Tuesday, November 17, 2009

We think Piglet has come for a Visit!

Have you seen all the cute little cartoons of where Winnie the Pooh and his friends have secluded Piglet for fear of getting the "swine" flu? Well, I think Piglet has come to see us. Although we haven't had a test to confirm it, Leonard has displayed almost every symptom of having the swine flu. We are going on day 5 of fever, chills, and coughing. He is just plain pitiful. (But isn't that true to being of the male gender??) Seriously, please pray that he will heal quickly and that none of the rest of us will get it! We have company coming from Prague for Thanksgiving weekend and really don't want to expose them to this!
That is about all that is going on around here. We are trying to finish up a unit in language this month and will be starting to prepare to take our drivers license test in December/January. We NEED to pass it the first time, so be praying for us! Besides the sickness, the kids are doing just great. Leonard has had 2 invitations to playdates with his friends from school and LK has been invited to parties, sleepovers, etc. so they are making some great friends. Abigail is of course being the typical baby saying "It's not fair that I don't get to go to someone's house!" She doesn't understand that she is younger than the other two!
I hope you are all beginning to pray about and think about what you can give to Lottie Moon this year- it will be here soon. We know that His people can and will step up and support our organization through Lottie Moon Christmas offering. If you don't go to a church regularly, you can always go to the IMB website to give. This offering supports thousands of m's all over the world in doing His work and bringing others to Him.
One last thing- we have had several people ask us if there are things we need/want that we can't get here. Although we don't need much, if you would like to do something for the kids, I have an idea. We didn't bring any Christmas stuff with us, so if we want ornaments and decorations we would have to go buy it all. I would love to have ornaments and stuff from the States so that the kids can feel a little closer to "home" as this will be our first year away. If you want to send them something for Christmas, please leave me a comment with your email address or contact us by email and we will give you more specifics. Thanks so much for loving and praying for all of us! Love to you all-
Amber

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

We're Back...

We had a wonderful trip to Dresden and enjoyed everything about our trip. Well, except for the coming back part. Len ended up in bed all day on Sunday due to his back being out from dragging luggage from train to train, and I have been in the bed since Monday night due to an awful head cold. I am putting off going to the doctor for several reasons- one being that I don't know one and it isn't the easiest thing to find when you don't speak much of the language! Maybe it will run its course soon. I just hope none of the kids get it.
Back to the trip- We loved riding on the train! We ended up getting bumped up to first class which was awesome. The family we stayed with had 4 kids who are very close in age with ours, so you can imagine our kids' joy of being around English-speaking kids who are also TCKs (MKs)! The city was gorgeous and I couldn't believe all the landmarks and old, beautiful buildings. If you don't read Len's blog, you should go there and check out our video we made of the trip. We caught Abigail at some really cute moments. (web.me.com/lenphegley)
So, please pray for us as we decide if this is the city God wants to use us next. We were excited to see some of the work already started there, and loved dreaming about what could happen if we do end up in Dresden. Thanks for all your prayers! Love to you all-
Amber

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Wir Gehen mit dem Zug!

Well, another first is about to happen in the Phegley's lives. On Monday we are taking the "Zug" (train) to another city in Germany to visit some colleagues. We are going to see if this is the city the Lord has planned for us to move after our year here in language school. From what I hear they are doing some tremendous things for Him in Dresden and we are excited to see a glimpse of that, whether or not this will be our landing place!
We have yet to ride the train, but we are about to embark on an 8 hour journey on this fast train. We are all excited and nervous just because it is a first, but I feel it will be better than riding that many hours in a car all together. We can get up and walk around, eat, play games.....lots of things you can't do in a car. Especially when your husband is a nervous wreck driving. Not that MY husband is a nervous wreck when driving. I'm just sayin'. :)
So please keep us in your prayers next week- Monday we travel all day and then spend 4 days and travel back on Saturday. Please pray for our safety, that we will switch trains easily in Frankfurt, and then also for our minds and hearts to be open to what God will be telling us these few days.
Thanks for all that you are doing for us. We are enjoying all the packages we are receiving, both from friends and family back in TN. They are always a blessing and come just at the right time. The times when one might say "What in the world are we doing?". Not that WE say that ever. I'm just sayin' :)
Love to you all-
Amber

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A New Normal

Many days of our lives are special for different reasons. Just a few of those for me are: my birthday where Sallie and I had the chicken pox, many nights driving to Savannah for dance lessons, being surprised Christmas Eve with my new car, first day of college, my wedding, and of course all my children's "birth" days. Life changes every time we have one of those days. And then there are the days like today. A day where, many years ago, I first experienced death. When Eddie was killed, I know a lot of people wondered why. After all he had been through, why then, when his life had just gotten straightened out. I never questioned it. Sure, I hated it. I didn't sleep for weeks. I cried. I got angry. But, I never questioned it. It was then that I truly realized God had a plan for each of us. And his plan for Eddie was to come home. That simple.
So, since that day in October of 2000, we "Simpsons" began living another life. A new normal. A life without Special Ed. Since then, we have grown and changed so much! We have welcomed LOTS of kids into the world, we have moved and moved (and moved :)) and we have welcomed new members (we love you Jeff!). Even in our loss, God blesses us.
Today I am reminded of how fleeting this life truly is, and how we should live each day to the fullest. How Jesus died, too, just so that we won't have to! We each have a choice. We can make the choice to live a "new" normal- A life for Him, not for ourselves.
Oh...And be sure and tell those around you how much you love them. We never know when the new normal will have to come. Love to you all-
Amber

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A New Side of Paul

When we were in Virginia at our 8 week training earlier this year, we read through some of the New Testament together. So I decided that I would just continue to read through it as my quiet time here, and I am just about through. I have enjoyed studying about the NT Church and how much we have "changed" what church is really supposed to be. (But, that is not what this post is about-I am sure that could be another post in itself!) What I have noticed is a new side of Paul. It has never stood out to me how much Paul longed to be "at home" and with other Christians. I guess since I have never known that feeling, these verses have never stood out to me like they do now. Now, don't get me wrong. I am in no way comparing myself to Paul-I am and never will be on the same level as Paul. But, it is good to know that even he, the strongest of all missionaries, had feelings like this! AND, he not only longed for home, he wanted to know that they were striving to be the best for Christ while they were "at home" and he was away. SO, that is what I want from you! I want to know that YOU are living for Him. That you are sharing Him with those around you. That you are striving to be the best you can be. This will make us stronger while we are here, away from "who" and "what" we know and will push us to be those things while we are here. Because, this is where God has put us and we wouldn't want it any other way! Praying for you all-

Amber

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

ElternAbends........

Well, we have officially started our new class-A2- and there are 5 or so of us in the class. We have a good teacher, but she ONLY speaks German with us and also tends to talk VERY fast. Our tutor from the first class was very slow, patient, and probably spoiled us by speaking too much English with us. But, I have a feeling we aren't the "most" lost ones in the class, so I think we will have a few days of repeated information and we can learn how to handle these new teaching habits.

In the last week I have attended 2 elternabends (Parent/Teacher Meetings) with both of the schools the kids attend. They both lasted at least 2 hours and let's just say I have a major headache when they are over. I concentrate so hard to try and understand as much as I can, and I probably only get about 60% of the conversations. I was blessed, though, in Leonard's class that another father spoke great English and translated a lot of the info for me. I have a feeling at one point in the meeting that I was nominated to be the "room mother", but I relied on my famous statement........" Ich spreche ein bission Deutsch" and just smiled! I think this convinced them to move on to another parent. The teachers were all very pleased with the kids and their progress so far (well, at least that is what I am telling myself they said :))! Leonard's teachers all said that he is teaching them English while they are teaching him Deutsch. Does that surprise anyone?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Movin' On Up!

Well, we did it! We passed our first course in the German language. We still haven't received our "official" scores, but the proctor who gave us the test said we did super. He said that he thought we are almost in the middle of the second course, too! This is a great testimony to our God- he provided us with the ability to have an awesome tutor, good neighbors to talk with, and the ability to learn quickly. So the rest of this week we have a mental break from learning and will start back with the next course, A2, next Monday. Thank you all so very much for all the prayers on our behalf. We hope to continue to learn as much as possible so that we can minister to those around us! Veilen Dank and Liebe Gro╬▓e-
Amber

P.S. If you see my daddy anytime soon, give him a big hug and a Happy Gebortstag from me. I love you Daddy and hope you have a great birthday.

P.S.S. Mom, you know you have to physically show this to him. We all know he hasn't been on a computer. ever. :)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Count Your Blessings.....

I have debated all week on whether or not to share this out loud or not, but here goes. I want this journey to be one of transparency for all of you to see- so I need to share the good AND the bad, huh? Well, last Sunday was Abigail's birthday. It is still hard to believe she is 4 years old! We had an awesome party on Saturday with friends from the neighborhood and also from our company. She had breakfast in bed on Sunday (a family tradition now :)) and then we went to church. It was there that something hit me right in the gut-homesickness. I haven't felt this homesick but maybe one other time in my life (Mom-remember when you left me in Texas after that surgery?? We all thought I had lost my mind :)) Well, anyways, we were singing some song and I realized that this was the first of many birthdays, Christmases, holidays, etc. that we will be spending away from our families. I just started crying and couldn't stop. For those who know me know that this is definitely out of character for me! And then, God did something awesome. After my little cryfest, the preacher was starting to preach. And wouldn't you know that his message was about God's blessings for our lives, and he was reminding us of Abram's story. (Now, I know you are thinking WOW she is really learning German fast if she can understand the preacher already! But, let me share a little secret. We have english translation through headphones at this church. So don't think too much of me yet!) He was sharing how Abram was told by God to leave everything- his family, his home, his land-and that he would receive a blessing in return. This just reassured me that we are exactly where we are supposed to be. Does it make it any easier? Not always. Does it mean we still won't have moments of longing for home? Never. But, it does mean that, as long as we are in God's Will, we are and will be blessed. Everyday.

Have you recognized His blessings in your life lately?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

And who said Germans aren't friendly???

I am really just kidding about this title, but we were told by several different sources that Germans aren't as friendly as "us Southerners" are known to be. But, after the last few days, I would tend to disagree! We have met some great people already here; most of them being right here in our apartment complex. A couple of nights ago, we were hanging outside with the kids and the boy from the next complex wanted us to see his new pictures of his "futball" team. So he spoke with his Mom and she invited us up to their apartment to see them. This is a BIG step for us! We ended up hanging out with them until about 10:00 that night, just playing games and having conversation. Then, last night our neighbor who is a hairdresser actually brought her supplies home from the salon and cut AND highlighted my hair in my own kitchen! She even trimmed Abigail's and LK's, and even "highlighted" LK's hair! (She only put a couple of small strips of blonde in it, but it made LK feel very grown up :)) She let me pay her, but it only cost a fraction of what it would have cost me to go to a salon. She said next month she would cut everyone's hair, including the boys. And she speaks very little English, so it was quite fun. I am so excited that these neighbors are letting us into their lives! Please be praying that we can be their link to Him!
On another note, we are so excited that we will be having our "first" birthday celebration this weekend. It is Abigail's 4th birthday and we have invited the neighbors and some other friends here to come and celebrate with us. We are so thankful that she is the "spitfire" that she is and we wouldn't want it any other way! Check back with us after the weekend to see some great pics! Love to you all!
Amber

Friday, September 4, 2009

Our First "Present"

We have been blessed this week by some precious people at our church in Union City. We came home today to a big box of cookie mixes, country time lemonade mixes, ziplock bags, and Listerine. (All of these things are either impossible or hard to find, or when we do find them very expensive!) These came just in time for two things- Abigail's birthday is next week and we are having a party, and LK had a program today at her summer camp and we were supposed to bring desserts. So I made chocolate chip cookies- something most Germans don't or haven't eaten. They were a hit!! And Abigail is so excited about having lemonade at her party! So THANK YOU so much, those of you who did this for us. We have been blessed, and because of your generosity, we can be a blessing to those around us here! We love you!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

These First Days......


We successfully completed our first week of "kindergarten" here in Germany. The kids really enjoy it, and they are learning more and more German every day. We only had one "problem" at school- Leonard wouldn't eat for the first couple of days. (I don't really consider that a "problem", but evidently the teachers did!) I tried to explain to them that he wasn't quite the most "daring" child when it comes to new foods, but they seemed to think that he should at least try everything. But by Friday, he was eating what ever they put in front of him. I think he even ate 2 bowls of kartoffeln (potato) soup!
LK finished one of the two weeks she will spend in the language camp. She enjoyed it because she met new people and went swimming, but I am not convinced they are "learning" like I thought they would have. But, she is hearing only german from the teachers and other kids, so I am sure she is learning more than I ever would! And, she is going to go to tutoring with us in a couple of weeks, so I know she will be good and ready for 2nd grade this fall.
This weekend we spent Saturday at a couple of the town festivals, or "vegetables" (that is what Abigail called them!) and then Sunday we had church here at home and went to the VogelPark- which means bird park. We did get to feed some birds and monkeys from our hands, so that was pretty cool!
I know that I asked for prayer for our first major Test that is coming up, but I wanted you all to know that they pushed it back a week. So it will now be on the 18/21 of September. Well, that about wraps up our week here. As always, thanks for all the prayers and much love to you all!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Lazy Sundays

I love Sunday afternoons. Actually, I love Sundays all together. I always have, even as a child. Going to church, hearing wonderful music (even if it is in German :), lunch with family and friends, and then naptime! Evidently, here in Germany Sundays are "family" days and usually make for quiet days in our neighborhood. ALL shops are closed-grocery, clothing, some of the restaurants- only gas stations and a few places to eat are open on Sundays. There aren't many people out driving around either. Since only a minority go to church, they tend to stay in and visit with each other. So, I love Sundays. I hope you are enjoying your Sunday too!
Not much has gone on this past week; we are all anxiously awaiting this next one, though. Abigail and Leonard will start their year of "kindergarten" tomorrow. They both got haircuts and new shoes for the new year. (Haircutting wasn't too bad; she was very sweet and tried to teach us "hair" terms while she cut!) And LK will be attending a language camp for the next two weeks. It is for children ages 8-10 who's second language is German. I am praying she will learn a lot so she will be better prepared for her new school year in September. So be praying for them all as we have a busy, new exciting week ahead.
Also, start praying for Len and me as we approach Sept. 11/14. We will be taking a test over the first (A1) level of learning Deutsch. Our tutor has really picked up the pace this past week as we are getting closer to that point. Although we are doing really well, I know I am beginning to feel overwhelmed with all we have learned. So prayers would be much appreciated! Love to you all!
Amber

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

41 years......

My parents celebrated 41 years of marriage yesterday. That is just unreal, to know that in today's world, there are still those who love Jesus and each other enough to stay committed to their marriage covenant. They have seen it all- the loss of a child, the loss of parents, kids/grandkids moving to foreign countries, and so much more. I know that we all wouldn't be where we are today if it weren't for their dedication to Him and us. So, thanks Mom & Dad, we love you and hope you had a great day!

Monday, August 17, 2009

FINALLY it's happened (to me)

Praise the Lord! We finally have a phone and internet connection in our apartment! It is so nice to be able to sit in the comfort of my own home and type these words to you. Since I haven't been able to share some of the things I have been doing over the past few weeks, here goes a list of some firsts for me:
-I have driven our "stickshift" auto around town now several times! If you know me at all, you know this is a BIG feat!!
-I rode my bike around town also. Another big feat for me, since I am affectionately referred to as "Grace" by my family :)
-I made fried zucchini and cornbread muffins for supper the other night. This is huge, especially here where cornbread is unheard of.
-We went camping at a lake near here, where it actually got cold in the middle of August. What the world??!! Being from Tennessee, I have NEVER been cold in August!!
-I went camping!! :)
-I actually understood some lady at the store the other day when she asked me a question in German! (This has only happened ONCE, let me reassure you.)
These are just a few of the many things we have been doing. The kids are doing just great; even Leonard is practicing his German around town by saying thank you (danke) and your welcome (bitte). Abigail has grown at least two inches since we left- her size 2 jeans are looking like high-water waders these days! But, they do miss you all and have their days when they want to go back "home". Just the other day, our babysitter said she was sending her dog to America, and Leonard asked if he could go with him (the dog)!!
Thanks for all your prayers, comments, emails, and facebook messages. These things help me get through each day! (And if you are reading this and haven't commented yet- shame on you!!) Seriously, looking forward to hearing from you soon-
Amber

Thursday, August 6, 2009

STILL NO CONNECTION......

Well, I would love to say that we got our phone/internet connection last Friday, but to no avail, the Germans stood true to their nature and didn't come. So, it looks like it might be a couple of more weeks to go :(.........On another note, we have spent this week in another city here in Germany attending a conference for the entire region of our service. There are about 400 of us gathered here to connect and fellowship, and let me say it is absolutely awesome. We have had two great speakers with us and they have brought the Word like I have never heard it before. I have heard some great testimonies to what God is doing all over Western Europe and I am excited to see what He will do through us while we are here. Thanks to all of you who are praying for us; continue to do so as we leave tomorrow and head back to our city. The kids have really enjoyed seeing friends they had met while in Virginia and being with "english speaking" people, so I know it will be another hard goodbye for them. It seems this life is full of goodbyes, and for a five year old who is struggling to find "his" place in our new city, this is a difficult life to lead at this time! But we all know that God is faithful and His presence is ALWAYS with us, so we will continue to love Him and do His will! Please continue to check in with us, I promise when we get this internet worked out we will update more often! Love to you all!!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

We're Still Alive!!

Yes, we are still here and still kicking in ole' Germany!!  We have just not had any phone/internet/outside contact with the whole world for the past 3 weeks!!  I told Mom that I felt like I am on an episode of Survivor- being cut off from the outside world is no fun.   I called her from the cell phone just to quickly let her know we were still alive.  That phone call only cost me about 25 euros!!  YIKES!!  But hopefully as of Friday that will all change!!  (Although I am not getting my hopes up in case they do not go through with their promise of hooking it up.......that seems to be very likely here in this part of the world!)  
Language study is going GREAT, LK's last day of school is tomorrow before a 3 week break, and the two youngest are thoroughly enjoying their babysitter.  Let's just say Leonard has a little crush on Miss Charissa- he gets up, gets dressed, brushes his teeth, and combs his hair ALL BY HIMSELF when he knows she is coming.  All this from Lazy Leonard who usually wants my help to dress him, brush his teeth, comb his hair etc.........Anyways, I just wanted you to know we are still doing just great here and wanted you to check back soon for some great stories and such.  Also, be checking Len's blog after Friday for some great pics of all of the kids.  Love to you all!!

Monday, July 13, 2009

The First Day of School and more!

Well, today I took LK to her very first day of GERMAN school!!  She was both excited and nervous to say the least.  But, her teacher had a "Herzliches Willkommen Lauren" on the front door so that made me feel good immediately!  Being a teacher myself, I was a little apprehensive about how the teacher would feel having a student come in during the last 2 weeks of school.  Sometimes that is stressful when all the teacher is trying to do is finish the year with the kids they already have.  But she was super nice and spoke some English.  She said she had lived in New York for a couple of years.  But I reassured her that we felt good about her only speaking in German to LK  unless absolutely necessary.  They only stay until lunch here, so I am anxious to get back and see how she did.
A few other things to be aware of:
**We are moving into our apartment today!! I am sooooo ready to get settled in a place I can call my own.  Be praying for Len as he moves all the furniture that he won't mess up his neck/back.
**Since we are leaving the Ferienwohnung (guesthouse) today, we will probably be without phone/internet for a few days.  So if you don't hear from me, don't worry!  I will be back (said in a Arnold Schwarzneggar voice :))
**We start language tutoring on Thursday!!  Pray that Len and I will pick it up as quickly as possible.
Well, I guess that is all I have for now.  Check back soon for more up and coming episodes of "A day in the life of those Crazy Phegley's".  (So I am not the most creative person you know. Sue me.  Or maybe not, seeing as how you wouldn't get much :))   Love to you all!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Paying to Go to the Bathroom

I am not sure you all are aware but it is a very common thing to have to pay to use a public restroom here in Europe!  I was completely caught by surprise when Abigail needed to go to the bathroom the other day and we were in a department store.  First of all, we had to go to the very top floor (I think it was 5 stories!) and then when I finally found it there was a lady sitting at a table with a bowl full of coins in front of her.  There was a sign on the door probably stating that you needed to drop a coin in to use the "water closet" but of course I can't read yet!!  I had left my purse on the stroller with Len (on the first floor) and knew we would never make it back down and back up without Abigail having an accident.  So I just started babbling about how I couldn't read German and I didn't know that I had to pay, and I left my purse with my husband, and I don't have any money, and she is only 3 and she can't hold it any longer, and it took me 10 minutes to find this bathroom, and so on and so on, until the lady (who probably had NO IDEA what I was saying) just motioned for me to go on in!  So now, I will carry a Euro in my pocket at all times.  And, I will make sure we have all used the bathroom before we leave the house!   

Friday, July 10, 2009

Back to Life, Back to Reality

Hello there again.....If you have found this, you realize that I have now found my own place to blog due to the fact my husband has ever-so-lovingly kicked me off of his website :).  Actually it had become quite a hassle to update on the mac website that we shared, simply because I was having to log in on his computer instead of my own.  Now, we each have our own "home" to share with you (all 2 of you I am quite sure!) what is going on here in our lives as we have relocated across the big pond.  I hope to share more often than I have been doing, now that things are beginning to get normal again........well, as normal as they can be seeing as how I now find myself in a place where no one understands me, where I can't drive myself anywhere (because I don't know how to drive a standard), and where I have to pay in most places simply to use the bathroom.  (More on that later!)  Anyhoo,  I hope you come back often to check on us.  Love to you all!