every new beginning starts with some other beginning’s end

I’ve been trying to explain my feelings as of late to people in this way: It’s like I have one foot in America and one foot still in Germany. I’m trying to figure out how to live in the present. How to say goodbye well and make the most of my time here while also looking forward to the next adventure God has for me. Here’s some things that have been happening lately that are “the end” and demanding my attention here, and some things that are “the beginning” and exciting and making it very clear that God is preparing the way for another new beginning in the states:

The end:
-Today I went to T-Mobile to set my cell phone to be shut off January 15th
-Today was Bamberg Middle High School’s final football game EVER 😦
-The other day I packed several boxes to start mailing to the states
-My car has been sold for over a month now
-It is now officially cold. Summer and fall are gone, only one season left to experience for the last time. My iPhone says it is 37 degrees F at the time of writing this (in the middle of the night).
-I am planning my last trips to see other countries.
-I am getting ready to train my local hire to take over for the last few months
-Bamberg is closing fast and businesses are consolidating and it is sad and weird.
-My last Staff Conference is coming up in a couple of weeks where I will be goodbyed- looking forward to quality time with friends but not the emotional goodbye where everyone says nice things to you while you sit with everyone looking at you. Awkward!

The beginning:
-While we were packing my stuff, my best friend wrote an encouraging sticky note and put it on every single thing she bubble wrapped so that I would “not be so sad when unpacking” ❤ Also, she bought her ticket to the states for 2 months in February. What an awesome thing to look forward to- introducing my German best friend to the US for the first time!
-A donor recently gave $5,000 (yes you read that right) to help with my moving expenses!
-Skyping with a wonderful mentor in my life who does admin for YL Chattanooga and she suddenly exclaimed “Oh my gosh I didn’t realize you’d be coming to weekly Young Life staff meetings! Let’s have lunch every Tuesday after them at a different place in Chattanooga!” and both of us teared up at the thought of how good our God is!
-A friend I knew in Chattanooga and wished I’d had more time to get to know is moving back there soon and is going to try to look for a house we can be roommates in.
-I’ve had so many people stateside tell me how excited they are that I’ll be closer, including club kids and families from Bamberg.
-Witnessing God healing friends and friendships in the states recently.

I’m in a strange place in life, praying for contentment and motivation and trying to live in the moment and not in fear. Perfect love drives out fear- so for now I’m trying to stay close to the One who is with me through all of this and understands. I find myself spending a lot more time in solitude and prayer. Not a bad thing at all, and I think it’s what will carry me through this transition, as well as your prayers and encouragement! Thanks to you all for that, by the way. I am blessed.

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welcome home sky soldiers!

Nine months ago some of my closest friends here went to go fight in a war. Today we welcomed them home. After signing on my German friends (and one Irish friend visiting one of them) to the post, we arrived early, expecting it to start at 1500. False. Then we realized that most welcome home ceremonies end up being late, because we have to wait for the soldiers to get there from the airport. The ceremony didn’t start until two hours later. We were getting anxious! However, I can’t really explain to you what it was like to just sit there and people watch at something like this. Moms herded their children to a seat, some kids had made signs for their daddies, some were carrying balloons, and some were wearing t-shirts with their daddy’s photo on it. They handed out American flags and pins to the crowd, and even my German friends waved theirs proudly. I saw a couple of my high school kids there too, getting ready to welcome home their dads. It was an amazing sight and an amazing feeling as the anticipation and happiness in the air was contagious.

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My high school friend Tori and her family

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Setting up

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Kat, my new Irish friend, Salome, and Jess, having fun “being American”

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DSC_0020The German/American crew waiting patiently

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Suddenly and without warning, the curtain slowly went up, and the sight of over 100 combat boots standing in formation representing friends, daddies, mommies, husbands, and wives was enough to make me tear up and get goosebumps. As they stood right in front of us, they weren’t supposed to smile and we had to wait. It was torture! My friend Chaplain Martindale offered a prayer and the post Commander said a few words but dismissed us fast! I took a video- the whole ceremony was only about 3 minutes long (sorry for the blurryness):


It’s impossible not to be proud to be an American after that. And to enjoy the glorious reunions!

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DSC_0031Jonathan came bearing German gifts 🙂

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The Huisjen kids (whose missionary parents run the Hospitality House- a ministry to soldiers) missed Karl

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Monte and Brook

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He sets the lonely in families. Psalm 68:6

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Snapped this one as we were leaving- don’t know them but this was beautiful.

So grateful to God for bringing my friends home safe, and grateful for what they do for us. Being in the Army is hard in many ways, but these guys do it with an incredible reliance on God to get them through each day. So glad to have them back with us! The reason I think things like this strike at our emotional core is that we are relational people. We are not meant to be apart. This ceremony was a reminder to me of the beauty of the reunion we will have in heaven one day with everyone we love. The anticipation builds.

you know you’re stationed in germany when…

I stole this from an army wife’s blog, who also stole it from someone else (it’s been floating around the internet). Anyway, I had to steal it because every one of these I relate to and thought maybe this would be a little insight into my life these past 16 months! They are all so true.

In no particular order:

  • you can never get ice in your drink
  • if you tell the waiter you want water to drink, you’ll get the fizzy stuff
  • you see a van full of about eight men in overalls looking like they just finished painting or doing construction, go get ice cream or grocery shop together
  • you start blowing your electrical items
  • you can’t figure out how to flush the toilet
  • you go into the men’s restroom, thinking “Herren” means “women”
  • your neighbors threaten to call the Polizei on you because you’re doing yard work on a Sunday
  • you get a ticket for washing your car on a Sunday
  • you’re doing 100 mph on the autobahn, and there are still cars passing you by so fast your car shakes or worse you feel like you’re standing still
  • you look out the window and the sun is shining so you throw on your shorts and favorite pair of sandals only to open the door and see that it’s raining heavily, so you go put on pants, shoes, a jacket, and grab your umbrella and open the door again only to see the rain has stopped and the sun is shining again
  • you get used to two very distinctive smells. One being the cow manure the farmers use to fertilize the field in your backyard, and the other, well, you know
  • when you go to the grocery store and find that you yet again forgot your plastic bags and have to put things in your car trunk one by one (or pay a hefty amount for their shiny new shopping bag)
  • when you are at the checkout, you realize you have to bag your own groceries and wonder why the clerk doesn’t give you back your change (they place it on a little tray or mat in front of you or the coins come flying down a little ramp)
  • you can’t figure out how to leave a store if you aren’t buying anything because of the Do Not Enter doors at the registers and entrances (We get trapped all the time!)
  • you have to buy six fans to keep cool
  • all life stops at 6 pm and doesn’t start again until 9 or 10 pm
  • You can turn three times and still be on the priority road
  • you see men wearing capri pants accompanied by sandals with colored socks….oh my…
  • even though a store sells expensive furniture or appliances, they don’t accept credit cards
  • you get stuck behind a “Fahrschule” (person in driving school, which costs thousands of dollars BTW) car and it takes you twice as long to get to wherever you were going
  • on a major road, you get stuck behind a tractor or some kind of moped that can go a maximum speed of about 10 kph. There is also a trail of like 50 cars behind you, also stuck!
  • the couple sitting next to you at a nice restaurant has their dog under the table
  • it costs more to telephone your neighbor than to call your family in the States
  • when 90% of the female German population has red or pink or orange hair in the front, and jet black in the back. (hello?! ambush makeover!)
  • when you try to go shopping at your favorite German store at 1 pm, only to find out they’re closed for the afternoon
  • Germany is a ghost town on Sundays, and you wonder where everyone went
  • when people cut in front of you in line like they don’t see you (I HATE that!)
  • when you first move into your home and you think the window is going to fall in on you when you crack it open
  • you never are quite sure whether you have the right-of-way at one of those crazy intersections
  • your kitchen appliances all look like they should be in a house for midgets (if you live off-post!)
  • you find a sex-shop adjacent to a children’s toy store
  • a value meal at McDonald’s costs about 5 euro (7 dollars?!?)
  • you can spot the Americans because they are the only ones wearing tennis shoes
  • you see German kids wandering the streets at 1 pm on a weekday since they only go to school half a day
  • they serve alcohol at all McDonald’s
  • It’s legal to drive your four wheeler on the autobahn
  • You must clean up after your dog but not your horse
  • You have to pay to use a public restroom
  • you miss your exit on the autobahn and have to drive for another 10 miles to get to the next one so you can turn around
  • you drive 50 miles in the wrong direction because there are no north/south, east/west signs on the autobahn
  • when using a public toilet you jump out of your skin because the toilet seat lifts up and rotates to clean itself after you’ve flushed
  • your off-post housing doesn’t have any closets; you have to buy/borrow wardrobes
  • you’ve gotten several speeding tickets but have never been pulled over by a cop
  • you go to the local Schwimmbad (or local swimming hole) and see naked old men
  • your big American car or truck doesn’t fit into any of the parking spaces
  • you see men carrying “man purses”; I think Germany is the origin of the fanny pack
  • you see that dogs and children are better trained than ours
  • you have to pay to use a shopping cart (and you get the money back after you take the cart back to the store)
  • you see most cars are stick shift and many don’t have AC
  • you realize most houses don’t have AC but the stores do

Do you have any to add?