5 Books to Read Immediately

My grandfather often says to me, “Stop whatever you are doing and read this book right now.” I love discussing books with him and taking his advice on the next good read. He always has great insight and good suggestions. So, here is my list of suggestions of 5 books that you stop whatever you are doing and read right away!

1. Ordering Your Private World by Gordon Macdonald

If you read this book first, then you will have more time to read all the other books. Macdonald gives us not only a call to discipline, but practical ways to   implement that discipline. By becoming a disciplined person and caring for our inner world, we are better able to handle the stresses and unexpected problems of the outer world. This practical plan will not only inspire you, but also hold you accountable to be the kind of Christ follower that no longer makes excuses. By the way, he says that reading for life is a requirement and should be scheduled into your daily routine!

2. Bread & Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes by Shauna Niequist

After I am finished reading this book, then I will give a complete review on it on the blog. But I don’t need to be finished to know that this book is worth every single page. Shauna creates what she calls a food memoir. Every story centers around food or being around the table and through these stories she discovers life, love, and faith and then she gives you a recipe to go with it! Every recipe is delicious and every story of full of emotional enlightenment!

3. Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers

I buy this book any chance I get and immediately give it away. I could read this book over and over, but I do like to give other books a chance every now and then. It is the beautiful story of our redemption and God’s love for us told in the form of historical fiction and the voice of a woman. My heart healed while reading this book.


4. Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God by Francis Chan

I always tell anyone asking that they shouldn’t read this book unless they want to be challenged. I suppose I could say that about all of Chan’s books. He isn’t afraid to speak the truth and does it in a way that makes you want to get up and start living the way Christ intended. But, he also doesn’t shy away from holding us accountable, particularly in the chapter about lukewarm Christians. After you read this book, you won’t want to settle for lukewarm anymore.

5. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

If you don’t read this book right this second, it will be okay. But this is absolutely one of my favorite books I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. It is written in the form of letters and tells the story of an author looking for her next book. She receives a letter from the small island of Guernsey and unexpectedly learns about a people and a history that was seemingly before hidden. Its beautiful and romantic, but the real beauty of this story is that it was the author’s dream in life to publish a book. Unfortunately, she passed away before this book was completed. So, her daughter finished writing it for her and completed her dream!

What’s your list of books that we should read right away!?



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Kindertag (Kid’s Day)

These specific flags in this color scheme were put up in the GDR times to signify there was a party going on!!


Since we had some many wonderful visitors from the U.S. this summer, including some former HIM Workers, we decided to host a mini-VBS or Kindertag! It was for one day and we learned to story of Jonah. We were happy to get to use the ideas from the VBS we participated in last year in Bremen.

The kids arrived and participated in some great singing!

April and Karen leading singing. We sang mostly in German and a little in English for Heidi!

They were split up into two groups- the older kids and the younger kids.

The younger kids were the first ones to get to meet Jonah and hear his story firsthand! They even got to see what it was like to sit in the belly of a whale! What an experience 🙂

Jonah is sad because the kids said his house stunk and they didn’t want to come in 🙁 It did smell like raw fish!

Then the kids had a skit teaching them the story of Jonah led by some of church members, some of our youth, and our EFG team!

Following the skit, the kids were split up again into groups participating in games and of course, crafts!

You know, that I couldn’t resist face painting!

It seems like some other people couldn’t resist either…


We had 12 kids in all, and even a few visitors! The kids had a great time studying God’s Word and bonding with one another. And as it always happens, we set out to teach the children, but they end up teaching us even more. We were reminded of the simplicity of following God and being careful to do His will. It’s as simple as that!


I played too hard today!



A Response to the Bikini Question: The responsibility of modesty

Photos from Rey Swimwear

Okay ladies! Swimsuit season is in full swing. Here in Germany…it honestly just started about two days ago. And of course, every year comes up the topic of the bikini. This year, Jessica Rey of Rey Swimwear has everyone buzzing about the Evolution of the Bikini.

I, personally, have never worn a bikini. A tankini, of course, but no bikinis for me. This is not a religious conviction or because I am such a good girl. It is pure insecurity about my body and doing whatever it takes to cover it up! But, I hope, that even without this insecurity I would still be so convicted to be modest.

I love this article from Made In His Image on the subject and I’d like to expand on it.

I would like specifically to speak to some of the comments on this article and many others like it. It seems that when the issue of modesty comes up, many people jump immediately on the defense, saying that lines of reasoning that require women to be modest and think about the way they dress are the same lines of thinking that lead us to say that scantily clad women had it coming when they were raped.

Woah. Hold it right there.

That is a big step from wanting to encourage modesty in all women to women who dress immodestly deserve what they get.

We are missing the point.

The point is that the only person in this entire world that you can control is yourself.

End of story. You can help, you can influence, you can support others. But the only person you have power over is you.

In other words, it’s not your responsibility what a rapist does, or what other cultural norms are or what men do, or what other women do. It’s your responsibility what you do.

You have the right to do whatever you want to do. You are free. You are free to talk, dress, eat, decide, live in whatever way you see fit.

But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak.
1 Corinthians 8:9 (ESV)

Meaning: Freedom doesn’t absolve you from responsibility to your fellow human beings.

For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
Galatians 5:13 (ESV)

So, when we are talking about the issue of modesty, who are you serving in the conversation? By jumping on the defense are you serving yourself or are you taking the time to seriously ask yourself how you can serve others in everything you do- including what you wear?

Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.
1 Corinthians 8:13 (ESV)

Check out this video by Rey Swimwear creator Jessica Rey for more thoughts on the issue.

I love her message and I love her goals with her swimwear line. Here are a couple of my favorites and up on the top of my wishlist!

Photo by Rey Swimwear

Photo by Rey Swimwear

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Confessions of a Pinterest Snob

I have a confession to make.

I am a Pinterest snob.

It’s true. I can’t deny it any longer, but I also can’t feel sorry for who I am.

The truth is- I refuse to follow men on Pinterest.

I know. Shocking, sexist, etc. It is what it is.

I just can’t bring myself to do it. I realize that Pinterest has expanded and grown and become one of the most important social media websites. Which means, I should evolve and grow along with it. But, in the beginning, it started with women. It was like a world wide secret women’s club where we could get online and share all of our favorite clothes and recipes with abandon.

With no complaining from the opposite sex.

We could pin 150 different ways to do our nails, if we wanted to. And in fact, we got more followers that way. Because it was a safe place where we could be as girly as we wanted to be and everyone else there wanted to be girly, too.

And when in real life, we talked about what we had seen on Pinterest, it was if we were speaking in code that only member of the club could understand.

I am not saying that now that Pinterest has grown that men don’t also pin super awesome things like quotes, photography, and…cars. I am just saying that I can’t get on board yet. I can’t give in to it not being about women.

One day, I am sure I will no longer be a Pinterest snob. I will repent of my ways and realize that having men on board means they can help us with all those wonderful DYI projects that need sawing or drilling or things that would mess up my newly Pinterest-ed manicure. But until then, I am living in the dream that this genius idea of a website really was a facade for a world wide secret women’s club, where boys weren’t allowed and still always asked the question, “What the heck is Pinterest?”

Leipzig- The Amazing Race

On Monday, we spent the day in Leipzig hosting the second annual Leipzig Amazing Race!

As huge Amazing Race fans, we were honored to be hosting such a prestigious event. Last year, we joined the race for the first time as racers. This year we were able to the race from the other side!

The Leipzig Amazing Race was created by the missionaries in Leipzig as a fun and creative way to orient their Let’s Start Talking teams with the city.

Tasks must be completed in various locations throughout the city such as, the train station or the post office. The idea is that the tasks would also help the newbies gain more confidence in their new surroundings. Last year, this goal was explained but the competition got a little fierce between the Leipzig missionaries! So, this year, Chris and I created a few more rules to keep the Leipzigers from completing all the tasks and giving the interns more of a chance to lead the race.

Here is an example of a clue:

Clue #9:

We have been waiting so long for “SPRING”When it comes, you’ll see. We will JUMP for joy and even sing.

Answer: Trampoline in the city

Task: Take turns jumping on the trampoline and take pictures!


We started out with a clue, in which they had to figure out a specific location. Once they found that location, then we gave them a task the had to be completed. Tasks included things like printing off train schedules, finding out costs of postage, and even learning a few German words! They visited places that would be important to daily life, such as the bakery or the grocery store, but we also included places that are important to the history of the city, such as Bach’s grave. Both teams were extremely competitive and ended up finishing the race with a time difference of less than a minute! And I am happy to say that the ladies took home the prize this year! It was well deserved and I do think they enjoyed every minute of their ice cream prize!

2013-06-06 17.30.00

Chemnitz \\ Fernweh Travel Series

Okay, so Chemnitz is not a far away place for us, but for many of you it is! How could we not start our travel series with the very important former “Karl-Marx Stadt”?

Chemnitz, Germany is in the state of Saxony and has been around since the 1140s. Chemnitz sits at the bottom of the Erzgebirge (the Ore Mountains), which means in winter, we usually get a good amount of snow, and summers are beautiful!

During the German Democratic Republic, Chemnitz was known as Karl-Marx Stadt. One of the most interesting sights to see in Chemnitz is the large Karl Marx bust in the city center. Before seeing it, I imagined it to be about the size of a person and likely in a museum. It proudly stands outside and is as tall as a building, a constant reminder of the cities recent history.

Side Note: Those born during the German Democratic Republic must write on forms City of Birth: Chemnitz, formerly Karl-Marx Stadt because their birth certificates say Karl-Marx Stadt.

Our Chemnitz Recommendations

Restaurant: Diebel’s

For some great German food, Chris and I love Diebel’s. Its best to go in summertime because you can sit outside right on the river! We recommended the Schnitzel or (if its the season) the Asparagus soup.

Sight to See:  Karl Marx Kopf (The Karl Marx Bust)

As I said above, the Karl Marx bust is one of the most interesting and defining sites in Chemnitz. It is a constant reminder of the history, and a very visible sign of the effect that Socialism had on Germany.


Time of Year to Visit: Summertime.

I might say this for all German cities. There is nothing like Chemnitz in the summer. First, you are greeted with the beautiful yellow fields. Then comes the Asparagus season, followed quickly by Strawberry season. Seeing the city during this is gorgeous, but if that isn’t enough, just drive a few minutes into the Ore Mountains and see how easy it is to fall in love with Germany!


Best Museum: Industriemuseum (Museum of Industry)

For much of its history, Chemnitz was the industrial center of Sachsen. There is saying about the three largest cities in Saxony, ” In Dresden they planned it. In Leipzig, the funded it. In Chemnitz, they built it.” This museum gives a great history of industry in Chemnitz and Saxony.

Off the Beaten Path: Marschner’s

One thing we haven’t figured out in America yet is Eiscafes (Ice Cream Cafes), but I am certain we will! By far the best ice cream in Chemnitz, and likely in Saxony. East Germany has the best ice cream in Germany and this is one of the best cafes with one of the largest selections. All ex-Pats agree, you can’t miss Marschner’s on your Chemnitz visit!


Connecting this week with: Mercy Ink, Cornerstone Confessions, Time Warp Wife.