At the finish of the Athens Classic Marathon in the Olympic Stadium

Yes, Donna did finish the marathon (see the October update). You can read some thoughts about it on her blog. Since then (since the end of October) we have been continuing to appreciate the little things that color our short time here on earth. For example, we tried to find the “old chateau” on the hill above our house four times before we actually found it. Along the way, we discovered some really cool abandoned bunkers – perfect for a picnic in rainy weather – and a great trail through the woods. When we finally found the chateau (muscling up the hill through shin-deep snow, carrying Zoe), it had only two small piles of stone standing vertical beside what was once a fireplace.

Chateau Chantemerle, perfect set of medieval ruins for exploring on a sunny afternoon

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But as Michael Card wrote, there is a joy in the journey. Around here, the journey comes complete with cowbells. I can still here people at the triathlons in SC shouting, “more cowbell!” and dreading having to pass such a cacophony. But here in the Alps, it’s a very peaceful sound – whether the bells hang from cow necks or goat necks – and it always reminds me of racing.

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We’ve had several opportunities to visit with people and/or hike with them, guilt-free. Not only are we furthering our acquaintance with others in the body of Christ, but we are furthering our language skills as well. It’s one of our favorite ways to do that!

Subject: mountain sunrise. Artist: God.

Finally, the folks who rent our house in SC (we couldn’t sell it when we left) have been having a bear of a time with it. For us it was a great house, but they had the roof leak, a tree fall on it, and now a decent-sized house fire. While it’s a little extra work for us, it’s occurred to me that God has been really bugging them! So our small group of women here at the school prayer yesterday morning that somehow God would draw our renters to Himself through this latest challenge, coming at this special time of year. Then yesterday evening, Slick responded to some of the husband’s comments, and for over an hour he spoke about how God sometimes uses challenge like this one to call people to Himself. God is definitely on the move in Mike’s life!

Even after seeing God answer pray so many times, it still struck me deeply that in this case He chose to answer our prayers on the same day as we prayed. God is good. Abundantly good.

Zoe studies her text wearing her favorite zebra hat. Her aunt Wendy would be proud.