The Sweet Life

Some experiences remain so vivid, years may pass and it still seems like they happened yesterday. Studying abroad is one of those experiences. And in that experience there are a million little experiences that continue to shine brightly in my minds eye.

I’ve written a bit about my time overseas on Kindred Grace (before I was a regular contributor!) and I’m happy to be sharing a bit more about my travels today on Little Did She Know.

I mention a lot of delicious details in my post for Cara’s de(tales) series, but only sent her one photo. I thought it would be fun to share a few more visuals of the sweet life I wrote about.

When you read my description of Dolce Vita, you’ll notice I took a minor editorial liberty in the color of the pastry trays – silver not gold.  Oops. Apparently my memories aren’t as vivid as I thought they were…

Dolce Vita

Completely unassuming store front to Dolce Vita. Who knew the inside held such special people and pastries.

Dolce Vita

The son of the mom and son duo who ran Dolce Vita. Such a patient fellow.

Dolce Vita

My 20 year old self with two of the six other students in my study abroad program, enjoying a cappuccino.

Dolce Vita

The Occhi I talk about…

Dolce Vita

Dolce Vita

Pastries on silver trays. They were gold in my mind’s eye.

Dolce Vita

Dolce Vita

One of those cups now resides in my dining room!

Thanks for indulging my seven year old memories. To read more about Dolce Vita, head over here.


Home and Choosing Joy

It’s been over a week since Tim and I returned from New York and I’m still recovering – less from jet lag (though there was plenty of that) and more from the emotions of leaving a place and people I dearly love.

Every trip to my now beloved Central New York leaves me more and more bewitched by a certain little lake and the rural landscape that seems to shout simplicity. Now more than ever it’s a place to relive good memories, spend time with family, and relax.

After spending 8 days in my happy place, I was hard pressed to keep my return flight. I’m convinced that if I wasn’t returning in a month, Tim might have been flying to Idaho by himself. Well, and the fact that I would miss him terribly… Despite the fact that I am returning so soon, the end of this trip was bittersweet.

I’ve finally reached the point where I don’t consider Southern California home only to have it supplanted, not by Idaho, but by New York. Our trip wasn’t just a vacation, it was like going home – and leaving home is always difficult for me.

Dueling Lakes

The first couple days back in Coeur d’Alene were tough. I was wrestling with desires I knew couldn’t become reality at present and a present reality I thus had a bad attitude toward. I’m still wrestling with the former, but the latter was improved by a realization, and resulting choice, I had last Friday.

Tim was preaching at our church’s Father Daughter Camp. The 45 minute drive to Camp Cocolalla (great name, right?) is rather lovely. As Tim remarked on the pretty sky and the setting sun shining through the copious pine trees, I found myself not wanting to agree. I actually did find the landscape quite pleasing, but didn’t want to admit it for fear it diminished my appreciation for New York’s natural beauty.

I was purposefully holding out on the truth in order to make a point.

Where did that get me? Nowhere except for Sulkville. Despite the fact that Sulkville was initially soothing to my bruised desires, I knew it wasn’t a place I could live indefinitely. God and Tim know my desires without me being pouty to make a point.

My choice was obvious: I could remain gloomy or choose joy. Though I am not always successful, I am trying to choose joy. For me this means seeking and acknowledging the little treasures around me – the scent of Fall in the air, pine trees and thunderstorms, new friends and building community.

Just because I acknowledge the things I really enjoy about the present doesn’t mean I have to abandon my desires. It DOES mean that I surrender those desires to God and continue to give thanks for His many treasures.