Some good friends bring a little bit of Germany to us!

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Over the past couple of months, we have welcomed visitor after visitor from Germany. Most recently, these guys graced us with their presence:

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Last year we all made a trip to Texas together for vacation and had so much, we thought we’d go for round two this year. Although, our full time jobs made the dynamic a little different, this year was still one for the books 🙂

If you ever get the chance to see your hometown/country through the eyes of a foreigner, do it. It will make you see everything in a new and often hilarious way.

Our first adventure started at the lovely Sprinkles cupcake ATM.

We though the ATM was a quirky American thing, and we were right. But we ended up not even getting something from the ATM. There are no cupcakes in Germany (they’re called muffins) and I was having a hard time describing a cupcake and what would be coming out of this weird ATM. So, we decided to go inside and show them a cupcake. When we got inside, a girl came up to us and said,”If you say ‘we the people’, you get a free cupcake.” We stood outside thinking about this for awhile, because I didn’t really believe her. But my dad went in and asked, and even asked, if our guests could say it in German. Turns out, Sprinkles does a password of the day on a regular basis, and you can get different cupcakes or promotions, if you know the password. (So, like them on facebook and get free cupcakes!) We each said in IN ENGLISH and then the server took our order IN GERMAN. It was a great welcome back to America experience and now Diana thinks that America is the land flowing with free cupcakes 🙂

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Diana pretending to be Marilyn Monroe.

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Ingo checking out the Harley Davidson shop, trying to figure out how to get one of these back to Germany.

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Galia and Ingo wanted to see what my dad looked like as a younger man. And so while he wasn’t looking, my mom pulled out their wedding album.

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Over the weekend, we visited Natural Bridge Caverns in San Antonio. Definitely a super cool experience. Chris and I are hoping to go back and cave dive. Anyone else in? (Side note: I obviously took WAY more cave pictures than this. Maybe that will be another post for another day!)

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After the caves, we went to the Riverwalk in San Antonio, ate Mexican food, and took a Riverboat ride. Chris and I attempted to translate the whole time, but the tour guide took things a little too fast for us to keep up. So, the Menzels received a sort of abbreviated version of the history of the Riverwalk.

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Obligatory Cannons by the cannon photo.

The next morning, we woke up in Austin, checked out the Capitol building and the Menzels ate chicken fried steak for the first time ever.

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#nofilter

And our final big adventure was watching the sunset over Dallas at Reunion Tower. It was beautiful and a really good last adventure, before they headed out!

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Oh, and we can’t forget our (now we can call it a) tradition of a last meal at BJ’s the night before they fly. This little girl had tears in her eyes, as they boarded the plane and admittedly, so did I! This trip was just a reminder of how thankful we are for all the people that we love on both sides of the ocean and how much we can’t wait to be together again!!

 

One Word for 2014

You may have noticed a recent movement going around called One Word. The idea is simple, yet powerful. Instead of making New Year’s resolutions that often fall flat or stop after just a few days of trying, the challenge is to choose one word that you will focus on for the entirety of the year. One word that help you focus more on your relationship with God and draw deeper in to your intimacy with him.

Even though I am about a month late, I wanted to share my one word. This word was actually a little surprising to me, because it didn’t feel like a typically “spiritual” word. But, I connected with it and knew it was what I needed to focus on in the coming year. That word is:

AVAILABLE

I connected with this word on two levels. The first level was that most of the time what people need from you to grow spiritually, to heal, to learn is just to make yourself available. So often, we feel like we need to know a lot of stuff, but most of the time people just need someone to bounce ideas off of, to listen, to work things out with. I want to spend this year making myself available for moments like that in life. It was so easy as a missionary to be available. It was my job. Now, I have another job and lots of other commitments that make me unavailable. This year is learning about becoming available even when it feels like time won’t allow it.

The second level is God’s availability. I want to spend this year remembering that at all times, the power of the Holy Spirit is available to me. During moments of heartache, frustration, and insecurity, God’s strength is available. During moments of happiness and celebration, God’s joy is available to me. And most of all, during moments of uncertainty, God’s peace is available to me. In the places where I am most lacking, God is available to pick up the slack.

All I have to do is remember that truth and call upon it. That’s what I want my 2014 to be.

 

When we acknowledge that we are all just beggars at the door of God’s mercy, God can make something beautiful out of us.

– from The Prodigal by Brendan Manning

Notes From The Tilt-A-Whirl // Book Review

You have to read this book.

There is a new movie out. You may have heard of it. Gravity with Sandra Bullock. The beauty of this movie is that it brings back the wonder of cinema.

The beauty of this book is that brings back the wonder of God.

“Imagine a poem written with such enormous three-dimensional words that we had to invent a smaller word to reference each of the big ones; that we had to rewrite the whole thing in shorthand, smashing it into two dimensions, just to talk about it. Or don’t imagine it. Look outside. Human language is our attempt at navigating God’s language; it is us running between the lines of His epic, climbing on the vowels and building houses out of the consonants.”
― N.D. Wilson, Notes from the Tilt-A-Whirl: Wide-Eyed Wonder in God’s Spoken World

The title of the book is appropriate, because the writing style makes you feel like you are on a Tilt-a Whirl, like you a speeding through the author’s thoughts and discovering along with him how great our God truly is and how unfit we are to describe His wonder. And yet, how our existence is His masterpiece, is the proof of His greatness.

My words are insufficient. You have to read this book. You have to see your faith through these eyes and view God from the Tilt-a-Whirl.

 

One Thousand Gifts and The Science of Happiness

There is this book you should read.

One Thousand Gifts.

One Thousand Gifts and the Science of Happiness featured on Chris and Krista at www.chrisandkrista.org

It talks about that true joy is found in thanksgiving. The kind of thanksgiving that comes even when your world doesn’t seem like it could get any worse.

The author is challenged to find one thousand things that she is thankful for and make a list.

Could you do it?

This book has been on my heart ever since it was gifted to me about a year ago. It stays with you. The idea that you could be happier, if you were more thankful. Is it true? Does gratitude make us happier?

Then, there was this video about the Science of Happiness by SoulPancake (who continues to rock our worlds with every video produced.) Go ahead and watch it. You’ll thank me later 😉

It makes you want to call your mom and say thank you, doesn’t it? So, take 5 minutes right now and write someone an email or send someone a note with a simple thank you and why you are thankful for them. It will make their day brighter and for just that 5 minutes, you will be a happier person. In fact, make a calendar reminder to do this once a week or even once a day.

It’s a very specific way to apply the following Scripture to your life:

In the same way, let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.

Matthew 5:16

 

What is one specific way that you show gratitude in your life?

Hello Monday \\ Fifteenth of July

Hello, Monday!

Hello, a newly discovered online print shop, Society 6 . Artists upload their prints, and Society 6 does the rest. How cool is that? Its very similar to Etsy, but without the need for a super printer or skills in T-shirt making or even framing. You can purchase (or sell) prints as prints, framed prints, stretched canvases, T-shirts, hoodies, tote bags, and even iPod covers! Here is  pretty little print I found, perfect for today:

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Art by Brooke Weeber

Check it out and see what gems you can find. Stay tuned, as I may even be opening up my own print shop on Society 6!

Hello, feeling loved, from all our friends that came out for our Abschiedsfeier (Goodbye Party). Look for a post on that coming soon 🙂

Hello, feeling excited, for lots of visitors this week!!

Hello, disappointment that my camera is broken in the last month that we are here.

Hello, thankfulness that it is under warranty and will cost us nothing to fix!

nikon, camera, photography, hello mondays, Chris and Krista

Another Print from Society 6 by Bianca Green

Hello, hope and joy in the Lord.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13