Friday, February 23, 2007

The Fair

You gotta love the state fair-- fresh fudge (uh- hmmm- confession time!) ...

Friesian horse show at the circus...

quilts and all kinds of homemade crafts...

and gorgeous arrays of prize- winning flowers,

Dad talking to the salesmen....

and the lumberjack show (rolling wet logs until one of them falls off).

spoiled rotten

I'm spoiled rotten by my sweet parents --who even make breakfast a fun time for this grown-up "kid"!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Mom-- you're the BEST!

My mother is a saint-- really. I think most people who know her would say it. She's fun to hang out with, talk with about everything, & do water aerobics with. She's easily pleased and not fussy. We say she has a "computer brain" with her memory of all kinds of details. Mom is wise & also very smart (a pediatric. w/ a speciality in newborns).

Mom's birthday party with the fam last week-- & where did she wanna go? A fancy restaurant w/ candles? Disneyworld? A shopping spree? Nope. Out to dinner at a "down home" diner-- Fred's Market in Plant City. All you can eat greens, macaroni & cheese, cornbread, catfish, sweet potatoe pie, etc. We love you, Mom!
"Cowgirl" was my dad's nickname for me as a child, being that he is a proud Texan (in the best sense of "proud"), & I was born there. It's been years since I've ridden a horse, but some friends from my bro's church in Wesley Chapel invited me to their "Cowboys for Christ" Saturday ride out in the country.

Hank & Linda w/ Smokey-- from the "home team" (Hauskreis) I attend at Crosspointe Church. Anyone that thinks of Florida as just palm trees & beaches has never visited the greater part of our state: pine trees, palmetto bushes, not to mention cockroaches & mosquitos! (hello!)

Back in the saddle with Dakota:

Switch: from cowpoking-- to Sat. night fondue! friends Jen & Ryan just went to Switzerland over Christmas, but have been having an annual fondue night for awhile.

Monday, February 05, 2007

exploring ...

Always on the look-out for fresh ideas... I've wanted to explore some "emerging" churches while I'm in the US. If you're not sure what this term means, I'm with ya. Not sure if this church exactly fits the bill, either, but it was an interesting morning. Went with a good buddy of mine, Jason, to his church called Relevant Church meeting in Ybor City, where they rent the lovely Italian Club in Tampa. The building is found in a famous Cuban district (as well as a hot-spot, weekend club area). This area of town was known in the early days for our cigar factories, manned by people who largely came over from Cuba to escape Castro's Communism.

Worship services began later than some churches, at either 10 or 11:30 (yea to that idea!). The band played edge-y, rock worship songs. At the end of each service they always become a cover band, playing a song fitting the theme -- this week it was Coldplay.

Creativity-- to illustrate the new message series, called "Finding Your NESS," they had a HUGE "book" rotating on the stage. When you come in the front entrance, you use a touch- screen flat screen monitor to start typing in your last name, & if you'd been there before-- BING! Out comes your printed label for your name tag. They threw T-shirts into the crowd when the pastor came out, as gifts, to ask people to advertise the theme for this message series!

A plus about being in the States is connecting with friends from an active singles group, from Idlewild Baptist Church. Ok, for all you guys out there who know our Connexxion BEACH parties-- this was sort of like that (note the outfits). This time the theme from their monthly "Priority" worship event was from an old TV show called "Love Boat" (about a cruise liner where everyone meets-- you guessed it-- their true love).
When I came in the door someone handed me a lei (Blumenkranz) & took an official cruise photo! Sherry is a special friend & she helped organize a volunteer group from their "Lighthouse Singles" to come to Weimar a few summers ago. THEY also helped US host a cool beach party in the dorm there! By the way, I went into my parents' closet to pull out some "vintage" attire!

Re-connecting: St. Louis

I had a marvelous time in St. Louis recently with my good friends & fellow "Baylor Bears." We've sort of followed one another a bit over the globe. We met in Texas; lived in the Tampa Bay area; & at one point they were working in Europe for awhile when I was living in Germany.

I had the honor of learning to play Attacktix (action figures, super heroes) with one of the boys. (Well, yes -- i lost miserably!) We had lunch at "The Hill"-- an Italian district filled with restaurants & delis.

Trampoline city-- for a birthday party we went to a place that has multiple trampoline areas, where you can play dodgeball or simply jump your heart out (the sign read, 10 minutes of jumping is like 30 minutes of jogging). I believe it!

I met for a coke with 3 precious people from Bethel Church which supports Anja, who used to serve on Connexxion staff & is studying now at Southwestern Bapt. Seminary. She & I got to speak here together 3 years ago.

Then, on Sunday I spoke at a church where 4 members who play in a bluegrass band had given a concert at the church in north Germany where I was in language school. That was over 7 years ago, but, thanks to email, we were able to keep in touch (note the Germany display on the front Lord's Supper table!). Yep, you heard it right-- bluegrass in Missouri! This is in the town of Hermann, which has a German heritage & has its own Octoberfest each year!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Colts and Chili

Tonight was the SUPERBOWL (go, Colts and Tony Dungy, who used to be our coach in Tampa Bay). By the way, Tony is ALL over the news, highly respected -- he is the first African- American coach to win a Superbowl. Plus he never cusses & never shouts at his players, & is a devout Christian.

I watched the game at my brother's church, CrossPointe, which was accompanied by a yummy chili cook-off! Ok-- I won 2nd prize. I'm not usually a competitive person, but somehow wanted to have fun with it. I looked on line for prize-winning recipes & used quality sirloin tri-tip & ground chuck beef (wenn ihr das nicht wisst, chili con carne ist wirklich in manchen Regionen eine "Wissenschaft" & es gibt mehrere Wettbewerbe dafuer!), along with a stick of cinnamon & the juice of one lime.

Here are the 4 top winners (including my mom! You go, girl!).

More folks at the Superbowl event...

ads in toilets

I hate to be at the mercy of every imaginable advertisement, in every imaginable place. At some restaurants-- there's a TV going (music videos... sports... you name it!). Can I please eat & just enjoy the company of the person(s) across from me?! In the bathroom even, at my Bally's Gym or a local restaurant-- you've got 1 (or MORE!) ads in the TOILET stall. (ok... so i carry my digital camera everywhere!)That's something I miss about living in Germany-- being more free from feeling bombarded by media & commercialism constantly. (Can I get an "amen"?)