Saturday, May 18, 2019

The Shepherd's Care

I had planned to be in Poland at the European Leadership Forum today, to be a part of this with Dave, Tyler and Claire.

They were teaching a seminar this afternoon on the topic of "Family on Mission" that I was to be a part of. I received a note from a friend who's there, who sent the photo saying all three are amazing teachers. That makes me happy to hear!

Where I am? At home on Day 3 of antibiotics for bronchitis, tonsillitis and a sinus infection. A triple whammy.

I went to the doctor on Thursday and found out the news, and have been worse before getting better since then. I'd been warned that the strong antibiotic might have an effect on me as the toxins of bacteria were being purged...and that warning turned out to be correct. I have been sicker the past two days than I have this whole time.

By this evening I'm finally starting to feel the good effect of the antibiotic (followed up by a probiotic three hours after each antibiotic) but am pretty wiped out.

I've been thinking a lot about Psalm 23, something Dave taught on two years ago at our JV spring conference. Sometimes the Good Shepherd makes us lay down in green pastures. This may not feel like a green pasture, but knowing my Shepherd, I trust that if he's laid me down, it is.

The doctor said I need to stay down until at least mid-week next week; a relapse from such a strong virus is possible, he said.

My body doesn't yet feel like anything but resting right now; we'll see how I feel in a few days! I kept my window open today and could hear the birds chirping on the first sunny day in a while. It was soothing; as is my Shepherd's care for me.

Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Psalm 23:6

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Day Five

I sure didn't expect this.

Today is the fifth day I've been in completely in bed, sick with whatever it is that has hit me. One moment it feels like a sinus infection, the other, bronchitis. Whatever it is, I am feeling pretty miserable. I've done everything I could think of to fight this off naturally, but since that's not working very well I'll head to the doctor tomorrow to see what he says.

Since I don't think you want to see a picture of "sick me" I'm posting one of Dave from this morning, from bed, where I watched him do a JV Webinar for our staff.

I'd love to write more about it since it's such a great thing we do once a quarter. Dave teaches from the Word, has different JV staff give updates from around our 15 countries, and gives general news to keep us all in the loop of our JV family.

But since I'm so low right now I'll just post this, and ask you to pray for me. I see the doctor here in town at 9 tomorrow morning.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Mother's Day: on the couch

On this Mother's Day (my 30th!), I spent it on the couch, sick with a horrible cough. There are sure worse things that could happen than that on a day like today!

I'm thankful that I have three awesome kids who made me a mom; that I have my own mom to honor today; and that I have a mom-in-law that I love too!

My sweet Claire, my last born, ministered to me on this Mother's Day, when I could hardly get out of bed.

She made lunch, brought me GF carrot cake (from Haley's recipe with lactose free frosting that is SOMETHING ELSE...I love frosting so I'm a good judge!), and brought my favorite soda: Almdudler from Austria! THANK YOU CLAIRE!

I think you brought me something else but right now can't remember it!

Dave brought me flowers, which was extra sweet considering me didn't get home until 4 AM (delayed flight, then a late night train ride) and had to be up to PREACH at church at 10. HE is something else!!!

Besides being something else, he's tired too...but still sat here with me!

All things considered, it was a very sweet Mother's Day, being confined to the couch.

Oh and Dave made me a fire and brought me special chocolate from Switzerland so that's good too!

Loved talking to the kids today; love talking to them on all days! But it was sweet to be honored by them, just as I honor my mom and mom-in-law today too!

Happy Mother's Day all of you AMAZING MOMS OUT THERE!!!!

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Didn't See That Coming

This morning I woke up completely and absolutely sick. I sure didn't see that one coming.

Claire and I did our Velvet Ashes retreat yesterday, and while I felt a tickle in my throat at times during the day, I had full energy and was feeling pretty good.

But this morning was a COMPLETELY different story.

I was coughing as if I'd had bronchitis for weeks (or had been smoking for twenty years...which obviously was not true even though I sounded like it!). My body thoroughly ached and I had a splitting headache along with the sore throat (probably from coughing so much).

Today was supposed to be an early Mother's Day for me, with Tyler and Lara coming to make lunch, and Claire, Judah and Asher here too (Dave is still in Switzerland with GYI). But that was not to be. I spent 99.9% of the day in bed, sleeping, when I wasn't coughing violently.

I finally got up to go downstairs and at least try to eat and drink something. What a good time it was to get up!

The days are getting longer here, and this was at just a few minutes before 8 PM!

With a hot cup of tea in hand, I stood at the window watching as the sun set, not wanting to miss the beauty of the day ... because I'd already missed a certain part of its beauty that didn't get to happen due to being sick.

All these years I've trained my mind to be thankful, no matter what. So I stood here praising the Lord and thanking Him for meeting me in a sun set, and obviously lying me down in "green pastures", though I didn't know I needed it!

Here's to a better day tomorrow, whatever that might hold!

Friday, May 10, 2019

Velvet Ashes 2019

This morning Claire and I grabbed our Bibles, notebooks, computers, headphones, colored pencils, crayons, candles, snacks and coffee to get us ready for our all-day Velvet Ashes retreat day. 

Two years ago I found out about this ministry to women who live overseas. Whether they are missionaries or expats living somewhere other than their passport country, they designed their ministry to be a service of helps, resources, community and retreat.

But the once a year retreat is not in person! Rather it is an online retreat that you can go through by yourself, with one other person, or in a group. I've done it alone for the past two years, but this year asked Claire if she wanted to join me. So today was the day!

This year's theme for the retreat was "Shalom", a word that I didn't know much about until spending significant time in the Word today and seeing all the places where it shows up! I actually studied through eight full pages of Scripture, looking them up, diagramming them, looking for broad sweeps of meaning, and for personal truths for me today.

Did you know that the word shalom doesn't mean just "peace"? It's biblical definition is much fuller, encompassing wholeness, completeness, fulfillment, contentment, harmony, well-being, security; being safe in mind, body and estate.

We finished around 5:30 this afternoon and were sharing our thoughts on how God had met us and what was significant from the day, when all of the sudden we looked out our back window!

It had been raining throughout the day, and to be honest, I hadn't taken much note of the weather, knowing that it was supposed to rain all day.

But not THE WHOLE day, according to God!!

What could be more meaningful from Him than to end our day with a spectacular full rainbow??

It is the sign of his covenant between the earth and Him (Genesis 9:13), that He would not destroy the earth again (9:15). Each time we see it we are to remember His promises and everlasting covenant with us, and all living creature of every kind on the earth (9:16).

Truly, it was the perfect ending to an amazing day of meeting with the Lord; not only were we nourished and tended to by Him, but also reminded so very poignantly of His goodness and that HE IS GOD, our SHALOM!!!

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Birthday Call

It's my dear dad's 81st birthday today!!

Last year I got to be with him for his 80th birthday, but this year he's in Oregon with my mom, and I'm in Czech.

Thankfully Claire was over at our house tonight so we both got to FaceTime with him and my mom to say happy birthday!

My dad is the kindest, friendliest, most generous man in words and deeds. He doesn't know a stranger, and will use every last bit of his energy to go help someone in need. I don't know how he still does it after all these years, but he's been a tremendous example to me of what it means to live a selfless life. 

He also adores my mom, and that's always been such a gift to me knowing that he absolutely loves her!

Happy Birthday Dad!! Thank you for your stunning example of what it means to be kind-hearted and giving to those around you. Thanks for caring about people, and always loving mom so well.

I love you!!

The Patty's

Some days on my blog I have significant things to share - like updates on what God is doing in this part of the world, and how He's changing lives.

Other days I tell fun stories about our lives, trying to be honest and give a real life view of what it's like for us to live in Czech and serve with JV.

On other days...I get to mark moments in our family's life. Like this.

The day we took our JV Spring conference staff photo last week, I asked Marek, one of our C-team guys, if he would mind getting a family photo for the midst of the chaos of having just photographed not only staff, but JV Kids!

You wouldn't know there had been chaos by these tranquil photos though!

While there was still a lot of milling around, and noise in the background, Marek was able to capture yet another moment in life with these people that we love so much...and that we get to serve with in JV.

One of our other guys on the C-team just sent these to me, in the midst of their post conference recovery (aka: a trip to Prague to enjoy some well deserved time off!).

I am SO thankful for their willingness to send these to me today! They truly mean the world to me.

Even more importantly,  I wholeheartedly thank them for their use of talents and gifts to capture these memories for us.

Thank you so much Jacob and Marek!

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

In Exile

When Tyler asked me yesterday if he could come and use our house as his "office" today, I was only too happy to oblige! (He needed to do ForMission interviews here since today is a national holiday and the JV/KAM office is closed)

With all that's been going on these past months, I'll be room looks a bit like a tornado hit it and needed some tender loving care.

So "Exile" to my room for part of the day was exactly what I needed.

I first sat down in my rocking chair and had wonderful time in the Word and with the Lord, looking up at Lysa Hora, who this blog is named after (I am literally "Living by Lysa"!).

I had no sooner sat down than Claire sent me this photo.

She's not in the photo!

She was CLIMBING Lysa today! I actually took the first picture right after she sent me this one to show her that I was looking up at her!

She's been wanting to climb Lysa all winter and hadn't had time. But today got to do it with her roommate!

And me? I have no other pictures to show because I was busy all day putting my room and life back in order after some busy months!

Thank you Tyler for asking if you could come to work here today. 😉

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Airport Run

Dave left early this morning. I didn't even hear him leave, I was sleeping so hard after the emotion of last night's goodbye with our dear friends, Brian and Aleisha.

He's headed to Switzerland for meetings with the leadership team of Global Youth Initiative, an organization we've been partnering with for over twenty years.

I was so happy to find these two down in the kitchen, still here for a few more hours.

Although Charlie had been up since 5:30, he was a cheery little guy this morning!

We had fun making faces and laughing together - he's such a little character!

All too soon it was time to get them packed up and in the car to head for the airport. One last photo with Charlie on our driveway was a Nonnie necessity. 😂

We drove down into town, to Brian and Aleisha's house so Caleb and Haley could say goodbye.

Walking into their house brought so many memories, especially of the first few months when their twin boys were born and I got to help her. It's hard to believe they're already 8!

Their little Eli was born here in Czech too, and was the only one of the three kids home today while the container is being packed up with all their belongings.

We didn't stay long as they had just a few hours to get everything packed before the truck would take off. So we said quick goodbyes, and gave last hugs.

And got one last picture of Caleb, Haley and Charlie before getting in the car for the long drive to the airport.

They left from Krakow and had a flight to Frankfurt with a long layover, and then another flight to Tirana. They won't be home until late tonight.

But it was so good to have them here, as always, and I prayed for them as they headed for check-in, that God will bless them in their ministry in Albania as they learn the language, continue to settle there, and anticipate camps this summer where teenagers will hear the Gospel and have an opportunity to respond.

May there be some new Albanian brothers and sisters in Christ as a result of the bold faith loving faithfulness of the JV Albanian team as they give their lives for the sake of the Gospel there.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Last Goodbye

Finally at the end of this full day, we reached the part I have not been looking forward to. 

One last time together with us three couples.

Brian and Aleisha Stephens arrived nine years ago to serve on the leadership team of JV. And now the time has come for them to return back to the States to pursue what God has for them there.

They leave with so much of our hearts as we've shared life over these past nine years. And how do you mark such a time with dear ones like this??

I wish you could hear the little snippet from the "live" version of this photo I took. Brian is saying, "You've got to be kidding me!"

Brian and Aleisha love art, and have been collecting it during their nine years here, especially in the past few months since they've known they'd be leaving. In fact, at this spring conference, thanks to many who helped Aleisha, she was able to surprise Brian with the remaining uncollected paintings from each country that JV ministers in! She'd asked people to be on the lookout for inexpensive art (sometimes it was even free!) so that they would have a memory from each country.

So now, they have a memory not only of Prague (where this painting is from), but also from their dear friends, Mel and Amy, Dave and Connie.

As they look at the couple strolling down the streets of Mala Strana in Prague, we pray it reminds them of all the happy and fruitful days they've had here in the Czech Republic, serving us so well for all these years.

As Brian read from a journal he found while packing up their belongings (telling about how God made it clear to them that they were to come), I was reminded that it is God who calls both the mission field, and from it.

This is the case with Brian and Aleisha. And while our hearts grieve that we no longer get to do life together, we know God has good plans in store for them, and provisions for us to fill in their holes.

So we smile, through tears, one last time, and bless them as they head back to Minnesota for all that God has in store for them there.

We will miss you Brian and Aleisha!!!

Partner Organization Family

You may not know that Josiah Venture is actually made up of partner organizations, founded in each country JV works in, to support and sustain the ministry.

The organizations are registered according to the laws and requirements of that region, and then serves as a partner within Josiah Venture.

Each partner organization is accountable to the vision and values of JV and are required to operate according to the JV standards. As partners, they have access to the resources of the entire team, including staff, training materials, and financial systems. In addition, they covenant with the other organizations within Josiah Venture to mutual accountability and support.

Didn't know if you knew all of that!

Tonight Dave and I attended the annual meeting for KAM, the partner organization here in Czech.

Dave founded it in 1997 and led it until 2007. Since then it has had several different leaders, has grown (they now have almost 100 on their staff) but has kept the same vision: to prepare young leaders to fulfill Christ's commission in the local church. That's what it says on the red banner behind Dusan, KAM's director.

Their five building blocks are love, relationships, prayer, God's Word, and vision.

It was so good to be here tonight, right after Spring Conference, getting an update on what KAM is doing in the Czech Republic.

Several people gave updates, including our son, Tyler, who shared about ForMission, the theological education program that will be starting here in the fall.

We heard about camps and mentoring from Mark and Landen, along with many other good reports.

Tonight was also two goodbyes.

Daniel and Kim Johnson (on the left), who we said goodbye to earlier at our spring conference, are leaving to return to the States and pursue God's next calling on their life. Dave and Geri Fuehring are also moving back to the States, but staying with JV to work out of our office on mobilization and fundraising for all of our JV missionaries still raising support. So while they're leaving Czech and the KAM team, they will still be with us at conferences and such!

There was a sweet time of prayer over them, commissioning both couples into God's next plans for their lives.

While people do come and go in JV, from within our national organizations, it's amazing that we maintain a feeling of family...which means, "once family, always family"! So this is another "see you later" with these dear friends!

See You Later

With JV Spring Conference over, we got to enjoy a little more family time before Caleb, Haley and Charlie head back to Albania.

Where better to meet up than our big mall in Ostrava?!

Dave had all day board meetings for KAM, our Czech JV organization, but all the rest of us were happy to get to see each other again today!

Since coffee is part of our Patty family culture, we took everyone upstairs to Ostravanka for a little coffee and family time.

The cousins quickly spotted the fun things to play on just a few meters away from the coffee shop, so headed over there to hang out with them.

We grabbed lunch "to go" and headed up to a toy store play area where there are rarely many others - maybe people don't know about it?! But it was the perfect place to let the boys play/eat while we adults enjoyed time together. I'm sorry I didn't get photos to show that indeed Haley and Claire were there too (you already saw that Caleb, Tyler and Lara were).

The one thing I wanted was to get a picture with the boys before they separated again for a while.

That is easier said than done.

These pictures cracked me up later (thank you Claire for taking them!) when I saw all the different expressions on their face as we were trying to get the "perfect" one.

But really, who's to say what's perfect and what's not??!!

Asher had been so happy before we officially started taking them, but then wasn't into it once the real photo taking commenced. Charlie was at least looking at the camera, while Judah was smiling, but not at the camera!

And as we finished, Asher returned to his happy self, Judah's not so sure what he's supposed to do, and Charlie is still looking "just in case"! 😂 😂😂

Oh how these three little men have my heart no matter what!!!

Soon it was time to say goodbyes.

Oops! Sorry Lara, I caught you trying to get a bit, which I know hadn't been easy up to this point!

Thankfully this is just a "see you later" as Caleb, Haley and Charlie will be back at the end of the month for JV Amazing Race and Intern training.

It's the sweetest thing that these cousins not only know each other, but get to see each other fairly often, considering they live 1670 kilometers (1038 miles) from each other!

So as we headed down the escalator for our car, Judah smiled and could truly say, "See you later!"