Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Patty family Christmas

Here are a few shots from Christmas morning at the Patty house. At our place the kids get to dig into their stockings once they are all awake. I could hear Luke as I was just waking up. He was saying in a stage whisper, "Wait me guys. Wait me!" That gives us adults a few minutes to make it downstairs, turn on the coffee and put the cinnamin rolls in the oven. Then Josh tells the Christmas story. Of course this year everyone has their own bible and had to get it and read along together. I just have to add this one other piece because it really touched us this year.

After the traditional reading of the birth of Jesus; Josh took us to John 4 and the woman at the well. We talked about how coming to the well every day and this moment with Jesus made her aware of her real thirst and how the well water couldn't satisfy that thirst. Josh pointed out that today we are thirsty for gifts but we know that in the end we'll be thirsty again. But if we turn to Jesus he can give us living water that will meet our real need. It was a great way to begin opening our gifts!

Josh's brother Steve made it from snowy Portland, Oregon to spend Christmas with us. We were really worried he wouldn't be able to find a flight that hadn't been cancelled. In the end he arrived at midnight just as it was turning Christmas eve! It was good to have family with us. And we got my parents on video skype and they stayed up late into the night their time to see the kids open their gifts and hear all their funny little comments. It was so great! We laughed when Blake said something like, "That was fun having Oma and Opa here." It felt like they should just walk out of the computer screen and go in and sit down for breakfast with us!

Our friends Jenn and Brian came through with really great gifts for usual! Here's Luke playing with the great train set they sent. I'll have to post the girls with their iPods (A TOTAL SURPRISE) and the whole family playing Rock Band with Blake's gift!
Yummy Christmas dinner with a turkey I found at my local grocery store! The times they are a changing! yee haw! I remember a Christmas when Josh searched high and low and finally found one at the outdoor market. But this year I just picked it up with my flour, sugar and eggs!
And just one last cute shot of Luke (he seems to be dominating the photos these days!) The girls found this backpack for him and he right away stuffed it with all his loot including "this guy" that he got from Oma and Opa. No name, just "this guy". Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Goodbye Christina

We said goodbye to Christina Stanton this month. It was very difficult. She has been a dear friend these four and a half years while serving here in Slovenia and she is an amazing discipler, mentor and friend to many people here. There's no replacing her. Just the longing for the day when there will be no more goodbyes.
I just had to post these pictures. We explained to Luke that Christina was going on a plane. He said goodbye. I think he understood. We couldn't coax a smile out of him for nothing. That is until Christina brought out Sponge Bob. Also known around our place as "Bum bod"! These pictures make me laugh!
So that night Christina went to each kids' room and hugged and kissed and giggled and said her goodbyes. We love you Christina and we are praying for you as you trust and obey the Father!

Holiday shots

I hate it when i don't post these right away! But I just couldn't let these shots get away. So here's a peek into our holiday celebrations this month! Kendra, Becca and Blake keeping warm at the local OBI where we picked out our Christmas tree. This year was a record year of speed! Normally we unpack all kinds of trees that are stacked up in the store in our hunt for the best one. But this year we walked up to a sweet tree that was just sitting out and already for us!

After we moved to Slovenia we started celebrating Sveti Mikalavz day. On the night of December 5 the kids put out their shoes or boots for Mikalavz to fill. These are Luka's Lightning McQueen shoes that were passed down to him from the Foss family. He LOVES these shoes but as you can see they weren't big enough to hold all the loot Miklavz brought!

These next two shots are from our JV Slovenia team Christmas party. We got the whole gang together and everyone brought the most delicious finger food. The kids exchanged gifts and we sang and laughed and rejoiced that God has called us together to serve in this country.
Here you can see our living room packed and Josh printed up Christmas carols in English for us to sing and also told a family Christmas story. If you've never heard it you'll have to ask him. But if you've ever been near us at Christmas time chances are you've heard it!
Finally a pic of our dear friend Laurie Doden and Luka saying goodbye. Laurie returned with us from the JV thanksgiving to spend the busy 1st week of December with us. She really blessed us just by being here and being our friend. But also with all kinds of acts of service like once a month cooking, praying together, playing with the kids, preparing food for the parties.... we love you Laurie!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Christmas concert and counting the days

Tonight was our church's Christmas concert and here's Rebecca and our dear friend Kiley singing "Rojen je otrok" which means "A child is born", accompanied by Josh.

This was the first year that Rebecca and Blake joined Josh in the grown up choir and they were great! We got lots of compliments on them. And encouragement to enroll Becca in music school!

Oh, and Josh and I just laughed and laughed at the chalk board in the kitchen tonight. The kids had written in english but with European numbers. Don't know if you can see it from the photo but it looks like it says "77 days till Christmas!" Ha! Just have to watch out when they get checking accounts in the US!

Christmas trip to Vienna

Every year my bible study girls and I take a trip to Vienna. Usually we go just as school is starting and go shopping for school supplies and new clothes. But this year we just couldn't make it work in our schedule so instead we planned to go for Christmas. And are we ever glad we did! Vienna at Christmastime is BEAUTIFUL!

It's a 4 hour drive and we hit the road about 6:30 am. Maja, Barbara, and I. Polona joined us this year. She's Maja's highschool friend and and a delight to be with! Christina was discipling her but she's returned to the states now. Poor Neja woke up not feeling well so she didn't come at the last minute. We missed you Neja!

We listened to Christmas play lists on iPods.
I don't know how many times we roasted chestnuts
on an open fire. But we sure didn't get tired of it!

First stop? Starbucks! Also the last stop! Ha ha!
We had to laugh because normally we go to
shop but I think this time we went to eat!
Because after a latte and a muffin our next stop was theChristmas market and some Austrian gluwein! While we were still finishing our drinks we decided the next stop should be TJI Fridays for a bit of lunch.

Afterwards we broke down and bought a few Christmas gifts and then rushed back to Starbucks for their signature Christmas cups and a Christmas flavored latte before the drive back!

My favorite part every year is the time to visit as we drive. The best talks come out of this trip. And so do some of the best jokes! Oh we laughed and laughed. I love these girls.

Maja and Polona

Barbara and Kristi... mostly I kept my eyes on the road!

Monday, November 24, 2008

It's 'nowing!

Today it started to snow in Ljubljana! I love the way Luke got all excited and ran around saying, "Oh yes! It 'nowing!" This is actually our family's second day of snow since this weekend we had a quick but tank filling overnight up in the mountains. It was just us in a little "koca" or hut that Josh rented for us. We rode a gondola and then a chair lift and then had a 10 minute hike to our little place for the night. We cooked up something hot to eat and played games all snuggled in with a good fire when we noticed the gently falling snow. Good times!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Purity Retreat at the Castle

We had an amazing weekend! One of those retreats where you work and plan and then even though you did your best you are very aware that this sweet time is one of those "more than we can ask or imagine" kind of times! One of the best parts was working with my teammates, Christina who planned the retreat, Katka who led worship and Glorija who is pictured here leading the girls in a responsive time with art. Each girl got to create a wooden gift box for their future husband to give on their wedding night. A beautiful image of preparing and treasuring the gift they have to offer.

And these are "my girls" Barbara and Maja together with their friends Polona and Tjasa who they first invited to english camp and have continued to encourage them as they grow. I love these girls.
The weather at Schloss Heraldeck was amazing and contributed to the magical feeling of the weekend.

I couldn't have imagined a more delightful group of girls to work through this material. They were so open and so thankful for every gift and surprise that came their way. On the last morning I told them that their mentors love them and that we are praying for them regularly. We know this is a real battle. And as much as we love them we are aware that God's love is greater still!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Girls Purity Retreat

In two hours I'll be picking up Barbara and Maja. We'll meet up with some other girls and head to one of our favorite places in the world the castle at Millstadt, Austria! Just a few hours from Ljubljana; it's the site of our annual english camp and over the years has come to mean a lot to us.

We're headed to a purity retreat along with 20+ other ladies. Our weekend will be packed with lots of girl-y moments and open discussion about relationships and sex. I'd like to ask you to pray for the girls and their mentors and also for me as I'll be speaking this weekend. It's a real treat to be there with some of our staff ladies and their students as well as with my own bible study girls!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

"Mommy. I man."

From the seat behind me I could hear Luke's little voice say, "Mommy. I man." Even though he speaks very clearly for a 2 year old I repeated his sentence to see if I heard him correctly.
"You're a man?"
Ok. Thanks for telling me, I thought.
So lately Luke keeps pointing out that he's a man to all of us. The other day he struck a muscle man pose. "Argh! I man!"
Or on the swing set with his arms pulling on the ropes. "I man!"
Or the time he had turned around a fisher price toy and was shooting it at me and then called out happily, "I man!"
I was replanting some ivy to replace the one that had died this summer out on the front porch. Josh had earlier been splitting firewood and stacking it with the kids to get ready for winter. He'd left his axe on the porch so I told Luke as we headed out there not to touch the axe. I was very clear.
"Luka. No touch. Don't touch the axe ok?"
In a hurt voice he said, "Mommmmmy. I man." Like I'd taken away his God given right as a man to touch an axe.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Look who is staying for dinner!

After we'd been home for a couple of days Josh was on the computer and was checking into our ministry accounts. We'd traveled around this summer sharing stories of what God is doing in Slovenia and in the lives of many people who have become dear to us these past 7 years. We also shared personally about our longing for a home. A place to really put down roots as people who aren't temporarily living here. And a place where we could take on guests and others who find themselves in need of housing. (See our house blog)

When Josh checked into the new account set aside for our home he said, "Well, no money in that account yet." I felt a wave of discouragement. Blaming it on jet lag I told him I was headed to bed. I couldn't stop the thoughts of "We'll never have a home here." And decided to read my bible a bit as a distraction. I turned once again to the feeding of the 5,000. It's such a familiar story but in the last 6 months the Lord has used it repeatedly to remind me that provides however he sees fit.

This time as I read I thought.. You know Lord, if I'd have been there on that day I don't think I would have stayed until dinner time. I could just see myself around 3pm saying to my family, "Listen. It'll be dinner time soon and there's no way they can feed all these people. Let's leave now and head home for dinner, or to a shop to get something so we won't be hungry." And I'd have missed the miraculous feeding.

Once again, I had to say, 'Lord, you haven't promised me a house but you have promised to provide. Help me stay until dinner time and not hurry myself and my family away for fear of being hungry."

The next day we were sitting around visiting with friends when Josh's mom called. She'd been to lunch with some ladies and one woman walked up to her. She said, "I forgot to send this in May but I wanted to show this to you."

It was a check to go towards our home for $18,000!
I think dinner time may be sooner than I thought!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Horseback riding with Opa

We've been home for a week now. And I realize that there are some stories that didn't get blogged. (Can you use blog like a verb?) So I'm going to list a few of them now. Starting with horseback riding. No trip to see my parents is complete without horseback riding.
Blake and Kendra show so much promise when they get up on a horse it just makes my dad pine for the chance to get them riding regularly! Kendra has no fear. Which is great for those who admire riding and horrible for mothers and Omas.

Luke climbed up willingly with Daddy. But the jury was out until they got going. Once they started riding up and down the pasture he began to laugh. Then he started singing quietly to himself. He was so content! And adorable.
Dad's horse Shasta is such a great horse! Each kid climbs up and she changes her style to suit each of them. Becca is definately a more cautious rider and every time Shasta calms down when she climbs on and lets her ride like a lady.

My Grandpa

While we were there we saw my Grandpa who we always called Papa. One night he came for dinner and Josh cooked up some of the salmon he and Blake had caught. The kids sang for him. They love to sing together and sound very good. These days they sing "Bad Day" Luke joins in on the chorus.... sort of. And Grandpa gave each one of them a silver dollar. Just like the one he and Grandma gave me when I was a kid.

Last dinner at the Spaghetti Establishment

Most nights while we were visiting my parents we had dinner at my parents restaurant. Some nights we had friends or family there as we got caught up on life and shared about what God is doing in Slovenia. We sort of got into a habit of what we liked to order. Becca found out she likes Thousand Island dressing. Kendra can eat Mac and Cheese with the best of them.
Luke learned how to order for himself! It was quite a shock when our waitress turned up at the table and Luke patiently waited his turn and then blurted out, "Fries! Aaaple juish. Peash."
Blake has crossed into that time of life when he can order with the big boys! That kid can really eat! But he never gets wider...just taller. He's already wearing bigger shoes than me!

" I lay in the grass"

One day Luke was at my cousin Stacia's house and he told her, "I lay in the grass." Then he laid down on his back, stretched his arms behind his head, laced his fingers together and set a pose to relax! Too cute! Here's Kendra joining in the fun!

Josh and Rebecca preparing for Sunday

Our last Sunday in the US Josh preached at Columbia Community Church a place that has become dear to us. My parents attend there and last spring I taught at the women's retreat. Rebecca sang in slovene and stole the show before things got started. Josh started off by way of introduction saying that some of the women had heard me teach and that he was sorry but he was afraid his message would be a downgrade. Well, Josh is an amazing teacher and communicator and the Lord really used him to bless these folks in this community of faith. Afterwards a woman came and told Josh, "It wasn't a downgrade." She was right!

Josh and Luke

I just love this shot!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Friends and Family

Our time in Portland was full of opportunity to be with people we love but don't get to see often. I had one full day to spend with my best friends from high school. From l to r is Holly, me, Kelly and Kendall. It always refreshes my soul to be with these women who have known and loved me for so many years. I feel deeply connected to them despite the fact that we don't get to share in the day to day and their committment to me stirs up feelings of gratefulness and nostalgia.

Blake and Josh along with my dad went on a men's retreat. Luke and Rebecca stayed with my mom in the Tri-Cities but Kendra had to come back to Portland for a dental appointment. I had planned to be meeting with people on Saturday and it was bound to be boring for her. Until my mom's best friend Lynda invited Kendra to spend the day with her. They went to a birthday party, shopping, to the movies, out to eat.... at one point they called me and she said, "Mom! It's Kendra day today!"

Now we've closed our time in Portland. Blake and Josh went on to meet the Patty men for a fishing trip in Alaska and Kendra and I rode home to the Tri-Cities with my dad where Josh and Blake will join us and we'll finish out our stateside time. It's great to be with family and just soak them up. August 3rd was my dad's birthday so my brother came from Seattle where he is working before he returns to Costa Rica and we had a great weekend together. Luka just hung on Uncle Matt as if they've always been together. And of course we took lots of pictures. This one was after Uncle Matt treated us all to the movie Journey to the Center of the Earth. The best part was laughing at how goofy we all looked in the 3D glasses.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Elisa Takalo Lund wedding

I just got this photo from Elisa's mom, my dear friend Rainy. Last month we had the opportunity to attend her wedding. It was a very memorable event. A beautiful military wedding, the best communion bread I've ever tasted (I totally understand glutony at the Lord's table now!), and a wedding reception that took a page out of the script of Sweet Home Alabama. It looked like the rain might pass over as we enjoyed an outdoor reception. But there was a sudden downpour that had everyone running for cover and laughing. Very sweet and very memorable! Congratulations Elisa!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Matt and Whitney Baldwin Wedding

One of the joys of being in the US in summer is attending weddings of people we love. Matt Baldwin interned with us one year in Slovenia and this is his new bride.

Je Treba Delat

My mom and dad own the Spaghetti Estabilishment in Kennewick, WA and this summer the kids are getting their first experience working for the man. Or in this case the Oma! Blake and Rebecca have uniform shirts while they bus tables, sweep and do any other busy work. While Kendra gets to dress up as the hostess and seat people as well as wipe down menus. The main thing is that you always keep working and remember that Oma is the boss!
Service with a smile!
Oh and did you notice the cute hair cut that Becca got this summer?
Happy customer Luka!