When Question Get Answered!

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Grain fields in Poland!

What’s Outside Your Windows?

We have a joke in our family.  It starts with these words: “Grain Elevators….”.   Here’s the story.  Our daughter-in-law asked Brent and I one day, how we felt about having video players in the car for vacations.  Me…I said, “YES!   There are times on long trips, that putting on a movie to have the kids stop fighting and bugging each other, is needed for them and for the parents”.  Brent, on the other hand, said…“NO, you should sit and look out at the window and count grain elevators.”  Since none of us knew what he was talking about, we thought it was pretty funny.  Then he explained.   You see, when he grew up in Canada, he remembers gazing out of the car window looking at all the grain elevators – a fond childhood memory.  Yes, we don’t let him forget this, but not to mock him…cause we love him!

When you sit in a car and stare out the window…what comes to your mind….where do your thoughts go?  Because of my infatuation with graffiti (I’m talking about street art more than just markings and tags that seem aimless and without thought), this is what I focus on every time I’m able to soak in my surroundings (I mean…not while I’m driving, of course!).  It catches my eye and draws me to the colors and expression of voice.  Yet I constantly have the same question:   “How do they do this on busy highways, and train stations and bridges and buildings – without anyone seeing them and stopping them?”  I imagine them sneaking around in the dark and having looks outs, etc.   It’s a simple question and not very deep or one that the answer would change my life, but it’s a  reoccuring question every time these images pass me by.

Graffiti wall at the Schlingen Bahnhof, near where we live.

Graffiti wall at the Schlingen Bahnhof, near where we live.

Finally…I’ve been given an answer to my whimsical questioning!   While exploring the off beaten streets of Freiburg one weekend…we came across this:

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and this:

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An Unexpected Treat!   

Can anyone out there feel my excitement?   As we came around the corner and saw this…it’s as if my breath skipped a beat!  I know you’re saying….it sure doesn’t take much to please or entertain Amy….but seriously….it’s as if my question has been answered and I’m at peace.   No one cared, no one stopped these folks.  It just happens!   I think city life has just accepted this as part of the culture and has learned to turn a blind eye.  I loved it!  Having not lived in a big city, I know, it sounds crazy that I’ve never seen anyone doing this.  But I loved just sitting there and watching these young people creating – expressing – communicating through their own way.

It makes me think about all those questions in my life, those ones that I think – if only I could have the answer – once I have the answer…will there be peace….will I move on….will life move on to what’s ahead?

What Questions are stuck in your head and will it make a difference in how you live your life – if the answers were there?

Baby Steps!

Finally.    It’s been a  while since I’ve blogged.  I have a lot of catching up to do.  It’s been hard to gather my thoughts.  The best way for me to start back, is to start small – one thought at a time – “Baby Steps” you might say (hehe).  (I said small not short)

WE ARE GRANDPARENTS!   Wow….this is big enough to blog about for weeks – I’m sure for years!   It’s exciting.  It’s overwhelming.  It’s…it’s….wow.  Aren’t I to young for this yet so ready for this?

Our son and daughter-in-law’s baby girl was due in January.  Yet, that was not going to be how her story played out!  She was to come early – 6 weeks early to be exact.   She entered the world taking that first breath of  air right after Thanksgiving.  We had the privilege of  traveling to the states to be with our  families during the holidays and were able to spent sweet times with this new little one.   She’s perfect….she’s strong…she’s been growing and coming into herself a little more each day.  How precious it was to just sit and hold her.  To kiss her checks, hold her little hands…try to comfort her when she cried.

Things aren’t always how you imagine:  It’s interesting , now, to think of how many days it took for the reality to sink in , and to have the feelings of connectedness I was supposed to have with her.  Everyone say’s, “Your life will change the moment you see the baby!”  To be honest…it took a few days.  She was in the NICU for 10 days, which caused some distance.  I also never got to really see Katie pregnant, since we live in Germany – I still needed to get use to the idea that this was real.  I felt helpless in those first days – I came to help, but there wasn’t anything to “do”.  I had in my mind what this would look like and what kind of roles I should play.  But until you go through it…you never really know what to expect.  It took time.  It helped talking with my kids about our feelings and expectations.  All our roles were changing…our relationships were going through transitions (as parent and child roles are constantly changing through out the years).   It didn’t take long though, as I  was able to spend more time with this precious baby, for my heart to melt. Aww…there were those emotions and feelings I was looking for!   Again I am reminded to relax, breath and let go of mis-placed or unrealistic  expectations and see each day as a gift!

Roles Being Redefined:  Before Ian and Katie got married, Katie asked me what kind of grandmother I wanted to be.  I said…Present!  Well, as I sit here in my living room on this sunny, snow-covered day in Kandern, Germany….I’m not sure how that is going to work out.  But as I talk with my friends who are in the same situations as Brent and I….we will figure this out.  We will find new and creative ways to be present, new ways of engaging.  It may not look the way we thought, and I may have many days of tears for missing out on my families lives.  I may have days where I need to grieve the way I thought things would be – and they’re not.  to let go of those expectations.  Yet, I am willing to allow God to have this area of my life and redefine it.  I choose to not look at what I am not able to do with or for my kids and grandkids, but what I am able to do and do it well.

Final Thought for the Day:  We try to plan everything out, but just as our sweet baby girl came when no one was planning…she came when she did for a reason.  I see all kinds of blessings because she came early.  I believe she has been a gift in our families lives – in ways of healing, hope, dependence and moving forward.   And that’s what letting go and allowing God to redefine us looks like – moving forward…towards the best that  He has for us!

Here she is:    She’s beautiful!

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An Empty Nest: A Fresh Beginning

Today I’ve decided to start a blog.  Why?  I don’t know..Perhaps because everyone is doing it.  Maybe it’s because I love to hear my own voice or I think my thoughts and perceptions are pretty darn awesome.  I realize I’m not a writer.  I have never considered expressing my thoughts through the written word a gift of  mine.  Yet, I love to process life and thoughts and questions through typing.

I decided to start today, because today starts a new beginning for me.  I am officially an empty nester.  What a weird word….most nests I see are empty.  Most have fallen and are broken apart, laying on the ground. Many I have seen have pieces of egg shells or feathers in them.  Some have pieces of paper, twigs, and hair holding them together.  They were a home…there was life in them at some time.  Yet I think most nests  are never meant to be long-term.

My baby has finally moved out of our home and is stepping out to make a life of her own.  This shouldn’t be hard for me…I have two other kids who have long gone.  Both are married and establishing their own homes  and families.  But there’s something very painful about the last.  If I am honest with myself…it probably has more to do with me than with her. She’s excited about moving on.  I’m excited for her….this is what we have worked so hard for the past 18 yrs to have happen.  We have given her, along with the help and prayers from so many others, the grounding to go out there and live life and live it well!  She was never meant to stay in our “nest” forever.   But this day has come.  After having almost 28 years with at least one, if not all three of our children in our home…it’s just Brent and me.

I sit here in Anna’s old room…cleaning it up, washing the sheets, moving furniture, etc.  From time to time its  gloomy outside and it’s quiet.  Today is a German holiday…Unification Day.  The day where East and West came together – no more wall to separate!   No business is open, no schools are in session.  Not many cars are driving through town.  It’s just me and the sounds of my washing machine.  I’m alone today.  Anna left two days ago. My parents had been visiting for a couple of weeks and they left this morning.  Brent is away for meetings in the Czech Republic.  I feel like this day, is the true beginning of this new season of life for me.  I wonder what it will look like?  I wonder if I will grab each day with excitement and childlike eyes?  I wonder if I will welcome this new time in my life with open arms?  I wonder if I will let fear and old patterns keep me from experiencing all that could be and should be?  You see, I’m not a very disciplined person.  I’m a dreamer…a visionary…a person of great intentions.  But I don’t always follow through, which makes me sad at times.  I don’t know what tomorrow will look like to be honest…..

It’s the end of the day now and I’ve  changed Anna’s room all around.  I wondered if  it was a good thing to do so early.  But it’s not her room any more.  There’s nothing of Her in here.  That sounds like she’s died…it’s not meant to, it’s just the reality.  It’s just a room. There’s no life in it.  There’s no pictures of friends and siblings.  There’s no poems on the walls, no maps of the world, and no elephants on the shelves. There’s no sketch books and leaves and notes from friends on her desk.   It’s hard.  I cry from time to time.  I will miss her here in this house.  Again, I’m excited for her…I’m just sad for me right now!

So like I said…it’s a new season in my life.  Cleaning a room and allowing something new to take place in this space is a picture of my life right now.  I celebrate the past.  I celebrate and remember what has brought me to this place.  I’m thankful for the years of “growing” my children.  They are a part of my flesh and bones.  They each reflect a little bit of me and of  Brent.  But even more so…they are now and will continue to grow into amazing men and women –  reflections  of God.

So at the end of  Day One of my blog….my thoughts….my heart….I await with open arms, dried eyes and a little bit of wonder for what’s ahead.  Tomorrow’s another day!