Our recent family vacation took us to Italy. Our full itinerary can be found here. Today’s focus is on our first stop: Rome … the city of layers … where ancient walls are graffitied by artists and occasionally hit by passing cars.


We chose the city. Next up – picking a location or neighborhood within the city to stay. We like to walk and/or use public transport in the cities we visit, so we tend to pick a location based on its accessibility to most of the things we want to see. Makes sense, right?  We planned to visit the typical top spots in Rome, so decided to stay in a central location.… Keep Reading

madonna art


As I wandered the streets of Italy last week on our family vacation, I became aware of all the Madonna art seemingly every few steps – on walls, in churches, in courtyards, in tiny alcoves. Paintings, sculptures, ancient, modern, simple, elaborate, colorful, plain, peaceful, painful.

I am a person of the Christian faith, though not Catholic. I am used to seeing brown-bearded, friendly-eyed pictures of Jesus. And like most Protestants, I don’t own a crucifix. No, we remove Jesus making it a clean and tidy cross. Pain-free, worry-free art. And Mary is not often seen outside the nativity, where she calmly sits beside Joseph and a few farm animals looking adoringly at the little bundle in the manger.… Keep Reading

italy itinerary


It is with words like “Donatello” and “Michelangelo” meandering through my head like the bending Tuscan roads … and with the recent memory of the taste of ravioli in a light, buttery sauce melting in my mouth … and with dirty laundry up to my eyeballs, that I write of Italy. Our most recent family adventure took us to the beautiful chaos of Rome, to the rolling hills and nearly untouched ancient villages of Tuscany, and finally to the home of the Renaissance – Florence.

Our family of four chose Italy over a number of other European destinations this time around for its mild springtime weather, its fabulous food, and its generous nature towards children.… Keep Reading

two men, one dream

Unexpectedly, one of the most fascinating experiences of our recent trip to South Africa was spending time with the drivers who transported us on short trips, like from the airport to our hotel, or on longer day-trips to various tourist destinations. We had the privilege of meeting drivers of different colors and backgrounds. One was a white male, probably in his 60’s. Another, a black male in his 30’s. The final one was a self-described colored male, middle-aged. He assured us that the term “colored” is not derogatory in South Africa. It’s merely a description of people who are neither black or white, but somewhere in between and/or mixed race.… Keep Reading

abidjan montage

Greetings!  I trust everyone is having a fantastic summer.

Many of you know that our little Ma was to travel from her home country of Cote d’Ivoire, Africa, to the States today for more follow-up medical care. Unfortunately, she is not on that plane, and I am sitting here typing rather than heading to the airport right now awaiting her arrival.

We are working to get her paperwork in order for her to travel sometime this fall.  In the meantime, I spent some time today sifting through photos from our trip to Abidjan in May.  I hope you enjoy the slideshow set to my most favorite song right now, I Lived by One Republic.  … Keep Reading