Highlights of the Weekend

Labor day came and went and it wasn’t labor less.

Brian’s boss was in town and Brian was busy entertaining him from Thursday until late Saturday. Since he brought his 11 year old, that involved putting one of our kids into the mix.

We spent Thursday night out at the Wentworth By the Sea. Never a bad choice that is for sure for a getaway!

wentworthbythesea

You simply can’t go wrong at this property. I ended up watching kids as they ate dinner with clients….but who cares, happy for the little, easy getaway.

We also played tourist in Boston and took a duck tour.

I am always good at playing tourist so that was exciting just to learn a few more things about Bean Town.

2. Brian and Noah then headed down to the UCONN – BYU game in CT.

He ran the flag out at the game and had a blast connecting with old friends from his football days such as Chad Lewis who is always great to set us up for the games etc.

photo

This is B. Hughes favorite time of the year and all of my boys love a good game of college football.

10644822_610988255688176_5655681787525166898_n

photo 5

3. Chase played for Bishop Guertin Highschool this weekend and had a fantastic game.

Here is what they said on twitter-

Screen Shot 2014-08-29 at 10.34.41 PM

What a way to kick off….so happy for him.

4. That led me to some free time…believe it or not and I started the crazy build of the new website for our nonprofit that was hacked for Color My World.

Screen Shot 2014-09-01 at 12.08.59 AM

Everyone just said to hire someone this go around, but the truth is by the time that you gather content and photos the upload is the easy part. Hour after hour I gathered what I could find.

Actually this could be a blessing in disguise in the end for the non-profit. But for me…pure pain and time away from family.

I am just counting down the days and hours until it is done.

No rest for the wicked.

5. We heard from Hillary yesterday on her mission and she had this to say.

“So the other night Sister Strong told me that I woke up and said a prayer in perfect Chinese and then went back to bed. Ummmmmmm what the heck ?????? Really? Ok I will take it. I really needed to pray for some reason. I hope it was good………Actually for the past few nights I have said something in Chinese every night….Ummmm why can’t I remember how to say these things during the day? #hillproblems…..wrong time of day brain!”

Screen Shot 2014-09-02 at 7.48.14 AM

This reminded me of my mission…I would often speak in Japanese in my sleep.

I read that and giggled.

It was a great weekend all around!

4 Talks 4 Powerful Ideas

This morning I was reading my scriptures, pondering and thinking about some things from the Ensign magazine.

This month’s Ensign (September) has some of the most important thoughts I think I have ever read.

Here are a few of them and one nugget from Robert Gay, who I deeply admire.

This story-

Years ago some of my associates and I began partnerships that extended loans to impoverished people in India. One of the first women we loaned money to built a small, successful business. We asked her what she was going to do with her newfound profits. She told us, “I am going to buy my son back from slavery.”

I have never forgotten her words. Out of desperation for food, her family had sold their son into indentured servitude. The harsh reality of our world is that many people live without what many of us take for granted: electricity, education, employment, clean water, sufficient food—let alone the liberating truths of the restored gospel.

Everything we receive in this life is a blessing from a loving Father in Heaven. But with blessings comes responsibility.

When I was 17 years old, my father spoke of this challenge to a group of Church members.

For dutiful servants, he said, “godly responsibility always precedes individual opportunity. Ours is a choice to see if we will take the talents, the resources, and the blessings God has given us and blaze new paths to realize His purposes or sit on the sidelines content in our individual successes or failures. … In the world of faith, you always stand at this crossroad.”

elder-missionaries-family-fiji_1284217_inl

A fundamental question you should consider is this: “What am I going to do with the blessings that have been bestowed upon me?” Will you be like those of the world to whom the prophet Moroni says, “Why do ye adorn yourselves with that which hath no life?” (Mormon 8:39). Or will you rise like disciples to whom the Savior says, “Unto whom much is given much is required”? (D&C 82:3). Will you engage or be content on the sidelines? Will you lift others or think only of yourself?

Everyone Has Something to Give
God invites us to be agents of action and to be anxiously engaged in good causes (see D&C 58:27; 2 Nephi 2:26). It is easy to limit the impact of our love, our influence, and our blessings to only close friends, loved ones, and those of our own choosing, but the Savior asks more of us. “If ye love them which love you, what reward have ye?” (Matthew 5:46). Paul added this exclamation point: “[Without] charity, I am nothing.” Charity, he added, “seeketh not her own” (1 Corinthians 13:2, 5). We are to leave our comfort zones and bless those around us, including strangers, those who reject us, and even those who despise us.

Some of you will say, “Who am I? I am no genius. I have no unique talent. I am nobody special. I just feel fortunate to get through each day.”

To each of you, no matter your fears or uncertainties, I say, “Never sell yourself short!” Today you and I live in a world where good and evil share the stage, but the Lord tells the faithful, “Nothing shall be impossible unto you” (Matthew 17:20).

Let this one absolute truth from heaven sink into your mind and heart—you have the power within you to astonish this world. You are a son or daughter of the most powerful Being and force in the universe. You are endowed with His all‐knowing light and truth, by which you may forsake all evil (see D&C 93:37). Moreover, the Lord teaches this profound truth: “To every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God” (D&C 46:11).

2. This note on preparedness from President Monson- struck me as something Brian and I need to get absolutely better at. We are not in debt, but we could be more prepared.

We urge all Latter-day Saints to be prudent in their planning, to be conservative in their living, and to avoid excessive or unnecessary debt. Many more people could ride out the storm-tossed waves in their economic lives if they had a supply of food and clothing and were debt-free. Today we find that many have followed this counsel in reverse: they have a supply of debt and are food-free.

family-canning-food-kitchen_1284401_inl

3. And a whole lesson on Bridling your Passion from Elder Bednar.
I will definitely be teaching a family night lesson on this. I am feeling prompted to continue to impress this upon my children.

“See that ye bridle all your passions, that ye may be filled with love.”

Alma 38:12

A Bridle:

Affects an area of sensitivity. Bridling our passions means controlling emotions and desires, which people can feel sensitive about, because the natural man wants them to have free rein. But if we overcome our sensitivities, we can develop self-discipline.

bridle-all-your-passions-ensign-magazine_1283172_tmb

Is placed on animals that are of great use. We are told to “bridle all [our] passions,” not to suppress or kill all our passions. Controlling our emotions and desires does not mean to stamp all of them out because they are all bad. Just as we bridle animals because they are useful and helpful, we bridle our passions so that we can control them and allow them to serve a higher purpose.

Helps to tame and train. Just as wild animals can be hostile, unpredictable, and destructive, so can our passions and emotions be if left unchecked. When we tame our emotions, we can train them and redirect them in positive ways to fulfill a greater purpose than they ever could if we simply allowed them to run wild.

Helps to direct. The reins attached to a bridle help us direct an animal in the way we would like it to go. Similarly, we can channel some strong emotions into good works or other appropriate outlets in order for us to become better people and of greater service. By bridling our passions, we can “be filled with love”—one of the highest and greatest emotions—and become more like our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.

4. And finally this terrific quote from Elder Ballard on a talk on the Atonement and the Value of One Soul that he gave years ago. My friend, Linda Francis, who I adore shared this on Facebook and I loved the entire talk.

“Fathers, mothers and missionaries play before very small audiences. Yet, in the eyes of the Lord, there may be only one size of audience that is of lasting importance–and that is just one, each one, you and me, and each one of the children of God. The irony of the Atonement is that it is infinite and eternal, yet it is applied individually, one person at a time.”

It was just a great morning basking in the spirit and contemplating change in my life….read all 4 of these talks and see how they impact you.

First World Problems

I am looking forward to a fresh start today as the last week as been dominated by breakdowns and meltdowns at the house trying to put things together.

Sunday, was one of them! I am feeding the missionaries a huge roast beef dinner and the next thing I know the dishwasher goes out…first world problems.

Yesterday, we woke up and the air conditioning is on the brink….it is 91 today.

I don’t know why that would bother me…geesh I lived in 91 in Nicaragua and didn’t have a breeze blow on me for weeks.

Add that to replacing the car, the lawn mower, the carpet, the cooktop and the microwave this last two weeks.

The hardest thing for me being back is just the time wasted on first world problems. We live in such a weird society. A hut looks very nice right now. What we have to spend on just getting things repaired is the other thing that is difficult right now. In my mind I am thinking, that would buy a house for so and so in the Dominican. We could build a school with that money. Yet we have to deal with it…and will. Of course, I am not going to live without a dishwasher or AC if I don’t have too. It is a teeter-totter I am on right now.

This video made me laugh….still struggling to get back to normal after the summer.

5 Things to Know Today

1. Brian and I freaked out and decided to get new carpet for our upstairs two days ago and it is being installed today. Um….we have needed carpet for about 8 years, but I didn’t realize what a monumental job that would be clearing out the top floor where we all live to have it replaced.

We don’t like to think through these things….like hmmm….maybe we should touch up the paint, since it looks worse than ever which leads me to number 2 today. I hate to spend the money on carpet and would rather live in a hut and travel and have experiences then spend more on housing….so this for me was put off until my husband couldn’t stand it another minute….and then you know it was time.

Screen Shot 2014-08-22 at 7.45.33 AM

2. I decided I would touch up our bedroom paint which is a ice cake blue Martha Stewart color, but that started a chain reaction of the fresh paint looking WAY higher gloss than the original and $100.00 later now I need to bring in a painter to paint the whole room.

Look at Lizzy not too excited about this job!
image

Bad luck since I just wanted to touch up some baseboards and a hall in my room that is so scratched up from years of kids.

This is exactly why I don’t do home maintenance anything.

Time, money…lack of skills…it is so frustrating.

We will love the new carpet and I won’t hate to say goodbye to this dog, constructor grade carpet that we have had in our room for nearly 13 years.

3. School started today for Chase. He is a junior and looked dapper in his uniform this morning. Gone are the days of prepping him for his education. He is off to successfully launch with little or no help from me, which made me a little more teary eyed than when I sent him to kindergarten.

The rest of the kids will start after labor day their homeschool program as I need a week to put things together.

4. The travel business has been hot this week and we have been booking people all over the Caribbean and Mexico in all inclusive packages for their school vacation weeks, which has been joyful thing for me.

 

10507128_10152631577611477_1367170758016627523_o

I always love to plan and book travel and I would do it in my sleep if I could.

5. Our website for Color My World that was hacked is getting worked on right now. My little brother, Glen, who is on our board is helping me load themes and I was lucky to pull together old content the last couple of weeks that makes me thrilled that we might have something together in time to launch our groups.

image

I guess I am spending next summer in the third world again. I miss it already!

image

I hate spending hours on this carpet production when my friends have dirt floors. I swear the things we waste time fretting over here is ridiculous but part of this vicious lifestyle we live in America. I am all about living in a hut the rest of my life.

My friend, Gail, who we partner with in Costa Rica, literally lives on $12,000 a year and has a fabulous lifestyle of service and is completely fulfilled.

Her life makes me rethink my priorities and all of our junk in our home.

f10411dcd454d0f3da34ae5fa042f8e4

Pulling out all of these bedrooms for carpet has made me wonder why we live with so much stuff?

Hmmm….think about that today!

Rebuilding My Life

I have taken a long vacation from blogging all because of technical reasons.

As you know, at the beginning of the year, I lost a huge portion of my blog to a technical issue…that ripped my heart out as that was a big part of my journal.  I went back to handwriting in a journal and I found that I wasn’t near as efficient.

Then it was multiple computer crashes in Europe and this summer….frankly if I could leave technology altogether it wouldn’t be a bad idea :)

Screen Shot 2014-08-18 at 7.38.29 AM

(Oh….Italy is so darn dreamy…isn’t it!)

Screen Shot 2014-08-18 at 7.38.39 AM

For weeks, I thought if ignored this thing I would eventually lose my desire to blog and document and that worked for awhile, but recently I feel more impressed to write and get things going again on this website.

So today marks my move back into the blogging world.

Where am I at with my life?

Hmmm…I am on life sabbatical right now…..thinking about where I have been and where I am going, not to mention happy to be content! My soul is so filled with joy because of the people I have met, the discoveries we have made and the time we have spent together as a family.

DSC_5945

Now, I have given myself one month off of everything to decide what the future is….to take a break and to THINK! I am not expecting big change, but I need to make some decision to where and what we are doing especially in regards to the humanitarian work we are doing.

This year has been non-stop travel, a month in Europe, 6 weeks in Dominican, Nicaragua, Peru and Costa Rica and a variety of other short trips to Orlando, San Diego, Utah, Florida, NYC and New Orleans. Of course, it doesn’t top our international destinations but when it comes to family time…it trumped.

Screen Shot 2014-08-17 at 11.49.11 AM

We have been lots of places, I love reminiscing about them all. Orlando believe it or not, was one of my favorites…it was a 2 day stopover on the way to Costa Rica…but I loved the magical time with my kids getting all of their attention.

Screen Shot 2014-08-17 at 11.10.50 AM

Screen Shot 2014-08-17 at 11.09.26 AM

Screen Shot 2014-08-17 at 11.13.41 AM

If I don’t step on another plane until 2015…I won’t feel bad about it.

I am calling this the rebuild period as I try to put things back together.  I have websites that have crashed because of hackers (Color My World), a car that needed to be replaced, equipment that has caused issues, my iPad was broke by the bellhop at Marriott, my MacBook Pro replaced twice, Go Pro’s lost in the ocean, luggage broken, lawn mowers needed to be replaced. Lots of things destroyed….hmmmm…wondering if I need them now. After you live with so little all summer you come to realize that you need a lot less. (topic for another day!) I will be keeping with this theme of acquiring and managing less this year. It is hard to return and have to battle all of the stupid things we find to be important in the first world.

Screen Shot 2014-08-18 at 7.42.21 AM  

But I do know one thing today…and that is that I really miss writing on my blog and in my journal. Just that time in the morning to reflect on where I am in life is like therapy for me this morning. Currently, I am lying in bed, down comforter piled on top of me, resting my head on a fluffy pillow and smiling. It is good to be back! It is good to be reflecting on it!

Favorite shots at the Garbage Dump

This summer, I spent a couple of days in the Garbage Dump community of Chinandega, Nicaragua. People live off of the refuge from the dump. It is quite a site and almost unimaginable.
But I find myself aching to be among “mi familia”!

Screen Shot 2014-08-14 at 11.30.54 AM

Screen Shot 2014-08-14 at 11.16.51 AM

Screen Shot 2014-08-14 at 11.16.35 AM

Screen Shot 2014-08-14 at 11.14.40 AM

Screen Shot 2014-08-14 at 11.16.07 AM

Screen Shot 2014-08-14 at 11.22.38 AM

Picture Perfect Day in Rothenburg

Today, we made a stop to the medieval town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber.

A popular stop on the romantic road in Germany.

It is well-known for it’s middle age appeal and dates back to 950AD.

DSC_5844

“Rothenburg held a special significance for Nazi ideologists. For them, it was the epitome of the German ‘Home Town’, representing all that was quintessentially German.

DSC_5838

 

DSC_5857

Throughout the 1930s the Nazi organisation “KDF” (“Kraft durch Freude”) Strength through Joy organized regular day trips to Rothenburg from all across the Reich. This initiative was staunchly supported by Rothenburg’s citizenry – many of whom were sympathetic to National Socialism – both for its perceived economic benefits and because Rothenburg was hailed as “the most German of German towns”.

In October 1938 Rothenburg expelled its Jewish citizens, much to the approval of Nazis and their supporters across Germany.”

DSC_5863

DSC_5866

There is a heavy influence in this area as Christmas markets are in full swing in this idyllic town.

DSC_5878

DSC_5879

DSC_5880

A ton of movies have been filmed in Rothenburg including parts of Harry Potter.

DSC_5881

 

It is just sheer beauty here right now as spring has sprung!

DSC_5882

DSC_5885

DSC_5886

DSC_5896

DSC_5900

Rothenburg had several unique bakeries with flavorless items.

DSC_5854

DSC_5855

 

Prior to our stop in Rothenburg we visited Harburg Castle. It was a unique look at medieval life in another area of Bavaria.

DSC_5797

DSC_5819

DSC_5836

 DSC_5849

Back to Munich, where I shot this gate from a moving bus!

DSC_5945

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rothenburg_ob_der_Tauber

Salzburg and Lake Wolfgangsee

Beautiful Salzburg is where we made our journey to today.

“Salzburg’s “Old Town”  has internationally renowned baroque architecture and one of the best-preserved city centers north of the Alps. It was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. 

Salzburg was the birthplace of 18th-century composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. In the mid‑20th century, the city was the setting for parts of the musical play and film The Sound of Music.”

The weather was in the mid 40s and we were ill equipped to tackle it with sweatshirts and limited layers.

DSC_5671

The forecast called for snow in Austria and we got our fair share as we were leaving Lake Wolfgangsee at the end of our day.

I love Salzburg! This is like my third or fourth time here…lost count and love it more and more every time I come.

DSC_5691

We didn’t hike up to the castle in this photo because we had limited time and we were frozen to the bone, but we had a good time walking around the area that reminds Hillary of Prague, she said repeatedly.

DSC_5688

 

 

Everyday I seem to make a financial faux pas.  Today it was out outrageously expensive Japanese food that we had for lunch.
When I got the bill, I gasped…..I am not quite sure how someone feeds a family of 4 on vacation here.

Panicking when Brian and Chase come next week.  I think I will have to take out a 30 year mortgage to pay off our lunches.

DSC_5701

 

Salzburg charms!

DSC_5700

DSC_5693

DSC_5675

 

One of my favorite parts of the day was our drive to Lake Wolfgangsee.

“Wolfgangsee is a lake in Austria that lies mostly within the state of Salzburg and is one of the best known lakes in the Salzkammergut resort region. The municipalities on its shore are StroblSt. Gilgen with the villages of Abersee and Ried as well as the market town of St. Wolfgang in the state ofUpper Austria. The town and the lake are named after Saint Wolfgang of Regensburg, who, according to legend, built the first church here in the late 10th century.”

 

DSC_5755

 

We took a boat ride on this scenic lake despite having even a jacket.  It was stunning.  I am not sure what happened to our spring time weather we were promised?  But we enjoyed seeing the cherry blossoms, tulips and bulbs blooming around the towns.

The drive through the Alps to get there was equally as impressive.  I have a soft spot in my heart for Austria as my brother, Brad and Brian’s Dad, served their missions in Austria for the LDS church and my brother, Glen served his mission in the Frankfurt, Germany mission.

DSC_5659

 

Don’t you just want to sell your entire life and move into a chalet in this region?  It is so peaceful and has been a wonderful break for me. I love the simple life Austria promises!

DSC_5724

 

 

 

 

Source:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salzburg

Linderhof Palace and Neuschwanstein Castle

We are in Germany! This is the first part of our 30 day European tour.

Hillary has finished study abroad in London and flew in yesterday to meet us.

It has been great being reunited after a long semester for us and a great adventure for her.

We kicked off the trip with a day tour out to the Castles of Bavaria with a stop in Oberammergau which is rich with German heritage.

It was great for us as Brian’s grandmother is 100 percent German and his family hails from these surrounding towns.

His mom loves this little gingerbread community so we definitely had to pay a visit.

DSC_5583

“Oberammergau is a municipality in the district of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, in BavariaGermany. The town is famous for its production of a Passion Play, its woodcarvers, and the NATO School.”

DSC_5577

DSC_5573

Part of the goal for me was to try and see some things that I haven’t seen on previous visits to Europe.

Linderhof Palace and Neuschwanstein Castle were two bucket list items!

“Linderhof Palace is a schloss in Germany, in southwest Bavaria near Ettal Abbey. It is the smallest of the three palaces built by King Ludwig II of Bavaria and the only one which he lived to see completed.”

DSC_5558

DSC_5543

DSC_5570

 

Next we headed towards Neuschwanstein Castle.  It was a dream of  mine to visit the castle and was pretty much the inspiration for our trip to Munich. I visited Munich 6 years ago on my way to Hungary but didn’t have time to visit any of the charming surrounding villages.

I thought it was a great way to kick off the trip.

Here is a photo that I shot from the windy bridge on the side of the castle.

It was so windy up there, that I shot one photo and fled. I love the way it turned out though.

DSC_5596

“Neuschwanstein Castle is a nineteenth-century Romanesque Revival palace on a rugged hill above the village of Hohenschwangau near Füssen in southwest BavariaGermany. The palace was commissioned by Ludwig II of Bavaria as a retreat and as a homage to Richard Wagner. Ludwig paid for the palace out of his personal fortune and by means of extensive borrowing, rather than Bavarian public funds.

The palace was intended as a personal refuge for the reclusive king, but it was opened to the paying public immediately after his death in 1886.Since then more than 61 million people have visited Neuschwanstein Castle.  More than 1.3 million people visit annually, with as many as 6,000 per day in the summer.  The palace has appeared prominently in several movies and was the inspiration for Disneyland‘s Sleeping Beauty Castle and later, similar structures.”

 

It is so fun that these Noah and Elizabeth were able to come on the trip.  It is even harder to believe that they are growing up so fast and mature enough to do this type of itinerary.

DSC_5620

We didn’t have time to visit this family castle that overlooked the lake, but I thought it was a beauty. It is tough to have so much money!

DSC_5590

Germany is off to a great start and we are loving the tulips, green grass and blue skies.

Tomorrow, we are off to Salzburg….so check back in! I might actually get this blog moving again.

DSC_5647

DSC_5643

DSC_5601

DSC_5587

DSC_5578

Sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linderhof_Palace

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuschwanstein_Castle

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oberammergau

 

New Orleans Via Instagram

Now I am looking at these photos maybe New Orleans isn’t all that bad. I actually had more fun than I thought we would and I loved the plantations that we went to.

Here is an instagram tour of some of my favorite shots albeit a little distorted!

IMG_7561

IMG_7590

DSC_5460

IMG_7550

IMG_7563

IMG_7549

IMG_7547

IMG_7566

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...