Albeit very untrue, these were the words my daughter said to me in the middle of our special time in Siracusa once again. I am always so thankful to get to return here. God gives us such adventures and … Continue reading
So I’m jumping out of order in sharing this, as I had plans of sharing some of our fun in Prague back in September. But now that I’ve told you what I was supposed to write about, I’ll be sure to get to that (yeah… as well as the Israel adventures that I promised…hm, maybe I should just start keeping my plans to myself…and not let you know how much I meant to write, and didn’t, last year 🙂 ) Anyhow, here’s my first worth-sharing experience to kick off the New Year:
(We spent our New Year’s Eve weekend in Berlin, a last minute decision for a quick family get-away. I’m taking the following straight out of my journal entry which I wrote on our 6 hour train ride home. It’s the last story I recounted for my personal reflection of the three days we spent in the capital of Germany)
Yes, you heard me right. For four years in a row now, we have visited the Pumpkin Festival in Ludwigsburg, Germany. For me, this Kürbisfest is a highlight of the season change, preparing for the cold months we have ahead here in the greater Stuttgart area. But try as we might, I never seemed to be able to organize our visit to coincide with the day they float in oversized gourds on the small pond in front of the palace that dates back to the 1700’s. Okay, a little introduction to this unique vegetable-boat event:
As you can see from the photograph, genuine pumpkins are carved out on the side to make an entrance to the squash, hollowed out, and then used quite effectively as a mode of travel. Participants race around the two halves of the pond competing for the fastest time, separated in 2 categories: men and women. Visit the Kürbisfest website here to see all the events at this fun fall festival. Now, on to the story of how I ended up in this unique Kürbis race… Continue reading
I think I must like that word: insignificant. I’ve used it before when I spotted a moment in one of my favorite books, Les Miserable. You can read that completely unrelated post here. But right now, you can read this … Continue reading
I had confided in Carroll that I was pretty sure during this trip in Hastings, God was going to replace my boots. Oh, my boots…I wish those 14 years ago when I first got my boots I would have had the foresight to realize how meaningful they would be – if I had, I could have captured the moment when they came into my life. But sometimes you just don’t know how precious something can become to you until it’s years later when you know a sad parting is very near.
I’ve known for, oh, I guess a year or so maybe that the time would be coming soon when my Italian boots would have to be laid aside – honestly, I’d been in denial every time my husband told me “you really need new boots, those things are on the way out.” It was probably that trip a year ago through Hezekiah’s Tunnel in Israel in thigh-high water that did them in. Well, maybe it was my tendency to pretend they were snow boots…but really, it’s borderline miraculous they stayed in-tact the 14 years that they did when I think about the wear and tear and abuse my beloved boots endured.
But going back to the beginning when Ralph splurged that night in Vicenza and spent 110 Euro on my boots, it was love at first sight. They became my go-to shoe for all occasions: hiking, dressing up, running out the door for a quick shopping trip. And even though they got a much needed break every summer, as soon as the weather cooled just enough until the end of spring when sheer foot sweat made me pause the donning of the boots, they were my dear old pal and podial companion.
Now fast forward to that day, Monday May 15, at Jone’s Bootmaker. I walked in nervously – partly hoping to find a worthy replacement, and partly wishing no such thing existed and I could walk back out in my well-worn foot gear. The first pair I tried on were actually pretty good – I could have made myself content with them: same height, same color. Not perfect, but they really.. could … do….. until I saw them. They were brown, not black – but they still zipped up (one of my favorite characteristics of my boots). They had adorable buckles on the sides. They…fit like a glove and made me fall in love again. And if you are thinking at this moment that I am ridiculous, you’d better not read a single sentence further. Ridiculous is only about to begin. Continue reading
As I sit here waiting for the train to take Carroll and I back to St Leonards, I have both a sweet memory in my mind and a sweet flavor in my mouth. The sweet memory is what I’ve just … Continue reading
Hello, my friends! I’m not following through with any of my promises to write about Israel, or Jordan, or keep up well with the travels in my life. But by necessity of time and because there are just too many lovely stories to share, I’m going to skip forward to sharing some events from a trip to England.
My friend Carroll and I ended up with an unexpected and unique little vacation to Hastings, England. Quite honestly, God directed both the fact we were taking a vacation together, the place where we went, and the events of everyday. And the stories I want to share with you about that trip are a mix of silly and special. So enjoy this little mini-series on Hastings 🙂
This trip I find very difficult to put into words. Over the three days we were in Normandy, France, back in July we saw and experienced so much history.
The only thing I want to say about this trip in words instead of pictures is this: if you have never gone on an historical vacation, particularly one where it speaks of human bravery and sacrifice, it is a sacred and sobering experience that everyone should have. To stand in the places where men – thousands of men – gave their lives for what they believe on behalf of others, to look out on the never-ending stones at the cemetery, and to hear the stories retold on our jeep tour of both fear, failure, and victory was something I can’t quite capture to relate to you, even if I shared every word from my journal. So take the time in your lifetime to visit such a profound place whether it be Operation Overlord in Normandy, France, the Battle of Corregidor in the Philippines, the battlefields of the American Civil War, or some other site where men have fought sacrificially and bravely. Let the magnitude of loss make you grieve. Let the stories of bravery and sacrifice make you inspired. And let the unlikely tales of mercy make you contemplate the same mindset (for one such specific tale that we heard, visit a link to the church of Angoville-au-Plain to hear about 2 medics in a church near St. Mere Du Mont).
And it happens to be the end of the month also. I have been playing a lot this month, these last good days of summer. I’m told that today will be the last hot day we have here in Germany – so it’s back to work, back to waking up early and getting school going with kids, back to a lot of things that I really did take a break from over the summer. I always find ending things kind of bittersweet. But I’m glad I shared here some key thoughts and words about our vacation in Sicily. It’s a nice way for me to be able to look back too, and remember the lovely Sicilian countryside, the sweet family time, and the dear dear friends who gave 2 weeks of their lives to spend time with us. Ti voglio bene con tutto mio cuore!
(written June 22, 2015)
“The morning that my hubby left, we enjoyed a relaxing time at the campagna until he had to drive off. The kids played with their Nonno as he drove them around in his forklift, let them help feed the animals, and what not. Hubby and I got his suitcase finished. And we enjoyed one last yummy meal together before he took the rental car and left for the airport.
The rest of the day was a day of repose for me as well: Mamma took Cloe and Zeke for the afternoon, and I went with the girls for a treat at the spa for the afternoon. It was fun :)…
The next day, Sunday morning, we went back to Arinella beach, Mamma, Manuela, the kids and I. It was very packed, but we still found a nice spot to relax and take in the beauty of our last time playing at Arinella. The kids and I made up a song on the way back: Playing at the beach (echo), the sun and sand so lovely (echo), we’re swimming with the fishes (echo), and drinking in the beauty. Arinella, la bella spiaggia; Arinella, la bella spiaggia.
And there’s nothing quite as wonderful as playing at the sea, then eating wonderful grilled fish from the sea. Which is what we did.
That evening, I shared the song, Pace. It was so dear to my heart to play that. The song had kept me company almost this entire trip. And it spoke to the people of that church as well. Paolo played base with me, and Marco on the drums. In the end, I sang it along on stage, but because I’d been playing it all the time, my family and a couple of friends were singing with me from the congregation…. Continue reading
As I start wrapping up this vacation story, I hope you have enjoyed reading it. I’ll have one last post to make to complete the tale. I hope you have enjoyed reading about it as much as I did writing it out, choosing the photos to share, and remembering the wonderful experiences. I’m so thankful that we had this amazing opportunity. And of course, I’ve got to say that if you are considering a vacation to Sicily, go for it! It’s just such a magical place, so full of old country richness and beauty (and good food, too!)
(journaled after the trip)
” [June 18 was] the first evening we stayed out at the campagna to sleep. And that was super nice! I also love to stay with Mamma and Papa’, but it was so relaxing and more our style to stay out there in the kitchen/house…so it was so wonderful to get to do both. The night air was cooler, I woke up early and first thing made a latte and sat outside where I could hear the chickens and read my Bible in peace. Funny though, I did not get to writing anything that morning. Instead, I made breakfast with the American goodies from the groceries we had gotten on Sigonella base – pancakes and bacon! And Marcello and Elisa came over to enjoy that with us and Francesca and Marco.
We then headed out to another beach, this last day that my husband had with us (June 19th). This time, we went to Arinella. The water was so crystal clear and perfect, with lovely sand, a view of Ortigia across the way, just picturesque. I think that was our favorite beach spot yet.