Deutschland Day 2

Day two started out as being a low key sort of day and ended up all around adventurous.

I took a sleeping aid last night to hopefully help to regulate my internal clock and sleep when I  am actually supposed to. I think I fell asleep around 11:45 or so and woke up around 9:00am. Normal sleeping hours for this girl, woohoo!

I woke up to gloom and doom here in Germany. It was not the prettiest of days to be exploring around the city but I ventured out anyway in the dreary rain

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Its cool to match your umbrella ūüėú

I walked some of her city of Weilerbach¬†in the wet, cold, rain. Surprisingly there were many people out and about walking the streets next to me always saying a “Hallo!” as they passed.

I walked into a clothing store not far away just got the experience of it…

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Clearly I am missing the hat in my European style wardrobe

Once it started getting too rainy to not be soaking wet I walked into the grocery store to get a taste of the culture and experience something new. All in all, it looked and felt like a grocery store. Things seem a teeny bit cheaper here, surprisingly. They also have some different goodies than we have back home

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We dont don’t have these options, do we? I might have clearly missed them if we do.

I wandered the aisles and came out with a hodgepodge of items resembling someone who does not have any idea what they really want.

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The pretzel was DELICIOUS as was the coffee drink and half of the chocolate. It had whole hazelnuts in the chocolate bar, yum! I came home tonight to find that little Sammy decided to enjoy the rest of it….

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I’m actually pretty scared for the little guy.

When Ash returned from work we ran some errands on base, which has the exact feeling of being in America, complete with an American mall and a store like Wal-Mart. It’s so very strange to go there after walking the streets of Germany.

I asked for an adventure after our errands and Ashley, being as wonderful as she is, completely delivered on that part. She decided we should drive to Heidelberg, about an hours drive, to see another castle in which she deemed “Awesome”.

With friend Jamie in tow we made the drive there and let me tell you¬†“awesome” does not begin to describe it

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The many views were utterly breath taking. The pictures of the castle and surrounding Heidelberg do not do it justice. I could have stayed in that city, or just the castle grounds, for hours exploring.

I encourage any one who has a chance to go see this city and its homey feel to do so. Heidelberg is cute, busy, and has the true German feel to it. As we walked around the city streets it was as though I needed to pinch myself to be reminded that this was all real. That I truly am in Germany experiencing this and not in Disney world seeing a fake backdrop of a German town.

After the castle adventures, and finding where in the world we parked the car, we parked inside of the city square and walked the main streets to find somewhere German to eat.

Schnitzel it turned out to be, this time caprese style, once again before we ventured the ride home.

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This  country is beautiful. The countryside and mountains are truly gorgeous as we drive across the highways.

How blessed am I for this opportunity to be here to experience it all?.

I am also counting my blessings of having a wonderful friend who takes time out of her busy work days to tour me around and show me a few of her favorite places and things.

Germany Day 1

I’m here in Germany!

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Afterr a full night of flying, I made it to Frankfurt, completely jet-lagged and all!

After a tour of the air force base with Ashley, and a BIG cup of coffee, we headed on to her house to relax a bit and catch my bearing before it was dinner time.

I tried my first German schnitzel , delicious by the way, and enjoyed a German dining experience complete with paying in Euro’s. Thankfully I had Americans with me who helped me order flat water instead of bubbly, which¬†what¬†comes to the table automatically when you order water at a restaurant. No free water here! I wanted to try my first German beer but knew that I would be fast asleep on the table if I did!

My internal clock is completely out of whack. My body has no idea what time it really is. We are six hours ahead of Florida time here in Germany. It was 9:00pm when we decided to go to bed and I fell asleep right away, despite the fact that it looked like this outside my bedroom window.

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This is actually what it looks like at 10:00pm. The sun sets around 10, and doesn’t get fully dark until 10:45-11pm. Then it is up early starting to rise at 4:15 in the morning.

I slept until 1:00am and my body was ready to be up for the day, not the most fun. I watched Netflix most of the night until finally falling asleep after 5:00am.

Today, Wednesday, was a gorgeous day!

Once Ashley was off of work she came home and decided she wanted to show me a castle, I was completely down for the hike.

The entire trail was 4.5 miles. Beautiful views and quaint little villages.

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I saw my first real castle! How cool is that?

The castle was pretty neat¬†and I definitely want to live here now. ūüėä

70 degrees and sunny is the high and in the 50’s at night. No need for air conditioning, which Germans do not believe in by the way.

I think I am going to lean into my German heritage and stay here for forever!

Missing You . . .

It has been one month since you left us, Poppy, and went to be with your Savior.

One month since I sat on your bed watching your chest go up and down and tickling your feet hoping that it would wake you up.

One month since I said goodbye and felt the overwhelming heart wrenching feeling of loss.

One month since I was talking to you, remembering all of the happy memories and the wonderful ways that you showed me you loved me.

I want you back, Poppy. I want you with us.

I am selfish for wanting it, I know, it is selfish to want you back here in your sick body.

But I miss you. I miss your laugh. I miss your jokes. I miss holding your hand. I miss seeing you walk by me in church always asking where my guy is.

I miss going to the market with you, eating Thai popsicles, watching Rob push you on your walker, and the cannoli’s you always bought for us.

I miss you telling me that I am beautiful and how much your love me.

I miss you.

Tomorrow would be your 88th birthday.

Tomorrow we lay your ashes in the ocean where you spent your younger years.

Tomorrow will be one of the hardest days ever.

I don’t want tomorrow to come.

I still can’t¬†believe that you are gone.

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Remembering Poppy

On the last Saturday of January, we celebrated my Poppy.

The thought of the day of his memorial service coming, was sickening.

As though if the day of his memorial came, he would really be gone and that was that.

The entire week was prep work. Decorations, pictures, flowers, video making.

It was like we were getting ready for a party that not one of us wanted to go to.

I was in charge of making his video. I volunteered for that part. The thought of having my mother or my sister do it, tore my heart even more than it was so I took it off of my moms hands.

Hours were poured into that video. Hours were spent trying to zone into the project and forget about what I was making it for.

Other hours were spent crying as I would see a certain picture and get lost in the memory of that day. When realization would hit that I never am able to hug him again, or hear his laugh and I would break.

There were many times Rob would find me somber on the couch or curled up in bed just staring. He would come over and just hold me knowing how much I was hurting.

The pain was all the more real the day of his service.

Family flew and drove down to celebrate his life. And I woke up bright and early without the need for an alarm clock, sick. Sick to my stomach.

For the two weeks before the service I tried to zone in on the words I wanted to share about my Poppy. Day after day would go by and I would come up frustrated. Knowing there was too much to say about him and how in the world was I supposed to only speak for 2 minutes?

That morning I opened my laptop and started typing. I typed, deleted, and typed again and again until the right words were on paper and  I was satisfied.

We decorated the church that morning. It was hard. but it was beautiful. It was perfect. It was my grandfather.

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The church was decorated, my hair and makeup done, I was dressed and on the way to the church that afternoon and all I wanted to do was cry.

I cried and I sobbed as various people arrived for the service.

One of my grandfather’s ship mates walked into the church crying, and I lost it.

My amazing friend Corinth walked into the church with the biggest hug for me, and I lost it.

Then it was time to walk into the sanctuary. His video was playing and as I walked through those doors my heart stopped and I couldn’t breathe. I was terrified to walk in. I felt as though once that service started, he was gone for forever. I stopped at the door and sobbed before I was pulled down the aisle to my seat.

The ceremony was perfectly perfect. It was full of memories, love, joy, sadness, and praise. We all knew where he was and that was the focal point of the entire service.

I held it together and spoke one of my Poppy’s favorite passages of scripture, Psalm 23. He used to say it in his head when he couldn’t fall asleep at night.

My sister read a prayer she found out of one of his prayer journals when he first became a christian. My mom told stories of my grandfathers faith, and my cousin Joey spoke of how much Poppy taught him playing a father and grandfather role to him.

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The words that I spoke of my Poppy were difficult but never truer.

He was the epitome of joy and love. Those are the two words that ring in my every time I picture his face.

When I think about my Poppy, all that I see in my mind is his big smiling face full of joy dancing to music and I feel in my heart his abounding love.

He showed me through each moment spent with him what it means to love others and what it means to love our God. Poppy never wavered in his feelings or beliefs for anyone or anything. He was always a man who loved his Lord, his bride, his family, his friends, and had a special place in his heart for his grandchildren.

When I was little, he was always around, I grew up with my Poppy bringing us Krispy Kreme donuts because the hot sign was on and he couldn’t resist, babysitting us and coming up with whatever adventure he could think of to keep us entertained, taking us to the Swap Shop and teaching us how to bargain, letting us always pick a ride or a game that we wanted to play.

He would rush my siblings and I to finish our schoolwork when we were home-schooled so that we could gather at the table to learn how to play poker and to be the best bluffer we could as we bet our pennies for winnings.

He would take us swimming so that he could work on his tan as he told us his war stories and threw us in the pool diving for golf balls. He would sit with us talking, wanting to know about our lives.

Whatever I was going through and whatever I was doing he was always there to hold my hand or to just be there as I grew and experienced life. He is in every memory of every sports game, graduation, birthday, or silly event that we chose to be a part of. He was there to love on me and support me no matter what it was.

One of the greatest memories that I have is him being at my wedding, praying over our marriage. He was there supporting me through my biggest adventure yet, dancing the night away with me celebrating and whispering in my ear how proud he was of who I chose to spend my forever with.

He was always there sharing his knowledge, and his love, showing his support and his joy for the life that we were given. The smile on his face even through a hard day and the positivity of tomorrow being a better one is something that I admired about him. Every memory I have of him was full of joy and laughter. He was the life of the party and the jokester in the room. He knew how to bring laughter and love to any one anywhere. Even after he came out of a procedure or was in the hospital for days without end, he was the one full of joy knowing that each day was a gift.

The most important thing that my Poppy taught me in this life is how to worship God. He taught me standing in that front row each Sunday morning with his hands raised dancing and singing his heard out as he praised the Lord. Or through conversations with others talking about his Faith and how blessed we were, always giving whatever he had back to God knowing it was from him. His prayers were always calming and his words of comfort always were pinned back to God’s word.

My Poppy was the greatest man in the world. He taught me more than I can say but I am grateful for each and every lesson. Thank you Poppy for every memory and moment together, thank you for showing how to always dance to the music and love life. I will forever miss you Poppy until the day that I get to see your smiling face again and dance with you on the streets of gold.

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His service was perfect. It was beautiful. And seeing all of the people who came to celebrate him and who he touched with his life was amazing. He was a great man.

You can watch the video tribute here or down below of his life. Enjoy it and celebrate him.

Poppy was an amazing man.

Joseph Schneider Tribute

The Start of 2015

The start of 2015 has been. . . .

. . . rough.

On January 10, 2015 I was getting up early to walk a 5k on the beach with my mom.

I was already awake when at 5:30am my mom was calling me.

I thought she was calling to make sure that I was awake, but when I answered the phone it wasn’t for that. She informed me and my Dr. husband that my grandfathers oxygen was very low and he was having difficulty breathing.

We got on the phone with my grandmother who didn’t know if she should bring him to the hospital or not. After a few phone calls back and forth she called back panicking. Saying that she had called an ambulance because my grandfather, my Poppy, had passed out in a chair.

Rob stayed on the phone with her as the paramedics arrived and started to perform CPR, stating that his heart was not beating and he was not breathing.

The longest minutes of my life were those next few minutes.

Rob stayed on the phone with her as I sat on our bed crying and begging God to not let it be the end of my grandfathers life.

All that we kept hearing on the phone was “No pulse. . .No pulse. . . No pulse”

I couldn’t tell you how many minutes it was that we¬†sat there like that. I remember calling my mother and telling her hysterically what was going on and her screaming “NO!!” into the phone.

I remember calling my sister who lives minutes away from my grandparents and telling her to get to their house as fast as possible and she hung up with no further questions asked.

I remember her arriving at the house as Rob could hear her voice through the phone line over the paramedics voices.

And the next thing that I remember is throwing on clothes and jumping into the car as fast as possible with my husband at the wheel crying all the way to the hospital as he held my hand trying his best to be strong for me.

The next few days I lived in that hospital with the rest of my family with relatives and friends coming in and out to visit my Poppy and spread their love on us as we waited for news, any positive news that my Poppy would come back to us.

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On Tuesday January 13, we decided to let him go.

At 8:30pm that night, the doctors removed his life support.

We sat around his bedside that entire night.

My grandmother, mother, sister, brother, husband, and I.

We slept off and on, told stories of our favorite memories with him, we cried over him, and we watched the screen for signs of him leaving us.

The next morning he was still there breathing on his own and his heart beating.

More family and friends came to visit talking with us and keeping us distracted from what was actually happening before us.

I remember it was near 10:45am that next morning. Rob was studying next to me, my sister and I were reading our books, my grandmother was on the phone, and my mom was playing a game on her IPAD.

Rob tapped me on the shoulder suddenly and pointed to the screen. Poppy’s¬†stats were low, very low. His heartbeat was slowing down and his breathing had¬†lessened.

I got my families attention and we all jumped to Poppy holding his hand, rubbing his head, and whispering through our tears how much we loved him.

And just like that he was gone.

Silently, and in the most peaceful way possible he left us and we knew without a doubt in our minds where he was.

It was just like Poppy to go the way that he did. Silently. Waiting for everyone to be busy with something else and then sneaking away like only Poppy could. It was him.

The next hours were full of sadness. We sat around him holding onto him, as if we didn’t want to let him go.

I cried.

I cried a lot

. . . and my husband held me and cried a long with me.

My grandfather was gone.

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In all honesty he had been gone on Saturday morning in our minds.

While we held out for hope all week, we knew that on Saturday morning when his heart stopped beating he was already there.

He was there walking the streets of gold.

He was praising the Lord and hugging all of his loved ones that he hadn’t seen in so long.

He was happy, he was joyful, and because of that I know that there may be sadness at the loss of my Poppy, but there is joy.

So. Much. Joy.

Joy in knowing that he is with his Savior happy, with a pain-free body.

He is Home, where he belongs, where he was always meant to be.

My Poppy was not afraid to die.

My Poppy was ready to go home. He was more than ready to be with his Lord.

I have no doubt that when he entered those pearly gates Jesus’ first words were

“Well Done, Good and Faithful Servant. Well Done.”

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My 25th Year

My 25th year went by in a heartbeat

It was completely and utterly amazing.

I love looking back over the year, looking through my pictures, and seeing how blessed I have been. I love to reminisce all of the special moments that have happened.

Going through my pictures, this is only naming a few of them. . .

I said “I Do” to the man of my dreams on the very greatest day of my life,

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I started traveling down and navigating the path of being a wife and am learning so very much every day,

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I started graduate school (and am halfway done!) working towards a reading degree to better my teaching and my students,

I have almost completed my fifth year of teaching,

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We bought our first home


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We traveled to Belize for a fantastically amazing honeymoon,

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We traveled to the West coast for an amazing spring break vacation

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. . . and I have spent plenty of moments with those near and dear to my heart.

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With all of these accomplishments and milestones in my life. Who could want anything more?

¬†Here’s to starting 26, and making more wonderful memories!

Eight Months Today

This morning, while driving to work, it dawned on me. . .

Rob and I have been married for 8 months, today!

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Who knew how fast time could fly?

It has been a whirlwind eight months.

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But in that whirlwind, it has been so very, very, fun!

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The past eight months have been full of love, laughter, busy times, and enjoying each others company.

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We have had exciting, and fun date nights. . .

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A beautiful summer of relaxation. . .

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Which concluded with my new sister-in-law getting married!!

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We then jumped into a holiday season full of firsts

Our first Thanksgiving . . .

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Celebrated both in Florida and in North Carolina

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And our first Christmas celebrated in our own home!

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And with our family. . .

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The holiday season, having two whole weeks off together, was a blast!

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We even were blessed with a new Godson, whom we absolutely adore. . .

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Receiving my daily Snapchats of that little bear make my day!

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All in all, these past eight months have been extremely fun.

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It is still weird to come home to him at the end of each day.

I also love knowing that he is there at the end of the day and knowing that he will always be there.

Marriage is fun.

No, it’s not perfect. Neither one of us are. We are a work in progress, getting better and stronger with every passing day.

For that fact, and for the fact that I have this amazing man by my side, I am extremely grateful and utterly blessed.