Four month recap in words

I have been remiss at posting about our experiences and musings these past four months.  Easter Sunday began an eleven week road trip from Kansas to the East Coast and back.  It was one of the most exhausting and encouraging experiences of my life.  I can't express how those two went together, but it's simply true.  A paradox.  Along the road, we saw family and relatives as well as dear friends and ministry partners, visited and shared with many churches, reminisced as we stopped in places we'd formerly lived or visited, and created many new memories together as a family.  Car travel with a three- and six-year-old was not easy; some days were better than others.  Having work meetings with said children along was even more difficult.  But we did also have a lot of fun interspersed throughout the days.  Our social Nathanael loved all the kids he was able to meet and play with over the two months, and Eva remained her fairly flexible self, for the most part.  How we survived over two months of absolutely no routines or rhythms, I can only say that God sustained us.  We had very little illness, and we only had to cancel a couple get-togethers, which I'd say is quite impressive.  We're thankful for God's upholding right hand through it all.

Once back in Kansas, we had a little over a week to put some pieces together and then fly back to Vienna for ten days.  Why, you ask, just ten days?  We had to renew Nathanael's residence permit, in person, in Vienna.  There was no way to do it earlier or later.  (Believe me; we tried a lot of ways back in December.)  So we went.  We weren't sure how it would be, returning to our home and community for just a week with jet lag on top of the linguistic and cultural differences, but we came away from that week with a renewed sense of calling and purpose and a clearer vision for a few aspects of our work there.  We also were able to spend a bit of time with a handful of dear people, and that was life-giving to our souls.

The past week or so has been a change of pace for us.  Finally, we're trying to slow down a bit.  Breathe.  Reflect.  Dream.  Prepare.  Be together.  Gregory is giving time to his course preparations for the Autumn.  We've taken up jogging together.  We're considering how we can create healthier family rhythms and routines when we return to Vienna, reconsidering priorities, and asking difficult questions.  In a week, we'll go to Colorado for two weeks, a combination of visiting with ministry partners and seeing friends, spending five days with my family in the mountains, and attending a conference with our organisation for employees currently on stateside ministry.

August 18th begins our new 3-5 year term in Vienna.  Just a little over a month away!  I can almost touch it.

Thus ends my photo-less update from the last four months.  I doubt I will find time to write much in the next two months, but hopefully I'll return to regularly posts after September.  Thanks for following along!

Okay, one photo from the North Shore in May.


Back home, for one week

Back home in Vienna for a week...
Lots of this
And this at "home park"
We took the kids to "church park" to ride bikes many evenings.
Water break
The kids loved going back to Kindergarten/Pre-school for six days.  Nathanael's Kindergarten teachers gifted him with this awesome gift cone as a graduation gift.  (It's a germanic tradition to give kids these filled with school supplies and sweets when they begin school at grade 1.)
Playing at home...they're somewhere in there.  I think it was their lair.
(Notice the stroller is in the middle of the fun.)
We went swimming with a dear friend at her lake house.
Eva wanted to put on her own sunscreen.
The kids retired indoors to water paint!
And this is how we made it through the layover in Chicago -- an awesome playground!