Saturday, October 31, 2009

Our first house.

If don't even know if I can count how many places we've lived since we've been married. And, we haven't even hit the 4.5 year mark yet! This summer brought yet another move. We sold the our first home that we owned together, and bought something with some more space.

I realize that many of you never even had the chance to see our first home. So, here are some pictures to bring you up to date. As I scrolled through my iphoto library, I realized I didn't have very many photos. I don't even have pictures of the bathroom, which I spent a whole day painting! Although we owned it for 1.5 years, we only lived in it for five months, which was barely enough time to get it decorated. Here's to hoping that my latest infatuation with design blogs will encourage me to take more photos of our new house....

I loved our first little house. It was small, but oh so cozy. I had a long list of projects to get done... such as changing those red curtains, painting the oak cabinets, changing all the door handles, updating ceiling fixtures, etc. But alas, there just wasn't enough time.

Friday, October 30, 2009

First glimpse of Hagen.

The city center, on a rainy day.

John being a good sport and posing for the camera!

I always seem to forget to take more photos. This morning I went on a walk, rather a hike, to the city center by myself. The sun was shining, and I simply had to venture out. It took me about 25 minutes to get there. I did some exploring and then sat to have a latte in the sun, on a terrace overlooking one of the main squares. I should have had some lunch while I was at it... I didn't realize there were hills in store for me on the trip home!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

My love affair.

... with latte macchiatos.

There is just something that I love about drinking coffee in Europe. Perhaps it is because I have less that demands my attention while I am here, so I don't feel guilty pausing to watch the world go by. Perhaps it is because of the sheer volume of cafes that invite me to spend my afternoon with them. Perhaps it is because they serve them in glass rather than paper, and you can see the separation of the espresso, milk, and foam. Or, perhaps it is due to the taste... the lattes have less sugar and more espresso. Whatever the reason, I was happy to sit in a cute little cafe the other day and savor a latte macchiato. My loving husband captured a photo of the moment. I told you I wasn't taking things for granted any longer!

Clearly this isn't a great picture. (I specifically requested no flash, as not to draw attention to me acting like a "tourist".) But, I love that when you look closely, you will see that I am actually smiling while drinking. That may or may not be staged, I really don't remember. But I like to think that it was just the paparazzi capturing a picture of me and my love affair with European... lattes. :)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


I forgot to include a photo of the giant leaves. (Keep in mind, I wear a women's US size 8.5... not exactly small feet.) And yes, I went out in sweats. *Gasp*

(On a side note: can any of you bloggers out there tell me how to rotate this picture?!?!)

Our morning walk.

This morning we were able to head to a nearby lake to enjoy some time together and some time reading as well. I was amazed, once again, at God's beautiful creation. His creativity captivates me.

It was even more beautiful in person, these pictures just don't do the richly colored trees justice.

I hope that each of you are enjoying the autumn colors wherever you may be. What is your favorite part of this season? The colors? The flavors of lattes and desserts? The crisp air? The textures around you? Take a moment today to breathe in the beauty of it all!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Taking things for granted.

Sometimes, in life, you don't realize what you had until it is taken away from you. Since John and I got married right out of college, and moved six weeks later to the Netherlands, we never really had a chance to experience married life in the States. Granted, we have always had our summer in the States, but that time goes by so quickly I'm not sure you can even count it as "life"!

That being said, I didn't realize how much I appreciated living overseas until it was taken away. The past few months were pretty difficult. I always had a peace that God would work everything out according to His will... I just didn't know when or how. And the waiting part was difficult for me. But, the longer we waited the more I missed our European life.

It made me reflect on how unappreciative I had been in the past. I found it easy to complain that I wasn't able to work, or to long for a "normal" life in the States. Instead of being thankful for all that God had blessed me with, there were far too many days that I complained.

Now that it was taken away from me, and then given back, I look at the city around me, and am thankful for each and every little thing. I like my little kitchen that has a washing machine in it. I don't mind hanging my clothes to dry until we get a dryer. I was thankful to finally get the internet, but I was doing just fine without it too.

Yesterday, as I sat sipping my first latte machiatto back in Europe, I found myself incredibly grateful for the opportunity to live in another culture. Something I had taken for granted for far too long. Was the season God just brought us out of difficult at times? Yes. But, I am thankful He allowed us to go through it.

So, for those of you who know me well.... please hold me accountable. If you hear me complaining in the future, please lovingly remind me to be thankful.

Monday, October 26, 2009

First home game.

Well, John had his first home game last night. The story behind the gym itself is pretty incredible. Apparently, the gym was built in just a matter of months as a community effort to build something big enough to meet first division standards. (The team was in second division last year, and after a winning season was able to move up.) The gym itself isn't the nicest in the world, but to think that so many people volunteered to get it done in time, made for a pretty incredibly atmosphere.

Phoenix Hagen was losing last night, to another team that is doing really well, but the fan support was still pretty good. John didn't look like himself, but that is probably to be expected since he hasn't even practiced with the team yet! The next game isn't until Sunday, so thankfully he will have some time to get into a routine and get to know how to react to his teammates on the court.

We have the day off, and although our morning/afternoon was spent getting some necessities taken care, we will probably go downtown now and explore the city a bit. John did turn his ankle in the game, so we won't be able to do too much walking, but I will try to take a few pictures!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Phoenix Hagen

Here are some links to Phoenix Hagen, John's new team, for those of you who would like to follow his team:

Here is the team profile on Eurobasket. You should also be able to check out team standings, past games, etc.

The official website of the German league is all in German, but if you navigate around a little bit, you should be able to figure things out.

And last, but certainly not least, Phoenix Hagen's official team website should be a good resource to check out the gym, stay updated on pictures, etc.

(I know that most of you could probably care less about the above links, but there are some family members and sports fans out there who will appreciate it!)

We've landed in Germany!

Well, after a whirlwind of events... we have landed in Germany and are settling into our apartment in Hagen.

On Wednesday, John signed a contract to play for Phoenix Hagen, a young team in first division Germany. Thursday morning we got our plane tickets to leave that night! After a layover in Chicago, Copenhagen, and waiting a hour for someone to pick us up in Dusseldorf, we finally made it to Hagen. Exhausted, we managed to keep ourselves awake to sign paperwork and go to a local Italian restaurant for some dinner.... to fill up on pasta since John had a game the NEXT DAY!

Friday came along too soon, waking up early enough for John to run and get passport photos for his BBL players card, a quick run through in an attempt to learn a few plays, and a team lunch before we hit the road at 3:00 p.m.

Honestly, I don't even know how John was able to play. I was sitting there in the stands, chatting away with the girlfriends/wives, trying to stay awake myself. By halftime I was DESPERATE for a coffee! John was such a good sport about it though, playing 24 minutes and mustering up whatever energy he could find to try to help the team out. Unfortunately, they still lost... but at least it was to a top team on the road.

Tonight is another game... a home one this time. I am super excited to see the atmosphere and to meet more people. From what we have seen thus far, we love it here. The organization is so nice. I was actually able to ride the bus with the players to go to the away game Friday. They have genuinely treated us like family instead of someone that they "own." So, if anyone from Phoenix Hagen is reading this... THANK YOU for such a warm welcome. We can't tell you how much we appreciate it.