Baby it’s cold outside!

Yes, it’s true. It’s the first thing everyone says when I tell them I live in Minnesota. So far, I have made it through these very very very low temperatures, although I’m told it’s supposed to get colder. That’s right, cold-brrrrr. This weekend we hit -30 degrees Celsius (which is close to -14 degrees Fahrenheit). The coldest I have ever experienced. And I’m still alive. We also have gotten lots of snow. This of course calls for various sledging (or sledding) competitions, whether I’m racing South African snow-virgin Marisel or my five year old host kid… bring it on.

And finally, some other exciting news besides the weather: I attended my first ever Ugly Sweater Christmas Party. img_2556-2Probably not the kind of news you were hoping for, but it was so much fun I had to throw it in here. I didn’t realise that ugly Christmas sweaters (or jumpers, for you English out there) were an actual thing. In Germany everyone is way too serious to wear an ugly sweater, especially to a Christmas party. I was very excited, and although not everyone showed up wearing an ugly sweater, we had a great evening eating unhealthy food and watching Christmas movies. Thanks Meranda, for hosting such a fun night for the River Valley Woodbury worship team. img_2557

Although I enjoy this time of year, wearing ugly sweaters, eating really bad food or being outside in the snow, when my hands start freezing (and I mean I can’t feel my fingers anymore) and I spend 10 extra minutes trying to get my car ready to drive, and I have snow coming in the top of my boots because there’s so much of it, and your window is frozen shut so you have to walk through the drive through, and your snot freezes when you’re outside setting up welcome banners at church, I find myself wondering why on earth I want to stay here. I had various offers from Tennessee, Utah, Arizona, California and other warmer states, but I turned them down because for whatever crazy reason I know that God wants me here, in Minnesota, in the cold. Some of you may be rereading that last bit. That’s right, people, you heard me: This girl is staying in MN.

About three weeks ago while I was in Ohio busy prepping for the wedding, I got a phone call from a host mom, who lives about 25 minutes away from where I currently am. She needs an au pair for her 4 year old son. We talked, we laughed and we talked a little more. After a couple more phone calls and texts we agreed that I would come and meet her in person along with her son and their two labradors. My puppy-loving-heart be still! She showed me her house and explained the expectations she had. We connected instantly and she invited me to be part of her family as of mid January 2017. The crazy thing is, she wasn’t even on the au pair address list, and even if she had been, I would have thought nothing of it, since she has only had her current au pair for five months. Things didn’t work out, which is where I come in. I am so thankful to God for providing a job out of no where. I couldn’t have done anymore more than trust Him. Trust, that He would bring the right family at the right time. My next steps include getting a visa extension and moving all my stuff. Can we take a moment to appreciate that I have no weight limits on my bags this time. Hallelujah!

I hope this post finds every one well. Thank you for praying and standing with me in faith. I appreciate every single one of you! Wishing you and your families a very Merry Christmas! Lots of love, Sophie x

Best Day Ever

Nope, not Thanksgiving or Black Friday, although, yes, I did that too. I actually joined the millions of Americans who participate in a near death experience to find anything and everything that is cheaper than it usually is. Ok, it sounds worse than it it. Many non-Americans won’t know that Black Friday actually starts on the evening of Thanksgiving, right after everyone is thankful for what they have, they go out to buy more. Tummies full of turkey, stuffing, pie and a whole lot more, Marisel, Kristin, another au pair and I headed off to the outlet mall to see if we could find some good deals. We headed into the vast density of people to look for some winter boots. One thing I’ve learned: on Black Friday you need to shop for specifics. We found our boots… along with a few other things. Oh well, it happens. When Old Navy has 50% off your entire purchase, specifics get thrown out the window, or in this case, your shopping bag.

.img_2363img_2368I got to bed at about 11:30pm, set my alarm for 4:45am and tried to get some much needed rest. As to be expected, Marisel was on time and we headed off to Victoria’s Secret to be the second ones in line for when the store opened at 6 in the morning. Only a couple of people were there, so we waited in the car and started watching Gilmore Girls which had aired only two hours before. A pair of panties for 1$ was probably the best deal I got. Ok, enough about underwear, although there will be more later.

 

Alright, let’s get to the good stuff: The Haney-Rowe Wedding!

lillywes

picture: simplyjordanlee

This was literally the best day I have ever experienced, and I wasn’t even the one getting married. December 4th 2016 was perfect! From the moment we got up until our heads hit the pillow again, God was there. This day was all about Him. Everything pointed to Him, and that’s what made this day so special. His Spirit was there as we were getting ready and making boutonnieres the morning of (yep, I did that too). He was there as we worshipped Him in song and as He was lifted up during the ceremony and Lilly and Wes’ vows. Can we all take a moment to appreciate that my dress had pockets to inconspicuously hide my soggy tissues. God was there as we enjoyed time together during the reception and even as we all hit the dance floor and partied.
img_2445lillyhenHe was there as Lilly unwrapped way too many of Victoria’s bags at her bachelorette party and lingerie shower and while the bride to be endured our endless comments about her wedding night and honeymoon. Yep, girls do that too. 😀
One thing I will cherish the most are the people that were brought together through this celebration. Friends and family from the UK, Finnland, South Africa, Canada, California, Florida, Arizona, Germany and even Australia (for the weekend I might add).img_2458 We all bonded in a way that I could not have foreseen. Although I have only known these people for a week or less, I feel like we have always known each other, and I can’t wait to see them all again. Bring on the next wedding.img_2441

Lilly and Wes, you are two of the most amazing people I know. Your commitment to making your relationship as Christ-centred as possible leaves me blown away and encouraged. You are, as Jordan their photographer put it, two people who remind the world that true, powerful, and anointed love still (and always will) exists (instagram: simplyjordanlee).

img_2461

Enjoying the smores bar with Marisel and my future brother-in-law, Tim.

One day, I want what you have. I am so proud of your journey and I am beyond excited for what the future holds. I bet I’ll make an awesome aunt one day, just sayin’ ;). Thank you for letting me be apart of this day, for letting me stand right by your side as you commit your lives to each other and for including me in your forever. I am so blessed.

Love, Sophie x

PS: In the next couple of weeks I will be letting you know what the next steps for me are with regards to the Au Pair program. All I will say for now is: I am astounded at what God has been doing in my life and in my heart. No matter what, He is a good God!