Saturday, September 27, 2008

Our House

I am fascinated by peoples' homes. I like to think it stems from my love of architecture and interior design. I almost studied both in college but decided to go a different route. I don't regret my decision, but do still find both interesting. Jason says my curiosity is just nosiness. Anyway, I have people asking for my advice on interior decorating and love to "do" up my house. I am constantly wanting to change, redecorate, "freshen up" our home.

So, this set of blogs is for anyone who is curious how this missionary family lives. I have seen a few other apartments and houses of others here in the Germanic speaking world and feel like we are fairly comparable to others' situations. If you have no interest, then just wait a while and I will move on to something else. I plan on giving a virtual tour of our home. It will be only pics, but will give a general idea. So, here goes,

This is our building. It is three row houses together. Yes, it is 4 stories. Ours is the one in the middle. Our house is larger but our yard is smaller. There are three houses that look similar to ours on our street. Behind us is several rows of row houses that are only accessible by walking. Unfortunately, our street is very busy and noisy and we are in the path of planes from the airport. The neighborhood is very quiet though. There are a lot of families with lots of kids. The grade school (1-4th) is just around the corner and the kids can walk there in just a few minutes.
Our house up close. The front door is the one on the right. The other is the window to Jason's office/junk room.

Our small front yard. It is a work in progress. It was pitiful when we first moved here and now it is just a little less pathetic.
The view out the front. Unfortunately, it is rather ugly. The house belongs to an auto mechanic and he has converted some of it to a shop and office and he has a high tech shop to the left of this pic.
The view down the street. Up this street, beyond the trees to the left is a really old Lutheran church (about 800 years old). To the right up the street and around the corner is the kids' school. It just celebrated its 125th or more birthday. It is a very small school, with only 1 or 2 classes per grade, about 100 students at the most. Next week, when I find time I will begin with the inside of the house.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Hair

My husband says I am not "high maintenance". I like to think that I am not. I do my own nails and buy cheap hair products, etc. I even cut my family's hair. I even cut my own hair, but this is out of pure desperation. I made sure I got a good haircut and went back to my natural haircolor (I like to call it "ugly , indefinable brown") before I left the states. This would ensure that I would have about 6 months to get accustomed to Germany and maybe learn enough German to get a haircut. When I got here, one of the first things I noticed was women's (and men's) hair. What I mean is, one couldn't but notice! The hair was every color imaginable (I actually saw a woman that had every color imaginable). My favorite was neon pink and blue. We call the old ladies here the "purple hairs" because every shade of purple is the most popular color for the over 60 crowd! The cuts were just as wild as the color. The mullet, mohawk and rattail are still going strong here. All the hair cuts you see in the magazines and hairbooks at the salons, that is what you see here. Very unconventional. So, I had great fear! After waiting nearly 2 years I finally got up the courage to go. Armed with pictures of the length and color I wanted, I went to a friend of a friend. What I left with was nothing like I wanted or my pics! It wasn't bad, just not what I wanted. So, it has now been another year and 2 home haircuts and colors and I am done. I must get a new "professional" cut. There is a lady in our church that needs guinea pigs (models) so she can get her special certificate or something, I don't understand how it all works. But anyway, she will do my hair free! And I have seen her work and I like it. So next week I am off to the hair wizard and I will post pics and info. when I have it. Pray that I don't get blue hair or a mullet!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Neighbors and Flowers

Now you may ask, what do neighbors and flowers have to do with each other? Nothing really, but I want to share a little about my neighbor and the flowers she "gave us".

God blessed us with an awesome neighbor (family). We moved into our house in June of 2006, knowing only please and thank you in German. But God is so gracious. Our neighbor not only speaks excellent English (she did a year as an exchange student in Texas) but her father just happens to own a language institute! So, language problem, solved, tutoring needs, solved. The story could go on, but then I might forget to share about the flowers.

We have a small yard behind our house. We have a small fence and shrubs that separate our yard from our neighbors'. Every year our neighbor plants flowers along her side of the fence. Inevitably though, we always reap the benefits of her plantings. The last 2 years we have had sunflowers. Sunflowers are really popular here and almost everyone grows them. They get REALLY big here, upwards of 20 feet. (I last lived in west Texas where they had had a draught, so nothing grew) Anyway, this year's flowers were pretty impressive.( I think the only ones that grew, grew on our side of the fence!) So, here are a couple of pictures to give you an idea of the flower and it gives me a chance to share a little about God's blessings and my neighbor. I will tell you more about her and the story later. They have 4 precious girls, ages 5 to 6 months. This is a very unusual for east German families! Me under the flower, getting dusted in sunflower dust!
The main flower and one of the other 9 flowers or buds.
Jason under the flower to give you a little idea. In case you don't know, he is 6 ' 3 in. tall (or so he says) The flower is also a little top heavy and is bent quite a bit. Although our flower isn't especially large, I have seen some sunflowers here as large as dinner plates or frisbees.

Monday, September 8, 2008

About Me

I am not a writer or a deep thinker, just a wanna-be. I live in a European city where I am a missionary. This is just a bunch of ramblings about some of my experiences and frustrations in my life here and back in the states. I come from a “good Baptist family” in Texas where I lived for 30 years prior to moving here. I am a wife of a former youth pastor (who did everything in the absence of other church staff), Sunday school teacher, mother of 4, VBS director and everything else one can do in the church. I am trying to discover my true purpose, or at least a significant one. I am also trying to find ways to share my faith in a contextual setting and trying to get past my shyness and terrible language skills. I am a mother who is trying to be a good spiritual example. I also am trying to teach my 6 year old to read in English before he starts school next year in German.
I also love to scrapbook, photography and read and may add these elements into this blog.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

personal identity

I was reading a blog the other day about stay at home wives. Apparently, CNN or another outlet did a piece on SAHW. I know nothing of the actual piece, just my friends thoughts on it. I am not a stay-at-home-wife, nor was I ever, but I am a stay-at-home-mother. I have been a SAHM for over 8 years. I consider it a full-time job and not to be frowned upon or considered less worthy than a “career”. I often think of how sad it must be to “have to” work outside the home. And as far as stay at home wives, if that is what they choose to do, then I am sure that it is quite fulfilling and honorable.

I do struggle with thoughts of “should I do more”. I often find myself bored, even with 4 children between 10 and 3. All my children are now away from home for a better part of the day. I am not all together thrilled by this but feel it is important for my 2 younger boys to be in their 2nd language environment more than 2 hours a day. The older one will begin national school next fall.) So, the question of what to do with my time becomes even bigger. What should I do with the extra free time? I don’t feel that anything outside the home is encouraged nor do I really want a “Real job”. I have several hobbies that can be very time consuming, but are these in the best interest of my goal in living here? I keep my house fairly straight all the time (thus the OCD in the title) by separating my chores out to one or 2 a day. So, cleaning house won’t keep me busy. I have often thought I should write a book, or write praise songs or paint pictures or something that would benefit others spiritually or something but I don’t think I am gifted in any of that. I can’t even keep my blog thoughts from going in circles! My dilemma continues. I guess I am in a self-discovery phase of life.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Newbie

The blog thing is new for me but my husband Jason has done it for a while now. Just thought I might put my two cents out there too! To better understand where I am coming from, please read my profile. I am just planning on writing some of my thoughts and feelings and observations for anyone who has time or interest. I also plan on adding pictures of churches and whatnot with short explanations of their significance, etc. I live in a place with very beautiful but empty churches.