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Amsterdam for a Weekend: A Photojournal

The Flower Markets, Amsterdam

Laughter is an instant vacation.  ~Milton Berle

The Flower Markets, Amsterdam
The Flower Markets, Amsterdam

There are some times in life that leave us depleted, and other times that fill us back up. For me, this past weekend was one of the latter, when I traveled with one of my closest friends to her native Holland, to Amsterdam. Not only did we have the little break to refuel and refresh, but we had a time of rich experiences and near-constant laughter. It was an experience I will always cherish, never forget. Continue reading Amsterdam for a Weekend: A Photojournal

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Road Tripping and Finding Thanks

This past weekend, we ventured on a road trip. Just like the old folk song goes, “Over the meadow and through the woods …” Well, that was us this Thanksgiving. We went over the meadow and through the woods to share some of the holiday weekend with relatives. We’ve made the same journey so many times we can almost predict what comes next before it even gets there. Like the gas station lady at a small town gas station lining I-75 who greets everyone with a twangy, “What’s can I do fer ya’?” I always love the accent, thick enough to substitute for molasses. I grew up with it, and somehow though I’ve lost most traces of a Southern accent, I’ve never lost the fondness for it. And then the next words out of her mouth as she glanced at our license plate: “Where’s you from in O-Hi-Ya?” Apparently, everyone she meets from “O-Hi-Ya” is from “Cin-cin-a-ta”. Yep, that’s where we’s from, too.

Every time we reach the top of the Smoky Mountains and the spectacular views, we cringe. Not because we’re afraid we’re going to fall off or we’re afraid of driving it, but every time we pass that way someone in the car is dying to find a bathroom. Of course, there is no respectable bathroom for miles up there. But memories of taking one of our then-toddlers onto the side of the road to do his business has left a deep groove in our minds. We’ll just say that particular time we had to leave the pants and the underwear behind. On this trip, it was just our dog who could hardly wait for a place to pull over. If it’s not one, it’s another.
At our destination, the noisy yet graceful Sandhill cranes greeted us with their nightly antics on the Tennessee River. The current economic times and other strains of life feel much smaller when I can taste a bit of Nature’s beauty and the cycles it has sustained over time. I love time spent out in Nature.
On the way home, we were all excited to be back in the car. Of course, the dog lit up our drive with regular emissions of her specialty blue fog. Instead of the in-car DVD being the anticipated entertainment, a jar of 34 river snails captivated the attention of our boys for the entire six hours. And though embarking on a new adventure to another part of the country is always fun, we were thrilled to see the Cincinnati skyline from the cut-in-the-hill … home again. What better time to have a fresh sense of thanks than during the holiday that inspires gratitude?
This season, I know I am truly thankful for our family and our health—and that Together is a wonderful place to be.