Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas pictures turnned out bad

Hi, We are having a really nice Christmas. Last night I took Philip, Thomas, and Nicole to the service at 4pm. Juergen stayed home with Jessica who does not like crowds of people. Our church youth group had been working on the non-traditional Christmas play for about two months. They did a super job!!! My camera does not take good pictures in low light, so none of the pictures turned out good! We got home about 6:30pm, and opened gifts. Again, bad pictures (sorry). The boys were very excited about their long awaited Lego! Nicole got some great art stuff, and science stuff, and Jessica got a new book, and DVD. I got Juergen a new computer game, and he got me a new Jane Austen movie (Persuasion). I loved it, and had to watch it 4 times!!! I can not get over the amazing costumes and sets! Beautiful! We played until 2 in the morning, and slept until 10am. This morning we had a great brunch with fresh orange juice, and eggs Benedict! Juergen has 2 weeks off, so we are taking a slow restful holiday! Here are some very bad pictures for you.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

2006 in a short review

Last year Juergen and Jessica went to his parents house in North Germany on Christmas day, and I took Philip Thomas and Nicole to the West Coast of the USA for 3 weeks. We visited my family in Oregon, and then went to Southern California (Disneyland and San Diego). It was Thoma's first trip to the USA. He loved it! The people there are just so friendly! I remember taking him to a McDonald's indoor playground in Corvallis, Oregon. He played for hours with the other kids. One child even gave him his happy meal toy before he left. Thomas never gets that kind of acceptance in Germany! Another highlight of our trip was riding roller coasters with my adrenaline junkie sons! We rode California screaming at the California Adventure Disney park. I was afraid it might have been too much for them...but I was wrong! If we only had more time!!!

In March we saw Sarah for the very first time. I had been praying to adopt from China. You could say I was obsessed with the idea! Poor Juergen (trying to maintain some sanity) kept saying no! I kept looking at Special needs lists. One day in March (March 3rd) after looking at hundreds of photos of waiting kids, I saw her. I was pretty sure she was the one! I asked Juergen, and he said maybe...let me pray about it! One thing that was amazing about Sarah is she was holding a rubber ball in her hands. The ball had butterflies on it. Before I had made my trip to Southern California, my best friend Cindy T. had her small group prayed for us. They are pretty prophetic. One person had a word of knowledge. She said, I see her catching butterflies. When Cindy told me this in December 2005, I knew it had something to do with our adoption. Now Sarah was in this photo with a ball covered in butterflies. Long story short, we applied to adopt Sarah (who is by the way the only child Juergen ever even considered praying about). We received pre approval to adopt her on April 28Th. Our paper chase was long and bumpy...but all the important documents finally went to China at the end of October. We now wait for China to give us travel approval. We hope to travel with our whole family in early 2007.

The world cup came to Germany, and that kept us busy for awhile. Nicole and Thomas both got their pictures shown on CNN International news. CNN also showed Nicole's picture on their world cup fan club commercial.

Philip began the first grade in the fall of 2005, but he could not seem to learn the symbols (ABC's and 123's). He could say the symbols, but could not tell you what they were by looking at them. We were not sure what we should do. After praying, I felt I should pull him out of school, and teach him at home. Normally this is not allowed in Germany. But they let me do it. I home schooled Philip, and he learned his symbols. He had to go back to first grade this fall. He is doing OK, but does have some learning problems. We really need wisdom about how to approach his education.

I took Jessica and Philip both to acupuncture from May until September. It did them both a great deal of good. We thought our insurance company was paying for this treatment. There was a misunderstanding. We received a pretty big bill for the treatment. Anyway, we are debating weather we want to continue to pay for it (maybe just for Jessica). I know allot of Christians do not approve of alliterative medicine like acupuncture. But we don't get involved in the religious practises of some of those who practice this. The needles stimulates endorphins that cause healing. It does help...and there is scientific evidence it works. It made Jessica calmer, and helped Philip to think clearly.

I think the high light of our year was our family trip to Thailand. Thomas was having some cultural identity problems. He would begin to cry if you even suggested we eat Thai food. I think talking about adopting Sarah brought up some fears in him that his days with us were numbered. Anyway, we felt it was wise to deal with these fears sooner, not later. We went to Thailand for two weeks. At first it was hard for him. The 2ND day in Bangkok we took him to his orphanage. That was bitter sweet. It shook Thomas up to be there. The Nannies don't get many visits from adopted kids. They were just thrilled to see both Philip and Thomas. Philips nanny recognized him from out a window and came running to him. Philip (adopted at 2 1/2) also recognized his nanny and gave her a big hug! It took Thomas a few days to recover from the visit. Afterwards he seemed too grow in amazing ways. He discovered Thailand is not the orphanage...and he does not need to love the orphanage to love Thailand! He finally began to be proud to be Thai! We think this is so important. He can never escape from the Thai face that will look back at him in the mirror each day! We all love Thailand! Jessica did amazingly well there! The swimming and sunshine were so good for her! Nicole began writing a children's book series while on vacation. We were all so relaxed, we forgot the days...and actually missed our return flight!

Juergen continues to help lead the Sunday night leadership team at our Church. This is our next generation service. I won't bore you with the details, but the service continues to grow. It takes a great deal of his "free time" and is a great challenge to him. I know he has a deep desire to see the service grow in depth of the knowledge of God, as well as real love and fellowship! It is a great service...but has a desire to see more!

I love writing my blogs. I write 4 blogs now. I hardly post on two, so it's mostly just my adoption blog and this family blog. I started blogging just for the writing practice. I really do want to write a book about autism...but just don't seem to find the time. Maybe when Sarah finally goes to kindergarten, I will sit down and really write. For now the blogs give me a little practice each day!

I won't bore you with all the other details of the year, guitar lessons, Lego,Chinese lessons,Computer games, Sunday school class, work, gardening, Friends, family, our crazy dog, the piles of books we have read,and piles of cloths I have washed and the sermons we have heard on God TV, and We have grown and we are all healthy (apart from the flu), we love each other, and we are very grateful for the blessings of this year!

Any way...Merry Christmas to you, and happy new year!

"May you live all the days of your life"
Jonathan Swift

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

a early gift from my girls

Jessica had it first, and then Nicole, now they have given it to me! I have the flu!!! Oh, I am so sick! Please pray for me! This is not fun!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Christmas movies

Juergen goes to his company Christmas party tonight.The company has gotten very big, and wives, husbands, and others are not invited! That's OK with me. I never did like those things anyway! I think I'll pull out some Christmas movies. Juergen hates those kind of "Chick flicks". What should it be, "It's a wonderful life" or "Holiday Inn" I just love the line from It's a wonderful life, "To my big brother George, the richest man in town"!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

I love this story


It's just a small white envelope stuck among the branches of our
Christmas tree. No name, no identification, no inscription. It has
peeked through the branches of our tree for the past 10 years or so.

It all began because my husband Mike hated Christmas -- oh, not the
true meaning of Christmas, but the commercial aspects of it -- the
overspending, the frantic running around at the last minute to get a
tie for Uncle Harry and the dusting powder for Grandma -- the gifts
given in desperation because you couldn't think of anything else.

Knowing he felt this way, I decided one year to bypass the usual
shirts, sweaters, ties, and so forth. I reached for something
special , just for Mike. The inspiration came in an unusual way. Our
son Kevin, who was 12 that year, was wrestling at the junior level at
the school he attended. Shortly before Christmas, there was a non-
league match against a team sponsored by an inner-city church.

These youngsters, dressed in sneakers so ragged that shoestrings
seemed to be the only thing holding them together, presented a sharp
contrast to our boys in their spiffy blue and gold uniforms and
sparkling new wrestling shoes. As the match began, I was alarmed to
see that the other team was wrestling without headgear, a kind of
light helmet designed to protect a wrestler's ears. It was a luxury
the ragtag team obviously could not afford.

Well, we ended up walloping them. We took every weight class. And, as
each of their boys got up from the mat, he swaggered around in his
tatters with false bravado, a kind of street pride that couldn't
acknowledge defeat. Mike, seated beside me, shook his head sadly, "I
wish just one of them could have won," he said. "They have a lot of
potential, but losing like this could take the heart right out of
them." Mike loved kids -- all kids -- and he knew them, having
coached little league football, baseball, and lacrosse.

That's when the idea for his present came. That afternoon, I went to
a local sporting goods store and bought an assortment of wrestling
headgear and shoes and sent them anonymously to the inner-city
church. On Christmas Eve, I placed the envelope on the tree, the
note inside telling Mike what I had done and that this was his gift
from me. His smile was the brightest thing about Christmas that year
and in succeeding years. For each Christmas, I followed the
tradition -- one year sending a group of mentally handicapped
youngsters to a hockey game, another year a check to a pair of
elderly brothers whose home
had burned to the ground the week before Christmas, and on and on.
The envelope became the highlight of our Christmas. It was always the
last thing opened on Christmas morning, and our children, ignoring
their new toys, would stand with wide-eyed anticipation as their dad
lifted the envelope from the tree to reveal its contents.

As the children grew, the toys gave way to more practical presents,
but the envelope never lost its allure. The story doesn't end there.
You see, we lost Mike last year due to cancer. When Christmas rolled
around, I was still so wrapped in grief that I barely got the tree
up. But Christmas Eve found me placing an envelope on the tree, and
in the morning it was joined by three more. Each of our children,
unbeknownst to the others, had placed an envelope on the tree for
their dad. The tradition has grown and someday will expand even
further with our grandchildren standing around the tree with wide-
eyed anticipation watching as their fathers take down the envelope.

Mike's spirit, like the Christmas spirit, will always be with us. May
we all remember Christ, who is the reason f or the season, and the
true Christmas spirit this year and always. God Bless!

To do list

There are only 13 more days before Christmas. I have been in denial about the whole season. The weather in Germany has been more like October weather. It makes me think I've got a few more months to pull myself together! Any mom will tell you Christmas is what mom makes it! Dad only shops for Mom (and that always happens on December 24Th at around 11 am). Mom shops for everyone else! She is in charge of the Christmas crafts, cookies, special dinners, class parties, gifts for teachers and bus drivers, outings to the city Christmas markets, etc... and trust me this Mom is really behind schedule. I am just now making a list, and starting to realize I've got less then two weeks to make some magic! On Christmas day Juergen will be building Lego with the boys, Nicole will be playing with her new gifts (she reads this blog, so no more details), Jessica will be watching a new DVD, and I will be curling up on the big chair in the living room(maybe with a cup of hot coffee, hot coffee hardly ever happens) listening to the joy of my big work will be done! OK,back to that LIST!!!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Juergen dancing to Jingle Bells as an Elf .

You need to watch this. It is Juergen dancing to Jingle Bells dressed as an Elf.

And HERE is Thomas as an elf!

And I also have Philip HERE,
I know this is getting old,but the kids want to see themselves as an elf!

Nicole elf!

Amy elf!

Jessica elf!

our dog Mickey elf.

and last but not least...Sarah elf sings Jingle Bells in Chinese!

PS.I made the kids skip school so they could learn the dance routine! What a talented family!!!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Where do we hide from this darkness?

Hi, I am a little shaken up today. Let me explain...
About two weeks ago a young German teenager walked into a high school and shot I believe 6 others, then shot and killed himself. This was something that happens in the USA, not here! Two days ago another young German teenager intended to do the some thing in my state.I guess he posted it on the Internet, that he would go into an unnamed high school in Baden-Württemberg,and kill people. There where police everywhere (at the schools of my children). The young man ended up killing himself in a forest. I felt really sad for his family. I am grateful he didn't manage to hurt or kill anyone else, but sad they did not manage to find him before he shot himself! Well, here is why I am shaken up, Philip came home early today (two hours early). I questioned him why. At first he said the teachers had sent them home, they had a meeting. At lunch time he told us police where all over his school. They were arresting a young teenage boy, with a black shirt.They thought he had a gun! We thought we were safe from this madness! These things only happen in America, the crazy Wild West that allows people to carry and buy guns! You can not get guns in Germany! But they have opened the boarders up to the east, and the guns are pouring in. Angry young boys feed their minds on violent video games, and plan spectacular suicides killing all sorts of Innocent children! So where do we hide from this darkness? It has come very close to home! I am not sure what we must do?

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Why I love my Mom

I read this today on a yahoo group, but it sounds pretty real...
Mom and Dad were watching TV when Mom said, "I'm tired, and it's getting
late. I think I'll go to bed"

She went to the kitchen to make sandwiches for the next day's
lunches. Rinsed out the popcorn bowls, took meat out of the freezer for
supper the following evening, checked the cereal box levels, filled the sugar
container, put spoons and bowls on the table and started the coffee pot for
brewing the next morning.

She then put some wet clothes in the dryer, put a load of clothes into the
washer, ironed a shirt and secured a loose button

She picked up the game pieces left on the table, put the phone back on the
charger and put the telephone book into the drawer.

She watered the plants, emptied a wastebasket and hung up a towel to dry.

She yawned and stretched and headed for the bedroom. She stopped by the desk
and wrote a note to the teacher, counted out some cash for the field trip, and
pulled a text book out from hiding under the chair.

She signed a birthday card for a friend, addressed and stamped the envelope
and wrote a quick note for the grocery store. She put both near her purse.

Mom then washed her face with 3 in 1 cleanser, put on her Night solution &
age fighting moisturizer, brushed and flossed her teeth and filed her nails.

Dad called out, "I thought you were going to bed."

"I'm on my way," she said.

She put some water into the dog's dish and put the cat outside, then made
sure the doors were locked and the patio light was on.

She looked in on each of the kids and turned out their bedside lamps and
TV's, hung up a shirt, threw some dirty socks into the hamper, and had a brief
conversation with the one up still doing homework.

In her own room, she set the alarm; laid out clothing for the next
day, straightened up the shoe rack. She added three things to her 6 most
important things to do list. She said her prayers, and visualized the
accomplishment of her goals.

About that time, Dad turned off the TV and announced to no one in
particular. "I'm going to bed."

And he did...without another thought.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

This was made in 1961- my birth year!

Working hard today

We are not getting any rest today. We have a very long to do list we are trying to work through before we go to China. I wish I knew when we would be able to travel to China to pick up Sarah. The not knowing is getting me down. I think all this hard work is good for me. I don't have to think...just work. Tonight I will fall into bed and sleep hard because I'm so tired. Please be praying with us to get our travel approval soon. We would love so much to travel during the kids Christmas vacation. I realize this is getting more and more unlikely...but with God all things are possible!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Here is the link to a 14 page holiday song book you can print yourself. It includes songs like Angels we have heard on high, and Joy to the world.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


There is no place like home!

I read that it is snowing in old home! I love to watch the snow fall. It has been pretty warm here in Germany. I don't actually like the cold! When we pick up Sarah in China,half our trip will be in Southern China where it's warm! I am looking forward to escaping winter for a short time! I would love to live in Thailand or Israel. Snow is great to watch falling, but it is know...cold! :)

Monday, November 27, 2006

What is Christmas all about?

This is my very favorite Christmas TV special. When Jessica was born, she had 4 heart problems. We had her in the hospital at Christmas time. We had no time to go Christmas shopping. The few gifts we did have were stolen from under our tree. That is right, someone broke into our small apartment and STOLE our gifts! The only thing I received for Christmas (apart from the priceless gift of my daughters life) was a Christmas card from Juergen with Charley Brown and Linus. I still have the card! Juergen knew that I loved this scene.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Sorry, this is long but interesting

Tweens' are fast becoming the new teens

By MARTHA IRVINE, AP National WriterSat Nov 25, 6:46 PM ET

Zach Plante is close with his parents — he plays baseball with them and, on weekends, helps with work in the small vineyard they keep at their northern California home.

Lately, though, his parents have begun to notice subtle changes in their son. Among other things, he's announced that he wants to grow his hair longer — and sometimes greets his father with "Yo, Dad!"

"Little comments will come out of his mouth that have a bit of that teen swagger," says Tom Plante, Zach's dad.

Thing is, Zach isn't a teen. He's 10 years old — one part, a fun-loving fifth-grader who likes to watch the Animal Planet network and play with his dog and pet gecko, the other a soon-to-be middle schooler who wants an iPod.

In some ways, it's simply part of a kid's natural journey toward independence. But child development experts say that physical and behavioral changes that would have been typical of teenagers decades ago are now common among "tweens" — kids ages 8 to 12.

Some of them are going on "dates" and talking on their own cell phones. They listen to sexually charged pop music, play mature-rated video games and spend time gossiping on MySpace. And more girls are wearing makeup and clothing that some consider beyond their years.

Zach is starting to notice it in his friends, too, especially the way they treat their parents.

"A lot of kids can sometimes be annoyed by their parents," he says. "If I'm playing with them at one of their houses, then they kind of ignore their parents. If their parents do them a favor, they might just say, 'OK,' but not notice that much."

The shift that's turning tweens into the new teens is complex — and worrisome to parents and some professionals who deal with children. They wonder if kids are equipped to handle the thorny issues that come with the adolescent world.

"I'm sure this isn't the first time in history people have been talking about it. But I definitely feel like these kids are growing up faster — and I'm not sure it's always a good thing," says Dr. Liz Alderman, an adolescent medicine specialist at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City. She's been in practice for 16 years and has noticed a gradual but undeniable change in attitude in that time.

She and others who study and treat children say the reasons it's happening are both physical and social.

Several published studies have found, for instance, that some tweens' bodies are developing faster, with more girls starting menstruation in elementary school — a result doctors often attribute to improved nutrition and, in some cases, obesity. While boys are still being studied, the findings about girls have caused some endocrinologists to lower the limits of early breast development to first or second grade.

Along with that, even young children are having to deal with peer pressure and other societal influences.

Beyond the drugs, sex and rock'n'roll their boomer and Gen X parents navigated, technology and consumerism have accelerated the pace of life, giving kids easy access to influences that may or may not be parent-approved. Sex, violence and foul language that used to be relegated to late-night viewing and R-rated movies are expected fixtures in everyday TV.

And many tweens model what they see, including common plot lines "where the kids are really running the house, not the dysfunctional parents," says Plante, who in addition to being Zach's dad is a psychology professor at Santa Clara University in California's Silicon Valley.

He sees the results of all these factors in his private practice frequently.

Kids look and dress older. They struggle to process the images of sex, violence and adult humor, even when their parents try to shield them. And sometimes, he says, parents end up encouraging the behavior by failing to set limits — in essence, handing over power to their kids.

"You get this kind of perfect storm of variables that would suggest that, yes, kids are becoming teens at an earlier age," Plante says.

Natalie Wickstrom, a 10-year-old in suburban Atlanta, says girls her age sometimes wear clothes that are "a little inappropriate." She describes how one friend tied her shirt to show her stomach and "liked to dance, like in rap videos."

Girls in her class also talk about not only liking but "having relationships" with boys.

"There's no rules, no limitations to what they can do," says Natalie, who's also in fifth grade.

Her mom, Billie Wickstrom, says the teen-like behavior of her daughter's peers, influences her daughter — as does parents' willingness to allow it.

"Some parents make it hard on those of us who are trying to hold their kids back a bit," she says.

So far, she and her husband have resisted letting Natalie get her ears pierced, something many of her friends have already done. Now Natalie is lobbying hard for a cell phone and also wants an iPod.

"Sometimes I just think that maybe, if I got one of these things, I could talk about what they talk about," Natalie says of the kids she deems the "popular ones."

It's an age-old issue. Kids want to fit in — and younger kids want to be like older kids.

But as the limits have been pushed, experts say the stakes also have gotten higher — with parents and tweens having to deal with very grown-up issues such as pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Earlier this year, that point hit home when federal officials recommended a vaccine for HPV — a common STD that can lead to cervical cancer — for girls as young as age 9.

"Physically, they're adults, but cognitively, they're children," says Alderman, the physician in New York. She's found that cultural influences have affected her own children, too.

Earlier this year, her 12-year-old son heard the popular pop song "Promiscuous" and asked her what the word meant.

"I mean, it's OK to have that conversation, but when it's constantly playing, it normalizes it," Alderman says.

She observes that parents sometimes gravitate to one of two ill-advised extremes — they're either horrified by such questions from their kids, or they "revel" in the teen-like behavior. As an example of the latter reaction, she notes how some parents think it's cute when their daughters wear pants or shorts with words such as "hottie" on the back.

"Believe me, I'm a very open-minded person. But it promotes a certain way of thinking about girls and their back sides," Alderman says. "A 12-year-old isn't sexy."

With grown-up influences coming from so many different angles — from peers to the Internet and TV — some parents say the trend is difficult to combat.

Claire Unterseher, a mother in Chicago, says she only allows her children — including an 8-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter — to watch public television.

And yet, already, they're coming home from school asking to download songs she considers more appropriate for teens.

"I think I bought my first Abba single when I was 13 or 14 — and here my 7-year-old wants me to download Kelly Clarkson all the time," Unterseher says. "Why are they so interested in all this adult stuff?"

Part of it, experts say, is marketing — and tweens are much-sought-after consumers.

Advertisers have found that, increasingly, children and teens are influencing the buying decisions in their households — from cars to computers and family vacations. According to 360 Youth, an umbrella organization for various youth marketing groups, tweens represent $51 billion worth of annual spending power on their own from gifts and allowance, and also have a great deal of say about the additional $170 billion spent directly on them each year.

Toymakers also have picked up on tweens' interest in older themes and developed toy lines to meet the demand — from dolls known as Bratz to video games with more violence.

Diane Levin, a professor of human development and early childhood at Wheelock College in Boston, is among those who've taken aim at toys deemed too violent or sexual.

"We've crossed a line. We can no longer avoid it — it's just so in our face," says Levin, author of the upcoming book "So Sexy So Soon: The Sexualization of Childhood."

Earlier this year, she and others from a group known as the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood successfully pressured toy maker Hasbro to drop plans for a line of children's toys modeled after the singing group Pussycat Dolls.

Other parents, including Clyde Otis III, are trying their own methods.

An attorney with a background in music publishing, Otis has compiled a line of CDs called "Music Talking" that includes classic oldies he believes are interesting to tweens, but age appropriate. Artists include Aretha Franklin, Rose Royce and Blessid Union of Souls.

"I don't want to be like a prude. But some of the stuff out there, it's just out of control sometimes," says Otis, a father of three from Maplewood, N.J.

"Beyonce singing about bouncing her butt all over the place is a little much — at least for an 8-year-old."

In the end, many parents find it tricky to strike a balance between setting limits and allowing their kids to be more independent.

Plante, in California, discovered that a few weeks ago when he and Zach rode bikes to school, as the two of them have done since the first day of kindergarten.

"You know, dad, you don't have to bike to school with me anymore," Zach said.

Plante was taken aback.

"It was a poignant moment," he says. "There was this notion of being embarrassed of having parents be too close."

Since then, Zach has been riding by himself — a big step in his dad's mind.

"Of course, it is hard to let go, but we all need to do so in various ways over time," Plante says, "as long as we do it thoughtfully and lovingly, I suppose."


Bad Bond!

Hi,It is late, but I'm having trouble falling asleep. Juergen and I went to see the new blond bond movie. It was so unnecessarily violent,I probably should have walked out in the first two minutes. It was not really clear who was good and who was bad. They were all bad! There was no clear good cause worth fighting for! It was mostly about money! I basically hated it! I am not a big fan of Bond films. I went because my hubby likes spy flicks! He did not like it either! What ever happened to the good guys verses the bad guys?

Friday, November 24, 2006

e-bay christmas shopping

Shopping for Christmas?

A note about the Christmas party

Dec 1
Dear Colleagues
We are happy to invite you to our annual Christmas party on Dec 24 in the Argentina Steakhouse.
We will have live music and be able to sing Christmas carols - and our CEO will appear dressed up as Santa Claus and light the tree.

I am looking forward to meet you there and wish you and your families a merry Christmas season.

Bernfried Meier-Eiergeist
Director of Personnel
Dec 2
To: All employees
Yesterday's mail had by no means the intention to isolate our non-Christian colleagues. We of course realize that your holidays do not totally conform to ours.
Therefore we will now call the party the "year-end party". We will have no tree and we will not sing either.
I wish you and your families a happy time.
Bernfried Meier-Eiergeist
Director of Personnel
Dec 3
To: All employees
In this mail I respond to a discrete hint from a member of the alcoholics anonymous that has demanded a 'dry table'.
I am happy to be able to comply with your wish but would like to note that your anonymity cannot be fully guaranteed.
Bernfried Meier-Eiergeist
Director of Personnel Research
Dec 7
To: All employees
I finally managed to get a special table for all the "Weight-Watchers" far away from the buffet and another table for the pregnant women that is close to the restrooms.
Are you all happy now?
Bernfried Meier-Eiergeist,
Director of the nut-house

Dec 9
To: all employees
Of course we will separate the smokers from the non-smokers by a heavy curtain that will completely divide the party room. If this is not possible, we will put the smokers into a tent outside.
Bernfried Meier-Eiergeist,
Director Sanatorium

Dec 10
Vegetarians ! I have been waiting for you! I don't give a '*§$%//#*@!!! whether you like it or not: We are going to the steak house!!!
If you want you can fly to the moon to be as far away as possible from the 'death grill' as you call it on the 24th. Just go to the salad bar and eat raw tomatoes.
BTW, tomatoes have feelings too, they scream when you cut them. Yes, I have heard them scream. Now what do you say?????
I wish all of you a rotten Christmas. Eat and drink what you like and choke on it.
Bernfried Meier-Eiergeist,
The idiot from the third floor that is wasting his time with you...

Dec 14
Dear colleagues
We have heard that Mr. Meier-Eiergeist is doing better now. The sanatorium will probably lift the ban on visitors within a few months.
Jens-Peter Müllerr>Interim Personnel director
PS: The Christmas Party has been cancelled

Thursday, November 23, 2006

An odd Thanksgiving

It's Thanksgiving in America and my family is gathering at my sister Shelley's house for dinner! I wish I was there! It's the same old, same old here in Germany. Juergen was not even home for dinner. He had a meeting at church. I had actually bought some turkey (not a whole turkey) and veggies. I planned to bake a pumpkin pie. Plans change! I am going to give my kids a sample of US thanksgiving food (small sample) tomorrow night! We want daddy to be there. He isn't a great fan of pumpkin pie, so I'll make some apple pie too!
I got a new picture of Sarah (the 3 year old girl we are adopting from China). I may get even more photos tomorrow because a traveling family will visit the orphanage tomorrow (God willing).
I got some really bad news too. My niece Anna (the daughter of Juergens brother) is in the hospital. She just found out she has childhood Diabetes. Her body isn't producing any insulin, and so she is going to have to give herself shots. It is really hard news for the family. They have had a long list of hard things to deal with over the past few years! They need the comfort and help of God. Anna is a world class kid! She is sweet, beautiful, and very smart! Pray that God heals her body and blesses her future! Thanks

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

I love this story!

I read this story a few years back, and it still warms my heart! Happy Thanksgiving! I am so thankful for parents who basically gave me everything they could so that I could have a better future.


The Pickle Jar

As far back as I can remember, the large pickle jar sat on the floor beside the dresser in my parents' bedroom. When he got ready for bed, Dad would empty his pockets and toss his coins into the jar. As a small boy I was always fascinated at the sounds the coins made as they were dropped into the jar. They landed with a merry jingle when the jar was almost empty. Then the tones gradually muted to a dull thud as the jar was filled. I used to squat on the floor in front of the jar and admire the copper and silver circles that glinted like a pirate's treasure when the sun poured through the bedroom window.

When the jar was filled, Dad would sit at the kitchen table and roll the coins before taking them to the bank. Taking the coins to the bank was always a big production. Stacked neatly in a small cardboard box, the coins were placed between Dad and me on the seat of his old truck. Each and every time, as we drove to the bank, Dad would look at me hopefully. "Those coins are going to keep you out of the textile mill, son. You're going to do better than me. This old mill town's not going to hold you back." Also, each and every time, as he slid the box of rolled coins across the counter at the bank toward the cashier, he would grin proudly. "These are for my son's college fund. He'll never work at the mill all his life like me."

We would always celebrate each deposit by stopping for an ice cream cone. I always got chocolate. Dad always got vanilla. When the clerk at the ice cream parlor handed Dad his change, he would show me the few coins nestled in his palm. "When we get home, we'll start filling the jar again."

He always let me drop the first coins into the empty jar. As they rattled around with a brief, happy jingle, we grinned at each other. "You'll get to college on pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters," he said. "But you'll get there. I'll see to that."

The years passed, and I finished college and took a job in another town. Once, while visiting my parents, I used the phone in their bedroom, and noticed that the pickle jar was gone. It had served its purpose and had been removed. A lump rose in my throat as I stared at the spot beside the dresser where the jar had always stood. My dad was a man of few words, and never lectured me on the values of determination, perseverance, and faith. The pickle jar had taught me all these virtues far more eloquently than the most flowery of words could have done.

When I married, I told my wife Susan about the significant part the lowly pickle jar had played in my life as a boy. In my mind, it defined, more than anything else, how much my dad had loved me. No matter how rough things got at home, Dad continued to doggedly drop his coins into the jar. Even the summer when Dad got laid off from the mill, and Mama had to serve dried beans several times a week, not a single dime was taken from the jar. To the contrary, as Dad looked across the table at me, pouring catsup over my beans to make them more palatable, he became more determined than ever to make a way out for me. "When you finish college, son," he told me, his eyes glistening, "you'll never have to eat beans again unless you want to."

The first Christmas after our daughter Jessica was born, we spent the holiday with my parents. After dinner, Mom and Dad sat next to each other on the sofa, taking turns cuddling their first grandchild. Jessica began to whimper softly, and Susan took her from Dad's arms. "She probably needs to be changed," she said, carrying the baby into my parents' bedroom to diaper her.

When Susan came back into the living room, there was a strange mist in her eyes. She handed Jessica back to Dad before taking my hand and quietly leading me into the room. "Look," she said softly, her eyes directing me to a spot on the floor beside the dresser. To my amazement, there, as if it had never been removed, stood the old pickle jar, the bottom already covered with coins.

I walked over to the pickle jar, dug down into my pocket, and pulled out a fistful of coins. With a gamut of emotions choking me, I dropped the coins into the jar. I looked up and saw that Dad, carrying Jessica, had slipped quietly into the room. Our eyes locked, and I knew he was feeling the same emotions I felt. Neither one of us could speak.

By A.W. Cobb,
from Chicken Soup for the Parent's Soul

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Funny Quotes

Here are a few funny quotes. Feel free to add to this list by leaving a comment.

The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

42.7% of all statistics are made up on the spot.

Everyone has a photographic memory, some just don't have film!

Yesterday was the last day of the previous period of your life.

A Day Without Sunshine Is Like, You Know, Night

Age is a high price to pay for maturity

A new heart

Today I had to take Jessica, Nicole and Philip to the heart clinic in Heidelberg for a checkup. Jess had heart surgery at 3months of age, and we follow her up each year. Philip was found in central Thailand as a baby. He had two holes in his heart. He had surgery in Thailand. We also do annual check ups. It was Nicole's first heart exam. She gets tired easily, and sleeps propped up on pillows. I just wanted to make sure everything was OK. We found out Nicole has a valve in her heart that leaks a very tiny bit. It is no problem right now, but needs to be checked yearly. Philip is fine. We were afraid Jessica might need valve surgery. The heart Surgeon who did her original OP said she would need a valve job by the time she was 15 years old. We would not be surprised,but we really did not want to put her through that. Anyway, Nicole and I prayed for her last night. Today the Dr.said she is just fine. I have to continue with the checkups, but she may not need surgery for 20 years! It was a stressful morning, but I am so glad the kids are fine! I never expected the Dr to say she could go with out surgery for 20 years! I pray this is really true!

Monday, November 20, 2006

I got to sleep in until 9am this morning.Jessica (our 15 year old autistic daughter) does not go to schools on Mondays anymore. She needs a full time aid in school, and her two teachers that help her are not available Mondays. She has longer school hours Tuesday-Fridays, and no school Mondays. Anyway, I usually need to get up to help get Jessica ready for school, and today I got to sleep.I think I must be part bear, because I love to sleep! With my new found energy, I cleaned up the living room, dinning room, and kitchen. While I cleaned, I watched God TV. I understand you can now get GOD TV in the USA. You should check it out, it is great! Today I heard Steve Hill give his testimony of how God delivered him from drug addiction. Someone once said to him that Jesus was a crutch, He responded, "Oh, yes"! "He is not just my crutch, He is my wheel chair"! "I would be dead with out Him"! I loved it! I think too many of us think we would do just fine without God. Some of us are blessed enough to realize how great it is to depend upon God. After I watched Steve Hill, I got to hear Reinhard Bonnke speak. OH!!! Bonnke was amazing. He talked about a time to be born, and a time to die, and how now, the time between being born and death is the day of salvation! Now is the day of grace. He told some great stories. I wanted to sit there and listen, but my poor dog Mickey needed to take a walk. I listened as long as I felt I could, but nature was calling! I feel very blessed to hear such good preaching on TV and on the computer. Juergen and I both love good preaching. We are like two seminary students comparing notes sometime! I feel so blessed to have a Christian husband who has a passion to grow in God, and to serve God. Our life is always challenged, never boring!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

The Jesus Film

"The Jesus Film" is a feature-length motion picture released in 1979 that depicts the life of Jesus Christ according to the Gospel of Luke in the Bible.The film's origins can be traced back to 1950 when Bill Bright, who would go on to found Campus Crusade for Christ, wanted to create an entertaining, but biblically accurate film about the life of Jesus Christ that could be translated and distributed globally.

I have put the whole film in 15 parts at the bottom of My blog, How to become a Christian. If you haven't seen the film, it is a very good over view of the book of Luke. Each part is between 7 and 9 minutes.This movie has gone all over the world. There is also a link to the film in German.

More on Secret Santa

When I was studying in Minneapolis to be a campus pastor, I was pretty poor. I could barley pay my rent, and buy food. I had to walk from point A to point B because I had no money for the bus. Even in the middle of the coldest winter days, I would need to walk. Someone noticed I had a torn up old back pack. They placed an envelope in my mailbox with money, and the address for a good place to buy back packs. Over the years I have seen many tiny miracles of provision, gifts from unknown givers. I think we would all be blessed if we would open our eyes to the practical needs of others. Go to a second hand store, and look at the parents hunting for a gift for their child. Go to the food store, and offer to pay for the groceries of the family behind you who looks like maybe they can use the help! Give in secret, and God will reward you someday in the open. But really, it is a great gift to yourself just to give!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

For sale just in time for Christmas?

I saw this for sale at a local store just in time for Christmas! Boy, I bet this will be a hot item! Just what we all need!

Secret Santa

Secret Santa has decided it's time to reveal his identity. He is Larry Stewart, a 58-year-old businessman from the Kansas City suburb of Lee's Summit, Missouri, who made his millions in cable television and long-distance telephone service.

His holiday giving started in December 1979 when he was nursing his wounds at a drive-in restaurant after getting fired. It was the second year in a row he had been fired the week before Christmas.

"It was cold and this car hop didn't have on a very big jacket, and I thought to myself, 'I think I got it bad. She's out there in this cold making nickels and dimes,"' he said.

He gave her $20 and told her to keep the change.

"And suddenly I saw her lips begin to tremble and tears begin to flow down her cheeks. She said, 'Sir, you have no idea what this means to me."'

Stewart went to the bank that day and took out $200, then drove around looking for people who could use a lift. That was his "Christmas present to himself." He's hit the streets each December since.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Last year Reinhard Bonnke showed Juergen this movie project he was working on. It is called Full Flame,and it's designed to light a fire in small groups and churches for the lost. We just ordered the whole video series. You can watch a sample of this video series HERE. Make sure and watch Lost at Sea. It really is amazing! Reinhard Bonnke is preaching in Lagos Nigeria this week. They expect between 6-10 million people.It may be the largest gathering in the world. Exciting things have already happened. You may or may not like Bonnke, but that doesn't really matter. Millions of people who are lost and needing Jesus are coming to Lagos. Bonnke does not preach Bonnke, he preaches Jesus Christ. Maybe a million or more people will find Jesus this week! That is worth praying for!

Homework Battle

I am trying to win the Homework Battle with Thomas. He had no trouble doing homework last year, but it has gotten harder. This year he even tries to lie and say he does not have homework. I have actually gotten pretty good reading him. He isn't such a great lire! Anyway, I sat with him and read the words for him, and spelled them out as he wrote them down. When he finished, he got a reward. I just started giving the boys Star Wars cards. I buy them on e-bay, 100 or more at a time. Most of the boys at their schools collect Yugioh cards. I don't allow these cards because the cult, and occult symbols used in them. Star wars is a battle between good and evil. The good guys win! Today I won the battle, but I am sure we will have many more battles! Here is a funny old Star Wars card.

a God given gift

Akiane Kramarik is like your regular 12yr old kid but what is slightly different about her compared to others is she says God shows her what to paint and she paints it. She uses her gift to help the needy.Here is her website, and a short video of this interesting kid!

The painting is titled Faith, and this is what she wrote about it...

... tied up to a board and thrown out to die on the dirt road
the baby girl was crying for days somewhere in Asia before she was found...
When I met her many months later I knew at once that I would paint her in an empty field, away from the big city,
where she'd find God and love for the first time...
I dedicate this painting to all the abandoned babies and children,
It is because of our selfishness that they suffer and die...

- Akiane

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


I just found a great website if you like to listen to sermons. It is

I am listening to AW Towzer, you can find sermons by C. H. Spurgeon, D. L. Moody, and Andrew Murray. What a resource! You need to receive their newsletter, but apart from this the sermons are free! If you want good food look here!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Pepperdine talk on the poor

This morning I was blessed to be able to share only a small part of my heart about extending compassion to the "poor" with about 50 students from Pepperdine University. From what I've been told Pepperdine is one of the top 10 schools in the USA. I'm sure most (if not all) of these kids are much smarter then me. They are in Germany on a student study abroad program. I really love being given the opportunity to try to shape their values and opinions. I only got 15 minutes, and I did not want to boar them. I felt it went well. They are a great group of young people. I imagine most of them will do amazing things in the future. I hope this will include giving their time and money to others! The staff already try to incorporate projects that help other.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Here are some pictures of Nicole and two of her friends putting together our boxes of gifts for Operation Christmas Child,a project by Samaritans Purse. The German site is here. Last year they gave away 7 million boxes in 90 countries. We try to make it an annual tradition to make one box for each member of our family. This year we needed 7 boxes. I actually pick stuff up like stuffed animals, and kids under ware when it goes on sale, then I have it for the boxes every November. We are late packing them up, the last day to turn them in is the 15th!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

My ears are still ringing from the concert last night, and I have a five star headache, but it was worth it! Delirious is a real British rock band, and they really play hard rock! I loved the words to their songs. They had majorly cool graphics on a screen, that flashed the song text. If you could not understand the text by hearing it, you could clearly read the words. It was an uncompromising Christian message. Juergen and I must have been two of the oldest people there. There were around 1000 young people. The average church in Germany only has 80 people, so this was Huge by German standards. Juergen is the team leader for our Next Generation church service that meets on Sunday nights. We both have a special heart for young college age people. It was really great to see the crowds of young people hungry for more of God! We are starting to see more young people come to Christ in Germany. The concert was great!

History Maker

Is it true today that when people pray
Cloudless skies will break
Kings and queens will shake
Yes it's true and I believe it
I'm living for you

Is it true today that when people pray
We'll see dead men rise
And the blind set free
Yes it's true and I believe it
I'm living for you

I'm gonna be a history maker in this land
I'm gonna be a speaker of truth to all mankind
I'm gonna stand, I'm gonna run
Into your arms, into your arms again
Into your arms, into your arms again

Well it's true today that when people stand
With the fire of God, and the truth in hand
We'll see miracles, we'll see angels sing
We'll see broken hearts making history
Yes it's true and I believe it
We're living for you

Written by Martin Smith ©1996 Curious? Music UK

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Delirious concert

Juergen and I have tickets to see the band Delirious tonight in Stuttgart.God willing we will have a great trip down to the concert, and a loud but awesome evening! They rock, but they also preach! I can not wait!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Christmas dreams

I am a big believer in dreams. My kids have the Lego catalog,and I am already taking down the details of their Christmas wishes. I remember what it was like to dream about Christmas and birthday gifts. Dreaming would last for months, and often gave me more joy then the actual gifts. Sometimes I wonder if I have not lost something by having basically everything I want! I never know what to get Juergen, and He never knows what to get me as a gift. The only thing we lack is sleep! This year I have a dream, it has been something I've wanted for over 20 years. I want a plane ticket to China. I probably will not get that ticket before January, but I know it will come. Our adoption papers are in China, and God willing this dream will come true!

Girl Giant

On the morning of Sunday 7th May the little girl giant woke up at Horseguards Parade in London, took a shower from the time-traveling elephant and wandered off to play in the park...

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


I find it harder to get out of my warm bed in the winter time. It's never easy for me to wake up in the morning, but harder in the winter. We turn the heat off at night to save energy. Juergen and I take turns getting the kids out the door in the morning. This morning it was my turn. Poor Juergen still needed to get up because it was to dark and foggy for Nicole to walk to the Street car alone. Thomas told me 2 minutes before his bus came that he needed to bring sugar to school. The class is baking a cake today. I am not really a baker (Germany has such good bakeries, why should I try to reinvent the wheel). I often don't have sugar in the house. I did not have it this morning. Now I need to drive to the store, buy sugar and take it to his school (20 minutes away by car). Sometimes I wonder how we manage it? The lost shoes in the morning, the parent teachers meetings, the help with the home work etc... everything!
Philip sat on the sofa this morning playing a number & letter game. He needed to draw a line from A to B, then 1 to 2, followed by B to C etc. Last year he would not have been able to do this game. He could not recognize symbols. I sat across the room with my precious cup of Luke warm coffee(I love hot coffee but that never seems to be possible) amazed at the progress. Soon they will all be grown up and I'll be able to sleep in on a cold winter day. I'm sure the extra sleep won't be half as nice as watching Philip do his number letter game! Well,maybe half as nice!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Expect allot of Christmas stuff

only 6 more weeks until Christmas

Hi, I got my very first Christmas letter today, by e-mail! Germany has Thanksgiving, but it's in October. I thought I would get a head start on Christmas by changing my blog look. It gets kind of busy around here, and I may not get the chance to change my blog later.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

I found this short video of some guy flying his ultra light plane over the Rio grand river. I guess the reason I found it so interesting was the whole idea of seeing something so large from a different perspective. He soars high above the river, and it is amazing to see the view. Life can get so confusing and complex when you are close to it, but from a distance everything looks so clear. I wonder what my life looks like from the distance of heaven. How clear everything must be to God, who understands the finest details, but still has the view of eternity!

Domino Pool

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Sweet or Sour

Today is Halloween. In Germany, this is basically a new holiday. 10 years ago, when we moved here, no one went trick or treating. In the past two years they have really promoted the holiday, and just like kids in the USA, kids here love going from house to house collecting candy. I realize allot of Christians don't want anything to do with a day that gives credit to the enemy. I have a choice, I can be the kind that locks my gate to the kids, and shuts all the lights in my house, or I can open my gate and light the path to my house! I decided it was best to light the pathway, and have loads of good candy to pass out. I want the kids in my neighborhood to know a generous family lives here!
My boys have been practising saying Süsses oder Saures (sweet or sour in German). This is what they say instead of trick or treat! Thomas is language delayed. He was saying Süsse oder Saubres. Saubres means to make clean, like clean the house! Nicole thought that was too funny. She drew this cartoon.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Sunday, October 29, 2006


I'm looking for material to put on my how to become a Christian blog. If you have any resources you want to pass on that help explain how others can come into a personal relationship with Jesus, just let me know by posting a comment. If you don't know Jesus, but have questions about God, you can also post that too. I found this cute little video about trees, and how we should just be more like a tree. I did not feel it was the right stuff for my how to be a Christian blog, because it's basically for those who already believe. I don't know what the readers of this blog are believing(because I don't get your feed back...hint, hint).Anyway, I thought I would post it here. My birthday was great, and I'm doing good. I hope you are also having a really wonderful weekend!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Wet paint

Juergen is busy painting the living room and dinning room for my birthday. This was no small task. He had to move all the heavy furniture to the center of the room. We have a very large fish tank that had to be half drained to be moved. We are going with a darker clay color in the living room, a lighter off white on the top of the wall in the dinning room, and a dark brown on the bottom part of the wall in the dinning room.These are all colors found in the curtains we bought at IKEA. We want to get new cabinets in the living room. That may need to wait until after we get back from China. We may do it sooner. We actually received a 30% off coupon from a local furniture store today. If they have something we like, we may get the cabinets now? Anyway, the after shot of the room will come later! Some women only get flowers for their birthdays, I get hard labor! There are some really great husbands in this world, mine is definitely one of them!!!

Friday, October 27, 2006

"I would like to buy a hamburger"

I love this scene from THE PINK PANTHER with Steve Martin. The movie was only OK, but this scene is worth the movie!

This is a Pink Panther cartoon about paint.Juergen is painting the living room for my birthday gift. I can not wait to see how it turns out!

Our adoption papers are being sent today

I'm not sure if everyone reading our family journal actually reads out adoption blog. Anyway, we are in the process of adopting a 3 year old girl from Nanjing China. The paper work took allot more time then we had hoped. DHL even lost 3 of our important documents, and we needed to have them redone. How often does DHL lose a paper? Maybe one time in a million? Anyway, the papers are all ready to go to China today (by FedEx). I thank God for helping us make it this far. It would be a miracle if we could travel to China before the end of the year. It is realistic to think it will be January or February. I like the miracle scenario, but either way I will trust Gods timing is perfect! Here is Sarah our new daughter.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Wow! Hong Kong and Australia!

Wow! we have new readers from Hong Kong and Australia! That's so cool! Welcome to our family blog. I am so glad you are here! What a small world! Have I ever told you about the It's a small world ride at Disneyland? Jessica loves that ride! Every time we go to Disneyland Paris, which is only a 4 hour drive from us, Jessica wants to ride on It's a small world 12 times straight. She has a special pass that lets her skip the line, because she is disabled. I "get to" do the ride with her, because Juergen basically could not handle it, and the other kids want to hang out with dad. If there was anything in this life that would qualify me for Sainthood, it would be riding It's a Small world 12 times in a row! I do love to see her light up as we pass all the cute dolls! I would do just about anything to see her happy!

for Halloween(funny bank ad)

I can please only one person per day. Today is not your day. Tomorrow
isn't looking good either.