Friday, October 27, 2006

The Munchkin meets Cap'n Bonz

Today SHCS had their "book character" day.

Abby's class celebrated the "Wizard of Oz" and she decided that she wanted to be a munchkin. Her teacher mentioned to us that for years she has tried to persuade any number of students to be munchkins, but to no avail...until Abby came along. Go against the flow, Abby!

Luke read the book Pirates Past Noon and donned a pirate outfit "Cap'n Bonz". (Really it's Cap'n Bones, but Bonz looks more ridiculous.) Conveniently, Luke will dress up as a pirate for Halloween too, along with Abby and Levi.

Enjoy the photos!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Austria Trip Photo Gallery w/ Comments

We've been home for a few days now and have had a little bit of time to process what God just brought us on during our October 5-16 trip to Austria. Thanks for your prayers! We definitely felt them. It was a great trip...just exhausting.

-Brad did a great job preaching in German at the Evangelical Reformed Conference in Western least I didn't hear any mistakes! Ha! We were very encourgaged by the believers from Austria, Holland, Switzerland, and even Liechtenstein who came together for the weekend. Here's some pictures:

-It was also good to catch up with the Sondereggers who lived in South Florida for a couple of years and have now returned to Austria.

-The leaders of World Harvest Mission who joined us were very helpful and encouraging...and we laughed a lot together! Our time spent with them only further confirmed in our hearts and minds that WHM is the right sending organization for us. (Though our trips on the Viennese subway brought us closer together than we might have wished!)

-We really loved praying, evangelizing, worshipping, getting to see the city, and just hanging out with our potential teammates. (Bear with us as we withhold their names for now)...We are super excited that one couple will be heading to World Harvest's assessment week in December, and the others are still in the process of discerning God's call for mission.

-God again confirmed in us that Vienna is really ripe for the Gospel, as we met a family new to the faith who live just outside Vienna, as well as a student searching for Jesus and looking for a Gospel-teaching church, and as we met with several other people on the streets...

-We decided that we will probably live in the heart of the city very close to the university, that Brad will attend the university both to build relationships with students and to study the culture and history more. We also decided that our kids should go to a bi-lingual school so that they can get to know German more quickly. The day we looked at housing and schools was the most draining day for me...just realizing how dramatically our lives are going to change was a bit overwhelming (for the good I suppose).

-Seeing our friends the Dossetts and Dali and Tabea was also very helpful with giving us insight and direction with housing and schooling decisions.

I definitely left Austria more excited than overwhelmed (and of course Brad did too)...but as we came home to our sweet but needy children and I started to realize all the things that have to happen before we leave, the enormity of it all is starting to set in... Now we need to continue support raising and getting our house ready to sell... I also really need to get a handle on German as well as purposefully start to work with the kids in German. Thankfully our burden is carried on the shoulders of a capable Savior!

All to say, it was a GREAT trip, and we saw God answer many prayers and confirm our calling to Vienna again...But PLEASE keep praying for us!

Monday, October 09, 2006

In good hands

We knew our kids were in good hands, but it's nice to be reminded how good we have it. While we're here in Vienna, here's an email we received from Memoo (Stacey's Mom). At least the kids will be in better shape when we return!


Brad & Stacey,
The kids are doing great! Abby has had the most difficult time but is accepting that you will be home any day now!

I made a "Better Behavior Wheel" for them to spin for their punishment:
10 push ups, 20 sit ups, march around the house 5 times, 25 jumping jacks, stand in the corner 5 min., room time 15 min., write out what they will NOT do again. The first day, Abby did 40 sit ups, 50 jumping jacks, marched around the house 5 times, and stood in the corner for 5 min. Luke 'got it' after he had to do 20 sit ups! :) Sunday was the first day that Abby went all day without having to spin the wheel! She was sooo excited! Levi was down by 6:30, Abby down by 7 and Luke down before 7:30 last night. They really have been doing well!

I was feeding the kids breakfast this morning, when the doorbell rang at 7:02. The Orkin man was standing there handing me the morning paper. I told him that I wasn't expecting him today! This was the only hickup for this morning.

Abby had a great time with Mackenzie. They went to a pumpkin patch and were up at 6 in the morning! Matt thought he was going to be able to sleep in...NOT!

Jonathan, Luke and Levi had so much fun! We went to the movie "Open Season" and then I made octopus on shells and had them drink sea water (Blue gatorade). They loved it! Levi tried very hard to keep up with the big boys as they dug holes and filled them with water and made sand rocks and mud balls. They cleaned & shined pennies with lemon juice and sea salt. They thought this was cool!

We have been doing many experiments and having fun. They haven't had time to watch much TV. :) We've been to the parks, making Birthday cards for Kyleigh and Mackenzie. I have been documenting our experiences with photos!

The first night we made a "Hobo meal" and ate it outside on the grass. The kids then made paper kites and ran around the back yard to make them fly! I had forgotten how creative they are!

We went to IHOP with Neena on Saturday night. Levi got a smiley face pancake and developed a chocolate mustash I told him that I wanted to take a picture of his
"stach"....he said, "Hey! Where's my stach?" He is talking up a storm and is so cute!

Like I said ... the kids are doing great! They miss you and love you and are anxiously awaiting your arrival home! I'm glad to hear that you are having a
good trip! Tell Dali & Tabea "Hell-o" for me!

I Love YOU! MeMoo

Sunday, October 08, 2006


We arrived safely in Europe two days ago, and took a train to Bregenz, Austria. All went well with the conference that we participated in there. We certainly felt a spirit of unity and joy with the brothers and sisters from Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and Holland. It's cool hearing several languages and dialects thrown around the same table at the same time. They're good folks, and it's been good seeing Tami and her family again.

It was a huge thing to be able to preach to the whole group (about 60-70 people) in German...went better than I thought it would. Tami's mom Bernadette claims I only made "minor" mistakes! Ha! Stacey has been doing great too, except when she asked where her "Frau" (wife) was. Oops!

Today we spent the day with Tami's family eating traditional Vorarlberg cuisine and hanging out with an Austrian family we got to know when they lived in South Florida. It's been great here in Western Austria. The view of the mountains is spectacular, the weather as well, but now we're looking forward to our next leg of the journey.

Tonight we'll take the night train to Vienna, and that'll begin the World Harvest part of the trip. We'll also get to meet up with our friends in Vienna, the Dossetts and Dali and Tabea.

Thank you all for praying for us and our kids on this trip. Go to and click on Prayer Journals, then October, to find out more on how to pray for us. We'll upload pictures later if we can.

If you get a chance, please leave us a message on the blog!


Sunday, October 01, 2006

Happy Fall?

Ok, so in Florida the weather is basically hot and hotter....but since it will be October tomorrow we thought we'd better break out the fall decorations (plus Abby has been begging for days).
So the day was spent putting out pumpkin placemats, hanging skeletons in the kids' rooms and coloring and cutting out bats and cats to hang all over the french doors. I must say, we are getting into the "fall spirit"... as we watched Notre Dame romp and went Halloween costume shopping too. All of the kids want to be pirates this year, so you'll have to come to the St. Andrews Fall Festival to see the unveiling of the mateys.

Some of you have asked for the pumpkin apple streusel muffin recipe so here it is...May it get you in the mood for fall! (even if it is 80 outside)

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs lightly beaten
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups peeled, finely chopped apples

Streusel Topping:
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 teaspoons butter

To make the streusel:
In a small bowl, combine flour, sugar and cinnamon. Cut in softened butter until mixture is crumbly.

For batter:
In large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt, set aside. In med. bowl, combine eggs, pumpkin and oil. Add liguid ingredients to dry ingredients. Stir just until moistened. Stir in apples. Spoon batter into paper-lined muffin tins. Sprinkle streusel topping over batter. Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 30 min. or until toothpick comes out clean. Makes 18 muffins. (taken from the "Best of the Best from Iowa" cookbook)