it's all grace

a journey with the Thomason family

Tag: snow (page 1 of 3)

A Good Friday On a Snowy Day

Good Friday (4/3/15)

We woke up this morning to a winter wonderland and the sound of Titus saying, “Mom! Dad! It snowed!” Getting out of bed I wiped my eyes, blinked a few times, and couldn’t believe all the snow that had fallen last night. Knowing this would slow down the morning, I hurried to get dressed and try to get out the door to get Titus to school. Instead of walking, I decided to dig the snow around the garage doors and get the car and drive Titus. Bethany needed it for Avery’s doctor appointment today, so I figured it would be best to get it out for her. As we drove Titus was giddy about the falling snow all around and said, “It’s Christmastime!” Not quite, pal.

Good Friday (4/3/15)

After shuffling through the snow with Titus we made into the school where we got our shoes off and then it hit me–I don’t think there’s school today. Looking around I didn’t see very many jackets hanging in the little cubbies and there were only a handful of shoes. I took Titus upstairs to his class and sure enough the doors were locked. I think this is the third time Titus and I have experienced this. What’s really strange is we thought Titus was going to be “tested” today to see if he can move up to Kindergarten next year. In fact, we had prepared Titus for his teacher to question him and were trying to tell him to be ready and make sure and listen and obey. Come to find out tonight after retranslating the email we got from his teacher, she was actually trying to ask us to “consider whether we should send him to school today.” It’s hard being lost in translation. I told Titus there wasn’t school today and said “let’s go,” and he stopped and said, “Daddy, I want to stay.” He has never done that, but we think he was just excited about something different and what we had prepared him for. We found out later that there’s no school on Good Friday and there’s no school on Easter Monday (the day after Sunday). Oh, the life of a foreigner.

The day wasn’t a complete lost as Bethany was able to take Avery for her check-up which is required for her entering preschool next year. I had a few big meetings at the Josiah Venture office and carpooled with another missionary which allowed Bethany to have the car. The Lord was definitely working behind the scenes on that one because we didn’t know it was going to snow like it did and it was great that Bethany had the car instead of trying to walk.

Good Friday (4/3/15)

Tonight we attended our church’s Good Friday service. I don’t think there was anyone doing English translation, so that was tough, but it was a really full service and we struggled to find a place to sit at first. Above you can see a photo I took and we were way up high in the balcony. They didn’t have any kids program tonight, so we had Titus and Avery with us which was a challenge. The service was long and since it started at 6:00pm it pushed into their normal bedtime. We actually ended up leaving a little early because the kids were restless, but I was glad to be there even though we couldn’t follow what was going on. We were blessed as well tonight by the music of Keith and Kristyn Getty which we listened to before and after the service.

I think I was especially blessed by listening to the song “The Power of the Cross.” It’s a wonderful song with amazing truths, and a perfect song for Good Friday. Here’s a recording of it I found on YouTube and I’m putting the lyrics below the video for you to read. I will echo what many Christians will likely say today, “It’s Friday, but Sunday is coming.”

Oh, to see the dawn
Of the darkest day:
Christ on the road to Calvary.
Tried by sinful men,
Torn and beaten, then
Nailed to a cross of wood.

CHORUS:
This, the pow’r of the cross:
Christ became sin for us;
Took the blame, bore the wrath—
We stand forgiven at the cross.

Oh, to see the pain
Written on Your face,
Bearing the awesome weight of sin.
Ev’ry bitter thought,
Ev’ry evil deed
Crowning Your bloodstained brow.

Now the daylight flees;
Now the ground beneath
Quakes as its Maker bows His head.
Curtain torn in two,
Dead are raised to life;
“Finished!” the vict’ry cry.

Oh, to see my name
Written in the wounds,
For through Your suffering I am free.
Death is crushed to death;
Life is mine to live,
Won through Your selfless love.

This, the pow’r of the cross:
Son of God—slain for us.
What a love! What a cost!
We stand forgiven at the cross.

The Power of the Cross
Words and Music by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend
Copyright © 2005 Thankyou Music

A Baby Checkup and Snow in April

Baby Checkup and Snow in April (4/2/15)

Today Bethany had a baby checkup and since there was going to be an ultrasound we decided to take the whole family. We got everyone out the door and to the doctor’s office on time, but when we arrived there were more people in the office than we really had ever seen before. Normally we get right in and out, but today it took about an hour before we got in to see the OBGYN. Once in, the doctor had lots of questions for us which were really good. I appreciate how thorough she is, even if it means things take a little longer.

Since the kids didn’t have much to play with at the office, and we had been there a while, they were getting a little restless so I was really glad when we all moved in to the ultrasound room. We had been telling the kids we would be seeing their baby sister today and they were excited to watch the screen as the doctor showed us the baby. At first, the baby had her hands in front of her face, but I think she moved and we got one really good photo of her. The technology of a 3D ultrasound never ceases to amaze me. Look at this face.

Baby Checkup and Snow in April (4/2/15)

It was really cold this morning as we were walking in to the doctor. I think all four of us were surprised how cold it was and with the cloud over I thought, “What? Is it going to snow today?!” Titus even said to me as we walked across the parking lot, “Daddy, it’s really cold.” But nothing transpired…well, at least not until about 4pm today. I was in a meeting at the Josiah Venture office and got a picture sent to me from Bethany of snow falling hard at our house (shown below). I looked at the windows of my office and there wasn’t anything happening, but I could see the wind was blowing. About ten minutes later it began to snow and another missionary walked in to my office and we stared out the window in shock. I had to remind myself it was April 2!

A photo posted by Bethany (@wifeyness) on

And here’s some video Bethany got.

Snow in April from Shay on Vimeo.

I finished up my meeting (which was over video chat), packed up my computer and headed outside. When I got to the car it already had at least a half inch of snow or more piling up on it. Here’s a photo of the car and then me clearing off the window shield in the second one.

Baby Checkup and Snow in April (4/2/15)

Baby Checkup and Snow in April (4/2/15)

Driving away, I couldn’t believe how much was coming down and that it was sticking so well. I called Bethany from the car and we were just laughing about it. She wanted to make sure I would be safe and as I got on to the highway things looked good, but it was pretty slushy. I made it home safe and the snow let up a little as I came into our town. As I pulled in to the drive way the kids met me from the kitchen window and were really excited. I couldn’t help but a get a photo of their little faces too.

Baby Checkup and Snow in April (4/2/15)

The kids and I ended up playing out in the snow for a bit while Bethany made dinner. It was just crazy to see the new planted flowers in our landlord’s garden covered in snow. As well, the church next door has trees lining the property that we can see over our wall. It was as if we had jumped back to Christmas with all the snow. Here’s a few more photos of the flowers and trees.

Baby Checkup and Snow in April (4/2/15)

Baby Checkup and Snow in April (4/2/15)

No, it’s not Christmas, it’s just Czech Republic. I checked the weather and it’s supposed to snow late tonight and in to tomorrow morning. I have a meeting at Josiah Venture early so I’m hoping things won’t be too bad. Our jaws are still on the ground. April in California is when you hit the beach and work on your sun tan, but in Czech you get out your snow gloves and make sure there’s enough fire wood!

A Chocolate Lamb

Rain/Snow/Sleet/Hail Today from Shay on Vimeo.

I don’t want to spend too much energy describing the weather, but it has been pretty wild the past few days. Today was no different with rain, hail, sleet, and snow all falling at different times. Again, the sun only shown through the clouds for a few minutes this evening, but mostly it’s been overcast and dreary. Bethany took the video above today of the snow and rain falling, but even tonight we had a lot of hail coming down. What’s weird is that at the Josiah Venture offices today it was mostly dry and I may saw a snowflake or two, but the weather didn’t do much. It’s amazing how much different the weather was at home versus there and they’re really not that far from each other geographically.

No Fooling (4/1/2015)

Tonight we enjoyed eating our “lamb cake.” I put that in quotes because I don’t know what else to call it. It’s a lamb shaped cake covered in chocolate (which you can see above). It even had two little icing dots for eyes. I did a quick Google on the subject and here’s an excerpt from one site about this Easter tradition,

Even before the days of Christianity the symbol of the lamb was widespread in Mediterranean culture, with its long pastoral tradition. For Christian churches the lamb came to symbolize the Lamb of God – Jesus Christ. In the southern Czech Sumava Mountains there used to be a tradition that blessing a lamb would help wayfarers to find their way through the forests. These days lamb is rarely eaten in the Czech Republic, but this does not mean that lamb has disappeared completely from Czech Easter celebrations. It still appears in the form of a cake.

No Fooling (4/1/2015)

Above is a photo of us sacrificing our lamb. It seemed appropriate during the Passion Week.

No Fooling (4/1/2015)

Finally, today Bethany and Avery were counting plastic eggs. This weekend we were invited to spend Easter with some other missionaries and their kids, and we’re going to combine our eggs for a little fun. Bethany said she separated the eggs by color and then Avery lined them up. I’m especially proud of our baseball eggs which you can see in the bottom of the photo.

But more than plastic eggs, Easter is coming Sunday and I’m excited to think on the cross and our resurrected Lord. I know it will be hard to not hear the sermon this week in English, but to join the saints in worship here and around the world to proclaim the gospel will be a great joy. I can’t wait!

Memory Monday

Celebrating Daniel (2/9/15)

One of my teammates, Daniel, celebrated his birthday yesterday and a few of the missionaries here wanted to do something for him and celebrate. We decided that this morning would be a good time to take him out to breakfast and enjoy some fun together. After taking Titus to school, Bethany, Avery, and I drove out to a little cafe in Ostrava to join the fun. Breakfast places are actually kind of rare in Czech and this little cafe made some great food. I believe I had my first omelet in Czech and the only one I’ve eaten since leaving the States. I trust Daniel was blessed and I’m glad we were able to celebrate him while he’s so far from family and other friends. I hope it made a memory.

Snow Everywhere! (2/9/15)

The snow was falling all morning and this made Bethany’s drive back home a little challenging. I had actually caught a ride with Daniel to go back to the Josiah Venture office which is a different direction then our home, so I wasn’t with her. She ended up being about 30 minutes late picking up Titus from school but they were very understanding. It has been snowing all day since this morning and we’ve got at least four inches on the ground, even though it might be even more now.

Bethany was nervous about putting the car in the garage because she thought she would have to come pick me up due to all the snow that was coming down. I ended up getting a ride home, but here’s a photo of our car in the driveway as it sat when I got home. It took Bethany and I a few minutes to wipe it all off and put it back in the garage, but we were laughing and having a good time. It made a memory.

Snow Everywhere! (2/9/15)

Another really fun moment today was going to the post office. I can’t believe it, but I was able to send a letter to America and buy stamps all in the Czech language! Granted, I wrote everything down and had notes I was using, but it really doesn’t change the feeling of being able to actually do something in another language. As I walked out of the building I took the photo below of the outside just to remember the moment and I said out loud, “YES! I did it!” I have a renewed passion to do as much Czech speaking and learning as I can possibly do and today was a win in my book. It made a memory.

Post Office (2/9/15)

I also got a quick video of my excitement.

A video posted by Shay Thomason (@shaycam) on

Lastly, tonight we opened our February envelope! Each month we open an envelope from our small group back in the States. This was a really fun envelope from some great friends of ours. It’s bittersweet to see the notes and kind words from them and remember the sweet times we enjoyed with them. Thank you, friends, for caring for us and sending us these wonderful gifts. Here are a few pictures of the kids opening it up and some of what was inside.

Opening February (2/9/15)

Opening February (2/9/15)

A sampling of things inside were new toothbrushes for the kids, Burt’s Bess lip balm, new books (see below), coloring books, a puzzle, bead key chains (a craft for the kids), a drawing from our friend’s kids and a nice card for us.

Opening February (2/9/15)

It looks like someone was scanning our Amazon.com wish list. Thanks for these awesome books!

Opening February (2/9/15)

Opening February (2/9/15)

I tried to get them to smile for this last one, but it didn’t happen. Smile or not, they were happy to get these new fun things and so are we. Thank you!

Opening February (2/9/15)

Sledding in Czech, Church Youth Group, and Hope for Language Learning

Sledding in Czech (2/7/15)

Today was a beautiful, sunny day in Czech. I don’t remember seeing a single cloud, even though as I write this evening the clouds are rolling in for another round of snow. Our plan to go sledding today came to fruition and we had a blast! It’s hard to describe Titus’ excitement when we made it to sledding hill, but he was basically squealing and jumping up and down. The hardest part was keeping him from running to the hill himself while we got everyone in their snow gear before heading out to it. This specific hill (shown below) was one I saw while teaching last week at the Josiah Venture Leadership Academy. There were a lot of other families there today, and now I know why.

Sledding in Czech (2/7/15)

Not only was the hill easy to get to, it had great runs which today were really fast since it was around 26 degrees outside and the snow was packed down hard. I’m pretty convinced some of those Czech kids were moving around 20mph down the hill. Our kids weren’t so ready for those kinds of speeds so I would take them about half way up and send them down on their bellies at first (like Titus in the photo below). We got a couple of cheap plastic sleds this morning that worked really well.

Sledding in Czech (2/7/15)

Here’s a video of Avery heading down on her own. You’ll see just how far and fast she could go and we were only half way up the little hill!

Here’s a video of Titus using the red sled in a sitting position. He mostly liked the little blue slide that Avery was using, but I’m glad he was brave and tried the bigger one too. In this video he puts his arms behind his head like he’s relaxing and then crashes. But like any boy having tons of fun he gets up quick and smiles for the camera with mommy cheering him on.

Here’s a few more photos that Bethany got while we were playing and having fun.

Sledding in Czech (2/7/15)

Sledding in Czech (2/7/15)

Sledding in Czech (2/7/15)

Sledding in Czech (2/7/15)

If there is “Part 2” to this post, then this is it. Tonight I was able to attend our church’s youth meeting which happens most Saturday nights at 5pm. Bethany stayed home with the kids because they were basically exhausted from sledding. It was a sweet time with the young people, and I had the chance to talk with a young man named Simon. At 19, Simon already speaks five languages (Czech, Polish, English, German, and Slovak), not to mention a local dialect called “Poneshemu.” He’s a great guy and plans on going to university (college) next year to study engineering. We were paired up tonight to play a game where I tell him what I see on a piece of paper that was given to me and he draws it. The only catch is that we’re sitting back to back and of course he can’t see what I’m looking at. I thought it he did great and here’s a photo of us during that little game.

Youth Group in Czech (2/7/14)

They also prayed for our friend Misa who is heading to America to study. I got a photo of the prayer time and I thought it was really neat to see them kind of send her off. They also sang a song in Czech to the tune of Happy Birthday, but I’m not exactly sure what they were singing.

Youth Group in Czech (2/7/14)

After a testimony from a gentleman in the church, there was a shortened message from one of the gospels (I couldn’t quite figure out which book we were in!). Then we spent some time singing an English song that had a bunch of motions. After that we all played a little round table ping pong, but there weren’t enough paddles so I used a clipboard. I did not win. Here are a few more photos.

Youth Group in Czech (2/7/14)

Youth Group in Czech (2/7/14)

One fun thing about youth group was that this was the first time I got to see the new youth room that has been being built since before we arrived in Czech. They’ve only been meeting in it for a few weeks and it’s really, really nice. It has basically been a labor of love as many volunteers have helped build it from the church. In fact, in one of the walls there is a large stone sticking out (shown below) that confused me. I asked Simon what it meant and he told me that he didn’t know how to explain it English, but they have a word for it in Czech. Essentially, he said it’s like a piece to remember that the building was, in his words, “built by this generation” and they should remember that. It sounded like a neat thing to me and I took a photo of the stone, which sits near the entrance next to the light switches.

Youth Group in Czech (2/7/14)

Finally, a few avid blog readers know that our friends Jenny and Landen moved to Czech a few months after us and we were all living in the same town in California before coming to Czech. Jenny is actually from Czech and Landen is an American, but they have been in the states for I believe 6 or 7 years. Their current ministry focus is with the youth group at our church and I saw them tonight and Landen invited me over to their place tonight to chat and catch up.

During our discussion, it became clear that we have the same passion to learn Czech and do greater ministry here. I loved Landen’s statement that he’s “learning Czech to love Czechs” (this may be a paraphrase, but the gist is there). His heart is to learn their language so he can have deeper relationships and more impact on them (e.g. love them), not to mention he would be able to preach and teach God’s Word. As we talked, they both shared their desire to help Bethany and I get more opportunity to learn language and so we’re basically going to work together in this process. With Jenny’s help as a native Czech speaker, we are going to use some of the tools we all learned at pre-field training in the States. This should give Landen, Bethany, and me more opportunity to study and engage the Czech language on a consistent basis. This is huge!

All of that is really exciting to me and it seems like a huge answer to prayer! As we talked tonight I could feel my heart stirring with greater passion and excitement in a way that I haven’t in quite some time. Jenny and Landen have such a great heart for Czech and we share their passion to see God work in mighty ways here, even through our efforts in language. Many people have been praying, as have we, and I feel like this simple discussion was such an answer to prayer and the work of the Spirit of God in all our hearts. I’m excited to see what the Lord does with this and how it will have a greater impact for the Kingdom of God!

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