Easter in Pictures

We really enjoyed Easter weekend around here. It was filled with Easter baskets, egg hunting, painting a canvas, family time and of course eating well! Hope you enjoyed yours too.

So thankful for His payment on our behalf.

Decorating Easter Baskets
Making Resurrection Rolls
Making He's Risen Rolls- These were pretty cool!
Good Friday, writing out our sins for our KidStuf activity. Such a neat visual of what Christ did!
Sunday Morning-Kids getting their loot.
All dressed up with our neighbor who joined us for church.
Massive Chadwick Easter Egg Hunt.
A copperhead tried to join the Chadwick Easter, but the men got rid of him!
Asher's getting in on the actiont!
Our family of 5 :-).
The Whole Crew without my SIL Greyson (we missed you Grey).
Covering over the sin on the canvas.
Our sins are covered!

Speaking Austrian

One of the things that we’re looking forward to is learning a new language. When we arrive Ian and I will be in full time language school. Ellison, however, will go directly into Austrian school where she will begin learning German as she is educated. Everyone tells us that she should will be very proficient before we know it. (That makes me a little nervous, not gonna lie).

About a month ago, our friend Annemarie offered to help our family with this transition by teaching us German! We first met her after watching her baptism video at church years ago. When we listened to the video we learned that she was from….you guessed it-Austria. She excited for our passion for her home country and we’ve stayed in touch over the years. When she found out about our plans to head back to Austria, she offered to come and teach us German. After a few weeks together, Ellison is getting the most time with her while I hang out with the boys.

Thanks Annemarie for your help! We are so thankful.

 

 

Coffee Night

We had an awesome coffee night this past Saturday. The hosts have been friends of our since 2003. Mark and Ashley have been key connectors in our journey. When we arrived at their house on Saturday night Ashley had an incredible spread of Austrian treats. They had done so much research and worked really hard to make the night special. We got the opportunity to share our story with 4 families that evening and we left there feeling more encouraged than when we arrived! We could clearly see how God had orchestrated the people who were in attendance. After we were done telling our story, the couples there asked us if they could pray over us. We had the opportunity to sit and listen to them bring our names before our Savior. The prayers were so personal and heartfelt and it was a beautiful act of worship. Thanks so much Mark and Ashley for hosting. It’s such a blessing to call you both friends!


Here is a display of all the yummy deserts!



This cake stole the show! The translation is "pray for Austria."


 

Daddy Daughter Dance

This past Friday, Ellison and Ian had the daddy daughter dance at her school. These seem to be growing in popularity these days and I’m really glad that her school jumped on the bandwagon. As with any special day for a girl, the first decision was…..the dress! We searched at all of our normal spots but couldn’t really find anything that looks special but was still fit for a little girl. We finally found one at Marshall’s and Ellison really loved it. The next step was to find some shoes which we picked up at Target!

For a few weeks leading up to the dance Ellison kept wondering exactly when it was coming. On the actual day of, she was nearly counting down the hours till Daddy got home. All day she kept saying is “is it almost midnight”, which I’m guessing she equates with Cinderella and the ball. When the time finally arrived, she was dressed and ready to go as soon as Ian walked in the door.

First they were off to dinner where they met some of her classmates and their dads. When that was over she and Ian went to the actual dance where I hear they danced the night away. Ellison said that her favorite part of the daddy daughter dance was spending time with her daddy and Ian says it was watching her dance care free with all of her friends.

Here are some pictures of them before the big night.

Best Thursday Ever

Two Thursdays ago, I got the best surprise! I went in to work in training mode ready to work with Kelsey my sweet replacement and within 10 minutes of us talking, 3 of my coworkers kidnapped me. They would give nothing away, they just told me to get into the car. I was so excited because UpStreet peeps know how to party! Also I am a big fan of surprises so I was trying to appear calm on the outside but was jumping up and down on the inside.

We all loaded up in the car and headed away from work and pulled into Summer Nails!! I absolutely love getting my nails done. If I ever get some extra cash, it’s one of the first stops on the list. Nothing says lady to me like pretty nails. So… we get out of the car and Sarah opened the door to reveal a NAIL PARTY! There were streamers, balloons, coffee and muffins and every sweet face that has been a part of my life for the past 5 years. These UpStreet women have walked with me through so many ups and downs and just looking around at each of them and remembering all that we shared was honestly quite emotional.

I finally picked out a color with the help of my friend Kathy and off to the chair I went. While talking to my nail techs and telling them about why I was leaving, one of them busted out with some German! What are the odds of a Vietnemese nail guy talking to you in German about going to live in Austria. Apparently pretty good if you live in Alpharetta!

The mani/pedi began and I was having a great time talking to everyone and laughing. As it neared lunchtime I felt a little sad honestly that the party had to stop because I knew that the majority of them had to go to a meeting at noon. I was planning in my mind what I was going to do and how I could squeeze in some more work to get Kelsey trained. Just about that time, in walks my man. I immediately began to cry. Not sure why I think I was just so happy that he could share in this moment with me. Then I thought oh how perfect they told him we were here and now HE can take me to lunch!

But….it was about to be so much better than that! The big announcement came. “We have arranged for you and Ian to go to stay at the W in Buckhead and for you to enjoy dinner at Pacci . We’ve made arrangements for your kids so all you have to do is go.” I was hysterically happy! I mean seriously. Ian and I have not had a night away together since last April. And the thought of sleeping without the buzz of a baby monitor….So incredible. A meal without telling someone to sit down or stop doing something…divine!

We walk out of the salon and there are our uh-mazing friends family Joy and Marcel waiting to trade cars with us so that they could step in and take over for us at home while we got a night away to play. It was honestly the BEST GIFT EVER. So thoughtful and just what we needed. We thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. It was one heck of a good-bye party and an amazing gift that I will treasure forever.

Snowed In

A pretty big storm hit Atlanta this past Sunday night. I have never seen snow accumulate so quickly. It was so beautiful on Monday morning to see everything blanketed and untouched.  The kids enjoyed playing out in the snow on Monday and Mom and Dad enjoyed an extended weekend. Tuesday came and went and we did not dare to leave because everything had iced over. By Wednesday, things were still a mess and we began to have some cabin fever. This morning, things returned to normal and Ian went off to work. We were sad to see him go. I must admit that the past several days were a welcomed interruption. We had a lot of fun being just being a family.

8 Months- Moving Target

Hello Friends! So each month we take a picture of Asher with this frog. This month, he had other ideas. We’ve got a crawler…and a mover and a shaker! Amazing what 8 months will do.





And he's off.....



second try...




"ohhhh this is what you want me to do...look at you"





Beyond the Mailbox

Here we are in this phase that we both dreaded for the longest time. We’ve made this huge decision to uproot our family and life as we know it and move overseas. We are absolutely thrilled about the fact that we get to go and live in Austria. It’s a beautiful country with wonderful people and we get to tell them the most incredible message of all. But there is this huge gap in between us making the decision to go and us actually getting on a plane and living and doing ministry there….FUNDRAISING.

In the missions world there are many things that you will hear fundraising called. There’s people raising, friend raising, building a ministry support team and the list goes on. No matter what it’s called the truth is, however, that it’s one of the hardest things that we’ve ever embarked on as a married couple. It is by far harder than the decision to actually live overseas. I think we have both hoped that there was another way to do this but after years of praying, hoping and waiting here we are taking this big step of faith and all we can do is wait.

Almost daily we are getting the question of “when are you leaving.” The honest truth is that we don’t know. We HOPE that it will be next summer. The reality is that we have to wait patiently until God provides everything we need to get us there. At our missions training conference, we heard the comparison made between the story of Ruth and Boaz and this fundraising world of which we are now a part. Although the provision was out in the fields, Ruth still had to work each day to obtain it. That’s the picture that I keep bringing up in my mind. The resources are out there, but there is work to do in order to obtain them. The tricky part is figuring out how much we do and when we wait…

About a month ago we sent out nearly 200 letters inviting people to be a part of God’s story in Austria through partnering with us. In those letters were return envelopes. Every time one of them actually returns to our address there is a little bit more fire added to our spark. There have been days when going to the mailbox has been like Christmas and then there are days where there is nothing and a little bit of that spark goes out.

I realized, this week, that I have been way too dependent on the United States Postal Service to solidify our call as a family. I spoke with a friend that there needs to be some kind of book out there to help offer encouragement to families during this tricky season of the “inbetween.” I think it needs to be called Beyond the Mailbox. If I were to write such a book I think I would begin it with a focus on Philippians 4:13-14. “ I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Every time I read those words I feel a little bit of that spark come back and I remember where my focus should be. The focus and the prize is Jesus himself, not fundraising, not money not even Austria. After all, He is the reason that we’re even on this journey.

So, no, there is not much fun in fundraising when I look at it through my own natural eyes. I do believe that this is a ministry in itself and one in which God will be glorified. When I look at things in the natural, I can easily become distracted by thinking about my abilities, the number of people that I know and the amount we have to raise. In the midst of it all, I hear my Savior asking me to surrender my insecurities, doubts and my pride to step out in faith and trust in him. We do indeed have a long road ahead of us and it seems like no 2 days are exactly alike, but I take comfort in knowing that the Creator of the universe who could take a girl from South Carolina, pair her up with  a basketball loving boy from Georgia and give them a heart for people in Austria, can provide all that is needed to continue His work there.

Deutsch Learnen

Ian is back in school….to learn German, that is. In order for us to obtain a long term visa, Austria requires that we be proficient in German to a certain level. Ian is testing the waters first, and when his session is done, I’ll be up to bat. When I asked Ian how it was going and what he thought, he had one response…. “Hard.” I’ve heard him practicing his skills out on the kids and it’s inspired me to start saying some typical phrases with the kids as well.




The German student hard at work.



So we’ve dusted off the German dictionary and are back at Deutsch Learnen.