Earlier this week we woke up to snow, but today was an amazingly sunny and gorgeous day. It’s fascinating how quickly the weather can change and how 50 degrees can feel like 75. I wore a short sleeve shirt today and enjoyed going to lunch without a jacket! It even stayed really nice this evening so we all went outside and played in the yard with the kids. Above is a photo of Avery enjoying a little chalk time, and even though she was wearing a jacket it wasn’t so cold that we couldn’t stay out and play. Titus and I enjoyed a little basketball and baseball as well and it was just kind of nice to spend the evening outside. Fittingly, Avery also drew a sun (below).
On a different topic, there is something strange that happens to the car radio that I’ve never blogged about. We have a little cable in our car that I plug my phone into often to listen to podcasts, sermons, or music while driving. Of course there is also FM and AM stations that we can access, but the Czech DJs are not known for the good taste (in my humble opinion). Sometimes when we’re listening to the radio or playing music from our phones, the radio will just cut off and you will begin to hear someone speaking in Czech like they are giving the latest traffic update. It’s very strange. In fact, today it actually cut off a phone conversation I was having. Our car has one of those bluetooth, hands-free things that connects to the car speakers but the Czech traffic just took over my conversation. I really don’t understand why this happens, but I have lately been attributing it to some kind of communism carry-over.
Above is a photo of the keys to our apartment here. We added the colors to them when we got the keys so we would know which key is for which door. To get out of our property requires all three keys–one for the door to our actual apartment, one for the entry way, and one for the gate. You would think by now that I would have a good grasp on which key goes where, but almost daily I mix them up. I realized this tonight as I was going outside just how often I put the green key where the blue key goes and vice versa. I consider myself to be an intelligent person, but getting the keys right is still annoyingly difficult.
I don’t want to leave this blog in the negative, so I will talk about something happy. On April 18 I will be teaching on the Trinity to youth ministry at our church here in Czech. They are starting a new series on theology and I was asked to speak. In preparation I started reading a book called Delighting in the Trinity: An Introduction to the Christian Faith. So far I have enjoyed this book thoroughly because not only do I believe it to be theologically sound, but it’s a very accessible book with wonderful writing. I just spent a few minutes reading some of my highlights out of the book to Bethany and she was getting excited. She said, “So what are you going to teach on?!” I said, “I don’t know! It’s all good…” Maybe I can just get up front and read them this book? Does anyone know how long it takes to read 135 pages out loud with a Czech translator?
Even though the weather people are forecasting rain and snow for tomorrow morning, we had incredible weather today! It really felt like a beautiful spring day so we spent a lot of time outside enjoying the sunshine. You’ll notice in the photo above that our kids are wearing jackets and that’s just because it’s what we’re used to doing, but they probably didn’t need them. We enjoyed the park this morning and Titus and Avery love going down the big red slide together. There were definitely a few more people there than normal because everyone agreed it was the perfect day to be outside.
Our friend Romi and Michal needed some help with a little video they were making. Michal is making a short commercial for a company that makes these stretchable laces for shoes. They are actually really convenient here in Czech because you have to take your shoes off often. In the above photo we actually went back to the park with Titus to get some shots of him wearing the laces on the playground equipment. If you look closely you can see he had special colored ones that he said were like Lightning McQueen (you know, the main character from Disney’s Cars). I also was part of the filming and we re-laced my shoes and I rode down the street on my skateboard. It was a fun little afternoon event and it was great to see our friends, especially on such a beautiful day.
I didn’t take any photos tonight, but I attended our church’s youth group which meets on Saturday night. It was a good night and Landen preached from Ephesians 4 on being part of the body of Christ. His wife Jenny translated for him, but for me it was nice to be able to hear some preaching in English. Afterwards we had a small group time that was a lot more challenging because of the language barrier. It’s always just another reminder to keep pursuing the language as hard as I can. One of the guys in our group translated for us which was nice, but it feels so awkward to talk about spiritual things and have to keep translating and listening that way. But overall it was a great night and I enjoyed being there.
After youth group I went to the store to get some things for tomorrow and I couldn’t believe my eyes when I turned down the dairy aisle and saw Philadelphia cream cheese! We have only heard rumors that it exists here in Czech and today was the first time I had seen it. Bethany says she may have seen it one other time, but I was excited and it was a double blessing because it was on sale. Bethany uses cream cheese in a few Crockpot dishes we like and of course in dessert so I bought a few of them. Sadly, there are no bagels in Czech to spread this creamy goodness on, but maybe we’ll have to dig up a recipe and start making our own?
I still can’t believe I’m writing this, but we continue to battle sickness in our house. This entire week both Bethany and I have struggling with sore throats and now the kids are starting to sneeze and have runny noses. Depending on how they are in the morning, we may just take them to the main service with us as opposed to going to their classes. With the weather going up and down, that definitely doesn’t help but we’ll just continue to pray and trust the Lord with these challenges.
The weather in Yakima today was amazing. For the past week it has been below freezing and today it shot up to 60 degrees which meant Titus and I could play a little baseball outside! We played a little outside, but you can only last so long before your hands are frozen solid, so today was a nice change. Titus loves baseball and I always announce the game as if it’s a major league playoff which Titus thinks is hilarious (OK, I think it’s funny too).
As we approach our final week here, we did some final shopping today just to make sure we’ve covered everything we’ve been hunting for. We browsed through Costco today and while we were just hanging out the kids and I found some sweet leather chairs to sit on. I was pretending to lay in the chair when the kids jumped in and joined me, so Bethany got the above photo of us. Too bad you can’t fit leather chairs on airplanes…just kidding.
Titus got in on the leather chair action too. Here he is testing out another option.
If Costco wasn’t enough America to take in, we also enjoyed a little Asian-American cuisine and had Panda Express for lunch. The food was a little disappointing (maybe it’s our changing taste buds), but it’s one of those weird things you miss when you’re in Czech. Here’s a photo of Avery playing with one of Titus’ cars as we waited for our food.
Tonight I had the joy of spending a little FaceTime (video chat) with my friend Matt. I don’t know how long we chatted, but it was really special to be able to catch up and just talk about our new lives overseas. Matt and I used to meet regularly for coffee and I think often of those times and miss them. That is definitely one of those things you sacrifice when you move across the planet…close friendships. Matt and I will be friends for years, I’m sure, but it’s hard to be in a different time zone on the other side of the world. I’m thankful for the time we got tonight and hope for more in the future.
The gray skies lifted today and the sun was shining so we went to the park for a few hours this morning/afternoon. It wasn’t only the sun that brought us outside, but I had told our friend Rachael that I would snap a few photos of her so she can send an updated photo to her ministry partners (one photo is below). For at least the last three weeks, I’ve been taking photos for friends so they all can can update their prayer cards and email newsletters. What’s funny is it’s almost identical to what I was doing in the States with family photos right around this time of year. Everyone is sending out family photos for the holidays and I usually would schedule shoots during October/November so it kind of feels like that only in a different part of the world.
Photos didn’t take long today so we just hung out at the park and played with the kids and talked to Rachael. It’s been a pretty full week of ministry things at JV so spending some time focused and outside the kids was really nice. Here’s a little video of us playing on the slide and some more photos I took since I had my camera gear with me.
When we were about to leave I notice Titus’ rain boots (which he uses almost daily right now) have a hole in them. This is bummer because it’s the only pair he has. We may have to go see if we can find another pair tomorrow because they’re important for him to have at school.
After the park we invited Rachael over to enjoy some Swedish pancakes for a late brunch. You would think that a late brunch would actually just be lunch, but things are just different in Europe. OK, I’m kidding about Europe, but I digress. Rachael was an extra blessing today in helping us pick up the house a bit. Bethany was working on the food and Rachael helped unload the dishes while I vacuumed. I had really hope we would get some time to clean today and so that was really nice to have some extra hands to help! Thanks Rachael!
We continue to struggle with sickness as a family. I have a been coughing pretty hard this past week and today was feeling really tired. I laid down with Titus and we took a pretty long nap today which is just rare anymore for me. I’m hoping this sickness doesn’t last too long.
Tonight we made apple pie! I bought a big thing of apples a few days ago and we finally had time today to have a good ol’ American class apple pie. It was a family effort and we served it up with a little vanilla ice cream. It was delicious if I do say so my self and here’s a few photos and a video to end our blog tonight.