Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Bible in 2010

I listen to the one year Bible on line. It is a reading program that gets you through the whole Bible in 365 days. You can start it on any day, but why not begin on Jan 1? I have a small yahoo group you can join to read/ listen to the whole Bible in 2010. Faith comes by hearing the word of Go...

A good book

The kids are at winter camp (Philip, Thomas and Nicole). Juergen and I were going to take Sarah and Jessica up North to visit Juergens dad Richard. First Richard was very worried about the snow. We decided to postpone our trip until next week. Then the water pipes broke at Juergens dads house. The whole kitchen floor had to be ripped out. It's good we aren't there now. Richard is 80 something...and he is getting a little "autistic". He needs order. I'm thinking Juergen should go alone to visit Richard. I think the thought of our family visiting him is stressing Richard out. Having a clear routine and order is all he can manage. I think part of this maybe the heart medication they have him on. It thins his blood, but has a negative affect on his memory. Getting old is not for wimps! Richard is an amazing man. He can speak 5 languages. He is an extremely intelligent and gracious person. It must cause him a great deal of fear not to have his sharp mind working at 100%. But our children are very loud and chaotic. I think it would be wise for Juergen to visit Richard alone next time.

So anyway, we are at home. We have been racing around looking at bathroom furniture. We plan to renovate our bathroom. We wanted to begin that this week. We decided not to begin because it's pretty messy. We have a party here Thursday night, and visitors from out of town joining us for the weekend. But planning takes time, and we have made progress with the plans.
Juergen has been reading a novel to me. It's called "Son of Perdition" by Wendy Alec. It is her 3rd novel in a series called the Chronicles of brothers. It begins with The Fall of Lucifer, then the Messiah, and this book is about the rise of the anti Christ. It is very gripping. It is based partly on the Bible, and partly fantasy. Sort of like The Lord of the Rings. I think you can only get the first 2 books in the USA. Son of Perdition is available on Amazon in the UK or you can pre order it in the USA. I gave it to Juergen for Christmas. We have been staying up until 2am every night reading it. We have 100 more pages to go. I'm sure we will try to finish it tonight. In the day we take Jessica and Sarah out to lunch, swimming, and to jump in (a play park). It is a very relaxing time. We pick Philip, Thomas and Nicole up tomorrow. Sorry for my lack of blogging. I'm being pretty lazy while I have a chance.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

We are having a good family Christmas. I hope you are too. Some friends of ours are facing a very dark period in their marriage. I hope they will consider watching this movie, and maybe dare to learn to love each other. Here is the first of 12 parts of the movie "fireproof". One of the greatest gifts on earth is a good marriage. It doesn't always come easy...some times you need to fight for it!

The German book is 40 Tage Liebe wagen, you can find it at

Juergen gave me a sonic toothbrush for Christmas. I really wanted one. My gums need some help. This toothbrush is fancy. It has 6 different heads. I have to read the book so I can figure out what do with all these different brush heads. And when you use this brush it's like nothing I have ever tried before. I totally love it. Thanks really bring a smile (a very white and healthy smile) to my face! Now if I can find this super cool toothpaste thingy.

Life is beautiful...just think, God gave us his son.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

Juergen took the kids to church at 4pm. They saw a very good children's play about the Nativity, and forgetting Jesus at Christmas. I stayed home with Jessica and Philip (Philip is sick, and Jess hates crowds). After church we eat Mexican food. It turned out great if I do say so myself. Then we rolled dice to see who got to open the first gift. The highest got the first gift, lowest was last. That worked well. Everyone was pretty happy with their presents. I got a new Mp3 player for my car. I also got candles from the boys and a Susan Boylan CD. Nicole and I took Jessica out for a drive. She didn't seem very satisfied with her gifts. I told her I would take her shopping after Christmas. It's so hard to shop for Jessica. Everyone is playing Wii Resort. I'm going to call my parents. I got a small stack of drawings from the kids. I'll have to scan those for you later. I hope where ever you are tonight that you are blessed...and mostly that you do not forget Jesus.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

10 mins until the store closes

Juergen worked today. He has the rest of the year off. He called me and said he would be late. He is doing his Christmas shopping. Actually he is doing his shopping early. He generally waits until tomorrow (Christmas eve). The stores will be open tomorrow until noon. To be honest he is chasing a gift for Jessica. We want to build her a special light. It will be a bookshelf that holds 3 long tubes that have water and plastic fish. It's hard to explain. It looks like fish tanks with colored lights. Jessica wanted these fish lights. We tried to figure out a way to secure them to the wall so they will not fall. I had the idea of cutting holes in the top of a small book shelf. The lights could stand in the shelf, and you can screw the shelf to the wall. Does that make any sense? It's hard to explain. It's even harder to find something special for Jess. I think she will enjoy this. Juergen is having fun doing his annual Christmas shopping. I cleaned the house and cooked. I'm done with the shopping. I'm going to take a hot bath. Tomorrow I get to sleep in. My holiday has begun!


I can not find my corn husks (I had some I'm sure). Maybe Juergen tossed them? Any way I have to use my pork and chicken to make enchiladas instead. Maybe I can find banana leaves in a Asian cooking shop? There aren't many places (if any) you can buy real Mexican food supplies. It will probably be easier for me to buy banana leaves for my Tamales. I will find the right will happen! It just won't happen this Christmas!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Long Recession

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I don't think they should buy votes

Tamales Recipe

Tamales Recipe

Authentic Mexican Tamales
Mexican tamales (tamal is the Mexican "singular" use of the word) are packets of corn dough (masa) with a savory or sweet filling and typically wrapped in corn husks or banana leaves. The history of tamales dates back as early as 5000 BC. Popular varietes include fillings of pork, beef, green chili, chicken or beans.


* 5 lbs. lean pork or beef, cooked and shredded
* 6 to 7 lbs. fresh masa
* 1 1/2 lbs lard
* 1 tbls. salt
* 1 1/2 pts. red chili sauce
* 1 bundle oujas (corn shucks)


To make tamales, cook meat by boiling in a large covered pot with enough water to cover completely. Add salt to taste and slow boil till completely done. Cool meat and save broth. When meat has cooled, shred and mix in the chili sauce

Corn Shucks:
To prepare the corn shucks ( outer husks), soak them in a sink or large pot of warm water for about 2 hours or until soft. Gently separate without tearing.

(make masa by hand or with mixer) Mix the masa, lard , salt and enough broth to make a smooth paste. Beat till a small amount (1 tsp) will float in a cup of cool water. Spread masa (1/8 to 1/4 inch thick layer, or to preference) on ouja, add a small amount of meat and roll up. Fold up ends of ouja and place(fold down) on a rack in a pan deep enough to steam. Add 1 to 2 inches water, cover with a tight fitting lid and steam about 1 1/2 hours. (a cloth can be used under the lid to make a tighter fit)

Many variations of ingredients can be used in making tamales. You can use a combination of beef and pork, use chicken or even fried beans. One or two olives may be added to the center or try adding a few raisins.
This recipe will make 4 to 5 dozen tamales

Monday, December 21, 2009

Should We Teach Farming in Schools?

A high school chemistry teacher has an interesting open letter to his students in Energy Bulletin. He takes stock of a changing world, and makes some interesting predictions:

"Some of you will grow food. -- Probably a lot of you, actually. Even those of you who do other things as your main job. So you should probably start to learn how it’s done. Right now. Because it’s not something you can learn in a year – how to add fertility and prepare the soil, when to plant and harvest, how to store the harvest and save seeds, etc. There’s more to it than you think. And it’s gonna get even trickier when the climate starts its carbonic seizures – droughts, floods, heat, cold, and storms. In no particular pattern. So you better be good."

People still regard home farming as an elective "green" activity, but might it be a survival skill by the time current teenagers are adults. Should we start retooling home ec classes to start covering agricultural education?

I read this today. I've been thinking about teaching myself & my kids how to grow our own food. In fact, it's what I think of all the time.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

no to the farm house...

Juergen said no to the farm house. It had termites in the roof and would require an extra 50,000 Euros worth of work. It was too much! I'm sad because I loved the house. But I love Juergen more then any house. We have to agree on things like this. Buying it would not be very wise. I just have to believe we have not found what we are looking for. He promised me he would keep looking. I am blessed he is supporting my search. We make a good team, and this is very very important.

Friday, December 18, 2009

I watched big beautiful snowflakes fall slowly on my windshield tonight. I was driving the kids from point A to point B. Philip got out of the car and picked up the broom to sweep the walk way. I didn’t ask him to do it…he just did it. I thought wow, what a grown up thing to do. What a responsible and grown up thing to do! It’s nice to be taken by surprise in a good way now and then. When you have 2 sons with ADHD the surprises are generally negative. What a great surprise!

The Impressionists

I'm interested in the colors of the late 1800's because that's when the farm house was built. I watched this video of the Impressionists, I reminded me of my trip to Paris with my brother Rick.

It was a cave and it wasn't sweet. Jesus came to faithful and meek people who were hidden away in a strange place. But a star lead people great and small to witness his birth. They gave gifts that helped Jesus and his family live in Egypt for saved his life.

we see the house tomorrow

Well, we see the house (God willing) tomorrow afternoon. It will already be getting dark. I think we will need to bring our own lights so we can get a good look at the place. A friend that teaches house renovation at a school will be coming along. I praise God for the connection and insight he can give us. Chances are he will say it is too much work. The house was built in the same year Lincoln was killed (1865). Imagine! It needs new heat, new electric and new water. The top floor needs to be built...walls, insulation , heat etc. I know we haven't got the budget to do everything. For example it could use two new bathrooms. But the bathrooms work, and they really don't "have" to be done. It's just a cosmetic thing. I really want new stairs in the house. The stairs that are there are very steep and small. For safety I want new stairs. I can live with less then perfect. The question is, can we afford the important stuff...and how much time will it involve? I don't want to kill my husband with work. I really want this house. It's not easy for me to think...just think! And Juergen doesn’t have my imagination. He can not see this as anything but an old house. I see it as a beautiful place. It can imagine it finished. He sees only the work and cost…I can not blame him for being less then excited about it. I could never express how much I appreciate Juergen for looking into this just for me!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

for Christmas

no go

We couldn't get anywhere this morning because of the snow and ice. Jessica’s teacher couldn't get to school, we couldn't get into Heidelberg. Sarah had to stay home. We had appointments that had to be rescheduled. It makes me wonder, if just a little ice and snow can cause such a mess...what would we do in a real emergency? I didn't expect to be home today, but I'll try to make the most of it. Sadly, Juergen and I were going to go out to breakfast before we had our final meeting to become Jessica’s guardians. I guess we would have spent the morning talking about the farm house. Maybe it's better we just wait to talk...we need more information. We hope to see the place again on Saturday. This time we want to bring someone who understand major house renovation. Poor Juergen. I want the house allot...he dreads the work involved. I wish we didn't need to decide now. But just because it's hard doesn't automatically make it wrong. Something’s are really worth the effort. But just because its worth it to me, doesn’t mean it's worth it to Juergen. We have to be in agreement...and that's really the difficult point. I am so grateful he doesn't just say no...I know he wants to. I really appreciate his investigating it. I really value my husband. I do not make things easy for him. I'm always asking for crazy things. He didn't marry an easy person.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I was putting it off

Yesterday the realtor called and said the farm house I like the best needs to be sold. The women that owns it is in a Nursing home and her family needs to pay for her care. They want to drop the price. We need to decide soon. They will list the new price next week. It will probably sell fast. I think the price is very good now. Still, I had hoped to put off any decisions. It's Christmas. And renovation will be costly and time consuming. I didn't want to think about it just yet! We need wisdom about this. There are not many houses like this one...but the work is great. I would love to have the house, but I hate the work involved. We may very well say no. I hope we agree to say yes, but we really have to both agree. I think we will try to see the house again on Saturday. The realtor is going on vacation for 3 weeks. Perhaps we can tell him yes or no in January. I really wouldn't want to deal with this now, but our timing is not always Gods timing. Perhaps, as we look back on this will see the timing was perfect? Right now it just seems like poor timing! I’m glad they called us…and gave us a shot at the place. Still, the ball is in our court and I’m not sure what we should do!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

My Christmas letter, 2009

I have been receiving many Christmas letters this year. My friends are good writers. It’s amazing to me how they manage to capture a whole year in two or three pages. I thought about trying to do the same thing. I honestly think it’s impossible. There are 7 of us. Life is full, and I know you don’t have the time to read what we have been doing and thinking over the past year. Just read our blog. That will cover some of the high lights. For now, I thought I would just mention we are doing well. Juergen and I are still holding hands and walking in good unity after 19 years of marriage. I love my man! Juergen turned 50 years old in June. We got to celebrate the day with some good friends in Cyprus in a villa overlooking the sea. My brother Rick was the cook, and he blessed us all! Having Rick in Europe was totally great! I lost him in Paris...I'll never forget it! Jessica turned 18 years old. She still has autism. We had to go through a legal process to become her personal guardians. I have a hard time explaining why this was painful for me. I guess it has something to do with hopes and expectations. Know one hopes their first born child will be declared permanently disabled, and requiring full time care. We hope for independence, a bright future and promise. Jessica is as sweet as always. She is happy. The legal process we have been through does not change anything. It was upsetting to me, but it is finished. I am blessed with this extraordinary daughter that will live with us perhaps forever? Only God knows. Nicole is in her last two years of high school. She went on a missions trip, helps lead worship in her youth group, continues to be a great artist, and sword fights. Her challenge is what she will be when she grows up. Will she pursue art or science? Our challenge is to help guild and support her. I also think it’s a challenge to let her go. I’m not any good at it…letting go. I promise to try harder! Thomas is in the 5th class. He has mastered the Rubik cube. He has done many other things in 2009 but the Rubik cube is a good symbol to describe his amazing persistence. Once Thomas decides to do something, he will work at it until he has done it. I like this about him! He and Philip eat everything in the house. They are 11 and 12 years old and growing! So our food bills are high, and I am always buying new shoes. Philip is doing very well. Last year was pretty difficult for him. He hated school, and was angry and some what lost. But he has gotten over the ruff spot. He comes home and does his home work right away. We found a great speech therapist that also helps him with reading therapy. He has a long way to go…but he has found a good path. Is it great news to say you are no longer in a mud pit? I guess it is! Perhaps we will begin to see his potential realized? I have hope! And Sarah is in her final year of kindergarten. Her language is very delayed. She expresses allot of anger and frustration because she can not communicate well. But we also see progress in this area. Sarah has graduated from the baby pool to the deep water. She loves to swim. She can tie her own shoes and clean her own room. She is often lonely for a sibling closer to her own age. I often think we should adopt one more time. So far the right path hasn’t presented itself. We are not actively seeking to adopt again. But at least I am open to the idea, and I think Juergen is too.
We took trips to Holland (with My Parents), France and Cyprus(with my brother) and Thailand in 2009. I loved visiting with my family. I miss them always. We saw the tulips on the best weekend this spring. It was amazing! But Thailand was my favorite trip. I remember sitting on a roof top café on Dolphin Bay just south of Hua Hin Thailand. The kids could order anything and everything they wanted because the prices were so low. Philip eat 3 plates of shrimp. I looked over the bay and cried. It was so perfect and you long to hold on to what is perfect. You can only capture it in your memory. It was the best day of my year. My small little family far away from everything, together in paradise. Our daily lives are filled with homework, music lessons, shopping , sports and cleaning. But in my memory I hold this perfect day we laughed and played , went on adventures and build castles in the sand. We wish you progress in your life, Gods love and help, and a few sweet memories you will want to hold onto forever. Merry Christmas!

Have you seen this?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Pride & Prejudice

pride and prejudice Pictures, Images and Photos

how the days go by

A good friend stopped by for coffee this morning. She informed me Christmas is next week. Everyone in the house has an advent calendar...everyone but me. Where have the days gone? I'm certain we lost a week. Christmas is already next week! I have the packages all wrapped. I need to make a list to make sure I've got it all covered! I am feeling so mellow...are you certain its not summer time? I feel like taking a long nap on the beach. My body clock says its July...but the weather says its December. I wish I were in Thailand for Christmas! It gets dark at 4pm here. How can anyone feel correct when they have no sunshine? It's entirely too cold and dark. Naps are the only answer. Let's all sleep until spring!

Sunday, December 13, 2009


Anne (Sally Hawkins) fell deeply in love with handsome young naval officer Frederick Wentworth (Rupert Penry-Jones) at the age of nineteen. But with neither fortune nor rank to recommend him,

I just love a hot cup of tea and a good movie...

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Shop Around the Corner 1940

Before "You've got mail" there was The shop around the corner. You can watch it in 10 parts on you tube.

a good day

It took me nearly 2 hours but I wrapped the Christmas gifts. I only need to pick up 2 more gifts and I'm done! I also had to wrap the trees and roses outside. It is suddenly getting cold. I don't want my fig tree our Japanese maple to get damaged. I cleaned up the garden and covered the furniture. We may even get snow tomorrow. I should sleep well tonight because I'm so tired!

Monday, December 07, 2009

understanding Jessica

Nicole is doing a talk on Autism in her Biology class tomorrow. This is a personal topic to all of us. I just told her about how Jessica would have the worst temper tantrums when she was 3 years old. I would carry Nicole on my back in a carrier, and Jess would be in the shopping cart. Juergen worked over time for a start up company in Irvine. He was gone all the time, I had no friends because we had moved from San Diego. I felt like I was drowning. Jess was so badly behaved people would say to each other (just loud enough for me to hear) some people shouldn’t have children!!! We had no idea why she had lost all her language skills, and became a wild raging animal. We went from expert to expert. This was 1994 and they were not calling it autism. They had no answers and no hope. I would cry all the time. But my tears would scare Nicole so I had to control my tears. When Nicole took a nap I would cry so hard I would get up off the floor and left a puddle of tears. It was the darkest time of my life. I lived so close to UCLA, I could have had her in ground breaking therapy. But they did not call it Autism. We did not hear Autism until she was 8 years old. I always wonder what could have been if…I waited to have her vaccinated…if we just knew we were dealing with Autism. But you can not go back. Now is all we have. Today I love her even if she is sick. God will make her whole some day. It’s a very big loss, but I’ve run out of tears. Anyway, I’m proud Nicole will be doing this talk tomorrow. She understands her sister better.

Biomass pellets in China

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Now isn't this a nice view

I found the most beautiful house for sale today. It cost way too much...but maybe we can talk them down on the price (way down)!