Monday, March 31, 2008

Zaanse Schans: the first Zed

Not to confuse you but, YES, we are back safe-n-sound here in Atlanta. Well, that is to say that I am. Donica is heading back to Europe, as we speak, for meetings in Copenhagen this week. But she'll be back on Friday.

In the meantime, during our last stint in Amsterdam, I made two photo-hunt trips to towns beginning with the letter zed (in Dutch, that would be zet). I'll start with the last one first because we took Lesley and Chris with us while they were visiting us and when Donica had her Easter holiday a week ago today.


Zaanse Schans is one of those tourist traps you do NOT want to miss!


And Lesley and Chris were totally game!


But why I love it to death (having been there twice 9 years ago) is a no-brainer! DUH!












More windmills than you can shake a stick at!


Wonderful pieces of Holland trivia that remind me of rural "anywhere."




And friendly sheep all over the place....


Even in a touristy place like Zaanse Schans, there is plenty of peace to keep you going back. Trust me. And it's just a short train ride away from the big city!

So, has spring hit you yet? I have a feeling we'll be seeing more and more of it every day now, even though it's been only in the 40's and low 50's here in Atlanta. Give it a day or two and we'll be in shirt sleeves again!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

FINALLY!

I know. I know. For the rest of you, the last thing you want to see right now is SNOW. BUT! We never get it in Atlanta (except maybe a few flakes once a year) and they never get it in Holland. That's one thing we both have in common.

Well, it did snow in Atlanta this winter but not while we were there. But lucky me, we made up for it here in Amsterdam this past week, while Lesley and Chris were with us.


This is looking out on our street through our apartment window. There were times when we all just stood there and watched the snow fall.


As a rule, the snow never stuck to the ground except at night. I caught this snow early in the morning before the sun had a chance to melt it.


As when it rains, people who use umbrellas (this image is why people don't!) also use them when it snows. It was wet and gloppy. But it was also beautiful!

So, Lesley and Chris are now gone (as of yesterday) and we too will leave on Friday, flying back to Atlanta. We won't be back to Amsterdam (well, Donica will but I won't) until May because of a vacation trip to Australia in April. SO, I think we can safely say we have had our snow for his winter, just on the edges of spring.

Finally. Just under the wire!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Family and Friends

By now, y'all know that I just LOVE meeting up with my blogger friends, especially ones I have known for as long as I've been blogging, since January of 2005!

SO, meet Orange-X and CanadianSwiss, husband and wife team living in Basel, Switzerland!


I have wanted to meet them since forever! We knew it would happen one day and, YES, finally it did. It helps that O-X is originally from Amsterdam (thus the Orange of his blogging name, Holland's color!), where his parents still live. So on this Easter weekend, I was lucky to finally connect.


Three years of blogging later, CS and I finally got to sit side by side and share a hug. I am such a glutton!

And believe it or not, I brought the bloggers over to our Amsterdam apartment and before they left, Chris and Lesley came in from their daily out-n-about, and met each other. Bloggers and family mixing and matching. How fun.




I just HAD to show TWO photos of Chris because in the second one, you can see the twinkle in his eye. Lesley, my niece, has always been bubbly for as long as I've known her. But the jury was still out on Chris because he was so quiet when we first met him, both in NYC last year and here in Amsterdam. BUT, give him a few hours, and then a few days, and he just gets better and better. What a fantastic sense of dry humor. And character. He says he's had his beard for 17 years, half of his life!

By now, Chris and Lesley have seen so much of Amsterdam, walking all over tarnation through wind, rain, sun and snow, that I think they may have seen more than I have in my year here! Actually, they HAVE visited the Nemo Science Museum, where there are great views of the city. So that's their gift to me...something to see that I haven't yet seen. Maybe this week I'll get there, after they're gone.

Donica will take the day off on Monday, because it's an Easter holiday here in Holland. We plan to take a nice side trip to nearby Zaanse Schans, the last day before the kids leave on Tuesday.

Apart from all the religious significance of this weekend, I was thinking about how holidays like this often mean connecting with family and friends. Even on the other side of the world, we are lucky! Hopefully you are as well, enjoying the presence of those you love.

Resurrection joy and life to us all!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Auntie Sue



Susan Elizabeth Hart Moore
June 28, 1910 - March 15, 2008

She was my only living relative in the generation above me, but she was 97 years old, the only sister of my dad!

How can you weep after all those years!
Her funeral service is today in Bridgewater, Virginia, USA.

(You may remember that I went to see her last September and wrote all about her here.)

**********

Interestingly, today sister Ruth's daughter and boyfriend arrive here in Amsterdam from NYC for a week's vacation. A day of three generations!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Restoration

As you know, Donica and I are back in Amsterdam till the end of the month. Little did I know that when we were last here in January, before going back to Atlanta and Mom's dying, I would be out in Holland's polder with friend Astrid, preparing for the restoration my Hart & Soul would need now!


All this week and next I am posting images from January's polder on my photoblog, out away from the big city where I find the pastoral care I have so much needed.


In the meantime, now, I am also restored by what is so soulful to me here in the Netherlands. Yesterday Astrid and I met up in nearby Utrecht again (our third time!) and set a goal to find one of the windmills.









What is it, I wonder, about windmills! How is it that they restore my soul? Can you tell me?

And you...what restores your soul? What has that kind of power to heal you and bring you back to the land of the living?!

Sunday, March 09, 2008

A New Season

Tomorrow afternoon Donica and I fly back to Amsterdam...after 5 tumultuous weeks here at home! Thank God we did not know at the end of January that we would come back to Donica's mom's death. But we did. We had "a season" of death and dying to go through. It's still not done, because we have yet to disburse the possessions and sell the house. But that will be in April when we come back again.

For now, we start a new season. The "spring-forward" time change has just happened today in America. And while some will find it hard to believe, Spring really is around the corner.


For Nicholas, his new baseball season is underway with practices twice a week and a scrimmage game this past Thursday. Lucky for me, I was able to join Amy in the stands and cheer on our Big Boy. This season he's a Cardinal (no longer a Kansas City Royal) and will be wearing his new uniform going forward.


I love how even at age 7 this is Big Boy Stuff. He even gets to hang up his own bat bag by himself and keep all his ducks in a row.


This particular scrimmage there were 4 innings, two of which Nicholas played the shortstop position...


...and two as catcher!


OMG! I was popping all my buttons watching him. He's in a much more competitive league this year but he seems to be eating it up. The thing is, he gets it! It's like he was tailor-made for the game. So fun to watch.
We'll hate missing some of the games, but that's what happens when we go to Amsterdam! Amy will update us after every game, as will he, I'm sure. We're but a phone call away, even on the other side of the world!

Those of you who still have snow, trust me, it'll soon melt. We had snow flurries here in Atlanta yesterday morning, even though none of the snow stuck to the ground. It's been such a long winter compared to the last several years, but I think it's a good sign, so I'm not complaining. Easy for me to say here in Atlanta, I know.

A new season IS on the way. For all of us who need it, we welcome it!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Moving On

It was a week ago today that Mom died but it feels like it was yesterday! Her memorial service was this past Saturday on a gloriously sunshiny day in the 60's. Amy, Dennis and Nicholas came. In fact, Nicholas sat between Donica and me and held Donica's hand throughout most of the one-hour service. He was precious to us.


You'll appreciate this: Mom's urn will be situated just above Sam's (Donica's cousin-in-law) at the cemetery, where both of them can look out to Mom's own mother's plot from before I met Donica in 1993. The wee urn you see here in the photo will hold the gold leaf with Deveeree's name from when she was cremated in CA 9 years ago after her car accident. That's Mom's youngest child, Donica's sister. Both urns will be together in the same crypt. Mom did not want to be alone and liked that idea.


On my Shutterchance photoblog this week I'll be posting images of flowers from Mom's yard or the arrangements that came to the house while we watched and waited. They will reflect what I was feeling these last 3 weeks.

In the meantime, life is moving on! Donica is in a leadership conference as a participant all week at a downtown Atlanta hotel. We'll go back to Mom's house over the weekend to work on disbursing the possessions and figuring out how to sell the house. Then on Monday the 10th, we both fly back to Amsterdam.

Miles to go before we sleep. And many emotions still to sort through. But we have felt the love and comfort of people all over the world, including all of you who have visited us here. Thank you for that. Thank you for your part in helping us move on.