Monday, May 25, 2009

Castles & Cobblestones

We arrived in Prague on May 22nd and found ourselves spellbound by the beauty of this ancient city. Already we had been awake for more than 24 hours but decided not to let jet lag get the best of us so we tackled the city head on. It is called the City of a Thousand Spires for good reason, every time you look up you can view a red dome christened with a golden spire. Our "Penzion" (Inn), was in the heart of the Old Town district. The streets are made up of centuries old cobblestone. I was paranoid that I might end up in a Czech hospital with a compound fracture of the ankle! (Maybe the high heeled sandals weren't such a great idea, no matter how good they looked.) The city is filled with museums but really the city itself is a museum. The architecture is astounding. Light filters through the streets and reflects changing colors throughout the day. 
I would have to say that some of my favorite sights were Old Town Square (and when they say "old" they mean like over a thousand years old!), The view from the Charles Bridge at sunset, The Mucha Museum and his artwork throughout the city, sipping coffee at a Cafe's in the ancient alleyways, and Patrin Hill, which is the park just across the bridge near the castle. 
Aaron was in gastronomic heaven. The Czech Republic has some of the best beer in the world  and we just happened to be there during the "International Beer Festival". It was so fun to watch my husband gobble up pork knuckles while chugging his beloved brew. 
On Sunday we had the chance to visit the church of friends who live in Sokolov, located over an hour west of Prague. They asked if we could share in couple of worship songs, which was an unforgettable experience. The Baptist fellowship meets in a small building tucked into a cozy little neighborhood. We felt so honored to be their guests. The Czech people are not very expressive but they are genuine. It was humbling to see the work of Christ in their lives.
On the way back from Sokolov to Prague we stopped in Loket. I had to pinch myself when we first viewed the village from the bridge. This place does not look real. Small rows of colorful shops and homes are lined up together all looking up at an ancient castle. Truly this castle looks like  a painting from a fairy tale. I was holding my breath to see Rupunzel let down her golden hair through one of the tiny windows. The castle itself is built on old Roman ruins. You can pay a small fee to tour the castle, and it is well worth it. Hrad Loket (Castle Loket) is equipped with everything a castle fan could dream of.. turrets, cisterns, torture chamber, a dragon, statues, frescos, etc. I think what shocked me the most about Loket was the fact that people still live there. That castle is still a part of everyday life for a community of people just as it has been for well over a thousand years! 
The Czech Republic may not sound like a dream destination to some, but maybe that is the secret to the magic of the place. It will surprise you with it's beauty. I can now see why it is a favorite to those who have visited. We may have left Prague behind today but a part of it will be with us for the rest of our lives. Farewell to Vienna!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Sowing Day

So excited to get those seeds in the ground! Dreaming of sweet white corn, sugar snap peas, juicy watermelon, yummy green beans, tons of tomatoes, lettuce, carrots, and pumpkins to carve in the fall. I was amazed at the success of our first garden last summer but have to give most of the credit to Mr. Frank. He and his wife, Alma, lived in this house for over 55 years. They had a very fruitful garden in the same piece of earth that we plant ours. Thanks to them, I come out looking like I have a "green thumb". We also "inherited" many of the Franks things when we bought their sweet little old tiller, working windmill (painted with the phrase "you got the right wind baby"), rakes, shovels, etc.  It is humbling to think that I'm using the same tools Mr. Frank used for so many years. When Aaron got home he took my calloused, dirt stained hands into his and called me his "Proverbs 31 Girl".  That is a bit of a stretch, (okay, a long shot really), but I hope the garden "produces much fruit" and in the process, my heart too.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

3 Little Garden Gnomes

We ate dinner outside tonight. It was so much fun, not to mention how easy clean up was! After we ate, the kids each had a bowl of ice cream. I was busy in the kitchen when Aaron called me outside to see where the kids had decided to enjoy their treats. Can't say that I blame them! Ice Cream +Sunshine + Garden = Happy! 

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Exhortation From a Seven Year Old

While putting Abby Sue to bed this evening she had to be disciplined for not listening to directions. She was so upset about getting into trouble that she couldn't stop crying. I wanted to help her calm down so I explained to her that when we feel sad we can talk to Jesus about how we feel and read His word to comfort us. She told me that she wasn't sure what to read in the Bible because it was a little confusing sometimes. Knowing how she felt, I then talked to her about how God's Word isn't like any other book, it is alive and powerful, and how the words will speak to our hearts when we take the time to listen. I also told her that when I feel really sad my favorite place to turn to is the Psalms because many of them are about feeling sad, afraid, blessed, etc. After saying goodnight and leaving her with her Bible I headed downstairs. Just a little while after I settled Abby Sue down I found myself in her shoes. I completley lost my temper and yelled at Aaron about my troubles. I was so upset about my trials & tribulations that I decided to cry on my bed for a while. A few minutes later I heard something at the door and found Abby Sue's Bible laying on the floor with a large book marker sticking out of it. I opened it up to Psalm 20, a chapter she had been talking about earlier. She especially loved verse 7 , "Some put their trust in horses, some in chariots, but we will trust in the name of the Lord our God." Needless to say I was comforted and exhorted. God's word is alive and powerful. It's living in Abby Sue's heart and in mine.