Thursday, March 21, 2019

OPI in Ostrava

There has been much to catch up on these past days since returning from my sister trip in Croatia. Guests, meetings, planning, etc ... and a goodbye to Dave who left for visits to Bulgaria and Germany.

But this afternoon, I headed into Ostrava.

This looks like the way I'd walk to visit Tyler, Lara, Judah and Asher. But they're gone too! They left on Tuesday for Albania to visit Caleb, Haley and Charlie (along with the five interns that Tyler's been leading this year in the KAM Journey program).

But today DOES have something to do with Tyler!

He had my name for Christmas this year and so thoughtfully gave me a gift certificate to a new place in Ostrava that I've never been before.

OPI is a well known brand of nail polish, and amazingly, they have a spa here in Ostrava!

So, thanks to my dear oldest son, I got to spend a relaxing afternoon being pampered!

What a good gift! Thank you so much Tyler!!

Monday, March 18, 2019


With a 7:30 AM departure flight from the airport, Joyce and I said goodbye to Old Town Split at 4:30 this morning.

I'm not sure how we look so chipper as it was a short night of sleep!

The city hadn't woke up yet, so it was a quiet walk out, with just the roller wheels of our suitcases making noise on the cobblestone streets.

Cloudy skies met us at the airport as the sun began to rise.

When Joyce booked her flights last August for this sister trip, I found a flight out that would allow me to be with her on the first leg of her journey back to the States.

It made the beginning of our goodbye so much easier, flying out of Croatia together!

Glad I had a window seat to catch one last look at the sun rise, casting its pretty light over the Adriatic.

We landed in Munich, and even though our next flights were out of separate concourses, I was able to get us both into the lounge not far from her gate, to enjoy one last breakfast together .

See Joyce in the background?! 

But finally, it was time for us both to head to our gates. We were getting teary by this time.

Long hugs and more tears came as we stood out in the corridor, one of us needing to go to the left, and the other to the right.

With final "I love you's" and "Talk to you soon" we parted. My sister is somewhere in that picture, heading home to Denver. And I turned the other way to head home to Czech.

This has been a profound two weeks, spent with my dear sister-in-law. They are weeks that we will not only cherish for years to come, but build on as we continue our journey of sisterhood.

"Joyce, I am so grateful that God made a way for us to be sisters, and am so grateful for the years we've shared life together. But these two weeks were the most special yet! Thank you for coming, thank you for making so many sweet memories with me, and thank you for being a huge role model and inspiration to me all these years. I treasure you and feel even closer to you after these weeks together! Let's not wait too many years before we have sister time again!"

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Sisters in Split

Good Morning Split!

It was ever so nice to wake up to yet another beautiful day here.

Joyce and I lingered over breakfast this morning, reminiscing and recounting the Lord's blessings and kindnesses to us during these weeks together on our sister trip. Don't you think we even look alike?!!

Neither of us had a sister growing up so when I married Dave thirty two years ago, we each gained the first sister we'd ever had!

All these years we've grown in our friendship, admiration and love for one another. But this trip has taken it to a whole other level.

We've spent hours upon hours hearing each other's hearts, finding out things we didn't know, and joining each other in our journey of life. This includes everything from our love for the Lord to our joy in our grandchildren! It's such a sweet blessing to share so many things in common....even a love for Croatia!

This evening we shared one more meal together in the heart of the old city here in Split, again in awe that the Lord gave this time to us.

Our time together has been more than we even hoped for! Rich and full, we are nourished in our hearts and souls.

"I love you sister!!!! Let's not wait 32 years to do another sister trip!!!"

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Wandering in Split

After our two hour ferry ride from the island of Hvar to the mainland city of Split, my sister-in-law, Joyce, and I dropped our things off at the hotel, and on a recommendation, headed for an "off the beaten track" restaurant to get lunch.

And oh my, what a recommendation it was!

Å ug is a new restaurant in Split that serves Croatian food, with a twist! We both ordered Bakalar, a Croatian speciality usually served at Christmas, of salted cod and potatoes mixed together. Doesn't sound good? You'll have to try it and see what you think!

We really enjoyed it...along with their dessert and coffee too!

After a very satisfying lunch, we headed into the old city to wander, enjoying the blue sky and sunshine.

It doesn't matter how many times I've wandered these narrow streets - every time feels like the first! I love all the stone, especially the polish of it beneath my feet. If only stones could talk, what a tale they'd tell!

We wandered out to the riva too, enjoying the happy atmosphere of many others out on this beautiful Saturday afternoon.

We had fun taking photos in the late afternoon sunshine under the palm trees. We'll both be returning to much cooler weather so noted how nice it was to be out walking in warmth today!

Hoping there would be a sunset, we headed over to the ferry harbor to catch the last rays of the day.

Little did we know how spectacular it would be!

The vibrancy of this sunset was positively stunning, and seemingly never ending!

It went from pastels to fiery brilliance, all in a matter of a relatively short period of time.

On and on it went, deepening in color with each passing minute.

I would have kept taking pictures were it not for a dear 84 year old woman who stopped to talk to me!

Thank you for capturing that moment Joyce! ðŸ˜‰

By the time she'd finished telling us a short version of her life story, the sun was gone!

We continued our wanderings back into the old city, capturing one last pretty view of the day inside Diocletian's Palace.

How I love sharing all of this with my sister! 

Had a Great Time!

My sister-in-law, Joyce, who has been with me in Croatia for two weeks, sent this to her family as one of her last "Snapchats" from Hvar.

Indeed, we sure did have a great time here!!

While our "sister soul spa" isn't quite over, we did have a ferry to catch over to the mainland for our last couple of days together.

But not before meeting up with someone AT the ferry!

If you've been a reader of my blog for a few years, you might recognize that van. It used to belong to our family, but now lives in Poland with the Hash family! And that's who we were meeting up with!

Dan and Laura arrived on the ferry this afternoon with Dan's mom, brother and sister to spend a family week here.

Joyce has known the Hash's her whole life! Dan's parents and hers were founders of Cadence International (formerly OCSC) in the mid 1950's, and served together for many, many years! Today Joyce's husband, David, is the president of Cadence, and has been for the past 25 years. So there is some long and special history in Cadence between the Hash and Patty family!

After a quick catch up and then goodbyes with them, we got on the ferry that they had just arrived on, and headed for Split.

What precious days Joyce and I shared on Hvar! Memories for a lifetime, for sure! ðŸ˜

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Evening in the Village

Joyce and I only have a couple days left here on Hvar, so are doing all of our "lasts", which included a walk through Sveta Nedjelja as the sun began its descent tonight.

There are two parts to the village, upper and lower. We wandered through the upper section as its the oldest and most beautiful part!

In Czech, houses are numbered according to when they were built (which makes for difficulty in finding places sometimes!), and I'm assuming the same is true here in the village of Sveta Nedjelja. While this house has been reconstructed, I wonder if it was the first one...and if so, when it was built here?!

It's just across from the Catholic church in this village of 131 people, according to Wikipedia.

See me waving??!!

It's a beautiful view from up here in the church yard.

Looking straight out to the Adriatic, you look over Zlatan Otok's production center. Hard to believe worldwide award winning wine is produced here!

Looking the other way you see the only market in town. And it's definitely more on the "mini" side than it is on the "market" side!

We wandered up through the village, watching the sunset, and noticing all the signs of spring here.

We ran into our friend Tino, who lives here in the village but does stone work across the island, as well as on the mainland.

He did all the stonework at our house here, which is stunning. He's such a warm hearted guy, and a true craftsman!

Right now he's building that stone wall for someone here in the village who wanted it to look like it's always been here.

Truly beautiful work, isn't it?!

Looking back the other way, both the left and right is his work too.

We continued our wandering, noticing all the blossoms and the new green leaves and grass.

By summer it will have turned more brown, so it's nice to see the green at this time of year!

The sun sets over the island of Vis in the distance (the island where they filmed the new "Mamma Mia" movie that premiered last summer!)

You can get another view of the vineyards that fill these steep fields here. Someone was up in one of them with a rototiller. This is a lot of work to produce grapes that make the wine!

It's chilly this evening, but so worth being out here to see the beauty!

Coming back around to the house on the dirt paths above the village, we caught the final rays of sun casting their reddish tint in the sky.

And Joyce caught me in action, taking a photo of the blossoming rosemary.

That's the picture I was taking!

So thankful to share these beautiful sights with my sister!