Saturday, January 29, 2011

What boys do...

We celebrated Luke's birthday by having a few friends overnight.  They cracked me up with how easy they were to please... 
:: they ate, played Wii games

:: played some games on the computer

:: ate some more

:: shot each other with Nerf dart guns

:: and then played more games on their fun and so easy :)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Happy 12th Birthday Luke!

Our big boy has gone through so many transitions in his 12 years of life, and he has handled them with so much grace.  This week he started in a new school here in Vienna.  At the end of his first day, we asked if he got a chance to meet anyone, and he answered, "Yes!  All the boys are my friends!"  We asked, "What are their names?"  Luke answered, "I don't know yet, but they're all my new friends."  Luke amazes us how quickly he integrates into new situations, how he travels all the way across the city by himself by subway and by tram, how he jumps into every sport and activity that school or church offers.   There's not an animal Luke doesn't like, and his latest dream is to own a salt water aquarium (because we won't let him get a blue parakeet!)  This is probably the last year that Mom will be taller than Luke.  We are so proud of your accomplishments and your tender heart.  You are certainly becoming a fine young man!

Happy Birthday, Luke!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Dear Tulips...
It is good to have you back, blooming in my little kitchen again.  I have missed you so.  Thanks for making my day just a little brighter :)

Monday, January 24, 2011


We have been back just over a week now, and we are pleasantly surprised and blessed by

:: how the sun has been shining A LOT!

:: how the kiddos have jumped right back into school and are doing GREAT!

:: the many invitations to meet up with friends that we have missed so much these last few months!

:: a visit from our dear friend Joanna and her fiance, Will

:: how at church last night we had a regular worship team...with someone on the keyboard, the guitar, the     clarinet, the violin and the banjo!  So cool :)

:: how we also had close to 30 folks worshiping with us!

:: and waking up to SNOW! Love it :)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Meet Will...

This is Will. Isn't he handsome?
We love that he is on our team now.
He just melts my heart when he yells "STACEY!" in his cute little voice.
William is sandwiched between his sweet brothers, Worthy and Calvin and has some serious dance moves!  :)
Keep him in your prayers, as he and his family continue to learn what it is to "do life" in Austria.
Here is Will pondering which goodie he should take :)

Monday, January 17, 2011

All is right with the world again...

At least from Milka's perspective.
All she cares about is reclaiming her spot on our comfy chair...
she doesn't have to un-pack all of the suitcases, clean up all of the dust and dirt that has accumulated over the last six months or have to sort through piles and piles of clothes that no longer fit the kiddos. :)

Overall, we are settling in just fine. Abby and Levi were pretty anxious about starting school again and having to speak only German~ but they just returned home and had a GREAT day!  Both of them have very sweet and compassionate teachers.  Luke will have some testing tomorrow, but will also start school this week.

Worship also went well last night...and we are so thankful to come back to a bigger team and congregation!  Lindsay "held down the fort" amazingly well and we are so grateful for all of her hard work while we were in the States.

The Beilman's are moved into their apartment and Jen started German classes today.  Dan will start intensive German in February.

Our newest teammate, Sonja, left for Colorado today (for training) and will hopefully arrive here mid-February.

We really are so appreciative of your prayers and kind words over these last few days. God has been answering beyond our expectations!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The last of the cakes...

This was Levi's "Nintendo" cake that we served at NCW tonight.  Doesn't my husband have rockin cake decorating skills!


Here is Abby waiting for public transportation to arrive, so we could get to church tonight.  It is good to be back in the city :)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Celebrating Levi!

We returned back to Vienna safe and sound, but not without having a few birthday celebrations for Levi in the States first!
Here is Levi and his buddy Ethan, who also turned 7 this week!  We hung out at the park, ate cupcakes and played an exciting game of kick-ball :)  Oh yeah baby!
Another celebration took place at Rainforest Cafe.  This was our last night in FL, so we celebrated with Memoo and Cha Cha the tree frog...
He was in shock when the cake came to our table...but shock turned into pure delight

Then this afternoon our neighbors invited us over for Sacher Torte
(if in Vienna, ask me to take you to Gritt's place, cause she makes the best Sacher ever!)

Tomorrow is his actual 7th birthday and we will continue the celebrating with even more cake and a big pan of lasagna...per his request!


Sunday, January 09, 2011

And so, the journey of our life overseas begins again in just a few short days...

The process of packing, purging and saying goodbyes has begun again.

We leave on Thursday to return to our home, team, friends and ministry in Vienna.  All of us are ready.  Ready for our own space (not that my mom hasn't been extremely gracious!), our own routine, our own get the point.

It has been a crazy 6 months of sadness and joy, traveling and transitioning, stress and fun.  At times, it has felt uncertain, exhausting and emotionally draining.  Other times we have been refreshed and very much encouraged.

God's grace and mercy have been evident in tangible ways through this season of mourning the loss of Brad's mom.  A season that I am sure is not yet finished, but will just feel less painful as time heals.

We ask for your prayers as we say our goodbyes here in the States and transition back to life in Austria. We are excited that our team and church has grown while we have been away, and we look forward to investing in those new relationships, but we are also not naive to the fact that things WILL be different when we return.

Luke will attend his 4th school in 4 years,  Abby will be in the same school, but have a new teacher, Levi will begin "real" school in German and entering mid-year certainly will add unique challenges.
Brad will once again start juggling the demands of planting a church, leading a growing team and being a Doctoral student, along with shepherding his family.  I will return to more German language learning and balancing life at home, that will include grocery shopping on an almost daily basis again. :)

We really are grateful for the time we have had in the States.  My mom is settled in her new place and we all feel really good about that.  Our schedule allowed us to meet up with a lot of friends that we had not seen in a long time! We also had some very sweet times with our family in the mountains at Christmas.  All of these memories are precious to us.

And so, the journey of our life overseas begins again in just a few short days.  Stay tuned to see what God has in store for us in 2011!