Sunday, September 1, 2013

Rentmeesterschap, 1 Sept, Crossroads, Arjan U.

Wij mogen uitzoeken wat de wensen van de Eigenaar zijn.

God is een gevende God; wij mogen ook geven.

Gen 12:2  Gezegend om een zegen te zijn.

2 Kor 9:11  " U bent in ieder opzicht rijk geworden om in alles vrijgevig te kunnen zijn, en uw vrijgevigheid leidt tot dankzegging aan God."

Budgeten - Spreuken 27:23-24a

Weten wat je hebt, omdat we verantwoordelijk zijn voor wat we hebben en uitgeven aan de Eigenaar.

"Ik begon het minder te zien alsof God dingen van me afpakte, en meer dat het met vreugde mee te maken had."

"(Anderen) zullen ons bekijken en ons gedrag associĆ«ren met de God die we dienen." -Arjen

"God zegent mij niet om mijn levensstandaard te verhogen, maar om mijn geven-standaard te verhogen."

"Ga in gesprek over je levensstijl en gevens-stijl...
En ouders, trek je kinderen mee- jullie zijn hun voorbeeld."

Geven aan welke doelen?
Kerk, anderen, armen.

Hoe geef je?
Niet passief of uit schuldgevoel
Geef samen!
Maak vooraf een keuze - zo blijft het duidelijk van wie alles van is.

"Kies een levensstijl die past bij volgeling van Jezus."

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Even Scary Looking People Need Friends

It was a hot, sunny day. I was biking into the city, when a bridge opened. I knew I'd be stuck for the next five or so minutes until it was lowered again. I glanced around at the other stranded vehicles on the bridge, and hoped I wouldn't be late for babysitting.

Then I saw them. Three burly guys with motorcycles, showing off a mix of sunglasses, leather, and tattooed skin. But they weren't just chilling on their big machines, letting the engines rumble impatiently.

Two had apparently parked their bikes and stood next to each other on the highway, the skyscrapers in the background. A third biker walked to the front, near the bridge guard rail. He held up what looked like a phone, or small camera. Click. Then he switched places, and while another took a picture he put his arm around his friend and posed. Click. A few minutes later, the bridge went down, and they all climbed back on their massive motors and roared away.

Even scary looking people need friends. Because who else will take photos when you're out having adventures on a sunny day?

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Jar of Dirt

Or bag of dirt. Because when you live in a little apartment with a little balcony, you have to buy soil if you want to grow a garden. Ironic, considering that I grew up surrounded with more dirt than I knew what to do with.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Anthropomorphism and cheese.

Anthropomorphism definition: : an interpretation of what is not human or personal in terms of human or personal characteristics (Merriam-Webster)

I'm not a huge cheese fan, despite living in a land famous for it. To be sure, I can pronounce Gouda with a proper Dutch accent, and have even been to the city Gouda, famous for its cheese markets. While in France (another country of connoisseurs) my friends there made me taste their favourite kinds, as they explained just how cheese can be made to mold in caves. In the USA there were huge bags of grated cheddar and mozzarella, which meant we didn't have to measure out tiny expensive portions when cooking. Thanks to all these international influences, I can appreciate the flavours and varieties of cheese. I thought I had reached a certain level of enlightenment in that area. Then I saw this cheese store in Amsterdam.

Apparently anthropomorphism is alive and well.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Transport Fun

Today at the second hand store (Het Goed- my favourite) I found a steal of a plant shelf for my balcony garden, at only 3.5 euros. D, ever practical, asked, "How are you going to get that back home?"

Obviously, on my bike, despite its bulkiness. We paid, then managed to secure it to my bike, upside down, with two bungee cords and my bike locks. It wobbled a bit, and brushed against my back a few times, but otherwise was fine. Told D I felt like I had achieved a new level of Dutch biking coolness; he suggested that the proper classification was 'Asian biking' but I think I'd need a refrigerator or small family on the back of my bike to qualify for that.

Pleased with our adventure, though, and the speeds we notched up to on the way home. We even (unofficially) raced some 'serious' bikers for the next few km and left them in the dust. Must be embarassing to be all dressed up in spandex biking clothes and then beat by two crazies - one in flipflops and the other with a huge wire stand on the back of her bike.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Jazz morning

Drinking a vanilla soy coffee (almost a latte but not quite) while I proofread a thesis for a friend, jazz radio streaming. I'm a little put out that the Chabot Museum, which I wanted to visit this morning, is closed for repairs this week. I've had it on my fun-to-do list for the last three weeks and every time something has gotten in the way. Pity. D and I got the Rotterdampas last month, so I have a huge list of things I'm looking forward to try. Museums, of course, but also the PannekoekenBoot (Pancake Boat!), the Euromast tower, and other cool places. Besides attractions in Rotterdam proper, the pass covers a few in other cities in the region, like the Science Museum in Delft and the Palace in Den Haag. The biggest question I have is: what fun things should we do this summer and what should we save for nasty weather in the winter?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Back again.... February 2013

Funny, the last time I wrote here was during my last vacation. Next week I'm headed off on another - maybe it's something about vacation offering time to muse? There's been plenty of thinking over the last few months, but not as much musing; not as much time or interest in sitting still and reflecting about life.

And a lot has changed in life in the last four months. Since then, I've started moving towards a minimalist lifestyle, doing yoga consistently (while listening to the Bible in audio form - interesting combo), and have eating primarily vegetarian style. Having the time on vacation to think about what I value the most, and then moving to a new city helped me transition into a more purposeful lifestyle, instead of a 'take what you can' one.

I got home from vacay to a new apartment, with our boxes still decorating the rooms after our speedy move. I did felt guilty that my husband had been left with figuring out the last details while I went on vacation, even though it had been planned for months. I was proud that we'd gotten everything packed up and moved so quickly after the perfect apartment became available, though not so proud when it was time to unpack and find places for everything. I was happy that we'd gotten rid of a lot of stuff (mostly hand me downs), but once we arrived, I had to get rid of even more! Our new house is literally half the size of the old one, which I like, but it did make (re)furnishing a challenge. Our living room, for example, is relatively large for a Dutch apartment, but everything that fit in our old living room looks cramped if we stuff it in this one. So minimalism is blossoming and our house is getting emptier and more graceful by the week. 


I had my headphones in and was trying to - methodically - work through a shopping list for this weekend's festivities. Unfortunately, the clever Albert Heijn smartphone app only has the "sort items into route order" for its own supermarkets. Which means when I'm shopping at a their competitor Bas, I  have to mentally sort all the items into their locations on my own. Are balloons or broccoli at the entrance? Is the milk or the marsala midway through the store? And so on.

So there I stood, looking down at my list and trying to figure out what I needed to look for first so I wouldn't have to backtrack down the same aisle more usual. And then I realised someone was talking to me. A small someone, holding up a toy for my inspection. "Look what I have! It's an Ironman toy!" At least, that's what I think the little boy said, since his voice was a semi-muted until I pulled out my headphones. But since I have watched Ironman 1 and 2, I recognised the toy and smiled back at the eager face as he continued, "And there's a button here - this makes him go REALLY FAST!" "Cool! Is it new?" "Yes!"

And then off he wandered, still happily holding his bright red action figure. A lady who I think was his grandmother followed him, and gave me a polite smile. Of course, it could have just been the last person he'd tried to show the toy to. Maybe she hadn't been impressed, or maybe she thought *I* wouldn't be introduced to the beloved Ironman replica.

I've seen plenty of action figures over the years, and plenty of children (not many of them well-behaved) in supermarkets as well. But the happy combination of the two this morning made me smile, and it made the rest of my shopping much more enjoyable, knowing that not everyone was in a hurry or worried about the financial crisis....

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Intimidation. Of the most innocent kind.

That's why I don't blog more. Because everyone else seems to be doing it [and life] better and cooler than me. I have one friend who blogs with almost excessive doses of hilarity, humour, and humility about being a mother and a TCK at Ink Blots, for example. Another blogger, Ali Rae, whom I would love to meet some day is aboard the Africa Mercy and blogs about life-changing operations in Togo and the fragile, beautiful life moments between life and death and hope. Other bloggers send out challenges to live intentionally in eastern Europe, California, and so on.

And if I had the guts and/or discipline I'd be blogging about life here in Holland. About the way I hoist my bike onto my shoulder to carry it up the stone bridge stairs, and hope that the two Muslim women in full black robes behind me don't think I'm a shameless girl. About the way I make a mental note every time I actually see someone in wooden clogs (once or twice a year.) About how the job(s) I hold alternately fascinate me and drive me insane. About how, after two years of living here, I am lucky enough to have found one girl friend to share frustrations and excitements with (preferably while enjoying the 1-euro breakfasts at Hema.)

Once I start talking, or writing, there's always plenty to tell. It's that first mental block that does me in.