Friday, August 31, 2018

Arrival on Hvar

After a day of cleaning, packing and preparing the house for the next guests, it was satisfying to stand here at the entry tonight knowing everything was in its place.

We'll head towards home tomorrow morning, but not until we've spent a little time with those who are coming here after us. 😉

Just after 11 PM, after these people had been traveling for seventeen hours, their car pulled into the driveway.

And look who was in the car!

Two sleeping grandsons, who had driven down from Czech with their parents!

Lara took Asher out of his car seat to get him tucked into bed, and Tyler did the same with Judah, who never even knew he was being transferred from one sleeping place to another!

Up the stairs they headed to spend their first night of vacation.

So glad we get to see them all for a few hours in the morning before we leave!

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Morning in Stari Grad

With just a couple of days left before the end of vacation, Dave and I headed over to Stari Grad this morning to run a few errands.

In this town that celebrated its 2400th birthday last year (hard to comprehend 🤩), there is a picture perfect moment around every corner.

I saw this guy coming on his motorbike and wondered if there was any chance he'd stop. He did!

Hope he doesn't mind that I took his picture. 😅 I bet he just came in from his fishing boat.

There are 2800 people who live in this town, but you'd never know it while walking these tiny back streets! They're always so quiet, with few people coming and going who actually look like they live there.

It's equally as pretty in Stari Grad out at water's edge, on the "riva", as they call it.

Now that school is about to start across Europe, the tourist crowd is thinning around here. Makes for pretty pictures at mid morning!

Each time we come to Hvar, it has something unique to offer us. And this time it was quiet, solitude, peace and rest.

With a full fall schedule coming, I feel deeply thankful to the Lord for appointing this time away so perfectly for us. He knew what we needed better than we did.

I'm leaving rested, full of his presence, and ready for his next adventures for us!

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Unsolved Mystery

Last week when Dave and I were headed from Hvar to the island of Lastovo in our boat, we went by this tiny island. Did you know there are 1244 island in Croatia?! Though only 48 of them are inhabitable.

This one is definitely not one of them.

We were heading away from it when Dave spotted something and decided to turn around. Do you see what he saw?

There, on the top of this rock, with seemingly no possible life on it...were three goats!

I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes!

We put the motor in neutral and rocked up and down in our boat for a while, looking and looking to see if they were real...and they were! But there is absolutely no sign of vegetation or habitation, save that structure they're next to.

We puzzled and puzzled over how they got there, and how they survive. I've tried to search for this rock on Google maps and Google Earth, but can't see it, though it's near "Hrid Pod Mrčaru", if you happen to want to search for it!

I've looked and looked, Googled and Googled, trying to find the name and any info about it. I want to know how those goats got there! But alas, my sleuthing skills are not producing the results I'd like for this puzzle.

So for now, it will just have to remain one of those unsolved mysteries!

Update a few days later: Dave says this IS the island "Pod Mrčaru"; but as for the goats, we still have no idea how they got there or exist with little vegetation!

Monday, August 27, 2018

Happy Birthday Charlie! 🎉

The photo may be a bit grainy, but the subject of it is extra cute and very precious to us!!

Our grandson, Charlie, celebrated his 1st birthday on August 25th! We got to sing to him and wish him happy birthday from Croatia as he sat still for just a few minutes before going back to toddling around the apartment where he's living with his mom and dad right now. He's a bundle of delightful curiosity these days!

He and his parents are in North Carolina right now, at missionary training for a month. So Charlie got to celebrate his first birthday with kids just like him, who are about ready to head to the mission field with their families for the first time.

They'll finish at the end of this week and head back to Colorado for just ten days before they leave for their new life Albania!

We're so delighted by this little fellow, and his zest for life! His sweet face, joyful grins, generous spirit and warm personality makes him oh so lovable.

We're excited that his parents are following the Lord to serve with JV in Albania. It not only means that he gets to live a life full of adventures in faith and trust in the Lord, but we'll get to see him a little bit more often on our side of the ocean!

Happy Birthday dear Charlie!!


Oh the goodness of an unplugged vacation!

Before we left home in Czech, I was praying about our vacation and asking the Lord what He had for me during these days away. And honestly, I didn't know His answer.

Until we got there.

He wanted me to unplug, be quiet and rest, receiving a daily dose of his love and care.

That came in so many ways, most of them simple.

Waking up on our little boat every day; a calm bay; deep night's sleep every night; a simple breakfast; breathtaking views.

These were a few things that nourished my body and soul.

As did the salty sea, the warm air, and peaceful sounds.

We motored out two hours from Hvar, to the island of Lastovo again. It's an island that was closed to foreigners until just 1988 because of the military base there.

Today it's a peaceful, untouched island of beauty that we find very relaxing.

Day after day we motored out to one particular cove to read, sleep, think, pray, swim and talk with each other. It was a little taste of heaven, being so close to the Lord in his gorgeous creation.

I'm not sure how no one else came to this spot the whole time we were there, but I was thankful. This is just one reason why having a small boat can get into places that the big boats can't!

One evening we stayed until after the sun went down and I captured this shot on our way back to the peaceful bay for the night.

Due to a storm that was coming in, we had to leave earlier than planned, but that was okay since our house on Hvar that is usually rented out all summer, had this week free. Since Dave has to buckle down this week to work on his teaching for JV Fall conference, it's a blessing to be on firm ground while he studies!

The benefit of unplugging in God's beautiful creation here was seemingly hundred fold! We slept deeply, communed with the Lord and each other, filled our mental, emotional and spiritual tanks, and hopefully stored up resources in our souls for what's ahead in the coming months.

I am deeply thankful for these precious days away with my dear Dave!

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Beginning to Rest

After a night spent in our boat, on its trailer, in a parking lot (yes, we do that sometimes!), we enjoyed breakfast at our favorite spot on the square in Hvar Town.

If it looks like I need a little coffee to perk me up, you'd be right!

Wow, I didn't realize how tired I was until a deep night's sleep, even with the sound of dance party music booming in the distance as I drifted off quickly, tucked away inside our little boat cabin.

After breakfast, Dave and I wandered down the riva, watching all the comings and goings of people in Hvar Town.

Then went to the marina to put our boat in for this week's vacation.

As we headed out to the still, aquamarine waters that we love, I heard the Lord's quiet voice telling me to unplug and receive nourishment from him.

I'm expectant with anticipation for what He has in store for us this coming week.

PS. I wrote this post the day we left, but never had wifi to post it. Plus, it soon became apparent that the Lord wanted a full "unplug" anyway during our vacation! I'm back-dating this to the day I wrote it, but am posting it on the 27th of August, ten days after a wonderful time away with Dave.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Fifty Seven

My 57th birthday began this morning in sunny Split, Croatia!

Dave and I traveled down here from Czech yesterday, spent the night in a Pepto Bismol colored room last night (think PINK!!!) and then headed down to the ferry to go across to the island of Hvar.

During our years of family vacation between 2008-2011, I spent four birthdays in a row on Hvar as we camped on the south side with our kids and dear friends. I was here for one other birthday three years ago when Caleb and Haley had finished their JV summer internship.

And now today - I'm back here in this place I love so much!

Some things haven't changed here, like that beautiful view of the harbor at sunset.

But some things have dairy free ice cream that's now available on the waterfront. WHAT???!!! How could this possibly be so good and yet be dairy free??!!!

While birthdays spent with family and friends have always been so sweet, it's special to be just with Dave today...especially because he's spoiling me! 😉

He's game for all the pictures that I want to take.

And game to just sit here as the sun sets and people watch!!

He let me wander through a very cool exhibition being held in the old Arsenal, a building that was originally completed in 1331! It served as a shipyard, but later as a theatre that's known to be one of the oldest in Europe.

Right now it's housing a gallery of modern art that is quite impressive! I really enjoyed walking through it all.

With no time schedule or restraints on my birthday, we wandered through the streets of Hvar Town, enjoying the warm summer evening and more people watching.

With Dave giving me the choice of where to eat for my birthday, I chose to come to this side of the harbor.

While there are some things that I like to try new, when it comes to my birthday, I like something that I know is good. And this is it!

If I have the choice, I'll choose lamb every time! Oh there is just nothing like it here in Croatia, fresh off the wood grill!

Not only that, but it's at a restaurant that we visited just a few weeks ago when we were here with our friends - so I knew it would be a good one!

Seating is tight and limited here, but the waiter tucked us into a table for two and we had the sweetest dinner together.

And believe it or not, our table was one of the only ones with a fresh rose on it...a birthday perk!

Thank you Dave for making my day so special, and thank you to many family and friends who sent birthday greetings one way or another. They all meant so much to me!

Thank you Mom and Dad for having me! 😉

And thank you Father, for being the giver of life...fifty seven years ago, and still to this day.

I'm grateful to be alive, and plan to live this coming year with my heart aligned to all He has for me, full of joy, prayer, love and devotion to the Giver of Life!

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Balm for the Soul

On Tuesday night, when Tyler, Lara and the boys came to celebrate my birthday, they left with an extra passenger in their car.

Kaylee is spending her "vacation" in Ostrava with Judah, Asher and their parents! 😂 She is being taken care of very happily by the boys, each of them eager to have a turn at holding her leash as they take her for walks every day.

"Thanks for having her as your "guest" Tyler, Lara, Judah and Asher!"

While the boys and Kaylee are having a vacation, of sorts, together, Dave and I are off on our vacation too.

Leaving early this morning, we made a few stops along the way as we headed down to Croatia.

I tell you, McDonalds just keeps upping their game! It's actually a nice place to get a quick bite to eat, and even a few treats as well.

The roads were surprisingly empty of traffic as we drove, with almost no wait at the border. That's a bonus to our 12 hour drive today.

As we drove we were talking about which spots along the way say "We're almost there".

One of them is definitely here.

This nearly 6 kilometer long tunnel pierces through the gigantic mountain range that then drops down into the Zadar coastal region, about two hours from Split where we catch the ferry over to Hvar. It's like dropping into a whole other world when you get to the other side.

It's especially beautiful when you drive into the sunset!

We stopped at one of our most favorite restaurants in Croatia, which happens to be at a rest stop.

Odmoriste-Krka is a beautiful stop with many different options for food, drink, ice cream and souvenirs. Above the Krka river that leads out to the Adriatic, and near Skradin, the town below where you can enter Krka National Park and see the beautiful waterfalls, it never disappoints!

A short hour's drive from there, we finally arrived into Split and found our little room for the night, before we continue on tomorrow to Hvar. Day one of vacation was balm for the soul!