Archive for October, 2009

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

Think, remember, ponder

Today Pipers and Mathises go just outside Munich to the Dachau Memorial, one of the concentration camps during the Hitler years.

In German it is called Gedenkstaette Dachau. The gedenk part of the word means think, remember, ponder.

That is what I’m praying for today–God’s thoughts about the tragic memories of this place.

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Monday, October 12th, 2009


We are in Samara, Russia. Though this is the 4th largest city in Russia (or 3rd or 5th, depending on your informant), it is hardly known outside Russia.

One reason is that the government kept it a “closed” city because of the munitions plants that were here during WWII. Related to that is that Stalin’s Bunker was built here secretly. This is the underground facility where the Russian government would have fled to if they had needed to evacuate from Moscow during WWII.

It was never used, and remained unknown and undiscovered until the early 1990s. Now it is supposedly open to the public. But you never know exactly when — not this week, it turns out. So we just peered around behind the apt complex where it is, and saw the entrance.

I’m off to have a q/a with seminary wives.

Pictures later

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Saturday, October 10th, 2009

Happy Birthday, Talitha!

How did you get to be 14 already? I know–I’ve said that 4 different times already to your 4 brothers. But it catches me by surprise every time.

God was very gracious to us when he added you to our family. And his grace continues to us through you as you have become a young woman.

I love you sooooooooooooooooooooooo much. You used to write it that way to me. I write it now because I mean it from the bottom of my heart.


(I’m posting this the day before your birthday, because I’m not sure I’ll have internet on your birthday, 10/11. I hope I’m not confusing our friends.)

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Saturday, October 10th, 2009

The scenic Rhine

I’ve always heard of scenic cruises on the beautiful Rhine. Today was our turn.

The conference organizers graciously invited us Pipers and the DG team for 4 hours on the river.

I’ve posted pictures, including a couple of Talitha with a piece of cake, a foretaste of her birthday tomorrow, on Sunday. All the people pics are first in case you don’t want to take time to see everything.

Thanks for praying. The conference was really good. I heard some of it myself and heard great responses from people who were at all the meetings.

Tomorrow Johnny preaches at the church where the conference was held, and then we travel to Samara, Russia.

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Friday, October 9th, 2009

Bonn: birthplace of Gold Baeren

The Haribo Gold Baeren — better known to us as Gummi Bears — were born in Bonn.

When Johnny and I lived in Munich, 1971-74, I had never heard of them in America. Now they’ve taken over the world–sweetly and peacefully.

The Haribo Factory Store is just 10 minutes’ walk from our hotel. Try to imagine a supermarket stocked with nothing but candy and cookies–pretty much gummi-anything-you-can-imagine. That’s where Talitha and I were yesterday morning.

Don’t tell our grandchildren, but guess what we’re taking home for surprises?

Oh yes, and did I mention that Haribo created a special edition Gummi Arnold Scharzenegger?

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Friday, October 9th, 2009

No matter where we are . . .

England–Cambridge in particular–holds a special place in Talitha’s memories because of the 4 months we were there during sabbatical in 2006. One of her favorite spots in Cambridge was Oxfam–a charity shop as they call it, a thrift shop as we call it.

So, imagine her glad surprise when we took a roundabout way to Beethoven’s house in Bonn, Germany, and discovered Oxfam on the way. We didn’t make any purchases there, but it was fun to look around.

To top off the shopping pleasure, there’s a Euro Shop near our hotel–everything costs just 1 Euro.

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Friday, October 9th, 2009

He’s everywhere! He’s everywhere!

Bonn, Germany, is the birthplace of Ludwig von Beethoven. As far as I can tell, he wasn’t very fond of the city. But he is honored here anyway.

Yesterday, Talitha and I visited the house where he was born and lived for a while. And we encountered him all over the city, as you can see in the pictures below.

Whenever we visit a historical place, the gift shop is a must-see. At the Beethoven House, almost everything was in German. Talitha’s purchase at the Beethoven house was one that made me glad and is in a language that transcends German or English. She bought a music book and can’t wait to get home with it to her piano.

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Monday, October 5th, 2009

I’ve dug out!

The walk-in junk drawer is empty. Here are the before and after pictures to prove it. The desk and file cabinet will be moved by someone else. The boxes in the corner are new shelves waiting to be assembled.

The cloth on the desk is a table cover from Turkey that I’ll use to make valances.

Thank you — a huge thank you — to my husband who hauled file box after file box in our faithful red wagon, to the garage to keep or to the trash to throw or to the car to donate to our favorite thrift shop

Speaking of our favorite thrift shop. I found out today it pays to donate where you’re a frequent shopper. When I took today’s load, the lady helping me said, “Oh, wait! I have something for you.” She handed me an item from yesterday’s load which had included a stack of new, never used photo albums. Except this album had family pictures in it. Guess I got a little too enthusiastic in my clearing yesterday.

Now I can leave with a clear conscience to go with my husband and daughter on a ministry trip. More on that later.

And when I return, I’ll start the next half–putting the room back together again.

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Monday, October 5th, 2009

Correction to previous post

In my previous post, somehow I missed one lie: Nobody else sees my bedroom, so it doesn’t matter what it looks like.

I’ve added it as #21 (which meant renumbering the following items).

Thank you, The Vicar’s Wife, for pointing out the omission.

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Sunday, October 4th, 2009

Digging out of Chaos — LIES!

[updated: one missing lie added]

There’s been lots of time to think, digging out of the chaos of the walk-in junk drawer that’s supposed to be my study. (It was worse than the pictures show. They were taken AFTER I started working.)

As I dig out, I find myself uncovering decades of lying to myself.

Here’s the list, so far. Originally I was tweeting them one by one. Responses confirm I’m not the only one who tells herself these lies:

Digging out of chaos–LIE # 1. I paid good money for that. I can’t give/throw it away.

Digging out of chaos–LIE #2. I got that from my (fill in the blank). I can’t give/throw it away.

Digging out of chaos–LIE # 3. That thing still works. I can’t give/throw it away.

Digging out of chaos–LIE #4. It’s so ugly I can’t stand looking at it, but it’s still usable. I can’t throw/give it away.

Digging out of chaos–LIE #5. I haven’t used it in 3 years, but I’m sure I’ll need it sometime. I can’t throw/give it away.

Digging out of chaos–Lie #6. I missed the deadline for product return. But someday I’ll list it on Ebay. I can’t throw/give it away.

Digging out of chaos–Lie #7. It doesn’t fit, but I’ll surely be be small/large enough next year. I can’t throw/give it away.

Digging out of chaos–Lie #8. It doesn’t match anything else I wear, but I like the color so much. I can’t throw/give it away.

Digging out of chaos–Lie #9. My children will value this some day. I can’t throw/give it away.

Digging out of chaos–Lie #10. It’s still in the original box! This is going to be worth a lot someday. I can’t throw/give it away.

Digging out of chaos–Lie #11. I’ll find someone who still has the [office machine] that uses that part. I can’t throw/give it away now.

Digging out of chaos–Lie #12. It’s a souvenir from that wonderful trip to [fill in the place]. I can’t throw/give it away.

Digging out of chaos–Lie #13. I’ll move this to the [attic. garage. basement] till my children need it. I can’t throw/give it away.

Digging out of chaos–Lie #14. The perfect organizing system will store everything. I won’t have to throw/give anything away.

Digging out of chaos–Lie #15. I’m the only one who knows what to do with each item of my chaos. No way can anybody help me.

Digging out of chaos–Lie #16. I’m so ashamed of this mess. No way can I let anybody help me.

Digging out of chaos–Lie #17. So many self-help books. Surely there’s a way to fix my life without shoveling out from under the mess.

Digging out of chaos–Lie 18. Planning the job & wearing work clothes all day is almost as good as actually clearing away the mess.

Digging out of chaos–Lie 19. My living room & dining room are neat, so things aren’t really out of control.

Digging out of chaos–Lie 20. I’ll just sort all this stuff into stacks and then it will be neat.

Digging out of chaos–Lie 21. Nobody else sees my bedroom, so it doesn’t matter what it looks like.

Digging out of chaos–Lie 22. I’m the only one who lives in the midst of mess like this. No way can I let anybody into my house & life.

Digging out of chaos–Lie 23. I’ll never be able to dig out, so I’ll just have to get used to living like this.

Digging out of chaos–Lie 24. It’s just normal that stuff, stuff, stuff. is burying what I’m stuffing inside–and burying me.

Digging out of chaos–Lie 25. There’s nothing I can do about this mess that’s burying me. I’ll never be able to follow my dreams.

Digging out of chaos–Lie 26. The wind has changed. The sky is lowering. Maybe Mary Poppins will drift in, snap her fingers & I’ll be dug out.

Digging out of chaos–Lie 27. Keep tweeting wisdom about digging out, and I won’t actually have to DO it. NOEL! Back to work!

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Sunday, October 4th, 2009

Breaking up is hard to do

Okay. I’ve let you in on my dirty (literally) little secret.

My niece, Sunny, is a wise young wife and mother who empathizes with me. She deals with the same temptations I do.

So she sent me some good advice. It’s extra good because it’s so funny.

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Thursday, October 1st, 2009

Let’s not forget

Today is China’s 60th birthday. . . sort of. Actually, China is thousands of years old. But today is the anniversary of 60 years of communist rule.

China has gone all out in its celebration. Photos of the grandeur are from such a distance that it’s hard to remember that each one of those dots is a person with an eternal soul (as I was reminded recently when I posted photos from the rehearsals for this pageantry).

Let’s not forget.

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