Happy Thanksgiving

Yesterday was a first. Our first Thanksgiving in Belgium and our first Thanksgiving without family to share it with. Surprisingly, it was a great day! Filled with food and friends, and lots of thankfulness to God!

The only turkey I could find at the store was expired, and while poisoning our guests seemed like an interesting party game (not quite as wild as the last one), I opted instead for goat cheese-stuffed chicken breasts.

A little Settlers always makes one thankful. If 2 years in a row makes something a "tradition" then, goodness gracious, I think we have ourselves a Sandoz family tradition! (I have been waiting for one of those :)

A happy crowd at dinner. I made my Mama's beer bread and my Gma's sweet potato casserole. It made me so happy to be eating foods that remind me of home.

After dinner we ichatted with the fam. Sounds like there were some adventures this year (like Clint dropping the stuffing on the way to Grandma's and Stormie the dog eating it all), and it was good to laugh with them. I was surprised at how un-painful this holiday was. I had asked a lot of you to be praying for us yesterday, so I really shouldn't be surprised. God takes pretty good care of us. It was a happy Thanksgiving spent with my Clay, new friends, and even a moment spent with my family from far far away.

We left the clean-up for this morning... Dirty dishes, you don't stand a chance against this chick.


We are really enjoying our time here in Budapest! This is our 3rd time to visit this city, and all three have been for work, but each time we get to know different people and new parts of the city. It is quickly becoming one of our favorite places we have visited so far.

Here's a street from the surrounding neighborhoods around the city that I thought was just the prettiest. Fall is really good at making places beautiful, isn't it?

This is one of the biggest markets in Budapest. Kind of touristy and really fun!

Here's one of our friends enjoying a pastry. If you look to the upper level you will see Clay working hard with his camera. This picture makes me laugh because it represents poor Clay's plight well. The crew always gets to sample the local snacks while he's up there shooting video!
(We saved some for him this time :)

A lot of our shooting has been in intense fog! But for this project it is actually working out really well.

Budapest and the Danube.

There is a lot of grunge here, some of it post-communist, some of it just vandalism, but there's a lot of beauty, too, if you look closely.

We had lunch here one day at the cute little cafe, and behind it you can see some of the towering communist apartment buildings that are all over this place.

Ok, this picture requires explanation, and I hope it doesn't offend anyone, but it really makes me laugh! We found the perfect place for a series of shots, but unfortunately, there were some words that weren't the best for the intended viewing audience. A little doctoring here and there, and we were ready to roll. I was so worried we would get arrested. But can you really get in trouble for improving graffiti?

Coolest parking garage ever! At first I thought we were just pulling into our own personal little garage within the big garage, but THEN, I saw that actually our car was going to be lifted up (or taken down) to its own little shelf. Kind of like a backwards vending machine!! So we got out, pulled down the garage door, and then watched our car be taken somewhere up beyond where we could see. It was so cool!

Look at all those cars! They stack up so hi! It kind of reminded me of The Matrix.

Here are the boys watching the car come back down. We were hoping it had changed into a sports car or something :)

We love Budapest!

Last night we went to see a performance some of our friends' kids were putting on. You can guess by the picture what show they did :) It was great!

This picture just makes me happy. The house we are staying at has a great big family cat that lounges around and reminds me so much of my parent's cat back home. Just another way God takes care of me- even down to the sweet kitties he provides here and there.

It's been a great trip so far! We are so thankful to be here.



This is totally random and may just be entertaining to me, but I just blew my hair dry using PhotoBooth as a mirror. Technology is... staggering.



Since I wasn't in Huy for my birthday, Blanca has been wanting to throw me a belated party. Last night was the night!

This is me, Blanca, and Jamela. The group sang happy birthday to me in French, Spanish, and English! So cool.

I love this picture because it represents evenings at Blanca and Michael's well. Oh, how we laugh!

Birthday pie!

We had one "party game" that I will remember for a long time. Michael talked Josh into putting on his training glove while Jazz (Michael's German Shepherd) attacked him. Oh my goodness! That was the hardest I have laughed since coming to Belgium. You know those rare hard laughs that you have with friends? Like roll on the floor with tears in your eyes? How good is God to provide these friends for us so far away from home. He takes such good care of us!

Here is Josh, Jazz, and Michael. So dangerous!! Oh my gosh!

Such a fun night!



Amy told me this week that her friend had a sewing machine for sale at a good price. As fun as the other one is, it just isn't very functional. And so, voila!

Isn't it cute with its little green case?? What a fun way to spend a rainy Saturday!


Today was a really good day. I really like Fridays. Lunch at Edgar and Lillian's is definitely a highlight of my week. And the addition of Noisette to the party only sweetens the deal. Is she not the cutest?

After the men went back to work at church, I stuck around and played Rummikub with Edgar, Lillian, and Betty. You can see that E and L had their good luck charms close by at all times. Seriously, could these two be any cuter?

And here is something Belgian to share with you. This is how we do birthdays here. Today we celebrated Myriam's birthday with a pile of eclairs topped with a flaming stick of dynamite. It doesn't explode like you would expect (atleast it hasn't happened while I am around, yet) but the fire shoots super high into the air and always seems to go out right when we are finished singing "Joyeux Anniversaire." Perfect timing every time.

And to continue on with the Belgian theme, here is our dinner tonight.

I made red beans and rice, and was laughing the whole time this sausage was cooking. Oh, our life just makes us laugh sometimes! And in case you were wondering, funny as it may look, that sausauge turned out sooo good. Not quite the cajun-style red beans and rice that we are used to, but not too shabby.


Primoz Trubar

As I’m sure you could tell from some of the previous posts, Megan and I had a really great time in Slovenia. The families we worked with there have a really interesting extension to their work revolving around Primoz Trubar and his 500 years of influence on the Slovenian people, culture, and nation.

Trubar was almost destined for greatness. Born in 1508, at a time when the general population was fairly short, Trubar towered at over 6 feet tall. He pursued a very academic and religious path, studying in Salzburg, Trieste, and Vienna. At this time, the Slovene people were grouped into very localized populations, each with a distinct dialect of the Slovene language, and their identity was more local than national. In just a few words, though, Primoz Trubar united the various people groups of Slovenia by calling them “My dear Slovenes” in the opening line to his book Catechism. This is the first time (on record) that these groups of people were united under one name – Slovenes. In an effort to further unite the people of Slovenia, Trubar was instrumental in developing a common Slovene language – one that could be understood and spoken by all the local dialects. He’s therefore credited with giving the Slovene people not only their language, but their cultural identity. As the Wikipedia article about Trubar says, his “legacy among Slovenes cannot be overstated.”

500 years later, Trubar is still a popular figure, but more for these linguistic and cultural reasons than his views on faith. He’s pictured on the back of the Slovenian 1 Euro coin with one of his most popular phrases: “Stand and withstand,” a phrase taken from Trubar’s book Catechism, published in 1550. To many, the phrase “stand and withstand” has become a symbol of independence and strength. Unfortunately, this is far from Trubar’s original meaning. Here is the context from which “stand and withstand” comes:

“But true faith, which Christ speaks about … is possessed only by one who not only knows and believes that God exists, but also personally knows the true God, who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This is the faith by which a person receives the forgiveness of sins and by which he will be made godly and righteous before God, so that he can come into heaven.”

“With such faith a Christian can stand and withstand in troubles and temptations and resist the unbelief that is in our flesh.”

“True Christian faith in a person creates such good habits and thinking and completely changes him. From a foolish person he becomes wise, from a sinner faith makes him a saint, in short, it takes him from hell and puts him in heaven… May the heavenly Father grant us such faith because of his beloved Son Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit! To him be all honor and praise, always and forever. Amen.
WOW! This guy GOT IT! And 500 years later, “stand and withstand” is being circulated around the European Union!

The issue remains that most Slovenes have no understanding of the context or the true message that Trubar stood for. That’s where our friends come in. Over the last few years they realized that the icon of Slovenian culture held an unwavering stance on faith in Christ as the only way to God, and that this part of Slovene history should not be kept silent. Unfortunately, the 500 years of language evolution meant that only scholars could understand Trubar’s writing, since his reformation theology was not popular with the state-run church of his time, and he was banished from his homeland. After years of work, the Trubar Forum was formed and organized the translation of Catechism into the modern Slovene language, thus making the words of Trubar and the faith he stood on available to the masses. This work involved pastors (both American and Slovenian), linguists, and even one of Slovenia’s most popular authors.

We were there on October 23rd to document the release of Catechism and the events surrounding it – a press conference and lecture series. These videos will be turned into tools that the Trubar Forum can be use to help further explain Trubar's teaching to Slovenes. The lectures discuss topics like “Reformation”, “the right understanding of God”, and “why Trubar’s message is important for the modern Slovene”.

It was really exciting to have our eyes opened to such an impactful historical figure, see some incredible ways he’s still making an impact today, and join in with Trubar’s glorifying of the Lord: To him be all honor and praise, always and forever! Amen.

The bright side.

Walks in the rain.
Warm sweaters.
Boots (meaning my chipped toe-nail polish is just fine ;)
Cups of tea.
A happy homebody.


We are home home HOME, and it feels good! So nice to unpack bags and get settled. A blanket of yellow leaves swirled all over Huy since we last saw it, and the flower baskets the city hangs up all over town during spring and summer have been taken down. Brace yourself. Winter in Belgium is coming....

Here are some peeks into our last day in Slovenia. We hiked to the Savica waterfall, and enjoyed the river along the way.

On our way back to our inn, we heard bells jangling up ahead. Sure enough...

Real cowbells! (worn by extremely shaggy mammoth cows- they must be getting ready for a European winter, too)

And a picture for Melissa :)

Clay really does enjoy his food, and we found the most amazing pizzeria last night in Ronchi, Italy (yes, Ronchi).

So. Home again. We have seen a lot of beauty lately. And had a heck of a lot of fun making some great new friends, and enjoying all that God is teaching us through these incredible experiences he is leading us through.

However, today is a day I wish I were in Texas. Katie's getting married!! I am not sure I can accurately describe my heart right now. I am full of joy for my dear friend and so excited to see pictures and hear all about the day. At the same time, my heart is heavy, saggy, weepy, and just plain bruised to be missing it all. Oh, how it hurts! It's a mellow day. A day when "living the dream" in Europe isn't so much fun anymore, you know?

I have no regrets about us being here. This is where the Lord wants us to be, and I don't want to be anywhere but where he is. The lessons he is teaching us, and the special time he is spending with us are above price. I know that. He knows I know that. He also knows that today I need to be held, and I'm going to let him. I am going to close this computer, get some chicken soup heating on the stove, pray for my dear friend and her sweet Rob on their special day, and bow to my heavenly father who knows better than me how to sift through what I want and what I need.