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December 30, 2009

Naked Lady and Sheer Bliss

So far this week, we've skied trails in Snowmass with these names, mostly blues, as we're skiing in a friendly way with Grandma:

Bear Bottom

Gunner's View

Bull Run

Green Cabin

Turkey Trot


Log Deck

Naked Lady


Coffee Pot

Whispering Jesse


Mick's Gully

Jack of Hearts (moguls)

The Edge (black)

Campground (long black)

Showcase (black, moguls under the chairlift)

Fanny Hill (green, as an access to a high-speed lift to another part of the mountain)

And David and Jason have done the Headwall and the Hanging Valley Glades. My days are past for those, though I did them once with David when we were dating...once was enough. I can use my knee as an excuse (had knee surgery in 2002 after 3 days of great skiing), but it's really my huge fear, and the lack of enjoyment due to that factor, that keeps me off of double diamonds at this point.

We also rode lifts called Sheer Bliss, Elk Camp, Alpine Springs, Big Burn, and High Alpine.

We do love skiing as a family! Thank You, Mountain-Maker and Snow-Sprinkler.

December 30, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (2)

December 29, 2009

Aspens and Sky

CIMG1132 CIMG1130

December 29, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Labyrinth of Prayer - 50 Verses

In Snowmass Village, Colorado, the Anderson Art Ranch (in conjunction with the next-door Snowmass Chapel) currently has a Prayer Labyrinth laid out on the floor. I walked it for 40 minutes with 5 family members, and silently talked to Jesus, while listening to sacred chants. After a Facebook status to this effect, a friend mentioned she didn't know what a prayer labyrinth was, and that she was going to Google it. So I did the same, to see what she would find. There were positives and negatives, naturally. Some Christians criticize the whole thing as New Age and deceptive. It is true, any tool can be used for truth or deception. So I looked up some good Bible verses to meditate on while walking a prayer labyrinth, to keep the focus on the Truth. Some of these had already come to mind as I walked the path and prayed, trying to keep my center on Jesus. Others are wonderful ones I'd like to remember in the future. If I laid out a prayer labyrinth of my own, I think I would want to paint many of these along the path for walkers to think on as they travel.

50 Great WAY/PATH Bible verses to meditate on while walking a Prayer Labyrinth (35 WAY verses, 15 PATH verses)

John 14:6 Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Luke 1:78-79 ...the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.

48 from the OLD TESTAMENT
2 Sam 22:37 You broaden the path beneath me, so that my ankles do not turn.
Psalm 16:11 You have made known to me the path of life.
Psalm 23:3 He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Psalm 25:4 Show me your ways , O LORD, teach me your paths.
Psalm 27:11 Teach me your way, O LORD.
Psalm 119:32 I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free.
Psalm 119:35 Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight.
Psalm 119:101 I have kept my feet from every evil path so that I might obey your word.
Psalm 119:104 I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path.
Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.
Proverbs 4:26 Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm.
Proverbs 12:28 In the way of righteousness there is life; along that path is immortality.
Proverbs 23:19 Listen, my son, and be wise, and keep your heart on the right path.
Isaiah 26:7 The path of the righteous is level; O upright One, you make the way of the righteous smooth.

Exodus 23:20 See, I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared.
Exodus 33:13 Teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you.
Deuteronomy 5:33 Walk in all the way that the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days.
Deuteronomy 8:6 Observe the commands of the LORD your God, walking in his ways and revering him.
2 Samuel 22:31 As for God, his way is perfect.
2 Samuel 22:33 It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect.
1 Kings 8:23 O LORD, God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth below—you who keep your covenant of love with your servants who continue wholeheartedly in your way.
1 Kings 8:58 May he turn our hearts to him, to walk in all his ways.
Nehemiah 9:12 By day you led them with a pillar of cloud, and by night with a pillar of fire to give them light on the way they were to take.
Job 23:10 But he knows the way that I take.
Psalm 25:9 He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way.
Psalm 32:8  I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go.
Psalm 37:5 Commit your way to the LORD.
Psalm 37:34 Wait for the LORD and keep his way.
Psalm 86:11 Teach me your way, O LORD, and I will walk in your truth.
Psalm 119:30 I have chosen the way of truth; I have set my heart on your laws.
Psalm 128:1 Blessed are all who fear the LORD, who walk in his ways.
Psalm 139:3 You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.
Psalm 139:24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
Psalm 142:3 When my spirit grows faint within me, it is you who know my way.
Psalm 143:8 Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.
Proverbs 2:8 He guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones.
Proverbs 5:21 For a man's ways are in full view of the LORD, and he examines all his paths.
Proverbs 10:29 The way of the LORD is a refuge for the righteous, but it is the ruin of those who do evil.
Proverbs 14:8 The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception.
Proverbs 19:2 It is not good to have zeal without knowledge, nor to be hasty and miss the way.
Proverbs 20:24 A man's steps are directed by the LORD. How then can anyone understand his own way?
Proverbs 21:2 All a man's ways seem right to him, but the LORD weighs the heart.
Isaiah 43:19 I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.
Isaiah 48:17 I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.
Jeremiah 6:16 Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.
Lamentations 3:40 Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the LORD.
Hosea 14:9 The ways of the LORD are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them.

Haggai 1:5 Now this is what the LORD Almighty says: "Give careful thought to your ways."

Hmmm, after careful consideration, Jesus is my Way, whether I'm walking a prayer labyrinth or the roads of life.

December 29, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0)

December 25, 2009

Skiing in Snowmass, Colorado with Three Generations


Wow, what a beautiful ski day! Fresh powder from yesterday and last night's snowstorm, and now bright sunshine all day. Short lines. Beautiful views. And my mom skied with us (she took the photo of us above). Very thankful for no injuries and three generational family togetherness. But it was SO cold that I used toe warmers in my boots and TWO handwarmers in each mitten! One for the thumb, and one for the rest of the fingers! That finally produced a tolerable temperature in there! I'm starting to think my fingers don't have very good circulation! I do love watching my husband ski.

December 25, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0)

December 11, 2009

Crystal Tree Decorations, Cookies, and Caprese

IMG_0549IMG_0552IMG_0531All Christmassy, n'est-ce pas? David and I took a quick stroll through the Zürich Hauptbahnhof's annual Christkindlimärkt (Christmas market), and enjoyed the impressive sight of the Swarovski crystal-laden tree, towering into the rafters of this large train station.

Emily and I made some Christmas cookies to share with you. Wish you could actually eat one...

And one of my favorite lunches...for any time of the year, but it does chromatically work with Christmas...

Finally, I forgot to mention in my previous-post summary: we hosted another dance evening at our church this past weekend. I taught 32 people how to dance the Jolly Gordon, Sheena's Saunter, In-Out-and-Across, the French Girl, the Pattycake Polka, the Virginia Reel, Sellenger's Round, and Soldier's Joy. God was gracious and balanced the male-female ratio, brought fun people who seemed to enjoy themselves, and calmed my raging nerves (even though this was my 4th dance to teach, and 7th to organize, for some reason I was still very nervous). Some people we had never met before came from each of the kids' schools, from the ex-pat community at large, and from five different churches in the area. We all had fun; I just hope I get to simply attend one of these dances again someday and dance all night with my beloved... I want our previous dance caller to come and visit us here!!! Until then, I teach on as God leads, and savor the final waltz with David.

December 11, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (2)

Summary: Cat on leaf pile, boy on xylophone, table on fire?

Let me explain. No, it is too much. Let me sum up.

(wow, lots of people use that movie quote, as I find from a quick search; you know it, right?)

Fifteen Points and Eight Photos to Answer my cousin's question: "What is going on?"

IMG_0494 - The kids raked together a nice leaf pile and we put the neighbours' cat in it. She didn't like it much, and carefully held her tail away from the silly leaves and summarily figured out how to get out. We sort of have a front yard cat ("Tiger" aka Simba), and a back yard cat ("Cub" aka Sheila). They both enjoy almost daily petting, though they belong to other people, who feed them and all that.

CIMG0850 CIMG0833 - We had a nice visit from David's mom and her fiancé (they have a wedding date set for June in Colorado, a small affair with just the kids and grandkids). We took them to the Rheinfalls on a cold, rainy day and they were very good sports. It is the "largest plain waterfalls in Europe." We also walked around Stein am Rhein, a cute town in Schaffhausen, with a "well-preserved medieval centre." This visit allowed us to check off the cantons of Thurgau and Schaffhausen, bringing our total to 24 our of 26 visited since we moved here last year. We only have the two Appenzells left to stop by. We're happy with that accomplishment, even if some of them were checked off only in driving through them to get elsewhere!

- I finished an evening study of the Book of Esther (or, as Beth Moore differentiates it from the other books in the Bible, the "Book of Estrogen"). I enjoyed meeting some new ladies and learning more about the history behind the account. Xerxes, Artaxerxes, Vashti, and all those royal Persian people with interesting names. However, this was definitely not my favorite Beth Moore study so far. I much preferred Living Beyond Yourself (very applicable to daily life), and Daniel (lots of history and explanation of prophecies fulfilled and yet to come). I found this Esther study too fluffy. Not that the book itself is fluffy, just that the study took too many detours into American stereotypical distractions that I couldn't identify with. But other ladies got a lot out of it, so to each her own.

- God brought together first 4, then 5, then 6 (and maybe 7 next month) mothers from Jason's new school, who wanted to pray together for their kids and the school. So we started a new Moms in Touch International (MITI) group over there. Exciting to see this idea grow. When I moved here there were no groups for these two schools, and then there was one, and now two. Last year at Emily's school, there were 3 ladies all year. This year there are 7. I'm thankful to the Gatherer of hearts and the Master Planner. Our motto is "What is prayed in the group, stays in the group" - confidentiality is paramount, as you can imagine. Each meeting starts with us all reading a few verses from the Bible highlighting one aspect of God's amazing character (e.g. Love, Hope, Light, Fortress, Refuge, Wisdom, Shepherd, etc). We then praise Him for that, flow into silent confession, then thanksgiving. After a short break, we pray for one child per mom, and then for teachers and school events and concerns. It's such a burden-lifter and peace-giving time. Not to mention bonding and friendship-forging.

- Emily played the part of Freya (of Norse mythology) in a small community production.

- Jason started practicing for the "Cinderella" pantomime which will take place at his High School this Sunday, Mon, Tues. "Panto" is not to be confused with "mime" - it includes singing and dancing, silly verbal and visual jokes and audience participation such as cheering and booing. Pretty much every weekend day has been consumed with this for a while, which has precluded any pre-Christmas ski outings, much to Jason's chagrin. Hopefully we'll get a lot of alpine skiing in after Christmas. And we are sure looking forward to seeing him perform in the play (as the Prince's right hand man, who is also the King's personal secretary). In the classic British pantomime tradition, the Prince is of course played by a girl, and the nasty stepmother and stepsisters by guys. Jason does, however, get to play a male role. And Cinderella is played by a girl.

- Emily participated in the cool "Operation Christmas Child" program at her school, bringing a shoebox filled with gifts for a needy child in Eastern Europe. It's not too late if you want to participate through a drop-off location near you.

- I got to meet some local Swiss-German praying mothers at the MITI Arise! Cry Out! event in November in a neighbouring town. My friend translated for me as necessary. We sang some songs I knew the tune of, with Swiss-German words. Fun!

- David went to Korea and China on business. Korea was a new country for him.

CIMG0948 - We celebrated Thanksgiving on a Saturday with 25 friends or so, including my brother and niece from Geneva. They brought along a big chocolate Escalade marmite so we could introduce these Zug/Zurich friends to a Genevois December tradition. Please do not confuse a French-language marmite (marMEET - a big soup pot, in this case made out of tasty chocolate with colorful marzipan vegetables inside) with anglo Marmite (MARmyte - a brown salty spread from the UK or New Zealand). Quite different.

- My German class at David's office changed completely - new teacher, new book, new methods, new classmates, new time, and now only once a week. Same classroom, and one solitary student in common with my old class. Still enjoying it and learning.

- I've been having fun with Jason's 11th grade schedule; it means we can have lunch together every Wednesday. Great way to have dates with him, with time built-in for good conversations.

- I managed to keep up my annual tradition of NOT going to the local Handel's Messiah Sing-A-Long and wishing I COULD have. Some year I will break my streak and be able to enjoy it to my heart's content. I have successfully missed it every year in California, England, and now Switzerland. I am an international Messiah Sing Misser. It always seems to happen at a time that just doesn't work for me to get there. I did get to sing it with my high school choir way back when, and I'm still living on that memory.

- Jason played drums, tambourine, and xylophone with his new high school's jazz band in a Winter Concert. How fun to be in the audience and see him up on stage doing his percussive stuff. Made me want to join the band.

IMG_0556 - David made some another Grand Marnier crêpe and flambéed it in our dining room, prompting one Facebook reader to comment that it looked like the table was being flambéed. I opted for banana-Nutella, as usual. This was after our main course crêpes, which don't require dimming the lights: ham, goat cheese, fresh basil, sautéed mushrooms, potatoes...

- And life continues. Off to Colorado for Christmas this year, after having 14 family members at our house here in Zurich last year, as wonderful as it was. Variety is the spice...

December 11, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (2)

A challenge not to write

Well, my son challenged me to make the gap in writing here a whole month. Jason, I refuse the challenge. It's "only" been 23 days. Of course, looking back, I see I've already accomplished your challenge by being silent from Oct 2nd until Nov 8th. So that's taken care of anyway.

But really I'm only showing up here now because my cousin Sarah from Massachusetts revealed in her comment that she's actually been reading my blog (I did not know this, Sarah! Or I didn't remember; I'm thinking that was your first comment here) and would like to know what's going on with the empty space. Well, that's enough for me - I shall divulge. Someone (other than my mother) cares. :-) Also, I happen to be between large commitments of my time.

Hmmmm. Maybe I should just check my iPhone calendar one more time to make sure I'm really not supposed to be somewhere leading something, instead of sitting here in my bathrobe writing to you. Seriously. I'm going upstairs.

...Okay, ironically I realized I did have a responsibility to fulfill, of a leadership type, but it was one that I could take care of in my current attire, so I did that - in October, I started a daily prayer accountability group for six ladies on Facebook, and we check in with each other weekly to see how it's going. So I posted the check-in topic for this week. Now I'll just start the laundry (Mondays and Fridays in our household) and get back to you soon.

...Now that's going, I also:

- had a homemade Christmas cookie - seeing as how they're whole wheat and ground pecans, that's healthy enough for breakfast - never mind the sugar & butter & sprinkles parts.

- got distracted looking for my cousin on Facebook. You're not on there, are you! That's why you're asking what's going on in my life! That's why you haven't seen the latest Grand Marnier crêpe flambée photo...that's where everything happens lately. It's just SO easy to post photos real-time from my iPhone from wherever I am, and post little updates multiple times a day. It has become my outlet, replacing my blog (as you noticed).

- checked my email and retrieved some requested bells from our toy room to bring to Sunday service to ring before Ding Dong Merrily On High :-) I'm just thankful I'm not scheduled to lead singing this week, since last year in singing that tune I nearly passed out from lack of appropriate breathing moments. Just watching Celtic Woman at it again makes me short of breath (though they don't look like it's any effort at all - I need to learn from their breathing techniques). I do love their dresses and sweet-looking enthusiasm. It's my favorite song of theirs, but NOT my favorite to sing myself at church on stage.

Now this post is too long to include any ACTUAL CONTENT...I'll have to post this and start again. Thanks for asking, Sarah!

December 11, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0)