30 May 2011

Running barefoot

My friend at C.Beth Run is running barefoot for over a year now. She got very passionate about it this post. So I have been listening for all this time, and I have been vehemently telling her (and myself) that I am better off with my shoes on my feet. I have been running this way since I started running (on and off) over sixteen years ago. And there are several good reasons, for me, to wear shoes: I just didn't know better, and I like to be clean. The thought of getting my feet all icky sticky and black - just not my idea of running. I was also worried about the soles of my feet.

But after walk/running the 19 miles in that stadium and the hurt afterwards, I have never come back to running as freely as before. I feel more like I am dragging my feet across the asphalt - not a nice feeling, by the way. Having her on my side, not daily, but enough, I started thinking.... and thinking and thinking.... and came to the conclusion of trying it out, barefoot, but with the socks on!

And I so did, last Friday morning. I was told to only run a small block, not a great distance, because one runs with different muscles barefoot than with shoes on, so I was not to get hurt. It was only 0.25 miles that I ran, barely a block. My feet felt so free.... oh, it felt so good. I ran my two mils first, on shoes, and than took the shoes off. Did I mention how good it felt?! Oh, so good.

So this morning, I ran my first mile in 10:30  -a great timing! But after that I just felt tired and it was way too warm, for me, something I am not sure I will ever get used to. So my second mile was more like a disaster, so much that I had to walk for half of it. So I decided that it was time to take those shoes off, the shoes that I had been fighting for for so long, but I took them off. And I ran my first full mile without shoes! Yippy. My pace was bad, of course, but I kept in mind to take it easy at first. I didn't have to stop and take a walk break, I just ran.... ran for that entire mile and felt oh so good....

My dear friend Beth - you might have convinced me to start running barefoot..... it took you over a year, I guess I am not a person to be easily persuaded for what is best for me - I mean it took my hubby a long time to talk me into him and that he is good for me... You did it! You have that effect on me.... thank you! I am so blessed to have you in my life! (and if it is just for that running influence!) Here is the link to a blog she wrote about minimal shoes, something that I definitely have to look into....

29 May 2011

There is a time for everything

Ecclesiastes 3:1 says:
"For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven:..."

Today, one season has finished - the pastors of our church had their last Sunday. Last night, we celebrated their farewell with them. It's over now....
It was sad; it was a gloomy Sunday, where many tears were flowing and many hugs were given, goodbyes were said and see-you-soons promised. This season has ended, and a new one will come.

So the girl that doesn't cry, cried today, got all emotional and still feels the aftermath. It seems like for the longest time, I kind of avoided to think about what was coming today. But now it is here and it hurts....

I understand what they think - because I have been there many times. It is always easier for the one leaving than for the one staying behind. They are excited because they know where they are going. We, on the other hand, are staying and still don't know what will happen to our church. It is scary.

But God will only do good. He is good. He is bringing them to a new place to grow just as He is sending someone to us to grow as well. God is good, all the time. And I am looking forward to what is coming.

25 May 2011

Homemade Bread

Does it look yummy?

My friend @ C.Beth has introduced me to bread making here, in a very easy way. Four ingredients is all you need for the first loaf of homemade bread! Flour, water, salt and yeast. Mix it and let it rise, then bake it. Sounds easy, right?

If you are into baking, here is the book that she has and I then ordered for myself: Artisan Bread in Five Minutes by authors Hertzberg and Fran├žois. Here is the link to their website.

I've been making this easy bread for the last months, and to be honest, it gets boring after a while, at least for me. The hubby and the kids still love it, so I have to make it. But for me, I am more of a whole wheat kind of girl, so I wanted to try new breads and experiment with them.

So I read through some recipes, went shopping and started to bake. The above picture is of a bread from the section 'Peasant Breads', it's called Deli-Style Rye, and it is delicious. The seeds are caraway - something every German just loves!!! (I am serious.) It is also just as easy as the other recipes that I have tried out. It's so simple that it makes me wonder why I haven't started to make my own bread much sooner.

Bon Appetit.

23 May 2011

Daily Verse and a review of my Resolutions

"Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions."

Mark 11:25 (NASB)

Never thought of it that way! I mean it makes total sense, and I am sure that I must have heard or read it before, but I never put one and one together. Sad, really, but I guess sometimes I just leave my brain in bed when dealing with the kiddos...

That said, I remembered my resolutions, or rather attempts to better myself. In regard of my faith, I wanted to read more of the bible - so one day, I can say I have read the bible from cover to cover. So I signed up to receive a daily verse via email - so that I am forced to read the bible every single day! No excuse. I am breaking my rule of not touching the computer on Sundays, but only for a bit in order to read the verse. I make the rules, so I can break them - at least that's my motto.

But even with the daily interaction with the bible, I still feel like something is missing.

Don't get me wrong, it's not God that I miss. I know He is here with me. That alone gives me peace. What I am looking for is knowledge.And with that comes understanding. I am not a big doubter but I can get off the path a little. That's why they keep saying that we all need God. It's true.

We used to have home groups and meet every week, or every other week, to discuss a part or portion of the bible. That involves reading the bible and talk about it and pray about it. I mean, all one needs for a relationship with Jesus. (Yes, of course, there were social actions included as a plus, but still God was there with us.)
Then we used to have bible studies for the women of the church - you know the weekly kind with a DVD and a book and homework and God. It was fun and I learned soooo much from it. It's gone. I used to give me more faith when I could put puzzle pieces together by learning more and more.

So now I am a bit at a loss here and feel like I need some catching-up. Catching-up with what God has to say to me, today. I want to hear from Him and what He has to say because I believe what was true back in the days when the bible was written is still true today. Parables from Jesus are as applicable in life today. God still is not finished with me and I just want more....

Yes, it's a bit my own fault because I am not very good at self-motivation. I need the pressure from someone or somewhere to get me going. I never thought of myself as a procrastinator but lately, observing myself, I have to admit that I have become one. Big time! I don't know when it happened, but I think it had something to do with having children....

So I think I need to add to my list of resolutions to undo the procrastinator thingy. And find a new group of people that would like to interact on behalf of the bible - meaning: a bible study group!

An afterword from yesterday's post:
today's verse:
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV)

20 May 2011

Math is not so foreign anymore

Before the summer really gets started, I want to make sure we cover a great deal of stuff. So lately, I have Coqui work a little extra each day. Also trying to prepare him for next fall when it gets a bit more serious.
I started even with handwriting - something that I had seen on other homeschooling blogs and curriculum that are for Kindergartners. Bible study has come back with a new vengeance from Mami who found a great website with LOTS of free coloring pages and studies for preschoolers. In biology, we did something that I thought would interest him most: the human body. But besides all the body parts, he doesn't seem to be too much into the details about bones and blood. Geography is one of my favorites, and it seems to me that Coqui must have inherited that! We do the states and Europe, of course, and he has such a good memory. When I asked him what states he knows, he could come up with eight states all on his own. Eight out of fifty is not bad for under five years old, I think. So I am a little proud.Once, we tried to build a volcano, but Mami must have done something wrong, so it broke and didn't work. Lesson learned? Sure, don't let Mami teach physics!!! (actually, I am still looking for a co-op for him for that specific subject!)

But we also do other not-so-school stuff like cooking and baking (that includes measuring). He watches me saw and comes up with creative ideas of what he wants me to saw for him. He actually came up with the train pillows and his train bag, and with his soccer shirt (with a number on it!). He helps cleaning up the backyard and watering all the plants -especially the ones Oma bought! (inside joke, because I don't have a green thumb and my mom's hobby is gardening!) He cleans my kitchen floors - no, no child labor, he actually wants to do it. I mean the list is endless..... he does alot.

So here is what we have been working on the last couple of days. He knows all the numbers until 20 without mistakes; he usually knows them up to 29. We talked about counting by twos and fives and tens and so on... but that concept still seems to be hard to understand.

Here, I mean you only see the end result, but there is alot of explaining, counting with fingers and markers, and repeating by him, to do before we got to the results. Nonetheless, I am so amazed that he gets it now! Say three months ago, he could care less about Math, about adding, and subtracting - I just never mentioned it. So I let it go and figured we will come back to it later - you know the good thing about homeschooling is that I don't have to force it if it is not his strength right now.

I am sure you can tell that I am thrilled.... and proud and blessed with this little guy! I love you Coqui.

19 May 2011

Field Trip to the Zoo

Today, we skip school, or at least the sit-down-and-write part and we went to the local zoo with our friends. This was our first time, after living in Texas for over four years. It just never seemed to be the right time, and I was kind of reluctant to go because it is "just" a rescue zoo, so you won't find every unusual animal that you can find in bigger zoos.

But after being there, I have to say that it was just enough for the kids and their age group. We walked around for about two hours and then had the picnic that we had brought. And last but not least, we went on the zoo train! A big hit with my train-o-maniac.

Here are some pictures from our fun field trip to the zoo:
I love seeing Coqui be so animal-friendly. He is so not afraid!
After seeing the lion eat, we decided it was time for us as well.
And you are wondering where Peanut is in these pictures? Well, she doesn't seem to like animals at all, she is rather scared of them. So she sat quite contently in the stroller the entire time, and only came out for lunch.
This is inside the train. We went there after lunch at noon, but the train was already full. It runs only every hour. But when we got there and it was full, the lady said she'll run it again for us when she comes back. So we only had to wait for 15 minutes. Very nice. And much appreciated.
Here is a little quiz at the end - can you guess what picture pattern goes with which animal?


 Coqui has gotten a few new toys over Easter and after, from us parents and the grandparents. One of those wonderful creations is PLAYMOBIL®. I love it, and hope that he gets to love it just as much.

So I just wanted to share some pictures with you:
He got so into it, set it all out on the living room. And I got to play with just him for over an hour! I pray that these are the moments he will remember from his childhood.

16 May 2011

Relay For Life Night

Survivors are the reason we Relay.

This is the first phrase of the website for the relays from the American Cancer Society.

Well, this is not the reason why I joined the event this last Friday night. I don't want to be honored for something that I had no choice in, I did not want to have cancer, nor was I the one choosing to survive. I survived through the mercy of my Lord Jesus Christ. It is all in His honor that I walk.

And to give HOPE to others.

So I joined my very good friend Beth and a team of about fifteen participants to raise money for the ACS and walked all night from Friday 7 pm until Saturday morning 6 am. Our team raised $1037.00 - more than we had wished for. We thank each and every one for their care.

The relay started with the Survivors Lap where the survivors had to walk around the track  one time, I guess to be celebrated, but most of all to show HOPE. Then the  relay was on! One member of the team had to be on the track at all times. For our team, it worked out great - because it seemed we had alot of walkers and runners on the team. So I got to spend alot of quality time with my friend, walking and running around the track lap after lap. She did 10.5 miles and I could accumulate 19 miles - three of those I actually ran! Literally, I was walking until 6 am when we decided to leave. (And when you convert the 19 miles into kilometers, I actually walked 30.4 km - doesn't that sound like something? Oh, I am so 'proud'.)

In order to make it more fun, there was a DJ who played music all night long, you know the kind that's upbeat and makes you wanna move! They also include some fun laps where the entire team has to go back out on the track, like a backwards-lap or a whistle-lap. People were selling food and drinks (coffee!!!), so really one can eat all night long and walk, so it won't stay on the hips!?! Seriously, it is alot of fun, and for a good cause!

There is one important aspect to the relay, and that's the Luminaria that brings people together to remember their loved ones lost to the battle of cancer or the ones, like me, that won the battle, at least for now!?! These are bags that each have a name on it. They place a candle inside. And when the sun sets, the illuminated bags fill the dark stadium with the light of hope. It is very moving, and lots of tears fell.... There was a minute of silence and lap with all participants around the track. I was honored to be there.

The food and drinks that the teams sell, are part of their raised money. There was also a silent auction going on. Teams had to come up with a basket of goodies and try to sell it to the highest bidder. We made two baskets, each with a lovely hat made by my friend that crochets, among so many other things. I had put a bid in for both baskets but only won one. So I have a new hat that I can show off in the next cold season, one that was made in my cancer color, at least one of them, teal. (Cervical cancer's colors are white and teal; the teal alone stands for ovarian cancer.) The other head, my friend made, was with a ribbon with all the cancer colors. Very beautiful. You can check out her stuff at her facebook page and on the etsy shop.

Here is a picture from the sunrise when I got into my car. By the time I got home, it was daylight! I needed a shower badly and then my bed. I got three hours of sleep until the kids just couldn't do without me anymore. So somehow I survived Saturday with the little sleep I had. Sunday, I was pretty soar, but today, on Monday, I am almost back to normal. Tomorrow, I promised myself to be back to running in the morning!

12 May 2011

A new Challenge

Did you know that parenting is learning on the job site?
It constantly changes and challenges us on a new level, milestone after milestone with our children being the teachers. Ever thought of it that way?

Well, before we had kids, we talked about how we would raise those children. I, specifically, didn't want to make the same mistakes my parents did. We decided that spanking was okay, not on a regular basis, only when necessary. So Coqui and even Peanut had their share of it.... when it was appropriate. Where I want to point out here that we are not just widely hitting them, put it is more like a gentle slap on the hand when touching something was wrong. So you don't have to call Child Service - my kids do NOT know what real hitting and punching is!

But now I feel like I have become more like my parents and less the mother I really want to be. It frustrates me and I feel like it confuses the kids. So I decided that I want to change a few things here at home.

When I found the following practice of discipline on a different blog (here is the link to a blog that I am not reading but I wanted to give her credit for it anyway), I loved it and wanted to try it:
  • Hitting or pushing = time out, facing the wall
  • Taking toys away = loss of the privilege of playing with that toy
  • Teasing or aggravating = separation from each other (-interesting that this works!)
  • Using unkind words = say something kind/loving

I will do some changes to the first point as I simply don't like 'facing the wall'.  Time-outs still work great, to my surprise. But somewhere in there should also be 'loss of privilege for the TV'. My kids have very limited access to it now, and taking that privilege away is already part of our discipline already.

So my prayer for today is that God will provide me with endurance to change, understanding from my children as we go through this change and patience, patience, patience. Amen. I thank my God for those lovely children and that I get to be the mother for them. I feel blessed.

11 May 2011

Das Land der unbegrenzten Moeglichkeiten

Das Land der unbegrenzten Moeglichkeiten = the land of unlimited possibilities

After living in America for over ten years, in my opinion, it is still just that!I don't think that it is as free as it always claims to be - for that I actually think you should try some of the European countries. But I believe that the possibilities here are infinite.

Let me explain what I mean by that. It is that you can be anybody that you want to be, if you decide it to be and if you work hard to become that person. Say you were a bad student just because one was lazy as a kid, or didn't get the right encouragement. Well, if you put your mind to it later in life, you can still do it.

If you decide to change carriers, not just jobs, but the whole carrier, you can do that over here. And nobody thinks you are crazy. Where I come from, it seems you are more stuck. Go to school, be studious, make a carrier, and stay in there until retirement. To go back to school at the age of 40 and start all over again is just unthinkable. Here, I am actually not scared to be a stay-at-home-mom having no carrier to speak off, at least for right now, but hey, I can go back to school, at 40 or 50.

I can start my own business, and there won't be endless stumbling blocks in my way. In Germany, it seems, there are tons of applications and papers to fill out, laws to abide (stupid ones) and then you have to wait.... Here, in the land of those unlimited possibilities, I can just start right tomorrow!

When I said, I don't think it is as free over here, by that I meant the little things that are annoying, but one can live with them. When I can't go to the beach at night because it is a state park that is closed at night, I am just a little bothered. That to me is no freedom! I want to go then I go.... in Europe.
When I can own a Porsche but I can't drive it, I mean drive it (with no speed limits) then I am displeased and feel like why bother having a fast car!?! Where is the freedom?
When I can buy a gun at 18 but not drink, that makes no sense to me! I find it should be the responsibility of the parents and ultimately the child.... but I am sure there are many people out there that don't think like me! That is okay. I can live with that.... 

Don't get me wrong, there are still LOTS of things that are freer in this country than anywhere else.... like homeschooling! And I am grateful for that freedom!!! God bless America.... and anybody else.

06 May 2011

Daily Devotional

Jesus answered them, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."
Luke 5:31-32 (NIV)

This is the email I got this morning. How profound! I love it. I get one every day, so I can start my day with prayers if I didn't get to pick up my bible in the morning. It's a great tool.

Someone told me once that it is usually the sick and poor who believe in God. Now is that true? I am not so sure. When I became a Christian, I was not sick nor poor. I was not rich back then and certainly not now (with two children!). But I am sick. Or was. And I always felt that being sick, I became closer to God. When you got to deal with cancer, there is always (!) the 'why'-question. Why me? Why now?
So is it maybe true? That because we need God, it is easier to believe in Him?

Well, I thought about it all morning, and my conclusion is that it is wrong! I believed in God before and I believe in Him now! I am not constantly praying for my health and wealth. I am praying for my family, the hubby and my kids, the extended family, my friends, and my church. And I am praying for miracles....

What is a miracle in God's eyes?
God's miracles are supernatural acts that happen in the natural world. At the same time, all miracles are not of God. There are people that are not of God that can perform signs and wonders. Miracles are evidence of the supernatural and that there is a God. The supernatural (the not seen) of this world is evident by miracles and unexplained phenomenon. Many of God's miracles can be explained away, but much of it cannot. The four Gospels of the Bible provide eyewitness testimony to the Miracles of Jesus. Additionally, Christians have a supernatural power to perform miracles that comes from receiving the Holy Ghost.  -  according to this website.

So I am praying for such things as my own parents to at least accept the fact that I am a Christian. I am praying for finding a place in this world and being accepted by friends and family. Praying to have a third child and that seems to need a few small miracles in order to happen. I am praying that we always have a little money to travel as I have big dreams of wanting to see many places in this world. I am dreaming of  so many things that it will need a lot of miracles.....

Did you know that God is a dream maker? Here is the message our pastor gave us a few weeks ago:

I believe in God because He is a merciful God, a provider and a protector, a God that is just and righteous.  I believe in God because with Him and through Him, I can do anything. With Him on my side, I can dream of things that I never thought of dreaming. I am happier. I love my God.

I am blessed.

God bless you!