A Time To Give Thanks

With all the writing I have been doing for Grad school, I have had no time to write for the pure enjoyment of it.  I'm not sold on Grad school yet.  The reason I have always disliked school so much is that it keeps me from doing a lot of others things I'd rather be doing.  The same applies to Grad school.  I am behind in life, missing out on things I'd love to be doing, and wishing I wasn't stuck doing homework so much.  Though I am only in the middle of my first class, it very well might be my last!  What I do like about class is the knowledge I've gained that can only help me move forward as a writer.  We shall see, we shall see.

For now I am happy to write whatever I'd like, knowing there will be no grade at stake.  Since it is Thanksgiving Eve, I'd like to give THANKS!  I am thankful for...

~intimacy with God
~worship music
~the way Chuck sacrificially serves me
~Chuck's support of my goals and dreams
~2 1/2 wonderful years of marriage to a man who I have so much fun with
~Godly girlfriends
~Godly women who invest in me
~the privilege to serve and lead teenagers
~my small group of teen girls
~crazy-adorable nephews
~a dream job for my Dad
~close knit family
~a Mom to laugh with, who gets me
~babysitting jobs so that we can buy Christmas gifts
~a fabulous get away with Chuck and friends to Charleston
~the way music ministers to my soul
~friends who share in suffering with me
~God's unique love and adoration of me
~the power of God to change my heart
~being a Mother
~Jesus taking care of our child
~Starbucks Holiday drinks in the red cups



My dear friend, Emily has started her own blog!  I would like to take this time to welcome M to the blog world!  No one else but M can bring out this side of me, as seen above.  =)

Love you, M!  Happy blogging!  Check her out:  Life, Livi, and the Pursuit of Love

Celebrate Good Times!

Come on! ;)

A couple week ago Luke drove up with the boys, spent the night, and then I rode up with them to PA.  A 4 1/2 hour trip turned into about 6 hours due to the joys of traffic, detours, and a cranky baby.  But, the rocky journey was quickly forgotten when we pulled into our beloved home town of Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania!  We had been planning a huge surprise for my Dad for weeks.

He just became the lead Pastor at my home church, and he is the happiest version of his fullest self.  After a tough couple of years, this is a welcomed dream position for my parents.  Heritage (the church) threw my Dad a celebration service at the beginning of October, so us kids really wanted to be there for him.  Dad knew Chuck and I were coming, but he thought we would both be arriving on Sunday evening.  He had no idea Luke, Chail, Rocky, and John Mark were coming, too!

The day Luke and I arrived with the boys is a day I will hold dear for a long, long time.  My Mom and I were texting like crazy to figure out the best place to show up.  It's no secret that Dad would be MOST excited about his grand babies, not his children.  ;)  We decided to go straight to the church where my Mom and Dad were doing some errands. I texted her when we arrived and she came running out to open the door.  She ecstatically whispered, "Hurry, hurry!  He's in his office!"  So we pushed the boys ahead of us and when my Dad turned the corner, the scene was enough to move anyone with a heart to tears.

My Dad was so shocked and so happy all at once that he just crouched down to embrace Chail and Rocky while his tears got the best of him...and my Mom, and me.

Notice Gigi recording the scene
Our time together as a family flew by!  With lots of family and friends around, I always wish time could stand still.  There is no place in all the world where I feel as restful, peaceful, and happy as I do in good 'ol CS.

Grandpa and Gigi taking it all in
Me and my Little Love

Me and my Little Shweetie

Cakes surprising Dad!

Celebration service- My husband praying for my Dad!

Our little Pixie Grammy

LOTS of laughs with Aunt Cynth and Kayla

Date with the Rents
Down time with Daddy
Cakes thinks he's so funny...I'm really not drunk in this picture!
We laughed, we cried, we celebrated....a good time was had by all!


Last week I commented to Chuck that we don't do crazy dates anymore.  He smiled at me and countered, "Would you want to go dancing if I planned that?"  I smiled back with my reply, "No!"  His grin said what he didn't have to voice.  He was right.  I AM A HOME BODY.  If choosing what my favorite thing to do would be, in my heart of hearts, I just want to be home with my husband.  That's all.  Nothing fancy, nothing crazy, nothing planned, just home with my Love.  I love our home, and I love our relationship.  What more could I desire?

Chuck and I spend a minimum of 3 nights a week- every week,  away from home surrounded by people, mostly teens.  We love that and love our time with others, but when there is a fee weekend evening, you better believe I want to be home.  Last Friday night we found ourselves at home for the first time in weeks!  We had pretty much spent the previous month with his family and were almost caught off guard that we actually didn't have plans.  What a glorious discovery!

Once in awhile Chuck will accompany me to the grocery store (not his favorite activity, but it really helps me out and it's so much more fun!).  The deal is (thanks to his Mama), he gets to pick out a treat at the store if he comes.  Yes, my husband is 29 years old.  =)  So last Friday afternoon we headed out to the store to pick up some groceries so we could take our friends dinner.  While shopping, Chuck was struck with an idea for a dessert we should try.  I agreed and he claimed the ingredients as his treat.  (Note:  I am very strict with our grocery budget!)

Later that evening, we found ourselves excited to try this new version of a dessert we had in Germany.  Chuck's friends had made us some sort of pastry deal one day and explained to him (in GERMAN) how to make it.  We both had our own ideas so we had a Pastry-Off.  Chuck made half, and I made half.  We rolled out the dough, cut it into our particular squares and added the strawberry filling. 
Roll it....

Chuck claims he won the Pastry-off because his LOOKED nicer than mine.  I claim we tied because they all exploded in the oven and caused a mess of strawberry all over the pan!

Pat it...
Put it on the pan...(I forget the rest of that rhyme, haha!)
And our leftovers!
Just a nice, good 'ol, regular evening at HOME! 

The Wedding (Take 2!)

Saturday, August 13 brought Tim and Anni to their "American-style" wedding.  Let me tell you, those Germans like to really extend their celebrations!  That is something to be desired for Chuck and I.  We really love that the German culture takes TIME with each other.  They are not in a rush, they do not have plans after plans, and they can just sit and enjoy each other.  It's a lovely experience, until my Northern VA attitude kicks in and then I have to remind myself to just BE and enjoy the moments with people.  This wedding went on from about 12:30pm until 12:00am.  I've never experienced any other wedding like it.  It taught me a great deal about the value of being together without being in a hurry. 

As the honored Groom stood at the front of the church that Saturday I was struck with how LONG he stood at the front of the church.  Tim had plenty of time to observe his surroundings, smile at his guests, but mostly he just gazed down the center aisle with sheer anticipation and excitement for his Bride to arrive.

Waiting for her...

She's coming!  Look at that SMILE!
Not the best angle, but there she is!  She looked so beautiful!
Finally together.  Love the happy tears!
And so it begins....

Wedding #1

Just about to be MARRIED! (Tim and Anni, that is!)

I know this sign says something about marriage, but I can't quite remember.  In Germany, the "real" wedding takes place at the courthouse, and that actually counts as the anniversary date.  In the case of Tim and Anni, they also had another wedding celebration the next day that was more like an "American-style" wedding.

The courthouse wedding was wonderful, even though I couldn't understand a word anyone was saying! Chuck did an amazing job of interpreting for me, but I still constantly felt frustrated in not knowing the language.  I wanted to know every detail of what was going on, but that just wasn't possible.  So, I found myself paying closer attention to facial expressions, body language, and the environment around me.  I have heard that when one of the 5 senses is lost, then the other senses kick into over-drive.  That's how I felt in Germany.  Though "understanding a foreign language" isn't a sense, it certainly feels like it!  My other senses kicked into high gear and I snapped pictures like crazy!

Exchanging the rings!

Still exchanging!

Mr.  & Mrs. Dubbe!  YAY!

I wore really high heels that day!
After the marriage ceremony (for lack of a better word!) Tim and Anni treated family and a few friends to a delicious brunch!  Oh how I love trying and eating German food!  This place served some sort of amazingly huge pancake-type entree.  They had me at pancakes!  There was also a constant supply of hot tea and hot coffee on the table which I took advantage of and thoroughly enjoyed.  This place was outside, but there was a covering over our tables.  The restaurant supplied pillows to sit on, and blankets to cover up with.  There could be no better combination for me!  I wish ALL restaurants provided blankets!  I usually freeze to death and so I fully embraced the blanket provisions.  We had such a lovely meal together celebrating the happy couple!  BUT, the fun had only just begun! 

Pre-Wedding Days

My posts have been a bit wordy, so thought I'd keep it short today.  Here is the happy couple, just one day before they married...

Braut Party Part II

Present time at the Bridal Party was full of sweet moments.  Anni has a silly side to her personality, but also a thoughtful, emotional side which we got to see a lot during the wedding week.  The little ducks she was holding up in this picture were so cute!  Perfectly representing her silly, fun-loving side.  Bride and Groom rubber duckies that Maria (in the background) found in Berlin.  The Groom duck even had red hair, just like Timmy.

One of my favorite gifts that Anni received was this HOME MADE memo board, hand-crafted by her friend, Lissie.  Lissie created the wood backing, as well as the sewing of the front cloth.  It was absolutely adorable!  What talent!  Plus, the time and thought she put into her gift was really touching.  Talk about a sweet gift.  I noticed that Germans seem to put a lot of thought and creativity into their gifts.  They don't just throw gifts in a bag, they'll hand-wrap a gift with some sort of personal touch:  like ribbons, hanging decorations, or some other sentiment.  Don't get me wrong, my American gift bag was front and center, I don't even TRY to attempt crafty gifts.  It's not me, and no one would think it was special if I attempted to hand-craft something, haha!  I just admire that trait about the Germans, and the Dubbe family in general.  (Yes, my husband is 100% more creative and crafty than I will ever even attempt to be.)

Here we are, the Dubbe sisters.  I just love these girls!  Something I love is that our relationships were not the meet and become best friends right away kind.  These relationships have taken time, effort, attention, and more time to grow.  After pouring lots of love into the mixture, we have slowly become the sister-in-laws I have always wanted.  Between long distance, language barriers, protectiveness, and different personalities becoming sister-in-laws was not a walk in the park.  But I was struck at the Bridal Party at how we've all grown closer, more comfortable, and deeper in love with each other.  Praise God for the gift of girls in the family!

Group shot!  True to herself, my sweet Mother-in-Law tried very hard to blend into the background.  She's the pretty lady hiding in the back middle in the green top.  I had to call her over to join the group as she was slowly sneaking away when we gathered for the group photo.  Mom Dubbe is so much fun for me to be around.  And it's not just because she was 1 of only 3 people I could talk to that day!  ;)  I enjoy how much she laughs, the insight she has to offer, and her observations of what's going on around us.  I've never had Mother-in-Law issues, and am very blessed to be Tricia's first daughter-in-law.  Oh, I'm happy to share the D-i-L role with Anni now, too!

Anni's sister, Inna, is on my left.  Incredibly lovely girl.
Another sweet moment during the party was when one our nephews, Gabe (4), came sneaking (hhmm, lots of sneaking in this family!) around the back of the house towards his mom, Becky with flowers behind his back!

To finish my observations of sweetness, I really loved how after Anni opened a gift, she would hug the giver of the gift.  Her appreciation for each friend, or family member was evident not only by the smile (and dimples!) on her face, but in her affectionate hugs as well.  I know this picture is blurry, but it's the only hug moment I caught!

Well, after the Braut Party came much more wedding stuff!  I'll save that for another day though.... ;)

Braut Party

Can you guess who the beautiful, blushing, bride-to-be is in this picture?  If you'll look carefully, Anni is wearing the blue sash in the middle.  In English the sash translates to, "Germany is searching for the super bride!"  It's a take off a popular show over there called, "Germany is Searching for the Super Star".  The sash was perfect for our "Hollywood" themed bridal shower that we (the Dubbe women) threw for our sis-to-be, Anni!  It was a perfect theme since Tim and Anni went to Hollywood, CA for their honeymoon.  If you didn't know, Chuck and I flew over to Germany the first couple weeks of August to help celebrate his brother Tim's marriage to Anni. 

Yep, that's our second trip to Deutschland in less than a years time.  Chuck and I were happy to go and spend time with our fam over there and help out as much as we could with the weddings (Yes, I said weddingS- more on that later).  Truly, it was an honor to be there.  Germany is becoming more and more apart of my heart as I get to know the culture little by little and get to know my "new" family who lives there.  Truth be told, I think it's the FOOD over there that is winning my heart the most! ;)

As I sit in our cozy apartment tonight with the "hurricane" raining down around us, I am at a loss at how to proceed.  Chuck and I have had the busiest three months we've ever had with more traveling than we've ever done.  It was a blissful, FULL OF JOY kind of summer.  A gift from my God directly to me.  Traveling proved to refresh my heart and spirit as I had spent the spring mourning and grieving in a very dark place.  Not that I am completely whole, I will never "get over" our loss, but my heart was ministered to in unique ways this summer by our oh-so-GOOD God. 

All this to say, I don't mean to skip through our whole summer and only blog about Germany, but Germany is fresh on my mind.  I contemplated posting pictures on Facebook, but that seemed to cheapen the experience.  There are many memories, stories, and love associated with each picture that I can't just post the pictures without sharing at least some of my heart. 

So the Braut Party (Bridal Party:  the shower we threw for Anni.  Germans don't throw "showers" so we improvised!)  was our first big event upon arriving in Germany.  It was a joy to be able to express our love for Anni in having her join our family as a Dubbe with the party.  Since we have a bit of a language barrier, it was a tangible way to do just that. 

"Pin the Kisses on Tim"

A game that Chuck's older sister, Becky, had debuted at the shower she had thrown for me!  It was special to play it again at Anni's shower.  We even used the same "Bridal Pin" that I had worn at my shower as well.  It was special to start some traditions of our own! 

"Hollywood Stars" game.  Anni had to guess which hand prints were Timmy's!  She guessed correctly!
I'll save more of my thoughts on the Braut Party for tomorrow.  There's so much to say!  Stay tuned!

My new sis-in-law!  Isn't she just beautiful?!  We are a blessed family.  P.S.  Notice the pin? =)

Summer Lovin'

The longer I am married to this man of mine, the more I love him.  It's hard to explain in words, but sometimes I love him so much that my stomach hurts.  I know Chuck is God's and is only my temporary companion on this earth, but I am sure thankful the Lord has loaned him to me!  We had a lovely get-away to VA Beach at the beginning of the summer.  It was a special trip as we don't often get time away, just the two of us.

  This was a fun place, though they spelled my name wrong, they did get the birth year correct!

It did rain on our beach day but that didn't stop us! Just being together with no agenda was the best. I absolutely LOVE spending time with this man. Even when we're just reading, my heart feels so content.

Dough Boys was a good time.  Their decor reminded us of our neighbor's cool van. 
Our neighbor's van back at home.  This is the kind of van we wanted to ride around in on our wedding day!  NOW we find one, 2 years later, ha!
For dessert we enjoyed ourselves at a local spot called "Skinny Dip".  Pretty fantastic frozen yogurt!

Right before we headed home.  Of course the weather was GORGEOUS the day we had to leave!  All's well that ends well, I suppose!  My summary of our time:  VACATION IS NEVER LONG ENOUGH!  =)


Ah...this pretty much sums up our wonderful vacation!
Please pray as we head into our next big summer event- our first missions trip together with the teens!
Can't wait to share all that God does!

My Love

Happy Two Year Anniversary to my Love!  How have two years really gone by?  I still find myself having nightmares that Chuck and I are not yet married, and in these nightmares, I long to be his wife.  When I wake up, it is an amazing relief to realize that I am TRULY married to the love of my life.  FOR REAL.  I love Charles Robert Dubbe so much.  Like crazy.  It's incredible to be his wife.  When I walked into the sanctuary the day I married him, I could not wait to see his handsome face.  I had to look as soon as I could.

Chuckie clearly felt the same way.

I suppose most married couples feel the way we do, but I still want to say it.  I absolutely love spending every minute of every day with my Love.  If I could, I would have him home all day every day.  I enjoy his presence.  I enjoy hearing him stomp (it's how he walks!) around our apartment, and rummage around in the fridge when he's bored.  This man makes me so HAPPY.  If this animated picture doesn't prove it, I don't know what would!

My husband is my most favorite companion.  I appreciate that he exercises with me on all of his days off.  Even though my exercise is "only" walking.  We love talking about all of the people in our lives.  Our family, our friends, our neighbors.  We love reaching out to those around us and sharing Christ with them together.  I'm blessed that I no longer have to live alone!  I never thought this day would come.

Even when we go through the darkest of times, like losing our precious baby, Chuck is a solid force for me.  When I was struggling so bad physically, he literally held me as I stumbled to the bathroom.  He made the bed for me when I was too weak to pull back the covers.  He set his alarm for 3 in the morning to give me my pain medication.  He learned how to make a home-made heating pad, and re-heated the thing countless times for me.  You don't imagine these things when standing at the altar, but they are real and they are true and God has drawn us closer together in the midst of it.

I adore watching my Babe with the teens.  He is a natural-born leader and he leads so well.  It's such a joy for me to see him lead a discussion, run an entire retreat, or speak to over a hundred teens on a Sunday morning and radiate with joy in doing so.  It's crazy to see him pour hours of his free time into power point slides that the teens will be drawn to at an event.  I love being married to a man who knows exactly who he is and exactly how God wants him to spend his life.  With me and with teens!

God has blessed us together.  Two years later, we are happy.  A little battered, a little bruised, but wiser, stronger, and more in love than ever before.

Happy Anniversary (a couple days early!) Dovo!  I love you so.  And Happy Father's Day to you.  I can't wait to spend eternity with our Savior and finally get to meet our very own Little Love.

(Photos again by the rock star:  Joanna Nunemaker!)