Wednesday, November 30, 2011

worth a listen

I had my computer in the livingroom today as I cleaned. I listened to a sermon by
Mark Hitchcock about receiving our reward from God.

It's really worth a listen. Towards the end of the sermon he says we should want whatever God gives us...not try to stick a deal before hand. There was a boy and his father in a small store. The owner wanted to be nice so he opened the candy jar and told the boy he could take a handful of candy. The boy played shy and hide next to his dad. The owner encouraged him to take the candy, and so did the boys father. Finally the owner reached in the jar and grabbed a big handful of candy and gave it to the boy. As they walked out of the store, the boys father said why were you so shy? The boy said, the owner has a much bigger hand.

Too many of us are asking God to give us this and that, not waiting for God to gives what ever he will from his big hand. And I am one of those! So this is a good word for me today, as I learn to wait for God to provide with his big hand.


It's so sad to see it has gotten so bad in America. The families in this story are amazing, creative and brave. I'm sure most do not manage it as well. Sadly 2012 looks like a very bad year with little hope of change. I like the attitude of the father that took a job as a trash collector...proud just to work. I remember graduating from Oregon State University. Times were bad and I felt blessed to get 15 hours a week as a waitress at a pizza place. 200 other people applied for that job. I got it because I had gone to high school with the manager. You do what you need to do to cover the rent.

Sunday, November 27, 2011


I took the kids to church. Afterwards we watched Cars 2. I didn't see it in the theater. Then we had lunch. Now I'm just waking up from a good nap. Juergen and Nicole are playing guitar in the hallway. It's really awesome to hear them play. Nicole was at a song writing workshop all weekend. She is inspired. Tonight I plan to go to a Christmas worship concert. It's really a good, restful Sunday.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

advent, advent

This morning Thomas told me that he had volunteered me to make the advent wreath for his class. I'm not sure he realizes that takes a little bit of thought. I'm surprised he didn't tell me Monday morning, 5 minutes before he left for school. At least the stores are opened today. I have the time to pull something together for Monday. I think I’ll put candles in jars. Put the jars on some kind of platter with oranges and dried flowers and nuts and moss. That sounds safer for a classroom.

I also have Philip digging through every space in the house...hunting for gifts. My sister Dianna use to do that. And she was so awful, she would unwrap our gifts and tell us what we were getting. It wasn’t possible to sleep in on Christmas morning because Dianna would unwrap your gifts.

Today Juergen is weatherizing the windows and doors. I’m putting away laundry and I guess I’m making an advent wreath.

Friday, November 25, 2011

black friday

I put a Christmas CD into the stereo and drank my coffee in a room light up with candle light. Last night I bought Thomas' Christmas gifts on line. I really don't get why people would get up at 6am, stand in line and compete for bargains at an over crowded store when there is eBay and Amazon? I'm almost done with my shopping. I'm not planning on over doing the decorations (what goes up eventually has to be taken down). We will eat left over turkey soup with crusty French bread for lunch. This weekend we want to weather proof the windows using plastic wrap made for the purpose. Juergen had a heater guy over to the house in Leimen. We are getting a quote on a new heater. We also plan on having the hardwood in the living room redone. We may also get the entire inside of the house professionally painted. Many people that have looked at the house say it needs this and that, and then try to talk the price down. For example, a new heater cost about 4000€ installed. They will say it cost 10,000€ and ask for 10,000€ off the price. The floor only cost 600€ to have finished, but they say it cost 3,000€ to redo. So after getting the house is top shape, if we still can not sell it, then it will be ready to rent out. We honestly don't know what else to do...just praying for grace and wisdom. We don't want to own 2 houses. But if know one will give us a fair price we have no other choice but renting. I have to believe that God is perfect in all his ways. I love our new house. It is so right for us. It’s wonderful. I’ll have to take pictures. I can get so upset about the house in Leimen not selling. I hate wasting so much money. And every month we are paying mortgage there. 1200€ gone each month for an empty house. But God knows that! And I just know he does not do things half way. He has a plan. I just want to do my part as I wait for him to do his!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Christmas shopping

No, I'm not making a big Thanksgiving dinner today. It's just another weekday in Germany. The kids went to school, Juergen went to work. I am making turkey soup. That's basically all I ever do on Thanksgiving. I hope I can visit America on Thanksgiving one of these years. I would really love to do that!
Today I went Christmas shopping with Jessica. I'm shopping for 5 kids and a husband. It does take some time. And I'm wrapping gifts as I buy them. That saves me the back breaking marathon wrapping session the day before Christmas. I will also be doing some serious online shopping this weekend (God willing). I got a list from everyone, I have ideas. Hopefully I can get this whole matter under control. It really can be a stress. It's best to get as much as you can done early. Then you have a chance to also enjoy your self. I guess I want some garden DVD's for Christmas. I am looking forward to my garden next year. For now, I want to dream of what can be done. If anyone has an idea of what's very good to watch on gardening, let me know. Juergen needs a list.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

I spent today at the heart clinic with Philip. They ran all the tests, and he is OK. The only thing wrong maybe that he skips breakfast and doesn't drink enough water. But we needed to check. I'm glad it's nothing serious. They did keep us waiting for hours. I really hate that. You have an appointment at 10am, and wait until noon to see the Dr. I really hate that!
But today is the day before Thanksgiving. I always feel so odd living in Germany on Thanksgiving. It's such a big deal in America, and a non deal here. The kids will go to school, and soccer practice. Juergen will go to work. There won't be a parade or football, or visiting friends and family. We always have turkey soup to get some of the taste of the day. But I won't feel stuffed, or pass out from an overdose of carbs. I guess I can pull out the Christmas stuff. I can start to make an advent calendar. I always miss America most on Thanksgiving. If I had the money or vacation time I would jump on a plane. But I don't have the money, and Juergen can not take vacation. So I guess I can just wish you all a great holiday. I wish I was there! Eat some pumpkin pie for me. I love pumpkin pie!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The teacher meeting

I had coffee with Philip's teacher. She is really wonderful & positive. She is going to look into a practical job for Philip. Perhaps working one afternoon (unpaid) with a wood worker. Philip has serious learning issues. He is doing better and better in school...but. He will never make a career from his brains. He needs to find a different way to employment. And I know, he is only 13 years old (14years old in 2 months). But there are certain character qualities that will either qualify him or disqualify him for jobs. Being friendly, hard working, honest, reliable, and teachable...things like that. And if he starts now, he has an advantage in the future. He will be able to get a job if he is a good worker. So we know he may not do well academically, but he can find a way forward. For his sake, we better help him learn other important skills, and invest heavily in what is a sure thing. I did ask about the garden thing. They do gardening with the kids at school. So we will not do a project here with his class. If we do build a straw bale green house, they may come work on it for a day.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Marc Chagall Biography

Nicole and I hope to see the Chagall exhibit at our church tonight. There are 70 of his paintings (prints). There will also be a talk about the meaning of the paintings. We saw the Chagall windows in Jerusalem. There is a different stain glass window for each of the 12 tribes of Israel. That was truly amazing. I like the way he uses color. Philip’s art work reminds me of Chagall.

I want to get on with it!

Juergen showed the house. The man looks like he will offer us 50 thousand Euro less then the value. I think we have to rent it out. I can not take this anymore! It's not a good market for sellers. We need a good long term renter! Today we are hiring someone to finish the wood floors. We may go ahead and put in a new heater. Does anyone know anything about LichtBlick? We are thinking about instuling LichtBlick in the house in Leimen.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

How to Weatherize Windows with Plastic Film Insulation- DIY Home Improve...

Children Blossom While Learning to Garden

I'm talking with Philip's teacher next week. She will be coming for coffee Tuesday morning. I'm thinking about doing a garden project with his class. I'm not sure how small or large I want to make this, or if they would even be interested in doing something? They may not be interested in this sort of thing? I thought I could offer them a few raised beds to work in. They could start seeds (vegetable and flower seeds). Grow the plants, harvest the crops. Maybe learn about compost? Maybe help us build the greenhouse? I want to use our party tent frame for a greenhouse. I would use straw bales as the side walls. They could help mix the earthen plaster that would cover the walls. They would be like playing with mud. I don't want his whole class here all the time. I only want to do it if the teacher adds it to the class time instruction. But it's very good for kids to work in a garden. Either way, my kids will be working in my garden.

Friday, November 18, 2011

DRTV: Rocket Stoves

I just love this idea.

greenhouse construction + rocket mass heater how to tutorial

so here is where I got the idea for a rocket stove to heat my greenhouse.

Jessica's arm

I took a photo today of Jessica’s arm. It’s bruised very badly. I’m not posting it because it’s very disturbing. I think she got this burse from the disabled workshop. She was pretty awful there. She was scratching the workers and other disabled people. I’m sure they were only trying to hold her back. But they were too ruff. Her arm looks awful. She was crying when I came to get her (after only one hour). Some people question why Juergen and I don’t put Jessica in a group home. How could we protect her? I’m pretty shaken up. I really don’t know what we will do. But I do know that place was wrong for her. They could not manage her…not even for one hour! I felt so bad when I saw her arm today. My poor baby!

Earth Walls: Cob and Straw Bale Construction in Wisconsin

I'm thinking about using the frame of my party tent to build a greenhouse. I want to use straw bales as the side walls. I want to use cob or earthen plaster over those walls. On the top of the greenhouse I'll use insulated plastic. In the ends I want to add antic wooden doors. I also want to add end walls that are cob and wine bottles. Inside the greenhouse I want to add a rocket fire stove, with pipes running under the raised beds. That way I can heat the greenhouse. The only issue will be water. I just need time to build it, and the OK from Juergen. It would be a 40m² greenhouse.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

this and that

I've been driving the kids around most of the day. It's cold outside and I'm tired. One fun thing was picking up Nicole’s drivers license. We picked it up, then she drove home.

The phone also rang allot. We now have 2 appointments to show the house. One of the families needs a house before the end of the year. They have 2 kids, and also want to live in Leimen. So maybe it will sell this weekend? I hear they will raise the sales tax on houses soon. Perhaps that will help drive interest in the house. The tax is going up 1.5% of the cost of the house. That's allot of money!

OK, back outside to pick the kids up from sports.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The day so far

It was cold this morning. I had to scrap the ice from my car windows. I drove Jessica to the workshop. When we got there, I had to drag her out of the car crying. I knew it wouldn't work. So I told them when we entered the room. Jessica would not stay, not even for one minute. I have zero idea what is next, but you just know when something is not what you are looking for. I feel fine waiting for a better answer. Why force it? Jessica would only cry and scratch. The teachers and other students would only stress out. So that is a no...a closed door. And we know you need to close doors in order to say yes to what is right.

Nicole got her drivers license today. She was worried she would not pass the test, but she did. So that's cool! She will drive my car for now. We don’t really have the money for a 3rd car. She hasn’t had much practice driving. I’ll probably just let her drive me around for awhile.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Matt Redman - 10,000 Reasons (Available July 12th)

I got this cd for my birthday. I am loving it! I will put it in my car, and now gladly drive my kids everywhere!

A hard day

Today began with a melt down from Sarah. She was so upset about going to school, but would not say why. Finally she told us that there is a 4th grade boy that is really bothering her. He rides her bus, and is harassing her in the breaks. The other kids are also chasing her and calling her Japanese. Juergen had to take her to school because we could not get her to calm down before the bus came. We talk with the teacher next week. Maybe we need to call her earlier? Then I took Jessica to her workshop. I planned to leave her one hour to start. I shopped for the hour. When I returned she was crying. She had scratched everyone in the class. It almost seemed that was it. They looked like this just isn’t going to work. But they said I should bring her again tomorrow for one hour. We will see. It doesn't seem it will work, but we will see. Then I returned to find out Juergen had to pick Philip up from school. He was complaining about his heart hurting, and not being able to breath. So Juergen took him to the Dr. The Dr did an EKG. Then he told him to go to the hospital in Heidelberg for a echo. The heart seems fine, but the beat is a little irregular. And they took blood to check for an infection. They may need to keep him in the hospital. And I have no one who can watch the other kids, so Juergen would need to take the time off work. That's stressful to Juergen. Even taking the time off today is a stress. It seemed like such a normal day when I woke up. You really never know how things will go. But I pray that they can figure out what's really wrong with Philip. We had a heart appointment next week. He has been having problems for awhile now. I pray they really figure what is wrong and deal with it. Pray also for Sarah. This fear of the 4th grade boy, and the other kids at school are robbing her of her joy and freedom. Kids can really be mean. And poor Sarah does not have the language skills to express herself. She just takes it in, and eventually explodes with sadness and fear. As for Jess? We will just see. Juergen and I both are unsure about this group. All the other people in the group are very disabled both physically and mentally. We are afraid Jess will never fit in there. She needs much more movement, and outside activity. She will be bored there. We see no better options yet, but we don’t really think this will work either. If Jessica keeps scratching the other people, then the option is closed to her anyway. We will try it again tomorrow. And I am not going to be too consider if it doesn’t work. I feel sorry for the people Jessica is scratching. But I have to believe if this door closes, another option will present it’s self. In fact, they will not look for other options until we try this first. So we will just try it again tomorrow.

Up date...they didn't find anything. I guess that's good news. We have to take Philip back next week. They will run more tests. Juergen missed the whole day at work. Not fun! But Philip is OK for now. I'm glad for this.

Cool band photo's from our house party

These photo's where taken by Martin Dietrich. He is a very talented person!

Monday, November 14, 2011

What are you doing New Years?

This is Nicole singing Amazing Grace. Now that our house warming party is over I'm thinking about New Years Eve. I would really love to have another party on New Years Eve. This time I want to have a pot luck, and worship night. When I was growing up, we would have candle light services on New Years Eve, praying in the New year. I would really love that.

Some photo's from our great party

You tube disabled the audio from this video because of copyrights. And if I can get the permission I'll post some very cool BW photo's of the band. These side show photo's were taken by my friend Ralf. Thank you Ralf! You are great!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Oh well

The heater stopped working. Our big house is very cold. We just found out that our oil tank needs to be filled. It would not bother us much if we expected it. But the past owner said the tank was full. I guess they either lied or had the oil pumped out. It was their oil. We never got a written statement that the oil went with the house. We just didn't expect this. But we are able to get oil today. The price is even pretty good. So God willing the house will be warm for the party. And as for the past owners? God bless them. I'm sorry they lost their beautiful house. I'm sad for them. They should not have said that the tank was full. I really would have bought the house with or with out the oil. It's going to hurt our budget, but we will be OK. I'm just glad we are able to get oil at such a good price ...and right away.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

I need to calm down

The big party is in 2 days. Most of the cooking is done. I need to clean the house and set up things inside the tent. Juergen is taking a half day off tomorrow. Really, it should be fine. I guess it's like everything else I do. I clean the kitchen, but it doesn't stay clean. I vacuumed the floors but they get dirty fast. So most everything will need to be done again on Saturday. But Saturday I'm also cooking the rice, potato's and noodles. I'm finishing the dishes I've made this week. So I wish I could clean now and trust it would stay clean. But that's just not my reality. I'm sure Juergen and Nicole will help me finish the work in time for the party. And I really hope I can calm down and manage to enjoy the whole event. Next time I'm having a pot luck. I'm not sorry I cooked all week. You only turn 50 once. But I don't think I'll ever do this again. The weather isn’t very good either. I wish it was warmer and clearer. I don’t think people will want to spend too much time in the garden. I hope it manages to “flow” well. There are really interesting people coming. I should just trust them to make fun for themselves. Why in the world do I think I’m responsible for the whole groups fun? They are amazing people…they can enjoy them selves just fine with out my help! Oh Amy…you need to relax! This will be a very good party. Where is your faith women?

Saturday, November 05, 2011

showing the house to real people

Most of the people that ask about our house in Leimen are realtors. But we got to show it to a very nice family today. They are going to check with the bank and see if they can afford it. Juergen also shows it 2 times tomorrow to real families, not real-estate agents. I'm hoping it sells soon. But I'm encouraged by the new interest. Thank God interest rates have even gone down. That will make it cheaper for a family to buy it. We also got allot of work done on the yard today. Our party is in a week. I’m getting very excited about it. It will be a very good party I hope. Even the weather is suppose to be nice. It’s good to work hard (and we have worked very hard for months and months). And after the hard work, it’s great to celebrate!

Friday, November 04, 2011

It's time

In Germany look here...

packages need to be in by Nov 15th.

The tent is up

Juergen and Philip got the tent up. It's awesome! I think we can fit 80 people in there. And I think that's about how many people will be at our party (between 60 and 80 people). The kids and I cleaned the driveway. We pulled weeds, moved potted plants and swept. We also started cleaning out both garages. Maybe we can finish that job this weekend. There are 3 people looking at our house (God willing more) this weekend. We have seen much more interest. I guess people are now pulling money out of stocks and investing in houses. Heidelberg area is a good place to invest. So we are more hopeful we can sell the house soon. It's all grace! Today is the last day of the fall vacation. Monday all the kids go back to school (including Jessica). It will probably take awhile before Jessica can attend school (the workshop) full time. Until then, I have to drive her back and forth. But she is pretty bored at home. Hopefully she is ready for a life outside of the house. I'm ready for my own few hours alone. Here are photo’s of the tent. I have not found my new camera yet. I still have about 20 boxes to unpack. It’s probably in the last box.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

The tent came

The jumbo party tent came today. The party is in about 10 days. I really should wait to put up the tent. But the kids have vacation this week. My boys need to build real stuff (not just Lego). So I'm letting them put up the tent. I hope we don't get any bad storms that blow the tent away! That's a risk I'm taking! The boys need real jobs, they need to grow up. Philip is really getting into building real stuff. He built the trampoline, and the sofa sleeper. I wish I could find him a part time job building things. It would be so good for him!