Sunday, December 31, 2006

Welcome 2007

Well, we went out and made it back home without being hit by fireworks. We rang in the New Year with our friends, Uri and family at their cafe. If you have Quicktime you can click on the link below to watch us countdown.

Video link

New Years' Eve in Italy

In Italy, they like to celebrate New Years' with fireworks. Right outside of our apartment, down in our piazza there are several people setting off fireworks. In fact we saw some people throwing lit fireworks out their window down onto the piazza below. Whoa, crazy people throwing live firecrackers out the window!

We are supposed to meet up with some friends at their cafe tonight in about 30 minutes. We will be toasting in the New Year. Who knows, hopefully no one throws a firecracker on us as we walk by.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Day After Christmas...

Here in Italy, the day after Christmas is another holiday. It is St. Stephens Day. You may have heard it as the feast of St. Stephen. Stephen is known as the first martyr for christianity. An interesting one to note, because before his conversion Paul (known then as Saul) stood by and watched as Stephen was stoned to death. You can read more about it here. For us today, it has been a great day of rest. Everything is closed so we can't really do anything. I think some restaurants are open but nothing much else. Angie and I have spent the day relaxing and enjoying the time off from work. Throughout the rest of the week until New Year's Day, we have either days off, vacation time or holidays. We have been looking forward to this for several weeks now. Even last week I was working extra to make sure I didn't have to do anything extra this week. It is good to be refreshed in the Lord. We hope that everyone of our community (friends, readers, family, etc...) has had a wonderful Christmas season and will have a blessed New Year.

Friday, December 15, 2006

An Evening in Ancona

Tonight after Kids' English Club, we went to dinner at 'Movies Pizza'. It is a half of a block from our facility, "La Via". All the pizzas are named after movies, in Italian of course unless the movie went by the Italian name. So, La Ciociara means "The Woman from Ciociaria" and in English is called Two Women (1960). Then there is The Mexican which is called "The Mexican" in Italian but is pronounced a little more Italian. The pizza was good. Afterwards we walked over to Piazza Pertini, which is across the street. In this big city square was "Santa's Village"...temporarily. It just went up this week and will stay up until Christmas Eve, I think. There are all these little wooden buildings that are divided into four sections for four separate vendors who are sharing their wares. They are selling everything from Christmas decorations and sweets to jewelry and purses. In the middle there was a little cabin with Santa Claus inside, or so I thought because of the line of kiddos waiting to go in. They have the windows covered so that you can't really see inside to see who's there....but you know. After that, Angie walked over to Piazza Roma, where we bumped into Carlo, who works at the clothing store 'Zara" and played guitar at our October Coffee House. While we were talking to him Francesca, our friend Uri's mom, came over and said their Coffee Shop will be reopening on Tuesday and that night they will have a inaugural party, we were all invited (it has been under renovation since the beginning of November). We said goodbye to Carlo and walked over to peer into the windows of Uri's family's Coffee Shop. There were workers inside working on last minute finishing details and outside stood several boxes of new chairs and tables. Angie and I left and began the ascent towards our house, which is about six blocks away. On the way, we passed one of my other favorite coffee shops and I asked Angie to come inside with me. I had a Cafe' Latte and Angie had a Cafe' Macchiato. The drink I had is an espresso inside a glass of milk. The drink Angie had is a spot of milk inside an espresso. Both good, but I like mine better. Then we walked home. We had a good evening out.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Day Off - What a Great Concept!

Today I am enjoying a great day off with my wife. I stayed up late last night and drew then slept in. We watched the finale of the Amazing Race now we are watching a Christmas movie in our living room surrounded by our Christmas tree and decorations. If you've seen "Christmas with the Kranks" don't tell us how it ends for another hour and a half.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

In Times Like These

Today Angie went out to run some errands. We got back to the house and were pulling into our downstairs shared garage. [You first go down a ramped drive into a automatic garage door. Then once inside there are about 20 individual garages with their own doors and locks. We have one of those, it is situated directly underneath our building. So if our building ever comes down in an earthquake our car is going to be a pancake, although we may have other things on our mind at that point. ] Anyway, as we pulled to the outside of the automatic door, our remote wouldn't work. Apparently the battery is low. So, Angie got out to use the key in the key access opener on her side. While she was doing that another car pulled up, waiting to go down too. She got back in and we started to pull forward. But then we different have enough room, as we were backing up the car died and rolled back forward. We restarted and backed up, just as the car honked. We pulled inside as my head started getting hot with frustration. "Who was that guy to be so impatient?" "What's his problem?" "Couldn't he see we were having problems?"

Then I started cooling off, remember to be a good example and give him the evil eye as he pulled in behind us. My expectation was a little high for him. In fact, I had broken one of my life's guidelines. It is that... "You can't expect a non-christian to act like a christian." Not that christians act perfect, but they do have the Holy Spirit within them for guidance. In other words, I should give the world grace because they don't have the same counselor that I do. That doesn't mean that I can be less gracious to christians because, well, they know better. Because another 'life guideline" of mine is that "You can't expect all christians to act alike." For starters, some christians have been christians that long, they are still learning how to yield to the Spirit in their lives. Other christians may just be weak in another area where I am strong, whereas they may be strong in an area where I am weak.

Just thoughts that roll around in my head.

Friday, December 08, 2006

My New Sketch Blog

Feel free to check out my new blog dedicated to my pursuit of art. It is called "Matt's Sketch Pad" and it is found at It will have posts of my personal drawings and pieces, as well as progress of work that I do commercially and for ministry. Tell what you think of it.

Holiday in Italy...

Today is a holiday in Italy. It is a Catholic Holiday for the Immaculate Conception. One might think this is referring to Christ being immaculately conceived (the Holy Spirit conceiving the child). However, the theology goes that for the virgin Mary to be able to carry Christ she had to be without sin. The theology continues that Mary's mother had to conceive by the Holy Spirit for her to carry Mary. The difference between Mary's conception and Christ's conception would be that Mary was a virgin and conceived by the Holy Spirit whereas the mother of Mary would have had normal relations with her husband then the Holy Spirit would have intervened. The logic breaks down for me, because wouldn't Mary's mother needed to have been conceived by the Holy Spirit and then so on and on and on?

Regardless of why, it's a day off. Yesterday, was my normal day off and tomorrow I have a half day off. Good time just relaxing with Angie at home. Don't forget to take time to rest.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Short Sleeves in December?

Today I was walking around our apartment in a t-shirt with the windows open. That's because it was 72 degrees earlier. That is crazy it is that warm today. Yesterday, we finally relented and turned our heater on at home for the first time this year (it was colder yesterday). And then today we turned it back off.

At least I can look forward to having some chilly days in January and February. That is usually when it gets cold. The kind of cold that leaves your cheeks stinging moments after walking outdoors. I can't wait. It kind jolts my system like swimming in the mountain rivers in Colorado on CIY trips. Good stuff.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Finally, working...

Whew, for several hours I have been working with our website hosting support to get our blog going again. Finally, it is up and away once more. Soon, I am going to be adding a sketch blog for my sketches for ministry and personally. As an artist you just have to keep drawing to become better. I see it in my work, when I have been drawing consistently. It is like practicing anything. You have to spend time doing it if you want to get any better.