Living abroad takes what we know as “living” and turns it upside down or right side up. It all depends on the perspective that you view it.
Like a Child: humble yourself to view your new surroundings like a child. See it with open eyes. The world is what you make of it. If you choose to see it as full of possibility, then possibilities will appear.
Try a Little Something New: don’t be afraid of the unknown, embrace the unknown. When we try something new, we are signaling our brain to get ready for the challenge and push beyond our existing capacity.
Don’t Be Afraid to Start Again: It can seem so daunting. You’ve worked hard to build a community for yourself and then to leave it all behind. Many would rationalize what’s the point? The point is, we’re alive for more than ourselves. Everything has a season. It’s not all about us and once we realize this starting again doesn’t seem quite so bad. We must embrace the idea of starting again. Whether it’s learning how to live in a new community, understanding a local culture or just adapting to a new way of life.
Focus: you will become like whatever you’re focusing on. Think about what is good about where you are. If you’re unemployed you might have more time than ever to learn something new, train for a marathon or study a new language. FOCUS on what is good about your situation.
Hold Tight in the Process: yes it’s difficult, especially when you’re in a new place and attempting to create a routine for yourself. But stay focused in the process. Don’t give up because with each step you make you’re getting along the road. Before you know it, you’ll be at your destination.
You’re Doing Better than You Think You’re Doing: you will not always be a beginner or brand new. Although the beginning stages feel so challenging, take hope. With each new day, you’re learning and growing. You’re doing better today than you were yesterday just because you have another day under your belt so you are one day wiser. Focus on the progress you’re making and not the lack of progress you have yet to make.
One could argue that worst type of captivity is not the captivity that you can see, but rather the captivity that you can’t see. – EE Winkler
Have you ever stopped to consider, what is it that’s holding you captive? Is it yourself? It is another person? Is it a substance? Is it unforgiveness?
So often, we don’t realize that we’re bound up in unforgiveness. We just think that we are the way we are because that’s how we are. But over time, even small offenses will build up and have the capacity to do so much damage in our lives.
Forgiving is the key to your freedom.
I think that all of us can look inside and find at least one person that we need to forgive. Truth be told, it might be that you need to forgive yourself. We think that the things that people do to hurt us do not really matter and do not affect us, but actually they really do.
By not forgiving them, you’re actually allowing yourself to stay in a perpetual state of bondage. Eventually unforgiveness turns into bitterness and it will affect your life whether you want it to or not. You will actually not be able to love yourself and love others at your potential capacity if you choose to stay stuck in unforgiveness.
What does it mean to forgive someone?
To forgive means that you CHOOSE, not necessarily feel, to no longer hold the offense of someone else against them. I emphasize CHOOSE, because so often we think we have to wait until we feel like it before we forgive. But this principle is a faulty logic that we do not apply in other areas of our lives.
We CHOOSE to exercise even if we are tired because we understand the health benefits.
We CHOOSE to go to work, even if we don’t feel like it because we are committed.
We CHOOSE to be kind, even if we don’t feel happy because it is the right thing to do.
We CHOOSE to love others even when they are not loving to us because we are called to.
We make choices every single day and forgiveness just has to be one of those choices that we make. IF, and only if, we want to be free and remain free. Freedom always costs something and just because we are free today does not mean that we do not have to work to maintain our freedom for tomorrow.
What happens if the painful feelings come back after we forgive?
Sometimes, after we choose to forgive, the feelings of hurt, sadness and pain start to creep up again. When this happens, we have to remind ourselves that we have chosen to forgive and choose not to stay angry. This is so important because if we entertain these feelings then will find ourselves being bound up all over again. We must release that hurt and choose, even when we don’t feel like it.
So, who do you need to forgive today?
Won’t you make a choice to forgive them? The freedom that you crave is well within your reach if only you will just choose.
who you are, is enough.” (an excerpt from “Who You Are is Enough”)
It is my honor to share my new poetry book with you today! It is my hope that it will encourage you and remind you that you are loved, you are special and that you have a purpose in life! We need you in this world and there is no one else like you!
In my poetry book, Rhythms and Rhymes, you’ll find dozens and dozens of inspirational, feel-good poetry. If you’re looking for a little encouragement to remind you just how wonderful you truly are, then you’ll definitely want to check out my book!
I write rhythmic, rhyming, uplifting poetry from my heart and it is my hope that it will speak to your heart in a positive way.
I hope you know just how special you are and to those of you going through a difficult season of life right now, hang in there, you’re going to make it through this, don’t give up, a better day and the best is yet to come for you!
Today is the International Day of the Girl. Championed by UNICEF, this day works to drive awareness and advocate for young girls everywhere. Considering the fact that I used to be a little girl, I think it is a wonderful cause and it inspired me to write and perform this poem today.
Whatever you’re doing, stop for a moment to look up.
Seriously, look up.
Now, what did you feel? What did you see? What did you think?
Sometimes, we are walking about so consumed by what we see in front of us, whether literally or figuratively, that we become consumed with our challenges and difficulties because we give them way to much negative attention.
We have to be willing to put things into perspective within the big picture of our entire lives. Even the major problems, fall into perspective when you consider your entire life especially if it is not life threatening; and let’s face it, most of us have problems that are not. Maybe your problem is that something in your life has come to a crashing halt. An unexpected end.
You’re looking all around you and all you see is rubble from everything that has fallen apart and come to an end. But in the words of an amazing woman, who I so admire, Kendra Scott, “it’s not over, this could just be the beginning.”
When you’re tempted to keep a horizontal focus, I challenge you to force yourself to physically look up. The action of doing so, just may trigger something in your brain to remind yourself, there is more than what you can see right here, right now.
A horizontal focus tends to leave us so focused on ourselves and our problems that we actually forget that there are people around us with problems too. We forget that even if we don’t have something to give financially, the warmth of a smile or the utterance of encouraging words can lift a person’s soul far more than money ever could.
Look up, my friend.
I triple dog dare you to look up.
Stop focusing on what you don’t have and start being thankful for what you do have. If you’re reading this post right now, you are insanely richer than you know. Just look what you have in your hands. Look at the fact that you’re still breathing. Look at the fact that you have something valuable and special to share with the world, just by being yourself.
Happiness is temporary but joy lasts a lifetime. – EE Winkler
We all love to be happy. It feels good. I once had a history professor that stated, “everything we do in life is to make us happy.” It stuck with me. I pondered it in my head and I realized that there was a lot of truth to his statement. But I still wondered, is it entirely true? Are there innately things that we intentionally do for others without seeking our own happiness? Or do we do the things, to make them feel happy, because making them happy, makes us happy? Ha! Do you see what I mean?
There is a peacefulness that is found in joy and not in happiness.
But beyond the idea of happy, I believe that joy is something that can actually be a life’s ambition, a state of mind, a posture. When I think of happiness, I think of this fluffy, fleeing, feeling.
I am happy when I eat my favorite food.
I am happy when I finish my workout.
I am happy when the light turns green.
I am happy when I see a butterfly.
I am happy when I have a soft serve ice cream cone.
But have you ever considered, that living your life from the ambition of finding happiness, could be settling for so much less than what you were actually made for? What if we’re settling by striving to be happy? What if, joy is actual the greater ambition?
What is true about joy?
Joy can remain in pain.
Pain does not make me happy. I don’t think about pain and smile. But I can still have joy, even when I encounter pain. Why? For I am learning, that pain is just a tool that is used to transform me. And if I choose, it will transform me to make me better and not bitter.
Joy outlasts happiness.
The feeling of being happy, typically does not last very long. I find that no matter what people get or do that makes them happy, if you look at their face in a few hours, you’ll probably find them with a scowl on their face as they scroll down the screen on their phone. Is that what we’re really chasing? That fickle, fading, fluffy, feeling? Alternatively, joy is a state of mind. If we allow it, it can permeate everything we think about thus directly impacting everything we do. There is a peacefulness that is found in joy and not in happiness.
Joy demands the marathon, happiness commands the sprint. Most people do not have joy because it’s difficult and it takes time to build. It requires a humility that most of us don’t want to submit to. Joy beckons to take one step at a time and not giving up, while happiness wants to measure life in sprints. Happiness yells, “if I don’t get what I want then I’m done!” Joy whispers, “I know there is more than my eyes can see. I will take one step at a time and keep going.”
We don’t have to settle for “happy seasons of life.” Instead we can embrace a joyous life.
You may not be in pain today, but inevitably, at some point(s) in time in your life, you will experience pain and suffering. And at times it might feel so intense, that you wonder, how it is possible to endure. But the good news, is that none of us have to walk through pain and suffering alone. There is a companion who is closer than a brother, closer than a friend, closer than a husband, closer than anyone and while you are suffering, He’s standing outside the door of your heart, knocking….knocking….knocking….to see if you will let Him in.
Religion has done an awful job at making God seem far off or making Him seem cold and distant. But the nearness of God is closer than your actual breath. The love of God was displayed when He traded the throne of Heaven to be wrapped in swaddling clothes in a cold, dark, stable in Bethlehem. No earthly king has ever been recorded to trade his throne of riches for a life of poverty because it is only the love of the Almighty God, that would cause such an action in order to make a way for His creation to return to Him.
For some, the Gospel of Jesus has become common place. They’re no longer moved by it. They’re no longer in awe of it. Their hearts have become complacent or hardened from believing. Truthfully, it is indeed a love that cannot be found upon this earth. For not even the person who loves you the most would endure what Jesus endured for you, nor would they be capable of doing so.
God in the flesh, beaten until nearly dead, unrecognizable for all of the beatings and lashings that He endured, then hung on a cross, naked for six hours, pulling himself up by His nailed feet just to keep breathing for every minute of those six hours. All the while, people walked by, mocking Him as He suffered on the cross for you and for me. The soldiers who stood nearby, divided His garments among themselves like a game.
We have never seen anyone crucified in real life. But it was gruesome and horrific. What motivated Jesus, to endure the cross and all the shame? You. Me. Every human being that has ever or will ever exist. His motivation was pure, complete and total love. He knew that there was no way that we could ever “earn” our way to Him or “work” our way to Him. There’s no laws or pillars that will ever amount to “earning” your way to God. No human being can do enough good that would make him or her acceptable in the sight of God. It is only through the cross of Jesus. It is only in accepting and believing, confessing and receiving Jesus as Lord, Savior and God.
He hung naked on a cross with His arms wide open and when He breathed His last breath, it wasn’t the end. He rose from the grave and He is alive. Only God Himself could do such a wonderful, love stained thing. Jesus is God. One part of the Trinity –Father, Spirit, Son.
If you think that whatever you have done has somehow made God not love you or accept you, I’ve got good news for you. God loves you and accepts you right now, just as you are. You might be full of selfish pride, or full of heartbroken pain, regardless, God loves you. No person is better than the other. God loves us all and accepts us all. Jesus paid the price for our sin. If you’ve lived longer than a day on planet earth, then you probably have figured out by now that you have sinned. And so have I. And so has every person. It’s why we need a Savior. It’s why Jesus came to this earth.
When pain and suffering come into our lives (and they will, in various degrees and various ways), we can either walk through it on our own and try and “cope” someway or somehow, OR we can reach out and call upon the name of Jesus. How true to His Word He is. When you call upon His name, He will not turn you away. He’s been waiting for you to turn to Him. Regardless if you’ve never called upon His name or if it’s been a long time since you have, or if you’ve never known the PERSONAL love of Jesus, He’s waiting for you. His love is up close and personal. It’s real and tangible. It is a love like no other. The only love that can carry us through valleys of pain, suffering and darkness.
We live in a fallen world and no person will escape the troubles of this life regardless of their status, wealth or name. There is only one name that is above it all and that is the name of Jesus. He wants to walk with you through the pain you’re facing right now. He wants to comfort you and give you His peace and joy. He wants you to know how deeply you are loved and accepted and cherished. You don’t have to push Him away. He wants you. You don’t have to wait until you go to a church building, He is wherever you are right now. You can meet Him, right where you are. You can tell Him your story and your pain and not live in shame anymore.
His presence, the presence of Jesus, is the blessing of pain and suffering. His nearness in a way that is unexplainable. His comfort through weeping that seems to never cease. His mercy to provide blessings in the midst of brokenness. His peace to calm and quiet our fretful minds to sleep at night. His love to cover over all our sin and embrace us in His arms. Oh beloved, take your heart and entrust it in Jesus. He will never break it. He will never leave you. He will never forsake you. He has a plan and a purpose for your life. He has many good things in store for you. He wants to walk with you through this. His love can give you a good attitude, full of His joy even in the midst of suffering. Really knowing Him, makes you really love Him. I know I don’t deserve the love of Jesus and yet He loves me anyway. And you know what, He loves you too. Just as you are, disheveled, broken, smelly, fearful, however you are, He loves you.
Jesus wants you, do you want Him?
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
“that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9
Soft, fluffy and a simple bread to prepare at home today.
There are truly a plethora of different types of German breads. If you have the opportunity to visit Germany, do yourself a favor and don’t pay for a hotel breakfast. Instead, do what the locals are doing and head to a Bäckeri (German for bakery).
For the recipe video, click the image below!
Inside the bakery you’ll find plenty of bread rolls, loaves and sweet pastries for an affordable price. Even in big cities like Köln and Berlin, you can buy 4 or 5 Brötchen for only 1 Euro! Amazing!
However, the hörnchen is a little bit more expensive, but definitely worth giving a try, because it’s not that much more expensive. The texture is quite soft and fluffy. The taste is buttery with a hint of sweetness. With a bit of honey, marmalade, or nutella — it is a wonderful treat!
Not in Germany? No problem! This recipe is quite simple to prepare just about anywhere in the world. In fact, you probably have all of the ingredients in your pantry now. So what are you waiting for, let’s make some hörnchen!
Erica’s Hörnchen Recipe
2.5 tsp dry yeast
1/3 cup warm milk
3 TBSP sugar
1/4 tsp salt
3 TBSP melted butter
1.5 to 2 cups all purpose flour (plus more for dusting)
For the egg wash:
1 whole egg
1 TBSP milk
In a large bowl, combine the yeast, sugar, warm milk, salt and melted butter. Stir well.
Continue to stir and gradually add in the flour, little by little. Keep stirring until the dough no longer sticks to sides of the bowl.
Then turn the dough over onto a floured surface and knead the dough for 7-10 minutes, only adding flour if the dough is sticky.
Shape the dough into a ball and using a mezzaluna or a knife, cut the dough (like a pizza) into 8 equal portions.
One by one, roll out each portion into a long triangle, about 6 to 7 inches (15-17cm) long.
Then starting with the widest end of the triangle, roll the dough up until you meet the smallest end.
Then fold the dough to create the horn-shape or the shape of the letter “U.”
Continue until all of the hörnchen are shaped (grab some little helping hands if you have them:).
Then place them onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, cover them with a dish towel and allow them to rise in a warm place for about an hour, or until they have doubled in size.
Meanwhile, pre-heat your oven to 375F/190C.
Once the hörnchen have risen, remove the towel and prepare the egg wash by mixing the egg and milk in a small bowl.
Using a pastry brush, brush each of the hörnchen generously with the egg wash.
Then place them into the oven to bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.
Serve and enjoy while they are still warm or save some for later.
P.S. Hörnchen literally translates to mean “little horns.” This of course is in reference to their size and shape.
P.P.S If you google Hörnchen from an English speaking country, Google might show you a picture of a squirrel. It’s because the word actually has more than one meaning. Go figure, lol! But not to worry, no squirrels were harmed in the production of these bread rolls.
Sending you lots of love for reading this far 🙂 You’re amazing!♥