Happy Anniversary

September 22.  It was a most significant day in the Weed family story.  Right behind the wedding & the 3 little Weed births.  And if not for Facebook, I would have completely forgotten all about it this week.  Crazy!   September 22, 2007 was the day that the five weeds boarded a plane headed east for the adventure of a lifetime.

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At the one year anniversary of that date I posted the following post on the old blog:

1 Year.  1 Year.  1 Year.

In one thought, it seems like a really long time ago.  And in another, it seems like just yesterday.  But either way, it is a marker.  An anniversary, of sorts, to how long we’ve lived in Switzerland.
As I’m typing, the time in Minnesota is 3:11 in the afternoon on Sept. 22, 2008.  As clear as crystal, I can still see Minnesota at around 3 in the afternoon on Sept. 22, 2007.  Sun shining, crisp air, good-byes said, tears momentarily paused, everything we owned packed, storaged or sold.  In our hands we held 5 one-way tickets to Europe.  Fear, excitement, sadness, contentment.  They were all felt on that autumn day 1 year ago.
It’s been an unusual year.  I don’t think I had any idea what I was getting into on this adventure.  But, I knew (and know) who’s in control of the ride and I know it’s going where it’s supposed to go.  (To see how this adventure began, read here.)
I’ve often wondered what I would write when the first year was complete.  I’ve pre-blogged this post many, many times.  Sometimes it’s funny, sometimes it is serious, sometimes it’s tear-filled.  It always includes lots of pictures and some music too.  It seems like such a monumental occasion, it seems to need to be perfectly written.  But, I can tell you, it isn’t going to be perfect.
Thinking back to this day one year ago – WOW!  I feel like I’ve come so far in just one year.  I’ve learned to drive on itty-bitty roads.  I’ve learned to grocery shop, paying my deposit on my grocery cart and paying for my paper bags.  I’ve learned to maneuver the kid’s school parking lot (which let me tell you, is no easy task!).  I’ve learned enough French to get by, but not enough to know how awful my French is.  I’ve learned back-roads, great shops, and how to use public transportation.  I’ve learned that America isn’t always right, and neither is any other nation.  I learned to cook from scratch, understand non-American accents and how to rest on Sunday.  I’ve learned that people are people, no matter where they’re from.  I look at this world a little differently then 1 year ago.  I think my children see the world differently and I think that’s a good thing.  
But I think the greatest thing I’ve learned on this adventure is to trust.  There is no doubt that this move was “the plan”.  Although unexpected and not in the play book of my life as written by me, the true Author of my life had it written this way the whole time.  And as He’s perfect, so this chapter was as well.  Easy? No!  Full of smiles at all times? No!  Many, many tears and questions? Yes!  Some unimaginably wonderful times?  Definitely!  (see picture of me, Amy and Bekkah at the Eiffel Tower!)  He has provided at all times.  Not necessarily in the manner in which I was thinking, but always provided for, I have been (that was very Yoda.)
So, would I do it again?  In a second!  In a second!  
But am I glad it’s a year closer to coming “home” than a year ago?  Yeah, definitely.  But I’d do it all again!  
“The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame.  You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. ”  Isaiah 58:11
We’ve been back “home” for nearly 5 years now.  Life is pretty much back to it’s routine American way.  I can drive a massive vehicle and stock my pantry with wholesale sized everything from Costco.  But I think about Switzerland just about every day.  And I “when we lived in Switzerland…” a bit too much still.  I miss it.  In a nostalgic, remembering only the good stuff sort of way.  And I dearly miss the people.  The ones who saved me from loneliness, sadness & madness.  And the food.  I miss the food.  And the slowed down life.  And the adventure.
Happy anniversary!

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good bye summer

As I type, right this very minute, we have only about 21 hours left in this glorious season called summer.  Autumn will arrive on Wednesday at 3:21 am.

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I feel as though I should wear black today.  But then again I hate to waste my last summer day in dreadful black.  They’ll be plenty of time for black in March when I just wish winter would hurry up and die.

I don’t hate autumn.  Autumn is beautiful.  But I cannot separate the gorgeousness of autumn from what it brings along.  Hiding in the back of autumn’s station wagon, under a blanket on the seats that face the wrong way {and make me throw up…who invented such a thing?} is Winter.  Ugh!  Now that’s a guy I hate.  Loathe.  He comes in so beautiful, I’ll give him that, cleaning up the brown death that autumn left on her way out.  But then, like a crazy relative with no where to go, he stays…way past his welcome.  And the longer he stays the crazier he gets.  Or maybe the crazier I get.  Either way.  I hate winter.

I have tried to embrace it.  I have.  I do not like it. It is cold.  Bitter.  The wind whips making outdoor life unbearable.  Just thinking about pumping gas in January makes me sad.  Sad that I’ll be cold, standing in front of a gas pump with 7 layers of clothing on, a scarf, an ugly yet warm hat and big mittens which I’ll have to remove to answer the seven bazzilion questions the stupid pump will ask me.  There should really be a limit to how many questions a gas pump can ask you when its -20ºF.  The answer is always no anyway when it’s that cold–I do not want a receipt and seriously, a car wash?

Today I will remember summer.  Summer.  She is gorgeous.  With her warm air and beautiful greenery.  I love Summer.  I will miss her, she’s been so good to me.  Good bye summer.  You will be deeply missed.

The Insanity That Is A Runner

Twenty.insanity

Ridiculous.  Stupid.  Crazy.  Dreadful.

Miles 1-9.  I was rocking it.  Rocking it!  I was enjoying scenery.  You know it’s a great run when you can gander into the glorious beauty that you are running by. I was light on my feet, the pace was comfortable, the morning glorious.  I enjoyed my water and my energy beans…it was like a dream.  I was rocking it.

Mile 10.  Half way.  Time to come on home.  Right on track for time.  A smile on my face.  I love running!

Mile 11.  Still smiling.  Started talking to myself.  ‘i’m doing great.  this isn’t so bad.  my last long run was just really humid.  i can do this.  easy.’

Mile 12.  Still smiling.  I waved at a guy on a tractor who moved off the shoulder so I could keep running.  ‘what a great guy.  i’m so glad he didn’t run me over.  nice guy! great run!’

Mile 13.  Not as fast as my fastest half, but doing really, really well.  ‘this is amazing.  i love running!  this is a great, great day!’

Mile 14.  I approached an occasional store out in the middle of nowhere.  Because when you live in a tiny town and you have to run 20 miles, you end up in the middle of nowhere.  This occasional store, that’s occasionally open, was open today.  And apparently it’s a very popular occasional store.  {perhaps they should consider being more than occasionally open}  There were cars everywhere.  Cars filled with women.  No car had only one woman going to the occasional store.  Oh, no!  Two, Three, Four, Five.  They were like clown cars.  Women squashed into every inch of these SUVs and minis dumping out onto the county road blocking my path with their doors and bodies and laughing and general jovialness.  Women sure are a happy bunch in groups going to occasional stores.    I understand a crazy woman out in the middle of nowhere running is not what you’re expecting to see when you’re focused on an amazing find at the occasional store, so i’m not blaming them.  But because of the droves of women {and the one guy I saw, who didn’t seem excited at all to be there} I had to shuffle my steps and slow WAY down.  But not to worry, I thought.  After all, I have been rocking it.  And I only have 6 miles to go.  Pewwwwfwww  No worries.

Mile 15.  Bad.  Side ache.  I’ve never had a side ache before.  I drank some water and downed a gel.  I hobbled along hoping my side would improve.  ‘why does my side hurt.  if it wasn’t hurting i’d be moving along at a great clip.  ugh!  get better side!’  

Mile 16.  Side ache disappeared.  Praises!  I’ll pick up the pace and make up that lost time.  Time lost on the occasional shopper obstacle course & the side ache.  ‘it’s ok.  i’m going to be a ok.  i love to run!’

Mile 17.  all sorts of ugly has arrived.  I am now talking out loud to myself.  Loud.  Over my headphones so I can hear what I’m saying.  Loud.  Back in town.  Insanity defined.    ‘i don’t want to run anymore.  why can’t I teleport?  i want to teleport.  my DI team must develop teleportation this year.  i want to be done.’  A blister was forming at lightening speed on my left baby toe. ‘will my toes still fit in my shoe?  i think it’s going to poke out the side of my shoe.  what do you do when your toe pokes a hole through your shoe?  this is awful.  stupid blister.’ Ridiculousness.  ‘i never want to run again.  as long as i live, i will never put on running shoes again.’

Mile 18.5.  The crying begins.  Weeping really.  Ugly crying.  And I’m still talking to myself.  Loud.  In town.  With people near.  And I may have used some non-PG words.  Maybe…or not…I plead insanity.   Hot mess defined.  ‘i’m not doing it.  i am not doing the marathon.  i don’t care that i’ve done all the hard work to train, running is stupid.  i’m not doing it.  i hate running.  this is not fun.  nothing about this is fun.  nothing.  this is horrible.  i hate running.  i hate people who run.  all people who run-hate them.  i never am running again.’

Mile 19.5.  Crying ceases.  I proudly declare with definite resolution ‘i’m not doing the marathon.   i’m just not.  i’ll just say i don’t want to do it.  it’s stupid anyway. running is dumb.  i hate running.  it’s not even fun.  why do something not fun for more than 4 hours.  not doing it!‘  

Mile 20.  smile.  ‘done.  i did it.   but I’m never doing it again. running shoes are never being tied onto these feet.  ever.  running is dumb and so are runners.  so i’m not running.’

Ice bath.  Hot tea.  Lots of water.  Lots and lots of food.  Stretching.  More food. ‘never again!’  More food.  Sleep.

Wake up.  Legs feel good.  Blisters are disappearing.  Smile.  ‘i wonder if i can do better next time?  i bet i could push through without a side ache & then i’d be good.  and there will be no occasional store shoppers for the race.  i can do it.  i can.  i know it. i can’t wait for the marathon. i love running.  i love bring a runner.  running is great!  yes!  can’t wait for the marathon!’

The insanity that is the runner.

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Still. 9/11

It’s that lump in my throat, that catch in my breath at the mention of “September 11th”.  Still.  All these many years later.  It’s frozen.  That pit, that fear.  Still.911

I can see it as if it were yesterday.  As if I’m still standing in the bedroom getting ready for work with my 16 month old in the next room & seeing that plane, hearing the fear in the reporters voice, the silence of not understanding or knowing what to even report. Still.

There are moments.  These moments.  We never ever forget.  These are public moments. Collective flashes of time that everyone remembers.  If you were alive on September 11, 2001 & living in America – you know.  It’s not unlike the JFK assassination or Pearl Harbor of generations before.  It’s the photograph & the video that we all share.  It was in our collective cry, grief, fear, and outrage.  And we felt it all together.  And we still feel it.  Still.

It’s different now.  There’s nearly an entire generation that doesn’t remember, doesn’t really know.  They have the book knowledge of it, but not the emotional memory.  They don’t know the instant that the world changed. When it crumbled.  We {America} were attacked.  In our house.  On our soil.  Not since Pearl Harbor.  Not on our main land.  And it broke something.  At least it broke something in me.  A security, no matter how false, was ripped away.  They could come here.  They could kill us here.  They could bring their hatred to us.  We were no longer safe.  Are no longer completely safe.  Still.

Is this how my grandparents felt?  I couldn’t understand the importance of Pearl Harbor, couldn’t fathom why it was such a big deal.  Yet when they spoke, there was a catch in their voice.  They looked back into their thoughts to remember.  Is this how my dad felt when I asked him thousands of time where he was when JFK was shot?  And then stood amazed that he remembered every detail.  Those moments.  This moment.  Etched forever me,  in us.  Stealing a little something away.  Still.

I will remember.  I cannot forget.  Ever.  I will remember the lives lost, the innocence taken, the anger, the fear, the loss.  I will remember because the next generation cannot remember but still must know.  Must see.  Must hear.  We must tell the story and remember the day if for no other reason than to honor those who were lost and those who were left.  I hate to remember.  To relive that day.  But I must always remember.  Still

The Trouble with Kim Davis…and me

I don’t know.  I’m at a bit of a loss as I think about Kim Davis & her stand for, well, I guess her stand against gay marriage.  She’s the gal that refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples because of her deep moral convictions & then she was found in contempt of court and got herself thrown into jail.  Then she got released & had a press conference where she was cheered on by a bunch of folks and a couple of Republican presidential candidates.

kim davisI watched her on that podium.  I saw her stand there with her hands raised thanking God and her fellow prayer warriors {my words, not hers}.  I heard the cheers from the crowd showing support for her defiance and “bravery” to take a stand against something they all saw as immoral and wrong.  And I couldn’t help but think ‘what are you doing?’.

From the outside looking in, absolutely nothing about this situation looks inviting, welcoming or kind.  Rather, it looks a bit more like a mob of people with a belief pointing their fingers at something they see as bad and pushing it out.  No part of this says, “come just as you are, we want you to be included because we know that the Spirit is powerful & can turn in hearts that have never turned to Him before, if we just get out of the way and let Him move.”  If I was not a believer, I would never in a million years choose to become a part of what I saw there.  Run away.  How does this point anyone to Christ?

“But, oh my oh my, if we don’t tell them the truth about their sin, that’s not loving at all” I hear you naysayers saying.  And you might have a point. But I have a better one.  {just kidding…sort of…my point is going to be good though}  We have to be able to discern when we can speak truth into the lives of those we love. Catch that last bit?  Speak truth into the lives of those we love.  I don’t think it does any good to just throw around the “truth” without a relationship of love behind it.  That relationship is vital.  And it must be real.  Real.  Jesus did it.  I’m sure he wasn’t in agreement with the behaviours of the prostitutes that showed up at the dinner party at Matthew’s house.  But I can imagine that he was welcoming & kind, getting to know them before he shared the truth with them.  Time and time again it can be seen that Jesus welcomed, built a relationship and then told the truth.  And it seems that more often than not, Jesus’ big truth telling moments were just between him and the person he was truth-telling too.  That doesn’t look much like what was happening in Kentucky to me.

Sin grieves the Holy Spirit.  It makes him sad.  I think it made Jesus sad when he walked among us.  And it should sadden us to. It shouldn’t sadden us because it’s filthy.  It should sadden us because it is what separates each of us from God.  And it should sadden us to the point where we are so concerned for souls that we will do anything to reach them.  We will go to where they are.  We should be so overwhelmed with the truth we believe that we faithfully pray for those that haven’t found the hope we hold to.  I think rather than being moral compasses for the masses, we need to be the walking mercy along side each other. The religious obnoxiousness of Jesus’ day questioned why he hung out with tax collectors and sinners. Jesus’ answer is fairly familiar…he said because those who are well have no need of a physician, only those who are sick.

I wonder how often I’m looking for the sick?  How often am I earnestly wanting to find the sick to introduce them to the Physician?  And how often do I arrogantly think I’m the physician?  I’m not the physician, but I try to play one sometimes, getting people all fixed up before I invite them into my life.  Instead, I should be the ambulance inviting all kind of sinners into the van to meet the true Physician.  And on the way to Him, we can chat & get to know one another & build a relationship so that when the Physician approaches the sick will more likely want to meet him.

I’m saddened to realize that I tend to gather together with other believers far more often to build up great walls.  Walls that I hurl truth from like cannon balls from a mighty fortress.  I stand back and watch them flatten people while my friends cheer me on.  Some love {note sarcasm}.  Instead I think I need to be working together with others to build larger tables to invite more sinners to gather together. To put away the bombs, open the massive gates and let everyone in.  We can all share a meal and a conversation and build relationships.  I may not {will not} approve of everyone’s choices.  That’s true.  And after I’ve spent some time with them getting to be friends, I may have the opportunity to explain that to them in a most loving, gentle, merciful way.  And their heart might be moved, or not.

After all I’m just a sinner too.  I just sin in more Christian-circle-socially-acceptable ways.  And I’ve been redeemed.  Hallelujah!  Not because I was the right kind of sinner or because I did all the right things to earn redemption, but because I trust Jesus & His work on the cross to redeem me.  What a truth that is!  I should want to meet everyone in all kinds of sins to share the joy of redemption and grace.  Not everyone will believe it, not everyone will accept it, not everyone will be kind.  But no matter.  I should still be seeking out the lost, praying earnestly for their hearts to be softened to hear from God, inviting them into my life & being a part of theirs all without compromising my bible beliefs while showing great mercy & grace.  I see this is where fruit is born.

Ebates Works!

Skeptical.  Absolutely.  The commercial said they would pay me to shop.  Could they be serious?  What exactly is the catch?

No catch.  Just cash!big fat check!

I made my first purchase using the EBATES site last month.  It was something I was going to purchase online anyway.  Click, click, click.  Easy.

The email said I’d earned $3.04 for my $29.94 purchase.  I was pretty sure I would have to wait to accumulate a whole lot more of those little amounts before I’d see the cash in my hand.  But no.  A  big fat check for $3.04 arrived to my door at the month’s end.  Easy.

Then my welcome gift arrived a week after that.  I had selected a Target gift card as a gift when I originally signed up.  I never thought I’d actually see that little piece of plastic in my hand – so many hoops & fine print, I thought.  But again I was wrong.   $10 in hand to spend at Target!  Winner, winner!

It’s the easiest ever!  You shop online anyway…get cash back & other deals.  No catch.  Head over here.  Get signed up, pick a good welcome gift & then be on your shopping way.  Big fat checks will follow you!  Try it out.  It works!  For real!

Ebates Coupons and Cash Back

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Let them be employed!

Acroprint-150-2Stop it!  How can this be?

Employed.  My baby has a job.  A real-life, needs to fill out paperwork, going to get a paycheck job.  J.O.B.  What happened?  He was just a red-haired, brown-eyed screaming little guy in my arms.  Now he’s all tall & manly & driving & employed.  Amazing how children grow & get older &, ridiculous as it seems, I do not.  {straight face, friends}

But seriously, it really is this mama’s dream, I must admit.  Not necessarily that he be employed today, but that he be employed in life. That he knows how to get a job, keep a job, work for a boss, be on time, do stuff that’s not any fun but has to be done just because it’s your job.  That he has an understanding that to get a raise, you have to put in some time & put forth a good attitude & work ethic.  Training them up while the consequences are still minimal is my favorite parenting motto…maybe my only motto…except bed time is necessary & rolling eyes leads to rolling that phone right into mama’s hand & your ego is not your amigo…

anyway

I listen enough to Dr. Laura {you know you love her!} to know that there is something happening in our culture with our boys.  It’s pretty much unique to our most-recent generations.  They never learn to live on their own, never need to leave home because everything’s so easy on the homefront.  They let mama & papa pay the bills, cook the food, lauder the laundry.  They get to sit in darkened bedrooms {likely cleaned by mama} and play video games.  What a deal!  Sha•weet!  Why leave?  So they never leave home.  Let that sink in slowly.  Never. Leave. Home.  I love my boys {and girl} & I love them being home.  For now.  But heaven help me if I’m still providing their food & laundry service when they’re in their late 20’s and 30’s. {unless it’s a unusual situation involving a life hardship}  I love them & want them to like home but,  I really, really, really want them to fly…to get out there, to meet the love of their life or decide to pursue adventure, to try stuff & sometimes succeed.  I don’t want to make life so fabulous here at my house that I rob them of the adventure of flying without me.  How selfish that would be?  Sel•Fish!  And I want my kiddos to learn what it’s like to live on mac n’ cheese eaten out of mismatched thrift store bowls because that’s all that’s affordable.  Because when you learn to live on nothing, and work to get a little something, that something is precious & valued.  These are the moments that grow them.  When they open it up, see that they’re made of good stuff & fly.

Employment.  Not exactly a guarantee that the red head will fly out of this nest for good one day.  But I think it’s a good first step with lots of great lessons to be learned.

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Throw Back Thursday No.1 {8/26/2008}

IMG_2170I dropped off the littlest Weed at Middle School Orientation yesterday morning.  Middle.  School.

I’m not a terribly emotional gal.  But this has hit. Wham! Middle School.  She’s ready though.  She’s ready.  So, I’ll smile & be ready too.  If I have to.

But while I’m in the midst of preparing myself to be ready for her leap to the halls of terror, errr I mean Middle School, I thought I’d throw it back.  Back to August 26, 2008.  {seven years ago already!!}  She was 3.  It was BabyGirl’s ‘Premier Jour’!

Yesterday was BabyGirl’s first day at the jardin d’enfant (preschool)!  She is attending school in our local village, Veyrier.  She was pretty excited, although when we got to the school, she wrapped her arms around me VERY tightly and said she didn’t want to go.  She buried her head into my shoulder and wouldn’t look at anyone.  I walked around the room, pointing at all the fun new toys and “big kid” things that were awaiting a big girl like her to play with.  Finally, her teacher from last year, Barbara, approached and she gladly wrapped her arms around her neck and let Barbara have her.  P8243934

By the time the boys and I got to pick her up later that afternoon, she was no longer attached to Barbara’s neck and was running around the playground with her new friends.  She proclaimed it was the best day of her life!  Yahoo!  She can do it!

She will go four half-days each week.  Monday and Tuesday afternoons and Thursday and Friday mornings.  And being that it is entirely in French, she (and I) will be learning a huge amount this year.  A big step for such a little girl…I often forget she is only 3.  Perhaps I should be more tearful, sending her to school, she is my “baby” after all.  But for whatever reason, I am not tearful or sad.  I’m excited that she gets to go to public school in Switzerland and learn in French and have a great time with other little ones.
Are you kidding me?  Look at her adorable little self.  Those cheeks!  I could just squeeze ’em & kiss ’em & eat her up!  This was just a moment ago.  I remember it with such vividity {that may or may not be an actual word, but I will use it & make it mine}.  So cute, standing in the sunshine of our little Swiss house, in the shadow of the Saleve.  She was ready then.  She’s ready now. Middle School will be ok.  She’ll be fine.  She’ll be just fine.  And…no worries…I will too.