Sunday, June 18, 2017

Reminiscing!

This morning as I sat outside snuggled up in a blanket drinking my coffee, I reflected on the past week.  Had it only been a week since I flew back from Italy!  All week long, I have been replaying my time and the many adventures that I had on my trip.  It was such a great trip.  New memories were made.

It has taken me the week to adjust to the time change!  I have been up every morning around 5 a.m. The joy of getting up early is seeing the sunrise.  The sunrise has taken my breath away as I look out onto the sky to see the beautiful colors of different blues and the different pinks, as they swirl across the sky.  Within seconds, the colors change.  I am in awe!

While I was gone, the wetlands got greener and the yellow flowers popped up.  It seems like the birds have multiplied, as well. The rabbits definitely have multiplied.  The red wing blackbirds have a slurred whistle as the sun rises from the east.  The swallows are soaring from one house to the next.

Sometimes we forget about the beauty within our on home.  As much as I love to travel, to meet new people and to discover new surroundings, I always remember the words that Dorothy said in "The Wizard of Oz", "There is no place like home."

Enjoy today!


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Alba, Italy

My last day in Italy was spent in Alba. Alba was once known as the "city with 100 towers". Today, it is famous for it's white truffles, peach and wine production.

In the area of Alba, there are 290 wineries that cultivate an area of 1,700 acres of land.  There are four distinct wine producing regions, but only two(Langhe and Monferrato) of these are dominate.  The vineyards are rich with soil, with history and with family tradition in wine-making that dates back centuries.

The town itself had a medieval flavor with it's cobblestone walks, narrow streets and the decor of the stores.  Just like Turin, there are cafes all along the streets.  Fashion is displayed in the windows and the merchants have their tables outside, selling their truffles, nuts, chocolates and displays of Alba's wines.

As I walked along the streets, there was a merchant demonstrating soap bubbles to the children. These soap bubbles were beautiful colors(almost like a rainbow) that were various shapes.  The children were fascinated with these bubbles.

After enjoying a cappuccino, the group was met by an archaeologist, who took us underground, a few feet beneath the streets and pavements, to discover the Roman Roots.  We saw the remains of the Roman Forum and remains of the Medieval towers and houses.

Some other sights to visit are the impressive Cathedral of San Lorenzo is in the heart of Alba; Gothic Church of San Domenico(which has triple arch within a pointed arch) and the Baroque of St. John the Baptist.

After sightseeing in Alba, we had a 3 course-lunch at a restaurant overlooking the beautiful vineyards.  We enjoyed veal, ravioli and a chocolate pastry, as well as different wines, prosecco and limoncello.

Our last stop was at the Paitin Winery.  This winery has been in the family since 1796.  From their 17 acres, they produce Barbaresco, Nebbiolo, Arneis, Barbera and Dolcetto.

What a great day to end my tour of Northern Italy!  I will always treasure the memories that were made.




Monday, June 12, 2017

Exploring Turin, Italy

As I walked out onto the cobblestone street, I was in awe of the sunrise and the silence surrounding me.  I wanted to explore Turin from sunrise to sunset.  

This was a new city for me.  I was enjoying the quietness before the city awoke.  There is something about walking the streets and thinking back to the Renaissance period and the people that strolled along this same path.

Turin, which is pronounced Turino, is a city that is located in the northern part of Italy and is the capital of the Piedmont region.  It is located on the Po River and surrounded by the western Alpine arch.  The population of the city proper is approximately 900,000.

The city has a rich culture and history.  With all the restaurants, churches, universities, theaters, libraries, museums, parks and other venues, there is always something to do.  Turin is well-known for its Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo, Neo-classical and Art Nouveau architecture.

Our guide gave us some interesting facts about Turin:

1.  It is home of the FIAT auto plants.  FIAT is Italy's largest automobile manufacturer.  The acronyms stands for "Fabric, Italy, Automobile, Turin".
2.  The "Shroud of Turin" is kept in the royal chapel of the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist in Turin.  The Shroud of Turin is a centuries old linen cloth that bears the image of a crucified man.  A man that millions believe to be Jesus of Nazareth.
3. EATALY - opened in 2007 in Turin.  It was built for the 2006 winter Olympic Games, and is basically a gourmet grocery store offering all foods Italian.  There are about three of them in the United States(NYC, Chicago & Boston).
4.  The movie "The Italian Job" was filmed in Turin in 1969.  Michael Caine was the main actor. This is a movie about a plan to steal a gold shipment from the streets of Turin by creating a traffic jam.
5.  The Egyptian Musuem in Turin is the only museum other than the Cairo Museum that is dedicated solely to Egyptian art and culture.
6.  Cafes - There are at least 2 cafes on every block.  The historic cafes have remained favorite among politicians, intellectuals and artists.  One of the popular drinks that is served is "bicerin".  This drink has hot chocolate at the bottom, espresso coffee and milk, froth on top.
7.  Piazza San Carlo - This is Turin's most beautiful square.  It is the city's outdoor living room, surrounded by arcaded sidewalks that house the terraces of the cafes for which Turin is famous.
8.  Martini & Rossi, which was founded in Turin in 1863, is an Italian multinational alcoholic beverage company primarily associated with the Martini brand of vermouth and is also with sparkling wine(such as Asti).
9. and so many more other venues.

While walking along, be careful, as you could get run over by a bicycle.  Everywhere I looked, people were riding their bikes.

I was very impressed with this city.  Next time you are a planning a trip to Italy, put Turin on your list.

Ciao! 







Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Italian Riveria

This afternoon as I strolled along the turquoise coastline of the Ligurian Sea, I reflected on the past several days.  With the waves crashing on the cliffs, motor boats humming along the shore, I had to pinch myself.  I was experiencing the Italian Riveria.

In the 1960's, the French Riveria(which is the Mediterranean coast of southeastern France) was where the movie stars and rich and famous would travel to.  Nowadays, the well-known celebrities travel to the Italian Riveria.  This lies on the northwestern corner of Italy, in the region of Liguria, which stretches along the Ligurian Sea from the Italian/French border to the Tuscany border.

The villages that I got to travel to were Portovenere, Le Cinque Terre and Santa Margherita & Portofino(the heart of the Italian Riveria.

What one experiences from each of these areas were the multi-colored pastel buildings; the fishing villages; tall rugged cliffs dropping down into the cobalt blue depths of the sea and the resort areas(beaches).

Portovenere is located on the Ligurian coast of Italy.  The very small quaint village has such beautiful panoramic views of the church, St. Peter, as well as the Doria Castle.  St. Peter's Church sits on top of the cliffs that looks out into the sea, and was constructed in 1198 A.D.  The church still holds services, as well as weddings.  The castle was built by the Genoese in 1261 for the very wealthy Doria family who were very instrumental to the political, military and economic life of the Republic of Genoa.

The rugged part of the Italian Riveria is Cinque Terre(five villages).  The five villages are Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza & Monterosso.  Each of these have their own charm.  All five of these villages are connected by a trail.  Hikers love to travel to this area. The water and mountainside have been declared a National Park.

Riomaggiore is known for its historic character and it's wine.

Manarola is built on black rock.  The vineyards and olive trees are planted on the side of the steep cliffs.  The wine and olive oil from this area is expensive due to how these grapes & olives are picked and taken care of.

Corniglia is an ancient Roman village that is perched on a striking high bluff.  This is the only town without access from the sea.  To reach the town you ascend a long flight of brick steps known as "Lardarina" (33 flights with 377 stairs).

Vernazza is the most charming of the five villages.  It has the best access to the sea.

Monterosso is the largest of the Cinque Torres.  It has beautiful beaches, clear turquoise water and lots of hotels and restaurants.

As you travel north from Cinque Terre, you will approach Santa Margherita & Portifino.

Santa Margherita is one of the most important towns of the Levante Riviera.  It's special charm lies in the unusual mix of nautical & Belle Époque styles.  It is a beautiful old resort town favored by well-to/do Italians.  Santa Margherita Ligurie has everything a Riveria playground should have--plenty of palm trees, attractive hotels, cafes and a marina filled with yachts.

Portofino in the past, functioned primarily as a fishing village and occasionally, as a small naval port. Today, it is a classy resort village.  The waterfront is lined with multicolored pastel buildings and cafes.  There is a very panoramic view of Portofino from the church, St. George.  As you stroll through the piazza, you see many young lovers, as well as celebrities.

As you can see, the Italian Riveria has a lot to offer!





Lucca - home of Giacomo Puccini

Northwest of Florence is Lucca.  It is one of Italy's most impressive fortress.  It is encircled by a 2.5 mile wall that was used during the Renaissance to protect the people.  But today it is a wall that is enjoyed by bicyclists, runners & walkers.  The path is shaded with beautiful, tall trees.

The city is on the Serchio River in Italy's Tuscany region.  The cobblestone streets sends you back to when the Romans controlled Lucca.  There were approximately 160 towers within the city.  The towers showed the wealth of this town,

The amphitheater which sits inside the town used to be located outside the rectangular city walls.  Now shops & restaurants surround the amphitheater, which is used as a plaza for gathering of family and friends.

Of course, I can't forget two of the many churches, San Michele in Foro & Basilica of San Frediano. In it's heyday, there were 82 churches in this fortress.  Lucca was the first Mediterranean stop on the pilgrim route from Northern Europe and the Pope wanted to remind the pilgrims what awaited them in Rome.

So much to see in Lucca.  But if your time is limited make sure you see the Guinigi Tower, which has 227 steps to the top.  There is a beautiful view of the city among the five oak trees.

Also Lucca is home to the famous composer Giacomo Puccini.  He was born in 1858 into a family with a long history of music.  As you walk through the plaza to see his sculpture, you will here his music in the background.

Ciao!




Sunday, June 4, 2017

Cooking in Tuscany!

From the time that Rosanna, the chef, walked into the Villa, you knew that today's cooking class was going to be filled with learning, fun and laughter.  Her charm pulled you towards her.  Our class of eight was excited to be there..

She greeted us with a smile and saying "buongiorno".

Rosanna Passione has been working with food for 25 years.  She is a chef, a cooking teacher and an author of cookbooks.  She has taught many classes in Italy as well as the US.  She is a mother of three and began her love for cooking with organic foods.

With me taking a cooking class is very ironic.  I don't cook!  But for some reason, I have had a desire to cook in Tuscany.  Maybe it is because of all the romantic/comedy movies of Italy that I have watched for many years.

Rosanna handed out aprons for each of us and then began to let us know what our three course meal would be.  We would begin with the dessert, so that it could sit and savor the flavors.

The dessert was peaches and baked with crushed almond cookies & cocoa mix.   Rosanna showed us how to  cut the peaches in half, take out the seeds and add the mixture.  Rosanna wanted each one of us to take part.  And of course everything, we did was perfect.  She was so encouraging and you wanted to do more.

After we finished the peaches, we then started on the appetizers, which were the zucchini slices baked and we added smoked cheese and diced tomatoes.  Once again, we each sliced & diced the items.

The last course was the spinach ravioli.  Homemade pasta!  I can't believe I did it!  Rosanna showed us how to take two different flours and mix them.  Then you take the flour mixture and add the eggs. Special technique in making the dough.  Then you bring out the pasta machine.  A lot of people still use the rolling pin to flatten out the dough.

After rolling out the dough, we added the spoonful of spinach.  We used the cutter to make the squares of ravioli.  We had the water boiling and we added the spinach pasta squares to cook.

We set the six foot table outside for the meal that we were preparing.  Of course, we had wine!

As we all sat at the table with the food we had prepared, we were all laughing and filled with confidence.  We had each achieved making homemade pasta, an appetizer and a dessert.

All of us were in awe of the meal that we had prepared and we could now scratch off on our bucket list "cooking in Tuscany"!


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Friday, June 2, 2017

San Gimignano & Siena

A full day of touring San Gimignano & Siena!

As I walked out of the Villa this morning, I was greeted by Alice(pronounced Alisha).  She has been a a guide for the past fifteen years & loves telling the story of San Gimignano(known as "little Manhattan").  San Gimignano is a small walled medieval town, which has tall walls and narrow streets.  It is the medieval "skyscrapers" that set the town apart from other towns.  Today there are only 14 towers that remain, but at the height of the Guelph-Ghibelune conflict there was a multitude of more than 70 towers.  The people were able to cross the town by rooftop rather than by road.

The towers were built partly for defensive purposes.  Useful for pouring boiling oil on attacking enemies, but also the towers were for bolstering the egos of their owners, who competed with the others to see who could build the highest tower in town.

Today, San Gimignano is known for the shopping.  It was here that I purchased two pairs of leather shoes and had the best gelato(saffron cream).  Gelateria Dondoli was voted as the #1 Gelato World Champions in 2016.

After shopping, we loaded on the bus and headed to Poggio Alloto to have lunch and to view the breathtaking landscape view of the towers(San Gimignano).

Our last stop for the day was Siena, another of Italy's best-preserved medieval city.  Walking through the city, we saw the medieval contrade, which are the 17 districts that have been historically divided.  The contrades are a vibrant part of modern life.  You see symbols of the contrada--Tartuca(turtle), Oca(goose), Istrice(porcupine), Torre(tower), which are on banners and engraved on building walls.  The Sienese still strongly identify with the contrada where they were born and raised.  This is very visible during the centuries-old Palio, a twice yearly(July 2 & August 16) horse race, which is held in the Piazza del Campo.  Almost 35,000 people attend this event.

It was another great of discovering Tuscany!




La Villa del Cigliano

The morning began in Greve, one of the quaintest piazzas of Tuscany.  It is also the capital town of Chianti.  It was still early, so the town was very quiet.  We enjoyed walking into the shops and talking with the owners.  My friend, Linda and I stopped by a small market to buy fresh fruits & vegetables. We then went to a leather shop to find a leather belt for Linda, which the owner sized specifically for her.

The bus driver, Andrea, drove us through the beautiful countryside to Villa del Cigiliano.  The Villa was like a fortress.  The Villa has been in the family since the 1500's, which was purchased by Alessandro di Niccolo Antinori.

We were greeted by Anna, the current winemaker.  Her sweet smile and gentle spirit began to tell us the story of the Villa.  Her mother, Eleonora Antinori, passed away in 2001 and she inherited the winery because her brother and sister did not not want any part of it.  Anna & her husband were living in Rome and decided to come back to the place where she had such fond memories of growing up.

Anna was born in Portugal where her father was a diplomat to the Embassy.  Throughout her life, she had lived in very exotic places and at the age of 59 she decided it was time to go home and keep the memories of her ancestors alive among her children.

The medieval country villa was filled with so much history.  Personal photographs filled the rooms with lots of history and stories. The arched ceilings & colorful furniture and paintings were very intriguing and added to the environment of the medieval times.  Anna had her own collection of owls scattered throughout one of the rooms.

Anna escorted us outside to the beautiful garden which was filled with roses, exotic plants and the pool which acted as a mirror to the main house.  She spoke of the memories of a young child sitting under a tree, which was at least 150 years old.  The tree is no longer there, but she has planted a new tree to shade her family & guest as they sit out in the garden.  The back facade was decorated with shells to represent Neptune.

As we walked through the garden to the barn, Anna picked strawberries for us to eat.  The taste was so sweet & so fresh.  She showed us where she stored her lemon trees in the winter.  There was another room which is used as a hanging place for Malvasia grapes which are left to dry for a few months until they become raisin like.  These rare grapes are used to make Vinsanto, the holy wine used in the church.

We also toured the Chianti Classico winery & cellar.  They produce about 40,000 bottles a year.

Lunch was served on a long oval table in the family's dining room.  The tablecloth and dishes were so elegant.  We were served appetizers, bread(which we drenched in the family's premium olive oil), homemade pasta ravioli, strawberries(for dessert) and of course the traditional Chianti Classico wines.

When our time came for us to load up on the bus, our hearts were saddened in that we had not had enough time to hear more stories told by Anna.

As I left, I told her I would be back!




Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Podere Il Casale(Organic Farm)

Driving southeast of the Villa on the one lane road, the driver would pull over & allow other cars to pass us as we traveled to our private excursion to Val d' Orcia.  It was going to be another sunny day in Tuscany!

After about 1 1/2 hours, we reached our destination of the organic farm.  We approached the farm with dust flying in every direction.  As we unloaded from the bus, we were greeted by the piercing call of the Indian peacock.  He strutted around displaying his extravagant royal blue & jade green plumage with the beautiful eyespots.

Uli, the owner greeted us and walked us to one of the most scenic views.  The Val d' Orcia region was breathtaking as we looked out into the rolling hills of vineyards and olive trees.  Parishes and countryside stone homes were seen in the distance as well as a volcano that has not erupted in over 200,000 years.

Uli told us a little bit about himself and his family.  In 1991, Uli and his wife, Sandra, left Zurich and moved to Podere Il Casale.  The 300 year old stone home needed lots of fixing up before they could start on their dream of building an organic farm.  The other buildings on the property were also renovated to be used as workshops, hayloft, stables, cellar & a dairy.

They have a small dairy, which is where they make their organic raw milk sheep's and goat's cheeses. The herd consists of about 200 sheep and 75 goats.

As Uli discussed his farm and the surroundings, the two donkeys felt very comfortable walking in and out of our group.  We toured the area of the goats & got to see the newborns, as well as seeing the sheep and pigs.

Uli discussed the cheese making process without using any chemical preservatives or additives.  He demonstrated the process of making cheese over a gas fire.  He said the three most important steps in making cheese were the temperature, rennet & curds/whey.

After the demonstration, we enjoyed a beautiful lunch of salad, pasta, cheese, wine & dessert, overlooking the valley of the area.

The day ended with us buying cheese, olive oil and wine!


Finding Firenze(Florence)!

As I crossed the Arno River into Florence, Italy, I knew that I would discover the true understanding of Renaissance art and architect.

Florence is a city which was founded in 59 BC, as a settlement for former soldiers, who were allotted land by Julius Caesar.  It is now known as the capital city of the Tuscany region.

As I was making plans to travel to Florence, several people had told  me that they would rather travel to Florence instead of Rome.  Florence's city population is approximately 400,000 verses Rome's city population at three million.  I visited Rome two years ago and I had enjoyed seeing the Vatican, the Coluseum and many other well-known sites, but there is something about the environment in Florence that I felt that I belonged.

Walking with the group on the cobblestone to the Galleria dell Accademia, it was hard to imagine that such great Renaissance men, such as Michelangelo, Leonardo di Vinci & Raphael had once walked along this same street.

Arriving at the Academy, our guide, Sylvia escorted us into the first room to discuss the sculptures & art work of Michelangelo.  She took us back to the 15th century to help us understand how the sculptures would sketch their work and then roll out the clay to begin to create their masterpiece.

It was interesting to learn that Michelangelo destroyed most of his sketches.  He completed his finest sculpture at the age of 29.

His well known sculpture was David.  The statue was fifteen feet and was completed in 1504.

After the Academy, we then proceeded to the Uffizi to see the works of Leonardo di Vinci, as well as Raphael.  It was interesting to learn that Leonardo died at the age of 32, as Michelangelo died at the age of 88(three weeks shy of his 89th).

The Uffizi is the most important and visited museum in Florence.  The Uffizi palace was designed and began in 1560 by the architect Giorgi Vasari.  The early years of painting was done on wood panels and not the canvas that we are accustomed to.  You could spend days going through the Uffizi.  We hit the highlights of the great artists, such as Botticelli, Giotto, Raphael, di Vinci and Michelangelo.

On day two of touring Florence, we adventured to the Duomo.  It was not completed until 1436.  The real glory of the Duomo is Filippo Brunelleschi's dome.  Brunelleschi's engineering feat was constructing a novel scaffolding method to complete not only one dome, but two, one inside the other.  He employed a new method of bricklaying, based on an ancient Roman herringbone pattern, interlocking each course of bricks with the course below is a way that made the growing structure self-supporting.

Leaving the dome, we headed to the Pinterest Vecchio.  This is a medieval stone closed arch bridge over the Arno River.  Walking through the crowds of people, we saw the shops of jewelers, art dealers and souvenir sellers.  These shops were once occupied by butchers(in the early years).

Everywhere you turned, you saw so many unique sites.  We ended the day with walking through Santa Croce Basilica, which is the principal Franciscan church in Italy.  Michelangelo is one of the well-known buried here.  The magnitude of this church is something that you personally have to see.  The stained glass windows throughout the Basilica brought out the beauty of this church.

As always, there is never enough time to see everything.  I will have to return to Firenze and walk the cobblestones where the Renaissance began!  Ciao!


Sunday, May 28, 2017

Discovering Tuscany!

My adventure began on Friday as I headed to the Denver airport to catch my flight to Detroit to meet my friend, Linda.  We would then catch a flight to Paris, France to meet the group.  And then fly to Florence, Italy 🇮🇹.

Linda & I had traveled with this group two years ago.  We toured Sorrento, the Amalfi coast, Sicily(where we traveled to Palermo, Mt. Etna & Taormina) and then to Rome.  In Rome, we attended The Vatican & saw Pope Francis & all the other great sites in Rome.

Back in December, Linda called me & said the same lady who facilitated the trip in 2015, was putting together another group for Tuscany, Florence, Portovener, Turin & Alba.  I said "sign me up".

One of the things that intrigued me on this trip was that we were going to stay in a Villa in Tuscany.  All I could think about was the movie "Under the Tuscan Sun" with Diane Lane.  She was a writer, who impulsively buys a villa in Tuscany in order to change her life.

After almost twenty-four hours of traveling, we arrived in Florence. Andrea, our bus driver was patiently waiting for us as we came through customs.

All fifteen of us loaded up in the van & began our forty-five minute trip to the Tuscany area.  Driving along the highway, I observed the rolling hills of vineyards.

Along the road, I saw so many villas.  I wonder which one would be ours.  We finally pulled up to the rock gate of La Canonical Di Corrine Estate.  The bus was not allowed into the estate.  The staff greeted us and told us they would get our luggage.  

Villa Affresco is a magnificent classic Italian villa dating back to the 15th century and comprises part of an ancient Tuscan castle.  It is located in the heart of the Chianti countryside.

As I walked through the gate, I felt I had arrived into another era.  The whole world seemed to have changed and there were no worries before me.

Eliza, our Italian interpreter,  began to hand out the keys to our rooms.  She then began to show us what our accommodations would be for the next seven days.

The ceilings are about twelve feet tall.  One wall was painted a teal color with a medieval drawing.  There were floral accents throughout the Villa.

We proceeded outside to the gardens of white roses and then to the pool area.

From Linda & mine's room, we opened the eight foot windows to smell the surroundings, see the vineyards and hear the chattering of the birds.

Words can't even describe our dinner.  The two ladies started cooking about five p.m.  You could smell the aroma of olive oil and other spices.  We would be eating outside.  The ten foot table was covered with a beautiful blue tablecloth & napkins.  The dishes were light green with olives sketched on them.  The homemade pasta & their own wine made the meal extra special.  

I enjoyed conversing with the others, hearing the laughter and watching the sunset in the distance.

Tuscany was everything I thought it would be & more!


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Broken Angel's Wing

I know that summer is not official until June 21st, but today was summer for me.  The clear blue sky and the eighty degree weather with the gentle wind made it official for me.

As I was out and about today, I looked into the sky and the shape of the clouds reminded me of a broken angel's wing.  In the summer, there are always so many clouds and the clouds take on such different shapes.  It is good to use your imagination.

As I looked at the broken wing, I thought of a recent devotion that I read written by Charles Swindoll.
The devotion was about how we all have skeletons in our closets.  We all have done something that we wouldn't want anyone to know about.  We all live with a past.  A lot of that past is covered by the sands of time.

We feel as if anyone finds out about our past that people wouldn't want to be a part of our life anymore.  That is not true.  Always remember, God used so many people in the Bible that had a past. Joseph had a prison record, but later became prime minister of Egypt.  Moses murdered someone and he delivered his nation from the slavery of Pharaoh.  Rahab was a harlot in Jericho, but God used her to rescue the Israelite spies.  There are so many more examples of how God used men and women that had a past.

Chuck Swindoll said "Mark it--when God forgives, He forgets.  He is not only willing but pleased to use any vessel--just as long as it is clean today.  It may be cracked or chipped.  It may be worn or it may have never been used before.  You can count on this--the past ended one second ago.  From this point onward, you can be clean, filled with His Spirit, and used in many different ways for His honor."

As you enjoy this new season, summer, remember that God has a plan for your life.  Something that you can't even comprehend.  Even with a broken wing, He can give you a new life.  Allow Him to use you in a mighty way!


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Indy 500

As I got out of the car, I could hear the roaring of the race cars on the track.  People were rushing pass me to get to the gate to purchase their "Practice Ticket" to see the drivers as they began to qualify for the Indy 500.  This event is billed as the "Greatest Spectacular Racing".  It is considered part of the Triple Crown of Motorsports.

I can remember growing up in Texas and going to the car races on Friday night with my dad. The stands were always packed. The dirt from the racetrack would fly into the stands and the noise was so loud, you couldn't hear yourself think.

I had arrived in Indianapolis in the afternoon and I had decided that I would take Uber and head to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  When I go to a new city, I always want to see a site that the city is known for.  To me, that site is the "Indianapolis Motor Speedway".

When I think of the Indy 500, I always think of the movie "Winning" with Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward and Robert Wagner.  Paul Newman's character is a person who would do anything to win the Indianapolis 500 and that meant losing his family.  A lot of the movie was filmed at this racetrack.

As I paid my fee to get into the Speedway, I walked to the Museum.  This museum displays the history of racing and the various cars and race drivers of the Indy 500.  One of the major exhibitions is the "A.J. Foyt Exhibition".  A.J. Foyt was the 1st four-time winner of the Indianapolis 500s.  He won in 1961, 1964, 1967 & 1977.  The cars that he drove to win those races are displayed at the Museum.

The first Indy 500 was on May 30, 1911(Memorial Day). The track was in an open muddy field. There were forty cars in that race.  The winner was Ray Harroun and he won $25,000.  On that day, there were 80,000 spectators that attended this event.  People's love for car racing began on this track.

Before I left the museum, I had my picture taken in a race car.  I had to climb in and sit so low to the ground. I could almost feel the excitement that the drivers have as they slide into the car to begin the race.  Maybe one day I will get to drive a race car around a racing track.

As I left the museum, I headed towards the stand to watch the trials.  Even though, the race is almost a week away, the area was buzzing with vendors, participants and spectators.

After about an hour, I headed back to the hotel to begin to set-up for the Cosmetic Training Event, which was the next day.




Saturday, May 20, 2017

Where is Spring?

It has been several weeks since I last posted.  My life for the past three weeks has been filled with visiting family, celebrating my husband's 60th and finishing up Training Seminars for the Spring Season.

This past week Colorado received an abundance of snow.  Here it is the week after Mother's Day. This winter storm(which was named Valerie) dumped 40+ inches of snow in Colorado and Wyoming. It has been recorded as the heaviest late spring storm in 74 years.

What a contrast to see the white snow covering the green grass and colorful flowers.  After the storm, as I drove around I noticed so many tree limbs broken due to the heavy wet snow.  It is already warming up, the snow is melting and the grass is even greener(from the moisture) than it was a week ago.  I enjoyed my walk today as I looked upon the foothills to see the white snow in the distance.

I do hope this is the last snow until November!






Monday, May 1, 2017

Asking God Why

Today was a nice spring day!  The snow from Saturday has already melted and the grass is very lush and green from the moisture.

As I was looking through my photos today, I came across this picture of the yellow hibiscus that I took in Hawaii about a year ago.  Seeing that picture put a smile on my face.  I know that summer is right around the corner.

As I reflected on the various seasons, I thought about the seasons of my own life.  The roller coast of life.  There are those stormy days as well as those bright yellow sun shiny days.

The sermon on Sunday was the continuation of suffering.  The pastor stated "that we sometimes think that falling apart in the midst of suffering demonstrates a lack of faith--that those who trust God most fully won't feel hurt, depression, frustration, disappointment, hopelessness, anger or "Asking God Why".  In the Bible we see that God welcomes honest expressions of sorrow.  Expressing our sorrow and grief isn't a sign of unbelief.  It is a bold demonstration of faith in a God who welcomes us as we are."

The other day I read a story about a woman whose son was killed in a plane accident in 1947.  She just couldn't understand "why this accident happened".    A note from her son arrived a few days after his death.  He had written a note to his mother on a piece of paper he had picked up in the terminal. The paper was a piece of an advertisement with the single word "WHY"? written across the center. The son had written his note to his mother around the "WHY"?

We all have asked God, "Why".  Nothing can ever prepare us for moments when we are devastated from tragic news.

Remember Job.  He lost everything; his children, his livestock, his servants, etc.  He even broke out in boils.  Why?

God is all presence and all sovereign and He is always present!  Keep asking Him.  He is listening. God can handle everything for us.  He wants us to come before Him.

Such as Job, the mother stopped asking "WHY"? when she saw the "WHO"? behind all circumstances.


One day we will know.  Just trust Him.  You will see the light at the end of the tunnel!


Saturday, April 29, 2017

A Spring Snowstorm

This morning I woke up early.  A Spring snowstorm had brought snow to the area.  It was a delight to see the ground covered with about an inch of snow.

I sat in my chair and looked out into the wetland area.  Rabbits were enjoying the colder weather. The blackbirds were flying from one tree limb to the next, trying to keep warm. In the distance, I could see the mallard ducks in flight.

The surroundings were so peaceful.  I enjoyed the day by being at home and watching the huge white snowflakes fall from the sky.  By the end of the day, we had received about four inches of snow.

Today was a nice, relaxing day!








Thursday, April 27, 2017

Recharging My Battery

It felt so good to be at home today.  I have been traveling non-stop for about six weeks.

Today was all about regrouping.  Getting caught up on reports, expenses, following up with people, unpacking, washing clothes, etc.

Even though it is the end of April, it is still cool outside.  This afternoon, I bundled up with my jacket and a cap.  As I step outside, I could smell the freshness of the air.  It had rained earlier today and I could see the moisture on the grass and rose bushes.

As I walked through the neighborhood, I could hear the doves cooing, the gold finches singing and flitting from one tree to the next.  Baby rabbits were hopping from one house to the next.  Dogs were barking and kids were playing outside.

Looking up into the sky, all I could see were the white, puffy formations of the clouds with the blue background.

After walking for about forty minutes, I felt recharged.  We forget that when we are busy and trying to accomplish a lot that our body, mind, emotions and spirit gets drained.  Before you get to that point, take some time for yourself.  That could be reading a book, taking a walk, having coffee with a friend or just being still.  I once read that "we cannot deliver the goods if our heart is heavier than the load."

Take some time and get your battery recharged!




Sunday, April 23, 2017

Season of Suffering

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven."  Ecclesiastes 3:1

As I think on this verse, I think about life and the many blessings that we all have as well as the suffering that we all go through.

Today's sermon was on the "Seasons of Suffering".  Suffering is everywhere and at times unavoidable.  I think about the people that I know and the suffering that has touched their lives. From battling cancer; chronic pain in their back; financial troubles; marriage problems/divorce; strained relationships with family members; death of a family member or a close friend; as well as being in a job where they are miserable.

There is nothing more certain in life than the fact that we are all going to suffer at some stage in our life.  As we are going through this suffering, we wonder if God really loves us?  How do we find hope when darkness hits us?

The chapter of Job discusses the suffering that he went through.  Job was a man of God and he was tested.  His life was filled with prestige, possessions and a wonderful family.  In a split second, he lost everything, his children, servants, livestock and home.  Job's testing of faith began.

Even Job's wife told him, "Are you still holding on to your integrity?  Curse God and die!".  Job's reply was "Shall we accept good from God and not trouble?".  How true that statement is!

So often people tell us that we have done something wrong in our life or we are not walking with God or what can we do to change our situation?  We forget that our trials are what can bring us closer to God.  To trust Him with the the life that He created for us.

As we each go through suffering in our lives, I just want to encourage you to know that God is aware of your circumstance(s) and that He does have a plan even when we can't even understand or know what it is.

God is almighty!  He wants us to lay everything at His feet.  God will give us the wisdom that we need as we walk through the suffering.

Reflect on this verse:  "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have called according to his purpose."  Romans 8:28  This does not mean that all that happens to us is good.  Evil is prevalent in our fallen world, but God is able to turn every circumstance around for our long-range good.

Enjoy this week that God has given you!



Saturday, April 22, 2017

Springtime in Des Moines, Iowa

The past three weeks, I have traveled from Denver to Chicago, to Minneapolis, to Wisconsin, to Detroit, to Des Moines, and to Omaha.  I have flown in and out of seven airports, slept in six different hotels and I can't even remember how many different restaurants I have eaten at.

I have always enjoyed traveling and seeing new places.  I have seen many new sites in the past weeks, but one of the spectacular viewing was the Capitol in Des Moines, Iowa.

Iowa is located in the Midwestern United States.  It is bordered by the Mississippi River on the east and the Missouri River on west.  It is known for its rolling plains and cornfields.  The population of the state is over three million.  One of the major landmarks of the state is the State Capitol located in Des Moines.

When I landed in Des Moines on Monday, the temperature was 75, sunny and low humidity.  It was a perfect day!  The hotel that I was staying in was about six blocks from the Capitol.

After setting up the room for training on the next day, I ventured out into the downtown area and soaked in the sun and the warmth.  My walk to the Capitol was very pleasant as I observed the paintings on the buildings, the quaint restaurants, the adorable boutiques and the lofts.

As I got closer to the Capitol grounds, I knew that this capitol was unique.  This is the only Capitol in the country that has five domes.  Most capitols only have one dome.  It was built from 1871 to 1886 and it covers 17 acres.  The grounds were covered with flowers and the blooming of the various ornamental trees.

Des Moines is a unique city located on the Des Moines River.  The population of this metro area(five counties) is approximately 600,000.  It is the number one spot of U.S. insurance companies.

Des Moines is an important city in U.S. Presidential politics.  As the state's capital, it is the site of the first caucuses of the presidential primary cycle.

On my bucket list, one of the items is seeing the fifty U.S. capitols.  I still have many more to see, but at least I was able to see the Des Moines Capitol in the spring time.  I was able to capture this view with the red bud trees in bloom.


Sunday, April 2, 2017

Enjoying My Sunday!

Today was a quiet day of relaxing, walking and getting ready for a new week.

I was looking through photos that I had taken several years ago in New York.  This picture of the tulips in Central Park brought a smile to my face.

Sometimes it is the little things that gives us joy!


Saturday, April 1, 2017

This Is the Day!

As I woke up this morning and looked outside, I felt as if the weatherman had played an April Fool's joke on us.  Last night on the news, the weatherman said that when we woke up that we would have from 3 to 5 inches of snow on the ground.   A storm from the west was going to dump at least a foot of snow in the mountains and that the foothills would get at least 3 inches.

The morning began with frost on the roof and an overcast sky and no snow.

As I sat in my rocker and looked outside into the wetland area, a verse came to mind.  "This is the day that the Lord hath made; let us rejoice and be glad in it."  Psalms 118:24

I felt led to text several friends with this verse, as well as these words:  "A great verse to say every morning, even though we may not feel like rejoicing.  Our mood is down, our situation is out of hand and our sorrow or guilt is overwhelming.  We can all relate.  Just be honest with God.  Talk with Him, let Him know how you feel.  God will bring to mind the things, situations, people...that give you a reason to rejoice.  Sometimes all we think about are the negatives and we can't escape from those thoughts.  God has given you this day to live and to serve Him.  Always remember, He has a plan for your life.  Keep rejoicing!  By rejoicing, the negatives will disappear."

God's timing is perfect!  I had several friends text me back and said I needed these words for today or how did you know?  I didn't know, but God did.

As we are still and listen, God will bring people and situations to mind.  Your words of encouragement could make all the difference to someone.  Enjoy each moment!




Friday, March 31, 2017

Celebration of Spring

Spring is a time for celebration.  Hopefully it is the end of winter storms and cold temperatures.

As I walked through Macy's, Herald Square, in New York City, the fragrance of blossoms and the vibrant colors are all around me.  The Flower Festival is being hosted on the first floor of Macy's for the next two weeks. This is the seventh year for this Flower Festival.

The theme of  "Carnival" is all around me.  The various flower arrangements cover the ticket booth, as well as the entrance into the "Midway". The carousel of animals, such as the rooster, rabbits and horses are represented throughout the store.  Flowers are in abundance!

The outside windows are landscaped with the various themes for spring.  One window represents, a merry-go-round.  The horses are layered with fresh flowers in colors of pink, red and white.  Another window says "Welcome to the Carnival" with a face of a clown with a bright red nose surrounded by yellow, red, purple and blue flowers.

The floral extravaganza is waking up my soul.  It reminds me that there is a new season to my life. Chuck Swindoll said "that we need to realize that the same Lord who renews the trees with buds and blossoms, who renews the grass with green in place of brown, is ready to renew your life with hope and courage."  As I read these words, I know that the valleys and mountains in my life are like the seasons.  Winter is over and spring is here to give you the encouragement and hope that you need to blossom.

Celebrate Life!








Thursday, March 30, 2017

Chrysler Building

Another beautiful icon in New York City!

I am enamored with the Chrysler Building, as I am with the Empire State Building.  When I think of NYC, these two buildings always come to mind.

The Chrysler Building is an art deco-style skyscraper located on the eastside of midtown NYC.  This building was constructed in 1928, two years before the Empire State Building.  The building is constructed of masonry, with a steel frame and metal cladding.  On the 31st floor, the corners of the building are replicas of the 1929 Chrysler radiator caps.

This unique architecture was the tallest building before the Empire State Building.  It is still the tallest brick building in the world with a steel structure.

The building was a project of Walter P. Chrysler for his children and not for the Chrysler Corporation. Walter Chrysler paid for the project personally so that his children could have this building.  He did use the building for Chrysler's headquarters until the mid-1950's.

At that time of construction, there was competition in NYC in who would build the world's tallest skyscraper.   The building was built at an average rate of four floors per week.  It amazes me how these men were able to build the tallest building at that time with the equipment that they had compared to what we have now, eighty-nine years later.  What is also amazing is that no workers died during the construction of this unique skyscraper.

At the time of completion on May 27, 1930, the added height of the spire allowed the Chrysler Building to surpass 40 Wall Street as the tallest building in the world and the Eiffel Tower as the tallest structure.

Another great building to visit when you are in New York City!



Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Empire State Building

Last week as I fly into La Guardia, I was able to see the Empire State Building from where I was seated on the plane.  I am always in awe of the Empire State Building.  This iconic landmark is in the middle of Manhattan.  As the taxi made its way into the city, the building was lit up white.

The building is always lit up for special occasions, such as red and green for Christmas; green for St. Patrick's day; red/white/blue for July 4th; blue for Hanukkah and etc.

Whenever I see the Empire State Building, I always think of the movies "An Affair to Remember", "Sleepless in Seattle" and "King Kong".  In "An Affair to Remember", Deborah Kerr told Cary Grant as they were setting up their reunion to meet, "The Empire State Building is the closest thing to heaven in this city".  In 1957 when this movie was produced, it was the tallest building in NYC.

Construction started on the building on March 17, 1930 and it opened on May 1, 1931.  It is a 102 story skyscraper located on Fifth Avenue.  There are 86 flights and 1,576 stairs to the first observatory.  The art deco throughout is something that everyone needs to see.

Several years ago, when I lived on Long Island and I would drive into the city, I always loved seeing this landmark.  I always wondered if the other drivers were amazed by this building as I was.

My hotel was directly across the street from the Empire State Building.  Every time that I walked out, I could look up and see this massive structure.

I didn't go to the observatory on this trip.  I have done it many times and  I have enjoyed the views during the day as well as during the night.  It is spectacular!  On a clear day, you can see at least 80 miles from every direction.

This is another must see when you are visiting New York!


Monday, March 27, 2017

"War Paint"

As we pushed through the crowds on 42nd Street in New York City, my sister and I were filled with excitement knowing that we were finally going to see the musical "War Paint".  Dodging people and taxis, the show would start in fifteen minutes and we knew that we needed to be in our seats by the time that the curtains came up.

The bright lights at the Nederland Theatre were in view.  The doors had opened and we pushed through the flock of people that were eager to see Patti Lupone and Christine Ebersole perform.

The play is about the story of Helena Rubinstein(Patti Lupone) and Elizabeth Arden(Christine Ebersole) and their achievement in becoming powerful business tycoons in the cosmetic world.  Both women were born into poverty, had no formal education and defied the norms of the early 1900s. Men controlled the boardrooms, women did not worked outside of the home and women definitely did not paint their faces.

These two women introduced creams, lipsticks and nail polish to the world.  They also were pioneers in advertising, product packaging and direct marketing.  They were the first to stress the importance of diet and exercise to one's skin care regimen.

The musical was very well done in showing the rivalry between them during the 1930s to the 1960s. The clothes and the props definitely portrayed the time period.  Patti Lupone and Christine Ebersole's voices were at their best.  The play was well received by the packed house and I am sure it will be a big hit.

As the show ended, my sister and I felt that we had seen a great story of two powerful women.  As we left, we waited outside the stage door to meet the cast and get autographs and pictures.  We met Patti Lupone and Erik Liberman.  Erik portrayed Charles Revson, who created Revlon.  Mr. Revson became one of their biggest competitors to Elizabeth Arden and Helena Rubinstein during the 1950s and 1960s.

If you are in New York, you must see "War Paint"!


at the Nederland Theatre

Patti Lupone

Erik Liberman

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Welcome to NYC!

As I arrived into NYC this evening, all I could think of Taylor Swift's song "Welcome to New York".

"Walkin' through a crowd, the village is a glow
Kaleidoscope of a loud, hide beats under coats
Everybody here wanted somethin' more
Searchin' for a sound we hadn't heard before
And it said

Welcome to New York
It's been waitin' for you
Welcome to New York, welcome to New York...."

Tomorrow I will be facilitating the Elizabeth Arden Training Session on Long Island.  It will be great being back with my team and seeing familiar faces.

This weekend, I will be in the city seeing the skyscrapers, smelling the pretzels, fighting the crowds and enjoying the surroundings!


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

God Provides

I enjoyed another day of spring.  This morning on my walk, I enjoyed seeing the robins.

The robins reminded me that God created the birds and that He does provide for all our needs.

The verse that came to mind was Matthew 6:25-27  - "That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life--whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear.  Isn't life more than food, and your body more than clothing.  Look at the birds.  They don't plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them.  And aren't you far more valuable to him than they are?  Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?"

God may not provide our wants, but He does provide for our needs.

I need to remember that when I begin to fret about something.

Enjoy your surroundings!  God will speak to you!






Monday, March 20, 2017

Mentoring

This morning as I opened the front door, I could feel the coolness in the air; hear the finches singing; see the pink clouds in the east and smell the clean air.  It is official, it is the "first day of spring".

To me spring is all about new beginnings; new births and a new life.

This evening, I received a text and then a call from a young lady that worked for me three years ago in New York.  We have not spoken to each other since I moved to Colorado at the end of 2014.

She told me that she was in a place in her life that she wanted to make some changes, but she was not for sure what direction that was.  She always appreciated the respect that I showed her and that she always thought of me as a mentor.  Those words that she spoke brought tears to my eyes. We always wonder what impressions we leave with others.  

I felt honored that she thought of me.  I told her to send me her resume.  I have always thought that one of my gifts was encouragement.  1 Thessalonians 5:11 says "Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing."  Encouragement offers a lot to someone.  It helps that person to finish well.  

Most people have some direction in life.  They just need someone to be their "cheerleader" and to help them across the finish-line.  I want this young lady to believe in herself and have the confidence to be the best that she needs to be.  She needs to take responsibility for her life, instead of leaving it to chance.  

My prayer is that God will give me the wisdom to guide and to support her in the decisions that she does make!

This phone call reminded me that today is the first day of spring and this is the first day for this young lady to start making right decisions for her future. 

God does work in mysterious ways!




Friday, March 17, 2017

Enjoying St. Patrick's Day!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!  Flashback to 1990!  Enjoying the day!  Twenty-seven years later and I'm still enjoying life!


Thursday, March 16, 2017

Spring Has Sprung

Frank Sinatra sang "You make me feel so young, you make me feel like spring has sprung....."

Today that is how I feel as I walk in the neighborhood and feel the warmth of the sun, the warmer temperatures and see the blue sky.  The neighbors are walking and riding their bikes. Children are playing outside.  Spring has sprung!

Officially, the Northern Hemisphere marks Monday, March 20th, as the first day of spring.  I also read that before spring was called spring, it was called "Lent" in Old English.  In the 14th century, this time of year was called "springing time" to refer to plants that were "springing" from the ground. It was then shortened to "spring".

I love seeing the trees budding and the flowers popping up from the warmer ground and the increase of daylight.  In the early morning hours, the birds are singing their songs.

"See!  The winter is past; the rains are over and gone.  Flowers appear on the earth; the season singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land."  Song of Solomon 2:11-12

Enjoy this new season!  New beginnings are happening around you!


Monday, March 13, 2017

Praying for Others

This morning as my opened, I saw that it was light outside.  I looked at the clock and it said 4:30 a.m.  I then realized it was a full moon and the light was the reflection off of the galvanized table.  I laid all snuggled up underneath the blankets.  The cooler air hit my face and I thought about getting up and turning up the thermostat.

I chose to lay there.  My heart was burden for others and I knew that this was a good time to pray.
These verses came to mind as I laid there in the warmth of my bed.  "Pray at all times and on every occasion in the power of the Holy Spirit" and "Keep on praying".

I snuggled into the warm blankets and I began to pray for my husband, my family, my parents and my friends.

I prayed for my niece, who was recently released from prison, and is now living in a half-way.  I asked that the Lord would give her wisdom in making smart choices, to give her direction and that other's hearts would be open to give her a chance at a job.

I prayed for my great-nephew, who is a teenager and is living with my parents.  That the Lord would protect him and give him confidence and self-esteem.  Praying for strength and wisdom for my eighty year old parents.

I prayed for my job and that the Lord would give me the words and confidence for my upcoming presentation.

I prayed for relationships with family and friends.  I prayed for family and friends that are fighting various illnesses.  That the Lord would heal them and give them the strength and wisdom that they need on a daily basis.  The list goes on and on and on.

Philippians 4:6-7 tells me "Do not worry about anything, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."  These two verses tell me not to worry, but to pray.  God gives me a peace in knowing that He is in control.

As I got up and made the house warmer, I sat in my flannel pajamas and read my various devotions. The verse that hit home to me was "This is the confidence, we have in approaching God; that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.  And if we know that he hears us--whatever we ask--we know that we have what we asked of him."  1 John 5:14-15

The interpretation for this scripture was, "the emphasis here is on God's will, not our will.  When we communicate with God, we don't demand what we want; rather we discuss with him what he wants for us.  If we align our prayers to his will, he will listen; and we can be certain that if he listens, he will give us a definite answer.  Start praying with confidence!"

I can handle today knowing that my prayers make a difference!






Friday, March 10, 2017

Sunset in Albuquerque

This week I had the opportunity to travel to Albuquerque for work.  When you land at the airport, you definitely get the feel of the Spanish Colony which was founded back in 1706.  As you step outside, you feel the low humidity and see the desert landscape.

I stayed at a hotel at the airport, but from my room on the 4th floor I was able to see in the far distance the Sandia Mountains.  I looked out of the window one morning and I saw two hot-air balloons.  Albuquerque is well known for the International Balloon Fiesta that takes place every year, the first of October.  The Fiesta is a nine-day event and has over 500 balloons.

I wasn't able to see much of Albuquerque on this trip, but I have been here many times. A great site to visit is the Church of San Felipe de Neri, originally founded in 1706.  The well-preserved interiors and architecture is worth seeing.

The original city settlement from 1706 is worth visiting.  The cobblestone streets are filled with brightly colored adobe huts that now house galleries, restaurants and other shops.

Santa Fe, New Mexico's capital is only about an hour northeast of Albuquerque.  You definitely want to take the time to drive to Santa Fe.  The Spanish colony was founded in 1610.  Walking around the plaza, you will be thrown back in time with the Pueblo style architecture.

The Southwest flare is seen in the jewelry(silver and turquoise), as well as the furniture, cowboy boots and concho belts.  The New Mexico cuisine is some of the best.  Restaurants use recipes that have been handed down for years.

At the end of the day, it is very relaxing to sit outside and to enjoy a drink and to watch the beautiful sunset!







Tuesday, March 7, 2017

A New Day

This morning as I enjoyed my coffee and I looked out into the new day, I was in awe of the beauty of the clouds.  The sun was beginning to rise from the east and the pinkish, purple clouds were before my eyes. The temperature is in the 20's and the winds are calm.   It felt good to be still and to enjoy the surroundings before me.

I read these words "Keep your focus on Him.  He has gifted me with amazing freedom, including the ability to choose the focal point of my mind.  Only the crown of His creation has such remarkable capability; this is a sign of being made in His image.

Let the goal of this day be to bring every thought captive to Him.  Whenever my mind wanders, lasso those thoughts and bring them into His Presence.  In His radiant Light, anxious thoughts shrink and shrivel away.  Judgmental thoughts are unmasked as I bask in His unconditional Love.  Confused ideas are untangled while I rest in the simplicity of His Peace.  He will guard me and keep me in constant Peace as I focus my mind on Him."

These words are with me as I finish packing to head to the airport and head to Albuquerque to do a Basic Training Class.  Knowing that I am made in His image, I can handle today.


Monday, March 6, 2017

Kindness

There is still kindness all around.  Today I went to a store and a young man was kind enough to hold the door for me to walk through.  People will tell you that chivalry is dead.  But it is happening all around you.  You just need to open your eyes and allow people to be kind to you.

It is easy to be kind to those who are kind to you.  The challenge is being kind to someone who has not treated you well.  You have the power to change people by just being kind.  There is a Japanese proverb that says "One kind word can warm three winter months."  That is so true.

This quote "Kindness is a language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see" says it all.

May your week be filled with kindness for others!




Sunday, March 5, 2017

"How Great Thou Art"

Today at church, we sung one of my favorite gospel songs, "How Great Thou Art".

"Oh, Lord my God
When I in awesome wonder
Consider all the worlds
Thy hands have made
I see the stars
I hear the rolling thunder
Thy power throughout
The universe displayed

Then sings my soul
My Savior, God, to Thee
How great thou art
How great thou art....."

This hymn is based on a Swedish traditional melody and a poem written by Carl Boberg in Sweden in 1885.  It was translated into German and then into Russian and then became a hymn.  The story is that Carl was inspired by the sound of church bells ringing during a wild thunderstorm and wrote the poem "O Great God".

Psalms 92:5 says "How great are your works, O Lord, how profound your thoughts!"

Whenever I hear this song, I am moved with such emotions that tears come to my eyes and I can actually feel the presence of God before me.  It always amazes me how certain songs can touch your soul and all your worries are taken away.

Yesterday afternoon as I was walking, I captured this photo and I did think of the hymn "How Great Thou Art".  God is good!


Sunday, February 26, 2017

Amazing Grace!

A song that touches my soul:

"Amazing grace!  How sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found, was blind, but now I see.

"Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear, the hour I first believed!

Thro' many dangers, toils, and snares, I have already come;
'Tis grace hath bro't me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home.

When we've been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun,
We've no less days to sing God's praise than we first begun."  Amen

May you experience the grace that God wants to give you!

Today is a new day and a great day!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

God Has a Plan Even During Troubled Times

This morning I woke up to a temperature of 8 degrees.  Brr!!!!!

After drinking my coffee, I wrapped up in my coat and gloves and cap and went to the Weight Watchers class to weigh-in and to hear what words of encouragement that the leader would share with the group.  The class always encourages me to be mindful in what I eat and how I am taking care of myself, mentally, emotionally, physically, as well as spiritually.  This weeks motivation talk was "be kind to yourself".

It is amazing how we treat ourselves.  We are so nice and empathetic to others as they go through trials and tribulations or make mistakes.  But how do we treat ourselves when we are going through struggling times or make bad choices?

As I reflect on being kind to myself, I also think about how God has a plan for my life. God designed me with His purpose in mind.  I am not an accident.  Jeremiah 1:5 says that "before I was born, God knew me."  I am here at this time because God has a special plan for me.  God's plan does factor in the choices that I make.  I am not a puppet.  God did give me a free will.  Luke 12:7 says "God knows me by name and even the hairs upon my head are numbered."

Ecclesiastes 3:11 says "He has made everything beautiful in its time.  He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end."  This verse is telling me that we can never be satisfied with earthly pleasures and pursuits.  We are created in God's image, so we have a spiritual thirst.  We need to allow God to work in our lives and to help give us the balance that we need.

There are storms in our lives and these storms are to help us build character.  When God allows a storm in our life, He will use that storm to reveal Himself and to refine our character.  If life is going easy, we don't build character traits such as loyalty, respectfulness; humility; faithfulness; integrity and the list goes on and on.  It is that character that builds who we are and it does influence the choices that we make in life.

God does care about us and He wants to guide us through the storms.  Another favorite verse is Romans 8:28, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."  This doesn't mean that all that happens to us is good. Evilness surrounds us, but God is able to turn every circumstance around for our long-range good.

There is a time for everything, a time for every storm and it is used by God.  Allow God to use what you are going through to build "a better you".

This week I will be kind to myself and know that I am unique.  When something doesn't go right or I don't make smart choices, I will remember that I am a Child of God and that I am building character in being the person that I need to be.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Quietness

Just two days ago it was 70 degrees, sunny, warm and a hint of spring was in the air.

Today we are enjoying an overcast, cold day.  There is such a quietness in the air.  The quietness does make you stop and enjoy your surroundings.

After traveling all week, it feels good to be inside my warm home, watching the white fluffy snowflakes as they fall through the sky and hit the ground.

Today was all about quietness.  I read this quote, "quietness is the beginning of virtue.  To be silent is to be beautiful.  Stars do not make a noise."

There are days you need to be still and listen.  God gave us two ears and one mouth.  Today will be all about listening.  As I relax, I can feel my heart as it beeps very steadily and my breathing is very slow.  My eyes are shut and I now can understand the verse "be still and know that I am God".  Only as we are quiet, can we truly get in touch with what God wants us to do.

Take time to enjoy the "quietness".


Monday, February 20, 2017

Rialto Theater/Oscar Documentaries

On Saturday night, Kenny and I and the neighbors went to the Rialto Theater in downtown Loveland to see the "2017 Oscar Nominated Documentaries".

The Rialto Theater was built in the '20s. The first full-length film to play on the screen was "The Toll Gate" on August 29, 1920.  It was a silent western movie.  At the time, the theater had a pipe organ that would accompany the silent films.  The Rialto had vaudeville shows every Wednesday. The theater closed in the '80s.  It reopened in the '90s and then closed again in 2004.  Since then, there has been renovations and it now hosts 200 events and draws over 100,000 patrons annually. The theater foundation is dedicated to preserving the theater and to continue to offer a broad range of performances.

This week at the theater was "Oscar" week.

The documentaries were very emotional.  One of the nominations was "Joe's Violin".  It was about a drive to donate musical instruments to public schools in New York City.  A 91 year old Holocaust survivor Joseph Feingold donated his beloved violin which he purchased at a flee market outside of Frankfurt after WWII.  He was a 23 year old Holocaust survivor and he had traded a carton of American cigarettes for the violin.  The violin brought back memories of when his family use to sit around and play instruments and sing.  Joseph's mother and brother did not survive the Holocaust.

He left for New York and brought the violin with him.  He enjoyed playing until his fingers could no longer play.   He heard about the drive and he wanted to make a difference.  The lucky recipient was a 13 year old girl in the Bronx.  Joseph did meet the young lady and she performed for him.  She played the song that Joseph's mother use to sing to the family.  It brings great joy to Joseph that a new generation is being exposed to the classics.

The other documentaries were "Extremis", which was about an intensive care unit and others that were about refugees and war-torn Syria.

The documentaries were well done.  It will be interesting to see which film wins.

And the winner is ............................