Toyohashi, Here I Am! Thanksgiving, Here We Are!

“There are moments in life that are bigger than we know it at the time. When you look back, you say, that was one of those life-changing, fork-in-the-road moments and I didn’t even see it coming.”Jenny Han

Happy Thanksgiving, America! To my family, to old and new friends, and to the many people I’ve been privileged to meet and get to know around this world… thank you.
Continue reading


Oh, Chester, Have You Heard About HOBY?

“Ohhh, Chester, have you heard about HOBY? Just got back from HOBY. I hear they know how to wear their tags. Hip-hip, Hooray! for HOBY!”

It might be striking to you at first when you see a bunch of high school students tromping around a university campus in different brightly colored t-shirts.

The singing and chanting might remind you of a cheerleading camp, though you’ll wonder why on earth teenagers would sing about burritos, baby sharks, or pterodactyls.

If you observe long enough, you might even pause to wonder what “Boom-chicka-boom” could actually mean, why every single person knows how to spell “outstanding”, or what they could possibly be summoning when all 100+ students holler “Waaay-a-loo-waaay-a-loo-waaay-a-loo-way-yah!!”  Continue reading

Downtown Disney

“We keep moving forward, opening new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious, and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” -Walt Disney

If the trees weren’t still in leafless hibernation, I’d swear we’d skipped winter altogether and entered March early! The weather in Orlando certainly didn’t disappoint our January vacation, and after a brilliant kick-start in Magic Kingdom the day before, we headed straight to Downtown Disney bright and early in the morning. Continue reading

The 17 Best Christmas Songs (in my humble opinion)

“Eve engaged her On Duty sign and stepped out of the car. Immediately her ears were assaulted with a blast of music. Christmas carols pumped, full blast, into the air. She decided that people ran inside, ready to buy anything, just to escape the noise.” –J.D. Robb, Holiday in Death

With so much Christmas music out playing from the radio, inside stores, and everywhere I wander this season, I sometimes find myself way overstimulated. I love Christmas music, but I still retain my preference for good music… okay, at least music I really like. So in the Christmas music spirit Continue reading

Christmas Box: Decorations Unleashed!

A few handmade ornaments, a few international gifts, a little touch of Green Bay Packers, and a whole lot of wonderful memories!

Christmas Box Unleashed

This is the American Girl Christmas Tree from 14 years ago. (Unfortunately, they don’t make this anymore.) I remember when I was 10 years old, I went to my dad with a catalogue in hand, eyeing up a Christmas tree complete with lights, decorations, mini gift wrap, and a kit for making your own ornaments. I asked my dad, “Is $20 a lot for a Christmas tree?”

Best childhood Christmas investment I ever made.

Do you have any fond Christmas memories from your childhood that have carried into today? Does unpacking the holiday decorations carry with it any special traditions?

Thanks Day #1

“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” –Melody Beattie

It’s exactly one week before America celebrates Thanksgiving Day. It’s more than a big family gathering, a giant feast of delicious home cooking, or the following day’s Black Friday shopping adventure. It’s a time for honest reflection on the many blessings we have… and when you really stop to think about it, we all have a lot of them!

Thinking beyond the material, I’d like to share some of the most prominent experiences and relationships that I am blessed to call my own, and I want to recognize each of these one day at a time. Continue reading