Monday, September 29, 2008

Living out tonight's lesson...

Tonight at family worship, we were reading about the story of Joseph, reading how God specializes in bringing good out of bad. It provided the perfect segway into talking about my mom's cancer. We recalled the beauty God has already brought out of the struggle--many sweet times with Neena living with us while recovering from surgery and going through chemo, the special relationship our Moms share together, to name but two.

Then we shared with the kids that Neena's cancer has begun to reappear. Tomorrow she begins a new season of chemo, and we wish we weren't an ocean apart. But this time none of us were really surprised. We were warned 3 years ago that ovarian cancer is at best a semi-manageable chronic illness, which with those who respond well to chemo, provides temporary remission, and then invariably returns. Mom is one of the fortunate ones, it would seem. Last year she even kept her hair, tried as best she could to live life, go to church, and even travel a bit, and then she allowed herself down times when her body told her they were needed.

The kids are sad, to be sure, but hopeful. So we prayed for Neena, for God's healing, for her to tolerate the chemo well and have the best results possible, just like last time. And for God to give us eyes to see the good He is bringing out of the evil of cancer.

To those who would join us in these prayers, thank you. -Brad

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Why we love when Joanna comes to town...

We get an excuse to make Banoffi pie
She plays "balloon volleyball" with us
She makes a mean French Press
She brings candy!!!
She even lets Abby use her make-up...
We love when Joanna comes!!!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Home sweet home

For those who have been praying for Luke, he made it home safe and sound this morning from his school trip. With all the activities--hiking to the top of a snow-capped mountain, visiting farms, indoor & outdoor playgrounds, Yu-Gi-Oh games with friends, and disco dancing (you read that correctly)--seems like there wasn't much time for optional activities like showering. No biggie. At least he had a great time, made deeper friendships, and didn't forget too many things! It's so good to have Luke home. Thanks for praying.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Psalm 91

During each of my pregnancies, Brad and I chose a Psalm for each of our children. We wanted to be able to share with them God's faithfulness and hoped that this would serve as a reminder. For Luke, Abby and Levi, we put together photos collages along with the meaning of their name, where it was found in the Bible and the Psalm that we had prayed for them even before we first held them in our arms.

Since moving to Vienna, we have hung each of them in their bedrooms so they can look at them often, again to serve as a reminder of God's faithfulness in their lives.

Last night as I was praying for Luke (as he is still on his class trip) I was using the book, Praying the Scriptures for your Children. I turned to the chapter on "praying for physical health and safety" and of course felt God revealing his faithfulness to me as I read a portion of Psalm 91...the Psalm we had chosen for Luke. It was a sweet reminder of His protection and love for our son. Even greater than my own love for him. Today I am rejoicing in His faithfulness in both of our lives.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

More Baking...

I don't know what it is about Fall, but it makes me want to bake.  Yesterday I made Molasses Gingersnaps and today I made some Pumpkin Bread.  Tomorrow I might try some homemade applesauce.

Here is the recipe for the pumpkin bread: (from the same friend who gave me the recipe for the gingersnaps...thanks Sharbelle!)

1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/3 cup water
2 eggs
1/2 cup melted butter
1 2/3 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

Bake loaf in greased pan (I use a few small loaf pans) at 325 for approximately 45 minutes

Here is another site for some fun Fall ideas

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Molasses Gingersnaps...

Yesterday it finally felt more like Fall than Winter, and it put me in the mood for these little guys! The recipe is from a good friend who is a really good cookie baker. They go perfect with a hot cup of tea or coffee, and they make your house smell all warm and spicy. (Click on the photo to enlarge the recipe)
Fall is finally here...

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A big week for Luke!

Why is Luke packing a suitcase, you might ask?

He is going on "Schullandwoche" a 5-day class trip to Appelhof in the province of Styria, Austria. Most 4th grade classes in Austria go on such a trip together, as next year they move up to the Austrian equivalent of Middle School.

Heading 4 hours away by bus without us is a pretty huge step for Luke, and he is both nervous and excited...bouncing off the walls would be an apt description. To ease his fears, we told him we'd call on all of our prayer supporters to pray for him this week.

Would you join us in prayer for Luke?
Pray for safety, that he wouldn't struggle with too much homesickness and for good bonds of friendship.


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Friday Favorites-Judo and Gymnastics

We are feeling like we are back in the groove with school and we were ready to take on some extra-curricular activities.  Luke takes guitar lessons and Abby piano, but we told them they each could do one sport of their choice... Luke chose Judo and Abby chose Turnen, or gymnastics.  Last night was the first class for both of them.  Thankfully they both loved their classes!  We don't have any photos of Luke yet, but here is Abby having a blast on the rings!

Be our guest...

If you are waiting to see Luke and Levi's completed might be waiting for awhile, as we have had lots of visitors in the last week...funny enough, all currently living in Pennsylvania.

This is Monica.  We met her a few years ago and have been trying to get her to join our team ever since.  She finally made a site visit and we will see how the Lord leads!
Ron and Naomi Courtney used to live in Hollywood and attended our church.  They have known Brad since he was 9.  They were passing through Vienna with a tour group and were gracious enough to take us out for lunch.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Advanced technology...

Abby has already surpassed me in her German speaking ability...and now she will probably soon surpass me in the ability to type. They are learning this in the 2nd grade! Pretty amazing if you ask me.

Click on the photos and enlarge them, and you can see that they painted her fingernails to match the colors on the keyboard...and then put pictures on the keys to help them remember the letters. Too cute. She has already been practicing and when I put my hands on the keyboard to show her what I could do she said "Mom, you need to curl your fingers a little more!" Ugh.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Never-ending Projects...

Can you guess what we have been up to this week?  Well, besides seeing how dirty our apartment really is when we move the furniture...we have been painting. Ugh.  We are just trying to add little splashes of color to our STARK white walls.  The above picture is the primer here, it really looks like sticky milk and makes quite a mess when you are applying it to the walls! 

This all sort of began when Abby had been afraid to sleep alone in her room.  Being the good parents that we are (you are supposed to laugh at that statement)...we bribed her and told her we would paint her room anything (within reason of course) that she wanted, if she slept in her room for a week straight.  She did it and then she chose a "Hawaiian" themed  room with a dolphin.  Brad has way more creative juices than I we painted one wall blue and then he added a dolphin, some waves and a sun.  It is very cute and she is very happy! Now we are still working on the boys room...which will be a castle, a dragon and a shield (like a family crest)  Stay tuned for the finished project.

We also took on one wall in our living room and are very pleased with the results!

Here are some before and after shots...and Abby with her dolphin!

Monday, September 08, 2008

Outing with Luke's class...Laxenburg

Yesterday was an outing for Luke's class to Laxenburg.  Everyone packed a picnic lunch and spent time getting to know each other a little better.  It was lots of fun for everyone.
Here is Luke and some of his buddies...
Abby with some of her friends...

Here is Levi all grown-up...not scared of climbing anything anymore
And these are our new friends, Leslie and Melissa who are living in Vienna for the next 2 years and are teachers at Vienna Christian School...they came along to see the sights
It was a lovely, relaxing afternoon!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

One Stop Shopping...

I think the kids enjoyed the convenience of "one stop shopping" in the evidenced by their store...

Here is their restaurant
Here is the pediatrician's office (notice the kid friendly car mat covering the chair:)
Here is where you can get your hair done
And last but not is where you can pick up some clothes or art supplies!
Yep-I know...what a mess...but they sure had fun playing together!

Friday, September 05, 2008

Friday Favorties-Things we do in North Carolina while on vacation

Spend time with our friends...The Courics and the Rosses

Push little Rebecca on the swing

Go fishing

Build forts
Get dirty while using our imaginations
make s'mores
Listen to the player piano and dance til our sides hurt

Celebrate Christian's 10th birthday

Eat outside with the bees:)
Play peek-a-boo with Lydia
See deer

The rope swing
Ponder the things of life while sitting with friends
Eat lollipops from the Mast General Store

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Rewind Part 2-Family and Friends in Florida

Did you know that we have some of the most encouraging, loving and funny family and friends in the entire world...