Yesterday morning I left Germany, via France and the Netherlands on my way to Perrysburg via Detroit. Traveling back to the US always results in a long day, especially when you start your day 6 hours ahead of the people with whom you end your day, but overall it was a pleasant trip. I even got an empty seat next to me, which is always a bonus!
Walking out of the airport and seeing family is great. As I was approaching the van, my mom was headed into the airport and she didn’t see me. I know, it’s tough to imagine, but there was a giant SUV that was blocking her view of me, so it’s justified. I yelled for her, she turned and rushed I’ve to give me a hug, the kind that only moms know how to give.
After an easy and uneventful drive we arrived at my mom and Ray’s place. It was dinner time, though my belly and brain didn’t quite comprehend that. It was 12 AM according to my body’s clock, after all.
After relaxing a bit and fighting sleep, my aunt came over and provided one of the first major praises for this trip. She told me they were going to make a sizable donation and also provide a rental car for me when I go to North Carolina and Maryland. I was flabbergasted (I love that word and wish people would use it more often). Both of those are huge answers to prayer and ended a pretty eventful first night back in the US.
It’s been just over a week and I think my brain just fully caught up with me. Things have been a little crazy in the last two weeks, but I wouldn’t change anything. God has been in the process and He continues to guide me. I may not always like the way things have progressed, but in the end His plan is good!
I thought I would update you all a little on what has been going from a week before I left until now.
Right before I left Ohio, my family and some friends helped me pack a container full of stuff that I wouldn’t see for a month or so.
Said my tearful goodbyes to my family at Detroit airport (I’m sure I looked rather strange crying while in the security line).
Hung out with friends in Maryland.
Prayer send-off and Buffalo Wild Wings fundraiser where my friends came out in full-force!
My flight from DC to Basel, Switzerland had a long layover in London, but other than that was uneventful.
Since my arrival there has been a ridiculous amount of things that have happened (most of which I think I can remember, jet lag definitely kicked my butt!)
Courtney and Dana picked me up from the airport and have shown me around town, fed me and shown me some of the other places that I will be going to soon to set up the apartment that I have yet to find.
I’ve set up a bank account, gone car shopping, registered as living here, learned how to grocery shop, and a whole bunch of other things you wouldn’t even think would be necessary.
On May 13th I am going to start language school in Loerrach. Four hours a day for 24 weeks and that’s just the start! I’m looking forward to it even though I have heard that it is intense and difficult. I’m ready to start speaking German!
That’s all for today, but I plan on sharing more regularly about what’s going on here and other random thoughts that enter my brain. For now I want to leave you with a slideshow of Kandern, Germany, my new town!
Apparently way back in the day “We’re strong for Toledo” was a motto for the city. There was a song of the same title and it is pretty cheesetastic, but I love it! I am a big fan of Toledo. When I was growing up I never thought that I would leave Toledo. I always imagined staying here, raising a family and retiring here too. Obviously God’s plan was a little different since He had me move to Maryland and now to Germany, but I still love this city and would be perfectly content with living here on a permanent basis if that was what I was called to do.
The other week I had the pleasure of going to a local charity that is doing some amazing things for this city and that got me excited. I am so happy to see people excited about this city and helping those who live here and are in need. Not only that, but this charity was also helping people see God’s love through their work. That got me thinking about local charities who are helping this city in whatever way they can while also trying to spread God’s kingdom. I am grateful for these charities and I wanted to highlight a few. This is not an exhaustive list at all so feel free to comment with any organizations that you know who are helping this community and reaching people for Christ too!
Pregnancy Center – The Pregnancy Center has served thousands of Toledo area women since 1984, and we’re here to help you! Dealing with a pregnancy, miscarriage or abortion can be tough, but you don’t have to do alone. At the Pregnancy Center, you can discuss your fears, options and questions with someone who cares about your needs. Your choices today will affect your tomorrows; you owe it to yourself to get the best information to protect your health and your future.
Journey of the Heart – Journey of the Heart’s mission is to provide a way for women whose hearts are wounded and broken to discover HOPE and Healing in their everyday lives. Journey of the Heart was created to meet the needs of struggling women in communities throughout the United States and around the world.
Young Life – I grew up going to Young Life and love this organization. For more than 70 years Young Life has been reaching out to junior high and high school kids around the world. Annually, Young Life impacts over 1,000,000 teenagers making it the largest ministry to adolescents in the world. They are in over 25 schools in the Toledo area.
Church of the Cross – Church of the Cross is the church I grew up in. In edition to the weekly services they offer a weekly program for preschool-6th grade students called B.L.A.S.T and a young adult worship experience called Quest.
North Point Church – In edition to being a church with multiple campuses North Point also serves the community through projects like Food for Thought which provides weekly grocery assistance in Toledo. Most weeks they serve an average of 400 people which amounts to 115 families.
Thank you to these organizations for serving the needs of this community that I love!
As some of you might now, my mom and I are training to run our second half-marathon in 4.5 months. We ran her first and my second-ever half-marathon this past January in Charleston and we signed up to do the Glass City Half-marathon in Toledo at the end of April.
Our training involves three morning (as early as 5:30, gross!) runs every week. This means that in addition to seeing each other other times throughout the week we are almost guaranteed to hang out with each other for at least 3 hours a week, just the two of us. Now, I’m not saying that all of the time is “quality” time since we can’t always carry on a conversation while running, but to me all of it is quality.
While we were running today I was thinking about how blessed by God I have been to be able to do this with my mom. You see, as of five years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to run 1.31 miles let alone 13.1. As of last year, my mom hadn’t run more than 5 miles in her life and some weeks that is our shortest distance. Had God not allowed me to lose weight or had He not put the idea of running a half-marathon into my mom’s head we wouldn’t be doing this. We would not see each other multiple times a week and be able to truly enjoy interim time before I go to Germany for at least four years. I am so thankful that God has given me this time with my mom and I will never forget this time.
Beyond the fact that I never imagined my mom and I running together I cherish this time, because I get to train her. My whole life my mom has been my biggest supporter. She has cheered me on in sports when I was incredibly mediocre, come to my side when I was in the hospital, taught me how to treat every person with love and supported me even when I was destroying myself with food. Now I get to be her strength, I get to cheer her on, I get the opportunity to run by her side reminding her achieve her goal. I would not trade that for anything.
Thank you God for giving me an amazing mom and for allowing me this opportunity to be her support.