Saturday, June 30, 2007

I need your advice!

I've gotten some good advice over the past few days from my readers. Some people leave me comments, others phone me or e-mail me. Everyone seems like they need to apologise first before giving me advice. Please my dear readers, I need advice! Please don't apologies to me, I'm not offended. I can weed through what I think applies, and what doesn't. You never know what may lead us in a good direction. I thank you from my heart for your prayers, and your wise ideas. As long as you are kind, keep giving me the advice...I am teachable, and I need to learn.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Getting creative

I took all of Thomas' cool computer software away because it was making him too aggressive. Now he is only allowed to play a few educational programs (boring). Philip is also not able to watch TV, only a few selected DVDs. So the boys have started to build things, and are generally getting creative. Here they are building magnets.

Thank you for praying

Thank you for praying for Philip. Juergen met with his teacher today. His behavior in class has actually been pretty good. This is good news. The bad news we already knew. He has not learned to read, and from now on even the math instructions involve reading. He can not move forward with out reading. I'm sure he will not stay with this class next school year, but the big question is where can we place him? We need wisdom and direction. Philip has many tests coming up, and we hope we can figure out what is wrong with him. He is a great kid, and can learn. He just needs some extra help, and maybe different methods to learn. I really wish I could teach him at home. He makes so much progress with me. Unfortunately, home schooling is illegal in Germany, and people go to jail for home schooling! Maybe I can fight this because I am American? If I can not find a good option in the German school system, I may need to fight the home school law? We just need wisdom!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Please Pray

I just got a phone call from Philips very stressed teacher saying it's just not going to work, and Philip can not stay in her class. This is basically the 2ND time he has failed the first grade. We have some medical appointments lined up for him. The trouble is where can we send him to school next year. He is very delayed, in language and reading. He is catching up in math. He acts up in class, lies, doesn't bring home homework, copies off other kids work, and is sinking very fast! I work with him every afternoon, but he has a serious memory problem. You teach him something, and it's forgotten a minute later. The special education options in Germany are really awful! We talk with his teacher tomorrow, but she says no way can he what now? I'm really sad! We really need Gods grace and wisdom.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Flag Day

For homework today, Thomas had to draw the flags of 6 European Countries, write their capital Cities, and some special trait of each country. They didn't have this information in his book, so I had to look it up on the internet. Do you know how to color the flag of Sweden, or Great Britain, or France? They told him a symbol for Italy would be a noodle. Then a symbol for France would have to be what? of course all of this had to be done in German. I'm American, I of course never learned this stuff!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

3 is a crowd or the tale of 2 swings

I'm sick today and I wish I could just go to bed. The boys played pretty good together when they came home from school. Everything seemed fine. Then they decided to play on the swings. We only have two swings. Sarah was on one swing and Thomas and Philip fought over the other swing. They fought hard and loud. I'm sure everyone in the neighborhood could hear them fight. When I came outside, Thomas had the swing, and Philip was crying like a baby. He probably should have been sent there and then to bed. When a child acts like an over tired 3 year old having a meltdown...nap is the right answer! I wasn't thinking straight. Remember, I'm sick. I told Philip To push Sarah and let Thomas have the swing. I would pay him. Two minutes later they are fighting over who gets to push Sarah. They looked like they were playing tug of war, and poor Sarah was the rope! I sent them both to their room to cool off. Sarah went to play with a calmer more reasonable Nicole. When I wouldn't let the boys disturb the girls Thomas started to throw his toys around the room. I then made him clean his room. Then I had to discuss what they had done wrong all afternoon. Oh how I would love to just go to bed! I think about the words to the stupid Beatle song “All we need is love”. I red this morning John Lennon’s sons have finally started to talk to each other after 10 years of disagreement. They probably fought over a swing set too. Love sweet love…love is all we need indeed!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Friday, June 22, 2007

Jessica and Nicole

This week Jessica has been doing work study in a garden center. I will get a full report from her teacher tonight, but she seems to be doing great. She seems very happy, and is more interactive and peaceful at home. She is sleeping better, and eating well. I think it's good for her to work. We may have her in a work study program next year, and forget the class room. Perhaps we can do a program that includes academics and work (Jessica will be 16 years old in September and she has autism). I will post photos when I get some.
Nicole did a 20 min oral presentation followed by 1/2 hour questions and answers in Chemistry this week. The last oral presentation she did was a disaster. She is shy, and it's hard for her to speak in front of a group. She was well prepared. She did great. She did not get her grade yet, but it looks like she will get a 1(A) or 2(B). Next week she has a big Latin exam. I can not believe what they expect of these kids! I'm sure I would never have been able to do this kind of work!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Please Pray for this friend in Gaza

(This is a letter from a friend of a friend, please pray for the believers in Gaza)

Sent: Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Dear Brothers and Sisters: Please pray for us. The situation is very bad
in Gaza. As I shared yesterday, the nephew of one of the 'lambs" was
killed. The brother of another believer was kidnapped. We feared he
was killed but he was only beaten and released. He is badly bruised
but praise God, he is fine.
But last night a part of a missile entered the home of a brother and
injured him in the back. It was, Praise God, a very small wound. He is
fine. But his house was damaged in the crossfire.
Today, I awoke to friends calling me telling me not to go to Gaza
City as I often do but to stay in …. where I live because the situation
in Gaza City is so bad. There was an attempted assasination of the
prime minister which unleashed a huge backlash.
Some friends of mine tried to come to be with me in my upstairs
apartment but were turned away by soldiers who don't want any
civilians to be in high places where they fear they might spy on them.
I am in my apartment now and there is much shooting, guns, rifles
and canons. I am writing this from the inner bathroom in my
apartment as I want to get as far away from the windows as possible.
The home of another brother was breached in the Northern Gaza
Strip. He climbed into the water tank on the cieling and hid until the
intruders left. But he asked me for a favor. He said that if he died, he
wanted me to make sure he was given a Christian funeral since his
family is not Christian. I told him the funeral makes no difference. If
the Father choses to take us home than we will be with him regardless
of which cemetary we're buried in.
The situation is very perilous. But we serve a God of miracles.
We need much prayer. No one dares go out of their homes.
For those of you who might want to continue reading, I just want
to explain why I am still here in Gaza even though the situation is so
bad. I could leave, after all and have been offered by the American
consulate to be evacuated. But there are some believers here that can't
leave. They can't leave. I could leave even though I might not be able
to come back. That's one reason I haven't left. The other reason is that
I don't want to leave the new lambs. If it came to the point where I had
to leave, I'll cross that bridge when I come to it, but for now, it's hard
to leave when I know these other brothers can't leave.
If I felt God telling me to leave, I would. But I haven't. Many
people have asked me to leave but I haven't.
Please pray for me to be wise and sensitive to the Holy Spirit
about this.
Please pray for all the sons of our Father who are here that not
one would be hurt. We need to see, as we have so many times, Psalm
91 in action.
As you watch the news and see the unbelievable things that are
happening here such as soldiers throwing other soldiers off of high
rise buildings, and the level of strife, please pray. The children of God
are the answer to the world's ills. We are the salt of the earth and the
light of the world. None of us is perfect but we have the Spirit of God
inside of us and we have access to the Throne of Grace to find help in
time of need. Elijah was a man of like passions like us, and yet, at his
word, there was no rain for three and a half years. At his word, rain
began again. The effectual fervent prayers of the righteous avail much.
Please pray as the Spirit leads you. Here is another suggested prayer:
Lord Jesus, the Gaza Strip and all of its inhabitants belong to
You. You bought them with Your blood. We claim, by faith, the
crown of souls, that You earned when You died on Calvary. You said
if You were lifted up You would draw all men to yourself, Draw all
the people of Gaza to yourself. You said, "Blessed are the poor their's
is the kingdom of God," Lord, look on the poverty of Gaza,
economically, socially, spiritually and pour our Your Holy Spirit.
There is no other answer. As You said in Zechariah chapter 9, 'I will
cut off the pride of the Philistines. I will take away the blood from his
mouth....But he who remains will be for our God. And shall be like the
princes of Judah."

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The storm

Last night we had a very big storm. It came on suddenly. You could see amazing lightning flashes in the distance. I went to Jessica’s room so I could get a better view of the sky. All of a sudden it began to pour down sheets of rain. It was like a waterfall falling from heaven. Then the hail came. Last year I lost most of my garden to heavy hail. When the hail began to fall, I shut the window shades. I just could not watch it! This morning I went outside to check the damage. Most everything except the tomatoes was left in pretty good condition. The tomatoes are looking pretty bad, but maybe they will make it! I imagine if hail destroyed my garden again, I would be sad, but I would replant it. If you build something up, there is always a chance you could lose it...but if you don't build, you have already lost!

"People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered; forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; be kind anyway. If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true friends: succeed anyway. If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you; be honest anyway. What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight; build anyway. If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous; be happy anyway. The good you do today , people will often forget tomorrow; do good anyway. Give the world YOUR best anyway. You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God; it was never between you and them anyway." -Mother Teresa

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Attention Wal Mart Shoppers

I know this is going to sound silly but I drove 20 miles to say goodbye to the Wal-Mart store in Mannheim. Every Saturday afternoon Jessica and I would drive over to Wal-Mart to go shopping. There are other stores much closer to home, but walking into Wal-Mart was almost like walking into America. You could buy almost everything there. Now they are closing their doors. Next week Wal-Mart will become Real. I'm a little sad. Jessica was sick today, so I made my last trip alone. I loaded my cart down with American junk food (Ben and Jerry’s Ice-cream and the stuff to make gourmet hot dogs).I feel like crying. Maybe I just feel home sick? I think it's because a very good friend of mine might be moving away. It does not matter how hard you try to "establish" yourself. Things change. Stores close, people move. I'm going to eat my ice cream!

Pipi Longstocking

I didn't grow up with Pipi Longstocking, the strongest girl in the world. She is very popular in Germany. I just bought the DVD's of an old TV series based on Pipi. I'm trying to fill in the blanks of "common" knowledge all the kids just know, and my kids don't know. My kids know Dr Seuess, and Calvin and Hobbes. Most Germans don't know these things. The boys love the DVD's. I'm also trying to move away from the more violent and aggressive stuff like Bionicles. I think it's ok to build the robots, but watching the DVD's and playing the computer games was making Thomas mean.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Faith vs fear

Self-Control vs. Self-Indulgence - Mac vs PC Mac PC

Casting Crowns

My hero

This morning it looked like it was going to rain. I told Philip to grab an umbrella before he went to school. Sure enough, it began to pour just after he left the house. Over lunch Philip told me he arrived at the school and shared his umbrella with a teacher who got stuck in the down pour! Afterwards she said "thank you, you saved me"! He was so proud...and so am I!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Look at the sky

I'm not sure if it's going to show up so well, but the sky was really black tonight. The clouds came out of nowhere. It was so hot and dry and then BOOM! There was allot of power in those clouds! But I think the storm will also pass very fast!

“Don't tell me the sky is the limit, there are footprints on the moon!”

“When millions of tons of angry elephant come spinning through the sky, and there was no one there to hear it, does it - philosopically speaking - make a noise?”
Rossja Terry Pratchett quotes (English Writer, b.1948)

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Philip has problems learning

Philip can not learn

This morning Juergen took Philip to a clinic in Heidelberg to see if we can get him detoxified from heavy metal poisoning. We had an independent lab test his metal levels. He has 4times as much Mercury as is “normal”. The Heidelberg Doctors tested Philips development and said He is way behind, and in basically every area (a Universal delay). He also has some reflex problems, pointing to a neurological cause. They do not believe in metal problems, and will not detoxify him. Jessica has an appointment with an autism specialist next month. This Doctor treats the biomedical causes of autism, including metal poisoning. She has agreed to see Philip too. Juergen and I are both sad and discouraged. We don’t really know what to do. Philip would fail first grade if they had pass or fail grades for the first grade. He can not read, and still needs to use his fingers or some other aid to do the math (he does not memorize anything). He is really discouraged, and has begun to act up in class. We need help!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Summer Ice

One long Latin sentence

Nicole has studied Latin for 4 years. She goes to a private Catholic high school. We aren't actually Catholic, but this is a very good school. The down side is she must learn Latin for a total of 6 years. I know I could never do it!

The Bus

Jessica doesn't have school on Mondays, so today she started back to school after a 2 week vacation. As you can see, she has a new haircut. She looks really pretty with the new cut, but she was not happy to go back to school. She rides a bus to school each morning. This morning Thomas told Philip he had to go to the Doctor. Philip misunderstood him. Philip thought he said he had to take a bus to a new school. Philip was very upset. He has learning problems. Tomorrow Juergen takes him to a doctor to check out a possible medical cause for his poor memory. Poor Philip knows he has trouble learning, but he doesn't want to ride the bus to a special needs school. Please pray for us, that we can nail down the cause of Philips delay, and that it can be treated.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Sunday school

Once a month I do Sunday school at my church. It's a German church, and I teach the kids English. The kids all learn English in school. Tomorrow I'm doing a Bible study from John 15, "He is the vine, we are the branches". I always try to do a special craft or activity with the kids (5-7th graders). Tomorrow we will make balloon animals and hats. It's a good skill to have if you ever want to do street ministry or short term missions involving kids. Nicole and I went into town to buy the supplies. We sat in a cafe over looking Heidelberg. We had cake. Nicole had two pieces of cake. Now I need to practice making balloon hats!

Friday, June 08, 2007


Our kids opened bank accounts today. I know we should have done this long ago, but never got around to it! Nicole is working hard to raise some money for a mission’s trip. The boys just need to learn to work. We have given them everything, and they had no real motivation to do anything. Now our new idea is to stop giving them gifts (except birthdays a Christmas), and give them money for the work they do around the house. Today one of the boys did a good job and earned money, the other boy (I'm not naming names) did not do a good job so got no money. There were some tears, but don't you think its better they cry now, and not get fired from their jobs later? You can not expect an employer to forgive laziness!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

My fig tree has fruit

First I want to wish my sister Dianna Happy birthday, and my parents Happy Anniversary (I think it's their 49th Anniversary)!
I took some photos from my garden. I'm pretty excited because the fig tree we just planted already has fruit. I don't know if any of you believe that God speaks to people. I believe that He does. I was reading the Bible one day about 2 years ago. I read about the fig tree, and felt like God said to me "Jessica is a fig tree". Since that time, I have wanted to plant a fig tree in my garden. Figs have always been compared to the nation of Israel. Fruitful, and loved by God. Jesus cursed the fig tree that was not fruitful. I had to ask God what kind of fig tree is Jessica, a fruitful tree or a cursed tree (she has autism). I am so blessed that the tree I planted for Jessica is already bearing fruit! God bless my first born child!

If you click on the photo it gets larger

One of the costs of poverty

India struggles to stop trafficking of women
Nicole and I are listening to the one year Bible together. We are now in the book of Acts. One thing that struck me about the New Testament church was its lack of poverty. They sold their stuff and cared for each other. It's a sad world when parents sell their daughters because of poverty. I wonder what would have become of our daughter Sarah had she remained in China? No family to protect her, little chance at an education... and there are millions of girls like her all over the world. Girls, and boys too who should be protected, feed, educated and valued. Instead they are used and abused. Often this happens for lack of money, the small amount of money needed for food and education. Maybe God doesn't want us to sell everything we have got, maybe we just need to cut back a little bit? I don't know? Maybe you should ask him what you should do...but please don't close your eyes and think it's not your problem. Maybe you are not exploiting these children, but are you doing anything to stop the poverty that leads to exploitation?

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Rock out!!!

If you know us, you know Juergen plays electric guitar. He isn't the most conservative old guy. The boys also love to rock! I love Philips wooden horse guitar! Thomas hopes to start drum lessons very soon. I actually played the drums when I was a kid!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

In the park with Jessica

The weather was very nice today, and Juergen took us to the Luisen Park in Mannheim. I took these photos of Jessica. We all need a haircut pretty bad, but she is truly beautiful!

Old or New?

One of the big differences between Juergen and I is he likes new stuff and I like old stuff. I got these old chairs at a second hand shop about two years ago. They got a little too much rain, and the seats are ruined. Juergen says toss them out, I say fix them! The only problem is my hands have been really weak and sore from a serious fall I took in China. I have had a hard time doing allot of stuff (gardening, house work). I finally felt like I could clean these chairs up and prepare them to be renovated. I hope it doesn't take a whole year to finish the task. What do you think of the little pond I made from an old trunk? I had fish in it last year, but they died when we were on a vacation.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Day trip

Our family took a day trip today. It was the first family trip we have taken with Sarah. We drove two hours south to the Black forest. The kids stayed busy in the car counting red Ferraris. There were an unusually larger number of them on the autobahn today. A Ferrari is a midlife crisis on wheels! We had a great lunch. I should have taken a picture of it, but I was not fast enough! We were all pretty hungry and it was really good!!! Juergen took the kids down a summer bobsled. Juergen and I actually got to know each other because I crashed on one of these bobsleds almost 18 years ago (in fact 18 years ago this month). Nicole gets her braces removed tomorrow, so these will be the last photos I take of her with wire on her teeth! We love the South of Germany, and are thinking of renting a vacation house near the Alps in August. It was a really wonderful day!

Sunday morning

It's Sunday morning and Philip and Nicole made these yummy chocolate rolls. They used premade dinner rolls and 2 smashed dark chocolate bars to make these great Sunday morning treats!

Strength is the capacity to break a chocolate bar into four pieces with your bare hands - and then eat just one of the pieces Judith Viorst

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Polish man wakes from 19-year coma

I think this is amazing! This polish man went into a coma 19 years ago, and woke up to find the whole world has changed so much! Imagine!!!

Friday, June 01, 2007

Happy wet birthday Juergen!!!

Today is Juergen's birthday and we love him VERY MUCH!!! The local swimming pool (newly renovated) was going to have its big grand opening party today. It's not the best weather for the grand opening of an outdoor swimming pool. I feel a little sorry for the organizers of that project! If the weather was nice, I'm sure the whole city would turn out for the party. I’m sure as wet and cold as it is only local officials and the architect’s mother will show up! Looking at the pool from a distance, I think it will be nice. It is not so important how you start out; big events don't make up the value of a life. It is all the long sunny days well spent that matter. A swimming pool will be enjoyed for many years, and the wet opening will soon be forgotten. Juergen and I would have loved to go out and celebrate this birthday together. Our new daughter Sarah isn't ready for a babysitter. Too bad! But it's not so important how fabulous this one day turns out to be, because over all life really is just wonderful with Juergen! I hope we have many great long sunny days together for many years to come! Happy Birthday sweetheart!

Fighting lessons