English Ladies Retreat 2013

English Ladies Retreat, also fondly called ELR, is truly one of the highlights of the year. Around 50 English speaking women from around Europe gather together for four packed days of praise, worship, learning about Christ and girl talk 🙂

 

This year, we invited a woman we all deeply respect (can’t you see why?) to share her life wisdom and some lessons from the Lord’s Word. Let’s just say, we weren’t disappointed.

 

Our theme this year was The Joy of the Lord. We learned about The Joy of the Lord in the workplace, in raising children, in foreign cultures, and in times of suffering.

There are many reasons why this retreat is such an encouragement, but the number one reason for me, as a young Christian woman and a young Christian wife, is that I am surrounded by women whose wisdom I admire and truly am astounded by. I learn so much about strength and beauty from being around these women. They are not afraid to share their lives- lives tainted by broken relationships, cancer, and so many other hardships. They have been through it all and have come out the other side unafraid to share how the Lord has changed their lives through these times of trials.

I know that I have so much more of life to experience and that all of that life isn’t going to be beautiful and easy. I know hard times will come. But, when I look at these women, and their relationships with the Lord, I know I don’t have to do it alone. I know where to draw my strength from and I know that something beautiful will come out on the other side. These women are such an inspiration to me and being around them, even for a short four days gives me the energy I need to make it through the rest of the year.

Maybe next year, you’ll join us 🙂

 

 

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Our Proposal Story: You make me want to say I do!

Four years ago- the man of my dreams asked me to marry him!

Here’s how it happened, what I consider to be the perfect proposal story:

It was the weekend of my graduation and he along with the rest of my family was flying out for my college graduation.

His original plan was to ask me on the day of graduation, but my mother called him as he was about to board his plane on Friday (the day before graduation) and said, “It has to be today. It’s supposed to rain tomorrow.” Considering it was going to be a beach proposal- she didn’t want to take any chances.

Well, this completely threw off the whole plan and yet somehow he managed to pull it off perfectly 🙂 (Side note: I taught a German the phrase “pull it off” today. That is a weird phrase.)

How He asked

We all went the beach as a family. And, even though no one really needs an excuse to go to the beach, the excuse was that we were going to take my cap and gown pictures at the beach before graduation day since it was supposed to rain. Everyone was acting perfectly normal until we arrived at the beach and everyone, except Chris, jumped out of the car and ran down the beach without saying a word. Subtle…I know. I knew something was up, but Chris told me to just wait there for a minute. He went behind the car and changed clothes. (He was in a T-shirt and basketball shorts from the plane ride. With the original plan, he would have already been dressed up for graduation. What a gentleman to think about his clothes!)

We walked down the beach a little ways and sat down in front of the lifeguard stand. Yes, it was Zuma Beach- the Baywatch beach 🙂 And we just so happened to sit down in front of Lifeguard stand #4, which is Chris’ lucky number!

He had somehow retrieved a guitar and proceeded play our song for me. (I’ll Be by Edwin Mccain.) But instead of the last line, he sang, “Won’t you marry me, the love of my life?” I was so emotional (typical) and crying that I didn’t even saying anything. And he was like so…yes?

 

Of course, it was a yes!! And we were married 13 months later. Being engaged is such a precious time, although 13 months did seem a little long. But everyday I am so thankful that God led me to him. Our story is one that we couldn’t have orchestrated on our own and everyday we have together is such a blessing. More to come on our whole story (well…so far 🙂 )

German Culture: Maibaumsetzen (Setting up the maypole)

Today is the German holiday called May Day (aka International Labor Day)! If you have been in Germany for longer than a week, then you have likely experienced at least one German holiday. Germany celebrates tons of holidays and government and postal workers aren’t the only ones who get the day off. The town shuts down and everyone gets the day off. And if its summer, there is often some kind of festival or fair happening that day.

Today, is May Day

…which in our part of the world means its also the day for the Maibaumsetzen, which is the official setting up of the maypole. Although it is unclear exactly what the May Pole traditionally means, it has now become a celebration of spring! Last year, it was one of the first beautiful, hot, sunny days here. Since the Germans know how to celebrate, the maypole isn’t just set up. First, its paraded through town proceeded by a large procession of, well, everyone!

 

Theatres, schools, organizations, even firefighters parade through town to celebrate the setting up of the maypole and spring!

 

Setting up the maypole

At the end of the parade, everyone crowds around to see the assembly and setting up of the maypole, which is no small feat considering this thing is taller than a two story building. It takes about half an hour to fully assemble the maypole. The firefighters must first set up and stabilize the pole and then come in from the top to place the decoration on the head of the maypole. This piece is where the ribbons are attached for the traditional Maypole dance.

 

Afterwards, everyone celebrates with dancing and Bratwurst!

 

Unfortunately, this May Day isn’t as beautiful as last year, but either way, we are happy spring is finally here!!