Quenton and Felix

Here and some pictures of Quenton and Felix! If you have facebook, then you have already seen them. But they are soo cute!


Great Article

Just wanted to write a short little blog. I have so much more to say than I will write, but I felt like writing a little on here. Soliciting help: How on earth do I make pictures not just vertical on here? I want to post some pics of my kids, but I am a little technologically challenged. Funny, I grew up in the technology generation, but it seemed to zoom way past me!

Things are going really well with my new family. I live on a horse farm taking care of two little boys who are 3 and 4 and absolutely suß! I feel like I walked into Doctor Dolittle. We have 5 horses, soon to be 2 more, 2 ponies, 2 dogs, and 3 cats. The ponies graze on the lawn outside and I often see them outside my window in the mornings just eating grass. The animals seem to really like me, which is great! I like them too! One cat has brought me three dead birds on my doorstep--if you don't know animals, this is a compliment and sign of affection. One of the dogs, Inka, loves to go on walks with me and therefore follows me around all day long and one time even hid under my bed as soon as she could get into my room and didn't want to leave! It was soo funny bc Arne, the father, had to crawl under my bed and pull Inka out. The ponies always think I am have something to give them to eat and will rush towards me when they can see or hear me--which is hard for Farina because she is 35 years old and has lost a lot of sight and hearing. But don't feel too sorry for her, she's not so decrepit. She is still feisty and if Inka is not careful, she is going to find herself dead if she keeps messing with Farina! Watch out for that back kick!

I will write more about my adventures with the kids later, but I just wanted to give a short update. My German is also coming along too. Unfortunately not so much my spelling bc I am learning more from speaking, but I can understand quite a bit and communicate on a basic level!.... Everything is going wonderful! I was meant to live on a farm :). The family is so loving and warm and affectionate--which is unusual for Germans to be so affectionate without knowing me. I feel almost in reverse culture shock. I just got used to people being cold and not open, that them being so open and affectionate to me sometimes throws me off and I have to watch myself to not pull away! Isn't that interesting....

Well, as the title of this post states, I have read a great article on Relevant Magazine giving a Q&A about a book written by Craig Detweiler called Into the Dark. The book examines films and finds redemptive purposes and insights into what is actually happening in the films that are reviewed. It is a really great article and I highly recommend you reading it. Let me know what you think about it. http://www.relevantmagazine.com/pc_article.php?id=7658


One Day at a Time

I was just thinking how a year ago I was in Seattle right now doing counseling. It is amazing what a whole year can bring! I feel like a completely different person from a year ago. A complete overhaul has occured. I don't even know how it happened. There was a few months transition, but the change I can't point it out. I think the biggest thing was walking in the reality of my life and all that had happened. It was when I said it was real and I choose to live in truth, walk in the light, that the shame and the heaviness went away. It wasn't too impossible to face. Not with Christ by my side leading the way.

A thought: My whole life I have checked out and created other realities when things were too hard and I didn't think I could do it on my own. Is that what I have been doing with school? Starting out well with God's help, but as I begin to run, I tell God "Tchüss! See you later! I don't need you anymore." Then I quickly see how impossible it is without Him, but foolishly I don't turn to Him and trust Him with my mess. Instead my pride flares up and says "I got it--I'm fine." But then I fail miserably. I have been trying to do it without God's help. He has repeatedly shown me I can't do it without Him, but I am like a dumb sheep and I don't get it the first four years of school, 7 semesters, 28 classes, 100 papers later. Interesting...

He wants all of me--not just parts. Every part of my rebellious heart that refuses to bow down. I guess I still want to be competent and unabhängig, being able to do things well on my own strength. The truth is whatever gifting/strength I have comes from God. Period. I didn't do anything to deserve what I have been given. I am only called to be a good steward of it. They do not give me value or identity. Only Christ can do that.

It is quite opposite thinking from the world that puts you on a piece of paper, i.e. resume, and says yes or no you measure up. I have to realize that in the end it is really God deciding my fate in that the state of that person's heart is in God's hands. "He turns it like channels of water whichever way he wants." So I shouldn't worry about school, degrees, qualifications, etc. I should just live faithfully to today and what he has called me to today. "Do not worry about tomorrow, for today has enough trouble of it's own."

One day at a time.....


Ryanair is evil!

For anyone who has flown Ryanair, you know what a major pain in the rear it is to fly and you have to wonder if the price is worth the counseling you will need to seek after the instense provocation of anger from flying with this company.
Simply put: I hate Ryanair. Please shoot me if I ever fly them again.

I found this article while planning my next trip to Rome and I thought it was quite interesting. It's short and will take only a couple of minutes to read. Here's the link: http://goeurope.about.com/b/2008/08/08/ryanair-the-latest-assault-on-price-comparison-sites-and-travelers.htm

When will this company either 1)go out of business from crappy management and a service to the world or 2) Some new manager come in and revamp their CUSTOMER SERVICE department. You know that thing that keeps you in business, making customers happy!


My Knight in a Silver Shining Mercedes

I am starting my new job today with a new au-pair family. Why a new job? Das ist die grosse Frage. That is the big question. My last family did not work out so well. Quite an unlucky situation it was. I will write about it on here b/c I have written it out too many times to people individually and I keep getting angry every time I write about it, so one more time is enough.

I had been working for the Koch family for about 5 months and everything seemed alright. Yea, there were small problems here and there. Kids were being bratty, but I just figured “oh these are rich peoples kids. That’s how they are. Someone has to love them.” Well, on Monday June 30th, I came home from picking the girls up from school and as I am walking in the front door, the mom begins to tell me what I am making for lunch and the upcoming schedule for the week. Normal things, normal conversation, nothing out of the ordinary. She tells me I am babysitting ( which I hate to be told I am babysitting on my day off. You ask, you don’t tell.) on Friday evening and Saturday morning. In a calm voice (from the holy spirit) I told her “I am sorry, I am unable to babysit Saturday morning. I can babysit Friday evening, no problem, but Saturday I am teaching a course at my church and it is the first one, so I can’t miss it. About 20 people are counting on me. I meant to let you know I am doing teaching on Saturdays, but we just haven’t seen each other over the past few weeks to talk. I am sorry about that.”

Well you can imagine, as I am saying this her face is getting paler and paler and when I finished, she just uttered “Well that’s weird behavior, don’t you think that is weird. Shouldn’t you have asked me before you decided to do this. What am I going to do? Should I have to cancel my lecture?” Amazingly, I was calm throughout the whole conversation. I was not expecting this reaction from her at all. I simply suggested to her that Laura, the other babysitter, might be able to do it on Saturday. She replied “Well do you have the extra money to pay her.” I told her I didn’t see why it shouldn’t matter who is babysitting. That is my free time and I would have been paid as well if I were babysitting. Then she told me she didn’t like the tone I was speaking to her in. Honestly, my tone had not changed, but I apologized anyways. She just began to undress me and throw accusations in my face. She couldn’t even finish the conversation she was so angry. I didn’t see her till she left for work and she didn’t even say a word to me.

The next day I asked her about my visa, if she could go with me to the auslaenderbehoerde--foreign people’s office. I still did not have a visa and had been here for 5 months. She said she would have to check her schedule. I started to let her know the days they were open and she snapped at me. I met my accountability partner that day, like normal, and we just began to pray and talk through the situation that had happened the day before. The last couple of weeks had been difficult with the kids and lately the family. They had begun to be rude to me and nitpick more than normal, so we had been praying about what to do. So many times I wanted to quit the family and leave, but after praying I just felt like God calling me to stay. So once again we were praying about this situation. Again I felt called to stay to the family. I wasn’t going to remove myself from the situation. I had this feeling she was going to fire me, but I wasn’t certain.

Well sure enough, I came home and she asked to talk to me. I wasn’t sure what about. I thought maybe it was round two of taking my head off. We sat down and she plainly said it is not working and than began to run off a list of things she had against me. None of which she had ever spoken about before to me. Some I think that were honestly made up and were ridiculous. She asked that I stay until they went on holiday. I requested my visa to be taken care of and asked if I could go on Thursday when I would normally be working--they have weird hours at the auslaunderbehoerde. She asked if I had anything to say to her. I fumbled for a few minutes half-laughing saying “yes, but I am not sure you want to hear it.” I told her I was and I wasn’t surprised that this happened. I was surprised since we had talked only a month ago about how she felt I was doing and she said things were going well. I had also expressed a wish of staying until May and she said that would be great and that she would arrange it. However, since we had that meeting I felt more and more unwelcome in that house than ever. I felt like nothing I ever did was good enough for them. I told her also how I felt mislead on by the job. She told me it was only 30-35 hours per week, but in reality it was 40-45 hours. Working that many hours and having to teach children who don’t listen to you is quite frustrating and especially teaching English to children who are unwilling…..

So Thursday I went to the auslaenderbehoerde with a friend who is German, but speaks very good English. After a long day (we kind of missed our connection and made it half-way to Berlin and had to back-track) we barely made it on time So we arrive there to find out that the guest mom hadn’t paid for it like she was supposed to and that she had called that morning to change my date of being here in Germany. The paper work was all finished and I was just supposed to go in and get my sticky thing for my passport. But she had called that morning changing it from May 2009 to the 19th of July 2008. This wouldn’t be a big deal except in Germany you cannot be here without a visa or aufenthaltserlaubnis--which is a piece of paper saying you can be in the country. You also have to make the dates match up. Basically I had to find a family before July 19th and get in contact with this office, not even a day late. You cannot be in Germany arbeitslos --without a job. Needless to say, I was very angry when I left the office. It is downright impossible to continue going to language school, work for the family, and search for another job at the same time. The woman at the auslaenderbehoerde suggested that I make a closing contract to make our dealings final.

So my friend, who happens to be training to be a lawyer, helped me make up a contract stating I would take the rest of my paid holiday to look for a family, that after the 19th we were not under obligation to each other anymore, and if I was forced to leave the country, the family would have to pay for my return flight as promised before I came. I gave it to her the next day (Friday the 4th of July J ) and she did not take this too well at all. She started yelling and saying how can you leave us with all the bad and you take all the good, no you have to give us our money back for the month of July. (I get paid monthly) She wouldn’t even let me respond to her whatsoever. So the conversation ended b/c I had to go to an interview with a family. I came home later that night to babysit and I passed her in the driving way and she just said “Hi.” and I walked inside to find Laura, the other girl, babysitting. I was really confused b/c I said I would be babysitting on Friday evening. Well she had left me a note outside my door asking me to do all the kids ironing, clean my room and bathroom, leave 300€ and my house keys. I was really surprised b/c we had said we were going to talk on Sunday about what had happened. I don’t know if she did this b/c I said Adena’s family would put me up until I could find a job or what. But it was a little scary. It was really sad b/c I didn’t get to say a good proper goodbye to the kids--it just ended on such bad terms. And the whole time the kids were saying “Did you leave the money did you leave the money.” and telling me things that there mom had said. Charli told me her mom was going to lock my suitcase in her room until I gave her the 300€. Children should not be involved in the middle of this. So irresponsible of the parents. So I packed my things and Adena, my knight in a silver shining Mercedes, came and picked me up at 10 pm. It was raining really hard outside and I felt like a fugative trying to get all my things into her car so fast. I also didn’t want to see the mom, I was so angry and scared at what she would try to do to me.

I don’t know why I was scared. I am in a foreign land and I don’t really know my rights and apparently my story isn’t valid. I wrote the agency I came with to let them know what happened and to stop recommend ding them as a good family to work for. Apparently she told them another story of what happened and they are believing her; which really sucks for their next au-pair. Also, as I was interviewing for families, it seemed to be that the agency was telling families what the guest mom had said as well. It was quite frustrating. HOWEVER, I have found a new family and just within 3 days of my deadline!! Our God is soo much bigger than our situations. Hooray! Praise God!! I have also been living with Adena for the last month and it has been pretty cool living with her family.

I am glad to have this hellish nightmare ordeal behind me. I am still thinking about it and trying to figure out my faults in it, b/c I don’t think I was blameless. I definitely think I acted out of fear in many parts, but I don’t know if it was a good fear or a bad fear. Sometimes fear is good in that keeps you alive. Was this one of them? Keine ahnung.--no idea. I do also believe this was spiritual warfare from the enemy trying to keep me out of Hamburg. It is no coincidence this happened the week leading up to my first Step Study for Recovery, starting up prayer walking in the city, and visiting the Love Club-- which has been shut down as well. The devil is putting up a strong fight here in Hamburg. This was just one way of trying to prevent God’s purposes from working here.

It is sad what happened with my last family and I really do pity the girls. I am trying to pray blessings over the family and not curse them, forgiving them instead of holding onto bitterness. Some days I am doing good and some days not so good.

I am excited and scared to start with this new family. That was a traumatic experience with this family. They were very hard people to live with and were always trying to find fault in everything I did. I didn’t even feel comfortable eating in front of them. It’s like they couldn’t help but be critical with everyone. I don’t even know if they realized what they were doing it was so natural for them--really sad. ..This new family is very down to earth, normal type of people, from what I have seen. They know about this last family and what happened and we have talked it over. They seemed to be really sympathetic and nice. Hopefully this will go a lot better!
I am grateful for Adena’s family who didn’t even hesitate to offer me a place to stay. God really took care of me in all of this. I am so grateful.

That was my roller coaster month--really week. I will write about my new family later once I actually get to know them. I will have internet with this family !! Hooray!! I have also started recovery and it has been going well, again I will write more later.

Please pray for grace with each other. The family speaks only German, very little English. My German is not bad, but not anywhere near perfect. Cultural misunderstandings happen often enough when you both speak the same language, even more so when communication is lacking. So please pray that my German gets better as well.

I love you guys and I miss you.