful, beautiful place.

I'll be back!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Getting the Keys

Back in December, shortly after Claire arrived in the Czech Republic to begin serving with Josiah Venture, I wrote about the apartment that she was going to move into.

I haven't written about it since then, because she didn't end up getting to live there.

Through unfortunate circumstances for the woman who was managing the apartment, she was never able to follow through with getting the contract prepared for Claire to sign.

So a few weeks ago, Claire asked a friend of ours if he (Thank you Petr!) had any contacts with someone else who might have an apartment. He did!

And today, after a long wait to see where she would live, Claire finally picked up the keys to her new apartment!

But here are some of the best things about this story.

It's still in the village of Čeladná where she wanted to live; it still has a view of the mountains which she hoped for; it's a newer apartment building and thus is safe from mold which is key for Claire (due to her severe reactions to mold since early childhood).

But the best, BEST part of the story? She will live here with a roommate!

And this roommate is a dear friend that she's literally known her whole life!

Unfortunately she was sick today so couldn't come to pick up the keys too. But they will begin to share life here in just a few short days!

Pavla, her soon-to-be roommate, was just a year old when we moved to Havířov - the same age as our Caleb. Claire, Caleb and Pavla all went to školka (pre-school/kindergarten) together, and then in their high school years, all attended BMA.
In January this year, Pavla came on staff with our Czech JV team (KAM) so works in the office in Frýdlant.

So it's a full circle for Claire and Pavla who will move into their new apartment March 1.

Since Pavla couldn't be there today, it was my joy to accompany Claire to her apartment, meet her landlord, and be with her when she got the keys.

I'm sure Claire and Pavla will enjoy settling in soon!