Merry Christmas!

Hey everybody, sorry it's been so quiet on my end of things! I'm just sitting here at the Shokhaus chatting it up with the Green Hippie Nurse. Yes, that means I'm in Ohio for the holidays! It's good to be back. At my parents' house, internet access is not conducive to frequent blogging (read: modem problems), but I'll do my best to drop you all a line now and then about how it's going on this side of the pond.

Wishing you all joyous holidays!


Rome: photo 7
The Forum: the place to be in Ancient Rome if you wanted to buy, sell and trade; give a speech; visit a temple or get involved in politics.
Click here for a taste of this public square's tumultous history and a terrific interactive map.


Rome: photo 6
In the Colliseum.
When life gives you a lemon...
Make tea!

I've got a cold this weekend and am thus drinking large amounts of tea. My neighbor Bassam -- who owns the shop across the street -- had a cold last weekend. I told him of my tea treatment, which he affirmed. However, he advised me to use lemon in my tea for an extra burst of Vitamin C. "It's just as good as prescription medicine," he insisted. I promptly purchased a lemon from him and have been using it faithfully, one slice at a time. And I must say, a fresh lemon is quite tasty when soaked in a hot beverage! I would recommend it to all, even those of you who are completely healthy.

Here's a fun website from the BBC about the joys of tea-drinking.
Movies I'd Like to Watch with my Dad

Schultze Gets the Blues


The Straight Story

The first is one of the best I've seen this year. It touches on themes I would love to discuss with my dad, like the interaction between German and American culture and the risk of opening yourself up to something completely new.

The second is one of the best I saw last year. It touches on themes related to rural life -- farming in particular -- and a complicated relationship between elderly farmer brothers.

I recommend them both to you all. Members of my immediate family: maybe we should rent these 2 when I'm home for Christmas and have a movie night at Tammy and Jim's!


Rome: photos 3, 4 and 5
Krista and I enjoyed a day off from sight-seeing at a lovely beach 1 hour from the city by train. The name of the town escapes me at the moment. All I know is that the water was cool, the food was delicious and the foliage was quite impressive.

Rome: photo 2
The Pope and I.


Rome: photo 1
My friend Krista Dutt is on the left. Our new ancient Roman friend, met while traipsing through the Vatican Museum, is on the right.


Het Vredeskleed
After an absence of way too much time, I'm back!

In the coming days, I'm planning to treat you all to a series of photos from my vacation in Rome this past summer. But first, take a look at this beautiful embroidered tapestry, created last spring by a multicultural, interreligious group of women, all of whom live in Almere. Participants call the following lands their home: Afghanistan, America, Brazil, Burundi, Congo, Denmark, England, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Marocco, The Netherlands, Sri Lanka, Surinam and Russia.

A number of congregations and public spaces (like libraries) throughout the city of Almere hosted the embroidery of the tapestry, including the drop-in center where I work.

The tapestry's theme is peace, and each block contains a symbol related to the theme. Together with my friend Maaike, I embroidered an elephant, which symbolizes peace in India.

This tapestry is headed toward Israel-Palestine, where it is being offered to a group of women peace activitists as a gift of encouragement and solidarity. After a while, the tapestry will continue its journey to another country and another group. Its final destination is not yet known.

This project was sponsored by AVANTI, a center for "encounter, culture and emancipation" in Almere.


50s Travel
This picture shows my dad getting ready to board a boat destined for Europe. He's the one holding the baby, who is his neice Beth. (At first I thought it might be his little sister Judy, but according to my sister Judy was about 5 years old at the time this photo was taken.) It was the mid-to-late 50s and my dad was headed toward Germany. After a few weeks of travel, the boat arrived in Rotterdam (I think), at which point Dad still had to take the train to Backnang, where he volunteered for 2 years, helping to build homes and a church for Russian Mennonite refugees.

On December 14, 2005 I'll be coming home for Christmas on an airplane, which will be, needless to say, rather faster than taking the boat. I'm staying until January 9, 2006. I won't be doing much traveling myself during that time, but all are invited to come visit me at the Wyse Homestead! If my sister and my brother-in-law don't visit, I won't know what to do with myself. (Never fear, loyal readers, they will visit!) I hope that my neice and nephew-in-law can come too, although if those red-coated mounties won't budge for the infamous one plough woman, then aforementioned family members and I may have to take exception to my not-much-traveling rule and crash her Toronto pad.


The Answer
is Akste, nearby Jokkmokk, Sweden. That's where friends Tom and Disa Rutschman live and work -- as teachers and Mennonite Mission Network associates. Isn't it lovely? The Rutschmans, along with two of their daughters, were some of the many fine folks I enjoyed meeting in Barcelona.


I'd Love to Be Here
Any guesses as to the location of this picturesque scene?


On May 8 (scroll down to find it), I posted about the two orchestras I participate in here in the Netherlands. At that time, I didn't have access to photos of one of the two -- but now I do! Above, a photo of the Amsterdamse Tramharmonie rehearsing in the famous concert hall in Amsterdam, the Concertgebouw. In the photo below, you should be able to pick me out:


Barcelonian Image 3
Group photo of Colloquium participants, all of whom are affiliated with Mennonite Mission Network. (Click to enlarge.) This Colloquium is held once every 2 years in differing European locaions, which up until now have included Spain, the Netherlands, Finland, England... and more.

Barcelonian Image 2
Eating lunch in the shadows of the basilica atop impressive Montserrat ("Serrated Mountain").


Happy birthday to JOHN D. WYSE (my father)!

Back from B-town
I'm back! Here's a pic from my weeks in Spain: that's me with two new friends, Hugh from Northern Ireland and Esther from England. We are standing just outside the Barcelona Mennonite Church after a Sunday morning service and fellowship meal.
More pictures and stories to come!


Barcelona Bound
I'm off to B-town for a conference plus a week of vacation. Upon my return, I hope to revive this somewhat droopy blog! See you around August 8th-ish. Upon which day we can all wish my father a Happy 71st!



My sister is a blippy. A blogging hippy. She's also a nurse, an environmentalist and a licensed pastor. Read her fascinating thoughts here.
Try it.
It's fun!

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Waterlands Blazers Ensemble

A photo of one of the two wind ensembles in which I participate here in the Netherlands. This group rehearses every other Sunday evening in the town of Landsmeer. Tonight is our first rehearsal in preparation for a concert at the end of June.

Can you find me amid this miniature mass of musicians?

P.S. For a larger version of this photograph, click here and scroll down.

Symfonisch Blaasorkest Amsterdamse Tramharmonie

I don't yet have access to a current photo of this, the other orchestra in which I participate. However, here's the flier from our most recent concert on April 9. We were honored to perform in Amsterdam's Concertgebouw, the finest concert hall in the Netherlands and one of the finest in the world (comparable to Carnegie Hall as far as acoustics go, some say). Our program featured pieces from operas as well as musical theater. Two accomplished soloists joined us for the concert, baritone Henk Poort and soprano Wiebke Goetjes.

It was a thrill to perform in such a gorgeous hall with such pristine soloists. One of the highlights of my musical career up 'til now, actually.


Let Your Dialect Be Heard

Kitty Corner, Catty Corner, or Diagonal?
Pop, soda, or cola?
Basement or Cellar?
Take this brief 20 question quiz to find out your particular amalgam of American English. (I'm particularly interested in hearing my family's results. Hey Shochs! Take this quiz!)

Here are my results:

Your Linguistic Profile:

75% General American English

20% Upper Midwestern

5% Midwestern

0% Dixie

0% Yankee


serpents & doves

My friend John David E. Thacker is exploring connections between wisdom & gentleness here. Please join me in welcoming John David to the realm of blogs and those who read them!


Annie Zernike

May I present to you the first Mennonite woman in history to be ordained: Annie Zernike. This historic ordination occurred here in the Netherlands in the year 1911. The above portrait of Annie was created by her husband, the painter Jan Mankes.


Christ is Risen Indeed!

A blessed Easter to you all.

I no longer know where I found the above image of Christ-Sophia (or "Wisdom Christ"). My apologies that I cannot give credit where credit is due.
What do you think?

So. What do you think of the blog's new look? If the old template was more pleasing to the eye, I did indeed save it and it's not too late to revert.
Holy Saturday

May the silence of today help us come to terms with yesterday's pain and tomorrow's hope.
Curled and Uncurled

This is what I look like with curly hair.
(Although my curls are a bit longer now.)

This is what I look like with uncurly hair!

Why, you may ask, did my hair uncurl?
You'll just have to ask my hair stylist.
(For those among you who are concerned about the well-being of my curls, fear not. They are alive and well.)


Tell all the Truth but tell it slant--
Success in Circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth's superb surprise
As Lightening to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind


I'm thinking of quoting these exquisite lines in my sermon on Sunday. Maybe it's just me, but these words and this Sunday's gospel reading (John 20:1-18) seem to illuminate one another beautifully...
I wish you all a meaningful Good Friday.
Today I read the following in a commentary on Exodus:

"When this understanding is combined with the source interweaving, the effect is a concatenation of images that, as with most liturgies, do not always sit easily with one another but provide a multifaceted look at the unfathomable divine deliverance."

(Terence E. Fretheim, Interpretation, p. 152)

I have never before heard of or used the word concatenation.
So I had to look it up and share my findings with you.

According to my pals Merriam and Webster:

Function: transitive verb
Inflected Form(s): -nat·ed; -nat·ing:
Definition: to link together in a series or chain
con·cat·e·na·tion (noun)

Crazy, eh? I challenge you all to integrate this word into your daily vocabularies!


Three and a half months ago, I said I was back.
Apparently, I wasn't!
Now, I am. Really.

Here's proof: a new photo in my fotolog. (Click on"flip through jackie's photo album" here to the right.)
Further proof will be coming soon and very soon.

Thank you to those who kept encouraging me to let the tickety-tick-tack of my keyboard be heard!