Women's Retreat in Italy

Gregory blessed me in March by making it possible for me to attend a Women's Retreat through our organization.  I was gone five days, flew to Rome, took the train to a lake a couple hours away, and spent the entire time gaining physical and spiritual refreshment and rest.  Oh, and the food was absolutely amazing.  And I didn't have to make it or clean it up!  Nathanael and Gregory held down the fort back in Vienna.  I'm so thankful for this gift!

The timing was a gift from God, as it allowed me a few days to think about, pray about, and prepare myself for the coming changes with the end of pregnancy and welcoming another child into our family.  Through the unique, reflective format of the retreat, God led me through addressing a handful of fears and anxieties that will likely continue to surface with the upcoming stresses and changes, especially my limitations in them.  And He gave me a sentence prayer to "breathe" to remind me of who I am in Him and His promise to carry me through:  I rest in Your embrace, free to be Yours, Elohim, my Everything.  This prayer is packed full of meaning for me, from Scripture and experiences that have been impressionable over decades.  I am excited to have this tool to use to claim Truth and center my heart and mind on Christ.


What to say after over six months of silence

Gregory is out having drinks with a friend.  I should be going to bed; rather, I should be asleep right now.  But instead my heart and mind want to blog.  So here goes.  It's been over half a year.  So much has happened.  It is impossible to "catch up" this blog, but I can still share my heart.

The last time I posted here, we'd just moved into our apartment in Vienna, and life was looking as if it might settle a bit.  And about a month later, it did.  For about three weeks, before morning sickness hit hard. :)  God has indeed blessed us with a lasting pregnancy, and we are immensely thankful and hopeful in Him to bring this little girl into our arms in June.  October, November, and December of 2012 were some of my most difficult months, simply trying to make it through each day, exhausted and overwhelmed by all of the discomforts and difficulties of a trying first trimester while taking care of Nathanael and attempting to not lose all of the German I'd learned.  Still in the midst of that, God upheld us by His right hand, carried us faithfully through, and brought us into a new season.  We had a wonderful visit from family over the holidays which carried us through the last couple weeks of sickness.

January and February were months of intense growth for me as I dove into full-time German classes again.  I absolutely loved how much progress I was making, especially after three months of barely surviving, but it was difficult to see so many things at home falling by the wayside because I simply had no time nor energy to give outside of German class and homework.

And here we are at the beginning of March.  The sun has been shining now for a few days, the snow has melted, and I feel the awakening of Spring with all of the new life and growth it brings.  Nathanael and I went out yesterday afternoon and walked around aimlessly for a couple hours, stopping at three different playgrounds along the way.  It was wonderful.  I myself also feel freed by this new season, freed to simply enjoy being mom to my son, freed to take time to accomplish some necessary tasks at home, freed to pursue growth in German in some more personal areas of interest, and freed to allow my mind and heart to walk around aimlessly, to think and dream and be.  Evidence:  I'm actually writing a blog post.  That has to be a good sign.

I know that one more month of full-time German classes awaits me in April.  I know that the discomforts of pregnancy are going to only intensify in the next few months.  I know that having an infant and becoming a family of four are going to be more difficult than I can imagine.  But right now, I am choosing to savor these few days of thriving instead of simply surviving.  And I'm looking back on God's abundant faithfulness and provision through the storms with a heart full of gratitude and joy.


Residence permit photos, year 2

I had to post our new residence permit photos, since the photos for our first year were so hilarious!

Doesn't Nathanael look pitiful this time?!  Here are some of my favorite attempts with him this year.  He wasn't real into it, as you can see.

I'm curious to see how pitiful Evangeline's photos will be, since we'll have to take them when she's only a week old!