The Farewell Gift

Today I was given the most beautiful gift.

A group of women from the church we’ve attended while here in Italy…the church Nick’s parents founded and ran… hosted a small farewell lunch for me today.

I was honored and truly humbled that they’d want to celebrate me. Read More


I’m not a proud American

I’m not your typical proud and patriotic American who loves to celebrate the fourth of July.
I haven’t been for quite some time now.

I’m not sure when the change took place exactly.

Maybe after I’d left my hometown and annual family picnics with impromptu baseball games were a thing of the past? Or maybe early in our marriage in Minnesota when everyone went north to their cabins and abandoned us in the cities and we were left to celebrate alone?

Was it the loneliness that started the cynicism towards the holiday?

I don’t think it was.

I just don’t have this sense of pride in my country. Read More


On why I STILL don’t speak Italian

Before coming to Italy, I predicted learning the language would be my biggest struggle.

I was right.

But not for the reasons I anticipated.

I thought it would be because I wasn’t a kid anymore and my brain wouldn’t be as good at learning a new language. I also thought I’d have enough English speakers available to me that I’d still have friends without the motivation to learn Italian.  I also thought it would be similar to Spanish and confuse me a bit.  All of those reasons proved to be true, but the biggest obstacle was my perfectionism. That one seems to get me a lot. Hence the name of this blog.

I’ve lived here for a year and a half now, I studied 20 hours a week for a month last January, and honestly, I can understand quite a bit of what most people say. But speaking the language. Oh man. It’s terrifying!

So terrifying in fact that I literally freeze up and all parts of my brain quit functioning. Let me tell you some stories… Read More


Finding our next home


Since we moved here, my ideas about what home is have shifted. I used to think home was the place you settled into for long periods of time – maybe even all your life. You buy the house, make best friends, get into a routine within your community.  I was searching for and trying to make that happen in Minnesota. I thought I’d find it here in Italy. I thought we’d plant roots in both of those places. Dig in deep to the life around us. Connect with the culture and settle in for years.

But during my time here, while I struggled to connect with my community because of the language barrier, I realized something…

I’ll never truly be home while I’m here on this earth.  My home is in heaven.

Maybe that’s why there’s this deep overwhelming longing within me to find “home.” It could also be that I’m a wife and a mother – but I think it goes deeper than that – I think this desire for home is within all of us.  I think it’s how we’re all created. With a need to return to our creator and savior.

So I’ve started to view this earthly home a little differently. To realize it’s temporary. To understand I’ll always have a longing for something more than I have here – because what waits for me in heaven won’t even come close to what I have now.

I’m not saying it’s easy to see things this way. I need daily reminding. I grew up in the same town all my childhood life and I like predictability and routine. The shift in perspective is hard to keep sometimes.

I’ve been drawn to minimalism for a few years, and we live a pretty minimal life already. After the passing of Nick’s parents, we took another look around and thought:

None of this stuff really matters. Our lives aren’t about things or places, it’s about loving people and making the most of the short time we have together. 

We also began to ask ourselves and the Lord, where our next temporary home might be.

We’d just talked and dreamed about the next move on a date night in early December.  Australia? Hong Kong? NYC? Pacific Northwest? Where would we go? On that night we thought living near my parents for awhile would be a good idea – maybe DC or Baltimore. Whenever we were finished in Italy that was – probably like 2-3 more years.  But all that had changed now. Could we even live legally in Italy past next year since we came in under Steve and Patti’s citizenship? Would it be too hard to stay here with all the memories?  Would Alicia’s family stay or go? Lots of questions were exchanged as we sorted through and prayed about direction for the next step.

The idea came to me after a nap. Funny that it’s the same time/way the idea to move to Italy came about.  Maybe we hear best from God when we wake from a nap? A rested, clear mind, able to engage with the supernatural?  I don’t know how these things work. I’m only guessing. Read More


You Make Me Brave

This is usually one of my most favorite times of year. That week between Christmas and New Years where the kids are engrossed with new toys and I get the urge to organize and dream.

This year not so much. This year when my favorite annual goal setting posts popped up in my RSS feed I didn’t even click it. I couldn’t bring myself to plan and dream right now. But then another blog popped up today, one about choosing a word for the year. And I remembered what I’d chosen last year.


I’d had a lot of anxiety surrounding the move…Questioning why we were here, terrified to attempt to speak Italian, and fearing something terrible would happen to a family member. At first choosing the word meant that I’d will myself to be brave in the new year. Then a few months in I realized I had to trust the Lord to make me brave.  There’s an incredibly popular song floating around in the Christian Music world that I listened to on repeat during my times of fear. I slowly realized it’s not me making myself brave, but leaning into the strength of God that does. Trusting that he’ll be my rock in the storm – be with me through the fears and then again when I come out on the other side of them. Sometimes he helps them fade faster, and other times I just hang on to him while the waves crash.

Who knew that the word brave would carry me through a year of anxiety and small panic attacks, and then up to the tragedy we faced on December 18th? Who knew my constant questioning of why we felt lead to move here would be answered on December 18th?

God did.  Read More


The tale of crab dip and a pashmina



I hope some day soon I’ll look back on last night and laugh. For now I’m still mortified and perhaps telling you the story will allow the healing process to begin.

It’s quite ironic that this post immediately follows the one in which I told you how I don’t care what people think…

Last night Nick and I attended a dinner party. It was the annual couples dinner for the international ladies group in town.

I’ve attended lunches, cultural tours, and just earlier this week a coffee morning at someone’s home with this group.  At the coffee morning I brought along a store bought cake (which I felt a little embarrassed about, but there were other non-homemade items as part of the spread) When I arrived, I was greeted by the host and taken to the kitchen to grab a plate for my contribution, offered tea or coffee, and then left to mingle with the ladies. I figured this dinner party would be similar.

Now, I’m an introvert. Small talk is not my thing. But I’ve managed to enjoy these little gatherings and for now it’s learning about the ladies and hearing some of their stories, and I can do that.

But then last night. Read More