Traveling Thoughts: Rome


{5 cities, 3 countries, 2 weeks. Our most recent adventure was nothing short of epic. We left the US with three goals: 1) See Europe 2) enjoy quality time together and 3) Have fun. Mission accomplished!}

From Amsterdam we moved onward to Rome. And though there was no one to greet us at the airport, we made our way quickly to our hotel to drop our bags. Immediately we were out the door for a quick bite and then to start exploring. 

Rome is a beautiful city. Each nook and cranny offers some historical perspective. For me, it rivaled the beauty of Paris. The history amazed me. We walked where people have walked for thousands of years. We saw sites that just take your breath away. My personal favorites were St. Peter’s Basilica and the Coliseum/Roman Forum/Palatine Hill. We explored ornate piazzas. We saw funny street performers, crossed beautiful bridges, and ate delicious gelato (and a lot of it). We drank wine, listened to beautiful music, dined at hidden restaurants and sipped cappuccinos.  Rome was delightful and romantic.

I love knowing that I didn’t see everything there is to see so I have more to look forward on our next trip and what we left unexplored. Here are some highlights!

 Piazza Navona

  Piazza Navona

 Statue on a Bridge

St. Peter's
St. Peter's

View of Rome from St. Peter's

Cappuccino Time 


 Taking in the Coliseum view.

Roman Forum

Sipping wine at Campo De Fiori

Traveling Thoughts: Den Haag & Amsterdam


5 cities, 3 countries, 2 weeks. Our most recent adventure was nothing short of epic. We left the US with three goals: 1) See Europe 2) enjoy quality time together and 3) have fun.

Mission accomplished!

On Sunday April 7th we landed in Amsterdam. It was so nice to walk out of the airport and be greeted by our dear friend Peter and his oldest daughter Jasmijn. I wish we could have someone greet us in every country. It makes being in a foreign country feel a little less... foreign.

We had a warm reception at Peter and Natalie’s home. The reception was made even more special by having a gluten free cake served with sweetened creme fraiche and espresso waiting for us. I didn’t want to leave!

The next few days were spent exploring Den Haag and Amsterdam. We walked over canals, visited the Anne Frank Museum, saw a canal performer, and made it an art to not get run over by bicyclists. We traversed beaches with friends and collected shells with the kiddos. We took a tour of Madurodam, a museum of miniaturized Holland – what a great way to get acclimated to a country. This was the part of our trip that we planned the least and yet enjoyed so thoroughly. We left with much more to explore but also knowing we’d be back to see our friends.

Here are a few highlights.

Collecting shells on the beach

Parliament in the background

Cool looking building.

A wonderful dinner with dear friends!

Canal in Amsterdam

Canal Performer

Next up: Rome!



When I wrote this blog post about our miscarriage experiences I shared that while in the midst of our second miscarriage I would not lose faith. To be honest I did not lose faith this last year, I never stopped believing in God. However my heart grew distant from God and I did lose sight of hope. I felt betrayed and I couldn’t help but ask the “Why me?” question. In a previous post I have shared that though I aspire to suffer well. I lack trust during the stormy seasons.
Throughout this last year and a half, God has continued to extend grace to me even though I did not ask for it and I did not deserve it. I did not wake up one day to realize I had hope again. Instead it came about slowly as God pursued my heart and as Paul continued to encourage me and point me towards the cross.
I do feel hopeful again and in a way that feels more grounded. I do not feel hopeful that we will get pregnant and have a child. I am hopeful though that God will grow our family and I strive to stay open to what that could look like.
Over the last few months, I have had a song stuck in my head. Some mornings I wake up singing bits and pieces. Other days I catch myself humming the tune as I walk to the bus stop or stand in line at Starbucks. On one hand the lyrics are a good synopsis of the Gospel, on the other hand it is a simple reminder that in Christ alone my hope is found – Christ my cornerstone and my comforter.
Here is the song in its entirety.

In Christ Alone
(Keith Getty & Stuart Townend)
In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This Cornerstone, this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm

What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My Comforter, my All in All
Here in the love of Christ I stand

In Christ alone, who took on flesh
Fullness of God in helpless Babe
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones He came to save

Til on that cross as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin on Him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live, I live

There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave He rose again

And as He stands in victory
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me
For I am His and He is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ

No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From a life’s first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny

No power of hell, no scheme of man
Could ever pluck me from His hand
Til He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I stand

I will stand, I will stand
All other ground is sinking sand
All other ground, all other ground
Is sinking sand, is sinking sand
So I stand



I love birthdays! I love that my birthday is one day and then the very next is Paul's! Since Paul doesn't like to celebrate his, I just steal his thunder too. Gives me an extra long celebration!

Last year I was in no mood to celebrate. I wanted to, and I knew I should since it was my 30th. But I was heartbroken over our miscarriage and just didn't have the energy. I did have a small group over which was lovely and really the most I could muster at the time. 

This year I kept thinking I wanted an epic party to make up for last year! I wanted lots of people and a pinata. Yes, a pinata! With Europe having just happened I decided maybe trying to pull together a large party would be too difficult. Instead we opted for two smaller celebrations with good friends. It was a wonderful time. There is nothing like pulling long time and new friends together to feel the love in any room.

Here are a few highlights.

Friday night I got a few of Paul's favorites together for dinner and a movie. We had such a delightful time that I literally had to drag Paul from the restaurant over to the movie theater. For a guy who doesn't like drawing attention to himself I think he had a pretty great time. Here is the group:

James was the only one daring enough to tell the waiter it was Paul's birthday. A great big piece of ice-cream cake was brought out and James proceeded to sing "Happy Normal Day to You". It was awesome! Look at that big piece of cake and that even bigger smile. This made springing a dinner on Paul 100% worth it!
Most of us headed over to the movies to sit through a 10:30pm showing of Iron Man 3. Wow. Some of us (me) are getting a little too old for those shenanigans. The group let me take one more photo of the night. And then I started getting death looks when the camera came out.
On Friday night I hosted a group of ladies that have been in my life since moving into the college dorms in 2000 up to our current church community. I love that it blended groups from college, work, grad school, and church. It was a delightful evening of sipping wine and good conversation. I am thankful for many of these ladies who were such a support and encouragement this last year. You have challenged me and pushed me to grow. Many of you have seen me at my worst but hung in there with me. I am a better person because of these friendships. Here are a few photo highlights!

Me and my MelMel! Literally one of the first people I met in college when I barged into her room introducing myself and offering chocolate. When we sit down and start telling old stories, I laugh so hard I could cry.
 Me and Christianna - who was another person's dorm room I barged into. This time without chocolate, but she accepted my eccentrics nonetheless! I treasure the memories and laughs we have shared over the years.
Stacy, Robyn, Miranda, and Nell - you have all encouraged and supported me tremendously this past year. I love the wisdom and thoughtfulness each of you brings to our friendship. I am blessed to have you in my life!

By the end of the night, I couldn't help but be reminded how blessed I am. I have so many great and wonderful women that I share life with. I had a goal of getting a photo with everyone and I almost made it! Here are a few more shots:

Here is to another year of making memories!

(out of) control



1. to exercise restraint or direction over; dominate; command.

2. to hold in check; curb:

Three months ago the concept of control was like a rug yanked from underneath my feet. The yanking happened on a Wednesday evening and only took a few seconds. I was driving from my house over to a friend’s house for my monthly book club meeting. I was 10 blocks from home and stopped in a line of cars that were waiting for a light to turn green. I was sitting there one moment and the next moment was being hurtled forward. I heard loud noises, sounds of something breaking and screeching. The next sensation was a burning smell. At first I was so confused I wasn’t sure what had happened. Did I do something wrong? Was the car on fire? My next thoughts went to “Oh My God the baby”. We were 5 weeks pregnant that very day.

I needed to get out of the car. I saw people beginning to come around the car. I was screaming for help.  I kept trying at the door and when that wouldn’t work I rolled down the window. It took a good minute to realize that my door was locked, which is why I couldn’t get out. I unlocked the door and fumbled for my phone. I got to the sidewalk and continued to scream and cry in a panic. People were coming up to me and telling me that I would be okay. I cried out that I was pregnant. I cried out of panic, out of fear, and out of heartache. I called Paul and could barely put into words that there had been an accident before I handed off the phone to let someone else explain what had happened.

I stood outside talking to neighbors, EMT’s and eventually the police. The details of what had happened began to fall into place. The man driving behind me looked away from the road to fiddle with his radio. He didn’t realize that the cars had stopped. He plowed into my car which pushed me into the SUV in front of me. The force of that impact pushed the SUV into a pickup truck.

I spent the next couple of hours coming to my senses in the ER room. Eventually I could start cracking jokes in a Charity like fashion. I had the wonderful company and support of Paul and my dear friend Robyn. Everything looked fine at the ER. I was bruised and banged up, and I would be sore the next day but nothing was broken. I learned that because the baby was so well cushioned in my body there was no concern of miscarriage or harm from the accident.

 So I went home and fell asleep of exhaustion.

The next morning I woke with extreme stiffness, soreness, and pain. As I lay in bed, I realized I had absolutely no control in the situation. I had gotten into my car with a false sense of control. I knew the car, myself, the roads but none of that equals control. There was nothing I could have done differently sitting in my car that night. Even if I had looked up into my mirror in time, there was nowhere for me to move my car to.

Once the realization that I did not possess any control had sunk in, I was completely comforted and overwhelmed by the knowledge that God was 100% in control the whole time. And while we lost the baby for unrelated reasons a few weeks later - God protected me and protected the baby throughout the whole ordeal.

Control is a funny thing. I know I walk around thinking I have it through the decisions I make. I believe control is a construct we make up to feel less anxiety in life. In reality I cannot control anything or anyone. I’m just not that powerful. I am truly comforted though that there is a God in control of every minute detail of my life.