Archives for May 2011

For when you need a solution

Along the edge of my garden, just over the picket fence, there is a walking path (a wanderweg) that the local kids use to go to and from school. They pass by four times a day, and my dog sits patiently at the glass doors each time desperately hoping to escape and give them a good howl. 

I have now rigged up an ingenious method (an overturned wicker chair) for keeping him in, while still allowing the breeze and birdsong to flow. Why not use a screen, you ask? Because, for some reason I have yet to understand, the Swiss do not believe in screens. It is annoying and bizarre, and maybe a little bit freeing too. 
It took one year of me yelling, chasing the dog, and general grumpiness to figure out that simply putting a chair in front of the door would be a good solution. I’m obviously not going to steal away my husband’s title of “Family Genius” anytime soon. It has me wondering how many other annoying situations I would rather grumble about, instead of just getting on with it and finding a solution. I think there is a stack of un-hung picture frames calling my name. I wonder if the Swiss have anything against making excessive holes in the wall?

Something new on a Friday

Today I thought I’d try something new and link up to The Gypsy Mama for Five minute Fridays. I confess this was a huge challenge for me. I am a lover of words, but quick and verbose I am not. Most of my writing comes about as easily as pulling teeth, but I’m giving it a whirl anyway.

The Rules

Got five minutes? Let’s write. Let’s write in shades of real and brave and unscripted.
Let’s just write and not worry if it’s just right or not.
1. Write for 5 minutes flat for pure unedited love of the written word.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. Go buck wild with encouragement for the five minuter who linked up before you.
Prompt: When Seasons Change

When seasons change…I find myself wishing I could change as seamlessly as they do. I wish I could move gracefully from one to the next, but I am less than graceful.
I am stop and start, growth and dying, beautiful and ugly. And sometimes that’s all on the same day.  Consistency is difficult. It is hard to allow one season to have its full work before the next is ready to begin.  But begin they do, and end, and begin again.

Each is necessary and fruitful in its own way, and most days I think the seasons of my life are too.


Why don’t you give it a go?



I’ve been thinking a lot about words and what they mean, how they can heal the broken places. Words do that for me and writing is my exercise in healing and wholeness. In looking back, I know the times in my life that writing has been absent, have been the darkest. I don’t mean dark in the painful, tragic sort of way. What I mean is, they have been the least illuminated. They are the times that are the least seen, the ones that are lived but not lived. 

Have you seen Rembrandt’s The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple?

This is what words do for me. Where everything is obscured and dim around the edges, the words bring light to the thing that wants most to be seen. There is so much of life that wants, that needs, to be taken from the shadows and made luminous in the light. Things like the way my girl’s voice dips and swirls when singing to an imaginary audience, or how my husband’s hand looks when it holds mine, and especially what it is to believe that The Word, The true Word ‘was made flesh and dwelt among us’. These are the things that require a re-telling, a way of seeing, that writing gives me.

What is your way of seeing? I’m curious.


A Word in Season

One of my favorite runs takes me up into the hilly farmland surrounding my home. There is a lake, grazing cows, and the organic smell of manure and soil. I run past farmhouses and through small villages, where the ambient sounds are cow bells and the occasional rooster’s crow. Sometimes a few cars will pass by, but the stillness is rarely broken by anything but my own two feet.

I don’t see people too often on that run, and I like it that way. I am very comfortable keeping my own company, but sometimes a training run can become so long that my thoughts start to loop, like a broken record. I usually get stuck on this hurts, or why am I doing this, and most often dear lord, is this almost over?

I run a six mile loop, and on one of my longest runs, I ran past the same home three times. On my third pass, when I was seriously considering running as a form of mental illness, a man popped out from behind the bush he was trimming and waved. He held up his fingers to indicate “three” and said “Three times! Bravo, Bravo!” I waved, breathed a heavy “Ja, Danke”, and kept moving. My legs were dead tired, but his words lifted and carried me those remaining miles. I couldn’t stop smiling. 
I thought of that run this morning. I thought about how a few words might be all someone needs to be lifted and carried through a rough patch. A simple “Bravo!” from a stranger meant more to me than any drawn out discussion with my running buddies about mileage, weather conditions, or knee pain. It didn’t matter that we were strangers, that we speak a different language, or that I was about to puke from the effort and was definitely not feeling ‘bravo’. What mattered was that he spoke a kind word, an encouraging word, exactly when I needed it. 
I hope I can do the same.

Wanderlust Part 3: Contentment in the Wandering

This is part three of a smallish series about living out your story. My story happens to include living overseas and traveling a lot, but it’s really about the bigger picture; about contentment, acceptance and taking our deepest desires and fashioning a life out of them.

If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you know that in the last ten years we have moved from PA to London to NJ to Zurich. That’s not considered a lot of moving among most expat circles, but for a risk averse person such as myself it is enough.

Each move has come with it’s own set of challenges, which I refer to collectively as ‘Kimberly’. I tend towards over-dramatization. And an ungrateful spirit. And did I mention I’m risk averse? What all of these character flaws amount to is discontent, and discontent will literally destroy the ability to live out your story. Or in this case, my story.

The truth is that living out our story is messy and unpredictable. It is challenging, it has unexpected twists, and it probably doesn’t look anything like we think it should. I spent two years living in London before I emotionally committed to my life there. I then fought, rather bitterly, against our move to New Jersey. I cried about the location, the house, and the church. I perked up a bit when I discovered the joy that is Target, but it wasn’t all sparkles and rainbows.

It was in that place, one I considered completely lacking in interest, beauty or excitement, that I began to learn what it means to be content in all situations. Contentment is seeing each moment, each small handful of wildflowers, each sunny day or short line at the grocery store, each breath as a gift. They are all gifts, whether or not they take place in New Jersey or Zurich or the place that you call home.

I have good days and bad. I still on occasion have buyer’s remorse over our decision to move overseas again. But I am content. Content to take each day as the gift that it is.


PS This was supposed to post days ago, but both blogger and my internet service have been down.