watch out, it’s the paparazzi!

I know it’s been a while since I posted a new blog. Thanks for your patience! There is a lot to say, so take your time and come back to read this as you have time.

Paparazzi is an Italian word that means a freelance photographer who pursues celebrities for candid shots. In humorous and serious ways I’ve found myself thinking about the paparazzi this week, what they do and what they capture.

in the city
Delirious?, a well-known worship band from the UK, rolled into Vienna on November 12. I found out about the concert a month ago and sought tickets and even a magazine interview. I got an interview that will be published in Brio in a spring 2007 issue. It’s funny to go back and do what comes so natural in a completely different environment. I thrived as I ran after their publicist that afternoon trying to hunt down who I was interviewing and where. I was back in my element as we (Courtney, Mallory and I) sat with Tim Jupp, the Delirious? keyboardist and talked about music, life and being Jesus in this world. I had so much fun!

After we completed the interview the girls and I decided to head to the center of the city and meet our new friend Anagret for coffee. We left the location where we did the interview and found ourselves on the same train that the entire Delirious? band was on. They had just seen us for the interview, so we avoided getting in the same part of the train. We didn’t want them to think we were following them and decided to get off at an earlier stop than planned. They happened to get off at the same exact stop and so we waited for a couple of seconds before heading up the escalator. I wanted to take a picture of this situation: Delirious? heading up the escalator and us closely behind, but far enough away that they wouldn’t see us. But then I knew I’d be the paparazzi. The camera flash would’ve given me away. As we got off the escalator we made a sharp right turn heading in the other direction from the band. They went into St. Stephans and we were heading for coffee. Whew! We laughed as we walked in the rain toward the coffee shop.

That night at the concert we were given red wristbands to get in. We weren’t sure exactly why ours were red and everyone else had yellow wristbands. Tim Jupp told me that afternoon to pick up their new “Live” DVD from a Delirious? crew member. I couldn’t find a crew member in the lobby or around the merchandise table so I headed backstage. The first guy I talked to didn’t understand my request and sent me to the other backstage entrance. As I approached this security guy I said, “Sprechen Sie Englisch?” (Do you speak English?). And all he did was wave me on through. I wanted to laugh in that moment. This is a phrase that sometimes frustrates German-speaking people because we can’t communicate with them in their own language. However at this moment this question got me a backstage pass! I found who I needed to and got my DVD as another resource for the Brio story.

We discovered that our red wristbands meant that we were allowed backstage all along. So Courtney and Mallory went back later that night and took some backstage pictures with my camera. Definitely a paparazzi moment! *smile*

Earlier that evening our friend Anagret (who’s parents came and spoke to us about relationships a couple weeks ago), took us to one of the many catacombs in Vienna. We saw many tombs of the Hapsburg dynasty. I’ll have to talk to my Uncle Kevin to get a recap of that history. He’s amazing with history! Here’s the tomb of Maria Theresa, one of the Hapsburg rulers. Too bad I don’t remember more of the humanities classes I took in college.

After walking around the city we went to Anagret’s favorite Italian restaurant. Here’s a pic of Angagret and Courtney eating pasta.

We had a really great night with the concert and spending time with Anagret. It was a late night, but a good night!

around the corner

The last two Thursday mornings we’ve spent at the HTL (local high school that specializes in training students for specific technical fields). We arrive around 7 a.m. and stick around until 8 a.m. That’s the time when students arrive on campus and head to class. The picture below is the road leading to the school.

Here’s a closer picture of the HTL. It’s a huge building, actually many buildlings. But this is the main entrance. Today they are having an open house, so hopefully I can sneak my camera in and take more pics.

During the time we’re in the student parking lot, we give out free hot chocolate and coffee. We put posters on the van and are prepared with many containers of hot drinks. At the most we’ve had 25 students receive a free drink. Craig, our school leader does most of the talking after the initial “Do you want hot chocolate or coffe?” question is asked. He knows German and can continue the conversation from there. These students do know English, but are insecure in speaking it around us or at least around their friends. Pray for ways that these language barrier gaps will be bridged between us and these students. We want to find out more and have conversations with them, but aren’t sure exactly how.

At one point last Thursday, I decided I wanted to get candid shots. I took my camera with my long lens and hid behind cars in parking lot. I tried to get what pictures I could without the students seeing me. I really shouldn’t consider going into any kind of paparazzi work. But this will give you a better idea of the students who come up to us and what this scene looks like.

The guy with the cigarette in his mouth is the one who got out of his car the first time and yelled “Woohoo!” Him and his friends have come back to our van each week we’ve been there. Pray for him and this group of friends. Who knows what God wants to do in their lives!

in my heart

Transitioning to the spiritual sense, I’ve found that God has been the paparazzi (in a loose context). He’s showed me pictures of myself that I really don’t like; candid shots that I don’t want to see published. Here’s a pic of me at the recent leadership conference we went to the last two days.

It was at this conference that God put a seal on what He’s been trying to teach me. It’s been about ATTITUDE! There have been many, many moments these past six weeks that I’ve had a terrible attitude. That I’ve found more to complain about or people to get frustrated with than to be thankful for. That my bad attitude has been contagious and allowed a feeding frenzy for those around me who also wanted to find something wrong with a situation.

Over the past week I’ve heard about attitude in many different forms. It’s been a gentle reminder that I do need an attitude check. I need to check my motives, expectations, pride and purpose. I won’t get into all the details, but I ask that you will pray for me as God continues to refine me in this way. It is exhausting, but it’s needed. I know I can’t step into whatever God has for me after March until my heart is right. I know it isn’t a one-time deal, but a constant check and recheck. It was a Romans 12:1-2 moment as I wrote out my attitude issues, gave them to God and asked Him to renew my mind. As we walked to the train station to head home after the conference I felt lighter. This perspective and those attitudes really weighed me down.

Here’s something I took from the leadership conference. It’s another way of looking at the Matthew 5 passage on the Beatitudes. I hope these will give you something to chew on:

•You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and His rule.

•You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are — no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourself proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.

•You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meals you’ll ever eat.

•You’re blessed when you care. The moment you care, you find yourself cared for.
•You’re blessed when you get your inside world — your mind and heart — put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.

•You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are and your place in God’s family.

•You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom.

a bit of a recap

Some of you have highly encouraged me to get more pictures up on my blog of me. However, as I dig through Courtney’s pictures I find that I have lots of pictures of me making goofy faces, eating or drinking something. Here are a few from the last (almost) two months. Enjoy!

Enjoy your weekend!

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