Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Berlin Churches

Sorry for not posting on Monday. Time just ran away from me. As promised, here are some pictures of St. Mary's and the Berliner Dom. I only picked a few so you could get a sense of what it's like inside. Basically the them is: View from the entry, interesting feature (pulpit for St. Mary's, the glasswork dome for the Berliner Dom.) and an organ. Because it's the order I visited them in, St. Mary's is first. 

Isn't this the most beautiful organ? 

As I hope you can see, everything about the Berliner Dom is huge. I couldn't help feeling a sense of awe as I stood there. And a sense of gratitude that I had bought a very good camera earlier that week. Without it, I would never have managed to take such good photos, because flashes aren't allowed in either church. 

Hope you enjoyed my pictures! 

Friday, February 22, 2013


Hey all! I finally finished editing the photos I took on my new camera.

I literally took hundreds of pics, so I didn't really know how to post some for you to view.

So... I decided to just show you some of Berlin's Highlights. In other words, places you should visit if you're in Berlin.

First, of course, would be to get a feel for where the Berlin Wall used to stand. This is one section surviving in what was supposed to be it's original form. Souvenir hunters steadily chipped away at it until it looks like this and a fence was put up. There's also a portion of the wall in another part of the city that serves as the world's largest open air art galleries. Sadly, though, I couldn't take a picture.

The famous check-point Charley. Definitely the one place I really regret not seeing more of. There's actually a museum and everything, but the tour bus didn't run long enough for me to come by again. 

St. Mary's Church. (With the hotel we stayed at in the background.) It's really beautiful inside and so serene. It also has one of the most beautiful organs I have ever seen. But although it's my mother's favorite church, now, mine would be this.

The Berliner Dom. It's a protestant cathedral. Beautiful on the outside, it's absolutely stunning inside. I'm thinking I'll do pics of inside for Monday, maybe? Along with St. Mary's. But to give you a taster, this is what the top of the dome looks like from inside:

Beautiful, isn't it? The whole church is filled with imagery and symbolism. Gold work and stained glass. I took about a quarter of my photos in there. 

The Reichstag. Another place I really wish I could have seen more of. You can actually go into the glass dome on the roof. We want to Charlottenburg Palace instead. Now that, I don't regret for a moment. 

The best part for the trigger happy photographer in me, though, was this: 

In case you're wondering, the photo is of a monument to the reunification of Berlin. 

Snow on Alexanderplatz, just as I'm leaving the hotel for the underground station. BTW, Alexanderplatz is a shopper's dream. 

Okay I'm stopping here for today, so the post doesn't run on forever. Who wants to see more pics, though? 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Tests and Blessings

Hey all! Before I start with today's post, I just want to let you know that I'm almost done with editing my Berlin pictures, so I should have them posted by Friday.

Also, I just want to state out of respect for my non-believing readers that this will be a faith centered post.

A conversation I had with a Christian lady in an Italian restaurant in Berlin (go figure) actually put my thoughts onto this topic.

For some reason, conversation had just turned to God and obedience to him. She said that she sometimes struggles with being obedient, especially when God seems to be rather obscure or even difficult in what He wants her to do.

And you know, I think she's far from being the only one. Hell, I think every man and woman of God in the history of mankind struggled with this. I mean, just off the top of my head, I think of Abraham and Job. Or even Noah.

Abraham, after receiving his promised child late in his life, was told by God to go sacrifice him. Job was a famous man of God who fell from the highest heights of God's blessing his life to nothing. He was put through test after test with no end in sight.

Noah was told to build a ship. Easy, right? Nope. From what I understand, no one in his time even knew what rain was. And he was building a ship in the middle of nowhere because God told him to.

So yeah... those examples always makes me feel a bit humbled. God tends to be a lot less extreme in what he wants me to do. (I.E. Writing this post, for example, but that's another story.)

Anyway. The answer I had for the lady must have come straight from God, so I want to share it with you too.

Tests make blessings possible.

If Abraham had put Isaac his son before God's will, God would never have made Abraham the father of a nation. 

The moment Job broke through the doubts and self-pity prevailing because of being tested, and prayed for other people's blessings instead, an amazing thing happened. Not only did the tests stop, but God blessed him even more than he had been blessed to start with. 

And Noah... I doubt he could swim for the duration of the flood and the time until the water dried away again. So because of his obedience, he saved not only himself, but his family as well. 

I know that sometimes we have NO idea why God lets difficult/terrible things happen to us. Or why He wants us to do something random or obscure or weird. But He ALWAYS has a reason. 

And more often than not, these tests are a chance for Him to bless you and/or those you love. 

Have you ever thought back to a difficult time in your life that you came through, and saw the blessings that came from that time? You'd be surprised, I think. 

Anyone want to share a testimony? Or facing a difficult test and needing a prayer from your brothers and sisters in God? 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Life Decisions

Since this is the biggest piece of news I have at the moment, I decided I'll share some decisions I've made about my life.

Nothing about my dreams and hopes for my future has changed, however, there are some things I want to change about the present.

How I came to this decision is actually really weird, but hey, maybe there's something useful in it for you.

When I went to Berlin, I was almost immediately assailed by a terrible bout of hay fever caused by the heating systems. By terrible, I mean terrible. Constant sniffing, teary eyes, generally feeling miserable. Best of all, the medication I took in an attempt to control the reaction made it feel like the floor swayed under me. (Sadly, no euphoria accompanied it. ;-) )

Fortunately, my entire reason for being in the city was a huge conference of fresh produce exporters and producers and the related industries. For those (I.E. most of you) who don't know, I'm an exporter and sourcing agent by day. So it happened that my mom had a meeting with a business and she didn't want me to sit in. It left me stuck waiting around for her. Being utterly bored, I started munching on the samples of pineapples that this company sells.

And the allergies went away. Not completely, but definitely to a degree where I could handle them.

I spent the rest of the week eating pineapple and it made things a lot more bearable, although I'm sad to say my discovery came a tad late. (That's another story, though.)

It got me thinking, though. If a simple thing as eating pineapple can make such a huge difference to my life, imagine what significantly reducing refined carbs and sugars could do. Or making sure I drink enough water. Or not eating as much fat and adding more vegetables to my diet.

The implications could be staggering.

So now I'm making a concerted effort to change the way I eat. The plan is for me to eat almost completely differently by next year, but I'm going slow, gradually changing so it's not too much to handle. Right now, I'm drinking more water and cutting back on bread and sugar. Next month, I want to experiment with healthier meals.

Hopefully, the change will make a great improvement on my life.

Anyone else try to overhaul your diet? How did it go? Any tips?

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Back from Berlin

Hey all!

I'm back in South Africa.

Had an awesome time in Berlin, but I have to say it's nice to be home. At the same time, I really miss the city. There's something really special about it to me.

Maybe that's why I have 468 photos on my camera. I'm just making them nice, then I'll start posting some pics for you all to see.

For now, though, I have tons of blogs to catch up on, so I'll do a more substantial post on Friday. The pics will hopefully go up next week.

Have a great day!

What's your record amount of photos taken on a trip?