Saturday, October 31, 2020

Moving Furniture

Claire left home in August 2013 to head to Chicago and attend Moody Bible Institute. 

She was in the States until December 2017 when she moved back to the Czech Republic as a missionary with Josiah Venture. She lived at home for a few months until she moved into her apartment where she lives now. 

But until today, her room stayed exactly the same as it was the day she left in 2013! 

We've been saying for over a year that it would be great to go through everything in her drawers and closet, to sort it, save things, throw away unnecessary items, and turn her room into more of a guest room. 

Today was finally that day! I would never imagined that it would be nine hours of work today, going through everything. But as we started in, I realized that this sort of job is not a quick one! You have to take time to look at every paper and picture, and then make a decision. 

There were things like this description of a TCK (third culture kid) from many years ago, written by the first woman who served on our JV team, ministering to the JV Kids. Who would have guessed back then when Claire was decorating that paper at 14 years old, or so, that one day SHE would be that person for today's JVK?! 

There was this treasure too. 

One year Claire started a recipe book, illustrating it and taking photos to make it something special for her to keep. The above recipe was one that my mom always made for us at Christmas. 

These are truly a taste of my childhood! Thanks Mom! We'll have to make a batch of them this Christmas!

There was this gift I gave Claire when she turned 13.

And this painting from a JV Kid's camp, to show a representation of who Claire was (and still is!) at that time.

An American/Czech rooted in Christ!

This treasure surfaced too!

In 2014, Claire served at Gull Lake Ministries in Michigan as a camp counselor. My dad sent her this postcard from his alter ego, Luther! Oh how we both enjoyed reading that again!

By late in the evening, we had finished the task. 

We moved furniture around, "shopped" in the rest of the house for missing pieces, and even found a spot for the crib to stay out for when our new grandson (due in December) is staying overnight!

Oh how happy my Grandma France would have been to see this change! She was a great furniture mover back in her day, even up to her 90's! I'm not a big furniture mover, so it would have tickled her to know that I thought of her when I did this with Claire.

All of Claire's saved mementos are in just 2 boxes under the bed. That's a lot better than what I still have at my parent's house after being gone for 37 years! 

Claire loves the new look in here, and so do I!

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Painting for Joy

All stores, except grocery, pharmacy, gas stations and drugstores, are closed indefinitely now as the Czech Republic is in the middle of the second wave of COVID-19. 

Cases are climbing. We had 15,000+ cases two days ago, and yesterday was almost 13,000. That's in a country of just 10 million. 

While I don't mind working from home (it's my usual), I decided I needed to take a step forward towards doing something else at home for the sake of joy. A package arrived today to help me with that step!

Last month I did my first oil painting and was hooked. I've had a feeling inside me for quite a while that I could paint, so it was thrilling to try it and see how it went.

So I went online (since no stores are open) to see if I could find an easel to set up here at home to work from. Amazon in Germany came through for me!

It's now upstairs in our grandchildren's playroom (where I have art supplies for them too!), and I'm looking forward to making progress on my second painting. 

That's the sketch of a new one that I did a few weeks ago, from a photo I took not far from our house,

I'm kind of nervous to dip my brush into the first color of oil paint and take a stab at seeing where this painting goes! But everybody has to start somewhere. So if I make enough progress on it, I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Running and Curfew

How I love that these two are running partners! 

Claire came over this afternoon so that she and Dave could go for a run, before it got dark (which is happening earlier and earlier these days). 

Days of sitting inside, "going to" Zoom meetings at our computers, take a toll on all of our bodies. So these two have been trying to get out for runs together when time permits. 

Today is a significant day here in the Czech Republic as tonight a curfew will be imposed in hopes of breaking the climb of coronavirus that's taking place here right now. We have the greatest number of new cases of anywhere in Europe, per 100,000 inhabitants. That's not an accomplishment to be proud of. 

Claire will have to leave before 9 PM, as it's at that hour when no one (except essential workers and medical emergencies) will be allowed on the road until 5 AM tomorrow. This curfew will be in effect for the foreseeable future. 

It's great that Claire lives in a little town just ten minutes away! She can leave at 8:45 PM and make it home in time!

We are all making the best of these pandemic days.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Renovations at Malenovice

Before we knew the world was going to be in the midst of a pandemic this year, we made the decision last year to shut down Malenovice this September and do a renovation project through the fall. 

The plan had been to close right after our fall training conference in the last week of September, and open again in time for our JV Academy in mid-January. 

We didn't end up having fall conference in person; we don't know if we'll have Academy in person either. But nevertheless, despite corovavirus, the renovation is on its way!

It's a multi-faceted renovation, beginning with the expansion of our kitchen facility. 

It's being enlarged and refitted to increase meal capacity for the day when we have our event center down below. 

The renovation continues out into the dining area where we're creating a new breakfast serving area, along with incorporating in a new coffee and snack bar.  

We're also increasing our seating capacity by putting in a door here, basically through the middle of these windows.

This will lead to seating out here, in a new enclosed terrace!

There will be changes at the front door of the hotel, as well as the reception desk; changes will happen in this part of the dining area too.

It's a huge project, but one that will allow the ministry of Malenovice to expand and serve more people in the future. 

The view will of course be the same outside: beautiful as always!

Monday, October 26, 2020

The Reenactment

Yesterday we had some of our family over for the day, enjoying the last of beautiful fall weather outside. 

In a trip to the storage room upstairs in our house to look for something, Tyler unearthed a treasure that he brought down to show the boys, which is what led to the bow and arrow shooting above. 

The treasure? A cloak that I made for Tyler back in 2007, which he posed in before taking off for a Hobbit Festival with friends which I wrote about in that link!

That treasure warranted a reenactment, thirteen years later!

Along with a new photo that will surely be reenacted some other time in the future!

Going back to that blog post in 2007 reminds me of how much I love capturing these kinds of family memories, both now and hopefully later! 

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Beautiful Fall Sunday

Reunited and it feels so good! 

It's been a month since we were together with Tyler, Lara, Judah and Asher due to them being gone for a few weeks, and then all of us quarantining so that we could be together safely. 

On this beautiful fall Sunday, we picked the last produce in the garden.

And took pictures of the four of them since it won't be long now until it's the FIVE of them!

Baby brother is due on December 17th!

The boys love projects outside with Papa.

Whether that's cleaning up the mole hills, or throwing a football!

I do plenty of running around with them too ("Chase me Nonnie" is a favorite game!), but also love getting pictures with these growing boys!

Claire was over too, being auntie in the best sorts of ways!

I don't think we've ever been out here in this field for a picture before. The reason??

Another project of Papa's! Trying to burn the remains of the two trees he cut down this summer. They just don't want to burn, no matter how hard Judah blows!

We missed the rest of our family - the Albania Patty's! I always say to them, "Wish you could just fly up to the little Malenovice airport and spend the afternoon with us!" We were sure thinking of them today as it reminded us of all the week-ends we had together last spring when we were all in coronavirus lockdown. 

Every visit with family is a gift, whenever it gets to happen!

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

To The Airport

While the weather is still beautiful, I headed out this afternoon on a walk in our neighborhood. 

I used to walk this path much more when we still had our sweet little Kaylee dog. I do miss a walking buddy like her on days like this!

We're heading into stricter lockdown these days, and in fact, the malls close tomorrow so we're nearing the kind of lockdown we had in the spring (without the borders closing and travel restricted...yet). Grocery, pharmacy and drugstores will still be open. But all other stores, small and big, will be closed for now. 

We had our highest number of cases yesterday - 11,984. For our country of 10 million, that's an awful lot in one day. 

A number of our JV teammates right here in Czech are in the middle of their bouts with Covid, having come down with it in these past few weeks. One of our Czech missionaries lost his dad a week ago to it. He was just 61 years old, with no underlying heath issues. 

It's sobering.

Our tiny little airport at the end of the road was busy with planes today, taking off and landing, though no one was here to watch. I was thankful to just sit, without a mask, and enjoy something normal.

One day this time of difficulty will be just a memory that we'll talk about from time to time. 

For now, we're doing what we can to live well, walk with God, and pray for the well being of those around us, knowing that God is working in this difficult time, and about things we can't yet see. 

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Stay at Home Retreat

On this chilly Saturday morning, look who's here to visit.

That's our daughter, Claire who lives here and who I see often. But the other one in the picture? 

That's my sister-in-law, Kristi, who lives in Slovenia! And I don't see her very often (especially in these days when we're not gathering as JV staff because of coronavirus) so this is super special that she's here this week-end.

Why is she here? And why are we outside on a cold morning?

Claire wanted to be super sensitive to Kristi, who already had to have a COVID test just to come visit, to make sure that there was no way she, Claire, passed on anything to her. Claire doesn't think she's sick! She just wanted to take every precaution to make sure that Kristi stayed well while here. So I made homemade Pumpkin spice lattes and Pumpkin doughnuts, and we sat out at the table to two hours with blankets to keep us warm!

And the reason she's here is twofold: Josh had a leadership team retreat with Dave, Thursday through Sunday this week-end so was already coming. The second part of that reason is that Kristi celebrated her 50th birthday in April and I'd planned to take her away for a celebration back then. Of course we weren't able to do that because of the lockdown, nor have we been able to figure out another plan since then. 

When I realized Josh was coming, I asked if she could come with him and we'd go to Prague for two days to celebrate. However, due to rising cases of COVID here in Czech, that didn't work either.

So in the end, we decided on a three day "stay at home" sister's retreat! And we're having the best time talking, laughing, praying, cooking, staying up late and enjoying each other. 

Happy Birthday dear sister! It's so special to have you here for these precious days!

Friday, October 9, 2020

Treasuring Claire

 Yesterday we celebrated our Claire's twenty sixth birthday.

She and I started the party in the afternoon at a cafe, but Dave joined us for the rest of the celebration, beginning the evening with that beautiful bouquet she's holding in her hands!

He also wrote her a sweet letter to go with it, telling her all the things he loves about her. 

It melts my heart to see how much these two love and enjoy each other!

When Claire was growing up here in Czech we never thought that she would end up living here, let alone, serve with us in Josiah Venture. 

But I am so incredibly thankful that God that He led her back here, and that we get the joy of living near her!

She's a gem, and we treasure her!