Thursday, December 24, 2009

What really counts...

Today Emma, our youngest, had to have an emergency appendectomy. This picture was taken as they wheeled her down the hall to surgery. Everything went well and she's now resting across the room from me.

It really made us think about all the blessings God has given us. Our hearts go out to our friends that are having to celebrate Christmas for the first time without their father or husband or mom or daughter. We took some time tonight to pray for them.

We are so thankful for the family God has given us and don't want to waste one minute of the precious time God has given us with them.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Don't mess with the old man!

I tried to get everyone else to quit when I was only a little bit ahead.  But no... they had to keep going until someone dominated and won.  I guess they learned not to mess with the old man. (Actually, I got really lucky!) P1010014

This picture was taken just before Ryan "committed suicide" on the Pay Luxury Tax square and lost his last $12.  I had already crushed the other four players :)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Future plumber

Gotta love the Christmas market... You're liable to see anything! (I wonder if he feels a draft?)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Cool historic day

IMG_0544So today, with Robin in the USA and the kids in school, I thought I would enjoy the beautiful day and go for a prayer hike. I had found a Celtic grave site and a Roman Villa on a local map recently and decided to go check them out.

It turns out that the grave was a burial mound of the Celtic Allemani tribe from the 7th or 8th IMG_0543century. It wasn’t a very big mound (at least not anymore, since its excavation), but the grave was lined with large stones on both sides and had been covered over with large stones as well. Apparently the person interred here was a person of standing in the tribe. Interestingly, it was very narrow and shallow grave.

On the way back to the car I found the Roman Villa. Actually it was a farm house IMG_0549from the 2nd or 3rd century. Only the foundation remains today . It had a nice courtyard with a couple of stables on one end, with an adjoining living area. The living area was small, and consisted of a few very small rooms.

But what was amazing to me was the fact that this foundation survived almost 2000 years. It’s crazy to think that this building IMG_0548was built in New Testament times. The last picture shows what it would have looked like in its heyday.

And these are only a couple of hundreds of such sites in our area. I love the Black Forest!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Awesome day in Zurich!

ZRHtrain Zurich Main Train Station

Last weekend I taught a Saturday Youth Leader Workshop and then spoke in a youth service on Sunday morning in Zurich, Switzerland. I had a blast! It was great getting to know the leaders and the students.

JandR_ZRHRobin and the kids met me on Sunday for church. Afterwards we went to go grab a bite to eat before driving home (a little over an hour). It took a 30 min search because of construction (even using the GPS!), but we finally found Dominos Pizza. This may not be a big deal for our friends in the USA, but Dominos are very few and far between here, so this was a real treat.

Since we were so close to Lake Zurich, we decided to eat our pizza SwanFeeding2at the lake shore. This turned out to be an awesome idea!!!! The sun was shining, the water was calm, you could see the Alps faintly in the background (see the boat picture below), and we even got to hand-feed the swans. What a great day this was!!!

I'm attaching a bunch of pictures we took so you can get a better idea of what it was like.




PS. We decided it was time to go when one swan started hissing at us when we wouldn't give it anymore pizza crust :)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A Series of Unfortunate Events...

Emma was having a birthday party the other day. I had spent a long time decorating a birthday cake that I made for her. So, Jon knew how important this cake was. (There aren't decorated cakes here like there are in the States in the grocery stores)

So, I was taking care of getting the girls' swimsuits on for the pool party while Jon was in charge of getting everything out of the van. He had the cake in one hand and a basket of goodies in another hand while he was trying to close the trunk. Well, the cake wobbled and to save the cake, Jon sacrificed his finger in the hatchback door.

The nail immediately turned reddish purple and we think it actually broke the tip of the finger. So, after a weekend of pain, Jon decided to go to the Dr. where the nail was lanced and drained to relieve the pressure.

I just had to include the photo of the bandage that the Dr. put on his finger. It gave me a good laugh!


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Wish I had my camera...

IMG_0406Robin and I were in The Hague last weekend meeting with some church planters.  It was a good, quick trip.

After we were done, and before we would start the 7 hr. trip home, we visited the "boardwalk" there for a few minutes.  We decided to have a cup of coffee.  The coffee was great and the scenery was gorgeous! 

As we enjoyed our coffee and marveled at the people swimming in the cold North Sea in cool, windy weather, we saw something that I wish I could have captured on film.  The guy pictured below (who is easily over 300 lbs.) is wearing the typical European Speedo swim trunks.  What you can't see in this photo (because my phone camera is good, but not THAT good) is a male "Tramp Stamp"!IMG_0405

A "Tramp Stamp" is the name given to the horizontal tattoo some women get across the top of the behind.  I have NEVER seen it on a guy before.  I was laughing hysterically... so hard, in fact, that Robin had to tell me to laugh a bit more quietly.  Thankfully, the guy didn't hear me because of the surf, but it was definitely a funny experience.

Friday, September 4, 2009

A little brown sugar, if you please...

One of the things you miss most in a foreign country is cooking with the ingredients from your home country.  One of the things from home that we can't get here in Germany is brown sugar.  Yes, they have "brown sugar", but it's not the same as what we have in America.  And when you're cooking, in order to get the right flavor you need the right ingredients.

There is a Dutch organization that delivers North American ingredients to missionary organizations and they have partnered with our kids' school.  So we were able to purchase some good ol' American brown sugar.  The funny thing is that it is can only be purchased in 55 lb sacks.  Yes, that's right, a 55 lb sack of brown sugar!


So, needless to say, we've now got enough for awhile.  Actually, we have enough for the entire neighborhood to come borrow some (not that we'd advertise this, or even that the Germans would want any).  This is like edible gold! 


We ended up putting it in 50 one gallon ziploc bags (just kidding... it fit into these 10 bags).

Monday, August 31, 2009


With McD's and Subway

Friday, August 21, 2009

What we did this summer... (part 3)

We survived the trip to IN, and then things really got crazy...


Almost all the of the grandchildren with a blurry Grandma Wathen (Jon's mom).  It was the mother of all family reunions at my parents' house! (about 45 people in all)


Ryan's first youth camp. (with his dad)


The girls went to Camp Dry Gulch.  These are their bunkmates.


And finally... Rudy's, home of the worst Bar-B-Q in Texas!

So... there you have it!  That was our summer in a nutshell.

What we did this summer... (part 2)

More juicy details (and pictures)...


Playing at the lakehouse with family and friends. (We had Robin's family reunion as well)


With Grandpa & Grandma Perrin at the Tyler, TX Children's Science Museum.


At Meramac Caverns in Missouri. (One of Jesse James' hideouts)


At the St. Louis Zoo (Free!!!)


And in the St. Louis Arch.


We saw Perrin Rd. somewhere in IL when we made a potty stop.

What we did this summer... (part 1)

I know you've got nothing better to do than read our blog and you've been dying to find out what we did this summer.  So I thought I'd reduce your stress level by giving you an answer to this all-important question.  This post will have lots of pictures, so be patient if it loads a bit slowly.

Here are some pictures of our family exploits...


Emma and Robin on the train.  Here they are helping distribute lunch to everyone.  It took 3 trains, 3 planes and two automobiles to get us there.


Everyone enjoying Starbucks in Newark, NJ airport.


We played LaserTag with some good friends the weekend we arrived.  And I (Jon) schooled everyone!


Garage sale from hell!!!  This is only a third of the stuff!


Ryan and dad built this trailer and he got to mow the lawn.


We visited Stonehenge II in Hunt, TX (notice Ryan with the barf bag in his hand).

Amazingly relaxing day!


Yesterday we took a road trip to Lake Titisee (I know, I know...)  It was absolutely gorgeous... an incredibly relaxing day. 

It was a 90 min trip and we took the shortest route there. (Robin ferienwohnungalmost hurled, even though she was driving)  We went through beautiful scenic hillsides, past typical Black Forest houses,  up over the Feldberg mountain... even stopping in a quaint village for a yummy lunch!

The lake was waayyyy too cold, so we swam in the pool.  Then we Sonntagsstimmung am Titiseerented a boat (low speed, electric-powered and cheap) and took a trip around the lake.  Then we finished with pizza and burgers.  It was a great trip and an awesome day!

PS. We took the long, straight way home :)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Creative girls!

Ashton & Emma had some fun with Playdough a few days ago. They created this mom & two kids. Pretty amazing!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Stonehenge in Texas?

Stonehenge II (4)Last week we went to visit Stonehenge II in Hunt, TX.  It’s 60% as high and 80% as wide as its big brother in England.  It’s the result of two cowboys with lots of time, money and imagination!

It was a cool sight to see.  They even had two Easter Island Moai (giant head) copies there.  We found it cool, although Ryan was a bit sick (notice the barf bag in his hand).

If you’re ever in the area, you should check it out! 

Stonehenge II (6)

Thursday, July 2, 2009


So a few weeks ago Robin talked me in to getting my back waxed (you can probably guess where I’m going with this)…

I was born a hairy guy (I know, I know… too much information!). I have been saying for years that I need to just go buy some Duct Tape and get rid of it.

Well, Robin was lobbying for me to get it done this summer, although she said she has no problem with my hairiness. We had an hour to waste and were driving around when she saw a nail & waxing spa. Needless to say, she pulled into the parking lot and said, “Today’s the day!”

We walked inside and the girl said, “It won’t hurt… we do it so it won’t hurt.” LIAR!!!! Anyway, it felt like a bazillion needles, no, spikes were being driven into my back with each strip she YANKED off. If it weren’t for the fact that it would probably have hurt even more, I would have curled up in fetal position. This could serve as the new form of “persuasion” for the CIA (instead of waterboarding).

I know… I’m a big sissy. Say what you want… it hurt! But now I’m significantly less hairy. Here’s a picture of the torture in progress… notice me whimpering.IMG_0315

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Spastic dog

IMG_0289 We’re staying at Robin’s mom’s house for awhile.  She has two little dogs.  One of them, when he gets tired (white one), tries to dig a hole in the floor… interesting.  There he goes again, digging away.

The other one barks any chance he gets… even if he sees an animal on television.  And we won’t even talk about the middle of the night barking during the thunderstorm…

I have decided that it’s probably a bad idea to hold an animal sacrifice, although I’d definitely sleep better :)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Google Maps

image Yesterday the girls had some friends over for a end of school movie night/party/sleep-over.  As I (Jon) was walking out of the Pizza/Doener restaurant with five pizzas, the Google Maps car drove by with four cameras mounted on it's roof... and I just started laughing.  I know I'm going to get some comments from friends that see the picture.

So if you look at a street view of downtown Kandern, Germany and see me carrying 5 pizzas, you can be certain that they weren't all for me!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009



A couple of nights ago an earthquake got our attention! On May 5 at 3:49am a moderate earthquake measuring 4.5 on the Richter Scale shook the southern Black Forest (the epicenter was located about 10 miles away from us). Thankfully it lasted less than a second, so there were no injuries or damage reported.

We awoke to a loud, deep "boom" sound that shook the house. Robin thought that the "Rent-a-dog" (we were dog-sitting) knocked over one of the big cabinets upstairs, so she "asked" me to check the house to make sure everyone and everything was okay (apparently that is a man's job). I thought it might have been either a monster thunderclap, a bomb, a plane crash or a major meteorite strike near here. But when we didn't hear any sirens or see any fires, etc, we just went back to bed.

We later discovered that minor to moderate earthquakes happen in this area every one to three years. For us it was kinda cool because no one was hurt. Having grown up in southern Indiana, I experienced a couple of minor tremors, but none that woke me up.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Laax, Switzerland

Jon and I were at a conference in Laax, Switzerland this week.  While Jon played guitar, I just enjoyed the meetings and the view.  Personally, it was a good time for reflecting, relaxing and getting some perspective and direction.  Here are some photos:





april stuff 039

Awesome day...

P1010029This week we were in Laax, Switzerland at a minister's conference. Our hotel was at the bottom of a ski run in the Alps... Amazingly beautiful! (Robin will post some pictures soon.)

To top it off, as we were driving there I P1010033saw what looked like a row of Dragon's Teeth (a WWII tank trap). On the way back we stopped and checked it out. The farmer that owned the property gave us permission to take some pictures of the row of concrete barriers that now serves as his flower garden.

P1010038Apparently, even though the barriers were erected to protect against invasion in the 1930s, they are still maintained in various critical areas of the country. In the last picture you can see one of the pillboxes that protects the tank trap.

For a history lover like me, it was an awesome ending to a great week!

For more pictures (besides mine), go to

Dad, Joe & Tom: eat your heart out! :)