Thursday, May 26, 2011

Busy Spring

Today was another house project VICTORY! My dear friend, and fellow home school mom came over with her saws, power tools, engineer brain, and moral support for my better half----and they got the office laminate flooring down! HOORAY!
I mowed. My hard-working eldest son mowed too.
Right now my husband is spackling the walls for a fresh coat of paint, and won't the office look splendid?
For my praying friends I would like to request prayer for an upcoming interview. Mine. Life changes ahead no matter what, and some could be for the best. I'm excited to see what will be.
I had a nice time visiting the bees today, too. They really are very happy at the farm. Two days ago our city sprayed for Gypsy Moths, and that made almost no one I talked to happy. Certainly our bees could never have tolerated the pesticide had they been still here.
Last night was a lovely band concert for my musician son, who is 12.
Some concerts are outstanding, and this one was. He plays clarinet like his dad, his grandma, and his cousin.
Last week my nephew played his clarinet on Jay Leno's Tonight Show, a lovely accompaniment  to the song by "Iron and Wine."  So pretty. I don't know the song, but it was nice.
Have a meaningful Memorial Day. I am reading "Unbroken" by Laura Hillenbrand. It is the story of Louie Zamperini, who recently visited this area. Margaret and my husband got to hear him speak. They were amazed at his life story. He is a WWII vet who is now 94 years old. What a story! I want to finish it by Monday.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Interview with Vishal Mangalwadi

Vishal Mangalwadi

Does the Bible Matter?
I got an email link to a video on Fox with Vishal Mangalwadi. He is someone worth listening to, and my parents have admired his work for years.
This article is worth reading.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Are You Ready?

Those of us who actually believe the Bible, and are not afraid to admit it, know that Jesus promised to come back someday. It also says in Thessalonians that we will be "caught up" in the air to be with Him.
Some scholars have translated that word "rapture."
The Bible also makes it clear that we do not know the hour in which He will come.
If you study Biblical prophecy at all (and almost 30% of the Bible is prophecy) you will come to the inevitable conclusion that Jesus is coming again, that there will be a season of His coming, that there will be "birth pangs," signs of the time.
What is most amazing to me is that something almost 2,000 years old is so relevant to what is going on today.
Ezekiel predicts an uprising of particular nations against the land of Israel. Is it not remarkable that those nations even exist millenia hence?
I find it remarkable. I am un-phased by silly predictions of the timing of Christ's appearance. I know it will happen when God wills it.
Israel will stand as a testimony to the truth of God's Word.
My life will be centered on following Christ in deed. I am called to love God and my neighbor. Part of that love is to believe His Word and share vital truth with those I know.
Repent and get ready. We don't know when He is coming, but we need to be ready.
The wonderful benefit of being ready is a life infused with meaning and purpose while we await His return. We have a win-win situation.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Stay With Us

Little Owl

"Little Owl" came from the University of Minnesota library today, and I was SO glad to see it again! I remembered all of the illustrations. The story was fun to read, and I made the kids read it too.

Nine Months

It's been nine months since my husband was laid off of his work. I think of how this nine months progressed, and it might be interesting to remember some of the developments along the way. It takes nine months for a baby to be born, and I see some parallels, however ridiculous.

The first month we are filled with shock, fear, surprise.
The second we feel a sense of expectancy for the future.
The third month we settle into a new norm of job searching.
The fourth month brings the roller coaster of dashed expectations and different hopes.
The fifth becomes a setting of the jaw time.
The sixth month is filled with prayers for SOMETHING to come up.
The seventh is bleak.
The eighth is numb.
The ninth is prayer with a note of desperation. PLEASE, LORD!

And yet we can "fret not." (Psalm 37) The Lord sees when a sparrow falls from a tree.  Are we not worth more than birds?
It's good to evaluate the lessons that are learned in the process of life changes. I know that I am more content to have things stay as they are, that is, to have stability and a steady means of provision.
It's almost too exciting to wait on the Lord, for Him to show His provision. We humans are funny creatures. We dream of one thing yet cling to another.
I have had some low thoughts lately, and I have been praying with a desperate note. Yet we are not desperate. That is only my perception.
I recall that at the beginning of this "adventure" I determined that I would see how the Lord would provide! He is mighty, and He has not forgotten us. I have not forgotten that purpose in my own heart. I'm just struggling with patience right now.
Summer is here in one sense. It is lovely outside and everything is green.
I drove to Little Falls, MN today (where Charles Lindbergh grew up) and the lakes along the road were deep sky-blue water. What a beautiful place we live in!
Miss Misty is now in heat. Wishing for a Corgi daddy to come and play, but haven't found one nearby. She gets limited privileges when she is in her time, and that makes her less happy.
She chewed off another Barbie doll hand. I guess we are going to have to start calling her "Shark." This too will pass. I'm afraid the Barbie will not recover.
Darling Daughter is getting too old for Barbies, anyway.
She is changing too.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Book List

In light of recent acquisitions at three used book sales I thought I'd give you a list of some of the "finds" we've been reading. A few I've mentioned already, I think. This will give you a picture of my interests, thus my home schooling bent!

"The Maytag Encyclopedia of Home Laundry"
"I Can Read About Good Manners"
"Katherine"
"Snowshoe Country"
"Canoe Country"
"Behold Your King"
"Early Candlelight"
"First Thousand Words in Spanish"
"Trolls"
"Corgiville Fair"
"The Official Book of Homeschooling Cartoons"
"Surprised by Faith"
"A Long Way Gone"
"Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet"
"Mathematics"--Jacobs
"The Celtic Stone"
"Reader's Digest Biblical Mysteries"
"Of German Ways"
"Ideals"
"The Problem of Pain"
"Reading Lolita in Teheran"
"Magic Tree House"

It's really fun to find books that interest for quarters. Reading is simply a huge part of our lives, and finding worthwhile books cheap saves time and inspires interest like nothing else. I'm not embarrassed to say that we got at least 3 bags full of old and newer used book bargains! I got them shelved, ready to read!

Because it is raining today it seems rather gloomy. Job search blues get to you, too.
Add to that the hive news:
The bees had a glorious introduction to their new home last week. Sunshine and clover, water nearby and pollen everywhere in abundance. They seemed rather feisty for having it so good. So far the stings have been numerous since the move. The weather has since been stormy and cool, cloudy. Not the best for bee moods. We're trying to analyze what is making them so aggressive. The hive that wintered must be split and a new queen was purchased. She looked okay this morning, but in starting the process of introducing her to the split she looked weak. Queens cost $25 and that is a real loss in beekeeping if one dies.
Because the bees are on my parents' property, Mom and Dad have to get used to them. That is also a process!
I walk out in our yard and I miss them! Bees going about their business is such a fascinating thing to observe. I suppose it's like sitting by water, watching the endless light changes. You can observe the colors of pollen they bring back, how they are greeted by the guard bees, little conversations (waggles) going on at the door of the hive, flight patterns. It's entertaining.

On the spiritual side of life I finished reading "The Power of Kingdom Living" to the younger three.
This book explains the parable Jesus told the disciples about the seed and the sower. In an interesting perspective Gothard equates the "seed" with the knowledge and application of Christ's teaching and commands. When you do this (not the more common "Gospel Message" equation) it seems to make a little more sense with the soil analogy.
We have been learning the commands of Christ over the last several years, along with the assigned character qualities, i.g. Repent!=Humility, Let Your Light Shine!=Generosity, Despise not the Little Ones!=Tolerance. There is also an animal example to illustrate each character quality and this makes it especially interesting to Darling Daughter (Younger). In this latest teaching Gothard comes up with corresponding Names of Christ to pray, according to the need, in Christ's Name for Kingdom issues. Fascinating, really. I always liked grids because they hold so much of value. This teaching is like a giant grid to help you navigate prayer, your needs, your spiritual health, and Kingdom business.
Even the day after we talked about Christ's Names we prayed to "the Servant of All" to help us be available (character quality) to serve---the command of Christ (Mark 9:35). This is an example of praying that Christ's Kingdom would come, as Jesus prayed. This is praying in His will, in His name, and it will be answered provided we have confessed our sins! Formulaic? Of course. Jesus did teach such things. You can call it whatever you want, but I see the truth in it. We're going to put it into practice as we remember. Perhaps I'll let you know how it goes! I see spiritual growth on the horizon. This teaching is NOT a "prosperity" teaching in the least. One doesn't ask for earthly wealth. This is Kingdom of Heaven teaching. Do we benefit from it here? This IS the Kingdom of Heaven, now. Following Christ's teachings right now. When you belong to Christ worldly/earthly things don't matter because Christ takes care of those things for you. There is a great deal of comfort there for me, even on this gloomy day.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

UPdates

Another job disappointment. I'm numb to it by now, but it seems that God is letting us see that whatever happens will TRULY be a supernatural outcome.
There was another time in our lives when we got to the "eleventh hour" before we knew what would be.
We were living on post at Fort Hood, Texas, with two babies. My husband's army job had come to a close and it had been stressful. This was Operation Desert Storm era. We had to pack up our belongings (a two-bedroom apartment's-worth) as inspections would be occurring at 1100 hours. The house had to be army spic and span. In other words, CLEAN.

The stuff was in the U-haul van. In fact, we discovered half way through packing that we needed two vans after all. Both were packed to the gills. Furniture, bikes, toys, books, piano, organ, memorabilia, clothes, awards, knic-knacs. The babies were in their car seats in one of our cars, and the second car was mounted on a trailer to haul behind one of the trucks. My father-in-law graciously offered to fly down and drive the second moving van.
But where?
We had no plans. We had no job. We had no destination! By default we decided to head for my parent's house in Minnesota. Minneapolis was pretty big. Surely there would be a job for a healthy young man with a family in that big city! My folks had an extra garage that we thought would do for storing our stuff temporarily. But really. There was no PLAN.
My mom flew down to Dallas, and I picked her up at the airport with my babies in the back seat. We headed for Minneapolis. My husband cleared out of his military career and met his dad for the trip north.
This was August. In Texas. It was hot. REALLY HOT!
This is how memories are made, and this is how we learn from experience. This is what we recall when the future looks bleak.
Do you already know that a lovely plan unfolded in the next 24 hours? God is good. I will leave that as a teaser for an upcoming bio chapter. For now I am reminded that God has a plan. He KNOWS it. It may be hard. It may be unbelievable! But I am willing to see it unfold. Happy Mother's Day!

happy birthday

elise: happy birthday mama: "{ a photo of my mom from her early 80's modeling days }"

A Photo in memory of my sister-in-law, Day, on her birthday.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Picking up my Story

Since the next two years were rather pivotal in my life, living and working in a foreign country, I will stay in this chapter a little longer. Maybe I'll even do two chapters!
Really, how two chapters could encompass all of what I learned and experienced is ridiculous, but I will try to "remember" as it comes back to me.
After studying at the University of Munich that summer session I started helping out in the new church. We did not have a building yet, so we met in homes and enjoyed real fellowship. I loved the Sunday morning "Gottesdienst" (service to God) where we moved comfortable furniture to the sides of the room and set up folding chairs in rows to accommodate the worshipers. I would play flute sometimes, sing, play whatever keyboard available, and generally helped with the music. Some of those German praise songs were so special! Of course I recognized Luther's old hymns. I still enjoy singing "Ein Feste Burg" (A Mighty Fortress) auf Deutsch. We had communion often, and it was especially sweet. The couples and their children made a close group, enjoying each others' company every time we met.
Frequently we ate meals together and I was introduced to some wonderful German cuisine. I thought the German cold salads were unusual and tasty! I was introduced to a refreshing drink called "Spezi" which was cola and orange (Fanta) mixed.
This drink brings me to the memory of the fencing club I joined with our pastor. At the U of MN I took Foil Fencing as a gym class. I loved it! When I got to Germany I found that our pastor was also a fencer, and Ingolstadt had a Fencing Club. We joined, and met some really interesting people. Our leader was an Olympic fencer who had defected from Russia. I learned much more about fencing, but mostly we just had fun. After a long work-out we'd go to the German gast-haus and I would get Spezi. What fun times we had. Yuri, the Russian, became good friends with our pastor.
Being a "missionary" involves lots of fellowship. Much of our "work" was sitting around and having deep conversations over coffee or whatever else there was good to eat. I had to be careful or I'd be 200 pounds before long! I loved to run on an old Roman Road that ran just north of our village. (Our apartment was located in a village outside of Ingolstadt-proper)  This road was just as it had been 2,000 years ago, and I enjoyed the views and the terrain whenever I could fit a work-out in. I never saw other people jogging, but we lived in a small village, and word traveled fast. Every one knew we were "wilde fremde menschen" from America! *wild strange people*
Having deep spiritual conversations with just about anyone was what I loved doing most!
This was a time to work on my German skills too. I prepared to help with the children's program most Sundays. Often I just enjoyed the service. There was always a lot to do. Weekends were busy.
With closeness we find that people are faulty. Certainly there were problems common to all mankind within our little group. Because we were so small it seemed we could deal with people's issues more easily, but there was fall-out and pain. Some things went from bad to worse. Spiritual attacks? Of course. Normal human sin issues? Naturally. It was a time of trial and reward.
We found a building to set our church in. It was several hundred years old, and located right inside the city walls. I loved helping paint and fix it up for our church. Recently I looked up the church in Ingolstadt, and it has a lovely new structure outside the city. I don't know when that occurred, but it is nice to see that church still thriving!
During that year I got to study a seminary course at the German seminary at Ewersbach. It was a week-long special course just before Christmas and Lynn and I both got to attend. We stayed with a woman who had breast cancer, and she was a lovely and willing hostess. Her condition worsened not long after we left her, and she died. I was glad to have known her briefly. She was serene in her illness.
My first Christmas in Germany is wrapped up in memories of our time at Ewersbach. The "tute" full of delicious chocolates and the sweet smelling fruits. The nuts, the decorations, the Christmas trees (with REAL candles) everywhere. German Christmas is simply wonderful. The snow falling in the Christmas markets in each town and village. The smells!
Our mission owned a lovely retreat house in Austria, and our team met there each holiday season for a time of fellowship and business. We took the train from Munich to Reute in Tirol that Christmas time. Is the snow always picture perfect in Tirol? That Christmas of 1986 was Post-card picture perfect. The snow lay on the rooftops of the chalets and the Alps in feet-thick layers of perfect white. Everything was frosted with this perfect "fondant" and the icicles and flakes on top glittered in the moon or sunlight. The sky was always a deep blue contrast to the glowing landscape. I enjoyed the scene from the little train, chugging through this paradise of a time warp. It appeared just like I had seen on calendar photos (the kind you pay $$$ for!) This kind of beauty is rare.
I was able to ski one day while there, on a pair of free skis I'd picked up on the "free junk" day held every year in German towns. It was fun to take the cable car up to the tops of the Alps and ski with the lovely view of the valley stretched out before you.
I have  funny incident to tell about the "free junk" day (Spar-muhl).
I found three "mattresses" to use when my guests came to visit. They were in really good shape and I was excited to find something I really needed.
At Bible study the next day I announced to the group that I had found "3 Matrosen letzten Abend mit dem zu schlafen." Silence. I thought I had said--I found three mattresses last night to sleep on.  I'd actually said "I found three SAILORS to sleep with last night"   No wonder I was met with horrific expressions! Mattrattsen was what I SHOULD have said!  Not Matrosen! We all had a good laugh. My friends were gracious and forgiving! I always remembered the word for sailors!
As part of my training I spent one month in Nuremburg, with a German Gemeinde-Helferin at the church there. This was an immersion experience for me, and though somewhat difficult, very memorable. It was fun to meet people in a more established Evangelical fellowship than ours. I liked the city, and its impressive walls.
Often in Ingolstadt we were accused of being a cult. Of course to some of these Germans anything that wasn't Catholic (or Lutheran) was a cult. We were in the heart of Bavaria, and Catholicism was the predominant faith. Lutherans were more common in northern Germany.
Despite that difficulty, we had amazing growth and wonderful interest in our new church. It really did grow fast. Soon the core fellowship of believers were scouting for a German pastor. Our job was coming to an end. For certain, mine was. I was headed to a new and exciting opportunity. I was slated to move to Wiesbaden and join the team of workers coming to Germany to work with the "Guest Workers."