Thursday, April 24, 2008

What is going on in life . . .

Hey all,

Just thought I would help you get a glimpse of what life is like for us right now.

Obviously we are expecting our first child and with that comes alot of preparations. We are preparing our apartment for him, trying to make things cleaner, tidier, and arranged for maximum space allowance. Needless to say it is very difficult and I (Brian) don't always enjoy it. I enjoy dreaming about what I could do if I had some tools and could make some of the things we need for the baby. Honestly, I know that building a crib is quite beyond me but I still have a longing to make something that my son will grow up using. Along the same lines I have been feeling quite creative lately. I have a couple interests in the art area that I would like to further develop, but I am without the materials. One of those is stone sculpture. I did it in college for sculpture class and I would love to keep doing that in my spare time but finding the little extra money for stone and buying good quality tools takes extra money of which we do not have much at this present time.

Another desire that I have at this time is to do what is called "altered art". That is you take something and "alter" it to create a new object or the same object slightly modified. This can best be done with books. You take an old book that would be of little or no use and it is saved from the land fill by tearing out pages, adding materials, painting, etc so that a new book is decorated. I have been experimenting with this and I find it quite rewarding when I take the time to think through the process of creativity. You know it is funny how since I have become and art teacher I find myself wanting more and more to do creative things at home and I just don't have the materials. Please if you want to and feel that you would like to encourage me in these pursuits . . .ask me how you might help. There was a day when I got pens and markers and sketch books every Christmas and birthday but those days have come and gone I suppose. We'll see what the Lord makes possible.

Another "secret" ambition is to make steel/metal sculpture. I have so many ideas in mind for what to do but then again there are costs involved in getting the necessary tools for welding or soldering. I guess most recently I am just missing what I had while at school at Huntington. What I wouldn't give to be able to just take another stone sculpture class or welding sculpture class again. It was so much fun back then and I need some more of that in life.

Anyway I guess I am just venting some of my pent up frustration with the fact that I have so many ideas floating around in my head and none of them have come to fruition. Currently at school our elementary drama club that I help with is getting ready to perform our play entitled "Folk Tales for Fun" this coming Wednesday at 2:00PM Vienna time. I am technically just a helper but this role has become fairly complicated as I have found myself in charge of costumes and alot of the "art-intensive" preparations for the play. It is hard for me sometimes when we have to put so much work into something that will be performed once and seen by so little people. Oh well I guess our true rewards come when we get to heaven. Please pray that I will continue to be energetic and run the race the Lord has planned out for me here in Vienna.

Blessings ya'll!


Monday, April 21, 2008

Hall of flags . . .

Ok so we have a "hall of flags" and we thought that 33 flags was an achievement . . . . this picture was taken when our elementary kids took a field trip to the UN complex in Vienna. One word . . . . WOW!

VCS's High School Musical . . . .our form of the Disney hit!

This past week our school's high school put on their version of the most recently popular Disney's High School Musical. It was such a popular production in our community that the tickets quickly sold out, actually they sold out about a week before the performances. Usually you can get tickets to VCS performances at the door so this was quite unexpected by everyone. We kept putting off purchasing tickets and when we went to get them they had all sold out and we got on the top of the waiting list if any tickets became available. Well, they did and last Thursday we got to go see the production that our kids had worked so tirelessly on for the past couple months. If you have yet to see the Disney movie thats the original production, I would recommend seeing it. The reason why our Drama director decided to do High School Musical is because he wanted to focus on Community and how important that is in the body of Christ. The musical focuses on a typical American high school that has its cliques, and clubs, and groups of kids that stick by their own kind. The whole message of the musical is that we should not limit ourselves to what we have always done or always been. The idea that we need to be true to ourselves goes quite nicely with the Bible's message about the Body of Christ, that everyone was created unique and that the Lord wants us to fulfill the role. Betka and I really enjoyed seeing our students pour their hearts into this performance . . .it was my favorite by far. Enjoy the pictures! :)

Below: The whole cast. The first one with the directors and the next with the directors and the music staff.

Below: This was my favorite scene and a picture that I think represents it quite well. There is a scene with the basketball team and basketballs. It was wonderfully choreographed in the movie and the choreographers did an awesome job with our version. The guys really knew what they were doing.

Below: These two students did an excellent job. The guy is laying the part of Ryan the brother of the girl next to him, Sharpay. She is the girl that is always "the star". It is her identity and through the musical she is the antagonist and the person who apparently learns the most from what takes place. The guy was an awesome dancer. he was one of the few that really passed off his part . . . he made you believe that it was his character up there not just him acting.

Hope you enjoyed the picture representation of a production that pictures can't really do justice to. These kids are really talented!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Nesting anyone?

So I have read that pregnant mothers go through a nesting stage and ours was definitely yesterday afternoon and evening. We were up until 9 just re-arranging and cleaning things. The most exciting thing for us is to think of where to put our newborn when he arrives in this world. Our apartment isn't that big, but we think we will be able to make due until a slightly bigger place opens up that we can afford.

Our most recent idea, actually Betka's idea was to literally "put the baby in the closet". Now before you go yelling about child endangerment or reckless parenting, please hear us out. We want to make every inch of available space used to the best of our ability and we also wanted the little guy to have a space of his own. Up until this great idea all we could come up with is a corner of our current bedroom, but that was almost right up next to our own bed and the room would be very crowded what with the changing table, crib, and our bed which already takes up all the floor space between the window and the halfway point of our room. Basically what our plan of action will be if we go forward with this "Baby in the closet" idea would be to take off the doors and hang a sort of curtain to cover the space when the baby is not there. We have to get the approval of our landlord to remove the doors so that they do not freak out if they are over some time. We should be able to put them back on pretty easily.

Below are pictures of the stroller that we want to get. It has been a long hard fought battle of continuously shopping and returning to the SAME store over and over again to look at the same strollers or what seemed like the same strollers. We also have a limited price range which we thought we would never find a good quality stroller for under 400 Euro (Thats like 600 dollars!). Low and behold there is an option for under 200 Euro!!!! we'll see if we settle on this one, but it looks good. The basket for the newborn can detach so we wouldn't even have to bring the whole stroller up the stairs and it could possibly double as a bed! Anyway, I am glad that this search is over.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Randmomness . . . .

Hey all just thought I would share a picture that my friend made to advertise the "VCS Superstars" for a staff versus students soccer game earlier this year. Enjoy! :)

(Hint look at # 3.)

Funny dad quote . . .

Hey all,

In an effort to be as informed as possible about parenthood and babies in general I signed my wife and I up for a baby newsletter that has alot of good information that mainly my wife enjoys and I try to look interested . . . .today I got an email that had this hilarious quote in it that can only have come from someone with kids . . . .obviously it is jokingly said and it can not be said that I agree, but it made me laugh out loud.

"A baby is a loud noise at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other."
-Ronald Knox

Have a great day everyone! :)


Friday, April 04, 2008

I just wanted to share a little news with you all back home. Vienna has been preparing for the upcoming European Championships of Soccer this June and they have been redoing many things around town preparing for the masses of people that they expect to show up for the tourney. One of the things that we have noticed the most is the re-building of the Praterstern station as it is about 5 minutes' walk from our place and we use it every time we go to Czech and every day to and from school we use the Ubahn (subway) station there as well. Hopefully this link will work. I found the article in Osterreich, one of the daily Viennese newspapers online. It is an amazing train station now and I thought it was cool to see it from a different angle. Enjoy! :)

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

My focal point for the rest of this year and the beginning of next school year . . . .

The other day as my wife was "cleaning " my desk, something she likes to do occasionally because my "organization" isn't sufficient, she happened upon a bookmark that I received from a lady at the Aldersgate Conference in Rogers, Arkansas last year. This lady, I can't even remember her name now, but she apparently had the gift of prophecy and it always seemed to her to manifest itself most when she was shopping for seemingly useless things. She would buy things and make crafty things and in some miraculous way the Lord would use these to encourage other Christians whenever and wherever she has speaking engagements. She was speaking on the topic of spiritual warfare if I recall correctly and she would stop occasionally to hand out certain objects to specific people in the room. As she kept handing out things the Lord was using her to greatly encourage those listening to her presentation. She handed out a bag of nuts to one gentlemen with the encouragement "The Lord wants me to tell you . . .you're not nuts!" The same gentleman informed her later, when she asked those that received items to share their testimony if they wanted to, that they almost didn't come to Aldersgate because all their relatives said they were nuts for going. Wow, our Lord really meets us where we are huh!?

While we were watching all these amazing things happen I felt deep down that it would be cool to get something, but we had come in late and I figured that she wouldn't give us anything because we hadn't been there for the whole presentation . . . . well I was wrong. The first time she came our way she walked up to Betka and handed her a string of wooden decorative fish and told her something to the effect of "The Lord says that you will find new and innovative ways to fish." Betka took that word to mean that she would be fine in ministry in Vienna as she had been very worried about how she was going to minister. She was a bit worried and the Lord met her where she was . . . the fish are still hanging in our entry way and she has indeed found new ways to fish.

A few minutes later as the lady was talking again and she paused after she had read the following scripture: "My son, pay attention to my wisdom; lend your ear to my understanding." Proverbs 5:1. As soon as she read it I knew that the book mark that she read was for me and sure enough, even though we were sitting in the back her gaze penetrated the crowd and found me and she walked towards me. She had a wireless microphone on and when she got to me she read another two scripture verses that were on the back of the book mark. "Tis' time to walk in the way of understanding for the sake of your family." Proverbs 9:6b and "Stand tall in the fear of the Lord!" Proverbs 10:1. When she was there giving me that bookmark that I have taped to my computer monitor right now I felt in my heart that I had alot on my plate and I needed the Lord to be a good husband. At that time I had no idea that I would be expecting my first son not much more than a year later. God really knows what he is doing! :)

I would just like to encourage all of you no matter where you are and what you are going through . . .our Lord really is there freely offering the strength we need from. Whenever we have no idea what to do the Lord knows . . .we can and should walk in His way of understanding. So the rest of this year as I prepare for the birth of my son I will be meditating on the aforementioned scriptures and asking the Lord to grant me the ability to stand in fear of Him and to trust him as I seek to walk in His way of understanding because I surely cannot understand the situation I am in. Thank you and God bless you all in advance for the prayers that I am sure you will send up on my and my wife's behalf.