Sunday, April 29, 2018

Beautiful Sabbath

All week I've been noticing the canola fields coming into blossom around our house, and finally took a drive after church today to see them.

It was a big WOW!!!!!!!!!

Since they rotate crops here, as they do many places, we haven't had these fields near us for a few years. It's a treat when they come!

Today was a Sabbath day in the very nicest way, soaking in the Lord in church this morning, and in his beautiful creation this afternoon!

Friday, April 27, 2018

Patty Garden Again

And a Patty tradition begins again!

Thanks to Tyler, the Patty family is gardening again!

What began nearly fifty years ago when Dave was a boy and his dad began to garden with his kids, is continuing today with Papa, Tyler, Judah...and the rest of us!!

Now that Tyler and his family live in Ostrava, just thirty minutes away, we are beginning a new gardening project at our house, with a little help from everybody.

Of course a time-out for a turn on the slide never hurt anything!

And what about a little play time with Kaylee and our neighbor, Olivia?!

While Tyler, Dave and our friend Pavel began the process of building the raised beds to garden in, it felt so great to be out in our yard again running around with little people.

When the Lord gave us this piece of property to build on sixteen years ago, I sure never dreamed that one day I'd be playing with my grandsons here. Yes, it's pretty awesome that God did that!

Sometimes it's a little like going back in time as I hang out with them; Judah reminds me so much of his daddy when he was a little boy!

Judah and I walked all around the yard, with Kaylee faithfully following us. Today was the first day that he got to explore the yard - I think it's got his stamp of approval. 😊

As does snack time at Nonnie's house!

In the meantime the guys were hard at work sawing and fitting together the wood to make the raised beds.

Many years ago we tried gardening in this very spot, but for many reasons it didn't work out very well. We're all hopeful that this new type of garden will result in some good homegrown veggies this summer.

Judah's double checking his dad's work to make sure it's in the right spot. 😂

Asher had an extra good nap today so missed out on some of the fun, but came to join us later in the afternoon!

And what a beautiful spring afternoon it was...couldn't have been a better day to be outside!

And after a full day's work, four raised beds are in our yard, ready for planting!

I'm so thankful for Tyler's love for gardening that has spurred us on to give it a try again!

Thursday, April 26, 2018

His Mercies Today

Today I saw God's mercies up close and personal.

This morning, while drinking coffee and working on the JV Prayer Room before heading into a full day of work in preparation for our JV spring conference, a phone call interrupted me. It was Tyler, asking if I could come pick up the boys at the foreign police office in a nearby town.

Why the foreign police? We're all required to apply for visas that allow us to live in another country besides the one we hold a passport for. If you move here (or anywhere in the EU), you have 90 days to present all your documents, get registered and receive your visa if you want to stay past 90 days.

Tyler and Lara have been diligently working on hers and the boys' visas since they arrived (Tyler already had one from growing up here), but hadn't heard any news and knew they were close to the deadline. So today they went in again to see where they were at in the process.

They found out the deadline had actually passed.

This meant filling out forms and being interviewed by the police...not something that you want to have little ones around for.

These two sweet boys were happy to see Nonnie arrive this morning so they could come to our house for what we thought would be a few hours.

Both Judah and Asher were in happy moods, and all was well for the morning.

Lunchtime came and went and still no news about how long it would be before Tyler and Lara came back.

Mercy #1: both boys being asleep at the same time for 45 minutes!

Asher woke up to his big brother crying inconsolably.

Mercy #2: Asher didn't completely lose it when I had to leave him in his crib crying while I got Judah up and tried to soothe him back to sleep.

Once I managed that and got Asher up, his empathetic soul needed some soothing of its own.

But within just a few minutes, and a change of location to another room, he was his cheerful self again.

Mercy #3 - a happy baby who was content to hang out with Nonnie and Kaylee.

One hour of just Asher awake turned into two, and then three hours of big brother sleeping.

Mercy #4 - a care package that arrived just yesterday (thank you Polly and family!) with some delicious coffee that saw me through the afternoon.

Today my opinion on the best invention ever is: the highchair!

This little guy is a crawling/pulling himself up/stair climbing aficionado (definition: a person who is very knowledgeable and enthusiastic about an activity!) so when Nonnie needed a break from following him around 100% of the time, the highchair was a winner today!

Judah slept 3 1/2 hours, which might be considered Mercy #5, except for the fact that he woke up all out of sorts.

Lara told me later that they're tracing his after nap "out of sorts" episodes to potential food allergies. Super interesting to note that food can lead to something like that.

So I'll say Mercy #5 is: getting to know my grandsons in hard and good times. That's actually a privilege.

But the biggest mercy of all today was getting news at 6:15 PM when Tyler and Lara finally arrived back at our house after 8 hours in the foreign police office, that they are giving Lara mercy on her lack of visa and NOT making her leave the country, as we thought they would.

The Lord's mercies are too numerous to recount from their day spent with "Officer Boris" who walked them through the police reporting process. He was kind, helpful, empathetic and even said at the end of the day, "I'm sorry you had to be here all day. That wasn't right to make you do that, especially when you have a family."

Mercy #6++++: taking care of Tyler, Lara, Judah and Asher in a way that doesn't disrupt their life. The visa is being expedited right now, and should be here soon, though they've given her 50 extra days in country for it to be finished.

Why hadn't the visa been processed? No one told them that they had to have their marriage certificate translated and notarized! Their paperwork had been sitting on someone's desk in Prague for six weeks and she hadn't had time to send them a notification about it.


But thanks to the Lord, Officer Boris, and Claire (who came along as their official translator because Tyler couldn't officially translate), the visa process is in motion again!

His mercies are new every morning. Great is Your faithfulness!

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Wonder and Delight

No winter lasts forever, no spring skips its turn. And certainly not here in the Czech Republic!

Everywhere you turn right now it's a bucketful of color, with blossoms bursting out of every flower, plant, tree and bush. I can't drink in enough of its beauty!

And speaking of beauty, this morning I had the joy of seeing this honorary niece and her husband visiting from the States.

Lucy Rose and her family moved to Frydlant fourteen years ago to serve as missionaries with BMA (the Christian high school our kids attended), and she became one of Claire's dearest friends.

And ever so sweetly, somewhere along the way she began calling me "Aunty Connie", which I loved then and still love now! She and her husband live in Chicago, but are here for a friend's wedding right now. How happy I was to hug them and hear a little bit about their lives these days.

Though she's all grown up now, she'll always have a special place in my heart as one of my "nieces".

Oh God of all creation! What a beautiful spring day of wonder and delight. Thank you for your many gifts!

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Can't Resist

Nearly nine years ago, as Tyler was close to graduating from his Czech high school, we were in the middle of our "lasts" with him living at home. When he left that summer to fly to Chicago and begin attending Moody Bible Institute, I had no idea where the Lord might send him afterward.

Fast forward to nine years later and I'm now experiencing "firsts" with him and his family!

Because they live here now, I get to have sweet afternoons and evenings with them now and then. Tyler's wife, Lara, and their two boys, needed to get some shopping done so asked if I'd come along to help and show her where to go today.

OH so happy to oblige!

See those little feet hanging off the stroller? 😂

While Judah took a nice long afternoon nap in the stroller, Asher and I hung out so Lara could look  around!

Two hours later and Asher still hadn't fallen asleep (when he should have!), Judah woke up just in time for a little merry-go-round ride at the mall. What fun to see his happy smile at such a small thrill!

I have been into DM, a local drugstore, countless times over the years. But when you have a two year old with you? Well, suddenly you notice they have a play area that can't be resisted!

After our shopping adventure we headed back to downtown Ostrava, where they live, only to find that the water fountain has been turned on for the season. Another great delight that can't be resisted!

Somewhere in my collection of old photos, I am almost certain I have a similar picture of Tyler, standing in this square, at the fountain that used to be there 25 years ago.

I still haven't gotten over the fact that God called Tyler and his family back here to serve with us in JV.

Which means getting to experience all of these fun things over again with grandsons!

Lara, thanks for saying "I do" to Tyler six years, for saying yes to God's call to Czech, and for saying, "Can you come shopping with me today?" It was my joy and privilege!

And Tyler, I love having you close again, watching you be such a good husband and daddy, and already engaging in ministry and care of youth leaders. It's also pretty fun that you're going to start a garden soon at our house. Can't wait to taste the fruits of your labors!

Monday, April 23, 2018

Gelato in Žilina

The Lord can accomplish his purposes at any time, and in any type of weather. But when it's sunny, it just makes everything better!

After KPM, the youth leader conference we were at in Slovakia, finished we headed into the square for lunch with one of our JV board members who was here to serve at the conference too.

It really couldn't have been a more beautiful afternoon to debrief and share with each other about our experiences this week-end, and how we saw God moving.

After lunch Jack told us that every day during the conference he'd seen a line at an ice cream shop across from his hotel; he said he'd treat if we'd go there with him. Of course we were happy to oblige!

I know nothing about "Scoop", except that it's true, there's a line. I should have taken a picture of how many people were there waiting with us to go in. And how many more were there when we came out.

It's tiny inside, and a squeeze to get in and out. But what a cute place!

And even better, what amazing options they had!

I opted for the lemon basil sorbet while Dave chose salted caramel.

It was the perfect way to end our time in Žilina, being part of God's movement in Slovakia!