Hope in the Storm

The following remembrance and very intimate event I share with the desire that it leads you to look to the Lord in all circumstances. I have permission from the family to openly tell the story. I pray that their transparency, my words, and the presence of God’s Spirit will influence you to let this story inspire you to walk with God.

(beginning on February 20, 2018)
Yesterday, our dear friends, Stephen and Esther Widmeir, experienced a shock, a painful blow completely unexpected. And at 4:30am, my husband received a desperate call for help from Stephen. Seconds later, my phone rang and it was Lisa, their 15 year old daughter. In their short calls, the extent that we understood was that Esther had no pulse and please come right away….
It’s still so raw and painful, I’m still crying about it. But I also don’t want to wait until the memory fades. Oh my goodness, so many reminders of the song God gave me this morning. First, the Daily Bread devotional I get in my email every day said, “When God is our home, our hope is in Him.” The title for today’s devotional was “The Great Physician.”
Then, as I was just intermittently reading Psalms and praying for this family, several verses stood out to me. One was Psalm 9:18: “For the needy will not always be forgotten, nor the hope of the afflicted perish forever.”

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Trains, Delays, and McD’s

So I’m jumping out of order in sharing this, as I had plans of sharing some of our fun in Prague back in September. But now that I’ve told you what I was supposed to write about, I’ll be sure to get to that (yeah… as well as the Israel adventures that I promised…hm, maybe I should just start keeping my plans to myself…and not let you know how much I meant to write, and didn’t, last year ­čÖé ) Anyhow, here’s my first worth-sharing experience to kick off the New Year:

(We spent our New Year’s Eve weekend in Berlin, a last minute decision for a quick family get-away. I’m taking the following straight out of my journal entry which I wrote on our 6 hour train ride home. It’s the last story I recounted for my personal reflection of the three days we spent in the capital of Germany)DSC09176.jpg

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Pumpkin Pond Paddling

Yes, you heard me right. For four years in a row now, we have visited the Pumpkin Festival in Ludwigsburg, Germany. For me, this K├╝rbisfest is a highlight of the season change, preparing for the cold months we have ahead here in the greater Stuttgart area. But try as we might, I never seemed to be able to organize our visit to coincide with the day they float in oversized gourds on the small pond in front of the palace that dates back to the 1700’s. Okay, a little introduction to this unique vegetable-boat event:

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As you can see from the photograph, genuine pumpkins are carved out on the side to make an entrance to the squash, hollowed out, and then used quite effectively as a mode of travel. Participants race around the two halves of the pond competing for the fastest time, separated in 2 categories: men and women. Visit the K├╝rbisfest website here to see all the events at this fun fall festival. Now, on to the story of how I ended up in this unique K├╝rbis race… Continue reading

England Part 2: A Boot Funeral At Jone’s Bootmaker in Hastings

I had confided in Carroll that I was pretty sure during this trip in Hastings, God was going to replace my boots. Oh, my boots…I wish those 14 years ago when I first got my boots I would have had the foresight to realize how meaningful they would be – if I had, I could have captured the moment when they came into my life. But sometimes you just don’t know how precious something can become to you until it’s years later when you know a sad parting is very near.

I’ve known for, oh, I guess a year or so maybe that the time would be coming soon when my Italian boots would have to be laid aside – honestly, I’d been in denial every time my husband told me “you really need new boots, those things are on the way out.” It was probably that trip a year ago through Hezekiah’s Tunnel in Israel in thigh-high water that did them in. Well, maybe it was my tendency to pretend they were snow boots…but really, it’s borderline miraculous they stayed in-tact the 14 years that they did when I think about the wear and tear and abuse my beloved boots endured.

But going back to the beginning when Ralph splurged that night in Vicenza and spent 110 Euro on my boots, it was love at first sight. They became my go-to shoe for all occasions: hiking, dressing up, running out the door for a quick shopping trip. And even though they got a much needed break every summer, as soon as the weather cooled just enough until the end of spring when sheer foot sweat made me pause the donning of the boots, they were my dear old pal and podial companion.

Now fast forward to that day, Monday May 15, at Jone’s Bootmaker. I walked in nervously – partly hoping to find a worthy replacement, and partly wishing no such thing existed and I could walk back out in my well-worn foot gear. The first pair I tried on were actually pretty good – I could have made myself content with them: same height, same color. Not perfect, but they really.. could … do….. until I saw┬áthem.┬áThey were brown, not black – but┬áthey still zipped up (one of my favorite characteristics of┬ámy boots).┬áThey had adorable buckles on the sides.┬áThey…fit like a glove and made me fall in love again. And if you are thinking at this moment that I am ridiculous, you’d better not read a single sentence further. Ridiculous is only about to begin. Continue reading