We give thanks.

So, Thanksgiving was wonderful. Incredible.

It started in class on Wednesday when I got all America on them and introduced them to sweet potato casserole- Grandma Pasche's recipe.

It made me so happy to make Gma's recipe here in Prague. It made me feel close to home.

And the class LOVED it.

My teachers made me write up the recipe in Czech- they had never even heard of a sweet potato.

And all America's people said "you're welcome." :)

Thanksgiving morning we headed to Austria to meet up with some of our coworkers here in Europe.

It was pretty gorgeous.

Like take your breath away, you had me at hello, gorgeous.

It was a fabulous Thanksgiving dinner shared with good friends.

The weekend after was filled with all kinds of Thanksgiving-y festivities.


Enjoying pretty mountaintop chapels while hiking.

Catching up and talking talking talking.

Enjoying seeing this girl! Kathryn Frey brought Tomball with her from Budapest. Yay for hometown reunions across the ocean!

The kids played and ran around a lot outside in the chilly air.

Don't they look like Von Trapps or something?

In true Thanksgiving fashion, there was lots of gaming.

Ultimate Frisbee.

And a new one called Speed Jungle.

And lots of just hanging out.

One day the ladies walked to town.

And did a little shopping.

A bonafide Thanksgiving if I ever heard of one: eating, talking, playing games, and shopping all with people you love.

It was so so good to be there with our friends, give thanks, pray together, and take a deep breath and relax.

On Sunday morning we all made the rounds hugging, crying, laughing, saying our goodbyes and hoping it would all happen again soon.

In other words, it really felt like family.

We thank God for these people. Life and holidays away from home and family are hard sometimes. God has provided us friends in the same boat that bless us and teach us. Thankful thankful.

On the way home we stopped at a campsite I've been eyeing online as I dream about a summer 2013 camping trip.

It did not disappoint.

It's always good to end a happy trip with sights set on the next one :)

Thankful for friends, for family, for joyful work to do, and for Jesus.

Happy Thanksgiving from Prague!



We've hosted a couple more baking classes over the last few weeks. It is just too fun.

This week we baked Svatební Šatky, or Wedding Scarves. The little shapes look like the scarves babičky wear on their heads, thus the name :)

Keri is a really gifted teacher- in Czech and baking. And the girls in my class are so fun. And I can't think of a better use for all the cute aprons people have given me over the years :)


This past weekend Marek and Ewelina invited us out for St. Martin's day. It's celebrated by eating goose and a lot of the restaurants offer special menus.

Clay approves of this tradition.

In other news, we have added to our team mascots!

The Kellers got a kitten!!

We are looking forward to kitty introductions but are waiting for Šárka's spay-wound to heal.

And also to spare her the embarrassment of meeting her new friend when wearing her bandage.

How cute is she?

Happy end of the week!


A week in the life: Clay Edition

Since Megan did a day-in-the-life a while back, I thought I'd do a week-in-the-life post. 

I chose a week and not a day because my schedule isn't as consistent as Megan's. 

So, here's what a week looks like for me...

I'm not doing the same language class as Megan, but I'm spending as much time as I can studying Czech through various avenues. Mondays are my day at Archimedes Language Academy (which, by the way, is impossible for me to hear without thinking of Archimedes the owl from the Sword and the Stone, one of my favorites as a kid). 

This is a really cool language school. I meet one-on-one with a teacher once a week, but during the week have an iPad app that includes a Czech lesson and flashcards customized to what my teacher thinks I need. Below is a picture of my class room. It's a great way to learn.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays I'm at a Czech language school not far from where we live and very close to the Economics University of Prague. It's a really small class, so there are lots of opportunities to speak and practice.

When I'm not in one of those classes, I meet one-on-one with a tutor named Karel and spend a lot of time studying on my own. Well, not totally on my own. Our cat Šarka (pronounced "Shark-a") likes to study with me, though she doesn't have much regard for what I'm working on. 

On Thursday afternoons I meet a guy named David at the Economics University where I help as his English partner. We get together for an hour or so and just talk, giving him an opportunity to practice his English. After a week of wracking my brain with Czech, it's nice to do something in English (though trying to explain reasons why we say some things the way we do can be a real challenge…). It's a great time. 

This is the view of Prague Castle from the Economics University. Sometimes I take this city for granted, and sometimes it just sneaks up on me and reminds me how cool it is.

We usually work in a few team meetings with the Kellers somewhere in the week. We're really gearing up for some new folks to join us in January. 

A few times I week I go for a run with my friend Marek. He's a great runner and is gracious enough to take it easy on me a few times a week. It's great to have a running partner. We've covered a lot of ground in Prague, including a few small races on weekends.

The weekends are always different. Sometimes they're crazy. Recently, Keith and I went to a conference on the other side of the country to learn about some awesome church-planting efforts going on here. It was a beautiful (but early) train ride there.

Since the conference was mainly for Czechs, they had a translator there using a mic/headphone system. Basically, a physical reminder of not knowing the language…

Other weekends, though, we have more time to relax. One of our favorite things to do is walk down to one of the farmer's markets. So many good things to find there.

Time permitting, this is about my favorite way to spend a Saturday afternoon - in my hammock on our porch with a book.

Then, Monday comes and we're back at it again! It's a very busy, full season of life. We usually coast into Fridays running on fumes, but feeling good. 

All in all, the weeks are good here. 


Pumpkin Party!

Last weekend, we took a little road trip. The weather was wild. First snow of the season.

The purpose of the trip was two-fold. One, to visit a flea market right outside of Prague (a little birthday excursion, and man, was it fun), and two, to visit a pumpkin farm.

Again, not the fall day I was envisioning, but a fun trip none the less.

We dug through the big bins of pumpkins to find the real beauties. It was awesome to find a place with BIG pumpkins as the only ones we had seen in Prague were tiny tiny.

Though we did bring home one tiny one to put by our kitty's bed :)

The reason for all this pumpkin madness?

We threw a party last night!  A pumpkin carving Halloween party!

We invited our friends from the class we took together last semester and from the one I am in now. Both teachers even came. It was the first time carving pumpkins for pretty much everyone and they were all very excited to try this American tradition :) Clay even made a little video presentation highlighting the ins and outs of pumpkin carving.

They loved it.

Except the gross pumpkin insides. We told them that was part of the experience :)

It was a really fun night of connecting with our friends.

We have spent dozens of hours together, but not many of them outside of the classroom, so it was fun to relax and have some fun together.

And the fun continued this morning at school where the party food and drinks were finished off happily :)

So much fun!

Thankful to be here and to spend time with new friends!