Saturday, April 30, 2016

The sacredness of paying attention

How many times do I pass by things without giving them a notice at all? Just the other day, I was heading home from an errand on a commonly used road and missed my turn. Why? I was lost in my thoughts. I wasn't paying attention.

Last month, my husband and I toured Buchenwald Concentration Camp near Weimar, Germany. This was on a weekend between business meetings and we went here at my request.

When I passed through these grounds on foot, where thousands of people once suffered and many died, I was paying attention. I wasn't just passing through nonchalantly. 

standing in a concentration camp barrack space I looked down and saw 2 hearts

Everywhere I stepped foot in this place, though many of the original buildings were long gone replaced by rubble, I felt I was walking on sacred ground.

There was a peace there that is hard to describe to someone who hasn't been to a place like this. A place of suffering, and yet there was an eerie peacefulness there, a hush. A holiness that I can only describe as God's presence there. 

God in his grace and infinite mercy, present there to honor the memories of those who suffered. Those who were tortured and killed just because of who they were. They hadn't done anything wrong.

Before we left the grounds, we took a meandering path that led to an "ash grave". Supposedly where ashes from the ovens were buried.

The birds were singing the most beautiful songs in this place I've ever heard. I stood in my silence and looked up at the treetops. I saw no birds flying, or sitting on branches. Yet there was loud singing.

Could God have sent heavenly birds there to sing as an everlasting memorial to those who had gone?

I believe so.


Blessings to you, 


Thanks for stopping by today, friends! It's been awhile since I posted for Five Minute Friday. I'm happy to be back! Joining a flash mob of writers over at for five minutes of free writing. No fancy edits. Head over there to see what everyone wrote on the prompt, "pass". 

Thursday, April 7, 2016

What I learned in March

This is going to be the fastest "what I learned" post in the history of my "what I learned in a month" posts. Emily's link up closes in about 20 minutes and I desperately want to join in because, well, I learned a lot in March.

Joining in a bit late for Emily Freeman's "What I Learned" link up at

It's going to be a bulleted list, and who knows, maybe I'll elaborate on some of them in future blog posts.

On March 14th, hubby and I left for Europe and we were gone for 20 days. We traveled to Denmark and Germany for his work, toured a bit in Germany over a weekend, spent a day and a half in Paris, and then went on to England to visit our daughter who's on a Gap Year there doing youth work.

Here are some things I learned on our travels throughout Europe in 20 days.

1.  I have more stamina than I thought.

I didn't prepare near enough in the walking department. I barely squeaked out a mile or so every other day (if that) in preparing for walking to sites. My hubby's iPhone app told us we averaged 7 miles a day of walking and 20 flights of stairs/day on our travels!! What?? I did that??!! (p.s. I could feel it)

2.  I like London better than Paris.  I'll explain more in a future blog post.

3. Paris was still awesome. Arch de Triumph was breathtaking coming up on the escalator from the subway. O.M.G.

And, the Eiffel Tower. I need say no more. Astonishing and beautiful.  Seeing it at night was icing on the cake.

4. Our Paris Hotel was very old and very Parisian. (lol) The gal at the desk said, "we upgraded you to a suite, but it's on the 6th floor and the elevator only goes to the 5th floor. Are you okay with going the extra floor with stairs?"  

Huh? Before I could protest, hubby said sure. He carried our bags. And, the stairs were crooked. Oh, but it was the cutest place.

5.  Europe knows how to do gluten free bread. Oh my gosh. I was in roll and bread heaven. Too bad I couldn't bring any back with me.

6. Seeing my daughter's smile in person after 6 months of just seeing it on video chat was priceless.

7. Our son met us in London on our England visit to see his sister. Seeing our son and daughter interact again was pure bliss.

8. I love Yorkshire tea. Anytime of day. And, I'll take it with milk, or half and half please.

9. First ever double decker bus ride that I can remember (in London). We sat on the top and even at my old age, it was a thrill. 

10.  We traveled in Denmark, Germany and France and England and met friendly people in every place. People that spoke English well, and People that struggled with English. 

Our world got smaller.

Well, this is all I have time for right now, but I feel I could write a book. Maybe Emily could give me tips on how to get started.

"Out of Shape Iowa girl goes to Europe for 20 days and Survives", or some title like that.

Thanks for joining me today.

I have so much more to say. Talk about an inspiring month.

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