Tuesday, February 24, 2009


About six months ago Holly and I started the journey to see Reese in England. Actually, we probably started this journey the minute we got back from our last one. We went to see Reese in Germany in September 2007 and decided we would visit again. We really wanted to go back in 09 but didn't think it would work out. The tickets seemed high, the timing seemed wrong, but we had these vouchers for $250 off each ticket and they had to be purchased prior to October, 2008. Eventually the ticket prices plummeted and we decided to go for it. At every turn our tickets fell through. We were beginning to wonder if we should persevere or give up. It's so hard to know when obstacles come in your path if it's a sign to give up and turn around or to keep pushing through to the goal. We really didn't have a clue what the obstacles meant but decided that we would push on because we'd feel terrible if we didn't make this trip.

Are you noticing all the "we"s? (I have no clue how to write that correctly). We wanted to do this. I don't know that we really prayed about it. I prayed that God would show us what to do and that doors would open. I talked, but I don't think that I listened too well.

I will admit that both Holly and I had bad feelings about the trip but we tend to be very nervous people and wracked it up to nerves. Then the fire hit. I remember when we first met with our contractor I told him about the trip and asked if we'd be home by then. There was no way I was leaving Dan and the kids for two weeks living in the unsettled aftermath of a house fire. The contractors exact words to me were "This will be a distant memory by the time your trip comes, don't cancel". As things "progressed" it became more and more apparent that things weren't going to be settled with the house by the time the trip came. I was more upset and uneasy and Holly was having her own obstacles about the trip.

We started talking about canceling the trip but we felt so bad about letting Reese down and possibly loosing all the money we spent on our plane fare. They don't just give you money back because you get cold feet. I actually had lost our itinerary and decided to call US Air and find out exactly when we were leaving and while I was on that call learned that US Air had changed our flight schedule without talking to us and that gave us the right to cancel with a full refund. To us that was a clear sign that God was giving us another chance to back out, and we took it. We had no clue exactly why we weren't supposed to go, just that now was not the time. Once we canceled that flight we felt immediate peace. I knew that there was a reason we were not meant to go this time but had no clue as to why, and I also felt like we would probably never know the reason why but we needed to just trust in God's plan and not our own.

You know when we were supposed to leave? Next week. Do you know where Reese is now? Here. Can you imagine the added stress that trip would have been on everyone if we hadn't listened and stepped away? Reese wouldn't have felt free to come be with her sister, which is exactly where she needs to be right now.

I do not believe that this is all one huge coincidence. I believe that God was attempting to tell us at the very beginning that this was not the time. I believe that He speaks when I am quiet enough to listen through that small voice. The trick is I have to shut up to hear it, and I'm afraid I don't do that enough. I am thankful that this time He dumped enough signs in front of me to figure it out and that it freed all of us up to do what we need to be doing right now which is being available to Reese and her family in every way we can.

This was a big lesson to me. It clearly shows that I'm still not listening and responding like I should be. Thankfully He doesn't give up on us, He loves us enough to keep dropping circumstances that change and mold us if we let them.

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Monday, February 23, 2009

My Teapot is Not a Treasure, and a Few Other Things

Reese will be here anytime, at least that is my guess. I haven't heard anything since about 6:00 p.m. last night and I'm assuming that no news is good news. She is going to be stuck at the chaos of my house, which actually should be fun. I hope we can be a good distraction for her as she is helping her sister through this ordeal.

I am also hoping that even though my teapot is not a treasure that she will be able to drink out of it :) I think I better clean it before she gets here though, that looks like dust! I thought I would show you guys a few of my walls that are finished. I gave you a little preview on this post.

Here is my castle wall:

This is a close up of one of the castle ruins we got to explore while I was in Germany visiting Reese. It's called Manderscheid and it's amazing.
This is a door that was across this little courtyard from Reese's house. I instantly fell in love with this door and always knew I wanted to do something with it. When I first blew it up my hubby thought I was crazy, now he really loves it. So do I!

Here is our Home Is Where Your Story Beings Wall. It has all the special people on it that are helping shape my kids' lives, and a few that have shaped mine and Dan's lives as well. I am so thrilled with how this turned out. Now, when I get those little special snapshots, I can just go switch out a few pics and keep it constantly changing.

Please be praying for Reese when she gets here. Please pray for health, for strength, peace and wisdom. I know she deeply appreciates your prayers and support.

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Saturday, February 21, 2009

My Tea Time Treasures

Heather showing off her beautiful signs and pictures prompted me to do something I've been intending to get to for awhile: posting pictures of my newest tea pots and the like. My favorite is still this one, which I found in Heidelberg, Germany. We were eating at a traditional German restaurant on the walkplatz when I realized there was a tea shop directly across the street. While we waited for our dinner to come, I browsed through the store and chose a couple of things to beg Tim to get me for my birthday! This tea pot and warmer are my favorite:

As a going away gift, my friend Jasmine gave me this pot, which turned out to be a coffee pot. My English friends set me straight when I called it a tea pot; apparently tea pots are short and squatty, while coffee pots are taller and slender. This one has a very retro feel and is German as well:

This is one I just got within the past two weeks. I love tea pots with tea light warmers underneath, so I did an eBay search for them and came up with this one right away. It was called a "Princess Tea Pot" of glass and brass. It is very elegant and unusual. Here it is with tea in it:

That same eBay search helped me to find this Japanese pot with warmer that had been purchased in Japan and never used. It came in the original box and the handle had never even been attached. It came with six matching cups.

This is one of my favorite recent finds. I was walking downtown in my town, on the river walk where there are many "charity shops". These are like the Salvation Army stores, only they each raise money for specific charities, such as cancer research. In the window of one of them was this milk and creamer set, priced at only three pounds (about $5.). It's lovely, and very me- though I do say so myself! Note: that's oat milk, that's why it looks a bit dingy!

About a mile from my house is a Garden Centre, which led me to believe that if I was gardener it might be a place I'd like to go. Then a friend told me she'd been to the coffee shop inside the garden center! Upon closer inspection, I discovered so much more than plants and potting soil: they have fish, birds and rodents, the coffee shop, books, candles, gifts of all sorts, place mats and coasters, tea sets... so much I was overwhelmed. Here was my one purchase:

The one picture I really, really, really want to post is one of Heather from my trip back home at Christmastime. Unfortunately, I left my camera with that picture on it at my in-laws' house. Fortunately, I'm going back in a few days and can post it from the comfort of Heather's home. Won't that be fun!

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A Sneak Peak

My house is in shambles, total disarray. Every day we try and get something more done. This has been just like an actual move. There are a few things that we have put together and stuff that I am loving. Here is a sneak peak of a few of my favorites

This is a tile that my coworker made. She gave it to me as a Christmas present and it's the first thing you see when you walk in the door.
This isn't a very good picture but it shows the stand the tile is sitting on.
Here is a picture that I blew up to 12 x 18 of one of my favorite castles in Germany. I also have another picture of castle ruins that should be here by Saturday and a picture of a very old door that was across the courtyard from Reese's house in Germany. I'm going to hang them all together and will post a pic of them when they are all up.

This wall is an idea I got from another blog I visit. It's large magnetic boards from Ikea for photos. When the wall is complete we will have six boards up and I bought a huge sign to go over them that says "Home is Where Your Story Begins"

This is a collage that's going up in our bedroom. I'm in love with it. I think it turned out amazing!

Here is a sign that hangs above our bed.

Our bed...I love it!

There ya go. A few of my new favorite things. Once the house is actually finished, I'll take better photos.

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Randomness, 'Cause That's All I'm Capable of These Days

I'm going to state the obvious here: my bloggy juices have run dry. I used to balance so many post ideas in my head I had trouble keeping track. Lately... nothing.

There are several reasons, I think. Clearly, my family's loss isn't the least of them at the moment. Much of my mental and emotional energy is focused on my sister and her kids and getting back home to be with them (that's right, I'm still in England).

But my blogging blank-mindedness started before Jonas left us. I suspect that it's partially due to the winter weather. I'm finally getting tired of the gray days and the threats of snow. I'm ready for spring. I need sunshine. I'm craving a good dose of natural vitamin D.

Last week a friend came by to help me clean my house in preparation for my trip back to America. I won't lie: I'm nervous that I'll come back to kids strung out on Kool Aid and frozen dinners, piles of smelly laundry (and/or loads of pink and dingy-colored socks), molding food in the fridge, and a thick layer of dust coating every surface. We thought the least we could do was have it all cleaned before I leave. When she arrived she brought me to 2 bouquets of beautiful spring tulips. I've been staring at them lately, waiting for the spring fairy to emerge and spread her cheer throughout the land. It hasn't happened yet, but the sun did peak out from behind the clouds for a few minutes this morning.

And on a completely different topic:

I noticed a few sprouts on a head of garlic a couple of weeks ago, so I set it in a shallow dish of water. We all enjoyed watching the shoots sprout and reach up to the sky, high and healthy. That didn't last long, because they can only survive so long that way. I untangled the roots as best I could and planted them in a tub. (The same friend who helped me clean said her hubby had grown his own garlic in this way.) Now they're a little sorry looking, basking in the non-sun near my kitchen French doors. I think a few of them will literally bite the dust, but I see hope in a few. If I get the hang of this, I may never have to buy garlic again.

Oohh... Gotta go! I see a few rays of sun...

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A Little Laugh

Things have been a little tense in our house. Looking back we realize that we truly thought once we got home it would all be behind us, but really it's more intense. We never anticipated how much work we would have to put into the house once we got here, we were looking for a period of rest. In the last 2 1/2 weeks, I don't think we've rested at all. It's okay though, it's just a matter of us changing our perspective and attitudes. We are getting a lot done.

Last night Dan and I were working on our tenth weekend project - some stuff in the bathroom. McKenna came in and asked if she could have some peanuts. I told her sure. I had no clue we had peanuts but Dan does a lot of the shopping, although he did give me a funny look seeming to wonder where I was hiding the peanuts. McKenna goes skipping out and comes right back laughing. She says "oh, those aren't peanuts, those are dog bones...did you know that I used to love dog bones?" And then she's gone.

I love moments like those. It was just what we needed, a small break and a little laugh.

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Giving God Elbow Room

As servants of God, we must learn to make room for Him-to give God "elbow room." We plan and figure and predict that this or that will happen, but we forget to make room for God to come in as He chooses. Would we be surprised if God came into our meeting or into our preaching in a way we had never expected Him to come? Do not look for God to come in a particular way, but do look for Him. The way to make room for Him is to expect Him to come, but not in a certain way. No matter how well we may know God, the great lesson to learn is that He may break in at any minute. We tend to overlook this element of surprise, yet God never works in any other way. Suddenly— God meets our life ". . . when it pleased God . . . ."

Keep your life so constantly in touch with God that His surprising power can break through at any point. Live in a constant state of expectancy, and leave room for God to come in as He decides.

~Oswald Chambers

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Monday, February 16, 2009

Presidents Day

Until 1971, both February 12 and February 22 were observed as federal public holidays to honor the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln (February 12) and George Washington (February 22). In 1971 President Richard Nixon proclaimed one single federal public holiday, the Presidents' Day, to be observed on the 3rd Monday of February, honoring all past presidents of the United States of America.

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Saturday, February 14, 2009

A Slide Show

Compiled by my sister Hannah; pictures of Jonas, who died this past Wednesday. Please keep her and the family in your prayers.

I am headed back to America on Monday with Ian to spend some time with Hannah and the family. I'll be staying with Heather and I'm sure we'll have some pictures to post soon.


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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Grief is like water.

It comes in waves, like you've always heard, crashing and receding and pounding out of your control. Sit on the edge of the water on the beach and see if the waves stop lapping and splashing at your feet. They don't. Ever.

But grief is also like water in that sometimes you move past it, you go on with life and you think you're okay until you realize that your mascara is running down your face and the book you're holding is drenched. Then you notice the ultra fine mist that is falling on you. It's the slightest twinge of pain, now that you've noticed it, constant but undemanding.

Grief is like a shallow pool, deceptively calm, with jagged rocks just below the surface. Step in just the wrong way, at the wrong speed or without proper protection and you'll find yourself nursing an open wound again. Under some circumstances, it's possible to drown in a few inches of water.

Grief is the deep sea, without a floor or anything solid within reach, pressure mounting on all sides without the luxury of a moment to examine, consider, take a breath. It stretches out as far as the eye can see, sounds of an ear-bursting roar and fills the nose when all you want to do is breath in air. It overwhelms you when you're in it, but to those on the safety of land or in a boat, the danger seems minimal.

Grief, like water, can cleanse, it can purge, or a person can drown in it.

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Grief by Gene Gould

Grief has wrapped its tight and unrelenting arms around my family today. My sister's husband, father of her four children, died early this morning. There's everything and nothing to say, a lifetime of regrets and failed hopes and echoing cries swelling in our family, with only one word resounding in my head: grief. It's mountainous and persistent, uncomfortable and unavoidable.

I'm grateful that my sister will be okay and that Jesus' arms are around them in this time. Please lift them up in prayer, if you think of her and the burdens she must bear. Also, his mother has lost her only child when he died. Please remember her as well.

Bless you.

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Monday, February 9, 2009


I promised you pics, so here they are. They aren't very good and as things progress, I promise to post updates.
Here is the sink and mirror. Although, there's a lot of junk on it. We didn't even have a faucet or bathtub until Thursday, so everything just got piled on there. We went from a ton of bathroom storage, to absolutely none, so it's going to take a lot of adjustments.
Here's the sink all clean :) (sorr the placement of this photo is all screwed up, I don't know how to fix the darn thing!)

Here's the rest of the bathroom. We have boxes in the windows because we haven't had time to get blinds up. The clawfoot is finally all installed and ready to use. That also didn't happen until Friday. I'll post more pics of that all done later. It's gorgeous!

Here's our room. I am so in love with it! It's not done, I have more pillows to add and stuff but we have never had a nice bed, or really even a bedroom before. Previously, Our room had the washer and dryer in it, with no closets so our room was basically one big walk in crazy closet. Now we have a closet and the washer/dryer is enclosed.

Here is our new sofa. This room used to be our office, it connects with the kitchen and livingroom so we decided to turn it into the familyroom and we are loving it!

We have so much more to do, but we are so happy to be home. I was gone Thursday through Saturday with Amanda for Generation Unleashed...that was awesome, and will write more about that later, but it's left the house in total chaos. We spent five hours at our rental yesterday and are pretty much out of there, so this week will be totally devoted to our own home and finally getting situated! Yeah!

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Black and White

A week ago I was looking at the 1" roots that had grown out since I last colored my hair. The black dye had faded to dark brown and my roots were growing in medium brown- the difference in colors wasn't very noticeable. Then I saw it: a white hair. A little searching turned up another. And another. And another.

Aack! I'm only 33 years old and I'm now officially coloring over white hair! The only comfort I have in this is that it was white rather than grey. I've always hoped that when the time came it would be white. I just never expected the time to come so soon.

The same day I found the white hairs I went with my Polish friend to a fantastic water
park inside a local resort. It was such fun, going down slides and rapids and frolicking in wave pools-- but the whole time all that was going through my head was I have white hair! I was in shock for a good 24 hours and then sunk into deep denial with a box of Feria hair color in jet black.

It might have all been a dream.

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Sunday, February 8, 2009

Baby At Play and Surreal Music Video

My dad sent me this video and it cracked me up! It takes loads of energy to be a baby!

He also sent me this video, which may be the coolest video I've ever seen!

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