To Travel Is To Explore

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This past weekend, my sister and brother-in-law moved to Kentucky. While I am missing them tremendously, I’m also excited for this new adventure for many reasons. You see, with them living in another state, I get to travel more often and see more places – one of my favorite things to do!

Growing up, I remember watching Travel Channel’s Samantha Brown and her shows, Great Hotels and Passport to Europe. For each episode, I kept thinking “Samantha has the best job in the world and I would love to have it.” As I watched the shows, I quickly realized I had a passion for traveling.

The reason why I travel is simple-to see the world and gain experiences. There is so much learning to be had outside of your comfort zone. My travel philosophy is to travel as much as possible, while learning about the history of an area and the people who live there. It also includes being adventurous and making memories. This philosophy plays into my five step travel list.

For every trip I take, I must:

  1. Take tons of pictures. I always come home with about 1,000+ photos.
  2. Meet and talk with the locals. You’ll get the best information about where to eat, what to do, and learn more about the area from a person who lives there.
  3. Research the location’s history and plan out my must-sees. However, I am careful to not plan too much and allow time for adventures.
  4. Get lost—on purpose. Take a back road, walk down a different street, just get out and explore.
  5. Go back to that same destination. It might not be the next year, or the year after that, but sometime in my life, I will make the time to go back.

If you want to get out of your comfort zone and see the world, you must travel. It doesn’t have to be a three week excursion. It can be a day trip to a nearby city or even a stay-cation in your own town. Just travel!

Trust me-adventure is out there. You just have to make up your mind and go!




76 Years Ago…A Date Which Will Live in Infamy


Every year on December 7th, I reflect back to our country on this day in 1941. For many, it started out as a normal Sunday. But, for those on the US naval base at Pearl Harbor, the day drastically changed their lives. 77 years today, America became engulfed in World War II after a surprise Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor. More than 2,000 American soldiers and sailors died that day. On Monday, December 8th, President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked Congress to declare war on Japan. For the next four years, Americans fought hard on the Pacific, Eastern, and Western Fronts, as well as, the home front.

Today, we honor the sacrifices the greatest generation made in protecting our country. As the granddaughter of a World War II veteran, I know the worth of this generation. There aren’t many of them left and we need to work together to perserve their stories and histories.

On this day and every day, remember our military and those who have and are currently serving our country. Its a job many people wouldn’t even considerate doing.



The History of Veterans’ Day 

Every year on November 11th, we commemorate Veterans’ Day and those who have served in the military. There are tributes, thank-you’s, and parades. With all the memories, respect, and honor associated with the day, it is important to remember the history and meaning of Veterans’ Day.

At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in the year 1918, an armistice was declared between the Allied nations and Germany in World War I, or the Great War. Originally referred to as Armistice Day, Veterans Day was initially created as the anniversary of the end of World War I. In November 1918, President Woodrow Wilson announced that November

11th would be known as Armistice Day. Although the war didn’t of cially end until the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28th, 1919, November 11th will always be known as the end. The day was lled with parades and tributes, while at 11 a.m. a moment of silence was observed.

November 11th was further recognized as Armistice Day in 1921, when an unidenti ed American soldier, killed in World War I, was buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Also, on the same day, unidentified soldiers were laid to rest at Westminster Abbey in London and the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

Five years later, on June 4th, 1926, Congress passed a resolution stating the “recurring anniversary on November 11th, 1918, should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate
peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations.” Along with the observance, the president would issue an annual address for the day. On May 13th, 1938, an act declared Armistice Day an of cial legal federal holiday. Up until then, the day was commemorated in observance, but now November 11th was a legal holiday.

The name change from Armistice to Veterans’ Day came under President Dwight D. Eisenhower on June 1st, 1954. Due to the efforts of American soldiers in World War II and the Korean War, the 83rd U.S. Congress amended the 1938 act, changing Armistice to Veterans’ Day. Since then, the date has become a day to honor all veterans from all wars.

Veterans’ Day is celebrated throughout the world. Here in the in the United States, November 11th is observed with tributes and parades. At Arlington National Cemetery, an of cial wreath- laying ceremony is held at the Tomb of the Unknowns. Many people will wear red poppies on the day, as well. The red poppy is a symbol of World War I and rst appeared in the poem “In Flanders’ Fields” by John McCrae. Poppies are usually worn in the lapel as a tribute and sold to raise money for veterans’ organizations. Also, the poppies are a symbol for Memorial Day.

The meaning of Veterans’ Day and that
of Memorial Day are often confused,
and this is a common misunderstanding. Veterans’ Day is to honor all the living and nonliving military members, while Memorial Day is dedicated to honoring service members who have died in service to our country or from injuries resulting from battle.

There are many ways to get your family and friends involved in remembering veterans on November 11th. Some include volunteering with a veterans’ organization, attending a parade, writing letters to veterans at the Veterans’ Hospital or flying an American flag in your yard year-round. Also, take the time to listen to a veteran’s story about his or her military experience. These are pieces of history that often get lost.

Remember the veterans you know on November 11th and every day of the year. A simple “thank-you” for their service can go a long way. 

 “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.

~ President John F. Kennedy. 



Post written for Forsyth Family Magazine. 

Recipe for Kindness on the Eve of Election Day

Tomorrow is Election Day. It is the day we all have been waiting for since last year. No matter who you support and who you hope to win, there is one thing we can agree on: the hopes of making America kinder. So, on the eve of this Election Day, let’s use this recipe to create kindness for the next four years.


  • An open and caring heart


Fold two hands together and express a dash of sorrow.
Marinate it overnight
and work on it tomorrow.

Chop one grudge in tiny pieces add several cups of love,
dredge with a large  sized smile
mix with the ingredients above.

Dissolve the hate within you, by doing a good deed.
Cut in and help your friend
if he should be in need.

Stir in laughter, love and kindness from the heart it has to come,
toss with genuine forgiveness
and give your neighbor some.

The amount of people served will depend on you,
it can serve the whole wide world,
if you really want it to.

-Author Unknown



My Patriotic Extravaganza

The 4th of July is tomorrow! As one of my favorite holidays, I thought I would share with y’all a little bit on how I’m celebrating, with decorations, food, and a game.

Decorations: Red, White, and Blue Banner

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  • Red, White, and Blue Bandannas
  • Twine
  • Hot Glue


1. Cut the bandannas into triangles or rectangles (whatever shape you desire).

2. Hot glue the tops of the shapes onto the twine and hang inside or outside.

Food: Red, White, and Blue Parfaits

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Red layer:

  • 1 (3 oz) package of strawberry gelatin
  • 1 cup of boiling water
  • ½ cup cold water
  • 1 cup chopped strawberries

White layer:

  • ¼ cup cold water
  • 1 tablespoon (1 envelope) of unflavored gelatin powder
  • ½ cup boiling water
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 cup vanilla ice cream, liquefied

Blue layer:

  • ¼ cup cold water
  • 1 tablespoon (1 envelope) of unflavored gelatin powder
  • ½ cup boiling water
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 ½ cups blueberries
  • 6 Mason Jars
  • Whipped Cream


Strawberry layer: Stir 1 cup of boiling water into the strawberry gelatin until gelatin is fully dissolved. Add in ½ cup of cold water and the chopped strawberries.

1. Arrange the jars at an angle in a muffin tin.

2. Put flour or uncooked rice in the wells to hold the jars in place. Gently spoon equal amounts of the strawberry gelatin mixture into each of the jars. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 to 45 minutes.

White layer: Once the strawberry gelatin is firm, begin making the white ice cream layer. In a medium bowl, sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the unflavored gelatin evenly over 1/4 cup of cold water (allow the gelatin to absorb the water for 2 minutes). Then, stir in ½ cup of boiling water until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Mix in ½ cup of sugar, then stir in 1 cup of the melted ice cream until smooth

1. With the jars still at an angle in the muffin tin, spoon equal amounts of the ice cream mixture into each of the jars.

2. Refrigerate until firm, about 20 to 30 minutes.

Blueberry layer: Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of unflavored gelatin evenly over 1/4 cup of cold water in a bowl. Wait 2 minutes to allow the gelatin to absorb the water. Add in ½ cup of boiling water. Stir until the gelatin is dissolved and then mix in ½ cup of sugar. Lastly, add the 1 ½ cup of blueberries.

1. Refrigerate the blueberry mixture in the bowl until it thickens to the consistency of a gel .

2. Take the jars out of the muffin tin and set them upright.

3. Spoon equal amounts of the blueberry mixture into each of the jars. Refrigerate until firm.

4. Garnish with whipped cream and serve.



Game: Test Your Patriotic Knowledge! 

Quiz your friends on their Patriotic Knowledge. Person to get the most right wins. (Answers below.) 

1. What is the capital of Colorado?

2. The Mardi Gras celebration is held in the French Quarter of where?

3. Which state became the 50th state, admitted on August 21, 1959?

4. Name the six states that make up New England.

5. Coca-Cola was founded in which capital city?

6. Which state capital name means “protected bay?”

7. Which state is famous for earthquakes?

8. What state is known for having crocodiles?

9. Also known as Mary Hayes McCauley, what woman carried water to men in the Battle of Monmouth during the Revolutionary War in 1778?

10. Who was the leader of the Underground Railroad, which brought many slaves to freedom?

Answers: 1. Denver 2. New Orleans 3. Hawaii 4. Vermont, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island 5. Atlanta, Georgia 6. Honolulu, Hawaii 7. California 8. Florida 9. Molly Pitcher 10. Harriet Tubman 



My Travel To-Do List

We all have bucket lists. Lists of things we want to do before our last day on Earth. But, I don’t like calling them “bucket lists.” Sounds as if you are counting down the days. So, instead, lets call them “to-do lists.” My to-do lists consist of making memories, spending time with loved ones, and traveling. Here is my travel to-do list.

  • Visit all 7 continents
  • Visit all 50 states
  • Go on a Route 66 road-trip
  • Visit and hike Machu Picchu
  • Hike Mount Kilimanjaro
  • Camp under the Northern Lights
  • Visit Brazil during Carnival.
  • Dive through the Great Barrier Reef in Australia
  • Walk across the Trift Bridge in the Swiss Alps
  • Swim in Iceland’s Blue Lagoon
  • Kayak through Caddo Lake in Texas
  • Go on a hot-air balloon ride in Turkey
  • Go fly-fishing in Montana’s Glacier National Park
  • See the floating lanterns in Thailand
  • Watch the Changing of the Guards in London
  • See the Fairy Pools in Scotland
  • Tickle whales in Mexico
  • Walk the Great Wall of China
  • Helicopter over a volcano in Hawaii
  • Hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon

Dreaming a little big, aren’t I? That’s the fun of it- dream and LIVE big!

What is on your travel to-do list?



Space Dreams

Doesn’t everyone have dreams about being an astronaut, going into space, and walking on the moon at least once? Those dreams for me haven’t sailed away quite yet, but get smaller each day. To help accomplish these goals, I live vicariously through other astronauts’ space adventures, such as Scott Kelly.

Kelly, along with Russian astronaut  Mikhail Kornienk, returned early today from a year-long trip in space abroad the International Space Station. Throughout the journey, the two shared extraordinary pictures of space and the moon on social media. These pictures exemplify the strength, courage, and determination Kelly, Kornienk, NASA, the International Space Station, and many more had to accomplish a historical dream. They also show how anything is possible, such as putting two men in space for a year.

Below are my favorite pictures from the record setting One-Year mission. All photos are courtesy of NASA astronaut Scott Kelly. 

For more information about the mission, visit: 

Operation: Remembering Veterans


Every veteran has a story, lessons, and memorable events in history to share.

I have always been passionate about remembering veterans and giving them the respect they deserve. Back in high school, I completed my Gold Award in Girl Scouts. (The Gold Award is very similar to the Eagle Award in Boy Scouts.) For this project, I created tributes for veterans at a local senior citizens center. Each solider  and their family got a special scrapbook with the military story inside. In addition, I designed a memorial (pictured above) for the center. “Operation: Remembering Veterans” was inspired by my own grandfather’s World War II stories. 

To make a long story short, my point is that every veteran’s stories and experiences deserve to be remembered. These tales are part of history and once that person is gone, we can never get the stories back. 

My task for you is to write down and create a tribute for the special veteran(s) in your life. Make sure their story is available for many generations to come. Interview them, ask questions, and see if they have any mementos or pictures from their military time.

Don’t know a veteran? Go to a local nursing home, veterans’ hospital, or senior center and work with them there. Trust me, a simple “thank you” and a simple tribute, such as this, can go a long way. Plus, you can even get their story put into the Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress. 

Remember the task? Good. Now, let’s get “Operation: Remember Veterans” going.

For more information on the Veterans History Project, visit:


Respect. It’s a word with different meanings to each of us. Merriam Webster defines it as “to act in a way which shows that you are aware of (someone’s rights, wishes, etc.) and to treat or deal with (something that is good or valuable) in a proper way.” Everyday I strive to respect everything and everyone that I encounter.

Life has changed a lot within the past week. Debates have happened and discussions have occurred, but there is one thing that needs to become more common and that is respect. We don’t have to agree with each other, but we do need to respect each other.

There are numerous ways you can respect a person. Don’t criticize their opinions, don’t make negative comments, and don’t be rude. Respect can also be shown through simple actions, such as helping a person or doing something good for your community. Think about how you would want to be treated, then treat others the same way.

Respect also means to be considerate of those who came before you and those who will come after you. Remember those who gave their lives, made sacrifices, and just wanted what was best.

Respect-it’s a lot you can give a person with a lot you can get in turn. Just remember, we don’t have to agree on everything, we just need to respect each other in everything.