Say What?!

When you travel there is bound to be some type hilarious encounter.

Quite often due to a breakdown in communication between languages.

But what if that breakdown is in your native language?

Well that can make it unexpected and garner even more giggles!

It's Monday, so I thought that if you're anything like me you could use a little humor in your life today.

Even in the United States, sometimes trying to understand what a person from the Deep South or from New England is saying may take them repeating it a few times before you catch on to what they are saying. If they throw in some local slang, it may become even harder!

We had already experienced working through differences in the English language on our first overseas trip. We were relieved that everyone in Amsterdam spoke English, but differences in colloquialisms came into play on a trip to Starbucks. One of the teenagers asked for a squirt of chocolate in their frappuccino. You could tell by the look the barista's face that she wasn't really sure what "squirt" meant. Some hand gestures later and it was agreed upon that "pump" was the term that she was familiar with. Which only makes sense given that is the term Starbucks uses. It was a wonderful learning experience for the teenager in how to work through language barriers.

However, the best breakdown between English languages was experienced on my trip to Scotland. Given that English is their primary language, it never occurred to me that there might be any issues. Understanding their accent, maybe some issues. Complete cluelessness about language, never.

In this post, where I took you on the tour of the Murals of Glasgow, I mentioned that while we were in Glasgow we decided to take the train to Shotts to watch some of the Highland Games.

After making my mother and aunt hike from the train station to the location of the Highland Games, we finally made it.

When we approached the sign stating the entry fees, I commented to my mother "it's 5£ each. There's something about concessions being 4£. I don't know if that means we have to purchase a ticket to be able to eat, but we'll figure it out when we get inside. We can always come back and get that later."

I hear all of you who are from the United Kingdom snickering already.

Don't worry, it gets better.

I pay for the three of us to get through the gate. Our accents give away the fact that we are not locals so they give my mother a collectible spoon that they have for people who've traveled a long way. I think "what about me?" for a second, but then am relieved because I'm a minimalist-in-training and collectibles are not what I'm striving toward.

It's already close to lunchtime so we know that we will be hungry soon. I see prices on the food trailers, but I'm still confused. My mom decides that she is going to go back to the gate and ask them if we need a ticket.

A few minutes later, she comes walking toward me. I can see that she is holding back tears of laughter. She tells me that I'm not going to believe what happened.

She asked them "what about the concessions?" and the lady taking the money says "well…" and the other lady in the booth steps into view, possibly concerned that my mother is going to become argumentative. The lady finishes her sentence "that's really for people who are older than you." To which my mother replies "oh, so it has nothing to do with food." And they all start laughing and assuring her that "no, it's not about food."

Apparently, "concessions" in Scotland is what we refer to in the United States as a "senior citizen discount" and my mother is not in her mid-60's or even 60 for that matter so they were surprised she was asking about the discount. In the United States "concessions" refers to a "concession stand", a place where you purchase food at events. We thought that we couldn't eat without a ticket to frequent the food trucks!

We laughed about that for days and still laugh every time we remember our "concession" experience.

I hope you found a good laugh in it too!

Oh.. and in case you're wondering what Scottish men wear under their kilts… that day it was compression shorts.

Happy Monday!

The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes. -Marcel Proust

Let your light shine!


Friday Faves Edition 24

Friday Faves – Edition 24

Hey ya’ll! It’s Friday! I hope you’ve had an amazing week so far.

This has been my last semi-mellow week before gearing back up for the return to school of my teenagers. The next three weeks will slowly become filled with dental cleanings, orthodontist trips, doctor check-ups, sports physicals, haircuts, clothes shopping, business days at the school, and whatever else needs crammed into that space. Plus, Miss Sunshine starts back to soccer practice and Big Mr. has Senior year portraits.

So on to some of my faves for the week!



I mentioned that the deck was in worse repair than we had originally anticipated. The original build had attached it to the house without flashing so the siding was becoming rotted and the support beams also had rot.  We decided to follow the same pattern of the prior entry with each level running the boards in the opposite direction. I liked the feeling of movement that it creates.  I’ve finally picked the style of railing that I want and am pretty sure what color I want….stay tuned.

You can see that it’s been rainy! As much as I’m not a fan of soggy days, we’ve really needed it. What little grass I have was beginning to turn brown.

A combination lock?! Yep!

The lock represents a growth outside of my comfort zone. I’ve been wanting to go into the steam room at my gym… forever. I’ve been wanting to see if I feel any of the detoxification benefits that I read about. However, I’m not comfortable trying new things alone. So time passed…a lot of time. And then, it’s was like “well I need to lock up my bag and keys” and more time passed. Finally, I decided that my desire to try out the steam room outweighed my fear of going it alone. So I bought a lock and Wednesday after my Pilates class, I went into that dang steam room.

Mission accomplished.

And even though it seems kind of silly, it’s just a steam room, to me it represented more than that. It was me realizing that if I want to do something then I should just figure out a way to do it. Alone or not. And that to me was a giant victory.

So this is what I plan to watch soon. Beauty and the Beast. Have you seen it? I’ve heard wonderful things about it and am finally getting around to watching it.

Speaking of watching things…anyone else a Game of Thrones fan? No spoilers here, but the hubby and I love this show.

So “black thumb” Amy is ready for another attempt at plant growing.

I’ve also scoured out one spot that I think may get enough sun to attempt some herbs or easy veggies. I’m planning to try to grow them in pots before I commit to turning the space into raised beds.

I also want to add some flowers to the entry and would like to add some more indoor plants. Indoors I prefer plants that do double duty…looking lovely and cleaning the air.

Do you have any favorite indoor plants?

Speaking of clearing the air…

I’ve been on a major decluttering spree this week.

One of those decluttered spaces is this small angled room upstairs that I plan to turn into my office. We took out the bed and nightstand that we had in there and the additional things that Miss Sunshine decided to store in there.

My desk has been in there since we moved in 3 1/2 years ago and yet I’ve never embraced the space. I usually take over one end of the dining room table.

In my vision for a minimalistic home, I see a clean dining room table. And so, I am attempting to embrace the office.

One of the ways I plan to do that is by smudging the room.

Hence the sage bundle.

I have a few other things that I want for the space to complete it and am not sure if I will smudge it before or after that.

I plan to continue decluttering and keep moving toward simplicity in the coming weeks. I’m hoping to complete the removal of the unwanted prior to my birthday in September.

I’d like to end my 30’s refreshed and ready for whatever may come my way.

The song I chose this week, I found over the weekend in the “suggested for you” section of my YouTube. And then I heard it a few days ago on the TV while Miss Sunshine was watching So You Think You Can Dance. Have you ever watched that show? It’s my favorite summertime show.

I love dance…even though I have no rhythm.

According to the artist’s comment the video represents the harm we do.  We harm ourselves when we harm others. It also reflects the re-birth of a forgiven conscience.

I hope you go into and through the weekend with kind words upon your lips and landing  sweetly in your ears.

There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the the mirror reflecting it. -Edith Wharton

Let your light shine!




Glasgow Cathedral

Glasgow Cathedral


Glasgow Cathedral

Glasgow Cathedral is also called the High Kirk of Glasgow, St. Kentigern’s or St. Mungo’s Cathedral. The name St. Mungo may sound familiar if you read my post on the Murals of Glasgow where I shared my favorite mural of a modern day St. Mungo.

Around 550 A.D., St. Mungo, founded a religious community around a small church located in what would become known as Glasgow.

I shared some of the history of St. Mungo in that prior post.

He is a significant character in the history of Glasgow. He is the Patron Saint and his life is represented on Glasgow’s Coat of Arms.

You may recall that I had a change of plans due to disruptions in train service out of Glasgow. This left me time for a little more sightseeing, albeit not as well planned as I would have liked.  Our second afternoon there we decided to take the hop-on hop-off bus to St. Mungo’s Cathedral. As luck would have it, we just missed the time for the last interior tour. They literally locked the doors in the face of my aunt and mother as they peered through the closing gap (I was sidetracked taking photos, not realizing that the last admission had happened).

So an exterior tour it was…

Upon exiting the bus, I was captivated by the presence of this church. The doorway that was being locked is to the right. I assume the people over there were able to get in and tour the inside. Had I known what time they closed and the last admittances were 30 minutes prior to closing, I probably would have sprinted over there.

Of course, I was thinking of my Thursday Doors people and the doors on Glasgow Cathedral were quite magnificent.

Very little is known about the buildings that were on this site prior the present one.

The first stone building was consecrated in 1136 in the presence of King David I and occupied the area now covered by the Nave.

Damaged by fire, its replacement was consecrated in 1197 by Bishop Jocelin.

Work would be done throughout the 12th-15th Century.

You may be surprised to hear that it is one of the last of its kind in Scotland. Glasgow Cathedral is the only church on the Scottish mainland that survived the Protestant Reformation of 1560.

I’m always impressed by the intricate details of Gothic architecture. And this church does not disappoint.

From its magnificent stone work and stained glass…

…down to the door knockers.


Since I wasn’t going to be able to go inside, I strolled along the outside admiring the details of this imposing structure.

And I spied this door.

I find deep satisfaction in having found this door that appears to be rarely, if ever, accessed.

It holds me spellbound for a moment as I wonder who may have passed through this entrance.

Where does it lead? Perhaps someone who has been inside would know. But as a curious daydreamer, I could only stand there and guess as to the tales that this door held closely.

Had the hands of some 16th or 17th century woman lightly touched the stone as she passed through it arched entry? Did children hop from step to step, patiently waiting as their parents finished the conversations held after the weekly service? Was this door only used by those who served with the church? Or did mourners gather on the stairs after the burial of those within the grounds to the East?

I may never know those answers, but in a church with such a long history, the possibilities are endless.

I allow my mind to drift from the past to the present.

I think about how Glasgow Cathedral has stood the test of time.

Although the title of Cathedral is honorific since it has not been the seat of a bishop since 1690, it is still the place of active worship for the Church of Scotland.

I wander around looking at the nearby gravestones and then head to the nearby Necropolis, the burial grounds of an estimated 50,000 people.

So much of who we are is where we have been. -William Langewiesche

Let your light shine!


Anne Frank House in Amsterdam

Anne Frank House


When I traveled to Amsterdam in April, I knew my time there would be brief. Less than 36 hours brief. Factoring in that I had no idea what to expect from my first overseas trip and that jet lag is rough…way too brief!


Anne Frank House.

But the one place that I wanted to be sure to visit was the Anne Frank House.

In fact, this museum was the only thing specifically booked into our itinerary (outside of hotels, flights, and the train from Amsterdam to Paris) when we left the U.S.

I had heard that the cues can get very long at the Anne Frank House and our limited time left no room for long cues. If I were to see it, it must be booked. However, when you hear to book your tickets well in advance…do so. When I first went to book them (three weeks early), they were already sold out. It was then that I discovered that the tickets are released two months in advance. I was so disappointed.


There are tickets that include a 30 minute introduction. These tickets are released two weeks in advance. I was overjoyed that I was able to secure these tickets.


How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world. -Anne Frank

Our hotel was located on P.C. Hooftstraat near Vondelpark. The night before we debated on walking, but were concerned that there may be rain so we chose to take a nearby tram to Dam Square and walk the remaining way to the Anne Frank House, which is on Prinsengracht.

Museum Details.

The museum is open 7 days a week, year round, except Yom Kippur. From 9am-3:30pm, only advanced purchase ticket holders with a time slot are admitted. After 3:30, the cue begins. The closing time varies depending on the time of year, but you can check the hours at their website.

The prices for standard entry are 9€ for adults, 4.50€ for ages 10-17 and free for ages 0-9. With the added 30 minute introductory session the entry fee is 14€ for adults, 9.50€ for ages 10-17 and 5€ for ages 0-9.


We all live with the objective of being happy; our lives are all different and yet the same. -Anne Frank

Introductory Session.

The 30 minute introductory session gives the life story of Anne Frank in the context of the Second World War and the Holocaust. It also gives an overview of the museum prior to touring it. There is no photography allowed in the museum so I was surprised at the end of the introduction when we were allowed to take photos of the items in the room where the presentation is held.

You can see that the  story of Anne Frank is explained along the timeline above and the corresponding things happening under Hitler are shown along the bottom of the timeline. For my teenagers, most of this information was exactly what they were studying in history class. For me, it has been many years since I’ve had history classes and history was one of my weaker subjects.


No one has ever become poor by giving. -Anne Frank

I found the introductory session to be highly informative and am glad that the other tickets weren’t available so that this became my option.


Everyone has inside of him a piece of good news. The good news is that you don’t know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is! -Anne Frank.


The History.

I was born well after this time period so there will always be some level that I don’t understand, just as those born here in the U.S. who were babies or not yet born don’t have the same understanding and experience of 9/11 as mine.

For me, the time spent hearing this story prepared me for what lay ahead.

The deep sense of this horrific reality.

Nothing I write will fully convey the history as I am no history expert, but I hope to be able to bring you along as I journey through the museum.

One caution I would give is to know your level of claustrophobia. We discovered that two of our teenagers are claustrophobic. Theirs was more about being in crowded spaces. My claustrophobia has to with lack of access to fresh air and I felt fine through most of it.


I don’t think of all of the misery, but of all the beauty that remains. -Anne Frank

The Jewish began to have to wear these stars as a way of distinguishing them from the Nazis.


Whoever is happy will make others happy too. -Anne Frank

Their passports were stamped with a “J” to point out the fact that they were Jewish.

Jewish people could no longer own businesses so Otto Frank appoints his Dutch colleagues as the business owners and runs the business behind the scenes.


In the long run, the sharpest weapon of all is a kind and gentle spirit. -Anne Frank

When they receive a letter about what Margot will need to pack for a camp, they know that they will need to go into hiding.


You can always give something, even if it is only kindness. -Anne Frank


The secret annex.

If you are familiar with the story, then you know that they lived in the secret annex behind the bookcase. Since it was a secret area attached to the business, they had to be extremely quiet during the day lest anyone should hear them.

We would travel up a set of wooden stairs.

We would travel through some of rooms of the office building…

And then we would pass through the open bookcase.

The air in this space had a palpable feeling being separate.


You could sense what it would be like to try to have lived in this space. The quiet hush of the crowds as they walked along reading the plaques and looking at the items. Each footstep amplified by the wooden space and lack of voices to drown out any other noises.

How their hearts must have pounded in their ears if a chair accidentally scraped across the floor or somebody set a plate down a little too roughly.

Did they hold their breath when they heard the house settling in the night?

While in bed at night, did they cry silent tears in order to put on a brave face again the next day?

All these thoughts and more raced through my head as I wondered from room to room.

I have been a thirteen year old girl.

Miss Sunshine is now a thirteen year old girl.

And so I find that I place myself in Anne’s shoes (as I often do with the main character when I read a story).


I keep my ideals, because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart. -Anne Frank

But on the other side of the viewing platform was this commentary from the hubby.

“The museum was so powerful. I can’t imagine how Otto must have felt. To be a father,  the protector of the family, and be doing everything he could to keep his family safe and have the world keep closing in on them until they were caught and sent away to die.”

And then I see it through the lens of his eye.

And then I step in their mother’s shoes. The role of mothering teenagers is a role that I am becoming well versed in.


Parents can only give them good advice, or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands. -Anne Frank

But it was not just Anne Frank.

We were reminded that Margot also had a diary, but that it was never found.

Everyone had a story to tell and not just in this home.

This is just a tiny glimpse into what was happening. The systematic persecution and execution of an estimated six million Jews.

Six Million.

I walk from room to room. I read the words. I sense their fear.

I watch videos and hear the words of survivors.

I feel their pain for all those that they have lost.

I understand a little more than I did the day before.


I’ve found that there is always some beauty left — in nature, sunshine, freedom, in yourself; these all can help you. -Anne Frank

From here, we would walk to Oude Kerk. If you’ve read my post about that then you know it was a day packed with enlightment.

But in those moments after stepping outside of the Anne Frank House, before we began the next part of our journey, I looked across the canal at this vibrant city, and it was hard to believe that such horrific atrocities had taken place here.

But they did.

Preserve your memories, keep them well, what you forget you can never retell. -Louisa May Alcott

Let your light shine!



Friday Faves - Edition 23

Friday Faves – Edition 23



This week has been a strange week for me. But here we are at Friday! And I definitely have some faves to share today!

Big Mr was invited to go to Myrtle Beach with a friend (luuuckyyyy) and left on Saturday. He’ll finally return home sometime tomorrow. Mr. D is helping his dad rebuild the entry. And of course, as it is with most home projects, under the surface were more problems (I think there’s some kind of correlation to life in this truth). Anyways, its a big project, but they are making steady progress. Miss Sunshine has had a social-filled week.

On Monday and Tuesday, I was the decluttering queen. Purging left and right… mostly papers! I finished up the laundry (which is usually a never-ending cycle, so I was pleased as it would set Wednesday up quite nicely). I thought people might like to eat so I did a little grocery shopping.

Have you ever been at the store and something jump out and say you need to eat this? No, not chocolate! Something you think is a little strange that you’re craving and something you’ve had about twice in your life.

Well maybe you haven’t, but I did.


And it was radishes! Radishes! I thought they might be tasty on my salad. I almost didn’t get them, but I have a tendency to listen to my body. And if it said radishes, it must want some nutrient found in them.

I looked up their benefits and found that they contain folate, potassium, riboflavin, vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, vitamin B6, copper, manganese, and of course, fiber.

I’ve been adding them to my salads and they’ve been very tasty. I did not expect to like them because they can be hot. These happened to be pretty mild. What about you? Do you like radishes?

I’ve spent some time trying to learn the different controls on my Sony Alpha this week. I’m still having an issue figuring out how to change the aperture, so I will be digging into the operating manual. I was very used to my Nikon’s controls, so I was a little frustrated by not being able to have this camera do what I wanted.


Since my children weren’t around, Maverick got to be my test subject. However, sitting still when outdoors isn’t his strong point! But, oh my goodness! That face!

Speaking of faces…


Miss Sunshine mentioned facial masks. And it got me thinking… while not perfect, I am conscientious about her toxic load.

I remembered that I had won this skincare set by TruSelf Organics on an Instagram giveaway (and ya’ll, I never win anything!) It came in right before my trip to Europe and then life was busy so I haven’t had a chance to test it out.  I’m excited to try it because it says that its made with organic ingredients and has no parabens, no sulfates, no bad stuff. Perfect for my preferences for Miss Sunshine! And while I’m at it… me too.

Also, their products are cruelty-free and according to the FAQs, with the exception of their raw honey lip gloss, they are vegan-friendly.

Plus their mission is about #selflove. And I know that I could stand to learn a little about that!

I shared on yesterday’s post that I took Wednesday off.


I blew bubbles on the back porch every time I took the dog outside.

I stayed away from social media.

And the biggest reason that I stepped away from that space for the day was because I was beginning to base my self-worth on whether or not people liked me enough. It takes work to build something out of nothing. I get that. I have no problem with working hard. But the follow/unfollow game made me feel like I was a pawn in somebody’s game.  The up and down numbers, the need for constant usage to hope to be seen in the algorithm, basing the quality of my photography on whether I garnered enough likes… it made me feel like I was in high school again, hoping to be popular (for the record, I was not. I’ve even given serious thought to throwing out my yearbooks during my decluttering because of the negative memories they dredge up. But there were good times and good friends as well, so for now, they still remain on the shelf).

I needed to step back and assess whether I was still finding joy in social media.

I did post yesterday, but I will be conscientious in the future of what I’m allowing to have power over my thoughts. Positive thoughts lead to a positive life. Numerous studies show that what we tell ourselves about ourselves is what we come to believe.


My mother posted this photo of me in Glasgow on her Facebook page. And while I wanted to pick it apart because I am hypercritical of myself… I’m sharing it because of what she said:

Of all the photo’s I took in Scotland this is my personal favorite. It reminds me of “Audrey Hepburn” in a classic photo.

And so I decided to see myself through her eyes. 

And I felt beautiful.

Our words can have such an much impact on somebody’s life.


I decided to start collecting images or words to create a vision or dream board. Granted, I only have Yoga Journal magazines available right now, but the image on the left was the first that I tore out. That night, mere hours later, I kid you not, I walked into my room and the magazine on my nightstand was open to the page of the ad in the middle. I think the Universe is trying to tell me something. The only other photo I have so far is the long exposure shot of a rushing stream. It was a soothing photo. The article with it was quite interesting as well. It talked about how we shouldn’t meditate in complete silence because silence increases our instincts of listening for danger.

I wonder what photos I’ll end up adding.

Have you ever created a vision or dream board? Did you notice a pattern?

My song this week, I stumbled across some weeks ago. I’ve been waiting until the time I felt was the moment to share it. I looked up the inspiration behind the lyrics and found it’s about the human instinct of fear and conformity rather than risk. This version has people talking about “what it means to be human”. It speaks to my soul every time I watch it. I hope it speaks to yours as well.

As you go into the weekend, I hope that you’ll take a moment to have your eyes meet those of a stranger. An entire conversation of kindness and compassion can be had in just that moment.

Everyone wants to know they have worth.

Show them that they do.


Let your light shine!








What does your chill time look like?

What does your chill time look like?

Chill. Relax.


Where, or when, or how, or with whom, do you find this place?

That’s what Nikki over at Flying Through Water has asked us to ponder this week.

Originally, I thought I’d say yoga.

Yoga Namaste


I shared a little about how yoga has been transformative in my life in this post. My practice mainly consists of Bodyflow classes at my gym, which is similar to some power yoga that I have taken.

I’ve been considering doing more with my practice after finding that I really enjoyed my Pilates class that focused on breath work. I don’t often practice at home because I like the verbal cues that keep me focused on the present moment. I’ve even thought I would enjoy teacher training, not because I have any desire to teach, but because then I would learn more of the depth of yoga from somebody with knowledge.

Yes. I do find my chill in yoga. My moments in savasana center me.


But I also have other places that I find my chill. And recently, I spent some time pondering them. I know some people going through some heavy stuff and sometimes after turning their heavy stuff around in my mind (because turning and turning is what I do), I find myself needing moments to analyze the meaning of life.

To examine my life.

To just be.

Alex and Ani Seek Solitude bracelet

Here and Now.

And so yesterday… I just was.

I came home from Pilates and made Miss Sunshine breakfast. As I popped open the can of biscuits, I thought about how I should learn to make biscuits so there wouldn’t be all these strange ingredients. I watched as the bacon sizzled in my cast iron pan, waiting for it to get to the crispy, almost burnt way Miss Sunshine likes it. Then, I cracked open the egg, popped its yolk, waiting until I knew the moment to flip it over. Finally, I put it all on the biscuit for Miss Sunshine.

I helped Miss Sunshine gather her things to meet some friends. I dropped her off.

I came home and made my late riser, Mr. D, some breakfast. I watched the bacon sizzle, remembering to take it off well before my crispy preference. As I placed it on the plate, I watched as it still sizzled. Turning back to the stove, I cracked two eggs into the skillet, careful not to bust the yolk, watching for that moment to flip and finish out the over-medium eggs.

Social Detox.

I did not go on Instagram (which for me is rare) and spent little time in the blog world. I needed a break from the pressure of trying to achieve. I was very open in this post about how part of my blogging journey was about discovering a passion that would eventually yield some form of income. And sometimes, I need to step back and reassess if I’m still walking and spending time on the path that feels like a soul call.


I did not do any of my 20 minute bursts of decluttering.

I read and read and read.

Then, I studied some subjects of interest online and climbed deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole of my insatiable thirst for knowledge.

Blowing Bubbles.

I stood on my back porch while the puppy played with sticks and blew bubbles. I watched as the wind carried them and the sun made the magentas, and blues, and greens swirl round and round.

I was reminded of two photos taken while in Scotland.


An evening stroll took us onto the Royal Mile in Edinburgh. In the pedestrian area there were people everywhere. And amongst them, a man creating giant bubbles that the children loved to chase.

Bubble blowing of this magnitude is unusual to me. I do not live somewhere this is commonplace, and yet I also saw a man creating the same gigantic bubbles in Vondelpark while I was in Amsterdam.

For me, these moments create a connection in humanity.


That wherever we are, we find beauty and joy in something as simple as a bubble floating on the air.

As I thought about where I find my chill, I realized I find it in the little moments.

The moments where I am fully present.

The little moments that take my breath away.

The little moments that make me grateful to be alive.

Damselfly on a blade of grass

Personal Growth.

Yesterday somebody looked through quite a few of my old posts. I don’t know if they actually read them, but I went back and read quite a few of the ones they clicked on.

However, I can see how I’ve grown.

Yet, I can also see how I’m the same.

Ever deep in thought…always seeking the simplicity…learning to find the beauty in the chaos.


Let your light shine!



Murals of Glasgow

Murals of Glasgow


I’ve already shared that I absolutely loved Glasgow.

But in case you missed it… I loved Glasgow.

My time there was much too brief.

If you are new to my blog, during my week in Scotland, two days were to be spent in Glasgow. However, they were mainly to be a home base for some genealogy interests in some nearby small towns. After a train disruption, a change of plans was made for the Friday that we arrived. That afternoon my mother and I visited the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, which I shared about in this post.

The next morning we boarded a train to Shotts to watch the Highland Games. We thought that would be a nice trip because we have genealogical ties to Shotts [my 3rd great grandfather, Hugh McLachlan, who was born in 1835 in Glasgow was living in Shotts on the 1861 and 1871 census. He was listed as an Iron Miner, and a Coal Miner, respectively. I will also note that his sons Hugh, age 14, and James, age 12 are listed as coal drawers on the 1871 census. A coal drawer, or hurrier, transported the coal that had been mined to the surface.]

Upon our return to Glasgow, we decided the best way to see as much of Glasgow as possible was to take a sightseeing bus. We chose the hop-on hop-off version. I’m not big on tours where there is no escape. And that was when I discovered that some of the buildings in Glasgow have Street Art murals.



From atop the bus, I was only able to capture this giant mural in two separate shots.

The mural is called The Swimmer by the artist Smug. It was commissioned to commemorate the 2014 Commonwealth Games. It’s located at the Kingston Bridge.

Just a teaser, but Smug is also the graffiti artist who painted my favorite mural.

However, I’m saving that mural for last.

We exited the bus at St. Mungo Cathedral because I love a beautiful, old church. As was the case in two out of the three churches that I tried to visit, I just missed seeing the inside of the church. After viewing the outside, my aunt decided to catch the bus back to our starting location. I convinced my mother to walk through part of the  Necropolis with me. The Necropolis is the cemetery next to the church. Modeled on the Peré-Lachaise, it is estimated that 50,000 burials have taken place here.

But I’m getting sidetracked, and those places are a different tale.

We decided to head back to George Square to meet my aunt. We opted to walk…and I’m so glad that we did!


I did not know that Glasgow has numerous murals painted around the city, so each one was a delightful surprise for me.

My walk only included a few of what I later discovered was an entire trail of murals throughout the city.

I’m taking you in reverse order because I’m saving my favorite for last.

The mural above is called Hip-Hop Marionette. It’s located on John Street and the artist is Rogue-One, in collaboration with Art Pistol.  It draws its influence from the Beastie Boys and Run DMC.


The University of Strathclyde commissioned Wonderwall to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of its Royal Charter, which conferred its university status. Covering more than 1,000 square meters and several stories, it is the UK’s largest mural.

The artists are Rogue-One, and EJEK, in collaboration with Art Pistol.

This mural is on the Graham Hills building at 40 George Street.

This particular mural is titled The Lecture Theatre.

I spent some time trying to research the murals that I came across, but was not able to find the details for the mural of the acrobats?? to the left.


The mural, which is a collage of sorts, across the front of the building caught my eye with its many layers. I’m sure that the portraits are of notable people, but I’ve yet to discover who they are.

If you look across the bottom portion of the mural, you will see the T.A.R.D.I.S, which is a nod to the fact that the university archives hold papers of Verity Lambert, the founding producer of Dr. Who. The wall itself has its own hashtag listed on the mural, #strathwonderwall.

This girl blowing wishes upon a dandelion is what originally stopped me to photograph this mural.

I probably am just not looking for the right search terms, but I have not found what this represented. I will state that I thought she was blowing seeds that appeared to be the “X” on the Scottish flag and that the colors were the same as the Scottish flag. However, I have not found anything to verify this.

This mural, The Land Ship, depicts a mock up navigation bridge which was once used to teach at the School of Navigation in the Royal College.

Up next, is my favorite mural. Granted, I missed so many murals because I did not know about the City Centre Mural Trail until after I returned home and looked up the names of the murals that I did see. Seeing the rest is always a great excuse for a return trip!!

I first spied this mural while atop the sightseeing bus.

Saint Mungo.

Its located on High Street and the artist is Smug.

This mural captured my heart. I didn’t even know who it depicted until I began my google search. I just knew that I loved it and wanted to walk past it to get a closer look.

St. Mungo (his birth name is Kentigern) is the Patron Saint of Glasgow.

This mural is a depiction of a modern day version of the Saint.

I’m not sure which parts of his heritage are fact and which are folklore, but according to a manuscript held at the British Library his mother, Teneu was a 6th century princess. She became pregnant after being raped by Owain mab Urien.  Her father had her thrown off Traprain Law, but she survived. He then set her adrift in a coracle, which made landfall at Culross, and where Kentigern was born. He was raised by St. Serf who called him Mungo, which means “dear one”.



In order to be a Saint, you must have performed miracles in your lifetime. St. Mungo is said to have performed four miracles which are remembered in a poem:

Here is the bird that never flew

Here is the tree that never grew

Here is the bell that never rang

Here is the fish that never swam

This mural depicts the first miracle. St Serf had a wild robin that he had tamed. Some boys killed the robin and tried to blame it on Mungo. Mungo is said to have restored life to the robin.

What first drew me to the mural was the kindness expressed in his face. The creases at the corner of his eyes and the indentation of the cheek, pointing to the fact that if you could see underneath his mustache, I would suspect the corners of his mouth would be upturned into the beginning of a smile.

His red nose gives me comfort because I am almost always sporting a red nose. In the winter, I am Rudolph… In the summer, the slightest bit of sun goes straight to my nose. Quite often, I am annoyed by this traitor who makes my skin tone uneven. Since I rarely wear makeup, the redness shouts to the world about my sensitive skin.

He reminds me of a fisherman that you might see upon the docks on a cold, winter day. He looks like a hard worker… weather-worn, a bandage on his finger and yet has a soul gentle enough that a bird would alight upon his finger.

I did not know he was a Saint.

But he did speak to me up on that wall.

I recognized a man full of compassion and kindness.

And isn’t that the type of person that we should all strive to be?


Let your light shine!


* You can read about the other miracles here. This was my source for his birth story. Google will yield numerous sites with similar information. I have included links to those that I found to be consistent with all else I read.






Friday Faves Edition 22

Friday Faves – Edition 22


Do you ever have a week that seems like a blur?

My week was chaotic. There are still so many moving parts with decisions to make, things to complete, and places to be.

However, I did find beauty in those moments. Here are some of my faves for the week.


On Sunday, I met a girlfriend for coffee.

I’m not a person who needs lots of friends, but I do need some that I consider my safe zone. These are the friends with whom I can speak freely. I can tell them about my trials in parenting, talk about the personal stuff of marriages and relationships, and the details I tend to keep private about what’s going on in my life.

Without fear of judgement.

She is one of those friends.

We decided to go to Sweet Donkey Coffee which is in South Roanoke. It’s a cute little coffee shop that always has something going on. I’ve been wanting to go since it opened (some years back), but hadn’t been yet.

Why hadn’t I been yet, you ask?

Confession time: some of you may already have guessed, but… I don’t parallel park. It wasn’t required for a driver’s license in Florida and I find it very intimidating. I did discover that that is plenty of  places that I could pull along the street and just walk back a few blocks, but for that day, my friend picked me up and we rode together.

When I visit a place, I like to try something that I can’t get anywhere else. Sometimes it works out, others times not so much (like the Carbonara that I had in Paris, which I didn’t realize came with a raw egg on top).  I decided to try the lavender latte. It could have gone either way. I’ve had a lavender kombucha that was tasty, but I hated the floral macarons that I tried from Ladureé in Paris (I felt like I was eating perfume).

The latte turned out to be amazingly tasty. And we had a great time catching up on everything happening in our summer so far…so much so that it was a 3 1/2 hour visit.


My next fave doesn’t look so faveish (I don’t think that’s a real word) yet. Our home is wood frame. Wood rots over time. The wall and steps had finally gotten to the point where they need replaced.

Especially given that Feng Shui principles are that the entry to your home should be inviting. Rotted decking is not inviting.

The original entry was sheathed the same way as the house. The layout of the interior of the house is very contemporary and we have decided that we want light allowed through the railings. We haven’t completely formulated what that will look like.  I have been scouring through Pinterest and pinning things to my Pinterest page. I’m very excited about the prospect of a nice entry to the front door.


Some of the books that I had on hold at the library came in…actually a bunch came in at the same time. I haven’t started this one yet, but I love the title because that is what I have chosen to do. I kept wanting to find a different house (and we will still probably downsize once we have less kids at home) and I have decided that in this moment I need to embrace this one.

I am still working on my goals of simplicity / minimalism by decluttering. I’ve found that one of the things that works best for me is to set a 20 minute timer and work diligently in that location. Then I set the timer again in a different location. I work in as many of these 20 minute bursts as I can fit in around the other plans for my day. Sometimes I work on my bedroom closet, sometimes my office, sometimes the filing cabinet, and sometimes the garage or other specific area that is cluttered. The 20 minute bursts keep me from getting overwhelmed (and thereby paralyzed and unable to move forward) with the projects in front of me.

Of course, Maverick has kept me super busy. He had his first check with our veterinarian last Friday. Getting him at 14 weeks meant that he was behind on socialization so she told us to get him out as often and to as many locations as we can. We visited my mother-in-law and took him for a swim in the pool. He wasn’t in love with the pool, but he did love my mother-in-law (dogs know that she’d choose them over a human 😉 ).

While I was at coffee with my friend, Miss Sunshine and the hubby took Maverick to the dog park and then over to splash around in the Roanoke River.  He did love the river! 🙂

Getting him socialized, teaching him “sit”, and potty training have consumed quite a bit of the week. Yesterday, he went in for his final distemper shot. We also opted to get him the leptospiroris shot since he will be hiking and playing in the river. It ended up making him sore and I spent the day wondering if it was the shot or if he had fallen on the stairs when I wasn’t looking. By the end of the day, he was back to his normal, crazy self.


I don’t know if it was the fried foods, the alcohol, or just too much overindulgence, but I didn’t feel great after I got home from the beach. I decided to go back to having a glass of lemon water every morning to start the day.

Yes. Even before coffee.

yoga mat and bag

My shoulder was bothering me over the weekend, but I still decided to go to the gym.

On Monday, I went to Pilates. I take these as a group exercise class at my gym, not at a studio.

And I got called up in front of the class!

I was nervous because I wasn’t sure whether it was to correct my form or show that my form was correct. It ended up that I was doing it properly, keeping my shoulders in place and not using my trapezius which wants to take over on the specific exercise.

On Tuesday, I went to the new Bodyflow release (the yoga class that I take). It was release number 77, which I thought would bode well since that was the year that I was born. It was a great release, but there was a lot of shoulder work and I opted to do the “flip your dog” into a “wild thing” and finish out in the backbend. The back track also included scorpion push-ups and fireflies. I think on a good day I would have been sore because the other shoulder felt tired. But it was a little too much for the shoulder that was bothering me.

I decided to honor my body and take Wednesday off, even though I really wanted to be there.

Thursday, I felt better and went back to Bodyflow. I did not “flip my dog” and took the back track from my knees and skipped reps when I needed to skip them.

Today was Pilates. This instructor does not teach this class often at my gym. All the instructors have their own style. I knew this one focuses a lot on breath work. This is an area that I don’t work on often, but I know that it is so beneficial, so I knew that I wanted to go. It turned out to be the entire class focused on getting our breath into those spaces that we don’t often take it… into the back of our ribs, into the thoracic spine… it required such concentration that I was totally in that present moment for the entire class.

Just what I needed to realign my focus and head into the crazy life that I call mine.

Every day is a blessing. Embrace it fully.

I know I’m always hoping that your weekend is filled with sunshine, but if your days have been as hot as ours, I’m hoping for a little cloud cover 😉 But still wishing you lots of smiles and days filled with kindness.

Mountain sunset with ee cumming quote

Let your light shine!




The Millennium Clock at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh

The Millennium Clock


“Time and tide waits for no man”

Or as my husband is fond of saying: “Time waits for no one.”


Nikki at Flying through Water has asked us to think about time this week and the Weekly photo challenge is collage (an assortment, a collection).

While I was pondering what would photograph might best represent this, I was reminded of this piece of art at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh.

The Millennium Clock.


The museum label for The Millennium Clock states that it was made in Glasgow in 1999.

It is a collaborative effort of sculptor-mechanic Eduard Bersudsky, sculptor-furniture maker Tim Stead, Glass Artist Annica Sandstorm, Clockmaker Jürgen Tübbecke, and Illustrator Maggy Stead Lenert, under the artistic direction of Tatyana Jakovskay.

The piece commemorates the human suffering of the 20th Century.

It further explains that there are four sections: The Crypt, The Nave, The Belfry, and The Spire.

In the crypt, an Egyptian monkey turns the wheels which imprison an ancient spirit.

The Nave depicts humans caught up in the wheel of time, progress, war, politics, belief, and disappointment.


Above the figures of Lenin, Stalin, and Hilter (which act as a reminder of the worst aspects of the 20th Century), a pendulum swings, supporting the figure of death. The are also character which celebrate better times.

In the Belfry, there are twelve figures, each representing a calendar month. Each figure also represents a hardship or tragedy that has afflicted humanity…war, famine, slavery, persecution…

The Circle of Death.


The clock face, contemporary in its glass design, stands in stark contrast to the rest of the piece.

I don’t have a photo of the top, other than looking closely at the the first photo. The final component of the clock is The Spire.

Atop the spire is a female figure holding a dead man. It symbolizes mourning and compassion for humanity.

The clock chimes every hour on the hour. I’ve included the video if you care to watch. Originally, I planned to share it on my Instagram story, so that is why it is not filmed in landscape.

Time is a finite things for us humans.

I think it’s best spent being kind.

I think it’s best spent practicing gratitude for the positives in your life instead of dwelling on the negatives.

I think it’s best spent offering love and smiling at every opportunity.

The next breath is not promised.

Time is a precious commodity.

How are you using yours?


Let your light shine!





Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow, Scotland

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

Glasgow, Scotland

Oh how I love thee.

When I traveled to Scotland with my mother and aunt at the end of May, we broke up the trip into 3 stays… 2 nights in Edinburgh (since that’s where the plane was landing), 2 nights in Glasgow, and then 3 nights in Edinburgh (since we were flying out from here). While we were trying to plan the trip, we had no idea what we would truly accomplish given that we were relying on public transportation. Since Edinburgh had easy access for our day up to Stirling Castle and a lot of well known spots to visit, we made that our longer home base.

Our trip to Glasgow was mainly genealogy based. We knew that we’d take the train to Airdrie to visit the library there and walk the streets that my great-great grandparents (Agnes McLachlan & James Scott) had walked. We knew that Agnes’s father, Hugh McLachlan, was born in Glasgow, but most of the ancestry information we had at the time was from small towns surrounding Glasgow.

We arrived in Glasgow on a Friday morning and took our bags to the hotel. We had purchased our train tickets to Airdrie along with our train to Glasgow that morning prior  to leaving Edinburgh. There are two train stations in Glasgow, Central Station and Queen Street Station. We had arrived at Queen Street so that is where we returned to head to Airdrie. We didn’t see it listed so asked an attendant who told us that we needed to leave from Central Station.  They aren’t too far apart so we walked there and again no train to Airdrie. It did indeed run from Queen Street, but there was a service disruption. I went through the process of getting our tickets refunded, all the while conscious that my mother was on the verge of tears. This was our only day to get to Airdrie from Glasgow since the research library is only open Tuesday through Friday. Over lunch, we decided to make the trip from Edinburgh to Airdrie on Tuesday and to make the most of the time that we had in Glasgow.

We could already tell that the architecture was stunning. There is a palpable difference between Glasgow and Edinburgh, even in the architecture. I can’t put my finger on it because I am not a historical or architectural expert. The only way I can describe the difference with the architecture would be that Glasgow’s is “more imposing” or “masculine” and even that would not properly explain it.

My mother and I decided to visit the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. After the exhausting morning, we planned to take a taxi. However, we walked a block too far past the taxi stand. So a mile and a half walk it was! As we got close, our approach brought us through Kelvingrove Park, which was originally created as the West End Park in 1852.


The Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is located on the west end of the city.

We entered from the Park side. There are also elevators located here.

Kelvingrove Art Galley and Museum first opened in 1901. In 2003, it underwent a refurbishment and reopened in 2006.


The first piece that we came upon was Floating Heads by Sophie Cave.

I had previously seen that this sculpture was located at the Kelvingrove.

Over 50 heads with different facial expressions suspended from the ceiling of the foyer.


And while the masks are white, the lighting accenting them changes colors and makes you notice something different about them each time.


Also, once you start climbing the the grand staircase to the second floor, you begin to notice the different expressions of those faces at the higher levels.

Kelvingrove contains 22 galleries and displays 8,000 objects.

We did not even begin to have time to take in all of the astonishing collections.

There were works by the Scottish artists, collectively known as the Glasgow Boys. There was beautiful sculpture by George Lawson. I spied a Rembrandt as well as one  of their most well-known pieces… Christ of St. John of the Cross by Salvador Dali. I have not typically been a fan of Dali because Surrealism is just not my preference, but I did love this piece.


That’s one of the things that I love about art. There are endless ways to create. We will be drawn to some and not to others. We may stand in the same room as another human who loves what we perceive as unattractive.

I’m not a fan of pretending to know what the artist or writer intended from their work unless they have specifically shared their intent. At that point, your opinion is subjective and no more correct than anyone else’s. I am, however, a fan of finding art that I find to be beautiful… whether that be in words, on a canvas, in a photo, in music, in architecture, or in the way that nature creates a scene so spectacular that we could only begin to fathom creating something as divine.


The Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is amongst the top three free-to-enter visitor attractions in Scotland, and one of the most visited museums in the United Kingdom outside of London.

We left the Museum because it was closing. Otherwise, we would have spent many more hours strolling around. We exited on the Argyll Street side.

The building is stunning in its coloring and architectural details.

The beautiful red sandstone came from the Locharbriggs Quarry in Dumfries, Scotland. The architecture combines a variety of styles, but is most commonly referred to as Spanish Baroque. It is a category ‘A’ listed building.



Besides a slight crop, neither of these two exterior shots from Argyll Street have had any post-processing. I attribute this both to the amazing light and to my Sony Alpha 7II, which produces crisp shots even when shooting hand-held.

Sometimes we would imagine our family walking these streets of Glasgow. We thought perhaps that sometimes there would be a reason to come to the big city. Since then we’ve found that my 3rd great-grandfather, Hugh McLachlan’s parents (Hugh McLachlan and Mary McLachlan) were married in Glasgow on October 7, 1827. At the time, Hugh is listed as a Seaman. Given that the Hugh that is my 3rd great-grandfather was born in Glasgow in 1835, it would appear that my 4th great-grandparents did indeed walk the streets of Glasgow for some time. I’ve not found the death records for Hugh or Mary, but at the time of Hugh’s (3gg) death in Airdrie in 1881, his deceased father’s occupation was listed as a Private Coachman.

Perhaps he never left Glasgow?

No wonder Glasgow felt so much like home.

Next time I return, I will definitely spend more than two days in Glasgow.

From the Kelvingrove, we would walk to the grounds of the University of Glasgow… but that’s for another day.

Let your light shine!