Saturday, December 05, 2009


This year we spent Thanksgiving with our JV Slovenia team at a tourist farm in Bled, about 40 minutes from where we live. The place was wonderful! The kitchen staff let us bring our own food in and warm it up. So we had Thanksgiving with all the trimmings! We took the kids out of school and everyone met in time for a late lunch. This is Rebecca, Kendra and Kiley Jackson. Then we sat around talking, let the little kids play, took naps, even had some American football going on. Later we had leftovers and Johnny and Brooke set up a very fun game for us that really made the night.
The next day we packed up and headed into Bled where our friend Sreco met us with a boat and took most of the gang out to the island in the center of Lake Bled and everyone played Sardines.
This is the amazing team of people we get to work alongside and call our friends! What a privilege and delight!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Oma came to town

My mom is here for a visit! She is such a brave soul. We had hoped to be farther along in the process when her and my dad got tickets to spend the holidays with us this year.
The plan was that we'd be all done with the middle floor renovation and the guest room. She would come and spend thanksgiving with us and then we would decorate and organize and get ready for Christmas. Dad would arrive Dec 16 and we'd have that Christmas that we've been dreaming of, being together with the lights down low, the tree decorated, the children playing quietly with Christmas music in the background.
Instead, she's sharing a room with the girls and we're cheering the progress the workers are making every day, just praying that we will open presents in the living room and in this shot she's cleaning the boxes out of the guest room to help us get it ready....maybe when Dad arrives they'll sleep in there? Stay tuned for more exciting adventures with The Patty family!

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Kendra's piano recital

Kendra has been taking piano privately for 2 years but this year we got her signed in at a music school. We've heard it can be pretty demanding and just weren't sure if we wanted the kids to do music school. We wanted them to have a good experience with music and to be encouraged creatively. But one teacher suggested that of all our kids Kendra can roll with the punches and maybe she should try. Well this week was her first performance and of course she was amazing! The Jackson family all turned out to see her as well and then scooted out while we stayed behind for a parent meeting. The teacher started talking about the year ahead and what to expect when she suddenly stopped and very sternly and with an exasperated voice gave the parents a tongue lashing. "Parents?! Do you think your children will listen when you will not? Please! I'm sorry to say this but I see that just as I have some students who behave and others who do not I also have parents who behave and some who do not!" Whew was I glad that I wasn't talking right then! Later Kendra said, "I thought that part was funny."

Wednesday, November 04, 2009


This weekend I got a phone call from my Dad. I could tell it was serious by the tone in his voice. My mom's dad "Poppa" was in hospice. All the family had gathered there to say goodbye to him.

He had just turned 90 and my cousin was putting together a book of 90 memories from all of us. So we'd all just been thinking of things we wanted included over the last few weeks. I'd decided to write about what a great story teller he is and how he's handed that down so that I see it in my own children.
I feel so far away from my family right now. I don't feel worried about Poppa. He knew the Lord and I'm certain he's enjoying being there with Him and being reunited with ones who've gone before him including my Grandma. But I'm aware of the shift in our family structure and that I'm away as things are shifting. I miss the chance to grieve together with them.
To laugh and tell stories.
To cry and tell stories.

I'm reminded why I live away today. This world is not my home. And I'm anxious to invite as many people as I can to my home.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Mr. Fix-It

I'm grateful to be married to a man who knows how to fix things. Sometimes I ask him "Did you research that or is that something you just know?" You can't believe how many times it's something he somehow just knows! Well, he's passing on the know how to Blake these days. This weekend the two of them fixed my dryer. It wasn't broken yet but it sure was sounding suspicious. And I don't want to loose my nice big american dryer!The joy of being the guy who fixes the dryer is that you get to keep any loose change you find. Even if it is tolars which are now obsolete! But there was enough Euro change to make it worth it.
Here's Luke's contribution! Not much help but a whole lot of cuteness!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

One is silver and the other gold!

Isn't there a Shakespear quote about angels and ministering spirits? I tried to look it up but just couldn't find the one that a friend from AP English had written in my year book..... Well, no matter. Because in place of the quote I've got photos of some of the folks who have ministered to us by working alongside us and sometimes working on their own while we go off to other errands! These two photos are of Craig, Miha,and Mariella with Josh. They took out the wall that seperated the living room. We are turning two bedrooms into a living room. Miha is a student we've known since we moved here and he's come to help on multiple occasions. Craig and Mariella are a sweet dear couple that we just met! They are friends of friends actually. And well, here's their story in their words..."My wife and I were given notice that I would likely lose my job. We saw this unfortunate event as an opportunity embark on a global walkabout. Do we really believe that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God?"
So Craig and Mariella were in touch with teammates Brad and Laurel. They came to Slovenia to be a part of an english weekend with them and then gave 2 days to our house project doing anything that would bless us. Wow! How great is it to meet people like this? If you'd like to check out their blog you can find them at
And last week Meta and Sonja came over while Josh was gone. They told me they were going shopping later but first wanted to come and help me. So they rolled up their sleeves and did a lovely deep clean of the upstairs. Windows were cleaned, floors scrubbed, and the bathroom sparkled. "We're going to make your house shiny!" And they did just that! I'm overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity of friends old and new! And the creative ways the Lord is meeting all our needs.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Saying Goodbye

It's never easy saying goodbye. This month we said a very emotional goodbye to our friends and teammates Joel and Amy Woodard. On our team we've taken the stance that though we work together we are family. So it brought sort of a different interpretation to Paul's words when he said, "We loved you so much that we shared not only the gospel of God but our lives as well." The Woodards shared the gospel of God with Slovenes alongside us for many years. We're so pleased to know that they'll be sharing the gospel of God wherever they go. But we won't be sharing our lives in the same way as we have these past years.
Luke and Abby are only a month apart in age. This is a shot of them the day the Woodards flew out. We miss you already dear friends!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Luka and Aunt Connie

Just had to post this great photo of Luka and Aunt Connie. Just before school started Uncle Dave and Aunt Connie came for a visits with the cousins Caleb and Claire. It was very strange not to have Tyler with them since he's off to college now. But our Aunt Connie is a famously good gift giver and this was her present for Luka. (Even the teenage boys and the dog had fun playing with this one!)

Becca's golden birthday

Somewhere the kids picked up that you celebrate your "golden" birthday when you turn the same year as the date of your birthday. Rebecca is the first of our kids to hit hers as she turned 12 on the 12th. (Incidentally the other kids will be 20, 29 and 30 for theirs!)

Well, it was a bit of pressure for me with things so unsettled around here. But Rebecca is the kind of girl who is just so satisfied and easy to please that we had loads of success. I picked up Becca and 4 of her schoolmates from school to come over to our place. And the neighbor girl from our old house met us there. The weather had rained all morning but for the 3 hours of her party it cleared, warmed up and the girls were outside for most of the time. Becca said that she and her friend Kiley had prayed about it and God really answered! Just as we were climbing into the van to take people home it started to thunder!
Becca had the idea of having mini treats. And we made mini cakes for everyone (brownies) that they decorated and then Josh gave prizes for most creative, colorful etc.
We keep saying that this little porch is one of the best things about this house. We host so many guests for meals, coffee, meetings and this place is just the right space for us. It was great to see Becca with these girls from school. She and Kiley Jackson have been friends since they were babies, but the other girls are friendships she's worked towards. Sometimes in her class that's been difficult. Two of the girls have moved to our school in the last year or two and they are real answers to prayer. It was obvious that this was a group of Rebecca's friends, so sweet and friendly, gentle and joyful!
Happy Golden Birthday Rebecca!

First Day of School

I'm a bit behind on the posting.
We've been living our "normal" life which is anything other than what I'd classify as normal. Kinda camping in the house and trying to cut corners on the budget so we can get started on the renovation for the living room/dining room floor, a huge goodbye to our friends and teammates The Woodards, (more on that in another post), some overnight guests, back to school and finding our rhythm and then LICE. Oh ick!
So now everyone is back in school and Luka and I are at home catching up while Josh is gone to fall conference.
But wanted to post the pic from the first day of school. In the old house we always took photos in front of the buffet in the livingroom and on the front porch. Not sure where "our spot" will be at this house. So this one is in front of the front door. A front door that we are planning on changing... soon I hope!

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Little House on the Prairie

Every summer I try to read at least one classic to the kids. I define classic as the books I read as a kid and anything I like basically! This summer with all the transition it was harder to do but the girls and I read Little House on the Prairie.

When I read the line towards the end of the book, "The snug log house looked just as it always had. It did not seem to know they were going away." I totally choked up.

When we drove away from our house this June after the big push to get out. Josh was in one car I was in the other. We were tired. It was late. There was no moment.

Maybe that's because our teammates are living there and renting the place for a short time while they study language so I know I'll be back there when I go to see them.

Maybe it's because our remodeling hasn't finished so we've left a lot of our big furniture there, and it feels like we haven't really moved.

Maybe it's because we only live a few minutes down the road.

But I can't forget that is the house Kendra came to at 11 months.

The home we brought Luke to from the hospital.

The home where all our kids stood on the front porch to take their first day of school picture.

The home where Josh first introduced Blake to Scout.
May 2001
Kendra 11 months
Blake almost 5 years old and Becca 3 years old

Becca, Luke, Kendra, Scout and Blake in front of the new house last week.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Slovenia performing arts camp

One of our teammates Katarina Bordner is a very gifted woman in so many ways. But music is her great passion. She's had a dream for years now to host a camp that would reach out to students through performing arts. Well this year the Lord lined up all the pieces and I wish you could have been there to see it happen!

29 students spent a week at the coast of Slovenia learning dance moves, receiving vocal coaching and rehearsing drama productions. A team of very qualified Americans including a choreographer who works for Disneyland among others; joined together with talented believing Slovenes and produced an outreach performance that was so vital and alive!

One of the things that was repeated was the unity that was produced among the group was so deep and personal. This group bonded together in a unique way. We're asking the Lord in what way we can use this as we have used English camps in order to reach this generation for Christ through this new medium.

There have been just a few times in our 8 years here that I have thought to myself, Wow! We've been waiting for this to happen! This was one of those times! We're so grateful for Katka and the way she uses her gifts for God's glory, for the team of Americans and Slovenes who worked together at great cost, and for this new door that has opened!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Dan and Barb Evans

Can I just ask you to pray right now for our dear friend Barb Evans and her husband Dan? They are friends of ours from our Malachi days and they are facing a difficulty that I can hardly imagine.

Just a few weeks ago they learned that Barb has a tumor in her brain. She went through surgery a couple days ago and her prognosis is not good. In surgery they learned that her cancer is terminal. She's hardly been awake since then for her husband Dan to even talk her through what they are facing. They have two young children and have spent their lives loving military people and pointing them to Jesus.

If you want to go to their posts on twitter you can find it at
You'll be able to pray for them better and hear from Dan firsthand his agony of the heart and full trust in the Father for them all. Josh and I are praying for healing for Barb and for peace, peace, wonderful peace as they live through these days resting sweetly in Jesus' control.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Family Vacation

This year a bunch of our vacation time has been used up on getting into the house. But we thought we'd better get the kids out on some other type of adventure before our "lazy" days of summer are gone! So we headed into the mountains to go hiking. Here in Slovenia they have these great huts where you can hike to, eat and sleep there and then hike on to another place if you like. So we found one we thought would suit our kids' ages and hiked there.This is the Ajdovska deklica in the mountain face. A natural formation of the rocks! Amazing! Translated she's the Buckwheat girl! I loved as we hiked on hearing Josh's response to their questions.
Dad, do you think God did that on purpose?
'Cause everything he does is on purpose!
We like to take vacations where Scout can come with us. He jumped in a lake to make friends with the ducks there. We laughed so hard as he stood in the water and pointed! He also got to herd some sheep for the ladies running the koča we stayed in.

Luke is quite the little hiker! His grandfathers would have loved to see him in action! We blamed the easy route on Luke but I he set the pace a bit fast for me. I don't know what I'll do next year! They'll all know it was me slowing us down!


KRIZ is our school of theology for young leaders. There is no Bible school in Slovenia for students to attend. So three summers ago we began this program to help our young leaders be grounded in God's word and have a good overview of the Bible.
KRIŽ means "cross" in Slovene. And the letters stand for K- Kristus (Christ) R- Resnica (truth) I- Integriteta (integrity) Ž -Življene (life). Every year we have some amazing teachers come and our students get to live life with them for 2 weeks in the summer in an amazing location called Sveti Jost. They sit around tables and read scripture, learn bible study methods, ask honest questions, wrestle with the text and meet individually as well as corporately. Then during the school year once a month are follow up courses that follow the same pattern. It's designed to be a 2 year course and so this year we celebrated our first graduation! Neja, Katka, Mateja, Mišo and Gašper made so many sacrifices over these three summers and two years in order to complete this program. Such a great example of the verse, "Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches. But let him who boasts boast about this. That he knows and understands me."
It was so moving to be a witness that evening. Josh reminded them of what a great work the Lord had done in the five of them. And the call on their lives for this country. Slovenia needs these young leaders who are looking to the Lord. Then we laid our hands on these students and prayed for them and praised the Lord for the work he's done and will continue to do through them.
Our pastor Zvonko made the trip up the mountain to share in the event and speak to this special group. I wish you could have been there to see him! So much passion and joy over these students and God's goodness to this country! His words were certainly the out pouring of the Holy Spirit's leading!
Please pray for these students and the other like them who continue in the program. Pray for the word of the Lord to dwell richly in them because we know that out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks!

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Kendra's cute new hair cut

Took Kendra to get a hair cut yesterday. Well, I took Blake too. His hair was almost as long as hers! But her new style is just so cute I thought you'd like to see a pic!

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Luke's 3rd Birthday

Luke's 3rd birthday was actually over a month ago. But we didn't have internet when we moved. It took awhile to get things up and running. Plus all the business of camp and well... I'm just now getting around to blogging about it all.I decided not to have his party at our new house. What with the stairs with no railing and the open light sockets.... just sounded like more excitement than one wants at a three year olds birthday party. So we headed over to Super Nova and made use of the free kids play place. Fun times were had by all. Especially in the ball pit!
Then Josh ran around and got ice cream cone orders and we sang Happy Birthday in both languages!
Next were presents and Josh's mom and dad hit it out of the park with this little bike thing. You make it go by twisting on the steering wheel. Everyone had a turn! Even the big kids. Luke and his faithful friend Abby took turns driving around the mall.
My parents had sent money but with all the chaos I hadn't gone out and bought Luke a gift from them. So we decided to take him to the toy store and let him choose something. He ended up with this very fun "electric" guitar with microphone and light up glasses. Check out Hondo and Trisha Wynn's blog to see his performance for them the next morning!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Jr High Camp

Oh I LOVE camp! This year the Jacksons invited us to join their Jr. High staff to put on english camp. We feel so lucky to have spent the week with these sweet kids and the staff that love them. As well as the American team who came from my home church Good Shepherd and also Corum Deo.

There were about 40 kids with such a sweet spirit! It was great to be with them! We laughed and chatted, played games and had discussions. This years theme was stories. We told the story of God each night and then let kids share their stories. Every night Scout had to be up on the bunk bed so he didn't run in and bug kids while they listened to Josh telling the story.

Here's Luke practicing his preaching skills!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Intern BBQ

It's become a tradition; we get together for a BBQ to welcome the interns over at the Woodard's home. I don't know what we'll do next year when they aren't here to host us. Maybe we'll just show up at their new home!

We welcomed our team of 6 summer interns and had a delightful time together. Although the Jacksons are in the states this summer, they were well represented by their pool that Joel and Amy are borrowing for the summer! Abigail had to talk Luke into the idea of being in such a large body of water, but eventually he warmed to the idea!

Camps will start in just a few days! We are very excited about what the Lord has in mind for the students attending and the folks who are staffing the 7 camps we'll be involved in this summer. We would sure appreciate your prayers for our team as we head into these busy and important days!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Kendra's 9th birthday and other stories!

We celebrated Kendra's 9th birthday on Friday. She took cupcakes to school for snack time. Supplied with cake mix and canned frosting from the US by our friend Claudia, I always reserve these products for birthday celebrations. And every year the kids come home with teachers asking for the recipe! She invited her friends over and we translated into Slovene an old youth group favorite game, Life size Clue. Josh, Blake, Becca and I were stationed throughout the house. The kids were in teams and ran around to find out who buried the treasure, with what tool and in what room. It was loads of fun with Kapitan Gatnik (Captain Underpants) using his nohte(fingernails) to bury a treasure in the klet (basement).
On Saturday we headed over to the church picnic and worship service. On the way home we stopped at the new house to lock up since workers had been there in the morning. And as we drove by we saw all kinds of tents and a crowd of folks. We stopped to see what was going on. Donkey racing! We laughed so hard! And evidently folks came from Austria and Italy to be a part!
Plus Luka got to meet Martin Krpan a Slovene story character. Love the outfit!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

International Children's Festival

A couple months ago we were at McDonalds. Youth group was meeting at our house and I took the kids to get some dinner. We ran into a lady we've known for years. She's from Macedonia but lives in Slovenia now with her husband and 2 daughters. She told us she was planning an international Children's Festival with kids singing from all around the former Yogoslav states. Her face lit up and she suddenly said, "Can Rebecca sing for us as well?!" She had heard Rebecca sing at church. We exchanged information and let it go at that. Later, I thought we'd missed the date for the performance. But she called this week to ask if we were still interested.

What really cracks me up is the way that Rebecca is so calm over her chances to sing. I would be sweating even with weeks of practice. But she embraces every chance with confidence and joy and I never get the feeling she's performing. It's just a natural part of herself that gets an opportunity to be seen! So last night she sang The Call by Regina Specktor. It's the song at the end of Prince Caspian. We couldn't find background music so Josh played his guitar. (Another person who doesn't work up a sweat over these things!) They were a HUGE hit! The presenter told Josh after the dress rehersal that after Rebecca sang she had goose bumps!

Blake's 13th birthday

Blake turned 13 this week! We can hardly believe it! As parents who also happen to be youth workers we love the fact that he gets to participate in the work we do as a student. As well as the conversations we get to have with him and the way he contributes to our family and this work. At the same time we can hardly wrap our brains arount the idea that he's not a little boy anymore!
To celebrate his birthday he invited his friends over. They played Rock Band and of course ate! Chili dogs, birthday cake and other junk food. This is Blake, Klemen and Nik. But I think the hit of the night was taking them over to the new house to do some work. Luke's room used to be a kitchen so they got to knock off tile. Josh said he had to keep things quick though because the attention span was short and the desire to demolish overwhelming!This is Nik and Filip hard at work.
Also, some yucky old furniture is left in our room that had been smoked in pretty heavily. We needed to get rid of it so we let the guys throw it off the balcony in the girls' bedroom! You can imagine the cheer that went up!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

So where are things at with the house?

Well, I keep wanting to post something but it's still 2 steps forward then 2 back. But last week we signed for our loan after a considerable amount of work from some very amazing people. Then today the money came through in the form of a bank transfer to the account here and we were able to buy the Euros that Josh had locked in on at a very good rate some months back. So now that money is being transfered to our sellers account.

Josh has keys to the house! We are free to go over and start working away, although it's a bit awkward because the seller hasn't moved out yet. But that doesn't stop Josh! Today we had new windows put in Luke's room and the girl's room!

Meanwhile, I keep plugging away at this house. I have great hope of finding things that have been missing for years.... we'll see what pops up!

And while Josh has been working on the plan for our kitchen he realized that because of the exchange rate he could save a good amount by buying our kitchen from IKEA in Poland! So after our annual JV Conference in Czech the kids and I headed home while Josh went to Poland and laid out the plan in the languages he knows while the IKEA guys used the languages they know! I think in the end he got what we'll need to get cooking! ha ha!

So now I'll start keeping up the house blog with the work progress. And continue blogging here about our family life that we think we can live while we remodel. Time will tell!

Friday, April 24, 2009

My 39th Birthday

So it really was my 39th birthday this year. I'm not just saying that like, "I'm 39!" wink wink. I really am. Well this year I'm not just saying it but I will be next year. The picture is a bit yellow but I wanted to post it anyway because my nephew Tyler says that posts are always better if there's a pic with them.

Well, what I didn't mention in the earliers posts was the drama that has been going on with the house loan. We've been up. We've been down. We've been waiting. We've gotten loads of encouraging words and messages and we've also struggled not knowing if this was us pushing for what we've hoped for or God calling us to deeper faith. The Saturday before Easter Josh and I sat on the kitchen floor talking over the terms of the loan. He shared his concerns that after just a few years we might get in over our heads. He had a call into the banker to ask her to explain some things but he warned me that it didn't look like we could move forward.

It was discouraging and I spent some time crying over it.

On Monday, my birthday I was a bit tired from all the emotion. We had an easy family day and then Josh said we needed to visit our seller and let him know where things were at. I didn't want to but we did. He was nervous of course but we told him we should know more in the next few days.

It was evening for us but during the middle of the work day in the US when the banker called. Josh asked her to explain some things. As they talked she suggested some changes to the terms that might make things more affordable. When Josh got off the phone she had lowered our monthly payment enough to put it right into our budget! We talked to some folks and got advice and last week requested that the process go forward. We're on our way to getting that house after all!

I don't think it was an accident that it was my birthday. Thank you Lord!