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


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 ............................

Sunday, February 19, 2017

God Knows Your Name

Have you ever wondered what does your name mean?  What is the origin?  I have.  So I did a little research into my name.

Movie stars and other celebritities influence parents in naming their children.  I was named after the movie star, Denise Darcel. She was born in France and came to the United States in 1947.  She became a well-known actress and starred with Robert Taylor in "Westward the Women" and also was in the film "Young Man with Ideas" with Glenn Ford.  The year that I was born, she starred with Esther Williams in a swimming musical "Dangerous When Wet".

My name is of French origin and it means "Devotee of Dionysos."  Dionysos is the god of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine.  Maybe that is the reason why I enjoy wine.

There were certain times that my name was popular.  Social Security has recorded that "Denise" was used 372,903 times from 1880 to 2015.  Denise was first given to five babies in the year 1882.  The highest recorded use of the name "Denise" was in 1961 with a total of 15,377 babies.

I found some alternative meanings for "Denise":
D is for desire, your thoughts do aspire.
E is for enjoy, your life can be fun!
N is for neatness, your orderly way.
I is for ignite, the fire in you!
S is for serene, your calm time.
E is for eternal, your spirit will live.

I also know that God knew my name before I was named.

The Bible says that God knows your name.  Isaiah 43:1 - "But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel:  'Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.'"

Jeremiah 1:5 says "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations."

May I continue to live up to my name and to be the person that I need to be!

It is all in the name!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Another Beautiful Day

Two days in a row!  The weather has been outstanding!

In the mornings, the temperature has been in the 20's and by noon, the temperature has been in the upper 60's.  It feels like spring.  The trees are budding and are just as confused about the weather as I am.

February in Colorado has been exceptionally warm.  This time last year, there was snow on the ground and the highs were in the 40s.  I know that the groundhog saw it's shadow.  That means we are suppose to have six more weeks of cold.  I am sure that within the next six weeks, we will have snow and colder temperatures.

In the meantime, I will enjoy this beautiful weather.  It has been wonderful to go outside without a coat, scarf and gloves.  There hasn't been a cloud in the sky and no wind.  It feels great to be in shorts and to get some sunshine on this body.

I will enjoy the weather for the next several days.  As I soak in the sun and get in my steps, I will look to the west toward the snowy Rocky Mountains and be thankful for another warm, sunshiny day.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

God = Love

Today is Valentine's Day!  A day of love.  Webster's dictionary says that love is "strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties; affection and tenderness felt by lovers; a person's adoration of God and unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another."

How do you define love?  Love to me is God's love.

Some verses that come to mind are:

"A new command I give you; Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another."  John 13:34

"By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."  John 13:35

"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this:  While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."  Romans 5:8

"We love because he first loved us."  1 John 4:19

Jesus is what unconditional love is all about.

May you communicate "love" to those around you!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Valentine's Cards

Sending Valentine's cards has become just as important as sending Christmas cards.

The first Valentine's cards were sent in the 18th century.  These were handmade cards that would include flowers and/or lines of poetry.  Secret admirers would slide these cards under the door for their true love.

One of the oldest surviving Valentine cards dates back to 1797 and is currently at the York Castle Museum.  This card was sent by Catherine Mossday to a Mr. Brown of London.  It is decorated with flowers and images of Cupid, with a verse printed around the border reading, "Since on this ever Happy day, All Nature's full of Love and Play, Yet harmless still if my design, 'tis but to be your Valentine."

In the 19th century, the Valentine's card came to America.  They became very popular and were advertised as a British fashion.  In 1913, Hallmark Cards produced their first Valentine's card.

Here it is 2017, 104 years later, and people are still sending cards to their true love!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

February = Love

It is February!  The second month of the calendar year.  It is the shortest month and the only month to have a length of less than 30 days.  This year is a common year with 28 days.  Leap year is every four years to help synchronize the calendar year with the solar year, or the length of time it takes the earth to complete its orbit about the sun.

February is normally overcast, chilly, dark and cold.  It is one of the best months to snow ski because the mountains are packed with snow.

It is also a month, which is all about hearts, flowers, candy and romance.  It is a time when people express the words, "I Love You".

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 says "Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."

These verses remind me that God's love is directed toward others and not toward ourselves.  To give love and not to expect anything in return.  As we celebrate Valentine's Day, let's remember these verses and that we need to think about them not every once in a while, but everyday.

Love is available to everyone.  Take the time to let your family and friends know that you love them. Life is short and we don't have the the guarantee that we will have each other for ever.

"I Love You!"

Saturday, February 11, 2017

The Land of Love

I have been fortunate to live in the "land of love"(Loveland, Colorado) for the past 2 years.

It is a town which is about 50 miles north of Denver.  In the past thirty years, the population has grown from about 35,000 to almost 80,000.  In the early years, Loveland was a farming community. The primary crops were sugar beets and sour cherries.  In the past years, various manufacturing facilities have moved into the area as well as a new medical center.   The area is also known for the large population of artists, the art museum and annual sculpture shows, which takes place in August.

Loveland is also well known for "The Valentine Re-Mailing Program".  For decades, people from around the world have sent their valentines to Loveland, Colorado, to be hand-stamped with a verse and a specially designed postal cancellation.  On an average, this program re-mails more than 160,000 cards from the United States and more than 110 countries.

This program began in January 1947 by the Loveland postmaster.  He had received about 30 valentines from individuals requesting to have the cards postmarked from Loveland for a "romantic extra touch".  He thought this would be a great way to promote Loveland.  So a design and a message were created for the re-mailing of the cards.

"The first message was "A Valentine Greeting from Sweetheart Town, Loveland, Colorado" and the image was a heart pierced by an arrow over the Rocky Mountains."  Since then, a different verse and design have been used every year.  The Loveland Chamber of Commerce have a contest yearly and residents submit their poems and artwork to be judged.

More than sixty volunteers stamped the valentines that are dropped in a special box at the Loveland Post Office or that were mailed to the Postmaster for the special Valentine treatment.

The stampers place the design and verse by hand on each piece of mail.  This years graphic was Dan Cupid, the US flag and the message "From the Sweetheart City in a land of love, warm thoughts of you are sent above.  On wings they fly from land to sea, searching and finding the one to be."

The Valentine cards do need to be in the hands of the Post Office by the first of February.  If you missed this year, there is always 2018.  Make sure you send a pre-stamped, pre-addressed valentine cards enclosed in a larger first-class envelope to be stamped and re-mailed to:
Postmaster-Attention Valentines
446 E. 29th Street
Loveland, CO  80538-9998

Happy Valentine' Day!

                                                 2017 - Loveland's Re-Stamping Program

                                                       Valentine Hearts On Light Posts
                                                               throughout Loveland

Monday, February 6, 2017

Tomorrow is Another Day!

We all have days that we can hardly wait for it to be over.  And today was that day for me.

I woke up at 4:30 this morning and was ready to seize the day.

I finished packing and headed to the airport to fly to Chicago.

On my way to the airport, I found out that my posters that I shipped out last week had not arrived at the hotel in Chicago.  I spent about an hour on the phone trying to locate them.  Hopefully, I will have them in the morning for the Basic Class that I am teaching.

I get to the airport and before heading to the security line, I go the restroom.  While in the stall, one of my nice earrings fell into the toilet.  I did retrieve it before the automatic flush occurred.  I have been washing my hands all day long.

I get on the plane and then the pilot announced that the air condition on the plane was not working properly and that maintenance was working on it.  Sixty minutes later, we did take off.

Upon arriving to the hotel and checking-in, I headed to my room and the door to my room is ajar.  Needless to say, I didn't even go to the door.  I headed back downstairs and of course, the receptionist was very apologetic.  They got me a new room and gave me a coupon for a drink at the bar.

I am ready to go to bed and to start a new day.

As Scarlett O'Hara said in "Gone With The Wind", "after all, tomorrow is another day".

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Sunday-A Day of Renewing

I can't believe it is already February!  It just seems like yesterday, we were celebrating New Year's Day.

It is a beautiful Sunday in northern Colorado.  It is a great day for a walk.  The sky is blue with wisps of white clouds, there is the warmth of the sun rays on my skin and the feel of the cooler temperatures as I walk into the shaded areas.

I enjoy Sundays, in that I feel it is a day of renewal.  It is the first day of the week and a day to rest and a day to be spirit-filled by attending church or reading scripture.

A scripture that I read today was "But those who trust in the Lord for help will find their strength renewed.  They will rise on wings like eagles; they will run and not get weary; they will walk and not grow weak".  Isaiah 40:31

The Indians saw the eagle as a symbol for strength, leadership and vision.  For Christians, the eagle is seen as a symbol of hope and strength.  Eagles are also beautiful and so graceful when they soar through the sky.  The eyes of the eagle are eight times sharper than that of humans.

The first time that I ever saw an eagle was about fifteen years ago in Glacier National Park in Montana.  Since living in Colorado, I have seen several eagles.  I am always in awe of their beauty and gracefulness as they soar through the sky.

So as I read this scripture, I know that God's strength and power will never diminish and that He will be there with me as I go through good times as well as difficult times.  Like the eagle, I will soar through each day with grace.  God will give me the vision that I need to move forward and to accept every day as a blessing from Him.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Gateway Arch

On Tuesday, I was in St. Louis, Missouri teaching a "Basic Class" on the Elizabeth Arden products. This class was for the new hires at the various cosmetic counters throughout the area.  The class was well attended.

That evening I asked the Account Executive who was there for the class, if she wouldn't mind driving me to the Gateway Arch.  This was my first time in St. Louis and I wanted to see the arch that I have seen on television and in magazines.  

Jennifer said that she had never been there as well.  Off we went.  Of course, it was dark, drizzly and cold, but we ventured out through St. Louis.  She put Gateway Arch into her GPS and we followed the directions to the arch.

The Gateway Arch is a 630 foot monument.  It is covered in stainless steel and is built in the form of an inverted, weighted catenary arch.  It is the world's tallest arch, the tallest man-made monument in the Western Hemisphere and Missouri's tallest accessible building.  

The arch is located on the west bank of the Mississippi River.  Also in the area was a riverboat; a helicopter pad and a restaurant.  I am sure during the summer when the weather is warmer that this is a fun area for tourists.  The arch is located in the downtown area.  The arch can be seen from the St. Louis Busch Stadium, which is home for the St. Louis Cardinals.

Every city has something to offer that is unique.  Who knows if I will ever make it back to St. Louis? I am glad that I took the time to see this one of a kind arch.

Gateway Arch on a cold, wet night.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Peoria, Illinois

On Wednesday afternoon, I flew from Chicago, Illinois to Peoria, Illinois for work.  I had never been there before.  As we flew in, I looked out of the plane window seeing lots of farm land and a small city.  I was curious what this town would be like.

I could tell that the airport was small.  As we exited the plane, I observed that there were not many people roaming around.  The luggage area was small compared to other airports that I have been at.

After getting my luggage, I called the hotel to come pick me up.  I waited in doors as it was 15 degrees outside.  A little chilly.

Within 15 minutes the driver was there to pick me up.  He was a jovial man.  I was cold and ready to get into the van.  The driver jokingly said " that today is warm compared to what the temperatures normally are".  In February, the temperatures are normally in the single digits.  

We drove through the historical area.  The homes set back from the streets and were large and had nice big porches wrapped around the homes.  He told me that the majority of these home were from the late 1800's.  People have gone into this area and have updated nearly all of these older homes.

Peoria is one of the oldest settlements in Illinois.  Explorers had ventured up the Illinois River from the Mississippi River.  This area was first settled in 1680 by French explorers.  Peoria was named after the Peoria tribe.  

After driving through the historical area, the driver took me by the Caterpillar Headquarters.  Just this week, Caterpillar announced that they would be relocating there headquarters to Chicago, which is about 170 miles, northeast of Peoria. 

After hearing the news, I wonder how the city of 120,000 will manage to survive with the headquarters of Caterpillar leaving?  

Just being in the city for about three days, I left feeling that I had experienced the true Midwest of the U.S.  The people were extremely helpful and they love their city.  A lot of young people have moved to Peoria from very small towns(with population of 2,500 to 3,000).  To these people, Peoria was a big city.  

Small cities are nice in that you don't have a lot of traffic; you can drive from one end of the city to the other end within 30 minutes; everyone knows each other and everybody is willing to assist you.