Monthly Archives: November 2012

Wheeling Through Amsterdam

One bike,
Two bikes,
Red Bikes,
Blue Bikes.

Shopping bikes,
Cruising bikes,
Riding with my Dad bikes.

Carrying bikes,
Racing bikes,
Flying through the street bikes.

Bikes with baskets,
Bikes with crates,
Bikes with buddy seats,
Ain’t that great?

Some go fast,
Some go slow,
All keep peddlin’,
Go, bikers, go!

Photo collage made with PicMonkey,

my newest bloggy toy.
Not just ‘cuz I love monkeys and ‘cuz it’s free.

Just ‘cuz it’s awesome.

And so is Amsterdam.
I wanna’ go back,
but next time,
I’m gunna’ rent a bike.

I’ll be the crazy blonde lady with
the camera attached to her eye,
the bike wobbling through the traffic,
and her scarf dangerously blowing in the wind.

 

Wooden it be Cool if I Pinterested

People ask me if I Pinterest.

I tell them I already waste too much time in a day .
I don’t need to sit and look at pictures that remind me
there are bajillions of women in the world who are
better at
sewing
crotcheting
cooking

knitting
decorating
painting
crafting
baking
salvaging….

While they’re busy turning their recyclables into wall clocks,
I’m trying get my teenager to take out the recycle.

While their dryer lint becomes an art medium, 
my piles of dirty laundry have formed artistic shapes.

But, if I DID
Pinterest,
this is the wood I would Pinterest from our September trip to Amsterdam.

See how much time I waste? 
I haven’t even finished blogging about  a trip two months ago.

Amsterdam Canal Houseboat
Not only did I love the wooden shelf on this boat, I LOVED the light fixture.
I almost wanted to knock on the door and ask for it.
But, that’s kinda rude, right?
Right?

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I seriously coveted this crate.
It just needs to be filled with stuff I bought at the second-hand store.

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Aw, SWEET!
I kept thinking, “I could totally make that!”
It’s just a coupla’ boards and a coupla’ nails.

 

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These benches should be in my garden.
They didn’t fit in my suitcase,
even though it was the biggest one Target sold.

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They even have pallets in Amsterdam.
I wonder if they have women like Donna from Funky Junk Interiors in Amsterdam.
She’s the Queen of Pallet Wood.

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My mom and dad created a bathroom sink out of a wooden barrel once,
and it was darling.  They used a stirrup for a towel holder,
nailed a few horse shoes on the wall,  and mom sewed a bandana shower curtain.
Maybe that’s why I’m still so drawn to barrels.

Besides, when I look at that table,
I know I could totally make that.

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We bought lunch at Albert Heijn, Scott and I sat in a window sill and ate lunch.
Right on the street.
Like tourists, I’m pretty sure.
This was in the window.
They weren’t using it.
I could think of a hundred uses for it.
What a waste.

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Can’t decide if this would be comfortable or not,
but I didn’t bring it home,
so I guess the question is irrelevant,
but I’m pretty sure
I could totally make that.

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I used to have old wood folding chairs. 
More things we left behind in one of the moves.
Guess I would seriously look like a hoarder,
if I hadn’t moved three summers in a row and had to get rid of
tons of stuff with each move.

Green bistro set
Gray, weathered wood is my favorite,
but this green table with colorful pots almost made me wanna’ buy paint.

Almost, but not quite. 

Bike Basket Seattle Style
Now, THIS bike HAS to belong to an ex-pat from Seattle.
Our grocery carts have little coffee holders in them,
because our grocery stores have coffee shops in them.
Our grocery stores also have coffee shops next to them,
around the corner from them and behind them.

We love us some coffee in Seattle.

 

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This was in a store window, but since hubby was walking ahead of me
and didn’t notice I had stopped, I didn’t have time to figure out
what it is and
what it’s for.

I didn’t see any other furniture, or enough art to make it a gallery,
but here’s another piece
that made me think

“I could totally make that!”

If I ever make all these cool things, 
THEN

you’ll see me on Pinterest.

Knots, Not a Noose Around My Neck

In Amsterdam, everyone wore scarves, even the men. At first I thought it was only a fashion statement, until the light rains came and the temperature dropped.  Needing extra warmth, I headed into the V & D store to buy a scarf. I don’t like shopping, I liked this store.  I was especially impressed that I bought a cashmere scarf for under €20.  That’ll learn me to shop without my glasses.  It was actually CASHMINK and made in Germany.  I consoled myself that at least it wasn’t made in America.

I was a little slow to buy into this new look, due to a traumatic teenage experience.  At the beginning of my 8th grade, my family moved to a farmstead in North Dakota. That winter, I was invited to go snowmobiling with one of the cute town boys one Saturday. I had never been on a snowmobile in my life, I hadn’t even seen one up close.  I spent Friday night in town with a friend, who  loaned me all the correct winter gear to go out on this adventure on the frozen prairie. 

Her dad insisted I wear a scarf.  He was from North Dakota, he knew how cold I would soon be.  Wanting to be cool  like the magazine models, I wrapped the scarf around my neck once and draped one tail gracefully behind my back.  As I hopped on the back of the snowmobile of Town Boy, I was thinking my long,  blond hair might be looking pretty styling peeking out from the brightly colored hat. 

Her dad came racing out of the house, his cigarette dangling from his mouth, his comb-over strands blowing in the wind, and wrapped that scarf around and around and around my head and knotted it behind my head. He kindly talked about it getting caught and all the dangers of the snow mobile. 

I was mortified.

 It ruined my hair-do, my make-up and I was breathing acrylic fibers through my mouth and my nose.  I pouted only until the Town Boy hit the throttle and thrust us both into the frigid ND winter.  Not wanting to be too forward, I was afraid to hold around his waist too tightly. After all, I had just moved there and had my reputation to worry about.  I realize now that was probably the idea behind the whole snowmobile date, but at the time, I wasn’t understanding those things.  I also didn’t know how to lean into turns, and I almost tipped us by staying upright as we flew a bajillion miles an hour over, under and through more snow than I’d seen in my entire lifetime of 14 winters. 

I sat on the back of the snowmobile, trying to hold on with my legs, peering through the narrow strip  between scarf strands, and wondered why North Dakotans thought this was fun.  With all passion of a true ND boy, Town Boy zipped and ripped around the trails.  I’m sure when he headed for a larger mound of snow, he was intending to impress me with his driving ability. The sled went nose-first up in the air, I went rear-first into the snow bank.

He didn’t even notice.

I sat in the frozen tundra and watched the man and his machine disappear from view. I didn’t know where I was or how to find town, but I knew enough to understand if I started walking and got lost, I could freeze to death out there. My only friend was that scarf  wound around and around and around my head. Town Boy eventually came back to get me, after being warned by his friends he had dumped his date. He was politely apologetic and probably mortified, he really was a nice guy. He  helped me back on and we continued flying frozen. I held on a little tighter, now concerned more about survival than my reputation.

After that date, I never rode on a snowmobile again.

Town Boy never spoke to me again, until the class reunion when we all turned 40.  “Hey, do you remember that snowmobile ride?” 

Do I?  I was scarfed for life!

So, you can understand why I had hesitation when all the fashion divas were urging me to knot something around my neck. I always associated scarves with that memory of being dumped on the first date.

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Anyhoo, I knew when I marched around Amsterdam  with my scarf draped gracefully around my neck, I knew I had conquered my Scarf Phobia.

Hubby and I bought lunch at Albert Heijn’s grocery store, then ate on the back steps of a palace.  A stinkin’ palace, can you believe it?

 

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As you can see, I still had a little problem styling my scarf.  I’m not a fashion queen, as the buckle shoes and the jean jacket state.

 

When I got home, I had found the answer to my problem as posted by Tiffany on Making the World Cuter. She always makes my world cuter.

 

Tie a Scarf Around Your Neck Without Choking Yourself

I saw the European Loop a lot in Amsterdam, but when I tried it with my scarf, it was too stiff.  Claustrophobic people with a huge scar around their neck, don’t do well with a lot of material tightly bound around their neck, it felt like a noose. Good thing she had a 24 more options!

Without strangling myself, I now have a bit of color  and a lot of warmth knotted around my neck to help me through the gray, Pacific Northwest winter.

Maybe,  I’ll even wear it to the next high school class reunion.

The World’s Most Famous Teenager

The world’s most famous teenager wasn’t know for her figure, musical ability, physical capabilities, flawless complexion, or her ability to perform. She never set foot on a stage, spoke into a microphone or was recorded.

There are always teen idols, but they are soon forgotten by the next generation, because what they lived for, wasn’t worth dying for. Their contributions weren’t valuable enough to merit an audience in future generations. 

Watch for these names of the most famous teen celebrities 50 years from now.  Your grandkids  most likely will not know them. They’ll have died of drug overdoses, suicide, or just dwindled into obscurity.  Very few teen celebrities grow into usefulness and productivity.

The world’s most famous teen was known only for keeping a journal for two years.

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(postcard from Anne Frank Huis, foto by Frans Dupont, in honor of Anne’s 80th birthday, June, 2009)

  Then, Anne Frank was murdered.

Anne’s work is significant because it ensures new generations of young people will not be allowed to forget or deny the Holocaust. Many still deny it occurred, but as long as there is proof,  their puny voices are futile.

Her diary is usually one of the first exposures children have with the Holocaust, I know it was mine. For some reason, my history teachers never talked about WWII. I studied ancient times, state history and with an occasional unit on the Eskimos or Sparta. Nobody seemed excited about what they were teaching, two of my history teachers merely read their outlines, lectured while leaning on a podium and droned on and on. They were bored, so I was bored. History came alive to me when I began homeschooling. My world enlarged, and so did my heart. There’s a difference between adding intellectual knowledge and feeling the exercise of suffering as you relive history.

My first major experience in learning about the Holocaust was when we toured Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. I was in my early 20’s and still very ignorant. I walked through the museum weeping so hard I could barely focus on the exhibits. Parts I had to skip, the reality was so severe.  I found the oldest person in our tour and said, “Who was president at the time? Why didn’t we do anything?” I remember hearing a brief explanation of the politics of the time and the same sentiment, “America didn’t want to get involved in another war.” You don’t go to war because you love to fight, you go to war because you hate the evil.

The line in front of her house is always long, always somber. There are about a million visitors a year to her home. People walk the street  she walked.  They hear the church bells she heard.  We all try to imagine what her world had been like, but are at a loss.

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(postcard from Anne Frank Huis, foto by Allard Bovenberg)

Once in, the line must move  quickly as there are always more waiting.  There is hardly any time to linger, to meditate.  Not pictures are allowed, there are no places to sit, to look, to write. We began in the large part of the building that was her father’s  business. We saw crates that stored the goods, office desks, and advertising posters. (Virtual Tour)

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You simply walk through the offices, through the storage area, and past the bookshelf that hid the entrance into their secret home.  You tread upstairs silently, storing up images and feelings to sift through later.

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The rooms are devoid of belongings, because everything was stolen and shipped to Germany.  Otto Frank decided to leave the rooms empty to emphasize the fact that his family did not return from the death camps. 

As I shuffled through the room in a slow, somber parade,   I was distraught photography wasn’t allowed.  I dug through my purse for my small journal and a pen, trying not to hold up the line, very aware that so many people wanted to get in before closing, the entrance line still snaked down the block.  The pen had no ink.  I shuffled forward a little more while digging through my purse trying to find a pen.  I HAD to capture this experience. I found a working pen, relieved I could scribble anything to record my exercise of soul.

I was in Anne Frank’s Secret Annex.

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(postcard from Anne Frank Huis, foto by Allard Bowenberg)

Her posters and postcards were still mounted on the wall and I frantically tried to scribble as many names and images as possible-

Postcards:

ripe strawberries

The Thinker

Chimpanzee tea party

A little girl and her puppy

Little boy on a chamber pot

Movie Star collection:

Greta Garbo

Ray Miland

A Chanel ad

Sonja Henie

Ginger Rogers

Sonja was a name I didn’t recognize, so I did a little research.  I was surprised to discover she had Nazi affiliation. It could have been for survival or out of sympathy, we may never know the whole truth.  Anne would have had no way of finding that out at the time, but it still grieved me.  Ironically, the woman Anne admired enough to put her picture on the wall is not as well known today as Anne is.

When we got to the kitchen/ dining room, I had a little more room to wander around and see the stove and sink, and touch the same yellowed wallpaper they stared at day after day after day.

Then it hit me.

I wasn’t just touring a historical home, I was touring a home of a family that had only one member survive the Nazi holocaust. The mothers who stood by the sink washing dishes, the teenagers who went through puberty in a small, cramped annex, the parents who feared for the futures of their children, the older people who had lived through the previous war. They all died. They died for no reason other than they were Jews.

I shuffled into the corner where the black stove was and wept quietly.

Nobody talked. Whispers were rare. Anne Frank’s house is an on-going funeral, as we grieve the sickening truth of WWII.

anne frank diary
(postcard from Anne Frank Huis, foto by Allard Bowenberg)

For her 13th birthday she received this red plaid diary and in the beginning wrote about school, girlfriends and boys, and it soon became her release.    “I write down thoughts or feelings, otherwise I’d suffocate.”

Anne wanted to be a writer and wrote fairy tales, short stories  and  had started a novel called “The Secret Annex.”  To her diary she stated, “In my head it’s as good as finished.”

Gerritt Bolkenstein, Dutch Cabinet Minister  exiled in London, made a plea on the radio on March 28, 1944,  for the Dutch people to keep diaries and other documents as a record of their experiences during the war.  It gave Anne an outlet for her voice, a renewed sense of purpose. They were encouraged to write of their experiences so someday their voices would be heard. Anne began recopying her diary in light of publication, starting in May 1944.  In August 1944, when they were arrested, she had rewritten up to March 29, 1944 on 215 sheets of colored foolscap.

A picture of Anne writing at her desk has the caption from her 11 April 1944 journal entry.  “I’ll make my voice heard, I’ll go out into the world and work for mankind!”

anne frank bulletin board1
(postcard from Anne Frank Huis, foto by Allard Bowenberg)

Diaries  don’t sell today.  In a meeting with an editor from a major Christian publisher at a writing conference, he flatly stated they wouldn’t be buying memoirs. He wasn’t rude, he wasn’t trying to discourage writers, he was stating a fact.  They don’t sell. But Anne’s diary still sells thousands each year.

Anne’s voice is an echo of millions of lives cut short by violence, by an evil so great and a hatred so strong, that the world still shudders at what happened, and wonders why they didn’t notice it sooner.

At the end of the tour my heart was renewed with those feelings of righteous indignation “How could that have happened?  How come this evil man was not stopped sooner?  Why didn’t people do more?”  It made me proud to be American, proud that our country finally sent soldiers to the shores of Normandy and gave their lives so this evil could be stopped.  Blood for blood is an awful truth.  To stop the bloodshed, we had to be willing for our men and women to die.

While my heart grieved and raged I reached the last room of the Anne Frank House, a modern movie screen with benches.  With a mission of promoting tolerance, short video presentations were going with situational ethics and the battles they were raging.

One issue they presented was the question if a hip-hop band from France be censored?  Should freedom of speech still be allowed if they are bashing gays and were outright pronouncing themselves to be homophobic?  Should they be stopped then?

An Indian woman raised in America wanted to join the US Army at age 18, but is worried she won’t be able to wear her religious head scarf.  They consented that the US allowed one soldier to wear a turban, but didn’t know how far we would go with our tolerance.

As I listened to these situations drone on, I was distressed. These topics are worthy of discussion, but in the light of current issues, they aren’t priority.

Why weren’t they mentioning the fact that Muslim terrorists were killing daily?  Israel is STILL being bombed frequently by the Hamas.  Jews are still being persecuted and so are Christians.  There are still Annes in this word, people hiding out for the sake of their faith while their parents are being jailed, beaten and killed.

I was relieved to learn that the Anne Frank House is partnering with Yad Vashem for Holocaust education.

Remember the teenager’s passionate writing, “I’ll make my voice heard, I’ll go out into the world and work for mankind!” ?

Anne wasn’t able to go into the world, but her voice is heard and it’s working for mankind. I just hope she’s always allowed to speak loud enough.

*****

Great websites for further study:

Anne Frank Center USA

 

Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, Educational Programs

Anne Frank at Auschwitz

Anne Frank

Biography of Anne Frank  includes information about missing diary pages

Anne Frank Fonds founded by Otto Frank

The History Place 

Anne Frank’s Last Living Relative, First Cousin Buddy Elias, Gives Insight Into Anne’s Life and Her Famous Diary

Walking Miles in My Shoes

Picture me running through Amsterdam with my
practical black Born shoes with buckles,
my purple purse slung over my shoulder,
even though I was warned against carrying it that way
because of muggers,
and a camera always in my hands.

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I guess you don’t have to picture me,
I found a picture.

Oh, yea, and my nose was wrinkled up from the smell of smoke
and I was constantly coughing from the smoke.
And, if you have birthed many children,
as I have,
you know how challenging it can be to cough.
I know, you’re cringing on my behalf,
aren’t ya’?

Won’t go into details because single women
and married without children women may be reading this blog,
and I don’t want to discourage them from having children.
And I wouldn’t want to embarrass myself or my children,
but you can imagine crossing of legs might occasionally happen.

Remember, there aren’t a lot of potties in Amsterdam.

 

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Anyhoo, it was a thrill to be walking briskly through this city.

The buildings in Amsterdam are older than my country.
It gave me a burst of pride for what our country has accomplished
even though we’re so young.

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In my neighborhood, they tore down an “old” elementary school
to build a brand-new, larger building with more windows.

I was in shock when I heard that.
The building wasn’t even 40 years old.

The new building is beautiful and the families love using it.
But, o
nly in America do we have disposable buildings.
Can’t we build anything here that will last generations?

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I loved The Amsterdam Clock Tower.
Not only did I know what time it was,
if I could see this spire, I knew I wasn’t lost.

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Another view.|
Picture me standing on the street, looking up with my camera,
and almost getting hit by a biker.
Yea, they may be in suits, but they are dangerous.

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A friend asked me to go look at a house they were considering buying last spring.
It was still under construction, so we were able to walk around.

The 2×4’s were warped and still had bark on them.
They don’t use wood, they use pressboard, ya’ know, scraps and glue mixed together.

I kept thinking about those shoddy materials when I viewed these buildings.

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The Royal Palace in Dam Square.

It felt funny to be using the “d”  word all the time.
Kinda’ bothered my Christian sensibilities.

I was reminded of a time my little boy was enthralled when crossing the
Canyon Ferry Dam to get to Gramma’s house.

When we arrived, he told his grandparents we
“dwove on the dam bridge across the dam river to get to your house.”

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Another building in Dam Square and one I didn’t go in.
Since I wouldn’t pay to meet real movie stars,
I figured I didn’t need to pay to meet wax ones.

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Everywhere you look, the buildings are magnificent
and so are the waterways.

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I loved the canals.
Seattle shoulda’ done this.

They curved from the sea into the city,
so if you had to get to a business,
you just took your boat right into town,
unloaded, then hit the sea again.

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You can clearly see the canals in this map that I
memorized at the hotel and hid in the inside pocket of my Levi jean jacket.
I didn’t want to stand on the street and look like a tourist,
so I plotted the course at night, and carried it just in case.

The strategy worked.
The second day out I had two people stop and ask me for directions.

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My husband would love to buy a boat. |
He wants a huge motor to go really, really fast.

This is what I picture.
I think I could own a boat if it were a houseboat.
A slow-moving boat with rooms for books and craft stuff and a garden.

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Then, when I walked miles and miles,
without getting lost,
well, not for very long, anyway,
I’d trudge back to Central Station.

I’d fumble in my pockets for the right euros to buy my ticket,
then sit on my seat rigidly, looking out the window,
anxious to not miss my stop because I
didn’t want to end up in Belgium.


But that would have made the ending to this post more exciting,
right?

got grafitti?

 

the graffiti in Amsterdam enthralled me.
for the first time,
i saw artwork.

i saw colors,
design,
and
heart cries.

 

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young people,
who may never be a Rembrandt,
left marks of their bondage
in the city where people
used to find freedom.

today, they will be featured
in my gallery.

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the irony of this thought?

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this was right beneath.

pretty sure hundreds of years ago 
the artists, residents and architects 
who made the city great
were dreaming of a different legacy.

veni. vidi. vici.

There’s nothing boringer (I like to make up my own words, sometimes, rather than just using everyone else’s)  than looking through someone else’s vacation pics, right?

Right.

That’s part of the reason I put off blogging about Amsterdam for so long.  My intent isn’t to make you jealous about what a great life I have, it’s to show you how the Lord ministered to my heart.

 

I have to admit that for the past year I have mumbled on occasion, “Nothing GOOD ever happens to ME!” 

 

I know, what a whiner.  My heart has been broken over and over again by the deaths of people I dearly loved.  Someone very dear to us, The Innocent Man,  was falsely accused of a crime and sentenced to 8 years in prison, 10 years on probation.  I’m permanently scarred from watching the him being shackled and hauled away without even being able to say good-bye or give one last hug.  My health has been stable, but the thyroid cancer is still there, lurking. 

The list could go on, but you all have your own lists, don’t you?  Burdens  weigh down our hearts so  we have a hard time believing we have a Faithful and Loving Father. The ugliness around can dull our hearts to the beauty of having a personal Savior.  Still, I daily fight to live my belief that shivers beneath the burdens,  “God is good all the time.”

I’d also been recently made aware that fear can cripple me, to the point where I don’t  do what I want to do. Not trying has been easier than failing. When the trip to Amsterdam came up, it was more than just a trip to Europe.

 

At one point before the trip, I cried a little.  Why would I leave my kids?  Why would I travel to a place where pot and prostitution are legal? What if something really bad happened?  I prayed and my hubby tried to encourage me, but he can’t relate.  He’s not afraid of anything.  After I conquered those fears of going all by myself, I busied myself with shopping and packing. We arrived and learned our first important travel lessons. What kind of woman wouldn’t be jumping for joy excited about going overseas? 

 

I spent the first day in the hotel room, unpacking, ironing, making sure hubby was ready for his responsibilities. OK, I was trying to muster up courage to follow through, too.  I ventured into the nearby mall and train station to plot my course, pretended I understood the train map,  and fanned my simmering coals of determination.

Then, it was all about me.

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There’s a quote about an army marching on it’s stomach, so I figured if I was gunna’ march around Amsterdam in my new Born shoes, I better eat breakfast.

I put on my new clothes, my new comfortable shoes, lightened the weight of my awesome purple purse, and I was off and running. There are so many museums and art galleries in Amsterdam, you could live there a lifetime and not experience it all.  You could just sit on one bench and feast on the sights around you and be content.  Or you can walk as fast as you can, like I did, and take as many pictures as you can, like I did, and try to accomplish everything in two days. I will show photo galleries later, today I want to show you how the Lord spoke His love me for.

After wandering around Amsterdam for hours taking pictures and breathing in the sensations of history, I start wandering away from Dam Square, following the canals.  At this point, I was feeling reckless. Even though my cell phone didn’t work and my credit cards didn’t work, and I had only about 20 euro with me, I figured if I got lost, someone would find me or help me or something. 

I spotted an enticing doorway.

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Look closely?  See the entrance? Dishes. Anybody that knows me personally, knows I love dishes. I pert near was drooling. The Golden Bend Tableware shop, which happens to specialize in dishes from two of my favorite companies, Syracuse China and Homer Laughlin.  Of course, I prefer the vintage models, but I was still thrilled to find this little spot.

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With my huge purple purse, the hallway was dangerous.  But, I bulled my way in.

 

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I coulda’ bought the whole bucket, but my suitcase was 49 pounds already. 

 

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Dishes, dishes, everywhere.  I bought two Syracuse coffee mugs in one of my patterns for Scott and I to use in nostalgic , romantic memories.  OK, we never get up at the same time, and we never drink coffee at the same time, but maybe someday, we will.  While visiting with Dorothy, the owner and fellow dish lover, I wistfully mentioned that I really wanted to find a thrift store.  She looked up with  surprise and said, “There’s one just around the corner.”  Now, I really didn’t care if I was going to get lost or not.  I HAD to get to that thrift store.

 

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Aahhh.  doesn’t it just look delicious?  I won’t bore you with details of all the treasures inside, and I can’t tell you the name because there wasn’t a sign, but if you come to Amsterdam with me, I’ll walk ya’ right to it. The owner, Arie, wasn’t in, but his worker wrote down the address for me.  Overtoom 532, 1054 Amsterdam, Holland. I want to send him a Hans Brinker book to promote a marketing strategy to Americans.

 

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What I would have bought if I could fit it in my suitcase.

 

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Or this.  Wouldn’t it look adorable with my grandkids in it.

 

What I bought had to fit in a suitcase that only had room for one more pound, or in a bag I carried home.  When you don’t see something on the surface, dig deeper. In a second hand store, it sometimes means getting your fingernails dirty, or crouching down to explore under a table. Under a table,  I found the Treasure of all Treasures.

 

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Hans Brinker skates.  I was so excited I might have wet my pants if I’d been drinking my daily allotment of water.  But, remember, I’m in Amsterdam where there are no potties, so I wasn’t drinking.  If you pinched me, my skin would stick together for an hour, but at least I was ready for this moment of more excitement than an ol’ woman could handle.

As I squealed and stammered I kept saying, Hans Brinker, Hans Brinker.”  Even though her English was way better than my non-existent Dutch,  the clerk had no clue.  I had a DUH! moment.  The book was printed in America about Holland, they hadn’t grown up reading it. Wasn’t I silly to expect her to know who Hans Brinker was? The skates were only 5 euro a pair, and she enthusiastically helped me dig through the box and a basket   to find the oldest pairs.  I told her Americans would go crazy for these skates and she needed to charge more and hang them in the window, after I bought mine for the lower price, of course.  Not sure if she took my suggestion seriously, but she was very nice to this crazy American tourist.

I also purchased two vintage tins, because I collect tins.  I’ve seen enough sombreros, maracas and wooden shoes at garage sales to know  I wanted to purchase keepsakes worth keeping a lifetime.  Earlier I’d found a few miniatures  for my printer’s shelf, so I was good to go.

 

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Souvenirs couldn’t be any sweeter, could they? 

But, the blessings weren’t over.

I had a little time left before I met the hubby and business associates for dinner, and was casually wandering the streets towards the train station, when I spotted THE MUSEUM. I had 30 minutes before closing and I HAD to use the WC.   Photography was allowed, so I started running through the  museum taking pics of the displays and the description cards, for later research.  After a few minutes, I wanted to lay on the ground and weep in worship.

It was a Roman Empire display and I was seeing items I had only read about for the past twelve years.  A historical fiction  book has been burning in my heart and mind but I haven’t written because I don’t know enough about the Roman lifestyle during the time of Christ.  I’ve read books and watched movies and listened to college lectures, but I hadn’t pushed through, because that’s what I do.  Remember my fear of failure?

 

 

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It felt like I personally was the one who unearthed the treasures from their burial in time, the feeling of discovery was so intense.

It was a holy moment, because the Lord met me there.  Each item spoke of His infinite love and care for me. 

 

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I was reminded that those concerns of my heart are concerns of His heart, and that even though He didn’t have to prove His love to me, He did.

Again.

 

 

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So THAT’S what a strigil looks like? Words in books were coming alive.

 

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My homeschool mommy wheels were churning, what if we lived through the Roman Empire next year the way we’re living through the Homesteading era now with Little House on the Prairie books?  Wouldn’t it be fun to make a Roman doll house?  Actually, I’ve always wanted to do that, seeing these things in person made the dream a more possible reality.

 

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It’s easier to write about something when you’ve seen it.  When I got to this part of the display, an older gentleman in the doorway kept telling me to leave because they all wanted to go home. Since my home was a lot farther away than his, and I knew I wouldn’t be back again, I walked as slowly as I could,  taking as many pics as I could. 

 

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The final perfect souvenir of the perfect day from the museum store.

Without a map or a plan, the Lord drew me to my three favorite loves in a city I’d never been to before. I was overcome with His tender love for me.  With the help from the Lord ~

I came.

I saw.

I conquered….fear and Amsterdam.