Otterberg, Germany

Now it was time to visit Otterberg, Germany again.  I love this town where our ancestors lived in the early 1700’s.  This was Sarah’s first chance to see the area, and though their Christmas market was over it still was beautifully decorated inside the church.

I wonder if our ancestors gazed upon the same rose window?

Did they use these same decorative door handles?

Or touch this podium?

Hans Nicolaus Kuntz was the almoner of the village in 1703; did he stand in front of the congregation (like I do) and ask people to donate to the needs of children in poverty?

Surely they used this well to collect water before embarking on the long migration to Ireland in 1709, due to their own hardship when Austrian troops came through and overtook their home.

Surely they walked these same streets and were happy to see familiar buildings when they returned from Ireland in 1718.

How thrilled they must have been to see the church again, only to bid farewell to it for the last time when they immigrated to the New World in 1735.

Some beautiful carvings remain behind; perhaps these tell the stories of these brave, strong people.



Baden-Baden, Germany

The next stop on our tour of Christmas markets last year was Baden-Baden, Germany.  This was a really special market place.

Just beyond the market was a unique display of artwork that was gorgeous.

Once again, the food got our attention, but not only the food, the restaurant itself.  It was an enclosed porch of a beautiful hotel, but cold enough that they provided blankets at each chair.  So nice and cozy with warm cider!

Really yummy!

The breakfast buffet was fantastic too.


Colmar, France

Our second stop in search of Christmas markets last year was at Colmar, France.  This was in a beautiful part of the city called “La Petite Venise,” and you can see why with all the canals.

There were plenty of holiday decorations all around.

There was even a carnival with a fun roller coaster with “seats” in the shape of horses (and yes, they rocked back and forth as they went around the track).

Once again, the food was outstanding.

The markets had thousands of fun items to see.

There were many nativities all around too.

These faces carved into the entryway of the old cathedral were fascinating to me.

We will never forget beautiful Colmar!


Strasbourg, France

Here are more photos from Strasbourg last year during the after-Christmas markets.  Everything was decorated so beautifully.

Of course, the food is always good in France.

I called this “the sink that wasn’t a sink.”  

Christmas Markets

A year ago Sarah and I went to Europe to see the Christmas markets.  We loved it and would definitely recommend it as a unique holiday adventure.  We went between Christmas and New Year’s Day.

We landed in Frankfurt, Germany, rented a car, and headed to Strasbourg, France for the night.  It was wonderful to see all the huge decorations.

We loved this pretty village scene in the middle of the park.

This was only the start of a great adventure.




Smile at Pain

Finally, for the use of my Word of the Year in this week’s blog posts, I have several quotes using the word “cast” from various authors:

O Love Divine, that stooped to share our sharpest pain, our bitterest tear; on you we cast each earth-born care, we smile at pain when you are near.  — Oliver W. Holmes

Cast thy burden upon the Lord, only lean upon His Word; Thou wilt soon have cause to bless His unchanging faithfulness.  — Anonymous

Cast your burden on him in the same way that the ship in a storm casts her burden upon the anchor; which holds on to its sure fixing place.  — J. M. Neale

I feel ashamed as I send forth these very defective teachings; I can only cast them on the love of my fellow Christians, and of our God.  May He use them to draw us all to Himself, to learn in practice and experience the blessed art of waiting only upon God.  — Andrew Murray

Through the mystery of the atonement, that soul that avails itself of that atonement–the soul that throws (casts) itself out on that atonement–for that soul the moral situation has changed.  God has not changed, but the sinner’s moral situation has changed.  –A. W. Tozer


New Quilt

This is the quilt I’m currently working on.  It’s called a “New York Beauty,” and I’ve really enjoyed it.  The technique is called paper piecing; I’ve used it before and love the process.  This particular quilt pattern came originally from Karen Stone.  Mine has a long way to go, but I’ll show some of the progress here to give a sneak peek.  Don’t expect the finished work for weeks or months to come!  I’ll have quite a bit of hand sewing to do once I finish the blocks, as I’ve been quilting them along the way.  You can see several New York Beauty samples on pinterest here.