STORYTELLERS: One Year Ago Today

“A children's story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children's story in the slightest.” --C.S. Lewis

One year ago today my husband and I boarded a plane for Germany with our nine-month-old and 21-month-old in tow. Looking at these photos today, marveling over how my girls were still just babies last year, it strikes me how wide-eyed and innocent their mommy and daddy were on that day too.

We were like a happier version of Hansel and Gretel--skipping off for adventure in a German wonderland--completely unprepared for how dark and scary and isolated the forest would feel at times.

We left to make a new home far, far away without leaving many breadcrumbs at all--we sold or donated most of our possessions and found renters for our house. We didn't even pencil in a date for our return.

And the breadcrumbs that we did scatter around in hopes to keep some sort of connection with our "other" home?  A few boxes of books and toys and clothes waiting to be sent across the globe, favorite photos, quilts, dishes--just "stuff," some of which I treasure as reminders of the people and places I love, and some of which have become surprisingly stale--I wonder why I thought I couldn't live without them. And of course, some of the breadcrumbs were lost completely--a "most important" box destroyed in the post and only some of my art supplies recovered.  I am a collector; I love pretty things, and especially pretty things that embody memories. But I realize now how tightly I was holding onto these things.

These things, these breadcrumbs, that marked the long path back home, are transient.  They carry no weight in eternity and they are useless as landmarks leading back to the place where I most needed to return this year : to myself, to the valuable person that God says I am and whom He created for a purpose from the very beginning. 

I couldn't follow that path back home anyhow, when I was trapped, like Hansel and Gretel, in the witch's house--a place of manipulation and lies.  You know the place I mean?  The one where you lose heart, give up the fight for true joy, and nearly consent to being baked into a lifeless cookie with a plastered-on-smile to adorn a crumbling gingerbread house?  

No, the breadcrumbs couldn't help.  But the people they reminded me of could.  I needed Someone to give me the strength to fight back, to refuse to let the witch turn me into a lifeless shell of myself.  I needed someone to rescue me.

Artwork by Eloise Wilkin
Ok, so did I lose you at the witch's house? The extended metaphor is almost exhausted, isn't it :).  But during these painful times of homesickness and the exhausting questioning--"was moving here the right decision," and "what am I supposed to do here," and "can I just hurry up and get whatever it is done so we can go back home?"--it was my husband and my friends and my family who spurred me on with encouragement that countered the lies. With their powerful words--written in emails and spoken over the phone and whispered in prayer--God reminded me of who HE is and who I am IN Him.  He loves me just as I am and even in my very worst of moments.  He reminded me that He's GOOD, that He's my Papa, and that I don't have to have everything figured out because He already does.

I can trust Him completely, even when it feels like's I'm lost in the forest.  It's just that He knows that sometimes I need to wander around in the dark for a while in order to learn how to let go of the things that are keeping me there. And to re-experience the wonder of the dawn.  But He will always send someone to lead me back home.

Artwork by Migy Blanco
Thanks for stopping by today and for sharing my One-Year-in-Germany-Anniversary with me! Yay! There were a couple of times I didn't think I'd make it this far. . . and one of the things that helped get me through is this blog. I am so grateful that you take the time to read my ramblings and leave encouraging comments. Thank you.  Also, linking with Imperfect Prose this week.


  1. Sadee, it's most curious how our stories seem to have a similar element. I had that one year mark about 10 days ago - and it's been such a soul searching time since then. We had a time last year where we stayed in an interim siutation and I got amazed at how little I missed or thought about all the stuff I thougth I'd miss. The only things I desperately missed was my sewing machine and scissors (I guess those few items that's become an extention of your hand). It's such a strange journey this - in the mornings I love Greece and wouldn't want to be any other place, but in the evenings/nights I want to be in Denmark. And yet I just have a deep belief that there's a deeper reason for us being here. I can certainly relate to the feeling of wandering in the dark and yes, I also believe "He will always send someone to lead me back home." Trust is such an important quality.

  2. What a beautiful remembering. I need to let go of some breadcrumbs myself.

  3. This is a beautiful and thoughtful post. I like how you used the Hansel and Gretel imagery and artwork to tell your story (I especially love the Eloise Wilkin version!) I am a collector, too, though I don't want to be materialistic or worldly; you have learned these lessons in a hard way but I think that is the only way I would be able to--by having it forced on me. Happy 1st anniversary.

  4. this is a beautiful story
    filled with all the elements that make it full
    you can be really proud of yourself Sadee!
    I love how we are taken care of even in what seems, the darkest of times.
    God is good
    thank you for sharing your heart

    love and light

  5. Im just passing through and thought id say hello. Richard from the Amish community of Lebanon,Pa.

  6. Hi Sadee, I want to wrap my arms around you and say it's ok... It will get better. Stuff is stuff.. I have boxes that have been waiting 10 years to be unpacked... I've finally started renovating my farmhouse and hopefully will be able to move into it next year.. am sure I will chuck most of the stuff I've been hoarding... Once your children start school you will find loads of other Mum's to help be your support network.. They are always good for a giggle to lift your spirits and I'm always here for a virtual cup of tea, tissues and a shoulder to cry on...and especially for a good old giggle... chin up girl...:)

  7. Remember all the crap I used to display on that huge entertainment center in my room? All my little sports trophies, memorabilia and souvenirs? It’s safe to say I was very nostalgic when I was younger. We were all nostalgic; you, with all your medals, trophies and art projects, and laura with her figurine collection. Maybe it’s because I am growing up, and becoming an adult, but there is no nostalgia left in me; not even an ounce.
    I think mom’s death caused a ripple effect in the part of my brain that contains that sentiment. I took too many trips to her closet to see her clothes still on their hangers ready to be worn, jewelry still in its box ready to be adorned, or birthday cards still filed in their cabinet, ready to be sent. I realized cherishing stuff really isn’t what it’s all about. In the end, only the memories remain. The stuff sparked my memories of her, but my memories were not dependent on the stuff still being there. Those who are no longer with us do not live on in the stuff we keep to remind us of them. They live on through the memories we have of them, the stories we tell about their lives, and the character we practice through the lessons they taught us.
    I used to go through life with the same motto of "can I just hurry up and get whatever it is done so we can go back home?" I can’t imagine how much I have missed in my life by living by that motto. Too many times I’ve only thought about getting something over with so I can return to my comfort zone. Running with blinders on instead of taking time to stand in one place and absorb the rays of the sun, or listen to the wind rustle the leaves of a tree.
    As believers in Christ, we can rejoice in hard times because it’s the only time we are reminded how much we need our father. Paul says he delights in hardships, in weakness, in trials, because when he is weak, he is really strong. To stop and smell the roses in times of hardship is foreign to the world, but what a blessing it is to be able to do so, and know that your savior is bigger than anything the world would throw at you, and has ALREADY overcome the worst it could ever offer.
    “it’s just like you to bring light to the darkness, It’s just like you to bring beauty to ashes, It’s just like you to bring life to these dry bones” – waterdeep (I still have the CD you gave me along time ago )

  8. actually the extended metaphor works...and in some ways i have been there...that line on sometimes needing to wander around in the dark it resonates...and god does send those to guide us back...

  9. "sometimes I need to wander around in the dark for a while in order to learn how to let go of the things that are keeping me there. And to re-experience the wonder of the dawn."

    Oh my, I needed to hear this. <3 Thank you. Found you from Emily's imperfect prose.

  10. I hope to connect with some of you more personally this weekend, but I wanted to send a general thank-you to all of you for your uplifting comments on this post! I know we all feel a little lost at times but it is so good to have friends who can help remind you of who you are and where you belong. :)

  11. i don't think you exhausted the metaphor in the slightest. i love what you have learned, friend, and what you're teaching us... xo

  12. Hey :) YOu have no clue how much you have encouraged me with your writings. Dealing with re-entry shock in Holland, after having lived in America for a while, was hard, and I was going through some rough times this summer. Then I found your blog, and I have savoured so much of what you wrote, your writings, quotes and paintings have been such an encouragement, pointing back to Him! Thank you so much for sharing your stories and paintings!


Thank you for being kind with your words and generous with your time!