Day 261: Still in My Pajamas

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ssshhh… don’t tell anyone, but I never really got dressed today and loved it. My headaches are still lingering, and it was raining and hailing out. I just wanted to nest and loved the stillness of my house. Good things come when you rest. I enjoyed a lazy morning and went to get a facial before lunch. I’m not one to spend a lot of time pampering myself, and its been years since I’ve had a skin treatment. Today was good.

I went to see a lady who works from her house. Not only did I love that she worked from her home and her charming personality, but the facial treatment she gave me was amazing and relaxing too. She shared stories about how she became a beautician and always wanted to be one since she was probably 3 years old. Her parents thought she should be something more. So she went to law school, but then decided to became a flight attendant for several years. When she started to tire from the travel, she ran into someone who worked in real estate and offered her a job. She then became a realtor for several years, got married and then had the opportunity to redefine herself again. She chose to go back to school and follow her life long dream. And here she was today, providing a service to me, in her gorgeous home office, happy as could be. Her eyes were smiling and her passion was quietly oozing out of her. I just loved her story and that she found her way.

While sitting in her chair alone while my mask was drying, I began thinking of what I wanted to be when I grew up. My dream was simple. I always wanted to be a full time, stay at home mom. I knew I wanted to be independent and have my own money first and be able to survive on my own, but my true dream was to be home one day. I had a successful career, made great money, got married, had my first baby, kept working, had a second baby, stayed home, and had a third baby to solidify my role as a full time, stay at home mama. We chose for me to stay home. So for the past 12 years, I’ve been living my dream, thankfully because I have a supportive life partner. I am content. I’m not searching for something more and I don’t feel like I’m missing out. There is this whole discussion about women leaning into their careers and taking positions of leadership. I love my decision and it works for our family. I believe every woman has to chose what is right for her, and what makes her happy should make her family happy. I know some women do not get to choose, and I hope they find peace in their situation and doing what might not be easy, but what is right for them and their family.

“Finally I am coming to the conclusion that my highest ambition is to be what I already I am.”
-Thomas Merton

Here I Am. Namaste.

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Day 114: My Mama and the Marketplace

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Watching my mom at the marketplace today made me happy. She was in her glory.

She was like a kid at Disneyland, going from ride to ride, excited by what she might see next, and oblivious to the cold weather. She walked ahead and smiled and waited for us to come join her. She shared what she fancied and spoke in Dutch to the sellers. She tasted the cheese samples and was excited to buy some warm frites! I think she gasped and giggled when she saw the dead fish on display, sharing how her mom used to love mackerel like the fishmonger was selling.

She stopped at the candy stand and picked treats to bring back home with her. Bread and fruit was purchased, as well as roasted chickens for dinner tomorrow night so we don’t have to cook. I like the way she thinks!

When the organ cart music player started to play, my mom started to dance. Her eyes were smiling and she was visibly happy.

My dad and I just admired her joy and passion. We were happy just seeing her BEING happy.

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She was happy just being there, at home, with her people, with us, her culture, her language, her food, and entertained by the movement of the marketplace. So simple. She was happy just being. And afterwards, she was filled with gratitude – for her life and her blessings and being together.

She IS content. We should all be so lucky to feel what she felt today.

Life is good and I love her so much. I’m thankful that she and my dad are here with us for still another month.

I hope you fill your weekend with joy and passion, and I’d love to hear about what makes you happiest. xo

Day 108: Luxembourg American Cemetery and Memorial

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Today I am thankful for my husband and his passion for military history and geography and for sharing his passion with our family. I am thankful that he knows his way around and wanted to take us to see where General Patton was buried.

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In two days it will be Veteran’s Day and every year he takes the kids to a veteran’s cemetery or memorial so that we can be reminded of the sacrifice that was made for our freedom, and to honor his Granddad who served in WWII and survived.

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Every time we go, I get teary eyed and feel so emotional for the men (and women) who have fought in war and for their families and loved ones, who have also sacrificed. Today was no different.

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It was a foggy and misty day and seeing the cemetery in this light and with this ambience had an even bigger impact.

We imagined the soldiers fighting in and around Luxembourg with weather conditions worse than ours. It was quiet and peaceful and eerie. We also visited the German cemetery and noticed quite a few differences. Charlie and I made a few observations:

1. There were Crosses and the Star of David marking different burial sites, but there were several more crosses than stars.

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2. The Jewish tombstones had little stones on top. These are a custom to show that a family member had visited.
3. The names of the men came from several different states.

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4. One man died on Christmas Day.
5. There were names that represented several different nationalities.
6. The American cemetery was perfectly groomed and balanced and neat. The German cemetery was not well maintained and had a dreary and dark feel to it, even though it was still beautiful and quiet.

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7. The American tombstones had one name per tomb and were made of smooth, white stone. The German tombstones had four names per stone and were made of a rough, dark stone.

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8. A few of the tombs had beautiful bouquets.

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9. General Patton’s tomb was at the head of the cemetery, almost like he was looking over all his men. It was in such an appropriate place.

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10. The American flag was flying and church bells rang out. I felt at home and was surprisingly so happy to see and hear colors and sounds from home.

Thank you to all the people who do good everyday, who choose the harder right, and create peace and love in their homes, in their community, in the military and wherever they go.

Namaste and peace.

Day 106: People with Passion

Do you know anyone who is passionate about what they do or love? These people are my favorite. I don’t necessarily have to share their passion, I just love listening to their stories and being around them when they are doing what they love, especially when they share what they love from their heart. These people usually are filled with joy and peace and light, and their eyes sparkle.

When we were in Rome, we went on a private tour with Bruno and spent 3 hours with him. There were 7 of us, and all of us were engaged and listening and laughing and anticipating what he might share next. We all wanted to hug him and were thankful for all that he shared and taught us. We asked him how he chose to become a tour guide, and he said he absolutely loved Roman history and studied history in Florence. He was confident and knowledgeable and knew just how much to share. He was joyful and patient while giving us a tour, and if we had time, we would have scheduled another tour with him, just because he was so passionate and fun to be around.

Today we did a walking tour of Amsterdam with Michelle.

Our passionate tour guide, Michelle.

She studied World War Two history and she is quite passionate about her subject. She was prepared and brought laminated photos to show us the past along with the present. She made eye contact with all 7 of us. She never was in a hurry and spent extra time with us. She shared just enough context to make history come to life and to help us feel what life might have felt like as a Jew, a Dutch person, or a German during Hitler’s regime. She was passionate and talked about the history book she was currently reading. She loves what she loves and shared her love with us and we were so enthralled and thankful. I think this type of passion makes people successful. It brings joy to their lives and that is success to me.

Beautiful Amsterdam – Monet painted this scene. Don’t you love the geese floating by? They were paid! 😉

The Anne Frank sculpture just outside the Anne Frank house.

What are you passionate about? How do you share your gifts and talents? How do you keep learning?