Ohne Vergangenheit gibt es keine Zukunft.

Today I celebrate one year of living in Germany. This has been simultaneously the best and the worst year of my life. I’ve been hospitalized, cut-open…twice, spit on, kicked, hit, bitten, called fat, called ugly both in all actuality and metaphorically speaking. I believe Bob Marley said it best when he said, “You don’t know how strong you are until being strong is your only choice.” 

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Sometimes I think the hard times may be difficult to see. You may see pictures of me flying from here to there and smiling from ear to ear in a new country every other week – and while the emotions are true – the ones that are captured in the happy pictures, there are always others beneath the surface. You see, you can move to your dream country half way across the world, and you will still struggle. The only thing that matters is that you have a faith that can move mountains, that you have a pure and unadulterated joy brimming from within, and that you love others through kindness and selfless acts of service.

I thought when I moved to Germany I was freeing myself from the worst. I went looking for my Savior in a country…and I found him – but not the way I expected. I moved to Germany when life handed me the sourest lemon I could have imagined. And I sure as heck didn’t just make lemonade out of it. I made lemon cupcakes, lemon pound cake, lemon meringue, lemon pudding, and a lemon sorbet with a cherry on top. But man, when you rise up life will knock you back down harder than you ever could imagine and I was not prepared for that….because surely across the pond…people don’t suffer right? And that lemon cupcake may have shattered when I was unexpectedly knocked to the ground, but you know what? On the way back up, I learned a new technique and hopefully if I consistently apply it with patience and practice, that lemon cupcake will taste a little sweeter.

The most wonderful things that have developed over the last year have been my friendships, my faith, and my ability to travel – the best coming from a combination of the three. I’ve learned how to manage a household and help raise children. I’ve seen a world from a different perspective. I climbed the siebengebirge 4 times now and the beauty around me never fades. I’ve encountered people from South America who find it utterly distasteful and discriminatory that Americans say we are, “from America.” I’ve learned a new language and can now communicate with millions of people that I would have never had the chance to otherwise and I find that exhilarating.

CanadaSwedenGermanyBelgiumFranceScotland

SwitzerlandIcelandEnglandGreeceItalyAustria

So many lands have my feet touched in this last year. Hopefully, Denmark and the Netherlands will join this company of countries before I leave Europe, but one thing is for sure, I am fully blessed.

The years tick on. I keep thinking the years won’t pass and yet they continue more beautiful and more broken than I ever could have imagined. For each of you that have touched my life in this last year, thank you. For your love, for kindness, for unselfishness, for a listening ear, for big bear hugs, for Auburn football games, for free housing, for bible studies, for Greece, for crêpes, for English tea, for Chatsworth, for castles, for sunsets, for laughter, for new life experiences, all of it, simply, thank you.

Every moment has played a role and helped shape me and mold me into the woman I am today as I continue to take on life to simply love God and love others. L1L2.

celebration

Thank you for being part of the journey.

Thank you for the memories.

Enjoy pictures of this celebration on this beautiful journey called life!

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