Saturday, January 26, 2008

Just Like That

So here we were, exploring castles, taking magical walks through misty forests, buying melt-in-your-mouth cinnamon rolls from the local Backerei, minding our own business. We tried. Honest! We did! We managed to hold back, succeeded at suppressing the ever-growing passion to jump in and get messy. "Play it cool," we told one another.

Then BAM! Just like that! We noticed something scheduled on nearly everyday of the week! Could we just not help ourselves? No stress. But, still... Allow me to share this season.

So Mondays (Montag) the children and I have Tae Kwon Do. Ezekiel has his blue belt, Eli just earned his yellow belt, and the rest of us are sporting white belts. (The children started in September. I start on Monday. I was sitting there visiting with another mom and watching the children during class last week when all of a sudden it occurred to me that for the first time in 12 years I don't have a legitimate excuse not to participate with my children. No baby or toddler to chase after while the older ones are in class! Wow! Funny how we get so used to a certain way of living that we don't see opportunities right in front of our eyes! Montag...)

On Tuesday (Dienstag) Israel begins cheerleading lessons. She is sooooo excited as she has been wanting to be a cheerleader for a long, long time. (That's all I'm saying.)

Wednesday (Mittwoch) is officially called Crazy Day. First it's Tae Kwon Do again, then scarf down pre-made PBJ's or turkey sandwiches while literally running to AWANA. We've maintained this schedule since September and though it's undergone significant tweaking along the way until we finally figured out how to make it run smoothly, the children thoroughly enjoy AWANA and look forward to it every week. LeRoy and I look forward to it, too, as this has become our "date night." (I have to say, we haven't discovered any great makeout points like the ones in Spokane! But we're not giving up on our search. For all you MCNO'ers who read this blog, there's a fabulous scenic overlook about 6 minutes just west of Life Center.)

Thursday (Donnerstag)! Ah! All four children start Hip-Hop dance lessons this week! How fun is that!

I have to add a note here. The Tae Kwon Do teacher and the cheerleading/dance teacher are volunteers. Passionate volunteers, I might add. Their devotion and enthusiasm is both inspiring and contagious! So fun!

Let's see, that brings us to Friday (Freitag) -- Family Fun Night! (As if we don't have fun the other nights of the week! smile.) This is the night we kick back and play games, watch movies, visit friends, or all of the above.

...Except for last night. The women at our church get together once a month to eat (duh!), laugh, talk, pray... I had so much fun last night as I was asked to share some encouragement with the group; Fran -- she's the Pastor's wife who I wish all of you could meet -- says in her sweet Michigan accent, "...the ministry time." I said a quick prayer thanking God that when we "show up" He shows up bigger! Anyway, I talked about Vision. ...getting messy! Love it! I have to say, it was so fun to write. Ezekiel sat next to me the entire time I spoke and even helped me with the little "visual aid" at the end. Having one of my teammates with me helped me feel braver. God is so good! Do I hear an Amen?!

Saturdays (Samstag) are very, very full with... nothing but relaxing! The children and I anticipate the enormous, yummy, (Redneck?), breakfast that LeRoy cooks for us. (Remember Paris? Yep, all petite pastries are banned at our house -- at least on Saturday mornings!) Then about late, (sometimes late, late) morning we head out for a drive somewhere, or go for a stroll in the Walkplatz and visit the Bakerei in Bitburg, perhaps pick up a few household items at the Hela store (the local version of Home Depot). Twice a month LeRoy -- and sometimes the boys -- go to the men's breakfast at church, leaving me to fix the usual pot of oatmeal.

**Warning: some possibly offensive material... (I think this next part is why Rush Limbaugh receives hate mail.)

Ah commerce! It's not that I'm anti-entrepreneurial. In fact, I have great admiration and respect for entrepreneurs! But is there no end to Pampered Chef, Tupperware, Party Lite, and Creative Memories? I may be developing a permanent twitch at the back of my eye sockets from the strain of refraining from rolling my eyes every time I hear, "It's really just an excuse to get together." Since when did we start commercializing our friendships? Get a grip, People!

Somehow, somewhere along the way I started receiving invitations to participate in parties that take checks. Relationships where conversations commence over crop devices.

I would like to take this moment to say a word of deepest gratitude to all those people who declined to become millionaires with us by joining Excel Telecommunications, (ah, those were the days...), but did switch their long-distance telephone service over for us. And thank you to all our friends who graciously waited until we came to our senses. Fortunately, it didn't take too long. Phew!

But anyway, where was I? Oh, right, Free Enterprise! So I love it, I really do! It's one of the perks that makes our nation so great. I don't take it for granted. I just happen to really, really enjoy relationships without the aspect of consumerism. I'm so not above it -- the book section in any store -- this is crazy, but even the German bookstores! And I can't even understand German! Hello! -- pulls me to it like the magnet at the wrecking yard hoisting a hunk of metal over to the smasher machine. I become a wreck. Like an addict, I find myself losing track of time, sitting cross-legged in the aisle, nothing but the smooth feel of pages under my fingertips, absorbing delicious words from off the page... Oh, yeah, I'm so not above it. I asked my grandma one time if she ever drank alcohol in her life. She said, "Maybe I would have, but we could never afford it." So continues my love affair with the library. And I wonder... if someone started a home-based business selling books... Nah! Must. Re. Sist.

Okay, so there's my bratty little vent session. I've come up with some solutions to my complaints. 1) Start my own "parties." 2) Just say, "No." 3)Use Saturday nights as our night to have families over who we've been wanting to get to know. ...I'll keep you posted. Every opportunity has an obstacle and every obstacle has an opportunity! By the way, none of the Germans I've spoken with know about these commercial parties. In fact, Germans shop out of necessity, not for the fun of spending money and accumulating things. They keep life simple.

Now, where was I? Sunday! (Sonntag!) Well, we try really, really hard to make it to church on time! And this last Sunday we would have -- if it hadn't been for the fact that while driving out of our village we saw our friend, Stephan, who we stopped to visit with for 20 minutes! I know, excuses, excuses. After bidding goodbye, "Tschuss!" (pronounced like "shoes"), LeRoy commented that he was glad we had a chance to catch up with Stephan, that it seemed more important than being on time to church. I smiled. "Why, that's very European of you! Very Nepali! And Indian! Not too American, though." So we were late. Again.

Church is going well. We love the people we've met there. Though, I have to say, we're homesick for Life Center. Spoiled. That's what we are. Simply spoiled. All Life Center's nurturing, excellence, spirit of adventure, the constant changes which kept things interesting, spontaneous, and fun... I catch myself pouting from time to time. Really, though, we've learned so much while at Life Center; I'm excited about all the opportunities to pass on what has been poured into us.

On that note, like I said earlier, we held back for awhile. Now it seems that God is blessing us with opportunities to passionately jump in... and get messy! Wa-hoo! Bring it on! Two weeks ago LeRoy and I had an opportunity to speak on the topic of finances to the MOPS group on Base. It was so fun doing this as a team! Then in February we're teaming up with another couple at church to teach a parenting class. This is something I'm really looking forward to because you know what they say -- no better way to learn something than to TEACH it! Yahoo!

Sunday afternoons we take a family nap, (ein Familie Nickerchen machen -- pronounced ayn fu-mil-ee-uh ni-kershun ma-khun), hang out, read, go on a walk, and get ready for Monday morning. Just like that.

Hope this gives you a little snapshot of our week -- at least for a season. We're negotiating adding in a German Bible study on Thursday nights and possibly a German Language Night Class that Eli, Isaiah, and I would take. But I think we'll hold off until another season...

We love you and miss you terribly! I cannot describe to you how much it means to receive your emails! Even when it's a short sentence or two! It helps us feel connected in spite of an ocean and a few miles between us.

Blessings to you!

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