I am thankful for loneliness.

I am thankful that when I am lonely, it is only because I have known such love and unforgettable moments with people I love and who love me. 

In the moments that I feel like I cannot possibly stand to be alone any longer, I am learning to trust and cling to the One who will never leave. I am learning that in these moments, I become stronger because I seek to understand and spend time with the only one who can fill my empty places. I am learning that I cannot rely on other people for happiness and contentment. God so wants us to spend time and get to know Him, because no matter where (in the world!) we might be, He is right there. I am realizing that when I relax and trust that I am exactly where I am meant to be, there is a peace that is overwhelming. He will never let anything that is for us, pass us by. He will never forsake me in my weakness(es), of which I have many. 

I am thankful that when I might feel lonely, I am NEVER alone.


Cultivating Thankfulness

It's been a while since I've felt compelled to blog. I haven't felt like I had much to say, but I love blogging. It's a good way for me to get my thoughts out, and maybe help anyone else who can relate to my life experiences.

Today though, I began reading a devotional book by Ann Voskamp. I have not yet read her book 'One Thousand Gifts,' but I imagine that will soon change. The idea of 'One Thousand Gifts' is to cultivate thankfulness in all things. I don't believe you have to be a religious person to do this. I do believe, but I think all of us could benefit for being thankful for what we do have.

So, starting today, I am practicing thankfulness and I pray it changes my heart and my life for the better.


Where I've Stood.

It's been a while, but I know those of you who actually read this thing are still here. ;)

Today, I absolutely need an outlet to get some thoughts out and I feel redundant posting things on Facebook and obviously, my need to get thoughts out and just be heard sometimes is part of the reason I ever even started blogging. Granted, I am not a serious or consistent blogger. It is what it is.

So, J and I have been in Germany for two years this upcoming July. Living here has been such a wonderful and healing experience for me. 2011 was a really tough year, which I have touched on just a little and those of you closest to me are aware of some of the details of that and why. J and I were separated by many miles. He completed a tour in Korea and I moved back to Texas. The year was largely wonderful and I was doing well and working again. J was staying busy with his job there and made a couple of pretty great friends, or at least one. :) When J came back from Korea for his mid-tour, I was okay and we were halfway done and hoping for an overseas PCS (Permanent Change of Station, or our next base.) Anyway, a couple of days before Jason flew out to California for a month long training, before returning to Korea, I woke up with a panic/anxiety attack, much like the ones I had for months after my Dad passed away. Knowing my past history with depression and how it manifests in me, I knew it was not good and it was going to be hard to pull myself out of. So, the night before J left for California, I made the decision to fly (AND, I don't fly!) and go to California as well. I hope we are able to get back one day, because I didn't fully get to enjoy the experience because of everything I was dealing with mentally. 

I am so blessed to have a husband who has stood beside me when he didn't understand what was going on with me and couldn't comprehend what was going on with me, but still held me and loved me and encouraged me and hoped when I couldn't, that someday, I would be ME again. He hoped when I had no hope left. I cried, I prayed, I tried my hardest to pull myself out of the pit I was in, but I didn't do it alone. I have questioned sovereignty, but I know in my heart of hearts, I am where I am today because God, in his grace, allowed me to become a fighter and the fighting changed my heart. Knowing where I have stood, I now try to extend grace to others, because I know how easy it is to put on a fake smile or cover hurts by spewing hatefulness about others to try to fill the holes in my own heart. I am not perfect and my mouth often moves faster than my head and heart, but I try. I do try. I can only hope and pray that people see the whole picture of who I am and not just those times when I don't think when I speak or when out of frustration or an off day, I say something less than kind. I want to be love. I want to be grace. I want to be forgiveness, in a world that has little to give. 

Sometimes, when I am happiest, I am also most sad. It's strange how those feelings surface and when. But when I think of those days when I never thought anything would make me happy again, I'll absolutely take the good with the bad. Sometimes the anxiety sneaks in. The insecurities that I'm not good enough or that people don't truly like or love me. Sometimes I push people away because I feel like eventually, they will decide I am not worthy. But, I am learning that with all my flaws, we are all worthy of being loved and finding love. 

Living in Germany has changed me for the good. Currently, I am trying to convince my current home to speed up the winter and let spring come on in, but it's mostly good. ;) I still wake up and often cannot believe that this is my life. 

I have recently joined a group that I always vowed to never join, because of the stereotypes I believed (and shouldn't have..) I have met some of the most wonderful people, who give so much to the community and to each other. After having unfortunate ends to friendships with people who didn't know how to give anything good to anyone after being here only a short time, it is nice to be among people who care and give so much. Knowing them is making me a better person. 

I am kind of rambling at this point, but I'm sure I'll be back soon, or maybe not. You never do know. ;)

Just know that you are worthy of love, kindness, respect and grace. And, you are also strong enough to give it. 


BARCELONA, Spain: Churros con Chocolate, Take One.

Last week, Jason and I were able to spend the end of last year and the beginning of this one in Barcelona, Spain. We started talking about taking a trip to Barcelona a few months ago and to be honest, I wasn't sure we would be able to make this one happen. Barcelona is quite a drive (I don't LIKE to fly. If you don't believe me, please reference my posts on how I traveled to Germany. :)) We also had several trips already planned close to this one and we originally wanted to go for Carnivale. Everything worked out for us to go celebrate 2013 there instead, so away we went! If I have learned anything with this life of ours, it is not to put off anything! 

Spain has always been a dream of mine. My Dad's family is Spanish and although I didn't grow up with any of that part of his heritage (neither did he..), I am still proud that that is part of me. In high school, I even proposed the idea of going to Spain as an exchange student, which did not go over well with my parents, at all.

Barcelona is so bright and open and friendly! I don't know if all Spanish cities are the same (I would be willing to visit a few more, to be sure. ;)) It was wonderful to speak the native language of the country you are in, for a change. Not that I don't try to speak German, I just have a nice foundation in Spanish. The food was amazing! The art--BOLD & BRIGHT! Those of you who know me, know how happy that made me!

These are a few shots on our first day in the city. Of course, on the top of my agenda (& by default, Jason's as well :)) was churros con chocolate. The Spanish do it right, y'all! Thick chocolate, almost like pudding in most places, with fried dough sprinkled with sugar to dip in it. Come on, does it get any better? Not for this girl! I am only slightly ashamed to say that there was no moderation in eating habits on this trip! I guess I felt like I was living my dream and I didn't want to feel like I didn't live it up! So, aside from the lovely, locally made jewels and pretties I brought back, I also brought about 4 pounds, too. ;) Stay tuned to see just how many churros my little sweet tooth can handle. 


Kaiserslautern Weihnachtsmarkt, 2012.

A few weekends ago, we enjoyed a lovely Sunday at the Kaiserslautern Weihnachtsmarkt with friends. The market there isn't large, but we have enjoyed it two years in a row now and we quite like it. I think the snow made for lovely photos! We may not have had a white Christmas on Christmas, but we got to enjoy snow leading up to Christmas, so that was very nice. 

J and I are currently finalizing plans and an agenda for our trip to Barcelona to ring in the 2013! I am so excited. This is definitely a dream come true, to be able to visit Spain. I can honestly say that the last year and a half has allowed me to do and see things I never imagined would ever be attainable and I am so, so thankful. 

I hope you all have a safe and happy 2013 and that your best years are to come!


A Little Fall Decor

I LOVE fall! Fall in Germany brings cooler weather, gorgeous color, & fall festivals. J and I went to a couple of fall festivals, one of which was in our little village. We found some little gourds and little Chinese lanterns, as well. We have displayed those on one of our living room tables, along with our New York books and Empire State Building miniature. 

I also put to use a wine box that we have been trying to figure out how to use. I had stacks and stacks of magazines, creating clutter. I dislike clutter, so I have been slowly ridding and finding new ways of displaying or having things easily accessible. So, now the wine box resides on the rug beneath our tables in the living room with all my fall magazines filling it up.

We also have our fall Yankee Candles out and we have been burning those up a storm! We are burning Farmer's Market in the foyer and Spiced Pumpkin in the living room. Mmmm! 

//one: my new magazine container //two: gourds as decor that we picked up at our village fall festival //three: a stein from burg eltz filled with autumn colored flowers //four: gourds //five: a sweet little boyd's bear from friends //six: foyer fall decor


A (Small) Kitchen Mishap..

Man, oh man. Some days it just feels like nothing is going right.

Case in point: I decide to make a recipe from Raw Energy, a recipe book I picked up at the library yesterday. My recipe called for walnuts, coconut, honey, sea salt and vanilla. Easy enough. Or so I thought..

I put all my ingredients in our food processor (which we never use and I remember why, every time I try again..), fought with the honey; as always, it never wants to come out of the measuring cup easily. Then bits of food started flying out of the side of the processor, which obviously isn't supposed to happen. I got one good pulse out of the processor and it was done. Apparently, it is on strike, likely from lack of use. 

So, then, I figure I will try the blender. I scrap my messy-mess out of the food processor and plop it in the blender. I turn on the blender, which proceeds to get stuck, because there is not enough liquid in my recipe for it to work out so well in the blender. So, I pulse and scrape the sides. Repeat a good ten times. No bueno. It did not work. 

So, I say, fine, I will just put it in a bowl and hand mix it as best as I can. After fighting with the ingredients that are now stuck in the bottom of the blender, I realize my bowl is too small and I make a big mess trying to mix and roll this mess into balls, which then, fall apart. I managed to get some of them to stay together and put them into a plastic container bound for the (tiny German) refrigerator and go to put its lid on. Wouldn't you know, I picked the one container for which we do not have a lid. Perfect. Plastic wrap it is. Only, my plastic wrap kind of stinks and it gets stuck together and somewhere in there, I began yelling and throwing the plastic wrap. Eventually, I managed to get a large enough square to cover my container, cleaned my (multiple) messes, put the balls in the refrigerator and washed my loads of dirty dishes in my (tiny German) sink. 

Woo. Glad I'm done with that little project. ;) I wish I could say this doesn't happen often, but it does, ALL THE TIME. I have been off my game in the kitchen since moving to Germany. Odd. Well, I'm nothing if not persistent. Off I go, back into the kitchen..