Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Judah's Family Party

Judah Andrew Patty is almost three!!

Born November 11, 2015 on a windy, stormy, chilly night in Highland Park, Illinois, Judah is a bundle of energy and enthusiasm today!

We celebrated his birthday early with a family party on this beautiful fall day here in Czech since Papa and Aunty Claire have to travel on his actual birthday.

Since this is his first birthday to be celebrated in Czech and at our house, I've been thinking about traditions that we want to begin and continue into the coming years for birthdays. When I took this photo of him this afternoon I thought, "This could be one of those pictures we recreate year after year in the same spot!"

Who is our dear Judah today?

Well for one, he loves his daddy's garden! It has been so fun to watch him from spring through fall, take a walk out to the garden every time he comes over to our house. He's a great appreciator of the growing process and still enjoying the fruits of his daddy's labors!

He is also a really kind big brother to Asher. So many times over these past months I've heard him say, "Asher too??" when he's getting something that Asher hasn't gotten yet. I loved watching that element of care and thoughtfulness again today as he handed Asher some of the last tomatoes from this year's crop.

He also has a big sense of curiosity and enjoyment!

Our little neighbor boys were out flying their kites in the field next door and Judah was loving the thrill of watching it go way up into the air.

Oh and he's got a sense of humor too!

With Claire mixing up his birthday cake while he watched her, I wanted to take a picture of them. But he would have none of that.

"No picture Nonnie," he said with a serious face.

And then he'd giggle!

He also has his quiet, contemplative moments too.

Enthralled by the balloon candles I had to put on his cake later, he carried them around for at least a half hour, examining and reexamining them. No words. Just looking intently at them!

After a toddler-friendly birthday meal (I found THE BEST recipe for baked crispy sweet potato have to try them! Worth the little bit of extra work to soak the potatoes ahead of time), we moved on to his gifts.

Which brings me to another point about Judah. While he was excited about presents, it wasn't the focus of the evening. He's so relational that he was in no hurry to get to his packages and never asked when it was time for them...just got enthused when we said it was time! I love that about him.

However, he is DEEPLY appreciative of gifts given to him, as shown by this hug for Aunty Claire, whom he ran over to at full speed to embrace her with his thanks!

This boy is all heart and somehow knows how to savor the good things in life!

He could hardly wait for us to sing "Happy Birthday to Judah" (singing it a few times for me in advance...guess he wanted to make sure I knew how it went!) and whole-heartedly enjoyed it when it was finally time!

After a yummy cake, there was still time left in the evening to enjoy his presents and time with family.

And one last trait about "almost" 3 year old Judah? He loves his books!!

While in the States recently I picked up "Cat in the Hat" for him, since we have another Dr Seuss book that he already enjoys. It appears that this one will become a favorite too, as evidenced by him wanting me to read it right away, when there were still other presents to open!

And so, these are just a few of the characteristics that make Judah who he is today! We love him lots and enjoy who he is!!

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Mighty Wind

There are certain things in life that are within our control. Like what we eat, what we wear, how we respond to things, or whether or not we exercise faith in God.

Then there are things that are completely out of our control.

After arriving home last night from two weeks in the States, I woke up during the night to howling winds. (*I just heard that they've been up to 130 km per hour).

While I usually find a certain amount of comfort in those winds (it feels good to be inside and know you're protected), the result of them today was not a good one.

We often get wind here, but this particular windstorm had a force that we haven't had in a while. It completely demolished our greenhouse.

But as I said before, there are things within our control and one of those is how we respond!

So in the words of Dave's dad long ago when we lost the engine on a van, "Have you thanked God for it yet?"

Yes I have! There are so many things to be thankful for. We didn't have a hurricane and lose everything. We have our home, cars and lives in tact. That's no small thing considering all the natural disasters that have been in the news recently.

So as it continues to howl this afternoon, I take my cue from the Psalmist who wrote chapter 46 of that book.

"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging...

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress."

Monday, October 29, 2018

Flying the Dreamliner

After being in Denver for the week-end, seeing Dave's parents and being at Bethany EV Free, Dave and I raced to the airport after Sunday service and made it here in time for our flights back home to Czech.

But this is where we said goodbye, as we had separate flights back over the ocean!

Dave flew directly to Europe from Denver, but I had a flight to Chicago before catching my overseas plane. And if you know O'Hare, you know that meant coming into one terminal (actually Terminal 1!) and getting myself over to Terminal 5. I was so happy the train was working today!

The past couple of times we've been at O'Hare we've had to take a shuttle bus from one terminal to the next. But with two heavy suitcases, a back pack (also heavy!) and a purse, I needed as much help as possible getting over there.

The train was great, and I checked in with no problems.

I don't know if anyone else feels this way, but I still feel a certain amount of relief and thankfulness when suitcases are out of my hands and all I have to do is go to my gate and wait to get on!

I said goodbye to Chicago, slept almost the whole flight, and then said hello to Poland!

This flight was on the relatively new Boeing 787, called the "Dreamliner". Poland's national carrier, LOT, has a direct flight on it from Chicago to Krakow. It's a new type of airplane that was introduced back in 2012, but this is only the second time I've been on it.

Among other things, it has a special filtration system designed to reduce jet lag, headaches and fatigue. It's supposed to eliminate irritants that produce a drying effect, and give the passenger a better flying experience.

I hardly knew I was on the plane since I slept most of the way. But I guess that's a pretty good advertisement for it! I felt great when I got off and met Dave, who had arrived just 45 minutes before me!

Our time in the States was so fruitful and energizing, full of many wonderful conversations and times with people. It's always good to get home; but I arrived with much thankfulness for the ways the Lord directed and cared for us along the way. 

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Flying Out

Yikes! It's been a week since I've updated on our stateside trip.

But that's indicative of how full of a week it's been. And when I say full, I mean full of very good things, like this!

We finished up our time in the States in Denver this week-end, visiting Dave's mom and dad and a few others.

There is so much to catch up on, which I'll do when I get back home.

But for now, I'm getting on a plane to Krakow and will be at home tomorrow! See you all on the other side.

UPDATE! I'm home and there are new posts up! Scroll down for some new blog posts on our last week in the States.

Home at Bethany

For over fifty years, Bethany Evangelical Free Church in Littleton, Colorado has been the Patty family home church.

This morning we came to be in church, fellowshipping this with dear congregation of people who have faithfully stood by us, and many other missionaries for many years.

They surprised us this morning with a celebration for 25 years of leading and serving with Josiah Venture!

It seriously brought tears to my eyes as I walked into the fellowship hall and saw this beautiful sight! It's so like the people of Bethany to be this thoughtful of their missionaries.

Instead of the regular Sunday School hour, today was a church family gathering to give an update on the past 18 months of restructuring the church for growth over the next five years.

Scott, above, is their new pastor (and his wife Meagan is on the left with their two month old daughter, Katherine!) and is doing a fantastic job of leading the church into a new season of life. We left so encouraged by the steps he, the elders and the faithful members are wisely and thoughtfully taking towards growth.

This man, Mike Harrison, is one of those faithful and faith-filled men who have stayed the course at Bethany. He was Dave's 6th grade Sunday School teacher!

For years he led trips out to Czech for our summer English camps, and has been the champion of missionaries sent out by Bethany for even more years. We are so thankful for him!

He and Scott introduced us this morning and brought us up front for a short update, and to pray for us.

The churches who stand with us from the States mean the world to us, with Bethany having a special place in our hearts as the Patty family church for all these years! How good it was to be here this morning.

With Dave's cousin, Carol, who also attends Bethany!

"Thank you Bethany family for all your love, care, prayers and support for so many years!"

Saturday, October 27, 2018

The Patty Homestead

Having now owned this house for over 50 years, Dave's mom and dad moved into this house with their family in May 1968, when Dave was just 6 years old!

Though there were years when they didn't live here (they served as missionaries with Cadence International in Germany for 12+ years), it always belonged to them. They've now been back for nearly 30 years, continuing to make this home for all of us who live near and far.

Dave's dad will tell you that he's a farmer at heart, something he did with his dad in Oregon on the Patty farm, until God saved him and called him to be a missionary.

So it's no surprise that he continues to "farm" here in their backyard, next door and down the street at Dave's sister's house, in much the same way as he did when they lived here with the kids through their junior high and high school years. If you haven't heard Dave tell "garden stories" from his growing up years, you'll have to ask him about it the next time you see him!

There are still things growing in dad's garden this late in the fall; in fact, he'll pull up carrots through the winter, and have fresh herbs until it freezes.

And then there's his wood pile!

Did you know that all the kids went together and bought dad a new chainsaw...for his 90th birthday?! I wished I'd listened more closely to hear how many cords of wood he's got there, most of it cut and chopped by him! It's a LOT!!

We went around the back, though the alley to look at his garden next door where he grows everything from corn to eggplants and artichokes!

Mom and dad's niece, Carol owns the house next door to them and rents it out. One of the stipulations to the rental agreement is that dad gets to garden there!

This dear little yellow house in Englewood has so many memories for the Patty family!

It's always a joy to get to come and see mom and dad here, taking in all the familiar and heart warming sights.

But mostly we enjoy being with them here!

Good Neighbor, Good Votes

It was so nice to wake up this morning at Dave's mom and dad's house in Colorado! Mom prepared an amazing breakfast for us and we soaked in sitting around the table with both she and dad. 

Speaking of dad...these are the last of his big pumpkins for sale from his garden!

He's known in the neighborhood (and probably beyond too!) for raising big pumpkins and then selling them around Halloween time.

There was a bigger one in the trailer last night when we got here, but this morning it was gone...someone had stolen it. Such are the risks he takes by being "neighborly" and leaving them outside so people know he's got them.

All summer he sets out produce in a wagon and simply leaves a can for people to put money in for what they take. Sometimes people steal from that too, but most of the time people stop by and say how thankful they are for all he raises in his garden and makes available to the neighborhood!

Dave and I exercised our United States "good neighbor" privilege by going to vote this morning!

Last night I happened to ask mom and dad if it was possible to vote early (rather than sending in our ballots) and they said they thought it was.

A quick search of Google told us where to go.

The last time I got to vote while in the States was in 2004 for the Presidential election that saw George Bush reelected. Today's ballot is for "Mid Term elections" so is not for the presidential race, but is for other important officials, such as electing a new governor of Colorado.

The last time I voted "in country" there was only the paper ballot option, which is still possible today. But I chose to go "high tech" and use the tablet, as did Dave!

These county workers, hired just for the election, were overly exuberant in their greetings when we walked in earlier! There had only been a few who'd come in on this Saturday morning to vote in person, though they said 80% of those who vote in this county do so by mail-in ballot. They were happy to have something to do by assisting Dave and I, and the one other man who came in behind us!

Living in a country that, for years, didn't have the opportunity to live in democracy, I'm appreciative of that more so than I had been before moving to Czech. It's a privilege to vote and I'm glad we had the fun of doing that in person today!

Though we're only two of the 572,000 voters registered in our county, our votes count!