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September 23, 2009

Autumn Colors & Indoor Rock-Climbing

On a happier note, I had a great time watching Jason conquer the tall indoor climbing wall at his school yesterday. He's part of a weekly climbing club there (in this photo he's the one at the top of the wall!). And the beginning of Autumn completely passed me by yesterday, but the pretty neighbourhood reds and yellows should have been a clue:

JasonRockClimbingZIS

FallRedYellowPurple

September 23, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (2)

Not the best day

It's been a fairly depressing day.

My husband is ill in another country, trying to get home.

One of his colleagues had an accident abroad including breaking teeth and glasses and had to be flown home prematurely.

I heard sad and disturbing extended-family news.

I received a business-type letter I'd been waiting for for 16 days as a response to my letter, and it was not worth waiting for. A complete rejection of the things I value. I had been hoping for an apology and a change of direction, and got only "surprise" and the hint that I was just not mature enough to deal with certain rigorous and challenging things.

I splattered a little pesto sauce on my shirt at lunch.

I'm having iPhoto problems. I'd like to see my photos rather than just big grey exclamation marks. I was happily rating, labelling, cropping, and making new film rolls by event...and CRASH. Then came the exclamation marks (and the loss of all my changes). I think the next version is in store for me.

I have a headache.

I'm hoping tomorrow is better.

As an aside, really neither here nor there, but adding to the weirdness, our 6th grade daughter is also abroad (in a different country from her dad) for 5 days and I have no way of hearing any news or reassurance until we see her again Friday night late.

Do you know where the phrase "This too shall pass" came from? It was originally from a Jewish folktale (not in the Bible) involving King Solomon, and then:

The phrase "This too shall pass" [was] made popular by Abraham Lincoln in his 'Address Before the Wisconsin State Agricultural Society, Milwaukee, Wisconsin' on September 30, 1859:

It is said an Eastern monarch once charged his wise men to invent him a sentence, to be ever in view, and which should be true and appropriate in all times and situations. They presented him the words: "And this, too, shall pass away." How much it expresses! How chastening in the hour of pride! How consoling in the depths of affliction!

Interesting. And for something that is in the Bible:

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

(Psalm 34:18)

September 23, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (4)

September 16, 2009

Plenty of Bounty

This is what they're calling Bounty now in Switzerland:

PlentyBounty

September 16, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (2)

September 14, 2009

German Bathroom Confusion

If you ever visit a German-speaking country and you need to use a public bathroom, keep in mind:

If you see HERren on a door, it's not talking about "her", as in female.

If you seen D MEN on the other door, it's not talking about "The Men." An important letter has fallen out of the word - the A between the D and the M.

 "Herren" - Gentlemen.

"Damen" - Ladies.

Someone told us recently about his experience with finding out the hard way which was which!

September 14, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (3)

September 08, 2009

Living Life is Taking All My Time

Sixteen days since last posting...and life is coming fast and furious here at the beginning of the school year at two schools and the beginning of all our school-year church activities, ones in which I am either participating or leading...

Jason started 11th Grade at his new school much closer to our house, Emily started Middle School (6th Grade in this case). They are both thriving and enjoying many new benefits.

A locker for Emily (she's been waiting her whole life to have one), and the thrill of being more responsible and travelling around to different teachers and classrooms on her own. The greatness of specialist teachers who are each passionate and knowledgeable about their own subjects and dedicate the whole of each period just to that. Knowing she'll have math every single day. Even if they did start with math haikus, which is a lot more like English class...but still. She's back in her community drama class and loving it as usual.

For Jason, a school with a huge built-in gymnasium with climbing wall and equipment for fencing, lacrosse, and other fun, unusual sports he's never tried before. And a big, green field for outdoor P.E. His previous school, although it had many benefits and wonderful staff, is currently working on a new facility with a gym and field, but they don't have it yet, so this is a great step up from last year in this domain. Also, Jason gets to do all his work on a tablet laptop provided by the school, which is a lot of fun and means they hardly use paper at all. They just write on the tablet, and share files. He can log into his computer with his thumbprint! High-tech stuff! Jason has started AP courses in Economics, Physics, Computer Science, and Calculus. Exciting hard-core stuff. He's continuing German and taking pre-AP English, and the fun P.E. class with a delightfully Scottish-accented teacher. He's also joined the indoor climbing club and the jazz band as a drummer.

We hosted some more Covenant Players (a travelling theatre group) for four nights at the end of August, which was a delight - they helped a great deal with our languishing landscape puzzle on a table in the living room, played stunningly beautiful piano music (some of which Emily picked up in a musical exchange, as she taught the visiting pianist one of her pieces), did a little drama for us, and helped us practice our German (they were all German nationals this time, a first). Always fun.

I've done a lot of baking: Apple Crumble, Chocolate Zucchini Cake (yum yum yum), lemon squares (didn't turn out so well), Neiman Marcus Cookies (which aren't pronounced like they should be if that first word were German), Oatmeal Raisin Squares, and I can't remember what else. We've had our spare freezer replaced (the main one is too tiny to hold much of anything, never mind an ice cream maker bowl), but now we're having trouble making ice cream. Something is not working (like possibly the bowl isn't cold enough, even after a week in the new freezer). Had a couple lunches and/or prayer walks with friends new and old.

This Saturday we drove about 2 hours west to the French-speaking Swiss canton of Jura, and visited its capital, Delémont. Maybe photos to come later. We had crêpes for lunch and then clambered up to a ruined castle there (Chateau de Vorbourg). The kids actually scaled the castle ruins, while I watched safely from below. We enjoyed speaking French. Did not enjoying slipping and falling on my rump in the mud on the steep and loose trail. Did not break my camera which was in my back pocket, yay.

I am drowning in school information in countless emails and links to click on to get up to speed on everything; and enjoying seeing who God brings to the two ladies' groups I am co-leading. One is a "Moms in Touch" prayer group for our kids and their school (for Emily's school - I'm trying to start one up for Jason's school now, too, but no leads there yet). The other is a ladies' Bible prayer group - we read daily readings on our own, and then discuss them and pray over them together once a week. Each has met once so far, and I hope people are finding them useful, encouraging, and productive. I just know I need God's help with everything, my children, parenting, leading, and being His. And I know I need His Words to guide me and comfort me, steer me and correct me, teach me and help me, encourage me and touch me. And I know I need accountability and fellowship in these things. So I stumble on in leading and hope people see past my mistakes, to God and His greatness.

Today I went to German class at 10am (what an improvement in my understanding since a year ago! Wow), then straight to check the air in my tyres, then to help out with a special event for Jason's school ("Advisory Adventure" scavenger hunt around Zurich), then straight to pick up Emily, drop her at home, pick up Jason, drop him at home, take Emily to drama, come home, now the dryer calls, and then I have to pick Emily up, drop her at home, and go with David to an informational meeting for middle school (and about Emily's week-long field trip to Cortona, Italy). It's been, shall we say, a BUSY day. Quite par for the past two weeks. I feel almost one with the driver's seat of my car. And thankful God is mobile, too. Or rather doesn't need to be. He's got instant simultaneous teleportation to all points of the globe and beyond down cold.

September 8, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (3)