Monday, September 28, 2009

this secret garden

Yesterday I went with Nicole to look for the garden that's for rent. I thought I might find it by the photo’s. No luck! We looked for 2 hours. The view was great, and so was the walk. Today I had a map that the out of town owner drew. I also had Thomas with me. After two hour of hiking, no luck. Maybe I can not read maps? That's very likely! Anyway, the view was still good and I'm getting my exercise! There are over 100 garden's in this area. The paths are small and mostly unmarked. Some of the trees have signs on them saying they are from the 1800's. Nicole and I have always wanted to collect antic trees. The down side to this secret garden is it's on a pretty good hill. You may need the feet of a deer in order to garden there! I can imagine it's a wonderful place to camp, or to watch the sunset...but can you grow vegetables there? I'll send Juergen over there with a map. Let's see if he has any luck! The owner will be in town Oct 11th. I may need to wait until then to see it.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

A garden in the hand is worth more then a bush?

I want more garden space. I have been looking for a new house with a larger yard. That would be ideal. Still that is the most expensive solution. Another idea is to buy a garden. There is a nice garden for sale near our house but it cost 15,000 Euros. I'm sure it's worth that, but would I really use it that much? I'm not sure? Then there are gardens to rent. These are very hard to find. You usually have to wait years for a garden you can rent. The point is, I found a rental garden. It only cost 399 Euros per year. It has 1000 square meters of land, over looking Heidelberg. The down side is that it's 6 KM away from my house, and it has no water or electricity. It's a beautiful garden. It has so much potential, but I can not just walk there in 5 minutes. Am I really going to use a garden I have to drive 20 minutes to get to? Should I wait for a garden near us? Should I take this garden? It's a real "find"! I'm pretty sure I can get at least my moneys worth from it. Maybe if I share the space with some of my friends it can be a friendship garden? Then I know it wouldn’t be a waste!

Saturday, September 26, 2009


I am a dreamer. I have always been a dreamer. My poor husband doesn't always know what to make of my dreams. If I express I would like this, or I want to do that it doesn't necessarily need to happen. I am just dreaming out loud. I guess it's just my need to think about things. I take a dream, like a big old house for example off the shelf of my mind, and test it. If it works with everything else I will pursue the dream. If it doesn't work, and I can not make it work I'll just put it back on the shelf. Maybe one day it's going to work. Maybe it's never suppose to work. I can not say. I can only dream. Many of the dreams I've had have already come true. I'm not complaining. I'm just dusting off some old ideas to see if they fit yet. The house thing isn't going to fit. I know it. I can see it in my daughters eyes (Nicole). She doesn't need to open her mouth. I can hear her saying, I like my life and I don't want you to disrupt that. It's complicated when you have kids. You don't want to disrupt them, you want to give them the environment to grow. But I am almost 50 years old. I feel a great need to sort out my dreams. I can not wait 10 years to make some of these things happen. I don't want to live with regret. I'm not going to pursue an old house. Not now. I can not say never. I’m glad Nicole loves her life. I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

U.S. urges caution after German terror threat

HERE is the story on CNN. I guess I'll need to stay away from the "normal" American hot spots. I actually saw about 30 secret service people guarding some American VIP today in the Heidelberg old town. Philip had a doctors appointment. The parking lot I usually park in was totally blocked by secret service people. We were late for our appointment because I had to find another parking lot. The entire block was surrounded by dogs and people with sunglasses, suites and walkie talkies. I asked one of them who they were guarding. I actually asked in German, but the man said he didn't speak German. Then I asked in English, but they wouldn't say. I haven't seen secret service like this since Jimmy Carter was in our hotel in Atlanta. I think it must have been one of the Clintons?

we saw the house

At dinner last night I told the family about the villa. They rolled their eyes! But Juergen said he wanted to look it up on Google earth. So we looked at it. Before you knew it we decided to take a drive down to see it. Juergen had his navigator, and the address. I never would have found it. It is a half hour away. It is next to the S-ban, in a small village. The neighborhood is actually nice. There is a castle on the hill just above the house. My life is in Heidelberg, not Bruchsal. If I was willing to change everything (churches and schools) this place would be awesome. It is too big for us. Maybe if we had another family that wanted to buy it with us. We could have the down stairs, they could have the upstairs? It would take at least 100,000 Euro to whip it into shape. But for me it isn't going to happen. I have a love for old houses. It was great fun to find it. We had Sarah, Philip, and Jessica in the car. They all fell asleep. Juergen and I had a great talk about dreams. I think I would like to take a tour of the house on Saturday. But Realistically the answer is no. Jesus is preparing my house for me in heaven. My house has hardwood floors and a fireplace. I think the world should know I may live in an 1970 Row house with Brady Bunch architecture, but I love art deco. I'm too practical to move, but at least I can droll over the moldings!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Big old houses- and my big mess

I spent some more hours looking at lovely old houses. I found a farm house built in 1859 that is actually pretty affordable, and a villa built in 1929 that is also well priced. Neither is located in an "ideal" spot. But it doesn't really matter. I don't feel like we can move right now. I live in an over crowded row house. It has 4 flights of stairs, and zero charm (built in boring 1970). As much as I would love the high ceilings and fireplaces, wood floors and a large garden...I don't really feel like I'm getting a green light from God. So all I can do is pull out the mop and dust cloth. I’m going to do a spring cleaning. I'll get rid of the extra stuff now filling all my closets. I'll make myself so tired I won't have the energy to think of moving! I go through this wanting to move every year. Juergen hasn’t seemed at all worried. In fact he even wanted to look at the first “dream house” with me. Wouldn’t it be funny if he actually wanted to move too? He has so much on his plate, I doubt that’s ever going to happen!

Oh no! They sent me the architecture plans for the villa...and more photo's...and the address! I guess it won't hurt to just go look at it? It is about 2 1/2 times as big as my house, and the yard is more then 3 times as large. The realtor doesn't even require the "normal" 3.5% payment. There must be something really wrong with this place. Maybe it's right on the train tracks, or the autobahn runs trough it? It must cost a fortune to heat the place?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Dream house 2

I drove to see the dream house today. It's in a small village far from most everything. I only saw the outside of it. It's beautiful! I really think it's too far off the beaten path. I will look at bus schedules and train schedules, and schools. It probably is not going to work. I may want to look at it anyway...just for the entertainment value.


What a coach to even think of doing this! What a winner!!!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Dream house

I would love a big old farm house with a yard. Well, today I found one. OK, it is in a small little town about 20 minutes from everything...but what a house. It has 9 bedrooms and a wine cellar! It has a very large yard and it's totally renovated. This big house is almost the same price as my tiny little row house. Location, location, location! The question is would I be willing to drive everywhere with 5 kids? I must say, this is a dream house to me.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Happy Birthday Dad!

It's late here in Germany. I need to go to bed. I just wanted to tell the world my dad has his 70th birthday today. I already called him, and he got my gift in the mail. I wish I was there, but I love you dad! God bless you and give you a wonderful year!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

poor is not always how much you have but how you feel

I was drinking a coffee in my car, parked outside of the store. Next to me was an older car. It was full of cloths and books. I thought to myself this is the car of a student moving to the University. Well, 5 mins later an older women walks out of the store with a small bag of food. Then I thought, Oh maybe she is living in that car? There aren't many homeless people in Germany, but you see it more and more. I have more people approach me for money lately too. I use to say no, but I find myself giving more. We are living in hard times.
I was also thinking about poverty. There is a poverty that is physical, and sometimes it's mental. I was a pretty poor campus pastor at San Diego State University. I had a small room, a small dresser, and a mattress on the floor. I didn't own a car because I didn’t have any money. But I had all I needed and I was so happy. I didn't feel poor at all. It was rich doing what I loved. One day a "rich" pastor visited our house. I showed him around. He looked so sober. As he left he said he would try to get more funding for our ministry. All of a sudden I realized that he thought I was poor. It surprised me because I really felt rich to be doing what I loved.
When Jessica was first sick with autism, I felt so robbed. And when I went anywhere with her people would show me so much pity. I pitied myself too. But I have learned to treasure Jessica. Sure I still feel robbed of her conversation, but I realize what a gift still remains. Today I feel rich when I'm with her. The only thing that has changed is my mind.

Can you say H1N1...I knew you could!

We got a note from the schools informing us about H1N1 flu. I'm always the 2nd person in the family to get any flu. They bring it home and I get it. It's not like I don't wash my hands. My poor hands practically live in soapy water. Maybe I need to start wearing a mask?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

37 years ago today

37 years ago today I was in a church service in Corvallis, Oregon. The pastor at King Circle Assemblies of God asked if anyone wanted to pray a prayer to ask Jesus into their life to be their savior. I raised my hand and took that step forward into a new life...I have never looked back. 37 years ago I knew very little about the grace I was asking for. Today I have had a small part of that grace revealed in my life. I say a small part because I'm so sure I have not the mind to totally comprehend the magnitude of love offered to me. I'm just so glad I took this road. It has made all the difference.
I have a head cold. Still, the show must go on....I got Jessica ready for school, cleaned the kitchen, living room and dinning room, did 2 loads of laundry, fed the dog and fish, and am now ready to shop (all before breakfast). I'm wondering what life would be like with out 5 kids? I'm sure I would have less work and allot more quite. I'll take the mess. I need to put cold medicine on my shopping list. I still have to clean 2 bath rooms and Jessica’s room before I make lunch.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Thomas begins the 5th grade

In Germany the kids start "high school" in the 5th grade. Many of the kids switch schools. Thomas began with a new class today. He was very nervous but it seemed to go well. He goes to a very big school. There are 8 different 5th grade classes. I'm just praying he finds a good group of friends.

Monday, September 14, 2009


uniforms Pictures, Images and Photos

The kids began school today. I give myself a D for being late with basically everything. The alarm clock didn't ring, Nicole ended up waking us up. Everyone got out the door OK, but it was rushed. I figure some parents had hot breakfast made for their little scholars and they took pictures. Not me. Sorry! They were dressed and on time...that's all I can say for myself. They got showers last night, so no one smelled bad! So the journey begins again. Remember, it's not how you start that's how you finish!

Friday, September 11, 2009


9/11 Pictures, Images and Photos

I had just dropped the kids off at a giant indoor park to play. Nicole is watching them. I drove past the US Military housing and the NATO base in Heidelberg. There was a very large wreath of fresh flowers in front of the NATO base. Then I remembered it is 911. Of course my mind started to flood with the emotions of that dark day. It took me weeks to actually sleep through a night. We unplugged our TV for 2 years because the news only feed my fear. Today I feel "normal" again. Still I know it wouldn't take much to cause all those feelings to resurface. The truth is I've stored all that anxiety on the back shelve of my memory bank. It is all there...I will never forget it. My live goes on...but I'm changed forever.


Last night I looked up the web site of Thomas' school to see what after school clubs he could join. He was excited about band and basketball. That seemed to help encourage him.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Give me grace!

I was feeling so good this morning. Then Thomas and Philip started... God help me! I will not go into details, boys can be such jerks! I made them sit down and write 100 times I will not.... Each listing his own personal crime. It took them an hour. I thought I was so smart! Then I asked them to pick up their room before lunch. But Thomas was feeling down because Nicole was going to a friends house. Why does that bother him? He has no friends. Sad but true. So instead of being someone you would want as a friend, he trashed his room in anger/sadness. I helped him clean the mess up and tried to encourage him. School starts soon. He will have a new class and a new chance to make friends. But just when I think the room is clean, I find a mountain of Lego, and laundry shoved under the dresser. Help me. So another hour later they are finally finished with the room. I have a head ache. Mostly I worry about both my boys. Philip hates his school, but it's the only school he can go to. Thomas acts like a baby half the time. People don't like that. I don't blame them. He needs a friend but he isn't very good at friendship. Oh God, please bless Thomas with a good friend! Someone who can accept him warts and all! I don't even know how to pray for Philip. School begins on Monday.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Around the world

Jessica was born in the USA. She had heart surgery when she was 3 months old. Her first International trip was to Germany when she was 6 months old. She also traveled to Holland and Austria and Belgium on that trip. She then went to Mexico and Canada before her 2nd birthday. She has been to Thailand 4 times, China, and Israel , Cyprus and all over Europe. Sometimes it amazes me how much she has seen...but she is like Forest Gump. Amazing experiences seem to be common to her, but she is little effected by them. Sadly, common things like having a best friend, birthday parties, sleep overs etc have not been her experience. We would never have chosen this isolated yet extraordinary life for our daughter. It is what it is. One of my best memories is of Jessica in Israel the day she was baptized in the Jordan River. What a beautiful young women she is!

18 years old

Juergen came home early today so Nicole and I could take Jessica on a birthday shopping trip. First we went to a large market called Kaufland. There she bought a magazine, candy, a new video, and pretzels. She also picked out salad dressing because she wanted a salad this afternoon and we were out of dressing. Funny! The grand total for her big trip was about 15 Euros. Then we went to toys r us. There she wanted a playmoble catalog. That's it. We walked in the store, got the catalog and then walked out. Then we wanted to take her to her favorite fish and chips place. When we got there she didn't want to leave the car. so Nicole and I went and got her food and we drove home. What a funny character she is. She knew what she wanted, but was tired and did not care to spend much time! Thomas also wanted to shop for his birthday last weekend. Actually, he was pretty much like Jess. Once he had his Lego he wanted to go home. He has been building Lego ever since! I want to thank everyone who called, sent cards, or took the time to e-mail Jessica. She got dozens of e-mails. I told her about them and she smiled. It blesses my heart to know my baby is loved.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Happy birthay Jessica

When I was pregnant with my first child Jessica I imagined she would be beautiful and intelligent. She is both. I never imagined she would be silent. But when my baby was 18 months old she lost her voice to autism. She has never recovered and this a great loss. Tomorrow Jess will turn 18 years old. I could fix my thoughts on what I had hoped for her (independence). She will be 18 years old be she still wears a diaper, can not dress herself, can not walk across a street alone. All of this is sad. Unless God intervenes (and I believe God can step in and change everything) Jessica will never be independent. But I do not fix my thoughts on what she can not do. I choose to thank God for all that she is. Jessica is a sweet, sensitive, loving, intelligent, funny young women. She was so brave to get on an airplane and fly to Thailand. She was also brave to swim in the ocean (something she has always feared). She can read people well. She always gives me a hug when I am sad and makes me laugh. Although many of her dreams are trapped with in a body that does not do what it should, she still dreams. And because I’m her mom and I love her I also dream for her. Jessica has a cold, so we will probably not do much tomorrow. On Saturday I hope to take her shopping because she likes that. I’m sorry she can not speak but you do not need words to love. There are no words to say how much I love her. Happy 18th Birthday Jessica, you are a gift to me and your family. May all your dreams come true!

cool idea

Sunday, September 06, 2009

This is for Juergen

I am that crazy Russian Cosmonaut and Juergen is the American

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Schlossbeleuchtung (castle lighting) and fireworks

I went with Nicole to watch the Castle burning in Heidelberg. They do this 3 times every summer to remeber when the French destroyed Heidelberg in 1689, 1693 and 1764. We had a great spot on the river. It was cold but amazing to see. I can not wrap my brain around how different it is to be here and not Thailand. Both are cool...but so very different! Thomas had a nice birthday. He had new Lego and spent a good deal of the day playing with it. Tonight he wanted to watch a movie with Juergen. That was OK with Nicole and I. Sometimes it's nice when we can get out just the two of us! We eat dinner together then saw the fire works.

Hey Hey Vickey

I got my car last night. It's a cute little thing...very solid. I was too tired to drive her much. Today is Thomas' birthday. He didn't want us to buy his gifts. He wanted to go shopping instead. So I will drive him around today. He actually woke us up at 5am. He was so excited. Juergen took him out to breakfast at Mc Donald’s. I'm so tired...but here we go. Thomas is 12 years old and we need to celebrate!

Friday, September 04, 2009

crab OP

back to the norm

So, we are home! Juergen and I had to hold Jessica the entire 12 hour flight. It took both of us to keep her calm and quite. She did ok. The other 4 kids traveled like pro’s. I guess they all are sort of pro’s . They slept most of the flight. The problem with that was they were wired when they got home, and I was a total zombie. I managed to stay up until 8:30 pm, then I slept all night. Jet lag? What’s that??? It was raining and cold when we arrived in Frankfurt. It looks like fall here. Germany is so different from Thailand. Germany is so clean and organized. Thailand is a feast for the senses. It is loud, colorful, smells (sometimes good sometimes bad) and the food is so good! I actually like both places, they are just radically different. The rolls and coffee tasted great this morning. Today we picked up Mickey. He was overwhelmed to see us! They say he had a good time. He seems very happy. Nicole gave him a bath first thing. I also pick up my new car today. I plan to call the car Vicky after my first dog. The dog was a surprise gift from my parents. She was half collie and half terrier. She was small, smart and tan just like my new car. My dad is allergic to dogs but gave me a dog anyway because he knew how much I wanted one. The new car comes just at the right time. My 18 year old Mazda wouldn’t even start when we got home. Juergen said he would put 5 Euros of gas in her, and drive her to the car dealer. I guess I needed a new car after all. We ordered Vicky in January but she came at just the right time. So the adventure continues. Thailand was great…but so is home!

Thursday, September 03, 2009