Tag Archives: Joy

365 Days of Joy: Week 19

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 19!

IMG_7971.PNGSince February I have been apart of a Bible study over the book of Esther. This study’s main theme is the idea  of a reversal of destiny–of taking the life you think you are meant to live and turning it into the life God has planned for you to live, and having the courage to follow his path when the moment comes along.
This quote is from Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery, and I think it fits perfectly to what my Bible study has been talking about in our Esther study. We are not meant to be spectators in the world, but players. We cannot wait for the world to give us what we want, but we need to give to the world what we have–our gifts.
Spring is a wonderful time to set goals and start projects. One of my goals this spring is to work on enhancing the gifts God gave me in order to spread His glory to everyone I can.


The kids had bath time with NO FREAK OUTS! I guess there is a first for everything!


Night to myself! I had gnocchi and white wine for dinner and binge watched House of Cards–that show is a whole bunch of messed up.


KINDERDIJK! Finally got to see some windmills (19, in fact) and it was glorious! Definitely a good bucket list moment.

Almost all 19 windmills at Kinderdijk. Panorama beauty.
Almost all 19 windmills at Kinderdijk. Panorama beauty.


Had a Skype movie date night with Marissa and Kate, and we watched Anne of Green Gables! It took us a while to get the movies in sync, and I don’t think we ever really got them perfect, but it was so much fun–it was just like hanging out!

Talked to my mom and family for Mother’s Day!

Spent all afternoon outside because the weather was like middle of summer weather! At night I took a rosary walk. We used to do this all the time as a family, and I didn’t realize how much I missed it until I did it tonight. It’s so relaxing and refreshing to walk at sunset and pray the rosary at the same time–it’s a habit I want to bring back to my life.


The dandelions are in seed right now and the kids are having more fun than I’ve ever seen anyone have with dandelions–even if it’s the 50th one they’ve seen that day, they still scream out of joy when they see one. It’s hilarious.

Also, I finalized all my tickets and reservations for my Germany–Austria–Czech Republic trip!! Just a couple more days!!!


Today was the last day of my Esther Bible study–it was a great study and I’m sad to see it end. Esther is a great book to see the power God has in our lives and how he uses each and every one of us to complete a wonderful mission on Earth!

I also spent some time today writing fiction. It’s been a little while since I’ve done this and it was nice to have some creative time in my day again.



And that’s my week! I don’t know if I will have the chance to put up my blog next week because of my trip, but you can see updates if you follow me on Instagram (maddiemmaher) or if you are friends with me on Facebook!

I am going to try to put up a travel blog either today or tomorrow about my recent dutch travels, so keep an eye on goingdutchtravels.wordpress.com for that!

Please keep my trip in your prayers and I look forward to telling you all about it!!

Pax Ex!


365 Days of Joy: Week 17

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 17!

benrectorbeautifulThere are some days when a song just hits you hard in the guy…but in a good way. This happened to me with Ben Rector’s song “Beautiful”. This song is all about loving life again and living with a childlike innocence. It’s a nice reminder of how we can fall into the serious routine of everyday life that we forget to celebrate life with joy and enthusiasm, like we did when we were kids.


Mary left today 😦 Had such a great time with her, but unfortunately she had to go back and work, or some nonsense like that. The kids and I went to the park for the first time this spring and we had so much fun running barefoot in the sand and picking flowers…Spring is just the best!


Skyped with Kilty and the Gonzo boys and in the middle my grandparents come to her house so I got to say hi to them too!


We went to Saturday Night Mass in a Church in a little village close by. It was so lovely. There was a georgian choir and and a beautiful back chapel for Our Lady!


WILD WIN, WILD WIN, WILD WIN!!!!! WHOOOOO! The Minnesota Wild beat the St. Louis Blues 4-1 to advance to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the second year in a row. Next they travel to Chicago on Friday to take on the Blackhawks. Oh and my dear friend Katie Desme attempted to watch the game in my honor, and apparently it was so difficult for her… 😉

Also, my lil’ sibs got their London hats and showed them off to me!


Kings day! It’s a National Holiday here in the Netherlands, and everyone wears Orange, because it is the most attractive color on everybody….right? In the morning we went to mass in the village and in the afternoon we went to The White Village of Thorn, which sounds super awesome, and it actually is. It has kept the tradition of painting the buildings white and it is just a perfect little village.


The kids and I went on a really long walk, and in the middle Elisabeth got really cranky so Lambert-Joseph and I had to distract her by asking her what color every car was and she would get really excited when she got the question right.


Finally wrote my London blog (yes, I know I said it would be done during the weekend, but I’m a liar, ok!) and it’s up on my travel blog! You can click HERE to check it out and look at the copious amount of pictures that Mary and I took. 🙂  Also, Clemens-August is almost walking! He can now walk behind a stroller by himself!

That’s my week! If you want to hear the full song that my quote is from, here is the video. Ben is awesome and everyone should love him.

365 Days of Joy: Week 13

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 13!


I don’t know about any of you, but I am constantly looking for fulfillment, yet I can never seem to find it. It doesn’t matter how many places I go, people I meet, compliments I get, likes on Instagram, whatever, they are never enough–I’m never fulfilled. C.S. Lewis wrote,
“If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.”
That’s it! That must be it–my fulfillment won’t come because it’s not possible obtain it through worldly goods. Well, now I’m set, right? I know my fulfillment will come from something greater than me, greater than all humanity, greater than the universe, so now I just have to sit back and let the fulfilling take place, right? Well, so far, it hasn’t exactly happened that way for me.  Just like any relationship, one with the Lord takes work. You can’t just walk in, day one, and expect to have a perfect, open, stress free relationship. While he is ready and willing to begin with us, it’s harder for us to begin with him than we think it will be–building a lasting relationship does not come in 3 simple steps. I have focussed this lent on building that relationship with Christ, and what I have learned is that our relationship is like a constant wave, and it’s all my fault.  Some weeks I keep it up so well, I’m constantly praying, I’m going to adoration, I’m focused and attentive during mass, and I physically feel the connection with Christ. And then there are other weeks where I am the worst friend in the world, I don’t start conversations, I don’t reply, when He’s right in front of me, I look away and pay no attention to Him. During those weeks, I feel very alone, but for some strange reason, I know it’s not because He left me, but it’s because I left him.
Now, many of you may know this about me, but my friendships usually start off slow and then escalade really really quickly. Usually I meet a person, barely talk to them for two months or so, and then a breakthrough happens and boom, we are best friends in a couple of hours. Well, with God, that is a difficult approach for me because that “breakthrough” happened over 2,000 years ago when he died for me, so I feel like I’m constantly playing catch up in our friendship. This knowledge causes me to feel guilty for not being good enough, so then I avoid Him even more, because I don’t know how to apologize for not being a perfect friend.  This is where I have been so wrong. First of all, God doesn’t just want to be my friend. No, He wants me to be IN LOVE with Him, because He is Love. Secondly, God doesn’t need me to be perfect, he knows I can’t be. He knows it’s physically, spiritually, emotionally and mentally impossible for me to be perfect on this earth. He doesn’t care. He made me not so I would be perfect for him, but so that He would be perfect for me. He is my perfect companion. I’m not made to be perfect, I’m made to know, love and serve Him. He is enough for me.
The quote I chose above is from the band, Tenth Avenue North. Not only do they know how to sing and rock like any Top 40 artist, but they also have countless songs about God’s unfailing, never ceasing love for us. They focus on taking our fears, doubts, failures, etc., and giving them all to God. They really are a wonderful, inspirational band. I’m pretty sure their new CD “Cathedrals” was written about me. This quote has been my unofficial motivator this lent, my constant reminder of what I am striving for. In addition to that, the band has also given me a prayer to end lent with and bring in Easter (and it will be especially relevant come Pentecost). So, before I begin my week of joy, I would like to share this small prayer, found at the end of their song “We Won’t Numb the Pain” (It sounds much better in song form than just read out, so you should just go listen to it).
“Let me get a taste of Your sweetness
Give me one glimpse of Your lovely light
Lord, be my joy, treasure, my delight
Let me have a sense of Your presence
May I trust Your mercy all my life
I just want to be a fire burning in the night

Fire in my heart
Fire in my soul
May the fire of Your love
Burn away control
Satisfy my heart
‘Cause I don’t want to steal
Or give in to my lust just to feel”


The kids were all sick today, but that just means all they want to do is snuggle and read books–which is an ideal day for me! I also got to talk to the cute Gonzalez family, and Maria waved to me!


A bunch of Seminarians arrived at the castle from the North American College in Rome. They were mostly from the mid-west and it turned out we knew a lot of mutual people, which was really random, but very cool. It was kind of a culture shock to be around American guys again after being away for so long. I have a feeling coming back to the States will take a little getting used to.


Skype date with Katlin that was full of wonderful laughter.


Talked to my Mema and Opa today for Mema’s 91st birthday. They both sounded so lively and happy on the phone, it was such a joy to talk to them! Then later I got to catch my Aunt Bridget at Kilty’s at quite a few family members were there too!


Also, with it being Palm Sunday, I got to experience yet another dutch tradition. Instead of the traditional palms, they have these hedge looking branches and they also give you a sweet bread in the form of a roster, symbolizing the cock that crowed when Peter denied Jesus.

palm sunday


I received proof that my nephew takes after me 😉



We had a hot chocolate and yogurt party and it was adorable.



My joy came from Mary, Grace, and Joe meeting Tenth Avenue North and getting to hear them play acoustic for an hour after the show. They were all so excited, I couldn’t help but be excited with them, even if I was extremely jealous. Oh also, Elisabeth almost has the entire song of “Itsy, Bitsy Spider” memorized…and she is so cute when she sings it!

As I was writing this post, I realized how horrible I am about writing down cute things the kids do every day! They have been so adorable the past few weeks, and I always mean to write down funny things they say, but then I forget–I’ll try to be better in the future.

Ok, well that is my final lenten post! I wish you all a holy Holy Week and a wonderful Easter. I will for sure post lots of pictures of our Easter activities, so stay tuned!

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!


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!


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.”



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.


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!


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 🙂



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!


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.


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

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.


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.”


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!


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.



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!


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!


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!


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!


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.


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.

365 Days of Joy: Week 6

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 6!

courageI received a snapchat from Marissa Lueger (long time friend, old roommate and awesome person) earlier this week with this quote–she said it was her new obsession and thought I would like it. We clearly share a brain wave because I found this quote a little while ago and I added it to my “100 best quotes in literature” (I’m not finished with the list but I’m working on it). This past week it was exactly what I needed (thank you, Marissa!!!). This short, simple quote contains an magnitude of power. Having courage is no simple task–being courageous can open you up to a whole new set of hardships and struggles–however, on the flip side, it can, and most likely will, open you up to a whole new set of opportunities and possibilities.
“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that
something else is more important than fear.”
Ambrose Redmoon
Fear is a disabler. It tears you down and beats you up–and worst of all, it’s everywhere. The devil drives fear into our hearts because he wants us to be weak, he wants us to be vulnerable, he wants us to be discouraged. He uses fear to make us give in to his temptations and turn away from Truth. Lucky for us, there is One greater. God gives us courage, and through Grace, we can receive it. Courage, as Redmoon says, doesn’t get rid of fear, but it helps us overcome it.  This past week happened to be the week that I fear the most–it was the week when my father died four years ago. I don’t think there will ever be a year when I don’t fear this week; however, my Dad didn’t let the devil win, so I couldn’t either. Through the Grace of God I was able to find Courage in my heart, and find joy in my dreaded week.


Ok, so I know this is a reoccurring post, but I Skyped Kilty today and it was, per usual, awesomely joyful. Not only are her boys hilarious and always so happy to see me, but she is the bomb.com. I mean, the woman is 9 months pregnant and while we were Skyping she was watching a tutorial on how to put her 18 month old on her back with her Moby wrap. I’m convinced there is nothing she can’t do. Oh also, her and Dominic looked like they were Moby models…



I really thought I wouldn’t find a single thing to be joyful about today. I thought I would wake up and it would be rainy and gray. I figured the kids would be moody all day and my temper would be short with them. I really was expecting the worst….I was so wrong. The kids were happy-go-lucky in the morning when I got them up and their cheerfulness was contagious. Then when I came down I found Leila (my host mother) with an Oreo Cheesecake, made from a recipe given by my Uncle Mike (the one who works at the Cheesecake Factory), so you know it’s going to be good. Apparently, Leila had contacted Bryan and tried to get him to ship over a cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory, but it was all too complicated, so he was able to get her the recipe from Mike and she made her first ever American Cheesecake! It was very good and I was so touched by this act of love! Also, they finally got to taste why I love cheesecake so much–they never understood because they are used to German Cheesecake which is sour and much more cheesy…so not as good 😉  To top off the day I got to talk to my sister Mary and Mary Granzow on Skype and it was HILARIOUS.  Also, I had Guinness…my Daddio tradition.

I would like to thank everyone who wrote to me and sent kind words today. I know many of you loved my dad very much and miss him terribly. Since we can’t have him back physically, I hope you all take comfort knowing that we all have the greatest Guardian Angel watching out for us–and don’t think he’s not pulling a few strings up there, I mean, c’mon do you really think the Seahawks were good enough to beat the Packers on their own? 😉

All jokes aside, thank you all for making this day easier–you helped me find my courage more than you know!

IMG_0723 IMG_1748


Lambert-Joseph got his first board game and can’t get enough–it’s so cute to see him get all excited over it! Elisabeth tries to play but that usually results in her chucking the dice as far as she can and then we have to take a 5 minute break to try and find it.


Sunday was a wonderful “me” day. The family was in Antwerp visiting Henri’s family and I stayed back and had some quality time with my books.


Stayed up really late watching Psych and slept in really late because it’s my day off…two good things. Also Skype date with Katlin…always needed.


This face.



Today I went to the Bible Study I told you about last week. Instead of breaking into groups we did a program on the love languages (I got Quality Time–like I always do) and it was very fulfilling. The lady talking also spent a lot of time talking about forgiveness and it was just something I really needed to hear.

And that’s a wrap. I don’t have my Rome blog post up yet (because I’m ridiculous and I put it off and now I’m way behind again), but it will be up soonish, I promise! So until next time, I love you and miss you all. Pax.

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.

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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 in..it 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.

365 days of Joy: Week 4

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 4!

WhimsicalThis was a rather whimsical week. It was full of beautiful, little things that reminded me that life is full of magic and goodness.


Today I wasn’t feeling well, so I went up to bed before the kids did, and they were so upset they didn’t get a chance to say goodnight to me that they insisted on coming up to my room to kiss me goodnight–turns out they really do love me!


Happy Birthday to Bobby! The baby is 8! Called home and talked to the family for over 2 hours, and talked to Bob for about 45 min. I think that’s the longest we have ever talked on the phone. The best was when he said, “I think Maeve wants to talk to you, do you want to talk to her?” “Sure, if you are done talking to me.” “No, I’m not done talking to you if you’re not done talking to me, we can talk a lot longer than this” 🙂 so cute!  because he can’t decide to to cheer for in the Superbowl. He really doesn’t like the Seahawks, but he doesn’t know if he can cheer for the Patriots because they are “cheaters.” “I really just wanted the Colts to crush the Packers,” he said. True Vikes fan right there. The rest of the family were, as always, a treat to talk to–calling home just makes my week.


SNOW!!! I’M SO HAPPY! Aside from a few flurries in December, we have had no snow until today! It’s so beautiful! Took the kids out in their sled and they liked it just as much as I did. Also, it was so fun to take pictures because this place is even more beautiful when surrounded in white.

Also, went to a Dutch party with the family and went to Saturday night Mass, instead of Sunday and we got to sit in the pews in front of the alter (normally at Mass we sit on the side), meaning I got to see the Consecration straight on and it was like looking upon a long lost friend–it was so beautiful! I just love the Mass.


Happy Birthday Raquel! My blogging inspiration and dear friend turned 24 today! Whooo! I hope my Godbaby gave her plenty of love for me! Today was a day of total relaxation for me. I took advantage of sleeping in, because I have been an insomniac lately and not sleeping, so my joy came from finally getting the rest I needed.


Today I finally got all caught up with my travel blog! My Paris post is up and you can find it here if you want to read about Katlin and me wandering around one of the greatest cities on this planet!

one paris


On our walk this morning the kids and I discovered this little white flowers all over the yard. Amazing how just two days ago it was covered in snow and now it’s covered in flowers! Also, Clemens-August finally crawled! He has been so stubborn about it and would refuse to crawl but today he finally did!


Ok, so I know I can’t predict the future, but I’m just going to say that my joy tomorrow will most likely come from arriving in Rome! I won’t have time to put up a blog, so I’m just going to call it now!

Talk to you all in a week! God Bless!

365 days of Joy: Week 1

Hello Friends!

I’ve decided to do 365 days of joy this year (inspired by the wonderful Raquel Kato, who’s love notes you can find 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 7 days, since I started on January 1, and hopefully I can stay consistent with this. So here we go, week 1!

small paychecks
This saying could have been the official slogan for this week because it was full of no money and lots of fun!


Happy New Year!  I had the gift of bringing in the New Year with the bestie Katlin Clancy. She came all the way from Iowa for 11 days just to visit me!! We spent New Years Eve in the castle and at midnight we ran outside to see the sky light up with fireworks from every direction–it was amazing! New Years brunch was a cheese andpâté buffet, which has become one of my favorite meals over here, and then that night Katlin and I went to Brussels, where we found my new favorite bar in the city, Fat Boys Sports Bar. There we watched the Oregon/FSU bowl game, making it the first game I had watched since the World Cup–I was very happy, because Football is greater than Soccer. Always.

NYEGetting ready for NYE celebrations!


OFF TO PARIS!!! So many wonderful things happened this day. Not only was it dang near 50 degrees out but we also witnessed the longest sunset I have ever seen and we got to see the Champs-Élysées sparkle with Christmas lights–it was pure magic!

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetGlorious sunset in Paris!


Rainy day in Paris, but that didn’t stop us. We covered the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame…and everything in between. We ended our day with Mass at the Chapel of the Miraculous Medal, where the uncorrupted body of Catherine Labore can be found. After that a quick snake of a baguette and gelato made the day complete!

IMG_5870There she is! What a beaut.


Our last day in Paris was spent in the Montmartre area. It was full of beautiful things. We started with the Montmartre cemetery, which is a spectacular sight, and then moved to Sacre Coeur, and finished in the Artist’s corner, where we were stopped every 30 seconds by someone who wanted to paint us. After almost missing our bus home, we left Paris toward Brussels exhausted but extremely happy from our amazing trip. Back in Brussels we went back to Fat Boys Sports Bar and had great wings, great beer, watched great football and had wonderful conversation (we also discovered that I still have most of the State nicknames memorized).

IMG_5986The most American thing I have had in a long time…and it was amazing.


It was a sad day saying goodbye to Katlin. Her visit was so wonderful but all too short; she needed to stay two more months, at least. The best thing about her visit was just the time hanging out together. Somedays we didn’t do anything spectacular but they were still great days. Thank you so much Katlin for coming over!! After she left I just wandered around Brussels for a little while and then made my way to the Cathedral and sat in front of Jesus in the Tabernacle for a while, and fulfilled by yearly promise to pray my daily Chaplet of Divine Mercy for the conversion of the those fallen away from the Church.

IMG_5989Brussels was still decorated for Christmas 🙂


Back to work today! All the kids were sick and cranky, but Lambert-Joseph kept telling me how much he missed me when I was gone and Elizabeth can finally say my name (well, kind of).

IMG_5773Elizabeth and Lambert-Joseph are really starting to like selfies.


A day off meant finally sleeping! I got to work on my puzzle (which is really hard, by the way, Maeve and Bobby!), read (The Three Musketeers), and write one of my many travel blogs that I am way behind on (you can check it out here if you would like!) and I day dreamed about Paris some more.

IMG_5982The Montmartre Cemetery

That’s all for now, folks! Talk to you again soon. Love and Miss you all!