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European Christmas Markets

December 15, 2019

So what have I been doing these last 7 months since I last blogged? Quite a bit. I took a few weeks off and went to Europe in the middle of May. (Got to see family in Romania. Went to Transylvania. Picked up a new country (56 now). Went on a pretty epic Ireland road trip). I went to California twice and got to spend time with more of my family. I started teaching a ladies’ SS class at church. I explored some more of Wisconsin. I read a lot of good books. And did lots of other random things. And then last month I went to Switzerland to see a friend and to France for the Christmas markets. It was a DREAM. I 100% recommend going. I’ve wanted to go for years so this was a dream come true and honestly, most days I felt like I was walking through a fairytale. It was pretty dreamy.

You should definitely go.

Adventures in the Snow

May 2, 2019

Friends! I’m alive. This blog is mostly dead, but I am not. Thankfully – I think.

Anyway….I’m remembering the reason I started this blog in the first place – to kill some dead time at work. So maybe in my slow moments here and there I will start updating it again, who knows.

Winter is still hanging around Wisconsin these days, it doesn’t seem to really want to let go. This California girl is having serious doubts about why God led her here…but for now it is what it is. But while we are talking about the weather – it snowed last Saturday. April 27th. And I’m beginning to wonder why I thought it was a good idea to plan a trip to Ireland for May. Why did I not think I would want to go somewhere warm and sunny? While I am not usually a fan of the cold, snowy weather here, the snow transforms everything into something simply magical, and I am a fan of magical. I mean, look at these pictures.

I feel a bit like a college student who just lost an entire paper without saving it, since something weird happened and my entire post is gone. Alllll those words. Sometimes I really hate the internet here – because I most definitely saved it as I went along. But the internet in this office is often spotty. Or maybe it’s WordPress’s fault. Either way, I’m debating whether or not I want to type up the entire thing again or just say “nah, here are some pictures.”

But, I will try again. A shorter version this time, without all the details because I just don’t feel like doing that again.

I first heard about the House on the Rock when I moved to Wisconsin 2 years ago. People either told me they had visited “30 years go” or that they had never been. Either way, I was often told I needed to go. But no one raved about it like we did when we walked through it. No one warned us about just how crazy the place is. About how much we really DID need to go. I’m not sure why they didn’t, but I am here to rave about it in their place. If you live in Wisconsin, you need to go. If you are just passing through, you need to go. It’s weird and definitely worth seeing.

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Initially the $29.95 price tag seemed a bit steep, but once we were about halfway through we agreed it was worth it. Just cleaning the place alone must cost a fortune. It’s huge. And there are lots of things to clean. Ha.

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If you go, bring a camera. It’s fairly dark inside all of the rooms so unless you have an amazing phone camera, it’s pretty hard to get good pictures inside. (We tried allll the settings and angles, ha.) Also, bring a water bottle with you (and snacks!). And plan to spend several hours there. We spent 5 hours inside and could have spent longer.

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Then, when you are finished and want a good place to get some food, check out Shifflet’s Bar and Grill at the Wisconsin River Resort. Great location. Great food. Great prices.

I can’t wait to go back to Spring Green and check out more of the area – it’s a beautiful part of Wisconsin!

Traveling Again

February 23, 2019

IMG_0082You know those moments when God drops an unexpected surprise in your lap? That happened to me a few months ago (2.5 to be exact) when a friend asked if I wanted to come to the UAE by any chance. (Um, YES. The answer is always yes if it involves me traveling somewhere) Dubai has long been on my “someday” bucket list so I was pretty over-the-top excited at her suggestion that I come out to Abu Dhabi and take some pictures for her (traveling and photography are two of my fave things in life). And then just a few weeks ago she asked if I could come near the beginning of February. Again, um, yes, the weather here in Wisconsin has been ridiculously cold. Yes, I will gladly travel anyplace that is warm. And with that she booked me a ticket to the UAE and I started packing (well, actually I didn’t start packing till the night before, but I started mentally prepping.)

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Airshow practice outside Rachel’s apartment. Pretty impressive and loud as they kept flying so close to us.

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And to say that that trip was a blast would be an understatement. I LOVED the UAE just as much as I thought I would. So much good food. So many pretty buildings. Such fabulous weather. And so many great pictures taken. It was such an unexpected gift from God (and Rachel) and I am forever grateful for the way He spoils me with such undeserved blessings.

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Giving Thanks

November 24, 2018

2 years ago I arrived back in the US after having lived overseas for the past 3.5 years in 3 different countries. I thought I was just coming back for a few holidays and then going back overseas, somewhere. Who knew that 2 years later I’d still be here, albeit in a state I didn’t expect to be in? I’m so thankful for those years overseas for so many reasons. One of the main reasons I’m thankful for that time is that it taught me so much about thankfulness. I am certainly not perfect in this area, but living overseas has definitely made me more thankful for all the little things (and big things). Honestly, we in America have so much to be thankful for.

Clean, warm running water to take showers in. Water that we don’t ever have to wonder about. We know it will just be there when we turn on the tap. Clean, cool water to drink whenever we are thirsty.

Air conditioners. Heaters. Good customer service. Laws that are (more or less) followed and appropriately enforced. Safety. Law enforcement that we can trust to not be bribed. Good roads to drive on. Clean, safe, big houses to live in.

Grocery stores with more fresh, edible food than we could possibly want. Grocery stores with choices. Choices of brands. Of prices. Of flavors. Of sizes.

We have so, so much. Sometimes I think it’s too much. Live overseas for a few years and then come back to America and you will realize we have more than we need. That’s certainly not something I ever thought about until I lived abroad and then came back.

And for that perspective shift I will always be thankful. If living overseas did nothing else for me, that alone would have made it worth it.

So today, I am thankful. Thankful for eyes to see beauty all around me. For health to take walks outside and for beautiful weather to enjoy. For good food to eat and taste buds to appreciate it. For healthy and happy family. For salvation. For a Savior who blesses me far beyond what I could ever hope to deserve. For more clothes than I need. For friends who encourage and inspire me. For a reliable car to drive. For a fun job and health to work. And for so much more.

James and Anna

November 5, 2018

A few weekends ago I headed over to Lake Mills to do an afternoon engagement shoot for two of our Cross Country athletes who are getting married in May. I met James and Anna here at MBU last fall and got to know them better when I helped drive the teams down to Mississippi for their Nationals last November. They weren’t even dating then (but started dating shortly after that trip.) Both of them are missions-minded and have a love for the Lord and I’m so happy to know them and call them friends.

A few pics from the day:

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