Tag Archives: Snow

Be on a Radical Sabbatical in the Swiss Alps (with a shift)

Feeling surreal in Switzerland.

SURREAL.

GOBSMACKED.

GrateFULL.

Happy Sunday Funday Folks! This journey started on Friday morning.

The 11 months and 10 days we lived in Switzerland in 2004 were some of THE BEST and the darkest time of my life (besides watching my mama die!)

The darkness of living through depression and having no energy but to sleep, to be working in a difficult teaching environment, having Steve away training for volleyball each night and living in a country that is clean and exceptionally beautiful for a reason. They ‘control’ each other. I have never been yelled at more in my life.

The BEST moments meeting friends and students that are still in my life today, living in a pristine natural environment, travelling easily and learning more about myself.

We had such an incredible day on the Rigi.

Being back here now in 2019 with our boys is truly sublime.

Drove from beautiful Milan to the Rigi in the Swiss Alps.

With one stop in Locarno for our last Italian pizza and Calzone.

November 15th

Over 25 tunnels. (We lost count!)

One 17 kilometres long.

17 kilometres through this mountain!!
The tunnel! They do things right in Switzerland! **This picture was uploaded while driving THROUGH the tunnel. Unbelievable.

We arrived in Vitznau about 3 and a bit hours after leaving Milan. What an indescribable drive. I am not sure my pictures can even explain.

One Mountain Train (Rigi Bahn) straight uphill into the Swiss Alps.

Time Lapse of our 20 minutes ride up to the Rigi Kaltbad

We have snow folks!

Meeting old friends that we taught with and their wonderful eleven year old daughter.

A gorgeous place, an incredible meal and amazing hot pools. Kaltbad Rigi

Guten abend von de Schwiez.

November 16th

Guten morgen friends!

We started off with opening the hot pools before breakfast at 8:00am. We had a solo swim and play in the pools.

Then it was fruhstuck time here in the Alps. First, our super juice that helps our bodies deal with stress and goes everywhere with us. #partner

Keeping our super power juice cold!

After a buffet breakfast, we decided to head to the top of the Rigi via the Mountain Train and then hike down. What a gorgeous three hours. And God even gave us another rainbow, like He did on the Eiffel Tower and at Vimy Ridge.

How is it possible for a rainbow to be formed in light cloud without precipitation anywhere in sight?
On the top of the Rigi.

Now an afternoon of journaling, postcard writing, eating Swiss chocolate, shakes and German cookies!

Awe sweet boys! They are learning so much about people and culture.

PLUS another swim in the hot pools before dinner:

Dinner was many hours long, but the boys rocked it and luckily our friend’s play games like we do.

November 17th

This is THE shift! This morning at 7:20am, Steve headed down the mountain on the train to take two buses and another train to the Zurich Airport as he heads home, then travels to Mexico in five days for another fair.

I had tears this morning as we said goodbye. I love this man on so many levels.

We decided I would stay here with the boys until Steve is done his trip to Mexico. I will travel with the boys for 8 days in Germany visiting old friends and then back to Paris for 3 more days for some tourist activities. And surprises for the boys. 😉

BUT FIRST, one more morning on the Rigi, a get together with some Swiss friends at an old school bowling alley with a jukebox near Zurich, then back to Germany.

Hot pools at Hotel
Kaltbad.
A Berliner (donut) with Nutella. This guy is embracing the European life.
Morning game time after breakfast!
This wall in the restaurant was one of my favourite things to look at.
11:15am Mountain Train back to Vitznau.
1:00-4:00pm Get together in Zurich.

This is the building where we were…

Through that little brown door on the left lies surprises and beauty and bowling!

Then a 1.5 hour drive to one of our favourite spots in Germany with people living God’s plan through their lives and delivering a package from a mother’s heart to her daughter.

Finishing off the night with one of these… Sexy Neck would be proud! It was as good as I remembered.

Goodnight sweet friends from the Bodensee. Thank you to everyone for your kind words and for truly living these simple moments of an unfolding dream with us. I wish I could give you a HUGE HUG.

Be Learning Life Lessons from a Lab

I was a cat girl growing up. Now, I am a lab girl for life!

I loved cats independence. Loved their gentle purrs and how they would sleep with you in the most obscure ways. My cat, Boots, loved sleeping right on top of my neck or chest.

Enter in Sexy Neck into my life in 1992 with a visit to his family home which was definitely a dog family. Their little dog, Mandy, was a sweetie. Someone to walk with, someone to greet you happily every single time you walked in the door and a great companion for everyone.

This cat girl growing up didn’t stand a chance! Nineteen years ago, I became a dog person, more specifically a Labrador retriever girl. My life would never be the same!

Over these years, I have had the privilege to learn from our two labs, KT and Summer. These are the specific lessons from Summer as this was a very Holy day celebrating her life.

💫 LIFE LESSONS FROM A LAB 💫

💫 Enjoy all the seasons, especially winter. Rolling around and sliding down slight inclines on your side is especially fun!

💫 Wag your tail at everyone but bark at the mailman.

💫 Always be on the lookout for food. You never know what you will find. Even things that you need to lick off the pavement are enjoyable.

💫 Be a baby watcher. Stand as close as you can with your wet nose on the baby blanket. Diapers are the best things to smell on babies. (We called Summer our “Nanny dog”.)

💫 Pour out love to the humans CLOSEST to you. Always be happy to see them. Always greet them at the door. Always look up to them with adoring eyes, especially when they have treats for you.

💫 Love children. All children. Always love those children that will rub your ears, your belly and play fetch with you.

💫 Take your master cross country skiing at all hours of the day. Be their companion and confidante listening to all their stories. Don’t get stuck in the powder!

💫 Be content being with, playing with and taking care of your core group of people. It’s the simple things.

💫 You are never too big to cuddle or have your ears and belly rubbed.

💫 Don’t leave the food you like unattended on the table. It might disappear! (This is a lesson from my boys: Nine and eleven year old. This is something Summer just started doing last year, which was ironic because her arthritis was so bad that we had to lift her into the car. That piece of toast on the table, though, no problem!)

💫 Don’t trust strange dogs.

💫 Be present

💫 A little mess doesn’t matter.

💫 The stuff you leave behind is meaningless. It’s the memories, the cuddles, the smells and the moments that create a MAGICAL life!

🙏🏻 LIFE LESSONS FROM A LAB 😘

Magical memories with this puppy: swimming, always being happy to see us, chasing golf balls, cross country skiing, eating every crumb off our floors, shedding a small dog every day, being my comfort and companion, witnessing the birth of all three of our boys…

Thank you faithful friend. Thank you for the life lessons that I will take with me for the rest of my life. I will miss you every day!

February 5th 10:28am 💜 Summer 🙏🏻

Be Awakening to White

We awoke to copious amounts of snow.

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Bright.

White.

Snow.

It ended up being a shovelling, sledding, snowman building morning before the school bell rang.

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For me it was a bright light in the midst of dark times where everyday someone is talking about Cancer, telling me about their mom’s surgery or walking with their mom past me.

The loss of my mom continues to be deep and dark.

The love and traditions my mom had around Christmas continue to bring light. She was an incredibly thoughtful mom and Nana.

I am awakening to this new light.

White.

Bright.

Everlasting love.

Thank you mom!

Thank you God for fresh, white, new snow.

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Be Having a Snow Weekend

Goodbye winter! We celebrated our last weekend up at the hill.

Saturday was the last day of cross country ski lessons. CC was very excited about his cookie race. JC loved going down the jungle trail and playing in the trees with his friend, K.

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Sunday, OC and I hit the cross country trails again. The big boys strapped on their downhill skis and hit some trails. CC went on the chairlift for the first time. The boys loved the Peanut Trail.

I think my boys will choose to take the ‘road less travelled’.

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Be Skiing With “Pulls”

Yesterday, we skied Woodland Bell. The boys have decided to call it Remembering Nana Trail. It is the trail where we placed a rose last week in memory of mom.

JC got to tryout a new piece of ski equipment yesterday.

JC has been waiting a couple of years, but on Saturday T, his cross country coach and owner of Stussi’s gave JC the go ahead to ski with poles.

We aren’t sure what the poles are for yet, mostly they seem to be brother “pullers”!

Love it.

Proud little man.

Happy little brother.

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Who’s that peaking behind OC in the Chariot?

Falling Snow and Fluttering Butterflies

Crisp fresh fallen snow as I step outside.

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Dad has been by her side throughout.

He watched her last breaths.

Dad greets me at mom’s door.

There are beautiful butterflies on the door. (This is hospice’s symbol that the room is not to be disturbed).

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My big cousin by my side.

We step through the door.

Peace enfolds.

Mom is warm and quiet.

She is wearing a shirt with butterflies on it. (I think I need to lie down with all these symbols of snow and butterflies!)

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Her body is at rest.

Death has come to her body.

Thursday, December 26th, 2013 at 7:00am.

Kisses, kisses and more kisses.

I lay my head in her arm in disbelief.

In peace.

I lap up her presence.

I am enveloped by her love.

Tears slide down my cheeks.

My sister arrives.

We walk to the hospice living room.

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We light a butterfly light.

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Place mom’s special card on the mantle.

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M reads Psalm 23.

Dad talks about his sorrow and gratitude.

The boys arrive to an empty room.

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OC says. “Nana with God.”

A red rose is on the counter.

We say our goodbyes.

On the memory Christmas tree we write Nana’s name and we take an angel home for our tree.

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Then we lace up our skates and head out into the outdoors that Nana loved dearly.

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I love you mama!

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Be Snowing In California

I am not sure how you feel about God or prayer or miracles or signs and wonders BUT I DO FEEL VERY STRONGLY THAT YOU ALL KNOW ABOUT LOVE.

How is it possible that this little stay-at-home mom’s blog has gone from 20-50 hits per days, to now 855 today? The LOVE you share for my mom, Gwen, my dad, Mike and our family.

We are overwhelmed by your love for our family through this blog, through phone calls, emails, cards, food and visits. Everyone has used their own ways and their own gifts to love us. Thank you.

Also being a Northern girl we all know about snow. A few weeks ago, I posted about the significance of snow in our life here.

On Friday, when we transferred mom from hospital to hospice, the snow flakes were fluttering out of the sky. I asked Tom, the ambulance driver, if mom could feel the snow on her face. As dad, Sexy Neck, JC, CC, and OC came to greet Nana into hospice, the snowflakes fell softly on mom’s face lying in the stretcher.

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The next day, I received this email from my old University roommate and teammate, Jill. More snow stories. I love how God brings such miraculous signs and wonders to encourage us. And the greatest of these was LOVE.

Now, here’s Jill:
SNOW IN CALIFORNIA
I’m loving reading your blog. How did I not know you were writing this?

We have so much to talk about but I thought I would share this with you.

I read your blog about the importance of snow in your life.
Last night I was thinking – what if I asked God to snow here?

I never really asked, just thought about it.
In fact I didn’t want to ask, because it doesn’t snow here.

Anyway, this morning I looked out to snow. Tree snow.
The fluff has been coming off daily, but this morning it was like a little snow storm.

Then tonight, Ayla finds these two itsy bitsy Styrofoam bits. She takes one and hands one to me and says Mum let’s have a snow ball fight.

Made me smile and feel so warm.

Looks like you are surrounded by wonderful friends and family.

Your blog has turned so peaceful.

-Jilly

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