Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Normandy Trip

Isaac led his third class field trip to the Normandy beaches in October. Students and sponsors visit key American, Canadian and German cemeteries and memorials to World War II battles and the soldiers who fought them.

I am in awe every year of how the trip affects our 16- & 17-year old students as they realize how young these soldiers were and the difference they made.

After one night on a bus and two on a cold, hard floor, the junior class spends 12 whirlwind hours in Paris. It's a great educational and bonding trip in the early months of a new school year.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

You Know School's Out When...

Congrats, class of 2011. Photo by Michele Phoenix.

1) you're reading a new post on our blog

2) Suzanne knows how the Tigers are doing.

3) graduates trickle down our alley whispering tearful goodbyes.

4) our nightstand book piles get a bit taller.

5) the median age of the population of Kandern rises overnight as students return to their home countries for the summer. 

It has been a long, good year. We are spent, and we are full. 
Blessed be the name of the Lord.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A Staff Recital

"All the believers were together and had everything in common." Acts 1:44

What a treat to plan a musical evening with believing colleagues. This will definitely be an annual event.

Our lovely Estonian voice instructor, Jane.

Brian teaches Bible and is most comfortable in a pastoral role but is also a dedicated guitar student.

My first solo performance with new music in eight years.

See more at http://www.youtube.com/user/bfavideos.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Promise of Spring

There have been days this February when spring seemed just around the corner. The weather has been warm, the birds have been singing, and Suzanne and I have been able to take long walks in the surrounding woods. On days like these, it is easy to believe that the earth will soon become green again and that we won’t need to put on several layers every time we step out the door. Alas, it is only February and those changes are still several weeks away.

Suzanne and I are thankful, however, for those times when we get a glimpse of the beautiful transformation that will soon take place in the Black Forest. Often, when the days are cold and dark, it seems hard to truly believe that warmth will come again. Of course, on one level we know that this change will take place because we have seen it happen all our lives. Still, it can be difficult to live with that future in mind rather than focusing on the cold weather and drizzling rain.

In the same way, teaching is a task best suited for those who can look beyond the daily life of lesson plans, grading, and meetings. While all these tasks need to get done, it can be difficult at times to know if students have actually learned as a result of these efforts. Grades can perhaps give some indication, hearing the students talk about what they learned can be another, but the end result will never be seen. Teachers want their students to be able to take what they have learned into their daily lives after formal schooling ends and apply it in such a way that it makes a difference in the world at large. So how do we know if what we are doing is working?

It is wonderful to see returning graduates of BFA coming back to visit and hearing their stories. Suzanne and I were able to reconnect with a few graduates this past Christmas break and were encouraged by the way those kids had grown over the couple years since they left. Ultimately though, we have to have faith that our work here will produce fruit in the future. We have to trust that the same God who has called us and allowed us to be here will take our imperfect work and turn it into growth for his kingdom. Winter seems long. But spring is not far off.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

How To Fondue (Cheese & Chocolate)

Three-Cheese Fondue

Step 1: Ask friendly German grocer if they sell a fondue mix. If friendly grocer says no, they don't because it's Christmas Eve, and smart people have already bought theirs, like, yesterday, then proceed to step 2.

Step 2: Interrupt said grocer's stocking of refrigerated goods again and ask about which cheeses would be in a fondue mix, were they to have one.

Ingredients for our New Year's Eve Cheese Fondue.

Step 3: Purchase the cheeses she hands you... Le Gruyere, Appenzeller and Emmentaler. All Swiss and all yummy.

The 3 cheeses my grocer recommends for fondue.
Step 4: Melt equal parts in double boiler or fondue pot over medium high heat, then simmer on low. Add a few splashes of white wine. The original Swiss recipe also adds a dash of Kirschwasser (cherry liqueur), but, again, no findy on a major holiday. So we substituted Cointreau (orange liqueur). Lovely texture and flavor!

Almost done. We had trouble keeping the cheese hot in a tealight fondue pot, so opted for a double-boiler.

Step 5: Dip diced bread, potatoes and cooked veggies (broccoli's a winner!) using fondue forks (or long dinner forks will work).

Chocolate Fondue

Step 1: Prepare ingredients while letting first course settle in stomach. Time varies for settling, but an hour or so should do the trick.

Yes, we melted Santas and dipped Oreos. But, look, fruit! See, this is healthy...

Step 2: On low heat while stirring constantly, melt equal parts dark and milk chocolate (I used about 1 cup each). This is really to your taste. We like dark chocolate, though. Chocolate chips melt the quickest (due to larger surface area) but are harder to come by here, so I didn't want to waste them in a goo!

Step 3: Add 2/3 cup of sour cream (about 1 small container); 1/4 cup coffee, orange or mint liqueur (again, we used Cointreau); and 1/4 to 1/2 cup of milk or cream (to consistency).

Step 4: Dip marshmallows, sliced fruit, Oreos and birthday cake to your heart's content.

Step 5: Invite over friends and celebrate!

Make both fondues, and it's a great way to use up your leftover white wine and cream from French cooking experiment!