Monthly Archives: March 2015

365 Days of Joy: Week 12

I’ve decided to do 365 days of joy this year (inspired by the wonderful Raquel Kato, author of the Story of a Rose blog).  Some posts my be long, some may be only a sentence, but the important thing is finding joy in your everyday life, because there are so many things to be joyful about, and I tend to forget that. I’ll be posting one every week, and hopefully, along with joy, I can gain a little consistency in my life. 😉  So here we go, week 12!

e9f89a7fa61358c9e84f904b9c80ecf7After such a great week, it’s so easy to find reasons to be thankful!

3.19.15

Happy feast day to St. Joseph! What a man! I finished his novena, and it was such a beautiful experience. There is an Australian priest staying with us and he welcomed us to his daily mass for this wonderful feast day.

“Let us allow ourselves to be “infected” by the silence of St. Joseph! We have much need of it in a world which is often too noisy, which does not encourage reflection and listening to the voice of God.” -Pope Benedict 3/19/2010

Also, tonight there was a reception for Henri as he officially became a Consulate for Belgium in the Netherlands. There were over 200 people here for the reception to congratulate him. While I was mostly on baby patrol, I did get to meet the Belgian Ambassador in the Netherlands. Pretty fun stuff!

3.20.15

Holy cow, I’m 24! Does that seem old? I feel like it does. Am I supposed to be an adult now? I had a great birthday today: the family got me a beautiful bouquet of flowers, I had a private mass said for me, Leila prepared a wonderful dinner and cake, and a Byzantine priest said an blessing over me in Old Slovakian and sang a traditional birthday song from the Ukraine. I usually don’t like getting sung to, but this was absolutely beautiful. I also got to talk to my family (always hilarious), Munga and Bompa, and the Gonzalez family (also hilarious). The best was when Teo and Pepe told me I should come over for my birthday, but I told them I couldn’t today, but I’ll come over in late July and Pepe just looks at me and says “late July? hmmm, well I don’t know, I’ll have to ask my mom.”

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3.21.15

Today was another eventful day at the Castle. The New Year for the Schutterij began with a ceremony on our courtyard. Also, it was a big deal because the old commander who has been there for over 50 years retired, so they included a ceremony for him. It poured in the middle, but after a giant, bright rainbow appeared over us and it was so perfect.

3.22.15

Skype date with Katie York, and a guest appearance from Allison Sutton! I hadn’t talked to those girls in so long, so I’m very happy we were finally able to find time!

3.23.15

The moon and sunset were absolutely glorious this evening. And today was nice enough out for me to sit outside for a while and write 🙂

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3.24.15

Hockey Joy! The Wild have won 10 straight road games. They are in the top wildcard spot in their conference and they are kicking butt! So, while my March Madness bracket is completely destroyed, at least hockey can make me happy. Oh and NCAA hockey playoffs start soon. Go Gophers!

3.25.15

Guys, I discovered Netherlands Thrift shops! They blow U.S. Thrift shops out of the water. I’m obsessed. My only purchase today was a Delfts Plate Clock. It’s wonderful.

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And that’s my week! Thanks for reading this week! God Bless!

Pax Ex.

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365 Days of Joy: Week 11

I’ve decided to do 365 days of joy this year (inspired by the wonderful Raquel Kato, author of the Story of a Rose blog).  Some posts my be long, some may be only a sentence, but the important thing is finding joy in your everyday life, because there are so many things to be joyful about, and I tend to forget that. I’ll be posting one every week, and hopefully, along with joy, I can gain a little consistency in my life. 😉  So here we go, week 11!

bbf30e4a3e629a76a4eb616e6d1aaa95Just a lovely reminder of how great He is!

3.12.15

Spring is real and tulips are wonderful 🙂

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3.13.15

Today was rather hectic because there was a huge dinner at the house, so I worked a little longer than usual, but with big parties come big flowers arrangements and delicious food.

3.14.15

Maria Therese is washed of original sin!!! Wish I could have been there to celebrate with the family, but instead I had to settle for going on a nice long walk with the kids, finding a fairy tale house, and ending the night watching ISU beat Kansas–so all in all, it was a good day! Also, pi day was cool.

3.15.15

Today I was exhausted. It was my day off and the last three days I had worked 12+ hours each day, so I needed to get away. I had planned to go to some city and explore, but as I was leaving I realized the last thing I wanted to do was walk around and explore–so instead I went to a coffee shop, wrote in my journal, read a little, and then went to American Sniper. After the movie I went to this little Mexican restaurant, had a mojito and chips & guacamole, and planned my trips. It was exactly what I needed to rejuvenate.

3.16.15

Today I went to the TEFAF–which is one of the biggest Art Fair in Europe, and let me tell you,walking around with all these millionaires who were actually there to buy something, I have never felt more poor in my entire life! There were pieces there worth over 100,000 euros! I can’t even phantom that much money. However, it was a very cool experience and I enjoyed it very much. Maybe one day I will be rich enough to afford the sushi served there…dream big, right?

3.17.15

Happy St. Patrick’s day! While it’s not a big celebration here, I did use the opportunity to listen to as much Irish music as much as humanly possible in one day, and I enjoyed the adorable pictures my sister sent me.

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3.18.15

Today was a rather productive day for me. I got my hair chopped off (not too short though), got my taxes done (they informed me I was very poor–yes, I’m aware) and went on a long walk with a Sister who was staying at the house, which is always nice because nuns are cool. Also, got my bracket all in order, so let the madness begin! GO VIRGINIA!

While very busy, it was a great week! Hope you all have a lovely first day of spring coming up and have a great week!

Pax Ex!

365 Days of Joy: Week 10

I’ve decided to do 365 days of joy this year (inspired by the wonderful Raquel Kato, author of the Story of a Rose blog).  Some posts my be long, some may be only a sentence, but the important thing is finding joy in your everyday life, because there are so many things to be joyful about, and I tend to forget that. I’ll be posting one every week, and hopefully, along with joy, I can gain a little consistency in my life. 😉  So here we go, week 10!

heroGodI like this as a lenten reminder of what is about to come. Jesus has already proven himself to be our hero, we just have to ready our hearts and open them up to him. He has done His part for the world; we just need to invite Him into our own stories.

3.05.15

I started reading St. Augustine’s “Confessions”–I realized I have never read it cover to cover, just bits and pieces. It starts off with beautiful questions to God, and my favorite one (so far) comes from the first section:

“Grant me, Lord, to know and understand which is first, to call on Thee or to praise Thee? and, again, to know Thee or to call on Thee? for who can call on Thee, not knowing Thee? for he that knoweth Thee not, may call on Thee as other than Thou art.”

3.06.15

So you know Raquel Kato, the one I always give a shout out to at the beginning of my posts? Well, not only is she an amazing blogger and mother (of my beautiful God child AvaMarie), but she is also extremely talented when it comes to anything and everything artsy/crafty. She has her own Etsy shop, called TheLittleRoseShop, and it is positively adorable. Everything is handmade with so much thought and care, and she is always adding new, original products. I really don’t know how she does it! Anyway, today I finally made my first purchase from the shop, and I bought my new niece an adorable headband with two roses on it. Hopefully in the near future I will have a picture of baby Maria wearing the headband and I can show it off to all of you, but in the meantime you should check out Raquel’s shop by clicking here!

3.07.15

Spring is definitely upon us here in the Netherlands! Saturday was so beautiful out, so the kids and I spent all morning playing outside and picking flowers! Also, that night I got to go to Mass in the Little Church in Hoensbroek–which is my favorite church around.

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3.08.15

Today I got to babysit an American family and it was so much fun! There is such a big difference between Dutch toddlers and American pre-teens that it was kind of a reverse culture shock for a moment! That didn’t last long, however, and before you knew it we were jumping on the trampoline, skateboarding (the oldest boy tried to teach me how to longboard…it went ok…..) and going for a picnic in the woods. It was fantastic!

3.09.15

Today I channeled my inner book nerd and brushed up on some Irish literature…and then I decided to write short blog post about it! You can check it out here, or I think there is a back button at the end of this post and you can press that. I had so much fun writing this blog because I had to search for pictures of all my quotes and in doing that I found even more that I love, resulting in me spending too much time on Pinterest, but hey, it was research!

3.10.15

This technically happened on the 9th, but since it’s so wonderful I am allowed to be happy about it for more than one day! One of my longest and greatest friends, Emily Morgan, asked me to be a reader in her wedding this October! Isn’t that wonderful!?! I am so honored that she and Kevin are including me in their day!

3.11.15

Yesterday I started a St. Joseph Novena, but I read through it very quickly and didn’t really pay attention to what I was reading. Today, I took it slower and really prayed the words, instead of just reading them. Guys, it is beautiful! I encourage all of you to pick it up–even if you are behind, the beauty and power of this prayer will still be there! Gosh, he is great!

St. Joe

Saint Joseph, you are the faithful protector and intercessor of all who love and venerate you. You know that I have confidence in you and that, after Jesus and Mary, I come to you as an example for holiness, for you are especially close with God. Therefore, I humbly commend myself, with all who are dear to me and all that belong to me, to your intercession. I beg of you, by your love for Jesus and Mary, not to abandon me during life and to assist me at the hour of my death.

Glorious Saint Joseph, spouse of the Immaculate Virgin, pray for me to have a pure, humble, charitable mind, and perfect resignation to the divine Will. Be my guide, my father, and my model through life that I may die as you did in the arms of Jesus and Mary.

Loving Saint Joseph, faithful follower of Jesus Christ, I raise my heart to you to implore your powerful intercession in obtaining from the Divine Heart of Jesus all the graces necessary for my spiritual and temporal welfare, particularly the grace of a happy death, and the special grace I now implore:

(Mention your request)

Guardian of the Word Incarnate, I feel confident that your prayers on my behalf will be graciously heard before the throne of God.

Day 1 – St. Joseph Most Just, Pray for us!
Day 2 – St. Joseph Most Prudent, Pray for us!
Day 3 – St. Joseph Most Loving Husband, Pray for us!
Day 4 – St. Joseph Most Strong, Pray for us!
Day 5 – St. Joseph Most Obedient, Pray for us!
Day 6 – St. Joseph Most Faithful, Pray for us!
Day 7 – St. Joseph Pillar of Families, Pray for us!
Day 8 – St. Joseph Patron of the Dying, Pray for us!
Day 9 – St. Joseph Terror of Demons, Pray for us!

Amen.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end.

Amen.

So, that is my week! Hope you enjoyed this post and I hope you all have had and continue to have a wonderful week! God Bless!

Pax Ex.

Irish Literary Beauty

In honor of St. Patrick’s day coming up, and my realization that I have been in Europe for eight months now, I have decided to do a Irish themed literary post.

Irish authors are famously known for their stories of hardships, trial, and brokenness–just read any of the old classic Irish authors and you will find these themes everywhere. However, you will also find light and beauty in their writings. Many Irish stories tell of perseverance and dedication to finding joy in life and the good in the world, that is often overshadowed by sadness and despair.

Traveling and living in Europe has brought me so much joy, but it’s not always the picture perfect setting you see on my Instagram. There have been many times where I have just sat down and asked myself “what am I doing here?” but the answer is always the same–I’m trying to figure out where I belong.

As many of you know, I love my books, and I love finding those wonderful quotes where it feels like the author wrote it only for your eyes and your heart. Around St. Patrick’s day I always like to dust off the old Irish poems and reread sections from some Irish authors whom I hold dear. And as it is soon approaching, I would like to share 20 Irish quotes that have really struck this 20 something traveling girl’s heart.

365 Days of Joy: Week 9

I’ve decided to do 365 days of joy this year (inspired by the wonderful Raquel Kato).  Some posts my be long, some may be only a sentence, but the important thing is finding joy in your everyday life, because there are so many things to be joyful about, and I tend to forget that. I’ll be posting one every week, and hopefully, along with joy, I can gain a little consistency in my life. 😉  So here we go, week 9!

gieWell, since this is a blog about finding Joy in your everyday experiences, I think this is an appropriate quote for the week. I will say, however, this was a pretty good week and it was not very difficult to find Joy everyday–God is beautiful all the time, and it’s so wonderful when we actually open our eyes and see His beauty all around us!

2.26.15

BABY!!!!!! Kilty had a girl! Little Maria Therese is absolutely beautiful and both her and Momma are doing well. I got to meet her two hours after she was born, and of course, Kilty looked great…not like someone who had just given birth. She is a rockstar.

Teo is a very proud big brother! This was my first skype date with the little princess!
Teo is a very proud big brother! This was my first skype date with the little princess!

2.27.15

Well my main joy overflowed from the night before of meeting baby Maria, and I was continually drawn to the pictures of her on Facebook.

 

2.28.15

Saturdays are always a little hectic around here, and it doesn’t help when 2 out of 3 kids are sick, but we were able to make the most of it by reading lots of books and Elisabeth kept asking to “see baby Maria on Madeline’s phone”–obviously, I was not opposed to this. Also, Henri is now a Belgian Consulate, which is super exciting, and we got to hang a huge Coat of Arms on the front gate.  Oh, ALSO, the Minnesota Wild keep winning and I don’t know how to handle it. How does one deal with a team that wins? This is a new feeling for me and I don’t know how to react. They ended February 11-3…so pretty bomb.

Another one. Because she is perfect!
Another one. Because she is perfect!

 

3.01.15 

Birthday month!!! Congratulations world, we have now entered the best month of the year! I kicked off March with a trip to Brugge, Belgium–the perfect little town with just about as many canals as roads. Also, it has some great beer. For more on my trip check out my travel blog by clicking here!

3.02.15

Today I finished up Brugge and also stopped by Ghent, which was more like a medieval fortress, rather than a precious little town like Brugge. Nonetheless, it was beautiful.

 

3.03.15  

I FOUND FRANKS HOT SAUCE!!! I am so happy! It’s sad that this brings me so much joy, but 8 months without the hot sauce of the gods is long enough! Also, I got out of French early and stopped by the Rumpenerhof Hotel for a beer–this is where Ericka Day (bestie since 3rd grade) lived a few summers ago. The owner remembered her and it was fun to talk about my red-headed other half. 🙂

 

3.04.15

Bible study was really wonderful today. We are talking about Chapter 4 of Esther and this is where she first says she can’t help the jews by going to the King and then later takes up courage and accepts her duty saying “if I perish, I perish” (Esther 4:16). This study was all about giving your fears to God and knowing that even if your greatest fear comes true, God will be there to help you through it. It was just a nice reminder to trust in Him and live his command to “Be Not Afraid.”

I also got a beautiful Save the Date from Hannah Conkin and Mark Pfantz. It made me so happy, they are a lovely couple!

 

Well, there is my week! Hope you all enjoyed it and had a lovely one of your own.

Pax Ex!