Tag Archives: Germany

Five Minute Friday ~ Reflect

On Fridays… we “shush” the inner critic and run amok with our words.  Allowing to exercise our free-flowing words with a word prompt from our fearless community leader Lisa Jo Baker.  Then we join together and encourage each other – kind of like a Flashmob for Writers.


At my age, and with all the places I’ve been and with all the people I’ve met there is always something to reflect upon in my mind.

Many times those reflections are from the happiest of occasions.  Especially at Christmas.

It happens the minute the tree comes out of the box.  It doesn’t have to be strung with lights or decorated … it’s just a signal to my family and me to reflect on the best place we’ve ever lived

~ Giebelstadt, Germany ~

Giebelstadt Zobelschloss

Zoebel -Schloss

There isn’t a single bit of those three years of living there that doesn’t bring happy thoughts and reflections.  And as the calendar pages turn … and it’s 2013 … I can hardly believe that we moved back to the United States in 2002.

ELEVEN years??? Really??? It was just yesterday to us.

Shopping downtown in the cold, brisk air.  Carrying and eating our warm, carmelized almonds or stopping for brats.

That wonderful song from the Sound of Music – My Favorite Things?  We really did love those brown paper packages tied up with strings!  And sometimes those strings had a handle on them – because that’s how you shopped …

Snow Fun  Berchtesgaden, DE

I could go on and on reflecting on the food, the fun, the long and sunny Summer days, and the darkest of Winter nights.  But it was more than that … it was the warmest, homiest place on earth and every Christmas, we dream and remember and smile.

Grüß Gott – A farewell salutation meaning God greets you


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Five Minute Friday – Remember

Rothenburg Volksmarch

Volksmarching Group

Rothenburg ob der Tauber

In a thousand ways I remember.

It’s one of the hardest words I deal with in my life.  It’s painful, and it’s full of loss, and it’s joy.

This morning it’s full of tears – streaming down my face onto this notebook of mine as I deal with constant reminders of things I’ll never forget.

Someone once explained that quite possibly significant memories are marked in your brain by the outpouring of adrenaline that occurs at an event.

I’m at no loss in the adrenaline department.

Once it was loss – of a Mother – when none of us saw it coming.  I remember dropping to the floor in disbelief and crying out.

Once it was the loss – of a friend – who struggled for years against cancer.  I remember the sorrow of her passing and the sweetness of her walk with the LORD.

I remember those crazy days of childbirth and the complete exhilaration and joy.

I remember the loss of the ones who have chosen to walk out of my life leaving me with empty arms.

I remember the excitement of buying our first house and all the fun times we had with my children there in those years.

I remember Germany, and the vivid and plentiful memories.  I feel like we lived there yesterday and not 12 years ago.

Most of all, I know that when I forget things, and I feel like I’m losing some precious memories these days… that there are a thousand people who will never let me forget … and that brings hope and joy.  I’m not the only one who remembers …

Deep, Deep Joy. 


Curious about Five Minute Friday?  It’s like a Flashmob for writers.

A bunch of us, with a one-word prompt, write fearlessly for FIVE minutes and link up together. Join us!


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It’s Soup, Not a Conspiracy

Train a child in the way he should go,

and when he is old he will not turn from it.

Proverbs 22:6

My children are wonderful.  Mind if I take a little credit for a part of that?

We eat together

We watch T.V. together

We go to the movies together

But here’s my big bragging point:

*They eat their vegetables and they try new foods – in a foreign country no less.*

We moved to Germany when our girls were ages 12, 8, and 3 1/2.  It was the perfect age for them to enjoy and remember our overseas tour.  Each child had something unique to their own experience while living there for three years.  One took a trip to Italy for Spring Break with Club Beyond – a Christian youth group.  Another traveled with the Girl Scouts to “Our Chalet” in the Swiss alps – headquarters of  WAGGGS.  And the other, well, let’s just say she experienced (and survived) Pre School while Mom became a part time volunteer for the Red Cross at the post chapel.

We all enjoyed train trips, castle and cathedral tours, shopping and eating downtown, Volksmarching, Christmas markets and our big weekend adventure to Prague in the Czech Republic.  Everyday life in a little German town was also special.  Some of our favorite dining experiences were just a short walk away.  Perfect on a late summer evening when the sun hangs in the sky hours longer than it does in the States.

When my husband and I were young, our parents held very similar views on table etiquette.  You know, like being told to eat everything on your plate … regardless of what it was or how much was there.  My husband ate well, but does confess to occasionally having to sit there until everything was gone from his plate.  He says that on a few occasions, he was there until bedtime.

I didn’t eat much at all when I was little.  The dining room table was a place of torture for me as a child.   But, I was also sneaky and I was really good at hiding my food after the authorities left the room.  Really, I don’t know why my parents didn’t catch on when they’d find the hamburgers (we called them hockey pucks) under the china hutch…

Maybe, just maybe, we learned a little about parenting though through these experiences.  Now, let me be honest when I say, I stopped blaming my parents for what I deemed inappropriate long before I had children.  I read some books, I watched other Moms, and I learned on the fly.

I understood how much and how often to feed children and as they grew, we just gently expanded their horizons by increments.  I learned just how small their stomachs really were, how to feed them healthy food, saved treats for special times and to average out what they ate over a period of a few days.

While cleaning the soup pot last night I recalled an adult who remarked to me how I “snuck ” lima beans into the soup once – apparently she didn’t like them.  Perhaps she was forced to eat them as a child and still has lima bean nightmares to this very day …

All I could think was “Hey, it’s soup, not a conspiracy.”  (Insert YOUR giggle here)

When cooking for company, I usually try to make amiable food that everyone will enjoy…. not eccentric things that kids won’t like.  And healthy … I’m kind of known for that.  But, I certainly don’t try to sneak in an ingredient.  (The lima beans are already included in the frozen mixed veggie bag)

So, here’s the deal … We love food, we love having company, and we’ve been known to have cereal for dinner…

We teach good table manners, but I think we have really been teaching honesty, respect, and thankfulness.

I think those are really the core values hiding under all those {mushrooms, olives, beets, cooked spinach, etc.}  And the biggest lesson of all is … when they go out on their own, they are going to make their own choices.

And that, my friends and fellow parents…  {THAT WAS HARD FOR ME TO SWALLOW!}

We do intend to train a child in the way they should go, and then we {Let. Them. Go.}  And it’s a lesson I’m still learning.

**After a long day visiting Prague in the Czech Republic, the kids ate some interesting food for dinner. We were seated in a little alcove room with some other English-speaking travelers.  Here is a picture of the kids being silly and making imprints on their foreheads with the woven placemats.

  We decided that the “were all Czeched out.”

czeched out

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Posted by on March 17, 2013 in Life, in general


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Advent – Reflections on Peace



Language and English skills are funny, especially homonyms.  When you hear the word peace – without any context clues – you could picture all sorts of things.

Piecework, as in quilting

A piece of pie (yum)

Or how about pièce de résistance?  Ok, so maybe French isn’t on EVERYONE’s mind!

And then there’s Peace during the holiday season, which brings the thoughts of peace on earth, good will to men. 

The days drawing close to Christmas in America don’t often reflect peace or quiet.  But, when we lived in Germany, towns stopped, shut down, and became totally motionless – even quicker than usual if there was snow coming down.  Our last Christmas in Germany was exactly like that – but rarely does that occur here.  Even if there’s a huge snowfall, eventually there will be the noise of a snowplow.

But this particular Christmas of 2001, found us experiencing a full-blown blizzard in the late afternoon on the 23rd of December.  We had spent the afternoon out with friends and as we traveled home, the snow blew and drifted across the B-19 highway.  It was a slow, creeping drive home, but thankfully we made a safe arrival.

Anybody could clearly see it was snowing hard and piling up, but it made no difference to the Germans because they were officially on holiday and wouldn’t be plowing anything.  Their Christmas celebrations would begin the next day on the 24th – steeped in Catholic, Protestant, and local traditions alike.

So, the snow fell silently.  The cars that sat parked on the street, began disappearing in the fast-falling flakes.  It was like a blanket of soft peace was being layered over every home.  Occasionally you could hear the muffled sound of a sidewalk being cleared by a lone shovel…

If you stepped outside, homes with lit windows glowed warm and inviting.  Families were together and everyone was where they needed to be.  It was time for everyone to enjoy their privacy and no one left home that night. 

When I reflect back to that December evening, I feel a stirring and a longing in my soul to keep that image of peace and stillness in my thoughts each day.  It truly is a peace which transcends all understanding… Phillipians 4:17a. 

Hopefully, as I grow in my walk with God, I will allow that peace to reside fully in me each day.  Like the warm, quiet, peaceful blanket of a Christmas snow.

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Posted by on December 11, 2012 in Christmas, Life, in general


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