Each year, as the school year comes to a close, the pace of life picks up and swirls us along in a Do-si-do of final projects, workshops, events to plan and run, and coming alongside those in the midst of huge transition. Which is almost everyone.
Needless to say, we live day by day between the Spectaculars.
During the first week of our Spring Break, we all attended a global work conference for Christian educators. Marcy presented on how to best maximize social media for work. Both Jeremy and Marcy gleaned from the mines of experience and wisdom, surrounded by some folks who’d been serving with TeachBeyond for fifty years!!! It was an inspiring time, a growing time, and a relaxing time.
Yes, sometimes we even get to rest. The wonderful thing about this conference was its inclusion of whole families… and its location. On a beach. Praise the Lord! Our California hearts and souls have been craving some sea. And God gave it to us for a full ten days. It. Was. Amazing.
TeachBeyond did a pretty great job about scheduling in family time and work time. We met folks serving in places all around the world, all of them using transformational education as a bridge into culture and language and relationship. Some do it as educators, some as administrators, some as maintenance guys… or even counselors and Member Care.
After our time there, we came back and celebrated Easter.
Having a holiday while living overseas, apart from your normal traditions and family and friends can make the day bittersweet. One great thing about this community is how people pull together and become “family.” We were invited to our dear German friends’ house for Easter. These are the same friends who began as language partners. The same friends who took Marcy on a 15km Nordic Walk. The same friends who showed up to help us move this summer and out-worked everyone (including us). The list goes on. Well, now they are also the friends who invited us over and blessed our socks off on Easter day. We arrived and got to see where the bees are kept (from which we get our raw honey…. Mmmmm). Then we took a kilometer walk over to their garden plot. Little did we know that two of them had run ahead and hidden sweet treats ALL over the garden for the kids to find. How nice was that?! Then we went back to their house and enjoyed baked goods, including these little lambs. We shared in a supper and ate up most of the four dessert options on the table. It was a special way to spend our day and truly felt like we were “home” with a Grandma and Grandpa for the littles and friends. And it’s super good for our German language abilities!
Then came Hannah’s fifth birthday. It’s hard to believe that our baby is already five! She’s an irreplaceable joy. She really wanted to have a Frozen party. But of course, Frozen has not had i’s same day of fame here in Germany. And even if it had… it’s hard to find commercial products here. Or at least a big enough variety of them. So we got creative. We ordered a few things online (the little figures) and made up / borrowed all the rest. But really, if you put fifteen kids in an open gym and just put the Frozen soundtrack on repeat… you can’t go wrong. Add cake and edible Olafs to the mix and you might be the new favorite kid in town.
But we did have fun. It’s definitely a challenge, even two years later, to plan birthday parties or special events the way we’re used to. The challenge comes from having to come up with new ways of keeping our old traditions and finding new traditions to replace the old. The challenge isn’t bad… it’s just a challenge. And actually, sometimes we find ourselves really enjoying the process. (And other times we just miss the convenience of Target and Von’s cakes).
Also, this last weekend, we were recognized for fulfilling our initial two-year commitment with TeachBeyond. Each missionary is asked to make this commitment. Reaching the two year mark and carrying on moves us from a “short-term” status to a “career missionary” status. WOW!!! This is the first time we’ve ever been designated career missionaries. Of course, in God’s scheme, when we stand before His throne, He’s not going to divide us up by our earthly designations. But it’s still a nice celebration of all that God has done to allow us to keep the initial commitment and, continuing in His provision, to carry on even longer. To make it our career! Praise the Lord for how He brings together the body of Christ to work out His plan for every nation. If you are part of that… THANK YOU.