What do you do?

I keep people alive every day.

Some professionals call this a doctor.

I keep people out of trouble. Even prison.

Some professionals call this a lawyer.

I have a 24-hour food service.

Some businesses call this an all-night diner.

I make sure individuals are eating properly.

Some professionals call this a nutritionist.

I provide full-service cleaning of home and garden.

Some businesses call this Merry Maids. Others Lawn Services.

I organize an entire empire, guaranteeing the success of my subordinates.

Some professionals call this a CEO.

I listen to hurts and pains and help guide to a healthier and stronger emotional well being.

Some professionals call this a psychologist.

I pray with, for, and share scriptures with those in attendance.

Some professionals call this a pastor.

I even democratically rule my own country…with the strong use of Veto when necessary.

Some would say that I am a self-appointed democratic monarchy—ruling both the party and the crown. Therefore, calling me simultaneously Mrs. President and HRM the Queen.

Yes, many professionals and businesses may give me many names…

But, for those under my roof, they simply call me mom!

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!

My Average Child…

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“Average Ada” age 2 at the NLC

Keep soaring, our girl!

I can seriously not stop laughing.  My daughter, my firstborn, my pride and utter joy has written two different things that she would like me to help edit.  The first is part one of a children’s book—seriously the cutest book ever.  Can’t wait to share it with you here!

And then.  Then there is her resume.  My daughter is saving all of her gift and babysitting money to buy a phone.  But, as we all know, phones are very expensive.  Well, my little ray of sunshine, my decade plus 2 daughter, will see her Nana and Papa for a few weeks this summer, so she has decided to submit a resume for them.  On her resume, which I won’t share the entire thing, she wrote:  Average student.  If that was not brutally honest enough, the rest would make you laugh out loud.

Things such as:  Good at—Loving her grandparents.  And so much more.

My “Average Daughter” is just so ABOVE AVERAGE in the good feels department!

And, to be fair to her, she studies in the Polish language, all her subjects.  So those average grades are really QUITE impressive for me 😉  Her father and I will take them, at least!  I can barely help her study for her History or Science tests (no smile and wink here).

Oh, my average daughter, I love you so average PLUS much!

Thanks for bringing sunshine to my EVERY DAY!!!!!!!

 

It’s amazing when life comes full circle!

richard and jarek_together!!!!!!

This beautiful soul with my husband is one of my favorite people in the entire world.  And I know a lot of people all over the world.

This man, let’s call him the English name Jared, hugging Richard is one of the FIRST men that ever walked into our soup kitchen in Poznan, well over a decade ago.  LONG before I even had my first child (and she is a decade plus 2).

In fact, after we returned with Adelyne to Poznan/Poland, at around 5 weeks old, bringing her to our soup kitchen around 6-10 weeks old, HE was actually one of the first to hold our baby.  At our soup kitchen.  In Poland. It was the Holy Start soup kitchen (HS closed a couple years ago).

This beautiful soul that ALWAYS brightened my every day that I saw him…He is now the AMAZING volunteer at an unbelievable SOUP BUS located in Poznan, Poland, with the charity christianer.org … (find them on Facebook—it will BRIGHTEN your life)

Isn’t it AWESOME how you can watch one man go from served to SERVING!

Life — in full circle — makes my heart burst with joy.  Tears. Happiness.  And just an overwhelming sense of #itiswell .

It truly is.

It is well, with my soul.

Jared reminds me of that!

May Jared be your reminder to always invest in the beauty and hearts of others.  Your full circle will come.  And it IS worth it!

God bless.

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!