one million words

find your voice. tell your story.

XVIII: Almost Paris

Before the fall of communism my favorite guests are foreigners from the West. Each year we entertain travellers patient enough to comply with strict government stipulations for visitors. Most we meet through church. Our family is known for hospitality, pulling strings of strangers home after the service. We always seem to have enough food and […]

V: East-West Wedding: How love scaled the wall

Did you know you were growing up in a communist country?” My friend leans back in her chair, genuinely curious. “I mean you were just a kid when the wall came down….” Did I know about communism?!? I am trying not to laugh. True, kids may not care about politics but life works differently under […]

Behind the Wall & Under the Steeple IV: Church

After my parents got married, we started going to church. My father had attended a faith based seminar, where a dynamic speaker delivers bible truth one persuasive slide at a time. Dad was hooked, rapidly absorbing amazing facts and dragging my mother along to meetings. In the end, both decided to commit their lives to […]

Behind the Wall & Under the Steeple III: The new life

In July, my parents got married. It was a private affair, pledging a lifetime of love a second time. After the court house, dad set up a makeshift tripod in our bedroom. It felt strange to have a new man in our most intimate space, even stranger to know him as the real father. I wondered why […]

Behind the Wall & Under the Steeple II: Divorce

Mother kept me home for three years because she didn’t buy into communist indoctrinated professionals being better suited to care for young children than parents. In East Germany, mothers were strongly encouraged to return to work after a one year maternity leave. Their kids would surely thrive in state run facilities and especially benefit from […]

Behind the Wall & Under the Steeple I: Beginnings

  I was born in the dead of winter, ten days after Christmas when people are worn out from parties and ready to start a diet or go lift some weights.   My mother would often say: “The day you were born was the best day of my life.” I was born into love, into […]

Why I am not writing a book but am telling my story

In April I met with a couple of mentors at a writers conference who encouraged me to write a book. How crazy, I thought. Writers probably tell everyone to write a book just like runners tell friends they too should sign up for a marathon. Misery loves company. As a child, I dreamed of becoming an author, writing […]

How people pleasing distorts the Jesus in me

After world war II my german grandparents rented out rooms in their house for extra income. This meant their four boys grew up sleeping in the unfinished attic, spider webs and all. Sometimes it was baking hot and sometimes way chilly. At least a thousand times I have heard my dad say: “When I was […]

The bravest question ever

“You can’t get to courage without walking through vulnerability.” [Brene Brown] I am a self protection expert, fondly attached to my comfort zone. Life has way of making space for vulnerability though. I resist it, hold tight to the last bit of control. But brave girls, I hear, show up fully and allow themselves to be seen.Brave girls will […]

When Jesus assembles your family…

My parents married when I was four. I don’t remember that day. I do remember their baptism shortly after. I sat on my aunts lap in the front row, watched them go under, emerge wet and happy. We’ve got a new life now, they announced. I wanted something new too. I began to pray, each night for a baby sister, […]