swap

The grass is always green on the other side.

Or for my German speaking friends, I guess it is a bit different when its your neighbors cherries, but  you get the idea.

Die Kirschen in Nachbars Garten schmecken immer besser.

The cherries in the neighbor’s garden always taste better.

And so the sayings go.

But why is it I often times find myself believing in this idea? I spend time and energy looking at what my neighbor has, dreaming about the possibilities and thinking surely it is greener and surely tastes better over there. I am sure some are you might be reading this having watched the Jolly German and I unfold our new life on social media and think even the same about us.

They live in a beautiful place.

They can travel throughout Europe so easily.

It must be amazing to live there.

All of things are true statements, but the problems comes in the absolute of ‘always’. It isn’t always greener.

It isn’t always beautiful….Zurich is quite a rainy place to live.

It aren’t always able to travel throughout Europe….most of the time we go to German it is for something as mundane as grocery shopping and only because we save significant money.

It isn’t always amazing to live here…like when I realize there is still about 10% of the conversations I miss because of German as a second language and a difficult one at that.

Social media gives us a highlight of each others lives and allows us to paint a picture that is so far from reality. We post what we want others to see and we don’t see the 18 pictures it took to get that perfect Instagram shot most times.

Most recently I realized how it must look to God when we want the greener grass. It was in something as simple as an iPhone App. It allows you to swap faces with another in the same picture and gives you a good laugh as you see yourself morph into someone else. But the reality is that this new mix doesn’t fit you so well. The swap doesn’t really look good at all when you are done. Some of my favorite words those of you on Social Media used to describe it when the Jolly German and I had some fun with it: disturbing, creepy and gives the heebe geebes.

img_2672

So this swap doesn’t turn out so well.

The grass isn’t always greener.

The cherries aren’t always sweeter.

And God’s plan for you is not the plan He has rolled out for someone else. Embrace what He has for you.

Water your grass in your own front yard.

Pick your cherries off your own tree.

Don’t face swap with a bearded man.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

redo

I grew up playing sports. You name a sport, I have probably tried it. I am not saying that I was good at every one of them, but I was willing to give it a try if there was an opportunity to win.

One thing about sports, you learn the idea of a redo. In golf, they call it a mulligan. In softball, you get three strikes until you’re out. In basketball, you get five fouls. In soccer (or football for my European friends)….yeah, that was one of those sports I only tried, so I have no idea.

Anyways, I am taking a redo on blogging.

After two years off, I wanted to get back into the swing of things and start over. I think it fits right now where I am at. The last 2 years the Jolly German and I have made a serious redo with a move to Zurich, Switzerland and I want to share what God has been saying and teaching me – the serious and the not so serious as well.

Looking back, we have had a lot of opportunities to redo these past two years:

  • our entire household – we came with 7 suitcases
  • our relationship – we have fought hard for our marriage (and still are)
  • our friendships – although we still have great friends in Chucktown
  • our rhythm – you can see that is a reoccurring theme

The cool thing is, God loves a redo. He gives us another chance and another and another and another….well you get the idea.

So I hope in this redo, I encourage you. I know I will fail. I will probably have to a redo again (maybe I will just copy and paste this post).

The question today is will you get back up?

Will you take the opportunity for the redo?

I hope my story will help you and encourage you, as I look towards what God will do in my redo.

The LORD makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him;though she may stumble, she will not fall, for the LORD upholds her with his hands.-Psalm37:23-24

Posted in European Dream, Hard Stuff, Starter Challenges | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

labor

As I sit here on a Sunday morning, looking at the pictures from friends and family in the U.S. enjoying an extended weekend, it reminds me that tomorrow is Labor Day. Now it may come as a surprise to you all that the Swiss don’t celebrate Labor Day like the Americans, but there are a number of U.S. Holidays that aren’t celebrated here and can make it difficult as life rolls on as normal. Fortunately Labor Day really isn’t one that our family traditions celebrated in any major way. The only thing I can think of is that it might have represented the official closing of Grandma & Grandpa Scott’s pool for the season and as a child that would have been BIG, but now it was just one of those long weekends that we would enjoy the extra time with neighbors and warm Carolina Fall.

Thinking about this holiday made me interested in where it came from and hence a quick search on Wikipedia brought forward some interesting background:

Labor Day is a celebration of the American labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of their country.

The history of Labor Day is not without controversy.

The first unofficial Labor Day in the U.S. was promoted by the Central Labor Union and Knights of Labor after the Haymarket Massacre,  which occurred in Chicago on May 4, 1886. U.S. President Grover Cleveland feared that commemorating Labor Day on May 1 could become an opportunity to commemorate the affair. Thus, in 1887, it was established as an official holiday in September to support the Labor Day that the Knights favored.

It is a fact, however, that many other countries celebrate Labor Day on May 1st, but without connection to the events in Chicago.

Now that the history lesson is over, I’ll share a little bit about why labor as a blog post.

Well…the Jolly German has his first truly official job interview tomorrow afternoon and the idea of labor has become something that I have come to look at a bit differently in the past.

In working at the North Charleston Dream Center, I had the opportunity to befriend a number of great men and women from Mexico and they helped change my view of work. Whenever they spoke about working, they quickly would give God the praise for steady work. They saw work as the blessing God had intended it to be, not as a necessary evil for being able to do the other things in life you dream about.

Our time in Switzerland so far has been without a job for the Jolly German and I wish I could say it is one we have walked without worry, but it isn’t. God has provided for us daily, but we also need to have a job before the end of September to allow us permission to stay here and have a steady income beyond the savings we have set aside to help get us started.

So, this Labor Day as you enjoy the beach, some time at the pool and cookouts with family and friends, please lift up a prayer for favor and open doors for the Jolly German and I. We believe God has sent us here and He will provide according to our needs.

Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.” 28 Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”

-John 6:27-29

 

Posted in European Dream, Hard Stuff | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

quiet

I never liked it when I was little and someone told me to ‘Be Quiet!’. I still really don’t care for those words, but I have come to appreciate quiet in my life.

The move to Zurich has put me in a house not only with the Jolly German, but with 3 other crazy, Jesus-loving men. With five of us in the house, it’s often hard to find a quiet space. There is a lot of great activity: dinner parties, huddles, movie nights, chilling to music. But my favorite time in the house has become Sunday mornings. I seem to be the only early riser in our home and with this comes the quiet.

The ability to reflect on yesterday – to learn from the lessons He put in my day.

The time to give thanks – to thank Him for the blessings bestowed upon me.

The reminder from the Lord that today is a new day.

The quiet in your life provides space to slow down – to slow down and enjoy the moment. It gives you space to lay aside everything else.

My prayer is you enjoy the quiet moments in your life today.

Isaiah-26-3-web-nlt

Posted in Identity, Time Management | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

emotions

I am an emotional person.

Again, I know this doesn’t come as a surprise to many people, but I think that it’s something that one can easily blow over, toss aside and move on with that as an excuse at times. In my teens and early twenties these emotions mostly came out as anger. I didn’t want to follow the rules imposed on me and found authority hard to accept. I wanted to blaze my own path and heaven forbid somebody got in the way of that goal.

As I’ve grown older, I have learned anger is often the result of some other type of root emotion. For me this base emotion was often times fear. I was fearful of the unknown. I was fearful if I did it ‘their’ way, I would have to give up my way.

Of course, after recommitting my life to the Lord, I found a new emotions rising up in me. I found myself easily crying when hearing someone else’s struggles. I was angry at the unrighteousness in the world. These emotions quickly drove me to take action. I think that’s why the North Charleston Dream Center is so close to my heart. I see God’s people reacting to the suffering in our world – taking action and making a difference in a major way.

The move to Zurich has brought out a whole other side to my emotions. I am more emotional now than I have been in a long time. It feels like I am on an emotional roller-coaster. One minute I am at the top – cheering on those around me and letting out a scream of joy. But the next minutes I am a ball of mush – tears streaming down my face without any warning.

To be honest, I am not sure that I like this side of me. It makes me feel very out of control and I think the emotions surface when I am frustrated with myself. Having higher expectations on what I should be able to do than what is realistic – whether that looks like speaking German fluently already, organizing a team of volunteers to help us at Metropolis Church or just knowing which is the right bus to take to get home.

These next few weeks will be interesting as I find myself in this new territory.

Asking myself is this just part of who I am or do I need to get better at accepting my limitations?

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. – 2 Corinthians 12:9

Posted in European Dream, Hard Stuff, Identity | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

authority

Can you imagine I’m not one that’s had a history big on authority?

I know that is hard for many of you to believe, but in the past I always thought that authority would keep be from blazing my own path. I believed it would put so many restrictions on me that I wouldn’t be able to truly be myself. Most of all, I felt that authority was really just a bunch of rules to follow and a loss of my individual freedoms.

I guess that’s why I have a hard time to understand those that are so focused on the rules, they have little space to focus on anything else.

In Matthew 22, the Pharisees (who absolutely loved the rules) tried to trap Jesus in the rules by asking him about the imperial tax – a special tax levied on non-Roman citizens. Jesus clearly laid out His answer:

But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, “You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius, and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?”

“Caesar’s,” they replied.

Then he said to them, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” – Matthew 22:15-21

This paints such a clear picture for me of where authority lies. God has the ultimate authority and in His sovereignty, He provides safety for those that follow authority. He clearly says to pay the taxes to those authorities in place.

This morning we had our first experience with the Swiss Authorities since we originally passed through immigration. We entered the country as tourists, which allows us to stay for a period of three months, but after putting our names on the rental agreement at the oikos, a red flag was thrown. We got back from a week in Germany to an official letter that said we needed to present ourselves and necessary documents within the next 14 days.

I never like these types of letters, but I knew the Jolly German and I would need to respect the authority in place and asked many of you all to pray for favor.

We woke up early this morning, papers in hand and headed to the City Office. We knew under the current law we could stay for a period of 3 months with the Jolly German’s citizenship, but with the ever-changing immigration policies in Switzerland, it was unclear what it might look like beyond that period of time.

We felt your prayers and walked into the offices feeling His power and authority over our lives. We met the nicest lady at the City Office and are officially green lighted to be here 3 months to look for jobs and then can come in for another 3 month extension if no job before that time.

The Jolly German and I are thankful for the supernatural favor from our heavenly Father, for the prayers of friends and for already opening doors for the Jolly German’s job. We can’t wait to see what you have in store.

Our question is where do you need to respect the authority God has put in place over your life? How willing are you to find the safety He has for you there and are you willing to praise Him for it when you experience it?

Posted in European Dream, Hard Stuff | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

prayers

The Jolly German and I have officially been in Zurich for one week and already we feel at home. The first week was really centered on getting our stuff into the house, shopping for some of the essentials and beginning the search for a job.

What we didn’t His Majestyexpect was that we would so quickly fall in love with this beautiful country and the people. Ok…maybe we expected it a little, but we are amazed at how quickly our hearts felt settled here. The beauty that surrounds us is absolutely majestic.

We have indeed felt the power of your prayers.

 

 

As I read through Acts 12 this morning, it reminded me the power of prayer provides space for the miracles of God. Peter was set free from imprisonment and found his friends praying for God’s will.

 

My friends, although we have settled in our new home, I would be remiss if I didn’t say we have some real needs and God is definitely working on me in being able to express those needs to others. So, I am sharing here, as a way to ask that you lift us up in prayer over these specific needs. I believe that just like God broke our brother Peter free from his imprisonment, He can work miracles to meet the needs in our lives as well through the prayers of our friends.

The Jolly German had a great first ‘get to know’ you interview with a company that one of our roommates works for and has a great number of Christians working for them – including the big boss. They have a piece of business they have been working on for 3-4 months and if they would secure this business, it’s likely the Jolly German would be a good fit for the job.

Pray this company would secure this business in the next month and open the doors for a job and he would gain favor among the decision makers for hiring within the next 2 months.

We need the income.

It helps us secure the visas we need to be able to stay long term; and

It would be great to work among brothers and sisters in Christ.

We have an amazing house to live in, but it is with 3 other brothers from Metropolis and we really want to have a sense of family in our home. The team needs a good balance of rest and work. We all tend to lean more towards work.

Our first family meeting is Saturday at 5:00 pm (11:00 am East Coast).

Pray we would focus on establishing healthy rhythms so we can create a sustainable pace for others to join us as we embark on an incredible journey together as a family. Finding the balance of rest and work, staying abiding in Him so He can abide in us and we can reap an incredible harvest.

We miss our friends! There is no other way about saying it. It’s not that we don’t love it here, but we were so integrated into the lives of our loved ones in Chucktown. The Jolly German and I both find we long for those relationships here.

We realize they will come with time and God has already blessed us with a great family in our home and in those gathering to build His church. We desire the depth and richness we have grown accustomed to by many of you all reading this very post.

Pray that God will clearly show us those people He is bringing around us to build friendships. He will hasten the depth of the relationships and that He will provide us with a community around us here that we so dearly miss in Charleston.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. – Philippians 4:6

Posted in European Dream, Hard Stuff, Prayer | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

favor

I believe in favor.

Actually, I believe in supernatural favor and I believe it is upon the Jolly German and I.

favor

ˈfeɪvə/

noun

1. approval, support, or liking for someone or something.

2. an act of kindness beyond what is due or usual.

 

verb

1. feel or show approval or preference for.

2. (often used in polite requests) give someone (something desired).

*Provided by a good Google Search

I committed to a high challenge friend that I would take a stab at keeping my blog updated and share the story of what God is doing in our lives. Well, as I sit here at the first day back at it, I can’t help to start with the favor He has bestowed in our lives.

It is a kindness beyond what it what is usual for sure, but well beyond what is due or deserved. It is a gift directly from above.

I often find myself looking at my friends, family and most of the time those that I want to be like or want something they have and ask – How did they get there?

There can be a lot of answers to that question, but I hope when people look at my life they know it is by the favor of God. There may be steps of faith and obedience along the way from our side, but in the end I know it isn’t anything I deserve and far beyond what I could ask or imagine.

Our steps to get to Switzerland were marked with God’s favor upon them:

  • The Jolly German becoming American and the financial help in getting there;
  • The selling of our house, under contract in 4 days and having a sister in Christ to walk us each step through the process;
  • The Vision Nights to share the story of what God is starting here in Switzerland and the many friends & family that are sacrificially giving to be a part of it;
  • The homes He blessed us with in staying while we waited for our departure date (Thanks Jerry, Lana and Mariann);
  • The friends that hosted dinners, took us out and created so many memories not only in our last days in Chucktown, but throughout our time there;
  • The time we had with my brother, my cousin and my parents before we headed out;
  • A send off at the airport a girl could only dream of (and a good investment for the tissue companies);
  • The opportunity to bring all our stuff in seven (yes, count them seven) pieces of luggage with us FREE! (that’s a $1,000 savings for those that speak numbers):
  • A welcoming committee that showed us we already have family here;
  • Breakfast and Dinner with our family here in Switzerland; and
  • A beautiful home to live in with a space to call our own with new family!

Next time when you find yourself asking that same question, consider there might be just a little bit more to what you’re looking at. It might be supernatural favor of God.

Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
 -Psalm 37:4

Posted in European Dream | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

declutter

One might be sitting back thinking about what are the necessary steps to make the jump across the pond. There are a lot of things the Jolly German and I have been doing to get ready. The big things like becoming a U.S. Citizen, looking for jobs overseas and planning out what our life is going to look like when we get over to Zurich.

However, I can tell you after getting back from a wonderful trip to check out our new city, our last four weeks have been spent doing one thing – Operation Declutter!

de·clut·ter
ˈdēklətər/
verb
  1. remove unnecessary items from (an untidy or overcrowded place).
    “there’s no better time to declutter your home”

The Jolly German and I have lived in our house for the last 12 years. It is our first home and we have a lot of great memories here, but we have a lot of stuff we do not need. They are truly unnecessary items and after four weeks of attacking the house room by room, I realize the simplicity of life without the clutter is peaceful. I also encourage you to take the challenge. Look at what things you could remove from your life and live without.

Here’s some things I’ve learned along the journey that may help:

1. Plastic bins become your friends. It is so easy to go through things and throw them into a plastic bin to store in the garage until you can make it to donate or have a yard sale.

2. Yes! I said yard sale. They are worth it! We did 3 in the last 2 months and made right at $1,000 selling things we weren’t even using. Who can’t use an extra buck or two? And it’s fun to see what people will buy. (NOTE: Don’t waste time tagging/pricing items. You can wing it along the way.)

3. Keep an extra box that goes in the car for return items. Maybe you’re better at getting borrowed items back to friends, but I found things I didn’t realize I still had and wanted to make it easy to get it to them. If it was in the car, it was easy to grab it and give it back.

4. Don’t bring it back into the house after a yard sale. Take directly to donate after the yard sale. It’s freeing!

5. Ask a good friend to help you go through your clothes. They know you. They know what you wear and they’re honest enough to tell you when things are out of style. No hard feelings for getting rid of clutter.

6. Tackle the project of putting your CD’s onto your computer. It’s fun to go back through and listen to the memories. Plus, those things take up a lot of space.

7. While you’re at it…start scanning your photos. It helps get them at your fingertips and sharing old photos is fun!

Last, but not least….enjoy the journey! We’ve had fun reminiscing about things, taking pics of some of the things that were special, but letting them go if we don’t need them. The peace of a decluttered home is priceless.

We wish we would have done it earlier!

Posted in Hard Stuff, Time Management | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

timing

Have you ever heard anybody say “it’ll be worth the wait”? I have and I don’t like it. I’ve shared before on my thoughts of waiting. Although I would like to say there has been a major lifestyle change after this epiphany, I must admit I still struggle with this one.

Wait patiently for the LORD! Wait confidently for him! Do not fret over the apparent success of a sinner, a man who carries out wicked schemes! -Psalm 37:7

Why are there times in the Bible where they repeat the word within a less than a 3 sentence passage?

The reality is that God’s timing is important. And because God’s timing is important, our timing should be important as well. When He asks us to wait, it is our responsibility to walk in obedience and not be worried about those that may seem to succeed outside of the waiting.

I have experienced this today in such as small thing, but also in a major way in my life. Learning that although I want the timing to change, God’s plan may be different and waiting for his timing is in my best interest.

The small thing, I was traveling with our team to Zurich, Switzerland and awoke to a 6:00 am e-mail that said the flight out of Charleston to Atlanta was cancelled. Charleston is still a small airport and this type of cancellation could cause some major issues. Rather than panic (like I normally would), I decided the outcome was out of my control. I would have to rely on God’s timing. Relying on God’s timing landed me on the same flight as the team in the end, but with one leg of journey in First Class…above what I could have asked or imagined.

The second was in hitting the ground in Zurich. The Jolly German and I have been searching for God’s will on the missions field and never felt a peace about the timing of us going to Brazil. Even though I would have like to persuade my hubby to commit to Brazil, I knew it was wrong to back him in a corner. I wrestled with God…and sometimes with the Jolly German on this and 7 years later, have found His perfect timing. We are called to such a time as this in Zurich and I cannot wait for the next season of adventure in our lives.

We’ve got the best to come, so watch out!

 

Posted in Hard Stuff | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments