Exploring the Land of the Midnight Sun

This past week I vacationed in Alaska with my husband, my parents, my brother, my sister-in-law, my three nieces, and my nephew.

Here’s a photo of the squad.

This trip has been in the works for almost two years! My mom traveled to Alaska two summers ago with a group of her friends, and she had the absolute time of her life. When she came home, she couldn’t stop talking about the adventures she’d had and her desire for all of us to make the same trip.

(Here’s just a glimpse of the beauty we witnessed in AK)

But you and I know vacations are never as glamorous as they appear in the photos we capture, and this trip was no different. Traveling with ten humans is no joke. Some of us are introverts; others are extroverts. Some of us like to sleep in; others like to stay up late. You have shower schedules and people with varying appetites. Not everyone likes mustard on their sandwiches.

We also came to realize that even though we’re blood, we’re not always the best communicators.

Still, this trip was special. Being a long distance Auntie, it really meant a lot to be with my kiddos, to ride with them in the bed of a truck, to play cards with them on a ferry, to cheer them on as they reeled in fish, and to listen to their riddles.

Here they are, from oldest to youngest!



They each have wildly different personalities and from each of these precious young humans I gleaned something special this week.

In no particular order, here are some of the bits of wisdom I collected from these kids.

  1. Don’t be afraid to somersault when everyone else is walking
  2. Never give up, even if you continually reel in seaweed
  3. Share your talents, even among strangers
  4. Make friends wherever you go

There ya have it. In keeping with my Gratitude Series, this week I’m most thankful for the opportunity to vacation with my family, even if we are a crazy bunch.

What are you most grateful for this week?


T. Shaw

Happy Father’s Day

Today, I’d like to wish all you dads a Happy Father’s Day! Yesterday, we spent time in San Diego, CA, to honor my dad. We didn’t take any pictures, but I’d like to add an oldie but a goodie of my parents.

He is an incredibly selfless, hardworking man. When I picture him, he’s outside working in the yard, wearing a white T-shirt, jeans, and a bucket hat to block out the sun.

He is loyal and loving, and I am extremely blessed to have him as my own.


T. Shaw

Her Pen Pal

For my nephew

Her Pen Pal

Through the bay window
One eye may spy
Six humans, a chattering of chicks,
A Doberman duo, a duckling duet,
And one cat with a gimp.

Their lives orchestrated by
Slap shots, take downs, touch
Downs, layups, yellow cards,
Major scales, call times, and
Camping trips.

Still the boy finds time for
Dear Auntie,
To share about his day,
What’s keeping him busy,
How he celebrated Easter, and
That he relly enjoys when
She writes back.

Blogmas Day 7: A Poem

It is the 7th day of Blogmas, and I am feeling okay. Truly, I had no idea how hard it would be to write and post daily, but I’ve enjoyed the challenge. I look forward to the time I set aside to write.

Today, I am including another short, original poem. This past summer I took a creative writing class. Since then, I try to write bits of poetry every chance I can, typically on my phone. I wrote this poem a few months ago. It was not Christmas themed, so I had to make some modifications. I hope you enjoy!

I String Your Faults

I string your faults like
popcorn and cranberries
to ornament my fears
of you choosing her
like a child
picks a tree. I muffle
the bells carolling
You don’t love

Blogmas Day 3: A poem

Happy day three of Blogmas everyone!

Here is a short poem I wrote this past summer. I hope you enjoy. Feel free to comment below.

His Christmas

She illuminated his home with
stringed bulbs of color,
silvery tinsel like carrot-crystals,
and pine sticky
on fingers.
But when she
died, the street
died. Cotton liquefied,
candy canes
crushed, penguins deflated.
Santa, who enduringly
birthed hope by
bellowing cheer,
filed for
All thawed, his