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September 13, 2011

Flums, Flumserberg, and the Walensee

This weekend, before everyone but me got sick with a cold (seriously, there were reports around my family, both in my house and other households in my family, on the same weekend, of 4 different people sick, with sore throats, sniffles, headache, coughing, fever, bronchitis, sinusitis...it really hit - I am thankful I've been fine so far), David and Emily and I enjoyed a beautiful day in the Swiss Alps near Flums, an hour from our house.

First we saw and HEARD the end of a cow festival of some kind (likely the Désalpage/Alpabfahrt, i.e. when the cows come down from the mountain heights for the winter). We missed the parade (we have yet to see one) but heard the jangling of scores of huge cow bells as they milled around in a small field with flowers on their heads. SO LOUD. CLANG CLANG CLANG CLANG ad nauseam. 

Then up the mountain to Flumserberg, where we had lunch, observed some really cute cats playing in the meadow below the restaurant terrace, and rode the Floomzer, an awesomely long and fast summer toboggan (that last link is to a video someone took of riding it - what I wish I had figured out how to do; their ride looks slow compared to how it felt when I finally took Emily's advice not to brake AT ALL the WHOLE way...after the supervising guy agreed it was impossible to fall off and that the "Bremsen" signs were to be ignored). It's 2 kilometres (1.25 miles) of downhill through the alpine beauty.

Then home again with a couple of stops to enjoy the Walensee, one of the loveliest lakes in the world, with cliffs climbing up from it. Thank You so much, Lord, for letting me live in Switzerland twice, and being able to see Your creativity and beauty all around so clearly. And thank You for my precious family.

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September 13, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (2)

The City Walls and Towers of Luzern - and the llamas with power

Not wanting our August marriage getaway to end quite yet, we stopped in Luzern on our way home, and climbed a few of the city walls' towers, for our first time. 
Please note that the llamas of Luzern have solar panels for their electrical needs. What do you think they use the solar power for? Under-floor heating? Warm water for their showers? Their answering machine? Or maybe a mosquito zapper? (see last photo)

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September 13, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Marriage Getaway

Contrary to what one would think, I have found it "harder" to leave the kids behind and get away as a couple overnight (or longer) as they have entered their teens. Why? Several reasons come to mind right away, these three the top ones:

1. They are more interesting as people now, fun to be with, good conversationalists, and I enjoy them a lot (compared to when they couldn't talk, couldn't help, had so many physical needs, etc. Don't get me wrong, they were always precious and always had lots of good traits, but a break was more obviously needed when they were babies/toddlers and so all-consuming and not responsible for their own emotions).

2. I can/could see the end coming...and now of course has come, with Jason off to college this fall. I wanted to enjoy every last minute and not give it away.

3. I didn't want the kids to miss stuff, so if we were going somewhere interesting, I wanted them to come and experience it too, as something they would remember (as opposed to visiting a place when you are four - you don't remember much).

Nonetheless, it's important to get away when one can, in an effort to preserve and protect one's marriage for the long haul until death, kids or no kids. We managed to have a lovely overnight retreat just the two of us last month. I surprised David, who didn't know we were going anywhere, never mind out to dinner, or overnight. I packed his bag and had it hiding in the trunk. Last year he was the one who planned a wonderful surprise itinerary for me in August, to Einsiedeln (ornate abbey), Brunnen (lakeside town where Winston Churchill spent his honeymoon, apparently), the Rütliwiese (legendary birthplace of Switzerland) and Mt. Pilatus (all of which apparently I didn't blog - only posted once in August last year, oh well).

This year I chose a little hotel overlooking Lake Luzern on the other side of the lake from Brunnen, in Emmetten: the Seeblick Hotel (= Lakeview in German), recommended by a friend. It was very nice, and has a Christian bookstore attached, with some lovely postcards & things (all in German of course). The name of the hotel was quite appropriate - even our car in the parking lot had a great view overnight:


The next day we went on a little hike (little because I forgot to bring good hiking shoes for David; shall have to remember that next time). Saw two funny signs -  


 (Above sign means "Watch out for bears - don't feed them - please deposit your candy here")


Then I thought the photos on this next sign were funny, as it is talking about hikers and bikers getting along with each other:



Later, we drove down the peninsula and found ourselves quite unexpectedly at a breathtaking cliff:



It turned out to be overlooking the Rütliwiese - the meadow to which we had taken a boat to on last year's date weekend. See the little green grassy patch on this side of the lake in the photo below? That's where the guys from the three territories of Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden (now Obwalden and Nidwalden) agreed to watch each other's backs in August 1291 - the beginnings of what would become the Swiss Confederacy. So fun to stumble upon this historic site and view it from another perspective. You can only get there by boat or by hiking down the cliff.



I like the Swiss flag painted on the mountainside along Lake Luzern. Can you spot it?


 David, I love you! I cherish sharing our deepest secrets only with each other until we die.

So far so good with our 18.5 years. But here are Six things  learned in six years of marriage: a great post on important things to remember in marriage, by my cousin on the other side of the sea.

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September 13, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (1)

September 05, 2011

Super Friendly Cat

This black cat wandered into our church service on Sunday. Right into the hall in the middle of the meeting. She had to enter the building, then climb up a bunch of stairs before coming into the room. She was carried out three times through the course of the morning! I guess no one thought of shutting the door. Later, on our way to get in the car, we saw her again in the parking lot, and I crouched down to say hello. Before I knew it, she had leaped right onto my legs and was lounging there purring. Never met her before (I didn't do any of the carrying beforehand). The friendliest cat ever. In related updates, I am now the only person in my household who is not allergic to cats. I washed my jeans before David got home from his latest trip - taking Jason to college. All is going well! 




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September 5, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0)

September 02, 2011


My cousin sent me this in email. I couldn't find a source. One example of a complication of the English language:

There is a two-letter word that perhaps has more meanings than any other two-letter word, and that is 'UP.'

It's easy to understand UP, meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake UP ?
At a meeting, why does a topic come UP?
Why do we speak UP and why are the officers UP for election and why is it UP to the secretary to write UP a report?
We call UP our friends.
And we use it to brighten UP a room, polish UP the silver; we warm UP the leftovers and clean UP the kitchen.
We lock UP the house and some guys fix UP the old car.
At other times the little word has real special meaning.
People stir UP trouble, line UP for tickets, work UP an appetite, and think UP excuses.
To be dressed is one thing, but to be dressed UP is special.
A drain must be opened UP because it is stopped UP.
We open UP a store in the morning but we close it UP at night.

We seem to be pretty mixed UP about UP!
To be knowledgeable about the proper uses of UP, look the word UP in the dictionary.
In a desk-sized dictionary, it takes UP almost 1/4th of the page and can add UP to about thirty definitions.
If you are UP to it, you might try building UP a list of the many ways UP is used.
It will take UP a lot of your time, but if you don't give UP, you may wind UP with a hundred or more.
When it threatens to rain, we say it is clouding UP.
When the sun comes out we say it is clearingUP.
When it rains, it wets the earth and often messes things UP.
When it doesn't rain for awhile, things dry UP.

One could go on and on, but I'll wrap it UP,
for now my time is UP,
so........it is time to shut UP!
Now it's UP to you what you do with this.

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September 2, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0)

September 01, 2011

Insane Biking; Healing from Addiction

Street trials riding star Danny Macaskill does impossible stuff with a bike. Really insane(ly talented and brave and imaginative).

And settingcaptivesfree.com, a useful-looking website with free 60-day online courses for getting free from all kinds of serious addictions (from gambling to anorexia to alcoholism/drugs to overeating to anxiety/depression/fear and a bunch more), Biblically-based.

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September 1, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Way You Hold me, etc.

Some songs I have just discovered and really like:

"Hold me" by Jamie Grace (with TobyMac)
"I love the way You hold me
In Your arms I'll always be
You take each and every day,
Make it special in some way..."

"Closer" by Shawn McDonald.
"You can have all of me
I just want to be closer to You..."

"You Lift me up" by the Afters.
"You lift me up when I am weak
Your arms wrap around me
Your love catches me so I’m letting go"

Thanks, Jason...

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September 1, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0)


"A person who will not be nice is a person who does not get the Gospel, plain and simple. They either do not know the Gospel at all or they have forgotten what the Father did for them at the cross of Christ. They have Gospel-amnesia."

"Who is the biggest sinner you know? If you say anyone other than yourself, then you have Gospel-amnesia."

"His methodology of change has never changed. It was the kindness of God that changed me then and it is the kindness of God that changes me now."

"Remember: if you and I do anything right, then it is evidence that God is working in our lives. It is only by His grace that we can do anything right."

"A context of grace has been established in my relationship with God..."

from Rick Thomas, "How to Help Someone Change Their Ways" - go read the rest!

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September 1, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0)