Sunday, April 24, 2016

Forty. And wise. Ha!


Ten years ago, I never turned thirty.  I really didn't want to be thirty, so instead, I went from being twenty-nine to twenty-ten.  I don't remember admitting I was thirty until I turned thirty-one.  It was a really bad attitude.

Now, I'm kind of excited to be forty.  It seems that as I get older, I should be getting wiser.  I want to be wise.  Wisdom gives great quotes.  I love quotes.

My roommate in college and I weren't visual at all.  Most people's dorm rooms had pictures on the walls.  Our room had none.  Instead, it had a huge sheet of paper covering the wall, which we decorated with quotes we'd heard.  The good and the bad, fame and shame, were all represented, from professors, classmates, and general life.  It was great.

If I'm going to be forty, I want to be wise, and I want great quotes.  I may have to collect the quotes from others, but they'll be great.  If my husband would let me get away with no decorations or paint on the walls - only an enormous paper with quotes to cover bare walls, I'd do it!  Here's some quotes I've collected in my heart this year.

"Forty is great!  I love the ages of the kids, marriage, this phase of life.  40's good!"  - Jo-Lynn.  This is the quote I kept in mind as the right attitude for the new decade.

"He must increase, and I must decrease."  - the Bible.  It's all about Jesus.

"I wonder what our grandmothers would have done?"  -Sarah.  Life sounded easier then, in loving husbands and children and serving generously.  Maybe life wasn't easier, but memories of our grandmothers are still good examples.

"All your life long you are slowly turning into a heavenly creature or a hellish creature." - C.S. Lewis.  This seems more obvious in each of us the older we all get. Please let me be becoming more heavenly!

"Great idea.  The picture is awful."  - Lisa.  Honesty of a friend.  There's nothing like it.

"Don't listen with your ears.  Listen with your heart.  You'll understand."  - Jean, explaining how I would understand our ESL students, despite the accents.  She was right.

"We love you, honey.  Take all our love."  - Grandma and Grandpa.  Can I say that quote enough that it will be the memory others have of me?

Maybe none of those quotes meant much to you.  What have you heard lately that makes a difference in your life?  What's God teaching you through what you've heard or read?  I hope you have a day of wisdom and noticing great quotes!

Friday, April 8, 2016


Last summer, I realized that we'd gone on a big adventure and traveled all over the United States, but we'd never really taken our kids to many touristy places in Ohio.  Char and I always wanted to see and do things that were new to us, and it seemed we never got around to showing the kids as much of their own state while on trips.

Our adventure also made me realize that a lot of people tend to short-change their own home state.  We heard a lot of people joke about their home states, thinking that the jokes were really unique, but in reality we heard the same jokes in many states:

"There's only two seasons here in [insert the state name] - winter and construction."
"If you don't like the weather here in [whatever state name], stick around for another few hours.  It'll change."
"Really?  You're traveling around the entire U.S. and you chose to come HERE??"
Why do we disdain our own states so much?

Last summer, I started wanting to take the kids to a few specific places in Ohio.  There are quintessential places in every state, and it was time to visit some of Ohio's as a family.  I'm now writing about these Ohio places partially because this blog is my version of a family scrapbook, and partially because I know some of you read it as a travel blog.  Here's my opinion of a few unique or special Ohio destinations.

1)  Hocking Hills State Park.
We took the kids last summer, as our first post-adventure camping trip.

I remembered going to Hocking Hills as a child, and it's still my favorite state park in Ohio.  I'd say it can rival the state parks in the other states we've visited around the country.  Lots of waterfalls, which I love, rocks, and forest.  We also went to a great night hike there.  Hiking is strictly forbidden in the dark at Hocking Hills except for in naturalist-led hikes, as people otherwise have a tendency to fall in the gorge and die.  The night hike was unique, and if you visit, I recommend timing it with a night hike event.

2)  Amish country
This spring, we visited Amish country with our kids.  Amish country is so close to our house, we'd never made it a destination of its own, other than to go buy furniture.  A blessing of living near Amish country is being able to get affordable, nice quality, hand-made wooden furniture.  It's an Ohio perk.

This was a quick, one night trip.  Since we scootered around the country, I really think we need to scooter some of Ohio, too.  The Holmes County Trail is a great trail that has one lane for bikes and scooters, and a second lane for horses and buggies.  The photo doesn't show it, but we did get passed by a good number of buggies!

In this picture, B is scootering on the wrong side, apparently thinking himself a horse.

If you're not from around here, you might be surprised to see the way parking lots look through the car window.

This is Heini's Cheese Chalet.  I love it!  The Amish farmers bring the milk for the cheese every morning.  Only part of the milk is used in the cheese, and the other part is used to make fudge.  After taking a tour of the factory, you can sample probably 30+ different cheeses, and 10 or so fudges.  We bought our favorites and had them for lunch with crackers.  It's unique, and Amish country is worth visiting!

3)  Lake Erie Islands.
This is on my list to do with our family sometime, as we haven't done it yet, but I remember enjoying it as a child.  It was fun to take a ferry ride out to Kelley's Island or Put-in-Bay and bike ride around the islands.  It's another unique activity in Ohio.  (However, for the best Lake Erie beach, I think Presque Isle State Park in Pennsylvania is the place to go.)

4)  Cincinnati

I'm sure everyone has a differing opinion.  I'm a country girl, and not so interested in cities.  The cities in northern and central Ohio just don't seem great to me.  (Except that Cleveland has the Cleveland Orchestra.  That's great!)  If you like cities, I think Cincinnati is pretty nice.  We recently went there to visit the Creation Museum.  It was fun and educational!

The Cincinnati River Walk helped me accomplish the goal of scootering through the state as a family.  It was fun to walk across the Ohio River on the Purple People Bridge, and our kids loved that the river walk had tons of really unique play structures.

Relaxing river walk swings

Why do I want to touch major bodies of water and rivers?  Not sure, but it makes me happy!

There you have it.  I am no longer short-changing my home state, and these are some places in Ohio that I think are worth visiting.  I wonder what's on your list, either in Ohio or in your own home state?