Friday, January 30, 2009

SEW

Spiritual Emphasis Week

This past week we have had the priviledge to spend every morning with Jerry Jacoby.  He's silly and funny and my kids loved him.  He spoke about God's love, faithfulness, power and how we should have a contrite heart.


Elmer, his son/chicken, was also a big hit.  He told jokes and taught small lessons - such as the fact that God loves us no matter what we do.

My kids are listening to some of his songs while we're "resting," and are excited to sing along.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Forgot I had this one



Encountered this sign on the way home from Basel.  It was fun to see something so familiar but be so far away.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The way things ought to be...

Sunny!  

I don't walk through the gloomy days of Vienna's winter and long for the sun.  But when it makes an appearance it is such a happy sight.  It's like taking a deep breath.

And when it happens on a Saturday that's even better.  I love when it shines through my windows and I can curl up in its beams like a cat.


Monday, January 19, 2009

I have the coolest friends!

I came back to school and found a huge package from Carla.


So nicely wrapped inside.


Warm scarves and hats, baking supplies and other fun things.


I made my first batch of cookies based on Carla's ingredients.  Good thing she sent lots of supplies because the first batch got a little burned.


Thanks Carla!!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Walking on Water

Yesterday Leslie, Joanna and I went for a walk on the Donau.  Usually when that is said, walking along the river is the intended meaning.  Not in this case.  We actually walked on the river itself.  One benefit to the subzero temperatures.

There were lots of people skating, playing hockey and walking.  It reminded me of a park in summer except on the ice.


The ice is black.  I wonder how thick it is.


Sunset on the Danube.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Happy Birthday Joey-o



We're a little low on attendance - winter germs.


Thursday, January 15, 2009

Origins Adventure


This past weekend, Whitney, Yvonne and I headed over to Germany for a conference.  A few thoughts come to mind:

Driving:  
The shifting is so different in a European car that at first I couldn't figure it out, specifically how to reverse.   You have to push the gear shift into the car and then go to first gear position, but I thought it had it's own position.  Then once I figured out reverse (went in the rental place to ask), I kept starting it in 3rd and thought,  "My goodness...this car is different.  It sure needs a lot of gas to get going."  It was a couple of stops (like lights) before I realized I was in 3rd.  I'm that good of a driver that I can start in 3rd.  I bet you didn't know that.  

I must also say that I found the Autobahn a little intimidating.  I enjoyed the freedom to choose my own pace, but really, it's kind of scary driving at 100mph.



GPS:  
Thankfully Whitney had the foresight to rent a car with GPS.  The very detailed instructions would have been extremely helpful if only they had been in English instead of German.  We became quite adept at recognizing "gerade aus weiter" and "links halten" as "stay straight" and "continue left."  Despite the maps and oral directions, I managed to get us lost at least once a day.  GPS lady was not happy about that.  "Falsch, falsch!   Bitte wenden!"  

Couch Surfing:  
This is a brilliant invention.  We stayed at some guy's house for four nights for free.  Yvonne contacted him through the couch surfing site, and he was so accomodating.  Since we arrived in Basel somewhere around 2am Wednesday, he willingly left his key in the mailbox and we let ourselves in.  We did have to layer up because it was FREEZING in the room and rotate turns on the floor, but for the price there are no complaints.

Conference:  
Origins was by far the best conference I've ever attended.  Granted, most of the conferences I've attended recently have been of an educational nature which doesn't lend itself to much  excitement.  The basic idea of the time was for Mosaic to share what has worked for their church.  I really appreciated the passion and expertise of the presentations.  I do think that some of the strategies that were offered wouldn't work for every church, but I found many things applicable to the individual.  Three things that stand out to me (without looking at my notes) are:  1) People are most happy and effective if they are serving in their areas of talents and interest 2)  Creativity is the natural product of spirituality.  I'm not sure how I feel about the theology of this comment, but it rekindled a desire to create:  to do something magnificent.  3)  One must earn the right to speak into another's life.  A person can't just expect their words (witnessing) to be accepted if they haven't invested in the "target" and proved that they care about them on a personal level rather than as a potential convert.  


Sightseeing:  
On the way home on Sunday we traveled through four countries in one day-Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Germany & Austria (did you even know Liechtenstein was a country-I don't think I did till we were talking about going there).  We left Basel (where we had been staying) at 9:00.  After a brief, but illegally parked, trip to Starbucks, we were on our way to Liechtenstein. We saw about 10 people down the main drag of Vaduz.  Granted it was a Sunday, but it seemed to be quite a small town.  We walked around a couple of blocks, saw a government building and a church and kinda felt like we had seen the downtown area.  


From there we continued through the Alps to Innsbruck.  I must admit that I thoroughly enjoy the ability to say that I have driven through the Alps.  Once in Innsbruck we walked around some more, enjoying the architecture and colorful houses.  



After a quick cup of coffee we continued on our way home to Vienna with pit stops for gas, McDonald's, and driving practice for Whitney.

More pictures on my picture website:  http://melinvienna.shutterfly.com/

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

It's snowing

The view from my classroom window

video

So we went outside to play for a bit.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Christmas is finally here

A friend from church volunteered to bring some things from home for me.  My family might have gone a little overboard with the presents...but it was so exciting to open them all.  Thanks Ali!

The box

Footwear

Cool clothes

Decorations

Miscellaneous

Thank you!!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

I'm a little nervous

Whitney, Yvonne and I are heading to Einmeldigen for the next four days to attend the Origins Germany Conference ( http://theoriginsproject.de/en/ ) and I got elected to drive because I know how to drive a stick shift.  Normally I wouldn't mind, I enjoy driving, but I'm a tad bit apprehensive.  Not enough to keep me awake at night, but just enough to keep me on edge today.  Partly it's because I haven't driven in five months.  Partly because the reverse gear is on the opposite side of the whole gear thingy.  But mostly because I've never driven in Europe before.  What if I do something terribly wrong?  

Well...I'm off to face my fears and pick up the rental car...wish me luck.    :)

Sunday, January 4, 2009

It's beneficial to have creative friends

Last night Cindi, Amanda and Carrie came over the "help" us recover our couch.  By help I mean that they did it all and we pitched in a little here and there.  The final product has far exceeded any expectations we had for a free couch.

Follow the transformation below:

The couch as given to us.  The red pillows came in the infamous boxes.


Whitney trying out the oh so clean hide-a-bed.  Don't worry.  If you come to visit we won't make you sleep on it.

Cindi and Whitney beginning the staple gun process.  Carrie and Amanda sewing cushion covers.


The finished couch.  So much better!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Picture Website

I've started a picture website to show you the rest of my pictures.