Friday, May 26, 2017

Merry Dublin

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 tidbit from our many adventures in Prague.  Today, we travel to Merry Dublin.  Dublin was a busy and upbeat city.  There was music and beer around every corner.  We had a wonderful time exploring the old churches, museums, the Guinness Storehouse, and the Jameson Distillery.

One of the churches we visited was Christ Church.  Founded in 1030, this church was located in the center of Medieval Dublin.  It has recently been used in television shows like, "Rein" and "The Tudors".  We were able to walk down into the crypts of the church where they had original costumes from the "The Tudors".  The main church had a passageway/bridge that leads to the former site of St. Michael.  Today, the bridge takes you to an interactive museum called Dublinia.  Dublinia teaches the history of Dublin from the Vikings to the Medieval period.  The girls had a blast will all the hands-on activities.

We also visited the beautiful St. Patrick's Cathedral.  Completed in 1191, St. Patrick Cathedral is the tallest church in Ireland.  As beautiful as this church was on the inside and out, we were a little disappointed that it had been turned into a money making museum.  As you walked around the church, there were numerous hand-on activities, artwork, and crypts.  Definitely not what we expected when we walked in.

The Guinness Storehouse was a fun, for the whole family, museum.  They allowed you to travel through their multi-level storehouse at your own pace.   Signs and videos throughout provided you with all the information you could ever want on how Guinness beer is made. The Storehouse was interactive and fun, even for the little ones who didn't get a chance to sample the famous Irish beer.  We learned how the beer was brewed and how the taste of the beer is changed depending on where the barley is
grown and even which water is used.   We experienced different sensory activities including feeling the barley, smelling the hops, and tasting the beer.   The kids were able to play around with different advertising characters and create their own advertisement. And when we reached the top to the multistory storehouse, we had a panoramic view of Dublin with a freshly pulled Guinness.

The Jameson's Distillery wasn't as child friendly.  It was interesting for my husband and I, but with
nothing interactive to do, it was a boring tour for the kids.  While Guinness is produced world wide, Jameson's is only made in Ireland, from a single distillery.  This is why Guinness can taste different depending on your location, but Jameson's tastes the same no matter where you drink it.

The girls were good sport throughout the trip, but their favorite spots were the wax museum and the leprechaun museum.   The wax museum began with famous Irish figures throughout history.  It continued with famous cartoons, movies, and athletes.  The leprechaun museum was an Irish story telling adventure.  We traveled through the magic Giant Causeway to become leprechaun size and heard tales that had been passed down through the ages.  Check out the pictures below.

Wax Museum

Wax Museum

Wax museum

Wax museum
Leprechaun Museum

Leprechaun museum

Thursday, May 25, 2017


No two people see the same thing, the same way.   Our unique perceptions stem from our own life experiences.  Next time you are sure you are right, try looking from another point of view.  A new perspective may be eye opening.

 Point of view is an interesting thing.  Often we get stuck in a rut of our own doing.  We are certain that our way of thinking is right.  But sometimes, changing your perspective on things is all you need to change your life.  Although, dwelling on the negative is usually easier,  this allows the "what-ifs"  to pile up and take hold.  Let go of the "what-ifs".  Instead, ask your questions.  Find your answers.  Stop wondering, what if.

Last night, I had a conversation with my oldest daughter.  She is at the age where she is learning a great deal about the negative things of this world.  Our conversations usually start with, what if.  I usually try to show her different ways to think about things or facts that support why she doesn't need to worry.  She usually listens, but her point of view usually stays the same.

This morning, she saw a book I am reading on the table.  It is an autobiography by Helen Keller.  She picked up the book and flipped randomly to a page and started reading.  After a few minutes, she looked at me and said, "Wow.  This is really amazing.  I can't believe Helen Keller can write so beautifully when she was deaf and blind.  How did she learn all that?"  I explained that Helen Keller faced great challenges, but her perseverance and her understanding of how important knowledge was, helped her overcome all the obstacles that were placed in her life.

God has not promised us a world that is trouble free.  We will face countless trials and tribulations throughout our lives.  But if we can pause and look at those troubles from a new perspective, we too, may be able to overcome our obstacles.  (John 16:33 "In the world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the word.")

Do you find it hard to look from a new point of view?  What do you do when you are stuck in a negative rut and can't find a way out?

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

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Power of a Word

Words hold great strength.  They have the power to encourage and motivate.  Words can bring joy in the darkest hour.  But words also have the power to hurt and destroy.  Words can bring sadness to the most joyful person.

As adults, we know the power of a word.  A simple word can effect a person positively or negatively.  (Proverbs 12:18 "Careless words stab like a sword, but the words of the wise people bring healing".)  Every day we get to choose the words we speak.  We are accountable for how those words help or hurt others.  A simple kindness to another may not seem important, but as Dale Carnegie said, "Perhaps you will forget tomorrow the kind words you say today, but the recipient may cherish them over a lifetime".

For the last 39 years, I have worked on not being defined by what people say, or maybe more importantly, by what people don't say.  As an adult, it is still a hard concept to understand.  We all crave that encouragement and acceptance.  We all wait for acknowledgement of our accomplishments or progress.  But our children are having an even more difficult time.  They are not only trying to navigate where they belong, but they are also trying to learn to not let discouraging and hateful words bring them down. (Proverbs 15:4 "A soothing tongue is a tree of life, but perversion crushes the spirit".

Every week I see how crushing those hateful words at school can be.  My heart breaks for my girls when they are faced with these situations.  My eyes fill with tears when I hear stories of nonacceptance.  And my spirit is crushed when I see my joyful, always smiling daughter resigned to having no one at school willing to have her back.

We need to remember to teach our children the importance of a kind word.  "Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones (Proverbs 16:24)".  There are countless kids out there, that dread going to school each day.  A simple kindness can mean the world.  Let's spread this message throughout our neighborhoods, throughout our friend circles, throughout our social media outlets.  Challenge your kids to reach out to someone who is sitting alone.  Someone who is sitting quietly and usually keeps to themselves.  Someone they've never spoken to before.  Someone who may be just waiting for that kind word.

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

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Constant Worrier

Worrying can be a constant companion.  A companion who waits to steal your peace of mind.  It brings you anxiety and makes it nearly impossible to concentrate on anything else.  But why do we worry when it helps no one and fixes nothing?

Worrying has always been a part of me.  Is my family safe?  Will I get the job?  Is the upcoming call from the doctor going to be a bad one?  My husband constantly reminds me, that I don't need to worry.  Everything will work out the way it's suppose to.  Luke 12:25 reminds us that, "Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?".   In short, what is your worrying doing for you?

The simple answer is nothing.  But that doesn't make it easy for you to cast your worries aside. Despite our faith and trust in God, worrying is part of human nature.  However, if we try to remember that we aren't in control, we can begin to let God take our fears and anxiety (Peter 5:7).

As a mother, I struggle with worrying if I am raising my children the right way.  Will they grow up to be successful?  Will they be happy?  Will I leave them with a strong enough foundation?   Hundreds of questions have gone through my mind over the last 13 years.  Questions that can't be answered and can't be controlled.  Jesus said, "Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own". (Matthew 6:34)

As my faith continues to grow daily, my worrying continues to diminish.  That is not to say, I have managed to rid myself of all worry, but I no longer get anxious and worry myself sick.  Do you struggle with worry?  Does it ever get the better of you?

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

Monday, May 22, 2017

Sir, Please Stay Still

Being still is an impossible task.  Our body and mind are always moving.  But if we slow down enough to feel still, our heart an our mind can absorb so much more. 

About 7 years ago, I needed an MRI for my wrist.  Like any typical doctor's office, I waited for about thirty minutes before they called me back.  I changed into a lovely green gown and then was directed to a seat right outside the MRI room.  The nurses must have assumed the appointment ahead of me would move quickly since they brought me back and had me change.  Unfortunately, they were terribly wrong.  As I sat and waited for an hour to get my MRI, I heard, "Sir, Please stay still!" repeated dozens of times. 

The more they told the man to stay still, the more he moved.  Of course, I wasn't watching this, but all of their conversation was on a loud speaker so the man could hear them.  And although I was  tired of waiting, I felt so bad for him.  I know how hard it is to stay still, especially when someone tells you to do so.  But being still is sometimes the only answer. (Psalms 46:10 "Be still and know that I am God." God wants us to be still.  He wants us to trust him with our fears.  Sometimes giving up that worry, that control, seems impossible.  But if we remind ourselves God is in control, being still becomes easier and easier.

Everyone who knows me well, knows that I am not a big fan of small spaces.  I like to be able to move when I want to.  I like to feel in control of my own body.   So the more I listened to them say, "Sir, Please stay still!", the more I dreaded my turn.  However, when I finally did get in there, my silent prayers were answered and I managed to stay still for the entire 30 minutes.  My legs were tingling and asleep when they were done,  but at least I didn't have to redo any scans.

 Do you have a hard time being still?  Anyone have a similar experience where you discovered being still was the only answer?

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

Sunday, May 21, 2017

You Are Enough