Thursday, September 29, 2016

Unpacking & a Guest Post!

Hello Everyone!

I am up to my eyeballs in cardboard boxes right now, trying to get them emptied and everything put away. It's a long slow process but I am making progress! I will post a bunch of updates soon now that I have the computer unpacked, but in the meantime here is a post from one of my best friends, Summer. We met at Volkel, and if you go back in the blog about 6 years you can see us at her house!

Summer is a mother of three amazing kids; she home-schools, she performs in the theater, she's going to school, and she's an all around fun, sweet, happy, loving person!


Living purposefully

I had a conversation with a friend the other day. It was his birthday and instead of celebrating he spent his night thinking. Milestones in our lives sometimes cause us to focus inward and become contemplative.
My friend had turned twenty five and in lieu of cake and candles he was texting me that he has become tired and he wants more out of life. I think at some point in all of our adult lives we have had that exact thought. After our conversation he mentioned that I should take up motivational speaking so, I decided that for my first guest blog post I want to share the advice I gave him. 

At risk of sounding cliche, you can make your life what you want it to be. There is nothing at all wrong with contemplating ones existence, it is actually healthy to reflect on your journey so far, just be sure to move forward from that state with a goal. A goal, not a wish or a dream, a real goal. 

Picture the life you crave. I'm not talking about material things like a fancy house or a sports car, I'm also not talking about a specific job or income. Picture the kind of life you want to live. We all share a common goal, we want to be happy. What makes you happy? You probably didn't say money or a mansion. Are you happy relaxing on the front porch, reading a book by yourself? Does being near an ocean or lake bring peace to your soul? Do you love to be surrounded by family or friends? Does taking care of someone else make you happy? What does happiness look like to you? Visualize or see it, write it down, set a goal to get there. My life goal list began as a list of how I wanted my life to feel. It may seem silly to anyone else but to me these feelings are what I need to be happy. 

  My first life goal list as an example:

   I want my life to be:
   full of love

Next, I thought about specific ways I could feel these things in my life, then I set goals to achieve them. 

For my life to feel peaceful
I need to not allow or respond to those trying to create conflict, you get to choose who you let in your life. I also need to cut down on activities that take me away from my home, a busy schedule does not allow time for much peace.
Writing down the two goals above gave me absolute clarity as to how to create that peaceful home that I crave. 

My goals are set, I am learning to live purposefully and peacefully every day.
Later, I expanded on my goals. 

To create the life I crave I need to be independent so I started back to school and am in the process of checking goals off of my new list keeping my original goals in mind. 

New life goal list:

become financially independent
leading my family to a more peaceful, loving existance
finding a stay at home mostly job so I can succesfully mother my children while providing our needs

Know that your goals won't be met overnight or maybe even in a year or two but have something to work toward. If you KNOW what you want out of life, you CAN acheive it. 

n closing, visualization is more powerful than you know. Visualize your life becoming what you want it to be, write down what you see, set goals, your goals are what you need to make happen to get your life where you want it to be. Your list will be smaller and more achievable than you think. 

I would love to hear from you. Has this post inspired you to create your own life goal list? Let's support each other and live the lives we dream of. 

Until next time,
Summer Crain

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Klompenmakerij den Dekker

Last week we had the pleasure of going to a wooden shoe factory! There was a 40 minute workshop/demonstration and then the kids got to paint their own shoe. I didn't have my camera charged so I got these from Rebecca and from their website :)

The shoes are made out of Poplar or Willow; once the trees are cut down they are cut into smaller blocks roughly the size of the shoe. The first machine cuts the block into the shoe, the second machine hollows out the inside, and the third machine cleans up the inside. This is all done while the wood is wet so it does not crack or break. Once the shoes are dry the get sanded and painted.

This man owns the factory, he is one of ten people in the country that know how to make the shoes by hand. This factory uses 100 year old machines and can make 30 pairs of shoes per day. Making them by hand can produce 4 pairs per day.

Once carved into shape, the shoes have to dry for 4 weeks before they get sanded and decorated 

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Run Like a Mother

Feels like we have been planning this event for months!!! Our fearless MOPS leader Rebecca brings so many new and awesome ideas to Volkel and I am usually lucky enough to be involved in them! Run Like a Mother 5k was a fundraising color run for our MOPS group and I say it was a success!

Cody won first place in the juniors category, woohoo!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Africa by Light

Saturday we went to Beekse Bergen to see these awesome lights!  It was pitch black outside and we had to follow the path to see where we were going. If there were animals out there staring at us we had no idea! We're thinking most of them were housed inside somewhere though because it was freezing out.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Happy 2016!

This is our final year in The Netherlands, we will be moving in September. It is definitely bittersweet; the boys have officially spent the majority of their lives here, made so many friends and have had so many experiences. Who would have thought we would travel to so many places, expand our family, make so many wonderful friends, all in just 6 short years. It seems like a long time but it sure did go by in a flash. But, we are ready for a change. We are ready for the next adventure, I am ready to go back to work, and the older two boys are ready to go back to America. Plus we miss our family! Seeing them once a year or every two years just isn't enough! I am looking forward to convenience (I need drive thru coffee!!!), Home Depot, being able to figure things out easily, but I am going to miss the food, the people, the history Europe has to offer. But, it has shown us how easy it is to travel, and we are looking forward to traveling more in the States, discovering and teaching the kids about US History since they've never had it; heck, Kyle hasn't even been to America! I keep saying, this is our last ____ in Holland! The next nine months are going to fly by and before we know it we will be packing our bags and getting on a plane to make that trek back across the pond.

Here are some photos from picking out our last Christmas tree.