Thursday, January 31, 2008

Inspire Your Heart With Art Day

Today is "Inspire Your Heart With Art Day" so I'm posting one of my all-time favorites: "The Singing Butler" by Jack Vettriano. I bought a print of this and it was hanging above my bed in the house-before-last (it was waiting in the wings to be hung above the bed in the last house, but it sadly never made it there). I loved it from the first time I saw it in the Coffee Mill at Bitburg, and when I set out to buy a picture for my room I thought If they have that ONE, I'll definitely buy it. Well, oddly enough, it was at the furniture store waiting for me (I had never seen it there before, or since).

I love the colors, the romance implied, and the curiosity behind the images. What are they doing? Is the gentleman trying to impress the lady? Are the maid and butler happy to help their employer in this way? Are they mentally cursing him? Or are they lovingly devoted to him and his beloved wife, maybe the latter who is dying or newly pregnant and celebrating with her husband. Why is the lady barefoot? Where are her shoes? Wherever they are, are they black or red? How can they enjoy themselves in a dance when they are so obviously putting others out? What's in the bag on the ground; a picnic? Most importantly, what is the butler singing? How would we know he was singing, if not for the title? (I would have assumed the music was in the minds of the dancers, since it must be in my mind as I watch them.)

How about you? Is there any art that inspires you, in one way or another?

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

My Daughter

I am so surprised by my oldest daughter, Amanda. She is 12 years old. She leaves with her youth group tomorrow for a conference called Generation Unleashed. She loves's her favorite time of year. They have lectures, worship and a great time learning about the Lord and each other. Last year she came back changed and amazing. But, what I am surprised about is that she wants me with her. When I was her age, I would not have wanted my mom to come with me to a youth group event. I desperately wanted my space at that age. Amanda still wants to include me in her life and what is going on around her. I am not able to go to GU with her this year, but she wants me to promise to be a counselor next year. I told her I wouldn't promise, but it would be my top priority. Now I have a year to get ready to be a counselor to a bunch of middle school aged girls - YIKES!

Post by Heather

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Square Watermelons!

Aren't these watermelons interesting? They are grown in the clear cases pictured below in Japan to fit the precise dimensions of a Japanese fridge! The cost: the equivalent of $82! (A regular watermelon in Japan is $15-25.)

Monday, January 28, 2008


We're becoming somewhat familiar with the German city of Cologne (Koln in German) as we have stopped there for dinner both times we've had to go to Düsseldorf to take care of our visas so we can live in the UK. We're used to ordering in restaurants after the five years we've lived here, but we're still prone to stifling laughter when we come across funny English translations, such as "rump steak" translated as "rumpuses"!

While walking back from the restaurant to the parking garage where our van was parked we stumbled across a place I had once thought of searching out but had long forgotten about: the perfume museum where eau de cologne was born. Pretty cool, eh?

While walking through the walkplatz (the pedestrian-only shopping area), I came across an H & M store brimming to overflowing with cute bras and panties. I rarely spend much on these essential items, but I couldn't resist the bras designed for wearing under t-shirts (one of my current favorite outfits is jeans and t-shirts, second only to sweats and t-shirts!), and the silky, thin boy-shorts (called hot pants at H & M) that I love. The downside: if I'm going to spend euro on undies, I'm going to have to take care of them. I have a longstanding philosophy that if the item can't be washed in the washer (or dishwasher for kitchen utensils and dishes), it has no place in my house. I caved for these items and washed them in the hotel sink and hung them to dry! I am still in shock at myself!

FYI, here is a great universal care chart I came across awhile back. It explains what I have never understood about those funny little symbols in the lining of my clothes.

(posted by Reese)

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Not So Wonderful Post

I had thought of an idea for a post tonight but after the difficult day we have had and now at 10:10 pm I am listening to my almost six year old daughter throw a humongous fit upstairs..all I can say is I am done for the day. I hope you all had a wonderful weekend..and hopefully my Monday is off to a better start.

Saturday, January 26, 2008


I have just caught up with the POM tea craze. When visiting Oregon last month my dad gave me a drink in a POM glass that I really liked so I asked him about it. He raved about the glass itself (and the lid too!) and about the tea that originally came in it. A few days ago at the commissary I remembered his praise of the tea and picked up a few glasses of my own.

YUM! I had the green tea lychee flavor, and I am counting the minutes/hours/days until I come across another one. I may even make a special trip just for a couple more glasses. Tim and Kristine also raved about it.

I only paid $2.11 for each one, but from what I've read online they may be as much as $3 in The States. Kind of a hefty price tag, but on the bright side: you get to keep the glass!!!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Happy Birthday!

I'm taking a bit of a gamble here..but, if memory serves me right (I hope!) is Tim's birthday!

If I am right Tim....HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(If I am wrong....I know it's soon!)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Thankful Thursday: How Sweet Is THAT?!

I'm so thankful for my son today.

I was struggling to open my eyes this morning, having pushed "snooze" on the alarm clock twice, when my oldest son opened my bedroom door. Sean was a dark profile in my door with the light glaring at me from the hall. Then he spoke the words that began my day:

"Mom, what kind of tea do you want?"

Waking up to kindness and compassion is the best way to start any day. He had a cup all ready for me when I got to the kitchen and it was the perfect temperature to drink before walking out the door to take Sean and Kristine to their last day of school.

Now, I ask you, how sweet is that?!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Heather's 2 Things

2 things you like: Pepsi & American Idol
2 things you hate: vegetables and fish
2 things you want right now: a vacation and a housekeeper
2 things you want in life: be like Jesus and have a happy family
2 things you are doing right now: drinking tea and blogging (instead of working - naughty!)
2 things you'd rather be doing: traveling and being with my kids.
2 things you hear right now: co workers talking and my iPod
2 things you smell right now: my tea and nothing :)
2 things that are right in front of you: computer empty Pepsi can
2 things that are behind you: my coat and my heater, which is on high!
2 things that make you happy: laughter and peace
2 things that make you sad: Menkes and people making bad choices
2 things you think will happen tomorrow: My kids will probably be late for work and I will stay up late reading
2 things you know will happen tomorrow: I will drink Pepsi and I will work
2 people you will tag: any other person who wants to do this

The Courage To Live My Faith Out Loud

Is anyone else feeling incredibly sad about Heath Ledger's death? I hurt for what he went through, in life and death, and for his daughter and ex-fiancee. I feel sad to know that others around me may be in the same state of desperation and no one knows to lend a hand. I hate that, as a Christian, I carry hope in my hand but don't always know who to pass it on to. This thought encourages me to wear my faith more visibly, so that if a hurting soul has the courage to seek help they know that I have the Answer in my heart.

I wish someone had shown the Answer to Heath, whether his death was suicide or a tragic mistake that happened in the midst of a shattered life.

"Lord, please be with Heath's family and friends, and bring into their lives people with the compassion to point them to Jesus. Please soften my heart, that I was be in tune with your spirit and hear the silent cries of the hurting. Please give me the courage to live my faith out loud. Amen"

2 Things

From Honeysuckle Thoughts (everything):

2 things you like: cheese and ice cream
2 things you hate: sin and strife
2 things you want right now: a nanny and a housekeeper
2 things you want in life: be like Jesus and have a happy family
2 things you are doing right now: blogging and sniffling
2 things you'd rather be doing: reading and visiting with friends and family
2 things you hear right now: hum of the computer and cartoons in The Boys' room
2 things you smell right now: deodorant and hand soap
2 things that are right in front of you: computer and 3 dvd's: Open Season, The Backyardigans Super Secret Super Spy, and Wallace & Gromit (I guess that's technically 4 things, eh?...)
2 things that are behind you: the back of my t-shirt and the back of the chair I'm sitting on
2 things that make you happy: peace and tranquility
2 things that make you sad: death and taxes
2 things you think will happen tomorrow: The sun will rise and I will drink tea
2 things you know will happen tomorrow: Someone, somewhere will die and someone, somewhere will be born
2 people you will tag: Heather and any other person who wants to do this

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Prayer Request

If you think about us this coming week, please pray that our visas come through lightning fast. We've only just been able to apply for them and we have less than a week until we're scheduled to leave and we must have them to enter the UK. We traveled to Düsseldorf yesterday to apply and we were told it can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. While our applications are in the hands of the British consulate now, in a very real way they are in the hands of God and I am putting faith in Him during this process. I am praying that Tim doesn't have to go on to England without us, as it would be a financial, physical and emotional strain on us all.

Your thoughts and prayers are appreciated!

Apparently Bill Has A Dream Too

Bill Clinton at a MLK memorial service

Monday, January 21, 2008

I Can't Help But Love This Candy Bar

I'm not really into candy bars. At all. But my daughter bought me one of these a couple days ago and I'm hooked. It's perfect - sweet and salty all in one. I never thought Hershey's had anything to offer that I'd go gaga over. Here is proof that we all have our weaknesses.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Moving On

“Change is inevitable - except from a vending machine.”

~Robert C Gallagher

Well, it's done. We're out of our beloved house for good, and in base lodging for the next week. By the piles of stuff still needing to be sorted through and taken to recycling/Airmen's Attic/secondhand shop, it's apparent that we're far from ready to leave here. Yes, the STUFF is in our hotel. Thankfully, this is the largest and most accommodating lodging facility we've ever seen; it's a converted 3 bedroom apartment with a study. There's plenty of room here for a family of six and a mountainous pile of crap.

We went to our chapel service for the last time tonight. It was bittersweet. It feels like it's time to move on, yet there are relationships we've developed with people that I wish didn't have to end. Military life, with all it's rewards, is a tough life on some levels.

Thanks, Heather, for keeping up with the posting. I'll try to check in again soon, though tomorrow I may be away from the computer again. We're moving onto the new challenge of trying to secure our visas before it's time to leave.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

I Amost Forgot....

To post today! Oops! Today as been crazy. 9 year old Mark had a pinecar derby for cub scouts. It was his first one and he had a great time.

Next on the agenda was 2 1/2 cords of wood being delivered to the house. That is back breaking work but with the help of the kids and my sister and brother in law we got it all stacked. Now onto dinner, taking everyone out for Dairy Queen as a thank you and movies to finish up our evening.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend!

Friday, January 18, 2008

What To Read Next???

So, how do you decide what to read next? Right now I probably have 15 books waiting to be about overwhelming!

Reese and I went to a goodwill in Portland while she was here and I bought 4 or 5 books there, then my mom just gave me a book, I even got one in a free giveaway and I bought a few more and friends have given me alot. I need a full weekend where I do nothing but devote myself to reading, for the entire weekend. Too bad that is unrealistic.

Here are a few on my nightstand: World Without End (1,000 pages!) by Ken Follet (sequel to Pillars of the Earth), Sabrina by Lori Wick, East of Eden by John Steinbeck, My Sisters Keeper by Jodi Picoult and many, many more!

Maybe I will put the names in a hat and go from there :) (Oh, and Reese gave me a Barnes & Noble gift certificate for, there is soon to be more choices)

Posted by Heather

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Greens to Go

Okay, so I am always trying new things to help make me more "healthy". Those of you who have been following our other blog, know that I have an issue with Pepsi and love to drink it all day long. I also do not exercise or eat ANY vegetables, and I hate anything green.

During the summer, I rode my bike for an hour every day and drank lots of water as well as almost completely gave up my Pepsi habit. But, winter is here...I hate winter...and, I have gone back to all my old habits. My friend even bought me a bike with an indoor attachment for Christmas so I can ride in the house. I have been on it once.

So, I am going to be in a wedding in about 5 weeks and I really need to get back in shape and lose some of the weight I've gained back. Last week Kevin (my boss/friend) & I went to Costco and we discovered this product. I wasn't going to buy it but in the checkout he says to me very sarcastically "Yeah, you wouldn't want to buy something good for you since you are wonderful at eating your veggies and taking vitamins". He is right! So, I ran back and grabbed it. Now, daily, I am trying to choke down 16 oz of this green (did I mention I don't do green?), foamy drink that tastes like an apple jolly rancher mixed with spinach! Yuck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But, I'm doing it..and, maybe tomorrow I'll start riding that bike :)

Posted by Heather

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

It Starts......

Tonight is the first night of American Idol. My family is ADDICTED to this show! We are excited to see what this year brings..hopefully it will be much better than last years bizarre season. I heard that this year there is some great musical talent. I will let you know what my thoughts are as the weeks progress.

Some of my past favorites have been Taylor Hicks, Blake Lewis, Bo Bice, Chris Daughtry, Elliot Yamin, Carrie Underwood & Kellie Pickler.

On a little side note...Reese is without a computer for the rest of the week so you are stuck with me and my random notes..we'll see what I can come up with to talk about every day. Pray for Reese and family as they prepare for their big move!

Posted by Heather

Monday, January 14, 2008


“Faith is deliberate confidence in the character of God whose ways you may not understand at the time.”

~ Oswald Chambers

Sunday, January 13, 2008

God's Hands

In 2002, I set out from Oregon on a 2500 mile trip to Biloxi, Mississippi. I was driving a 17' Ryder truck, with a trailer attached to the back carrying our mini-van. Sean, Kristine and I were on our way to Keesler AFB to be with Tim, who had just finished Air Force Basic Training and was in tech school in Biloxi.

On the second day, I had been driving awhile when I stopped at a rest stop. Turning the key to the "off" position in the ignition, I was perplexed to discover that the engine kept humming along. I removed the key; still the engine purred on. I broke into a cold sweat. How was I going to leave the truck if it was still running? I used my cell phone to call both my dad and my father-in-law but no one answered. I sat there, completely stumped. This wasn't something Mr. Radford had prepared me for in Driver's Ed. I decided the only thing I could possibly do was to keep driving. As I pressed the break pedal (so I could put the truck into "drive"), the engine stopped. I restarted the engine, then removed the key. Still, the engine was running. Only pressing the break, with the key out of the ignition, stopped it.

Concerned about what might be wrong with the truck, I drove to a truck stop and sat down for lunch in a cafe. I was distressed and began to feel very, very alone. I started questioning the wisdom and making such a long trip with only my small kids. My mind filled with doubts and my body tensed with anxiety. With limited money, two kids to care for, a big vehicular load with untold troubles, and being far from anyone I knew, I broke into an all-out panic.

A large group came in together and sat at a table in the center of the room. I saw a Star of David on the t-shirt of one of the leaders and determined they must be Jewish. It seemed like a young-adult group, with two middle-aged leaders, on a trip together.

I watched them for awhile, then noticed that the Star of David on the t-shirt was fashioned out of the word "Jesus". Hm. Interesting. It took me at least fifteen minutes to get up the courage to approach them. I knelt down next to the male leader and asked for help.

He and his wife came to our table, then she stayed with the kids while I took the man out to the truck show him the problem. We went back in and sat together and talked for awhile, me telling why I was so far from home and where I was going. Somehow it came out that I was a Christian, and so were they. The woman gave only a small, quiet smile when I said I had thought they were Jewish. It was only later that I realized they were Messianic Jews.

The whole group took me into a side room at that cafe and we held hands in a circle and prayed. It was the most amazing feeling, to be linked to people I didn't even know, to be cared for by them and to realize we knew the same God. As out prayers rose, so did my spirit and I knew I was loved and watched over. Who else but a loving and all-seeing God could have sent my brothers and sisters in Christ to encourage and help me right at the moment I needed it most?

After the prayer, the whole group began to approach me with money; ten, twenty and fifty dollar bills filled my hand. I accepted reluctantly, they gave willingly. I was speechless.

I don't know who they were, though I exchanged a couple of emails with the leaders (but have since lost touch). But what they did that day- their willingness to share, to love and have compassion for me and my children- has become a part of me. I will never forget them, or the knowledge that in all things, God sees my need and helps me.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

New Year Blessings

On January 1st, we were in our hometown for the first time in five years for the start of a new year and we had the privilege of gathering in my parent's home with most of my family for a blessing from my mom and dad. My brothers were there, with their wife/girlfriend, along with my sister, all the nieces and nephews and a few friends of the family. My mom gave a short, uplifting talk about God's promises for this new year, and my dad exhorted everyone to stay in The Word and and in prayer. Then they went around the room and individually prayed for each one present. It was moving and, even more so, important. I think there is deep spiritual significance to a blessing passed on from the elders in the family. It was important part of Biblical family life and has been largely lost in modern days by Western Christians. For me, this was the most meaningful way to begin 2008- in the presence of God, surrounded by family, and with a blessing from Mom and Dad.

Here we are, all together for Christmas:

I am reposting a blessing Heather posted on our other blog. I printed it off at the time and have it sitting in my kitchen. I have used it as a basis for praying God's blessings on my children several times.


In the Name of Jesus Christ, I bless you with the promises of God, which are “yes and amen”. The Holy Spirit make you healthy and strong in body, mind and spirit to move in faith and expectancy. May God’s angels be with you to protect and keep you.

Be blessed with supernatural strength to turn your eyes from foolish, worthless and evil things. Instead, may you behold the beauty of things that God has planned for you as you obey His Word.

I bless your ears to hear the lovely, the uplifting, and the encouraging, and to shut out the demeaning and the negative. May your feet walk in holiness and your steps be ordered by the Lord. May your hands be tender, helping hands to those in needs, hands that bless. May your heart be humble and receptive to one another and to the things of God, and not to the world. May your mind be strong, disciplined, balanced and faith-filled.

God’s grace be upon your home, that it may be a sanctuary of rest and, renewal, a haven of peace where sounds of joy and laughter grace its walls, where love and unconditional acceptance of one another is consistent.

God give you spiritual strength to overcome the evil one and avoid temptation. God’s grace be upon you to fulfill your dreams and visions. May goodness and mercy follow you all the days of your long life.

The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious unto you. The Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.

I bless you in Jesus’ Name.

(posted by Reese)

Friday, January 11, 2008

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Nose Piercing

A few days after I got to Oregon, Heather and I made a trip into Portland for some time away and so I could act on a decision I took many months to make: getting my nose pierced. It felt a little juvenile until I noticed how many women, even middle aged women, who were walking around with cute little studs in their nostrils. I took a long time to think about it before deciding to go ahead. I talked to Tim about it, and he wasn't thrilled but didn't put his foot down and say "no".

Sarah Blue, aptly named as you can see by the picture, did the honors of poking a hole in my nose. Beforehand, she washed my nose inside and out. As she was "picking" my nose with a Q-tip, Heather was poised with the camera to capture the moment when I put up my hand and forbade it! I must have scared her a bit with my sternness because she didn't push it at all! Now I regret not having a picture of it since it's pretty funny on this side of the experience!

This picture at the bottom is from when I got my hair done. It's pretty much the only picture I could find where the stud was visible, and now that I've posted this one I can hardly see it. Anyway, it's there and I like it. Tim freaked a little at first but has come to like it now, just like I knew he would.

FYI, if my kids ask for any piercings at all I'm going to give them permission to follow my lead... and get one when they're 32!!!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

We're Back!

I'm so relieved to be home, after about 24 hours of traveling, from our precious Oregon town all the way to our tiny farming community here in Germany. What a blessing to be in my own bed last night- even if my sleep was interrupted 5 times by time-zone-confused little boys!

Over the next few days I'll do my best to post pictures of our trip, but please be patient with me, as I have but 10 days till we need to be moved out of our house and into base lodging.

One of the interesting experiences we had was my sister's demonstration of using a special candle to remove ear wax. My daughter Kristine was the timid volunteer:

LOL! It was one of those things you just had to be there for!

Just as I reminder not to take myself too seriously, here is a picture of me sleeping with little Ian on the floor of the C-17 on the way to America. It was incredibly cold, even with several layers of blankets and Tim's coat on top of us. I learned my lesson and wore thermal underwear on the trip back. Can you find me in the heap?! I'm the redhead with the eye mask!

(posted by Reese)

Monday, January 7, 2008

Random Heather-and-Reese Facts

  • Heather is 6 days older than Reese.
  • They grew up in the same town.
  • They went to the same high school, but didn't begin to get to know each other until their boyfriends, Dan and Tim, became roommates. Dan and Tim are both very intense people and nearly killed each other on several occasions. Somehow, despite this, Heather and Reese remain friends!
  • Reese and Tim got married just 3 weeks before Dan and Heather did. They are all still married.
  • Heather and Reese are both addicted to caffeine. Heather's beverage of choice: Pepsi. Reese's favorite caffeine-delivery method: tea. Reese doesn't like Pepsi; Heather isn't particularly fond of tea.
  • A couple summers ago, we started an on again-off again tradition of getting our hair done when we see each other. This tradition barely made it through the first disastrous appointment with a well-recommended-yet-unsatisfactory beautician. This winter we tried again: different stylist, better results:
  • Heather lives in Oregon. Reese lives in Germany and will be living in England by the end of this month.
  • Reese rarely meets a dessert she doesn't like, and when she's done with it, her plate generally looks like this:
  • Heather is a pickier eater, and Reese has noticed that when they leave restaurants her dish often looks like this:

Sunday, January 6, 2008

The Highlight Of My Day

This weekend has been intense but today there was a highlight. Reese called me from the airport to let me know they were doing okay and they were able to catch their flight, etc. and then she wondered if I had a few extra minutes to talk on the phone to little Ian (Reese's 2 year old) before they boarded the plane. He has become such a joy in my life. I did not know if I would ever be able to develop a deep relationship with Reese's younger two children ages 2 & 4 because of them living oversees but because Holly & I spent two weeks with them in Germany, we now have a great relationship with the two little guys. The two older children have always held a dear place in my heart and now it is such a blessing to have a wonderful relationship with the two little guys. I think in the last two weeks our family dynamics have melded more together and become more complete. I know that Reese has definitely left her mark on my children these last few weeks. Anyway, I am thankful for that last little conversation with Ian and the sound of his little voice saying "I love you!".

I promise to upload some pictures soon of our two weeks together. We were able to spend a lot of time together and I took lots of pictures. You are going to have to put up with my posting for the next month as Reese has so much going on..but, I look forward to those days where she has a moment to post. :)

(post by Heather)

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Good Byes Are Hard

They are gone. Reese & family are headed home. It's always hard when they go but I am so very, very thankful for the internet and email. We stay in constant contact via email and this blog.

It's been a late and stressful night and I have to go to bed and pray tomorrow is a better day!

Friday, January 4, 2008

How You Know It's Time To Go Home

"Family quarrels have a total bitterness unmatched by others. Yet it sometimes happens that they also have a kind of tang, a pleasantness beneath the unpleasantness, based on the tacit understanding that this is not for keeps; that any limb you climb out on will still be there later for you to climb back."

~Mignon McLaughlin
(posted by Reese)

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Fred Rogers

I have always loved Fred Rogers. I love how calm and loving he is. Here are a few quotes:

"Knowing that we can be loved exactly as we are gives us all the best opportunity for growing into the healthiest of people. "

"Parents are like shuttles on a loom. They join the threads of the past with threads of the future and leave their own bright patterns as they go. "


Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Quick Rants: The Kitchen Sink

Sinks, in my opinion, were created to fulfill various pursposes: to provide a convenient place to wash dishes, food and hands; to brush your teeth at when all the bathrooms are full (admittedly, this one grosses me out just a little and I avoid allowing it in my kitchen!); to rinse dirty little faces covered in spaghetti after dinner; to trim flowers and fill vases; to bathe little babies in; and, most importantly, to hold dishes.

I am not one of those people who shy away from piling dishes in my sink. FlyLady goes so far (as a training tool) as to suggest keeping dirty dishes in a tub under the sink to keep the sink clean. She-who-will-not-be-named freaks out at the very thought of leaving the house with one dish in her sink. Not me. As long as I'm doing my dishes on a regualr basis (and by regular I mean daily or, rarely, skipping them one day), I'm happy to help my sink reach its maximum potential and hold a few dishes for awhile. After all, I appreciate those who help me reach my potetial- that which I was made for- and I am convinced my sink loves me for doing the same!


Tuesday, January 1, 2008

We Begin!

Today begins a new year and a new challenge for Reese & I. We are going to try and do a post everyday for this year! Tonight is just a post to get it done. One of my children has a 102.3 fever and I need to go to tend to her.

Happy New Year!