Seventeen years ago today, my dad, Robert Forrest Shrewsbury, lost his battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 51.

This day is a tough day every year. While my dad had a fulfilling life, it makes me sad to think that he never got to see or do so many of the things we all cherish.

He never experienced the satisfaction of retirement after working hard for so many years in the milling business. He never felt the pride of seeing his children own their first homes and he wasn’t here to walk me down the aisle on my wedding day or meet Steve. He didn’t have the honor of growing old with his wife, or the joy of seeing his grandchildren graduate high school and head off to college.

My dad and step-mom, Janna, and my siblings Christy, Robb, Laura, and Brendi.

My dad and step-mom, Janna, and my siblings Christy, Robb, Laura, and Brendi.

I wish he could have lived longer and experienced those things, but I’m also very grateful for memories I do have with my dad. Memories of family road trips to the Black Hills or the Ozarks where we’d go boating on Table Rock Lake.

My dad loved going boating on Table Rock Lake in the Ozarks.

My dad loved going boating on Table Rock Lake in the Ozarks.

Memories of eating Fritos with bean dip while watching Husker football games or cheering on Kevin Johnson the Phoenix Suns. Memories of him teaching me how to play golf, sitting on curbsides watching parades as a family, and singing karaoke. 

My dad was always willing to try something new, including karaoke.

My dad was always willing to try something new, including karaoke with his kids.

Those memories sustain me and remind me to be grateful for every day I have on this earth. My dad never seemed to take much of anything for granted. He lived his life with few regrets.

My aunt, Kristy Douglas, painted this picture of my dad walking home from the Fourth of July parade with his granddaughters.

My aunt, Kristy Douglas, painted this picture of my dad walking home from the Fourth of July parade with his granddaughters.

He took chances and vacations and he was quick to give away his money, time and talents to others. He rarely put things off and he said what he wanted to say. 

On this 17th anniversary of his death, my dad’s example reminds me that life is short and not all of us are given the privilege of old age.

His legacy is a reminder to do the things that matter most. Try something new. Travel. Help those in need. Laugh. Be still. Pray. Listen. Make the time to be with your family and friends. And most of all, never miss an opportunity to say, “I love you.”

I love you, dad.

  • Perched high on a hill in Tuscany is the medieval village of Montepulciano. In the center of town is the piazza grande paved with bricks laid in a herringbone pattern in the 14th century. ⁣
⁣
Standing in the piazza, looking at the bricks, we were filled with a sense of awe at the history these bricks have seen. They've been there for 700 years so have seen times of war and peace, celebration and sorrow. Generation after generation of townsfolk were born, lived and died, and all have walked on these bricks. ⁣
⁣
This is one of the things we love most about traveling. It gives us an authentic feel for history, one we wouldn't have if we just stayed at home.
  • We were so tickled when @thechefandthedish reached out and asked us if we'd like to take a complimentary cooking class with them. They offer private cooking classes with chefs from all over the world that you can take right in your own kitchen. ⁣
⁣
For this class, we Skyped with chef Paola who taught us to make strawberry risotto, traditional bruschetta, and a delicious poached pear dessert that blew our minds. ⁣
⁣
Risotto always seemed like a difficult dish to make, but Chef Paola explained it so well that it wound up being pretty easy. We spent a great afternoon with friends, learned something new, and enjoyed a great meal after. A class with The Chef & The Dish is a great gift idea, as well. Follow the link in our bio, and you can read more about our class on our blog.
  • The world is a big place, and there's so much to discover. Go places, and see things. It doesn't matter if you don't have a detailed itinerary, either. Sometimes, it's more about the journey and what you see and experience along the way, than it is about the destination.
  • During our trip in Tuscany with @italyunfiltered, we stopped at a small family winery. After learning about the organic methods they use to produce high quality Chianti Clasico wines, we had a tasting. ⁣
⁣
Wine tastings in Italy are nothing like those in the US. They are glorious affairs complete with delicious foods paired with the incredible wines. This particular winery brought us samples of homemade, organic jams made from fruits grown in the family's garden. We dabbed these on locally produced pecorino cheese. Yum!⁣
⁣
We're so glad that we had a local driver and guide. Stopping here was a highlight of our Italian adventure, and we never would have found it on our own.
  • The village of Marsaxlokk, Malta, is famous for these brightly painted fishing boats. The design is rather ancient, possibly dating back to Phoenician times, though it's still used today because it is very strong and holds up well in rough weather. One feature of each boat's decorations, are eyes painted on the bow of the boat. These eyes are said to protect the people fishing while they are at sea.
  • The blue cobblestones of Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, are actually part of a recycling project which started 500 years ago. Iron foundries in Spain produced huge piles of waste, called slag. Rather than throw these piles away, the slag was made into blocks which was placed into ships as ballast. The ballast was offloaded in Puerto Rico when they loaded products bound for Spain. The blocks were then used to pave the streets. ⁣
⁣
Pretty good idea, and 500 years later, they are holding up well!
  • The Overseas Highway connects Key West and the Florida Keys to the mainland U.S. While the entire road is a marvel of engineering, the centerpiece is the Seven Mile Bridge, which runs over water for, well, seven miles.⁣
⁣
The next time you're driving, reset your trip odometer and wait until it gets to seven miles. You'll see that's a pretty long distance. And then think about the fact that people built a bridge over water with no land to support them for that distance. Pretty incredible-especially since the first one was built in 1912.
  • We'd never heard of cannonball rocks before we drove past them at North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park and asked each other, "did you see that?" We'd never seen anything quite like these natural "concretions" created when water leaked into pockets of minerals in the ground. Now, as a hill erodes, these formations are exposed.⁣
⁣
Seeing these rocks was such a cool experience because it reminded us of why we travel. We never know when we'll find something new, something that we never knew existed. We got along fine not knowing about cannonball rocks, yet now that we've seen them, our lives are a little richer. ⁣
⁣
The world is a pretty cool place. Check it out.⁣
⁣
@ndlegendary

Second most popular blog in Pawhuska