Christmas letter

Dear friends,

Let’s see, one big thing was going to Cyprus, with a surprise side trip to Israel this past February. This was my first time to leave our own country, and I was not disappointed. We went to be part of a conference for a missionary group that I’ve always loved. The an conference took place the first week we were over there, and we gotten to make a quick trip to Israel the second week. We’re actually about to go back for the conference in January this year.

Another highlight was getting to go to camp again this. That was in July. For me, camp is about helping families of people with disabilities see their loved one’s value. It’s also a great time to relax and enjoy some fun and laughter. I’m hoping this becomes an annual event for me.

With all my grandparents gone, I’m grateful to say that we’re still keeping in touch with our larger families. We spent my birthday weekend with Mom’s family. We’ve also gotten to see Dad’s brother this fall. We’ve gathered with different ones of my siblings throughout the year, and I always enjoy those times. We’ve also added two more nephews to the family this year. We are going to gather with most my siblings in January, and I’m looking forward to that.

I’m in kind of a complicated place with work. I need to make some decisions about work and where to go with all of that. One of the things I’m pretty sure I am going to be looking into more is writing articles and being paid for them. I will get more serious about working after January and all our celebrations.

I’m also looking for a newer friend group to be part of at church. I’ve had one of the friends I used to spend a lot of time with move away to help take care of her in laws. She does come back to town, and we get together whenever she’s around.

The other big thing in my life is my communication device broke about the time I was getting ready to go to to camp. Thankfully, I did get a loaner by the time camp started. But my device was older than we thought, and after a lot of discussion and back and forth, we’ve decided to get a new device.

 

I want to end by wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

 

Sarah

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More places to consider for next Christmas

I have several things I want to get to today. We are going to a Christmas party tonight, and by then I want to be finished with computer stuff for a couple of days. I am going to put up my Christmas letter soon. o let’s get started.

  • Do you want to go somewhere your children will love? Try Tuscany, Italy. They’ll have a Santa village featuring a castle. They have some really nice places to stay. And it’s Italy, so children and adults alike should enjoy the food.
  • I love Christmas and all the celebrations, but I’m not a big fan of snow. It is beautiful for sure, but I don’t like being cold. If you feel the same way, you might want to try the beautiful island of Malta. Here you will have the opportunity to celebrate the deeper meaning of Christmas. There will be a lot of midnight masses you can choose from. There will also be caroling to take part in.
  • I am going to get a little sentimental for a minute. My grandparents lived in Virginia, and we used to go every Christmas. Going to the Greenbrier was something I’ve heard a lot about, I think some of my family may have gone some years to play in the snow. I always stayed with my Grandma. Anyway, the Greenbrier is a really nice place in west Virginia, and they do a lot for the holidays.

I am going to put up my Christmas letter soon. And after that I’m not sure when I might be on again. I hope everyone has a wonderful Labor Day Christmas.

Where to spend Christmas 2018

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The most wonderful time of the year is once again upon us. My plan is to work some tomorrow, and then from there it is going to get a little spotty from there. I’m not going to work Christmas Day for sure, and don’t really know about the rest of the week. The whole month of January is kind of up in the air because we have coming in at different times and things like that.

A lot of you are already starting your Christmas vacation as I write this. But I wanted to do something festive anyway. So let’s look at some places you might want to go next year.

  • I don’t know about you, but our family loves Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”, it isn’t really the Christmas season until we’ve watched that movie. [And the only real movie is the one with George C Scott in it.] Why not try to go to London next Christmas? A lot of hotels are going to provide you with some nice meals on Christmas Day as well as New Year’s. You are going to love their Christmas markets. And I’m sure there are some nice plays and musical productions that will take place around this festive time of year.
  •  Are you tired of not having a white Christmas? You should try to go to Finland next year. Everything is bound to be covered with snow there. There is a city there that will make you think you’ve somehow arrived in the North Pole itself. You will definitely see some reindeer, and there will also be elves. Who knows? You might also see a big man with a big beard in a red suit, though they do say he’s kind of busy this time of year.
  • Is The Nutcracker a tradition in your home? You might want to consider St Petersburg next Christmas. There is nothing more traditional than going to a ballet in Russia. Again, you are sure to see snow here.

Let’s get back to this tomorrow. I would love to know your thoughts.

The future of hotels

This is a time look back on the past year, but it’s also a time to look to the future. In that vein, let’s take a look at what the future might look like for hotels.

  • People seem to be pretty uncomfortable with the idea of turn down. Generations tend to go back and forth on how much they value their privacy. And these days it looks like most people see this service as kind of weird.
  • But as most anyone can imagine, technology is extremely popular. Some hotels are experimenting with showers that remember your preferred water temperature, digital art that can be replaced with your personal pictures, and mirrors that can play yoga videos. We may see these changes as early as 2018. Front desks might be a thing of the past too. Hardly anyone pays for a hotel with cash anymore. Personally I would still like to see a friendly face at the hotel. But some hotels will be trying to figure this out shortly as well.
  • Hotels are also taking note of the emphasis on wellness. They are going to be offering a lot of fitness classes.

I would love to know some of your ideas for the future of hotels. Please let me know.

Some more travel tips

I have an evening with some dear friends planned, which will be a treat. But let me get through work stuff before I get into other stuff.

  • Put your hotel address and room number into your phone when you arrive. You are going to be jetlagged. You’re likely going to be spending long days playing tourist. It is easy to forget mundane, but important things like this.
  • Let your credit card company and bank know about your travel plans. You don’t want to be to use your cards while you’re away, do you? Let them know where you will be when, so that they don’t think someone else has your cards and shut you down.
  • And you know the saying, “Do not put all your eggs in one basket”? Do not keep all your money and cards in the same. Keep some on each person traveling. Keep other money in your hotel room.
  • It is a good idea to put sunscreen on before you leave your hotel room. You might not know what all the day could hold as far as weather. You will also want to keep some with you.
  • People from other parts of the world are going to need do things differently. That is just a fact of life. And you will like some of the things and not like others.

More travel tips

I’m kind of feeling like I’m in between in a lot of ways. I’m in between travel agent hosts, don’t think I’ve found the right one yet. But with Christmas coming up, and more importantly needing to practice the new communication device I’m trying to get, I’m just doing what has to be done day to day, and putting other things off until after the holidays and our celebrations.

Anyway, let’s get back to these travel tips.

  • Especially if you’re going out of the country, sometimes it’s best to buy travel insurance. Insurance can help you when things are lost or stolen. It will also help if you have a medical emergency or something like that.
  • Remember what your mother said when you were going to camp? “Don’t forget to pack your underwear”. In fact, this is something that you will want to take extra of. An alternative to this would be washing your things out in the sink.
  • The article that I’m reading says that you might want to pre plan your outfit so that you aren’t wearing all the same colors in all your pictures. Personally, I would care a lot more about comfort and clothes you aren’t especially attach to on a trip.
  • Since checking bags now costs, a lot of people are putting everything they’ll need in their carry ons. Even if you are going on an extended trip, you will want to pack your essentials in your carry on box. Here I’m talking about your toothbrush and toothpaste, some clothes, your camera  and hings like that.
  • Please stay hydrated during those long flights. I know it’s fun to drink free booze, but that will not help your cause at all. Drinking too much will also really not help you get through your jetlag.

Some travel tips

Last week we ended by discussing some tips you can use when traveling with small children in Traveling… With children and Traveling… With children #2. But let’s face, not every problem can be attributed to children. Sometimes life just happens. Sometimes we’re new to traveling and don’t know how to play the game well yet. Today let’s look at some general travel advice.

  • The first thing you need to do is to remember that stuff is going to happen when you travel. You are not going to have the perfect trip every time. Life is not perfect, and you can’t control everything. When things go wrong, relax. Take a book you’ve been wanting to read. If you are traveling with your family, make up games you can play together.
  • Take advantage of that smart phone you have, and make a list of every single thing that you will need on your trip. And then use it once you’re actually packing. You might also want to make a list of things you will need to buy before your trip.
  • If you are going to a foreign country, please learn at least a few of the words in their native language. I don’t care if you are going to tour with a lot of Americans. The people hosting you will be impressed when they hear words like “please” and “thank you” in their native tongue.
  • Bring an extra camera battery. You’ll thank me when you have hat perfect shot, only to find that your battery has died. And remember to charge things when you’re in your hotel room.
  • Especially for those of us who are colder in nature, bring a wrap for yourself. You never know when you might need it.

Traveling… With children #2

Another Saturday, and I’m ready to get through my things and then just relax. I don’t feel like it’s been the most productive week, hopefully next week will be better.. But anyway, let’s get back to tips for traveling with children.

  • Airbnb  is getting more and more popular. Why don’t you try to find a house or apartment that is already equipped for a baby. There are other advantages to having your own place, like being more able to cook, and having some more privacy.
  • When you do want to go to a hotel with children, consider booking a suite. And make sure that the suite is more than just one huge room. That way, you won’t have to worry so much about being quiet and still when baby goes to bed.
  • Carry some cash, especially some small bills when traveling. They come in handy when you need to tip someone. They’ll also be good to have around if anyone needs a quick snack or something like that.
  • Children can usually exceed expectations, specially when they’re interested in something But unless you have an unusual baby, they aren’t going to be happy having a late dinner in an elegant restaurant. This is a time you’ll want to hire a babysitter and do a date night.

I would love to hear your thoughts or any funny stories you might have about traveling with children.

Traveling… With children

I’m an aunt, and it’s one of my favorite things in life. But let’s face it, children change your life. It’s harder to be completely spontaneous in what we do, especially when it comes to. Today let’s look at some tips for traveling with children.

  • When you are traveling with children, it is harder to travel light. This is especially true if you’re traveling with small children. You don’t want to forget any of the essentials. But one thing you should know is that each of cruiselines and resorts are going to have the diapers, the baby formula and food you might need.
  • Should you buy, or register for, a portable crib and special travel strollers and things like that? It depends greatly on how much travel you want to do, and if you want to take your babies to remote places of the the earth.
  • A lot of international flights are going to have baby beds you can attach to your seats. Book your flights early and make your request for a baby bed. And then you will want to call and remind them at least once before you fly.
  • Be sure to pack toys, books and snacks for the time that you are actually traveling. If you’re flying, the people around you will thank you for this. Older kids will appreciate you downloading movies on you Ipad.

We are going to get back to this discussion tomorrow. But I would love to know your thoughts on anything I’ve said.

Preparing for vacation #2

I apologize about yesterday. I’m trying to get a new device because the device, and the loaners I’m getting, seem to keep dying on me. I’m trying out the device I am going to get, but I’m not getting far on figuring out how to access the computer on the new device.. Things just feel kind of crazy right now. I’ll be so glad to get my new device and know what I’m doing there.

Let’s get back to the discussion we started yesterday, I mean Tuesday, about Do not be stressed out on vacation

  • Remember that you are on vacation once you get where you are going. Do not check your e-mail every ten minutes. If you feel like you need to check your e-mail, it is best to check only once a day. Make yourself turn your mind from work to other pursuits.
  • The same goes for that attachment to your body that we all call a phone. Set a time when you will use it, and then put it away. It is usually best to pick one specific time, like first thing in the morning, or when your family goes to bed. The rest of the time, put your phone away.
  • You know yourself better than anyone, and you’ll know how much to plan during your vacation. Are you someone who likes to plan everything, or do you want to go with the flow more? A lot of people like to plan one big event each day to keep from getting bored.
  • You are one out of a billion people in this world. If you take a week or two off, the world will go on. If you work a large company, even they may not notice that you are gone.