Venice and Beauty- Kacey Lake

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the hubby and i had an opportunity to escape sans kiddos last weekend. so after the last minute scramble to fill the fridge, triple check things with the nanny, and squeeze every last cuddle out of our trio, i whisked away to meet my lover at the train station. meeting places? one of my favorite ways to start a date with my love.

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train, train, plane, boat. then we arrive in venice.

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the streets are silent, lacking the usual sounds of cities: cars, scooters, voices carrying on a friday night. all noise broken up by the surrounding 3-story residences, stores, churches, museums that provide the maze walls of this enchanting city. and when you do encounter another soul taking in the city, they are usually looking up at the street signs trying to make sense of where they are headed as well. or they are content with their whereabouts because they are one of the 60,000 people that call venice home or (my personal favorite) because they have resigned to even trying to figure it out. a beautiful surrender because as all of the reviewers will say, that’s really part of the experience of the city. and if that’s what the reviewers say….

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and as i did my due diligence to post the perfect IG picture after a sensational trip, i came across a quote that has stuck with me.

“though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.” -ralph waldo emerson

profound. it isn’t always about where we go (or if we go at all!) but what we choose to carry back with us. what we choose to share with others and, in fact, choosing to share with others at all. whether it’s a regular daily encounter and you are able to see a new beauty in it. or if its an adventurous experience and beauty seems obvious around every corner.

while chatting with my best friend yesterday, she passionately spoke of a new method she’s adopted for her family in terms of wellness and whole living. clearly well researched and positively affected, she naturally encourages and enlightens anyone she speaks to on the subject. she’s being asked more and more to keep doing that- encouraging, enlightening. and as she talked out loud thru her decision-making process of whether or not to allow this to grow into a potential “business” we laughed at how sterile the term is. because what she’s doing? she’s carrying & sharing the beauty that she has found.

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wanna know a few things that venice taught me?

it taught me to always carry cash in italy. because oh my goodness, very few atm’s and very many “cash only”s.

it reminded me that things don’t always have to be done a certain way. specifically, it reminded me how we are doing school a little differently right now and i find myself questioning our decision because everyone around us is doing it differently. venice, an island built with waterways as boundary lines, where it seems like leaks would occur, where it seems like nuisances would outweigh the charm, and yet the people are so happy and proud of where they live. and people come in droves DROVES to visit the little island and get a glimpse of its uniqueness. because it stayed true to itself and the people have made sure of it. no matter what else was going on around them or any feedback from others that for any reason said “change.”

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it reminded me of how great it is to uncontrollably laugh. like when we were on this romantic gondola ride. passing other boats, encountering quiet little waterways, ducking under bridges, getting a totally different view of this unique city. our happy gondola rower singing beautiful Italian melodies that echoed off the buildings and greeting his fellow gondola rowers with eager CAIO!s along the way. when those echoing sounds all of the sudden changed to a loud and intentional BEEEEEELLLLLLCCCHH…. from one of the other rowers. followed by belly laughter from all. and then all that great laughter further enhanced by trying to stop laughing when everyone else stopped laughing but i couldn’t stop laughing. because that happens to me over immature things like a loud burp.

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the weekend as a whole reminded me of our commitment as husband & wife to invest in one another and in our togetherness. being in london, away from grandma’s & grandpa’s, a weekend away can be harder to arrange (and expensive!). and while we do have the world’s greatest carer of our children here in london, it felt extra lush to take a full weekend for ourselves. wouldn’t you know? it ended up being so so good for all of us. and something that we long to teach our children- marriage takes time and intentionality and sacrifice and is a ridiculous amount of fun and joy.

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and being exposed to a people group different than my own? reminded me, as it usually does, that every single person is loved child of God. every single one. and there is opportunity to experience more of Him, by experiencing more of others.

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venice is filled with stands selling “venetian” merchandise. after perusing several with our 3 small children in mind, we ended up with a polizia truck pulling a boat for the little dude and 2 pink tie-on masks for the girlie girls. and they were elated. the polizia trailer has already broken and the truck and boat have been slept with every night. and the masks already made their appearance at the girls’ school. and that’s when ralph waldo emerson came full-circle for me… as my daughter proudly showed her teachers the flashy mask that was purchased JUST for her… where is this from again, mommy? paris? it really doesn’t matter where we go or what we do, as long as we have eyes to see and words to share the beauty on the other side.

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