PINK in Bloom


It’s been fairly cold this winter with a lot of unexpected snow and ice, but this week I was surprised by not only warmer weather, but the coming of spring flowers. I couldn’t be happier! I had to go for a quick walk to get up close to the blooms and take a few photos.

It’s funny because the longer I blog the more time flies. My years are marked succinctly by the milestones I blog about. For the past few years I have written posts quite similar to this one where I am happy to see the flowers push forth seemingly out of nowhere after a frigid winter. The next thing I will blog about is an upcoming trip and then the summer and the cycle goes on.

Travel Awaits

This weekend I will be off to Chicago to speak at the IEG Sponsorship Conference. I will join SOS Children’s Villages and Johnson & Johnson on a panel: It Takes a Village to Build a Partnership. I’ll be happy to be in the Windy City again. It’s been quite some time! I have to admit, it’s nice to be speaking again after a long purposeful absence from conferences.

Have a great weekend!

Flowers

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I Actually Learned Something New About a Coffee Drink


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If you know anything about me it’s that I really love coffee! Love it! I drink coffee of all sorts all over the world. Just look at this post, My Best Coffee Moments While Traveling.

Right? It’s true.

But I learned about a new type of coffee drink on Friday afternoon just a few cities up the highway. Usually, my go-to coffee drinks are a macchiato (especially in Ethiopia), lattes, or my old stand-by, the cappuccino. But I learned about a new drink last week at Scratch in Durham’s swanky downtown district: the cortado.

A cortado? What’s that?

A cortado is primarily a cappuccino, but the steamed milk doesn’t have as much foam. And, friends, it was delicious. And I love that I learned something new. So, the next time you’re at a coffee shop, ask for a cortado.

Also, I love going to coffee shops that have actual cups. It makes the experience all worth it. In America, sometimes we just want to sit and have coffee that’s NOT served in a paper or plastic cup even if they’re recyclable! Give me a real cup or glass of coffee any day.

Reading 

In other news, I am actually reading a book! You know…one that you can hold in your hands, take in every word, flip pages, and fall asleep with. I am so used to reading everything online every day that I easily and repeatedly forget how gratifying it is to just hold a book. How ridiculous is that?

Anyway, I am reading Vive La Revolution by Mark Steel about the French Revolution. I am a history lover, so this book is fun and informative.

Have you had a cortado? Where? 

My Morning Walk


Every morning, the first thing I do almost immediately after I wake up is check my email. That’s not a good thing I’ve determined, but I can’t seem to shake the habit. I’m not sure I ever will or even if I want to. For the most part I do enjoy email until it gets overwhelming which is more often than not.

One thing is certain, I am too tied to my devices. I need to back away from them from time to time. I do take some time (although limited) to just walk and think and get away from technology for a moment. Today was one of those days. Instead of making coffee at home this morning, I walked to Starbucks and appreciated all of the loveliness along the way.

It’s a rare moment when I stop long enough to notice the flowers and the trees. It’s definitely something I need to do more often especially before summer ends. This morning I felt a slight nip in the air. It was lovely. That signals to me that fall is really just around the corner even though it will be nearly 100 degrees for much of August.

I’m glad I chose this morning to take a walk and clear my mind for a bit. It was good for my soul.

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Fluffy Trees and Ethiopia is 48 Hours Away


It’s Sunday. 48 hours from now I will be en route to Addis Ababa. I’ll be in Africa until July. That’s a long time, but I’ve done it enough now to know the days fly by in one big whirlwind. I’ll be there and then the next thing I know I’ll be home. That fast!

Today is a day for me to rest, but most importantly remember to bring everything I’ll need when I’m in Ethiopia. Inevitably, no matter how prepared I am and how many times I look at my lists, I always forget something. Last time I went to Ethiopia in April, I forgot my travel adapters and I had to buy another one at the airport. In fact, I have a ton of travel adapters just because I always forget to pack mine when I’m traveling abroad. They’re packed now.

This morning, we got up early to take photos of this amazing tree we see when we’re out running. I have no idea what it is. We just call it the “fuzzy tree”. I know, very scientific!  To me it’s oddly ethereal and as long as I’ve lived in the south (my entire life!) I’ve never seen it before.

This tree has lost a little of its spring newness since the first time we noticed it last week. That’s why we rushed to take photos today before the flowers are all gone. And certainly by the time I get back home next month it will only be bark, twigs, and leaves. Isn’t it gorgeous?

Do you know what this tree is? We saw one in pink and white.

fuzzy trees

fuzzy trees

fuzzy trees

fuzzy trees

fuzzy trees

fuzzy trees

fuzzy trees

fuzzy trees

A little listening…

An Old Tobacco Town


I live in an old tobacco town. I haven’t lived here all my life. In fact, Charlotte, North Carolina, a beautiful city in itself, is my hometown. But for the past four years Winston has been home.

We’re a fairly busy family, so we haven’t explored much of this city even though we live in the heart of the historic district. This morning we decided to drive around and look at the old vestiges of what brought this city massive, unbelievable wealth in the early twentieth century and still does: tobacco!

R. J. Reynolds is still headquartered here. Many of the old tobacco factories have now been turned into residential lofts with high ceilings and prodigious windows and the big tobacco plants have long since moved away from the area. It’s still interesting that a lot of America’s smoking history is housed right down the street from us and I’ve never taken a moment to give it a second look until today.

 

Reynods Tobacco

Old train tracks that brought the tobacco to and from the factory.

Reynods Tobacco

Reynods Tobacco

Living in Two Time Zones


It’s been great living in two time zones. I’m usually up extremely early (around 3 AM EST) making calls to Addis. I go back to sleep for a hot second and then I’m up early again getting ready for east coast time. And then I crash early in the evening and repeat it the next day. I love it!

Before I start getting sleepy each evening my family and I head out to a greenway to feel the spring air. Hearing all of the birds and smelling the grass, flowers, and trees is infectious. It’s something my senses will always remember. There is nothing like spring in the south.

White Flower White Flower White Flower White Flower White Flower

 

Spring Evenings + Southern Magnolias



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When I was a kid we had a sprawling Southern magnolia tree in our yard. Each year I would wait for it to bloom with its magnificent white, fragrant flowers so I could try to jump and reach one and bury my nose in it. I never did reach one, but I could smell the beautiful flowers all the time. I’ve been in love with Southern magnolias ever since.

Yesterday evening near dusk we went for a walk and again I tried my best to reach a flower when we passed a Southern magnolia, and again, I couldn’t reach one. But my camera lens could reach a few. The best, most beautiful flowers are always the ones high in the trees you can never get to.

Southern Magnolia

Have you ever smelled a Southern magnolia? If you haven’t, be sure to put it on your to-do list!

Southern Magnolia

By the way, I am so honored that my Tumblr blog got featured on Tumblr’s staff blog today. They also featured one of my photos from Tanzania. I couldn’t be happier!