Saturday, February 15, 2014

Valentine's Day in Belgium and a great new blog to follow

Saturday morning following Valentine's Day dawned with the chiming of the carillon next to our home at 8am. A long day was had yesterday with a drive over to the base clinic in Mons and two appointments to keep. Michael was seeing a new doc and I was attempting to get an x-ray at the American clinic vs. going back to visit the busy Belgian hospital in Genk. We were pleased to find the new clinic very friendly and both medical providers really helpful. Michael got the full treatment with a trip to the lab for blood tests and also up to the Immunization clinic for a shot. My visit was interesting because my doctor was very curious about the treatment I've been receiving for my foot problems here in Belgium. He had never heard of the use of electro shockwave therapy for achilles and heel spur issues. It's always nice to share new information with people...

After all of the fun at the clinic, we went to the PX down the road and found baseball cleats for Michael and glove oil since both were not available at our base. I was thrilled to find a cash box for our new high school PTA. Yes, little triumphs are good! Then we ate at the very small food court (not filet mignon for V Day for us). Michael had sub-par Anthony's Pizza, Mike had Burger King and I had a doner kebab. Maybe I can plan something a little more appropriate for a celebratory Valentine's Dinner a day late! After our 2+ hour drive home, we settled in to watch a little of the Olympics. Definitely a different sort of Valentine's Day celebration for us.

This morning I found a great blog shared by Cathleen - Her post yesterday "Skip the Hype & Get to the Heart of Valentines Day" was great and to the point. So much "over the top" business these days going on.  Cathleen shared "Dear Lonely Mom of Older Kids" which hit home for me these days. With one finishing college and another halfway through high school, it is sometimes hard to deal with the issues older children bring. The days of diapers, finger paintings and many "firsts" are gone and we are on our way to being real empty nesters with our baby birds ready to launch into their own lives. It's a scary time for sure!

I highly recommend you visit Rachel Anne's Home Sanctuary to add a little peace and quiet in your day!


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

driving on autopilot...

Today my boy woke up with a huge headache so I got to do the drive by myself. I even thought that I needed to take a direct route to my office but the car had other ideas! When I realized I was on the school route, I laughed to myself and replanned my next move...

How many times have we been on autopilot? It's a beautiful sunny and cool Wednesday morning here in the Netherlands - the land of the Olympic speed skaters!

Happy Hump Day to all!


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Unwrapping Christmas

Life moves so quickly these days!

I took the time thankfully to read a wonderful novella written by Lori Copeland titled "Unwrapping Christmas."  I could have been Rose in this book a few years ago.

 I've been warned not to fall back into the trap of doing too much and being too busy by my own very wise 14 year old son.

I think the older we get the more we want to recapture the meaning of the season and the beauty of Christmas in our homes and our hearts. This is the book that helps us realize the importance of first serving our own families before we serve others. This is what God intended for us to do. I bought this book on sale for $3.99 at the Naples bookstore and it is worth so much more than that!

We are waiting to find out when we'll be moving back North where we will all have the opportunity to become involved in activities that we enjoy. I hope we don't lose the closeness we've found living with "just us" here in Italy, when we get reimmersed in life in a wonderful American community in the Tri-Border region.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Abandoned doggies in Italy

On December 1st, a poor injured bedraggled dog came to rest at the end of the day at the cemetery. He hobbled along on three legs because the one hind leg was injured. Mike came home and told me about him and we went back down to the office to see if he was still there. With biscuits in hand, I met this dear soul and we were off to Dr. Gandolfo's to see what he could do to help him. Buddy, as he was first known, was so sweet even though he was very hurt and probably in shock. Dr. G was able to position his leg back together with a plate and screws. We brought him home and he's been happily snuggling in his big bed in our kitchen.

Moving forward to today, Tiberius has joined our family but Butch isn't thrilled about this at all. Two males (especially one who is not neutered) makes for a difficult combination. We will start the new year by enrolling in a dog obedience program to see if we can bring peace and calm back to our home. An additional trip to the vet clinic will need to be scheduled for the big "snip" for Tibee as we have nicknamed him. All of this needs to happen before we make our big move to Belgium. Imagine three dogs and a cat and three or four humans in our van driving and staying overnight on our way there. Perhaps doggie valium will have to come into play? We can't take it since we need to stay alert so we arrive alive!

Monday, December 31, 2012

The last day of the year already?

Does anyone else feel the same way as I do? Where did 2012 go? The years seem to fly by so quickly even though there are times when we feel like things we wait for will never occur!

It is our last big holiday in Italy. We are still waiting to hear when we will move to Belgium. So many exciting things to look forward to in 2013 -- Michael's 15th birthday, moving, a trip for me to Penn State in April to see Kristen in "The 25th Annual Putnam Co. Spelling Bee," Kristen's 21st birthday, home leave this Summer to name a few.

We often make resolutions and then know full well that they won't be kept for long. So this year, as one of my friends in the Netherlands has posted, I'm not making any specific resolutions. I just plan to live a full life and remember what's important - family! So many people are grieving for those that were lost and their lives are changed as a result. It is so easy to live for tomorrow when, in fact, we should be living and loving all of the little moments of each and every day.

Kristen and I are sitting watching Julie and Julia before we go out to the kitchen to have a cooking adventure for New Year's Eve. Short ribs from Ital Carni are on the menu for tonight with turkey breasts to be roasted tomorrow instead of our usual pork roast and macaroni and cheese.

What surprises will 2013 bring? Wait and see...

Buon anno/Happy New Year from Nettuno!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Sunday before Election Day

I'm sitting here in the almost dark and it's 10 am in the morning! It's a rainy grey day here in Nettuno. The quiet is wonderful and has given me time to look at various sites on the web. The biggest news is that we are only 2 days away from the Presidential election. Two days! So many people have predicted victory on one side or the other. My hope is that our country will be led by an individual who has the best interests of the country in mind and that good decisions are made. We have already voted by absentee ballot so all we can do is sit and watch what happens. An exciting point in this big day is that Kristen gets to vote for the very first time. I know that this is something she is really excited about. I don't remember the first time I voted. Almost 40 years have passed since then! Now I really feel old!

Whoever reads this post, please pray for those who are going to vote, for those who are responsible for maintaining the proper handling of the votes and for our country. We can be proud that we are able to vote in a free election. I know that there have been stories of different ways that people are trying to influence or change votes and ballots. Pray that they are not successful. I don't engage in political conversations online because they usually get uncomfortable for one person or another. This is not meant to promote one party or the other. We did have a very exciting election 4 years ago when America elected a man of mixed race for the first time. He promised change. It was a very big promise to keep. I'd be happy with a strong government who protects its citizens with appropriate assistance and continues the story of our country as the greatest nation under God.

Get out there and vote!

Thursday, October 25, 2012


1. Having an unknown or unacknowledged name: an anonymous author.
2. Having an unknown or withheld authorship or agency: an anonymous letter; an anonymous phone call.
3. Having no distinctive character or recognition factor: "a very great, almost anonymous center of people who just want peace" (Alan Paton).
Have you ever felt anonymous? It is a lonely feeling. It is a time in life when you know something is missing but you aren't really sure what it is. We all go through seasons in our lives when our schedules are clear and we are not over involved with activities and groups. But, when a season of anonymity comes upon us not of our own choosing but through someone else's decision, it finds us feeling adrift, unsettled and alone even when we are with our family or other people.

This is how I feel right now. After years of working in law offices, belonging to church choirs, playing in musical groups, having numbers of friends who I met along the way that led me to learn to cross stitch, quilt and scrapbook, join PTA, and, last but not least, study the Bible, this season of anonymity is upon me. When we are overbooked and schedule weary, we crave days of quiet and filled with nothing. When we are under booked and schedule empty, we crave days of activity, times with friends (who are far from us), reasons to get up and go!
When you have left behind a life that was filled with reasons to get up and go, it takes time to adjust to the quiet. My days are far from quiet due to homeschooling a 9th grader and keeping connected to our dear daughter at college. I guess what I miss the most is the sense of community that we had in our lives, when we lived in Belgium, France and the Netherlands. The people in our lives here are occasional contacts vs. consistent interactions which bring about that needed sense of community. It feels temporary but is lasting longer than that word usually means.
I'm reading a wonderful book that was suggested to me by a dear friend, Kristen Logan (who I met via PWOC). The title of the book is "Anonymous: Jesus' hidden years...and yours" by Alicia Britt Chole. The description is: "We all experience times of hiddenness, when our potential is unseen and our abilities unapplauded. This book redeems those times by reminding us that though we often want to rush through these anonymous seasons of the soul, they hold enormous power to cultivate character traits that cannot be developed any other way!" This book definitely helps explain why each step in our life is the main event. Here is a quote from the book that I just read and want to meditate on before reading further:
"In moments when I am tempted to treat this gift called time as though it were some unfortunate filler,
 I hear a gentle whisper from God in my soul: "Child, I am the God who wastes no man's time. 
To me, every course in your life is main.""