The kids did a VBS last week and had a blast! Ok, well maybe Ellison had a blast everyday but Jude eventually got in the groove once we invited our neighbor to come with us. Here is a video of them doing their dance from the week. My favorite part is Jude walking off in the middle.
Somethings have changed around here….
There is a renewed interest in everything German around here! German is ringing in our halls, over our speakers and out of our mouths!! The most common question of course is “Wie sage ich _______ auf Deutch?” (how do I say _______ in German). Sometimes I find I’m getting kopfweh (a headache) after trying so hard, but it is soooo cool to have a living dictionary right under our roof! And a helpful, sweet dictionary at that.
Brittany is visiting us from Germany. Her dad is a pastor in Germany and we met both he and her mom at the “Drive” conference a few years ago. This past April we reconnected with them at the same conference and had dinner together. They mentioned that their daughter wanted to learn more about children’s ministry at North Point and wanted to volunteer there for the summer. Our ears perked up and we said we would be willing to house her knowing that she could be a HUGE help to our language learning. She arrived on the same day that Ian came home and has been here about a week. She works at North Point 3 days a week and then hangs out with us for the other days. Here’s a little bit more about her.
1. Where are you from? The southwestern part of Germany called the Black Forest. It’s very close to the Swiss and French borders. My mom is Canadian, however, and I was born there and lived there for 9 months. (She speaks English beautifully)
2. Tell us about your family at home? I live with my parents and my brother. My parents pastor a church and they were sent out from Canada as missionaries 18 years ago. My dad is a very fun person to be around and we spend lots of time together in the outdoors doing sports. My mom is more of a musician and so we spend lots of time doing things centered around music. She enjoys teaching piano and doing choir. As a result I’m a mix of those and I love to do sports and music. It’s the best of both worlds.
3. What do you really enjoy? I love reading and writing and I’ve spent a lot of time babysitting and taking care of kids and going out with my friends. I really have a great interest in design and art.
4. What does the perfect day look like for you? I would spend a day on the beach in Spain or France running and reading design magazines. I love to read through the magazines and imagine the possibilities or what rooms could look like.
5. Now that you’ve graduated high school, what’s next? I’m looking forward to studying Psychology at the University of Basel in Switzerland. Since Basel is only 40 minutes away from my home I’ll still be able to help my parents with church since I’m involved with the kids ministry and the middle school small groups.
6. What has been most surprising about Atlanta? The culture is similar to Canada so nothing has really been a shocking surprise because of the similarities. I’ve been a little surprised about how much people depend on technology and their devices. Where I’m from most people still have a house phone and we can carry on business without the use of cell phones. We do a lot more face to face interactions when it comes to work issues or even personal issues. I would say that we live at slower pace.
Anything else? One thing that I really want to do is to learn to cook this summer. I’m working hard to be chef number one in the Ehemann kitchen!
We are really thankful for Brittany coming and are looking forward to having her till August. So if you see her with us give her a big warm southern welcome y’all.
“You are never going to move if you wait for fear to disappear.”
(Brent Shoemaker, NPCC)
Confession, I have never jumped in at the deep end of the pool. I don’t mean this summer but like never in my life. It’s not that I don’t know how to swim (although I only learned after Ellison was born), I’m just afraid of being completely submerged and out of control. Every summer I hang out in the shallow end and watch people jumping off confidently into the deep end. I keep thinking this is going to be my year and then the moment passes. If I sit and think of it rationally it doesn’t make any sense to be afraid of jumping into 6 or 7 feet of water when I have the ability to jump in and swim to the side but the truth is…I am. I want this to be my summer and I want you to join me by “Taking the Plunge.”
Here’s the skinny folks, we really need to get to 70% of our monthly support by
mid-July the end of summer. That equals 1425 845 dollars more per month. Once we are there, we can start preparing for the final stages of getting us to Austria. Now, here’s where you come in. We don’t personally know anyone who has 1000+ spare dollars per month to give to our efforts. We, however, have found that a few things at Target can quickly add up to 40 or 50 bucks. I mean who can resist those red tags!?! That 40 or 50 dollars to a missionary is golden. Maybe you’re like me, you’ve been hanging out near the deep end and watching others jump in but you’re a bit unsure if you’re ready to take the dive and stretch yourself financially. If you’ve heard our story and have been meaning to call us back, email us or start your giving just let us know here. Once we’ve reached 70% you can come right on back over to Chadwicksinaustria.org and see a video of me taking my first jump. So come on….. take the plunge and join our team and then watch me overcome my fear of the deep end……YIKES.
Just this morning, my mom and I went on walk with my 3 kids. Sounds simple enough, right…wrong! Well I decided we’d try out this neat little part of Big Creek right near my house and we’d take the jogging stroller and the kid’s bikes as well. So, I’m loading it all in and then I notice that the tires are really low on the stroller. Actually they’ve been low, but I really wanted to fix it before our walk because….. they’ve been bothering me. First I tried to use our pump here at home only to accidentally flatten the tire completely. Dang it! So I said… “I know what I’ll do. I’ll go to the gas station and get some air.” We pull up to the BP as my children yell from the back seat “are we ever gonna get there,” and I notice that air costs one dollar. Ooops I have no cash. So I ask my mom if she has any change. Turns out she had left her purse at home because we were “going for a walk”…right. So off to the ATM I go to get some cash to come back to the gas station only to figure out that I’ve never done this before. Instead of asking for help, I somehow figured it out on my own and immediately I felt a sense of AHHHHHHHH. I’d done it. All by myself.
Ian is still out of town and normally I think of jobs like these are the “man” jobs but I couldn’t wait I wanted to do it on my own. The truth is, over the past 2 weeks since he’s been gone there have been lots of moments like these. And then it hit me…There it is again. This thing I long to have but struggle with maintaining. Being independent.
It’s this thing that makes where we are so difficult. When I look at raising money to go to live overseas I feel the exact opposite of independent and that would be because we are totally dependent. And vulnerable. And exposed. We want so badly to make this transition overseas but we are indeed dependent. We are dependent on people linking arms with us and saying “I’ll take a piece of the burden.” People willing to share the load and who believe in us and believe in what God has called us to do. It is not an easy task. Not easy at all.
When we lived in Austria as newlyweds we were employed by a basketball club. In my mind it was ideal. I think I’ve always hoped that this could happen again. But the reality is that basketball at this level is not stable enough to completely sustain our family. But who knows…perhaps one day it will be our reality again. But not today. Today God has us here. He has us totally dependent on him. On his timing, his will, his plans, his story for our family. Not mine.
I think this is a struggle that will be with me until I meet Him face to face. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that independence is a bad thing. In fact, I hope I never lose that AHHHHH feeling when I accomplish something that seems so difficult. I just want to get to the point of having an even greater AHHHHH when I fully depend on God and and he accomplishes something through me that I never imagined possible.
And so it begins. Transition. Change. One of the inevitable realities of a life in missions is moving and reshuffling. We have another transition that is about to take place in just over a week…..and my husband is overseas at the moment which is making this all the more….challenging. Thankfully it’s a minor one and I’m actually really excited about it and what it means for our family. And secretly I love changing up my furniture and re-doing things.
This year at Drive we reconnected with a couple from Germany who we’d met about 3 years ago. During our conversations we started talking about children’s ministry and how they wished their daughter could spend some of her summer learning more about North Point. So…we offered that she could come and live with us. In return, we get a native German speaker in our home!! This is HUGE for us and for the kids. Especially since Ellison will be entering 1st grade in the Austrian system where everyone will speak German.
We live in a 3 bedroom townhouse/duplex and we are already a family of 5 so we had to do some major reshuffling to make the next 2 months work. We started all of our changes over the past week and our kids got really into helping move everything around in their rooms. The end result is that now, all 3 of them are in the same bedroom. It has worked out beautifully, so far. The boys are sleeping longer and Ellison (our early riser) just leaves quietly when she wakes up and has done a great job at not disturbing them. We then moved their toys downstairs which meant some other reshuffling down there as well. We’ve had a short window to get it all done, but it’s worked out thanks to fantastic friends who have helped me out BIG time!
I hope that Brittany feels welcomed to our home.
We are officially on summer break. Ellison finished up her last day of Kindergarten and Jude finished up his last day yesterday. Here are some pictures of our first days at home.
My girl posing for the camera.
We hope your summer vacation is off to a good start.
The other morning at breakfast Ellison looked over at Asher, gasped and then said “Asher you’re getting darker.” Ian chuckled and then replied, “Yes, just like you and Jude, Ellie.” After thinking for a minute she said “Daddy, don’t worry you’re lucky…….
For a moment there, after Ellison said Ian was lucky, I held my breath. I breathed a big sigh of relief when she gave us her explanation….because you are the king of whiteness.” The innocence in her reply reassured me that she doesn’t see race in the way that I do. Sometimes the fact that we’re a different family can be a big elephant in the room-for me. In our home we often skirt around issues of race. We generally try to talk about people in terms of other qualities before mentioning skin color.
When Ian and I met, we weren’t concerned about each other’s races at all. We just knew that we liked what we saw(…ahemm-and still do in fact :-)). The only concerns were about what other people would say and think. And after a while even those fears subsided. As our relationship progressed and we started to talk about marriage, we never really considered how our marriage would always affect the way that people look at us.
You see, when people see us I suspect that most of them aren’t thinking that we’re Christians. Ouch….I know. Mainly because you don’t find a ton of interracial couples attending churches in the south- at least that’s what we’ve observed. Even now, when we visit some churches we notice the double takes and the ohhh you two are married looks. Don’t get me wrong, nobody has been blatently rude, mainly just taken aback for a second or two or three. Automatically, they see us and they see something different.
When we lived overseas, I think that people saw something different too. It was surprising to find that our marriage opened a door to connect with people in new ways. Although we talked about Jesus and had conservative views, people still invited us back into their homes. Many times they had questions about what it was like to be black or what it was like to be married interracially. I’ve even been asked if I could sing a time or two and there have been some very disappointed Europeans whose hopes of me striking up a tune were very quickly dashed.
As I think back to my childhood, teen years and college days, there’s always been something a little bit different about me. I have always loved the BeeGees been enthralled with the Sound of Music and ran with crowds where I was clearly the minority. I could never fit into a mold, it just wasn’t me. And for a long time that bothered me. I felt unaccepted.
Now I can finally say that I’m truly thankful for the things that make me different. Those things are the mark of my Creator. Marks of his unique design on me to get me to here.
So here’s to being different and letting God do his thing with that. Because, if Ian and I weren’t willing to be different, we would never have had our first date, gotten married or be heading to the mission field.
I hope that as we take this journey overseas- a journey that will create a number of different experiences for Ellison, Jude and Asher- that they will realize the mark of their Creator writing a story drafted just for them.
Ahhh, Mother’s Day. What a great holiday it is. Ian and the kids did a great job of making me feel appreciated and loved. There was lots of laughter, a few happy tears and lots of hugging and kissing and dancing too!
We had a pretty laid back day starting with church together in the morning, and then hosting some family for eating pizza and salad so none of us mamas had to cook. Here are some pics of me and the 3 babies. Hope you enjoyed your day.
She did it!!!!
This past Sunday we got to celebrate Ellison’s baptism at Family Birthday Celebration (FBC). This is one of my favorite events. It’s where kids go public with their faith and then get celebrated like crazy. The celebration, however, is the icing on the cake. There is a very strategic process leading up to this point involving Jump Start (an explanation of the gospel), an interview with staff (to talk further about her decision) and a video taping of her story.
The process for us began last fall when Ellison told us that she wanted to ask Jesus into her heart. She talked to friends about it, she talked to our neighbor, she talked to her grandparents. Basically anyone who would listen she was a talkin’ about asking Jesus in her heart. Honestly we didn’t want her to rush into such a big decision so we want to be sure that she really understood what she was asking for and we did some talking to people on our own too. Instead of waiting on us she decided that one day in the car she would just ask him herself….and she did! When we got home, she announced that she’d done it, all on her own. Now I worked in children’s ministry at our church over the past 4 years and I’ve heard a lot of kids tell their stories during Family Birthday Celebration but I don’t think I’ve ever heard a kid say that they asked Jesus into their heart in the car. That’s what I love about our girl. She is very creative and imaginative with a spark of independence and I love that her story is so uniquely hers.
After the actual service, we celebrated with cupcakes, balloons and of course gifts! Experiencing Family Birthday Celebration as one of the families made me so much more grateful for the behind the scenes work that I’d been blessed to be a part of when I was on staff. Attending FBC as an outsider made us so excited for our future. Just imagining the possibilities of what an event like this could be like in Austria.
Praying, hoping, trusting!
We love our church for so many reasons. Like really love that place. This is just another reason why….2 weeks ago, Jude’s amazing preschool teachers came up with the idea to have the kids in their class learn Matthew 28: 1-6. Six verses! We are still beaming over how well he did. Jude has an August birthday and is the youngest in his class in some cases by nearly a year, but he was still able to do this!