Day 61. The "this i believe" One.

I listen to quite a few podcasts, as you may know. One of the ones I like a lot is NPR's "This I Believe". Its a quick little show (usually 5 minutes) that is comprised of individuals' essays on their beliefs. I like it because it takes all kinds of angles and also because its easy to fit in to a busy day...today, the most recent episode came down in iTunes, and I have literally listened to it twice now and read the transcript numerous times. It is this individual that i would like to honor - Randy Komisar.

Randy wrote a little essay and for some reason its clicked. It seems we have a very similar career path, and in some ways, life path. I will probably never know Randy any more than I do as of right now, via this essay. But I literally am dumbstruck and in awe by his words, wisdom and outlook. So I will be brief as I could never communicate as well as Randy just has to my heart, and simply say thank you Randy for being so eloquent and so profound. Thank you for sharing your outlook with us...

To read Randy's words, please go here

Day 60. The Sexy One.

Back to frivolity today...its getting far too cold for my liking far too fast so this means I start to enjoy a few more evenings a week snuggled into my favorite blanket, with some tea or hot cocoa watching "really good TV". My all time favorite show is Sex and the City, and while I realize this has become a cliche for too many women, let me say I watched it from the beginning with my girlfriends in DC and even had parties for the episodes. When the series ended, I was so sad, but thankfully Stephen got me the uber nice pink suede collectors edition of all 6 seasons...aside from the candy coating that makes this show so great, who I really appreciate is Sarah Jessica Parker.

Not to get all nutty, but when I reflect on women since the time this show started, it really has had such an impact - of course there is the whole fashion, NYC love, shoes thing going on but more importantly there was heart, and SJP really put that in this show. SJP started to show people what women could really be like and through all her trials and tribulations - yes, she drank too much, she smoked, she had sex with bad partners, she spent more money than she had, she cheated on wonderful men - you were always in love with her. I've heard people say that if any other actress besides Sarah Jessica had played this part the show would not have made it, and I tend to agree. SJP is not the stereotypical beauty, but to me, she is beautiful because I just drink in her perspective (she was an executive producer on the show) and as I learned more about her I find her immensely thoughtful and compelling. Her outlook on the world is beyond explanation and I am forever fascinated by her. When I think about her, the only real word I can use is "artist". (and coming from non-artistic me, that's  a big deal)

So in so many ways, stemming from my favorite show but growing into so much more, i think Sarah Jessica for putting beauty of person, soul and friendship into the world.


Day 59. The Cafe One.

Well first of all - if anyone else is keeping track of the numbers, yes, I skipped one, that's because when I was going through the whole blog the other day I realized I'd already used two adjectives twice and one number twice (#6! Geesh, can't even get my act together in the first week ;) ) sooo...I'm actually ahead of myself! So on to today's lovely honoree....

Every monday I have a couple standing appointments that fill up my evening quite completely. One is at 4, one is at 6 and one is at 8. By the time I get to the 8 o'clock one, I'm rather done, but the good news is that its always at a cafe, (the Chocolate Cafe mind you, because people know how to placate me!) So anyway - we've been going there for our meetings for quite a few months. It seems to be a popular place for high school kids to keep an after school job and I think that's cool. A couple girls have been working there since we started meeting there, and one in particular seems to always be the one to take our order and get our foods for us...tonight, when I went in a bit early to get my dinner, there she was! All smiles and kindness, taking my order, reminding me that my favorite soup was available today and then correctly predicting the rest of my usual order. (Tomato Basil soup, spinach salad with soy vinaigrette, mexican hot cocoa - extra spicy, if you are interested).

As I sat to eat, for some reason, this just really hit me tonight. Maybe its because my friends were quoting the theme song from Cheers today on Facebook (Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name...) or maybe its because I was cold and tired and it really just perked me up, but I want to honor our special server tonight. Relationships come in all forms, and ours is a rather narrow one, but it certainly makes me smile and feel welcome when I see her. There's lots of other places I go a lot where noone ever recognizes me, so it means an extra bit to have such a nice person in the world who takes care of us once a week.


Week 10. Reflections.

Wow. Week 10. Does that mean I'm almost 20% done? Crazy. A very interesting thing happened this week, and I consider it bittersweet...I have been honored to have my little project here mentioned by some folks in their blogs/ podcasts/ whatever. It has meant a great deal to me that folks have thought enough of this to think its worth mentioning to others. Some of my favorite all time emails (you know, those one's you save for forever because they make you feel good?) are the ways that people have asked, or told me, that they would like to mention my blog in their forum. So word is getting out - however small it may be...

But there's another thing happening too - this is the bittersweet part. People are telling me how some folks are enjoying the blog and/ or someone the post was about. The tricky part of it is, that they aren't telling THESE people-me or the subject of the post. Please understand, I am not fishing for compliments in any way, shape or form. But what I hope for through this project, is not just to let people know that I appreciate them, but to also inspire anyone who reads this to all take on sharing with even just one person how much they mean to them. There is tremendous value, I think, in sharing with someone just how much they mean to you - now. Please consider taking the time to share with someone who touches you in some way, that they have...its the easiest, and best gift to give.

Day 82. The Nittany One.

Tonight is the night that causes all the stress - Penn State plays Ohio State. For all the agita this causes, there is one thing about playing Penn State...even if we lose to them, as much as that stinks, it's kinda OK, because one of the most amazing men has led this team for generations - the 82-year-old Joe Paterno.

There are all kinds of cool football things I could tell you about "JoePa", but if you are in to that sort of thing, I assure you its very easy to find all information you could want. Why I admire this guy is so much of the non-football stuff...

He's been dedicated and committed to his employer for 42 years, and they in turn have been committed to him. He walks to work every day. He loves his wife. He loves his players. He doesn't fight for more money, or control of the program. He has donated back MILLIONS to Penn State University - for the LIBRARY.  He leads his life without reproach. He is still passionate about everything. He is full of integrity. What's really neat is to hear the little stories that players still tell about him...he has gained their respect as well. JoePa doesn't waste time on the pettiness. He calls a spade a spade. He tells it like it is. When you beat JoePa's teams, it does hurt a little bit - but when he beats you, and he will sometimes, you know you lost to a worthy opponent. For JoePa we say "WE ARE! PENN STATE!"


Day 59. The Visiting One.

Some of you know what's happening this weekend, its the Penn State-Ohio State football game. Some of you also know what that means in my house...my husband and I literally don't speak. You may think this is silly, but he is a rabid PSU alum and fan and I am insane about OSU football...we've tried to be civil, we've tried to be "good sports" but it doesn't work. Between you and me, I think its not really just because we are such fans, but also because ultimately it means that we will have joy at the other one's disappointment and its the ultimate Catch-22. Regardless, we always try and make some fun out of this weekend, and add lots of friends as a buffer. Its also been a great excuse to invite all our friends from DC (and PSU alum) to come visit us (because really, who wants to come to Columbus OH just for kicks? LOL)

Anyway - this year, one of our friends is coming. Seth is arriving tomorrow from Pittsburgh to attend the game. This is great on so many levels - a) it gives Stephen someone ELSE to sit with (so now we don't have to sit next to each other! :) ) b) it gives me the opportunity to invite one of MY friends (read: OSU fan) to sit with me c) it adds to the fun of the weekend and d) and MOST IMPORTANT its time to reconnect with a good friend.

Right now the forecast for tomorrow night is literally freezing, oh, and rain. And I also fear that its going to be a PSU victory which means I will have to get grief from a whole lot of people for an entire year...but I'm fine with all that because I am so excited to have someone coming, someone who is one of Stephen's closest friends, to visit with us. Seth, I really really appreciate you coming...win, lose or draw, you are awesome and you are a great friend. Thanks for coming to hang with us!

Day 58. The Alpaca One.

Today my friends and I took a mental health day together and made it a "girls day out". We are all part of the same knitting club (or stitch 'n' bitch as I call it ;) ) so we decided it would be fun to visit some of the local Alpaca farms that are near us since we had recently found that their wool made some of the most beautiful, softest yarn we'd ever seen. Also, as Lisa said, "alpaca's are soothing", this became our mantra for the day! We planned for a couple days, and thought we'd have a full schedule since there are almost 30 farms within 1 hour of us...not so much.

By the time Thursday rolled around, we had only two confirmed locations and one tentative. Long story short, we ended up only truly being able to visit one farm, the Swisher Creek Farm.  Judy and Pete Klein own this farm and Judy is one of my new favorite people. My friends and I often talk about how many different interests there are and how surprising it is, but the flip side of that is when you meet someone who in some way is a kindred spirit to you - and that is Judy. We spent a good hour in her store, and then another hour or two touring her farm and visiting with the alpaca...and let me say, they are soothing!

Judy was beyond kind - she was thoughtful and interesting, and taught us so much. And, as we walked around her beautiful land looking at these amazing animals, I felt a true sense of calm and peace and distance from the every day craziness come over me. I believe that there is a connection we all should have to nature - and I was reminded of this today.  Judy and her husband are retired, but you'd never know it based on her energy and enthusiasm for her alpaca and her life - she is now someone I would consider a friend, and I would consider the way she is living her life an inspiration. I'm sure I'll be back again and again, not just for the yarn, but for the experience, and for Judy....


Day 57. The Truck One.

So today I said goodbye to my "baby car" that I have had since 1995. And, of course, it had to be towed, because now it won't start. *sniff* *Sniff*

So the gentleman came to tow my car and got the thing out of the garage by pushing it out, then had fun little gadgets in his truck that blew up the flat tire and recharged the battery without connecting my car to his via jumper cables...all in like 5 minutes.  I was thrilled...and told him he had all the cool toys, and he was so nice and said "Well I never know what I'm going to run into so I try to always be prepared". So I stopped and took the time to tell him how much of a difference that must make to his customers.

I think its really cool that this guy takes the time to be ready for pretty much any car issue...I've dealt with other towing companies and this is not the standard. And he was so nice the whole time, and rather efficient. This entire process thus far has been full of stories changing, things taking twice as long, and frustration. It was nice that the saddest part of it all came with such a good person attached. Did you know that the majority of towing companies are small, family owned businesses? This time that played out right down to this nice guy.


Day 56. The Feather One.

So today - I don't have a name, a date, or even a nationality for you, but whoever it is deserves some huge kudos...its whoever invented feather pillows. I love feather pillows. They make me happy. There's nothing like nuzzling in to a perfectly stuffed feather pillow and feeling like your just resting your head on a cloud. Particularly as the weather starts to turn crisp here, "burrowing" into my feather pillows is the best part of going to sleep.

When I was in college, I had feather pillows, a down comforter and a down mattress pad. My roommates and I would fluff it all up and then run and jump into it - we called it the "poof bed". You got the poof bed when you had an exceptionally bad day, or were not feeling well or just needed a little extra bit of happiness. And you'd get it - just from a whole bunch of feathers stuffed in some fabric. :)

Feather pillows of any size make me happy - so whoever you are, when you thought it was a good idea to stuff them in the pillowcase, I must say, it was a true strike of genius! Thank you!


Day 55. The Breast Cancer One.

As many of you know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Many of you also know the reason why this particular cause is very close to my heart. I, personally, have chosen to devote the majority of my time to Susan G. Komen for the Cure.  This organization is arguably responsible for the visibility and "popularity" that breast cancer achieves today. They are known for their popular "Race for the Cure" events (of which I chaired the local one here in Columbus as a volunteer the past three years); but what you may not know is the reason for the organization, and the movement at all...

In the 70's there were simply two sisters, Nancy Brinker and Susan Komen. Susan had breast cancer, and it would ultimately kill her. In those times, you didn't even use the "C word" let alone say "breast cancer". As Susan lay dying, she asked her sister, Nancy to promise, to PROMISE to do everything she could to find a cure for this disease. That first year, Nancy started. In the article about the first ever Race for the Cure, they had to find a way to write about the event without using the words "breast" or "cancer". Yes, Nancy was fortunate to be married to a man of influence, and yes she used his rolodex heavily...but above and beyond that it was about passion, and it was about commitment. 

Fast forward 25 years, as of 2008, Komen around the world has raised 1 BILLION DOLLARS in the fight against breast cancer. Most all of the major achievements in the fight against this disease are the result of a project or thread of research funded by a Komen grant. Komen directs funds locally, nationally and globally. They have a seat at the national public policy table.

But all of this wouldn't be possible without Nancy, nor without Suzy. I have heard Nancy speak many many times, and when you strip away the obvious polish, and scripting and all that other stuff that comes with being the leader and figurehead of a major philanthropic group there is still the pain of the loss of her sister. There is still the urgency of the fight against this horrible horrible disease that takes too many lives each year. Its easy to get caught up in how big this fight is, but Nancy helps me remember that is comes back down to the smallest level - to the woman in your life that you care about the most and about saving her life. Period. Please, not just this month where it gets a lot of attention, but every month, tell someone about breast health - today if breast cancer is found early, there is a 95% chance of survival. those are good odds.  Remember Nancy - remember that she is still fighting every day, every year...her dedication, strength and passion are truly without equal...and ask yourself...

Who is your Suzy?


Week 9. Reflections.

Its been a very difficult week for me to see the good in people...every single day this week something really bad happened to me or one of my close friends at the hands of someone else, and most of these acts were intentional. Sometimes, people just aren't nice people and sometimes people just aren't going to do nice things I guess. It has gotten me fairly down in the dumps at times...so this past week, I give myself a little gold star for even being able to keep up.

What was interesting, is that there were some people I had already picked to honor as this is usually such a blessing since I'm not racking my brain for "who to write about" but it was actually MORE difficult to write about these people versus the couple that I happened upon in the course of last week and wrote about "spur of the moment" style. Don't know what to make of that, like I said, its interesting...

Anyway - sometimes life just stinks. So we push on through, hoping for the flip side...I blame the full moon :)


Day 54. The Gym One.

I went to the gym yesterday...this is of no real significance, other than it reminded me of one of the greatest reasons that I started this project. Our gym is fairly new and was built to be one of these "mega gyms". There are three pools, water slides, steam rooms, restaurants, spa's blah blah blah. It is very very nice and the locker rooms are no exception. They are built attractively and always in top shape - and because they are always in top shape, that is the person I chose to recognize.

Its been 1-3 different people consistently throughout the past year, but the woman who is maintaining the locker room is amazing. She cleans, tidies, replaces towels, takes away the dirty ones, gently reminds people if they need to do something different and all with a pleasant attitude and a smile on her face. I think its far too easy (particularly at this gym) for her work to go unnoticed. But I notice...the reason that whole gym experience is so nice is because everything you need is always where it should be, its clean and ready. Without this special person, that would never be possible. And let's be honest, this is not always the most easy or enjoyable job. Today, as I was leaving, I made a point to say thank you so much - even though all she was doing was replacing the clean towels.

So the next time you are particularly enjoying a location, business, experience, be sure to acknowledge those who made that possible, even in the smallest way.


Day 53. The Automotive One.

Today I had to take my car, which I have owned for 13 years, to get appraised after the accident yesterday...we were fairly certain that the car was going to be totalled, and, no shocker here, it was. The current, "very conservative" estimate that we have has the total for repairs exceeding the current value of the car by almost $2000. Oh Joy. But, in the midst of this stress I would like to thank Jeff who did the appraisal. 

Usually, whenever I take a car in to get any type of automotive service whatsoever, the service person attempts to take advantage of me, or over charge me, or just treat me like dirt. When I walked in the body shop, this treatment continued with the guy who greeted me, so you can imagine how thrilled I was to have such a nice person help me. Jeff was very kind, thorough, took the time to talk through the whole thing with me, and when he basically had to come out and tell me that the car was totalled it was actually quite sweet how worried he was to tell me. (When I told him I was expecting that he looked so relieved!)  Jeff also took the time to talk with me about some options in dealing with the other insurance company and how to go about saving the car if I want or maximizing what I can get from the insurance company.

Jeff was obviously a "guy's guy" and was very knowledgeable, but I sure do appreciate that he bucked the stereotype and was so nice to me today. Thanks Jeff.


Day 50-52. The Family Ones.

I think this will be the last Germany post for a bit (or so YOU hope!) While we were in Europe, we had the opportunity to stay at a lovely little resort in northern Italy. Before I go into my normal little bloggeries, let me tell you that if you EVER go to northern Italy/ Germany/ Austria you MUST tack on a few days to visit this hotel: Aquila Nera / Schwarzer Adler.

ANYWAY - we stayed at this hotel at the recommendation of our friend Hubert, and what a wonderful surprise it was. The real hidden gem of this destination was that it was a hotel from the 1400's that had been in the family's care for four generations now. This mirrors my husband Stephen's life story in so many ways that we felt a real connection to both the hotel and the family...

What deserves recognition though is not the business side of this, its the family side. Family is that which we can rely upon most, but that which we can take advantage of most. It was quite lovely to observe the Family Mulhsteiger not only work with the highest efficiency together because they know each other so well, but also to see that they maintained their relationships every step of the way. It was one of those perfect scenarios where the family element has bred the loyalty that ensures success and happiness. The business has thrived due to the family always being present and more importantly the family has thrived. Its really cool to see a daughter in her twenties who is close with her parents in so many aspects of life. This family has had the responsibility and opportunity to really build strong relationships with each other, and you can tell they don't take that for granted. 

I thank this special family for sharing their lives with us for a few short days - they have reminded me how truly fulfilling family should be. 


Day 49. The Divisive One.

I do still think its important to recognize those who can give us gifts in unexpected ways...kinda the reverse of a wolf in sheep's clothing I guess. So, today, I thank the person who forced me to resign from something.

I don't agree with what they are doing nor how they are doing it. I have real misgivings about the future of something that I have cared greatly for...but, this person did force me to handle myself with the upmost care and thought. I had to give every word, action and deed I had a huge degree of thought.  I had gotten a bit complacent in moving towards a goal and was comfortable in thinking people were all going the same way. What has happened has made me really work hard to give this every ounce of fight and determination I have. I now know, as I leave, that I have truly given this my very best effort and that, for my own personal integrity at this point, I am making the right decision.

I think sometimes its too easy to get rather angry quickly and/or make a knee-jerk reaction. All too often this can lead to regret and burned bridges. Alternately, sometimes we stay in a bad situation out of a sense of obligation, while all the while we complain and whine about how bad everything is and how everyone else is wrong. I leave now with a sense of calm and total understanding - I fought the good fight, I took the time to understand what was happening and I made the right decision for me...its just that this time the decision was to go.

Week 8. Reflections.

It sure was fun to have this project to look forward to while I was on my trip. When we realized that internet access was going to be EXTREMELY limited at best while we were in Europe, I started keeping a list of special folks I wanted to recognize here when I got back, and it became quite rewarding.

I know its easier to be in a good state of mind when you are on vacation, but it does change your outlook when you are searching for people who deserve a little kudos every now and then. 

It was amazing while we were overseas to hear how much of the rest of the world takes interest in what's going on here in the United States - from politics to economy to culture (the only english channels: CNN and MTV ~shudder~). I found this project also had me widening my focus quite a bit more broadly than I had been - that coupled with a bigger world view really impacted me. There was a lot of negativity to come back to - it started with the offensive greasy food we ran into in the airport and you all know what's been going on in the election and in the market, but I found myself buoyed by thoughts of focusing on the people and the positive and the bigger picture. Let me be clear, I sure was no Pollyanna this week, but it did help with perspective.

Right now I am still feeling overwhelmed with how big the world is - I have spent much of the last year "shrinking" my world to bring people into my life from all over and all of a sudden, I find it blown back to a huge scale. There are so many fantastic people all over the place and I just want to be with all of them, all the time, in all the cool places and experiences we've shared...perspective, people. I'm trying to get it back, but its kinda fun figuring it all out right now.

Day 47. The Football One.

Arguably, in 1876, Walter Camp invented "modern American football". With deference to my international friends, I know this is not rugby, or soccer, but it is American football and quite frankly, for me, College Football is the best sport in the world. Perhaps I am spoiled growing up in a great college football town and being a life-long fan of the Buckeyes...but I just can't help myself. There is nothing like a crisp fall day, walking to the stadium, tailgating with beer and brats and then cheering with 100,000 of your closest friends for your team.

There's no deeper meaning, there's no hidden virtue, and yes, unfortunately, I am well aware that pretty much all sports are quickly being corrupted by media, materialism and the idea of "celebrity". But I love it. I love it, and I will go to any football game, any day, any where. So today, as I head to "The Shoe" and get ready to cheer on my beloved Buckeyes, I salute you Walter Camp - you have brought a lot of joy and entertainment to a lot of people.


Day 46. The Driving One.

Sick of my German stories yet?!? Well - this one's a real doozy...our last day in Munich was Sunday and we had to pack, pick up our car, and head to Salzburg. I will not go into detail but I will say that I was at the very least rather tired, and hungover (perhaps a teeny bit tipsy still - I blame Christian). So Stephen and I were working at 20% probably...

Stephen had done a great job planning everything and we got a cab loaded with all our stuff to head to the car rental office close to our hotel - what could go wrong? When we pulled up to the car rental office, it was closed. It was open for one hour - 9 - 10AM. It was 10:15. Nice. Now, let me say that up until now, at least I had had fairly poor luck with Munich cab drivers. They weren't the nicest cross section of humanity I'd come across...but our wonderful cab driver that day proved me wrong. This kind woman let us use her cell phone to call the different numbers we had for the reservation, and when all else failed she helped us consider a few options...one of which we ultimately followed which was to go to the train station and get our car from the rental office there. It also turns out this was the right option, if we'd done any of the other things WE had thought of, it would have cost us 100's of euro. 

So thank you, madame cab driver...you were kind, friendly, funny, helpful, generous with your time and smart about the local community all of which not only eased the pain of the day in general but made what could have been a very crazy situation totally manageable within 15 minutes. I consider this a reminder, that each of us as countries, cities, individuals have our own little set of "cultural rules". You can't just expect people to figure them out...take the time to help someone learn - you never know what a huge impact this may have on someone.


Day 44-45. The Worldly Ones.

There was another couple we went with to Oktoberfest...Justin and Dreama. Like Craig, Justin went to school with, and later lived with Stephen.  Justin and I hit it off pretty quickly - mainly because we both like to give each other a really hard time - and then he found a saint who would put up with him in Dreama. Justin has family all over the world, grew up in Vancouver and as he and Dreama have built their lives, they've always reflected this global perspective...when I think of them, I think of people taking in all the entire world has to offer. You know those people who you are envious of for their ability to drop everything and do something really great? Well that's Justin and Dreama.

I have tremendous respect for their passion for life and their intent to always be citizens of the world and not just of one country, region or state. Spending the last two weeks abroad only reinforced to me how important this is for us all - not only because of the things we experience but also because it truly broadens your mind, your perspective and your quality of life. 

15 months ago, Justin and Dreama added little Stella - one of the sweetest children I've ever met - to their family. Many of you know how strongly I feel about the importance of parenting and Justin and Dreama truly raise the bar - they are amazing parents. So, true to form, they have incorporated Stella into this wonderful life of experience and rich opportunity - the child came with us to Oktoberfest! Now the family is continuing the rest of a six month trip around the world to different places, and Dreama is even documenting it in her blog.   Justin, Dreama and Stella were already really great people in and of themselves, but I highlight them here because their outlook on life and learning and being part of the world are something I have the highest respect for. I am so appreciative to know them and I am glad that they share all their experiences with us because it reminds me of ways that I should always make the most of every day of my life...Cheers, Lee's!


Day 42-43. The German Ones.

In order for our trip to happen, two very important people were involved...Hubert and Christian. Both I consider friends, one has been in my life since I was little and one I know for just a few weeks now...but both were not only integral to making our trip happen but in being great friends.

Hubert has known me since I was 6 or 7. He is arguably the most prominent chef in Central Ohio and our family has known him since he opened his first Gourmet Market which has become so much more...Hubert is extremely successful and respected (as he should be) and yet he always has the time to visit with us, to share his time and his life and become someone I feel is a friend. Hubert shepherded us through the entire planning process for this trip which he soooo didn't have to do but he made it so easy to get things done the "right" way. He even took us on a tour of Munich and hooked us up with friends in other cities to truly make our trip amazing, which brings us to...

Christian. I have heard of Christian for years (and in fact think I had met him a couple times) but Christian is our new friend in Munich. Now let me say, i am always quite nervous when it comes to asking for favors from others...I never want to come across as abusing the generosity of others - particularly those I don't know well...but Christian who had absolutely no reason to help us or host us was beyond generous. In the midst of Oktoberfest AND his 40th birthday celebrations, Christian also helped us get ready for our trip by advising on lodging etc and then hosted us at his tables at Oktoberfest (not a small feat at all!) and even including us in his very special birthday party.

So those are the things that they did but what is so amazing is the why and how...in a world where we are now hearing about CEO's getting millions and not giving back, people who are rather selfish or self-involved, its pleasantly shocking to me that there are people who are truly good and kind and interested in getting to know people and be true friends, even at the start of a new relationship.  I am honored and thankful that because Hubert vouched for us, Christian welcomed us; And I am honored and thankful that both Hubert and Christian have taught me that much more about friendship.  Hubert and Christian taught us more about the true essence of Bavaria and Oktoberfest than any tour could have ever done - its about fun, friendship and celebration...oh and beer ;) I love you both very much!


Day 40-41. The Living Ones.

I had plans to continue on our "tour de Europe" recognition plan, but we are going to take a slight detour. I would like to introduce you all to Nathan, Tricia and Gwyneth. (see there? three people on one day - how lucky are YOU!?!?)

In any case - I will quickly cover the basics. Nathan and Tricia were married, and Tricia who has been living with Cystic Fibrosis has had a year of challenges and miracles - a baby that was always wanted but never thought could be a reality, a lung transplant, and now a battle with a unique form of cancer as a result of the transplant operation. I am not doing this story justice so I can only point you to their blog that chronicles their story. I read their blog every day...

I don't know this family other than through what I read and see on their web pages and I have found them to be a gift to us all. There are lots of things thrown at this precious family every day - I know a little about this disease from friends of mine who have fought it but I am consistently astounded at Nathan and Tricia's ability to always move forward - conscientiously, thoughtfully and after seeking knowledge and faith. And then there is little Gwyneth Rose...a true miracle, and what a sweet one. This precious little baby, like her mommy is defying the odds and her photos and accomplishments always make me smile.

It may be obvious why I chose these people, but let me say it here as well...their story, to me, is NOT about battling a disease. It is about love, and it is about faith. Every day I know with certainty that they are looking for positivity in their situation. They celebrate, they have fun, they are honest about the ups and the downs. Even more important I also have tremendous respect for the balance that they have drawn between what they share and what they do not. If you follow their blog you will come to know a tremendous amount about this family, but at the same time, you will trust that was is shared is done so with much contemplation and you will respect that there are some things that they keep to themselves. They are living life in the purest sense of the word. No matter what you believe, take a moment today to send some positive energy their way, through prayer, mediation, thought or however you choose to do so...


Day 38 & 39 (sorta). The Celebratory Ones.

So for the next ten days I'm gonna cheat...I know, no biggie there...by covering two people every day to catch up from my holiday. My trip gave me plently of subject material and its my pleasure to remind you of the fact that there are special people every where around the world!

So first off - let me introduce you to my good friends Sanaz and Craig. Craig lived with Stephen in DC and they were also fraternity brothers...throughout this year I'm sure you'll hear more about how very special this group of friends is and I feel very fortunate to have gotten to know the guys and also the women that they have each chosen to bring into their lives. 

I've known and loved Craig for years since we bonded over Public Enemy after a late night (don't ask) and I knew it was only a matter of time before he found a truly special person - thus we meet Sanaz. The reason I love them both so much is that they embrace life. They enjoy the best in life, they travel, they eat good food...they find a way to make everything a celebration. Heck, Craig even turned the one night we were in DC before we left for Germany into a full on mini-reunion for the guys with a private party and special menu. 

Sanaz is my favorite diva - she rocks it out every day and though it might be easy for someone to dismiss her she will call you on what really matters - being a good friend.

Sanaz and Craig were the ones who got my dear husband to agree to take this trip in the first place...and oh the fun we had. I'm so glad that these two are in my life!