Saturday, May 20, 2017

Modeling



Friday, May 19, 2017

Gorgeous Prague

Traveling through Europe over the past three years has been an amazing experience.  My family and I experienced new cultures, tasted new foods, and learned new languages. Our adventures will be forever treasured and our memories forever cherished.  


Last Friday, I shared a little about our Roman adventure.  Today I want to take you to the Czech Republic, to the gorgeous city of Prague.  Prague was one of our absolute favorite places to visit.  We visited for the first time in January.  And despite the snow, we loved it.  We actually enjoyed ourselves so much, we went back in October of the same year.

Our first stop was the Prague Castle. The Prague Castle, part of a
larger complex, dates back to the 9th century.  It currently is the residence of the president of the Czech Republic.  The castle holds the Guinness Book of World Records for being the largest ancient castle of the world, at 750,000 square feet.  We took time to watch the changing of the guard and to explore the open rooms inside.

Within the Prague Castle complex, we also explored the St. Vitus Cathedral.  This cathedral is massive.  It is really hard to put into words how big it is.  The picture we managed to get on the right, is only the front view.  There was no way for us to capture the entire thing.  After admiring the countless details on the front of the cathedral, we decided to circle around it.  It took us a good ten minutes to make it completely around.  I encourage you to find a picture online that captures an aerial shot so you can get a better idea.  And while you are checking that picture out, look for the gorgeous one of the cathedral's interior.  The intricate stained glass windows, Gothic architecture, historical paintings and statues were enough to take your breath away.  Even our girls walked in and just paused in awe.

And speaking of pausing in awe, that is exactly what you do when you first wander into the Old
Town Square.  We could have just walked around for hours looking at all the buildings.  Right in the center of the Old Town, is Prague's Astronomical Clock.  This clock was first installed in 1410 and is currently the oldest of its kind still working.  Every hour between 9:00 am - 11:00 pm, you can see the 12 apostles appear and go for a spin.  By visiting the Old Town Hall, right next door, we were able to get a tour of the inside of the clock, as well as visit old government rooms filled with magnificent art.

Following our tour above ground, we journeyed below the Old Town Hall.  We discovered that there was an underground city.  Hundreds of years ago, the city of Prague actually sat at a lower elevation.  The problem was, it was continuously getting flooded.  As a result, they had tons of dirt brought in to raise the city's elevation.  It was such an amazing experience to explore such a well preserved historical site.  We could make out ancient roads, houses, wells and a prison.  If you ever get a chance to visit Prague, I would highly recommend this underground tour.

To avoid rambling on about how much we loved Prague, I will leave you with some pictures and captions of some of our favorite memories.
Church of Saint Ludmila

Church of Our Lady before Tyn



On the banks of the River Vltava


Old Town Square



Old Town Square


The Charles Bridge



View from the Charles Bridge




















Thursday, May 18, 2017

Patience

Patience with others is love.  Patience with self is hope.  Patience with God is faith. ~ Adel Bestavros


Patience doesn't always come easy.  Often times, we have to really dig deep to find some.  Maybe you have a coworker that gets on your nerves.  Or perhaps you have a child that is convinced they are smarter than you.  Maybe you are waiting to hear good news.  Or perhaps you feel bad news finds you too often.  Whatever tests your patience, you get to choose how you react. 

It is so easy to react negatively to a situation.  We blurt out hateful words in anger and frustration.  Our feelings, literally explode out of us.  But if we took a moment to pause, our word choice would be quite different.  (Proverbs  14:29 Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly.)   By pausing and finding even a sliver of patience, we are showing wisdom and understanding.  We make it clear, that despite our anger, we care enough to speak respectfully.  When we neglect to pause, we find ourselves regretting our words and actions.

Unfortunately, we often find ourselves extending more patience to friends and acquaintances.  Our family, on the other hand, does not always get the same courtesy.  I believe that it is because we feel more comfortable around them and we drop our walls.  But these are the people we hold most dear to us.  They are the ones we would lay our life down for.  I don't know about you, but I definitely need to practice pausing with my family.  Sometimes my kids just push the right button and I get angry quickly.  But if I want to teach them the virtue of patience, I need to model it daily in our home. (Romans 15:5  May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had).

Do struggle with being patient?  What tricks do you have to calm down before exploding?

Grab a latte, put up your feet, and join the discussion!  



Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Happiness


This world we live in is sometimes unbearable.  It offers pain and hatred.  It promises sickness and death.  But this world also has great beauty and wonder.  And through Christ, there is love and acceptance. 


We all struggle to find happiness in our lives.  However, it sometimes seems almost impossible to obtain.  We continuously buy things we think we need.  Things that most certainly will bring us joy. We surround ourselves with family and friends. If we are surrounded by those who love us, we can't possibly be sad.   But often times the smallest of problems can strip us of our ability to feel content, and the larger problems completely consume us.

We must choose to find joy in the world...in our lives.  (Psalms 92:4  "For You, O Lord, have made me glad by what You have done, I will sing for joy at the works of Your hands.")   You are not finished in your journey.  God is not finish with you or this world.  Leave your ideas and plans behind.  Have faith that God's plans for you are perfect, even if you don't know the how or why. 

Jeremiah 29:11 is one of my favorite verses.  It is one that I come across often through reading books by Karen Kingsbury.  "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper
you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  When I find myself allowing my happiness slip away, I reread this verse and remember I am not in control.  When my chronic pain knocks me down and I'm not sure if I can get back up, I reread this verse and find new energy. As I struggle to find a new job and hopelessness sets in, I reread this verse and know there is in fact hope.  Do you struggle finding your happiness?  Are you feeling lost?

Grab a latte, put up your feet, and join the discussion! 




Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Unknowingly Damaged

For many of us, a healthy lifestyle is something we strive for.   We may sometimes stray from our plan, but we somehow manage to steer ourselves back on track.  But what happens when what we thought was healthy, really isn't?

Everyday we come across an article or news report that informs us our favorite food or activity will cause us cancer.  Everything from eating the wrong kind of fish too talking to long on your cell phone is hazardous to your health.   In a time where science has opened our eyes to all the "danger" that exists right under our nose, it is difficult to feel confident in the most simple of choices.

I came across an article from WomensDay.com the other day that really made me stop and think.  It talked about certain habits of your day to day life that may actually do you more harm than good.   This article popped out at me because, of course, I have each and every one of these unknowingly damaging  habits.

The first habit they addressed I was already aware of the negative side effects, but still feel the need the do it.  Apparently, too much hand sanitizer will cause your body to build up a resistance against certain antibiotic medications.   I try to use soap when I can, but at times I just "need" to clean my hands immediately (I know, I know...don't judge me.).

Another one that really hit home was wearing flip flops.  What possible harm could flip flops do?  Well according to a Boston podiatrist flip flops don't provide you with the proper support your feet need.  The result is stress fractures or tendonitis (which I've experienced both).  And all along I've been wearing flip flops to give my feet a break from uncomfortable shoes.  Who knew?

It is a definite must read article if you tend to brush your teeth right after you eat, experiment with skin care products, drink bottled water, do only cardio when you work out, skip meals to save calories for later, clean with disinfecting products, or load up on vitamin supplements.  I do all the things on their list, do you?  Do you think we are unknowingly damaging our bodies or do you think it is just another thing being blown out of proportion?

Grab a latte, put up your feet, and join the discussion!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Influence

What kind of life are you choosing to lead?  What type of mark do you want to leave behind on this earth?  Do your actions have a positive influence on those around you or a negative influence? 

Yesterday at church, the pastor's wife delivered an amazing sermon.  She spoke of how we are influenced and how we influence others around us everyday.  It is not necessarily intentional, but every action and word spoken will influence those you surround yourself with.  Whether in person or on social media,  "are you living to be followed?" (K. Miller)

This simple question touched so many of us in different ways.  Mothers, daughters, old, and young could all relate.  1 Corinthians 11:1 says, "Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ".  Our young children will follow our example without being told.  They learn our ways as they grow, just as they learn language.  But are our ways examples of living for Christ?   Are we teaching the lessons we want them to hold onto forever? (Proverbs 22:6 "Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old, he will not depart from it.")

My teenager struggles with wanting to fit in to a school where God is not a priority.  She sometimes makes questionable choices in order to feel like she belongs.  She left church today feeling that she can lead by example rather than compromising herself to be like others.  1 Timothy 4:12 says, "Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity".   You are never too young to be a positive influence in someone's  life.

So as I tell my 5th grader everyday before she gets on the bus, shine for Jesus today.  You never know when your positive energy will influence someone for the better.   "Are you living to be followed?"

Grab a latte, put up your feet, and join the discussion!