December 29, 2015

"in between"

we didn't come home directly, but stopped for a short hike and mainly to climb the wooden tower near wil.
the planning was perfect, walking fast pace up the hill and the 189 steps of the tower, making it just in time to see the sunset at 5:39pm. the view was perfect too, we live in a wonderful little country and love it. those mountains: austrian alps as well as säntis, the churfirsten, glarus alps, bernese alps including mönch and eiger. in such moments as this one, i would want all my american friends to stand with me and see the gorgeous panorama. to see how beautiful this little spot is, which we call switzerland.
not that it is like this every day, we also have to deal with our share of fog and over cast, wind and rain. we also have rapidly changing air pressure and that is one thing i just don't seem to get used to, as it causes regular head aches. well i try to remember those moments of looking at the mountains and won't give in. then those mountains are part of the reason, to have the winds stop and pile up...

it's the "time in between", that we are in, and i love the days when christmas is a memory and the new year has not started yet. we just wished fair well to my brother in law and his wife, they take off later this week, crossing the atlantic, to find the adventures in the new world. we are a bit jealous as thy leave us behind, us that we tasted that new world and loved it!

embrace what you will meet, over there in america, dear B&S!

 some photos by joel

December 28, 2015

christmas this year

there was christmas eve, with family out there enjoying the evening that lush winters night. it was not cold and the right thing to do. we do it every year, lighting the candles on a tree out on the river bank. this year the river didn't have any water, which is kind of strange. it was a very dry year and still there is almost no rain and of course no snow (it's too warm).
with the whole extended family we stood there and grandmama was reading maria's magnificat followed be some well known songs. it is such a blessing to be together and celebrate together.
a bit in the distance we could see the church from the town, it was beautiful and is such a good reminder, it has been the start of our union, as we got married in that church on the hill over 20 years ago.

the christmas morning was with the other side of our family. at my parents house, the whole extended family met and we ate together, played games, there was some moments for playing the flute. those moments are important, not just for the musician, but also for some of the gathered folks.
the afternoon walk, a bit out of town, across some fields, with everyone was perfect. we could even get the teenagers motivated to come along and two of them brought their soccer balls along, lots of tossing and shoving, lots of kicking and fetching, talking and even moments of sitting in the sun was in order. it is a blessing to gather and appreciate each other, life's moments have to be shared and savored. once more realizing, that our parents are getting older and especially my mom absolutely enjoying the moments when she is surrounded by all her children and grandchildren. it's the time that goes by and it's the us, having to buy it out, enjoy it and slow down to keep up with it...

December 25, 2015

:: our christmas days ::

so much preparation, so much expectation and so much joy, we were all busy and loving that feel of getting ready for a big celebration. expecting 20 people to come for the christmas celebration to our house. of course, there is a whole day, no even two days to get ready for...
and the day was perfect, a little ride with my bicycle around town to wish my friends a blessed christmas and i absolutely love this little tradition. it's so relaxing to be out of the house before the last minute preparations go on.

and then on our way to church, right at dusk, the skies were gorgeous and it was wonderful. i love to be immersed by the natural beauty while experiencing and living life. the depth of meaning in those days of christmas.

 "Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy would one day walk on water?
Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy would save our sons and daughters?
Did you know
that your Baby Boy has come to make you new?
This Child that you delivered will soon deliver you."

December 23, 2015

the making and expecting

there is lots of crafts still going on, and we have one more day to make and do and wish and hope and look forward to. and i will hop on my bike tomorrow morning and load the basket with my goodies and ride to my friends and wish them a blessed christmas day. yes that's what it is about, keeping the focus on the important and knowing that christ has come into this world to redeem us with our God. and that's what we have to remind each other.

just so, our lord has come, he has poured out his spirit and the kingdom is growing, we await the second advent, that's what's next. we expect and yearn for it, for the crocked will be made straight and justice will rule. every knee will bow down and if we don't sing and shout to the lord, the rocks will do so.

and so it is, again, i'm making and thinking and pondering how long...
though what i can do, i will do and a little bit of that joy and expectation is in all the making and celebrating included. it is a tiny reminder, of how much love and how much grace i receive daily and will pass on to my next and neighbor and friend and foe.

and amos is also making, he made wonderful spicy chocolate....
and some more, some different kind with nuts and chia-seed, and some with dried banana and almond splitters, he decided to call it banana-split...

December 21, 2015

out in the winter's light

a weekend with lots of sunshine and warm it was too. we had to go out and thea was very happy to come along. hard to imagine, that we call are mid december, a few days before christmas.
the sun is kind of low for two o clock in the afternoon, but that's how it is in the heart of europe, just around the winter solstice. nice shadows and the light is so pretty.

the big kids didn't want to come along, well we went anyway and the girl was happy to skip along. we also stopped by for tea at our friends house. it ended up not just being tea, but eating a gingerbread house with all it's decoration and one of our sons turning up too, well that was really nice.
and it all was somewhat on the quiet side, not having to, not must think of, not needing to do. i felt it was more of being and enjoying, almost a kind of still. it was exactly what i needed.

thank you joel for getting us out of the house.

December 18, 2015

pine cones :: good planning

in time for winter decorations, i stumbled over a little crate with pine cones. a bit of looking around and a quick search on pinterest.... there were those dozen and more ideas how to do this. i didn't want it shiny or artificial, just plain pine cones.
a wire coat hanger and some thin wire were quickly gathered and it was fun, exciting and so quick.
my moment of pause, i didn't have enough pine cones after 20 minutes of binding and tying. well that was helped at the morning run yesterday.... a detour in the forest was all i needed. resting the still moist and closed cones on the sill above the radiator for an other day and then they were ready. so this morning i finished the wreath and it hangs now near the entrance door of our house. i like it and am happy to have done something with my own hands a bit of nature and up-cycling that wire coat hanger...

what else is going on, lots!
in not even a week we are celebrating christmas and we are all excited. there has been two weeks of events and still many meetings in the evenings for us grown ups. but this is now over and we really have an empty calendar for the next two weeks. this is so enabling and yes i like the way it turns out, that my planning is working out.
the kids are out of school for two weeks and naomi already off at my parents house for a few days, amos also visiting, we have just two kids home for the coming 24 hours.... wonderfully strange and calm.
so i'm looking forward to what ever crosses my path. of course there is a list, but i'm fine with keeping lists and love to cross off each line, when done.

December 17, 2015

too warm for the season

it's mid december and we enjoy warm weather, almost surreal how warm it got today. it felt like t-shirt weather and this is wrong.

we wait for the cold, for snow and ice to arrive. the garden has long been ready for winter and still the grass is growing. last week a veggie grower has harvested his carrots, which is usually done no later than mid november.
the kids are done with school for this year. we are so much looking forward to the coming days, two full weeks off, this is a treat and naomi has already planned a few days at the grandparents, amos is staying over at his god mothers house and elias is at a friends house. it's all good to be able to enjoy the relationships we have in our lives. those do not depend on the weather. we have some visits planned over christmas and are gone for our traditional family vacation. o we are all looking forward excitingly, as those times are highly treasured.
there will be some more crafting going on, baking and chocolate melting and mixing, cutting and using the ax behind the house, well some of the project will make it on the blog, others not.....

December 15, 2015

the christmas play...

our narrator for the childrens christmas play at our church, amos was doing a wonderful job, sitting and telling us the whole story, how it all unfolds. with wonderful comments and his usual charm. the two ladies writing the play "Hilfe! die Herdmanns kommen" (by barbara robinson) put the storyline into the setting of our own kids attending the program on sunday mornings and so the story was a bit shifted and still kept it's whit and sarcasm.

not just telling the story but singing and a little band, with piano, violin, guitar and percussion, was helping to bring supporting the angels choir as well as the shepherds. it all came together rather nicely, as we were all still struggling on saturday morning.

the smaller kids were all shepherds and loved their job, to sit around a fire and tell each other stories. finally ending up to race each other to the stable behind the inn, to greet the new born king.

the herdmann kids in the role of the wise men, decided to bring a ham to the holy family, as this was much better for the hungry family and joseph is gladly receiving the wonderful present. of course there was fight over who gets to eat from the ham, at the end, everyone was invited to soup and ham and the evening was ended with fellowship and thankfulness.

December 10, 2015

the 10th

we have the tradition of decorating windows all through advent, in our neighborhood. today was our day to light up the 10th of advent.
we enjoyed not just a brightly lit window, but also a fire and grilling sausages for dinner, eating leek soup and having some of the neighbors over for that. it was nice, as we don't see each other as much now in the dark of winter, summer lends itself so much more to socialize. so this tradition of visiting each other during advent make great opportunities to not just huddle in our own place.

other people serve chirstmas cookies and other sweet treats, punch and spiced wine, it gives each family the opportunity to be hosts and guests and it brightens up the nights in the darkest time of year.

December 9, 2015

:: adventsbus ::

the girls came along to enjoy a ride on the adventsbus, an old-timer bus from the city of winterthur is doing it's rounds every wednesday and saturday afternoon and evening during the time of advent. it is very special and tonight joel and chiristina made music on the bus. there is a story and music for every ride and the bus is decorated. it's lovely and so much fun to sit in a warm and cozy old timer bus, riding through town.
so far i have not managed to upload the mp3 to going with the picture....
anyway i think the photo shows nicely, how lovely the ride was, and the irish music with a bit of advent was perfect.

thank you christina and joel.

December 8, 2015

a walk

 we have been on a walk, just spending a simple hour out of doors. going from here to there and enjoying it. thea loves to go for walks, she enjoys to be moving and exploring and i love her as a companion. the older three are not as enthusiastic about "lets go on a walk", not even the "lets go on an adventure!" counts anything. never mind they are teenagers and i guess that's one thing about teenagers -no-, a simple statement of disagreeing. so i left them at home and just ventured out with thea and the camera, ha and the bus ticket to fetch a ride back home. and that, the girl really loved...

there was nothing super special, but i needed some exercise and let my legs work for a moment not running or even longish running.
and i was hoping for a bit sun, but it was already too late for that one. never mind, we enjoyed to look at the sun lit side of the hill, just across the field. it's good in early winter, to see the sun. as it makes itself  a bit rare around here.

December 7, 2015

the fire and saint nicolas

saint nicolas day has come and gone and we all enjoyed it a lot. just the day before our chimney got a new hat. this made it possible, no even a must, to light a fire. and that is exactly what we did and totally enjoyed. making music and singing in a cozy living room, sitting  near the fire place and sipping spiced tea with milk and honey, o so yummy.
reading the story of saint nicolas of myrna and talked about it all with the girls. such evenings are nourishing, not just to me, but especially to my mother heart. those moments in parenting, i treasure and will remember, especially when it's getting rough with our teenagers. i love the three big kids, i really do and i absolutely love how we can have good and interesting discussions. and then there are the shouting matches, and i so easily fall pray to such invitations. of course i know and am well aware, the teenagers need this kind of figuring out the boundaries and testing the love and kindness, the patience and gratitude toward them.
i will get better at it and i will try hard to not give in too quickly and loose my temper, rise my voice and and and.

and then, we enjoyed all the goods the dear nicolas has brought to our house!