“I”

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I spent the day in Amsterdam today.

I had a cell phone that crashed and somehow erased all my photos.

I am not very happy.

I am a travel blogger with no travel pictures.

I have only this one picture that my husband happened to take with his cell phone (at the “I Amsterdam” art).

I have no idea what the guy behind me is doing.

I am hoping for a miracle recovery of my phone.

I will go to sleep now (it’s 1:10am).

I am hoping for a better day tomorrow when I am in Rotterdam.

I will be back soon with pictures my friend.

As always, I AM so thankful you are here in this GIHY community! 🙂

Kalee xo

A Long Day

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Hello, my friend! I arrived safe and sound in The Netherlands yesterday, but what an experience it was to get here! When you travel often enough, you are aware that sometimes things happen: planes are delayed, there are long lines for security, or you are asked to move seats, whatever….and then sometimes things go smoothly and just as planned. Well, yesterday (really we started the trip Thursday evening), we had a very LONG DAY when it came to getting to Holland.

Our original flight from Dallas to London was scheduled to leave at 10pm on Thursday, April 14th. My husband and I arrived at the airport a little earlier than usual due to the higher security levels at airports these days, so we checked in at 7pm, sat down for a margarita and some last minute Mexican food (we love Mexican food, and will be away from it for almost a month, so enjoying some quesadillas was put into our airport itinerary)….and we were all set to depart at 10pm. And then our flight was delayed. And then delayed again. There was a “maintenance issue”. Now, I am all for fixing maintenance issues on the ground before getting in the air, but a little communication goes a long way. The ticket agents were not saying what the issue was, or how long the plane would be delayed for. My husband and I had a connecting flight in London to get to Amsterdam, so we knew if we continued to be delayed there would be a risk of us missing our connecting flight. Well, there is not much you can do when your flight is delayed, so getting upset about it doesn’t ever make sense to me (plus, that is just not my personality….let it go…), but telling us that they weren’t even sure the plane we were waiting on would be operable for this flight, is never a good thing. We were ready to GO! Some people were getting very frustrated in the gate area. Again, chill out people!

Well, finally at 1:30am, we were off! Come to find out the “maintenance issue” had to do with the lighting on the plane, and well….they didn’t do a very good job fixing the issue. As we took off in the middle of the night, we had bright fluorescent lights shining directly down on us, and the little reading lights that you usually have an option of turning on or off, were on continuously! Not that I can usually sleep on planes all that great anyway, but feeling like you were being interrogated with the spotlights, REALLY made sure no sleep was to be had! My sweet husband however turned into a Dutch MacGyver, and he took his felt sunglasses case and put it around the reading light, so it blocked the brightness. Brilliant! We were finally on our way, and we had dimmed our own lights! (it’s the little things, my friend…) 😉

We arrive in London and we had missed our connection. No worries, we were put on the next available flight, and just hung out at Heathrow Airport for 2 hours. And then we were delayed. Again. The crew were delayed for our Amsterdam flight, so without them, we weren’t going anywhere. At this point, my husband and I had been awake for over 24 hours straight. We really just wanted to get “home” to Holland. Again, no point in getting upset, because what does that accomplish?

Finally, we arrived at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam late Friday evening, and are now safe and sound, enjoying time with Erik’s father, who lives in Haarlem, just outside Amsterdam. (**Fun fact: Harlem, New York, is named after Haarlem, Holland….after all, it was the Dutch who originally founded Harlem in the USA…did you know that?…yes, my friend, not only am I here to share my deep feelings with you, I am also a wealth of knowledge….) 😉 Haha!

A few public service announcements for travelers:

~yelling at the bus driver about your plane being delayed is not helpful. As she stated, she only drives the bus and does not fly the plane, so yelling at her will do nothing other than make her want to not move the bus.

~security checkpoints are for EVERYONE. Yes sir, I realize you are probably a very nice and trustworthy person, but you still have to go through security like everyone else. (I can’t make this stuff up my friend…)

~when traveling, using deodorant is always a good choice.

~talking on your cell phone loudly on a very crowded bus is not ideal (whether traveling or not)

My list could go on and on, but these were the few that I just had to get off my chest….oh, the world of people, it is so interesting, isn’t it?!

So now my friend, I am ready to go on some European adventures! They will include Holland, Italy, Switzerland and England. I am so ready to take you with me! Are you ready?

Heading off in a bit to go see the tulip fields……LET’S GO!!

Have a wonderful weekend my friend!

Kalee xo

Sometimes You Picnic In The Rain

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(my husband, youngest daughter, and our friends)

So, early last week my husband and I invited some friends to join us on our boat. We planned for last Saturday when the weatherman said it would be in the high 70’s and sunny. Well, as the weather goes in Texas sometimes, when Saturday arrived, it was actually rainy, windy and a high only in the mid 60’s. We debated on whether or not to go forward with our plans for going out on the lake, but in the end we decided that most likely the weather would improve (again, that IS what the weatherman said!!), and we would still go boating.

Now, when the weather is only in the mid 60’s, when you are out on a boat going 30-35 mph, it actually feels like 50 degrees or cooler. Add the light rain hitting you at that speed, and well, it can be pretty miserable. We all sort of just looked at each other and thought “this is crazy”! I loved all our optimistic spirits however!

Well, after some time driving around the lake the rain had pretty much stopped so we decided it was okay to get the food out that we brought. We put the anchor in the water and got ready to eat. Yes, it was picnic time, boat style! We spread out towels to be used as blankets. We laid all the food out nicely: crackers, cheese, chips, dips, fruit, salami…..the works…..and then the rain came again. A lot of rain.

Now on our particular boat, we don’t have a large area that can be covered. That didn’t stop us however. We all quickly gathered up the food (which now was all flavored with water), and we put up our small boat cover. The 6 of us huddled up under the covered area, and continued on with our picnic. We had all decided that a little rain was not going to damper our fun OR our picnic. As music played in the background, the 6 of us laughed, shared life stories, and we ended up having a fantastic time!

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(the picnic right before the rain started and we had to take cover)

I share this story with you for one reason only. It wasn’t too long ago, that the same scenario above would have thrown me into a tailspin. Once the first rain drop fell, I would have freaked out and told my husband we needed to return back to land and go home. I would have thought the whole experience ruined, and would have been frustrated. Yes, there was a time and place not so long ago that I was not so easy going. But, my friend, what a fun experience I would have missed out on. I am so glad I have learned to “just go with the flow” of life.

I admit it, my natural state of being is pretty controlling. I have worked on this for a long time, and although there are still moments where I lose my cool (just ask my husband and kids!), for the most part, I now realize that life just happens. I have been through enough unexpected life moments to know that I actually don’t have any control at all. So why fight it?! I have learned that sometimes what initially seems like a disaster of a situation, can actually turn out to be one of the best to have happened! Oh yes, I have learned to laugh more. To adjust more. To LIVE more. And I am a million times happier because of it.

So, as you start this new week my friend, remember this: You WILL have rain on your picnic’s in life. You will NOT always have control. Quickly adjust to the situation and carry on. Do not miss out on the rainbows that come after the rain. Enjoy life.

Wishing you a wonderful week ahead! Happy Monday.

Kalee xo

Let Your Soul Sparkle Again

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This picture of me was taken yesterday. After I posted it on my personal social media pages, I received comments that talked about my “glow”, my “happiness showing through” and how “peaceful” I looked. Of course, it is always nice to hear a compliment, but what REALLY feels good, is to actually feel like all of those things as well and not just “look” like all of those things.

I have previously shared with you about my “dark moments” back in 2014, and when you go through dramatic times, it feels like you will never be happy again. It doesn’t seem possible that you will ever feel peace again. But that is a lie! As much as I tried to hide from life, all the good that still surrounded me and all the love that remained out there, made sure my soul would sparkle again. And it does! Oh yes, my friend, I DO!

Yes, as I look around at my family members who were affected back in 2014, I now see everyone thriving and living a life of joy. I have allowed myself to chase after my own life goals once again without carrying around the feeling of “waiting for the other shoe to fall”. I now can go throughout my days without the fear. The fear that once I started genuinely smiling again, that I would once again miss “the signs” that something is not right. Again, another lie! I cannot control others decisions and behaviors, and neither can you my friend. So, if you are carrying around the weight designated for other’s hurt and pain, I encourage you to let it go. You HAVE to let it go. For your own health and for your loved ones health as well. We can only heal from the inside out, and although external support is absolutely needed, the true healing can only come from the individual’s own efforts to “get better”. Trust me, the hardest life lesson to learn, I know.

So yes, I am truly happy that the above picture shows the work I have put in to bring my sparkle back. So many days I thought I had lost it forever, but now I know that no matter what I may go through in life (lets face it, we have unexpected challenges always waiting around the corner….), I may lose my soul sparkle temporarily, but never permanently!

If you are going through your own “dark moments” right now my friend, please hold on to my words as truth. I don’t know what you are going through, and I may not have experienced exactly where you are today, but I do know the feeling of the darkest despair and pain, of fear, of a sadness that takes over your body in such a way that it is impossible to move, yes…all of it, and I moved through it. Slowly…one day at a time, but I did move forward. And so will you! Maybe not today, or next week, or next month, but as long as you wake up each day, you are one day closer to getting your own soul sparkle back! Promise!

My heart is with you today and all days. Always.

Kalee xo