Resilience and Amazing Women

I want to talk about resilience tonight.

There are so many women that I admire for their resilience and ability to bounce back and rise up and to claim their second chance.

Life happens.

It doesn’t always go the way we plan. And when life changes, we get to choose how to accept and react to the circumstances we are presented. We are survivors and not victims and I celebrate all those who rise up.

T s graduating with her RN degree next month and I am so proud of her. She always wanted to be a stay at home mom, and when her situation changed, she redefined herself and chose a new dream to become a nurse. And next month, her dream is coming true. Way to go, sister!

K also planned to stay home with her kids until her plans changed. She needed to redefine herself and decided to become a teacher. She’s been working so hard to pursue her dream to become a teacher and next month she receives her credential. Her students adore her and are going to be so lucky if she chooses to teach in their school. I am so proud of your sweet soul.

A developed a program that has been recognized by Michelle Obama to help students fight obesity and to be ready to learn every day through physical fitness before school, as a parent volunteer. She’s developing her program to help other schools across America and hopefully one day across the world. She’s developing her platform to reach and support others and to build a business for herself. Your passion shines!

S is teaching her girls about resilience and love and starting over and I admire her strength and courage to support and love her family as she transitions through life’s changes. You are a great role model.

Some of my friends are in the middle of their struggles and they are walking through the pain and creating joy despite their challenges, and are surrounded by love. They too will rise up in time, when they are ready.

These women are some of my super heroes. They didn’t have to move to Italy or India to discover themselves or to discover their epic quests. They have risen above their challenges and struggles and have persevered and are strong warriors whom I admire. They are providing for their families and loving themselves on a new frontier.

Life isn’t easy. Life doesn’t go as planned. And that’s ok. It’s a new reality. It’s a new story and they are creating history. One woman at a time.


I am proud of who they are.

We all can have a second chance, if we are willing and able to do the work and maintain our self confidence. Rock on sisters!  You’ve got this!


Women Appreciating Women

I like to have a circle of BFFs so that I always have someone to walk with and play with and confide in on this journey of life. I learn so much from my girlfriends, including my mom and sisters and aunts and daughter, and need them as role models, surrounding me and coaching me and guiding me and offering comfort and love and laughter and companionship. And I hope I offer the same for them too.

I want all women to walk with confidence and to laugh and be silly and to have fun and enjoy each other and to enjoy themselves and to live their truth, without judgement.

When I’m with women, I like to see their beauty (both inner and outer) and find their strengths. I like to hear what they have to say, even when their opinions are different than mine because they challenge me to think and I love this.  I like to find connections between us and within our groups. I like to hear womens’ stories and about what their lives are like and how they do things. I like to learn from them. I love seeing the good and authentically sharing my thoughts and celebrating us.

Our words are powerful.  Our egos sometimes get in the way and I want to protect us and each other, so that we can be our best selves and not be afraid or feel threatened by the gifts and talents of the women in our circles.

I think this is how we make the world a better place. We see the good in each other, despite our flaws and quirks and we keep on loving, keep on laughing, and keep on living.  We forgive and we let go and we love over and over again and it never ends. Some friends we hold close, and some friends with a little cushion of space, and some friends we let go, but we always do so with love.

This is what I want to teach my daughter. This is how I want to teach her to be a friend. And I hope that she goes out and helps support and lift up other girls and women, as she finds her way on her own journey, sharing and celebrating this wonderful life she’s been given, laughing along the way.

Goodnight, BeLoveRs and thank you for your friendship. xo

Sunday with Friends

I’ve declared Sunday family days, where we try to not schedule anything and to celebrate a day of rest.  That is, until friends decide to celebrate life and I have to go with the flow.

Today was such a day. Kelly turned 50 and her friends chose to celebrate today and who was I to say no?

We spent the day up in San Francisco on a gorgeous day.  We drove up in two cars and parked along the Embarcadero and the water. We had a delicious and healthy lunch at the Plant on Pier 3.  We all enjoyed our time together, sharing conversation and mimosas and wonderful food.  Afterwards, we walked along the Embarcadero and through the Ferry Building and along the water.  The sun was shining and there wasn’t any wind, so we were all warm and comfortable.

I tried a Blue Bottle Coffee for the first time and enjoyed every sip of the rich, creamy cafe latte.


I loved that we all took the time to enjoy each other’s company and to celebrate our dear friend.  Becky was awesome and decorated the cars and brought party favors and bubbles for all the guests.

I have the best of friends and am so thankful for the women in my life. I learned so much and admired all the women and their life choices and hearing about what they are doing and where they are going. Some moms are working, some are looking for work and some are stay at home moms. Some have advanced degrees, some are teachers and one is doctor. And everyone took the time to celebrate our friend and each other. The laundry can wait.

I am thankful and happy to have such cool women in my life and a supportive family that says, “Yes, go and play with your friends and have a good time.”  I got home in time to spend time together with my family too, with a delicious BBQ on our outdoor patio. Life is balanced.

Life is good.

Circle of friends

Picking Up Where You Left Off

Do you have friends that you don’t get to see or talk to as often as you’d like, but as soon as you pick up the phone or see each other, it feels like no time at all has passed?

Apryl called the other day and we had ten minutes to chat before kid pick up. We hadn’t spoken for months but both of us are aware and thankful for the few moments and just pick up where we left off, as if no time has passed. I love this about us. We’ve been friends for 15 years but don’t live near each other anymore, which is sad and typical of our transient lifestyle. But we have a shared history and comfort from being true friends, that it doesn’t really matter how often we chat, text, email, or see each other. I miss her though.

Today Jen showed up for a visit and I have been excited all week, just anticipating her arrival. We haven’t seen each other in over a year and now she’s staying with us for the next couple of days. I am so happy that she’s here and when I saw her again, we gave each other the biggest hug and never stopped chatting until she almost fell asleep from the time difference. I guess we’ll have more time again first thing in the morning! I just want to soak up all the stories and hear all about her new life back in Minneapolis. We were BFFs in Amsterdam and loved hanging out there together. I’m so glad she chose to spend a few days in Cali with me before her conference.

Next month I get to see my BFF Megan! She’s a busy working mom with four kids and we hardly ever get to chat and barely even text, but when we do, watch out world!! We are unstoppable. I cannot wait!

These are just a couple of stories and there are so many more, right girls?

I think the secret to having these kinda moments is having had and shared some deep and meaningful experiences that build these great foundations and friendships that withstand time passing and our busy chaotic lives that get in the way of connecting more regularly. None of us have expectations of each other and we know and appreciate that we are all busy, and when we do make the time for each other, even if it’s only five minute or five hours, it’s as if no time has passed at all.

Love you sisters!


Happiest Losers


I love team sports and being on a team.

Today my tennis team played in the sectional championships in Fresno and we lost.

We had a great season, laughed a lot, played lots of tennis and enjoyed learning and playing together.

We are the happiest losers you’ve ever met!

At least we got a receipt in the form of another tee shirt!

The three hour ride home went quickly as we carpooled and chatted all the way.


Life is good and I am happy to be home with my family again after a great weekend away with girlfriends, even if we lost! xo

Girls Night Out

Having routines helps us to know what to expect and provides order for our daily lives.

But it’s always nice to have a break too.

Tonight I snuck away from homework, dinner, dishes and snuggles to travel over the hill to the beach to hang out with girlfriends.

It’s so important for women to have time together. There’s something so wonderful about girlfriends gathering and laughing and sharing, cooking, eating and drinking and playing together.



Life is good!



How often do you laugh so hard that your sides hurt, your checks hurt and you start to cry? I was laughing that hard tonight, partially because of something funny but also because I was over tired and stressed and needed a good laugh. Because I was laughing so hard, everyone else was too and that made me laugh even harder. I love that feeling!

This picture is from me laughing last night and being silly with a bunch of girlfriends playing Bunco.

I won the Bunco Boa and did my happy dance and wrapped it around my head because it was itchy. There were feathers everywhere and I was still itching and coughing this morning from them, bringing back all the fun memories from last night. I think I was allergic to it.

Bunco is a mindless dice game that is played with 12 people that has you rolling and moving and drinking and chatting and playing with friends for a couple of hours. It’s a perfect stress relief and a great form of entertainment.

Life is good! Live. Love. Laugh. Repeat.

Top Five of the Day

How was your day honey?

My day was full and wonderful, thank you for asking!

What were the top five things you experienced today that made you smile?

Mine all have to do with girlfriends, exercise, family and being outside.

1. Hiking at Rancho today with Michele and Susanne. I love this 7 mile loop we do, in the sunshine for 90 minutes. The time goes by so quickly when you’re chatting and moving.


2. Surprising Sydney with McDonald’s and sharing one of my favorite memories from childhood with her. Whenever I was sick from school which was hardly ever, my mom would bring me McDonald’s. it always made me feel better. Loved hanging out with her mom too! I love spontaneity.

3. Spending one on one time with each of my kids today. It’s amazing how much they share and open up, especially when we are in the car ad we’re alone together. They are the best kids with all their quirks and all. I love how each of their personalities and opinions are forming. They all make me laugh in their own ways and teach me so much.

4. Catching up with Stacey for a half hour over the phone while she was watching hockey practice in Texas and I was sitting in the car at soccer practice in California. Still connected after all these years.

5. Organizing dates for the boys and the girls on a school night. I love shaking things up every now and then. The boys watched football and ate pizza with Steve and friends, and Juliana and I strolled around Santana Row and had Pinkberry yogurt together outside under an oak tree that kept dropping acorns and making us laugh!



Life is good. Where did you see beauty or find joy?

What I Love About Being Home

I played tennis with a group of friends today in the warm sunshine. They were asking me questions about what it was like to be back and what I liked about Holland and what I miss and all that good stuff.

I noticed that I’m starting to transition to liking being back home again. This was a turning point for me.

It’s been 2 months, 1 week, and 3 days since we moved back. The kids are now settled into their new schools and routines are starting to become normal. After school activities are taking shape. Most of the boxes are unpacked. I’ve picked up my sports and making a little time for myself again. I’ve done a little volunteering and I’m feeling like this is where I belong again. My parents also left this week. I am keeping busy, but am starting to feel a bit more content.

So what do I love about being home? I’ll try and make a little list.

– Things are easier here, yet so much busier. I like the easy, not so sure yet on the busy.

– I love that the sun shines every day and I’m outside soaking it in. I’ve been riding Charlie to school in the bakfiets most days, getting lots of smiles and stares.

– People know me and I know them. I have friends all over our community and I love them. At tennis today, Nisa invited me to come to her Jazzercise class and we shared stories of when our boys were little and just started playing soccer. Those stories were from 9 years ago! We share a history.

I asked my tennis partners what they were making for dinner tonight because I didn’t know what I was serving yet and needed to stop at the store after our game. Pam told me what she was making for dinner and voila – I took her idea, stopped at Trader Joe’s on the way home, and made falafel with pita, flatbread, and dips and veggies. YUM!! We all loved it and it was something I haven’t served in a long time. Thanks for the inspiration, Pam.


I got to stop in at Marilynne’s house for a half hour before picking up the kids from school, just because I can!

And as I was cleaning up dinner, Laura stopped by on her way home for a quick hug, because we haven’t seen each other in a long while. We are both busy with three kids each and planning girlfriend time, just doesn’t fit right now. Being spontaneous is so much better!

I had two conflicting appointments tonight and was able to call Reid to drop off Juliana a little early so that she could take our girls to their event. We’ve been friends since our girls were little and when we were part of Las Madres playing at the park in the sand with them. I was thankful for her help and the girls were happy too.

And Val had called me to carpool to the next event, but since I was already going to be out, I swung by to pick her up on my way and we got to share a few minutes in the car chatting and catching up too.

I got to talk to my sisters on the phone, in the same time zone, which is such a huge gift!

I need my girlfriends! I need their advice, support, ideas, help and hugs! Being back home and having all these connections fulfills me. I like our shared history. I like being outside playing tennis with them and having neighbors and friends drop by just because we can. I like carpooling and sharing rides and conversations. It makes the days sweeter. It takes a village, and I’m part of a really good one.

I was going to share other reasons why I love being home, but the girlfriends and connections and sunshine are what really make me happy right now. Of course, I miss my girlfriends in the Netherlands, but I’m sure thankful for the friends that are right here, right now, with me on this journey.

Love y’all!

What do you love about being home?

Day 226: Celebrate Women

My husband brought me flowers today to celebrate women. I guess it’s International Women’s Day today.

What a great day to be a woman!

There are so many interesting and inspiring and loving and beautiful women in my life. I am so blessed and grateful for all those who share their light and struggles and grace and love and laughs and stories and life with me. I have so much to learn from you beautiful souls. We have so much to share. We are blessed.

I hope you take a minute to say a prayer and acknowledge one or two or three special women in your life.

I love you my mama!
I love you Jubees!
I love you Kimmy!
I love you Tricia!
I love you sister cousins!
I love you my nieces!
I love you girlfriends!
I love you aunties!
I love you little ones!