Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Here's our latest craft:
Thad picked the color green for our first batch...we'll be making more later!

This is so easy to do and I highly recommend making it with your toddler!
here's the recipe:

2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 cup plain flour
1/2 cup salt
1 TB oil
1 cup water
** add any food coloring to water before pouring it in!

Mix all of it to form smooth paste...not many lumps and then put in saucepan. Cook slowly on low until dough comes away from sides of pan and begins to form ball (7-10 min)
Take it out of pan and let cool for about 2 min. Then knead the dough for 2-3 min. Put pan to soak immediately!
Ready to play with in no time at all!


Monday, August 25, 2008

First Day of School

Well, I sent Thomas off for his first day of school this semester! :) Please pray that he will be enabled by God to be a witness of Christ's love to the students. We're excited to start seeing the students again and fellowship with them. This is going to be a great year!

.....that's all

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Wasser Spielplatz ( Water playground)

We had an amazing time today at this sand and water park right next to the Donau (Danube). It's free and fresh water! I haven't had this much fun with the boys in Vienna since.....well I can't remember. I'm so excited to have found this place and my goal is to come back at least 4 more times before cold weather sets in. Woo Hoo! for free parks :)

There is a ton more interactive stuff but I couldn't carry the camera everywhere :) They have these metal stepping stools you can jump on and water flies out of them! Also, they have lots of handles to crank and pump water out of onto the sand. Very fun for little kids who like to get dirty and experience a little beach action. Thanks God for another fun day in Wien!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Tom Cruise, Joseph Smith, & Jesus

Now I realize that those three do not really belong in the same sentence, but hear me out.

So my buddy Jeff and I love Tom Cruise. We love finding clips of TC on YouTube and sending them back and forth to one another. Now don't get me wrong here, I'm not talking about Top Gun, Risky Business, or Jerry McGuire Tom Cruise. I'm talking about crazy yell at Matt Lauer, jump on Oprah's couch, intensely passionate Scientology Tom Cruise. That's a guy you can get excited about.

I mention TC, because he has this crazy aura about him. It's an aura of weirdness, but it's kind of like a train wreck that you don't want to look at, but can't seem to turn away from. There's something about the guy that draws attention. Other than Matt Lauer, most people seem to like him...and he keeps starring in movies. So there must be something to him.

We all know that TC is into Scientology...he's kind of their poster boy/messiah. While Mollie and I were in L.A., we happened to pass the Scientology Celebrity Centre (notice 'Center' is spelled 'CentRE' just to make it a bit more classy and exclusive.) This is a place where the upper echelons of Scientology can come to get away from the rest of the world and its evil engrams while simultaneously avoiding all of those little Joe Shmoe non-celebrity scientologists.
Interestingly, as Mollie and I were going through San Diego, we happened upon another bastion of equality and brotherhood within a 'religion', a Mormon Temple.

Honestly, words failed the first time I saw a picture of this thing. Then some things came to mind: Wizards, Unicorns, Ice Queens, Magic Spells, Rainbow Bright, as well as others I probably shouldn't mention.

I'm not sure how familiar you are with Mormonism, but the gist of the whole temple thing is basically that this is where most of the rituals take place that prepare a person for eventual godhood. The most famous of these is the marriage ceremony. For Mormons to get to the level of having their own planet, they have to be married in one of these temples.

So now you're probably saying to yourself, "I'm glad I'm not a Scientologist, because chances are I wouldn't be able to get into the Celebrity CentRE." But, your also thinking, "Wow, I wish my church looked like Gandalf's palace." Well, those are legitimate points, but let me bring this whole post together with some thoughts on the Church.

I have spent a pretty good amount of time this summer reading about the Church. We have also had the joy of really experiencing the catholic church (and by catholic I mean world wide, not Roman Catholic). Whether it's in Vienna, Jackson, Lawton, Idyllwild, San Diego, D.C., or anywhere, we have experienced tremendous love and encouragement and have shared fellowship with so many people from so many backgrounds. It's so amazing to me that God designed the most all-inclusive group that functions to encourage, counsel, exhort, rebuke, love, share, and experience life the way it was meant to be...TOGETHER.

Jesus doesn't exclude anyone. You don't have to have cleared OT3, or have performed multiple rituals in Isengard. And that's the difference between the Church that Jesus is building, and the stuff L. Ron Hubbard & Joseph Smith were peddling.

Jesus even models how this thing He's setting up is going to be radically different than everything else. In John 13, He (Jesus, God in Human flesh by the way) does the most mind boggling thing that I can think of...He washes the feet of His disciples. This is God...He created these dudes, and He deserves nothing less than them bowing before Him, and yet, He serves them. While there may be a perception that there are higher ups and an elite in Christianity today, in reality, there are no upper echelons of the Church that Jesus is building. The people that would be exalted in God's sight are humble people who love their neighbors as themselves, and model a servant life, just as the One they follow did.

I want to be more loving like my God. I want to be more humble like my Savior. I want to be more of a servant like my friend, Jesus.

I can't see L. Ron or Jo Smith bowing down and serving their followers. And that's the difference.

Bread Baking

Thad and I made bread today and we had a blast. Here's our product and the proud eaters afterwards :)

I got some little loaf pans for Thad and he loves making his own loaf. He gets to help me take it out of the oven and then dump it on the rack. Not to mention the stirring, kneading and forming that he does beforehand. Quite impressive huh?

A little bit of summer

We had a wonderful time in the water this summer! From pools to sprinklers to the Pacific ocean, we enjoyed our families and friends. Here's a little taste of our lazy (sometimes hectic) summer!

Thomas & me at the Pacific

Friday, August 08, 2008

And we're back

NO MORE PLANES!!! At least for awhile. You would have thought that as much as the Gardner family hates to fly we would have chosen a profession other than "overseas" missionaries. We had a great time in D.C./Virginia seeing friends and family for a few days. Mollie and the boys did a little shopping while I got to visit the Library of Congress. On display was a Gutenberg Bible, as well as what is left of Thomas Jefferson's personal library that he sold to the U.S. government. I was proud to say that I had read excerpts from several of TJ's books which made me feel smart.

On Tuesday, we loaded up our six huge bags, two kids, a stroller, a backpack, Mollie's crazy huge purse, a laptop (in its case), Thad's backpack, "Blanky", "Crabby", & "Buster" (Thad's monkey), and headed for the D.C. Metro. (without the help of wonderful Aunt B, the Gardner's never would've made it to the airport) .

Let's just say that I can relate to W's experience in this pic. On top of babies, I felt really sick for the first few hours and so Mollie was a soldier in dealing with things. She held Ian for almost the entire flight, and I think she even managed a few minutes of sleep.
We landed on time and were back at the apartment by 10:00. Thad and I went grocery shopping and Mollie finally got to sleep. After I fed Thad lunch he went to sleep on the couch. I finally decided I should get some sleep and of course that was right when Ian woke up. I fed him and then shut us both in his room while Mollie and Thad slept. That was around 2:00 or so. There is a mystery 3 hours of time where no one knows exactly what Ian did. Mollie was asleep as was I. I know he was confined in the room with me, but I have no idea what he was doing. The only evidence of mischief was the 30 baby wipes we found of the floor.

Things are getting better, but we are all jet lagging pretty badly. Please pray for our adjustment to the time here. I'm going to be giving the tour of Vienna to the new staff today, and I'll be preparing orientation stuff this weekend and next week. Pray that God will give me wisdom about what to say. My topic is the integration of world view instruction into the classroom. Yeah, good luck making that exciting right?

I'm going to be blogging a bit more this year because I've found it helps me think through stuff better, so get ready. To quote scripture, you better "Gird up your loins like a man."