It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

The King men were hard at work tonight, trimming the tree (and re-trimming the tree), arranging the nativity sets, and hanging the lights!  Evangeline napped through it all.

I caught Gregory in the act of re-arranging the ornaments Nathanael hung in one giant clump!  (I don't think I could've done it; it was so cute!)

When Gregory and I were dating, while living in Istanbul, we began the tradition of decorating a tree together with spiced apple cider and ginger cookies.  How special that 10 years later we are doing the same but with two munchkins joining in!


2014 Lantern Celebration (St. Martin's Day)

So I totally looked at what Wikipidea could tell me about St. Martin's Day, because the little I know about it is pieced together from random conversations (in German), often with the Kindergarten teachers and lots of ambient noise in the background, or from the songs Nathanael sings about the day (also in German).  And you know how it is, trying to understand a four-year-old, singing a song in your own language.  A portion of the words are a bit off, often humorously so.  Well, imagine it in a second language!  He does great with it, but sometimes I simply have no idea what he's singing!

Anyway, here's the short description of our experience of St. Martin's Day from Wikipidea: Children walk in processions carrying lanterns, which they made in school, and sing Martin songs.  Yep, that's it.  November 11th.  Oh, and don't forget the delicious buffet at the end of the procession!
What was kind of funny/ironic to me this year, is that the teachers chose an English song for the repertoire:  This little light of mine.  So I grew up singing this one as a kid in church.  It was so strange to be standing in a circle with parents and children here in Vienna, listening to all these non-English speakers singing, "This little light of mine.  I'm gonna let it shine..."  I wondered if I was the only one in that circle who was thinking about my son's light in terms of "the light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ." (2 Corinthians 4)  The reality is:  I probably was.  Every morning, by request of Nathanael, we pray together by name for five of his friends and three of his teachers, that they would come to know the immeasurable joy of knowing Jesus.  It is the impact we pray will be left in this Kindergarten, this neighborhood, this city, this country...


You can do it, Eva!

She is so close to walking!  Today, for the first time, Eva walked all over the park in front of our home while only holding one hand!  This is huge progress, friends!  My almost-17-month-old is finally getting some courage to tackle the world on her feet!
I just hope she's walking by Christmas!  In all honesty, her mobility dependence at this age is a bit wearing on this mom.  She so badly wants independence but is quite limited outside the home when her mode of mobility is scooting on her bum! Ha!


Music, or perhaps "Musik" is more appropriate

I've allowed myself to give in to a longing recently.  To write songs of worship again.  But not as I had before.  This time, in German!  It began with a song that was simply in my head a week or so ago.  It's about our desire as a church community to see God bring about change in our city.  I had to get it on paper; I couldn't rest until I had done so.  Then the other three came after hearing of some gaps in our church's repertoire - one Christmas song and two along the lines of repentance and confession.  Again, I couldn't rest until I'd written them!


Whether or not we ever sing them in church, it is such an encouraging experience to come to a place in a language where one can express one's heart with a depth that is sometimes even difficult in one's first language!  I have so far to go in German, but I am encouraged that I am able to express myself in German through music, especially to God, when I have time and space (and a good dictionary), and when I surrender the entire process to Him.