Friday, November 30, 2012

Confession Night: Christian Style

I'm having a moment that I don't see the point in reading the Bible every day. I'm not sure why I need to. To connect with G-d and speak with Him daily yes. But can't I get that through Christian books, prayer, and journaling?

I've been reading through the epistles and I feel like they aren't helping me much. Because we all know I follow Christ for what I get out of it. (Sarcasm people, sarcasm!)

When I started reading the epistles I needed instructions and practical things that were easy to apply. Now though I think I need the stories and to draw out their meaning myself. This is part of why just reading straight through the bible doesn't work. I need someone's voice other than Paul's right now. Because honestly Paul is bugging me.

I don't want to hear any more about how he's in prison but he believes this church will continue following his example. Strive to be like Christ because He was so merciful with us. Yes, Paul. I know.

I've never heard another Christian admit to this sort of thinking. I know plenty of people who don't read their bible but I think anyone who claims the label of Christian will also claim the importance of reading the bible daily. Even if they don't.

Tonight I'm going to be home alone for a bit while Kathrin and the girls go to the Christmas Market. (I could go too but I feel like staying here, getting in a work out without prying eyes and away from the cold air, and then eating in relative quiet.) Hopefully somewhere in the quiet, I can find G-d too.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sunday Social: Fours

This Week’s Questions:
1. Name 4 jobs you’ve had in your life: 

From most recent to oldest I've been an au pair, a custodial worker, a waitress, and a pizza girl.
2. Name 4 movies you would watch over and over: 
(Photos not my own. Mosaic self organized.)

Beauty and the Beast, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Princess Bride, and The Notebook
3. Name 4 places you have lived: Rochester, Houghton, London, Osnabrueck
4. Name 4 of your favorite foods: Buffalo blue cheese pizza, pancakes, homemade macaroni and cheese, and the pasta penne dish I order at Applebee's

(Pancakes: Denny's, Pizza: Mark's Pizzeria, 
Mac n Cheese: Pioneer Woman, Pasta: Applebee's)
5. Name 4 things you always carry with you: cell phone, iPod, chapstick, and ID
6. Name 4 places you have been on vacation: Niagara Falls, Adirondacks, NYC, and Paris

Saturday, November 24, 2012

A German Thanksgiving

There are so many half formed thoughts in my head. Rather than try to get through some of the stuff related to boys, I'm going to tell y'all about my German Thanksgiving. (All pictures in this post are my own.)

I made up my schedule Wednesday night of everything that needed to be done. I had everything planned out and was also planning I'd have some help from a friend and her boyfriend. Unfortunately the friend got sick at the last minute and wasn't able to come.

I managed to find the Thanksgiving parade online and had little mice watching with me. Then I got all of the pots and pans all set up for cooking.

Things got started cooking... 
(Sorry for the blank space in the last row... I know. It bothers my OCD too.)

Towards the end, after the parade was over, I turned on the Grinch. I bolded everything as we went along so I knew what I'd done already.

The end result?

We had stuffing, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, gravy, turkey, rolls, cranberry sauce, and then afterwards we had the pumpkin pie and homemade cool whip that Deena brought.

How was it? Well I survived the day. It was a little crazy at the end when everything needed to be done at once. The rolls took longer than planned, the yams needed to go back in because they were still hard, and I almost forgot the cranberry sauce until Kathrin asked about it. The turkey that I was so careful to check for a bag of innards still had one in there. (Next year: check the neck AND the butt.) The gravy was lumpy. The stuffing was alright and the mashed potatoes were good. The turkey was a little drier than ideal but not awful.

It was so nice to be able to celebrate this very American holiday though. I enjoyed talking to Deena though I do wish Alle could have come too. Oh, I also managed to massacre the turkey when I carved it because I have NO idea how to carve a bird. A carving fork would've helped too. Damn thing kept slipping around.

Next year, I'll be in the kitchen helping out but in between I'll be in the living room watching the parade on screen and then watching football. It will be very different but I'm sure I'll be thinking of this year and missing my girls.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Home for the Holidays... Yeah Right

Every year apparently it seems there's a Christmas song I can't listen to. Last year, since I was newly single, I remember going caroling with my housemates. We were trying to come up with a song and someone suggested either "All I Want For Christmas Is You" or "Last Christmas I Gave You My Heart". I vetoed it. My dear but oblivious housemates didn't understand until I adamantly refused and said, "Guys. Seriously. Think about it." On a broken heart, I just couldn't do it. Those songs would have made me cry.

This year, cleaning up the kitchen and listening to the Pandora Christmas station. What song comes on...

(Source: My Own.)

Talk about depressing. This year, the holidays will be spent 4000 miles away from home. With a family who I've grown to love but who still aren't mine. This is just a temporary home. One that has changed me and that will always stay in my heart but it's still going to be incredibly strange that I'm not spending Christmas morning throwing balls of wrapping paper in the corner of our living room, making blueberry muffins with my family, and arguing over whose DVD we'll watch first. There might be a cherry cheesecake but if so it'll be made as a concession to me. (Well honestly even back in America this year it would have been.) 

Please don't get me wrong. I love this opportunity and I'm very glad to be able to make these memories. How many years do you get to live on another continent? How many years do you spend Christmas with three little children and see the wonder in their eyes? Or get to be in Paris for that case? I'm going to enjoy every moment of this. I'm going to savour the minutes that I walk around Paris in the snow, that I sip hot cocoa in Berlin, that I bake cookies with the girls. 

But I'm also going to cry when I get done Skyping into the family Christmas party. I'm going to miss it, even if the way it's changed since I was little means it rarely feels like a Christmas party anymore. But this was supposed to be the year I hosted Christmas. It's finally at a home this year instead of in a park shelter. Maybe this year would feel like Christmas again. But instead, my bedroom is probably as decorated as it's going to get. I've got Christmas lights up. That's it. There's no nativity set. There's no ABCFamily to play Christmas specials so I'm finding them online. 

This is going to be one weird Christmas. And I'll be avoiding that song this year...

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Planning: Berlin

I'm currently trying to plan two different things at once. I'm planning Thanksgiving and a trip to Berlin. It's a lot to juggle, a lot of chaos in my brain.

Since Berlin is the one I was working on most recently, here's my current plan for my trip:

Thursday: Breakfast and coffee in Osnabruck
Take the train from about 12-3:30
Settle in wherever I'm staying til around 5 or so (less if needed)
Head out for a walk and to get some food for the weekend
Go to bed

Friday: Breakfast (and coffee)
Free walking tour at 11am
I'll be done with the tour around 2pm and will head to Wilhelm Kaiser Memorial Church to check it out.
Then I'm heading to the Christmas market for a bit.

Saturday: I'll be headed to Sachsenhausen Memorial Concentration Camp. It's bound to be a sobering day but how can I not go to a camp when I have the chance? We need to remember what happened and though it's likely to be a depressing day it will be one I'll never forget. When I get back to the city, I'm going to head to a cafe to journal about the day.

Sunday: I'm going to head to the zoo before I leave the city. Or the TV tower to see the panorama of the city. I'll take the evening train and get back to Osnabruck around midnight.

Somewhere in there I'll be getting together for a coffee with another au pair.

I'm still searching a couch to sleep on before I turn to a hostel. (I have two connections that might pan out but am still searching couch surfing as well. Stop panicking, Grandma. It's not as scary as you think it is.)

My Thanksgiving Day plans will have to be the topic of my next post. :)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Starting Over Again...

It's been eleven months and fifteen days since I broke up with my fiance and called off my wedding. I spent three years planning that wedding. I crafted. I bought. I planned. I saved inspiration photos. Sitting in a box in my bedroom back in America is a wedding dress for goodness sake. I was ready for that wedding. I was ready to get married. I wasn't ready to be married though.

When I look ahead to my future, I have no idea how I'm going to plan another wedding. I absolutely cannot manage another long ass engagement. I don't want to be engaged for more than a year, preferably less. At this moment, I can't imagine falling in love again. I can't imagine starting over a new relationship. I can't imagine learning how to make someone new happy. I just can't imagine how to start over.

I am not saying I wish I was with Ron anymore. I don't want to be with him. It's not about him and this is not some form of denial. I'm seriously over him as much as possible. He was my first love so a piece of my heart will always be his. I will always love who he was. Who he is though? I don't know who he is. I haven't spoken a word to him since May. I haven't kissed him since November 29th, 2011. When I think about kissing and I reminisce about it, he's not the one I think about.

It's just hard to imagine falling in love, starting all over. I'm not sure how planning my next wedding will go. Can I manage it without thinking about my failure of an engagement? Can I plan a future with someone else without hedging my bets? Without holding back because I got it wrong once before? Without remembering and comparing it to the last time I did this? How do you move on after something like this happens?

And yet, when it starts, when I'm flirting with... well whoever I'm flirting with (because yup this girl does have some secrets still), it's easy. I don't compare. I don't think about my ex. I don't think about the next step. I don't have to worry about how to move on to the next stage. It fits. It works.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A Weekend Away Part 2: Saturday

November 10, 2012
Today was lovely. Long and I’m very glad for a couple hours to myself before we go out to dinner but lovely. I’d ignored my alarms and was planning on spending the morning by just going to a bakery for something to eat, maybe reading in said bakery, or something along those lines. I was going to wander the town and take some pictures, then probably meet up with the family for lunch/dinner. Instead, around 10:30, Kathrin knocked on my door with breakfast (how sweet is that) and let me know they were leaving in another half hour or so to go to the beach in another town. 

I got ready and we headed to a town about 20 km away. Daniel headed off somewhere while the rest of us went to see the baby seals. 

Nuria slept, the kids played in the play room, I began my next Christmas project (a knit hat). Eventually, we headed in the direction of the sea. That was the weird part of the day. When I say “sea”, that scene you picture? That’s what I pictured. But instead there was a few dunes with sea grass, a span of sand, then after a few stone stairs, a spance of wet sand that squished under my feet. 

I don’t know how far out the squishy part went out but I didn’t see any rolling waves. Not exactly the awe-inspiring scene I’d pictured. The fact that it wasn’t the ocean wasn’t an issue.

The fact that I didn’t see that huge expanse of water though? I am, honestly, kind of disappointed. I was really hoping to just soak in that view. I’m really not sure when the next time I’ll be able to escape to a natural place again. I mean Berlin, Paris, Hamburg… Awesome but cities. And I haven’t spent much time in nature since I got here to Europe. I didn’t realize just how much being in Houghton, the drives between Houghton and Rochester or Rochester and Elmira, how much that was filling up that cup. 
 (Letchworth State Park)
(Right on campus!)

After almost 6 months, my nature cup is nearly empty and I don’t know when it’ll get full again. I started realizing this when I went to Carlotta’s and saw the gorgeous leaves out in the countryside. Another part of my problem is that November is one of the ugliest months. I’m looking forward to the first snowfall. Everything will get covered in white glitter and will be washed clean. I love the first few months of winter. It’s gorgeous. 

And I love the symbolism of the world being washed clean, a fresh slate. It’s like how we’re washed clean by the blood of Christ. His red blood makes me white as snow. I’ve got this picture in my head of how the red drips on me, instead of making me stained like if I pick at a scab, instead it washes away every mark, making me as clean and innocent as the day I was born… except even then I had original sin. Now, I’m even free from that burden.

(All photos contained in this post are my own.)

Monday, November 12, 2012

A Weekend Away (Part 1: Friday Night)

November 9, 2012
Well I’m laying sideways in my bed in our little B&B in Greetseil.
(My very comfortable bed)

Why sideways? Because I’m closer to the TV this way and I’m practically blind with my glasses on. And why, you ask, do I not have my contacts in if I’m still trying to do things? Because my right contact is totally ripping and bothering the hell out of me. I’ve ordered a new box and hoping they’ll get to the shop on Monday so I can pick them up straight away. This trip was decided on yesterday. I’m absolutely loving the chance to just be away for a weekend. I just needed the change of scenery and the fact that we’re on the North Sea just makes it better.

By the way, “meer” does not mean “ocean”. North SEA, Mediterranean SEA, and probably others translate as “Meer”. So yup still looking forward to seeing the water, will still get the same thrill at seeing the huge body of water, but um it’s not the ocean.

My brain is rather scattered right now so forgive the ADD approach. I’ve got German TV on right now. Except it’s Law & Order: SVU auf Deutsch. By the time we got here tonight, it was already dark (thanks to going even FARTHER north) and there’s no internet here. I didn’t expect it but I’m still thinking about how little contact I’ll have with my family and friends. It’s not really about the entertainment. It’s about the isolation, the lack of contact.
(German TV: A dancing loaf of bread)
(American TV: A talking sponge.)

We went out to dinner at “Captain’s Dinner”.

No I didn’t translate that. It was written in English. I had a salmon filet on a bed of pesto spaghetti. So delicious. But I was stuffed.

And now that I’m back and it’s been an hour or so I’m starving. Without any food. I’ve already got my alarm set for morning so I’ll go to breakfast before I head out. And when I head out, I’ll have my camera with me. Why I didn’t bring my purse I have no idea so I’ll probably end up toting around my laptop bag w/o Artemis in it.

I’m going to put on FRIENDS (I brought a couple DVDs with me) and finish wrapping my stupid headphones. Also need to spend some time with Jesus. G’night.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

It's Okay Thursday

Back in JLand I used to do a bunch of link ups. Except we weren't as technologically advanced and we just left our links in the comments. But with a new blog (and approximately 8 years time since I started A Moment That Is Mine) comes new methods. So today I'm linking up over at A Waste of Makeup with Amber to bring you "It's OK Thursday". (Linkup found through Brie.)

It's okay...

  • that I look forward to the girls going back to school after breaks.
  • that I miss having classes and homework.
  • that I've been single for a year. I needed this time to help me figure out who I am.
  • that it's been six months since my last kiss. I will survive. Even if it doesn't feel like it. Even if that's the longest it's been since I started kissing.
  • that I'm starting to feel burnt out. I'm basically a part time mom and don't most moms feel this way after a few months? Especially if they were thrown into three passionate little ones instead of starting with one baby.
  • that I'm eating ice cream in a chocolate chip cookie cup right now. In fact that's more than okay.
  • to want to know how a guy feels about Jesus before I decide how I feel about him.
  • to read all the secrets posted at Living in Yellow and even to post a few of your own.
  • to cry over your past.
  • that I'm going to end up listening to Christmas music as soon as it starts snowing.
  • that I just canceled a date with the German because guys...

    I am going to the ocean tomorrow!

Do you see the sheer joy that is me in these photos?

I don't know if I'll have internet but I'll be bringing my camera and will post some pictures when I get back at least. We'll be in Greetseil til Sunday.

Also: part of this that's even awesomer? Just this morning I was thinking about how much I need to recharge (see that burnt out thing) and how I'd love to go to the ocean/lake but that it'd be impossible for me to manage with the other things I want to do. Then Daniel came home and said, "I just realized I have the next few days off. Maybe we'll take a trip." My G-d is good. He orchestrates things like this.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Sex and the Single Woman

When it comes to sex and the single woman, I feel like there are two types of women. There's Sex and the City types (even Charlotte is having sex, talking about sex, thinking about sex) and there's the "good girls". Now I hate this dichotomy. If I have it in my head, I'm sure others do too. If a woman is Christian, especially if she's "really Christian" then she has to fall into the "good girl" category. Good girls do not think about sex. They don't talk about sex except in that dreamy sort of "someday... when I'm married..." way. If they've had sex in the past, when it's discussed it needs to be apologized for. As in, "I obviously wish I hadn't now. I wish I had waited." And they cannot admit that they enjoyed it while they were doing it. (Can you enjoy a mistake? Of course not. And to admit that you enjoyed a sin? I think that's another sin.) Oh and these good girls? They can't even want to have sex. They can't think about it in concrete terms or look forward to it. They can't have a sex drive.

Do you know why I hate this dichotomy so much? Because I don't fit! I've had sex. It did cause me immense emotional pain when that relationship ended to know that I'd given up such a big piece of me. But do you know what else? I enjoyed it. I miss it. I think about it. Hell, last night I had a dream about it. (An unsatisfactory dream mind you...) Sex is something that comes up in my life. And it's no longer because I'm having it. (I'm not.) Or because, as one acquaintance said, I'm broken over it. I've taped myself back together.

I don't have a next step to get rid of this dichotomy. I don't have a plan to make people aware of it. I'm not trying to pull anything here.

But I notice it. And I don't like it.

I want to be a godly woman but if that means not talking about sex at all, not thinking about it, not enjoying it, not missing it, I don't know if I can be a godly woman. It may no longer be every third word out of my mouth but sex is still something I think about. Most of the other Christian women I know my age are also single and most haven't been kissed yet either (by choice. Mostly. Which I honestly can't understand.) When sex comes up, it's either in light of my past or in that dreamy sort of "someday" way. I honestly cannot remember the last time a Christian friend and I spoke about sex and I heard some sort of a sex drive hidden away in her. Except for one but she's weird like me. :) And she's already married. (Hi, hun.)

So as Christian women, HOW do we deal with this? What are the boundaries for honoring G-d, keeping our purity intact, respecting our brothers in Christ, and acknowledging that sometimes it would be nice to get a little less talk and a lot more action?

Monday, November 5, 2012

Sunday in Review

Yesterday was spent doing a lot of knitting, a lot of listening to sermons, and a lot of time with friends. I'm still really enjoying Craig Groeschel's preaching. I listened to most of the Weird series then started on Perspective. And I was working on my friend EEK's gift for Christmas. I'm halfway through now but just started yesterday and wanted to get through the first tough section so that I could get to the almost mindless knitting which is possible in a movie theater.

At 6:30, I rushed out to meet Marvin, Carlotta, Maike, and...another girl whose name I don't remember. We saw "Die Wand" (The Wall).

Umm.... guys the reason you haven't seen a German film... They aren't the best. This particular movie has two sections. The second part (yup I'm starting at the end. Told you I was weird in my sidebar.) is the woman writing her story. It takes from November til February and she's um incredibly depressed, alone, etc. You can tell the toll life has had on her between her skin, her uber-short hair, and her layers of sweaters. She's constantly clothed in dark, dull colors and never smiles. She also never speaks a word but constantly scribbles down her thoughts, copying notes from a datebook and drinking tea.

The first part is the interesting part. She goes to a cabin in the woods with an older couple and when they don't come back after a trip into town, she goes out to search after them. Somewhere along the way, she comes across a barrier, a transparent wall. She cannot break through and it would seem no one can get out. When she does find another person on the other side of the wall, they are frozen as if sculpted. And her voice doesn't travel outside of the barrier anyhow. Over time, she collects a cow (who then has a baby bull), the dog she began the movie with, and a cat (who also has a baby-because every female creature has to be pregnant). She also wears white for much of this time.

At the end of the movie, at a time somewhere after the first part and before the second part begins, the only other human we've seen enters the scene (homophone confusion much?). He kills the baby bull (the woman claims not to undersand why he did that) and when the dog charges to protect the bull, the dog also dies. The woman shoots him, buries the dog, and drags the mans carcass to a more secluded spot. We then hear her tell us how this life makes no sense and will continue to go on forever.

Depressing much?

Brightside: I understood most of the movie, even when not the exact words the gist. It was my first film entirely in German that I hadn't seen before since 2008. Yup, that long.

The theater was nice though. Among the concessions...
  • Red and white wine
  • Beer (various types-all bottles)
  • Ritter sport chocolate
  • Gummis
  • Peanuts
  • M&Ms
  • Popcorn
I had accidentally sprayed perfume in my mouth in my rush to get out so I bought a popcorn to get rid of the taste. It was sweet! Like kettle korn. Personally I enjoy kettle korn so I loved it, just wasn't expecting it.

Then I got to come home and Skype with this lovely lady:
The one that's not me, I mean. My wonderful roommate. We chatted for about two hours about whatever was on our minds. I love that we can laugh our rear ends off when I nearly swear (I promise that was a mix of words!) but in the same conversation we can delve into some very deep personal issues. She makes me much more myself, my best self.

I also made a button to advertise my blog and sponsored Brie at Simple Single Girl Life. My handiwork (cropped from a picture my aunt took in California):

And with that, I bid you all good night so I can go to bed before tomorrow starts! G'night!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

My Husband

I started writing the other night to my husband. Yes you read that right. I started writing letters to my husband and I'm praying for him. I didn't run off and get married. I don't even have a boyfriend yet. But I spend enough time thinking about my future, about my life ten years from now. Why shouldn't I put that down on paper?

The danger I have in this is getting too wrapped up, too focused on the future. I tried to write to my husband in the past but it was always focused on telling him about who I am now and about predicting who he might be. Because I know that I'd love to read a letter my 15 year old husband wrote guessing that I was that girl in his home ec class. (Sarcasm again.) I have no idea who I'll marry. I don't know what country he's even from (the joys of dating in Europe).

It's also incredibly difficult to pray for someone you may not have met yet. I find myself praying, "Dear G-d, if my husband doesn't know You yet, led him to You. Make him a godly man. Give him the guidance to follow You and prepare him to led our family." I think a good chunk of why I pray first and foremost for him to come to G-d and grow in Him is because I realize that by being engaged to a non-Christian in the past I seriously stepped out of the path Christ has for me. I serve a miraculous King though who has/is/will be using my crooked path to point others towards Him. I don't want to make that mistake again though. One shattered heart was enough. If it's in line with His Will, I never want to go through that again. I pray my husband might become a godly man, a man like David (without the adultery/murder) because that's what I pray for myself. I want to yearn for Him. I want to be content to curl up in His arms until the day He hands me over to my husband. And even then I know G-d won't be done with me. I'll still be striving for Him, just with my husband as well alongside me.

The things I pray for my husband are based on both my past mistakes and my current longings. I can't pray over specific problems yet. I can't ask G-d give him wisdom to know how to handle a difficult situation because I don't know what situation he's in. I don't know if he's in a grad program or working. I don't know if he's even single right now or working on his "next northern star" as I like to put it. And that is a weird thought. My husband might be dating someone else right now. Wrap your head around that one why don't ya.