Saturday, June 25, 2016

Surprising Anwered Prayers and a Hike

I was driving back from the Springs, headed towards "Forest-Lane" and continuing to ask the Lord for open eyes to see opportunities for when I could talk with people, no matter where I am. I pulled into the local park on my way home, hoping to not only get to walk around the pond, but also see if there was anyone to meet along the way. Sure enough, I ended up talking with a grandma and her granddaughter ("K" and "J") who were playing with their dog in the park. 

Side note: Let me just tell you - it's not my custom to stop and talk with people I don't know, so this has been a stretch since coming here and an uncommon challenge the Lord has placed before me. 

We chatted for a while and found surprisingly a lot of common ground! These two were friendly, kind, and spoke dearly of the Lord. Just a few of the connections we made were that K's husband works at Focus on the Family (Adventures in Odyssey, anyone??) and K's mom grew up as an MK in India. These might seem insignificant, but I think it made us (= me, mostly) feel safe and even a little known. 

When K mentioned that she and J loved to hike, I asked for suggestions of trails that she could recommend to someone like me who was new to the area. It was then that she asked if I'd like to come along with her and J the next morning, bright and early, for their weekend hike. And you know what? I said, "Sure! I'd love that!"

Again, side note: If the Spirit had not already been prompting the willingness for new connections like this, I would have never been ready to say yes. God knows what He's doing in our hearts!

And so, after meeting these two sweet ones yesterday in the park, I met up with them at 6:30am and we ventured off into the Rockies and enjoyed our 6.5 mile hike with our pal Mitra (their hiking buddy, a catahoula hound, named after the Hindi word for "Friend"). 

The Lord answers prayers in unexpected ways, let me tell you! This morning was not only refreshing, but I now have two new friends. I feel so encouraged just by spending the day with them. What started as a prayer to see if there was anything I could do for the Lord ended with Him showing me what He can do to show his love to me. Grace. I'm blown away by Him. The Father - gracious, good, loving. 

Monday, June 20, 2016

Cake Smash

One of the staff kids here at MTI just turned one, and his birthday party and cake smash were my favorite. I had never seen a live-action cake smash, but it really did live up to everything I had imagined. He hesitantly touched the frosting with his fingers for a second, and then before we knew it, went face first into the cake. Oh, it was just too good. 

Here are just a few photos from the day. If you'd like to see more, you can head on over to Clairelyseen Photography!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Still Learning from Dad

It seems appropriate that on Father's Day I happened to come across Josiah Venture's collection of teaching that's happened recently at conferences and trainings in Europe...and some of it is teaching by my dad! It's always such a delight to listen to Dad's talks and to continue to learn from his wisdom even across the ocean now. 

So here's just a shoutout to you, Dad! Thanks for all you do to equip, serve, lead, and teach so many others, and for all the time you've invested in doing the same for our family. Love you lots!

(Click HERE for links to some of these teachings - they're directed towards specific audiences, like the interns or the JV staff, but I'm still loving them!)

(Photos from

Saturday, June 18, 2016

When the Car Has Troubles (Receive Help)

Why did I get to sit at my favorite coffee shop in the area with Grandpa this morning? There's a story to that.

Grandpa and Nana live about an hour north of where I am for the summer, and they're also generously lending me their car (a 1998 Jetta manual!), while I'm here for my internship at MTI.

This dear car is full of quirks and charm, and isn't even much younger than me. It has been on the verge of an issue with the coolant for the past week, so I've been keeping my eye on the temperature gauge to make sure the engine didn't overheat. I dubbed yesterday my "exploring day", so I drove up to Palmer Lake and down to Colorado Springs, all the while watching the car along the way for any potential issues.

As the Lord would have it, after my full day out and about, it wasn't until I was ten minutes away from home and on a back road that I noticed the temperature getting too high on the engine and pulled off to the side to stop the vehicle. God had protected me the whole day, and honestly, the timing of this issue flaring up could not have been better (although that does sound kind of strange when I say it that way!). It's a good thing I stopped it too, because when I opened up the hood, you could definitely smell the engine. I don't know much about cars, but I think I can sense when the potential of danger comes near.

I called Grandpa, and minutes later had updates from him that he would come down to the Springs the next morning to take a look at it and potentially have it towed. My host family picked me up, the car overnighted on the side of the road, and Grandpa came to the rescue in the morning. He was able to drive the car to the mechanic after taking a brief look at it, and it now gets to have a slumber party with the other cars for the weekend, since they won't be able to work on it until Monday.

Since Grandpa was already in the area, we stopped for coffee at my favorite little shop, which was conveniently only a couple of minutes away from the automechanic. We swapped latest stories and he shared more wisdom with me about walking with the Lord. We even got to have sandwiches for lunch back with my host family before he headed out.

Sure, the car has issues. I won't have a vehicle to drive for these next few days, so that'll be an interesting adventure figuring things out. But the Lord has provided thus far; will he not be present and near now too? I honestly have peace about it all and am actually amused at the way it all panned out. The Father had it planned out (before I even knew what coolant really was), and he's even giving blessings along the way of this hiccup, like getting to spend a morning with Grandpa.

(Pray that the car would get fixed by next Thursday when I start up at MTI again... without a car I can probably find a way to get there, but it will be difficult! The Lord will be faithful though. He cares about the little things!)

Thursday, June 16, 2016

A Rainy Plan B

My days in Jackson Hole were often drizzly. Although I would have loved traipsing around outside in the sunshine, the rain was equally as refreshing. I grew up in Czech after all; rain is comforting and charming, reminding me of home. 

On the day when Sara and I were going to go visit a hot spring about an hour away, we looked up at the sky and saw dark clouds. After looking at the weather forecast, we decided it was safer to stay close by, so we went for a drive along a road that paralleled the mountains, and wove through a canyon to find a small lake. It rained off and on, but we savored the views and the spectacular shades of greens and blues that seemed to glow in the rain. 

It finally cleared up a bit so that we could see the Tetons. What a sight to behold, uncapturable with the one lens I had brought with me to Wyoming. I guess our own eyes are sometimes the best way to soak in beauty anyways.

I'm so grateful to have gotten to spend even just a couple of days with this friend! Thank you, Lord. Getting to experience the gift of friendships that the Lord has given me in each season of life reminds me yet again that he always provides just what we need when we need it.