December 31, 2016

last years list


it is my intention to look back at the list. the list i wrote at the beginning of 2016. i looked back and tallied up in the middle of the year once, it is encouraging and helps me to put the focus into the direction i intended at the beginning of the year. no it is not a list i have to keep, not a list i must be checking off at any cost. it is a list of things i wish to do and become and learn. a list to not loose sight. it is a good helper when i feel like nothing is working the way i wished or planned to. it has been encouraging to read through the list mid year and even if i don't get to cross off each item of the list, that doesn't disturb me at all. i still keep adding lines mid year!

so here is the look back:

1.  in general say more yes, and in particular to my kids
     - still in training and yes with our oldest i feel like i was able to keep my no's at a lower pace and i do want to improve on that.

2.  be less controlling
     - the same here, though i really have to pull back with the 17 year old and sometimes this is working well, maybe i should ask the children and joel how they feel about this item on my list

3. grow mushrooms behind the house on wooden logs
    - i bought a starter set a couple months ago and tried to do everything right, though no results yet, we will wait and see. and now i can tell you, it didn't work out. maybe i will try again next summer

4. sing in a choir
    -  it has been fun to sing with the kantorei on three different occasions, this past sunday was one of those moments, when the four voices come together and the conductor is bringing it together wonderfully, this has been great. and i got the chance to work twice with a coach on posture and resonance within the body, well that was just great.

5. read good books
     - leon and louise, alex capus
     - invincible, diana palmer
     - the rosie project, by simsion graeme
     - the rosie effect, by simsion graeme
     - the imperfect offering, by james obrinski
     - abenteuer reisender frauen by armin strohmeyer
     - glaubensweltern der bibel by stefan w√§lchli
     - transhelvetica, a magazin i really like




     - sapiens, by yuval noah harari
     - my sisters the saints, by colleen carroll campell
     - was ist guter unterricht, by Hilbert Meyer
     - a brief history of thought, by luc ferry

6. take thursday afternoons off for crafts or reading or visit a friend
    - this one has been suffering, as i started to tutor a student as well as picked classes, which takes up my tuesdays. though i have managed to do four weeks of ICAD16 and i will pick up on that project..
no i never picked up where i left it... and i'm ok with that. crafting has been put on the back burner as for the past four months, and it will stay there, at least for now.

7. run 30k a week
    - i was on target until april, when my hip started to hurt. and i got really sick a strong could got hold of me for three weeks. i started up again by early june and do one 11kg run on mondays and two to three 6-8km. it all ends up closer to 25k a week than 30.

8. this week :: through the lens, start my friday blog post series
    - i like to venture out and about, to be more intentional about carrying the camera along. it has been good for me and really keeps me focused on the particular things more intently.

9. go out for dinner with joel as well as with good friends
    - we went out once, it was a bit of an obstacle course, but wonderful when we finally sat down to eat, that was in, we had dinner with friends and discovered, that it works well, if we put the girls to bed and visit friends for a late night visit...

10. take a class what ever interests me
      - this one turned itself on me. i'm kind a back in school, taking classes toward teaching religious education for elementary aged kids. i love it and have fun being out of the house a full day a week. and this has been going on, taking classes all year long and working toward a degree...

11. stick with the rule of not buying new clothes
      - yup it helped to have that one on the list last year. i got a few new pieces from a yard sale, and last week i found a wonderful wool jacket at a second hand shop, as well as some new underwear, this really was needed. i got two new tops from the second hand in town and a dress from a yard sale. just last week i also ordered three pairs of tights (fair trade, at least)

12. take each child for special outings on their own
      - with thea i went on a hike, just a sunday afternoon in spring, it was great, she loves hiking, so we went again in early summer. naomi needed new sandals and for this we ventured into the city and after taking a whole hour of looking and trying on, we went to the first store and bought a nice pair of summer sandals. besides a few apt. i had to go with the boys, there was no special time spent alone with them, though that will happen.
shopping with naomi is a whole different story, very frustrating, though good for our relationship. then i also went out to by shirts with elias. running with amos (once), riding the train with thea.

13. i want to give the cross country skiing a try while on ski vacation in february
      - no, there was no cross country skying this winter, but there was snowboarding! yes i was standing on the board on two consecutive days and loved it!

14. practice gratitude “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.” -- Cicero
     - this one is in the back of my head a lot and i realize how i get involved in conversations with friends about gratitude. a good sign that i'm practicing

15. sew a quilt for my sister in law
    just finished the quilt for L "dotted scheme"

16. knit or crochet or sew at least one item a month go give away
    - pot-mitt
    - pot-mitt
    - portland pullover
    - blue moebius
    - 8 medieval crochet helmets
    - the sunday dress for thea  
    - cowl for amos
    - knit a hat for amos
    - knit a hat for thea

17. sort through my books and give away what i not read or need anymore
this has worked in some regards, two big paper bags of books have been carried away from our book shelfs, yeah!

18. keep buying fabric :) and stay at the machine more often
nope didn't happen
     
19. take a longish family vacation (outdoor adventure) this summer
     - we are heading to montenegro for kayaking in a week

20. practice twice a week on the ukulele
     - no where near

21. go to the art museum in winterthur and the kunsthaus in zurich for this and this

22. switch away from plastic wraps to something like bee's
has not manifested itself, but thinking is taking place and talking plans over with a friend has also happened

23. clean up thea's room as well as have the naomi & amos clean up theirs during summer brake
yes the two of us made it happen thea is good at vacuuming. amos is good at cleaning up little corners at a time and keeping his room in check. naomi is creative in all this

24. sew a pair of linen pants for myself
this item is carried over to next year

25. organize a house concert/session in the fall
didn't happen and that is fine too. instead joel and i went for three days of hiking and this was wonderful

December 30, 2016

the week :: through the lens

it has been on the back burner, i have not been taking a lot of photos for a while now, and that should change. so i put the "hand made" lens back on the camera body and got started this week. it touched me in a special way, as i wander and have the camera ready be it in the kitchen, or living room table... this enables me to see with new eyes and i like it. we will see if it sticks, it is a start to a new friday review of what caught my eye. there is to be said, that i was inspired by erin boyle and her blog "reading my tea leaves". she does a wonderful job and it is so inspirational to have a look at her photos...

:: 1. the carrots which don't need peeling

::  2. a big dinner table for a happy crowd

:: 3. the quick knit hat, is loved by the "wearer"

:: 4. a sunset walk

:: 5. and this is where we spend the time in between, a wonderful little spot in switzerland with wonderfully hospitable folks

December 29, 2016

painted rocks

it was a birthday for which i committed to make the decoration. the birthday of a very special woman, my mother in law. she loves bold colors and this, i wanted to reflect with the decoration. still we wanted it simple and as our local florist is just open friday and saturday, i opted for a "not floral" option. i didn't wan't to worry about flowers before as well as over chirstmas. and rocks are easy to care for...
elias got me a big load from the local river bed, it was a great help to me. and over the course of 5 days i was painting and painting and painting some more. i loved the work, though was very glad, when it was all done and ready packed in a big box as well as strong bags. i got a big arm of "lebanese ceder" branches to fill the middle of the table, as we opted for white fabric table clothes as well as white fabric napkins.
on the 27th, many hands helped with the set up and serving and cheering and cleaning up again. my mother in law liked the decoration and even more her birthday party. it was joyful and one more happy gathering of extended family over the past christmas season. i'm glad and thankful for each and every moment, of coming together and celebrating with family and friends.


December 28, 2016

christmas ramblings

arriving at my parents house was a big hello and joyful reunion especially by all the cousins. it is a blessing to see how well the younger as well as the older teenagers are getting along with each other. christmas on the 25th in the evening. celebrating with extended family and seeing how much my parents love to be in the middle of the hustle bustle, it is a blessing.
even the moments of singing and music making, the time of reading the scripture and praying together. it has filled my heart with gratefulness.

after dinner and celebrating around the tree, there are all the christmas cookies, coffee, water and tea for all. in many of those moments i remember people and places without the comfort of a warm living room to gather, without food, without clean water. and we have not earned it we have not done anything to deserve this. it has been given to us here in the middle of europe and i'm eager to share it and pass on to the person in need, to the stranger on the street side.

we shared our christmas eve dinner with neighbors and friends, with people not having family to go to. it has been a good celebration and festive. singing went well to and a short story was shared by one of our friends. i'm blessed and often don't know about it.



December 24, 2016

the week :: through the lens

it has been on the back burner, i have not been taking a lot of photos for a while now, and that should change. so i put the "hand made" lens back on the camera body and got started this week. it touched me in a special way, as i wander and have the camera ready be it in the kitchen, or living room table... this enables me to see with new eyes and i like it. we will see if it sticks, it is a start to a new friday review of what caught my eye. there is to be said, that i was inspired by erin boyle and her blog "reading my tea leaves". she does a wonderful job and it is so inspirational to have a look at her photos...

:: 1. in the bead workshop of our girls crafting
 
:: 2. it's the season of cookie-cutters

:: 3. winter solstice, well such look our neighborhood streets in the darkness of winter

and this is it, i know it's not five, but it's christmas eve and this has to do for today.

merry christmas and blessings to you.


December 21, 2016

so fitting

i already mentioned, that thea was switching instruments in august. it was a good move, the right decision and she loves her big instrument. the sitting and holding the cello between her knees is helping her to stay focused. she doesn't mind the carrying of the big instrument at all, which i was a bit worried. but all around it seems like she has found her instrument. i'm very glad as practicing has gotten so much easier and i don't need all kinds of tricks to get her to work. it has been delightful and mostly happy, to spend some time making music and practicing her songs.
she loves the plucking, as the bowing is still a challenge. it mostly is a question of physical strength in her right arm. we work on that one with lots of enthusiasm. up and down, and back and forth and lets do that rocket song again, etc.

she loves to play and has proudly taken the cello to class, to play some christmas songs for the class. this is wonderful and helps her to keep the goals set during practice times.
i'm glad we found the cello, or rather, said: the cello found thea!


December 20, 2016

the starlike moments

the advents decoration at our front door is particularly interesting in mid mornings. the sun rising and it's rays being sent right into our house. i love the moments of glitter and often take just a little moment to be still, to watch and rejoice in the new day. a moment of great happiness and thankfulness. such a wonderful sight and simply seeing God's grace and beauty in the every day.

a rhythm of sorts, or maybe the beginning of all rhythms. how the day is started, how the light and warmth of the sun is waking us up every morning.
rambling and pondering, taking it in and taking it along with me, all day until the sun sets again.

rhythm of life, rhythm of seasons and just being and enjoying it. taking a moment. be still and enjoy those starlike and life giving moments, given by God, the creator of all things and through all things.


December 19, 2016

a bit late

it has been a couple days, but i still love the color of those santa lucia rolls. it's not anything like a swiss tradition or carrying it over, home from new england, but we have been enough in touch with swedish folks, that i started taking on the tradition of baking those saforan rolls. there are all kinds of versions, some sweeter than others and some like the ones i baked last week, on the 13th of december.

they were ready on the table waiting for the kids to come home after school mid afternoon. some were left and eaten for dinner. it was nice and the yellow brightened up my day quiet a lot.
lights in the mid of the winters dark season is needed and liked. candles are part of our breakfast table as well as in the evenings, as it is already dark at 5pm.

days and traditions bringing warmth and light, symbolizing the love and the hope of christ, into our every days doing are needed and we do good to remember and take it to heart.

December 17, 2016

today's view

by joel

not many words, i love this picture and would have loved to be there and take it myself. though i was mostly in rehearsals, for the christmas play with thea and our smaller kids at church in the morning. all afternoon with the church choir for tomorrow mornings service. we sing vivaldi's magnificat with a small string orchestra. and i'm really looking forward for that one. it was worth every moment of work.

so right now, thank you joel for bringing this picture home to me!

December 15, 2016

rhythm of nature

the colors ar gone, just at some corners in the neighborhood there is some yellow and pink or red to be spotted. we have had some good frosty nights and even the days have been cold last week.
it is warmer again and the mornings are just gorgeous, frosty icing on the ground with a week but persistent few rays of the winter sun. lovely and life giving, as it is late in the morning, almost eight when it dawns.
evenings are early, as the sun sets around 5pm. nature is sleeping mostly and that is good this way. i'm glad we already had a week of freezing so the top soil has been frozen and i hope for some more of it. as for this week, the chickens are out trying to find some food again...

nature is pretty, regardless of the season, regardless if i take the time to look and observe or not. i try to be careful and want to notice changes, growth or how in late fall or even now in early winter, nature starts sleeping and rejuvenating from the inside.
it's a rhythm and i love this rhythm, best of all, running regularly makes me able to tune in much more and take in some good and quiet as well as beauty with me.


December 13, 2016

roasted pumpkin

it is squash season for me and who ever sits at our kitchen table. there has been variaties of pumpkin soup, with different seasonings, like sage or saffron.

though lately i discovered the roasted squash or pumpkin, pealed, sprinkled with olive oil and seasoned with herbs, salt and ground pepper. it is super quick, and easy, the oven does all of it for me. there is also a variety with chick peas mixed in on the cookie sheet. they get all crisp and add a nice switch of texture to the soft squash. my people seem to like it and we also love to heat it up a day later with re-fried rice. there can any kind of sugo (simple tomato sauce) be added or as today, i made a white blue cheese sauce. well i loved this variety a lot!

and good for me, there is still half a "little knirps" waiting in the fridge and an other big pumpkin in the garden shed, waiting to be eaten.



December 12, 2016

weekending

the weekend with musicians...
well, saturday went buy in a jiffy and sunday afteroon was not really planned out, just in the back of my head, there was that faint idea, that it might be possible to have a bit of life music in the living room. of course i was aware, that the boys are leaving by mid afternoon, as they had to rehears for the evening service, playing with their band at church yesterday.
and then, it happened all of a quick sudden. the musicians picked up their instruments and we were sitting and enjoying it. thea was quick to pick up her cello. she has done so in the past, but never really chimed in bravely. though yesterday afternoon, she decided, that droning and some plucking would be fun. and as the tunes joel and our friend c played are in keys which thea is able to play without fingers. this made it possible to pick it up and play along with some simple plucking as well as droning with the bow. and i was reminded, how fun it was, way back in JP, having our music brunches and the kids just simply play along with the grown ups. good memories, very fond ones.

of course there was not just music, there was tea and cake and games!
and a sleepy cat!


December 9, 2016

the week :: through the lens

it has been on the back burner, i have not been taking a lot of photos for a while now, and that should change. so i put the "hand made" lens back on the camera body and got started this week. it touched me in a special way, as i wander and have the camera ready be it in the kitchen, or living room table... this enables me to see with new eyes and i like it. we will see if it sticks, it is a start to a new friday review of what caught my eye. there is to be said, that i was inspired by erin boyle and her blog "reading my tea leaves". she does a wonderful job and it is so inspirational to have a look at her photos...


:: 1. before the frost

:: 2. with wonderful sparkly morning frost

:: 3. while the frost creeps up in the evenings, a warm raclette

:: 4. and it is advent, our window is open (a variation of last years...)

:: 5. the baking is going strong in the kitchen...

December 8, 2016

the city


it has been my last morning in school for this year. a lovely stroll after school along the river in the city made my morning bright. it was a good morning, a lecture about liturgy and how it is implemented into the service with school age children. in particular the reformed liturgy of the church here in switzerland.
as i'm not unfamiliar, rather say i love when the services on sundays, as well as other prayer times, have a clear structured flow. the reformed church here in switzerland has not a very strong liturgical lead and i'm glad that the pastors at our local church try to stay close to the guidelines of the liturgy which is suggest.

it has been nice, to walk through the old city of zurich after a lesson, which has so many connections to this place. not just that it is the city of zwingli, who got rid even of the organ in the church! there was, now in retrospect, lots of harm done, and even then, many good things grew out of the reformation, right here in zurich.

December 7, 2016

seasonal colors


that's what they are, seasonal colors. autumn blending into winter and the cold striking hard for the past week. though as cold it is, as wonderfully bright some red and yellows are still shining. a bit magic, especially with the warming rays of the afternoon. so perfectly golden and subtle. in many regards not even expected anymore, as we are writing early december. no snow yet, but i don't mind, it is easier that way to get around with the bike and for running as well.

today is not a running morning, though i'm kind of almost wanting to go anyway. but then decided to not go, i have to strengthen my hip and that seemed reasonable to allot a few moments to it, on a cold morning. but honestly, it's easier to run, and in may ways more rewarding, than strengthening and stretching and staying put in a room! though it must be done, and so be it done.

December 6, 2016

rendez-vous...

it has been a while since, but on a rainy friday night mid november, i had the chance to see the spectacular light show at the bundeshaus in bern. the "rendez-vous Bundesplatz" has been a fantastic magical, light show in bern during the early winter weeks, for the past few years. it has been 4 years since i had the chance to see it and this year was fun to be a spectator again.
it's all free, just stand there in the cold for 20 minutes and enjoy it all. this years theme has been devoted to the swiss red cross, which is celebrating it's 150th anniversary.

sorry for being a bit late with this post, as the show is not on anymore... the pictures some how got lost and i was just discovering them again this morning.

December 2, 2016

the week :: through the lens

it has been on the back burner, i have not been taking a lot of photos for a while now, and that should change. so i put the "hand made" lens back on the camera body and got started this week. it touched me in a special way, as i wander and have the camera ready be it in the kitchen, or living room table... this enables me to see with new eyes and i like it. we will see if it sticks, it is a start to a new friday review of what caught my eye. there is to be said, that i was inspired by erin boyle and her blog "reading my tea leaves". she does a wonderful job and it is so inspirational to have a look at her photos...

:: 1. the flowers left from last week

:: 2. the hope i'm holding on to

:: 3. a bit of a romantic touch in our sitting room¨

:: 4. the advent as it is getting a hold of me

:: 5. the present from nepal, thank you r