Easter Monday and Why I Hate Self Checkout

Today was Easter Monday here in Czech (and other countries). It’s a normal holiday, so Titus was out of school and the Josiah Venture office was closed today so we were all home together which made it very nice. But check out how Wikipedia describes the traditions,

All countries practice a unique custom on this day. In Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic traditionally, early in the morning boys awake girls by pouring a bucket of water on their head and striking them about the legs with long thin twigs or switches made from willow, birch or decorated tree branches.

I’ve heard mixed reviews from Czechs here about these traditions so I can’t comment with any kind of authority on what they really think about it. However, for us, this meant that Avery and Bethany didn’t leave the house because getting hit by a branch or group of branches just doesn’t sound like fun. I think for most Czech women, the weather worked in their favor because it snowed on and off all day today so there weren’t many people walking about the town.

Snowing on Easter Monday (4/6/15)

Even though I was home, I spent most of the day studying the book of Galatians as I’ll be teaching the international team Bible study tomorrow morning. I pretty much studied straight through from 8:00-3:30pm today, with the exception of the half hour the power went out this afternoon. Normally Dave Patty (the president of Josiah Venture) teaches, but he’s already got a lot of teaching commitments through the next month or so. I joked with another friend that they decided to call in a minor leaguer for the day so we’ll see how it goes. Speaking of baseball, I’m excited that today is opening day at Dodger Stadium! We’ll be rooting for the home team from 6,000 miles away and hoping they’ll beat the San Diego Padres. Go Dodgers!

Blowing Bubbles (4/6/15)

Despite the snow and rain, the sun did manage to peak through the clouds again this evening and I took the kids outside to play with the bubbles they got in their Easter baskets. Above is a video I got of Titus doing a good job making bubbles. It was still in the low thirties, so we weren’t out there long, but they had fun pretty much emptying their little bottles.

I Hate Self Check Out (4/6/15)

It’s been a longer weekend, so I decided to hit the store for Bethany tonight because we were low on food. Since it was a holiday, I actually called the store before I went to see if they were even open to my surprise they were. Titus and I left the house and Bethany texted me her list. When I pulled in to the parking lot it looked like a ghost town. In fact, I had a hard time believing they were even open. Again, to my surprise they were. Titus grabbed a cart (you know, the one with the little car on the front for kids) and off we went. I was so excited how few people were there because it felt like we had the entire place to ourselves.

I loaded the cart up, got everything on the list except for two things they were out of (strawberries and pear water) and headed towards the front where I was sure to find a lonely cashier waiting for me. Upon arrival I looked down the aisles and saw no such cashier. Then I looked further. Oh no. The only lanes that are open are those things they call “self check out.” You know the ones. They have beady eyes and a digital voice with a mocking tone. I rolled our completely full car-cart to the lane. The helper lady just smiled at me and I began the long process of unloading and scanning each item, one by one. About half way through things got worse. It didn’t like my bags, it didn’t like the weight of the items, it didn’t like that I chose an orange pepper and not a red one, it didn’t like that I was male, it didn’t like the clothes I was wearing, it didn’t like that that I’m a foreigner living in Czech and trying to buy groceries on a holiday for my wife! AHHHHHHHH!!!

After a few sessions of counseling I will be fine, but I hate those self check outs. They are of Satan. The work of the Devil is in them to deceive us in to thinking that machines are more efficient than humans. This is a life from hell itself. But I digress.

Coloring Eggs (4/6/15)

On a happier note, when we got home Bethany had things ready for the kids to do a little egg coloring. They did. It was a really fun. Here’s some photos to finish off the night and this blog.

Coloring Eggs (4/6/15)

Coloring Eggs (4/6/15)

Coloring Eggs (4/6/15)

Coloring Eggs (4/6/15)

Coloring Eggs (4/6/15)


A Sunny Saturday

Today was the best day yet in regards to sickness. I’m feeling like my energy level are much higher and my head is starting to clear up, although I’m not out of the woods yet. I’m thankful for many who have prayed for our family during all the sickness!

We tried not to overdo it today, but we got a text message this morning from our friends, the Yormans, asking if we wanted to walk to the park and Lego store. We have only driven or walked past it the Lego store, so we were excited to go check it out. This was really the first time we’ve had an “outing” in a week so it was nice to just be out in the sunshine. For some reason Titus wanted to wear one of his new mustaches, so here’s a photo during our walk where he posed and said, “Dad, can you take a photo of me?”

Saturday Sillyness (3/7/15)

As we walked the square right near our place, the crocuses were shining brightly against the green grass and we noticed they are all in a perfect half-moon shape. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Czechs did this on purpose. We have been seeing a lot of fresh flowers being planted of late and when you got to the store there are various sections of gardening and other things to get ready for spring. Here’s a photo of the white flowers in the half-moon shape.

Saturday Sillyness (3/7/15)

We made it to the Lego store which was really fun. The kids were mostly just running around looking at all the Lego boxes from behind glass. We were only there a few minutes before other Czech friends just happen to walk in, including our language teacher Tamara! It was fun to see familiar faces and say hi. Here’s a wall of Legos that I took a photo of (below). It’s actually really nice to have everything behind glass because little hands can’t pick it up!

Saturday Sillyness (3/7/15)

After the Lego fun, we made our way over to the park and hung out there for a while and just chatted while the kids played. Avery loves any toy she can sit on, so here she is playing on one of those springy rocker things.

Saturday Sillyness (3/7/15)

Before long it was time for lunch and the Yormans invited us to join them at a local place in our town. I love Czech soup and this place has great soup, so we joined them and had a really fun time together. At one point Titus and their two boys, Beni and Caleb, were all playing a game on the iPhone (funny, it was a Lego game). Bethany took this photo of all three of them (below). Thanks, Yormans, for letting hang with you today!

Saturday Sillyness (3/7/15)

Immediately after lunch we came home and took naps which was really nice. The sun was shining most of the day and it was nice to wake up and see it coming through our windows. We had our usual Saturday afternoon video chat with Bethany’s family and decided that it wouldn’t be best to push it too hard and try to make it to youth group tonight. We’re hopeful to go to church tomorrow and enjoy some fellowship there.

Tonight as we were video chatting with the family, Titus got out the mustaches again and quickly put one on my face. We were laughing about it and Titus wanted to take a photo of me. Here’s the photo that he got. I wish I had a photo of my dad to compare this to. We look a lot a like.

Saturday Sillyness (3/7/15)

And now…I’m very sorry, but… I mustache.


Verbs, Czech, Love, and Optimus Prime

Friday Grab Bag (2/20/15)

We spent a more extended time in our Czech language study today and it was a mix of grammar and speaking. This morning we had our normal language grammar lesson with Tamara and we were working on verbs. There are so many forms that verbs in Czech take, it’s amazing. After some serious drilling and writing, I was feeling much better about it. Tamara has been a huge blessing and I’m very thankful for our time with her.

Above is a photo I took of Bethany during our second round of study today. We were doing our normal speaking drills with Jenny and Landen Llamas and we were building simple sentences like “I picked up the book” or “I put the book on my head” and I just had to get a photo of Bethany because it made us all laugh. You’re not really thinking about what you’re physically doing, but mentally just trying to put sentences together and I realized I should probably get a photo of it.

Friday Grab Bag (2/20/15)

As Jenny and Landen were leaving they found a package on our doorstep from America. Even though it took a little while to get here, we received our Valentine’s Day cards from Bethany’s parents which they have been sending to us for years now. There was an envelope for each of us and they threw in some of our mail that was delivered to them in the States. Bethany’s dad also included a handwritten note inside which was really nice. We don’t get much mail, so when anything comes it’s kind of special. Thank you, family, for thinking of us even on Valentine’s Day!

Friday Grab Bag (2/20/15)

Tonight we took a short trip to the grocery store as a family just for something to do. We only picked up a few things, but as we were walking around and just browsing I turned around to find Titus with this mask on (shown above). He kept saying, “Dad! Take a picture of me!” I didn’t realize until tonight that it was a mask of Optimus Prime from Transformers. Titus has no clue what that is, but I just love that he’s enjoying being a boy. While driving to the store he told Bethany he wanted to go on a date with her tomorrow. They have been talking about it for a while now, but I think it’s going to happen tomorrow. I just hope Titus has more ideas on what to do on a date in Czech because I’m just plain out of them!

We had some plans to make a little trip to Prague tomorrow to see our friends, but we’re delaying them until maybe next week. The youth group at our church is having a big party tomorrow and we would really like to be part of it. But we also want to get out and explore Czech. We’ve never really had much opportunity to spend time in Prague so we’re hoping to do that soon. It’s so crazy that we live in Europe.


Casing the Grocery Store at 3 Degrees Celsius

Today marks four months of us in Czech. It’s been a wild ride and our lives have dramatically changed in a short amount of time. For instance, I went again tonight to do the shopping at the grocery store. I’m getting pretty good at finding my way around the store and I’m making less phone calls back home to Bethany asking, “What, what does sour cream look like again.” Don’t get me wrong, I still made a few calls tonight, but they are decreasing in number. The one thing that isn’t getting better is remembering to grab a 5 cent or higher coin to get a grocery cart. In order to get a cart you need a coin to release the chain that holds them all together. Usually we keep a coin in the car, but lately I haven’t had one and because of that I’m pretty it looks like I’m casing the joint.

Picture this: a huge tall guy (me) is walking around like a crazy man with his empty shopping bags hoping to find a cart that might not be chained up. So I’m in the parking lot shaking carts to see if one will come loose and repeat the same process inside. Desperation sets in when no cart comes free, so I go to the ATM, pull out cash, go and buy gummy bears, do a self check out, walk back to the car with my purchase, return to the store, get a cart and begin my shopping for a second time. All this while wearing a huge black jacket because it’s freezing outside.

While shopping I found a HUGE jar of Nutella with Santa on it. I didn’t buy it, but I took a photo because I couldn’t believe the size.

3 Degrees Celsius (10/24/14)

Speaking of freezing, it was 3 degrees outside…celsius. I checked the temperature from early this morning and all through out the day and it never changed. On the way to school this morning with Titus (shown below) it was cold and windy. While walking with Titus, he said, “Daddy, it’s too cold. I don’t like it when it’s cold.” He said that while wearing long johns under his clothes, snow gloves, a thick coat, and a warm hat. The walk is not far, but we were cold when we got to the school. I don’t waste too much breath talking about the weather, but the change is definitely dramatic but we’re thankful for big, warm jackets!

3 Degrees Celsius (10/24/14)

Before putting the kids down to bed tonight, Bethany told Titus, “Daddy wants to have a relaxing day tomorrow (Saturday).” Then he put his hands behind his head and said, “I love relaxing” which she took a photo of. There’s a few things on the agenda tomorrow but it’s been a busy week and I am truly hoping for some rest. Only time will tell.

3 Degrees Celsius (10/24/14)


Short and Sweet

This post will be short and sweet mainly because it’s late and tomorrow is an early and busy day. Though the Josiah Venture Fall Conference doesn’t kick off until Monday night, our team will be in meetings with other teams tomorrow and getting things ready at the meeting tent. In fact, here’s a photo of the tent we’ll be in all week:

Please continue to pray for me (Shay) as my health is still not great. I have ups and downs and today was no different. Our family had to do a few errands today since the week will be busy and I’ll be out a lot and we finally purchased a European iron and vacuum! As we were eating breakfast today we just came to the conclusion we wouldn’t have time for a few weeks to go to the shopping center for those things so we decided to make it happen today. The kids didn’t seem to mind. Here they are playing on the boxes at the store:

Crazy Kids (9/20/14)

I haven’t missed a day of blogging yet since we’ve arrived, but this week will definitely be a challenge. However, I do look forward to what God has in store for the attendees and the many different things our team has had the privilege to work on. Please pray for the almost 300 leaders who will come and the theme this year is “Re-Jesus,” with a focus on looking back at Christ and how he did ministry. It should be a blessing to many!