Joy. Filled.


This photo inspires creativity for me in so many ways. First of all, I love tea. Love, love, LOVE, tea. There are so many elements about a single pot and cup of tea that “get me going”. It is almost like putting on a thinking cap. Tonight, my cup of tea and I had a few thoughts…

This evening, I reflected a lot on our trip to Pennsylvania last week. It was amazing in so many ways, but I can say that what I will remember is what I saw and how I felt. I love mountains. “There is, indeed, something inexpressibly pleasing in the annual renovation of the world, and the display of the treasures of nature.” -Samuel Johnson I believe this to be true. Anyway, a short recap:

Traveling through Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and onto our final destination, Pennsylvania, was so much fun with my guys! Noah kept busy with all the activities we had packed and he enjoyed tracking our progress exit by exit on the Ohio Turnpike map. This was the longest car trip Noah has been on and it went GREAT! On our way, we saw 28 different state license plates (including DC!)! We visited our 4th Jellystone (we have been to 2 in MI, one in IN and one now in PA), went to the 70th Annual Mizikar Family Reunion (it was really interesting hearing about my MIL’s family history and talking about polish food, specifically perogis) and were introduced to the famous “wax paper slide”, visited Pittsburg on Monday (which was Noah’s first time in a “big” city), went to the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, viewed the city from the The Duquesne Incline, and went through a street tunnel Noah will never forget. ♥ We did a lot of swimming, water park play, laughing, snowless snow tubing, mining, riding the “Picnic Basket Express”, and catching a ride on the train, and, possibly most notably, bat watching (and shining) while camping at Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort Mill Run Pa. Not forgetting to mention watching Steve’s dad light a metal broom handle on fire. A great late night science lesson for all! Classic! We concluded our trip with a little cave crawling at Laurel Caverns. Noah was amazed by this…especially when the tour guide turned off all the lights in the cave (good thing he had his handy mining hat with an attached light)! The mountains in PA are beautiful and we cannot wait to go back to check white-water rafting off our list! Until next time, PA! (I will share only a few of my 500-some pictures…)


I also spent some time thinking about my mom and dad. I talked to my mom tonight on the phone for over 3 hours. I love the relationship we have and I thank God for it everyday. After talking to my mom this evening and hearing the excitement in her voice, I just know there is light at the end of this tunnel. I see it. I hear it. I feel it. Their “happily ever after” is on the way if I have to hand deliver it!! My parents are moving into a new season of life and I could not possibly be more excited for them. It has been a process for me to convince them that this is THEIR TIME in their lives and it was time to step away from continuing to “raise” their kids. In the most recent months, they have been slowly but surely moving towards moving closer to where my dad works so he can have less a commute everyday to work (which adds an extra perk of being closer to Kalamazoo..only a 45 minute drive to see granny now!). They are looking to “simplify“. I told them to pick one word to work towards and simplify is certainly the right word. I am so excited and proud of the season of life they are moving into. My parents are very simple people. They understand and believe that material possessions are not something you leave this world with when you die. I am so thankful to have been taught that. They don’t go shopping. They, in fact, are the most selfless people in the world. They have consistently given every bit of themselves for as long as I can remember. My dad is a very hard worker and has significant value to his employer. He has been there 15 years this year and has the entire month of October off paid as a reward for that. He deserves every minute of it. He is the definition of what work ethic should look like everywhere. My mom has put everything she has into mothering 4 children. Her and my dad both always went without so us kids could have what we needed. I recognize that today more than ever. My mom would give everything she had to a stranger in need. She has been a Jesus follower and I love her for that. Being the oldest child, I feel that every challenge and burden they face sits heavily on my heart too. In the future when I look back on their lives, I want to remember their latest years being joy-filled and stress-free. I want to remember them sitting in the sand and gazing and the water. Taking walks on the beach and appreciating everything simple and beautiful in this world that is so easily taken for granted. I want to see my mom knitting. I want to see them making jam together, canning together and trying new recipes in the kitchen together. I want to remember then visiting antique shops and be able to hear my mom calling me with excitement to tell me about her treasured finds. I want to look back on my mom writing poetry from her heart and soul. I want to see my dad laugh, grill and tinker around the yard. That is what I want to see and remember. I could give a shit less about material possessions and money. The legacy that they leave is going to be immense. They have planted 4 of the strongest, boldest and kindest hearts into their 4 children.

We went to pick peaches with them on my moms birthday (which was August 10th). I do not remember the last time I saw them so care-free, easy-going and joy-filled. Laughing. Joking around. Fiddling with the idea of trying to make peach jam when they got home. And they did! It turned out great. I love what I am seeing and it bring so much peace and joy to my soul. I love you so much, Mom and Dad! I thank God everyday for parents who loved each other more than anything…through everything.


I also received news today that is going to certainly prevent me from sleeping tonight (and no, I am not pregnant). I pray to someday share that glory!

With a heart full of love, I need to lay down.


One thought on “Joy. Filled.

  1. Mandy, You write so beautifully, expressing things with such love, joy, and true feelings. I love you and am so Proud of you and all of my children. You certainly have your moms heart 🙂 ❤ So glad you, Steve and Noah get to experience everything you do together, so so Blessed, Thank God for every day. I love you too!

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