One of my latest de-stressing hobbies is reading food blogs. I like them because people have so many amazing ideas for yummy new food, but I also like them because they are full of good stories. I’ve found that when people write about what they are passionate about it makes for interesting reading no matter the topic. I’ve also found that people write great stories about food because food plays a part in most life events. People share a recipe then tell about how they made it for a birthday, or a wedding, or a memorial service. Today one of the blogs I read shared a new search engine made for people like me. It’s called Food Blog Search. That’s right, a search engine that only searches within food blogs. I may never be bored (or productive) again.
Matt and I are reading a Lenten devotional by Henri Nouwen called Show Me the Way. I’m two days behind (of course) so I just read the devotional for Saturday. It’s about returning to God. He uses the story of the prodigal son as reference. I like what Nouwen had to say because he talks about the fact that the son returned for entirely selfish reasons, a fact that has always kind of bothered me. But then he talks about how God views us. I absolutely love the picture he gives of God’s response to us when we return – selfishly or not.
But Jesus came to open my ears to another voice that says, “I am your God, I have molded you with my own hands, and I love what I have made. I love you with a love that has no limits. Do not run away from me. Come back to me – not once, not twice, but always again. You are my child. How can you ever doubt that I will embrace you again, hold you against my breast, kiss you and let my hands run through your hair? I am your God – the God of mercy and compassion, the God of pardon and love, the God of tenderness and care. Please do not say that I have given up on you, that I cannot stand you any more, that there is no way back. It is not true. I so much want you to be with me. I so much want you to be close to me. I know all your thoughts. I hear all your words. I see all of your actions. And I love you because you are beautiful, made in my own image, an expression of my most intimate love. Do not judge yourself. Do not condemn yourself. Do not reject yourself. Let my love touch the deepest, most hidden corners of your heart and reveal to you your own beauty, a beauty that you have lost sight of, but that will become visible to you again in the light of my mercy. Come, come, let me wipe your tears, and let my mouth come close to your ear and say to you, ‘I love you, I love you, I love you.'”
~ Henry Nouwen, Show Me the Way, pg. 76-77
Then he offers this simple prayer that I am praying right now:
O Lord, my Lord,
help me to listen to your voice
and to decide for your mercy.
Well, the roads will never be the same. Yesterday I received my Austrian driver’s license in the mail. It’s kind of a fun thing to have. It makes me feel like I really live here. Plus, my picture turned out really cute. Now I kind of want to show it to everyone. :)
You can pray for us on Friday as it will be my first time driving a school van full of kids. We are headed to Budapest, Hungary for a basketball game. Fortunately, I’m not in charge of reading the map, but driving in Hungary will be a whole new experience!
Goodness! Time goes so quickly around the holidays. I can’t believe we’re already in the middle of January!
Christmas in Vienna was great. We hung out with friends, relaxed, and enjoyed the city. I even survived having Christmas without my family. That is definitely not my ideal, but like I said, I survived. :)
Last Monday we had our first middle school girls’ basketball game. We lost 21-38, but for a team of girls who have never played basketball before, 21 points was an amazing victory! We have two girls on our team who have played league basketball for several years (Americans, of course), but the rest of our team consists mostly of girls who hadn’t touched a basketball before December. I was so proud of them!
Anne Redner is the head coach and as we were discussing our goals for the team, we decided that we want them to play their absolute best and to learn to love being a part of a team. If they win games we’ll consider that icing on the cake. Knowing that those were our goals made watching our first game that much better. After the game one of the girls, who begged us not to put her in, told Anne that she wasn’t afraid anymore and that she had a lot of fun. Yay! Mission accomplished!
The cold molecules cuddle together. That is why cold water is more dense.
It’s true. Something strange has indeed happened. I am now the Assistant Coach for our middle school girls’ basketball team. Yikes! I don’t know if my dad is going to be proud or very, very afraid for the world of basketball. As for me, I just think it means the world is a little topsy-turvy.
I’m excited, though, to try this new area of ministry. The girls are all very sweet. One of the great benefits is that I’m getting to spend time with some of the students who have moved on from elementary. I miss them when they head upstairs to the middle school!
The other really exciting part is that I get to spend some extra time with my dear friend Anne who is leaving at the end of this year to head back to the States. She is the head coach, and it’s out of love for her that I agreed to take on this little challenge.
Please feel free to pray for all of us. :)
Praise God! We have a new elementary principal for next year. This has been a huge area of prayer for all of us as we have been “borrowing” the secondary principal this year. We are all so excited and so thankful for John Janett and his desire to serve here with us. Thank you so much to all of you who have been praying with us. God is good!
Today one of the students presented what was possibly the most creative book report I’ve ever seen. She and her mom baked and decorated sugar cookies to look like all of the characters from her book as well as a variety of other cookies to represent the setting and other important elements from the story. She used these cookies like you would use flannel pieces on a flannel board to share her summary of the book. The rest of class loved her book report because when she was finished sharing, they got to eat her work! Super fun!
Student A: Why do you want to be a doctor when you grow up?
Student B: Because I want to see people’s insides.