Wroclaw Gnomes…Freedom Fighters!

Did you know these little creatures in Wroclaw were first created in the early 1980s as a sign of rebellion against Communism and the harsh laws of those times (Remember Martial Law) ???

They were. And as the police began cracking down on these “gnome-type” protesters, they looked pretty silly. It was a part of the Orange Alternative .

I had no idea. It’s awesome how people chose to stand up and be freedom fighters during times when military and tanks roamed and rolled through the streets.

My photos of gnomes, however, are symbolic and fun — now a part of the city’s culture (many are made to represent their businesses), such as this ice cream gnome…

But, I hope, even through the whimsy of my photos that you will be as fascinated as I to hear the history, and, again, be reminded that Poland was and is a rocking, strong country to be admired.

Wroclaw’s little gnomes reminded me of that!

***

Take a moment to read a fascinating article on their origins: http://www.bbc.com/travel/story/20171017-the-truth-behind-wrocaws-cheeky-gnomes

Slodkie Czary Mary

Making candy that we are so quick to gobble up is a beautiful process perhaps far too under appreciated!

On our recent trip to Wroclaw, we were able to see a sweets shop make little bits of hard candy like grandma would give you and finish with the grand finale of a heart sucker. It was a hot yet delightful experience—and I literally felt as excited as a “kid in a candy shop” !!!

To begin, the candy base has to be heated until it reaches the perfect temp. Then it is dumped onto a granite tabletop to cool for a period of time.

Aren’t we all a bit like candy? When we are a little too hot, we also need a cooling off period.

While it is in the process of cooling, the Candy Gals begin adding the colors for their upcoming projects.

After, the candy is cut and the second process begins—it’s nearly like a play-doh factory.

You begin by folding and pounding the candy.

Which then leads to stretching it…

After stretching, they begin the process of separating their colors and building their desired result/s—which this one would eventually become a heart lolly.

Along the way, however, was almost like a “dessert break” because they took a portion of the sucker and made it into tiny little pieces of hard candy which they promptly served to our room full of eager eaters.

The candies were still warm, sour, and brought me back to grandma’s house.

While we were all sucking on our nostalgic delights, the final project was expertly being finished with twisting, turning, cutting and shaping…

Until finally, voile! The heart lolly!

Which then goes for sale at the store, Slodkie Czary Mary!

Am I patient enough to make candy?

Perhaps.

Am I eager enough to eat it?

Pretty sure that’s a resounding You Betcha!

Do I recommend stopping in and watching this process?

Absolutely!

Did I feel just like a delightful kid in a candy shop?

The entire time!

Hence, we should all find ourselves watching how candy is made because then we have truly experienced time travel…even if just for a moment!

#wroclaw #poland #slodkieczarymary

Dessert to steal your heart…

I kid you not…we ate these divine ditties in the Square of Wroclaw while watching bubbles float over fountains and listening to a solo saxophone playing love songs with soulful perfection…

After that we walked across Saint Jadwiga’s bridge to board a small boat and travel the Odra, taking in every magical sight…

Before crossing the bridge of love to leave our mark with a lock…

I can recommend visiting so many places in Poland. But this one, Wroclaw, truly will steal your heart!

And then light it on fire at night with an actual lamp lighter, in full costume, walking the streets bringing them from darkness into night life…

All the while, church bells ring…

Would I recommend travel to Poland?

In a heartbeat!

Would I recommend Wroclaw?

Is the Pope Catholic???

Yes!

Questions in Greece…

 

photos from greece

I got questions all the time while in Greece.

Where was I from?

Why do I live in Poland?

Is my husband Polish?

Did business bring my husband to Poland???

We went on a tubing ride in the Ionian Sea, and the loveliest lady that owned the little “surf-type shack” loved asking these questions…

So, I thought a moment and told her my husband was not Polish, he was 100% American, but he is a pastor.  So, in a sense, I guess he is a businessman in the “Business of God” — to which she beautifully proclaimed with her Greek enthusiasm and delightful accent, “The best business of all—the business of God!”

And then she reached her arms over her head and spread them across the sky and said, “God overall!”

We all wholeheartedly agreed and traipsed into the lapping waves of the sea, where we hopped onto a UFO-type raft and allowed the Greek captain of his small speed boat pull us haphazardly through the sea where we screamed, maybe cried a little…laughed a lot and Adelyne belted, “Kumbaya, my Lord!  Let me live!”

The ride ended much to our mutual disappoint and actual thrill, and we went back to collect our items from the Greek Surfing Lady and we all proclaimed, “God bless you,” “And you!”

And smiled one last smile before we trailed down the beach, leaving footprints in the sand, to enjoy our last sunset in Peloponnese…

Greece, we agree, one God overall.

Thank you, beautiful country, for a sun-kissed delightful week with my precious namesake and firstborn.

I saw the paintbrush of God every evening in the sunsets and the stroke of his perfect clarity each time I looked out at His blue seas!

And to you, our perfect surf-shack lady, thank you for reminding us that being in the business of this amazing painter and God is TRULY the best business of all!

God bless you, our friend!

OPA!

Life in Ruins…

There is literally nothing more humbling than seeing the greatest in ruins.

Life is very short, my friends.

Live, treasure, love well!

Ashes to ashes. Dust to dust.

#thankfulforeternity #faithendures #lovegod #lovebig #lovepeople #andthesethreeremain #faith #hope #love #olympia #greece

Bucket List? Become a Musher!

Mushing Nungessers

Okay.  So, technically, I had to look up the word Musher.  And really figure out what it meant.  I mean, we went dog sledding.  That one is obvious.  Musher.  I mean, I am a mommy, I am a “Professional Musher” of mashed potatoes, right?  That sounds like a musher.  You know, like smashing a lot of potatoes so they are mushy and buttery and delicious.

Or I love my children so much my daughter sighs, rolls her eyes, and proclaims, “Oh, Mommy, you are SO MUSHY!”  Making me a Musher Mommy, right?

Well, according to the real dictionaries my Mommy-ition of Mushers is all wrong.  Apparently a Musher is a driver of a dog sled.

So, I am happy to report that as of nearly 1 week ago, I have become officially (for an hour) a real-live Musher.

Also joining the “Musher Nungesser Crew” are:  Richard (the dad), Adelyne (the decade plus two eye roller), Maxwell (the Half-Musher as he helped the Main Musher French Fred), and Me (Brookie—the Mommy Musher).  Josephine was not a Musher.  She was a Musher’s company—meaning that she was plopped into her daddy’s front part of his sled and got to enjoy the VERY bumpy ride.  Good thing Daddy Musher did not tip, eh?!

Anyhow, dog sledding was an absolute and lovely blast that I highly recommend for all!

You first have to arrive where all of the dogs are chained up (just like in Iron Will) and then prepare with the instructions of driving your sled.  Let me tell you, I nearly wanted to be a passenger after the mini-Mushing-class (kid you not timid smile and nervous laugh inserted here).

Our instructor, Elizabeth got out a sled and said, “OKAY!  Here is your brake.  It is VERY important.”

Yes, Elizabeth—you were SO right!  Holy COW!!!!  Know how to use your brake!

Then she said, “ALWAYS hold onto your sled.  IF YOU LET GO, THEY WILL LEAVE YOU AND THEN YOU WILL HAVE TO RUN AFTER THEM…In the mountains.  In the snow. ”

BRRRRR.  And, NO THANK YOU.  I don’t even run after my own children, much less DOGS!

Finally she said, “BE THE BOSS!”

Yeah, right!

Easy for a lady that WAS the boss of the dogs.

But, in the end.  She was right.  You had to be the boss or those crazy huskies would roll around on the snow and want to go whichever way the butterfly traveled.

Okay—so there weren’t really butterflies considering it was like 19F, but, whatever.  Those dogs were hilarious.

Therefore, not only did you have to be “The Boss” (Sorry, Springsteen) of the dogs, you HAD to…Like a MUST…know the lead dog’s name.  Without that name, the dogs following were like, “La-di-da-da-da!”

With the lead dog’s name and a rowdy, “Let’s go, Chaussettes (Socks),” the others would pop up and follow your Socks (literally, the name of my dog in French was Socks). Which would then give you an opportunity to “Woo-hoo” while holding on tight—at times, bending the knees for the little “pop” over the crazy hill so you could feel like you were a true Musher and sway with the sled (lest you fall off and then are dragged while HANGING on so your dogs don’t run away for like…ever).

And there you have it.  You have officially become a Musher. For an hour.

And the hour goes FAR TOO QUICKLY.  And you wish you had the whole day. And you loved every minute although you and your family laughingly recall the moments you almost went over the railing of the bridge or smashed into the tree or tilted to the extreme sideways as your dogs did not stay on the path but crossed the icy hill ahead of you to take a shortcut.  Those lazy dogs (smile and wink for the feistiness of the husky).

Yes.  All things that pretty much happened in your hour as a professional Musher.  Or your professional Bucket List kicker!

Which is, after all, what you just did!  Filled and kicked that Bucket List right up with an awesome experience that your GoPro actually recorded so you have evidence of every “Woo Hoo” and “WATCH OUT FOR THE BRIDGE” moment.

Life with children can sometimes be mundane.  Messy. Tiring. And well…a million other things.

But life with a Bucket List and littles keeps life #fresh and #exciting and #exhilarating.

And Mushing.  Yes, I recommend putting that one on your list.

As long as you #hangontight!

The beats of my heart!

Life can be lived in the simple moments of family and nature, enjoying two of God’s priceless gifts.

I reflect, and often, on how my life was once full of sorrow at the hope destroyed of a baby we lost, bitterness at a marriage struggling, fear of a son dying, and exhaustion that it all never seemed to end. Seasons that seemed to toil forever.

Then I see these perfect mountains and I count 3 perfect children and I see a man I admire most on this earth and I realize that time can pull you through all things.

And God was there, steadfast, through it all.

Silence and struggle does not erase quiet, infinite care.

God bless you and yours, our friends, in your seasons of life.

#hisloveenduresforever #greatishisfaithfulness