Saturday, February 29, 2020

Papa Meets Jenna

After a day in Poland of hosting a group of pastors and elders from the States, we ended in the very best place!

Caleb met us at the door in Haley's hospital room, holding Jenna for Papa to meet!

It is the most exquisite moment, meeting a grandchild for the first time.

Yesterday I was able to travel from Krakow to meet our sweet new granddaughter, Jenna. Today was Papa's turn to do the same.

For sure, she's sugar and spice, and everything nice...that's what little girls are made of!

We couldn't be more thrilled with this addition to our family!

Because you can never have enough "first" pictures, I have to include a few more with our sweet Jenna.

We just wanted to hold her and never let her go!

Papa takes a turn...

And then Nonnie takes a turn!

God's creation of a life is simply stunning!

This little girl is already deeply tucked into our hearts and prayers, where she'll be the rest of our lives.

And how special to have her born at the hospital in Ostrava, here in the Czech Republic!

Caleb and Haley are also completely in love with their little girl! What awesome parents sweet Jenna has!

Caleb will spend the night here again tonight with his girls. There's a 'not so comfy' couch for him in the room, but he's glad to be here with them!

Friday, February 28, 2020

Jenna Charis Patty

As soon as JV marriage retreat in Krakow finished at noon today, two grandmas and an aunt made their way down to Ostrava to see our precious new granddaughter and niece, Jenna Charis Patty!

Haley's mom and dad serve with us in JV, so were at the marriage retreat, as was Claire, who was there caring for our littlest JV kids.

But now, we had the joy of meeting the newest JVK...and our precious family member!

Jenna was born yesterday evening at 7 PM, in a relatively quick birth - four hours of labor for Haley. She'd arrived at the hospital around noon, but labor didn't kick in fully for a few hours.

What kindness of the Lord to bring her into this world so smoothly! It was sweet hearing the story from Caleb and Haley.

It's an amazing privilege to share a granddaughter with a friend I've known for thirty years!

In case you don't know that story, I'll just say that we first met Mark and Amy when they were students at Moody in the late 1980's! We met again when Mark went on staff at a supporting church of ours in Fort Collins, Colorado. Through the years we'd see them when we came back to visit the church, and when Caleb and Haley were 14 and 15, we went over to their house for breakfast they say...the rest is history!

Now we share two precious grandchildren, and all live on this side of the ocean, doing life and ministry together. God is so good!

Aunty Claire was able to join in on this celebratory day too of meeting Jenna!

And we all got to see Ally, Haley's sister, (and Amy's daughter!) who was caring for Charlie while Jenna was being born.

Only a few visitors were supposed to be in the room at the time, so Ally and Charlie were hanging out in the waiting area when we first came to visit.

But just as we were arriving back on the maternity ward, with Charlie between Amy and I, we found out that Haley and Jenna were being moved to a room of their own!

That means that over the next few days, we can all come to visit without having to worry about visiting hours, or the number of people in the room at one time. There are only a few private rooms, and it's "first come, first served" so you never know if it will be available. What a blessing that it is for Haley and Jenna!

Charlie's got a good sense of who Jenna is, and loves saying her name, and that she's his sister! This is the first (of what I'm sure will be many!) picture that I took of them together!

Jenna weighed 8 pounds, and came out about as perfect as a baby can! She's already nursing well, sleeping a lot, and just as cute as can be.

It's no longer hospital policy to measure a baby at birth, so we don't actually know that detail. They said they'll do it before she leaves, but they don't like to stretch them out when they're first born.

Another interesting detail is that they no longer clean off the vernix (the white, waxy substance they come out with) when the baby is born. Caleb and Haley told us it dissolved into Jenna's skin within about 4 hours, leaving her skin to look glowingly beautiful!

Seeing the four of them together, with Jenna here in the world, looks so natural! We are all so thankful for this precious family of ours.

And in case you're wondering...the two grandpas will get to visit tomorrow!

Mark had to take some JV staff back to Zilina, Slovakia, and Dave had to stay in Krakow with the group visiting here from the States. They're anxious to meet their granddaughter soon!

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Precious Baby Girl!

Just as Dave and I finished our morning session here in Krakow at JV Marriage retreat, I received a message and picture from Caleb saying, "Guess where we are?"!!!

While we're at our retreat, Caleb, Haley and Charlie, along with Haley's sister who'd come to be with them from Ireland, were at our house waiting for the imminent birth of baby girl.

Haley's water broke this morning while at home, and they got this photo with Charlie before heading to the hospital in Ostrava.

Their teammates in Albania happened to still be in the conference room when we got the news, so we quick took a celebratory picture with them!

As the afternoon went on, we got periodic updates on how Haley's labor was progressing - I'll never forget standing here with the view out across the square, hearing Dave talk on the phone with Caleb before we started our next session...wondering if baby girl would come before we were done.

But no, by the time we finished at 5:30, there was still no news.

Dave and I went into a dinner with some pastors and elders from the States who had come to see us here, and meet some of our JV teammates. All through dinner, I kept checking my phone.

We finished dinner, and still no news, so I ran up to our room to drop off some things before going back down to another meeting with the group from the States, and some more of our teammates.

Just as I was about to walk out the door of our room, I got a text and pictures!!!! 😍

Jenna Charis Patty was born at 7:06 PM!!

Caleb said that Haley and Jenna were doing great!

Jenna's name (a surprise for all of us as Caleb and Haley like to do that!) means heaven's kindness and grace - Charis (pronounced Kuh-reese) is the Greek word for grace.

She is a beautiful gift to Caleb, Haley and Charlie, and to all the rest of her family who is celebrating her birth today!!

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Marriage Retreat in Krakow

Dave and I woke up here in Krakow this morning, across from the train station at the hotel where we'll be hosting the JV marriage conference this week.

Our marriage coaches have started arriving from many different places, including the US, which is where our pastor and his wife, from Grace Church of DuPage, have arrived from!

Claire is here too this week, in charge of the child care for babies under the age of 1. She's got a team here to care for those seven babies. They'll have their hands full, loving on those children while they're parents are in sessions and getting coaching.

We started doing these marriage retreats ten years ago, recognizing that it doesn't matter how great our strategies are for reaching young people with the Gospel if our marriages and families are not healthy (that goes for singles too...and we do other things to support them).

So it was with great joy, and also a strong sense of responsibility, that Dave and I headed downstairs this evening to begin the foundational course of "Back to the Garden: Marriage as God Intended".

It's hard to speak and take pictures at the same time! But I managed a quick photo while our 50+ couples (you can't see them all!) were answering questions we'd asked during the first session.

We're off to a great start, and I'm excited about what God has for these couples in the coming days.

Monday, February 24, 2020

Off to Krakow

Last night a special visitor arrived at our house!

This is Allison, Haley's older sister, who lives in Ireland with her husband! She flew in to spend the week at our house with Caleb, Haley and Charlie as they continue to wait for baby girl to be born.

Somebody was still tired after his nap!

This week, Dave and I, along with Haley and Ally's parents (who serve with us in JV, in Slovakia), will be in Krakow for our JV marriage conference. Claire will be there too, helping to take care of the seven JVK* infants coming with their parents. And Tyler and Lara are coming as attendees! So someone from the family needed to be close by in case baby girl comes, and the perfect person was Ally!

Caleb, Haley, Charlie and Ally were at the hospital today for Haley's weekly check-up, to make sure all is well with baby girl. She's now two days over her due date, so she could come any time. All is well so we praise Lord for that. She's just not quite ready to make her entrance!

This afternoon Caleb took me to meet up with Dave so we could travel on to Krakow.

As we said goodbye, the big question in all of our minds was, "Will your baby girl be here the next time we see you?"

Tonight we are safely tucked into our hotel here in Krakow, awaiting all of the JV couples (there are 105 of them coming...that's over 200 people!) who will arrive tomorrow.

This is always such a special week when we have marriage retreat. Pray for us all, that God will draw us closer to our spouses, and deepen our love for each other!

*Josiah Venture Kids

Sunday, February 23, 2020

While We Wait

When I was pregnant with Caleb 27 years ago, we experienced quite a prolonged time of waiting for his birth to occur.

I'd been on complete bed rest for six weeks due to acute pre-labor symptoms. My doctor took me off the medication holding off contractions on December 26th, which was a month before his due date. My mom arrived the next day from the States (at that time we were living in Germany as missionaries) and we fully expected him to arrive in a matter of hours, or perhaps a few short days.

However, God had a different idea about what his birth date would be!

He didn't arrive until January 20th! Which means, we had a lot of days to fill between my mom's arrival and when Caleb arrived.

Having him, Haley and Charlie here right now, waiting for the birth of their baby girl, reminds me of that time.

Of course, the circumstances are quite different because baby girl's due date was actually yesterday. So now we're in that waiting period now where birth is actually quite imminent!

But in the meantime, we're filling days with lots of playtime, conversations, and activities such as walks, when weather permits.

After church this morning, I went on a walk with them, hoping that would bring on some contractions to get baby girl's birth going!

What's funny is that I did the same thing while waiting for Caleb's birth, and even did a 10 kilometer "volksmarch" (an organized walk in Germany) just a few days before he ended up being born. Maybe that's why he likes the outdoors so well! 🤣

It might look like the weather is of a "Siberian nature" (as in, being cold enough to have such a hood on!), but really, it was just windy!

We're having quite a mild winter, with very little snow. Which for right now, works out for us so we can take a walk like this!

It won't be more than ten days from now before baby girl is born (that's as long as they'd normally wait here in Czech before inducing), but we're sure hoping it's sooner than that!