I’ve talked a lot in the past few weeks about renewal and new beginnings. We often think of springtime as the signature time of year for these new beginnings. Spring brings Easter and flowers and warmer days with shorter nights. Yet I have come to learn that we can witness renewals and new beginnings at any time of year, even in the cold days of winter.
For about sixteen years, our family has had a cabin in Colorado that we share with some family and friends. For about that long, Ken has wanted to visit the cabin in the winter, and I have said, absolutely not, no way, no how, I’m not interested. Well, this year, he somehow convinced me to make the trip, and here I sit, typing in my makeshift office–our kitchen table–with the warm, morning sun on my back.
Over the past few days, I’ve seen this beautiful part of the country in a whole new light…Read more
I have big news for readers of my inspirational novels! On December 1, just in time for Christmas, I will be hosting a Launch Party on Facebook for my new series which takes place in the Ozarks! Join me from 4:00-6:00PM Eastern Time for my Facebook Live event. I will have copies of my new book, Desert Fire, Mountain Rain, on hand for you to purchase via a special link, and you can watch me sign your book while I answer questions and talk to readers. Leave a comment with a question, and I will answer it live during the launch. Keep checking my website and social media (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter), for more information about the launch and the series.
Have you ever heard of the Blue Zones? These are the areas of the world where people are the healthiest and live the longest. Many of them are in and around the Mediterranean. Sardinia, one of the Blue Zones, was featured in the Zac Efron Netflix Special, Down to Earth, which our family thoroughly enjoyed.
I’ve often told my girls I want to live to be over a hundred. It’s not that I’m not looking forward to spending eternity in the next life with my Lord and Savior (God willing), but I’m enjoying watching my girls grow, looking forward to grandchildren, and only in recent years have met my true tribe of female friends. I want to live as many more years as I’ve lived so far. And this is why I’m fascinated by the Blue Zones.Read more
For the past fourteen years, Ken and I have traveled, about once every eighteen months or so, to our shared cabin in the San Juan range of the Rocky Mountains. It is a refuge for us, a place where we can lie around all day and read or hike through a field of wildflowers or climb into the sky atop a fourteener.
Last week, Ken and I spent several days at the cabin, and it was unlike any other time we’ve spent there, beginning with the drive.Read more
The past few days have been a blur for Ken and me. We returned from a trip with friends in time to pack up the car and head right back out again. We spent the day driving toward a city almost six hours away where we said goodbye to our youngest daughter after a full day of setting up her dorm, running to the store for last minute things, buying the last of her books, and getting her settled for her freshman year of college. On the way home, we made a quick, late-night stop to see daughter number two and check out the on-campus house where she will spend her junior year. We were exhausted when we pulled into the driveway just after midnight last night, and the house seemed awfully quiet this morning, but we are so happy for all three of our girls as they each begin a new school year (oldest daughter is beginning her final year of law school).
I wish so many things for my girls as they embark on or continue with new chapters of their lives. I wish for good health, happiness, wisdom, and faith. Most of all, I wish them fulfilling, lifelong friendships. We should all be open to new friendships, no matter where we are in life, how old we are, where our career is headed, or what stage of family life we are experiencing. I have seen first-hand how much friendship can change and enhance your life. That was made more clear than ever this past weekend. Read more
My married name is Schisler, but I will always be a MacWilliams, a Scot by name and blood. Aye, there’s some Irish and Welsh in there, too, but when asked about my ethnicity, my answer is always, “I’m Scottish.” So I was delighted when my daughter, Katie Ann, chose Scotland as one of the destinations on her graduation trip. When our oldest, Rebecca, graduated from high school, she and I backpacked through Europe for three weeks. It is a trip neither of us will ever forget, and one that Katie and Morgan have been planning ever since.
Beginning in England, I took Katie to all the famed tourist stops: London Bridge, the Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, Shakespeare’s Globe, etc. Katie selected three tours: Sherlock Holmes, a day trip to Salisbury, Bath, and Stonehenge, and of course, the Harry Potter studio tour. What fun we had doing all of those things! But our favorite day was the one we spent traveling by train to Windsor. The town was charming, and we loved visiting Windsor Castle. As fans of the PBS series, Victoria, we enjoyed seeing the young queen’s favorite home. All the while, as we toured London and the surrounding areas, I told Katie about how the histories of England and Scotland intertwine. Read more
It’s good to be home. While our family had a wonderful vacation traveling all over Portugal and Spain, there’s nothing like a good night’s sleep in your own bed. It’s even better when you’ve spent the previous two weeks sleeping in other people’s beds in other people’s houses. Yes, I do mean houses, or apartments in most cases. Rather than staying in hotels, we spent this vacation renting homes through AirBnB. My sister-in-law suggested them to us a few years ago, but I was never interested in staying in someone else’s home. This year, to save money, we decided to give it a try. My feelings are still mixed, and to be honest, I’m not sure I would do it again, but it was part of the adventure, so I’m glad we gave it a try. Read more
Our family recently discovered a hidden gem while on vacation in Spain. When we were planning our trip, our oldest daughter discovered a little known city called Merida, between Fatima, Portugal, and Seville. Though it is one of the oldest cities in Spain, it has been only in recent years that Merida has become a destination for tourists. A small, quiet town in southwest Spain, it is the site of several Roman ruins including a coliseum and amphitheater. Like much of Spain, the city comes alive at night when locals and visitors as young as three years of age can be seen playing in the streets and watching futbol in the outdoor bars into the wee hours of the night. Read more
Several times in the past month, El Camino de Santiago has come up in conversation among my friends. For those who are unfamiliar with it, El Camino is a pilgrimage route in Spain. The Way of Saint James is a series of routes, predominantly taken on foot, along the Pyrenees and Asturias Mountains (though one can also take a route from Seville) leading to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, the burial place of St. James the Apostle. Every year, tens of thousands of pilgrims walk El Camino. A few years ago, Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez brought El Camino to the big Screen in the movie, The Way. Ever since I first heard about it and subsequently saw the movie, I have wanted to walk it. Read more
Vacation planning time is upon us. Tis the season when families are cementing their summer plans and dreaming about visiting exotic locales. Growing up, our vacations always consisted of borrowing a friend’s condo at the beach for a week or traveling with my father on business to places like Dover, New Hampshire or Long Island, New York. We didn’t go far, but we always had fun. I’ll never forget the time we stayed at a motel outside of Williamsburg. I still remember thinking that it had to be the grandest hotel in the world with its strawberry shaped pool and vending machines right in our hallway. In my mind, it was truly a magical vacation that included stops in Colonial Williamsburg and the now extinct pottery factory, a must-see place for all travelers at the time. Read more