Archives for January 2010

The Roundup

What a week!  Husband away, one kid with nightmares, one with strep throat, one with an impossibly cute grin, a furniture delivery, doctor’s visits, two books and a partridge in a pear tree.  Okay, I made that one up, but the rest is true.  I have been driven to distraction trying to keep up with the ordinary as well as the extraordinary that comes with moving countries.

Focus is slipping through my fingers like sand.  I find myself standing at the top of the stairs having no idea why I went up there in the first place.  I take items out of the refrigerator only to put them away before I use them.  I smack my head on the car door and my shins on the table because I just can’t seem to pay attention….

What was I saying?  Oh, yes, distraction.  I find that reading is, as always, a great escape.  I can be pulled into another world, and strung along with a plot that makes sense and has a clear beginning, middle and end.  If only life were so simple.  Sarah’s Key was this week’s read.  Not a bad book, but not a great one either.  Since reading Anne Frank’s Diary as a teen, I have had a soft spot for novels about the Holocaust.  Sarah’s Key was worth reading for the history lesson on the round up of Parisian Jews by French Police. If you have a soft spot for this genre as well,  I would recommend Anne Frank’s Diary, Elie Wiesel’s Night, and (one of the best books I have EVER read) The Book Thief.

I best sign off.  I really do need to accomplish something today.  I shall try to pop in on the weekend, as the weather is forecasted to be “arctic” which translated means crackling fire and hot cocoa weather.  Hope yours is a cozy one.



The rain is leaving wavy ribbons on the picture window, as I sit and drink my fourth cup of tea for the day.  We are cozied up indoors, the feverish little one and myself.  Today is not a day for errands, although those will need to be done.  It is a day for homebodies.

There are piles of laundry waiting their turn in various rooms of the house, a sink full of dirty dishes, and a small stack of mending on the counter.  They will keep until later, after my tea is drained.  This is what home feels like.  Home feels like a little one asking for another cup of orange juice, the flicker of the candle burning in the kitchen, and beds fitted with fresh sheets.  It feels like a stack of towels warm from the dryer and a steaming cup of tea next to the sofa.

Home brings me comfort on the rainy days and a respite from the endless running around.  It is a vanilla scented haven of white daisies and polka dot mugs and sweet grins.  Home is where my heart smiles, I breathe easy, and I unwrap the daily gifts of the ordinary.


Take a minute or forty to check out the gifts that Emily and friends are unwrapping today at Chatting at the Sky.  You might want to throw that load of laundry in first, grab your mug, and settle in for a while.

Manufactured Danger

“The chief danger in life is that you may take too many precautions”  ~Alfred Adler
I really like this photo.  It has a gritty, urban quality that I find interesting.  If I weren’t smiling, you might think I was in a bad neighborhood waiting underground for my ride out.  The truth is, the lighting was bad, and we were surrounded by carnival rides and crowds of screaming children.  So much for gritty realism.
I don’t advocate dangerous situations, but there is truth to the idea that real danger lies in missed opportunities, in living too cautiously.  I sat on the bench while my kids waited to board carnival rides that made them squeal and throw their hands up in the excitement of make believe danger.  There’s no real danger in a manufactured thrill that is held behind safety gates and can be run by a surly sixteen year old with a bad smoking habit.  But my kids don’t know that yet. They don’t know that the safety supports and seat belts are precautions that manage the danger and keep the thrill to a mild shriek.
Some think that danger is moving to a new country where you don’t know a soul, where you don’t speak the language, and where it is very likely you will have to learn winter sports.  (Athletics are my particular brand of fear:))  It may be driving down foreign lanes and exchanging in unknown currency, or facing the fear of not fitting in and being misunderstood.  Yes, moving overseas will be life without the safety supports and seat belts, and may result in some true shrieks of anguish.   But, I hope to teach my kids that this isn’t the real danger.  The real danger would have been to miss grabbing onto the opportunity and hanging on to it for dear life.

On Embracing

I like to live in the past.  It is one of my biggest weaknesses.  However, I am finding that  attempting to analyze and criticize it to a fine point is counterproductive.  That fine point often becomes a weapon.  Sometimes it is best to let grace cover it all and move forward.  I miss too much of the present by living with mind set backwards.

I fear I haven’t caught enough of the beauty of now. The beauty in the subtle and nuanced ways that my husband loves me year after year, the seed-to-sapling growth of self assurance and maturity in my daughter, or the ability to see and embrace the need for change.  All require being alive to the present.

The challenge for me is this….treasure the past for the moments that shine as if lit from behind,  and remember the difficulties where God spins hay into gold.  I want to embrace the back lit memories and spun gold, making them the treasure that I keep and blow away the rest like dust.

Tell me friend, how do you embrace the light and sweep away the dust?




I wasn’t making it up

Some time ago I mentioned that we were planning an international move.  Then everything went a bit quiet.  After much waiting, praying, and quite honestly, stressing, we finally have a signed contract in hand.  Cue the Hallelujah chorus.  

We have a location: Zurich, Switzerland.  We have a time frame: some time in the first quarter of 2010.  We have a length of stay: two or three years.  Details are becoming less sketchy, the lines are filling out and color is seeping onto the canvas.
I am so excited to live this, to be open to possibility and change and even discomfort.  Change, big change, is a bit like birthing a baby.  We ache and contract and force something previously unknown to come out into the world, and there it is.  Blood stained but beautifully alive.  
Come along with me and watch us birth this new life.