Category Archives: Culture

Ramadan Mubarak [2014]

Wishing you all a wonderful Ramadan with family and loved ones.

Remember, Kuwait is an Islamic country and eating, drinking, chewing gum, or public displays of affection could result in a month in jail, a 100 KD fine, or both. Be respectful of the law and those who are fasting.

We’ll be celebrating the Holy month in America and I’m already looking forward to preparing fu6oor for my wonderful husband 5 days a week (we’ll be eating out the other 2 days). We just had a fabulous graish together while discussing some things we plan to focus on this month. I’m so blessed to be spending my life with one of the kindest, most compassionate, generous, empathetic people I know.

Ramadan-Mubarak-2014-B

Ramadan is coming! [2014]

Every year around this time I get super excited about Ramadan. I always love the preparations; having dara’a made (loving the Emirati ones this year), preparing the menu, reviewing fasting times, and shopping for necessities. Ramadan is also the time of year when families gather more often than just Fridays. I miss that! Though a handful of locals may vacation during Ramadan, the more devout, family oriented will opt to stay in the country and embrace Ramadan on every level.

My husband and I will be in America for Ramadan this year but we’re already starting to prepare and review our upcoming schedules to ensure we make the most of the month. It’s always a special time of year for us — regardless of where we are. Though there’s absolutely no sign of Ramadan here in America, we’ve decided we’re actually going to seek out some gatherings and events this year. Should be interesting.

I’ve always felt that we should be the best people we can be the entire year, not just 30 days of it. But Ramadan is a time when we’re more conscientious of our actions and have the opportunity to develop new, more positive habits. We all have room for growth. As Iv’e said many times before, it’s almost a month of meditation for me… and it’s nice.

My ex-husband abducted the children and took them to Saudi Arabia [Saudi Gazette]

I stumbled across this article in the Saudi Gazette today and felt it imperative I share it with my readers. Especially since I get so many emails from young American women who have fallen in love with, and considering marriage to Saudi students studying in America.

In the beginning of any relationship we all think our love is unique from others. Where other women might have suffered with their husband, we never will because our husband is so different and our love is so much stronger than others. Being in love is a fabulous feeling, but being realistic is equally important. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the words and feelings and forget about protecting ourselves while believing our husbands will always be our protector. But that’s a terrible mistake. What if your husband doesn’t end up being the Prince Charming you once thought he was? What harm is there in taking steps to protect yourself ‘just in case’?

As much as I love my husband and as wonderful as he’s always been… I’m still very protected by the steps I took. Yes, I love him dearly and trust him more than I’ve ever trusted anyone. But that’s not a guarantee of ‘forever’. Should anything happen and our marriage doesn’t last sure I’ll be heartbroken just like anyone would be at the end of a marriage. But I’ll take great comfort in knowing the only challenges I’ll need to overcome will be emotional. I’ll still own homes, cars, businesses, and be financially compensated. It’s a heck of a lot easier to get over a broken heart while you have a roof over your head and money in the bank.

So, for all of you young women considering marriage to a foreigner, please read the article below. Her situation is not uncommon. As a matter of fact, I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard similar stories… and we’ve all seen the movies.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Jessica and we hope her children are returned to her soon. I can’t imagine the loss and emptiness she must be feeling.

[Saudi Gazette]

“My three children, all under the age of eight, were abducted by my Saudi ex-husband on Nov. 24, 2013 and were taken to Saudi Arabia. When I’m asked in America why I married a man from Saudi Arabia, my response is always the same: “You can’t help who you fall in love with.” But my advice to anyone wishing to marry someone from a different country, a different culture, is to really think about how these differences will impact your marriage.

I always tried to look at the positives. Our children had a unique and beautiful opportunity to get the best of both worlds, expand their horizons and be exposed to the rich cultures of their parents’ heritage.

But I never thought about what would happen if our marriage didn’t work out. When you are in love, it’s hard to think: “What will happen to the children if we get divorced?” No one wants to think of divorce.

I became a Muslim in the summer of 2001. I then met and fell in love with a young Saudi student, and we married early in 2002. I thought, as many young women who are in love thought, that we would be able to handle any conflicts together. We discussed the differences in our backgrounds, but I dismissed any idea that I wouldn’t be able to live with him anywhere, as long as we were together.

I thought I was prepared when I moved to Jeddah in the summer of 2003. I was Muslim, it was a Muslim country. I was committed to my husband and to Islam. But the culture shock crept up on me, as I’m sure it has crept up on many. I became increasingly isolated and lonely.  I felt that I was letting down my husband with my unhappiness, and he acted like he agreed.

Our lives progressed and in the summer of 2012, my husband resigned from his job to accept a scholarship for his master’s degree in the US. I was content. I settled into homeschooling our older two sons. Our youngest son, developmentally delayed due to a congenital defect, was getting all the therapy he needed. I was close to my family. My husband was doing well in school. Our children were shining beacons of beautiful, open, friendly Muslims, better dawah (call to Islam) than I could ever give on my own.

But then, late in October of 2012, my world shattered. My husband came to me with an announcement. He had decided to take a second wife. I was shocked and then outraged when he told me the wedding would take place in five days, to a young woman who had become a Muslim only weeks earlier. I begged, pleaded with my husband not to rush into this marriage. We had been married for nearly 10 years and I did not believe I could live in a polygamous marriage.

We ended up separating. Through the pain of the destruction of my marriage, I wanted only what was best for our children. He assured me that he would always take care of them, that he would stay in America with his new American wife.

But things became increasingly strained between us. I felt that he became more controlling, irrational, and erratic as time went by. It was after I didn’t have enough money to buy groceries for our children and I became fearful of his actions towards me that I sought relief through the courts for child support and an official custody agreement.

We shared custody in the US, and negotiated the terms of an Islamic parenting plan, a contract, that scheduled travel to Saudi Arabia during the school holidays. This custody agreement was nearly done by the fall of 2013. He made every indication that he agreed with the arrangements. And then the worst night of my life happened. The children were supposed be dropped off at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 24, after a regular visit to their father and new stepmother. But he never showed up. I texted, called, desperate to find the boys, with no response. I called hospitals, police, as I was worried about an accident. It was hours later that I found out that my children had left on a Saudi Airlines flight at 5:55 p.m. I literally fell to the floor in fear and grief. My children, who had never spent more than a night away from me, were gone. I had loved them and cared for them before they were even born. I had only ever wanted to do what was right for them. And they were stolen from me.

No one wants to think about divorce, about what will happen if their partner doesn’t honor the mother of his children and doesn’t respect the right of young children to remain with their mother. My children have been kept from me for six months. I have been trying, from the day they were taken, to either get them back, or get to them in Saudi Arabia. My ex-husband has refused mediation attempts. I have been trying to find help in any way possible.

The US government has filed kidnapping charges against my ex-husband and his new wife, who was recently arrested and charged with assisting in the kidnapping while traveling back to the US. Even more recently, I had a meeting with the Saudi Consulate in the US and I’m hoping for the best.

But meanwhile, the children live without their mother. They do not wake up to me making them breakfast. We do not take walks through the yard and learn about the things that live there. We do not sit together and read stories of the Prophets and Islamic poetry. We do not snuggle up at night before bed, reading and talking about our days. My house, once full of love and laughter, is quiet and empty.”

Grove Park Inn [Asheville, NC]

Before coming to the US I had a mental list of the places and things I really wanted to show my husband. Some were as simple as the local Walmart and others were a bit more ‘destination’. That really is one of the greatest things about America… every state has something truly awesome to offer and something amazing to see,

My mother was born and raised in Asheville, NC and much of her family is still there. My early childhood was spent there and I’ve always had such fond memories of our life there and many visits back for holidays and reuinions. So getting my husband to Asheville was definitely on the list. What to do and where to stay were no-brainers.

The Grove Park Inn is one of the finest hotels in the world. It’s been used as location for several movies and frequented by some of the world’s VIPs. Yet it manages to maintain such a sense of intimacy. As a guest of the Grove Park Inn you feel as if you’re the only person staying there. Their service is unmatched and everyone is made to feel like their need is the highest of priority.

Grove Park Inn

Grove Park Inn

 

Their Spa (with a variety of services for singles and couples) is voted one of the top 20 resort spas in the US by Condé Nast Traveler, while their golf course is said to be one of the finest in the world.

“Pamper yourself in our $50 million 43,000-square-foot subterranean spa featuring cavernous rock walls, arches, tunnels and 20 water features. The main pool area features two therapeutic waterfall pools, a warm mineral pool and lap pool with 6,500 fiber-optic stars embedded in the ceiling and constant underwater music. Enjoy exhilarating contrast pools, an inhalation room and eucalyptus-infused steam room. The 10 pools are mineral-based and chlorine-free, containing trace minerals of sodium, potassium, magnesium and zinc. Three fireside lounges await you with overstuffed chairs, warm blankets, light snacks, hot organic teas and herbal infused waters. And step outside to enjoy fireplaces, whirlpool, and a tiered outdoor terrace with panoramic mountain views.”

“Our historic course was designed by Donald Ross and has played host to numerous PGA Tour events. Golf legends like Harry Vardon and PGA stars, including Bobby Jones, Ben Hogan and Jack Nicklaus, have played here. Even President Obama played a round in 2010. “

The interior and exterior of the hotel is breathtaking. Every detail is attended to. And nothing gets missed. Fresh flowers, roaring fires, and someone always willing to make sure your needs are met. To me this is the Emirates Palace of North Carolina but with a much more welcoming feel.

For the perfect romantic getaway the Grove Park Inn is still the place to go. It really is the epitome of classic elegance.

You can find all of their contact information on their website found here.

“Doubts Over Mixed Marriages” — Highly offensive article

While reading the Kuwait Times this morning I came across an article written by Muna Al-Fuzai which I find to be offensive, obtuse, and outright presumptuous.

When writing or sharing stories, we can only discuss what we have knowledge of. We can really only share personal experiences or something we’re intimately familiar with. Therefore, I have to question who her ‘source’ is. The story is written to be outright degrading to Western women to the point that it comes across bitter.

 

“This is the latest trend in marriages in Kuwait among expatriate women and Arab Muslim men! I’m not against mixed marriage, but I have my doubts over the success of these kinds of marriages, especially if each party has his or her own agenda to hook themselves to a stranger into a serious bond like marriage. (What agenda? Marrying someone they’ve fallen in love with?)

The Islamic marriage goes this way; the female is a Christian woman in her late forties, fifties or above, with no family back home or a spouse waiting. The male is a Kuwaiti or Arab man. The man, of course, has been married once if not several times. (I have never been a Christian, nor am I in my late 40′s, 50′s or above. My husband has never been married before and certainly not ‘several times’. He doesn’t have any other wife than me. This is the case with most Western women I know who are married to men from Kuwait. I would love to know her source for this statement.)

For them, it is an easygoing marriage in which they don’t have to spend much money and fulfils their fantasies of getting married to a Western woman with blue eyes and blonde hair. (I don’t have blonde hair or blue eyes. I was given exactly what is expected in the Kuwaiti culture, and probably even more since we had 2 cultural traditions to satisfy; gold, diamonds, dowry, marriage ceremonies on both sides of the world, houses, cars, etc. The difference is, I asked for NONE of it, nor did I expect it and even respectfully declined many things. I didn’t marry my husband for money, I married him for love. Should there come a day he can’t provide a comfortable life I certainly won’t be leaving him. Again, I believe every Western woman married to an Arab man [that I know] feels the same way.)

In fact, the men feel that they are undertaking a noble mission because these women convert to Islam in order to marry these Muslims men. Men feel proud, and the women could not find a better source to cover their expenses, needs and a secure shelter in case she is lucky to get pregnant and have a baby. (Cover their expenses? I thought we were cheap? Which is it? Writing an article with a number of contradicting statements show lack of research and/or limited sources. Resulting in an article based on emotion. Very poor writing at best. Oh, and lucky to have a baby?! Girrrrllll, put down that pipe.)

According to some of the sources, these woman are most likely homeless back home and broke. So they use Islam to solve their personal troubles. And this is why I reject and deny these kinds of marriages. (Homeless and broke? I’m a graduate degree holder from one of the most respected universities in the world. I’m proud to say I’ve always held lucrative positions of importance and eventually started my own company. While I do agree, there are many US contractors working in Kuwait making a ‘fair’ salary who are marginally educated and have no hopes of making a similar salary back home. Yet that doesn’t mean they’re broke or homeless. Nor does it mean they’re seeking to gain financially by marrying a man from Kuwait.)

In fact, most of the men, especially the Kuwaitis, don’t reveal their marriages with these women to their families and first, second and possibly third wives. (My husband’s family knew about me before they met me and long before we were married. They welcomed me with open arms and embraced me as part of their family. This is the case with the majority of those I’m familiar with as well. Except for one who has promised to marry a woman for years yet continues to hide her from his family.)

The fact that these women accept to stand in line with other women shows how desperate they are and I can’t blame the man because legally he is permitted to have four wives, but ethically I have never witnessed any successful marriage of this kind, Arabs or otherwise. (Of all the Western women I know in Kuwait who are married to locals, none of them are a 2nd, 3rd, or 4th wife [me included]. And though they’re all Muslim [many long before marriage] they are very clear they prefer to be the only wife… period. However, I am quite familiar with many Kuwaiti and other Arab women who are perfectly happy being in a multiple wife marriage.)

I can find an excuse for a Muslim woman to be in such a marriage due to the conservative nature of society, customs and tradition, but I fail to understand why any Western woman would come all the way to Kuwait just to be in such a marriage. (If by ‘Western’ she’s referring to Christian women why doesn’t she also address the fact that Christianity doesn’t recognize or allow multiple wife marriages?)

Islam is present all over the world, and she can find any Muslim man back home. It is a kind of unethical manipulation under the name of Islam. In our life today, we are witnessing some who use Islam to achieve their personal goals. Terrorists kill innocents under the name of Islam & they think they are serving their religion and some use their bodies to fulfil the needs of a man whom she would not even consider if she was in her twenties and had money. (What about the men who study abroad in the West and use Islam as their tool to manipulate women in their 20s who have money? Why is the man the victim? Because the woman is Western?)

These women accept these arranged marriages and live under stress just because of their needs. This kind of stress leads to many mental illnesses and more stress on the man who may put then put pressure on his kids or his other wives. I think there is a regulation about Kuwaiti men who marry non- Kuwaitis.

I wonder if it is ever implemented. The increase of such marriages has more negative outputs than good, and yet we are still watching these cases with no one trying to seek the root of the problem; the men for accepting such marriages or the women for making themselves goods for sale? I can never be against any kind of mixed marriage if it was for love and mutual understanding between a young couple who want to start a life together. But, when it is otherwise, I surely have my speculations over why it is happening.” (To make such a statement she should be required to show her source and a link to reputable studies to support this nonsense. I know in the most recent study done regarding Kuwait divorce rates local marriages had a much higher divorce rate than those who married a foreign woman.)

[source]

When someone is in a position to reach a high number of the population, you would think they would do so in a more responsible manner. Sadly, this article does nothing other than shine a negative light on a highly opinionated writer. It causes her to come across as bitter, angry, and even a bit jealous. It takes away from her credibility when it comes to future articles and leaves doubt in the mind of the reader in relation to her credentials.

Yeah, I’m disgusted.

Intercultural marriage and the holiday season

It’s been 10 months since we’ve moved to America and sometimes I’m still in awe. Especially now with the holiday season upon us. Our small town has been transformed into a winter wonderland overnight. Lights and wreaths on every street corner, a snow slide (with real snow), and families popping into the locally owned shoppes looking for that perfect gift. It really is quite Norman Rockwell’esque.

During our daily outings it’s inevitable that we’ll see something new which always causes me to squeal like a child. “Look, honey! Look! Santa and his sled!” My husband smiles, gently holds my hand, and lets out a few ooooh’s and ahhhh’s. Surely more for my benefit than his excitement. Don’t get me wrong, he’s loving the holiday season and watching everyone behave as if they’re starring in ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’, but he’s not one to verbally express a lot of over the top emotion. There’s really only room for one drama queen. I win.

Several of our acquaintances have asked what we do to celebrate the holidays since my husband is from Kuwait, and how we handle the ‘differences’.  We don’t discuss religion but I assume they think I’m Christian because I’m American. And, well, I’ve never been Christian. I wasn’t raised in a Christian household and I don’t recall Christmas ever having a religious meaning in our family. No offense to anyone who celebrates it for religious reasons. But in our home Christmas was a commercial holiday much like Halloween and Thanksgiving. It was more about giving, volunteering, discovering ways to help others, and of course Santa and gifts.

Since my husband and I have been together we’ve spent Christmas in Kuwait. Each year he went above and beyond to make me comfortable as he was well aware of how I struggled through the holiday months. With every Christmas came gifts, social functions, and holiday dinners. He even suggested I put up a tree to ease my holiday blues, but I already stood out like a sore thumb in our neighborhood, I didn’t necessarily want a target on my back. I opted to be patient. I knew I would be home soon enough.

Holiday

This is our first year celebrating the holidays together in America and so far we’ve not faced any cultural differences. Though I am certain Thanksgiving is going to bring some challenges. Those bags which come out of the turkey body contain things I would only ever feed to the pets. Unless my husband gets them first. Livers, hearts, etc. are a meal for him and he just doesn’t understand how I can view them as ‘non-edible’. I cringe at some of the things he can eat and have even reserved a small part of our freezer for his ‘special’ food.

I’m sure marrying a man with such an open mind has allowed our lives to be so ‘normal’. He doesn’t make a big deal out of anything and feels everything can be simple as long as we communicate. I had no doubt this holiday season would be magical because he’s educated, intelligent, Westernized, well traveled, and overall cultured. He doesn’t allow a difference in culture to determine who we are as a couple. Nor do I. When I’m a stressed out mess he’s the calm in the middle of my storm. And when something as important (to me) as holiday season comes along he’s going to do everything in his power to make it perfect.

I’m sure some couples struggle through the holiday season and not because they don’t love one another the same way my husband and I do. But probably because of religious differences. Intercultural marriages don’t face near the challenges interfaith marriages do. Christmas to some is the most religious holiday of the year and their form of celebrating involves lots of church activities (I’m clueless here). There’s always a risk such behaviors could be offensive to a spouse of another religion.

As for us, we’ll continue to indulge in performing arts, road trips, pets with Santa photos (uh-huh), baking cookies together, and local volunteer opportunities. After all, it is the season for giving.

Wishing you all a wonderful holiday season with your loved ones! And if you’re away from home, throw on a red scarf, grab a peppermint mocha, and bake cookies while listening to Christmas music. It’s what always got me through the rough times.

Saudi women staging grass roots movement to drive

I am incredibly late at getting this and several other things posted.  However, this is such an important topic and I definitely wanted to share this before the day ended.

Below you’ll find a beautiful statement by Rotana as well as her cover song ‘Team’.

Wishing the women of Saudi Arabia all the best!

“I have recently been so moved by the brave Saudi women of my generation, and the generation of women that laid the foundation before us. As an admitted ex-cynic when it came to issues of women’s rights in our country, you have showed me what it is to try, try again, try harder, try again, and never stop trying. No matter what. 

I recorded my version of the song “Team” by Lorde with tailored lyrics in solidarity with the cause of women’s right to drive. But to me, this song is bigger than that. It is a salute to any woman brave enough to stand up for her right and follow her dreams despite cultural barriers, and a nudge to all those who are on their way. 

To all the women living through their authentic self, and scratching the surface for others, thank you. You have inspired me to follow my dream. I sing for you. I salute you. 

On October 26, and every day. I hope we all drive, dream and stand up. We are on each other’s team!”

‘Muslim boyfriend’ is an oxymoron [re-post]

It’s fairly common for me to write about living overseas and marrying an Arab man since that’s my experience. But what I haven’t discussed is the far more common scenario of the couple meeting while in her home country. He’s generally overseas studying at some fabulous Western university and the lifestyle is new and exciting. Chances are this is his first time away from home.

I came across this really interesting post on Maritime Muslimah‘s blog this morning and thought I would share. She points out a few ways for a woman to know he’s just never going to marry her. I’ve only added her list of 5 things a woman should look out for, but her entire post is definitely worth reading.

1. The Parents

First things first – if he is hiding you from mommy and daddy then get out while you can. He will make excuses and tell you again and again that it’s not the right time. He will keep delaying it until he leaves. You will never meet them on skype or hear him mention you to them.

 

2. Justifies all the Haram

If you convert to Islam and he keeps convincing you to party, drink and have sex then he’s a dud. Often times he’ll be aggressive about it and call you ‘extreme’ . When you come to Islam he should support you and you both should grow and become better together.

 

3. My ‘friend’

If he calls you just a friend in front of his friends and other people and later makes excuses for it then call him out on it and if he doesn’t change – you’ll end in heart break.

 

4. False Nikah

Beware of him convincing to marry him ‘Islamically’ with the local Mosque without informing his parents or having any of his friends as witnesses. He is trying to make your relationship ‘halal’ while still committing haram (If you’re still partying and having sex).

 

5. Convinces you Not to become Muslim

He’s scared that if you become Muslim that you will ruin his experience and fun in the West. He came to escape  the laws of his country not have another mother telling him what to do.

Making a Difference

Quite often I look around and ask what I’ve done to deserve my life — in a good way. For a very long time it seems as though everything ‘has gone my way’ and honestly, I’ve felt very guilty about it. I openly discuss my personal life on the blog and sometimes wonder, ‘Do I come across as someone bragging?!?” and I spend more time editing my post than I did initially writing it.

No, I don’t write about our cars, the size of our home, or the brand names on my shoes and handbags. Those things, though important to some, play such a limited role in my life and who I am so it would be silly to do a blog post about them. But I do often write about being happy and at peace in life. I write about the serenity and love I feel from within. And this is where the guilt kicks in.

Unfortunately I know a lot of fabulous people who are still trying to find their way in life. And when I say ‘fabulous’ it’s truly an understatement. I know some really great people who deserve nothing but happiness. Generous people, kind, a heart of gold; still struggling to find that sense of inner peace. So for me to discuss my happiness almost makes me feel like I’m slapping them in the face with their own personal challenges. That is not my intention.

My morning view

My morning view

My only hope when starting this blog many years ago was that it would act as a place for me to vent frustrations and share new experiences. I had also hoped some of my faux pas might help a few others along the way while providing a forum to laugh at myself. It didn’t take long for me to realize I was incredibly ‘funny’ with all my mishaps (and not necessarily in a good way), but I still continued to share.

Now that life seems to have calmed down and I’m not riding that emotional roller coaster to hell every other day, I feel horrible that others still are. I’m not better than anyone and certainly not more deserving of happiness. Yes, my husband and I have worked hard and set goals, but this doesn’t mean others haven’t. I only wish I had the ability to share my serenity with others, through the blog, using words, without coming across as some pompous vainglorious windbag.

That being said, I’m looking for other directions for the blog to go. Obviously my time to actually post has been limited lately and I want my content to be closer to my heart. I want to actually make an effort to make a difference in the lives of others. See? Even that sounds arrogant. Like who am I to try to help others? But I guess in some ways we all help one another, even when we’re unaware.

Every day I get numerous emails of people asking for advice, guidance, or just some insight into something they’re dealing with. This was totally unexpected but by far my favorite part of blogging. These emails have also been an inspiration for the possibility of adding a ‘Dear American Girl’ page, or something similar. I’m genuinely flattered by the emails and always do my best to answer in a timely manner. Thank you for allowing me to feel I really can make a difference.

Life; living… not documenting

Lately blogging has taken a backseat to actually living life.

It’s as if there’s so much to do here and no time to sit down and write about it. Especially now with the Fall weather creeping in. My absolute favorite time of year by the way. Cardigans, scarves, pumpkins, gourds, falling leaves, and my personal switch from iced mochas to hot lattes. I spend far more time outdoors this time of year. Our Saturday mornings often consist of grabbing a latte and spending the morning at the dog park. T and I get to enjoy some social time with other dog owners while laughing at our crazy dog making friends. By Saturday afternoon we’ve discovered some Fall Festival or a new Antique store where we can spend hours seeking out the next very cool purchase.

In addition to the simple diversions throughout our days, we also attend local events. The list of ‘things to do’ in America is endless. Every Friday evening our town hosts Jazz musicians to play live music at an outdoor venue where a variety of local vendors set up shop; selling food and wines. Indoor/Outdoor music festivals that last for days — and some people even stay the entire time! Community non-profit days where everyone brings something to sell and all proceeds go to charity. Extensive volunteer opportunities within the community; animal shelter (my fave), town garden (fruits/veggies donated to local food banks), elderly facilities, etc. We also have a number of performing arts centers nearby where a variety of Broadway plays and musicals book dates. Museums for absolutely any interest and age group. Oh, and a zoo! A real, well kept, cared for, respected zoo. And, when it gets boring around here, we hop in the car and drive a few short hours to DC or NYC for something a bit more exciting.

20130923_080000_1 [1280x768]

Yet somehow, with everything America has to offer, our real happiness takes place right here at home. Our true sense of peace comes in the most simplest form. Waking up just as the sun is rising and sitting outside overlooking our pond with a hot cup of coffee in hand. The animals come outside with us — the circus starts early. The only sounds are crickets and a gentle breeze blowing through the now falling leaves. It’s a great place to start the day.

I guess with so much to do and so much to keep us busy documenting it all hasn’t been such a priority. Blogging about it just doesn’t seem to do life justice anymore. And though I don’t have plans to stop blogging, I can certainly see where it’s slowed down a lot. What once felt blog worthy (a meal out or a trip to a museum) now just feels like a silly topic to write about.

Life has become much deeper on so many levels. A Broadway show or weekend getaway aren’t defining moments in my life anymore. Not sure if something in me has changed, or if I’ve gone back to being the same woman I was so many years ago. But now it’s more about personal growth and making a positive difference in the lives of others while having a great time in the process!