Friday, July 25, 2008

Cool News

This last time we were in Africa Jason and I decided that God's not done with us there yet. We thought and prayed and talked about it tons and we really felt like the needs of Guinea-Bissau and the specific ways that the Church and the Youth Center have of meeting those needs correspond really well with the talents and abilities that God has given us.

It wasn't an easy decision. Living in West Africa is one of the hardest things we have ever done. It has forced us to depend on God and it has changed us in a million ways. With that said, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it's one of the best things I've ever done. The more that we thought there was a possibility that we could be leaving forever the more our hearts broke.

Since we decided to go back God has confirmed that decision in a million ways. We need to raise financial support and spend so
me time with our families, but if everything goes smoothly we are hoping to be heading over to Guinea-Bissau in January. We are planning to go for two years, come home for a few months, and then head out for another two years. After that, only God knows, and I'm ok with that.

Because we are heading back we decided that it would be really cool to have a place where all of our information could be organized so that people can keep up with what we're doing. So... I now have my own website!!!!!! (shared with Jason... hehe):!

The website has lots of different pages with pictures, videos, a
nd information about what we've done in the past, what we're up to now, and plans that we have for the future. It's still a work in progress and over the next few weeks we are going to be adding more stuff to virtually every page.

Along with the new site I have a new blog: Myspace has been good to me, but there's a lot of things it can't do and a lot of people have had problems getting on our blog. Anyone can see my new blog at anytime and anyone with a google account can leave comments (to see how to get a google account, read my first blog on the new site).
So, it's with a little sadness that I s
ay goodbye to my myspace blog. I am still going to keep my account for now, but I don't think I'll be on it super often. Feel free to check out the new site and let me know if you want to get an email when I post blogs at the new address.

I'll leave you with a fun
ny picture of Jason inside a tree that I took earlier this summer.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

New Stuff

Welcome to my new blog! I hope that this one will be easier to get to and more fun for everyone! Anyone can read my blogs but if you want to leave comments you need to have a gmail address or a google account. If you want to get a gmail address go to: to sign up. If you don't want a gmail address but you would still like to be able to leave comments you can go to: to sign up for a google account with a non-gmail email address.

Right now we are in Arkansas soaking up some sun, visiting my family, and working on our new website. It will probably be a few more weeks before we get it totally done, but if you want to check out the work in progress go to

Saturday, July 12, 2008


By the time we got to Berlin we were pretty exhausted. I'm not that great of a traveler, and even though we were seeing some pretty amazing places, I really wanted to go home. We got to our hostel and pretty much crashed and burned the first night. The city has two buses that just go around all day and visiting cool sites, so we rode around on one for a while and got off at a cool park. In all of the other cities we had stayed mostly in the metro areas, but in Berlin since we were so wiped out we decided to take a leisurely stroll.

The park was beautiful and I tried my hand at a few flower pictures.

We found a low wall by a pretty lake and Jason took a load off for an hour or so.

After that we did some more exploring and found a few more peaceful parks in the city. One of them had lots of fountains and statues.

We liked this one because the boy is riding on a goat. Don't ask why, but that struck us as pretty funny.

After that we bought some food and went to bed early. The next day we did some historical exploration. We went to the Brandenburg gate and the Reichstag - which is the German parliament building. Tons of German history has happened in this building and we even got to look through some glass windows at a curent parliment session. The building itself was pretty old and impressive, so we waited in line for a freezing hour and half to go up to the top and see the city from this huge glass dome thing on the building. The views of the city were nice, but the dome itself was far more impressive.

It had this huge mirrored funnel down the middle that brings natural light and heat down into the building to make it more energy efficient.

One thing I have to tell you about Berlin is that Berliners love Currywurst. You may be wondering what that is, so let me explain. Germans in general love sausages of all kinds.
After trying quite a few from street vendors here and there I can see why . In German a sausage is a "wurst". The currywurst is a particular kind of sausage which is deep fried and then smothered in a tomato sauce (like a sweet catchup) and then dusted with curry powder. It's pretty good. There are currywurst stands all over Berlin and near the famous Check Point Charlie I found this one.

Currywurst, I salute you.

The next day we took a walking Cold War tour of Berlin. It was pretty fun and I'm glad we did it. We learned all about the Stazi spies and the crazy files they had on people - at one point they were actually collecting people's smells! They would bring people into an interrogation room and make them sit on their hands, palms down. Then they would ask them all kinds of questions, and finally let them go. They would take the special cloth (that the person's hands had sweat all over) off of the chair, tag it and put it in a jar, presumably in case they ever needed to set the dogs after that person. Crazy. They also had all kinds of high tech spy gear and at the height of their power they had an estimated one spy for ever six citizens... Yikes!

At the end of the tour we got to go see the Berlin wall. It was different than I had ever pictured. I never understood how the wall had gone up overnight, but at first it was a wall of soldiers and barbed wire. Then gradually the first wall was built and then a second wall was built about 100 yards behind it. The area in between the two walls (called the death strip) had absolutely no cover and was patrolled constantly. The ground was raked sand or raked gravel so footprints stuck out like sore thumbs. Here's a picture of the main wall as it is now.

We also visited a section of the wall that has been restored and has the death strip and everything. It was chilling.

The history tour was definitely an eye opener, but not really very joyous. Then again, the history itself hasn't been very joyous either.

We went to some more monuments after the tour. We saw the holocaust memorial and the old Jewish cemetery. We also went to a super old Jewish synagogue. After that we saw a memorial dedicated to the victims of communism. The shattered man is gradually walking into the future and with each step he is becoming more and more whole.

After that we caught a train back to Frankfurt and then some assorted trams and buses back to the YFC guest house. We relaxed and worked and organized some photos the next day and then we hopped on a plane back to the States.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


Ok, so a long time ago I promised I'd blog about Prague and Berlin. I've been back in the States for a few months and I've been running around like crazy, but that is really no excuse not to show you some cool photos from the end of our trip! Hehe

Before I start talking about those cities I wanted to show you some more pictures of the really cool castle that we ran like crazy to see (it was the castle that Walt Disney used as his inspiration for the sleeping beauty castle - look at the last blog for a description of that fun afternoon...

This is a picture of one of the sides of the castle. Believe it or not only a third of the original planned castle was built when the king died and it was never finished.

This is the front of the castle just a few steps after you go through the main gate.

Jason snapped this one just before the lady said that we were not allowed to take any pictures of the inside. Every single surface was painted, or carved, or decorated in some way.

We got to Prague in the late afternoon and went to our hostel to check in. We stayed in a really cool hostel with a nice kitchen. The first night we went to a grocery store and bought some food to make.

While we were cooking in the kitchen some girls came in and ate with us. One way from the US and had been backpacking around New Zealand before coming to Europe and the other was from Argentina. We decided to go up to Prague castle with them the next day. Prague castle in the biggest ancient castle in the world and it's history goes back to the 9th century, so we were looking forward to it.

We stopped on the way to take a picture of the girls.

When we got there we found out that they only allow 5000 people a day to actually enter the castle itself and since it had been open for an hour and a half all of those tickets had been sold. We did get to buy tickets for the the other buildings that are part of the castle compound and they were really cool. They have a cathedral that was built over about 600 years starting around the 10th century and that was definitely worth seeing.

This is the cathedral.

It was pretty dark inside the cathedral, so the pictures don't really do it justice.

We climbed up in a really tall tower (about a million steps in a tiny spiral staircase) and got to see sweeping views of Prague that were pretty cool.

In this picture you can see the building that makes up the castle wall and then the city beyond it. Most of the roofs in Prague were redish-orange.

Here you can see part of the cathedral and some more of the castle.

We went back down into the cathedral, poked around a little, and the looked at lots of the other buildings, a museum, and the castle gardens. It was pretty cool. One funny thing that we noticed was in the church the confession booths were roped off...

tisk tisk

I loved these trees! They were
in the gardens just outside of the castle

We did some exploring of the city and we saw lots of beautiful old row houses

Most of you know I love to make jewelry. The Czech Republic produces lots of amazing fire polished glass and bohemian crystal beads, so I really wanted to buy some while we were there. We found lots of little boutique bean shops, but the beads were ridiculous (more than a dollar each...) I was starting to get pretty bummed out so I asked a girl who worked at our hostel if she knew of a good place to buy them. She told Jason and I about a little out of the way market, so we set out. We walked all around and at first we only saw stalls with fruit and trinkets, but deep in the center we found the beads. They were way cheaper than the stores and I bought quite a few of them. It was definitely the highlight of my time in Prague.

So many treasures, so little time...

Ok, I have a million things to do, so I'll blog about Berlin later. This week, I promise