Thursday, January 31, 2019

Afternoon Goodbyes

Since I'm going to be gone for the next three weeks, I wanted to take a quick trip into Ostrava today.

Two little boys live in the white building on the right (below), and they were waiting for me when I rang the doorbell after taking this photo!

I dropped in to Tyler and Lara's home to see Asher and Judah!

Right after they left us this past week-end, Judah came down with the flu and has been sick for days. Poor little guy! Thankfully he was feeling better today.

Lara has had her hands full with tending to a sick child, and still making life happen for the rest of the family. She is such a great mom and wife!

And I'm so glad everyone was feeling okay today so that Nonnie could stop by for her snuggles before leaving for Albania and then the States for three weeks!

The drive back home this afternoon was absolutely much so that I stopped the car and rolled down the window to take a picture!

You can barely see Lysá hora, the highest peak covered in snow, but it's in the above photo, and a bit of it in this one too if you look really hard!

What a glorious day to go out on.

But I'll miss my Beskydy Mountains while we're away.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Taking Care of Malenovice

Waking up to a spectacularly beautiful morning, I was glad I had a meeting up at Malenovice so I could take in all the beauty of the day!

While we still don't have any news on our permits for the event center that we are planning to build here, some other changes are in store at the hotel so Radek, Petr and I met this morning to work on those.

We haven't done any major updates since the hotel renovation was finished in 2001. There have been a lot of overnights and meals here since then, so we're in need of some freshening up with paint, curtains and carpet, as well as a few changes in the dining area.

Our little team worked so well together this morning, gathering all our ideas and prioritizing next steps in the process of making these changes.

When we first purchased the hotel in 1998, we prayed that it would be a place where people came to be challenged, nourished and equipped in their faith.

And that's happening more and more as the years go by!

For 20 years now, Malenovice has been a very special place to many people -- the JV family and many others as well -- so we want to steward this gem of a place well, and keep it in tip top shape for all that God wants to continue doing here in the lives of people!

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

A Refreshing Day

After weeks of wonderful, but nonstop activity, today's train ride from Ostrava was very welcome.

I happily settled in for my three hour ride, mostly just enjoying the view out of the window today since we haven't seen much blue sky for the past weeks!

Arriving right on schedule into Vienna, I then hopped on the metro to take it to the outskirts of the city.

I remember the first time I came here a year and a half ago to see the doctor that I was seeing today. It was a little scary not knowing my way, nor what the appointment would be like.

But today it was the most comfortable afternoon making my way into her building and up the stairs to her cozy waiting room.

Right on schedule she invited me into her office for our hour long appointment to go over all the blood tests that I took earlier this month.

What an immense blessing she has been to me, essentially being a private investigator and solving my health issues! Everything is looking good, and I know what my next steps are to continue the full healing process.

One fun side note to my time with her. I always ask about her son after finding out he lives in the States. I asked if he came home to Austria for Christmas, to which she replied, "No, but I was there in August for the premiere of his latest movie." Curious, I asked her which one. "Well, it's the new Christopher Robin movie...and it's up for an Oscar in best visual effects!"

Her son is the head cinematographer on the film, and she said he worked hand in hand with the visual effects unit to create the film. What a honor to be noted for their work! That will be the only reason I'll look at the Oscar Awards later this month, to find out if they won!

I was back on the train by 6 and home by 9 this evening, happy and thankful for a good day on the train and with my doctor!

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Goodbye for Now

This Saturday morning started out like every other day for the past two weeks since Tyler, Lara, Judah and Asher came to stay at our house during the weeks of JV Winter Academy up at Malenovice.

Breakfast, coffee, toys, books. All good things that start a day off well!

But today is the last morning, for a while, where I'll wake up to happy little boy voices in our house.

Today, Tyler and Lara packed up to head home to Ostrava while I finished one last book with Judah.

Next on Judah's morning list, before leaving, was getting in some guitar time.

He was seriously so adorable, playing it along with worship music we had going in the house today! This guy has some good rhythm in his bones.

I had asked Tyler and Lara if they wanted to take it home with them, or if they'd rather leave it here to be special at Nonnie's house. The one thing about this guitar is that it's got "effects" on it, meaning, it's one of those potentially annoying toys to have in the house. ðŸ˜‚

But when they said yes, I got to tell Judah he could take it home. This is him telling his dad that Nonnie said yes (when in reality, his parents said yes!).

The house was very quiet after they left this morning, especially since Dave had already left at 6 AM to go teach in Pardubice all day!

While I missed their sweet faces today, and all the daily interactions with Tyler and Lara along the way these past two weeks, it's right for all of us to move on with what the Lord has next for us. But oh how thankful I am that we get to have these kinds of times of living life at our house together with our kids and grandsons!

Friday, January 25, 2019

End of Another Nonnie Camp

I took all of three photos today.

Even though it was a day full of many memorable moments, I was so concentrated on what was happening that I barely remembered to even get those three!

At lunchtime I finished this year's version of Nonnie Camp with my three little grandsons who were here while their parents were at Malenovice for JV Winter Academy, a staff development training week.

Tyler and Lara came home for lunch to relieve me so that I could go have lunch with this dear friend who has been up at the hotel all week.

Normally Geri lives and serves in Czech with JV, but right now she and her husband are living in the States for nine months. She has been a key partner with me in creating and developing the JV Prayer Room so I've missed our get-togethers a lot while she's been gone. She'll head back to the States in a few days, and return in May.

After saying goodbye to her, I quickly drove up to Malenovice to say goodbye to Caleb and Haley, who had packed up all their things at our house and were heading to Bratislava to pick up Charlie before continuing on to their home in Albania. The goodbye was so quick that I didn't get a picture with them!

But Claire happened to be there too, packing up all the baby things that had been at Malenovice these past two weeks for those who brought their littlest ones. I helped her get everything back down to the storage area in Frydlant and then invited her for coffee, to a new place that I'd never been to nearby!

But again, didn't take a photo with her in it as we were talking as fast as we could, getting caught up on the past weeks!

Tyler and Lara are spending the night at our house again tonight as they found out their furnace went off at their apartment making it too cold to sleep there. So I'll get to see my little guys one more time in the morning, and surely get a few more pictures before they head back to Ostrava!

Thursday, January 24, 2019

McDonalds and Music

Call me a little bit crazy, taking two little people to the mall in the evening!

Judah fell asleep on the 15 minute drive here, so Asher and I let him sleep for bit while he enjoyed his free roaming inside the car!

We came to do several errands for the boys this evening, and I'll say that it felt rather epic to be walking through the mall with these two, all by myself!

Asher came away with new boots as he is growing at "light speed" these days and needed some bigger ones!

Since it was dinner time and McDonalds was just across the way, we took ourselves over there before finishing our errands.

Some JV friends happened to be there as well, so we got to see them as they were just finishing and heading home!

If you know me, you know that McDonalds is kind of a special place to me.

I have very fond memories of going to the first one in Eugene, Oregon where I grew up in the 1960's. I worked at one in Portland, Oregon while I was in high school in the late 70's. And it was a place we frequented often in Ostrava when we first moved to Czech and were trying to figure out life here (it was a piece of "home" back then).

And now, for the first time, I'm here with my grandsons. It felt right to be here this evening!

Afterwards we finished our errands by going to the toy store in search of something in particular for Judah.

No, we didn't buy any trucks, or any other toys for that matter.

We bought a little guitar!

Both Judah and Asher enjoy making music (in a kid kind of way), and will always find my various kid-friendly instruments in the toy box when they come over. But the one thing we were missing was a guitar. Granted this isn't a "real" one, but it will do for now as he learns to feel it over his shoulder, strumming and moving, like his daddy does when he leads worship.

We were in the middle of a jammin' session (no kidding...these guys LOVE to make music!) when Papa got home tonight.

After hugs for him we continued on with our little band until it was time for bed.

You never know if a child will end up being musical or not, but with how much they love it, I'm guessing that one day they'll both play and/or sing!

Dave had come home early from Academy as it was a free evening for people to spend together. He stayed at Malenovice for a while after dinner, but then came back to finish prepping for his final sessions tomorrow.

And get a run in on the treadmill!

It was a great end to another day at Nonnie Camp!

Challenging our Team in Prayer

Judah, Asher and I had a normal morning at home this morning, but at 11:30 we were in the car and headed up to Malenovice one more time!

Since the road is not passable due to ice on the road coming up the hill to Malenovice, we have to park down below in the parking lot and walk up.

Lara came and met the boys and I there to help get us up the hill for the last session before lunch today.

It was so cute watching them sit with their mom and dad while Papa finished up his training session. Couldn't help but wonder if they will ever sit in this room someday as JV missionaries themselves. I wonder about these kinds of things!

Finally it was my turn to speak, for the fourth time at JV Winter Academy, about the vision for our JV Prayer Room in 2019.

They all know I blog so I took a picture of them to put here before I started!

This year I am challenging each JV missionary to a certain number of hours in the Prayer Room in order to strengthen and build their prayer muscles, as we continue pressing forward with a movement of prayer for our ministry in Central and Eastern Europe.

Every documented movement of God in history was preceded by a movement of prayer, and we hope that in our lifetime we will get to see the movement that we've been praying for for twenty five years.

I am deeply committed to praying, championing prayer and believing God for his supernatural work to sweep through this part of the world.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Loving Three Grandsons

It's day three of Nonnie Camp here at our house in Frydlant.

Judah, Asher and Charlie's parents are up at Malenovice, our training center, for a week of staff development called JV Winter Academy. So I get to spend these days with all three grandsons!

Asher had another late morning wake up today, which meant time for Judah and Charlie to hang out together. They were cracking me up as I watched Charlie imitating Judah in so many different ways!

Though I don't know if they will have memories of this time (maybe only through these photos that they'll perhaps see one day!), I love watching them play and spend this time together, bonding as cousins.

Asher and Charlie were born just ten weeks apart, so they are close in age and development. It is the sweetest thing to watch them interacting and learning about each other during these days of Nonnie Camp.

As I'm spending this time together with all of them, I'm praying throughout the day about all sorts of things for them. But one of those things is that they become close friends with each other.

Knowing that Charlie's other grandparents would be at our place any moment, I captured a few more pictures of Charlie being Charlie!

He loves to connect with people and is quick to say "Hi" in his sweet little voice throughout the day, as well as say all kinds of other words that he's learning daily now!

Mark and Amy (also known as: Grandpa and Mimi!) arrived from Bratislava just after lunch, along with Caleb and Haley from Academy, so they could get Charlie ready to go.

It is so amazing that Charlie has both sets of grandparents here in his part of the world! They too serve with JV in the country of Slovakia. They'll take Charlie to their home for the next few days while Caleb and Haley finish at Academy, and then they'll head there to pick him up.

After saying goodbye, Judah and Asher were a little sad at his departure, so we just took it easy until it was nap time.

The rest of our day was quiet and uneventful. A good sort of day!

Another thing I've been praying for this week is that all three of these boys will grow up to be godly men like their daddies, Papa, Grandpa and Pops (Judah and Asher's other grandpa), not to mention their great grandpas!

Though they don't know it yet, it's such a privilege for them to have such a long heritage of believers in their families.

I'm sure loving this time of "hands on" investment in them, spending time together and praying over them as we go about our day.

While I do feel like I know Judah, Asher and Charlie, there is nothing like time spent in person with them, getting to know all of their cute, funny and sweet ways!