Dutch Wonderland Amusement Park in Pennsylvania’s Amish Country: A Great Day Trip from Washington, D.C. or a Fun-Filled Stop for Your East Coast Vacation

I have vivid memories of visiting Dutch Wonderland in Pennsylvania’s Amish Country when I was a little girl. This past weekend, I had the pleasure of introducing my son to the theme park for the first time.

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It’s a short day trip from the Washington, D.C. or Philadelphia area, and it’s well worth the drive if you have little ones around ages 3 to 10. Opened in the 1960s, the park still has a really neat mix of vintage attractions along with its modern rides. Dutch Wonderland is a “kingdom for kids,” starting with its huge castle-shaped entrance and its cast of characters that roam the park, and continuing with its rides that will make kids feel like a prince or princess for a day.

This park really is amazing for younger kids who aren’t quite big enough to ride at regular amusement park. At 38 inches tall, my four-year-old son could ride almost all of the rides (he needed to be accompanied by an adult sometimes). Honestly, I wasn’t sure what he would think because he was still a little afraid of the car ride at Chuck E Cheese a couple months ago. I didn’t need to worry at all, though, because he dove right into the fun and wasn’t afraid of any of the rides – including ones that went fast or high.

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This was my favorite ride.

Let me bring you along with us for the day. We entered the park about a half-hour after it opened and went straight for the little hand-cranked riding trains. Since it was still early, the line was short enough that my son got on different trains and went around four times without having to wait. He had been on hand-cranked trains at Strasburg Railroad before, so he felt comfortable with those already. From there, we went on the monster trucks several times, the frog ride that takes kids up in the air and bounces them around a little a few times, and the monorail (which my son called “the air train”) to get a view of the entire kingdom.

He “milked” the cow that squirts water out of its udder, which I remember doing as a girl, and then he drove the remote controlled cars a bunch of times. The RC cars do take tokens, so have a few extra dollars with you if your child is into that.  At that point, we were hot and hungry, so we checked out the food options. The buffet was air conditioned, which is a plus, but it was also pretty pricey, so we decided on Nathan’s Hotdogs, just to the right hand side once you’re inside the park, instead. We thought the hotdogs, fries, and lemonade were yummy and reasonably priced for amusement park food. Usually, we do eat healthier than that, but hey, it is fun to splurge sometimes. For families that have food concerns, there are healthier choices too.

Just past the Nathan’s Stand was a face-painting area, and my son wanted to look like Marshall the Fire Dog. Ta-da! He was so proud to look like Marshall. After that, he rode the merry-go-round a bunch of times. Then we hopped on my favorite ride of the day that made us fly around like Super Man. For a kid’s ride, I thought it went pretty high and fast. It was awesome. Carson wanted to ride it again, but I told him mommy would lose my lunch if we did it again (lol).  Around that time, a princess and a wizard stopped to chat with Carson, which was a good distraction.

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From there, we went to the big slide, little construction diggers, a roller coaster, the vintage Turnpike Cars (such a cool attraction), and a boat ride that paralleled the Turnpike cars. It was late afternoon at that point, so my husband and I sat on a shady bench and watched Carson bike around a track many, many times.

20170722_171446We stopped to take a photo at the giant pretzel, which I feel like my family did when I was young too. My son rode the whip ride a bunch of times, and then we saw the Badland Bears show, which I also am pretty sure my family watched when I was a girl. The automated bear band sings country and bluegrass songs like “Country Roads” and “Grandma’s Featherbed.”

Next up was the airplane ride, the space shuttles, and the water park. Daddy bought Carson the plastic toy boat that he had been obsessing about so that he could play with it on the water tables. Carson got splashed in the face, and his cute Marshall face paint ended up looking more like he was a zombie who had been doing some greasy mechanical work under a car by the time he was done playing. Fortunately, my son could not see his own face. It was about a half hour before the park was going to close, so we walked back toward the entrance and ended the day by buying a couple of photo keychains to keep the memories with us.

It might sound cheesy, but I really will cherish all of the smiles and laughs from that day. Even with a couple of rides closed for roller coaster construction, there was plenty to keep us busy for nine hours. We collapsed into our vehicle, and both Carson and my husband were asleep within minutes of being on the highway toward home.

Dutch Wonderland generously gave our family free admission to the park, and we spent our own money once we were inside the park. To help you budget if you decide to go, meals, face-painting, driving the RC cars, drinks, a toy boat for the water park, sunglasses, and souvenir keychains added up to about $70 for us. You can use the discount code MamaMuseMeSBlog16 to save a few dollars on admission if you order tickets online. Thank you, Dutch Wonderland, for a wonderful family experience.

 

 

 

 

All Aboard for Fun: A Christmas in July Train Ride and a Train Book for Toddlers

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First of all, how cool is the flip-flop tree?! I went on a Christmas in July Train Ride with my little guy last week, and it was so much fun for my little man who is train-obsessed. He had some in-depth discussions with Santa about his Thomas Train Table and how daddy had glued down the tracks with wood glue. Hawaiian music played over the speakers; we sang Christmas carols, and we even got to get off the train and stand on the turntable while it moved. This is the kind of stuff dreams are made of for a little boy.

The train ride coincided with a review that I’m doing for a new book called Night Night, Train. My son gives the book five stars, his highest possible rating. I recommend it as well for the beautiful pictures and pacing that holds the attention of a young boy. My little guy has asked me to read him this book many times ever since it came in the mail. Book Look Bloggers sent me this book in return for my honest review. I give it high praise because it has held my son’s attention longer than any other book that I have reviewed on my blog, obviously because it has trains, but also because it is written and illustrated in a way that really appeals to children. This book is great for bed time, but I end up reading it as soon as he wakes up sometimes (lol).

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Book Description

Choo! Choo! All aboard the train to Sleepytown! After a fun-filled day, it’s time to snuggle in, and dream the night away.

Join adorable puppies in pajamas as they say “night, night” to the train, to their mommy and daddy, and to God. Your little ones will rest their sleepy heads knowing that the God who made them loves them and keeps them safe all night long.

Amy Parker’s children’s books have sold more than a million copies, including two Christian Retailing’s Best award-winning books and the bestselling A Night Night Prayer. She lives outside Nashville with her husband and two children.

Hope you are having a great summer! Mine has been *much more* rough than expected because of my leg surgery. I am getting around very well, but I had an allergic reaction during the procedure that is making this whole healing process slow. I still plan on going “full steam ahead” (yes, Thomas Train reference) as much as possible because this is summer, and I want to enjoy it as much as possible. Plus, my travel feature on Dutch Wonderland is coming up soon. I have a discount code (MamaMuseMeSBlog16) if you plan on going there this summer. If you’re on the East Coast, it could make a great day trip for your family.

♥ Teresa

Start with Amen

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So be it.

That’s amen.

When you start a prayer with amen — so be it — you are saying that God is in control, and you’re agreeing with him that he will do what is best before the prayer even starts. That is not an easy posture, to admit that you’re not in control, but it is a beautiful form of worship. It shows trust that God has your ultimate good in mind, even if his will is not the easiest path to take. Honestly, it might not be the easy path — but he is up to something eternally good, even when we cannot seem to see it this side of heaven.

Amen “was the congregational response of affirmation or agreement in both Hebrew and Greek gatherings” in the Bible, the “expression of praise to the Lord,” and “the confirmation of a blessing,” according to Start with Amen by Beth Guckenberger (p. 189).

♥ Amen

When someone embraces this word and uses it with the solemnity it deserves, there is a sense of settle that follows. I accept. I affirm. I praise. I bless. It testifies in two syllables to the conviction that God’s way is best. We might not always understand his ways, and certainly we might not always like them, but we can always be confident of them.  (Start with Amen p.189)

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Lamentations 3:21

In Start with Amen, Beth Guckenberger quotes a staggering statistic that out of 2 billion children in the world today, 1 billion have been abused — assaulted physically, verbally, emotionally, or sexually. As an educator, I think about my own students when I hear this, and my heart breaks. I think about children in other countries who are orphans. My heart is stirred: what more can I do to share God’s love with those who have not felt it? Guckenberger also writes about the “orphan spirit” that shows up in believers, those who think they can somehow earn his love through works and those who lack spiritual confidence. In the book’s prologue, she writes:

As for me? I am to live and love like a daughter [of God], talk like a daughter. I am to invite and extend myself and risk . . . I am to root myself in his identity and not gorge myself on counterfeit affections. I am then to testify every chance I get: freedom is found in forfeiting my own way. Amen.

As I was reading this book, God spoke to me specifically and deeply. As I asked questions of Him, He answered and let me know that His presence was there. Acts 2:26 showed up twice in my day and felt significant both times. I saw the verse in A Homemade Year by Jerusalem Jackson Greer (a neat book, I might add) and then again in Start with Amen. God seemed to be telling me to pay attention to it.

Acts 2:26 (The Message)

I’ve pitched my tent in the land of hope.

I had a surgery on my leg over a week ago, and I am having some type of very bad post-surgery allergic reaction that the doctor has never seen before. It looks like I have burns and welts all over my leg. I am praying, and I know others are praying for me too. I feel like I am in a land of unknowns right now, and obviously it is not an easy thing to go through. I wanted to be outside with my son, enjoying this beautiful time of the year instead of in a place full of unknowns. I know I am not in control of this situation, but I am trusting that God will take care of me (amen♥). I started reading Start with Amen the day after my surgery. It is challenging me and comforting me at the same time.

xoxo Teresa

*I received Start with Amen from Book Look Bloggers in return for my honest review. I found the photo at the top of my post here (not an affiliate link).

Travel, Tunes, and Reads

I’m going to be collaborating with Dutch Wonderland in Pennsylvania for a travel feature on my blog later this summer, so I’m excited for that. If you’re going there, here is a link for a discount especially for my blog readers. The promo code is MamaMuseMeSBlog16.

For a short list of what I’m loving so far this summer, it would have to be the new Mandisa “Out of the Dark” album that leaves me in such a joyful mood, really neat looking temporary tattoos from tattly.com that I plan on wearing all summer, and my new Keen hiking shoes that are working out great on the trails.

I just finished reading The Hopefuls by Jennifer Close, and I thought it was a great fictional peek at Washington, D.C. I took a little day trip to the Spy Museum in D.C. and bought the book not long after that. My family is going full throttle at summer already, with an outdoor concert and a beautiful day at the lake already checked off the bucket list.

Hope your summer is off to a fun start too! If you’re curious about the Mandisa album, you can listen to most of it on YouTube right now.

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I am checking out Positive Discipline: Tools for Teachers by Jane Nelsen and Kelly Gfroerer, sent to me by Blogging for Books in return for my honest review. It has tips for modeling kind and firm leadership in the classroom, keeping students intrinsically motivated (very important), improving self-regulation, and more. I have heard most of this in my education classes and trainings, but it’s good to have a refresher.

♥Teresa

A great review — and a not-so-great one

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Let’s start with the great review. The Story Cure is what I was looking for to help me get out of a creative rut in my fiction writing. By rut, I mean procrastination and feeling like I have nothing to write about (a.k.a., not even starting). Dinty W. Moore begins his book by explaining what a story should have — basis in something that we care about as a human race or a way of dealing with something that many of us fear. In his riff on theme, which can become heavy-handed in some books, he suggests the “magnetic river” that everything flows back to and keeps the story going. I’m going to need to do a little thinking about the big topic that I want to address in a story. It drives me nuts that I have writing talent and imagination that I am not using to its fullest because — what if no one appreciates it? What if I can’t sell it, and I’ve wasted my time? What if? Seriously, I need to be a little more like L.M. Montgomery’s Emily character and write simply because my soul feels like it has to write. I do not have a community of writers to draw upon for inspiration where I live, so that is a challenge. I went to a writers’ group that was advertised one time, and it ended up being just me and a dirty old man who wrote a lot about breasts and commented on mine as well. I did not go back to that group. I didn’t even ride the library elevator back downstairs with him, honestly. Anyway, thank you, Dinty W. Moore, for sharing knowledge that is practical and easy to apply to the craft of writing.

240_360_book-2207-coverNow, moving on to the not-so-great review. Let me say, I do not enjoy giving bad reviews. I am not one of the angry internet people who enjoy criticizing writers’ work just for the heck of it. I am sure the author is a great dad, and his book is relevant to his own experience, as well as the experience of many other dads. Yet, I really did not like You Know You’re A Dad. I felt like the humor was very cliched and fell flat most of the time. As a woman, it is not super fun to read that one of the ways a man knows he is a dad is that he wonders if his pregnant wife’s body will ever return to normal. Har, har. I know it’s meant to be funny, but as the female audience who would probably be buying the book for her husband, I found the pregnant body jokes irritating. Also, a lot of the little quips involved sports — watching sports, reading Sports Illustrated while the wife reads parenting books, etc. — and my husband always tells me that it drives him nuts when some pastors constantly use sports metaphors in church. He is not a sports guy, and he feels like the sports talk is shoved down his throat everywhere he goes when he’s in a group. He likes classic cars and movies. I know this book has an audience, and some couples will think it’s cute or funny, but I don’t think it reaches a more modern couple. My husband is really proud to be a dad. I think he could have came up with some better examples, both funny and serious, of how he knew when he was a dad than what this book offered. I am disappointed because I wanted to give him this book for Father’s Day. It just wasn’t an enjoyable read for me. I didn’t see how my own husband would connect with it.

The Story Cure was sent to me by Blogging for Books, and You Know You’re A Dad was sent to me by Book Look Bloggers in return for my honest review.

A Heapin’ Helpin’ of Hygge: My Month of May in Food and Books

The little Danish hygge trend? I got on board with it this month too. I cooked a recipe for Boller i Karry — a.k.a. meatballs in a curry sauce — from The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wikihyggeng. What intrigued me about the recipe is that the meatballs are simmered in broth so that they are really moist instead of being baked. In the past, my meatballs tended to be more dry on one side or even fall apart. This recipe really was perfect. My husband raved about it. You can Google Boller i Karry if you’re curious. The recipe is going to become a regular part of our family meals, but I will probably cut back on the heavy cream to make it a little healthier. I know the hygge trend might sound a little cheesy and obvious on social media, but I think it’s because hygge is something that cannot be fully translated; it is something that is felt. The book did give me some good ideas for cozy practices to incorporate into my family’s life.

Books, Books, Books: 

athome-smI finished reading At Home in the World by Tsh Oxenreider. She mentioned my blog post on her podcast site, which I really appreciated. The book definitely captured my imagination and allowed me to vicariously experience family travel around the world. I pictured what it would be like to walk down the sidewalk in Hong Kong or snorkel around the Great Barrier Reef with my guys. I will probably re-read this book every once in a while because there is something about armchair travel that is just so enjoyable, especially when the writing is so vivid and insightful.

 

51wyozuq5ol-_aa300_The book that really surprised me in a good way this month was An Outlaw and a Lady: A Memoir of Music, Life with Waylon, and the Faith that Brought Me Home by Jessi Colter. The writing in this book is vivid and lyrical, which makes sense for the voice of a singer-songwriter. I grew up on country music; my heroes were Crystal Gayle (I wanted to grow my hair as long as hers) and Ricky Skaggs (I got out a wooden spoon for a microphone and had “concerts” along with him). Nothing gets me like a record of Kenny Rodgers or Buck Owens. I used to listen to Country Gold on the radio every Saturday night, and in my college years I kept a good rotation of Johnny Cash, Merle, and Waylon in my CD player, along with Britney Spears, Christina, and Eminem. I got to see Merle, who was part of the “outlaw country” movement twice in concert, which was amazing. Anyway, all of this preface is to say that any background story that I can get about the classic country singers — especially told in such a beautiful format as this book — is something I will give two thumbs up to any day. I remember hearing Jessi Colter’s song “I’m Not Lisa” on the radio, and I knew she was married to Waylon, but I never knew her story of faith. I was really drawn in as she told her story, starting with her mother, a Pentecostal faith healer, and her father, the mining race car driver. Colter writes of how she drifted from faith and then returned to it to sustain her. This book was provided by Book Look Bloggers in return for my honest review.

773507I finally finished the third book of L.M. Montgomery’s Emily series. I did a slow trudge on this one because I could tell by the foreshadowing that Emily was going to get engaged to Dean, and I kept wanting to tell her don’t-do-it! On one hand, Dean could offer Emily good conversation and access to travel that she did not have before, but on the other hand, he lied and told her that her writing was not good because he thought she loved her writing more than she loved him (she did). Unfortunately, she believed that her writing was not good and stopped creating completely. The Emily series is about the making of a writer, so having a season when Emily does not write is almost like having the life stolen from the book. Fortunately, Emily does eventually find her way, with the help of her family; a family member submits her book to a publisher, and Emily finally achieves the “Alpine Path” that she has been dreaming about, just as she finds out that her best friend is engaged to Teddy, the man that she has truly loved since she was young. It drove me nuts how passive Emily was about expressing her love for Teddy after his wedding to Ilse fell apart (because Ilse really loved their other childhood friend). I thought she would tell Teddy how she felt since she realized they both loved each other and had only misinterpreted each other’s actions. Emily’s passivity frustrated me, but I was glad that she ended up getting the happy ending that she deserved after a lot of uncertainty. Mostly, I wondered, what if LM Montgomery had allowed the Emily character to go to New York after all? Certainly the story would have been more fun to read, but it might not have achieved the message that Montgomery was trying to communicate about how home and sense of place shapes a writer. Here are my posts about the first two books: Emily of New Moon and Emily Climbs.

9780804189842After reading Tsh Oxenreider’s At Home in the World, the next logical move seemed like picking up another armchair travel book. My book of choice was The New York Times: Footsteps, a curated collection of the New York Times travel column, “Footsteps,” exploring iconic authors’ relationships to landmarks and cities around the world. I was especially curious to read the excerpt about the “dangerous, dirty and seductive” streets of Naples, the setting for Elena Ferrante’s famous Neapolitan novels, because I think Ferrante is the best novelist of our times (seriously, My Brilliant Friend is a skillful weaving of character, setting, and plot). Place is such an influence for writers; take L.M. Montgomery as a prime example. I like to find out “the story behind the story,” and this collection delivers something that a fan of literature like myself can savor. This book was provided by Blogging for Books in return for my honest review.

Have a fantastic month! Hope you get the chance to open a good book and cook something that makes you feel cozy too. If you’ve read any of these books, I would love to talk about them with you in the comments.

xoxo Teresa

Marriage Encounter Weekend

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My husband and I have had a lot happen in our lives over the past several years: the birth of our son, the death of my husband’s father, a new career for me, some hard times and good times. We have both been busy with the day-to-day demands of life, so we decided to take a weekend to focus solely on each other. To do that, we drove six hours to a Marriage Encounter Weekend at Virginia Beach in April. Overall, it was wonderful. The weekend is for people who want to strengthen their marriages; my husband and I are already happy in our marriage, but we liked the idea of taking our marriage from good to great.

The weekend consisted of listening to three couples talk about their ups and downs as they responded to various prompts. The couples had been through some very tough things in their lives that Larry and I were thankful we had never experienced, and they were very up front about what they had gone through. After each session, the spouses attending the conference were given a prompt to write about separately in their notebooks, and then the couples came together in their hotel room to read what each other wrote and talk about it. After some time, we would get a call on the room phone to come back down for the next session.

What I liked the most was hearing Larry say the things that I do that he appreciates (that I didn’t even realize he noticed, and that I don’t even think much about, like saying “hey dear!” when he walks in the door each evening). We both told each other what initially drew us to each other; it brought back lots of memories. I thought a lot about how we have changed and grown positively as a couple. We both get along really well, but we don’t necessarily tell each other those things we’re thinking all the time.

Spending time together, writing each other love letters, and the romance were the best parts of the weekend. We renewed our vows to each other at a beautiful candlelight ceremony. The hardest part of the conference was that sharing so many thoughts over the course of a weekend begins to feel draining sometimes — even when you have positive things to say.

The workshop started on a Friday evening, went from early on Saturday morning to late Saturday evening, and then right back at it from early Sunday morning to late that afternoon. By about 11 a.m. on Sunday, we both started to feel really cooped up and ready to get out of the hotel. We knew the beach was so close, and we were inside a hotel. We wanted some fresh air. We ended up leaving a couple of hours early because we had pretty much reached our limit of being inside, knowing that we would go to work the next morning.

We felt kind of bad about leaving early because we did not want to disappoint the workshop leaders; we wanted them to know we were really thankful for everything they had shared. I feel like that weekend was the best thing that could have possibly happened for us — or could happen for any married couple who wants to really dig into what it takes to emotionally support one another. There are different types of Marriage Encounter Weekends, but the one we went to was excellent — no role playing, no group sharing or general cheesiness. The weekend did have a spiritual component, but I think people of various denominations (we are independent) and those who are not Christians still could have felt comfortable.

I highly recommend Marriage Encounter!

Teresa

 

 

What I wish I’d known when I did online shopping last week: Groupon Coupons

With glorious thoughts of summer fast approaching, I did some online shopping last week. I bought a hammock, a huge castle-shaped sandbox for my son, and a fire pit to toast some marshmallows over on a starry evening. I’ve already been enjoying cuddling on the hammock with my son in the evenings, looking up at the beautiful forest trees in our backyard. Ah, how did I not have a hammock sooner?

What I didn’t know about was Groupon Coupons. I could have saved a lot of money on those items. Hindsight, right? Groupon Coupons are a free section of the Groupon site. Just this morning, the site had over 80,000 coupons for nearly 12,000 stores, including ones that I shop at regularly like Target, Starbucks, and Kate Spade.

One coupon listing that caught my eye was for 1-800-Flowers. This morning there was a deal for 40 percent off flowers and gifts. The coupon is good until July, so this would be a great idea for Mother’s Day.

The other listing that caught my eye was for Hotels.com. We are thinking about what we’re going to do for vacation this summer. If you scroll down a little on the site, one coupon is for 50 percent off.

You can see all of the coupons at https://www.groupon.com/coupons. I hope this will help your family save a little money this summer. I know I will be checking the site when I shop.

Groupon

Disclosure: These thoughts are entirely my own. My post was written in collaboration with Groupon.

A Place I Felt At Home in the World

athome-smIn celebration of the release of her new book, At Home in the World, about a year spent traveling around the world with her family of five, Tsh Oxenreider is challenging readers to share where they have felt most at home in the world. Before I tell you my place, let me share how much I have been looking forward to reading this book. I went to the travel section of Barnes and Noble the day her book was released this week and immediately bought a copy. I want to support her work because I believe in her message of simplicity, a global perspective, and Christianity that is rooted in Christ’s teachings — not skewed by a political view, not superficial. I listen to her podcast regularly and consider her to be a great influence toward a life lived with intention and reflection.

My travels have taken me abroad to the high-energy sidewalks of London, to a misty fjord of Tadoussac to see whales, to the mountains of Alberta to slide down a waterfall, and to the Caribbean, where the snorkeling was a stunning show of colors and sea life. One trip closer to home that really stands out to me was Asheville, NC, because our week was filled with wonderful live music, food, friendly people, and an evening spent at an outdoor spa hot tub. I’ve only ever had one bad travel experience — on our honeymoon — when our travel agent sent us to St. Thomas, in a spot that ended up being over-priced and sketchy, but we made the best of that.

When I think of where I feel most at home in the world, I would probably pick my cozy red living room chair, curled up with a book and a cup of hot tea, with my Sheltie at my side and my son playing with his Thomas trains on the floor. That would be closely followed by a walk on my family’s farm where I grew up or a hike in the beautiful forest trails near the house where we live now. Hiking with my Sheltie and breathing the fresh air as the trees stretch high above brings such a connection to the land, to God’s creative hand, and to myself. With this view of the world, valuing simplicity and nature, is it any wonder that my husband and I are great admirers of Henry David Thoreau?

I wrote the following post on my blog a few years ago, but the theme of feeling at home in the world brought it to mind again. It connects two of my favorite writers — Lucy Maud Montgomery and Henry David Thoreau — with my travel experience of being engaged at Walden Pond.

“It gave a strange reality to the books 
of theirs which I have read 
to see those places where they 
once lived and labored.– L.M. Montgomery

440px-lmm_signed_photoI saw something in a blog recently that gave me a feeling of awe. The writer probably didn’t realize what she wrote would touch someone else so deeply – but she told me that one of my childhood dreams had partially come true five years ago.

I didn’t even realize it back then.

My dream reveals an early level of literary geekdom: I wanted to visit Prince Edward Island to walk in the steps of author L.M. Montgomery, who wrote the Anne of Green Gables stories, to make the stories come alive for me even more than they already had in the past.

When I was young, I loved Anne’s imagination, her dramatic way of speaking, how she had a best friend as true and loyal as Diana, how she yearned for stylish puffed sleeves, and how she was so oblivious to Gilbert’s love at first. As I grew older and kept returning to the books and movies, I saw the character of Anne as someone who was a role model — a writer, a teacher, a friend, someone whose love ran deep. Anne and Diana were real to me.

The blog said L.M. Montgomery made a literary pilgrimage in 1910 to Concord, Massachusetts — the spot where American greats including Thoreau, Emerson, and Louisa May Alcott once lived and wrote.

Montgomery wrote: “[Concord] is a most charming spot and I shall never forget the delightful drive we had around it. We saw the ‘Old Manse’ where Hawthorne lived during his honeymoon and where he wrote ‘Mosses from an Old Manse,’ the ‘Wayside’ where he also lived, the ‘Orchard House’ where Louisa Alcott wrote, and Emerson’s house.”

My mind immediately connected: L.M. Montgomery had been to Concord to visit literary spots; my husband and I were engaged there five years ago and visited those same spots after a very long drive from our hometown. My husband got down on one knee at the site of Thoreau’s cabin at Walden Pond, and later that day, we visited the Old Manse that L.M. Montgomery had also written about visiting. We ended up seeing the Alcott house and spending a lot of time in Boston, not too far from Concord.

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It was a romantic engagement that created lifelong memories way before I realized the new connection.

As I read the blog, the realization hit: I had probably walked in L.M. Montgomery’s footsteps without even realizing it. It wasn’t how I imagined it happening, but seeing my memories in this new light is inspiring.

I still want to visit Prince Edward Island someday. In the meantime, I think it’s amazing that my own feet have already travelled a little closer to the steps of L.M. Montgomery than I had realized. As a person of faith, I believe we can never fully know all of the connections that life has in store for us. I’m thankful for the sweet surprises that are revealed along the way, and I’m also thankful for the parts of the story that are yet to be known.

 

 

 

 

I hope life surprises you this week.

With love and blessings,

Teresa from Mama Muse Me

 

A Movie I’m Taking My Son to See Soon (and ticket giveaway!)

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To enter my giveaway, sponsored by FlyBy Promotions, click the Rafflecopter link here.

Smurfs: The Lost Village is coming to theaters soon. I’m taking my son to see it when it does! Looking back at old Polaroid pictures, my very first Halloween costume was a Smurf outfit. I was definitely a fan, so I am hoping my son will like it too. If you want to find out more about the movie, visit the official site here. The site has recipes, coloring pages, and character profiles that will engage children of many ages.

In The Lost Village, Smurfette (Demi Lovato), Brainy, Clumsy, and Hefty use a special map that guides them through the Forbidden Forest, leading them on a course to discover the biggest secret in Smurf history. They must race against time and evil wizard Gargamel (the hilarious Rainn Wilson) to find the mysterious village.  

To enter my giveaway, sponsored by FlyBy Promotions, click the Rafflecopter link here.

Check out the trailer here.

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