Last week, before my two older kids left to go back to college, we went out to the desert for some family fun. We brought a photographer along to capture the day. Even though no one (except maybe me) was super excited about getting all dolled up for an hour and a half ride out to the dunes, in the end it was so worth it!
Our photographer was a woman who's been living in Abu Dhabi for a long time and really knows how to capture the beauty of the UAE desert and a family's personality at the same time. She was very patient with us and let us run and jump and laugh and be as goofy as we wanted. Somehow, we still managed to get some decent shots....
I really like the above pictures. But the ones below? Even better...
I will treasure these photos forever. They will remind me of a time when my kids were no longer little, but still not too big. And they will remind me of a time when we lived in a place that was so foreign and so friendly at the same time.
One of the best parts about living in the Middle East is the travel that my family and I get to do. By the time my two oldest kids were finishing their first year in Abu Dhabi, they had traveled so many places - with us as well as school - that we had to get more pages put into their passports. We have been to more than 20 countries between the 6 of us. We have always appreciated this opportunity and have been blown away by some of the things we've seen, from walking through Petra in Jordan to standing beneath the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Travel has become part of our family history, part of our blood and every trip teaches us something about ourselves.
But nothing could have quite prepared us for Africa.
Oh, Africa! From the animals to the people to the scenery, the whole place was a magical kingdom. I'm not kidding....I mean, I've been to Disney and yeah, that place is pretty cool, but Africa? Believe me, it will blow your socks off!
We spent a total of 7 nights and 6 days in Kenya. We saw everything from zebras and elephants to hyenas and hippos. Oh, and these guys...
(How adorable is he??? And now I know why Pumba was always my favorite!)
We also had a chance to spend some time in a Masai village, learning a bit about their culture, participating in a native dance and handing out the last of our much-coveted gum to a group of very happy kids...
(A typical Masai hut.
They consist of 2 small rooms and are made out of sticks, mud and cow dung.
The Masai women are the ones who construct the homes.)
My daughters were asked to participate in a dance!
Waiting for gum...yum!
It was an amazing experience for all of us and we're already discussing going back to the village with more things in our pockets than just gum. Travel always teaches me a little more about the world and reminds me that we are all more similar than different. These people reminded me how little we all need to actually be happy. A nice lesson for the start of a new year.
Until next time, Kenya. Thanks for giving us so much more than we bargained for!
Well, I'm back! In the land of blogging, that is. I haven't posted any updates to my blog for a few months and here are my main reasons: 1. I've been busy working on (yet another!) revision for the new manuscript I finished this summer, 2. when not working on my revision, I've been back and forth to the States, visiting my two college kids on their different campuses during the fall and 3. I'm a proscrastinator.
I'll talk about #1 and #2 later. For now, let's focus on #3.
Procrastination is every writer's biggest challenge.
Have you heard of the "butt in chair" concept? Basically, it goes like this...in order to be a real writer, not just someone who likes to talk about being a writer you have to commit to the idea of taking some time every day to sit down, open your notebook or computer or whatever you use and write. Yes, actually write. Sound simple? Well, for many of us (okay, most of us) it really isn't. People who love to write also love to sleep, and eat, and spend time with friends. We like to look at social media, and play frisbee and go to the mall. There are also a whole list of things we don't like to do, but must, like laundry or school work or washing the dog. And thus, because of all these "likes" and "musts", often times our writing gets pushed waaaaaay to the bottom of the list.
Why, you ask? Why be a writer if writing is the last thing you put on your list?
Well, because...because writing is hard work. It takes alot of brain power. And self confidence. And creativity. And most days, a writer doesn't have all 3 of those things happening at the same time. And when all three things aren't happening at the same time, it's much easier to do the laundry. Or go to the mall. Or eat.
I would like to tell you that one of my new year's resolutions is going to be to blog more frequently. I know that I love getting frequent updates from the bloggers I follow and when they don't blog for awhile it's easy for me to lose interest. But, in an effort to not start out the new year being a big liar, I'm not going to tell you that I'm going to blog more frequently. I will, however, tell you I'm going to TRY and blog more frequently. And, I will also tell you that I'm going to try and sit my butt in chair more frequently. Every day, if even it's only for 10 minutes. And hopefully, that will lead to more manuscripts. And more blog posts.
Here's to a new year! Let's do this, 2017!
(Now I have to go switch the laundry...)