Happy Halloween!

This Halloween was different for me. My kids are growing up and our traditions have changed. I am aware.

We still had orange pumpkin pancakes for breakfast though.

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Our schedules are busier than ever now and we didn’t make time to carve pumpkins together as a family, so just Charlie and I carved alone this afternoon.


We didn’t do our annual dinner party and the kids split up, doing different things. My role handing out candy even changed.



I did enjoy our last Halloween parade at our local elementary school, even with the rain. This was bittersweet!



This Halloween made me aware of time passing and the kids getting older and how everything changes.

I am also remembering Taylor who was killed by a drunk driver on Halloween years ago and remembering Chase.

Hope you enjoyed giving away treats and/or receiving them tonight.



Juliana called me to come outside to see the sky this morning before she left for school. It was radiant!! My phone camera hardly captured the beauty of the moment.

Charlie had a football game this afternoon and again the sky caught my attention.

While I wait for Christian’s water polo match to begin, again I find myself looking up.


As you walk through your day, I hope you take a moment to look up and enjoy the stillness for a moment or two, especially before the holiday rush begins.


True Life – The Ideal and the Real

I love you.  That’s the ideal and that’s for real.

I share ideas on living in the moment that tend to idolize the ideal. But let’s be real. Life is not always as pretty as our posts on Facebook or other social media outlets, even if that’s what we dream and desire. Life is messy and complicated. It’s that yin and yang thing again.

Even when I share the moments of love and joy and happiness, there are the moments behind the scenes that aren’t shared. I like to call that the messy part – the drama – the not to be seen on TV moments. We all have them. And we share what we want people to see, what we want to be our real. I think this is a good thing in a way, in that we’re trying to create the lives we really want to be living.  The tricky part comes when people see the ideal and forget that there are real people behind the pictures and think that other people’s lives are more perfect than their own.

None of us are perfect. I think the reason why we don’t share those parts, is because we all have those and they just aren’t as glamorous or praiseworthy, and heck, we might even get embarrassed.  But those messy parts are what make up the good parts and are necessary.

I believe that life is a practice and a journey and even though I have these ideas and try to practice them, I fail. I am perfectly imperfect and I’m ok. So are you.

In between the I Love Yous, are my tantrums – my moments of raising my voice and impatience, where I lose my ideal in my real anger and frustration, when I’m trying to regain control. I hate it when that happens, but that’s true life. Just sayin’

In between my moments of celebrating my kids and enjoying them, I’m frustrated by their messes and talking back and all the other things kids do.  I just tend to share the good, because that’s what we do. But my kids are kids and they do kid things that bother all parents. I just choose to not focus what I share, there, but it’s there!!

Our minds are powerful. We can create our reality based on what we think about and how we think. If you think that my life is better than yours, you’re right. If you think that you have a great life, you’re right. If you think that I’m full of it, you’re right. If you like what I share, you’re right.  Our mind creates our reality or at least our attitude about our reality and that is powerful stuff.  I like to see the good because that’s what I want for me and for you and for your sister and for your daughter and your mama too.

Let’s just keep it real. We are human. We don’t do life perfectly, but we try and practice every day and we need to be gentle with ourselves, our partners, our kids, our leaders, and within our community.  We get to do do-overs and we get new beginnings and hopefully every day we get a little braver and a little stronger and little wiser and we apply what we learn. Hopefully we get better at creating and living the life we dream and become our best selves, and when we mess up, we don’t take ourselves too seriously and forgive and forget and start again.  And once we learn to do this for ourselves, we can forgive others too.

Ok, that’s all for now. Love you. Love me. Love us. xo


Happiness is Laundry?

I did 6 loads of laundry – washed, dried, folded and even put away between yesterday and today. That’s a small miracle and it made me incredibly happy to see my family room laundry free and orderly, as opposed to how it usually looks.

It took a long time and while I was doing the work, I was thinking about the program I’m giving tomorrow about the Gift of Happiness.

Obviously I love this happiness business and spend a lot of time thinking about, playing with, sharing and experiencing the joys of the pursuit of it. There’s lots of research and studies, movies and books and blogs and experts on the topic to absorb and enjoy. There is even a happiness store In England, as Jeff shared with me today.

I wonder if he’s bringing me some happiness home with him? I definitely think he is.

But I digress… What I wanted to share is that even though the experts describe the 7 habits of happy people, and the 5 things you can do to be happier, I think life is even simpler than that.

Happiness to me came today in the form of clean laundry that was done for my family. I find that my happiness is rather simple and sometimes I forget. I love just being home and creating a loving and orderly home.

I am happiest when my house is free from clutter, my family is fed, my kids are doing their work – meaning studying and learning and being kind to themselves and others, we are all healthy, and together, and I’ve made time to exercise and chat or be with a friend. Wow – that’s a long run-on sentence, but that’s pretty much it. Everything else is just a bonus! And this happiness thing takes constant work and I’m never done.

What makes you happy? On a scale of 1 to 10, how happy would you rate yourself on a daily basis?

Sunday – A Day of Rest

Today was actually a day of rest and for this I am thankful especially after such a busy few weeks.

Our week days and week ends are so full, that it was really nice to be home today with time to relax and play and watch the World Series!!  We had space and blocks of open time. Of course, we still had events, but only having 2 or 3 is better than 10 at different places that overlap. Today was peaceful and shared with family and friends.

I made a family style dinner of spiral ham, mashed potatoes and green beans, and April and the girls came over to join us.  I love the tradition of a slow cooked, Sunday dinner and now I want to be home every Sunday. This has been my goal since the beginning of the school year, but keeping to that goal is not always easy.  I love cooking and I love having families join us for a meal.  I am going to try to keep this time more sacred and create this family tradition that we all hopefully will look forward to sharing.

What are your Sunday family traditions?

Hope you have a great week!  xo

Halloween Fun

We are getting ready for Halloween.

Last night we celebrated at our elementary school with Halloween Happening. There were game booths, food booths and a pumpkin carving contest. This was our last year and it was fun to watch Charlie running free with his friends, being the oldest kid on campus. He didn’t even wear his costume this year. It’s normal and strange at the same time,watching your kids grow up and change.

We enjoyed seeing all the kids and being with friends. The best part of the night was when Juliana told Charlie that we were ready to leave and that he should use his remaining tickets to go buy some pizza. He had been busy just hanging out with his friends, that he didn’t end up using many of his tickets.  We didn’t actually know how many he had, until he showed up with 6 slices of pizza that shocked all of us.

Tonight we continued our Halloween celebration at our church where we participated in a Trunk or Treat event, where families decorated their trunks and handed out candy to kids in a safe environment.  We had fun decorating our trunk, handing out candy and seeing our friends and meeting new families.




It reminded us of our time trunk or treating in Holland two years ago. It’s so hard to believe that was already 2 years ago. Juliana had fun volunteering and working with her friends. Charlie loved running free and collecting candy.  It rained in the middle of the event, but we didn’t mind and were thankful that our trunk door provided some shelter.  I don’t the rain scared away many goblins. The kids were adorable and there were so many Frozen princess costumes tonight.

I love Halloween and all the costumes, imagination, and festivities and candy. Can’t wait until next week.

Hope you have a Happy Halloween!!

Magical Elixirs

Wouldn’t it be great if you could really drink a magical drink and find your inner whatever-you-need?

I found some drinks today at Sprouts that made me laugh. This one suited my blog:

I am Happy.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just drink a magical drink to make us happy? What would we do and could we do if we were magically “cured?”

They also had a I am Focused drink. I could use a few of those too!

Focused and happy? Doesn’t get much better than that!

I don’t think we need a drink or placebo to find our way.

I think we need to continue seeking out the good, drinking enough water, playing with our friends, and getting enough sleep. We need to keep doing our work, and we need to keep on helping others and being thankful for what we have. We can package our own magic. We don’t need to buy it, but instead believe in ourselves and love others, and create happiness always.

Have a great weekend. Be happy and whatever you want to be. xoxo

Social Media and Connections

I obviously love social media, as I write daily to share my life and to connect with you. I love that I have a platform where we can share ideas and learn from one another, and I love when you click the like button or actually take the time to submit your name and email address and leave a comment, which takes 10 seconds at least and you’re busy, I know, which makes me appreciate you even more. When you write, I see you. I love this part of writing. I don’t really see you, but I see that you liked something that I shared and you validated me and I get to think of you. It’s kind of a cool virtual exchange that means something to me. Thank you for that.

I don’t typically promote my blog, but last night I decided to link my post to my Facebook page, because I was proud of my parents and wanted others who might not know that I write, to have a chance to meet them via my writing.

65 people clicked on my link from Facebook and maybe they even read it.  I was impressed that this many people were curious and took the time to venture over to a new window to check out my blog.  Thank you!

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On my personal Facebook wall, 82 friends liked my post and 7 friends left a comment and 3 friends shared my link. Can I just tell you how good this feels?  You like me. I like you.  I love us!!

One friend tonight mentioned that she didn’t click “like” on my status because she saw so many other people had already liked it and didn’t think it would make a difference whether she clicked or not, because she said there were already so many likes and what is one more.

I told her that I look at every name that shows up on my screen and think of each person individually. I literally do.

I see the 3 most recent friends that liked what I shared and a link that says “and 79 others.” I click the link to the 79 others and read through each name on the list and think and pray for each of those who chose to connect with me.  My prayer is a moment to remember you and to think of something positive about you and I am grateful that we had a shared moment, even if it is just through social media.

We live busy lives and sometimes we live far away from each other, but we find ways to connect however we can and make the world a better place because of the love and likeness we share for each other. That’s a good thing.

So thank you, for reading and sharing and posting and loving and living it up, every day, BeLoveRs! xoxo

My Mom and Dad

My mom and dad came to visit me today.  Just me.  Here’s our selfie to prove it:


Well, that’s not really true, but a girl can pretend she’s an only child and had them all to herself, which was true for an hour or two.

I am so lucky to have such loving parents that love everyone, not just me. So many people admire them and look up to them and want to be in their company.  Are you wondering why?  So glad you asked. I’ll tell you.

Here are 11 reasons, because I like odd numbers.

1. They are authentic and real.

2. They are unconditionally loving and funny.

3. They are unselfish and giving.

4. They go out of their way to take care of others. Always.

5. They always welcome friends and family to their home. They never are “busy” and the door is always open.

6. They make good coffee and their home is very gezellig (this is a Dutch word that doesn’t have an English translation, but basically means warm and cozy and welcoming.)

7. They make good bread and cookies and spaghetti sauce.

8. They always see the good in people and lift others up.

9. They love and take care of their family and extended family, always, without any expectations.

10. They make the time to attend the special life events of their friends and family, even driving long distances.

11. They call me everyday and keep in touch and keep the love flowing.  They just get the meaning of life.

I am so thankful that they chose to come spend a few days with us and I guess I’ll share them.  I wish that everyone could have parents like mine. The world would be a better place with such loving people spreading joy to all. Hey, maybe they are Santa Claus?  😉

The coffee is on… door is open. Come on over, BeLoveRs.  xo