Weekend

Why is it that the week can last so long, but yet the weekend just flies by? Tomorrow it’s Monday again… another week starting… my year in America is also just flying by. I am looking forward to my brother visiting next week… and then it’s on the countdown stretch to May.

What is it about time?

My uncle passed away a week ago… the time able to spend with him on this Earth is now in the past. It’s sad that so much time has been wasted without a lot of contact, although I treasure the time spend. It’s not wasted. I have been privileged to reconnect with my uncles family, son and grandkids… more time well spent.

My dad is the last one still of his family. Time has passed by, and although I hope much time is still left…it’s flying by. Time spend is to be treasured.

My daughter passed her Masters degree. Time well spend, but that period is now also past.

What will the future hold? I don’t know what time we still have on this Earth. I do know Who holds the future. And even though I have no control over time..I can’t speed it up or slow it down… I am looking forward to that day when time is of no essence anymore… eternity is not measured in time.

Why the Marine World?

I have had a lot of people ask me “why do you like the ocean so much?” or “why marine biology?”. So I thought, why not tell my story…

It all started when I was a young girl…since I can remember, I have always loved swimming and the ocean. Whenever we would go on holiday near the ocean I would want to go in and watch all the fish! I still remember that the majority of the time either mum or dad would have to come in to the ocean to tell me to come and have food as I would go snorkelling for hours! Something about the marine world fascinated me!

My 7th birthday came and my parents decided to buy me the video boxset of Jacques Cousteau’s discoveries (in Dutch). I started watching them and within a couple minutes, I asked my parents “what does he do?” to which they responded that he was a marine biologist. As a 7 year old I had already dreamt about being an astronaut or a wedding planner, but something in me clicked whilst watching the video. I knew I was going to become a marine biologist!

That was it for me, my obsession started! I wanted to read all the books I could find on marine biology and the marine world, wanted to watch all the videos and wanted to talk to everyone about it! I don’t think my parents were fully aware what they had done!

Fast forward 10 years and it came time to think about university options and what I wanted to study. I knew it had to be marine biology but there were so many different courses within marine biology. But only 1 really stood out! Marine Vertebrate Zoology at Bangor University in North Wales. Now I wish I could say that it was an easy path for me to get into university. However, it really wasn’t! I didn’t do well with my final exams and that meant that I had to repeat a year and redo some of my exams. However, in that year I also realised that I wasn’t quite ready to go to university. So what then…here came the trusty google search. What could I do to postpone university for another year but also be something worth while! I stumbled upon Frontier Gap Year’s website and that was it. Multiple projects jumped out at me but only 1 really caught my attention. Madagascar. Marine conservation and diving…now that was something that I thought was worth it to postpone uni for.

After spending an incredible 3 months in Madagascar, my love for marine biology grew so much and I was ready to go to uni! My experience at university was a mix of amazing memories and times I wish I didn’t have to go through (check out my post about living with a hidden…not so hidden illness to learn more!). But 3 years later and I had completed my BSc and was applying for a masters degree! Who would have thought! But every time I finish something, my love for marine biology grows!

I speak with so many people who have no idea what to do with their lives and I know I am incredibly lucky to have figured out what I wanted to do at such a young age! You just never know how your actions affect the other person. You might just inspire someone and help them find their ideal career! I’d like to think that even if my parents hadn’t bought me that video boxset, I would have still ended up in marine biology.

I’ve done multiple presentations about my field and people always tell me that I glow when I talk about it and I know they’re right! When I talk about marine biology, something in me changes and I become more animated and can’t stop talking! Even just writing this I have a huge smile on my face…

I am now 26 years old, I have just completed my research masters and currently looking for PhDs…my journey is far from over but I know that I am in the right field!

What inspired you to get into your career? What do you love? Let me know in the comments or message us privately!

~  When one man, for whatever reason, has the opportunity to lead an extraordinary life, he has no right to keep it to himself – Jacques Yves Cousteau ~

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Superbowl 2018

Have to admit… I am not a huge sports fan… not any sports… don’t like watching it on tv.. and when my husband watches F1 I get irritated…. my husband and daughter are sports watchers… they are even staying up for the Super Bowl.. even when no one else does…

But being here in Minnesota, seeing all the SuperBowl buzz around me, you can’t help but get caught up in it.. even if it’s just a little bit… will I watch it on tv this eve? Probably not… but I was nosy enough to venture to the Mall of America, which is another entry point with a direct shuttle to the US bank stadium in Minneapolis… I wanted to see this for myself…

It was very quiet in the shops… shopper heaven probably.. but outside the shops was a huge buzz.. almost everyone there was wearing the jersey of the team they support (I said almost… I was probably the odd one out), face tattoos, scarves, hats… jackets, sweaters… these are some serious fans! Even if their own team (read Vikings) is not playing.. still the team jersey is worn with pride… and paraded around…

Makes me wonder… what are we fans of? What makes us go out in the cold (-20) to mingle with other like minded people. What makes us want to be together to watch the game in a group?

Do you have something you are a fan of?

I do too.. I am a Jesus follower.. not really a fan, but I want others to see that that’s what I do.. follow Jesus… I don’t have a jersey, but maybe how I walk through life is enough of a jersey to let others know? I hope so.

What about you?

Another Tuesday

Life has a habit of throwing curveballs… my daughter Melody put a previous post up on the same topic… seems a family theme!

Maybe it’s just acknowledgement that no matter how much you want to plan out your life, and need the security to know what’s happening next… it just does not happen that way.

These last couple days I have had the pleasure to spend time with my dads older brother in Tennessee. The weather was lovely, the surroundings are beautiful and are beating snowy Minnesota. It’s been just him and me… chatting about everything and nothing. Looking through pictures, me watching him take a nap while I am crocheting… time we have never taken before… well, I have never taken before. A blessing.

And yet I know this will most likely be the last opportunity. Besides that my year in America is rapidly coming to and end, he is also of age and battling cancer. The curveball I was talking about.

Just when you think you have it worked out, and given family relationships it’s place.. it’s really the last time…

I am not complaining. I am blessed beyond measure… looking at my uncle I realise I am also blessed with a wider family who can put family history in perspective.

Above all, it puts time in perspective. No matter how much of it or how little of it we have. Use it wisely!

Time spend should never be wasted!!

Everything Doesn’t Always Go to Plan

Everyone plans…for their future, for their day out, for their holidays. You can plan everything down to the second, but life has taught me over the last month that no matter how much you plan, things can fall apart.

A couple days before Christmas my relationship of 4 years fell apart and all the planning I had done just disappeared. Do I regret anything? No. Would I change things if I could? No. Life throws these curveballs, there is no way around that. But how we grow from them is up to us. I could have chosen to be a wreck and cry the entire time we were on holiday in Scotland. Instead, I dusted the dirt off my shoulders and picked myself up and had a great holiday!

So no matter how much you plan, you also have to give space for the what ifs in life. This year definitely didn’t start the way I thought it would…But this is the year that I take things under control. My health for one…and take time to be me and grow even more as a person. Whether that is going out more and taking pictures and growing as a photographer, to trying those Pinterest recipes that I have wanted to try for a while now.

When you are going through a tough time in life, what do you do to pick yourself back up? For me, it’s surrounding myself with friends and family, laughing and remembering all the awesome things that have happened! And of course, comfort food such as chocolate and pizza was consumed! And a whole lot of shortbread and mulled wine instant tea (Whittard) in Scotland too!

So instead of Italy, this year I’m going to explore other countries, work on my photography and finally dye my hair! What’s something that you planned that fell through? How did you deal with it? Let me know in the comments or email me!

~ My entire life can be described in one sentence: It didn’t go as planned, and that’s ok – Anonymous ~

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Friendship

Friends come in different shapes and seizes… some friends have been in my life for 30 years, others walked into my life just almost a year ago… some are older, some are younger….

‘If you have crazy friends, you have everything you need’ is a quote I read somewhere….

The definition of friendship for me is being with someone whom I can trust and can be myself with…

We need friends. We need people around us that guide us, mold us, shape us and protect us. And it’s a 2-way street ofcourse!!!

Today was spent in the company of friends. A leisurely lunch and wonderful conversation.

Below a collection of my friends…. if you are not there in the picture, it does not mean you are not my friend… but it means I have no pictures to share…. and we certainly should remedy that!!!! Looking through these pictures I can truly say… I am blessed!

East, West, Home is Best

These last 10 days have been a real adventure… deciding in the morning which way to travel, or which campsite to let our motor home rest. The initial intention was to drive the total 500 route along the Scottish Highland coast. We managed a fair bit, am happy to report… but needed to turn back at Thurso due to the weather. We visited John O Groats, the most northern point in the British mainland. A couple years ago we visited Lands End, the most southern point. So we can now truly say we have driven the total length of Great Britain!

We loved spending time at Chanonry Point, searching for dolphins. We did see a seal, but the dolphins did not decide to appear for us. Nonetheless, we walked the beach there and found other treasures…. shells and sea glass… the area is breathtaking… I could be parked up there for hours with a nice cup of tea.

We have been truly blessed by the weather… we have seen snow, had a little rain, but had mostly sunshine… that was until last night when our stop happened to be near Carlisle, just outside Gretna, the Scottish bordertown. We did see the amber wind warning, but assumed we were going to be ok…. well, we were ok… but as the winds battered the caravan we were strategically parked behind, the whole motor home rocked… for most of the evening and night… not too much sleep for us all there!

That brings me to today… we have returned home… and even though I have truly loved our adventure, evenings playing Yahtzee, crochet or reading… this is my home… and I am very glad to be spending another night here before flying back to my Minnesota home. We have seen east (Scotland) and west (Scotland)…. but home truly is the best!

New Year

It’s the day before the last day of the year, and time to reflect on that which is now the past…. What did 2017 bring you?

For our family, 2017 has brought a lot of change. Melody passed her Masters in Zoo Conservation Biology (a great accomplishment and I am very proud!), Geert bought another car to replace the car he had…. and I have lived in the US now for 7 months.

At the moment our family is reunited in the British Isles. In Scotland to be precise. We had read a lot about the area above Inverness and therefore decided to explore it. Currently we are driving the Route 500 in a Motorhome. We are hoping to ring in the new year in Durness, on the beach. Who knows… we might be lucky and spot the Northern Lights! So far we are loving every minute of it. Below you can see a few snapshots.

In a few days, life will return back to our normal. 2018 will have begun and with it, the promise of another blessed year. No one knows what the future holds.. am sure glad I know Who holds the future. Even if our family will spend some more time apart, we are together in love, faith and knowledge that we will spend eternity together.

A blessed 2018 to all!

Christmas Lights

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;

The first couple lines of a Christmas poem, which was played on the radio by one of the houses we went to have a look at… Christmas lights… a joy to go watch what other people do to decorate their houses… it was even synchronised to music which you could hear if you tuned in through the radio. Most houses were decorated to raise money for a good cause. One house stood out though.. their website said that their aim was to tell people about the good news of Christmas… a Saviour born, to restore the relationship between God and man.

Our favourite area was a neighbourhood in Plymouth, MN. The houses were beautiful even without the lights… but with the lights it was just magical… that’s what I really do love about Christmas… the cosy atmosphere these little twinkling lights bring to an area…

Are you a little twinkling light bringing good cheer to men? Or is this time of the year one of sadness and loneliness? Whatever it is, I hope you will find some comfort in the lights all around you, passing it on to others… knowing that The Light came to save us all.

Merry Christmas to all!

Waiting

Everyone probably knows the feeling…. suspense, nervous, excited, with anticipation…. something has been worth waiting for and is drawing near..

That is what I feel.. I have not been home in the UK since May this year, and in only 6 days I will be going home to visit. Am excited to see those things I hold dear, spend time with my family that I miss. Making new memories along the way.

Am also a little nervous. Will my cats remember me? Will my home still feel like my home? Will I be ok to leave again after the holidays?

Having been travelling between the US and the UK extensively, I have truly had the best of both worlds…when in the UK I miss the US and vice versa. And yet… the UK is my home. Or is it?

What are you waiting for? Are you waiting for the Christmas period to end so all can get back to normal? Are you looking forward to spending Christmas with loved ones? Are you eagerly anticipating the presents you will receive? You are not alone….

Know that your biggest gift is freely given. And all you need to do is to accept it. Christmas is a reminder of Gods love for us, and He is waiting eagerly for you to be with Him.

Maybe that is what waiting is about? Anticipation to be reconnected?