Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Family Connections

This afternoon I hopped in my car and drove the half hour into Ostrava so I could then jump on a bus with these dear ones.

We were headed to the Ostrava zoo!

I haven't seen my sweet ones for two weeks so was more than happy to be giving lots of love and kisses to them today as we wandered one of the best spots in the city to hang out with kids.

I hung out here with our kids "way back in the day", when the zoo wasn't as snazzy as it is today. How surreal to now be here for the first time with my grandsons!!

The flamingos are still at the front of the zoo like they were back in 1994 when we first visited after moving here.

I can guarantee that I didn't have one thought in my mind back then that I'd be back here one day with grandkids; but oh how glad I am that the Lord saw that one coming!

They have made so many improvements here through the years, though still making it a very "hands on" zoo (as much as you can with animals!). I love that you can still go into the goat pen and feed them a handful of the 5 Kc (25 cents) goat food!

I don't recall if this guy was here 24 years ago, but he has the look of an old man who kindly lets any and all little ones come close to him.

Of course since big brother came close, little brother (who is even more fearless!) had to come check him out too.

You might have noticed that there was someone else in the first photo taken on the bus. Her name is October and I've known her since she was a baby!

In fact, I've known her mom since she was in grade school; and her aunt was the flower girl in our wedding 31 years ago! Her grandparents were our closest friends when we served in youth ministry on the military base in Karlsruhe right after we were married. We've stayed connected to them and their children all of these years since then.

And now, October has come from the States to serve Tyler and Lara for a couple of weeks while Lara did intense language learning. What an awesome full circle!

It was delightful for me to be with everyone today, enjoying the animals at the zoo, but mostly the people! :)

I do have to say that being this "up close and personal" with the animals is one of the things I love most about this zoo. Almost all the enclosures are "barred" rather than glassed (except for the lion and the bears!) so you feel like you're able to "know" the animals more. Today I was particularly fascinated by the giraffes, and maybe have decided they are my favorite animal!

See what I mean about being up close and personal?!

Asher napped while Judah was awake, and then Judah fell asleep just as Asher woke up. That worked out perfect as it gave us focused time with each of the boys along the way. Loved seeing their different personalities come out!

The black bear enclosure is a new one, and one that I'd never seen.

They've done a fantastic job with it, making it much more realistic and pleasant for the bears. We enjoyed hanging out there for a bit!

The one thing about the Ostrava zoo is that it's all downhill to the end...and then all uphill back to the entrance! So it was a good hike, with my fitness counter on my phone saying we logged 5 miles today!

It really could not have been a more pleasant five miles with this bunch!

With Judah still asleep, we got back on the bus and headed to downtown Ostrava, where we'd started from.

It was pure delight spending the day with not only family, but with dear October, who's been such a help to Tyler and Lara these past two weeks!

I love that the body of Christ reaches far and wide, so much so that October would come all the way to Ostrava to serve my family.

I love that her family (including her grandparents!) and ours are still connected after all these years.

I love that we're all part of God's family together!

Thanks for a wonderful day together dear ones!

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