Friday, January 31, 2020

People Connections

My flight out of Portland, Oregon was absolutely stunning this evening!

I'll spare you all the other photos I took capturing the beauty of the sunset as I made my way to Denver. 🤣

Dave flew in to Denver earlier today and went straight to his mom and dad's house where we'll be this week-end.

I had made arrangements with my sister-in-law/love to pick me up when I arrived, so wasn't watching for anyone as I made my way to baggage since I knew she'd pick me up on the curb outside.

When I heard someone call out my name, I almost thought I was hallucinating!

I had no idea that Mel and Amy were going to be in Denver at the same time as me!

In fact, THEY didn't know they'd be in Denver at this particular time, since they'd been able to take an earlier flight from Chicago, after having traveled across the ocean from Czech today.

They were waiting for their bags to come out when I came by.  The window of time that they were there was such a short one that it's amazing that we saw each other.

I walked out with them to the place where they were getting picked up (and where my sister-in-law was coming too) so got to see their daughter, Hayley, and her husband before they all took off for Fort Collins.

I still can't believe we ran into each other for those short minutes.

Just a few minutes later, Joyce arrived and we were off to Dave's mom and dad's house!

What a sweet kindness of the Lord to make a travel day so enjoyable with all the people connections!

Proverbs 17:17

When I met my friend Michelle in the summer of 1980, I had no idea that our friendship would span forty years, and grow more precious as each year goes by!

A high school friend brought me to the church her dad was pastoring in Vancouver, Washington all those years ago, and a friendship was born almost immediately between us.

She discipled me, she modeled a life committed to the Lord, she opened the way for me go on my first summer mission's trip to Germany with Malachi, and she told me that Dave and I would probably get married! I owe a lot to her. 😊

Throughout my college years, I began spending time at her house, getting to know her parents and sisters. And those friendships continue to this day!

Michelle and her dear mom!

One of Michelle's sisters who I've known since she was 5!

Through the years as I've lived in Europe and she's lived in Portland, Oregon, we've stayed connected - spurring each other on in our walks with God, praying fervently for one another, and loving each other fiercely!

Even when we get just a few days together once a year, we make the most of it, as we did this time!

Michelle, you are a true Proverbs 17:17 friend!

"A friend loves at all times..."

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Dear Michelle

After 23 hours of travel, I touched down in a very familiar place this afternoon.

Rainy Portland, Oregon greeted me, as did the famous carpet of PDX!

Standing outside in the mild January temperature, amidst the sound of rain pattering down on the street, brings back so many childhood memories of growing up in Oregon.

And who is here to greet me? My best friend of 40 years!

I may not have slept for 23 hours, but I definitely perked up once she came to get me, whisking me off to dinner at a very cool Cuban restaurant in Portland!

We haven't lived near each other for thirty six of those forty years, but when we see each other, it's like we never parted!

I'm so thankful to have a couple of days with my dear Michelle!

Coffee Robot

This afternoon I'm in the San Francisco airport, waiting for my last flight to the day to Portland, Oregon. 

So far I've already been up and traveling for 21 hours, and I've still got a few hours to go before I arrive. And when I do get there, I'll still be up for several more hours!

This called for some good coffee that I went in search of here at the airport.

I DID NOT expect to get my coffee from a robot!

As I was walking through the airport I saw this funny looking little kiosk.

Only out of curiosity did I go over to look at it (never intending to buy coffee from there).

But when I saw that they were selling Intelligensia coffee, the kind that Tyler once brewed when he worked for them downtown Chicago, I decided to give it a try.

The entire process was automated, even choosing the type of beans and milk that you wanted. I opted for an Americano with Oatley oat milk, which I watched the robot prepare!

Sorry to all my barista friends (which includes my sons!), but honestly, this was one of the best cups of coffee I've ever had!

It was just the right amount of everything, perfectly prepared, and did the trick in giving me a nice jot of energy to continue on with my trip!

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Traveling Alone

And just like that, it's time to travel again!

Our daughter, Claire, kindly drove me to Krakow airport this afternoon, about two hours from our home in Frydlant.

Normally we drive a car and leave it while we're traveling so that we don't have to imposition anyone to drive us there and pick us up. But Dave is not flying with me tomorrow. He'll be flying to Ukraine tomorrow night, but has a full day tomorrow of filming for our summer interns so won't drive to Krakow until the evening.

So for now, I'm alone in the airport hotel, with a short night's sleep ahead of me as I have a flight to the US at 6 AM tomorrow morning.

Dave and I will catch up with each other on Friday!

Monday, January 27, 2020

A Season with Charlie

It's a very sweet season of life, getting to have Caleb, Haley and Charlie live with us while they wait for the arrival of their daughter in February.

While we work hard to stay connected when they're living life in Albania, there is nothing like everyday life with them, and especially with Charlie!

Over the past few days I tried to capture some of those everyday moments, to remember this time when Charlie was 2 1/2.

He loves all things "Pooh"! Singing songs from the Winnie the Pooh album is a frequent occurrence.

Charlie loves his paper and crayons, drawing things out of his vivid imagination!

He also has a cool magnetic drawing pad that he loves to draw on too (and listen to its cool sounds as he presses the letters!). Any guesses what he just drew?

He told me that the circle is my face, and the dark coloring is my hair on the back of my head! 😂

He's got a great love for books and can sit for long periods of time listening to whoever will sit down and read to him!

It happened to be Aunt Claire who was happy to sit down with him this time!

One afternoon I took him to the grocery store with me, and what a fun time we had cruising the aisles as he narrated all that he was seeing!

He's a happy passenger, riding in his car seat, chattering away with his long sentences, or singing one of the many songs he knows by heart!

And it's been so sweet to be with him and his parents at night for bedtime routines full of baths...

... books, songs and prayers.

This is a season that I'll remember for a long time, having Charlie in our house!

Friday, January 24, 2020

Party for Baby Girl

This afternoon I came home from JV Winter Academy to a house being prepared for a party!

Claire and my daughter-in-law, Lara, along with Claire's roommate, Pavla, were in the midst of preparing all sorts of wonderful food and decorations to celebrate a certain little somebody who is on her way into our family!

They put on a beautiful baby shower for Caleb and Haley's daughter coming in February!

They invited friends and family to come celebrate her coming arrival.

Amazingly, there were people there from all parts of their lives: Haley and Caleb's family, friends from childhood, youth group and church here in Frydlant, a friend from their church in Colorado who is living in a nearby town, and Caleb's high school friend, Pavel and his wife, Kristen, who live in Chicago but are here visiting his family in a nearby town!

It was such a special gathering of people who love and care about Caleb, Haley and their growing family!

Baby showers are not common here in Czech, though sometimes occur after the baby has arrived with close family members only. So it was the sweetest afternoon watching them be loved on through their gifts and wishes, before this sweet little girl arrives.

Haley's mom and dad serve with JV in Slovakia, and were here all week for Winter Academy; the three of us grandparents here (Dave was on his way to Germany to speak at a conference) had the joy of praying over baby girl during the shower.

And I'm so glad we remembered to get a picture of everyone who came to share in their joy!

Thanks Tyler for being the photographer! 

And this shower wouldn't have happened without the thought, love and care put into planning and executing it!

Claire, Pavla (Claire's roommate) and Lara put this whole party on for Caleb, Haley and baby girl!

The due date for baby girl is February 22nd, and she will be born here in Czech. Once the "all clear" is given, the four of them will return to Albania to continue their ministry there.

What a joy to have them here for this time, getting to celebrate the good gift of God who is on her way!

Finishing Winter Academy

What a spectacular last morning to be driving up to Malenovice for JV Winter Academy!

Lysa hora is the mountain with the little spire on top - which is actually a HUGE building! Lysa is what my blog is named after as I can see it from our home, thus "Living by Lysa"!

I came up at 7 this morning for a breakfast with one of our missionaries, and am sure glad I did so I didn't miss such a beautiful sight!

Today was our last day of Academy, the training event that our team has designed in order to bring everyone up to speed on all the tools available for ministry within JV.

It's been an absolute joy and privilege to walk through this week with the ladies at my table!

Amy, Erin and Kara - all JV missionaries here in the Czech Republic

We have spent over 50 hours together this week, learning and growing along with our other teammates. This is the last year for us as we have now completed year 2 of the training.

Though I've been part of JV from the beginning, I am so thankful for the ongoing training that we provide so we're all onboard with how to reach young people with the Gospel across this region of the world. It's been a rich, intense, blessed week up here at Malenovice!

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Coaching at Winter Academy

What a blessing it's been to come up to Malenovice every day this week for JV Winter Academy!

Today we're putting together all that we've learned and are entering into coaching with each other, using the tools that we've been given by Dave, and our other teachers.

Amy is one of my teammates on the iTeam, the group that works from Frydlant to serve the whole Josiah Venture team. We chose each other to coach, and spent not only our hour and a half slot coaching, but the break as well (and could have kept going for much longer I'm sure!).

After another good session with the whole group, we went outside onto the terrace to get a group photo on this incredibly beautiful snowy-white day.

Dave and I are so proud of these teammates, and all of the rest who are back in their countries serving!

Who would ever have imagined that we would grow from just two couples when we first moved in 1993, to a team of 350 today who are part of God's movement, making disciples all across Central and Eastern Europe!

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

One Take

After a wonderful birthday celebration for Caleb at our house, I rushed back up to Malenovice this afternoon for something new to me.

Our team who does orientation for new JV missionaries coming from the States, asked various JV missionaries already on the field, to film something on their area of vision and passion for the upcoming orientation happening in Wheaton in February.

I was given a fifteen minute slot to film about the JV Prayer Room, and tell how it came about, how it works, and what my vision is for it.

Two of our communication team members, Mara and Marek, set it all up in one of the cabins at Malenovice so all we had to do was come in and do our thing...which can be easier said than done!

I was a little nervous about it, and simply prayed beforehand that I'd be able to do it in one take so that it didn't take up more of their time to splice and edit if I messed up and had to redo parts.

I also asked Rob (in the red long sleeved shirt) if he would interview me, off camera, so I had prompts.

My brother-in-law, Josh, was already there to film too, so he took a few pics for me, and was an encourager with smiles and "thumbs up" as I filmed.

And you know what, I did it in one take! PRAISE THE LORD! It was actually really a joy to do it, and I hope it will be another good part of the equipping our team does for new JV missionaries in training before they leave for Central and Eastern Europe.