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Where it all began


It's funny what can change your life. Sometimes it is a huge catalyst, and sometimes it is something tiny. A seemingly small event, a word spoken, or a picture, or a song.

Ross and I were sitting next to each other on the couch in our home in Victoria, Australia. We were watching the semi-annual conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I was holding my 6 month old baby and my kids were on the floor colouring. We did not listen to every talk of that conference. And I'm sure that my attention was divided between the baby's needs, my children around me, and a whole lot of other things - ya know; sleep deprivation, chocolate cravings, daydreaming about random clothes I think are cute...the usual for me.

But we were fully attentive to this one talk, and it changed our lives. Something undefinable called to us. We listened to President Uchtdorf speak in his wonderful German accent as he described the rebuilding of the Frauenkirche - a beautiful Lutheran church in Dresden, Germany. It was built in the 1700's and was one of the "shining Jewels" of the city. It was completely destroyed in WWII. He spoke about how miraculous it is that something so completely broken and ruined to rubble, was rebuilt to become a magnificent house of worship. The old stones, blackened and burnt from the bombing, were used in the reconstruction whenever possible. These stones are clearly visible, pockmarking the outer walls.

"These 'scars' are not only a reminder of the war history of this building, but also a monument to hope. A magnificent symbol of man's ability to create new life from ashes."

Our old life was in ashes. It would never be the same. Little did we yet know the scars that were still to come, financial and personal. The challenges that we would yet overcome as a family. We had just undergone a massive shift in the direction of our lives. The difficult birth of baby number 5, and a whole new and yet unknown career shift for Ross. The future gaped wide and terribly uncertain, yet full of limitless possibilities. We were ready to leap, to go forward and see what we could make of our story. To create a new life. We would construct a new magnificent story, complete with the blackened stones of all we had endured thus far and all that was to come.

We looked at each other and nodded. We knew.

The next day we booked return tickets to Europe. We would leave home for 9 months. We would go to the Frauenkirche in Dresden Germany and see the inspiration for the great change to our lives. We would create a new life.

And so we did. A few months into our trip, we left our cozy little blue cottage in the Polish forest and traveled to Dresden Germany. We met with our wonderful friends from Freiberg who showed us around the city. As with all things us, the trip was not a picnic of flowers and roses. The weather was all dreary and drizzly and our little bubba cried for most of the time. But in my memory the trip represents our life as travelers - all imperfection with moments of fun and joy that make it all worth it.

We began with first things first - food. If you need a pick-me-up on a cold wet rainy day, then a hearty German bratwurst is a good place to start!

We discovered that despite the rain, there was a beauty to Dresden in the history and the architecture around us.