Monday, September 16, 2019

Special in Ostrava

As soon as we were all done with our work today, we quickly changed clothes and made it into Ostrava by 6 PM  for something special!

Today is Dave's actual birthday - Happy 58th Birthday to him! - so although we had a little celebration at our house yesterday, it continues on here today.

After we'd already made a plan with Claire to celebrate him at home on Sunday, she found out about something special happening in Ostrava on this day, his birthday, that she thought he'd enjoy a lot.

She was definitely right!

This is the Svatováclavský music festival that is in its 16th year in the greater Ostrava area.

In the month of September there are 32 sacred and classical concerts performed in churches in this region. As an international music festival, they bring in performers from around the world to places like this, the Hussite church near downtown Ostrava.

It was really special to be here, looking at the front and seeing the verse, "Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in your midst?" from 1 Corinthians 3! I wonder what other people thought as they sat waiting for the concert to begin.

We invited our friend, Shelby, to come join us for this birthday concert!

She is on JV staff as International Fusion director, and is herself an absolutely gifted pianist! I'm so glad she could join us for this exquisite musical experience tonight.

The trio, "Z.E.N." performed for us - a group composed of an American violinist, an Armenian cellist and a Chinese pianist. I really CANNOT SAY ENOUGH about how amazingly they performed tonight! If you love classical music, look them up! Their music was absolutely brilliant!!!

After their nearly two hour concert, including an encore that was electrifying, they gave their final bow and the church began to empty.

But Dave, led us to the front so Shelby and I could see the handcrafted Austrian Bösendorfer piano  that had been brought in specially for this pianist. New, the piano retails for somewhere around $200,000. Their pianos actually go up in price to $500,000! It was a treat to see one in person (though we didn't dare touch it!)

Do you notice anything unusual about it?? It has four extra keys (see the black keys?) in the bass than a regular 88 key piano! I've never seen that before and was glad Shelby could tell us about it! They actually make another piano with a full extra octave in the bass, giving it 97 keys.

The Chinese pianist played it so powerfully!

Dave even talked with the musicians for a little bit, finding out they'd been in Aspen, Colorado earlier this year for a festival!

What a huge blessing to hear such a moving and beautiful concert on this day we're celebrating Dave, who can play all three of the instruments those musicians were playing (though he'd tell you, not very well! But still! He can play them!).

Dinner in the food court of the mall rounded out our happy celebration of Dave!

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Sunday Afternoon Celebration

Look who's over at our house to celebrate somebody's birthday!

Who's got the birthday? Dave!

It's actually tomorrow, but we're having one celebration for him today, a little something tomorrow, and then another one at the end of next week when everyone is here after JV fall conference. Lucky guy being celebrated three times!

But Claire will be gone right after conference, and didn't want to miss celebrating her dad, so he gets one birthday today with her.

Lara and the boys are here too today because Tyler is gone to Prague picking up professors from the UK who are coming in for their first week of university with ForMission. They brought their things up to Malenovice, but came down for the day to be here with us.

I asked Claire if she could bring her camera and take some photos of Dave and I (hopefully for new prayer cards!) today, so off we all went for a walk out on our country roads.

The light was kind of bright so we were searching for the right place to take pictures. When we found it, the boys were happy to be like how we adults are with them when we want them to smile. 😉

And they got good ones out of us!

Claire got some great shots of us with the boys too!

We'll see if this one ends up on any refrigerators or not! 😁

Those pics look different because they're with her good camera...I should have grabbed it from her to take this picture instead of just my phone!

The walk back was so sweet, just meandering with the boys.

Asher is captivated by his shadow!

They saw our neighbor's dog up ahead, so ran to her hoping she'd let them pet her.

She didn't! But their cat did!

The rest of the afternoon was sweet and leisurely, enjoying the sunshine, some soccer ball kicks, and a little rolling down the hill (that was Asher's favorite part!).

Judah took this picture of his mom and me as we sat out here watching them play!

And the big thrill of the afternoon? Watching Papa fix "Catch" the mower! Judah named him in the spring, and that name has just stuck! Catch needed new batteries, and Asher was intrigued!

Such a happy Sunday afternoon, celebrating Dave with the family!

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Anomaly or Not?

Earlier this week Tyler stopped by after he'd been in Frýdlant for meetings, to check on how our (well, really it's HIS!) garden is doing since we've still got things growing.

I'm so glad I took this picture that day of his harvest because all changed.

Dave had been out in the garden yesterday to pick more tomatoes, but this morning when he went out, this is what greeted him.

Literally overnight, a fungus came in and devastated our tomato plants. 

This happened to our garden last year, but we didn't know if it was just an anomaly. Looks like it wasn't.

Tyler has already started researching what to do for next year's tomatoes, and has ideas, so hopefully we'll bypass this fungus next time around!

Friday, September 13, 2019

Summer into Fall

Fifteen minutes down the highway from our town of Frýdlant nad Ostravicí is the larger city of Frýdek-Místek. At one time these were two separate cities, separated by the river.

But today they make up one city of around 80,000 people, in the city and area nearby.

Both Claire and I had errands to run today, so came together to do them. It is SO nice to have her here for fun moments like this!

The weather is changing and heading for fall, but it was still warm enough to sit out on the Místek square and enjoy a bite of lunch (truth be told, homemade fries from our favorite place called Faency Fries, which now has a location on this square!).

After finishing our errands we drove over to the Frýdek side of town for coffee on a little side street.

I should have taken a picture when a high school friend of Claire's happened to drive through this little, almost "alley-like" street, and saw us! She parked down the way and came back to talk with us for a bit. She doesn't live in this town either so it was crazy to run into her, but so sweet at the same time!

In the midst of busy, full days, it's nice to be able to stop and be outside for a bit on these last "summer turning into fall" days before we have to put on coats and hats...and then, boots and gloves! So glad I could enjoy it with Claire.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Waiting, Watching, 24-7

This afternoon I came and met Dave in his office down in Frydlant.

We had a meeting by Skype with Brian Heasley, the International Director of Prayer for the organization 24-7 Prayer, which bases out of the UK, but has a world wide presence.

Twenty years ago this month, they started a prayer room, in a warehouse on the south coast of England. Led by a man named Pete Grieg, a group of people simply began to pray 24-7 because, as they say on their website in the answer to the question of why: "1. Prayer's pretty much the heart of everything else in the Christian life and 2. We were really, really bad at it…"

Their ministry has grown to literal prayer rooms around the world! To date they have had over 25,000 prayer rooms registered on their site, with 144 currently praying 24-7 somewhere in the world. Brian said they have had someone from every nation in the world, except North Korea and Iran, visit their website this past year!

They have so many resources available for use by anyone. Everything from how to set up a literal prayer room, to how to motivate people and how to fill an hour of prayer.

We are definitely kindred spirits with this group of brothers and sisters in Christ who are giving their lives to prayer - to praying, and to helping others pray. I was so inspired talking to Brian today and hear of 24-7's compelling vision: Waiting. Watching. 24 – 7 – 365.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Krakow Airport Cuties

This morning I got to take these two cuties to the Krakow airport!

I have known Lisa since she was a new bride, having moved here to Czech with her new husband eleven years ago.

They lived in the apartment over our garage for their first year of marriage, before moving down into Frydlant, where her husband teaches (and now is vice principal) at Beskydy Mountain Academy, the high school our kids went to.

Now, four kids later, she is on her way to the States with her littlest one before she turns 2!

Don't know you know that woman was wondering why I was taking a picture?! 🤣For my blog, of course!

While her husband stays home with their three older kids, Lisa is off to visit supporters for the next two weeks. She's a brave mama (and her husband is a brave daddy!).

In any given day there are a lot of different aspects to my life and ministry; but getting to do things like this is one of the best!

Praying you made it safely to Chicago, Lisa!

Monday, September 9, 2019

Chats with Charlie

When you're a long distance Nonnie (aka: Grandma), you have to get creative about how to engage a two year old in a conversation. 😂

I'm a bit of a slow learner on these kinds of things, so it was only today that I discovered the potential of Facebook Messenger chats with Charlie, who lives in Albania!

In the past when we've talked, sometimes he will sit on his mom or dad's lap to talk.

More often though, he'll get down and go play. Which is fine! That's what little people are best at and I like watching him play in the background.

But today! This was the ticket to connection with Charlie!

We had our "matching hats and glasses on", which made us giggle.

And then Nonnie had kitty or bunny ears on which amused Charlie and kept him "chatting"!

He even ate his dinner sitting there with his cool glasses on.

And what do you think of my glasses? Should I get a big pair or not? 🤣

We just got sillier and sillier as time went by and I can say that for sure it made my day to chat with Charlie in this fun way!

Oh the things you'll do when you're a grandparent! 🤣 🤣 🤣 🤣 🤣

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Still Having Family Night

It's Sunday evening...which means that if we're home, someone else is here with us!

It's Claire, at home with us for a family night!

From the time that Claire was just three years old, we've been having family night. Well, that's not exactly correct. We took a five year "pause" when she left for college and we didn't have any more kids at home!

But now that she's back here in Czech, we try to have family night with her whenever we can.

And tonight's family night started off with GF pancakes, thanks to a Pamela mix I brought from the States a few months ago.

Yes, we're having breakfast for dinner!

When we started family nights with young kids, we always had a fun meal, accompanied by a lot of arts and crafts, singing, wrestling (dad with the boys!), and a lesson from the Bible.

These days we don't do much with crafts or wrestling - haha! - but we still have time in the Word with dad, who always gets very excited about doing it!

It's really a precious time for the three of us to talk, as adults who love Jesus, about the Word and how to apply it to our lives. And I'm thankful for how Dave is still leading us in family nights!

Someday Claire may have a family of her own, and we won't get to do this with her. But it sure is special to share these evenings together as regularly as we can right now!

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Miracle on the Way

We have some exciting news!!

Haley posted this photo a few weeks ago with the caption:

"Really thankful for these guys, and really thankful for the little one who will be joining us in February! ❤️"

Yes, a new little addition to their sweet family is on the way!

Every child is a miracle, and we're praising God for THIS one!!!

Friday, September 6, 2019

First Week of Školka

Rather than driving into Ostrava, I decided to walk down to Frýdlant and take the train this morning.

I thought I gave myself plenty of time so was meandering on my walk and enjoying an early fall day.

But when I got down into town and double checked the time of departure, I realized I had the time wrong. 😳 Instead of having eight minutes to get there, it was three minutes before the train was scheduled to depart (and there's not another one for an hour), so I literally ran and made it onto the train with just moments left before it pulled out.

Whew! That was a close one. 😬

The thing is, I was on a schedule and needed to be in Ostrava by a certain time to meet up with some people.

I got there just in time before these two came out to meet me. 😉

Today is the last day of Judah's first week at školka (Czech kindergarten), and I'm going with Lara and Asher to surprise him!

Asher showed me his mad scootering skills on the way there! 😃

Školka is a little different than American kindergarten, in that children begin at a younger age and typically spend 2-3 years going before they start elementary school.

It's not daycare, but an actual learning program that teaches everything from colors, counting and the calendar, to manners and proper school behavior. Our kids benefitted so much from their years in školka because it gave them all of those things AND the Czech language before they started first grade.

Walking in was a blast from the past for me! I spent five years taking our kids to školka in Havířov; and while the layout and building is different here in Ostrava, this one still felt so familiar to me!

What a sweet moment to surprise Judah here in his first školka classroom!

He was so chatty and wanted to not only show me around, but tell me about everything!

Including the bathroom! ☺️

His školka is a nice walk from their home in the center, and he chatted the whole way back...

Until there was a pigeon in the square to go chase!

When we got back to their home he asked if I was going to stay, and I told him yes...all the way until bedtime! That got a good smile from him. 😊

After his nap, Lara, Asher and I went back out in the square and bought ice cream cones to bring home to celebrate his first week of školka.

He had an 'owie' on his foot that made him not want to put his shoes on we delivered his ice cream to him out on their porch!

And there we stayed for the next hour, playing, talking and laughing, as we do!

By 5:30, someone else came to celebrate the školka boy!

We were trying to race out to the square to meet up with Papa, but he got to the front door of the apartment before we made it outside!

We had a wonderful meal together, catching up on the past few weeks.

And some good boy wrestling time with Papa before baths and bedtime!

How we loved getting to celebrate Judah's big accomplishment: the end of his first week of Czech školka!