P.

Playing Outside and Making Apple Pie

Playing Outside (10/25/14)

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.

Playing Outside (10/25/14)

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.

Playing Outside (10/25/14)

Playing Outside (10/25/14)

Playing Outside (10/25/14)

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.

Making Apple Pie (10/25/14)

Making apple pie tonight. Yum!

A video posted by Shay Thomason (@shaycam) on

Making Apple Pie (10/25/14)

Making Apple Pie (10/25/14)

Making Apple Pie (10/25/14)

Making Apple Pie (10/25/14)

S.

Sunday (Literally) or What We Miss Sometimes

The Day the Sun Came Out (10/5/14)

I think Tuesday was the last time we saw the sun shine. It was on our drive home from Vienna and it wasn’t for very long, but I do remember the sun coming out. That was five days ago.

Bethany and I talked today about the sun, or the lack of it. We never really thought we would miss it, but when you don’t see it for five days you really appreciate it and notice it when it does. Things are really gray here when the sun isn’t shining. Mostly, I think it’s because it gets really foggy and the clouds hang low. In California, even if it got foggy, it burned off by noon and you had clear skies. Not so much here. But today the sun poked through a few times during church this morning and then finally stayed out around 3:00 or 4:00 for the rest of the afternoon/evening.

The Day the Sun Came Out (10/5/14)

I’m pretty sure I’ve written this before, but someone told us once that “when the sun’s out, the Czechs are out.” That was us today. We spent as much time outside as we could. We walked through town (as you see in the top photo) and we played in the backyard (shown directly above and some below). Bethany said, “I didn’t realize how much I love blue skies.” I totally agree. We had so many blue sky days in California you have the opposite problem–you want cloudy days! So we’ve flipped now and I would say we’re still adjusting.

The Day the Sun Came Out (10/5/14)

The Day the Sun Came Out (10/5/14)

We’ve been thinking and talking a lot about language learning the past week or so. We’re still looking for a new tutor and we’re going to start having a young girl from church come do some mini-lessons with us this week. Today at church was yet another reminder for me how bad I want to learn Czech. I know it’s hard. I know it will take time, but I’m feeling the pinch right now. Our prayer is for God to provide someone soon who can focus with us and be flexible with our family. We’ll see what the Lord does.

The Day the Sun Came Out (10/5/14)

Like the sun, we’ve been missing other things lately too. Skyping with our friends yesterday reminded us how much we miss them. Oh, we pray and trust that the Lord will bring new friends and close relationships here, but we left so many behind. I found myself missing the pumpkin patch today. I saw a photo on Instagram of another friend at our favorite place in California with their kid, and that was one of our traditions. Traditions here are unknown right now. I don’t even know at this moment if they have a pumpkin patch for us to take our kids to. Maybe that’s something we left behind as well? Yet the one thing we haven’t left behind, or rather, He hasn’t left us behind, is God. He is constant and unchanging and that is a wonderful reminder.

Last night as we were video chatting with friends in the States they said, “From reading your blog, it doesn’t seem like you miss anything here.” Well, if I’ve communicated that then I’ve probably missed something on the blog! Those big picture things are hard to communicate on a daily basis, but today as the sun came shining through it was a real and physical reminder of what we have been missing. We’re thankful God has brought us to this needy place and by His grace we will continue to do whatever we can to show His love to others. But it doesn’t mean we don’t have moments where we remember what we left, or better said, who we left.

F.

Free Vitamin D

A Foggy Morning (9/5/14)

My dad grew up in the desert of California and delivered milk when he was really young. He would always tell this story when we visited my grandma’s house because the roads we would drive on were places he delivered milk. If my memory serves me, I remember him saying that the dairy farmer he worked for would give you your order for free if the sun didn’t shine that day. It’s been a few days since we’ve seen the sun here in Czech. We didn’t get any free milk, but we finally did get some vitamin D. By noon today the fog and clouds blew away and we got a beautiful, sunny day. I always loved cloudy days in California because they were so rare. If we never saw the sun I would be fine because I knew it would be back in full effect soon enough. I’m starting to wonder now how I will feel about that here when I’ve heard that there are literal months where the sun doesn’t shine. Only time will tell, but we’ll take a little sun in the meantime.

A Foggy Morning (9/5/14)

Above is a photo of half the office I share with our team here. I’ve written already this week that we are hard at work on a 155 page leadership training manual. It’s been a big project and one I’m hoping will be literally out of my hands this coming Monday when we send it out to be printed. But each day we come to this office and work hard at communicating the heart of what we do as an organization. On that whiteboard is a list of projects we’re currently working on, all of which I think reflect the work that God is doing in Central and Eastern Europe. On the floor you’ll notice some big photos that we printed out for another book we’re working on. Story after story of God’s faithfulness in the lives of young people will eventually fill the pages. It’s an exciting time here and I’m truly thankful to be part of it.

A Foggy Morning (9/5/14)

As I often do I spent some time outside tonight with the kids while Bethany made dinner. Titus and I were playing basketball in the driveway when Avery popped her little head of the kitchen window. Our apartment is the lower floor but’s elevated above the street so she was looking down on us and just giggling and smiling. Finally I took a photo of her because she’s so cute.

File this next photo under “random Americana in Czech.” Bethany bought cranberries at the local Kaufland (a German grocery store here in Czech) and after closer inspection of the packaging realized it was very, well…American. If you look, you’ll see at least 3 American flags, a cowgirl, and a sign saying “Las Vegas.” What do those have to do with cranberries? Your guess is as good as ours.

A Foggy Morning (9/5/14)

Tomorrow is an extremely full day with lunch at the preschool headmaster’s house, a birthday party for our friend’s kid, and then our first youth group at our church here in Czech. I’m praying for energy and hope our kids hold up. It’s probably not how I would’ve planned it but it’s what God has for us. I guess we’ll all find out tomorrow when we blog about.