The beach+horses = fun

As summer break winds down for our girls, we decided one last adventure was in order.  Riding horses on the beach in Noosa has been on our list of adventures to try.  As we were researching places to stay along the Sunshine Coast we found a new urban community named Seaside.  What?  For those of you who don’t know, we have a home that is a 5 minute walk from Seaside, FL (one of the original new urban communities) in the US.  I visited Seaside, Florida in the very early days while I was still a student.  I went home and told my parents they should buy a home there.  Usually my parents were way smarter than me but on this occasion, I wish they would have listened to me!  Seaside has gone up in value in a massive way since those early days!  Anyway, Seaside was one of the first places I took Lawson when we first got married.  I remember vividly sitting on the beach and us dreaming of someday living there!  In 2013, we moved to the beautiful beaches of 30a and spent our days enjoying Seaside.   We found a modern home (actually it was the home of one of Seasides architects)  that was in need of much love so we purchased and renovated it.  It is now in holiday rental management while we are on this adventure!  On the Seaside Australia website, they talk about Seaside, Florida being a sister city and how they were influenced by them.  It was an interesting experience to stay there.  We loved the dog friendly beaches and there were lots of people out and about in the shared spaces.  The building standards were completely different and the original vision had been altered from when they began according to one of the residents we spoke with but there were still lots of new urban touches.  Having lived in a new urban community in Atlanta, Georgia as well, there are aspects of new urbanism that will always resonate with us.  We would do it again in a heartbeat if it was the right community!
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On Friday, we drove north of Seaside to Noosa.  We took a ferry across to Noosa North Shores.  Along the way, these wonderful signs reminded us to not drive too fast!  Sophie actually saw a koala hanging out in a tree right beside the road as we drove along!
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Lawson did a lot of research on which of the horse rides along the beach was the right one for us. Noosa Horses was the obvious choice to us!  We can’t say enough good things about Patrick and Bob!  In addition to their knowledge and love for horses, they were fun guides!  While we have experienced horses on the beach in Florida, this was the first time we have been able to actually go into the water with them!  So awesome!
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Photo credit for all the beach photos goes to Patrick, the owner of Noosa Horses!
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Lawson surf horses
Other than being a little sore from our 2 hours in the saddle, it was a fabulous experience!  Who is going to visit us so we can do this again soon?!






Ahh, to be 21 again!

It’s been a big week for our family! Our oldest, Sophie, turned 21 yesterday! What is so impossible about this is that she was this baby just the other day!
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And, we were 21 not that long ago either.  Ok, just kidding!  Many years ago we created a contract with Sophie that culminated when she reached 21.  She has honored the terms of that contract and we are super proud of her.  Our hope is that moving forward she will use the things that were parameters during these years as tools moving forward in her decision making!  What an accomplishment!

We started the celebrating with smoothies (where we got our happy on) and pedicures!  Pedicures are not something we do very often so it was lots of fun!
Put your happy on cup
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Eve being the amazing little sis she is, made Sophie a strawberry cake from scratch!  Our youngest has mad baking skills!  After an wonderful birthday lunch at home and dinner with her girlfriends, we all got to enjoy Eve’s delicious creation!  21 is off to a great start for our girl!
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Sophie 21st blowing out candles Sophie and Felix
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As our oldest makes yet another big step forward into adulthood, we are hopeful for our world.  She represents optimism.  She doesn’t see skin color or ethnicity….she doesn’t see difference.  She is strong, opinionated and driven.  She is honest and will tell it like it is.  She is kind and loyal but doesn’t put up with nonsense.  She has a strong work ethic and is a born leader.  She has a depth spiritually but a bit of a potty mouth – okay so I’m still Mum in this regard.  There is so much that makes me optimistic about our future, about her future.  Sophie’s birthday always falls around Martin Luther King Day so we are always thinking of his influence on the world we live in this time of year.  It is a great week to have a birthday!  We have always been moved by his I have a Dream speech!   Here’s to our 21 year old and all the other 21 year olds who are going to push us closer to that dream!
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Rocking right on into 2018

Well, maybe I should have said discoing into the new year!  Now that the holiday’s are over, we are fully embracing summer break.  Yes, summer in January still is throwing us off too!  Because our Sophie is working as an intern four days a week, we have to focus on our weekends for day trips near Brisbane.  This past weekend we made our way up to Redcliffe to see Bee Gees Way!  As children of the 70’s and 80’s, we loved going back in time to some of the music of our youth!  Bee Gees Way is a multi-media celebration and walkway that honours the world famous pop group.  It was tons of fun to visit and read about not only their career but also their family life.  We loved reading about their love for one another, their wives and parents!  Incredible musicians as well as really good human beings….makes me like them all the more!  Here are a few silly pics from our day!
Lawsona snd Susanna Bee Gee statue  Bee Gee Susanna and Barry
Sophie and Eve and the Bee Gees ststue
Bee Gee wall  Bee Gees Children of the World album
Saturday Night Fever  Lawson and Susanna staying alive
There is so much more to Redcliffe than just Bee Gees Way and we will be heading back up soon!  On the drive back home, we drove down through Shorncliffe where Lawson and I stayed on our last night in Brisbane on our recon mission in 2016.  We stopped for gelato at Sandgate Waterfront and then took a walk along the bay.  On the drive between Redcliffe and Shorncliffe, we experienced a first.  It was a random middle of the afternoon breathalizer stop!  Ummm….interesting!  I confess I didn’t have the guts to snap a photo of Lawson being breatlized (is that a word?) but instead snapped a pic of the car across the street from us.
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Traffic stop
The following day we ventured up to Samford, another place Lawson and I had visited on our initial Brisbane trip.  This time our destination was The Store of Requirement or “the Harry Potter” store as it’s often referred to.  If you love Harry Potter, you will want to visit!  It was lots of fun!
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store of requirement and car Sorting hat photo
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We found a lovely organic cafe called Canter and Colt to recharge after walking around Samford!
organic meal samford
With only 11 more days of summer left before our youngest daughter heads back to school, we are trying to pack in as much as possible!  In addition, we are gearing up for another year of leaving our comfort zone.  There are some days where I just want to go home and go back to how things were….there is comfort in the old….but there is growth in the new so… we go!
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Happy New Year

One of our friends in describing us to someone who didn’t know us said “When they say they are going to do something, like move to Australia, they actually do it…they don’t just talk about it!”  We took this as quite the compliment and we definitely feel responsible to follow through on what we say we are going to do.  However, we are aware that there are areas in our life where we still struggle to manifest some of our dreams.  2018 is all about working on that!  Yes, this Australian adventure has been a 14 year dream that came true but we are just getting started!  There is so much more we each want to accomplish personally, as a family and professionally!  There are still fears to face, places to visit, experiences to have and dreams to go for!

2017 was such an overwhelming year!  So many amazing accomplishments as well as some incredibly painful experiences – most notably the flash fire for me.  When I reflect back on the fire I realize how life can change in an instant.  I was so incredibly fortunate!  I could have easily lost my eyesight or been permanently disfigured.  I try to keep this thought close lest I forget and take for granted this life I have been given.  I’m not sure exactly how we pulled off the move after losing me to bed rest and painkillers for such a long period but we did it.  We made it to Australia!  These past 7 months have been an adventure.  For years, we talked about just coming and traveling all around Australia but then decided it would be even more incredible to get the full on experience of living here.  While feeling settled seems like something far, far in the future, we are starting to feel some orientation to our new city.  We arrived with some clothes, our computers, our sweet pets and a little paperwork.  We have acquired a little since we’ve been here but have been fortunate to lease a home where most everything is provided for us!  We will share a bit more on our new place in future posts.  We have a great house for visitors and are ready!!  Who will be our first overseas guest?
We look forward to a 2018 full of color, adventure, friendship and lots of growth!  As always, we appreciate your joining us on this adventure!
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So this is Christmas!

Merry Christmas from our family!  For the first time in twenty six years of marriage, we are not getting Christmas or New Years cards in the post so we thought we would send our love via blog!
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This is our first Christmas away from home.  Because our life is packed up and in storage in the United States and since we just moved into a new rental this weekend, we kept this Christmas super simple. Just a small artificial tree decorated with Aussie ornaments we found over the past few weeks.  Without a chill in the air, it has been quite hard to get into a festive mood.  Fortunately, we are able to share this Christmas with two of Sophie’s university friends!  Doreen grew up in Hong Kong and Peggy grew up in Taiwan so this was their first Christmas!  Getting to share in the wonder of their first Christmas has helped so much with getting in the Christmas spirit!
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We began Christmas Eve celebrations with a wonderful meal prepared by Peggy and Doreen!  It was a feast of Asian delicacies!  A wonderful blend of east and west!
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After dinner, we made our way to St. John’s Anglican Cathedral in downtown Brisbane for Christmas Eve services.  St John’s is a mixture of French and English Victorian Gothic Revival styles and is home to 12 bells which were ringing as we made our way into the church.  It has the largest stone roof cathedral in Australia!  The service was a festival of readings and Christmas carols.  On a humorous note, we were the Americans in the back row furiously fanning ourselves with our programs.  While outside a nice breeze rustled through the trees, inside the church was a bit like a sauna in spite of all the doors being wide open.  As I looked around the packed church, it was clear others were prepared for the heat with their lovely decorative fans!  So this is Christmas Down Under!
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“Fear not, glad tidings of great joy I bring you and all humankind”!
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On the ride home, we caught one of the Christmas buses!  There are a few of these buses around Brisbane that the drivers decorate to help celebrate the holiday’s.  This was our first Christmas bus to catch this December and the perfect night to catch it!
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We awoke this morning to our tradition of stockings first!  Watching Doreen and Peggy open their stockings from Santa was a delight!
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Then it was on to Christmas cinnamon rolls from Miettes Fine Breads and Pastries in Graceville which is near the Queensland Tennis Centre home of the Brisbane International Tennis Championships coming up in January.  It is hard from the photo to tell exactly how massive these rolls are!
And, then there are the games that await us…all with an Aussie theme!  And, of course our traditional holiday meal later in the day once things cool down a bit (will we ever get used to the heat for Christmas?)!
The fur babies love having a full house to celebrate Christmas!  They wanted to be right in the thick of things while gifts were being opened!
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Felix was our Christmas present  three years ago and remains the best gift ever!!!!!
Karo kitty and our old girl Dalai tired out of the celebrating pretty quickly!  Too much eggnog!  Just kidding!
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One of my favorite lines from a hymn last evening was “All glory be to God on high, and to the world be peace; goodwill henceforth from heaven to earth begin and never cease.”  During a time of so much upheaval, may peace on earth truly remain a hope within all our hearts!
We leave you with our wishes for a very Merry Christmas to you all!  And, with a little Aussie Christmas flavor!!
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A long overdue update!

You know you are way behind with your blog when friends who aren’t on social media begin sending you emails asking if you are okay!  It has been an incredibly busy couple of months and trying to figure out where to begin the catch up has been daunting!  I really wanted to begin where I left off which was with the incredible experience at 90 Monkey’s yoga teacher training with Amy Ippoliti on the Sunshine Coast, but I think I will instead begin with where we are this week and over time reflect back on some of the incredible events from the last two months.

Our girls are now both officially on summer break!!!  Yahoo!  We are a little bit turned upside down with summer beginning in December though.  How can it be summer and almost Christmas?, My Facebook and Instagram news feeds are full of friends wearing sweaters and boots yet our store windows here are full of cute sundresses!  People are planning their Christmas Day barbecues!  As has happened often over the past six months, just when we start feeling like we are sort of assimilating into a new culture something happens and we realize ‘nope, we are Americans in Australia’.  We ran across this sign on a walk the other day and it epitomizes things seeming familiar but still scratching our heads which is how our life as expats seems some days!  STOP or GO?  It’s like we just don’t quite understand how things work yet!
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This week’s episode (in addition to the Christmas in summer thing) came in the form of an automated speeding ticket for going 3 miles over the speed limit – THREE MILES PER HOUR!  I drive like a little old lady and I still think this is excessive.  As Americans, we think 5 miles over is totally acceptable and if you live in Atlanta, GA you know that if you aren’t going at least 10 miles over you will be run over going down I-400!  Clearly we have a lot to learn and many adjustments in our thinking to make!  Our other reality check moment came as we began gathering quotes for the bond cleaning of our rental house as we are moving to a new house a couple of days before Christmas.  We were in sticker shock with quotes of $1,200 for a bond clean.  Since I have mad cleaning skills we decided to undertake this ourselves.  Wish us luck!

Sophie has recently been accepted to internships with two start ups doing technical writing.  We are thrilled for her but it will also mean we won’t have quite as much time during summer break to explore all together as a family.  We had one day this week to explore together so we made our way to the Brisbane Botanical Gardens at Mt Coot-tha.  It was beautiful!  Lawson and I have decided we will be using these gardens as one of our “outdoor offices” once things cool down a bit!
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We also had the opportunity to see the Yayoi Kusama exhibit at the Queensland Art Gallery recently!  It was such fun!
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As we head into this crazy week of prepping for a house move and getting ready for Christmas, we are determined to stay chilled and try to not get so behind in our blogging ever again!  As always, thanks for joining us on this journey and for all the kind messages and emails checking on us!  Have a wonderful last week before Christmas!
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Baby steps out of concealment!

There is something about stepping away from your life for a bit that gives enough space to see a bit more clearly.  It may sound silly to talk about stepping away from my life since our Brizzy (Brisbane) life is so new and we still don’t have much of a rhythm yet but that life had the momentum of our Florida life and all it took to get here to Australia.  There is something especially powerful about immersing oneself in something you love.  Yoga has been this gift for many years now.  It has sustained me through some of the darkest days of loss and the ensuing grief,  through betrayal, moves and a multitude of other life changes.  It has been a navigational tool, along with my personal faith, that has kept the boat of my life from capsizing.  To spend a month immersed in it again after so long is both nurturing and challenging!

We often look at the decades of our life as these markers, placeholders.  We have been looking at the idea of concealment in our yoga training and when I look at my forties they were a period of deep concealment.  I started the decade with a toddler and aging parents. By the end of the decade I had lost my parents and had a teenager and a preteen.  My forties taught me that Alzheimer’s can take part of someone we love away from us but the disease itself cannot take their essence.  They are concealed in many ways but they are there.  We have to learn to sit with them in this new place.  While Alzheimer’s eventually took my sweet daddy, it did not take his essence from me.  He and my mom are with me always.  They are experiencing this Aussie adventure with us in spirit.  They are with me at this training!  What I am finding a bit challenging is coming out of this period of my own concealment and more fully into this decade of my life.  How do we move out of periods like this back into joy?  I am thinking baby steps.  This Aussie adventure we are on is a long held dream come true, a joyful adventure.  It has taken many baby steps to get here and many more baby steps are ahead for us.  This stepping out of being in the shadows personally to a more spacious place is going to take baby steps too!  Actually, I am thinking now at fifty three maybe baby steps with a few big steps and a few more tumbles.  Sometimes we need baby steps to get us to where we feel like we can take tumbles again!
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I am getting to spend this month of training up on the Sunshine Coast (or Sunny Coast) which is about an hour and a half north of Brisbane.  It is beautiful!  While our whale swim was canceled due to rain and high winds,we have however had a couple of whale sightings from the beach which has been pretty amazing in itself.  Their majesty is something to behold!  It is pretty darn wonderful to be able to walk on the beach again too!  One of the things we miss most about Florida is, of course, the proximity we had to the beach!  Our Eve was jumping for joy to have her toes in the sand again as you can see in this pic!
Our 90 Monkeys yoga teacher training with Amy Ippoliti is being hosted by Bryan at his lovely studio Yoga Vida in Mooloolaba!  In just a little over one weeks time we have had amazing jam packed days with Amy and also Russ from Younga Yoga in Woolongong!  Today Claudine and Hanza who created AcroYinyasa join us and on Sunday my husband Lawson and our youngest Eve join me and lots of my classmates for an Acroyinyasa workshop hosted at Yoga Vida!

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I am currently covered in Arnica gel…sore muscles abound!  However, there is nothing like time on your mat with inspiring people to help assist us as we take baby steps out of periods of deep concealment!  Yesterday this happened!  Lots of refinements are needed but a baby step forward!  Photo creds to my classmates Fiona Greer and Carly Ponter!
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Thanks so much for joining us on this adventure!!  Happy Friday!


What do you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?

My dear friend Jeannette passed away this weekend.  I am so incredibly heartbroken.  She was this vibrant firecracker who ran a youtube craft channel and listened to Pit Bull, not necessarily two things you would put together.  I liked that about her!  I will miss her hearty laugh!  I am not a crafter but I am so glad I will be able to head to youtube to hear her voice when I am missing her!  We met a decade ago.  We bonded over a shared connection and love of California and our now 15 year olds who happened to be in kindergarten together.  She really endeared herself to me when, after learning of my dad’s death, she grabbed me at a school open house and embraced me while I wept.  We barely knew each other at the time.  Very few friends understood the depth of the loss I was experiencing but she did.  She has been in tremendous pain for a long time as she fought cancer.  I am so thankful that she is now pain free but so sad for those of us who loved her.  I am forever grateful that in spite of her pain, we were able to spend a little time together while we were visiting Atlanta, Georgia earlier this year.  We messaged about a week ago.  She knew I loved her!  While my heart aches tonight, I am thankful for our last words.

Death has had a constant presence in our family’s life over the past 15 years.  In the past year alone, I have lost two close friends and a beloved aunt. However, if it weren’t for all the losses we have sustained I’m not sure we would be on this Australian adventure.  Several friends have commented on how brave we are to pick up and do this.  While I would say courage is somewhat necessary, I would also say our experience with loss and death pushes us just as much.  One of my favorite poets is Mary Oliver and this line from her poem The Summer Day says it well.
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What is it that you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?  It has been the asking of this question that led us on this adventure!  When you have been talking about doing something for years, do you pursue it?  When you hear the whispers of your soul do you listen?  We did and wherever this adventure takes us, boy are we glad we did!

I am leaving this week for a month long yoga intensive.  As I have struggled to regain my strength from the burns I sustained in April, I have second guessed my doing this intensive.  I am so used to being healthy, I really haven’t been prepared for how compromised my wrists were from the burns until I started bumping up my practice.  I am having to modify so much of my practice that I have thought I made a mistake in applying to go but then I think of my friend Jeannette and the excruciating pain she has been in and how she spent her time doing something she loved in spite of it.  Our time here on earth is limited and it is precious and while life is full of mundane things we must do, there is that portion of our time where we choose what we can do with our precious life.  What are you choosing to do with your one wild and precious life?  What do you dream of doing?  I really want to know!

Here is the entirety of the poem:

The Summer Day by Mary Oliver
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

As always, thank you for taking the time to read our blog and come along on this adventure with us!  I love you Jeannette!  Thank you for being my friend!  I hold you in my heart always!




Life is full of surprises.  One of the biggest surprises of my life came in the person of my groom Lawson!  He was not what I was expecting.  It is safe to say that upon initially meeting we were completely uninterested in the other.  I was shy, conservative, serious, had applied to grad school to return to work on my PhD and had sworn off men.  Lawson was an entrepreneur, a Deadhead who drove a fast car, was protesting the Gulf War through his paintings and I assumed came to church to cruise for chicks.  Not really a match made in heaven right?.  Then, one day we actually had a conversation and I thought hey this guy is smart and since I could never be interested in him we could be friends!  So we became friends, such good friends, in fact,  that he could call me up after asking a multitude of other girls to go to a concert or ballgame and I was happy to fill in if they weren’t available!  I always paid my own way.  We were not dating!  Then, one day, we were scheduled to go for a hike but rain derailed those plans so instead Lawson came over to my apartment and spent four hours telling me the story of Les Misérables.  While the story is compelling in and of itself, it was Lawson’s retelling and how he described the two characters Jean Val Jean (a man who had made mistakes but was full of love and grace) and Javert (a man who had followed the letter of the law and done all the right things but had a hardened heart) that really got to me.  It was during those four hours that I realized he was the one for me.  What?  This was not supposed to happen!  What happened that afternoon was my realization that Lawson was a Jean Val Jean and that was exactly what I was looking for in a partner!  I knew too many Javerts and I was absolutely certain I did not want that, that my soul would wither under that!  So, within a few weeks we were engaged surprising everyone we knew.  Many thought we were being rash while what we were actually doing was listening to our intuition!  When we got past all the external things that tripped us up at first, we found in the other the perfect complement!  We should never judge based on externals because of what we might miss out on!  We got engaged in May and we married on October 1, 1991 in the Church of England in Nassau Bahamas!  Twenty six years later here we are still surprised by this amazing gift that we have been granted!

This is our first anniversary in Australia.  Even though we have been talking about having this adventure in Australia for years, it was still a surprise to wake up here this morning.  We had scheduled to go on a whale swim this morning but for the second time (the first being on Lawson’s birthday in September) it was canceled and had to be rescheduled for later this week due to weather issues.  We decided instead to just relax and head over to Paddington, one of our favorite areas in Brisbane.  We walked and shopped and popped in the Kettle and Tin for a little lunch!  We haven’t talked shopping much in our blog but today’s outing was full of must visits in case you find yourself in Brisbane!  Our finds from Brown’s General Store and Hummingbird the shop are pictured below!  Happy Anniversary to us (especially me…the cookbook is Lawson’s)!
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Life is full of surprises.  Marriage is full of surprises.  And adventures.  I am so glad we chose each other twenty six years ago today!  I am so thankful we keep choosing each other every day!  I never take that for granted!  Twenty six years sounds like a really long time but the thing is, Lawson keeps growing and changing and stretching way past where is comfortable (and he nudges me to do the same) so it’s impossible not to keep falling in love with this interesting soul!
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I am now a little less shy and conservative and he is a little less wild and crazy but he still turns my world upside down every single day!
Thanks for grabbing my hand (and not letting go) and jumping into this Aussie adventure together Lawson!  And thank you friends for sharing in it with us!





Expat Growth

One of the interesting aspects of being an expat is viewing life, particularly our home country, from a position of distance.  We are looking from an outside perspective rather than an insider’s view in certain ways.  The growing distance between Americans is sort of mind boggling when observed from a distance.  When did we become so uncivil in our dialogue?  Why are we so unwilling to listen to an opinion different than our own?  When did compromise become such a dirty word?  Someone asked us the other day why Americans are so angry.  Maybe it is being a moderate independent without political affiliation that leaves me perplexed?  No matter who is President I want them to succeed (because if they fail we all fail) while feeling completely within my right to disagree on differing points with them.  I am not much of a protestor (too much of my dad in me) in terms of marches but I do believe in protesting in terms of where I spend my money or how I vote and in the rights of others to protest however they may like.  This is democracy and it is essentially what makes us great!  I wonder if a willingness to listen to why other people are protesting is the path to understanding?  I don’t follow the NFL.  My personal opinion is they are overpaid (while those who teach our children are so incredibly underpaid) so I don’t spend my money there.  I don’t fully understand what is going on with the current debate but as I’ve watched the yelling on Facebook I keep asking myself why are they protesting?  Maybe there’s more to it than them simply being overpaid, spoiled pro athletes?  It seems to me that asking questions and being open to an opinion other than my own is a good place to begin.

I remember when we first started practicing yoga many years ago, being challenged by a fellow Christian that we were doing something wrong.  I gently tried to explain that I come to my mat with my faith, no one can take this away from me.  Likewise, being willing to listen to a perspective other than my own doesn’t threaten or take away my opinion.  Lawson and I have drastically different perspectives on lots of things but our willingness to listen to the other has made each of us better human beings, more well rounded – at least that’s my hope.  I have always asked lots of questions.  I used to drive my mom crazy.  I would come home from church and throw question after question at my parents.  This started early and I have never stopped asking questions.  Questions have helped me grow.  I am not the person I was at 25, neither is Lawson.  I see this as positive growth not abandonment of core principles as those have stayed with me no matter how many questions I ask.  It is uncomfortable to grow but that growth led us on this adventure and I am grateful.  Our friend Lexie, posted the graphic below on Facebook earlier today and I think it aptly represents both this expat experience and life as we know it in general.  I want to grow, even if it brings discomfort and I have to reevaluate ideas or opinions.  We are loving (and at points frustrated by) living in a country so much like our own and yet so very different.  How open are we to learning and expanding in a different culture?  I hope a lot!  I am an American.  I bring that to Australia, no one can take that from me.  I am finding though that there are parts of Australia that I am integrating into who I am.  Australia is changing  and growing us!  We welcome that!
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Eve is on a two week mid-term school break so we made our way first thing to visit Sophie on her university campus – University of Queensland or UQ.  Lawson and I visited once when we first arrived but this was Eve’s first visit.  It was so fun to see Sophie in her realm and to have her show her little sis around.  On our first visit back in June, it was all new but now it is hers!  She gave us a tour and introduced us to Bubble Tea!  Before we left the campus we heard a lot of yelling coming from near the green space.  As we approached we realized it was a rally for and protest of a hotly debated issue going on currently here in Australia.  Eve and I couldn’t handle the yelling so we didn’t stay long but the one thing that stuck with me was something one of the students said “You don’t have to vote yes for this”.  While history will determine whether how their vote is viewed, the student was right in saying “you have a choice in how you vote”.  That is democracy!  Here’s a few pics from that day!
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IMG_8455   me and sophi uq
Speaking of growth, last week also brought the news of Lawson’s acceptance into the Ayurvedic studies program at the Australasian Institute of Ayurvedic Studies beginning in February 2018!  It is a 3 year degree program but he can begin Ayurvedic lifestyle consulting after 18 months!  Ayurveda has, along with yoga, been our chosen way to heal and stay healthy so we are super thrilled for this opportunity for Lawson!  With the happiness though comes all the fears and doubts around mid-life transitions!  Growth is not comfortable!  Yet another opportunity to grow and expand and hopefully make a difference in the lives of others as we add Ayurvedic consulting to our list of services.

The girls and I had a fun girls night out at a Hand lettering for fun workshop at a cool shop just around the corner from us called The Paper Empire.  It was tons of fun as Rosalie Hart of Rosalie Hart designs (go check out her Instagram and be inspired) guided us.  It was interesting to observe, however, how free the girls felt in expressing themselves while I felt very self-conscious and tight in my own artistic expression.  There are so many areas of life to grow in!  It’s not all about asking questions…sometimes it’s about learning to let go and be free!
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girls night out - paper empire
Our ultimate goal on this expat journey is to first become permanent residents and then to hold dual citizenship.  It is a long process and one in which we will be learning so much!  We are just beginning!  We cannot approach life in Australia by comparing it to life in the US.  It is unique and we must ask ourselves what we can learn from Australia and integrate that into who we are as Americans.  All in all I would like to think this is making us better Americans and hopefully excellent residents of Australia as well!  As always, thanks for joining us on this adventure!
US Expat