Tuesday, July 24, 2007

what is changing in your life right now?

A Year of Pictures
What has changed in my life in the last year?
Here are just a few things...
Immer Sprache Schule
Language School it seems like forever!

My home church.German, no English, nope not even a translator!

My fridge? Took 3 months to put in my kitchen
(apartments don't come with kitchens or light fixtures in Germany),
and the fridge is the lower left cabinet... That is right.
Behind that tiny door is my fridge!

I travel by tram daily.


I live within walking distance (5 minutes) of a castle.


Sidewalk Cafe`s are standard...


Cities like Heidelberg are a few hours drive for me.



Driving to discover my family's homestead, my daughter and I followed a map.


The roads looked like they connected.
Instead, they kept getting
smaller and smaller.
We were sure it was just around the bend.
We ended up here!!!
A large pile of manure.

It was a memorable moment. We retracked and finally found the place.
I'm glad I discovered it with my daughter.
We read our family history book
on the drive.


The Original Galleria in Milan, Italy only about 4 1/2 hours drive away.

Berlin U-bahn (subway)

Incredibly clean.

Switzerland at Christmas
An hour and a half drive from my house.


Strausbourg, France around Valentine's Day
2 hours drive.

My city close by...
1899: when the street was built - Bikes are a common mode of transportation.

One of the many tiny dorfs (villages) close to my home.
The tiny cars are still not small enough.
This road was built for horses. And busses...YIKES!


Zurich, Switzerland
Closest large airport available.
Coffee anyone?

Zug ride to school. (train) Until I came to Europe
I had never even been on a train.


Walking to the Bus, 7:45
Arrive at Train station at 8:10
Zug (train) comes at 8:20
arrives in larger city north at 8:50
Tram ride to school platz 8:58
School begins 9:00


Just a bit of a change from yesteryears.
I was 5 minutes away from work!
I drove...
Das ist schade.
Post man rides one of these.


Birthdays are without family
But new friends come and eat cake with me.

Church on Wednesday nights

People here don't make chocolate chip cookies from scratch.

I'm a baseball supporter?????!!!!!

My oldest son married a friend of mine.
What a blessing.

I was asked, and agreed to be signing witness at a German wedding.
What an honor.


BASEBALL!!!!

Seriously, guys this still shocks me.

And, I actually want to be here.
Unmoeglich!

No air conditioning.


Makes for unhappy candles on my windowsill.
and even an unhappier me!
The Black Forest
A Fairytale Land
Looking for Hanzel and Gretel?
They are right behind the tree to the left.
Out door markets are available weekly.

Birthday parties serve melon with a thin slice of some part of a pig.
And it tastes good!
Train stations allow for reading, studying, coffee drinking,

thinking, praying... anything but hurrying or talking.


A different view from my home's front window.
I seem to recall a cul-de-sac...


Now I have a hotel and a mountain.
****

And just think - a little over a year ago...

I thought this would be my home forever...

and then I moved:

Like I said, German apartments don't have kitchens.
I used this sink from our office until the kitchen
was ordered, made, shipped, installed, and
then I had to wait 4 more weeks for the
fridge!
The factory made a mistake and marked one box
Kuhlschrank (fridge) when it actually was an
range hood!

I slept on a mattress on the floor for about 2 months.
Until my furniture arrived from the US.
So...
what is changing in your life right now?
Please share - I'm feeling a bit odd right now :-)
your mutating missionary

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Sushi, die an meinem Haus bilden.



Making sushi without raw fish! It was great. Two women from my language school came over to teach another friend of mine (French woman that goes to the same school) and me how to make sushi. These Japanese girls speak little English - but we can communicate because we all speak a little bit of German! Isn't that a hoot!

Ingredients? Scrambled eggs, cucumber, tuna fish out of the can, some pre-cooked shrimp, lettuce (the good kind - not iceberg), rice and sheets of seaweed. AWESOME!!!!!!! A little soy sauce, a little essick, and a little sugar. Who'd uv thunk it would be so easy! Only dissappointment - no good avocados, they were either too ripe or not ripe enough - if we had had those WOW!

So... I set the table, rolled 2 rolls and took them all to the castle afterwards...before dessert.

Hey now... I did cook brownies for dessert! :-)







Friday, July 20, 2007

My Utmost for His Highest


I have read Oswald Chambers' "My Utmost for His Highest" regularly for the last 20 years. I never grow tired of reading it. I'm sure you all have one. If not I would encourage you to buy one. I prefer the older version and not the newer updated more friendly version. That's just me. But, I really am compelled to simply copy this excerpt. It is a powerful statement of Dependency:


Dependent on God's Presence
"They that wait upon the Lord...shall walk
and not faint" Is40:31

There is no thrill in walking , it is the test of all the stable qualities. To 'walk and not faint' is the highest reach possible for strength. The word "walk" is used in the Bible to express the character --"John looking on Jesus as He walked, said, Behold the Lamb of God!" There is never anything abstract in the bible, it is always vivid and real. God does not say -- Be spiritual, but -- "Walk before Me."

When we are in an unhealthy state physically or emotionally, we always want thrills. In the physical domain this will lead to counterfeiting the Holy Ghost; in the emotional life it leads to inordinate affection and the destruction of morality; and in the spiritual domain if we insist on getting thrills, on mounting up with wings, it will end in the destruction of spirituality.

The reality of God's presence is not dependent on any place, but only
dependent upon the determination to set the Lord always
before us. Our problems come when we refuse to bank on the reality of His presence. The experience the Psalmist speaks of -- "Therefore will we not fear,though..."will be ours when once we are based on Reality, not
the consciousness of God's presence but the reality of it -- Why, He has been here all the time!

At critical moments it is necessary to ask guidance, but it ought
to be unnecessary to be saying always-- "O Lord, direct me here, and there." Of course He will! If our common-sense decisions are not His order, He will press through them and check; then we must be quiet and wait for the direction of His presence.

____________________________

Reading this I ponder all the possibilities... There are so many interesting things that could be discussed from this excerpt. But more than anything on this evening of new beginnings


- I think I will be quiet and wait :-)


your mutating missionary


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

the buck stops here

Responsibility/Blame

Tonight I had a conversation with a young man that is in my language course. He and his wife are actually from DFW area - fancy that... and they are in my language class (the world keeps getting smaller)

We were discussing how we respond to authorities that take responsiblity for those under them and those that simply pass the buck. You know the old saying: the buck stops here...

Yes, we were discussing the ins and outs of the blame game and so on and so on.

As I come to the close of my evening. I am reminded of the sweet reality that God basically takes this thought to the extreme. I mean really. He has every right to place all of my sin upon me. It is I.

I alone have made these choices in my life. I catch myself on my knees asking forgiveness once again for something. Has He already forgiven me? Yes, He did it at the cross. But the asking of forgiveness is a sweet realization and acceptance of that forgiveness.

Tonight as I thought about it, I just had this incredible flash of Jesus (and the picture I conjure in my mind of what Jesus looks like has no resemblance to the sweet angelic pastie white Jesus I used to think of in my mind --- oops I digress) standing in front of me and saying to God the Father: the buck stops with Me, Father, the buck stops with Me.

And as I swim around in His warm whiskers He assures me that my job is to know Him. Thoroughly embibing in Him, simply surrendering to Him, seeking His face, listening for His voice, reading His word, walking and whispering words of intimacy to Him - the lover of my soul. The one and only Lamb of God who has taken away the sins of the world.



Friday, July 6, 2007

The reason there is so little crime in Germany is that it's against the law. - Alex Levin



Seeing this quote, I laughed. Thinking about this quote I began to weep.
I was reminded of so many of the people that I have met here in this country that live under a deep seeded belief that God is about Rules. They have confused God with religion. That age old misconception we do what is right because the LAW/God tells us to. Instead of the wonderful GOOD NEWS that we love God not because our religion told us to, but because He is GOD the HOLY incredible, awesome, powerful, loving, creator and we desire a relationship with Him.
Why do we do what is right? Not because it is the Law - but because relationship with Him is a sweet gift and treasure.
Following what is right to do is a JOY not a RULE. Of course then Joy must be defined: not Happiness but that deep knowing of His presence. Not the waves on the top of the ocean i..e. happy/sad...happy/sad...happy/sad. But that still place under the current. That calm place. That deep place of knowing that you are doing the right thing. That place that produces JOY.

"What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace might
increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in
it?...Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body that you should obey
its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as
instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive
from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin
shall not be master over you, for you are not under law, but under grace."
Romans .... (just read the whole of chapter 6...wait: just read the whole of the book - giggle)
Now, when I read this I am reminded of the things that I have not relinquished. Those things that keep me bound up. Those sins that I commit. Oh, please my Lord. Help me to live not under Law but under Grace in these - my issues! Teach me Lord, Teach ME. Change ME Lord Change ME Lord... Change ME in my sin-issues.
Allow me to walk freely, doing what is right.
Allow me to be your light for those in this rule-driven society. To be encouragment to those that are driven by rules instead of by relationship with you.
But, remember He calls us to do what is right. And because we love Him we desire to do that. Not because it is a RULE but because it is right.
Law decreases the fruits of the spirit/God's Grace produces the fruits of the spirit.
I am no theologian. But I know the difference in my own spirit when I choose to sin, or choose to follow rules -rigid and unloving, or choose to do what is right under the sweet guidance and love of my Sweet Jesus.
I just really want to have more of Him and less of me.
your mutating missionary



Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Passionate



There comes a time about every few months that a Texas woman must hear the gentle humm of rubber on asphalt, slip behind the wheel of a vehicle in her control, settle into a long enjoyable CD playing ROAD TRIP!!!!!
This last weekend on Friday evening, I hit my max. After a few interesting and new German cultural experiences, I needed some time to reconnect with my Lord.
To get alone.
To be with HIM.
To discover new sights.
To allow my creative self to be nurtured.
So, I went on a road trip north.
I threw my bible, my art stuff, my camera, my violen, my jacket, my journal, and some tennis shoes into my car - I was off! I didn't know exactly where I was going. I was just going.
Traveling on the autobahn I took in the regular sites. Looking for an off the beaten path adventure I set my eyes on the roadsigns. My heart was crying for a serendipitious solitude. I remembered a night spent on Lavendar Lane... does anyone else remember that????
No, I wasn't planning on sleeping in my car (as we all know I am capable of doing). But I did crave a God-given spot. Someplace... someplace... someplace.
As I rounded a curve on the bahn and descended out of a nice 180 KPH section of the road, the sign popped out at me. Kirchberg. and then Rot an See. Kirch (Church) berg (mountain) Rot (red) and See (body of water). Yep, I'd found it.
The dorf was quaint. The cafe' delightful. I asked the waitress if there was any spot to stay the night in town. She directed me to the local LARGE Schloss (Palace). In fact, she took the liberty to call and ask if there was an einzimmer available (one room). Naturlich, there was a wedding in the Schloss and she didn't know if it would be full.
It wasn't. She asked if I would be arriving on foot or in an auto. I told her I had my auto. Directing me to the Schloss she informed me that I could go and check in, then return for my meal - the cook would prepare it and wait until I returned to cook it!
Driving up the one street ending at the Schloss, I slipped out of my car, grabbed my backpack and headed into the gated plaza. A strong solid German Frau met me with skeleton key in hand. Taking me to the 3rd floor and settling me into a very plain room with a perfectly enchanting view - I still hadn't found out the price of the room. Timidly I asked her the question, "Wie viel kostet diesem Zimmer?" 25 Euros pro nacht mit fruhstuck (with breakfast) I have no idea if that was correct or not - bare with me...
I thanked her, put my bag down, took the key and headed down the strasse on foot. Snapping shots all the way to the cafe', my artsy juices were at their peak!
Here are just four of the wonderful scenes I will share with you. I think I might have to give you more of this little town in the next few days.
Passion - I needed a good dose. God gave it to me. And all the conversations were in German!
Your mutating missionary
roro