July ? 3 things – it is summer and I’m a teacher…

I am grateful that my trip abroad with students and parents finally happened and we had a successful educational experience.

A hilltop in Belgium where the American Memorial stands to honor the soldiers that liberated Belgium in WWII.
The precision of the American cemetery. Chilling.

I am grateful for the roof over my head and the home I have built for myself, but I have really been missing my house and my outdoor space. I pray real estate prices come down so this teacher can afford to buy a house. I am grateful I have enough – because I do…I have enough. I don’t need a house – I want a house, and I am grateful to know the difference.

I am grateful for the two little angels I spent the weekend with. They surely have my heart…just when I didn’t think I’d give it away ever again – God tricked me and sent me grandchildren. The sweetness, the innocence, the joy and laughter are all so uplifting and life-affirming.

I decided to put this photo of me as a child on my phone to remind myself who I really am. I, too, am a precious gift from God. This photo was kept in my daddy’s wallet until the day he died. ❤️

#3things #gratitude #choosejoy #bertramtravels

July 7, 2022 Salzburg

As we load the bus in the last day of this 14 day WWII Tour across Europe our perspective can’t help but be modified. The devastation and cruelty of war, of that war – how does our world not learn? I hope my students have been positively affected by this experience and knowledge and their empathy for others has grown.

View from the bus window as I write this post.

We are headed to Austria for the day and will visit the Eagle’s Nest. The view should be spectacular. The building of it was impressive. It’s owner…evil embodied.

My gratitude today? I am dealing with a lot of big emotions, thoughts, and ideologies so I am going to keep my list simple.

I am grateful that the education these students receive on these trips is quite personal and goes way beyond learning history; I am grateful that we have all remained safe; I am grateful for my earbuds that help me shut the world out when I am on stimulus overload. #gratitude #3things #Neverforget

My Three Things from Berlin on July 4th, 2022

Berlin, Germany

I am grateful for all that I have and for all that this life has to offer me in 2022; I am grateful for this WWII History tour and all that I have learned and experienced so far – so sad, yet so proud to be American; I am grateful that my student found her passport back at the restaurant 3 hours after she unknowingly dropped her wallet under the table. #choosejoy #3things #gratitude

Bastogne, Belgium and my 3 things

July 2, 2022

Today I am grateful to be an American – and so proud. I know we are not a perfect nation, and I know our nation doesn’t always do the right thing. But the soldiers that liberated this city in WWII, and the soldiers that died trying to do so are incredibly celebrated here. The memorials and dedications to them abound. Even the church bells – every day – on every half hour – begins ringing with the first five notes of the American National anthem. This town could teach some Americans a thing or two about patriotism and gratitude toward our veterans; I am grateful to have met Henry. He was a small boy when the Germans occupied his town and his home. He shared his experiences with us today and he led us from one memorial to the next. Thank you Henry; I am grateful for the opportunity to travel and have these experiences- and those soldiers made it possible. I am humbled.

This is Henry. This is the Sherman tank that stands in the center of Bastogne. That is one of two bullet holes that “knocked it out in December 44. It recalls the sacrifices of all the fighters for the liberation of Bastogne and Belgium”. (Plaque) 🇺🇸

I was especially moved today by the German cemetery. 6 men buried together under one cross. We were told this was German military tradition as in – leave no soldier alone. So many were just boys. So many unknown. So much death. I wondered why they were still here. 7000 in just that cemetery. The Germans just left the bodies. The Geneva Convention requires they be buried, handled with respect. They never went home because families could not afford to have them brought home. And again – so many unknown soldiers. So. Many. “Now, they’ll just be here forever” Henry said.

Freedom certainly is not free.

#choosejoy #gratitude #3things #usa #letfreedomring

Paris in July-3things

July 1, 2022

The weather has been so mild for us on this trip, and the people of Paris have been very kind. I am grateful for cabs when I am tired of walking – 7 miles today on a broken right foot and and left busted knee – I am so grateful I did not fall again; I am grateful for the river cruise tonight and for having been given the opportunity to see Notre Dame before it burned down. I hope to come again once it is rebuilt; I am grateful to be traveling with such kind and wonderful people. Tomorrow we head to Belgium – birthplace of my grandmother. #gratitude #3 things #choosejoy

A glimpse of Notre Dame from the Seine.

Another day, another City – Paris here we come!

June 30, 2022

After missing the Normandy experience I am grateful that the swelling in my knee is down and I am able to proceed with the group with ease; I am grateful for the rest I was able to get and the for the healing power it brings; I am grateful for my tour mates and how they continued to take care of me in my absence / bringing me meds, ace bandages, dinner, and sand from Omaha Beach. Then…when I got on the bus this morning for our journey to Rouen, another dear traveler gave me the canvas bag pictured below because of the poppies! So thoughtful.

Now in England the Poppies represent the blood loss of all of the fallen soldiers. If you read my about page / you will see that for me and the purpose of this blog that they represent perspective.

Have a wonderful day!

June 28, 2022 (29?) – a return to my 3 things.

I tell people all the time that starting my daily list of 3 things changed my mindset and ultimately the course of my life. Gratitude has amazing power.

I liked posting them online bc it somehow helped me to be accountable. These last weeks I have gotten away from posting them because I published my own gratitude journal on Amazon and now write in that every day. But I enjoyed the positive feedback from others when they would express their own reflections on gratitude.

So today I am on a bus in London, riding to Portsmouth to take a ferry to Normandy. I am grateful for this travel opportunity; I am grateful for my freedom; I am grateful for all of the armed forces, past and present- for their families, for their sacrifices, for their courage and patriotism.

I hope you all have a wonderful day and can make your own daily list of gratitude. It might just change your perspective – or even your life.

A poppy in Portsmouth, England.

So, I wrote the text above the image on the morning of the 28th. Now it is 12:23am on the 29th and I feel the need to add more. As I attempted to board the ferry I took my second fall of this trip. My knee just buckled and I collapsed. I felt kind of badly for the little guy trying to pick me up, bless his heart. So, I’m on day 3 of a 14 day tour and I’ve fallen twice in two days due to my left knee – and oh did I mention – I have a boot on the right foot due to a stress fracture.

This is me in Portsmouth before the Ferry to Normandy. After my first fall in London I bought a knee brace thinking that would solve the problem. Wrong.

So, in these wee hours (and for most of the ferry ride) I am feeling a roller coaster of emotions. Gratitude and perspective, my go to saviors, seem to be battling embarrassment, pain, disappointment, and a big one for me – being able to accept help from others. I have hurt several other parts of my body by falling twice and trying to walk has me all out of wack.

I am facing some really strong demons alone in this hotel in Normandy. God seems to think I’m ready. I trust Him. You see for more than 20 years I’ve been made to feel ashamed when I need help. That’s a tough one. Enter humility.

I was utterly embarrassed being wheeled off that ferry in a wheel chair. Humiliation hit even harder when I was so afraid I would fall again, rather than step up on the bus I turned and burst into tears. I was ashamed to accept the help. And afraid no one would really catch me if I tried and failed. I did step on the bus and several people helped me. I am surrounded by so many kind and generous genuine people who want to help me. I need to let go and let them. Why is that so hard? Trust.

Well, this moment I am grateful that I am alive and thriving in a world where kindness and love abound, truly; I am grateful that many of these folks who were complete strangers a few days ago are stepping up to help me as if we’ve been through the trenches together; most of all I am grateful for my little group that I’m leading on this tour. (I use that term loosely at the moment). But their support, positivity, bright outlook, genuine loving care for me tells me I have value. I know – I should already know that – but to see it in their kind faces and feel it in their arms as they literally hold me up and to hear it in their voices as they try to soothe me or cheer me up – what a ginormous gift. I am so grateful for the people around me right now. …in France.

So – Fields of Poppies originated on one these tours and now is at the forefront. God bless all that read this and I hope you can hug someone today for me! Tell them their worth – and don’t let go of the embrace until they do – that’s how you know their love bucket is full.

May 19, 2022 – 12 days ’till closing.

3 things – I am grateful to have Baby Bird in the nest for a few days, even if she is too busy to hang out.

I am grateful that, by the grace of God, in 12 days I will close on the sale of my home and I am assured my final order for divorce will also finally be signed by the judge – Praise God. It’s been over 2.5 years and I think the stress has aged me 10 – but I have never been more at peace.

I am grateful for my dear friend who celebrated her birthday today. She means the world to me and I would be lost without her.

#choosejoy #gratitude #3things

On Wednesdays we wear pink…

Tuesday, May 10 2022 – 3 things

I am so grateful for fun memories with my kids. My daughter and I dressed as Regina George and her mother one year for Halloween. Our costumes were totally lost on the crowd we were with but we loved it.

I am grateful for frozen peas because they are the best way to ice my back.

I am grateful for the beautiful day we had today. I so love the spring.

#choosejoy #gratitude #3things

Mother’s Day Eve – 3 things

May 7, 2022

I am grateful, oh so grateful, for the 3 greatest loves of my life. Alexis, Michael, and Rachel. My children. They do their best every day, as we all do … I am so proud of each of them and will forever be blessed by their love.

Happy Mother’s Day.

#choosejoy #3things #gratitude