Happy Friday, guys and dolls.

I have so many things running through my head and I want to tell you all of it. Okay? Okay.

1. Girl’s Night. 

Last night was our first annual Girl’s Night. A couple weeks ago some of my wardies were at my house because of a relief society activity and I told them I wanted to do a Neighborhood Girl’s Night every month. But I didn’t know how to go about it and, honestly, I was scared.

Right then they were like “Okay, when, where, how, who?” They pushed it along and we had a date set! It would be every first Thursday of the month. I climbed into bed and curled up in a ball because I was so excited/scared.

So last night it happened. The neighbor girls brought awesome food, we hung out with some neighbors that we only see outside of church, we chatted and goofed off and laughed and it ohhh, it was everything I needed.

So, yeah, a shout out to the fab party committee– Karina, Amber, Allie, and Charlie. Y’all rock.

2. The deal with missionary work.

At girl’s night Allie brought her neighbor named Abby. She’s from India and was seriously the star of the party. She was loud and funny and interesting and smart and laughed easily.

Get this: she’s been living in the apartment under Allie for SIX YEARS and no one has known about her!


She said she just doesn’t know a lot of girls and hasn’t had a lot of people to hang out with.

I freaking complain if I don’t hang out with girls in a two-week period, but I still have church that puts me in a room full of girls for an hour every Sunday and I have monthly church activities with all girls.

My heart sank when I heard this about Abby. I was so, so sad.

On Sunday we had a lesson on missionary work. I usually put a guard on when we talk about missionary work because too often I feel like I’m being guilted into it. Like, “When you’re in the afterlife, your neighbors are going to confront you and say ‘Why didn’t you teach me about Jesus?’ and you’re going to feel so bad.” Oh, please! Get your space doctrine shaming out of my face.

But this did not happen on Sunday. Completely opposite. The sister missionaries spoke with us and they are both converts. One of them was raised Baptist and she used to go off about them crazy Mormons. Of course I loved that story. And now she’s on an LDS missionary.

They shared one scripture at the end. I felt like I got smacked on the face when they read it:

John 21:15-17

15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.

16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

When I think of Jesus, all I think about is countless love He has for me. So when I thought about feeding his sheep, I thought about how much love we need to love everyone around us. Feed our neighbors with love.

When the Word of Wisdom first came out in the LDS church, we were encouraged to not drink alcohol. We were encouraged to drink moderately. But things didn’t change and we didn’t take that encouragement seriously, so it became a commandment. I’ve been thinking about that with missionary work, except that we are commanded to love our neighbor. As Mormons and Christians, loving is a commandment. But, like the Word of Wisdom, if we can’t love our neighbors on our own, that’s when our wards are going to start picking on us and assigning us people to go and serve.

What I’m saying is that loving and serving others is so important, because no one should have to wait six years for a girlfriend to knock on their door and invite them to a girl’s night.

Anyway, this is probably super boring. Maybe I should have written this all in my journal instead, but whatevs. But can you FEEL me here? Can you FEEL the smack on my face to serve others? Ya feeling me, y’all? 🙂

3. My lesson on Sunday

I taught and what I loved so much was studying the scriptures that day before. I spent six hours studying, looking at history sites online, and overall trying to better understand the bible. You guys! Sennacherib, the King of Assyria, was a total a-hole. And the Assyrians were brutal, man.

Also, I figured out who the freaking Levites were. I felt like I understood the whole 12 Tribes thing, and then the Levites are mentioned in the very first verse I’m supposed to read, so I spent an hour trying to figure out the 12 Tribes all over again.

I love being a gospel doctrine teacher. I am learning so much about the bible. The Old Testament rocks.

4. Humans of New York

Humans of New York is traveling the world right now, making my Facebook feed the best. thing. ever. You guys need to check it out.  I’m learning about the world through simple quotes of people in Uganda, South Sudan, Jordan, etc.

5. This whole book writing thing.

I just erased everything I wrote about this. Hah. The issue with talking about this is that I feel like I’m getting really personal in a really vague way. Point is, I’m still writing and it hurts so much to write it. It hurts me the second I start thinking about it. It was such a short time with so many emotions and different situations. The beautiful, hilarious, wonderful, awful, the most embarrassing moment of my life (I still cringe that one day I’m going to put it on paper), heartbreaking, weird, scary, ridiculous, and one day I’m going to write it all and then stick MY name on it and say, yep, every bit of that was me. Love me, shame me, hate me–it’s all me.


Nah, I don’t have a six. Going to post this now. I’m going to take a picture of myself right now because my posts like double in readership when I post a picture, haha. I went running with my buds this morning up the mountain and then I came home and slept… Until 11am. Haha! FYI, we found out how long that mountain trail is–four miles! Up hill, down hill, rocky, foresty. Oh, you guys I love it so much. Anyway, so I’m still in bed and I still haven’t showered, hence the photo.



Kevin has a broken foot right now. Why? Because he was riding his bike and someone ran into him in their car. This is his SECOND time that he’s gotten hit while riding his bike. I’m pissed. People, don’t run over my family. Look where you’re going. Be careful.

Ope, here’s a 7th… I’m practicing my German… by myself. Sad, really. 🙂

This is me at 6p.m. on a Monday. It looks like 11pm outside so maybe I’ll just lie here all night… Until it really is 11pm.
Day 110.
I’m sorry my posts per week have been going down. I know you missed me. 😉  It’s just, it’s gotten really dark in Kiel. Like, really dark. By 4 it’s dark. It’s setting at 3. And today we were so lucky to have blue skies and sun so I could look out of my office and sigh at the beautiful day and soak in as much vitamin D as possible. But other than that, if you’ve been to Germany it’s just… grey. 
And I know people say it’s not like that everywhere and that it’s really bad in Schleswig-Holstein, but my goodness it was grey in Berlin and my goodness it was grey in Köln and Aachen, so yes, my overall idea of Germany’s weather is grey. Any other thoughts on the matter?
I have two and a half more weeks until I go home. How freaking crazy is that, guys? Where did the past three months go?
So the time has gone by fast, but it’s going incredibly slow right now. I’m glad I got to come on the internship early and enjoy two whole months of sun, because these clouds do a doozy on my emotions. I haven’t really picked up my go-to motivational happy Anne mode since I went to Berlin, as you can see from the absent blog posts. 
But that doesn’t mean there’s been some way rad times, so let me talk about those too:

Day 105. I went to Thanksgiving at the RIZ’s and my (English accent) flat mate, Lane, came with me. Lane is from Nebraska and his wife is teaching English in Bulgaria right now. We drooled over our food as we ate Thanksgiving that the wonderful Margetts prepared for us. I got to see Spencer’s mission president again in which I came up to him with my hands flying everywhere cause I was so excited, so he held my hands.
“You are my husband’s mission president.”
He got a big grin on his face, still holding my hands. “Who is your husband?”
“Well, I’m scared to tell you his name,” I said, laughing.
I told him Spence’s name.
And then he grinned again. Grin, grin, grin. And I laughed because that grin, I’m sure, could mean so many things, knowing all of Spencer’s stories from his mission. 
“And you are his wife,” he said.
He squeezed my hands. “Give him a very big, wonderful greeting from me.” (I don’t know how to translate that without it coming off as awkward, but you get what I mean.)
We had a huge crowd for Thanksgiving. The missionaries invited some super fun people, the Margetts are just always a blast, ALL of the young adults were there–it was a party. Oh yes, and everyone thought Lane was an investigator so Lane got missionaryized. Lane took it well. Lane is like the nicest person around so I wasn’t too worried. Plus there was delicious food and nothing could go wrong at a Thanksgiving fest.
On Day 106 Sunna, Petra and I visited our co-worker Anika, who just had a baby a couple weeks before. I nearly died when I saw her apartment. Oh. My. Gosh. I was walking into a living Pinterest. Every room was decorated in its own personality. First off, she had all light wood floors which I want in my house. And then french doors. And then she had two rooms that were both open so it looked like a long room and at the end of the long room was a bar in the corner. With stools! Like, how much fun would that be? You could have a whole classy dance party or a super fun Christmas party with bunches of fun drinks, alcohol free cause I’m cool that way and ohhh my. 
And then the kitchen was rad too. There was a spiral staircase and then two of the walls had this like graffiti wallpaper on it. Ohhh man you guys oh man oh man. 
…Okay so yes, maybe one of the coolest things that has happened to me in the past few weeks is that I walked into an apartment, but whatever.
I got to hold baby too. Oh baby baby baby. And baby is wearing pink and blue. Love it.

THEN on Saturday Day 108 Petra and the fam and some friends and I saw Catching Fire. Ohh man. All of Kiel was at the movies. Popcorn EVERYWHERE. You just walk around and wonder if there was a hole in the bottom of everyone’s popcorn buckets because holy crap. And the movie was so good. Gah! Jennifer Lawrence is a babe. So good. 
Sunday on Day 109 was the last Sunday for the Margetts before they go home, as well as for Elder Casper and Elder Paul, who have been transferred. Elder Casper is going to Forst and he will be opening a new program there. Elder Paul is going to Magdeburg, so look out for him, Sandra! I’m going to miss those two like crazy.
Anyway we had lots of fun taking pictures. 

Top: Elder Dospil (Austria), Elder Larsen (Idaho), Elder Casper  (Utah), Sister Rimmasch (Utah)Bottom: Elder Paul (Stuttgart on the military base), Me, and Sister Johnson (Utah (Lindon! She knows my cousin Cass!))Sister Johnson is the newest one and she is a blast. I laugh my head off every time I’m with her. She makes the funniest faces, the funniest jokes. I die. Yup. I just die of laughter. 

Me with the Margetts’. 
My apologies for the extremely awful iphone resolution. Ick. 
Tonight, back to Day 110, I got out of my bed after 6pm and went to Family Home Evening. I said goodbye to the Margetts and Elder Casper and Elder Paul. The Margetts have been a huge blessing to me. I always felt loved and wanted when I came to Family Home Evening and Institute and I loved talking about home and American things. They are wonderful people. The lucky part for me is that I get to go to their homecoming in December because I will be home and we live very close. AND my friend Saher is going to be in town until January so he’ll be there too. I don’t know why you’d want to come to Utah to celebrate Christmas when your family is in Nazareth. It’s his first time in America and I hope he enjoys it. I always worry when people are so excited to come to America that they’re going to be disappointed. It’s beautiful, but I think it’s so hard for some to grasp how gigantic America is. It’s a lot of traveling to get from A to B.
Tomorrow is the Christmas party at work and I’m taking pictures. Friends, have a good week. Salt Lakers, I’ll see you super soon.

Sunna and Petra were my lifesavers during my internship in Kiel, Germany!

Want to see more of my adventure in Kiel? Click here!

On Day 102 I gave a talk at church:

In English
My time in Kiel is full of blessings. When my professor asked if I would be an intern at the state chancellery, my husband and I had no idea how we would pay for it. The plane ticket, the rent for two apartments, our expensive tuition—it’s impossible, I thought. One night I kneeled next to my bed and prayed with remembrance of the scripture in Mark chapter 11 verse 24, which says, “Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” The next day I received an email from my professor who said I received a 1500 dollar scholarship. The next week I received another email with another scholarship. Later my husband and I received grants for our tuition. God answered my prayer. He answered with a storm of blessings.
The blessings didn’t stop. My husband and I prayed for my safety and protection, for nice co-workers, and peace in my heart. On the first day in Kiel my co-worker Sunna was immediately my friend. She asked me how I felt and that I must tell her if I need anything. On the first Sunday at church Brother Zickler asked who I was and invited me to dinner that night. My co-worker Petra showed me Kiel and took me grocery shopping. The Margetts gave me their number and said I should call even in the middle of the night if anything happens.
Although I was so surprised by how fast God answered my prayers, I am even more surprised by how many people showed me and charity and served me. We always read in the scriptures and hear from our prophet that service and charity are unbelievably important. In Luke chapter 6 verse 35 it says, “But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be children of the Highest.”
I can’t say that service is easy. We are busy. We have kids, spouses, jobs, callings, and sometime we have to find time for ourselves. I often feel that I can’t serve in Kiel because German isn’t my native language, I don’t have enough money to help others, and I always burn the cookies I bake. How can I serve in Kiel?
One day Sister Rimmasch called me. “We have an appointment in a half hour and we need a third person. Can you come with?” I met the sisters at the RIZ and was surprised by their reactions. “You are SERIOUSLY the answer to our prayers!” Sister Rimmasch said. “We had no idea how we were going to make it.”
We are all blessings for others when we serve, just like the Zicklers, the Margetts, and my co-workers are blessings for me. In Moroni chapter 7 verse 47 it says that charity is “the pure love of Christ.”
I am thankful for a loving Heavenly Father who knows my desires and answers my prayers. I am thankful for our church that teaches us as children how important serving and loving others is. I know we will be blessed if we serve others. I say this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

For more talk ideas for sacrament meeting, check out my father’s day talk and my talk on gratitude.
Auf Deutsch—
Meine Zeit in Kiel ist voller Segnungen. Wenn meine Professorin mich gefragt hat, ob ich eine Praktikantin bei der Staatskanzlei sein wurde, hatten mein Mann und ich keine Ahnung wie wir das bezahlen könnten—das Flugticket, die Miete für zwei Wohnungen, unsere teure Studiengebühr. Es ist unmöglich, dachte ich. Eine Nacht habe ich neben meinem Bett gesessen und habe mit der Erinnerung von Markus Kapitel 11 Vers 24 gebetet: „Darum sage ich euch: Alles, worum ihr betet und bittet—glaubt nur, dass ihr es schon erhalten habt, dann wird es euch tu teil.“ Am nächsten Tag habe ich eine E-Mail von meiner Professorin bekommen, die sagt, dass ich ein 1500 Dollar Stipendium bekommen habe. Die nächste Woche habe ich eine andere E-Mail mit noch einen Stipendium bekommen. Später haben mein Mann und ich Geld von der Uni bekommen, damit unsere Studiengebühr nicht so teuer wurde. Gott hat mein Gebet gehört. Er hat mit einem Sturm von Segnungen geantwortet.
Die Segnungen haben nicht aufgehört. Mein Mann und ich haben für meinen Schutz und meine Sicherheit gebetet, und auch für gute Mitarbeiter und Frieden in meinem Herz. Am ersten Tag in Kiel war meine Mitarbeiterin Sunna sofort meine Freundin. Sie hat mich gefragt, ob ich mich wohl fühlte und dass ich ihr sagen muss, wenn ich was brauche. An den ersten Sonntag bei der Kirche hat Bruder Zickler mich gefragt, wer ich bin und hat mich zum Abendessen eingeladen. Meine andere Mitarbeiterin Petra hat mir Kiel gezeigt und nahm mich zum Einkaufen mit. Die Margetts haben mir ihre Nummer gegeben und sagte, ich soll anrufen, auch in der Mitte der Nacht, wenn etwas passiert.
Obwohl ich immer überrascht war, von wie oft und schnell Gott meine Gebete geantwortet hat, bin ich mehr überrascht wie viele Leute mir Dienen und Nächstenliebe gezeigt haben. Wie lesen immer in den Schriften und hören immer von unserem Prophet, dass Liebe, Dienen, und Nächstenliebe unglaublich wichtig sind. In Lukas Kapitel 6 Verse 35, steht es, „Ihr aber sollt eure Feinde lieben und sollt Gutes tun und leihen, auch wo ihr nichts dafür erhoffen könnt. Dann wird euer Lohn groß sein und ihr werdet Söhne des Höchsten sein.“
Ich kann aber nicht sagen, dass Dienen einfach ist. Wir sind sehr beschäftigt. Wie haben Kinder, Ehegatten, Berufe, Berufungen in der Kirche, und irgendwann müssen wir Zeit für uns selbst finden. Ich fühle mich oft, dass ich in Kiel nicht gut dienen kann, weil Deutsch nicht meine Muttersprache ist, weil ich nicht genug Geld habe, anderen zu helfen, oder weil meine Kekse immer verbrannt sind und ich kann sie überhaupt nicht zu anderen geben. Wie kann ich in Kiel dienen?
Ein Tag hat Sister Rimmasch mich angerufen. „Wir haben einen Termin in eine halbe Stunde und brauche eine dritte Person“ sagte sie. „Können Sie mit uns kommen?“ Ich habe die Sisters beim RIZ getroffen. Ich war überrascht von ihren Reaktionen als sie mich gesehen haben. „Sie sind SERIOUSLY die Antwort von unserem Gebet“ sagte Sister Rimmasch. „Wir hatten keine Ahnung, wie wir zu dem Termin kommen könnten.“
Wir sind alle Segnungen für anderen, wenn wir dienen, genau wie die Zicklers, die Margetts, und meine Mitarbeiter, Segnungen für mich sind. In Moroni Kapitel 7 Vers 47, steht es, dass Nächstenliebe „die reine Christusliebe“ ist.
Ich bin dankbar für ein liebevoller Vater im Himmel, der meine Wunsche kennt und meine Gebete antwortet. Ich bin dankbar für unsere Kirche, die uns schon als Kinder lehrt, die Wichtigkeit anderen zu lieben und dienen. Ich weiß, dass wir gesegnet werden, wenn wir für anderen dienen. Ich sage das in Name Jesus Christus. Amen.

Day 33.

After work on Friday, I rode my bike up the hill and called Sister Rimmasch, who had a key to the RIZ.

“Hello?” she said, somewhat depressed.

“Hey! If I go shopping now for the movie night, could you let me in to the RIZ in like a half hour? Will you be around?’

“Wait, are you off work!” she shouted.

“Um, yes?”

“Oh my gosh!” she said into the phone. “Sister Veselka, Anne is off work!”

I rode my bike up the hill and wonder why me getting off work is so exciting.

“Anne, could you please come with us to an appointment?”

“…With an investigator?” I said, shyly.

“Yes, please, we can’t find anyone else who can go with us!”

When you’re a sister missionary, you always have someone else with you when you teach a male investigator. Safety precautions and all.

I hadn’t ever gone to a meeting with an investigator. Ooooooog.

“Okay, I’m on my way,” I said. “Give me 5 minutes.”

We met at the RIZ and rode our bikes on streets I’d never seen before. The sisters zoomed. I huffed and puffed. Sheesh, they’re fast.

They waited for me to catch up after they have locked their bikes. I’m out of breath.

“Jeez, you guys!” I said, about to fall onto the cobblestones. “Not like anyone’s in a hurry to preach the gospel or anything.”

“That’s called missionary legs,” Sister Rimmasch said, kicking her foot up in the air to show off her calves. My legs wobbled up the stairs to the apartment.

We knocked on the door. There was a small pause before the door was wide open and a man greeted us with a bright smile. He was my height, lanky, dried grassy hair sticking out on the sides, and brown glasses.

“Ah, you brought another one,” he said looking at me.

“I’m Anne,” I said. In my head I said my last name, but it didn’t come out. I keep forgetting with the Sieand Du’s that it’s important to say the last name. Funny how in America, even in the business world, it’s often just the first name.
We walked into his home and sit on the couch where all three of us wonder if we’ll fit. We squished. There are books everywhere. Piles of books. On the ground. On the bookshelf, on the table, coffee table, books books books.

We asked him how he is. He talked for ten minutes or so about his recovering knee and arm. He caught  me up.

After sometime, Sister Veselka finally asked, “What did you think about the baptism that we went to last Saturday?” (They went to a baptism last Saturday.  J )

“Well, it was interesting, but I would never do that.” He looked at us plainly. Then he started talking about why and somewhere in there he said, “I’m atheist.”

But the missionaries didn’t catch that… somewhat major detail. Which is why it was strange when Sister V said later, “Do you believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the Savior and Redeemer of the world?”

I leaned over her shoulder and whispered, “He’s atheist” and she went “Oh.”

Preaching the gospel is one thing, but preaching the gospel to someone you can’t fully understand is another.

Sister Rimmasch, who, although is doing pretty darn good for only being here for a couple months, was not understanding things. But she heard “atheist,” “I don’t see myself getting baptized” and “I don’t really want to go to church.”

In German she said, “So, my question is, um, why did you make this meeting with us? Um, I mean, what do you want to get out of this meeting with us?”

He talked, but I heard no answer. He looked at me and asked me if I was interested in politics. And off we were again, away from religion, to other things, to life and hobbies and the weather.

At the end we asked to make him another meeting and he said of course. I wondered where that would go. I wondered when it would be called off. I wondered if he would ever say he wanted to go to church. I mean, they are missionaries. They have things they have to do. At some point they have to let it go and find someone who will listen to them, not just talk. When would they call it off with him?

“You were our blessing today, Anne,” Sister Rimmasch said to me. “We really had no idea how we would get to this appointment.”

I nodded and said “anytime,” even though to me it was just a regular day. Although it does feel good to be a blessing for someone. Cha-ching! Haha!

As we biked down the hill, I couldn’t stop thinking about his piles of books, his almost furniture-less apartment, and the smell of coffee that he would drink by himself after we left. I couldn’t stop thinking about how quick he was to say he would never get baptized, but how quick he was to have us come again.

He’s lonely. He’s really lonely.

The sisters went shopping with me to help me carry the things back to the RIZ. We bought Döners at the Hauptbahnhof and quickly ate before it was time for their other appointments. Sister Rimmasch watched the music video. She can recite every word and starts moving her shoulders. Sister Veselka is offended by the dancing. I laugh at them both and wonder what crap they have to deal with each other when they’re by themselves all day.

I say goodbye to the sisters and ride home to grab Svenja before we head back down to the RIZ. If you’ve seen the video I made, you know it was a good time with a few technical difficulties.

Julia and her parents were there. Julia, who is blind and autistic. She hugs me and later gets mad at me for trying to move the couch up the stairs.

“It doesn’t go upstairs, it goes right here, what are you doing!?” she yells at me.

Her mom comes down the stairs and everything is fine.

I see this family take the train each Wednesday with Julia to go to institute and meet friends. I see them coming early to help with the movie night and staying late to clean up. I see them riding home in the dark. I see them taking care of Julia, because they know she needs friends because she is lonely. And I realize how many people need the gospel. Not just, oh, yeah, it makes me happy, but they need it. They really need it.

I need it too. I need every bit of it. 

Days 21-23.

Good morning to you west side Americans. And good day to you random other visitors that I don’t know.

Mormon talk–

Sunday was so wonderful. The bishop gave a lesson on missionary work. Because I have been hanging out with the missionaries, I have had a greater love for all of the members and my friends who go on missions. It’s so hard! I love to see the missionaries excited when they talk about a new person interested in the church and coming to visit. I love hearing their stories, their spiritual experiences, and their humility to do this. They are trying so hard to be good people and you can see it in their eyes how excited they are when others are happy. That’s all they want–to give us just a glimpse of the beauty and joy we can experience for eternity. What a wonderful thing.

At church I had like five million things hit me in the face. I felt really close to Heavenly Father. I was reminded of my patriarchal blessing and the things it tells me to do in this world, and I felt this mighty “SO GO AND DO IT” hit me in the face. I left church feeling so many things–I need to study the Book of Mormon. I need to know every story. I need to take time each day to not just read but study. I want to go on a mission with Spencer. I want to be like the Margetts. I want to serve and serve and serve. I need to be prepared to talk about the gospel.

So it’s Tuesday and I’m really trying to keep up on this excitement. It’s so odd how you forget these experiences–how after a while you just think, “Eh, I was just overwhelmed at the time–it was nothing.” Noooooo!

And gah! I just can’t tell you enough how beautiful eternity is. The Plan of Salvation is magnificent. God is kind.


After church the Margetts brought me over to their house with the sister missionaries (the elders already had a dinner appointment) and we sat and laughed and told stories and ate the. best. food. ever. Roast. The Margetts are the best people. They just give and keep giving. They care about everyone.

I don’t know if I’ve said this on the blog before, but food is a big part of serving. Like, I really need to get my cooking game on… so I can give people food… Haha.

Sunday night we had a Bishop’s fireside at the church right in Kiel. There are two church buildings–one outside of the city, and one “at the RIZ,” or right inside the city (I’m not sure why it’s called the RIZ.) That’s where we have FHE and Institute and stuff.

My Sunday was filled and later that night I talked to Spencer. He started school this week, which means our talking schedule has changed. As of Monday morning we talk at my time 6am and his time 10pm.

On Monday I stayed late at work so I could go directly to the RIZ for Family Home Evening. There we played a little game when I tried to tell the rules to a guy named Morteza who is from Iran. He joined the church five months ago and is still trying to learn German. We switched from German and English and somehow had a conversation. He left Iran a year ago to live in a more free country, he said, and had to say goodbye to his family. So sad. The sister missionaries taught him the lessons through Google Translator and he joined the church a bit later. Crazy.

Afterward we made donuts. (The Margetts.)

Tuesday. Today!

Today during my lunch break I tried a new dessert (see above picture). No bueno. I mean, it was okay. I just wanted it to be really really sweet. I wanted it to taste like a cake ball. It didn’t taste like a cake ball. It tasted like bread with craisins and nuts, covered with chocolate sprinkles. One of these days I’m going to get it right, people. (Although I love trying new things and showing them to you. 🙂 )

Here is my work space. 🙂

Another beautiful sunny day in Kiel! Man, we’re getting so lucky.

Today I went to find the bigger Aldi (grocery store) because the one by my house is way too small and cluttered and unorganized. It feels like there is only one kind of everything, and my American self needs a few more options. I found a bike path and followed that for a while, until I was completely lost. I was somewhere in Kronshagen, which isn’t too far from my house but I did not know where I was. Finally I found the Aldi. I walked in and was relieved to see everything neatly stacked, not so close to each other, and like a million different kinds of frozen pizzas. I didn’t buy any, but I would just like to have the option of grabbing a frozen pizza if I want. 🙂

I got two more yoghurts, granola cereal with coconut, a new kind of spaghetti sauce (the last one I got was awful), margarine, and peaches. Tomorrow morning I’ll have peaches with my cereal and whipped cream. Probably not that healthy, but you know. Tonight I’ll make spaghetti and try out the new sauce. I’ll cook some carrots and broccoli too. Tomorrow I’ll eat at institute. Thursday I’ll eat rice and eggs. Friday… We’ll see.

Here are my options for films (auf Deutsch): The Princess Diaries, Legally Blonde 2, and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

I am over 10GB and nothing as happened, people! I still have internet. Chyuss.

Is there cream cheese in Germany?

I was a bit worried about getting to church in the morning because the buses are just different on Sundays and there always seems to be an unpleasant surprise when I try to get to church by myself. But at the Hauptbahnhof stood two elders, two sister missionaries (their black name tags with white font give them away), and three other dressed up women grouping together.
“You guys are going to church, right?” I say in German with a smile.
I asked the sister missionaries where they were from. One is going to UVU. I named every person I knew from UVU and she didn’t know any of them. Eh. The other missionary is from Idaho and going to BYU-Idaho. It was fun to speak a little American English.
I sat next to a guy named Jack in Sunday school. Jack is at BYU and doing an internship for his mechanical engineering major.
At church a bunch of people came up to me and asked who I was and how long I would be here. After Sacrament Meeting a man came up to me.
“Hello, my name is Uwe and my wife and I would like to invite you to dinner. Jack is coming too.”
I looked at Jack and back at Uwe. “Natürlich!” Of course!
The day before I was concerned about what I would do with my Saturday evening. It was clear that I’d be busy.
At dinner the elder and sister missionaries were there, the couple missionaries were there, and Jack and I were there. We found out that Uwe has had bunches of callings with the youth in the church.
The couple missionaries, the Margetts, are from Salt Lake. In fact, they live down the street from me. We talked about our favorite places in Salt Lake and had a few warm heart to heart moments. We both missed our homes.
It was nice to have a big dinner and not have to pay for anything. I think food is the best thing you can give to an international student.
After church Petra called me and asked if I would like to go to the horse competition with her and her daughter down the street from my apartment. Horses are relaxing creatures. I took pictures with my camera, but when I got home my card had been reformatted and it lost all my pictures. Totally stupid. We watched the horses and talked about our animals at home—they have birds, a hamster, and a horse. I said my husband has fish and hermit crabs. We talked about Miss Cairo for a bit.
So many awesome people in Kiel. 

 Me and the sister missionaries.

 Missionary 1, Jack, Missionary 2.

 The Margetts, the couple missionaries.

 Jack and me.

Uwe and his wife (in the middle).

Thank you, Stephen Phung, for taking these beautiful pictures!
To see more of my wedding, click here.

My name is Anne. My husband Spencer and I have been married for three months. We met in German class last fall—I went on a foreign exchange to Germany in High School at the same time Spencer was serving in the Berlin mission. On our first date, I told Spencer I was not planning on getting married anytime soon and he said he had pretended to be gay at the singles wards so people would stop trying to line him up. But a year later, here we are. Spencer is majoring in mining engineering. I write for the U’s newspaper and am majoring in German.

I am grateful for my family. I am grateful for my mom, who let me sit on the end of her bed at night so I could reenact every funny moment that happened at school. I am grateful for my dad who gave me blessings at odd hours when my thoughts turned into anxiety attacks. I am grateful for my brother Harrison, who accepts others, for Maxwell, who constantly makes me laugh, and for baby sister Mira, who at 10 years old, is already counting down the days until she can go on a mission. I am grateful for my husband, who loves me unconditionally even when I’m irrational, who listens, who brings me hot chocolate in bed, who makes me laugh, who brings the spirit into our home, along with the famous Star Wars collection. I am grateful for our ward, for Heidi and Devon inviting us over, for Alyssa who squeezes my arm when she walks by, for Mckaye texting me, asking if I need a ride to the grocery store, for Theresa offering her washing machine to me. I am grateful for Heavenly Father. I am grateful that he knows my stubbornness, that he roots me on, and that he constantly reminds me that he loves me.
These are things I am grateful for every day. In Alma 34 verse 30, it says “humble yourselves even to the dust, and worship God, in whatsoever place ye be in, in spirit and in truth; and that ye live in thanksgiving daily.”
I wish this scripture were easier to follow. I wish I could remember to live in thanksgiving daily and be humble—to remember to be grateful for the home I have and forget about the plastered hair on the linoleum floor or the sink that squirts out my neighbor’s shavings. I have a roof above my head, a wonderful husband, money to buy groceries, and still everyday I find reasons to complain.
            But through my experiences, I have found ways to remember to be grateful every day.
My patriarchal blessing says, “When you start your home, make it a home of calmness and peace, where gentle words are spoken, where scriptures are read, prayers are offered and testimonies are born.” It tells me to make our home a refuge from the storms of life. I have found that having a house of peace and calmness has given me more gratitude. A month ago, Spencer decided to make a Swear Jar. Every time we swear or say something bad about another person, we have to put a nickel in the jar. There is nothing more satisfying than telling your spouse that they need to put a nickel into the jar. We even have a couple of IOU’s from friends and family.
As silly as it sounds, this swear jar has changed the feeling in our house. We are more aware of the words we say. We know others are hearing us. We can talk about things without being upset. We humble ourselves by remembering that we aren’t better than other people. We have a distinct feeling in our home that is welcoming and loving and peaceful because we make a conscious effort every day to say good things about others and to speak gentle words. When I am at home, I feel grateful for the love that is around me.
When Spencer and I were engaged, our bishops and stake presidents gave us advice on ways to have a successful marriage. All of them said the same thing—read scriptures together daily, pray together, have Family Home Evening. They all said that doing these things daily would hold our marriage together. But there are days when we don’t get home until 10 from school or when we have too much homework and we forget to read scriptures or pray. Sometimes we’d rather watch The Walking Dead or play a couple rounds of Connect 4. But when we have a week of constant scripture reading, our weeks run better. We are less anxious about homework. We have faith that our monthly income will hold us over. We rarely argue. When we go for long periods without reading the scriptures, we tend to get in disagreements or become defensive. I know that taking the time to humble myself by reading scriptures and praying daily makes me a better person. I am more grateful for the blessings that are around me.
When Spencer and I decided to get married in the summer, we were both scared to death. I knew I loved Spencer, but I wanted Heavenly Father to give me a big burning answer that I was supposed to marry him. I never received a burning feeling, but I felt calm. Every time I prayed I felt as if God was saying, “Calm down, Anne. Everything is going to be alright.” I would go to bed feeling at peace, but then wake up to feel nervous again. What did He mean everything was going to be alright? I’d think. Should I marry Spencer or not? It took me a couple of weeks to learn that God was not going to tell me whether or not to marry him, but he was certainly not telling me no. Once we made the decision to get married, Spencer and I were overwhelmed by all of the blessings. We both felt once we made the decision to marry that it was the right thing to do. I realized that God did not want to tell me who to marry, but rather he was on our side in whatever decision we made. I’m grateful He believed in me to make that choice. 
Still, we worried about not finding a place to live and everywhere we looked, it was too expensive. But a month before we were married, we got a spot in the village. We were ecstatic. After being told three times that we would have to wait until December to be in the village, they emailed us with our new apartment address. I jumped up and down with happiness and kept hugging Spencer, saying, We have a place to live! We have an apartment! We have a home!
I told Spencer it would be so nice to have a sectional couch that could fit plenty of people. We began to think about our money and how we’d be able to pay for a couch. Nothing seemed to work, especially since we’d be paying for tuition in the fall. I kneeled and prayed one night, asking Heavenly Father to help things work out, even if it meant living a couple months without a couch. A few days later, during a wedding shower at my ward, one of the women simply asked me if I needed a couch. I told her we were in desperate need of one. She told me her sister lived a few blocks away and had been trying to get rid of a couch for a long time. Within 10 minutes, we were at her sister’s house hauling a green, leather couch out of a garage with Spencer and his dad who were coincidentally in the neighborhood with a trailer. I went back to the wedding shower again, yelling We got a couch, we got a couch! I am grateful for ward members and answers to prayers.
Other than the green sectional, we had no other furniture. Spencer and I had no furniture for our house. But within weeks of the wedding, our family opened up their storage units to give us a night stand, a leaf table, and a king size bed. Another ward member told me that her work was giving away furniture for a cheap price—we took a trailer over there one day and found a beautiful armoire and a glass coffee table. I am extremely grateful for these loving family and ward members.
We went over our budgeting and both of us thought it’d be good to have a weekend job along with our job during the week. I had been working at Zupas full-time, but wanted to try working full time with the newspaper at the U. But I knew Zupas had a rule that you weren’t allowed to work less than three shifts, and I hoped to only work two. I had the feeling to just go in and ask, and sure enough my manager made an exception.
These were miracles. For two broke students who had no money to buy things for the house or plan a wedding reception, we only prayed and prayed that things would work out. They did.
Our decision to get married is one of the happiest and wonderful things in my life. We were blessed by a million of miracles, by people serving, by the Lord answering our prayers. I learned the importance of gratitude during the few months before Spencer and I married. I learned the joy that comes from giving thanks to the Lord and humbling myself by praying when we were in need of help.
Although the pre-wedding miracles have calmed down and we’re no longer receiving a random couch or coffee table during the week, we are blessed every day with small things, whether it’s a neighbor waving hello from the playground when you had a bad day, a teacher extending their deadline, or watching the sunset in winter. I know that God is watching over me and is taking time to bless me every day. I know that if I notice these things every day and thank the Lord for them, I will be blessed. In D&C Section 78 verse 19 it says, “And he who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious; and the things of this earth shall be added unto him, even an hundred fold, yea, more.” I say this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen. 

Did you like this post? For more talk ideas in sacrament meeting, click here for prayer and blessings and click here for a father’s day talk.

I keep trying to write an introduction to my blog, but whatever. I just want to tell you what happened last Monday.

I met two German Mormons Monday morning.
They came to my house because Rosa knows them, and they would be the ones taking me to Hamburg this Saturday. Since Josa didn’t know them, she wanted to meet them beforehand. They came to the house on Monday.

When they came over, I was just getting out of the shower. I heard the doorbell then ran into my room and put on clothes. I came down the stairs with dripping hair seeping through my shirt. When I saw the two women standing in the kitchen, I noticed that Rosa’s friend and her mom were not sitting down. Josa would not have forgotten to invite them to sit down. The mom was standing up straight and proper. Her make up was overdone, her clothes were fancy, and her blonde hair was perfect. Jellena was the same. I wondered if they were going out to a nice restaurant afterwards.

I greeted both of them and started asking questions in German. The mother did not smile. Every time I asked a question to her daughter, the mother would immediately answer for her. I decided to give up talking to the girl, and start asking the mom questions.

“How many children do you have?”
“I have Jellena (the girl) and a son who is on his mission right now.”
“Ach so! Where is he?”
“England. He is in England.”
“Ahhh, England. I would love to go to England. How wonderful.”

The mother raised her eyes at me,“No. You don’t want to go to England.”
“No? Why not?”
“You don’t want to go.”
“What do you mean?”
“There are a lot of blacks. Hispanics. Asians.”

This caught me off guard. “I don’t understand…” I said.

“It’s just a bad place. With those kind of people.”

Huh. I didn’t feel so hot after that. My chest was burning. My stomach hurt. The woman looked at Josa. She looked her up and down and glared. Josa wore a long-sleeved t-shirt, a pair of jeans, and some old slippers. She stared at Josa’s slippers for a long time. The woman began asking Josa questions.

“Is Anne going to church every Sunday?”
“Are you letting her go?”
“Why haven’t you gone with her to church?”
“What religion are you?”
“I was Protestant before I was Mormon. You know you can switch churches.”
“How is Anne getting back home from Hamburg? She shouldn’t be riding the train alone. I hope you know that.”
“Anne and Rosa will come with us to church on Sunday. Anne needs to be going to church every Sunday.”
“We will probably pick Anne up on Friday, which means she’ll be staying the night with us.”

Ope! And here comes my favorite:
“We really didn’t have to meet up beforehand. Anne knows that she is safe with her own kind. Probably even safer.”

Josa and I watched them drive away. Once the door was shut and we were back in the kitchen, I yelled, “Who does she think she is?!” Josa’s eyes got big and she said, “You thought that too?!” I said, “Josa! That woman is krank in dem kopf (sick in the head)! She comes into your house, doesn’t smile, looks you up and down, and tells you to switch religions!”

Josa nodded. “She’s power hungry.”

“AND! She’s racist! And she thinks she’s better than everyone. She thinks good people are only Mormons. No, she thinks the only good people are WHITE Mormons!” I kept going. I talked about every little detail. I was furious. Then I got Josa going. Josa finally started yelling about how horrible she was. So both of us were yelling at each other in the kitchen about how horrible the woman was. Ann-Kathrin came downstairs to see what was going on. She was surprised to see that I was the one yelling.

After Josa and I had calmed down and were sitting at the kitchen table, I said, “You know what bugs me the most, Josa?”
“In Germany, there aren’t many Mormons. And the first one I meet here outside of church is rude. It makes me mad, because if someone had never met a Mormon before, and met her, they would think the Mormon church was crazy. And everyone already thinks the Mormon church is crazy. And some of the things she said go against what we believe. Josa, I haven’t been this mad in a long time. I know I shouldn’t be mad, but I am.” Josa listened. And understood. She told me what she thought. “There are people like that everywhere. In every country. Every religion. Most of the time, you can do nothing about it. Their minds are set on what they believe. They’ll never change.”

It’s just so different being a Mormon outside of Utah. And I knew it’d be different. I’m not stupid. It’s hard but then it’s not. The actual Mormon religion isn’t a burden. I feel that the things we are told not to do make it easier for me to live my life. But having to carry the stereotype of Mormonism everywhere I go… Yeah. That’s hard. Or when people bring up the stupid things Mormons have done in the past. Yeah. That’s hard. Or when people ask you questions and you don’t exactly know the answers… That’s also hard.

So. Anyway. Listen to this. Now, I’m not going to Hamburg. Rosa is sick. So I asked my host family if Micky could come. Yes, of course he could come. But he’s in Poland right now, so I can’t ask him. And he’d have to turn in a travel permit, which you’re supposed to fill out a week in advance. Money isn’t a problem. I’d pay for him in a heartbeat if he could come. But his host family might have plans already. Or he might be tired after Poland and won’t be in the mood to travel. Or he.. Or.. Or…

Ahhh! Wouldn’t that be awesome?! That would be so much fun! But ohh! How fun it would be! We could do so many things in a week! It makes me so happy to think about. What if he really came next week? I like that thought.

I’m meeting up with exchange students tomorrow for Köln. Still need to tell you about Tuesday and today, but that’s okay. Another time. I need to go to bed.

Thanks, Stephen Phung, for taking pictures of this wonderful moment! Check out more of my wedding here.

On December 23rd, 2007, I wrote in my journal, “My dad. Chocolate lover.” On August 23rd, 2007, I said, “My dad is hilarious. And everyone loves him.” Then, on June 5th 2008, “Dad. What a dork. He is my hero.” It is June 21st, 2009 and all of these things are still true. My dad is a chocolate lover. During the school days, Dad’s cookies filled with chocolate chips sit on the oven counter, even if we are bloated from Mom’s dinner. My dad is hilarious. At my fourteenth birthday, Dad sang the song “Fat Bottom Girls” by Queen in front of me and ten other girls. He danced and shook his hips and held that microphone like he was singing on stage in front of thousands. My friends couldn’t stop laughing, even after he had finished his solo and gone upstairs. A couple of summers ago, Dad helped my two best friends and I fill up water balloons so we could throw them at our guy friends. When they came over that night, my dad and the girls chucked giant balloons from the side of the house until most of the guys were screaming like little girls. My dad is a dork, and he is my hero.

In “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” it says, “By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families.” My dad shows his love in many different ways. With Mira, Dad holds her for a long time and kisses her cheeks. With Maxwell, Dad talks to him for hours on end about World War II, mathematics, and things I’ve never even heard about! With Harrison, Dad listens to him play the drums and wrestles him in the family room. And with me, Dad lets me sit on the end of the bed every night and talk about my day, even when Mom starts snoring.

My dad provides the necessities of life and protection for my family. He. Works. Hard. My dad made the choice to be self-employed so that he can provide for the family and still be able to spend a lot of time with his children. He supports me in the dreams I have for myself. In August, I am leaving to Germany for almost a year. Even though he cries when we talk about it, Dad is willing to send me off to a foreign exchange and pay hundreds of dollars a month for me to have the necessities I need while I’m there. My dad is a big influence to everyone in my family.

I am grateful for the role of fathers in the church. When I am stressed about school, having a hard time with friends, or just having a bad day, I know I can ask my dad at any time to give me a blessing. There have been countless times when I have asked my dad for a blessing the day before a musical audition or to help me sleep and be calm before an upcoming test.

My mom told me that on the day I was born my father went into the bathroom at the hospital and cried his eyes out. He instantly loved me and was so scared that he wouldn’t be up to the task of being my father. Dad has always been a loving father. He is devoted. He spends time with each of us. He is fun and understanding. I am glad to have him as a father. I say this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Did you like this post? For more talk ideas in Sacrament Meeting, click here for prayer and blessings, and click here for gratitude.