My daily musings wrapped up in one word – GRATITUDE

My daily musings wrapped up in one word - GRATITUDE

This photo is from a recent sight-seeing trip inside Dom Bosco Cathedral (http://www.sacred-destinations.com/brazil/brasilia-dom-bosco) and this image has resonated with me over the last few weeks. The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of activity – both good and bad – we have bar-b-qued with friends, gone on a moonlit boat cruise on the Lake, watched our boys play basketball, gone to PTO meetings, stammered through Portuguese classes, navigated our new country in our Shaggy mobile (have I mentioned the “guns” I am getting driving with manual steering!), read 2 wonderful books for book club (Infidel, and The Language of Flowers), broke down with a friend on the side of the road and had to quickly learn some key phrases to find a triple A equivalent!, floated in my pool with my tube from Diani Beach and reflected on those friends and family I miss so much, talked with friends and family on our newly acquired Vonage phone (why did I not do this in Kenya?!!), sent Ronan on his trip to Pantanal (pics to follow), taxied our boys to all their “playdates” (guess I should call them hangouts now that they are teens!), received our sea shipment of households goods – yay -until we realized everything was moldy and I spent the last two weeks unpacking and cleaning or discarding moldy items (who knew you could do 60 loads of laundry in one week!?), finally got to bbq a delicious steak now that our grill is here, laid in my hammock once it was de-molded, and just continued with the day to day activities that engulf us all… and then we got the awful news last Saturday from Nairobi, Kenya — our greatest nightmare while we lived there had happened — pure evil reared it’s ugly head and killed and injured so many people at a place we had just been ourselves 3 short months ago. The grief and despair I felt this past week has been paralyzing at times and I grieve with the friends still there trying to pick up the pieces and move on. It makes one once again take stock of our lives and realize how grateful I am for all the above mentioned experiences (the good and the bad) I had this past few weeks. And while I never will be able to make sense of this atrocity I will take action in the only way I know how — to continue to cherish all that have, this life, my family and friends, and to not take it for granted and to not forget this — we shouldn’t need a reminder of this magnitude to appreciate our lives! So I urge you to take the time to appreciate what you have and to pay that forward — give that street musician a donation, smile at a stranger, thank the check-out girl at the supermarket, spread love wherever you can – I know no other way to combat evil but with pure love — maybe if we spread a message of love everyday it would make a difference in this world — I have to believe it will – that is how I will honor those who paid with their lives so that I could be reminded to value mine. I love and am thankful for you all, I hope that you can make this day and all the ones that follow filled with LOVE, HOPE, FAITH, and GRATITUDE for yourself and for others and to not sweat the small stuff but rather embrace it! oxox

Happy Birthday to me from the best family ever…..

Happy Birthday to me from the best family ever.....

What an unbelievable surprise… all my sisters and brothers and wonderful hubby got me a Galaxy SIII — really -I wasn’t hinting on my Kerry Post but apparently I have been talking non-stop about upgrading my dinosaur I-phone 3 and I left the Apple Cult to join the Android believers! Brian tried to tape my surprise as I opened the package that arrived from Sarah but unfortunately he never hit record and while he thought he was taping me, well he wasn’t! But there were tears of joy and maybe a few curses of exclamation — really this was not expected and way too nice of a gesture from you all BUT I promise now to take flawless pictures (first one shown here — from my backyard) and share them all with you — be patient though — the phone was an international version and so everything, including the manual was in French so its taking me quite a while to set up and learn how to use all the awesome features on this phone! (Thank god for Youtube Tutorials!!) and Thank you, thank you, thank you all so so much– I am deeply touched by your love! ox

Really, I am NOT high maintenance but…

Really, I am NOT high maintenance but...

after living out of a suitcase for 3 months, one starts to become irritated over the littlest things — “I have to wear this dress again!” So it was with much glee that both our air shipments (one from Kenya and one from USA which ironically were sent months apart) arrived yesterday! You would have thought that Christmas came early, or that a leprechaun crossed my path! Yes the expat life comes with its perks — world travel, new adventures and a true appreciation of “living simple” — something I have happily embraced — because honestly, we all have way too much “stuff” in our lives!! However, I cannot express how nice it was to cook with more than one cookie sheet, and use my new Ikea dishes (rather that washing the only 4 plates they gave us in our welcome kit!) and most importantly sleeping on my memory foam pillow with my comfy comforter — sometimes you just need the little reminders from “home” to make your new home, just that — “New”… so for now we are in bliss until the big payday hits when our sea shipment arrives in the next few weeks and then I will rant about how we all have “too much stuff”!