Hope in Hard Times

"God light" over the Cinque Terre Even for a born optimist like me, it’s been very hard to stay positive this year. Just as I surface from the latest bout of bad news, a new wave of sadness or fear washes over me, threatening to push me back under. It’s all too much. And many of the things that might normally buoy my spirits—our weekly neighborhood potluck, praying and singing at church, or just hugging a friend—have not been possible. Continue reading “Hope in Hard Times”

Italy: My Favorite Books & Blogs






After every tour I lead, I share with my group a list of my favorite books and websites about the countries we’ve visited. On a 10-day or two-week tour we can only scratch the surface of a country’s history and culture; I always hope that our visit has whetted my travelers’ desire to learn and see even more, and that my resources will help them do that. Continue reading “Italy: My Favorite Books & Blogs”

My Packing List & Tips: Part 2

On my very first trip to Europe I could barely lift my backpack, whose content included enough soap, shampoo, and tampons to get me through three months. But it eventually dawned on me: Just like us, people all over the world take care of their sore throats, their periods, their cuts and scrapes—and have the products and medicines to do so. So now, when it comes to toiletries, my trick for packing light is to take just enough to get me started. Then I replenish my supplies at a pharmacy (which Brits refer to as a “chemist”), grocery, or department store on the road. Continue reading “My Packing List & Tips: Part 2”