Schools, CEOOGPFME, count-down to Thanksgiving….

It has been a busy and blessed couple weeks, with much to share, but also so much going on that it has been hard to do that.  And then as I contemplated sending out an e-mail and then updating our website, the thought of dealing with our website software to update it as I should was totally depressing me.  I want to share with you all much easier, and so, after many people have told me and told me, I am starting a blog.  I hope it will make updating easier.  And we’ll be connecting it to our website still, so there will be no new web address to learn.  Of course, I am still, as always, on Facebook.  I put a lot more pictures up there than I do anywhere else, just to tempt you.  Be patient as I figure out the blog world, I have read a few friends’ from time to time but have never ‘subscribed’ to any or anything.  As I update I will still e-mail everyone to let them know, and will also link from Facebook.

First – Happy Thanksgiving!  This is my favorite American holiday, and it has proven a good test for my kitchen’s abilities, as we plan our meal and make sure we have the necessary utensils and gadgets for preparing our menu.  It’s not every week you buy a potato masher or a pie pan.  But our kitchen now has such necessities; and a few we’re going to have to borrow for the time being.  Why are rolling pins so pricey?  We are all looking forward to the traditional turkey dinner, with most of all the fixings.  And my favorite time of writing down our list of things we are thankful for this year, the time of reflection of all that God has given us and blessed us with.  Please know that you, our dear family and friends, will be high on our list.  While we can’t sit around a table together this year, we can hold you close in thoughts and in prayers – and we do.

Okay – the real update. 🙂  Last Wednesday saw each of our kids marching off for first days of school.  Both boys are taking classes at Deak Ferenc Bilingual High School and Anna is taking classes at Imre Madach Bilingual Primary School.  Most students have classes in both Hungarian and English; our kids are only taking the English classes, or some of them.  For the actual English class, both boys are Teacher’s Assistants.  This is on top of their online schooling and is more for social purposes at this point.  But it was really such an easy process, and one that all three kids really wanted and were excited for.  God’s perfect timing – they were lonely enough, bored enough, and sick of only each other that even our normal school-dissing child was looking forward to his least favorite things: school.  The boys are going in three days a week, for usually no more than two classes a day.  Anna has taken the most classes and is going every day of the week; she loves it and has already gone with friends after school to hang out at the mall.  Yes, it has begun.

So our children had a very busy week last week, and then Norbert and I had a very full weekend.  We have several friends who are involved in an organization called CEO (Christian Educator’s Outreach: and over the past many weeks we have had several opportunities to meet their director and founder, Tom Foley, as he was on a European trip visiting their people and ministries.  Tom very kindly invited us to join with them at their ‘Christian Educators Outreach Occasional Gathering for Partners and Friends for Mutual Edification’, or CEOOGPFME (say it ten times fast – go!), which was this last weekend, and right here in Szeged.  We qualified as ‘Friends’, and were certainly edified.  It was a special time of fellowship, meeting and making new friends, spending precious time with some dear old friends, being encouraged, getting to worship in English, and eating lots of good food all weekend.   We were beyond blessed.

And now we look forward to….Advent!  In perfect timing, the Advent season here will officially begin on Friday, the day after Thanksgiving (so it is allowed, our Joshua does not allow anything to do with Christmas until AFTER Thanksgiving).  We are really excited to get to experience the whole Christmas season here in Hungary – we sort of only caught the tail end last year.  I love how the emphasis is really on Advent here, on the time of waiting and expectantly looking ahead to what Christmas is – the birth of Jesus.  I will hopefully figure out quickly how to upload lots of pictures onto our blog, as I suspect I will be taking a lot in the coming month.  We are also looking forward to company!  My sweet little sister Sarah arrives for Christmas on Dec. 13th – we have not seen her in 2 ½ years, so the excitement level is very high.  Sarah is living in London right now, working with YWAM, so proud of her.  She’ll stay for two weeks.  We are also expecting Norbert’s little half-sister for a 5 day stay while his dad and his wife have a getaway.  Niki has been taking English in school; we shall see how well she has been learning!  We know a big part of why we’re here is for Norbert’s family.

Which leads us back to family – enjoy your family during this Thanksgiving week, be that the one you were born into physically or spiritually, be that friends, neighbors, or colleagues.  Enjoy the turkey and the fellowship, as the United States remembers where all our blessings come from.