If the two weeks leading up to our German departure were whirlwind, the 24 hours just prior were tornado, and the morning of?  A black hole. 

I awakened early after a decent Ambien-shrouded sleep, conscious of each item remaining on my check list.  I wanted to finish a post I needed to publish before we were airborne, so I medicated with strong coffee and opened my laptop.

First, though, I checked email. 

One from a stranger immediately caught my eye; she discovered PENSIEVE after reading my (in)courage posts.  Right about then my husband came downstairs and I said, "THIS is why I love blogging…!" and began reading her email to him. 

Eighteen words in I lost it, and through tears told him I'd just forward it.

As soon as I clicked "send" a new email arrived from my sister. 

For those of you not familiar, my sister and I are close relationally but also in age, born just 16 months apart.  Having lost our mother when we were just nine and ten, we've always shared a sister bond that has only grown deeper with time. 

She's been our biggest cheerleader with Tad's new job and all it encompasses, and she's rallied us when we wavered in our decisions (never thinking we were doing the wrong thing, just struggling with the ramifications of decision). 

Well I just wailed through her email, too, and didn't even try to read that one aloud.  I was also laughing, reassuring Tad that I wasn't upset, just emotional, but he understood and didn't need me to explain.  Though not quite the emotional basket case I looked like at that moment, he felt it on the inside, too.

I tell you those things to share this: 

If you feel a nudge to write to encourage someone, whether it be a stranger or the sister who knows you best, DO IT! 

Linsi's and Lora's words were exactly what I needed to hear yesterday morning (or whenever it was, with the time difference and sleep deprivation I'm confused) and I'm beyond-words thankful they acted on their intention. 

In case you need a little help figuring out what to say to someone who's moving into their version of The Great Unknown/Adventure, I asked Linsi's permission to reprint excerpts of her email, and I'm using Sister-license to share Lora's.  I think you'll see why they both were soul-balm; an example of God using people to bless and buoy others–

{from Linsi}

I can imagine that right now you are incredibly swamped and overwhelmed with leaving home and moving to Germany, but I stumbled across your blog today and just knew I needed to write you. I've never seen your blog before, but I was on the (in)courage blog, saw your name, and felt drawn to your blog. I'm a Colorado girl at heart, but last August I got married to my best friend and moved to…… Germany. I'm only 24 and didn't leave kids behind, but I just wanted to let you know I think it's amazing what you are doing. Germany is an wonderful country filled with incredible experiences, I'm sure you guys are going to love it. Yes it's hard, I can't hide that. But I wouldn't be anywhere else now. I live about 5 hours north of where you are going to live (in Marburg, near Frankfurt), but Bavaria is a beautiful part of Germany.

I know it's probably random to get emails like this, but I just felt like I needed to send a little note. People are really good at sharing advice where it's not needed sometimes, and I don't want to be one of those strangers. But if there are any questions you have now or when you get here, I would love to help. I'm still trying to figure out life here, but that's the cool part of relationships… figuring out things together. : )

May God give you peace and clarity of mind as you move.

{and Lora}

I have been praying for you and your family this morning.  Sending prayers to God thanking Him for you and asking for his hand of love, peace, and protection to be upon you all.  Also praying for/that:

  • a safe flight and that Robin's nerves will be calm and confident
  • true joy and excitement and hope to invade you both
  • a marriage strengthened in new ways
  • the courage to do/try new things
  • the ability to make new friends (real ones)
  • the ability to pick up German – and fast
  • God's hand will be upon both boys – especially when they make decisions
  • the boys will learn new skills useful for them
  • [Frinds/family] will do a great job staying with the boys
  • Rachel will continue to thrive
  • Tad will really grasp new concepts easily
  • Tad will shine as a new employee
  • Robin will embrace cooking German food
  • Robin will have fun making a new home
  • neither Robin nor Tad will worry unnecessarily
  • remember that a person can do anything for a year


Their words were send off gifts, setting the stage for what has been only wonderful so far.  Even the Siberian winds and the single digit temperatures have had their silver lining–my red lodge parka has already justified herself!!

I can't wait to tell you about our adventure.  I'm falling in love with a country and her people.


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