Saturday, June 30, 2018

On the Oregon Coast

On May 10th, Dave's mom, Margaret, celebrated her 90th birthday! But since all of us couldn't be in Denver, Colorado on that day, we made plans to meet in June to enjoy honoring mom.

Arriving last night from Colorado, Oregon, Slovenia and the Czech Republic, the four original Patty kids and their spouses, along with mom and dad, came to stay in Newport at the house of friends.

With a lovely view to the Oregon coast out our window, we are here for four days of food, fun and fellowship!

After a leisurely breakfast, and lots of happy conversation and catch-ups with each other, we headed around the point from where we're staying to see the Yaquina Head lighthouse.

If you happen to know us, you know that we can be a funny bunch of people when we're together, never passing up the moment for a good laugh!

Taken at the visitor center, they make it possible for you to dress up in clothes from the time when the lighthouse was in full use. Oh how we laughed at ourselves while taking this photo!

From there, it's a bit of a walk to the lighthouse so we headed out to catch our first glimpse of the coastline.

We were not disappointed!!

I've been coming to the Oregon coast since I was a tiny girl. I've seen it in all types of weather, and while it's beautiful no matter what, it is never more so than when it is this clear, warm, sunny and magnificent. So thankful to the Lord for giving us such a day!

We started having family reunions shortly after Dave and I were married in 1987; but this is the first time that we've had one with only the original kids, spouses and mom and dad. We always loved having our kids with us when they were growing up, but this is super fun too!

Since it was low tide, we wandered down to the tidal pools on the beach.

And enjoyed all the amazing sea life in those pools. Can you believe how creative the Lord was with all those different colors, shapes and sizes of sea life?!!

I didn't want to touch the sea anemone, but Josh convinced me to do it, and I'm glad I did, if even for a second!!

There is truly nothing like the sights, sounds and smells of the Oregon coast.

After lunch back at the house, we headed over to the lighthouse once again in time for our reserved tour time (it's free if you ever want to do it!)

The guide took us "back in time" and gave an excellent tour of various rooms in the lighthouse, and then had us follow him all the way up 93 feet, all 114 winding iron-cast stair steps!

At the top, you can climb a few more steps and look into the lighthouse that is still in use today!

The light at Yaquina Head has burned through its Paris-made Fresnal lens for 145 years, since 1873!

That lighthouse has, no doubt, saved many a ship from crashing on these rocks for years.

In all my years of coming to Newport, I'd never been here so it was fun to experience this with my Patty family!

Speaking of Patty family, this is dad with his kids!

Mom was back at the house so we'll have to get another picture of her and dad with their kids.

But here we all are later in the day in Depoe Bay!

Known as a whale watching town, our patience was rewarded by a couple of them showing off for the crowds!

I found out that approximately 20,000 whales migrate southward past Depoe Bay from mid December to the end of January each year. And there are approximately 2500 unique whale individuals observed from the Depoe Bay center each year. According to shopkeepers, there are two that live permanently around the bay and we saw them!

Heading back down to Newport, we took the old road along the coast, giving us some great scenic views.

And great picture taking opportunities for a son with his mom!

The day continued to be spectacularly beautiful as we meandered our way back to the house.

Of course a meander wouldn't be complete without a little sign reading along the way! Dave has done this all the years I've known him, wherever we are. Now I know that he comes by this skill honestly!

Back home we enjoyed a yummy Thai take-out meal and time around the table - a good Patty family tradition.

And then hurried out to the end of the lane, through the bushes and out to the edge of the cliff for a spectacular evening sunset!

There are not enough different ways in our vocabularly of saying "Wow" to express how gorgeous it was to sit there and watch God paint the sky!

A neighbor, out for a walk with his dog, kindly snapped that shot of us as the sun was setting on the day.

And this one? This may be my favorite photo of the day!

So thankful to be here with our Patty family for these days of enjoying each other and celebrating mom!

Friday, June 29, 2018

From Family to Family

We woke up in Chicago this morning to one last breakfast with our dear Caleb, Haley and Charlie.

Being able to see them multiple times since we arrived in the States two weeks ago, and spending this past week with them at Gull Lake, has been the hugest joy for us. We are SO thankful for them!!

Though it will be only a few months before they begin serving with us in Josiah Venture, goodbyes are never easy. Especially when Charlie is changing so much right now. It makes me all the more thankful for these past weeks of seeing him often, getting to know him and all his cute ways!

While we are saying goodbye to this dear family for now, we're on our way to share in family time somewhere else.

We arrived in Portland, Oregon to the waiting arms of my dear, long time best friend, Michelle.

When I went online months ago to rent a car for this time in Oregon, the rates were too high at the airport. So I asked Michelle if she'd be willing to come pick us up and drive us down 82nd Avenue in Portland to a different rental agency.

Thankfully she was happy to oblige!

We had about an hour of sweet fellowship before Dave and I were on our way towards the Oregon Coast.

Several hours later we were tucked away in a house with these precious family members.

It was Dave's mom's 90th birthday in May, and we all decided the best gift we could give her was gathering her four children and their spouses for a long week-end together with her and dad. And that week-end is NOW!

This is the first time we've ever had a family reunion with just mom and dad Patty, the four original Patty kids and spouses - we've always had our kids, the grandkids, with us.

So this is a unique time to spend with mom and dad, and we're all very excited to get this time together!

Thursday, June 28, 2018

See Ya Later

Today was our last day Gull Lake for this year; Dave finished teaching through Psalm 23, and Caleb and Haley are done sharing about Josiah Venture and their upcoming ministry in Albania. What an incredibly sweet week it's been!

While Haley packed this afternoon I took Charlie out for a little walk; this is my last day to be with him for quite a while.

While we were outside, my friend Karen was walking back from being at the the lake with her kids, so we stopped and talked for a while; then Caleb came out and I couldn't help but take this picture of them!

Karen lived with us in Czech for a summer when Caleb was only six months older than Charlie is right now. What an amazing full circle to see her with adult Caleb and his baby son!

She and I went back down to the lake to be there for one of my favorite events of the week at Gull Lake.

This afternoon was a time for any campers to be baptized! I saw in a newsletter from Gull Lake Ministries that last year they baptized 71 during camp season. What a special memory for those people, to have made their declaration for Jesus here in a place where they've grown spiritually.

There were three signed up for the baptism today, but Daniel, the camp director, always asks if there are any others who are ready for it. And this dear young man was among those who said yes!

I know his parents, and know they were absolutely thrilled that he chose, on his own, to go forward for baptism. May the Lord continue the good work that he began in this boy's life, and grow him into a strong man of God like his dad.

And may He do the same for all of these young people who publicly declared their faith today.

One last dinner with everyone followed the baptisms. Any guesses on the theme?!

With "Giggle Box", one of Czecholate Chip's (aka Claire!) friends that she served with at Gull Lake four years ago!

After a fun Stars and Stripes evening, we began saying our goodbyes for this year.

Karen and her "mini me" son, Josiah! Love you all so much!

Camp doesn't end for everyone else until tomorrow morning, but because we have a plane to catch in the morning in Chicago, we have to leave tonight. 😢

Karen's parents, Jim and Barbara Brewster; long time friends; their prayers were KEY to bringing Dave and I together 33 years ago!! Thank you Jim and Barbara for your investment in us!

This has been an exceptional week here at Gull Lake. From time with family and friends, to making new friends and being served by the awesome staff here, it's deeply touched us to be here again.

Darling Toucan Slam, aka Katie! You don't find out counselor names until the end of the week, which is a fun tradition!

Dave was invited back to speak in 2020, during Gull Lake's 100th anniversary! Since Dave said "yes" to their request, we'll be back during Week 4 that year. So this is just a "see ya later!"

After saying our goodbyes, for now, we got into the car, with Caleb, Haley and Charlie too, and headed to Chicago.

Our hearts are full after such a wonderful week here!