Saturday, May 30, 2015

Biking in Europe-day 5


'Challenges in life come in "all shapes and sizes". Today, on and off our bike, we seemed to have many.

~ Cold, requiring a stocking cap for me!


~ Rain and wind, but Hunter is prepared!


~ Flat tire, thankfully during a "sunny moment"!



~ Many cobblestone pathways, rough and wet, making riding a bit difficult at times!



But all is well when you bite into a German Black Forest cherry cake mid-day!


Our biking ended in Torgau, Germany, birthplace of Martin Luther's wife: Katharina Von Bora. 
Here was a woman who faced challenges with intelligence and strength. She managed her household of six children, Martin, and other relatives well; being frugal, organized, and hard working. Yet there was always time for games and fun. Martin dearly loved his wife and knew her worth for he titled her "Herr Kathe", meaning Mr. Kathy-the leader of the house! Our day has just ended with a meal in the restaurant named "Herr Kathe" and the only challenge here was to actually finish the generous helping of delicious food!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Biking in Europe-day 4

We spent the morning on a tour through the porcelain factory in Meissen, the most renown factory of its kind in Europe! The porcelain here is exquisite, creamy white with intricate paintings, each piece hand-made. On the tour we watched the various stages of the "creation" of each piece from the molding of the clay, through painting and fiiring in the kiln. It was fascinating and brought to mind the Bible verse in Isaiah 64:8.
"Yet, O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are the work of your hand."
Shouldn't that be true of our Christian walk-willingly allowing God to mold us, shape us, knead us into whatever vessel He has planned for our lives? Then He paints onto our spirits with dazzling color but which can only be truly seen once we go through the fiery kiln? As much as we resist that fire it is what truly makes us shine! 
Love the way the Bible comes more alive to me each day as I read it and ask God to use its words to reflect His truth into my life. God and His messages can be seen everywhere no matter where in the world we find ourselves-even in a factory tour! 




Time to return to the bikes for our afternoon ride to Strehia, Germany and more adventures in eastern Germany. Anyone ready for a river crossing?


More tomorrow...

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Biking in Europe-day 2


Day 2 began at 12:01 a.m, as we boarded an overnight train from Mannheim to Dresden, Germany, an 8 hour train ride to the eastern part of this country. Have you ever ridden a train with 6 adults packed cozily into a cubicle the size of most closets? It is an interesting experience, rather tight with luggage at your feet but we managed well and even claimed a few hours of interrupted sleep!
Arrrriving in Dresden at 8:00 a.m we biked to our lodging anxious for that warm cup of coffee and various European breakfast delicacies, hard rolls included! Our lodging is a house built in 1750. Oh the stories these 3 foot thick walls could tell! The COLD day was spent in the town of Dresden visiting a famous museum, attending a noon mass in a restored cathedral, sight seeing in general all while trying to stay warm with temps hovering around mid 50s! 
I have never been so thankful for winter mittens I packed at the last moment and a wool stocking cap I bought from a local vendor. Praying tomorrow the sun shines as we see more of Dresden and bike into our next town. (Photos will follow in two weeks since I left my camera cable in Italy!)

Camera cord found!







Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Biking in Europe

"Grandchildren sitting" in Italy is done. Bike panniers are packed. Car is rented. We are on our way to two vacation adventures; one a "self-contained" 7 day bike ride in eastern Germany with German friends. (By "self-contained" we mean carrying everything you need on your bikes, a first for us!) After a brief rest of three days we head to the Netherlands th bike the coast of Holland with friends from the states. On that ride our gear will be transported for us each day to the next night's lodging, less weight on the bike making for less effort. I will try to write a daily update log so you can, if you desire, share in our adventures: good and bad alike. Ha!
All will depend on access to the Internet, which is not always available. Isn't it interesting how we have become so dependent on the world of technology, or at least those of us who are natural communicators! Hunter, whose career centered around computers, now proclaims that on vacation he wants to free himself of it's "addiction", but he has found a place in his backpack for his iPad! Sort of like weaning a baby of their pacifier but finding it under their blanket in the crib!
Better get on with the trip. Catching a night train out of Mutterstat, Germany in a few hours so more to come later....

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

"The Hills"

Back in beautiful sunny Italy, again!

 
Hunter and I took our tandem out into the Italian countryside today enjoying the sunshine and warm temps. We rode 10 miles then found a quaint "bistro" in Longare where we feasted on pasta and grilled chicken. On our return ride to our "home" in Rebecca's house I marveled at the surrounding hills, which can only be seen on a clear day. I was reminded of the 121st Psalm, which I am currently attempting to memorize, 
"I lift up my eyes to the hills-where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip-he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord watches over you-the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, or the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all harm-he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. "
What a marvelous reassurance that we are protected by God no matter what our circumstances!

Sometimes it is difficult to understand a God that never sleeps, since sleep is so necessary to us. Personally, when I don't "slumber" well I tend to be short-tempered, a bit lazy, and not much fun to "be around". On the otherhand, after 8+ glorious hours of deep rest I am ready to "conquer my mountains", face the "giants", toil long hours. Anyone out there sympathize?

Even though we are created in the image of God, He knew the human body would need rest, where as His Spirit never needs sleep.  He is all powerful, all knowing, ever present, and NEVER shuts His eyes! Thankfully, we can always communicate with Him and He with us-even in the middle of the night, which is my habit when I just can't sleep.

Praise the Lord that He is ALWAYS available!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

"Moments"

Each moment in our lives is a gift from God. Instead of dwelling in the past or worrying about or planning in detail for the future I believe we would experience a greater level of peace if we cherished "the present". I have been reflecting on this concept these past several months as I have often observed and participated in child play with various grandchildren. Their innocent pleasure over tea parties, colored chalk, worms and funny faces has been a valuable lesson for me. "Lighten up" my view of life and just enjoy! Look for the "new thing" God is inserting in each precious moment so we have reason to praise Him!

"Forget the former things, do not dwell in the past. See I am doing a new thing. Now it is springing up. Do you not see it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the desert to give drink to my people, the chosen ones, the ones I have formed for myself, so that they may proclaim my praise." Isaiah 43:18-19