H.

Health, Flags, and Avery’s Babies

As much as we’ve talked about how sick we’ve been over the past ten months, I’m happy to report we have been healthy now for a few weeks! This is definitely an answer to prayer and we’re thankful for the break from sore throats and runny noses. With the weather warming up this has allowed us to get outside a bit more, which I think is helpful, and having regular sunshine can’t hurt either!

Bethany and I were talking last night just how strange it is to have an actual spring season. In southern California it usually goes from semi-fall to summer overnight. Right now in Czech we’re experiencing the slow change from winter to spring like today which was a little cooler, windy, and rainy in the afternoon. This week it’ll be warmer the next two days but cooling back down and stormy into the weekend and next week. This is actually kind of strange to me because I just haven’t really experienced that kind of weather. California gets storms, but it’s pretty warm all the time.

I Love My Kids (4/13/15)

Today at preschool Titus colored Czech flags (shown above). Flags are so interesting because of what kind of emotions they evoke, especially in Americans. I wonder if the Czechs have the same kind of pride with their flag that Americans do? I know that Czechs are excited about their country. In fact, the other day at the store I saw a whole section of flags, colored pencils, and scarves that all were in support of the Czech hockey team. In a few weeks, not far from us there will a big hockey championship (actually, the USA team will be here!). I have a feeling that little section in the store was for that event, but I can’t be sure.

I Love My Kids (4/13/15)

More than ever, Avery is being more girly than I feel like she has ever been. Tonight she wanted to play “dress up” and wanted to wear a princess outfit, complete with a crown. And on more than one occasion recently I have found her babies somewhere in the house, complete with a pillow and blankie (as you can see above where she had them in the middle of the kitchen floor). As well, tonight I was wrestling with the kids on our bed and Avery just stopped in the middle of it with her two babies, put them in a little red wagon and said, “It’s their first day of school!” Obviously, it’s really cute and we are constantly laughing at her. I love it.

I’ve got more studying to do for my message this Saturday on the Trinity to the youth at our church. I’m getting more excited to teach on this topic, mainly because I’ve been so blessed by the study of our triune God. There is so much packed in to that often confusing doctrine, but the more I read and think, the more I am realizing just how beautiful the doctrine of the Trinity is. Please continue to pray for me as I prepare and then share on Saturday.

Finally, I will leave with this. Tonight as we were eating dinner Titus told us that it was someone’s birthday at his school. He said they sang the birthday song in Czech and Bethany asked him, “Do you know how to sing it in Czech?” He immediate reply was priceless. I posted his words to my Twitter account and Titus said,

R.

Refried Dreams Come True

January Fun (1/23/15)

It’s 9:17pm as I am beginning to write this and this is the latest we’ve been up in over a week. Last night we went to bed at 8:30pm and it’s been earlier than that every day since arriving back in Czech. I’m thankful for the progress but still really surprised how long it has taken our family to readjust.

January Fun (1/23/15)

Above is a photo of the Mexican food that I found at the store today. I’m sure I have written about this kind of thing before, but I drove 20 minutes to another town to get these things because, well, that’s what you do when you’re desperate for familiar food items. I actually only intended to buy black beans (yes, I was willing to drive 20 minutes for black beans), but when I got there they had so much more! One thing we have literally never seen here are regular refried beans, hence the four cans I brought home. It’s a refried dream come true (har har)! In the back you’ll also see Mission tortillas. I believe we have found those one other time, but I was able to buy them again today which was fun. Our local store hasn’t had much selection in the area of Mexican food so it was fun to stock up.

Often in Czech you’ll find grocery stores that are inside little malls. That was the case of the store I went today and when me and the kids entered the mall there were these giant, metal art installations (shown below). The first one is of Iron Man, which is all well and good, but the further back we went, the weirder they got. I turned the corner to toward to store and they had more of them and they were honestly very creepy and scary. The kids seemed OK, but it was just one of those things you probably wouldn’t see in any American mall.

January Fun (1/23/15)

Since we weren’t here at the start of January, and because we’ve been jet lagged, we hadn’t opened our January envelope! Tonight we were finally up for it and as always it was fully of fun goodies for the whole family. I laughed as well because Avery said, “Daddy, first we take a picture and then we can open it!” Apparently we’ve done this before! Below are some photos of the fun.

January Fun (1/23/15)

January Fun (1/23/15)

January Fun (1/23/15)

January Fun (1/23/15)

January Fun (1/23/15)

Inside there were note pads, a hand written card, a party hat, sticker books for the kids, crayons, an activity set, a puzzle, and a family favorite iTunes gift card! Thank you, friends, for your kindness to us. These envelopes have been a special blessing to us and come June it’ll be depressing that they’ll be no more.

Here’s a photo of Avery enjoy her box of mostly pink colored crayons.

January Fun (1/23/15)

Lastly, tonight we had some friends over for dinner. We weren’t really sure we would be able to do it considering how tired we have been (and truthfully, we cancelled dinner plans last night with other friends because we just didn’t have the energy). But we had a fun time and enjoyed the company tonight. We yawned a lot around 8pm, but I was able to stay awake through dinner! Our dinner guests are missionaries in Poland and they’re actually heading to the States next week to look at colleges for their oldest daughter. Personally, I’m a little jealous because they’ll be in California where they can enjoy an In-N-Out burger. Maybe, just maybe, we’ll figure out how to teleport In-N-Out back to Czech in the next week! Hey, a guy can dream, can’t he?!

R.

Relaxing in the New Year

Relaxing (1/2/15)

It’s nice not to have too much on the schedule right now. I know these days won’t last long, so we’re enjoying the time of relaxing while we can. This morning we went over to where Bethany’s sister and brother-in-law are staying and played a little Mario Kart with uncle Andy. Titus has literally been talking about doing that for months and totally his dream was finally realized. Uncle Andy actually works for Nintendo so he has all the best stuff to play on, so above you can see me, Titus, and Andy playing.

Relaxing (1/2/15)

This afternoon we had fun playing in the living room with all the different toys that Nana and Papa have. Above you can see the wooden train set, Lincoln logs, and marble track. We tried building a log cabin with the Lincoln logs, but they didn’t last long until the kids destroyed them. I love that the kids are playing with all of these older toys that have been enjoyed by kids for years. I also think it’s just good for them to not always be enjoying the “screen toys” (iPad, computer, etc.) which are and will be a big part of their lives.

Relaxing (1/2/15)

Relaxing (1/2/15)

Bethany and I began packing for our return even though it’s over a week away. We have an extra suitcase that we’re packing all the Christmas gifts and American goods in, so we want to see how much room we actually have. In total, we have 4 large suitcases that we need to keep down to 50lbs each. So far, so good, but we’re still buying a few last minute things. Hopefully I can bring all my books back!

T.

Taking In Another Sunday

Sunday Funday (9/7/14)

We had a bit of a different morning at church today as the children’s ministry started back up with Sunday school. As we walked into church our friend Casey told us we could take Titus to class, but that he wasn’t sure about Avery since she’s only two. I stayed with Avery and Bethany took Titus downstairs to the classroom. When they got in there it was pretty full and Titus went and sat by his friends, Beni and Caleb. You can see them all sitting next to Kristin in the middle against the back wall in the photo above. Bethany ended up staying down there with Titus for the whole service and she said he did pretty well, all things considered (new class, new language, etc.).

Meanwhile, back upstairs, Avery read books to herself and played with stickers while I tried to figure out what was going on in the service. I didn’t get a translation device today, but from what I could tell we were installing a pastor or thanking him, I’m not quite sure. There were a lot of different men speaking and I saw flowers being handed to the pastor and his wife a few times, but when you can’t speak the language all you’re doing is making observations.

Sunday Funday (9/7/14)

I can count on one hand the number of times I remember actually working on a Sunday. Granted, I’m not counting the countless Sundays we have worked at church doing ministry or I have taught, or led music, or maybe been at a youth camp, but today was one of those ministry “working” days. It was necessary in order to finish the leadership training manual we’re creating for our upcoming conference. Myself and the team at JV have all been working very hard to finish this book which has been a bit of a battle with many people traveling during the summer months and us going through a few rounds of edits.

The blessing, however, is that our family went over to Dave and Connie Patty’s house and I worked with Dave on the book (photo above courtesy of Connie) while Bethany and the kids played outside. We had great weather today and the Patty’s have a trampoline and a little playground area that our kids just loved. Since it was taking Dave and a I a while to work through the edits to the book, Bethany ended up driving and exploring the town where she found a new toy store. Below are a few photos and some captions below.

Sunday Funday (9/7/14)

Sunday Funday (9/7/14)

This this store Bethany found that she said was great. She ended up getting the kids some $2 toys, a pinwheel for Avery and some tiny hand cymbals for Titus.

Sunday Funday (9/7/14)

Bethany took the photo (above) because she said that toy was basically identical to something she grew up but hadn’t seen in a while.

Sunday Funday (9/7/14)

There were some toys for the kids to ride on so they took advantage of them.

It’s almost midnight as I write this and I’m pretty tired. I’ve got the live Dodger game on in the background and they need at least two runs to get back in to it. Tomorrow I’ll meet with our communications team and hopefully get that book out to the printer once we do a final review. Dave reminded me today as we were leaving how thankful he was for all the time we’ve put into this and that he believes this will be a book that has the potential to affect many lives and many leaders. That’s a good reminder and not something I want to just overlook when I’m a little tired at the end of a long day.

P.S. Adrian Gonzalez just hit a three run home run to put the Dodgers in the lead. I’ll take it before I hit the hay.