January 18, 2011

A Winter Wonderland

Well, Christmas has past, a new year has come, and life has gotten very interesting (i.e., busy!). We returned to Fairbanks after a whole year away from our favorite place on earth. Alaska welcomed us with her usual: -40 temperatures, a powdering of snow, warm fires and close friends. She also welcomed us with some less-than-usual features: +40 temperatures (while LA was getting snow, we might add!).

But we know that's not what you want to know. What you really want us to tell you is all the exciting gifts we received. Well, this year presents were abundant! Tash received tonsillitis, and a bout of vomiting on Christmas day! Yay!!! And what did Nathan get? The State of Alaska gave him a week of jury duty (really only one day, but a week sounds so much more dramatic). But the kicker was what gift he "received" (or rather, the opposite) the Monday before Christmas: he was robbed! While away with his mom and Tash, two thieves broke into his parents' home, stealing his fathers firearms, their 55" LCD TV, two laptops (Nate's and his mom's), his brand new DSLR camera, and to top it all off, the church's money.

While this was particularly unfortunate and quite inconvenient, God provided for this loss by means of homeowners insurance. His camera was replaced the day before we came back to LA, and his laptop is currently being built and will be on its way shortly (we hope!). We identify now more than ever with Christ's words in Matt 6:19: "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal." It's quite a violation, but we know there will be justice, if not here in this life, then surely in the life to come.

However, we didn't allow these "gifts" to spoil our time in Fairbanks. After all, we only get three weeks in Alaska. How could we waste them pouting over events we can't control! We had a wonderful time with friends and family, and especially with our two little nieces, Maddy and Miriam.

Life, as you know, must go on, and so must school. We returned to LA on Jan 8th to a group of excited kids ready to have Tash home. It was good to know that we were missed on both ends! After a final get together with our favorite couple for dinner and a game, we are now settling into the upcoming semester. But this time is different. December marked Nate's final semester as an M.Div. student. He completed his first master's degree and went home a satisfied (and tired) TMS graduate (well, graduation isn't until May, but enough with technicalities). Now he is beginning the first of three semesters for an advanced degree (Th.M.) that will prepare him for teaching, for doctoral work, or for whatever the Lord might have in store for us.

Unfortunately, Nate's stolen camera was the means by which we were going to take lots of great photos of our time in Fairbanks. Thus we don't have much else to share except our final shot in the Fairbanks airport and the last few activities before the start of the semester.

"I don't want to leave Fairbanks!"

The final shot before leaving AK

"Welcome home, Ms. Natasha! Here, come sit in this dirt mound we made you!"

Good soup...

Really good soup!

A day at the Getty with Misty!

Tash laughing about something...I dunno what

Lacey giving me 'the look'

Dan being...well...Dan

"Yes, Lacey, you can look at the camera, but please, please, don't break it..."

Settlers of Catan...the best board game ever!

Uh...another view

Dan pretending like something big happened in the game

Nothing like ice cream and a game night

August 17, 2010

O Summer, Where Hast Thou Gonest?

It seems to be that time of year. All the students are wondering how the summer flew by so fast without anything being done, and parents are thinking the same thing. Well, it's safe to say all of us are thinking that right about now (be honest, so are you).

With reality so firmly established, we thought it would be good to recap the summer so that we could convince ourselves that all that time we had to be productive really wasn't all wasted. So, without further ado (whatever that is), here is an overview of Summer 2010, N&N style!

Nate ended the semester...alive!

After a whirlwind of a semester, Nathan managed to finish yet another semester at The Master's Seminary. Oddly enough (but not surprisingly), this was the third semester in a row that he has said repeatedly, "This is the hardest semester I've ever had." Nevertheless, he managed to finish strong and head into summer free and clear, and ready for the next challenge. Ever a glutton for punishment, Nate just didn't think that three and a half years in seminary was enough. So, he decided that he wanted to do two more years. This summer, Nate started his work on his Master's of Theology in Old Testament, which began with one class that started him out on the road to writing his thesis. He'll take a break from Th.M. work this fall to finish us his M.Div., and then head into Th.M. work full-time.

N&N went to England!

That's right, in case you didn't know and didn't read the blog right before this one, both of us had the wonderful privilege of traveling to England for ministry. There's a lot of details that we can't get into right now, but if you want to read all about the trip, go to Nate's blog, To Seminary...and Beyond, where he's currently (and slowly) chronicling our time in the U.K.

Visitors? For Us???

We love getting visitors, and especially when they're people we don't see for very often. With plane prices to Alaska as high as they are, we can only afford to go back home once a year. But that doesn't mean family hasn't come to us! This year, Nathan's parents came to visit us. We had a great time dining at the Odyssey and strolling the streets of Santa Barbara. Sadly they were only here a few days.


This summer, both of us celebrated our birthdays. Nathan turned 28 as he was travelling on an airplane to England. For obvious reasons, we couldn't really do much for celebration that day, so we went to Outback with friends the weekend before we left. Only one word is necessary: Porterhouse... Then, a month and a half later, we celebrated Tash's 22nd birthday by taking the Greene kids to a water park and then dinner and dessert with some friends (who happen to be the same friends we went to Outback with...is there a pattern emerging?). Yet despite this, we continue to act younger than our age...

2-year anniversary!

In line with the tenor of #5, we celebrated 2 years of marriage. God has definitely been good to us. Because of the money we spent getting ready for England, we decided to forgo gifts for each other and instead, went to a well-known Hollywood sushi bar where we feasted on raw fish until Nate got sick and nearly threw up. Two hours later, we went and saw the late showing of Robin Hood where Nate proceeded to down a box of milk duds and good 'n plenty's and a bottle of Mountain Dew. Then, Tash started to get sick... It was a great night.

Saying goodbye

This year, we had to say goodbye to some dear friends who have graduated seminary and moved off. Lyndon and Jenn have moved back to Waldhaim, Saskatchewan, and James and Erin have moved to Edmonton, Alberta. We will miss them!

The joys (and the sorrows) of parenthood

Following shortly on the heals of Bob and Carolyn's visit in late June, we had some exciting news: we were pregnant. This has been a long time desire for us. For reasons we still don't know, God had other plans, and as quickly as our joy came, so did our sorrow. Only three days later, we lost our little baby. We're doing okay, but the wound is still there is will be for a while. Our thanks go out to all of you who prayed for us as we went through that time.

Gardening fail

Being out in the country and all, we thought it would be great if we could try our hand at gardening. And try we did...and failed! We started off the summer with a promising garden, filled with six different kinds of tomatoes, watermelon, arugula, strawberries, basil, carrots, and of course, lettuce. Meanwhile, Tash had started an herb garden of mint, thyme, sage, parsley, marjoram, green onions and cilantro. Everything was going just fine...and then the goats got loose. You see, goats will eat just about anything. But that doesn't mean they don't have a taste for the finer things. In their little 30-minute escapade, they managed to consume all of our lettuce. "Oh well," we thought. But that was just the beginning, for upon returning from ministry in England, we came home to a garden that was practically dead. In fact, only the tomatoes, watermelon, strawberries and basil were still alive, while everything else was, in the words of Jude 12, "doubly dead, uprooted." Even Tash's herb garden had taken major casualties. Yet despite this, the basil, which we thought was dead, is now flourishing, and the tomatoes pulled through and have given us quite the produce, though all but one plant is now dead. In effect, we have shown ourselves to be quite the black thumbs. All we can do is hang our heads, take the shame, and plan for next year and remember that God never gave plants the breath of life, so it's not really "killing."

We are so 'LOST'

Just when we thought 24, Monk and Psych were enough, we had to go and find ourselves a new show: LOST. And boy did we power through it. In fact, in only four short months we managed to trudge our way through 5 seasons, all while travelling to England and finishing up a semester of seminary. In fact, when we finished the last episode of season 5, we were quite relieved, because we were free to watch something else for a change...at least until season 6 comes out on DVD.

N&N's Desert Game Preserve

So, with living in the big city and all, you'd expect wildlife to be practically non-existent. And surely enough, after nearly two years in Granada Hills, the most wild life we saw/heard was a drunk puking underneath our balcony one late night. But everything changed when we moved to Canyon Country. Now that we're out of the city, we have had some of the most interesting (i.e., scary) visitors. Practically every night, at around eleven or twelve, we hear the sound of "yipping" as a bunch of baby coyotes exuberantly welcome their mom home with fresh food...only about 100 yards north of our house. But that's just the beginning...

One night, while Nate was at work, Tash was entertaining some human guests when they came upon a nice, hairy tarantula crawling on the outside wall of our house, right next to the front door. Our friend Dan, overcoming his intense fear of arachnids, managed to capture the little guy where they kept him in a peanut butter jar until Nate could come home and take a look.

Then, when Nate was off at work (hmm, another pattern is emerging), another surprise visit. This time, Norm and the kids, via the chickens, found a rattlesnake nestled up under the kids' bikes. And of all the places where this guy could be, it had to be right up against the side of our house. After a five-minute engagement, Norm finally managed to vanquish the slithery foe, and even captured the whole ordeal on a kind of M. Night Shyamalan-style video. You can see it on Natasha's Facebook page.

Fresh coffee, anyone?

Inspired by his trip to Ethiopia in 2006, Nate has always wanted to roast his own coffee. Yet he never quite got around to doing it in the past four years, until a friend began roasting coffee, and Nate's old desires re-emerged. So one evening, after a nice BBQ chicken dinner, Nate roasted an entire pound of Columbian coffee in a wok over the charcoal grill. Some batches turned out pretty well, while others were nothing but carbon (i.e., Starbucks roast...). It was a learning experience, and now Nate roasts coffee regularly in an hot air popcorn popper. No more over-roasted or stale coffee any more!!!

The end of summer

This really isn't something that's marked our summer...until recently that is. The Greene kids are back at school, which means the summer has practically ended for Tash, and in only a few short weeks, Nate goes back to school full time. Where has the summer gone? We had so many plans yet not nearly as many materialized as we had hoped. We now stare down the barrel of a loaded semester, which Nate swears is going to be his hardest yet. Meanwhile, Tash has some big plans, including starting some home school curriculum with Levi and attending BSF. All said and done, it's been a good summer. Sure, it wasn't what we thought it would be, but then again, they never are. Nevertheless, we had fun, came out with some stories to tell, and are looking forward to a new year of school and life and fun. Pretty soon, Christmas melodies will be decking the halls of department stores and we'll be reunited with our families in good old Fairbanks, Alaska. Until then...

May 10, 2010

Mind the Gap

The countdown is on! 21 days until we head out to Rugby, England on a Short Term Ministry trip through our church here in L.A.

Who is going? 4 exceptional seminarians (from Nathan's school), 1 brilliant professor, and 4 lovely wives.

How long will we be gone? Our journey begins May 31st (Nate's birthday!) and we will return home on June 15.

What will we be doing? We are teaming up with a missionary family that has been in England for some time. Nathan will be preaching in several churches, sharing in bible studies and doing a little bit of open-air preaching. Natasha will have some opportunities to meet with the women of the churches and just be an encouragement in any way that she is able.

What is our goal? Our goal is to encourage the churches. England is in deep spiritual need. Since 1980, church attendance has dropped 60% and there is an epidemic shortage of pastors in England. England needs expositional, Christ-centered preaching. Our hope and prayer is "...that the word of the Lord will spread rapidly and be glorified..." 2 Thessalonians 3:1.

What can you do? Most importantly, we need your prayers! 
  • Pray for us as we prepare--for clarity, passion and focus
  • Pray for us while we are there--for health, humility, energy, and again, focus
  • Pray for the people we will minister to--that they would be encouraged by our time together and strengthened in their faith. 
  • And anything else you can think of!
We also need financial help, each of us need to raise $2200. If the Lord lays it on your heart to support us in this way, please send a check payable Grace Community Church with "For the team of Nathan Schneider" in the memo line to:
                  Short-Term Ministries
                  c/o Grace Community Church 
                  13248 Roscoe Blvd. 
                  Sun Valley, CA 91352 

Please let us know if you have any questions! 
For the glory of Christ among the nations,
Nathan and Natasha 

"Striving together for the faith of the gospel."
Philippians 1:27 

April 24, 2010

The Schneiders in April

Yup, we are still alive...barely! Nathan is coming to a close on his 6th semester at The Master's Seminary. It has been a long and challenging one, and we are looking forward to a break!

Since our last update we have had many changes, including our home! Mid-March we made the move from Granada Hills to Canyon Country (20 minutes north)  because the Lord provided a wonderful place for us to live. As many of you know, we had been struggling with what to do after we made the challenging decision for Natasha to leave her job. After a few months, it was looking like she needed to find some source of income, but then the Lord provided an amazing opportunity for us.

In exchange for nanny help, we would receive free rent, utilities, internet and a plethora of other blessings we soon would realize! Unfortunately this blessing came with a sad reality, the family had recently lost their mom to cervical cancer after battling it for nearly 3 years. My heart aches for this family, yet rejoices at the reality of where their mother is! She is with the Lord with no more sin, pain or suffering!

We are so thankful that we can be a part of this sweet family's life and we strive to be a blessing as we are so well taken care of. The dad leaves early for work, so I walk the ten feet over to their house around 5:15am and normally go back to sleep until 7am when I wake the children for school and help them get ready. They do have a full-time nanny that comes in during the week to help with housework, meals, ect, but they needed someone for the early mornings and the occasional weekends that the dad is called in for work.

All in all, we are still amazed at the perfection of this situation. We are so thankful that the Lord heard our prayers and gave us an answer better than we could have imagined! Not only are we thankful that the Lord fulfilled our needs, but we really are thankful to have been put in the position that we needed Him to move so desperately! We would not trade these trials for anything because seeing the Lord work like this has been so rewarding.

Thank you for your prayers and your support! We will soon be updating you on some interesting traveling adventures we have on the horizon!

February 03, 2010

This Week...

Nathan's been working super hard to keep up with homework, work and me. He's done an amazing job and I am so blessed to have him. I've been sick this past week and I couldn't have asked for a better care-taker. I am on the mend and able to do more housework and activities, but still have a lingering cough...I get excited at the thought of one day, being all better. :-) I praise God that this is only a small, insignificant cold that won't go on for the rest of my life. I have been reminded that there are people that are chronically ill and suffer daily. I know they don't have a choice, but I don't know how they do it. I know many that suffer day in and day out, yet they are some of the most joyful people I know. The Lord is so gracious...

January 17, 2010

Bye Christiana!

A very dear, sweet friend that I was blessed to meet and spend time with for a short period is leaving for Cambodia tonight along with her husband and 3 month old baby. They will be missed! But, they go for the sake of the gospel and there is no better reason than that!!! My prayers and thoughts are with them this evening as they say good-bye to all things familiar and begin the long flight across the world.

January 12, 2010

Classes Have Begun!

Nathan began his sixth semester in seminary today. It will be a challenge, but a joy to learn and discover what the Lord has in store!