In fact, the decision to take the trip was made spontaneously (celebrating our 35th Wedding Anniversary), and was planned in less than six weeks! I now have enough research experience to qualify as a personal travel agent for your next vacation, and will find you the best online deals!
It's amazing how much can happen, or change, in such a short time. I've spent the last 24 hours, since returning, checking in here and there, and after having done so, feel as though I've missed a ton. My newest grandson, Leo, only 6-weeks-old when we left, has doubled in size, and abilities - we are slowing getting reacquainted with each other. However, he doesn't seemed very impressed with me, just yet.
But then it occurred to me, that missing nearly a month out of 12 in a year, is a lot - considering how much happens and changes in each of our lives, every year. Anyway, it shouldn't really surprise me that I feel totally out of it right now - determined to jump right back in and pick up from where I left off. However, I note, that life goes on and it 'mattereth not' that this is so, when one is doing what they are born to do.
I was born to travel and am thankful for such a fabulous opportunity with this, our latest adventure. I hope I did (in small ways) what I was supposed to do along our journey, in fulfilling my life's mission to share the gospel of Jesus Christ, and the joy that living it has brought into my life.
It was a wonderful experience to watch my husband, fearlessly I might add, tell pretty much everyone we came in contact with, that we are Mormon, and to share with them the love we have for our family. (And let me just tell you, once you divulge that you're celebrating being married for 35 years, have five children 'together' - and 11 grandchildren to brag about - we were a forced to be reckoned with!) Once a missionary, always a missionary - and my husband loved his LDS mission! The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, completely stripped down, is about family - simple as that - John 3:16!
We had a glorious time in Europe - and took the opportunity to visit the Rome, Italy, temple and see it under construction! (Scheduled for completion in 2015) I refer to our vacation, as my 'Taste of Europe' trip, as I took the opportunity to see as much as was humanly possible in 22 short days! We began in Paris, France, and then with the help of the fantastic rail system, we traveled to Berne, Switzerland (husband's people), then on to Venice and Florence, Italy, before boarding a 10-night Mediterranean cruise, out of Rome - visiting more of Italy, Greece and Turkey. After the cruise we returned to Rome and explored the city, then spent a few days in Tuscany before heading home. (And yes, Tuscany was/is as dreamy as you imagine!) I'm still pinching myself to make sure I wasn't dreaming! It was a whirlwind of education and marvelous experiences, that we will cherish for the rest of our lives!
You are likely to hear more of my thoughts throughout the coming months, as I imagine I will weave into my writing some of my insights, applicable to how I view the world, spiritually, and which, spontaneously, would find application to much of what I saw and heard while abroad. I also have some great stories to share, that will inspire you as a member of the LDS Church, to continue to be a light in the world, by just living what you believe - because it does affect others in ways you will likely never know in this life.
I was blessed to have the companionship of the Spirit to help me discern much of what I experienced on our trip with spiritual eyes, and to teach me how to interpret these things from an eternal perspective - God is good. We also made some new friends along the way, which added a very special facet to our trip. Not the kind of people you meet briefly and move on from, but the kind where there is a fast connection and you just know you've made friends for life. But there were the quickie kind, too, that after only hours spent together, left their own special impressions upon us -- leaving us edified. We hope we did the same in return.
And now I come home to my life, and the world which I've created, with a renewed spirit and desire to continue doing what I am blessed to be able to do. Over the next two weeks, I will be a guest hostess for the Family Proclamation Celebration, and will feature a number of guest bloggers/writers here on WBMW, who will share their personal insights, and testimony, about that inspired work!
You can find our Facebook Page, Celebrate the Family Proclamation here: https://www.facebook.com/CelebratetheFamilyProclamation
'Like' us, and share with others, so as many as possible can follow and participate in this great event!
I will admit, that with my absence, I am a bit behind the eight-ball with getting things rolling here, but fear not, we shall forge onward. Each day of the celebration, I will post in the afternoons, which is not to say I won't post in the mornings or evenings about 'other' stuff - as there is SO much of it to talk about... (So I've heard)
And last, but definitely NOT least, from the desk of Montserrat, over at Chocolate on My Cranium, who invited me to be a guest hostess for this event, we have this:
9/14 we kick off the start of the Family Proclamation Celebration with Instagram Great Gram Day!
Post your ancestor's picture onto Facebook, Twitter, Instagram [Google+] or on your blog.
In your status, caption, or tweet, include with the picture:
- The person's name
- How you're related
- A brief blurb on their life if you know it
- This link: www.familysearch.org/photos/
- And a fun little hash tag like #IGGday, #grateful,#Ancestor, or #FamilySearch#FamilyProclamationCelebration
Then link-up your tweets, Instagram, [Google+] or blog posts to any of our blogs (you won't link-up your Facebook): http://chocolateonmycranium.blogspot.com/,http://www.mormonmommyblogs.com/,http://wellbehavedmormonwoman.blogspot.com/
Well, that should do it for now - at least until tomorrow!
P.S. Can you believe that General Conference is just weeks away! I'm SO ready!
P.S.S. It feels really good to be back at this! :-)
The Family: A Proclamation to the World
About the Rome Italy Mormon Temple
Mormon Newsroom -
President Monson Breaks Ground for Rome Italy Temple
Photo: Rome Temple, rendition: LDS.org (Intellectual Reserve, Inc.)