Wednesday, August 18, 2010

on vacation

We are going on vacation for 2 whole weeks. We leave on Friday Aug 20th and return on Sept 3. I have a house sitter, so don't be thinking about robbing me :)
I also have a blog you can follow! I hope you will follow us to an island in the North Sea called Texel.

photo of Sarah in Texel 2007

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


I'm starting to pack for our trip to Texel. We leave early (God willing) on Friday. The weather here has been awful. Most of my grapes are rotten. That's sad because they were so beautiful! My tomatoes are mostly covered. They get full sun. I am harvesting a full bowl of tomatoes almost daily. We have a friend house sitting for us. She will water and pick tomatoes, and feed the fish. I hope I'll keep harvesting tomatoes until October. Yesterday Nicole and I started to save seeds for Next year. It seems like we never got a summer. It has all passed us by too fast! The weather report says Texel has better weather, at least some clear sky’s. It's kind of cool, but good kite flying weather. The boys got to go bowling today. Nicole has 2 friends over. Yesterday Sarah had 3 friends over. Our house has been full. I'm not going to be glad to say goodbye to the summer. Nicole will be entering her final year of school, and so will Jessica. The thought of all the changes that are just before me kind of make me sad. It's not hard to make me sad these days. I feel like an emotional train wreak! I have to trust God...I certainly do not feel brave enough to let go of my kids. But we will cross that bridge when we get there. Today I pack for Texel. We will have 2 weeks together as a family. Even Mickey our dog will be with us. I feel like a dying person in a movie. Everything seems to go into slow motion and you try to remember every detail. You want to stop the clock, but you can’t!

Monday, August 16, 2010

a little calmer

I got some sleep. I will write a letter to the church. I do not want to just complain. I hope I can help them make things better. They may get a dozen letters saying how wonderful it all was, and just say my ideas are just my ideas. That is probably what will happen. Do not imagine for a moment I think my church is better. We have so much growing to do. It makes me sad. But I'm very open to ideas. I totally know we are not "all that"!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

we are here

My cell phone doesn’t work. The internet only works in the hotel lobby. So I wrote this short post in my room, and hopefully I can send it off before we take off for the day. I ended up taking Sarah along at the last minute. This means I’m not going to have the carefree weekend I had hoped for, but Juergen will have an easier time of it. Sarah came to play with Ann and Daniel’s daughter Emelia. She is a doll! Sarah couldn’t be more excited! I’m sad my friend Anna couldn’t come. Her son got sick at the last minute. I had looked forward to spending some time with Anna. But Sarah has a new friend, and that’s also very important. The conference opened with a worship service and a short sermon. Actually it was all pretty short. The conference begins at 9:30. Daniel is playing drums this morning. He and Emelia are staying with a family. We are in a hotel. The hotel is ok. The major problem is parking, or a lack of it. I had to park on the street, and get up at 6:30 to move the car. I found the only legal parking space in the lot. Thank God for that! I wish I didn’t need to get up so early. I’m not going to be spoiled this weekend. No 5 star anything! We eat sandwiches from a supermarket last night. I forgot how expensive Switzerland is! We will go to the same supermarket for breakfast. Our hotel serves breakfast, but they charge 11 Euro per person. That is ridicules! There is a McDonalds across the way, but it doesn’t open until 10am. I do not understand what people see in this country? I find it over priced and inconvenient!
Anyway, the worship was good last night. I love spending this time with Nicole and Sarah. We are also here with our babysitter and friend Daniela. She is an over worked student. I hope it is a good break for her! I’m thinking and praying allot for Philip and Thomas. God is reminding me allot of his faithfulness. I’m sure I’ll return home with a better attitude and maybe a little more faith. If you didn’t already know it, I worry about my sons. I need faith, not worry. This requires a certain amount of letting go. I’m sure I’m not the first parent that worried, or had a hard time letting go. I do not want to see them mess-up their lives with foolish mistakes. And yes, the world has always had temptations. But they seem to be swimming in a sea of challenges. It seems harder now to choose what is right because there is very little good here. Straight is the way that leads to life, and few find it. We do not live in a country where 20% of the folks believe in God, we live where only 4% believe. And we live in a time where the darkness is getting darker. The darkness is getting darker, but the light is getting lighter too. I am only going to be happy when I see my sons firmly in the light.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

I'm loving this last day of quite

It's been very quite this week. The boy's are at summer camp. I admit I am really loving the quite! Tomorrow Nicole and I drive to Winterthur Switzerland for a conference. We will drive down with a few other people from our church. It should be really encouraging! When we get back on Sunday the boy's will be back too. I wish I was there to pick them up. Last year Philip cried when he saw us. Not because he missed us, but because he was so touched by God. He had never felt the presence of God before. It made a strong impression on him. But then he came back to the awful environment of his awful school. So his impression of God faded. We are praying he makes a real commitment to actually walk with God...not just feel his presence at a worship service. The camp is awesome...and I expect my conference to be awesome too. But what counts is how we walk day by day. Our goal is not just to experience the presence of God…but to know him. You can go to a super cool rock concert and have an amazing experience in the crowd. But that experience doesn’t mean you know the band. Experiencing God doesn’t make you his friend. But you can know him as a friend. It is my greatest hope for all my children, and for myself.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

What to wish for?

We had a little birthday breakfast today. The food was great, and Nicole liked her gifts. I got her 3 DVD's on water color and acrylic painting. I also got her Toy Story bed sheets (very cute) and a stuffed Darth Vader doll. She was making jokes with the Vader doll. First she thought of bringing him to camp next year (all the girls bring a stuffed animal). Then she started dancing around with him singing, "you have a friend in me". That's the theme song to Toy Story if you didn't know that. Maybe we can make an animated short film with the stuffed Vader Doll? Tonight we are going out to Thai food and a movie. I don't know what Nicole wished for when she blew her candle out. I wish she hadn't grown up so fast. The years have flown by!

Today is my nephew Gary's 22 birthday. I wish Gary every good thing this coming year! God Establish and Bless you, God grant you favor and good health, God bless you with good friends that love you, and people you can love. God give you purpose and joy!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Nicole will be 17

Send this eCard !

click on the card to see it animated.

Nicole is turning 17 years old! She has always seemed a little like a 30 year old, even when she was 5. Now she is starting to catch up to her level of maturity! We are taking her to see Toy Story 3. I didn't want to see it with her, but I'll be brave! Many of you know Nicole would love to work for Pixar doing animation. She has allot of gifts, and art is one of them. I know God will give her direction. She just has to take things one step at a time. Who needs a map, just know the one who has planned it all. He will bring perfect direction! Happy birthday Nicole, I love you so much! I know you will not live with us forever, but I am going to enjoy the time I have with you! And yes, I will be bringing tissue with me to the theater.

Monday, August 09, 2010

not many potatoes

We emptied the potatoes into a new jumbo garden sack today. There were only a handful of small potatoes. I either need to grow my potatoes in the ground, or find a better potato that produces better. I couldn't feed my family one meal from my whole crop. Sad! I do have very good soil for the new jumbo sack (it's a raised garden bed if you do not understand what I'm talking about). What ever I plant in this bed should grow very well! I think I'll plant some cabbages and other fall crops. I need onions and salad.
The tomatoes are doing well. The larger tomatoes are taking forever to ripen up. It's just not sunny enough. I have 40 plants, but they only give me enough fruit for good salsa. I don't think I will put away many tomatoes in cans. Again, not much progress on becoming self sustaining. What I grow supplements our summer needs, but it will not feed us. Most of my grape crop is ruined from rain. The grapes are covered with mold. We had allot of grapes this year, so this is very sad. Face it, we are at the mercy of God. He provides seed for the sower and food for the harvest. My harvest has been ok, but really not as great as I had hoped. But one thing I'm can not expect to harvest if you do not plant. You need to invest in life, not just in gardens but also in people. It doesn't always work out...but your guaranteed to fail if you do not invest!

Saturday, August 07, 2010

I got my shells

I got 2 bags of shells today(not nearly enough). I spread them around my jumbo garden sacks to keep out the slugs. I think I'm going to need another 6-8 bags to cover the whole area. I'll wait and see what we can pick up on vacation in Holland. I also bought one more wire frame to build another jumbo sack. Nicole and I emptied a bag of potatoes today. I grew my potatoes in leaf bags this year. Unfortunately the potatoes have gotten rotten from all the rain we got last week. So I'm going to dump out all my potato sacks. I'll put the dirt and straw in the new jumbo raised bed. Maybe I’ll start some fall crops.
Nicole came home from camp today. It's wonderful to have her back. It turns out that it didn't rain so much where she was. She even has a tan. God is so good! And the camp was wonderful! 100 kids gave their lives to Jesus. She wants to return next summer as a counselor. We will see how everything works out schedule wise. She also wanted to go to America to study Art. We will just have to see.
Philip and Thomas are both packed for camp. I'm very glad to see them go. It isn't that I don't love them...I do. They are just at such an obnoxious age. God bless the camp staff! I know what’s planned (Nicole told me). I know they will be kept very busy, and they'll have an amazing week! I pray they also come to a place where they really understand what it means to believe in God, and place their trust in Christ. I'm looking forward to the break, but mostly I'm excited for them.

Friday, August 06, 2010

8 core values of being a gentleman

8 core values of being a gentleman

Scholarship- education

Integrity- integrity emphasize the "wholeness" or "intactness" of a moral stance/attitude

Servility - servant.

Tolerance - The capacity for or the practice of recognizing and respecting the beliefs or practices of others.

Altruism- Unselfish concern for the welfare of others

Sportsmanship- Sportsmanship is, in a basic sense, conforming to the rules and the proper spirit of sport.

Responsibility - taking responsibility for ones own actions.

Self Discipline - Self-discipline refers to the training that one gives one's self to accomplish a certain task or to adopt a particular pattern of behaviour, even though one would really rather be doing something else.

A long week that I'm glad is nearly over

The week is nearly over. I am so happy for this. I love my kids, but they are pretty loud. That is the boys are loud. And it has rained most of the week so they have been inside. I know it's just a hard age but they are selfish, defiant, sometimes mean, thoughtless , competitive and aggressive. Not a great picture of my children. But I've been assured by many it is the age. I taught Sunday school for years (Jr High). I know from this experience it is the age. Maybe I've said this before (I'm of an age that I forget stuff) but boys I taught 5 years ago have gone from awful to wonderful. They had good parents that hung in there. All kinds of kids I know are "landing on their feet". And I've seen many of these kids rebel hard. I never ever wanted to face the teen age years with kids that continually broke my heart. Please God have mercy on me! God is my only hope! But Philip and Thomas go to a really great Christian camp on Sunday. And I know God can reach them where they are...selfish and awful. He can touch their hearts. I only pray he does it early. I really don't want to watch them ruin their lives when they could follow a path that leads to life! I know some of you are thinking, “I know the boys and they don’t seem so bad”. But I know their character (or lack of it). They both go to very secular schools. They are too easily influenced by the stuff they are exposed to. I can not make them adopt my values or world view. They must choose. They are at a point of decision. I don’t think it gets any easier to say no…it just gets harder. And little by little we must let go and let them decide how they will live. They are growing up. I hope they have character and strong convictions when they are grown. I don’t expect perfection, but I’m totally fried because they are far from perfect! And I’m not perfect either. If I was perfect I would have more faith, and I would not worry so much. I think I need to listen to some Heidi Baker this weekend. Her faith is contagious!

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Todays Harvest

I think I'll make fresh Salsa on Saturday when Nicole comes from camp. Poor girl, it has rained hard all week long! I'm sure she had a great time anyway! The pink tomato is called Pink Fire Heart. I ate it with crusty German wood Oven bread. Oh yes! It was wonderful! I love the taste of summer! I think I'll harvest red baby potatoes on Saturday too. I'll roast those in olive oil with fresh herbs. Who needs meat?

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

It tasted like Italy

I planted my first heirloom tomato seeds last February. Back then I dreamed of the day I would make a salad with fresh tomatoes, basil and mozzarella cheese. Today was that day. The dressing is a good olive oil (Greek), balsamic vinegar, fresh lemon juice, and salt, pepper, and just a pinch of red pepper flakes. Oh and chopped onions. It sat in the refrigerator for a few hours. It was amazing. The yellow tomato is called Banana Legs. It tasted like Italy.

Todays Harvest

Here are some of the veggies I harvested today. Yellow Zucchini, 3 types of tomatoes, cucumber, spaghetti squash, a yellow pepper and an egg plant. I made a squash soup with curry and coconut milk for lunch. it was pretty good. I'll use the tomatoes for a mozzarella and tomato salad. I have fresh basil to go with that.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Toy Story 3

It is another wet day. Poor Nicole, I hope she is OK at camp. I decided to take the kids to see Toy Story 3 (even Jessica). When we got there Jessica refused to sit down. She sat on the floor near the exit. It was a very good thing we went to the early show. There were not so many people there. She parked herself on the ground and I could not move her. She refused to go in! I was so frustrated! I had put my backpack and car keys in the theater. Sarah, Thomas and Philip were already seated. It got worse. She moved out of the theater and laid down on the floor. Talk about your body language. Jess is almost 19 years old and weighs at least 140 lbs. It is was dead weight. So I talked her into sitting to the side , away from the door. The movie began and I told her I needed my keys if she wanted to go. So she followed me back into the theater. She saw the Toy Story characters, so she stayed. I got her to sit down and watch the entire movie. I should get some sort of prize for that! And I praised Jess for her courage. She sat in a dark, loud movie theater and watched a new film.

We had planned to take Nicole to see Toy Story 3 on her birthday next week. She dreams of working for Pixar one day. All I can say is Juergen has to take her. I can not do it. Andy(the boy in the movie) is packing to go off to college. He is all grown up. I was crying by the end of the movie. I could not watch this movie with Nicole. It will not be long until she is packing to leave home. I told the kids in the car I couldn't watch the film with Nicole, and why. Thomas asked me if Nicole would move away. I told him I didn't know when, but yes. He couldn't stop the tears. I guess he figured our family would stay as it is forever. Kids grow up. Nicole turns 17 next week. I hope she will stay with us for awhile, but I know it's only a mater of time until we are packing her room too!

Monday, August 02, 2010

All wet

rain Pictures, Images and Photos

It rained hard last night. It stormed! I was ok, but Nicole is sleeping in a tent. I pray she is ok too! I got up early to go buy some sports shoes. They had them on sale at a local store (70€ off the normal price). I got there one hour after the store opened. The shoes were sold out! Oh well! I'm wondering what to do with the kids this week. It's wet outside. No school. Most of the friends are out of town. I need to get creative here. I was thinking of painting their rooms, starting with the doors. With out work they tend to get into trouble. I wish this wasn't true, but sadly It is true. I wish they had more “real character”, but I can not create that in them. Only God can transform a heart. They go to camp next week. Please pray for them. Pray they are really touched by God.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Rick and Amy's wedding, a work in progress

Karate Kid and Robin Hood

Yesterday Juergen dropped Nicole off at summer camp. She got a green shirt with a number on it. I guess she is now a nameless peasant living in the forest. There is a cruel king and a defender of the people named Robin Hood. It’s going to be great fun! Philip and Thomas will attend the same camp (God willing) the following week.
Last night we had a sitter for Jessica. We took Philip, Thomas and Sarah out to dinner and a movie. It was a totally different feel not to rush because of Jessica. We went to a Chinese place that had a buffet. The kids could eat anything they wanted, as much as they wanted. Their plates were piled high with sushi. I’m sad because the restaurant is actually closing. Last night was it’s last night. We enjoyed sitting there with the kids. Then I asked Juergen if maybe we couldn’t ask them what they would charge per person to have our 100th birthday party there. So Juergen asks them, and they said sorry…but we are closing. So sad! That’s the 3rd Chinese restaurant to close in the area over the past 2 years. We have to find a new place! Sarah was so happy to be sitting in a Chinese place. She kept saying “My China”! After dinner we went to see Karate Kid. It was great! Even better then the original movies. Jackie Chan can act. The kids were totally into it! I thought they did an awesome job. So since the evening was so wonderful, we want to do it again. Maybe even once a month. I hate to leave Jessica out of things, but it’s important for the other kids to have these kind of experiences with out stress. You see other sides of their personality come out. They were so charming and funny. We asked Jessica before hand if she would mind if we left her. She said bye bye. She wanted the peace.