Welcome

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We hope this site inspires individuals to live the lives they were meant to live; to get out into this vast, beautiful world and explore. Be sure to follow the adventure and find out more about us.

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Books of Change for Children

Wonder

This little blue book has the power to change lives and influence children (adults too) in such a positive way, that if you haven’t yet read the book to your children, go buy it now. Wonder tells the story of Auggie, a child born with a facial difference and as the reader, we endure his painstaking journey through life.  The book is honest, painful, funny and heartwarming. It teaches children empathy and encourages us to celebrate our difference.  Thank you R.J. Palacio for so many teachable moments.

Stories for Boys Who Dare to be Different

Ah, this book quickly became a favorite at home with both of my children.  The short, yet inspirational stories, the colorful pictures are all captivating.  For some, the honesty and the subject matters may be too much, but for this family, I believe openness and honesty are paramount.  As an adult, the take-a-way is simple, it takes all kinds of people to make this world a beautiful place and our definition of what it means to be “male” is shifting and yet to be defined.

Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls 2

We were so intrigued by the first book, that the second book was a must.  Again, the short stories about powerful, brave women caught our attention and encouraged us to be better; to dream and create ideas of our own.  The book makes for the perfect bed time read, as the text is short, but the stories fill us with messages of hope and often, we couldn’t help but keep turning the pages and allowing bedtimes to slip late into the night.

The Inventor's Secret

I’ve read this book four times in the last two days and each time I read the words, not only are the little people that stare up at the pages intrigued, but I too find myself inspired.  The beautifully illustrated book portrays the lives of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford.  Two tenacious inventors, each relentless when it comes to pursuing their dreams.  I won’t give away the “secret” the two inventors cling tight to in the book, but boy is that secret the key to a life well lived.  What a genuine delight of a book!

Happy reading!

Expat Life – Partnerships

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When we took our international work assignment all those years ago, we were extremely naive.  We had no idea what we were in for and perhaps that was a good thing, for we might not have jumped at the chance to relocate.

Prior to our move, it is safe to say our life was in utter disarray. We had suffered unimaginable loss and needed drastic change. Sometimes those losses are what propels us to jump into water that is way over our heads.  The only constant we had in that mix was our steady and committed devotion to one another.  We were and are still truly a team and together our team would ride the wave of life no matter how high, how low or how rough the seas became.

Our steadfast union also aided in our ability to weather the international wave that took us by surprise. We all deal with the intricacies of daily life, but throw a foreign country into the mix and the entire situation can quickly spin out of control.  Below we list ways in which we, sixteen years strong, were and are able to remain a team that thrives when venturing into the unknown.

Love – You simply must remember the love. ALWAYS!

Communication – We talk about everything and nothing is off the table.  Sometimes, after the children go to bed, we sit on the couch and “check-in,” asking about the day, work, life, hopes and aspirations.  We want to make sure not only are we on track as a couple, but that we are both happy with our current situation.  If we are not happy, we make great efforts to revise the plan, whether on a personal, couple or professional level.

We also recently printed and took the “36 questions” with us on vacation. We loved the process of diving deep into each other’s world and learning more about each other.  Give it a try.

Take time – Sometimes we just need to get away and when that urge creeps in, we retreat either home or to the mountains.  Being surrounded by friends and family is just what we need to recharge our batteries and start fresh.  And when we retreat to the mountains, the fresh air and gorgeous landscapes help reset our minds.  We also take time apart to fill ourselves with the quiet space we require.  Whether hiking for a weekend in the mountains with friends, or taking a necessary trip solo, we respect the need to nurture our own spirits too.

Dream together –  We often discuss projects, ideas and our dreams together.  We do what we can to support one another in order to help fulfill the other person’s deepest desires.  No dream is ever too big!

Happiness – He is not responsible for my happiness and I am not responsible for his.  We are each responsible for making ourselves happy.  Of course, we are happiest when we are together, however, it is not fair to place such massive responsibility on each the shoulders of the other person and we both understand that.

Team Work – I have mentioned this before, but we view our union, marriage, parenting, and life together as a genuine team effort.  A team is never about the “I,” it is about the “we” and together we are a much stronger team.  When one needs a break, a hand, or support, the other is there to catch the fall and help pick-up the pieces.  Teams always do that for each other.  Sometimes we even allow the other a long rest on the bench to observe from the sidelines.

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Honesty – We practice brutal honesty in our home.  We try to be as honest as possible with ourselves, our children and with each other.  And we are and always have been honest about our lives abroad. We have always said we will continue to ride the wave, as long as the wave feels right. We know how we feel about the life we have created, the children we are raising, our values, ideals and daily transactions.  That honesty propels us to be better people, partners and parents.  It also requires us to be accountable, not only to ourselves, but to our team as well.

Respect – This is the last element of the package and perhaps the most important next to love.  We respect one another.  Respect is essential because it validates the why for everything in this life, especially why we chose to spend our lives together.  Why we love one another, why we are together, why we are committed to us, why we live here, why we choose to raise our children the way we do, why we feel pursing our dreams are imperative, why we do absolutely everything.  It all comes down to respecting the other person.

Is it the perfect recipe, no.  We falter like everyone because we are human. But each time we fail we do our best to learn the lesson (truth be told, there are some lessons we have yet to grasp). Listed above are a few of the elements that help us venture into the unknown and come out on the other end feeling grateful, strong and committed.

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Happy Birthday Little Man

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As I write this my mind is spilling over with the notion that we have had you for a decade.  How is that even possible?  I am working hard to grasp that concept.  Not only are you growing and maturing, but as your parents, we hope we are too.

Over the course of a decade, you have taught us so very much.  Some of those lessons we must continue to repeat, for as your parents we journey with you through this life. Yes, Noah, we will never claim to be perfect.  You are a child that pushes every boundary, every limit, every rule, every single request we ask of you.  Some days those pushes are welcome and leave us smiling with the realization that you were never meant to fit into any box. We are learning to embrace the person you are and the empathetic person you are becoming.  As you stride through this life, always remember this, you are our son.  We love you and we always wanted you!

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As we wrote on a single page in a project that is soon to break out into existence, you and your sister have by far been our greatest teachers.  You teach us everything there is to learn about this life and for that we will always be grateful.  You have shined a light on this family that is strong, robust, vibrant, and powerful.  Your gifts and talents are immense and you challenge us in new ways each and every day.  There is no doubt your mind and your superpowers (yes, you have many) will serve you well.

 

So on your 10th birthday, continue to fall into the person you are, never shy away from your true self and continue to teach us how to parent you because this is a journey we are grateful and honored to take with you.

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And finally, thank you for shifting two individuals into a family.  This family loves you, admires your tenacity and is in awe of your ability to build, create, work hard in sport and swim like a champ. Your hiking skills rock and you can read a map like no one we’ve ever met.  We are ever so proud of you and our love for you is endless.  Now, off you go to embrace 10 and make this your best year yet!  Oh, and don’t forget to shine!  We love you!

Expat Life – Spread Your Wings

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I think a great deal about how we ended up in Switzerland and each time those thoughts come to mind, I cannot help but reflect on the those we left behind.  After all these years, it still gets to me.

Saying good-bye to family and friends is never easy, in fact, it can be downright gut wrenching and life-altering.  When you elect (as we did) to leave all that you know behind in hopes to try something new, expand your horizons, test the waters or to create a fresh start, it is inevitable that feelings will get hurt, opinions will form and relationships will fizzle out.  All of which we have personally experienced, but what I find hard to comprehend is that it has to be all or nothing.

“You either live here or you don’t.”

People have been changing geographical locations for years, so moving around, whether it be to a new street, a new town, city, State, or country, is not a new concept.  In fact, prior to the inception of agriculture we were “hunter-gatherers” therefore causing us to move around and never staying in one place for long.  In addition, many people adopt and practice a nomadic lifestyle to this day.  Were we ever intended to live in one place for the entire duration of our existence?  I don’t know, but it seems ever apparent that we were not.

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I believe what it comes down to is quite simple. Distance through miles, doesn’t necessarily have to be the separation of hearts.  Yes, it is harder and the physical form of the person is not tangible, but relationships can remain strong.  That strength comes, however, only if both parties are willing to make attempts to continue to forge, foster and grow that relationship.  Like a plant that requires four elements to grow, so do relationships. Without the proper mix of care and attention, they will not thrive and will eventually wilt.  Don’t allow your friendships and family ties to wilt too.

Ways to maintain bonds:

Call – there are so many ways to call without having to incur hefty bills.

Skype – see your loved ones and schedule time to chat.

Write – receiving a letter in the handwriting of a friend or family member is priceless.

Make efforts to remember birthdays, and special events in the lives of those you love.

Visit – visiting is costly and time consuming, but both parties should make attempts to visit one another.

Plan a vacation in a central location and enjoy time together.

Did I miss something?  Please let me know, we are working hard on this aspect of our lives.