• retreat

    How was the first retreat?

    Many of you asked me this question, so here is my answer: We came from four cardinal directions and traveled many miles, but after that, we enjoyed the food, fellowship, and silence. Four moments that touched my heart: Walking in silence for one and a half hours in the middle of the plains. On our left, there were plains to the horizon. On the right, plains to the horizon. With every step, you leave the village and everything behind you and enter into this great emptiness. Wordless prayers appear and are fulfilled in a herd of deer watching us from the sidelines as God is watching over us from above—harmony with the…

  • retreat

    7 benefits of keeping a journal (+1 bonus)

    “I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” – Flannery O’Connor In an old box for boots do I keep them: my journals. Still have those pink booklets with a lock from the late eighties. They are lots of fun to read now, when our kids are at the age that I started. We have a good laugh about the stuff I was concerned about at the time. I started as a kid, continued as a teenager, stopped as a young adult, restarted again in my early twenties, and haven’t stopped since then. I write neither daily nor weekly. But, I know when I…

  • retreat

    The table is set

    “To dare is to lose your balance momentarily. Not to dare is to lose oneself.” – Soren Kierkegaard The test run is over. The dots are on the i. I can tell you that now I am looking back on a week with our teacher and the children to prepare for the final bits and pieces of the end-of-Lent silent retreat in Szentistvan. Jelle was planning to go to the Netherlands by plane with Femke to celebrate the 70th birthday of Pa Huisman. They flew from Budapest to the Netherlands. I brought them both to the airport at 02.15 am.(Szentistvan-Budapest). A midnight journey with frozen brakes, a heater what is not warming…

  • retreat

    Local food

    One of the nice things about hosting a retreat where we eat local food is that I can go wild in shopping at markets. That is the place to get all the local food that is available. Sadly plastic bags are still common here, but when I bring Judith along, the older grandma’s know it already: Judith refuses the plastic bags and gives her homemade bags, from rest material. It certainly gives a smile where ever we go. Enjoy the pictures:   Along with farmers and over markets. And sometimes its where they meet: This woman lives at a farm, where they produce lavender. She makes soap and other products. I…

  • retreat

    Desiring silence

    Profound silence is not something we fall into casually. This may indeed happen, and a blessed happening it is, but normally we choose to set aside a time and place to enter spiritual quietness. (Those who never do this, or shrink from it, run a very grave risk of remaining half-fulfilled as humans.) Craigie Aitchison’s View of Holy Island pares this choice down to its fundamental simplicities. Brown earth, blue sea, red sky, Holy Island a stony grey lit by glory. There is a small ship to take us across, if we choose to ride in it. There are no fudging elements here: all is clear-cut. This is not silence…