Refuse fear, choose mercy

By Jeanne Damoff       via Ann Voskamp

What she said…^

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In a World of Increasing Terrorism, What is the Biggest Threat to the Church?

When Jeanne Damoff traveled to Kazakhstan in 2013 to speak at a conference for mothers of disabled children, she wondered how she would be received. She’d never shared her story of beauty from brokenness with women from a vastly different culture, many of them Muslim. But they not only listened, they welcomed her into their hearts and homes, and God began to dismantle the tidy boxes and boundaries she didn’t know she’d built. That happy shift in perspective has opened opportunities to embrace a wealth of unexpected “neighbors,” both around the globe and in her own backyard, where she currently volunteers with Seek the Peace, promoting literacy, building friendships, and serving alongside refugees resettled in Dallas. It’s the most humbling grace to welcome my brave and wise friend, Jeanne, to the farm’s front porch today…

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“Who is my neighbor?”

A lawyer asked Jesus that question, and as Jesus often did, He answered with a story.

A man was robbed and left for dead. Two religious leaders passed him by, but one man — a Samaritan — saw him and made a costly choice.

He chose mercy.

It’s hard to make sense of a lot that’s happening in the world right now, and the temptation is to follow the example of those religious leaders — to put on blinders and keep walking straight ahead, because what can we do in the face of so much suffering and fear?

Fear is a fog that clouds the brain and freezes the heart.

And before we know it? We’re like the lawyer in that story, desiring to justify ourselves in the limits we set on love.

A friend of mine sent me several reports from a Hungarian couple who are missionaries near Budapest and served the influx of Syrian refugees that arrived at the Keleti train station.

After days of providing food, clothing, and services to exhausted and grateful families, the wife observed a gradual shift in the appearance and behavior of some of the arrivals. “One thing we all have noticed. Some of these people looked different than the group yesterday, and all last week. Today’s migrants were mostly men, some who did not look that needy. Sometimes it was rather frightening. What do all these men want to do in Europe? We still served them with love.”

Reports like this weigh heavy on my heart, until I remember one, unchanging, overriding truth.

None of this comes as a surprise to God. And really? It shouldn’t surprise us, either.

Ever since our first parents were banished from Eden, humans have been aching for Home.

The biblical narrative reveals a long line of sojourners and exiles searching for a place to belong. From Abraham to the early Christians dispersed by persecution, God’s people have known what it means to be strangers in a strange land.

Human history is one long, epic story of the desperately needy seeking Refuge.

And God’s hand has been evident every messy step of the way. Indeed, God told Abraham it was His intention to bless all the families of the earth through him.

Though the scattered Christians probably would have preferred to remain in the Pentecostal glow of the Jerusalem church, God wanted them to carry the seeds of the gospel far and wide.

Sometimes we have to be shaken into our purpose.

We like our borders.

We crave stability and safety — the kind we can build a fence around and protect with security systems and strong locks on the doors.

But God consistently calls His children to live generous, hospitable lives.

With the doors open.

And when we choose to hide inside our blockades, He lovingly intervenes.

I recently heard a man say the biggest threat to the church isn’t the world’s brokenness getting in. She can build walls to keep the world out.

The biggest threat to the church is that she will succeed in building those walls.

We are His body, and regardless of what our governments do or don’t do, the church must welcome all comers. And yes, this means risk. It always has.

T.S. Eliot’s Murder in the Cathedral is a play about the 12th-century martyrdom of Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury. As King Henry II’s soldiers approached, some of the priests locked the doors to the sanctuary in an effort to save his life, but Thomas commanded,

“Unbar the doors! Throw open the doors!

I will not have the house of prayer, the church of Christ,

The sanctuary, turned into a fortress.

The Church shall protect her own, in her own way, not

As oak and stone; stone and oak decay,

Give no stay, but the Church shall endure.

The church shall be open, even to our enemies. Open the door!”

The doors were opened — and Thomas was murdered.

In Following Jesus in a Culture of Fear, Scott Bader-Saye wrote, “Thomas knows that in some way his martyrdom will be gathered up into God’s purpose, made part of God’s great ‘figuring’ of history . . . . Eliot places in the mouth of Thomas his own conviction that God’s good and joyful purposes will finally be made complete. It is this conviction, this hope, this trust that allows Thomas to let go of the fear of losing his life.”

So, here’s what I want to know. What are we afraid of?

Are we afraid of suffering?

Because God has promised we will suffer, and when we suffer according to His will, we fellowship with Jesus.

Are we afraid of death?

Because death will eventually come to us all, but God is big enough to keep us in our obedience until His purposes have been accomplished in and through our lives.

Are we afraid for our children?

Because the best gift we can give them is to follow Christ’s example in costly obedience.

Are we afraid of engaging the “stranger”?

Have we become so settled and complacent that we’ve forgotten we ourselves were once separated from Christ, strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world?

Have we forgotten that —as long as we are here on earth — we, too, are refugees?

Are we afraid that they will invade our space?

That our comfortable, tidy church communities will get messy?

Because our churches don’t belong to us in the first place and were never meant to be comfortable or tidy. If the gospel is anything, it’s messy.

Do we really believe Jesus meant what He said? “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.”

That Hungarian missionary wrote of the men who didn’t appear to be in need, “We still served them with love.” Then she added, “The best part of today was to see the body of Christ coming alive.”

But we’re not in Hungary. We’re watching the Syrian refugee crisis unfold from afar. How can we be “the body of Christ coming alive”?

What can we do to help?

First, we can refuse fear.

Politicians may leverage fear for their own purposes, but the church doesn’t trade in that currency. If we claim to be a people of love, then we need to embrace Jesus’ definition of that word. (John 15:13)

We can petition and pray for our government leaders. They need wisdom and courage, and they need to know we’re willing to do our part.

We can confess our selfishness, repent, and give sacrificially of our time and resources.

We can find out if there are refugees resettled in our area (there are in mine), and look for opportunities to get involved.

We can donate money or requested items through WeWelcomeRefugees.com or other ministries.

We can present our bodies as living sacrifices to God, lay down our willing yes, and then keep our eyes and ears open, because He will take us up on the offer.

We weren’t created for self-seeking comfort and ease. It lulls us to sleep.

We were made to shine light in darkness, to love and serve our enemies, and to wash the feet of the least.

Like the Samaritan, we can choose mercy. And if we don’t, can we honestly claim to love our neighbor?

Terrorism is on the rise, and the world is facing the worst refugee crisis since World War II, but none of this comes as a surprise to God.

And nothing is too difficult for Him.

We can be on the right side of His story — knowing our lives are gathered up into God’s purposes, and flinging our doors wide for such a time as this.

Because Refuge still waits with His nail-scarred hands stretched wide to welcome the sojourner Home.

Set our foundations on the holy hills;

Our city found

Firm on the bedrock of the Truth; our wills

Settle and ground.

Cause us to stand to our own conscious clear;

Cause us to be the thing that we appear.

~Amy Carmichael

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Jeanne Damoff is a daughter, sister, wife, mom, mother-in-law, and grandmother. Light has swallowed up her darkness, and she loves to help people discover beauty and purpose even in their most broken places. Her ambition is to be small in her own eyes, to be present in every moment, to see God’s image in every person, and to discover His gifts everywhere.

Jeanne is an exquisite author and speaker, volunteers with local refugee and special needs ministries, serves as intercessor and counselor for The Lulu Tree, and powerfully blogs for First Aid Arts and at The View From Here. Jeanne and I pray you’ll consider bravely & boldly joining us in truly miraculous places like Seek the Peace and First Aid Arts and the work of WeWelcomeRefugees.com.

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Advent Declaration on Gun Violence

Source: Advent Declaration on Gun Violence

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Falwell, Muslims & the Offense of the Cross

Another beautiful response. #hopeful

Faith Improvised

Jerry Falwell, Jr., president of Liberty University, an evangelical Christian institution, ignited a firestorm in his comments about carrying guns and killing Muslims:

“I’ve always thought that if more good people had concealed-carry permits, then we could end those Muslims before they walked in,” he says, the rest of his sentence drowned out by loud applause while he said, “and killed them.”

“I just wanted to take this opportunity to encourage all of you to get your permit. We offer a free course,” he said. “Let’s teach them a lesson if they ever show up here.”

Some Christians may feel that comments like these are acceptable. Others who wouldn’t say such things aloud may share the sentiment.

We see a world in chaos. We see mass murder and violence. We hear of plans for domination in the name of Islam and our fears are ignited. We grow suspicious of…

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We Can’t Do God’s Work with the Devil’s Tools

#Encouraged.
“The cross is for those who preach these messages of hate and violence and applaud it even though they claim to represent the Prince of peace.

The cross is for those who use their imaginations to bring about restoration and reconciliation among former enemies.

The cross is for those fear foreigners and spread hate, and remain so lost in their survival instincts that they can only function by dehumanizing those they cannot understand.”

Ed Cyzewski :: Freelance Writer

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Let’s stop at the foot of the cross for a moment.

Let the xenophobic hate of politicians fade away.

Erase from your mind the rhetoric of those who cling to guns out of fear and suspicion of their neighbors.

Let’s bring our thoughts to the foot of the cross.

Look on God’s Son as he gasps for his final breaths in the company of criminals, soldiers, jeering holy men, a single friend, and his mother who has long ago run out of tears to shed.

He could call on the armies of heaven to defend himself, and yet he allowed the soldiers of a cruel army to torture him and put him to death in the most painful way possible.

He didn’t fight for a kingdom in this world.

With the nails in his hands and feet, hanging above the ground, he still pleaded for God’s mercy on his executioners:…

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The Shadow of Death: A Response to Jerry Falwell, Jr.

Superb. “But if we are the Body of Christ, then we each have the chance to answer that prayer (of peace) for others.”

The Pietist Schoolman

Calling out Christian college presidents isn’t really how I wanted to spend Advent, but then I didn’t expect one such leader to devote part of a chapel talk to encouraging his students to carry concealed weapons. But that’s just what Liberty University president Jerry Falwell, Jr. did on Friday, two days after the mass shooting in San Bernardino, California.

In a sense, it shouldn’t come as a surprise. After all, Liberty has allowed concealed weapons on campus since 2013. “I think somebody that might want to do us harm will not feel good about coming to Liberty University,” said university general counsel David Corry at the time, “because that person might encounter more than just law enforcement that’s armed.”

Candlelight vigil at Virginia Tech after the 2007 mass murder Among other factors, supporters of the Liberty policy change in 2013 cited the 2007 massacre at nearby Virginia Tech (seen here during a candlelight vigil) – Wikimedia

As someone who works in higher ed, it’s terrifying to…

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I wonder…

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“I wonder if we would have immigrants from Guatemala if the CIA had not illegally helped to overthrow a democratically elected government in 1954, that was committed to improve life for poor people. I wonder if we would have immigrants from El Salvador if the United States had not supported a repressive, and violent government during the 1970’s and 80’s, when thousands had to flee for their lives, and many thousands were killed. I wonder if we would have immigrants from throughout the Americas today if the United States had not illegally, and repeatedly intervened in many countries’ internal affairs to protect the interests of multinational companies. If only they had had walls high enough to keep us out, we might have fewer immigrants today. Illegal is illegal. Jesus once said something about reaping what you sow.”

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Border stories … thoughts on refugees

“But, both of us can be pretty sure that any talk that smacks of hate, any action not defined by compassion, any Facebook post meant to displace love with fear – wreaks like fish vomit.”

Across Cultures

DSC_0942Can I be blunt?

I usually try to finesse words, make a little romance, ask the syllables to play nicely together in straight and pretty lines for a quaint bedtime tale.  But, tonight, there is tear gas, and babies are crying, and people are sleeping in the open. There are living, breathing humans who will soon be picking their way through kilometers of undetonated land mines into Croatia. There is a dad with two kids who walked on a broken ankle with a tiny hand in each of his to reach a gate before it closed.

And for what? Why? What is the moral of this story?

There are so many theories out there about why the Middle Eastern world is leaving homes and uprooting families to make a terrifying journey to Europe: Economic. Religious. Extremism. War. Prophecy. We all have our theories and our fears.

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The War on Christmas

Could not have said this better. “What if we responded to these things with the humility and graciousness the way Jesus demonstrated? What if this is the way to keep Christ in Christmas? What if that is how we change the world?”

iamchrisgilmore.

I suppose it is okay if I talk about Christmas this early…

Because Hobby Lobby sent me an email saying all Christmas décor was 50% off. Because radio stations are already dedicating their playlists to Christmas music. Because my daughter has been practicing her Christmas program in my car for weeks.

I’ve already seen stories shared and emotions flare around this particular topic. Starbucks, for instance, doesn’t have “Merry Christmas” on their famous red cups. One Facebook post I saw said it’s because “they hate Jesus.” A whole movement has started with #MerryChristmasStarbucks.

Grab your ammo. Circle the wagons. The war on Christmas is in full swing.

Soon we will be inundated with “Happy Holidays” and forced to buy X-mas trees and our kids will be out of school for “winter” breaks and all of this is points to the fact that our culture despises Christians and should rally us to…

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Opinions and thoughtful rhetoric–

IMG_4236I really do try to share thoughtful and thought provoking articles on Facebook, especially when I want to have a record of them for future reference. I do not post them to create a debate or try to change anyone’s mind. When I read articles others post I love to mull them over. Sometime’s I do change my mind. I love to read and learn. Through the thought process I always expand my mind, and hopefully become a more compassionate, empathetic person as a result. Nevertheless, I’ve come to accept that some do not want to learn or become more thoughtful, often, some just like to argue. And way too many seem to think they have all the answers already, and have nothing new to learn. They don’t listen thoughtfully. A lost art. I find that sad.

I love the social aspects of Facebook too. It’s a great way to keep up, although we tend to do most of our ‘keeping up’ through FaceTime, phone calls, dinners, emails, and social gatherings. The ads on Facebook are obnoxious and have gotten out of hand for the users, but not the shareholders apparently. :) If Zack Hunt, Pete Enns, Rachel Held Evans, Anne Voskamp, & Jen Hatmaker were no longer on Facebook, I would not be either. So you can blame them I guess. :) Oh yeah, Andy Borowitz too. Ha.

I am rather obvious on Facebook that I am Christian. Likely too obvious for friends who do not share that with me. Yet, they are so gracious and kind. Often much more so than friends who are Christian, yet disagree with me on my opinions and thoughts. That is frustrating. I am learning patience and grace under pressure. Slowly. I have a friend, one of the most gracious people I know, who encourages me to keep on keeping on. My single goal is to be a positive example of Christ. I often fail. Especially in the eyes of some Christians. They unconciously try to beat you up with their legalism. Yet, keeping my eyes on Christ, having encouragement from other believers, and the encouragement of nonbelievers gives me joy.

Rev. Dr. Anna Howard Shaw (1847 -1919) once said, “…if you have a bit of truth, hold fast to that which God had given you; let no power, no injustice, no obstacle, no scorn, no opposition, let nothing extinguish the flame.” That’s my goal. Those are powerful words. We should remember that we have been called to be the voice of the voiceless. Not grandstanding spectacles. As someone once said, we must preach less and model more. Which is a lot like what St. Francis of Assisi said, “preach the gospel at all times, when necessary, use words.” Yes! It is NOT about us. We need to always consider the actual ‘Christ-likeness’ of our actions.

*”Despite what many of us have been led to believe by our evangelical subculture, taking a stand for Christ doesn’t look like forcing your will onto others in a public bid to get attention to the fact that you think your religious beliefs are right and everyone else is wrong.

Taking a stand for Christ looks like feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, ministering to the sick, caring for the poor, visiting the incarcerated, and welcoming the stranger so they may will see your good works and praise your Father in heaven.

This is how they will know we are his disciples.

This is how we take a stand for our faith.

BY OUR LOVE.

Not by our public stunts.”

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!

*#ZackHunt

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It’s the Nederlands – part 2

Wednesday

Today we board our boat after we clear out of the Airbnb. Not enough time for the Van Gogh museum. Instead, we dropped our luggage at the ship then headed to the city center. We visited a beautiful old 17th century cathedral, St. Nicholas’ Basilica. Then we meandered through a bit of Chinatown and had some delicious stuffed rolls…melt in your mouth. Unintentionally we cut through a portion of the ‘Red Light District,’ talk about dehumanizing women. So sad. Near the ‘Red Light District,’ was a well located Salvation Army. Back at the boat, the Magnifique, we met our cast of characters; our shipmates and crew for the next 5 days. Each so delightful. Ingaborg is our hostess. A Dutch born, New Zealand accented, tall, Gweneth Paltrow like, fun, and engaging woman. Our captain was a 27 year old handsome, slightly shy German. He didn’t look old enough to be a Captain. I feel like that a lot lately about a lot of people. Our Chef was young and fresh out of culinary school. His skills were ample. We also had two 1st mates. They took care of getting our bikes fitted, among many other responsibilities. Yes, they too were extremely young. Among our shipmates we had: 6 Germans, including a sweet 7 year old boy; 2 Aussies, an older couple that made the word ‘extroverted’ sound boring. Of course, the abundance of wine didn’t hurt either; 2 Mexicans, a sweet couple that were also empty nesters; 1 very interesting Brasilian woman traveling alone. Apparently she’s an actress in Brasil. And of course, the 4 Americans, us. The ship can hold 32 guests. It was really nice having a smaller group. 😊 We had our first dinner on board as we sailed to Haarlem. It consisted of Bratwurst and Dutch and German potatoes. When we arrived in Haarlem there was ‘patchy drizzle.’<said in a Brasilian accent. Nevertheless, we had a brisk foot tour of Haarlem. Noted throughout the trip so far, the Netherlands make great use even today of the windmill. The old are quaint, the new are minimalist and quite nice as well. They do their job. It’s a very energy conscious country. We wished we had more time in Haarlem. Next time. Our first night on board was fun! We have some crazy, in a good way, shipmates. The rooms were well appointed. Each room had it’s own updated bathroom. Our room had 3 portholes with lots of light. We were very comfortable with our big fluffy European down comforters.

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St. Nicholas' Basilica

St. Nicholas’ Basilica

Salvation Army next to 'Red Light' district. No photos of the latter.

Salvation Army next to ‘Red Light’ district. No photos of the latter.

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Hanging out onboard before we sail off.

Hanging out onboard before we sail off.

Cute, isn't it?

Cute, isn’t it?

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Our fun travel companions before our first dinner

Our fun travel companions before our first dinner

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Haarlem City Center

Haarlem City Center

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Thursday

We sailed from Haarlem after breakfast and at about 11 am we disembarked to head off on bikes from the small village of Zaanstad to Alkmaar. About 20-25 kilometers. That’s a guess. I always wanted to be blissfully ignorant of exact mileage, er, kilometers. Within a short distance of starting out we came upon a little Dutch village set back a few hundred years. The scenery was breathtaking. I can’t get enough of old windmills by canals, by the sheep and the cows. Of course we, or I should say Sam, bought cheese every chance we could. It is hard to resist when it’s being made right there. Kinda like Beecher’s in Seattle. Every little village we rode through was immaculate. People take great pride in their little yards and turn them into virtual gardens. Gorgeous! We stopped for Cappuccino everywhere we could. :) One stop was in Akersloot. Becky and I were in love with the quaint village, and ready to move there. For sure if Trump is elected! :) Idyllic. No need to say more. When we finally arrived in Alkmaar, I’m not gonna lie, my thighs were burning. All worth it. Each town more adorable than the last, patchy drizzle (Brasilian accent) or not. We arrived just as the boat did. Side note: It wasn’t a race, but we won! A little yoga was in order before dinner. Never has child’s pose felt so good. And that downward dog!

We passed this chocolate factory early on and for quite a while the air was filled with the smell of delicious chocolate!

We passed this chocolate factory early on and for quite a while the air was filled with the smell of delicious chocolate!

Pastures were prevalent. Such beauty. Grass fed sheep and cows. No industrial farming. :)

Pastures were prevalent. Such beauty. Grass fed sheep and cows. No industrial farming. :)

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Of course.

Of course.

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Friday

Today is the longest ride. I did pick up on that. Thankfully, maybe due to a lot of stretching, I felt great. We didn’t think it possible, but each village and all scenery just seemed to get cuter. We developed an affinity with the sheep. When Sam ‘baaa-ed’ they came. :) We went off route a bit and went through Edam, a picturesque harbor near our destination of Volendam. Of course we bought more cheese by a local farmer and a beautiful cheese cutting board. The ride today felt a lot easier than I was anticipating, thankfully. We arrived Volendam a bit before the ship. Again, Becky and I won! It wasn’t a race though. :) While waiting for the ship we had some Poffertjes, or little Dutch pancakes. So utterly delicious! Volendam is a summer resort village with little kitchy shops along the coast and adorable little houses back behind the row of shops in what they call ‘the maze.’ A lot of little narrow, windy streets. Sam and I went out before dinner to meander. After dinner we hung out with the ‘entertainment’ upstairs for a while, then headed down to our little stateroom to stretch and read/watch Dutch reality TV. <It’s so funny.

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Back to the boat

Back to the boat

Canal in Edam

Canal in Edam

Wooden shoe display :)

Wooden shoe display :)

Saturday

Our last day to ride. Off to Amsterdam through Waterland – Katwoude. One village we went to, Monnickendam, had a nice little outdoor farmer’s market. It was a cute little harbor town as well. Our boat-bike tour company is headquartered there. Leaving town we road along a dike, also know as a berm, for quite a little while. It did not take us long to reach Amsterdam. We were passing by farms and sheep pastures and suddenly we were in the city. When we arrived our boat was already there. We dropped off our bikes and made a quick turn around to hit the Van Gogh Museum before dinner. No line, or at least it was very short. We had been told to expect a 2 hour line, so we were thrilled! Why do so many artists have such tortured lives?! Back at the boat we had our last dinner and a last night toast to all the staff who have been so wonderful. The time has gone by too quickly. Sam and I went back out to Dam Square that night. Some kind of OctoberFest was going on. It is a mystery how they were able to squeeze so many rides into that space and still have room to operate them safely. It was fun and a bit crazy! Sam made note of everything he wanted to try on Sunday. We were still too full from dinner.

On the road again

On the road again

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After we dropped our bikes off we were able to get on our 'machines' with wifi at the train station. :)

After we dropped our bikes off we were able to get on our ‘machines’ with wifi at the train station. :)

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The museum quarter. Headed to Van Gogh.

The museum quarter. Headed to Van Gogh.

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Toasting chef Raymond

Toasting chef Raymond

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Lights of Amsterdam through our port hole.

Lights of Amsterdam through our port hole.

Sunday

After breakfast on the boat and saying our goodbyes we headed to the ferry to drop our bags off at the DoubleTree for the last night. Our hotel was wonderful. Very new and modern. The Rijksmuseum was the last ‘must do’ on our list. It was great. Rembrandt is my kind of artist. His paintings are not ones I wonder if I could do myself. :) We went to lunch in the Muvseumkwartier at Bouf when we left the Rijks. It was delicious. Becky took a great photo of their toilet. It was pretty cool. For a toilet, that is. Many multigenerational families were out together Sunday afternoon. It was an exceptional people watching day. We never did go to a ‘coffee shop.’ I’m not speaking of your grandma’s coffee shop. Even though decriminalized, it’s still illegal. Does that make sense? Also, when you enter one, they take all your I.D. information down and enter it into ‘the system.’ Just an FYI. After a stroll to Rembrandt’s house we went to Dam Square again. This time we had a little of everything. Crazy big sausages, fried dough, amazing french fries with different styles of mayonnaise! Good, good, great! Back at our hotel to crash and pack. I hope Sam can fit all his cheese into his suitcase.

Our last breakfast on board. We always had the best bread and butter and cappuccinos, among other things. :)

Our last breakfast on board. We always had the best bread and butter and cappuccinos, among other things. :)

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At the Rijks Museum. Don't judge. We only took one elevator the whole week. :)

At the Rijks Museum. Don’t judge. We only took one elevator the whole week. :)

The grand hall at Rijks

The grand hall at Rijks

Our favourite painting. At least one of them. Sam especially liked how the bird poop glistened. :)

Our favourite painting. At least one of them. Sam especially liked how the bird poop glistened. :)

Rembrandt's Night Watch. BTW, they did not care if you took photos here. Not so at Van Gogh.

Rembrandt’s Night Watch. BTW, they did not care if you took photos here. Not so at Van Gogh.

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The library at the Rijks.

The library at the Rijks.

Beautiful gardens at the museum

Beautiful gardens at the museum

Lunchtime cappuccino

Lunchtime cappuccino

A family 'car'

A family ‘car’

One of many 'coffee shops'

One of many ‘coffee shops’

Rembrandt's house

Rembrandt’s house

Now, that's a chocolate fountain

Now, that’s a chocolate fountain

Dam square by day

Dam square by day. We were too busy eating to photograph our delicacies. 

Monday

The ‘continental breakfast’ was, wow! Our cab arrived on time, so we got to the airport in time to grab some grab and go tulip bulbs, and a few others. :) The flight to Philly was long. We arrived late and lost John and Becky in the shuffle from customs. No time to say goodbye. So we texted our goodbyes on our machines. :) The next flight took 30 minutes to DC. Our bags didn’t make it so we headed home via Uber. So great to be back! Yet, I could have stayed longer.

Grateful for our fun traveling buddies. This is a trip I’ve been wanting to take for a few years. Checked off the list!

Land ho! A picture perfect day to flight into D.C.

Land ho! A picture perfect day to fly into D.C.

We loved the Netherlands. The people are wonderful. If you are looking for a tall, good-looking someone, likely with blonde hair, it’s a ‘must go.’ Someone said, they are tall because they eat a lot of cheese. Everything is so clean and neat, and we never once felt unsafe. The simple beauty of the Netherlands is calming. I say this almost every time I travel…”let’s move here.”

Posted in Amsterdam, Bike and Barge, Bike and Barge tour, biking, Empty Nest, Europe, Netherlands, Travel | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment