Doors of Amsterdam

Doors of Amsterdam


Keepers of mysteries.

Releasers into the great unknown.

As I walked along the streets of Amsterdam, some doors would catch my eye. Whether it was the door itself or the architecture surrounding.

I am a village boy, and Amsterdam for me was always the big town.

| Anton Corbijn

A great fire burns within me, but no one stops to warm themselves at it, and passers-by only see a wisp of smoke.

| Vincent Van Gogh

It is better to fail with your own vision than to fail with another man’s vision.

| Johan Cruijff

Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow; it empties today of its strength.

| Corrie Ten Boom

A work is finished when the artist realizes his intentions.

| Rembrandt


For more doors from around the world be sure to check out Thursday Doors with the surprise guest host this week.

Quotes this week are from the Dutch who spoke them.

….except Winnie the Pooh

…but… the photo is Amsterdam…and c’mon, Winnie the Pooh and Piglet are beacons of wisdom.

I didn’t write down the street names as I captured these doors, but if you know where they are feel free to shout it out in the comments!

Life is a journey to be experience, not a problem to be solved. -Winnie the Pooh

Let your light shine!


Behind the Lens - This is 40

Behind the Lens – This is 40

September 12, 1977.

2:41 p.m.

Naples Community Hospital, Naples, Florida, USA.

That would be the moment when I would make my grand entrance into this world.


I am 40.

This age that felt so ancient in the days of my youth. This age that feels so young now that I am standing here.

Hurricane Irma has wreaked havoc on my hometown. I shared my thoughts from the other side of the storm in yesterday’s post. For as long as I can remember my mother has sang me “Happy Birthday” today. When I became a young woman and left the folds of her nest, she would call and begin singing as soon as I said “Hello?”. I wondered about today…would this day…this milestone in my life…be the one exception?

It was not.

She found a signal on her drive into the city and sang to me on this special day of mine.


I am a fan of being behind my lens.

Time has tried to steal my comfort with the aging process.

So today, I am sharing a series of photos taken of me behind the lens. Photos taken by my mother and my husband. Photos that I’m often not aware of until a later time. Photos of me feeling confident and strong as I learn to share what my eyes see through the lens of my camera. Photos taken by people who love me and believe in me even when I do not believe in myself. Photos of me as I press outside of my comfort zone…as I grow…as I learn who I am outside of wife…mother…daughter…sister…friend. Photos taken over this past year or so as I marched toward this day…this milestone…this moment of 40.


One of my happy places. River Palm Cottages | Jensen Beach, Florida.

To see things from the other side of the lens, check out this older post of mine.

On an excursion off of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Niagara Dam | Roanoke, Virginia.

To see things from the other side of the lens, check out this post.

A successful hiking day. Dragon’s Tooth | Catawba, Virginia

Hiking Dragon’s Tooth. | Catawba, Virginia

To see things from the other side of the lens, check out this post.


Every step…every decision…has brought me to this point…today I step into my 40's…stronger…more confident…and more resilient than I have ever been . .This is one of my favorite photos of me in front of a camera. It was taken, unbeknownst to me, by my husband during a visit to the Taubman on an outing in downtown Roanoke to celebrate our anniversary in April 2016 . . .#thisis40 #seekthesimplicity #theglobewanderer #roamtheplanet #sheisnotlost #stayandwander #LoveVA #virginiacities #blueridgeday #darlingescapes #abmlifeiscolorful #ihavethisthingwithcolor #lifeofadventure #liveauthentic #wearetravelgirls #dametraveler #travelstoke #traveldiaries #thehappynow #fromwhereistand #exploretocreate #visualsoflife #welivetoexplore #exploremore #lifestyleblogger #letsgosomewhere #ipulledoverforthis #itsamazingoutthere #ladiesgoneglobal #suitcasetravels

A post shared by Amy Lyon Smith (@amy.lyon.smith) on



A brief foray into Notre Dame. | Paris, France.

Miss Sunshine was very ill this day. Our visit brief. I haven’t shared the photos from the other of side of the lens as of yet. If you’d like to see a few of my photos from Paris you can check out this post.


Another beautiful place to see.  Palace of Versailles | Versailles, France.

To see the palace from the other side of the lens, check out this post.


One of my favorite places at the Palace of Versailles was the Hamlet of Marie Antionette. | Versailles, France.

So far, I’ve only shared photos of the Hamlet on Instagram, but if you’d like to see more of the Palace from the other side of the lens, check out this post.


Taking photos of the Eiffel Tower. | Paris, France

This was a walk-by opportunity only, for a shot from the other side of the lens, check out this post.


Walking amongst Scotland’s history. Stirling Castle. | Stirling, Scotland.

To see the castle from the other side of the lens, check out this post.


Atop the roof of Princes Street Suites. | Edinburgh, Scotland

I’ve not shared about the actual hotel, but I’ve shared numerous photos from the other side of the lens about my travels to Scotland. To see some of Edinburgh from the other side of the lens, check out this post and this post

To see more from Scotland, use the search tool on the home page. Hint: there’s quite a few from Glasgow as well.


My last outing. End of summer. | Carolina Beach, North Carolina.

To see a few shots from the other side of the lens, check out this post. If you’re looking for the sunset, you can find of those in this post or on Instagram.

If hope that you’ve enjoyed a little walk behind this lens with me.

I’m off to see what 40 has in store for me.


Let your light shine!


Walking Around Holyrood Abbey in Edinburgh Scotland

Walking Around Holyrood Abbey in Edinburgh, Scotland

When I traveled to Scotland, one of the things that I was hoping to see was the ruins of an Abbey.

I was a little disappointed that our timeline was not going to leave room to head south of Edinburgh to see the “Four Border Abbeys” [Kelso Abbey, Melrose Abbey, Dryburgh Abbey, and Jedburgh Abbey].

After our experience of touring the city of Glasgow using the hop-on hop-off bus tour, we decided that when we returned to the second stay in Edinburgh we would also purchase a hop-on hop-off bus tour there.

We ended up opting for the 48-hour Royal Edinburgh ticket because it gives you fast track admission to Edinburgh Castle, The Royal Yacht Britannia, and the Palace of Holyroodhouse along with the hop-on hop-off bus tours.

I had not done much research on the Palace of Holyroodhouse prior to our trip,so it was a delightful surprise to learn that there was an Abbey and that we would be able to tour it with our admission to the Palace.

The Holyrood Abbey was founded by King David I in 1128.

The Legend is that King David was hunting nearby during Feast of the Cross. He was thrown from his horse after it was startled by a stag. The King was saved from being gored by a miraculous appearance of a cross that caused the stag to back down.

Rood means cross, hence the name being “Holy Cross”.

The original Abbey church was constructed for the Augustinian Canons.

Holyrood Abbey was the site for the coronations of James II in 1437, Margaret Tudor in 1504, Mary of Guise in 1540, Anne of Denmark in 1590, and Charles I in 1633.

There are also royals and non-royals interred at the abbey.

The photo above is of a vault.

The sign reads:

“This simple vault was built after the eastern part of the Abbey Church, enclosing the Royal tombs was destroyed by the English army in 1544. Here were placed the coffins of James V. Magdalen his first Queen and his infant sons by his second marriage to Mary of Guise. In 1688 the tomb was violated during the riots at the end of James VII’s reign and its contents were left in disorder. In 1898 Queen Victoria ordained a repair of the vault and the remains of those previously interred her were re-buried in one coffin. The Vault also contains the coffin of Mary of Guilders, Queen of James II, which was moved in 1848 from Trinity Church in Edinburgh.”

Some Royal weddings also took place here.

Of course, one of the most famous marriages to take place happened in 1565, when Mary, Queen of Scots wed Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley.

Although the Abbey is in ruins, it still showcases some impressive architecture in the structure that remains.

If you are interested in some of my other wanderings around Scotland, be sure to check out the other posts under the travel category of the blog!

I was very happy that we opted to tour the Palace rather than just admire the exterior.

Have you toured the Palace of Holyroodhouse? If so, what was your favorite part?

If you’ve ever visited the ruins of an Abbey, which one is your favorite?

I hope to get back to Scotland again someday and am curious what you would consider “can’t miss” sites.

Let me know!

Let your light shine!



wpc: structure

Street Corners of Amsterdam

Street Corners of Amsterdam

One thing that I’ve noticed about traveling to new places is that around every corner there are exciting things…unfamiliar and yet, exhilarating.

So today, I thought we’d take a stroll around the street corners of Amsterdam.

Amsterdam was the first place that my feet trod on foreign soil (outside of the German airport layover…but we’re talking “literal” soil).

If you’ve been reading my blog for sometime then you know that I traveled to Amsterdam this past April… a mere 4 1/2 months ago.

If you’d like to read some of my other posts from Amsterdam, you can find a few here, here, and here.

One of my favorite things to do in a new city is to just stroll along the streets.

I love to see the architecture.

Europe has much older architecture than in the United States so it was a treat to see the historical buildings as I walked along in Amsterdam.

While I admire architecture, I am not well versed in recognizing the period in which the styles came into construction. History, as well as geography, were never my strong subjects. I was a math and science girl with a little creative writing thrown in to round me out. It wasn’t until I became interested in traveling that I began to take interest in history and geography. Given that I’m still new to foreign travel, I have quite a bit to learn.

Amsterdam’s history dates back to the 13th Century.

At the time of my visit, I did not realize that I too have a history that winds its way through the streets of Amsterdam.

My 10th great-grandfather was Jan Frans Van Husum (Van Hoesen, Van Huss, Vanhooser). He was from Husum in Schleswig, which was part of Denmark at the time. He married Volkje Jurrians from the island of Nordstrand. Little is known about them prior to their marriage, but there was a great flood in 1634 that was devastating to Nordstrand and the coast of Denmark, including the city of Husum.

They were married in 1639 in Amsterdam and were living on Tuinstraat.  Little did I know while I was visiting the Anne Frank House, that across the canal and up a bit, once had lived my 10th great-grandparents. I do not know how long they lived in Amsterdam prior to their marriage, but a few months later they would set sail for America.

They sailed for New Amsterdam, which was the southern tip of Manhattan.

In 1662, he would purchase hundreds of acres around Claverack from the Mohicans.

He was the first of his name to come to America. All variations of his last name eventually make his way back to him and Volkje.

My line would make it’s way down to North Carolina and eventually Kentucky. I once read that the family name change from Van Hooser to Van Hoose was a disagreement between brothers over sides during the Revolutionary War. There are those much more knowledgeable than me into the genealogical history of the name that would know the details.  My 6th Great- Grandfather was John B. Van Hoose who was married to Mary Bryan. There is great debate and mystery over her heritage as the Van Hoose’s did travel to Kentucky with the likes of the Boone’s and Bryan’s.

But, nonetheless, that heritage that would travel to my maternal grandmother, Reva Van Hoose, would start with a marriage that took place in Amsterdam.

I wonder what the street corners looked like as they strolled along them?

Did they wave hello to Rembrandt as they made their way across town?

Did they stop and admire tulips or were they not in Amsterdam prior to the Tulip Bubble burst of 1637?

Street corners hold thousands of daily tales.

Do yours have any to tell?

Let your light shine!



wpc: corner

Back to School

Back to School

Today was back to school day for my teenagers.

It’s always such a bittersweet day for me.

On one hand, I’m happy to get back into routine…and have some silence.

On the other, it marks a moment in time of being one step closer to having my little birds fly from my nest.

I have taken “first day of school” photos from the moment their tiny fingers left my grasp to enter into the preschool building.

Miss Sunshine wasn’t sure if she was riding to school with a friend. When she discovered that she was, there was a mad dash to collect her backpack and race out the door.

I grabbed my camera to snap a photo before she raced away. I forgot that I had been playing with the camera the day before and the settings were completely incorrect for this shot.

I quickly tried to switch to auto mode for one last chance…

I didn’t make it.

I’ve already told her, that after school she will have to pose so that I can to collect my memory shot.

However, for me, this photo sums up this phase of my motherhood.

This passage of time.

Like a river flowing.


Fighting the distractions as I try to breathe these moments into my soul.

My children are becoming more and more independent.

As they should.

I am keenly aware of the marking of days until Big Mr. will leave the confines of high school. I have heard that his his Senior year will fly by.

And as it does, those days will sweep my other two children along as well.

Suddenly, we will be at the precipice,  looking out at the horizon, and my first bird will be flying. Mr. D will see his moment. He will be there in eager anticipation knowing that he is only a year behind. And on that precipice, even Miss Sunshine will see the changes. A brother leaving, the other one planning his flight, and her entering into high school.

Too soon they will no longer be my little birds.

This fleeting phase of motherhood coming to an end.

I think about that future…

Who will they become?

Who will I become?

But for today, I will breathe and sit with the present.

I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will. -Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre

Let your light shine!




WPC:Ooh, Shiny