Saturday, June 3, 2017

My Sweet Hailey Boo

Nothing gives me more joy, than the smile upon my Hailey's face.  This sweet girl has filled our lives with so much laughter and happiness. We will be forever thankful to call her our daughter.  Happy Birthday Baby Girl!  We love you so much!!!

Friday, June 2, 2017


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.

Wiesbaden, pronounced "Vees-baden", was our home away from home for almost three years.  As the Capital of Hesse, Wiesbaden is located in central Germany near Frankfurt am Rhein.  It is named for
the many natural hot springs that flow through the city.  Wiesbaden was never a dull city.  Between the various fests, markets, parties, musicians, fireworks, races, ect.., something was always happening downtown. 

The buildings downtown are breathtaking.  Walking out onto the Schlossplatz (palace square) took my breath away every time.... for three years.   Wiesbaden has newer buildings, ones that are hundreds of years old, and even ruins of buildings that are thousands of years old.  We loved being able to sit on our balcony and see the Marktkirche (Market Church) and sometimes hear the outdoor concert playing down by the Staatstheater (City Theater).  Or heading down to the Farmer's Market to get fresh produce and flowers.  

We also loved the food in Wiesbaden.  And not only the German food.  We were treated to Irish, British, Italian, Japanese, Thai, and good old American Burgers at our favorite Das Burger.  Fest food was always a big hit too.  Nothing better on a cool day than warm potato pancakes or curry wurst with fries.  Delicious!  And if it is the holiday season, Gluhwein for all.

I hope you will enjoy some of our pictures from our home away from home.  Beautiful Wiesbaden, Germany.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017


Accountability is about being responsible for the choices you make.  Our integrity usually motivates us to be accountable for obeying the law or doing our job correctly, but often we need someone to help us stay accountable for our personal choices as well. 

Years ago, I use to watch a show called Grey's Anatomy.  You may have heard of it.  The main character, Meredith Grey, had a best friend that she counted on being "her person".    The person she could depend on, cry to, laugh with, and continue to grow with.  I loved the way the characters held each other accountable for choices they made throughout the seasons.  They didn't shy away from giving the hard truth.  And they didn't miss an opportunity to build each other up.

If you have a person like this in your life, consider yourself lucky.  Keep them close and continue to encourage and support them. (1 Thessalonians 5:11 "Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.")  There are so many things in our lives that we need to be held accountable for.  Some out of necessity and some out of personal choices.  Maybe you have different people to help you with different aspects of your life.  Hold tight to whatever works best to help keep you accountable to be the person you want to be.

At school, children are held accountable by their teachers.  Teachers help students realize the importance of completing assignments in a timely fashion.  This prepares them for the real world when they no longer have a teacher, but now a boss.  Your boss will hold you accountable for completing your tasks quickly and efficiently.  If you fail too many times, it could cost you your job. But who holds you accountable for the rest of your life choices?

In my life, I've struggled with being accountable for a clean house, eating healthy, reading my Bible, and attending church.  These things are easy to dismiss.  They can wait until later.  Later won't make a difference.  But as I got older, I found people who wanted the same things out of life.  They helped hold me accountable, even if sometimes they didn't realize it. 

When you are a mom of young kids, keeping a clean house is nearly impossible.  Try as you may, it rarely happens.  And when it does, it doesn't stay that way for long.  However, messy and me don't mixed very well and I began feeling uncomfortable in my own house, but didn't realize it.  Inviting friends over for play dates was a way to hold myself accountable for a clean house.  Because there was no way I was inviting people over to witness my tornado impacted home.

Eating healthy is something many of us struggle with.  Many of us have found success with Weight Watchers, or something similar.   This is because the program holds us accountable.  If you are going to weigh in each week in front of others, you don't want to be the one who has numbers going in the wrong direction.  For me, it is a struggle to motivate myself to work out.  I use to love it, but as I've gotten older, it feels like a chore.  My husband, however, holds me accountable and helps motivate me to get to the gym. 

Perhaps most importantly, if you struggle with motivation to attend church or read the Bible, find someone to help hold you accountable.  For a long time, my husband and I used living in a foreign country as an excuse to not attend services.  We said it was okay because we still believed and still talked to our girls about God and Jesus.  But as the years went by, our bible reading time and discussions began to dwindle.   With this we grew more anxious and hopeless about every situation.  We felt isolated.  Since returning to the states in January, we've begun attending church regularly.  We've also resumed our morning and evening Bible studies.  The result is our faith has been renewed.  We no longer feel isolated and alone.  And we now hold each other accountable.  We continue to encourage one another.

Do you have "a person" in your life that holds you accountable?  Do you help keep that person motivated in return?

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

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!