The Land of “What if’s”

Lately I’ve been on a journey. It’s not the type of journey you want to bring your kids along, as a matter of fact, it’s a journey I wish I wasn’t on. I find myself here more and more often these days as life keeps pushing me out of my cozy little comfort zone into hardships and the unknown. I’m having to deal with things like “middle age,” new aches and pains, insomnia and other things that you can probably relate to, but might make your face red if I mentioned them. I woke up one morning this week to a brand new pain and said, “What is that?” My husband gently reminded me that this is how it will be for us now, we aren’t getting any younger after all.

You never know what you will wake up to from day to day.

And, you know what? The thought of that scares the fire out of me, as my granny used to say. (Yes, I had a granny and a Me Maw too, I even had a Nee Nee, it’s a southern thing.) Not knowing what comes next makes me want to flee and that’s exactly how I got started on this journey I was talking about earlier; my journey into the land of “what if’s.”

This is not a place I would encourage any of you to visit, although many of you already have, it’s scary here and dark too.   If I don’t like it here, then why am staying, you wonder? Good question.   I have no idea. I don’t mean too, it just seems like when I start to leave, that scares me too.

I mean “what if” I get lost or something bad happens on my way out?

As much as I don’t like this place, sadly, I’ve become comfortable here. It’s the strangest thing. It’s like I’m standing out on the bow of a ship that is set on a course I am not privy to and I keep squinting into the fog hoping to see what comes next, but I can’t, it’s hidden. I don’t quit trying though, because if I quit trying that would make me feel even more out of control than I already do standing out here on the front of this boat headed to who knows where. When I’m trying at least I feel like I’m doing something, and something feels better than nothing. And did I mention it feels dark and scary here, here in this land of “what if’s?”

It seems somehow I’ve begun to find comfort in my fear.

How is that even possible? Fear is so UNcomfortable. I avoid scary things like the plague.

Why would I want to stay in a place that terrifies me? That question kept me up last night. I have no definitive answer, but what I think I’m understanding in my spirit is that not being afraid scares me even more than being afraid. It’s like I’m trying to use my fear as a protection around my heart to what might come next, I sure don’t want to be taken off guard, that’s seems even worse.

I don’t want to be like the lady in “The Sound of Music” dancing and frolicking through the beautiful fields on the top of a mountain singing happily not realizing that she would be afraid for her life in the very near future.   I mean, how could she be dancing ignoring what might come next for her? It seems so crazy and uncertain not to batten down the hatches and get ready for what might be over the next mountain top.

Life is too uncertain not to be constantly be on guard, right?

And that is exactly where I’ve been, on guard. Constantly looking and watching, trying to mentally prepare for bad things that are sure to be coming my way any minute. Except you know what, all this “preparing” it isn’t helping how I feel. It has brought me no peace. As a matter of fact, it’s opened my eyes to a part of me I’d rather leave hidden, buried in the depths of my soul for no one to see.

My need to control.

Ouch.

This has been a tough one for me to swallow. I don’t like to think of myself as a control freak, I try so hard to be kind and look out for others. I pray hard and ask God to have control each day and then I get up and scratch and climb my way back to the bow of the boat and start my daily vigil.

Lately, I’ve been so miserable on my “watch” that I’ve been crying out to the Lord to help me to see what is wrong, why I am so afraid of what comes next. I’ve talked to my husband about it and when I revealed to him in tears and with broken pride that I think I might be a control freak, he said, “I know you are, you’ve struggled with that for a while.” I was shocked, and a little pious as I spun on my heels and walked away.

Wow, it’s that obvious to everyone except me.

Until now.

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I discovered that control drives the winds in the land of “what if’s.” More specifically, my attempt to control my environment has blown me right into this place. And every day I get up and set sail again.   Onward in my misery, but too afraid to give it up, or to head below deck and get some rest. I wonder what I think will happen if I am not out watching for all the people in my little world each day, would it all fall apart and crumble if I just sat back and enjoyed the ride? What have I ever really done to change what comes next anyway? Craning my neck to hopefully see the future has only left me with a stiff neck, nothing more.

All of my efforts have changed nothing, oh, I take that back, it has changed something.

My heart.

It feels so tired and afraid and so tired of being afraid.

So today I made a deal with myself.

I am giving myself the rest of the week off.   I am not going to get up early and sit upon my perch ready to strain into the uncertainty of the unknown. No, I am going to allow myself to dance and frolic just for a bit and see what comes of it.   I am not sure exactly how I will get out of this land of “what if’s,” but I know it will start with stepping off the bow and making the small decision to trust in the life giving winds of the Lord to blow me in the right direction.

This will not come easy for me.

I know it will be a day by day process, but I am so ready to leave this place. Uncertainty is a fact of life, there is no getting around it, we just have to sail through it and pray hard all the while.

Oh, and no worries, my husband was quickly forgiven for speaking the obvious truth to me. I value those around me who speak truth into my life, even when it’s hard. But, that’s another blog for another day.

Happy sailing or frolicking today, I hope you find peace in knowing our Lord is on the bow of the boat AND in the winds that push it along.

He is a sure guide.

“In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.”

Psalm 4:8

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A Thankful Heart

Recently I was scrolling through social media and saw a serene picture with the caption “God is good.” I smiled to myself and thought, “Yes, He is.” It was in that moment I was struck with the realization, God IS good. But not just when things are going my way or when circumstances are easy. He has proven Himself to be good even in those times when the picture of my life was not one of joy and serenity.

He was good when I stood by my mother’s bedside as she was so sick. He was good when I came home after leaving my second child at college and sat on his bed and cried until my eyes were swollen. He was good as I watched my dad grieve a loss that was unbearable and I felt so helpless to comfort him.

He is still good when I feel so lost and lonely for the way things used to be.

I don’t really have the words to adequately explain why I know this. I am no Bible scholar, no great theologian or anyone really. I am just a person who has lived through pain and loss and I only survived because of God’s goodness.

So it seemed fitting to me during this week when we gather together in thankfulness to name a few of things I am thankful for; things that make me say “God is good.”

Last week I was driving to the shopping center and I was fortunate enough to have my sons with me. We love to play the radio loudly and sing along and this day was no different. When one of our favorite songs started playing, I cranked the radio a little louder and we began to sing along – heads bobbing and bodies jamming to the beat. Oh my goodness, it was fun. I shudder to think what we must’ve looked like, but in that moment I really didn’t care. We sang and laughed and sang some more.   In the middle of all the chaos I looked around and my cheesy grin became even bigger as I thought, “I will always remember this, I am so thankful for this moment.”

So many times the things I am thankful for aren’t “things” at all.

It’s the moments, people, opportunities and the unplanned.

I was watching television with my son a few nights ago and we had such a good laugh about a commercial that reminded us of one of his funny childhood antics. It was so unplanned and so wonderful to share that moment with him. I wanted to hit the save button on time so I wouldn’t forget how it felt. But instead I thought, “I’m going to lock this moment in my heart.”

The time we share with the ones we love is a priceless treasure.

We have pine trees that hang their lofty limbs over our driveway and drop all sorts of things onto our cars. You can imagine it doesn’t take long for them to become a sticky mess.   Well, recently we decided to do something my husband has nearly banned us from doing, go to the automatic car wash. He just doesn’t believe in them, he is adamant that we should wash our own cars. It’s good for us, he says, a character builder even. None of us share his enthusiasm, we love the car wash. Lately we’ve been so short on time he lifted his ban and suggested we try out the brand new one in our small town. You would’ve thought we’d won a prize, we were going to the “fancy” car wash, what a treat!

I wish I had the time to tell you our experience as we pulled up and the car wash attendant tried to give my husband directions, it was hilarious and I’m sure we were good conversation fodder after we pulled into the tunnel of soap suds and monster sized brushes.   Once we entered our eyes were round as saucers and our faces were bathed in delight as the rainbow colors of liquid soap were spewed on the windshield of our car. It was like a kaleidoscope and again I thought to myself, “I am so thankful for this moment and for fun colored soap.”

We pulled out squeaky clean and bubbling with giggles from the experience.

God is good.

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Colored car wash soap.

 

I have watched so many Hallmark movies I’m embarrassed to say, I made a cup of hot chocolate and piled it high with whip cream during the latest one. I love a flavored hot drink. I poured pumpkin spice creamer in my coffee a few mornings ago and it was so tasty and left my mouth tasting like cinnamon. It reminded me that over the holiday break my oldest son and I will make our traditional pumpkin pie together, something I look forward to every year. I love how he makes me laugh and how his eyes light up when we’re finished and he gets to have the first piece.

I am so thankful for the times we share together over something as simple as a slice of pumpkin pie.

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We took a short road trip to a wedding recently, I love traveling this time of year. It was a beautiful sunny day and the roadsides were filled with the most radiant fall colors. It was a feast for the eyes. Trees of all shapes and sizes stretching out their branches as if on display for every passerby to admire, and I complied. I looked at every one I could and appreciated how different each and every color radiated from the morning sun. I thought to myself, “The Lord has really outdone himself with the colors this year, I am so taken with the beauty. I am so thankful for this moment with my family on this road traveling to see more family and friends, I am blessed.”

My heart was so full.

God is good.

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There are a million more things I am thankful for, things I will experience this Thanksgiving. I don’t want to miss a thing. I want to take in the chaos as we watch football and my dad falls asleep on the couch. I want to hang onto the moment as my daughter and I get up early and brave the crowds to save a few dollars on black Friday. I wonder if she knows it’s really not about the money. I’ll sit back and listen as my grown children fill the backseat of the car with childish conversations, I love their banter. I’ll be thankful when we pose for endless pictures because you never know when someone might be missing next year.   I’ll laugh as my husband tries to bring some order to our jolly;  he’ll want to play a board game and we’ll want to nap.

And then when this week of thankfulness is over and I’ve stood at the end of the driveway and watched the last of my adult children drive away, I’ll be thankful for the tears that flow because they mean that we’ve loved well.

What else could I possibly be thankful for?

Yes, indeed, God is good.

90 Seconds of Light: The Light of the World

Sometimes the Lord speaks to the heart subtly and you have to lean way in to hear what He’s saying. Other times, He pretty much yells it from the lips of others.

Can I get an amen?

This weekend we took our final trip as parents of a cross country runner clear to the top of our state.   My son was running in his last race and we were headed to whatever end of the earth we needed to in order to be there. When your baby child is a high school senior, you don’t want to miss a thing. The drive to the race venue took about four hours each way, lots of time to talk to whomever you’re traveling with. My husband and I took the opportunity to have conversations about our kids, the weather, family, holidays, and he loves to tell me a good story about some of the captains he travels with. He is an airline pilot, a first officer to be exact. He has some great stories of flying and crazy happenings at the airport.

If you’ve ever flown, you might be in one of his stories, who knows?

Well, on the way home we began to talk about spiritual things. Our love of the Lord and how we hope and pray our children will share our faith, our church family, different Bible studies and what we feel the Lord is doing in our lives right now. I shared with him that lately the Lord has been dealing with my heart about being a “light” in my every day, very average unglamorous life.

This journey of light started right after my mom passed and a dear friend encouraged me to read the books of I, II and III John in the New testament. For reasons I still can’t explain, I began to underline the word “light” every time I saw it in those small books of the Bible. I guess I understood in my heart, even though I hadn’t fully grasped it with my mind, that our lives are always to be light. As a matter of fact, they ARE light if we have Jesus in our hearts whether we are trying to be or not, because HE is the light.

And He always shines.

Recently I haven’t felt much like shining. I think my light has been barely flickering by any definition. I’m tired, still dealing with loss and change and honestly, I would love to hide from my reality for a while.

In the course of our conversation, I was expressing to my husband how I wish I felt stronger and how I wished I handled things better and on and on… He was not quick to respond, but finally said, “You know, we really are supposed to be mirrors. We should just reflect the character of Jesus to those around us.” I agreed and our conversation continued. But, the idea of being a mirror did not leave my mind.   It lingered, and I carried it in my heart to Sunday morning church the next day.

I should’ve known the Lord was up to something.

Well, we sang our hymns, took up the offering and encouraged everyone to stay for the potluck dinner that was immediately following the morning worship. Then we turned in our bibles to the book of Ephesians and read from chapter 5 verses 1-17. I encourage you to read this passage for yourself, it is so rich. What I noticed AGAIN was the mention of light. Being a light.

“What are you trying to tell me, Lord?” was the cry of my heart.

As the pastor’s words about love and light pierced my heart, the analogy he used to help us  understand how important it is to let our light shine included, you guessed it, mirrors.   It had something to do with needing more light in early days to perform a surgery and how mirrors were used to REFLECT the candle light and illuminate the whole room. The surgery was a success because the light was bright enough, thanks  to the mirrors.

I’m pretty sure my mouth was hanging open.

I get it, Lord, I’m hard headed and you have to repeat yourself, but I’m starting to get it. We are to reflect YOUR light in this dark world or dark situation or the feelings of darkness, whatever it is we are facing. Our lives are not our own, they are meant to be lived to the glory of God and therefore, to be light to those around us. Not perfect, or flawless or fake or pretentious, but vessels; vessels of light.

The light of Jesus, our Savior.

I love that we are heading into the Christmas season, the season where the light of the world came in human form. You can bet I will be listening closely for His voice and watching for His light.

And I think I’ll do all this watching and listening while sipping on a cup of peppermint mocha piled high with whip cream as Christmas lights dance in my mind’s eye.

Ah, that sounds perfect.

 

Prayer:

Father, My need for you is great; I don’t ever try to pretend otherwise. Help me to be a willing vessel of light in my small part of the world. I have learned that when I feel the least “shiny” my light is usually shining the brightest. Fill my heart with gladness and let my joy be contagious. And when I am sad and feeling low, let your light shine through the broken places in my soul. You tell me in your word that if I let my light shine before others, they will praise you. (Matthew 5:16) I long to be used in a way that brings others to you. Fill my heart with a deeper love and let your light be evident to all. You deserve all glory today and always. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

Scripture: Ephesians 5:8-14

“For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true.

Carefully determine what pleases the Lord. Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them. It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret. But their evil intentions will be exposed when the light shines on them, for the light makes everything visible. This is why it is said,

‘Awake, O sleeper,

rise up from the dead,

and Christ will give you light.’”

Doing Hard Things, the end

I told you before that I am not a fan of flying.  The Lord helped me so much when we flew TO Europe, I figured I would face the flight home when I got to it.   What might be a little surprising is I don’t have a fear of fast moving trains.  I mean, not really.  Probably not any more than the next guy.  We boarded a very fast train for our journey from Germany to France.  I mean FAST.  At one point we were going close to three hundred kilometers per hour (about 190 mph).  Someone asked me if you could feel the speed?  Honestly, I couldn’t really.  I could see out the window before sunset that it was moving at warp speed, but the ride was comfortable. 

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After a few hours of speeding through the countryside and through a few cities, we arrived in France. From there we got on a subway that would take us to the outskirts of Paris where we were staying.  It was late, dark and we were exhausted when we unloaded at our stop with ALL of our luggage in tow.  I remember so clearly stepping off the subway, boarding a steep escalator and emerging at the top in a subway station in Paris.  

It was beautiful and different and amazing.  What word can I tell you that would adequately describe what it looked like to me?   Of course I had my phone out taking pictures.  I couldn’t take in enough, my senses were overloaded and all I could do was smile.  I wanted to jump for joy, but I was too tired and my luggage was too heavy! 

It took a few minutes, but we finally got checked into our room, and when I laid my head down for the night, I thanked the Lord again for the trip.  I daydreamed about what we would see the next day and wondered if I would be able to sleep.  Well, I found out the answer to that question quickly as the next thing I remember was waking up to a bright, chilly beautiful morning.  It was as if the universe was smiling on us, welcoming us to another part of the world.  We got up, dressed quickly, well, as quickly as I can get dressed.  Some of us need longer than others to lift, tuck and cover all the right places.   We then headed downstairs to breakfast and began to figure out where and how to start visiting this amazing place.

We decided to start by buying tickets to an “on and off” bus.  Basically you hop on and off as the buses make multiple stops at the most popular tourist attractions.  Once we had our tickets in hand we headed back down to the subway station and hopped in a car headed back into Paris.  Okay, so, who knew it would be so tricky to get OUT of the subway station?  Seriously, after the forty five minute ride on the train and then getting off in an unfamiliar place, we thought we had faired the toughest parts.  Well, let me give you a piece of advice: learn the phrase, “How do I get out of here?” in French before you ride the transportation system.  It will save you much stress and time.  I am not sure how many tunnels or staircases we pilgrimaged, but it wasn’t just a few.  Again, we were walking in circles, bringing back conflicting feelings of the airport.  I don’t even remember exactly how we got out, but we finally saw sunlight and headed toward it until we were standing on a street in downtown Paris, France.

Pause for a moment and take it in.   PARIS.

Oh my, the sights, the smells, the beauty, all of it overwhelmed my senses.  I wish I would’ve had one of those cameras that have the 360 capability so I could show my first real sights of this renowned city to all of you.  It was marvelous.  The first real historical sight we saw was Arc de Triomphe.  It was stunning and huge and full of character.  It was also smack dab in the center of a “round about” that must’ve had three thousand cars on it at that moment, all fighting to be in first around the curve.  I have never seen such chaotic traffic in my life.  Of course, I haven’t been to very many places that might have that kind of traffic either.  It looked like a migration of birds in the southern winter. They fill the sky and look like a scattered mess, but none of them fall out of the sky because they understand the order of their mess.   That’s what these folks understood too, the order of their traffic mess. 

We stood and snapped pictures along with several hundred others.  It was such a busy bustling place.  Then we started down the Avenue Des Champs Elysees, one of the famous shopping districts in Paris.  Wow. For this working class girl, this street was like something you’d see in Hollywood, I think. Just guessing since  I’ve never actually been to Hollywood.  One name brand store after another, pricey cars lined the curbs, café’s with white linen tablecloths sat proudly on the sidewalk covered by white tents. 

It was a shopper’s dream. 

We spent a lot of the morning on this street and had lunch at a café.  Then we found a bus stop for our “on and off” tickets and waited in line for the bus to maneuver the crazy traffic and pick us up.  We elbowed our way on the bus and climbed the narrow stairs to find a seat on the top. Did I mention it was a double decker?  So cool.  We rode around the city and listened to the prerecorded tour they provided along with a free pair of earbuds.  Such rich history, it made me realize how young our country really is. 

We made it to the Eiffel Tower and elbowed our way back off the bus.  There is a line for everything there, from tours to food to restrooms; everything. So we found our place and waited to buy tickets to be hoisted high up into the metal bowels of this monstrosity.   Several have asked me if we made it all the way to the top. The answer is no, we did however, make it several stories up and could see the entire view of Paris. 

It was breathtaking. 

I’ve also had several ask me if we felt like we were in any danger since the bombing on Bastille Day had happened only two months earlier.   You know, I really didn’t feel I was in any danger.  There were soldiers carrying large guns at all the popular tourist sights, but I never felt afraid.  It felt safe and welcoming.

The next day we headed out to see more of the city.  We saw the Louvre, which houses the Mona Lisa and the legendary glass pyramid that was made famous in the Da Vinci Code.  We saw government buildings, historical monuments, and city life at its finest.  One stop we made that I didn’t expect to be so moving was Notre Dame.  Maybe you already know this, but I didn’t realize it was still a working cathedral.  The whole time we toured it, there were candles lit, people in confession and intercoms playing “shhhh” for the crowds to be quiet.  It took seven hundred years to build this beauty; it actually started as a quaint, simple church.  

I am comforted to know that it takes a long time to create true beauty.

Way too quickly our time in this magical place had come to an end.  I saw so much and tried new foods, drank more cups of coffee than I care to admit and took more pictures than anyone would ever want to see; basically, I fell in love with Paris. 

But, alas, it was time to start the last part of our journey, the reason we came; our half marathon.

According to the phone app we had along with us, we had already walked close to 30 miles in our tours of Kassel, Germany and Paris, France, and now we were facing a thirteen mile run.  My nerves were a wreck the morning I woke up for the event. 

I had worked so hard and it was time for the moment of truth.

I could go on and on about the adventure of my half marathon, but I will keep it simple and just say “I did it!”  That is a BIG deal for a forty something year old mom of three.  I am no athlete, not by a longshot.  But, I trained hard and finished strong.

I am proof that most anybody can do something really hard if they put their mind to it.  

So much of this trip was about fun and sightseeing, but there is a very real aspect here that I don’t want to miss.  The joys and accomplishments in life only come when we face our fears and work hard.  There’s just no way around those two principles.  The sense of sheer happiness that comes when we face and overcome things we thought we couldn’t is more valuable than any amount of money or number of things.  It takes a desire to live your life to the fullest, a determination to make a difference in the situation God has placed you.  It is worth all the effort and tears, life is just too short not to give it your ALL.

Challenge yourself and pray hard and work toward your goal. 

YOU CAN DO IT!!

Well, after nine amazing days, the time came to return home.  I gathered my courage and boarded the plane, took my place in coach and watched movies the whole flight.  I have to be honest, America was a sight for sore eyes!  And, thank you, thank you, thank you, everyone around me spoke English.  I will never take being understood for granted again.  It was pretty amazing to see my husband too, I’m certain I talked his ear off from the moment he saw me emerge from the airport. 

In English, of course.

Doing Hard Things, the middle

Eight and a half uneventful hours later we touched down in Europe. Hallelujah! Solid ground! I have never been to Europe so this was and is a VERY BIG DEAL. I gathered all my things, and limped off of the plane like the hunchback of Notre Dame under the weight of my backpack. Then came the long line to pass through customs. Once we had been declared not dangerous, we made our entrance into the enormous airport. There were people bustling everywhere and everything was written in German.

I still had butterflies in my stomach and now a big cheesy grin on my face.

First thing to do was to find the person meeting us.

We were looking for the daughter of the friend traveling with me, she was in Germany studying abroad and would be the only familiar face we’d see in this country. Unfortunately, we didn’t have a meeting place lined up, we thought we did, but it turned out to be such a big airport that we wandered around not knowing a soul, not understanding the language and not knowing where to go next.

Completely lost.

 

I forgot to mention a little fact, Germany is seven hours ahead of us. So basically we had taken off from Dallas in the late afternoon and after an eight and a half hour flight and a seven hour time difference, it was morning of the next day by the time we disembarked. So, if you’re following me, that means we had been up for twenty four hours straight when we landed. You can imagine what we looked like. Between suitcases, backpacks, disheveled hair, and I’m sure a “deer in the headlights expression,” we definitely met all the criteria for tourists. Probably, the best kind. The ones who keep wandering around in circles thinking something will change or something will start to make sense if you just keep walking. You’ve seen them before; maybe like me, you’ve BEEN them before.

After wandering for a while, we finally sat down and started trying to call someone, ANYONE, who could help put us in contact with our ride. The only problem was, NO CELL SERVICE. We weren’t worried about it before we left the states because we figured we would get on wi fi to contact anyone we needed. Plus, we didn’t figure connecting with her daughter would be a big deal. WRONG on both accounts. After a decent period of time, we gave up our circling and looking and sat down. We started attempting to connect to the wi fi when we realized we couldn’t read a word of the options. There were no English alternatives, no “press one” to read in your language, it just looked like a bunch of symbols on a page that we knew we needed to read but couldn’t.

Welcome to Germany, where people speak their own language and not yours.

I can’t remember the last time I felt so completely helpless. I tried and tried to connect to the internet, guessing my way through the options that were written in German (May as well have been Chinese, it didn’t matter.) to no avail. I finally decided to go and seek help. I noticed there were people walking around wearing yellow vests that said something that looked like the word “Help” on it, I headed straight for one of them. Why hadn’t I seen these yellow vested people before now? I have no idea. To God be the glory she spoke broken English, I wasn’t picky, any English was better than none.

She walked me through the options relatively easily and viola, a vat of options opened up to us. First thing I did, call my husband. Never mind that it was two o’clock in the morning where he was, I NEEDED HIM. And, as usual, he did not disappoint. He answered his phone on the second ring. I was amazed he awoke to answer, but so thankful. I quickly explained our situation and he immediately got a hold my friend’s daughter and helped us all to connect. When this pretty blonde haired girl walked up to greet us, I nearly kissed her, it was so good to see a familiar face. She led us to the tram and later to a train that would take us a few hours to her hometown-for-a-year, Kassel, Germany.

What a great city.

 

There are café’s and bakeries on every street, like more than one, tons of them. We walked on cobblestone, and then ate lunch at a café connected to a castle overlooking a perfectly manicured yard. After we ate, we walked the same path a former king of Germany had walked to a small pond and then over to see more of the city. We walked, walked and walked some more. Uphill the whole way, well, maybe not the whole way but there was a very big hill that took forever to summit.   Then, exhausted and content, we spent the night in a wonderful quaint hotel with the windows open.

It felt like a fairy tale.

I really like Germany. I really don’t know much about it except what I’ve read in our history books. What I do know is the people try to be friendly, the coffee is to die for and the countryside, as I saw riding on the train, is story book worthy. We saw everything we could while we were in this amazing country, including theatre’s, castles, café’s, bakeries, beautiful buildings with historical significance and architecture that left you with your mouth hanging open as you walked around gawking at it.

I’ll always remember sitting at a small coffee shop eating the most delightful pastries and sipping on a coffee-work-of-art all the while thanking the Lord for the opportunity.   I am just a small town girl who works hard, no different than many of you. So to have a chance to see a different part of the world is not something I take for granted or lightly. I wish I could’ve bottled up the sites and brought them to each of you so you could see them and we could talk about it all over a cup of coffee.

 

The experience was unforgettable.

All too quickly, our time in Germany was finished and we were standing in line to buy tickets to our next stop on this dream trip come true…

Oo la la, Paris!