Saturday, October 27, 2007

echoes from the randomness

A Brief History of the Life and Times of the Winsome Wench in Her Weirdness...

I wouldn't say that Ed and I were desperate up until Monday morning. Yes, we were very, very busy, and yes, we had no downtime, and yes, we were rather concerned that we wouldn't have time to get it all done...... But all things considered, I don't think we were desperate. I'd say we weren't even frantic. We were just very, very busy. And tired. Did I mention tired?

But when you compare International Moving Adventure 2007 with International Moving Adventure 2001, the 2007 version is going much more smoothly. In 2001, when we moved to Chemnitz, we had no clue what we were doing. The night before the movers came, we stayed up working in the apartment until 3 a.m. This time, we were in bed at midnight the night before the movers came. Some might think that a 3 hour difference does not great progress show (thank you, Yoda)... But in 2001, we also had an entire room marked "Do Not Enter" while the movers were working, a large room full of stuff that we had to get rid of after they left. This time, in 2007, we had only about half of a medium-sized room of leftovers. Plus, this time, there's our general feeling of preparedness resulting from having started this process 8 months before the move instead of 6 weeks before. ;o)

Anyway....Monday morning, the movers arrived, brought their packing materials upstairs, built some cardboard boxes, and started packing. And suddenly, Ed and I had nothing to do. We weren't allowed to help them pack, because the insurance only covers our belongings if the movers are the ones who packed the boxes. There was nothing more to organize, nothing more to sort, nothing more to throw out. All we could do was sit and watch as these five strangers entered our space, went through our things, put all our things in boxes, and took them away.

I was tired. I was relieved that I didn't have to pack it all myself. I was excited. I was sad. I was amused by the banter of the men as they worked. I was nervous when one dude started packing up my oil paintings. I hovered and made him nervous, so I forced myself to go sit in the living room and let the poor man do his job. I was glad that we were finally getting this step of the process out of the way. I was numb from the back-and-forth motion of this emotional roller coaster.

Tuesday afternoon, when they started taking the last of the boxes downstairs and packing them into the 20-foot container, I thought I was going to cry. We finished up paperwork, tipped the guys, and watched as they drove away. They honked and waved, and we laughed. Then we went back upstairs. I looked around the emptiness of our apartment, and all I wanted to do was get out of there. It didn't feel like home anymore. Later that evening, when we were coming home from Tuesday night Bible study, I started to cry because we couldn't go home and I felt homesick, and all I wanted to do was go home.

Have I mentioned the emotional roller coaster?

The last few days have been more of the same, but much less intense. In Germany, renters are required to paint the apartment before they move out, so we've been working on getting that started. Today was the first real work day, and thanks to multiple helping hands, the stairwell is clean, and three rooms are completely finished. Three down, three to go. The best part is that our landlady intends to have all the carpets but one ripped out, so we only have to worry about protecting the one. We can smear paint all over the rest, which speeds up our work considerably. Yay for practicality.

Since Monday, we've been living over at Karen's (aka KarenCamp). It feels funny to "come home" over here now instead of to our own apartment. Pippin seems to be adjusting well, although she's having difficulty with the Stay Off the Table Rule. She's really enjoying the ground-floor windows. For her sake, it would be nice if we could find a ground-floor place in Oklahoma City. But that's another story for a future time.

I think I've rambled on enough for now. In short, we're busy, we're tired, we're of very mixed emotions, we're enjoying the "last times" we're spending with various people. All of this, of course, is reinforcing in me the knowledge and the sense that I am truly at home nowhere on this earth. My citizenship, my allegiance, my home is heaven. Perhaps God has led me to this rootless, often-moving, TCK life because he knows that I need it; perhaps I need it so that I will know where my true refuge and sanctuary and comfort is.

Check out 2. Corinthians 4:18 and Philippians 3:20. God says it better than I can.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

taking time for treasures

In about four hours, I have to get up to get ready to drive to a funeral that’s about 5 hours away. so technically, I don’t have time to be writing this, because I need to be sleeping. But part of my brain is telling me that I won’t be able to sleep anyway, unless I get these thoughts out of my head, so here I am, writing.

Today, in a box stuffed into a shelf in the attic, Ed found something that I have been missing for almost six years, ever since we moved to Chemnitz: my old journals. Not a big deal to some; a priceless treasure to me. When he brought that box down from the attic and I realized what was in it, I whooped for joy. Literally whooped. Not many people in my life have had the experience of being in my presence when I whooped, but Silke and Guido had that experience today, because they were here when it happened. I whooped.

Anyway…my old journals. I have them back. And I’m very happy about that. These are my journals spanning most of my teens and my early 20s. These are pre-blogging journals. These are pre-*typing* journals. The only drawback to finding them is that I now see how terrible my handwriting used to be. (Some might claim it’s still terrible, but for now, that’s neither here nor there nor anywhere.)

The earliest one starts out like this: “Hello. My name is Courtney Anne Weger. I am 14 years old…” And so begins the saga. Cute, eh? What’s funny to me, as I page through these written treasures, is to see that that 14-year-old had quite a few mature insights and quite a bit more wisdom than the 17-year-old or 19-year-old who was to reveal herself in later writings. Something happened to me between the ages of 14 and 17. I think it was hormones, because most of my journal entries from my later teen years seem to concern boys. Good grief…did I not think about anything else?

I would be mortified if anyone read some of the things I wrote back then. But I’m also finding lots of happy memories, moments that I described in detail because they meant so much to me. I read them, and I find myself thinking, “Hey, I *remember* that…” even though I hadn’t thought of it in years. I remember now what happened, and I remember who I was, and I find that I don’t dislike that girl of years ago as much as I thought I disliked her.

Someone once said that a woman’s heart is a deep ocean full of secrets. Sometimes, a girl’s heart is deep that way, too. Another someone once said that we can’t know who we are and where we’re going until we know who we were and where we came from. My journals help me know these things. I’m thankful to have them again.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

'you gotta ac-cen-tuate the positive...' /singing

No, I don't *really* have time to do this......but I found the idea on Patricia's blog and thought that even though time is running swiftly through my fingers, I *need* to take the time to do this. It's a little 'spoonful of sugar' that will help improve my attitude, lower my stress level, and remind me to stay positive in the near future.

Okay, so here goes:

10 Things That Recently Made Me Happy

(...Although, overly analytical as I am, I must note that I know nothing can "make" me happy; nothing has that power; the way it really works is that I choose how I react to things and people; my emotions are within my own realm of responsibility. Sorry for the psychological tangent, but I needed to go off on it for my own benefit. ;o) /tangent

Take 2!

10 Things To Which I Recently Reacted In A Most Positive Manner (lol, much eye-rolling) ;oD

In random order....

1. Spending time with lots of sisters at the Ladies' Retreat in Filzmoos, Austria.
1b. Recording with the "5 Sächsy Angels"! ;oD
2. Talking with Matt and Ben, 2 Vienna students who stayed with us last weekend.
3. Allison's email telling me that she enjoyed our talks in Filzmoos.
4. Elsa's statement that Jim isn't lost; we know exactly where he is.
5. Hearing that God had worked things out for Van, Ja-9 and Isa for their university studies.
6. Remembering how much I enjoy autumn.
7. Hearing how much friends and family in Oklahoma are looking forward to seeing us soon.
8. Realizing yet again that God is always there for me and is working to take care of me, especially 'behind-the-scenes' where I am not able to see.
9. Being part of Alex and Barbara's wedding with loved ones and seeing old friends!
10. The privilege of being in a position where I can watch the spiritual growth of people I care about a lot.

And lots of other things too numerous to list. There are so many happy things in life, if we'll only take the time to think about them honestly and write them down.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

moving maladies

How can two humans accumulate so much stuff over the course of six years??!???!?!!?!?!!!!!!!!!!?

The other day, Ed stood in the doorway of the bedroom and announced, "There is something wrong with me."

"What?" I asked, beginning to tick through possible maladies in my head.

But he quickly dispelled my concerns over any physical ailment: "I can't throw anything away."

Turns out that he found a drawer full of wires that he hasn't seen in nearly six years, but he has kept them all this time. "Just in case."

I think I must've shredded a hundred pages of documents today, stuff I'd stuck in a drawer at least three years ago and then forgotten about.

I have decided that Ed and I should no longer be allowed to own drawers.

And you may do with that pun whatever you wish. ;oD

Sunday, October 14, 2007

moving is bad for your fingernails...

...I know this, because all my fingernails have broken off over the last few days.

Moving is also bad for sinus health, because one stirs up a lot of dust that one's sinuses are not reacting to in a particularly pleasant way.

It's not just the dust, though. I've cried a lot.

I'm not as scared as I was, though. I think I'm trusting God more, which is a very hopeful, encouraging thing. I'm just sad. I feel like I'm already starting to say goodbye, and I walk around on the edge of weeping a lot of the time now.

On a good note, though, the moving company said they can't come till the 22nd. This means that Ed and I get to go to Jim's funeral on Friday. Personally, I don't have the need of going to funerals in order to experience closure; I prefer to remember people as I last saw them, instead of as a grave site or, worse, a shell in a coffin. But I go to funerals in order to be there for the people who are left. It's something I can do to show respect for the deceased and to share the grief of others. And since shared pain is lessened...

Elsa was really happy to hear that we could come to the funeral. She has asked us to sing, along with Larry and the Springers' daughter Karin. We feel very honored that she asked us. I don't know if we'll physically be able to sing (through tears), but we agreed to do it, and we will at least try.

After talking to Elsa yesterday, I am even more in awe of her faith and of Jim's. And I am thinking more and more about how the death of a Christian is a thing to be celebrated more than mourned. As Elsa put it, Jim is now exactly where he is supposed to be, and he is now doing exactly what he is supposed to be doing. I'm sad that we no longer have his physical presence to brighten up our lives and encourage us in faith...but at the same time, I know that the special essence that makes him Jim is not snuffed out or even diminished. That which makes him Jim is still intact.

As someone else said to Elsa: We have not lost Jim. We know exactly where he is.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

God is faithful

Well, only a few minutes, and I am already posting something non-moving-related. But for good reason.

Ed and I just got a call that Jim Springer, our dear friend and Christian brother, died just a few minutes ago. We knew this was coming, but it's still a terrible blow. "A terrible blow"--what a terrific understatement. I don't have the right words to describe what's going through my mind and heart right now. But "a terrible blow" is the very least of it.

Jim has been Ed's mentor for 11 years and mine for about 4. In a way, Jim and his wife Elsa have been another set of parents for the two of us. We just saw him in July, when we took part in another of the Springers' ETM classes. God works in amazing ways, because to me, this was the most helpful, challenging, and valuable ETM class I've been in. I feel so privileged and encouraged to have benefited from Jim's teaching one last time.

Early September was the first hint that anything was wrong. Jim was diagnosed with cancer about three weeks ago.

I think maybe that is why this is such a huge shock. Nobody saw this coming. And yet, this is how reality is: None of us have a guarantee of tomorrow. Jim's situation was not unique; that could have been any one of our spouses; it could be any one of us. What a strong reminder this is that each of us needs to be prepared.

Jim was prepared. In her last email, Elsa said he was happy to be going home. He was excited about the next step he would take. Now he has taken it, and in my heart, sadness is accompanied by thanksgiving. For over a week now, since the German churches learned how serious Jim's condition was, we have all been praying that Jim would not suffer. God has answered our prayers in the grandest way possible, by sparing Jim the suffering and by taking him to a perfect place.

Death isn't the worst thing that can happen. We humans usually believe that, but it is a lie. The worst thing that can happen is for a human's life to end before that human has entered into a covenant relationship with God. Jim had that covenant relationship, and now he's home. Even in our grief, we certainly don't begrudge him that.

If you're the kind of person who prays, pray for Elsa. Pray for Jim's daughters, sons-in-law, and grandchildren. Pray for the family and friends who are still here. Pray for the German churches, who have been blessed through Jim for more than 30 years. Pray for us, because we miss him.

ruminations of one suffering from moving-induced insanity

So. Today was the ninth wedding anniversary of Ed and Courtney, and we celebrated it by itemizing and estimating the worth of all our household goods that we're shipping to the States.

I won't mention how much stuff we have.

I won't mention what our grand total (for insurance purposes) was.

All I want to say is that my brain feels like mush.

Last week's relaxing, inspiring, encouraging Ladies' Retreat in Filzmoos, Austria, seems like a year ago.

The weekend in Miskolc, Hungary, celebrating the marriage of Alex (from Chemnitz) and Barbara (from Miskolc), seems like half a year ago.

This has been THE DAY THAT NEVER ENDS. ;oP

I have Sticky Tack that my mother bought for me when I went to college. That was eleven-and-a-half years ago. I found some of it today, stuck on top of the vanity mirror.

I wonder if Sticky Tack can go bad.

It was covered in dust. I'm sure there were things growing in it.

I didn't investigate more closely. I threw it out.

The telephone company turned off our phone. They're about two weeks early.

Figuring it's not worth hassling over, we said, "Oh well." It's cell phone time.

I regret to announce that until further notice, this blog will most likely become a receptacle for my moving-related venting. I gotta have an outlet, and I suspect this is gonna be it. My only regret is that further posts about the UK Trip are suspended for now. But it's all still in my head. I'll get it out eventually. ;o)