March 8, 2013

The Road to Ancient Lands…

Category: News — admin @ 6:53 pm

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Time passing as men pass who never will come back again…
And leaving us…with only this – Knowing that this earth,
this time, this life are stranger than a dream…

—Thomas Wolfe
_______________

The email popped in one day last summer, sometime in early July. From a reader. Which was not at all unusual, and still isn’t. I’ve heard from people from a lot of different places. Mostly from this country, of course. But also from far places like China, Japan, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Australia, Mexico, and several European countries. From people who downloaded my book on the internet, and wrote to tell me about it. This message was a little different, though. It was a bit longer than most. And, more startlingly, it was from a professor in Germany.

Her name was Dr. Sabrina Völz, and she taught at Leuphana Universität in Lüneburg, way up north. She had read the book and was touched by my story, she wrote. And she was intrigued by the literary aspect of it. She told me a bit about herself. She teaches English and North American Studies, teaching those who will teach English. And she went on. In her academic research, she focused on ethnic literature and culture in North America, and the American short story.

Wow, I thought. Now that’s a small world, right there. A professor in Germany read my book. A professor. And she wrote to tell me. How cool is that? She wasn’t done there, though. The email went on.

She’d like to interview me, she wrote, if I’d be willing. Either by email or in person. She was traveling to New York City in August with her husband and children. Would it be possible to meet to talk, if she came to Lancaster County? She didn’t want to infringe, but she really would like to use the interview to teach a seminar there at the University. And maybe write an article to be published, too. What did I think? Would it be possible to meet?

Well, yeah, I thought. Sure it’s possible. It’s remarkable, too. An email from a professor in Germany who had read my book. And she wanted to interview me. Of course I would. I get two or three interview requests a month, mostly from students writing research papers. From grade school to post-graduate level. Mostly the interviews are done by email, although once in a while I’ll give someone half an hour of my time of an evening on the phone. I have never turned anyone down. I’m not out there looking to get interviewed but if you have a legitimate reason to ask, I’m always honored. And I’m not just saying that. I really am. But Dr. Völz wasn’t quite done, yet. The email went on.

I read on your blog where you travel some to give book talks, she wrote. It would be great if you’d consider coming to Germany. I could easily get you booked at my University and a few others in the surrounding area. I don’t know if you’ll travel that far, though. And I thought to myself. Germany? Travel to Germany? Fat chance I’ll ever do that. It would be wild, though. But I’m sure the cost would be way out there prohibitive. Plus, I’d have to take time off work. And that’s what I told her in my response. Sure, I’ll talk to you when you’re traveling through. I’d be honored. I have some Amish friends I could introduce you to, if they’re home that day, that is. I’ll find out. But traveling over to talk at your University? That’s a little far-fetched. I’m pretty happy right here where I am.

We emailed back and forth a few more times. From the start, she insisted that I call her Sabrina, not Dr. Völz, as I had addressed the first message. OK, if you insist, I said. I’m always hesitant to do that, to not recognize a degree someone has worked hard for. And one Saturday afternoon in late August, we met at The Back Page, a nice little pub in Leola. I got there first and waited by my truck. And soon enough, a little mini van pulled in and parked. A tall man unwound himself from the driver’s side. Sabrina got out of the passenger’s side and walked up to me, smiling. We shook hands and she introduced me to her husband, Hans-Jürgen and their two school-aged children, Maximilian and Emily. After chatting a few minutes and posing for a pic, Sabrina and I walked into the pub while her husband and children left to cruise the area for an hour or so and see some sights.


With Dr. Sabrina Völz.

We got along quite well from the first moment. Just chatted along. She asked about the book, how it came to be. And I told her. My blog brought it to me. After a bit, she set up her little recorder on the table, and off we went, for the official interview. Which used to make me a little skittish, early on, having a recorder sitting there latching onto your every word. But it doesn’t anymore. You have to relax and be yourself. Speak what you know, what you believe, what’s in your heart. Sure, you might stumble and say something that doesn’t come out right. But if you do, you can correct yourself. That’ll be recorded too, I figure.

In about an hour, we were done. Sabrina handed me her hard copy of the book and I signed it. She had a real hard copy, not the electronic version. I was surprised and pleased, not that there’s anything wrong with any version. But still, a real book is a real book, I’ve always felt. Something that you can take and hold in your hands. I like that. And we chatted again for a few minutes.

“You know,” she said. “I wasn’t kidding when I asked if you would come to speak at the University. I think I could get the funding to bring you over. But you didn’t seem that interested. Would you consider it, if I can get you over there?”

And I laughed. Look, I said. I’m very content where I am. But if you get funding for the trip, of course I would come. I’d be stupid not to. I just would never expect such a thing. I mean, what chance is there of that happening? But I’ll come. Oh, yeah, I’ll come. I’ve never been to Europe. Never. If you get it done, get me over there to talk about my book at a few Universities, I could even boast that I’m an international lecturer. That’s a joke, that last thing I said, there.

She laughed, too. “You might be surprised,” she said. “I’ve done it before, brought an author over to speak. And your story is unique enough that I think it might work. I’m going to try when I get back home. I’ll start filling out the applications. I actually think there’s a pretty good chance. I’ll keep you updated.”

That’s great, I said. I really appreciate your confidence, and that you think my book is worth all that effort. But I won’t look for anything until I see it coming.

Her family had returned, and they all followed me the few miles to the home of my Amish friends. I had asked them, a few weeks before. Would you like to meet some folks from Germany? They’ll be here, and I know they’d sure love to meet some real Amish people. I’d love to bring them over. And my friends said what they usually say to my off-the-wall requests. Bring them on. We’ll make coffee.

We arrived, and were genuinely welcomed, as I knew we’d be. My friends invited us into their home, and we sat around the kitchen table, talking and drinking coffee and lemonade and eating pretzels and cheese and cookies. I had planned on staying only a few minutes, but we all got along so well that before we knew it, more than an hour had passed. Sabrina and her family told us what it was like, to live in northern Germany. The customs, how things went, the cost of a house. And my friends told them how it was to live as Amish in Lancaster County. You can’t get all that much said in a little over an hour. But we made the most of the time we had. And we all enjoyed the company of each other.


The Völz family at the table of my Amish friends.
Sabrina is signing the guest book.

They left then, heading out to their next stop. And I thought back to that day more than a few times, how cool it was, to have someone like Sabrina and her family show up to meet me and my friends. And sure enough, a week or three later, here comes another email.

Thanks for your hospitality, she wrote. We all enjoyed meeting your friends very much. And thanks for interviewing with me. Now, here’s the info I’ll need to fill out that application. Full name, address, and so forth. I sent her what she asked for. And life just went on, as it does. I stayed busy living it.

A week or two later, she emailed that she had submitted the application. Keep your fingers crossed. I’m hopeful, she wrote. Yes, yes, I wrote back. It would be hugely exciting, but don’t worry if it doesn’t work out. I expect nothing. And there’s where things rested for a while.

And then, right at two months ago in early January, here comes another email. A very happy one. She got the funding, Sabrina wrote. It came through. The trip was on. All expenses paid. A place to stay. And three book talks at three different places, plus a stipend for each talk, yet. I had half believed her earlier, when she told me she had a good shot at getting it through. But still, there’s nothing like seeing it right in front of you on your computer screen.

And I just sat there at my desk at work and stared at her message. She had really done it. I was going to Germany. I have never been to Europe. Never. Which probably makes me a hick to some people. But it was never that high on my bucket list. Sure, I always figured it would all work out someday, somehow, that I’d get there. But I’d never fretted much about it, exactly how it would happen. It was just one of those things you know. And now the book was taking me. It took a bit, to absorb the enormity of all that.

I never bother my friends in the publishing world much. Never have, never will. Those people live in a world so far removed from mine that sometimes I think it’s another planet (a good planet, just not the one I’m on). But that day, I wrote a little note and sent it to my agent and a couple of my good friends at Tyndale. Hey, I want to share this joy with you. Look what’s happening. The book’s taking me to Germany. I’m speaking at a University. In Germany. I’ve never even been to Europe. Now the book’s taking me. How wild is that? And they all wrote back. It’s quite wild indeed. Congratulations.

I had another thing on my mind, though, and wrote back to Sabrina. Thanks very much. This is unbelievable. Now, let me ask this. Would it be possible to get my return ticket a week later than my stay in Germany? I’d like to travel on over to Switzerland on my own, to check out the areas my Anabaptist ancestors came from. Sabrina answered immediately. No, that should not be a problem.

And we worked out the schedule. I’ll be leaving in early May, returning in mid May. The first week, I will be with Sabrina and her family and colleagues. I’ll be speaking at the University and a few other locations. I think I’m speaking in a couple of classes Sabrina teaches. And maybe at a high school. I’m not exactly sure of the schedule at this point. Whatever is lined up for me will be fine. And right now, I’m not nervous about any of it, because I haven’t thought about it much. I will, though, as the time gets closer. Things like, how do you address a group whose primary language is not English? I think most people at the University speak and understand English. Should I speak slower? And I wonder if anyone over there would understand my PA Dutch.

The next weekend, I’ll take the train to Switzerland. I haven’t really figured out where all I’ll be going, yet. Definitely I want to see some sites that are historically significant to the Amish and Mennonites, like where Felix Manz was drowned. And maybe some castles with dudgeons. I want to check it all out, so see the spots where all that terrifying stuff happened that I saw and read in the Martyr’s Mirror as a child. I want to walk where my forefathers walked, hundreds of years ago. And I want to see the ground on which they stood when the state condemned and murdered them.

I’ve been around long enough to know that nothing happens until it happens. Despite all the best laid plans, tomorrow is promised no one. I always try to keep in mind, as something big like this approaches, that something could go wrong. It just could. Mom could leave us the day I’m scheduled to fly over. It could be anything. But last week, Sabrina sent my eTicket, so we’re that far along. That’s when I figured it’s safe to write the story here on my blog. The story of how it all came down so far.

And yeah, I’m flying. Got no other option. The TSA goons are gonna get their paws on me. I’ll have to grit my teeth and take it. When it comes to flying, I’ve always had an exception for funerals, emergencies, or something really big. I figure this is something really big.

I still haven’t fully absorbed it all, that this trip is really happening. I won’t, until the day gets a lot closer. A week out, I’ll start freaking for real. This is uncharted terrain for me, a huge adventure. And yes, it is just flat out wild, the whole thing. Another wild strange stop on a wild and strange and beautiful road.

And I look at it all and wonder. What were the chances that a person in Germany would pick up my book and read it, a person like Dr. Sabrina Völz, who had the clout and the connections to do what she did to get me over there? I’d say they were extremely remote, if you look at random chance alone. Maybe it was more than that. I don’t know.

I am proud of the book, proud of the accomplishment of actually getting it written and having it published. I’m proud of all it has been and all the good things that have flowed from it. But still, I am who I am. A guy just walking along, trying to describe as best I can the world around me and the things I have seen and lived. And all I know is that I walk forward into this journey as I’ve tried to walk, these past few years. With joy and with thanksgiving, but mostly with a grateful heart. That’s the one thing that’s kept my head half straight, this last while. Simple gratitude to God for the host of astonishing blessings He has poured into my life. And continues to.

One of these days, this little ride that is the book will end. I’ll look around, a bit startled, probably. Where am I? What just happened? I might have to pinch myself to make sure it wasn’t all one long, beautiful dream. And then I’ll get off and go right back to being who I was before. Just with a little more world experience.

It’s been quite a ride. Maybe someday I’ll have to do it all over again.

**********************************************************

There’s a little issue I’ve been wanting to throw out there for a while, but just never got done. I mentioned a few blogs back that the half-millionth hit was coming right up. It came a little over a week later. A shining and proud moment. I snapped a pic of the screen with the number. 500,000 even. I never wrote for the numbers, but that was a very cool milestone for me.

Anyway, in the past couple of years, I have gotten a half dozen or so random emails from advertising companies. Hey, they say. We notice you’re getting some nice traffic on your blog. Would you consider running some ads? We’d love to sign you up. I always ignored those messages. It just didn’t seem important.

But lately, some of my geeky friends have told me the same thing. Why not run some banner ads, there on the left side of the screen? Or both sides? It’s completely empty space. People are used to seeing ads when they read online. You could make a few bucks. And I told them. I don’t know. It’s never been important to me. All I want is a place to write my stuff. I suppose it’s not a big deal, one way or the other. But I still couldn’t quite bring myself to give anyone the go-ahead.

It all boils down to this, money wise. I suppose I’d earn a few dollars a month. Enough, maybe, for food and beer and drinks for my garage party every summer. Those are very important things. But they won’t break the bank, either way. Nice money to have. Won’t miss it much if I don’t.

And I thought, I’ll just ask my readers. This is where I’m writing for now, and will be for a while. Would you mind if I ran ads along the left side of the blog? Or both sides? Yes? No? Why? Why not? Give me some feedback. I’m not saying I’ll keep a tally of votes and go with that, or anything. But I’ll sure take into consideration what you have to say.

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(53 Comments) »

  1. Wow. Congratulations, Ira.

    Ads? No difference to me. I never respond to any of them.

    Comment by Ben Glick — March 8, 2013 @ 7:16 pm

  2. hmmm…. Ads, eh? Well, part of the magic of this blog is the clean, uncluttered experience. ‘Course, I would probably read it anyway.

    Comment by jason yutzy — March 8, 2013 @ 7:19 pm

  3. GOD works in mysterious ways!

    Comment by Wayne Swisher — March 8, 2013 @ 7:51 pm

  4. Hi Mr. Wagler,

    I was delighted to hear that you are going to Germany to talk about your book. I am sure that all will go good for I believe that God opened that door for you and He will be with you to see it through.

    As to the ads, I say go for it. I don’t mind as long as they don’t pop up and hide your blog.

    God Bless you as you serve Jesus Christ.

    Linda

    Comment by Linda Morris — March 8, 2013 @ 8:05 pm

  5. It wouldn’t be offensive to me; I don’t think ads would be a bad thing. It would be nice if you could earn a bit of money with your blog.:-)
    You will LOVE Germany & Switzerland! Enjoy!!

    Comment by Amy — March 8, 2013 @ 8:08 pm

  6. Run some ads for every time I click on them, you will get credit that will add up… Can’t wait to hear about your trip to Europe.

    Comment by Katie Troyer — March 8, 2013 @ 8:30 pm

  7. I’ll continue to enjoy reading your blog, ads or not.

    I read your book months ago, and look forward to your blog now. Your book was one that I could not put down until I finished it.

    Enjoy your trip to Germany and Switzerland. Hope to read all about it when you return.

    Comment by Linda — March 8, 2013 @ 8:44 pm

  8. It’s a long way from being an Amish guy to advance to speaking at a German university. Family should be so proud of you. If that is too much to expect, I will be proud in their place. Take lots of pictures to share later.

    Ads? I’m fine with the idea.

    Comment by Eli Stutzman — March 8, 2013 @ 9:13 pm

  9. What a wonderful opportunity to travel abroad! Enjoy.

    As far as ads go, I have no problem as long as they don’t pop-up in the blog area.

    Comment by Marge Nistler — March 8, 2013 @ 9:20 pm

  10. Enjoy your experience of traveling, speaking in Germany and touring Switzerland. You only live once and this will be an adventure. Just remember to send back lots of pictures to your family and friends back home. Write while you travel, who knows it may be a book in the making. The Travels of an American Author. :)

    Comment by Carol Ellmore — March 8, 2013 @ 9:25 pm

  11. I wouldn’t like ads, but I would still read your blog.

    I do like Germany and especially the Switzerland side trip. That seems like a really special treat! I look forward to hearing about it in a future blog!

    Comment by Beth — March 8, 2013 @ 9:33 pm

  12. So happy for you!
    Run the ads.

    Comment by Rhonda — March 8, 2013 @ 9:37 pm

  13. I most definitely think you should be compensated for your work (that’s why I bought a copy of your book for each of my children). With that said, I do find that the ads detract from the reading experience and they do put me off on other websites I visit.

    However, you have a loyal reader in me and I will continue to visit your blog no matter what decision you make. I understand that ads are a necessary component of “free” internet access.

    I am glad your book opened up the Germany opportunity for you. Can’t wait to read about your adventures!

    Comment by Susan M — March 8, 2013 @ 9:44 pm

  14. Don’t forget to blog about your trip to Germany. And Switzerland. (Now look what you’ve done. I’m writing in incomplete sentences!)

    Advertise? Great idea! How much will it cost me to run an ad in your margin? I think your blog would be the perfect place for me to advertise a Dutch CD!

    And… Great blog. But I repeat myself. They’re all good. And don’t forget to get in touch with Leroy Beachy here in Berlin to find out what to look for in Switzerland (and Germany).

    Comment by John Schmid — March 8, 2013 @ 9:46 pm

  15. Your writing is always enjoyable and draws one into the depth of where you are. It is a good thing.

    I was a certified Amish tour guide in Lancaster County. I had numbers of families from Germany on my tours. There were only a limited few that could converse in the PA Dutch Dialect. Some came from a region of Germany bordering France, they could understand. I also had a couple from Holland. The wife was from Germany, strangely they could understand the Dutch dialect.

    Comment by Mike S — March 8, 2013 @ 10:40 pm

  16. Hi Ira!

    I enjoy reading your blogs. Thank you for sharing. I am excited for you being able to travel to Europe. I have never been to Europe so am looking forward to your descriptions of your newest adventure.

    Blessings to you.

    Comment by Martha Staton — March 8, 2013 @ 11:13 pm

  17. Congratulations, Ira! I think it is wonderful you have the opportunity to go to Germany and then to be able to go to Switzerland, too. Wow! It wasn’t a coincidence that Dr. Sabrina Völz read your book nor all that’s happened afterward, it happened for a reason and it appears you may find out what that reason is.

    Personally, I like your blog just the way it is, nice and clean with no clutter. But, I guess the money would be nice and who am I to tell you how to conduct your finances.

    Good Luck on your trip and I can’t wait to read all about it on your blog.

    Comment by Doris H — March 9, 2013 @ 12:01 am

  18. Ads are fine. Why don’t you choose the ads that complement your words. Like Lehmans? I wold not let just anyone put an ad.

    Thanks for sharing your heart!

    Comment by Kathy Dean — March 9, 2013 @ 12:07 am

  19. Mr. Wagler, I found your blog last yr and have been reading it ever since. I am very happy to hear you will be going to Germany. This will be a wonderful experience for you I am sure. If this will be in northern Germany the chances that the people will understand the PA Dutch will not be so great. PAD is a german dialect still spoken in southern Germany close to the border of the Elsace. There are mennonites who live in the Kaiserslauten area and they understand the PAD.

    I am an american mennonite and I live in the Netherlands and I have to use english as the communicating language when visiting Germany and I try to speak clearly and not fast. People are very friendly and very interested in things and I am sure you will have an interesting time.

    Zurich, Switzerland is a wonderful city to visit and there you can see where Felix Manze was drowned and there is now a small plaque commemorating this. Find out before hand where the Waglers came from in Switzerland and you can go see it. The little villages and small towns still look like they probably did when our ancestors still lived in Switzerland.

    I will keep checking your blog to see what you are up to.

    Greetings from mary maarsen

    Comment by mary maarsen — March 9, 2013 @ 5:25 am

  20. I am really glad that you decided to go on this trip. It will be a great experience. The Germans are fascinated by the Amish and their language. I know this because I have lived on and off in Germany and Luxembourg.

    I am originally from Lancaster County and my great grandparents were Amish. I am currently living in Luxembourg which is a little over 100 miles away from Zweibrücken, Germany where my ancestors, the first Stoltzfus, lived before he and his Amish wife emigrated to the US in the 1760’s. It is so interesting to see the differences and similarities in our cultures after several hundred years.

    I look forward to hearing about your experience and impressions. Gute Reise!

    Comment by Lynette Stoltzfus — March 9, 2013 @ 5:31 am

  21. Greetings Dr. Wagler!!!

    I still reflect with delight on your visit to our class reunion at Shady Maple last spring. I am also glad that my daughter (and perhaps others) suggested using a subscription request on your blog so we are notified when the next blog is available. Very helpful.

    It is exciting that you are going to Germany and Switzerland. Enjoy.

    I really appreciate reading your blogs. I would assume that the first ad you will accept if you decide to do so will be from Graber. I very rarely spend any time looking at ads on blogs so it does not make any difference to me either way.

    Keep on keeping on.

    Jim Eshelman
    Carlisle, PA

    Comment by Jim Eshelman — March 9, 2013 @ 8:47 am

  22. What a great opportunity for you. I think it would be fun to throw some PA Dutch phrases out during your talks to see if anyone makes any sense of them.

    As for the ads, why not? Sometimes I get SO irritated at the way Corporate America markets at us 24/7, but you know what? After awhile, I don’t even hear the barker’s voice. I won’t pay the ads no never mind, but if you earn some $$, why not? If you don’t want the money, you can always donate it to a worthy cause.

    Comment by cynthia r chase — March 9, 2013 @ 9:46 am

  23. Congratulations! I’m looking forward to reading about your trip. Ads? Not a problem. Blessings…

    Comment by Mark Oliver — March 9, 2013 @ 10:20 am

  24. “But still, a real book is a real book, I’ve always felt. Something that you can take and hold in your hands. I like that.” So do I…

    “And all I know is that I walk forward into this journey as I’ve tried to walk, these past few years. With joy and with thanksgiving, but mostly with a grateful heart. That’s the one thing that’s kept my head half straight, this last while. Simple gratitude to God for the host of astonishing blessings He has poured into my life. And continues to.”

    You have found the secret of living life successfully…being grateful. There is joy, peace and victory to be had when one lives a life of gratitude! God bless your travels :) (couldn’t resist at least one exclamation point..sorry)

    Comment by Eileen — March 9, 2013 @ 11:17 am

  25. How exciting about Germany. Can’t wait to hear more. Personally, I would rather not see the ads. I find them distracting and I want my focus to be on what I am reading.

    Thank you for asking our opinion on the ads. I appreciate it .

    Susan

    Comment by Susan Lance — March 9, 2013 @ 11:35 am

  26. Hello from Maine! Do the ads – the money will add up over the years – may as well take advantage. Most every site has them – Facebook, Fox News, Drudge – so go with the flow. Looking forward to hearing about your adventure.

    Comment by Debra Vida — March 9, 2013 @ 11:38 am

  27. Congratulations on your upcoming journey!

    As for the ads, I find your blog space just that…Ira Wagler’s space. It definately has a nice, clean, uncluttered appearance. Refreshingly plain & simple. However, if you have discovered that it may earn a little income without causing you a lot of headaches you have to do what you feel is best for you. I will still continue to read your words no matter what your decision is.

    Comment by Gutjahr68 — March 9, 2013 @ 12:45 pm

  28. I think it is a good idea to have advertising. Congratulations on the book tour also :)

    Comment by rachel — March 9, 2013 @ 12:46 pm

  29. Neat that your book is taking you to Germany. Enjoy your trip.
    i like your blog without Ads, but ads won’t keep me from reading it. if you choose to accept Ads, you may want to screen and/or only accept advertising that correlates with your blog.

    Comment by Rosanna — March 9, 2013 @ 4:50 pm

  30. One of my favorite things about shopping in Amish establishments is the lack of music piped through a sound system. It gives me a sense of peace. Same with your blog. It invites me to settle in with a mug of hot tea. I would be a little sad to have to devote the extra bit of attention to ignoring yet more internet busy-ness.

    Comment by Naomi — March 9, 2013 @ 10:59 pm

  31. Nah, keep the blog clean

    Comment by Jim — March 9, 2013 @ 11:27 pm

  32. I just got done reading your book for the first time. I enjoyed it immensely. I was born in Marshfield MO in 1977. When I was 3 1/2 yrs old we moved to Dixon MO which was a daughter settlement of Alymer Ontario. I really connected with the book because a lot of the people, places and events you wrote about I had heard a lot about as a young child but was mostly lost in the recesses of my memory. Your book brought many old memories to life and also connected some dots I had always wondered about.

    Comment by Jonas Yoder — March 10, 2013 @ 10:19 am

  33. I like your blog for its simplicity. It’s clean and uncluttered. I’m always distracted and irritated by blog ads; even ignoring them takes attention. Our world is already so disquieting!

    Comment by Rebecca — March 10, 2013 @ 9:01 pm

  34. I don’t care much about the ads as long as they are kept in their proper place and aren’t cluttering things up. But if you do think about making changes I can assure you that our eyes would thank you if you could do something other than white text on a red background.

    Comment by Rachel — March 10, 2013 @ 11:23 pm

  35. Congratulations on your upcoming trip to Germany. I will look forward to your blogs from the trip.

    Advertising, oh no, now we will see singles and dating ads, no? I think most of us overlook what doesn’t interest us and we move on. I read your blog on my feedreader so ads will make no difference to me. I only see the text you wrote.

    Comment by Lester Graber — March 11, 2013 @ 5:56 am

  36. Congratulations on your upcoming trip. Can’t wait to hear all about your experience in another country.

    Comment by Linda Nazelrod — March 11, 2013 @ 12:38 pm

  37. Ira,

    Insert the ads only if you can determine content. You may not be able to dictate every single ad but try for a content provider who appeals to your worldview.

    Comment by Mark Hersch — March 11, 2013 @ 2:25 pm

  38. I have adblock [free for us Mac users] so i never see an ad on ANY website. Don’t know if they have anything similer for windows or not. Just thought I’d throw it out there, because frankly I don’t ever recall logging on to the internet to look at ads.

    Comment by V. B. — March 11, 2013 @ 3:27 pm

  39. If you have a chance, read Jan Gleysteen’s book on traveling through Europe. He has a wealth of information that he shares from his 30+ years of taking tour groups through Germany, Switzerland, etc. His book was most helpful to Levi & I before we went to Switzerland. Also the language barrier should be a non issue as most Europeans speak several languages with English being one of them. Northern Europe is “Hoch Deutsch” and more difficult to hold a conversation in unless you speak their dialect. However, the southern region and the closer you get to France the more similar their dialect is to yours. The most incredible thing to me is the Swiss German. It is what our forefathers spoke and unlike German, it is not a written language. So this is what amazes me….. Our forefathers spoke this when they came to the USA hundreds of years ago and still speak it today. It has been passed on generation to generation. When we hosted our exchange student from Zurich six years ago, her and I could speak English, German (Hoch deutsch, which I learned in school), and Swiss German, which is the most similar to PAD. When her parents came, I could talk PAD and they understood it all! Kinda cool! Enjoy your trip.

    Comment by Joanna — March 12, 2013 @ 6:58 am

  40. That is fantastic! It would be fun to meet up with you over here but that won’t happen as I’ll be a long ways from Germ and Switz right then… but anyway- congrats! You will love it!

    Definitely try out a bit of your PA Dutch. There is a dialect down in the south that is somewhat similar (Schwebisch). I found they understood me but I had a harder time understanding them…but it put big smiles on everyone’s face to hear German dialect from an American!

    TSA- they don’t ‘paw’ everyone. In fact, I’ve had less yuck from them than some of the European airlines. So you might have a pleasant surprise there.

    As far as advertising- Do it if you want. I never pay any attention to any ad; I don’t look or click. So if you can make a few bucks that way- well great! :)

    Comment by ann — March 13, 2013 @ 12:03 pm

  41. Oh, Ira! How wonderful! Being sought out from a professor in Germany who’s going to flip the bill for you to take a trip to Europe. Such awesome news! And you sound so excited. I’m glad for you. You have fully received your blessing and are honoring God by simply being happy about it. Wow!

    Looking back on some of the things you wrote in this post, I was going to pick on you and say you should be the poster child for Murphy’s Law, but I won’t- even though I just did. Quit thinking things are going to flop!

    Now I’m going to play big sister-Is there any person, who wouldn’t drive you nuts, that you could ask to go with you? For moral support and for sharing the sights and sounds of Switzerland. Of course, this is just a suggestion, but I think a good one.

    Hubby and I were watching a PBS program about Shakespeare the other day. A line from King Lear jumped out of the tv and into my soul- “Speak what we feel, not what we ought to say.” I may have taken this out of context, but by gosh! it’s great advice. Look how far it’s gotten you.

    On a side note- I think the folks in Germany are the lucky ones. They get to meet, hear and talk to you. Many blessings to you.

    Comment by Francine — March 13, 2013 @ 5:38 pm

  42. Shoot! I knew I forgot something.
    I besiege you, I beg of you, I’m on my knees, hands clasped before my heart, please kind sir, no advertisements on this respectable blog. Too much clutter makes a girl shudder.

    Comment by Francine — March 13, 2013 @ 5:47 pm

  43. Congratulations on your upcoming trip! I dream of a time when I can have the time and money to take a tour through Europe for a few weeks.

    Ads? What Mark Hersch said.

    Comment by Ed Yoder — March 13, 2013 @ 10:21 pm

  44. Have a great time in Germany! Run the ads. We are so used to them we almost expect them to be there. I agree with an earlier post as long as they don’t block your post!!!! Keep up the writing. I truly look forward to them.

    Comment by Susan Sutton — March 14, 2013 @ 8:03 pm

  45. One of the things I enjoy about your blog is the absence of ads. I get to tired of the constant intrusiveness of advertisers.

    Comment by Karen G. — March 15, 2013 @ 9:47 pm

  46. Hello Mr. Wagler, I just finished your book and I really enjoyed it. Actually, I finished it in two days, I couldn’t put it down once I started! I live in central Ky. and we are surrounded by Amish and I have always wondered why they live the way they do.

    Comment by Benita — March 16, 2013 @ 12:26 am

  47. The trip to Germany and Switzerland will be an unforgettable experience for you to appreciate your heritage. I look forward to reading about it in your blog.
    Do the ads–they don’t bother me.

    Comment by Freeman — March 17, 2013 @ 11:10 pm

  48. Dr. Wagler,

    Congratulatory blessings for your well deserved, up coming European trip.

    Advertisements? Go for it, nothing wrong with good honest capitalism.

    Comment by e. s. gingerich — March 20, 2013 @ 1:03 pm

  49. Congratulations, Ira! Looking forward to reading all about your trip. I enjoyed seeing a mention of your parents in a recent Pathway magazine. About the ads; I completely ignore them, so as far as I’m concerned, go for it.

    Comment by Glenna — March 22, 2013 @ 9:47 am

  50. I’ve been reading your blog for about a year now since first reading your book, and I think it’s lovely that you are concerned about what your readers think regarding your ads. I think it would be great if you could make some additional income from your ads, and hope to continue reading your blog well into the future!

    Comment by Emily — March 24, 2013 @ 2:05 pm

  51. May is the perfect time to visit. We were there in April and ran into a good bit of chilly, wet weather. I’ll have to tell Atlee Miller that you’re following in his footsteps (speaking at european universities). Go with the ads. God bless.

    Comment by Marvin Miller — March 24, 2013 @ 6:41 pm

  52. Regarding ads, I wouldn’t mind if you have ads on your site. But make sure you can control what they put on there to a certain degree. If there are ads on a site that keep my kids from looking over my shoulder while I’m on the internet, then I wouldn’t want to visit your site as much. And if I see one more ad about getting rid of belly fat, I’ll scream! (Just kidding, sort of.) The other ones I mind are scantily clad people advertising “dating” sites, etc.
    I agree with those who say you might as well make a few bucks as long as you are writing.

    Comment by Ruth — March 25, 2013 @ 1:36 pm

  53. Congratulations, Ira. Have a great trip to Europe, and run the ads.

    Comment by Glywn — April 8, 2013 @ 1:11 am

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