Category Archives: Travel

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!


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!


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.



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!



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!


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.



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. 🙂



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!

365 Days of Joy: Week 5

I’ve decided to do 365 days of joy this year (inspired by the wonderful Raquel Kato. You can find her 365 days of Presence here).  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, but I tend to forget that. I’ll be posting one every Wednesday, and hopefully I can stay consistent with this. So here we go, week 5!

comfortThis quote was on replay in my mind when I was in Rome. I don’t know how anyone can go to the city and not come out of it with a yearning desire to do great things for Christ. All the beauty you see in Rome is for the Lord and it is so splendid that I can’t help but want to be apart of it.


Day one in Rome! There were so many things that brought me joy today, it’s hard to narrow it down, but I will try. I’ll be putting up a travel blog with all the details, but I’ll just list my top three favorites.

1.The Pantheon: I like old things, so this was top of my list of things to see in Rome. Also, I was unaware of how huge it is on the inside, it’s like the TARDIS in there!


2. Seeing the City of Angels. Angels are the bomb, and this massive stone structure with St. Michael on top of it is a great depiction of how powerful they are.


3. Finding a little church dedicated to St. Mary Magdalene.



Day two in Rome was even better than day one, although I’m pretty sure I ended up walking dang near 20 miles, but that’s being in Europe for you. My joy came from everything and anything I saw that was roughly over 1,500 years old. Here are my top three.

1. The Colosseum: I’m sure this doesn’t come to a shock to anyone, but I was quoting Gladiator the entire time I was in here. It was like a dream come true.





 2. The Roman Forum: Just old buildings and pillars everywhere. Also, the place where Julius Caesar was buried. Here I was quoting Shakespeare a little too much.

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears!


…and then I went back at night, and I went in this back way which I don’t think was technically legal, so I didn’t stay long…but it was beautiful.

Processed with VSCOcam with m5 preset

3. Ok, so this isn’t 1,500 years old, but my third favorite thing was the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls. It was stunning and huge and when you walked in you just felt like you were in Rome…that probably doesn’t make sense, but it’s true.



Today I went to Vatican City, and, most importantly, St. Peter’s Basilica.


It was amazing. My favorite part was actually when I got to escape the crowd and go into a side chapel and pray before a St. Joseph painting (if you didn’t know, he’s my favorite saint and he is awesome). It was crazy because there were hundreds of people in the Basilica, but for about 15 minutes I was the only one in this chapel and it was very peaceful.


The rest of the Basilica was completely magnificent and wonderful. The Church is just amazing. After wandering around the Basilica for a good, long while, I climbed to the top of the dome (551 stairs, to be precise) and I saw the greatest view in the world.

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 presetIMG_6478


Today I left the Eternal City and went to Norcia, the birthplace of St. Benedict and St. Scholastica. Also it is where the monastery that Bryan works for is located. Therefore, I got to see a couple great monks and I got to eat at Bryan’s Italian family restaurant–and let me tell you, it is the greatest feeling to walk into a restaurant in a small Italian city and have everyone working there exclaim “Magdalena! Ciao!” when you walk made me feel so welcome and at home–it was wonderful. Also, Norcia is wonderful…I will have a much longer post about it on my travel blog…coming soon…or sometime in November.



Sadly I had to leave Rome today, but the view from the plane was spectacular.



Today I had the realization that within a month I would have a new niece or nephew very soon and that made me so incredibly happy!


Today I went to a Bible study at the military base in a town nearby. Yes, I was the only person who isn’t in a military family and I was the only person who isn’t married, but it was still really great! I joined the study on the book of Esther, so that’s awesome.

And there is my week of joy. Hope you all had amazing weeks as well and I love you all. Pax Ex.