happiness, joy that little things bring, memories, Munich II., my life, photos, september 2013, writing from the heart

Undeniable happiness.

Munich. Oktoberfest 2013

The night this photo was taken was one of utter and complete happiness. I feel joy so often, daily, but this happiness, this happiness was accompanied by no underlying anxieties or jumbled thoughts rolling around in my head like a bunch of marbles in the background. It was one of the rare moments in my life where I felt I was where I belonged.

Midway through the tent’s brass band rendition of “Bohemian Rhapsody,” –singing along at the top of our lungs, swaying back and forth with arms locked together–I could feel happiness that reached deep into my bones.

“This,” I thought, “is a happiness I will always remember. This is a moment that will change everything.”

And it did. It truly did.

So stumbling upon this photo last week on Facebook brought it all back.

But most of all, it immediately made me think of this post from the ever-so-enlightening Laura at Little Things and Curiosities...

“And then her heart changed, or at least she understood it; and the winter passed, and the sun shone upon her.” -J. R. R. Tolkien

childhood, cope, God is Love, hard times, health, life lesson, memories, mom, my life, my mom

On this day in 2001.

My Mama and a wee niece Julia. July 4, 2007.

I’m not sure if I’ve ever talked about it before, but my mom has a brain tumor. She discovered it in the Spring of 2001, and after months of anxious waiting, on August 15, 2001, she had most of it removed. 
My brave Mama underwent brain surgery that lasted around 17 hours. It was unknown if she’d survive, and if so, the difficulties she would face physically. My mom, being the amazing lady she is, came through like a champ, with few side effects. 
12 happy, healthy years later we continue to be grateful for her good health and that she beat those stinkin’ odds. 
We love you to the moon and back, Mom–or as the grand kids say–Grandma Peg!
God is Good.
Yes, my soul, find rest in God; 
my hope comes from him.
Psalm 62:5
family, june 2013, memories, photos, summer 2013

My Sassy Grandma Gooding and Fifi La’More, the skunk.

Grandma Gooding circa 193?

While I’m in transition of moving back to Munich, (Yes this is happening. So much to update you all with, all in due time. I promise.), I have had a lot of time to just be. I’ve been able to sit down and read a book without the thought of the critical analysis I’d need to write about it afterward. I’ve been able to go to the store just to go to the store. Observing and thinking and not on a mere hunt for the things I’d need for the upcoming week of chaos. This is a rare occurrence, I know. I am so grateful for this time to breathe. To think. To regroup.

This next move to Munich will be a whole new ballgame, a new chapter, and I have the kind of butterflies in your stomach that let you know something really really good is about to happen. Something new and scary and a new part of your life is just about to begin.

So yes, I’m trying to cherish this time, while also beyond hopeful about what’s ahead.

In this time I’ve been able to spend some time with my Grandma Gooding and help her write a bit of her life story. I come from a family of many, many cousins so I’ve never had much of a chance to talk to her one-on-one. So our Thursday lunches and afternoons filled with talking about her life are just wonderful. (I will be sad when I leave for Munich and we can’t eat at our new favorite diners and chat on Thursdays, but thank goodness there are telephone dates!)

I’ve realized that my Grandma has been sassy since she was a little girl growing up in a small town in Nebraska. I’ve learned that she has had quite the adventures and has gone through a lot of hardships. But she is just as feisty, if not more, than she was as a teenager. She is hilarious and has this brilliant ability to mention crazy stories with such nonchalance you’d think she was just talking about her shopping list…

“Oh we had the pet monkey after the our pet skunk, Fifi La’More…we’d walk Fifi around town on a leash. She had a bejeweled collar…”

You guys. It’s just as good as it sounds. Better even.

She quit her job when her friend was fired when they were teens out of solidarity.
A lady she babysat for asked her to get her cigarettes and instead of telling the lady she didn’t know how to drive, my grandma just took the keys and tried to remember how she had seen people shift gears. She made it back unharmed (thank God) cigarettes in hand and the lady never knew.

She’s a hoot. And a holler.
And one tough cookie.

More than anything though, she’s shown me that you can’t let people walk all over you, you need to demand respect, work hard–and most of all, have a little fun while you’re at it.

I’m so blessed she’s my grandma.
I love her
(and I love that I think I’ve got a bit of her sass).

A lot of it, actually…

And it’s an honor.

I love you, Grandma!

friendships, life lesson, memories, write it out, writing from the heart

Lessons at twenty + four.

Understanding adjective endings in German, or the time I had to write a thesis for my Rhetoric course in college are up there with some of the hardest things I’ve had to learn. 
In retrospect, I much prefer those lessons than those with no definite answers, no charts, no allowance for a rough draft. 
I just turned 24. It’s odd. It seems as though far too much has happened for it to only be 24 years of lessons. The hardest lesson thus far, which I am still in the mere introductory chapters of the textbook, is the concept of friendships mattering a lifetime, affecting your life forever, yet sometimes fleeting.
It doesn’t mean your friendship meant nothing just because you don’t talk anymore. Or that you moved on or moved up. Not at all. In fact, sometimes, your past friendships grow dearer with time. 
We all are busy. We all are at different points in our lives. And sometimes, you drift. 
That’s ok.
That’s what I’m learning: It’s ok. 
At the time you were close and you will remember being close at that time. We change everyday, our lives change everyday. But at that time, you and that person, your friendship served a purpose, taught a lesson, helped you both grow. 
You are always a friend in my heart — that time, that place, those moments, they are forever treasured in my heart. They made me who I am. Thank you, dear friend.
And though we may not speak often, or perhaps ever, I guarantee you; you are always, always in my heart. 
Then and now.


‘and if we don’t meet no more in this world,
then i’ll, i’ll meet you in the next one,
and don’t be late, don’t be late…’ via.
dreams, germany, growing up, hope, lent 2013, memories, words from my heart

A ceramic vase and a lesson on patience and faith.

I have always wanted to live in Germany. Since I was nine or ten.  I knew then I wanted to learn German because my dad told me he had studied that in high school, so naturally I wanted to, too.

I made a vase in ceramic class in high school and thought about where I would place it in my apartment in Germany some day. My thoughts raced about what it would be like and how my life would be. Meanwhile my hands worked naturally, effortlessly, as my thoughts consumed my mind.

I doubted my ability to move abroad back then. I secretly told myself it probably wouldn’t work out. I was way too scared.

In university I thought a bit about going abroad but was so in love with my friends and courses that just the thought of us ever parting would make my heart hurt.

Then I decided to au pair. Got on a plane. Moved in with a crazy family. Moved out. Moved in with a brilliant family. Came home. Ached to come back. Got offered a rare job opportunity. Almost five months later here I am.

Here I am sitting in my own apartment–in Germany. Meeting friends all the time. Exploring it all as much as I can.

Never would I have thought this would actually work out.

But high school self–here I am. 

Here I am and this, it is everything you were hoping for while kneading that small vase into life. (Better than you imagined, even.)

So now, when I’m consumed in worries and fears about what’s next, I’ll try and remember that–as cheesy as it seems–your dreams can come true. And I’m darn thankful I jumped in head first, because I can’t imagine myself anywhere else than right where I am.

I won’t give up on my other hopes either, because I’m pretttttttty confident those are going to manifest themselves at some point, too.

The hardest part? Having patience and Faith, but day by day, I’m getting better with both.

P.S. that vase is still sitting at home, but I’ll get it here soon. 

“You must be the person you have never had the courage to be. 
Gradually, you will discover that you are that person, 
but until you can see this clearly, you must pretend and invent”
-Paulo Coelho, Eleven Minutes

fall 2012, memories, munich 2012, oktoberfest, september 2012, southern germany

The time I went to Oktoberfest in September, but didn’t post about it until November.

(See! Photos! Finally! I’m terrible with any camera, friends. Painfully, awkwardly, awful with one. I’m trying to work on it!)

I went to Oktoberfest with a few friends I have stolen  adopted from my dear friends Katherine and Christian. It was everything I had hoped for and more… and then some more! But honestly, the memories will last forever. Because Oktoberfest is a magical thing. ; )