Friday, January 16, 2009

Christmas in January

As the last of the Christmas decorations and lights are removed from the Budapest cityscape and the harsh winter weather finally sets in (and at the request of my dear friend Andy), I thought I'd spread a little cheer by finally sharing some photos of life here at Christmas time.

A special thanks to Kristen and Paula for their beautiful pictures! I don't seem to have any photographic skill besides "point and shoot", and even then things are fuzzy.

Christmas on the körút (ring road of Bp)

The Christmas Market complete with traditional gift items, baking bread, mulled wine booths, and sizzling meats.

The Advent calendar on the facade of the famous Gerbaud's Coffee House

Monday, January 5, 2009

And we're back!

After a lovely Christmas break, classes have resumed at the International Christian School of Budapest. It is great to be back, though my sleep schedule is not on target yet. My kids were glad to share a little bit about their holiday, and I am pumped to dive into the curriculum for this semester because it includes my beloved Shakespeare. My 8th graders are studying nonfiction, and the senior communications class is delving into debates.

Outside of class, I'm looking forward to some home basketball games ("away" games are really Bratislava, Slovakia or Vienna), the 9th grade girls' Bible study, and a book club for adults in the area.

Ultimately, I'm always thankful for the idea of a fresh start: compassion from God that is new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23). A new semester offers great opportunities for starting again, but I'm glad that the Father in heaven offers forgiveness and grace each day and love in abundance. We don't have to wait for New Year's Eve or a new semester to be clean before and so close to God. Recognizing our failure, being honest with God, accepting his mercy--and we're back!

Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him."
The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;
It is good to wait quietly
for the salvation of the LORD.
Lamentations 3:22-26