Sunday, August 30, 2009

The complexities that bond


Three more days, and I am there. Germany. Oh how I can't wait to be apart of your country. But even more than that, I can't wait to marry a citizen of yours.
Three more days, and I enter into a life of the mostly unknown. Its interesting not even knowing where you are going to be living your first 6 months of marriage. Somewhere in Hamburg. Could be in a box for all I know. I wouldn't care....as long as it had heating and air conditioning, a bed, and a kitchen. A bathroom would be nice as well.

I have probably learned more in this past month than I ever have in my entire life. Life has reared it's ugly, yet beautiful head. It has taken a huge dump on my identity, and God has cleaned it all up, even before I could smell it. It's just so mind blowing to me knowing exactly why I had to come home. I wish I could explain to you all that has happened. All God has spared me from. How He is in control. How He protects me and cares for me, down to every last detail.

At this present time this is all I can really write about. God, and how He gets me every time. Every time I think I even know a pinch of what is going on. He gets me. And every time I come out of it a bit more trusting, accepting, and thankful.

Someone very wonderful and encouraging was having a conversation with me the other day. We were talk about engagement, and how long a person should be engaged. We both agreed...6 months is the best amount of time to be engaged. You have time to get excited, then doubt, then have a couple emotional breakdowns, then realize you could do nothing else but marry the most wonderful man who would stick with you through all of that....who you were, who you are, and who you someday will be.

I have also realized what a wonderful family I have. I realized it before, but circumstances sometimes bad one's, can take a family where they have never gone before. I could not have done this without them.

Here's to you family....I love you so very much. Thank you for just being there.


Monday, August 24, 2009

Die Deutschen and other activities

I am still here, trying to find time to hang out with wonderful people before I head back again to Germany. This time it's for good, just so you all know. No more haircuts.

Packing will be interesting since now fall is approaching us, I will no longer be needing my summer clothes.

I feel like I have lost all creativity in writing today....maybe it was the long drive to Denver.

I'm not sure how my parents are going to survive without me now. I just started to get them put back together from being gone the first time. If I'm not cooking, they eat frozen pizza, and hot dogs since my mom has a full time job now. After partying out late on the weekends with their friends they come home drunk off of tea and didn't even bother to check in. They aren't cleaning their room, or doing laundry. It's all fun and games for them I guess. I had to scold them for coming home at 11:30 the other night! Outrageous. I was at home, slaving away over the dishes and laundry and they had the nerve to tell me I should have come. I should have come! Who then would take care of the household.? Poor Harley (the dog) is gaining weight from emotional eating because his mother has been neglecting him. Who knows what will happen to him when I am gone.

I am just kidding of coarse. It has actually been a pleasure taking care of them. I baked them some German food tonight to get them ready for, "The Germans." That is what we call Christoph's family. I wonder if they call us "The Americans." I don't know, but I do know that we have some pretty adventurous endeavors planned for them when they come to the USA. I just hope they are okay with skydiving, marathons, deer hunting, and fast food. That should keep them pretty busy. My dad and I are going to take them fishing. I told him that when he caught a fish, he should bite it's head off with his teeth right after taking it off the line and then say to the Germans, "That's how we do it in America."

I can't wait to have them here. I am hoping that Colorado Springs, home of Dog the Bounty Hunter is everything they hope it will be. It will be exciting to show them where I have grown up, and lived most of my adolescence.

My friends, raise your glasses to the interlinking of the Deutsch and Americans for the wedding of the century!!!


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

10+11=more


Today I wanted...

1. To be in the arms of my love
2. Go shopping for things I so desperately do not need.
3. Be in the company of my best friend, which I got:)
4. To be in complete and utter reality and gratitude of the blessings I have received. I got that as well.
5. For online Netflix to work in order for me to watch season 3 of...well it doesn't matter what of.
6. My cat to stop attacking my feet when I walk to the bathroom from my room. I swear she is trying to murder me.
7. Exercise to be "thinking out" instead of "working out"
8. Ice cream and chocolate to be calorie free
9. Being a friend to be a part time job with great pay and full benefits.
10. To see my sister
11. To have an on, off switch in my head.
12. To instantly know and speak German.
13. To show the world the truth about God. He is just so amazing.
14. My parents to know just how fantastic and selfless they are
15. Bruce Springsteen to quit releasing albums
16. Cable
17. Comfort to be a pill you can take
18. A live performance from Bon Iver on my back porch
29. Charity pickup to stop calling
20. My bottom tooth to quit shifting
21. World peace


About puzzles...

Do you ever wonder, why life sometimes is so random?
Sometimes I feel like an ice bear stranded on a small iceberg in the middle of the arctic ocea. Only that I'm stranded on a puzzle piece in a huge cardboard box with millions of other puzzle pieces. And the only way out is to figure out the puzzle. But luckily that's just a feeling. And not reality. And luckily I'm not as white as an ice bear.
This summer sometimes felt like I was sitting on a puzzle piece not knowing what the heck was going on in the ocean of puzzle pieces. But truely the one thing that kept me going through all this is the knowledge that our God has a plan for all this.
So wether my fiancée left and wouldn't come back or wether she just needed some time to figure things out. Either way knowing that the puzzle piece I'm sitting on will make sence at some point in the future keeps me going. And if that means that I have to wait until the end of time. Fine by me.
I know, the puzzle analogy is older than me. But I really like it. Because I really do think that in the end, we'll all be able to look at the puzzle of our life and know that every piece has it's rightful place. Every part of our life that seems entirely random has a place in this big picture...
I know, writing this seems so easy. It seems like I've got nothing to worry about anyways and being healthy and happy makes it easy for me to say all this. But in all realitiy, even the moment I dropped Hillary of at the airport in Munich. Not knowing where this was all going. Not knowing if I was going to see her again. Not knowing how I could deal with US not being an US anymore. But even in that moment I didn't doubt that the ice berg I was sitting on had to get to a shore somewhere sometime and I was going to have real ground under my feet again.
-Christoph

Monday, August 17, 2009

Military tutu dancer


My parents are probably going to be mad I am writing about this, but it is just too funny to not write about.
I came home this evening from a pretty busy day of wedding planning, meetings with friends, and eating way too much sodium soaked Chipotle. Upon entering my parents place I immediately smelled freshly baked cookies. Into the kitchen I go. Knowing they probably weren't gluten free , I walked right by them, and would then wait until everyone was asleep and then continue to eat the whole lot. But my wonderful mother said "They're gluten free!" Lovely of her to think of me, but I think she is forgetting I really need to be fitting in a wedding dress soon. No more baked goods mom! Period. If they're there, I'll eat them. All of them.
I then persistently went downstairs resisting temptation settling for an apple that tasted like wood, and thought it would be a good idea to take a shower. Before I continue I would like to give you a little Hand family history lesson. My parents for the last year or so have been taking a dance lesson at the nearby dance studio. They go about every week, and now my dear father can actually keep a beat. Poor Christoph was forced to go with us one evening while he was here. I told him it has always been my dream of mine to dance with my new husband on our wedding day, but to do it well so could we please learn a little Rumba. He hates to dance, but was surprisingly good, and actually got very serious about it. You set a German's mind on something they don't joke around till they get it. I was the one goofing around embarrassing him with my head bobbling side shifting skip and shuffle.
So now back to this evening. When I first walked through the door I saw that the furniture was arranged for an open floor, and I knew then my parents were going to get their groove on, practicing dance so my dad could show up the instructor this Sunday. I didn't think much of it, seeing as this is a regular thing for them I went on my way, down to the shower. My parents dance nights are usually kept to a slow waltz, or tango, sometimes a little jiving goes on. But pretty low key. Well to my surprise after I got out of the shower, I heard all sorts of jumbling upstairs. Then I heard the music they were listening to and I got this exact picture in my head. Those of you who know my dad, know he is a very huge and beefy man, who if he is not on his blackberry texting the president, he is washing down hot dogs with a "90 grams of protein!" drink, and lifting weights at 4:30am. Well, not today! They were listening to classical music. Loudly. Nut cracker, jolly violin strings and drums blasting to the beat of my fathers prance. I could only imagine what he was doing, but imagining him in a tutu made it much more entertaining. Listening through my mothers hysterical, unstoppable, heart felt laugh I could hear the shuffling feet of my dad, with a jump here, frolic there, a little manly giggle to bring it all together. This continued to go on for a couple minutes. Mom laughing while my dad danced around like a little girl pretending she was a princess. I was laughing so hard, I have not laughed that hard from not even seeing something with my own eyes in a very long time! Later on I asked my mom what they were doing, even though I knew. She said my dad was ballerina dancing. Oh what joy and entertainment my parents bring me. I could seriously write a whole book on their daily activities and interactions. It's so refreshing to see two people so in love, having fun and laughing together even after years of being married.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

swallows by the pool

Let's be honest with ourselves. We love Hillary's writing. Can you admit it? I could read that stuff for hours. I love it. But there is another side of the medal. And that is that this blog is called Hillstoph for a reason. It is supposed to have some of my thoughts in it, too. Now, writing next to someone that talented makes it a little challenging. I know, this is not a competition. She's my wife to be after all. But still, I wouldn't hang a piece by Andy Warhol next to some drawings of an infant on my wall. If that infant wasn't my own.
So I'll not be trying. I'm just gonna write. Whatever comes out.

The last weeks have been filled with a whole lot of nothing. My parents business is basically shut down for almost 3 weeks. But the showroom is still open.
Since my aunt is working the afternoons I have to be there from 10-12 in the morning. That also means, I have every afternoon for myself. The parents are on vacation, my brother Phillip is the only one around th
ese days. So our days are filled with sitting by the pool and watching movies hanging out with friends and well...nothing.


Oh yeah, and I had a little side project. I rebuilt my bike. Made a single speed out of my old 10 speed.

After years of sitting by the pool, one thing doesn't get old. Seeing the swallows dive into the water and get back out. You can see them fly
around really low at first but at a high speed. After two or three trys they
come down, slow down and dive in and maybe they take another dive right after. Even me being in the water doesn't seem to bother them much.

Now you can say what you want. But in a day filled with little to no excitement THIS is a highlight. Seeing those birds you start to wonder how the heck they get out of the water again...I could sit there all day and watch them. At nightfall it's the bats who start doing the same thing...but appearently they're not as talented. Last week I found a small bat in the pump. Dead.

Dire Behavior


Bad habits. What do we do about bad habits. Where do they go when you get married? I know exactly where they go. After torchering you your entire life, they double up. Not only will you now experience bad habits your partner suffers from, but you have plenty to go around as well. Because I am not yet married, I think I have a bit more coming my way. I know I have a couple more to share. It's only a matter of time. I know you thought I was perfect, but come on I am only human. I will share only one of these bad habits I have with all of you, and you're lucky you are even getting one. Bad habits are hush hush you know, especially like the guy my parents and I saw driving down I 25 yesterday diggin for more than just gold, he was looking for the empire state building. His wife probably finds his stash every time she borrows his car.
Within the realm of bad habits, there are several categories. Addictive habits, nervous habits, involuntary habits, voluntary habits (those are the bad ones cause you can use these to really get to someone), and hereditary habits. I think that covers all of them, the bad habits anyway. Of coarse there are good habits, but I don't want to bore you with those. The habit I am going to talk about is an involuntary, nervous habit. Two in one. And the nervous part of it is the worst. You see, the more nervous and stressed I get, the more I do it. I'm a picker. Not a nose picker, but an eyebrow hair picker. Yes, if you look very closely at my eyebrows, on a very bad month, you will see that I have none but a few hairs left and it's mostly brow liner. Christoph has tried to help with this. Slapping my hand when he sees my reach for them. Yelling at me from across the way. "Don't do it, you will only regret it" I respond "But I have too! It's my only crutch!" Then I of coarse stop, and continue on to pull his eyebrow hairs out. I have asked him to be my accountability in this. I have tried everything to stop myself. Well, not everything. I guess I could join EA, Eyebrows Anonymous. Last month, I was almost down to the bone because of all the stress and anxiety. This month I have actually been able to grow them in a bit. My wedding preparation has been a win lose situation in this. While it drives me to pluck every last hair, I am hearing in the back of my head "Wanna look like an albino for your wedding?" No! Of coarse I don't. So I have had to forcefully let my precious eyebrows grow in. Every time I am distracted and stressed, I go for the eyebrows, because they are obviously what is causing all of this stress. But no, I have resisted, and they are doing quite well at the moment. People always have told me how perfect my eyebrows are. Ha! Well, now you know why, they were fake! So next time you see me, they will be real. For the most part.
Now that I have shared an embarrassing, and informative bad habit about myself maybe you feel comfortable sharing one of yours. I would love to hear them. Go on, comment away. If you do, then I will share one of Christoph's with all of you. :):):)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Lady be Good



Sorry to everyone who tried to either post a comment or read anything other than a post on our page. I just figured out how to switch it to English. Now that I have that fixed, you may make comments to your little hearts desires.
In a little over a month I will be legally married. It a month and a half, I will be "officially married." I wish it would come tomorrow, but not really cause I want my arms a bit more toned. Now of coarse when you go to a wedding all you hear about is just how wonderful everything is, how the bride and groom are just so in love and everything is perfect. The way the bride and groom look at each other with googlie eyes, you would love to think this marriage will last forever. Well, what happens before and after the wedding is probably only known by a select few within the family, and close friends. Here's a couple examples of what can happen before a wedding. It could be the bride and groom had a falling out over the salad bowl, or silverware. Maybe the honeymoon ended up getting called off completely because the bride wanted to sit on a pretty beach, and the groom just wanted to surf. Perhaps the diamond was taken in and out of the ring several times because the bride kept changing her mind on whether or not she wanted to get married. Perhaps the wedding was called off for a bit. Maybe she flew home from Germany to sort things out. I exaggerated some of those, but these things do happen. And don't say you were struggle free in preparation of your wedding. I think many brides have been on the verge of mental breakdowns before strutting down the aisle. It's only that my struggles have been a bit more out in the open, seeing as I did fly all the way home again. It's been delightful seeing peoples faces when they see me knowing that I should be in a far away land. I am not going to say exactly why I am back, only that I find marriage a very important and permanent decision and it was just a different way of doing it for me. Along with this decision came a whole new life. New language, new friends (although I will always keep the old ones), a new home. A decision of a lifetime. And the person making that decision likes to analyze the hell out of everything. Me. When Christoph and I first met and started talking about what we wanted in life, it started out very differently. He wanted to live in California, work as an architect, and maybe someday be involved in ministry, start a church...who knew. I on the other hand, never saw myself in California. I thought it to be fake. It's only a matter of time before the trees won't even be real there. Sorry babe, I know you like California:) I just saw myself somewhere else. I didn't know where, but I was still open to whatever, just hoping it wasn't California. I guess I was just waiting on God to change Christoph's mind. Christoph had now been up a bible school for about a month, and I will never forget it. I remember praying that God would change one of our hearts. That we would only want what He had planned for our lives. The very next day, Christoph came into the salon to get his bush head hair cut, and he told me he was sorry about being so set on the future. He wanted to be open to anything that God would lead us to do. Little did he know how excited I was on the inside. That I had prayed so hard for this. It was in that moment, I knew God has us together for some reason that was bigger than I could even imagine at the time. Prayer after prayer, and moment by moment, God has only shown me how trustworthy He is. I will say He has a funny way of doing it, but none the less He always has a reason.
Today I learned something very important. The woman has a whole lot more control than she thinks in a relationship. Men want a woman to respect them. They want someone to stand by their side no matter what, supporting them and back them up. I was listening to a podcast of a guy who spoke up at my bible school in Austria last spring. His name is Chris Thomas. He is the son of a very important man who started the Torchbearer chain of bible school's of which Christoph and I have both attended. Major Ian Thomas. He was a great speaker, leader, and man of God, but along with those things came a huge responsibility taking time from his home life. I won't quote Chris exactly, but he was talking about his mother. Major Ian Thomas's wife. She was a woman who submitted herself to her husbands God given talent, supporting him, never grumbled or complained, even though her task was difficult. Supporting an important man, who was in many ways absent to her, and his kids. She simply lifted him up, and so left her kids to appreciate their father, despite his shortcomings. Now, I'm not saying this is every one's situation, but I sure know that I can learn a lesson from this amazing woman. She stood by her husband through storms, trials, and testing. Never did she once complain, or wished she was doing something else. Years later her son is now lifting her up. Years later I see how amazing the impact this family has had in many people's lives. I am evidence of that. Christoph is as well. In the same way I hope I can stand by Christoph in every way possible. I know he will stand by me. Marriage is a beautiful sacrifice, and we both do it together for one purpose. In saying that, I would like to say to my wonderful husband to be, I am so proud of the man you have become, and I will support you no matter what. I love you.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Walking Lessons

I tripped over my pajama pant leg this morning. Fell all the way down on the way to the bathroom. Have you ever fallen in a way that was just so juvenile, like a toddler could have done that better? What's funny about this is that I was riding on a thought so deeply, that I wasn't paying attention. In the mean time my big toe just wanted so badly to catch the inner fabric of the opposite pant leg and didn't want to let go. It left me in knotted carpet burned mess. None of it was graceful, just awkward. My cheek was the first thing to hit the ground after my knee. Are you picturing it yet? I hope so cause it was pretty funny. I don't think my cat thought so. She darted under the pool table because I'm sure in her eyes, a person my size compared to a tiny kitty falling from the sky to crush her was pretty frightening.
I'm not quite sure what to write about today. I actually just finished an entire blog about what makes a person worthy of receiving better in this life than the next person. I have many thoughts on this, and have had great conversations with people on this matter in the past, but I couldn't bring myself to post it quite yet. I still have some more thinking to do on the matter.
I don't have much time, but I will tell you this. I had some gluten free beer after making a delicious meal with a friend last night. It was pretty good considering I haven't really tasted beer at all in about a year. You see, I am gluten intolerant, as well as many other digestive complications. If you know me well, you know this about me. Though I have not been officially tested for anything due to my lack of insurance, it makes me feel better to not eat or drink certain things. This beer had no effect worthy of noting. Simply divine.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wedding Gift Ideas!!!!

So as you all mostly know, we will be residing in Germany for the next year to 20 years...who really knows. As much as we would love to receive various gifts, it becomes a bit of a problem due to expensive shipping costs, and not many stores here are located in Europe. Here is the solution....Visa gift cards, and other monetary gifts are most practical for us at this time. We appreciate your thoughtfulness in accommodating us in our new journey!!!!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Simply complicated


How come I can make complicated desserts with rolling, and sifting, and chill that, and chop this. They turn out beautiful. But when it comes to simple Nestle Tollhouse chocolate chip cookies, it turns out to be one big flat burnt cookie. Maybe it's cause I forgot to put the love in. I had no love to give to those cookies today. I was too busy thinking too much.
Today I learned that the most wonderful things in life are sometimes the hardest things. I think if wonderful things were always wonderful, then they wouldn't be because they would be too easy. There would be no spice, or effort put into it. There would be no lessons learned. Just like these stupid cookies. They were too easy, and not enough too them. When making my desserts I prefer it to be a little challenging, then I learn more.
This can also be applied to excerisize, relationships, games, PMS.....everything that has anything to do with everyday life. I just threw PMS in there, but it doesn't really fit. Of coarse it would be our first choice for everything to be easy. What then would we learn though?
Now simplicity is something totally different. I wish everything were simple. I think it most everything is simple, I just make it complicated. The one thing that is always simple to me, that will always remain simple, and beautiful, is everything that has to do with God. His creation, His love, His sacrifice. These are the simple things you can depend on for all of the complicated things in life. These things never change. We do. His love for us will never change, our love does. Life when looked at through the eyes of God, is the most precious, simple and wonderful thing we could ever imagine. When I look at myself the way God does, I know I am beautiful, and unique just the way I am. When I look at myself through my own eyes, it is like looking in a broken mirror. When I look at the people through God's eyes, my love for them doesn't change because of a mistake they made or the fact that they are human, but it only grows. It is when I look at people through my own eyes, I see only what I want to see, and that is selfish. As this being the one simple thing I can appreciate, I still find a way to make it complicated.
So here's to looking at life through God's eyes.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Indecisive


Indecisive. This is all I have been lately....and a bit crazy. Poor Christoph can't catch a break in between me asking if he will still love if I lost all my hair or gained 100 pounds, to me crying about how I am doing the very opposite of losing weight before my wedding. I just can't get enough popcorn, or delicious garlic butter sauteed scallops dipped in more butter, with a side of butter. As much as I LOVE cooking, I need to quit tempting myself with cooking my absolute favorite things! And dipping those favorite things in butter. Oh how I love butter.
Wedding preparations are honestly the first, and last thing on my mind. It comes up first, then it gets pushed to last, then it stresses me out. I really don't have too much preparation besides inviting more people, even though we have reached the limit, making my mothers old wedding dress into the dress of my dreams, and....actually I have a lot to do.
Now, to be honest I have never been one of those girls who has dreamed of their weddings, and planned it all out even before they have a boyfriend. Well, maybe in some cases. But still, I could have done with a wedding planner. For example, on my beautiful day, knowing how I am going to decorate my reception place, shower, do my hair, breath, flowers, food, is really beyond me. I've heard these things all fall into place, and the wedding will still go on.....I guess I have to see it to believe it. But! I can honestly say, I am enjoying myself. Having my mom look at me in her old dress, as we work together to make it my own makes me so happy. Knowing that a wonderful godly man wants to take care of me for the rest of my life. Figuring out what song I will dance to with my dad. My dad crying when I play the song for him. My parents coming along side of us, and praying for us when we are struggling. Christoph's parents having patience for a silly American girl who can't make up her mind. Friends who are praying and loving on both of us. These are the things that I will cherish and remember for the rest of my life. Not what color the table clothes should be.
I think the best thing about your wedding day, is that in a few uttered words you are no longer two but one, and it takes three to make it happen. How divine is that.


Saturday, August 8, 2009

Rainy day airports


We gave it a shot. If we came out alive, great if not we knew all along that God was in control. Realizing that a relationship an ocean away would be a bit difficult, Christoph decided to come to the states, and attend another bible school. This one would be longer, and a bit more intense than the one in Austria we met at.
He arrived at DIA after about a two month skyping catastrophe. We don't do too well with skype. It was strange seeing him come out of the door labeled "Internationals." I remember thinking to myself, 'you bet he is International, look at that beautiful German who is all sexy carrying his snowboard like some mountain man, hey everyone come look at my new love. You can't find this breed on American soil' Yeah it went something like that. I was so proud of him. Now looking back, we barely new each other. My perception of him is completely different now. Everyday we learn more about each other in a way I never thought I could know someone, or be known for that matter. I think I can speak for both of us when I say that this past year has made us grow leaps and bounds in more ways than one. There is one lesson I have learned since the day he stepped out of that door, and into my arms. I cannot know the future, all I can do is trust in an all knowing God.
There is something interesting about every time we either say hello or goodbye at airports. It is always raining. Not just a little percipetation, but downpours. I always feel like Holly Gollightly in the end of "Breakfast at Tiffany's." Only I'm not holding a cat, and we aren't awkwardly kissing after he tells me how screwed up I am.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Melted feet




Hello friends.
Here we are. The countdown to the wedding of the century! At least in our eyes. When I am officially called Hillary Gruener, will be the day that I believe that this past year and a half has really happened to me. Hillary, a kind of big city girl who was raised in a Christian Republican household, started her career doing hair. After realizing she wanted a bit more for her life she embarked on an adventure to seek out and marry a European dashing, kind of young (twenty-seven) man, who does in fact resemble those old catholic photo's of what people used to think Jesus looked like. Christoph, a well educated German, whose work entails designing interiors of well to do people's homes, and businesses along side of his wonderful family in their family business. Now, it wasn't my intention to marry a European, although it did seem all so wildly romantic. No, it all just sorta fell into my lap. But not really. When we first met at Bible school a little over a year ago, I had to play hard to get of coarse. He totally fell for it, we painted a bit together, he made some ridiculous comments about my tattoos, he hid me from some creep from England who was stocking me, he tripped on a mountain side and made me laugh...at him. Oh people, this was truly the beginning of something beautiful. After sleepless nights of wondering, and praying, and giggling, and dreaming of us sitting at the Mediterranean drinking wine as Christoph Junior builds a sand castles off in the distance, I came to a conclusion. I would give him a shot.
Sad to say all is not roses in this love story. Along the way there came some difficulties. Many of them lessons to learn in life and relationships, love and quarrels. It all goes to say that next blog I will reveal a bit more.
Oh, and did I mention? We are in LOVE!!!!!
Ciao