Enjoying Autumn

Gregory shared his phone pictures with me, and these gems were to be found!  I'm so thankful he remembered to take some Autumn Leaves photos for me!!!


Autumn and Illness

Autumn has come and today seems ready to give in to Winter.  Brrrrr!  In the midst of lots and lots of not-so-fun illness, we've managed a bit of fun.

We collected a huge bag of walnuts at one of our favorite parks.
Sadly, most were not so tasty. :(
Nathanael and I visited his grade school's Open House a week ago.
He was a bit nervous at first, but by the time we were ready to leave, he walked into one of the classrooms and shook the teacher's hand.  I was shocked and celebrated the victory!
Do you see a trend with Nathanael's "picture face"?
A colleague heard about our family's illness and brought over blue jello!  How sweet!  Nathanael LOVED it!
Feeling better (for one week) and off to school in winter gear!
Finally, another "sick" weekend, but at least he's sporting a cool hoody.
Eva is not so sure about all this illness!  What are we going to do, Mom?!


Time for another train date

Nathanael and I had so much fun on our accidental train date to the Czech Republic in June that we decided to have an intentional afternoon train date.  We rode four trains to various parts of the city and stopped for snacks as well.

Time for cute kid pictures

This blog has become a strange mixture of family photos, spiritual musings, and stories from our life in Vienna.  Given the last four posts, I think it's time for some light-hearted kid photos.  My only problem is narrowing down which ones to include.  I haven't posted photos of my littles since mid August before we went on vacation!
Fun with friends from Kindergarten
We switched Eva to her "big girl" bed after vacation, and that meant putting the bunk beds together!
Nathanael showing off his tattoo
Snack time in the park!
Nathanael began receiving an allowance, and he was so proud of his first two purchases.
While I was doing dishes one evening, I stopped and caught this treasure of a photo.  Dad is the best.  He helps diaper Eva's doll while spelling words for Nathanael to write.  I love these three!
Our family loves Autumn in Vienna.  We especially love evening walks as a family.  They've taken on different moods along with the different ages of our kids.  It seems Eva has entered a new stage now of being okay riding in the stroller (as long as we stop at a park once along the way), and since Nathanael just walks everywhere, it is working well right now!
We often walk to the Wienerberg, or as we named it when we first moved here, the "Far away park."
This girl LOVES to slide!

Headed to Holland

Our last family was a large group of seven:  Young parents, Ahmet and Riva, with a five-month-old son, Hamudi, and two-year-old daughter, Canan.  The mom's sister, Rama.  The dad's brother and his pregnant wife, Samer and Omay.
From what we could piece together in their broken Turkish, two of them had been in Istanbul for quite some time, very likely working to save money for the trip to Europe, and all of them had been traveling from Turkey for about a month.  They were incredibly grateful for showers and beds and blankets, for privacy.  For undergarments and socks.  For lotion and soap and deodorant and razors.  Of course, for food as well.

The three ladies and I sat around the table late at night sharing social media profiles, smiling at photos, and just connecting as women.  When Gregory went to bed, they took off their scarves and relaxed.  One of the women showed me a picture of her in Syria and pointed out her nice long coat in the photo; I think she was a bit embarrassed about the shorter coat she was wearing out of necessity (a donation from the train station).

I spent about an hour with them back at the train station the next morning, helping them get medical care for the little ones.  Once again, the clinic was impressive.  I was thankful.
I got to stay with little Hamudi while his sister and parents were in the clinic.
They were all headed to Holland, they thought.  From what I can see on Facebook, I think they may still be in Germany.  I can't help but wonder how their story has continued to unfold.  And I wonder if they have continued reading the books we gave them...  They are in our thoughts and prayers.

More Refugees Welcome

The week before last we hosted two more families fleeing their homes and lives in Syria.  The first family was small, and their story was slightly different than the others we have encountered.
The father, Semih, had been living in Austria as an asylum seeker for three months already, having fled Syria with his brother.  His wife, Bayan (23!) made the journey from Turkey alone with her 1.5-year-old son, Hamudi, and ten-year-old nephew, Haman!  I cannot fathom what stories she must have from the last few weeks...
They had just been reunited that afternoon, and although their son was ill, they were clearly happy to be together and safe.  We hosted them on a Friday night, so our families sat down for a Saturday morning breakfast together.
At breakfast after praying, they asked about our faith, and we shared what little we were able to communicate in words.  (Semih already knew a tiny bit of German from living in Austria for three months.)  We were thankfully able to get Hamudi some medical attention back at the train station.  The medical clinic there had doctors available, and they gave them some medication to take on their journey.

I wished they were staying in Austria, but they had decided that night to continue on to Germany.  Another family.  Another opportunity to share the love of Jesus in actions and words.  Another difficult goodbye.