Beautiful Moments: Born In Rain



There was something about the rain in Scotland that sent a primitive, magical like, energy into my poncho draped body as the lone bag piper stood perching over a stoop atop Edinburgh Castle. The piercing sound of the pipes from a far distance was somehow accompanied by a stillness and quietness. The rain infused with years of history, culture, victory and loss pattered across the cobblestones in reflection of time passed.

When people ask me about the favorite part of my trip to Scotland its too hard to process, but often I’ll remember that moment just mentioned above and smile to myself knowing I could never fully explain it or do it justice with words. Scotland felt like a dream. A dream where I had returned to somewhere I felt I belonged. I jokingly state that if it wasn’t for my husband and daughter I would have never come back to the States. So yes, I’d say that I thoroughly enjoyed this trip to it’s fullest intent.


It would take ages to recount to you the memories made and the adventures taken. Therefore, I’ll hope you’ll settle for a few highlights instead.

Highlight #1: Military Tattoo


This spectacular event holds place every year in the stadium attached to Edinburgh Castle every August. Different branches of military from a variety of countries come to perform several different tunes iconic to their region (Scotland of course being the highlight). This remains my favorite highlight and I’m sure this will not be my last Tattoo event. I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Highlight #2: The Culloden Battlefield


This was incredibly special as I had been brushing up on Scottish history prior to my trip. Not to mention, HUGE fan of Outlander book series here (historical fiction). This battle was fought in the most beautiful field scattered with masses of wild heather and foxglove among the grasses. This was the last stand for Scotlands clansmen in the Jacobite rising. Unfortunately, the red coats utterly slaughtered them in droves. Therefore, the disbanding of the clans. To walk on History is always a privilege and it gives the mind room to imagine all kinds of things the more you discover the surrounding environment.


Highlight #3: Edinburgh Castle, Blair Castle, Eilean Donan Castle, & Stirling Castle. IMG_6848


The historian in me was near feint getting to openly explore these four beautiful castles.   Two of the most monumental figures in Scottish history, Mary Queen of Scotts and her son James, lived in Edinburgh castle. Mary gave birth to her son in a small room in this castle who would later grow up to change the fate of nations and unite both (Catholic) Scotland and (Protestant) England under one crown! It was also by his consent that his mother Mary Queen of Scotts be beheaded. Talk about your family issues.

Blair Castle was removed from society way up in the Highlands. The heather clads hilltops created the most serene backdrop I have ever seen in my life. It reminded me of scene in The Sound of Music when Maria is on her way back to the Abbey late for mass.

In my personal opinion, Eilean Donan Castle was by far the most breathtaking sight I have ever seen. This was a castle dead center in a body of water with a gorgeously crafted stone bridge with several arches that gave it a remote and secluded feel. Likewise, the mountain ranges behind it made it appear cinematic to the eye. Fun fact by my sister: This castle has been featured in several movies but the most known being Made of Honor starring Patrick Dempsey.

Last but not least, Stirling Castle. One of the most important castles in Scotland. Several Kings and Queens, including Mary Queen of Scotts, were crowned in this very castle! In the War for Scottish Independence, Bonnie Prince Charlie tried to seize the castle. This too, like Culloden, was unsuccessful. However, not everyone that tried to advance the castle failed. William Wallace lead many Scottish men to victory in the Battle of Stirling Bridge. I guess you could say He’s kind of a BIG deal in Scottish history. Haha! Braveheart will never be the same for me now (in a good way).


To experience culture on this level is such a blessing and a gift. To reflect on ages past and how they shaped the present for both visiting country and home country is eye opening and brilliant! I hope your path crosses with Scotland and if it doesn’t then make it happen!

This post was sponsored by: Carter Clan Grandparents of whom I am most grateful to for allowing me to accompany them on this trip along with several other lovely family members. I will never forget this memory we all made together on foreign soil.



All Is Grace,

The Mrs.




Holocaust Survivor Steen Metz: “Never Forget”


untitledIt’s not everyday you get to shake the hand of a Holocaust survivor. Steen Axel Metz graced FSW’s (Florida Southwestern State College) School of Education Department to share his passion; Not letting people forget. In fact, that is exactly Steen’s mission. Steen has traveled far and wide educating the masses both young and old about the tragically horrific events that happened during the second World War. His greatest ambition, through the memories of the Holocaust, is to have others be aware of the historical events of the past in hopes that they will pass on this intimate eye witness account to future generations to learn from. Steen was one of the few people that made it back to his home in Denmark near the end of the second World War.


Steen retells and accounts for several horrific memories from his “18 months of Hell” in the German concentration camp of Theresienstadt also known to many as Terezin. Steen’s passion is poured out through the pages of his book, “A Danish Boy in Theresienstadt”. Besides having survived one of the nastiest historical events of our time, Steen has devoted a portion of his life to researching all he can about those dark days in order to educate his readers even more so about what was going on around the world during the war. Throughout his travels and speaking to the public about the Holocaust, Steen has encountered many people who fervently believe that the Holocaust never happened! So in addition to speaking publicly, all of his research resources can be found in the back of his book in both Danish and English. I was also extremely honored to have my copy personally signed by Steen himself. If anyone would like to borrow the book to read or use for an assignment I would be most happy to offer it. Since Steen is self published, one cannot purchase his memoirs on Amazon or any other book retail establishment.

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Steen was only 8 or 9 years old when the German Nazis captured him, his father, and his mother. It was on the morning of October 2nd, during the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah, that the Nazis started retrieving Jewish families from their homes. The Nazis knew that the families would all be in one place celebrating this holiday and therefore would be easier to collect. Steen stated that he and his family amongst many other families were herded into what they called “cattle cars”. These were actually train cars, but were so filthy from the human waste accrued over the long and brutal journey that the people sardined into them referred to them as “cattle cars”. Steen said that the worst thing about traveling within the cattle car was not knowing what was going to happen next. The fear of the unknown after being torn from your home is almost too much to bare.

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Eventually, Steen and his parents arrived at Terezin. Although Terezin was not labeled as an extermination camp, the quality of life was no better than those of the other famous death camps. Many people from Terezin were transported to other infamous extermination camps via cattle car to be gassed or cremated alive. The treatment from Nazi officers was extremely taxing both physically and psychologically. Unfortunately, after 6 months of living in the camp, Steen’s father passed away from starvation. The menu was as follows; Potato soup every day. However, It wasn’t your average potato soup. In Terezin, potato soup was a pot of hot water with the skins of potatoes floating around. Steen only could assume that the actual potatoes were given to the German officers and that the camp inmates were given the scraps. Such conditions, in tandem with the rampant illnesses and uncleanliness, resulted in his fathers death.  Steen could remember one specific day after his father had passed that a German Nazi officer walked up to his mother and asked how she was doing. She replied, “Not very well. My husband has died”. The Nazi officer went on to ask her what he died from. She replied “starvation”. In the concentration camp of Terezin, the Nazis would never honestly record the cause of death in their medical reports and would not let the Jewish inmates answer honestly either. To make an example of Steen’s mother, the officer went back to visit her for the next 8 days to make her respond to the same question, but give phenomena as the cause of death.


This was only one of hundreds of horrible events that followed throughout the course of Steen’s time at Terezin. However, you will not see Steen without a smile as he continues his day to day life. He considers himself blessed and very lucky to have survived such a wretched experience while many others, such as his father, paid the ultimate price against the brutality of the Nazis. There are many things that Steen has overcome and some things that are still very hard to process. For example, the German language whether spoken in a movie or heard in a song will remind him of how the officers would shout and scream in their native language at the Jewish inmates. It’s something not so easily erased from one’s mind, especially the mind of a nine 9 year old boy.

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Steen continues to inspire all who hear his incredible story and has inspired the FSW School of Education students to keep the “flame lit” and pass on his story to the future generations. This is a day I will not soon forget. The day I got to shake hands with Mr. Steen Metz.

“Never Forget”


~The Mrs.

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