Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Some American guy wants to rent our house in Leimen, long term. He is retiring in Heidelberg. He does not want to buy a house, but wants to rent for a very long term. Could be good for us. If we rent, it has to be for 10 years. Juergen shows him, and another family the house tomorrow morning. I’m wondering what he is doing here? Is it legal?
I am thinking about my garden. I think I want to use boxwood as a boarder to the vegetable beds. I have always loved the look of cottage gardens. I think we will till the garden. We will remove as much of the grass and weeds as we can. I'll add compost. Then we will cover it with paper to kill off the weeds and grass we have missed. Then we will put a nice covering of mulch over the paper. Then we will mark out the boarder with sand, and plant boxwood. I can buy it on eBay for a pretty good price. I'll need hundreds of plants. Finally we will put down stepping stones in the pathway. I will probably plant some plants around the stones so even the pathways are green. Then in the beds I'll plant a mix of vegetables and flowers. I'll push back the mulch, and plant in the soil. When the plants come up, they will get surrounded by mulch. That is an idea from back to Eden project. I saw a beautiful vegetable garden in a farm museum in the south of Germany once. It had boxwood boarders. I thought it was the nicest looking vegetable garden I've ever seen. That is what I'm trying to recreate. And we will need a picket fence, and a rose Arber too.
Juergen and I visited a very nice workshop for disabled people. It was small, but run very well. It is the nicest workshop, daycare place I've ever seen. I believe if Jessica had her own aid, she would do well there. We now need to find out if she can get the funding for both. I would be OK with sending her there 3 or 4 days per week (or half days), as long as they give her a personal aid. They have a small art workshop, a wood working shop, a garden workshop, and sheep. The sheep have just had baby lambs. It's pretty exciting! It had a nice environment. I think Juergen and I both thought it was well run. Not too big, very well thought out!
Monday, February 27, 2012
IMPORTANT UPDATE: Slide.com will be shutting down on March 6th 2012. Please start exporting your content prior to this date or it will be lost. Thanks for using Slide.com! I have a number of slide shows on slide.com. I guess I need to get busy!
Sunday, February 26, 2012
My niece had a beautiful baby girl named Olivia Rose (Beautiful name). Everyone is very excited and thank God healthy! Congratulations to the whole family! Hugs to my sister Shelley who is now a proud grandma for the 2nd time. My sister Dianna has 6 grand kids (I think). My brother and I are too young for such an blessing. At least our kids are too young. I'm going to have to wait to be called grandma. Here is a cool picture I took off Shelley's blog. It shows Eric (the tired but proud grandpa) Lissa with her first daughter Charlotte, and then a sleeping Olivia Rose. 3 generations in one shot. How fast life goes by! How beautiful life can be!
Saturday, February 25, 2012
I had my small group Bible study last night. I thought it went very well. The kids were there because of the vacation. That made things a little loud. But mostly they were good! Thomas and Nicole lead worship. They did a wonderful job. I do have talented kids! One of our group members brought her granddaughter. The 2 of them spent the night. Sarah had someone to play with. They stayed up very late playing. And our breakfast was very nice. Juergen is visiting his dad. His brother had his 50th birthday party this weekend. Juergen has to drive home in the morning because Sarah has her birthday party tomorrow. And today I showed the house to a family with 5 kids. I think they were very interested in buying the house. I would be surprised if they can afford it. But we will see. 4 other families were scheduled to look at the house for rent. None of these showed up. 3 real-estate agents also came. So I'm glad Juergen didn't skip his trip to his brothers to show the house. It has not rented yet, and has not sold. But I'm really OK with this! I have peace the right family will show up soon. I'm going to buy a kitchen on eBay next week (God willing). We will also go ahead and have the stair well painted. It will be ready for someone to move into March 1st. And when someone wants it...it will be ready. That's all I can do. Maybe one of the real-estate agents will find a buyer next week. The remax person said she has 2 families looking in Leimen. Maybe one of them? And the seminary students are trying to figure out if they can afford the house. Something will break soon! Eventually this situation will change. I’ll wait to see the salvation of God. I'm so tired. Time for some coffee!
Friday, February 24, 2012
Juergen and I both had strange dreams last night. In his dream he was flying in an old plane. It's pilot was flying low because he had no instruments, and it was very cloudy. So he had to use his eyes. But he was hitting the top of the trees. Trying to avoid houses. And at one point Juergen fell from the plane. But he was OK. I don't know what the dream means. But I do know if we really want to fly forward, we need to rely on God, not our sight. We have to fly high, and count on the Holy Spirits help. I own eyes can really lead us into a tree! My dream was about a very busy street. There were many cars driving past. At one point I see a baby start to crawl across the street. I need to rush into the traffic to try to save the baby. But I have a toddler (one of my own kids) that is at risk of following me into the traffic. I think it has something to do with adoption. I have a hard time watching the orphans of the world face a life of risk ...I must rush in after them. I could think that helping another orphan could place my own children at risk. I guess that's one way to read it. But it could also mean one of my own kids will also follow me into the traffic, and adopt. I'm having allot of very clear dreams lately.
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
I have not seen my parents for 2 years. That's a crime! I miss them so much. Today Juergen let me buy them tickets. The prices are about to double (the price will literally double tomorrow), and my dad was going to lose his miles soon. So we took the opportunity to buy tickets when we could still afford them. They will come (God willing) March 20th. We probably won't do much. My dad isn't so mobile anymore. But I'm so grateful he can come at all. It's a long trip. I do hope they can manage the long trip OK. I am happy...so very happy! None of these other worries with the house in Leimen really count. I’m going to see my parents. I’ll help my Mom celebrate her birthday. We will have Easter together. They haven’t seen the kids for 3 years. They get to see Nicole’s art. They will see my garden. I’ll cook my dad shrimp. It’s going to be wonderful! Thank you God for your amazing goodness!
The American family that wanted to see our house this weekend backed out. So I need to show the house to 2 real-estate agents and maybe a few renters. Oh well! I'm totally letting it go. I've resigned myself to whatever happens. You get to a point where you just know you have zero control. I believe it will work out. I never had control in this, I just realize this. But God never lost his control. I've climbed out of the "drivers seat". I'm not even sure I'm even in the car anymore. I have faith it will be resolved in a month or 2.
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
We show our house to a family (God willing ) on Saturday. If that doesn’t work out, there are 4 Theology students at the University of Heidelberg that want to rent our house. Would you rent your house to male students? They go to our church…maybe they aren’t too wild? How much do students in Heidelberg pay for housing? Does anyone know?
Monday, February 20, 2012
I'm sitting in my living room. This room really does get sunny. I love that! It will be too hot in the summer, but right now I love it! The kids have vacation this week. Thomas is at a friends house, and Sarah is too. Philip is out playing soccer. Nicole is at her singing lessons. Jessica is in her TV room. Juergen is at work. I actually have some quite. I don't get that much anymore. I feel so good. It isn't freezing cold anymore. The sun is shining, and my spring flowers are starting to come up. I can see an end to our long winter. Nicole planted 11 varieties of vegetable seeds today. I need to buy a few more containers. We have about 6 more types of seed to plant. We will have a very large variety of lettuce, peas, beans, onions, carrots, spinach and cabbages. I bought heirloom seed from all over the world. So the goal is to start the seeds in our warm heater room. And then transplant the seedlings into either pots or directly into the garden in about 6 weeks. We only planted the early spring plants. We will be starting summer plants in another month or two. Nicole is more excited about the garden then I am. I am also hoping to prepare the ground for the garden this week. I think I'll try the back to Eden method. You put newspaper directly over the grass. Then you put a layer of compost, a layer of mulch, and a sprinkling of manure over the newspaper. You let the whole thing sit for 4 to 6 weeks. Then you push back the mulch, and plant in the soil. When the plants grow up, you surround them with mulch. It sounds very easy. It also sounds cheep because you are not paying for raised beds. We will still build walkways between the planting areas. But I want what is easy and fast to build. My focus is on growing food and flowers. I like this idea, thank you Shelley for the idea! I need to find a source for the compost, mulch, and newspaper. I have the help....what are kids for? Our garden soil is already pretty good. The whole yard is full of worms. My guess is it will be a very productive garden. But there are always factors like weather you can not control. One thing I have learned this past year is how much we need grace. We can work hard, be wise and still not manage to succeed with out grace.
Saturday, February 18, 2012
http://englishhomegroup.blogspot.com/ This coming Friday night (Feb 24th) should be special. It's school vacation so my kids will be home. Thomas and Nicole are both talented at leading worship. They have agreed to lead us in a worship time. It should be lively and fun! Come ready to clap and sing! We have a pot luck dinner and a study from James 1. Come to our house if you want to join an English home group Bible study!
Juergen showed the house to a very nice family today. They are moving back to Germany from the USA. But the husband has a job pretty far away from our house. It makes zero since for them to live in Leimen. I think they just saw the house on the internet and thought it was nice. But they are not from here, and don't really know where things are. So it's unlikely we will rent to them. Juergen and the kids did get allot of work done on the house today. They cleaned up the paint that had dripped on the floor. They finished putting down the new floor in the basement. They also put a new door in the boy's old bedroom. Apart from a new kitchen, and repainting the stair well there isn’t much to be done. It's very clean and nice. And we will just wait for it to sell or rent. I found a very nice kitchen I'm interested in buying.
Thursday, February 16, 2012
The photo's don't do it justice. Nicole is working on a giant flying frog made from paper Mache. It will be a 1950's superman type character. I don't know if she will give it a cape. I did order glass eyes for it. She is developing a series of flying animal characters. A frog, a squirrel, and a fish. I don’t know if she will do a bat too? But the frog is looking pretty cool. What a fun job, to be an artist! It’s like playing full time. I’m not saying it’s not work, but it’s fun.
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
The people that are looking at our rental house on Saturday (they changed the time) have 2 PhD’s. They seem very interested in the house. If they get it, I want them to stay a long time. Actually I want who ever rents to stay a long time. I'm wondering if having a very nice kitchen would help? I found 2 very nice kitchens on eBay. They cost a bi more. But they are really top kitchens with super appliances. I'm wondering if I buy one of these, would it make any difference in how satisfied our renter is, and how long they stay. People get "picky" when you give them the minimum. When they know they are getting a deal compared to what's on the market, they tend to complain less. For our sake, it maybe worth a few extra Euros now, so we have satisfied renters?
I bought chocolate hearts for all the kids. They took the chocolate with out a word of thanks. Juergen was the only one who thanked me. I made a special dinner. Mexican food from the ingredients I have been saving. It turned out great. They made allot of noise before dinner. It was stressing Jessica out. Instead of a nice relaxing meal, I had a headache. And after dinner, they rushed out and left me to do the dishes. No thank you...nothing. Juergen had to drive Jessica, I don't fault him. He was great, as always. I just find my kids very selfish and self absorbed. It makes me feel like not doing nice things for them. I'll probably calm down and talk with them this afternoon or evening. But I doubt it will change anything. It's probably stress from school...nothing to do with me. I get yelled at by the boss, I yell at the wife, the wife yells at the kids who kick the poor dog sort of thing. It is a very difficult age and I pray they are not like this when they grow up. If they are, I doubt they will stay married for long! I hope you all had a better valentines day. I'm grateful for Juergen. I am blessed with him even if the dinner was not what I had hoped it would be.
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
It's snowing hard today. It's beautiful to watch. I hate driving in the snow. I'll need to do that today and I'm not looking forward to it. Juergen has a cough that won't go away. He has 2 DRs appointments towards the end of the week. He will probably also take a week off next week. He looks really tired, and he is. We show our Leimen house to a German family that is moving back home from America. The appointment is Friday morning. They want to rent. There maybe other appointments too on the weekend. Hopefully it will be rented soon. The one family looks very promising. And they need a house March 1st. So the timing looks good. It will be a great relief to have this settled. We will need to put in a kitchen, get the stairwell painted and a few other things. But it's a short list of "to do's". And then it's done...and the whole drama is finally settled! I can see the spring flowers beginning to push up from under the snow. I had a dream of the giant flower boarder we planted last summer. It will not be long now until the spring. I think I'll try planting some seeds today. In about 4-6 weeks I'll be able to transplant things into the garden. Happy Valentines day.
Monday, February 13, 2012
Our house in Leimen is now for rent. Thank you for your prayers. We will show it on Saturday if anyone is interested. here is the ad... http://www.immobilienscout24.de/expose/63880679?is24EC=IS24&style=is24&navigationbarurl=/Suche/S-T/Haus-Miete/Baden-Wuerttemberg/Rhein-Neckar-Kreis/Leimen The heater people are at our house in Bad Schönborn working on the heater. Juergen also ordered 2 thousand liters more oil to get us through the winter. We need some time to think about insulation and maybe a better system then oil. We will probably insulate the attic, improve some windows, put insulation on the outside walls (it needs paint anyway) and get a new heating system. It will all cost allot of money. But over time (in 10 years or so) it will pay for it's self. We have been paying a shocking 60€ per day for heat this winter...and the house isn't even that warm! It would have been cheaper for us to have shut the house down, and gone to Thailand for 3 months (all 7 of us). It's been rather frustrating to be bleeding money over the past few months. We are trying our best to change that process. I'm looking at kitchens on eBay. I found one near Frankfurt I think will do nicely. It sells in 4 days. I hope we can win the bid. Then our rental house will have a kitchen. Saturday we hope to show the house a half a dozen times. Maybe we can find a good renter. But we will be picky. We don't want someone who won't pay the rent, or causes damage to our house. We don't need a headache or problem renter. And of course if a buyer comes forward before we sign a rental agreement, we can still sell. But after we sign a rental agreement, we will rent for 10 years. That will be the deal we make with the bank. So we have taken a big step by posting this ad. It is a step we had hoped to avoid. But not all of life is easy. And this drama with the Leimen house has not been easy for us. But we are anxious to just stop bleeding cash. And a good renter will help us in this way!
Sunday, February 12, 2012
Our heater is burning too much oil. Oil is sky high in price. We are wondering about replacing the system. That would in the long run save money. In the short term cost money. But this is how a pellet oven works. The first video is in German and the 2nd in English. and here is a link about the easyfire system with the financing information...for Juergen. http://info.kago.de/pelletheizung/ or http://www.kwb.at/de/index.php?option=com_frontpage and they have a shop in St Leon Rot here. and here are some details on the system.
Saturday, February 11, 2012
Well, I was actually in Italy more then once. But on this cold winter day I am remembering our last vacation in Italy. That was 2 1/2 years ago. I'm tired. I wish I could go on another vacation now! But at least I can close my eyes and dream of those beautiful days on the hill. Lovely! I've spent the day looking at used kitchens. Juergen is reluctant to rent the house in Leimen. I'm just trying to do what needs to be done to get it ready to rent. I'm keeping my feelings out of it. I'm also praying that NATO will decide to stay in Heidelberg. Then we can rent to someone in NATO. They pay better then Germans. Juergen would be very happy with that compromise! And so would I. But you can not rent to a person in NATO if the house has no kitchen. So I’m shopping for a kitchen.
Friday, February 10, 2012
We had a very costly day yesterday. The boys need 2,000 Euro more work on their teeth (not covered by insurance). The heater in our house isn't working right, and has burnt 2x's as much oil as normal. So we need more oil, and maybe a new heater. Our house in Leimen has water damage from a radiator that leaked. That has to be repaired, and will cost us another month...and money. And Juergen prayed and felt God say, "will you trust me even if you don't get a clear answer". And he said yes. So even though it's been really hard lately, we will just keep blindly walking forward. And we may never know why, but that's ok, it really is!
Thursday, February 09, 2012
Our house is poorly insulated and we are burning too much oil. Our tank is almost dry again. We will need more oil soon. And maybe the heater is not functioning correctly, because it is using up about 2 times the amount of oil that it should. We spent 3000 Euros on oil in November, and now we are looking at spending at least 2000 Euros more. That hurts bad! We have been putting bubble wrap on most of the windows. Juergen put insulation in the basement today. He took the day off. And the toilet is backed up. We think the pipes are frozen. And in the house in Leimen the radiator also caused some water damage in the basement. It will take some weeks to dry out. That means a delay in renting/ or selling the house. We are out of money! We will now be going into the ditch! It's been such a bad news day! We need Gods help...we are going under and we need some help! We have tried to act as responsible as we can. But we feel like we are being kicked. I’m trying not to get too down. I’m trying to keep my focus on what I can do. But I feel really attacked, and we need answers and grace for an answer.
Wednesday, February 08, 2012
http://backtoedenfilm.com/ BACK TO EDEN shares the story of one man’s lifelong journey, walking with God and learning how to get back to the simple, productive methods of sustainable provision that were given to man in the garden of Eden. The organic growing system that has resulted from Paul Gautschi’s incredible experiences has garnered the interest of visitors from around the world. However, never until now have Paul’s methods been documented and shared like this!
He showed the house. I guess the people liked it but they are not ready to make us a real offer. They offered us 30,000 less then our price. That's no offer! So next week they said they would give us a real offer. I know Juergen is hopeful, but I'm not holding my breath. It's too iffy. But maybe someone else will find us before next week? It is close to the end of this road...but not the end yet. Thank you for your prayers.
I spent the morning cleaning. I did the deep cleaning stuff. I cleaned the bathrooms , mopped floors, and dusted and polishing furniture. It will not stay clean, but for a short while everything looks and smells good. We had a heater guy here today. He checked our oil supply, It is sadly very low. We have burnt over 2000 liters of oil so far this winter. Only 400 liters remain in the tank. That's not enough to get us through the next few months. We will have to order more. We will also have to spend serious money on insulation this year. I also want to add some wood stoves (2 stoves). I want the kind that hook up to the radiators. That way they don't just heat the room they are in, they help heat the entire house. I got a call from a man in Leimen that wants to buy a new house. He has 3 kids, He just sold his home. He wants a bigger house (perfect)! So hopefully we can sell the house. Our bank wants us to refinance the house next week as a rental house. We basically need a buyer this week, or it has to be a rental house. We are at the very end of the line so to speak. I would be so glad if it sells! I don't want the ongoing responsibility of owning 2 houses. One is enough. We have had to ignore our house in Bad Schönborn to focus on Leimen. But the Bad Schönborn house needs insulation badly...we are burning too much oil. The balconies need to be repaired, the garden needs to be built...and many many more projects await us. Juergen is taking a few half days off this week to work on the Leimen house. A little paint needs to touched up, and the floor in the boys old room needs to be finished. A buyer at this point would be a miracle. But I believe in miracles...good thing! I’m willing to rent the house out. We have even started to advertise for a renter. But I have not stopped praying for a buyer because this is what I want most of all. After next week we will have to rent the house out. The bank wants us to change the loan by February 15th. So if we can not sell it by then, we will have to rent the house out for 10 years. I guess I can except having to rent if it comes to that. But God knows how much we want to sell it. We want to move forward with out carrying the debt and responsibility!
Tuesday, February 07, 2012
Today is Sarah's 9th birthday. 9 years ago she was born in China. And 9 years ago she was placed on a stone bench near a water treatment plant. I can only guess it was because she was a girl, or perhaps the 2nd child in a one child China. If I could say anything to her birth parents, I would say thank you for giving her life. I would tell them how sorry I am that they have missed having Sarah in their lives. And I would assure them how very beautiful and wonderful their extraordinary baby is. She is amazing! Nicole and I decorated the table with balloons and streamers last night. She came to breakfast and was surprised by the gifts and candy. The cake we baked yesterday goes to school today. I will brave the cold, and buy more ingredients for another cake for this afternoon. Her bowling party is scheduled for Feb. 26th. We have too many other things happening before then. I also need to feed the birds today. It's so cold. It was -21 last night.
Monday, February 06, 2012
It's -7 degrees out side today. OK, 18 F. But cold in any language and I'm not willing to go outside. I get a headache from the cold weather. Poor Jessica refuses to get out of bed. I think she is actually reasonable. Nicole wanted me to take her to an art supply store in Heidelberg. Instead we shopped online. She needed glass eyes for some papier-mâché characters she is creating. Juergen shows the house at noon today. I basically refused to do it because I would have to take Jessica with me, and leave her in the car. I'm not leaving her anywhere in this kind of weather. I hope we can afford to retire in Thailand. I want to spend my winters on a beach, not hiding under a blanket in my living room! My sister is blogging about the gardening she is doing in Oregon. Europe is experiencing another ice age. I want to garden too!
Sunday, February 05, 2012
Juergen showed the house in Leimen a few times this weekend. One of the couples was very nice. They loved the place. They will contact the bank to see if they can afford it. There was 2 more phone calls today about the house. So there is a big increase in interest. And the new floor Juergen and the boys put down on Saturday looks amazing! Hopefully it will sell. I've been thinking allot about the process of transitions. We walked into this transition a little overly optimistic. We hoped for a quick and smooth transition. And in many ways it was easy. But because the house in Leimen has not sold, and because we are still renovating the house to make it more attractive to buyers, the transition continues. And it makes us realize how little control we have. It is humbling. But I can see God is in this whole process. He is using it to train us to trust in him, not our own great wisdom or skill. I also see transitions happen in stages. And once you manage one stage, you can move to another stage. We shouldn't despise this process. It's normal. I will celebrate a conclusion to this whole drama. But I realize the process of transition continues. Jessica still doesn't have a school situation. And I still have boxes to unpack. I have a garden to build. Work remains. This is just one part of the process and I'm anxious to put it past us. And I feel we will see an answer soon. That will be so great! But it’s good even now!
Friday, February 03, 2012
I didn't actually eat pizza last night but I had bad dreams. They were all dreams about trying to sell the house in Leimen. 100's of strangers passing though the house. Each one trying to rob us. One person was trying to steal the documents. Trying to take away all our paperwork. Crazy! But that is really how these months have felt. I feel like a pack of wolves have been biting at our heels. It really wears me down. In my dream we rented to a very nice family. A nice family that was grateful to have the house. I saw Juergen helping them put in new flooring. They were happy there, and we were free. I don’t know if it was prophetic…just my wish to have this whole drama finished. I spent the morning doing some deep cleaning with Nicole. We cleaned the front of the kitchen cabinets, the stairs got washed, and Jessica’s room got cleaned. We also talked about design of the green house. I’m so grateful for my daughter. She is such a big help. I know she will not always be around to help us. She will move out and deal with her own independent life. But for now I treasure her.
Thursday, February 02, 2012
It has been very dark and cloudy over the past few weeks. I'm sure that has contributed to my tired disposition. But today is different. It is very cold outside, but clear. I'm sitting in my warm living room. The windows are large, and the sunshine is wonderful! It really lifts my spirits. I bet two or 3 weeks walking on a Thai beach would be transformational! I wish, I wish! Maybe when we retire? I was meant to be a sunbird. Winter was never my thing! I'm sure I will not stand being in this living room in the summer time. It gets so much sun. But today it's a gift. I almost feel like crying as I write that. I feel the love of God and I know there is a real change of spiritual season. Something has been broken in the spiritual realm...and now we will see victory. I know that people are praying for us. I feel it. All I can do is thank you. And I do. Thank you for carrying us with your prayers.
I stole this photo off my sister Shelley's blog. This is my mom holding the beautiful baby blanket she made for her expected great grand daughter. I miss my mom. I'm checking for airline specials. I hope prices go down...I need to see my parents. So far I only find outrageously high ticket prices. But God willing we can find a deal.