The Greatest Gift

“Success in marriage does not come merely through finding the right mate, but through being the right mate.” Barnett R. Brickner

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Joining hands and intertwining hearts on that sticky August day in 1970, two people made a lifetime of commitments to one another. As a wife and mother now, their daughter has looked back several times on the life they shared, the struggles they endured and their unwavering love for each other with deep admiration and appreciation.

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Married just shy of 36 years at the time of my father’s premature passing, their marriage was one of the greatest gifts that two people collectively have ever given me. Sweeter than an physical or monetary offering, the love they carried for one another until the bitter end, served as a guideline, and a genuine example of what it means to be fully committed to another person.

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A marriage is an precious union, and one, I have come to realize, is never fully understood except for the two individuals who reside inside the arms of that sacred partnership. My parent’s relationship, though transparent to us at times, certainly had layers of which I will never know.   Hardships I was sheltered from and joys that were experienced only within the realm of their lifetime of memories that they created together. What I was privy to as a child and then as an adult was a love and a mutual respect. A partnership that endured the tough days, the sleepless nights, the worry, the laughter, the change of direction and the multiple relocations. It was a gentle kiss hello, the holding of hands, and a shared laugh in the kitchen over a meal cooked together. It was the quiet conversations I gently leaned into desperate to know what was transpiring in their world, but their world was at times just that, their own.

2015-05-25-BGard_015 I wasn’t aware at a young age the gift my parent’s marriage meant to me, until I reached my middle years. The very years when friend’s parents were splitting and the children, caught in the middle were clenched in a yo-yo of emotions, a pinball bouncing back and forth between homes, suitcases never unpacked and tears that never dried. As I saw the anguish play out in front of my eyes, I would retreat back home, grateful for the ease of it all, the stability my home provided and my parent’s union.

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As the years continued to pass, I would speak to the fact that my parents were still married, now, almost the only few of friends who still had the same parents residing under one roof and I stopped to realize how fortunate I was. Thanking my family for riding the waves, for sharing the burdens and for loving each other during the most difficult of times.

Photo_Week_20140725_Rigi_July_2008 Now that I have a family of my own, I reflect on the coupling of my parents and once again, I have nothing but sheer regard for a love that endured the test of time. I have come to realize that a partnership can at times become overwhelmingly challenging, that often our own burdens weigh us down and that the harshness of life can often push us away from those we love the most.

2013-07-26-Zrmat_0672 I often wonder how my parents managed to weather the storms that life often threw in their way? I am uncertain that if asked today, they wouldn’t contribute their lasting marriage to a secret formula, they might just smile and credit commitment, love and/or grit as their reasons for staying married in a world that made it all too easy to walk away. My mother might also say, as I have heard her mention before, “Treat each other special.” Simple, yet powerful advice she too received from her own mother.

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Whatever their reasoning, as a daughter, a wife and now a mother, I will forever be grateful for the genuine love my parents had for one another. Oh my, what a treasure and what an honor.

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And on this day I want to thank my own husband. The very man who walked into my life some 20 years ago and has made each day of my life all the sweeter. I have said this before, but I feel compelled to say it again. Marriage is a choice and I am ever so grateful that I chose to marry Robert all those years ago. For you are a true life partner, a loving and supportive husband, the father to our two beautiful children and a genuinely good man. I will love you each day of this journey!

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Time… to travel

In the northern part of Umbria, is the town of Gubbio.  Although not quite a ‘hilltop town’ it is situated on a hillside, with plenty of streets to climb.  One of the famed events in Gubbio is the Corsa di Ceri, a run of three teams carrying large wooden statues (4 meters tall) and weighing over 280kg!  Experiencing a new place, meandering through historic places, and experiencing culture is just part of the joy of traveling.

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This post is part of the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Time

Vibrant

What better way to Get Out and Go than to join a carnival, throw confetti, and shake off the winter blues?  In Switzerland, this February, marks the start of Fasnacht.  Basel is host to the largest carnival and is perhaps the oldest, dating back over 487 years ago.  For more info you can visit this post.

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This post is part of the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Vibrant

 

Striving for in 2016

Continue to live simply and work hard to live an even simpler life.

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Take the time to be grateful; for there is so much to be grateful for!

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Prize, value and nourish our health by eating well, exercising often and taking the time to slow down!

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Amazing Meals

Learn more German. Sigh.

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See beautiful lakes, oceans and streams.

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Write, write and well, write some more!

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See more of France because it is so close and we rarely go.

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Travel more in the land we love…Switzerland.

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Continue to foster our children’s love of the great outdoors.

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Splash in the Mediterranean.

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Visit with family & dear friends.

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Continue to learn.  We love Edx!

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Help others & teach our children the same.

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Embrace each season.

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See life as the grand adventure it truly is.  Get out & go!

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Word of the year: OPEN.

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Be open to new experiences, new friends, new opportunities, and new situations. Open our home, our hearts and our eyes to all that extends before us.

Ahh, 2016 be kind to us and may we remember as a dear friend once said, “kindness is in the eye of the beholder !”

 

Fitness – Fitting it all in

Where does one find the time to do it all? Between home demands, work demands, parenting demands, even self-demands, is it possible? Probably not. But let’s focus on the basic, and perhaps the most all around beneficial self-demand, exercise. Yep. This may not be the solution to that boss you may not like, the project crying for your 60 hours a week, the kids you want to see before they go to bed, or the sleep you most likely will enjoy. But you know, there are some huge benefits to exercise. I will not cite them here, but we all know them; overall health, improved cognition, reduced stress, and overall efficiency. That’s what I’ve heard anyway. Like I said, I don’t have the answers, but I know what has worked for me, and that’s fitting it in when and where possible. I’m not talking about fanatical and religious workout regimes, I suggesting the application of realistic times when working out is achievable and acceptable for most sources pulling at your every five minutes.

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The first way to incorporate more exercise into your daily life is through your commute. You have probably all heard this and think it is difficult to achieve, but it works. Personally, I like cycling; that is my mode of transport for work.

Start by planning the day before by leaving a change of clothes in the office with some shampoo, towel and deodorant to make for a clean start. By leaving clothes and toiletries in the office, you will have less stuff to carry on your commute. I’m lucky to have my choice of two showers and a locker at work, so if your office offers the same, then give it a try!

Think you live too far from work; in good weather, I ride 28km to work and home. Now I don’t do this every day, but once or twice a week, or when I’m able to fit this in. The ride replaces my commuting time nearly one-for-one. If you live in Basel and work in Zürich, you can still do this by riding in from another station; either leave a bike at that station or bring it on the train with you and jump off closer to your destination.

My second suggestion is to workout at lunch. Most people in your office probably have sport interests as well. Running, football, tennis/badminton, floor hockey, rock climbing, you get the idea. If you have that shower at the office, then you could go running, even twenty to thirty minutes with a stop back at the Coop on your way in is a great way to use that full lunch hour working out, grabbing a bite to eat, and refreshing yourself before that one o’clock meeting you aren’t juiced to attend.

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How about trying a new group sport? When we first moved to Switzerland, a colleague of mine asked if I was interested in joining for a game of unihockey (floor hockey). I had never heard of the sport, and thought I would give it a try.   Best networking move I ever made; what I learned was a lot about the people I work with and if you have to compete with each other every week, you learn how to work with them as well. Highly suggested!

By now you are fit and sharp when you get to work, and socially connected. By this point exercise might becoming addictive, and asking for a piece of your time at home. Yikes! Well, it is not that much to swap gym time for a run or bike ride with your spouse. On the weekends, when the weather is calling for you, get out there; just make sure you balance it out with equal time for both parents. You will find yourself in a better mood and more resilient to the demands of daily life as a parent.2009-08-14 - Eiger Challenge Wknd. 106jpg