Inspirational Internet Quotes

Sick and tired of all those inspirational quotes?  Here’s one for you…

Have an inspiration day, won’t you!

1425552_10151770219787314_1808209477_n.jpg

Remembrance Day

The poppy.  The two-minute silence.  The Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month.  These are words and images familiar to anyone from, or living in, the UK.

I, however, live in Germany.  Yesterday, with less than a week’s notice, as church warden, I had to step in and lead our church’s Remembrance Day service.

Here we also call it Peace Sunday, because we in our church need to emphasise the service is not about celebrating victory, but about remembering those who gave their lives in conflict, and also about praying for peace between nations.

As warden, my usual task in this service is just to:

  • Lay a wreath
  • Find a German/young person/woman to lay the other

For yesterday I had to:

  • Look through the service sheet
  • Liaise with the preacher
  • Do a dry run
  • Check timings
  • Explain to the wreath layer the context of the service and wreath laying
  • Find a replacement for me to sit in Sunday school
  • Much, much more

In the days before the service, I practise my lines.

Sunday turns up.  I stand at the lectern.  I have been to the loo three times with pre-lectern nerves.

10:45 on the dot.  We start.  I read verbatim from my notes.  I want to get it right.

10:54 We reach the point where we lay the wreaths.  We are meant to start the silence at 11:00.  No way can I pad out the service till 11:00.  I make a decision on the ground.  I signal that we start tne 2-minute silence.

The silence seems to last two hours.  Everyone keeps the silence immaculately.  My blood pressure is lowered.

I thank my wreath layer and return to the lectern to continue the service.

More hymns.  More prayers.  I introduce the preacher, a USAF veteran.  He preaches.  And preaches.  It’s a hum-dinger, forty minutes long, but engaging and thought-provoking.  I then look for our intercessions person.  He is AWOL: “absent without leave.”  I had anticipated that eventuality.  Time for ACTS.

  • Adoration
  • Confession
  • Thanks
  • Supplication

I pray.  We all pray. As I pray for peace, I hesitate for a second or two as I look at members of congregation who come from war zone countries in the Middle East, Asia and Africa.  I lick my lips and take a sharp intake of breath, thinking of what these people must have gone through.

Fast forward.  Just before 13:00 the service ends with the Grace and notices.

I give thanks to God for a another dignified Remembrance/Peace Sunday service.  The congregation files out to refreshments in the church hall.  I even get compliments on my suit and on how I led the service.  I am truly flattered.  It was a team effort:

  • Leader
  • Chaplain briefing
  • Musicians
  • Sidespersons
  • A patient congregation

After shaking lots of hands and being asked in the absence of “the priest” if I can provide a visitor with some “holy water.”  Answer: er, no, I can’t, and anyway, as far as I am concerned, all water is holy.  That would be an ecumenical question.

13:00 Everyone has been fed and watered.  I breathe a sigh of relief that all went well.

Have a dignified day, won’t you!

Image result for remembrance

Borders to Bridges: A Guessing Quiz on the Bridges of the former East-West German Border

Ostalgie time.

The Bridgehunter's Chronicles

Co-produced with sister column:flefi deutschland logoBHC FORUM

1989 marks the year of the Fall of the Wall. 30 years ago on November 9th, the East German government opened the borders that had separated East and West Germany for 21 years. This resulted in the Fall of the Wall and as a consequence, the Reunification of Germany, which happened on 3 October, 1990.

GUESSING QUIZ: THE BRIDGES ALONG THE BORDER

When the border and the Berlin Wall went up, many of the bridges that made up the border between the Federal Republic of Germany (West) and the German Democratic Republic (East) were closed down or even removed. Only a handful of crossings remained open but under stringent control by the East German border guards, to ensure that no one left the country who was not supposed to.

The question is: Which bridges were affected?  Look at the pictures below, determine if they were borders…

View original post 280 more words

Photo Flick 1989 Nr. 6: The Train Station at Probstzella (Thuringia)

A spot of DDR history for you.

THE FLENSBURG FILES

Probstzella Train Station. Photo taken by Störfix in 2008 (WikiCommons)

FlFi PF

After Checkpoint Bravo and Glienicke Bridge at Potsdam, the next set of photos takes us down to Thuringia again, but this time to the border train station Probstzella. With a population of 1300 inhabitants, the city was located right in the middle of the inner-German border, which separated Thuringia and Bavaria. In the time before World War II, it used to be a popular railroad hub as it served traffic going west towards the Rennsteig Mountains, south towards Lichtenfels and north towards Jena and Leipzig. The existing train station at Probstzella dates back to 1885, when the line between Saalfeld (south of Jena) and Lichtenfels opened to traffic. The line going to the Rennsteig Mountains via Sonneberg opened to traffic in 1913 but was closed down by 1997.

It is at this station where the East German government took…

View original post 917 more words

Book Review and Sisterly Solidarity

Emma Barnett.  I’ve not heard of her before September, probably due to my living abroad for several years.  She’s a journalist, often on Newsnight and BBC Radio 5.  Barnett has recently published a book.  I heard her being interviewed about it in September.  I was impressed.

This is the book: Period.

Image result for emma barnett period

Full of various euphemisms…

It’s not normally the kind of book I would read.  Normally I am interested in books on history, humour, languages, but not “wimmin’s things.”

Why did I buy the book?  Well, several reasons:

  1. I was listening, lying in bed, and sat up to listen to the interview.   Barnett was engaging and entertaining in her interview.
  2. I’m a man.  I think it is good to know how 50% of the population is affected.
  3. I’m a bit Berlin Wall-ed out.

My copy arrived on Tuesday.  I’m now so far halfway through the book.  It’s good.  It’s informative, educational, entertaining.  Ten percent of British women have endometriosis.  Compare that with the number of British people who have type 2 diabetes (10%).  Spending on research into the latter is 35 times more than on endometriosis.

I sit at my desk, laughing at some parts, sucking in air at other parts.

I then text a female friend of mine (FFM) about the book, saying how I never realised what women have to go through:

  • Menstruation
  • Childbirth
  • Menopause

FFM writes back:

Yeah, we all to get used to it between the ages of 12-14.  Too bad if you don’t feel too good during that week.

The empathy…

It then occurred to me, do some women have an attitude of:

I have periods, too.  Suck it up, buttercup.

I’ve known women who have intimated to me that they prefer to see a male doctor because he will be more sympathetic than his female colleague who has the aforementioned attitude.

Tell a man, “it’s that time of the month,” and he’ll:

  • Offer you a hot water bottle
  • Offer you a pack of Ibuprofen
  • Let you lie on his sofa and bring you a duvet
  • Tell you he is so glad he is a man
  • Crack a joke about PMT and lightbulbs to lighten the mood

Women – show some sisterly solidarity!

Have an empathetic day, won’t you!