Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3

I thought I had shut down my blog last January, but lo and behold, it still seems to be here.  Not having a clear grasp of this technology, I am conducting an experiment.  I will see if this posts to my blog, then I will see if I can share it on facebook.

If you are able to read this in any way, please let me know, and in what format you are reading it (blog vs. fb).  I have nothing to say right now, so this won’t take you long.  But I sure would appreciate the feedback.  Considering whether to resurrect the old blog.  Thanks!

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Monday Musings – 42

“Being all fashioned of the self-same dust, let us be merciful as well as just.” —Longfellow

Reading this line from Longfellow this morning reminded me of the excellent movie I saw last night.  42 is about the baseball great Jackie Robinson and his heart-wrenching experience as the first black player to break the racial barrier in professional baseball.  He didn’t set out be a hero, but that is what he became, to people of all races.

It sickens me to think that just a few years before I was born, he was jeered, taunted, attacked for “daring” to play with the white boys.  And he even endured this treatment from his own teammates at the beginning of his career.  What a class act he was.  I also loved the portrayal of his adorable wife and their commitment to their marriage.  This isn’t a review, but a hearty recommendation.  Go see 42!  You won’t be disappointed. (And, thankfully, humor is woven into the story, so you definitely feel uplifted when it ends.)

As I reflect on the film this morning, what saddens me even more, is the treatment all minorities have endured over the centuries, in every country of the world, appallingly even today, and still here in the U.S.  But it doesn’t even have to be toward a minority. It seems to stem from a “better than thou” mentality, a feeling of entitlement.  And I don’t think anyone is immune, myself included.  May we, may I, remember that we all come from the same dust.  But we all are created lovingly by our God, who tells us that He has made us in His own image.  So may we be merciful with everyone we meet, for they carry within them the image of God.

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Francophile Friday – French Macarons

I have been wanting to have a regular post devoted to my love of France and all things French, and since Friday adds the element of alliteration, “Francophile Friday” it is.

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My daughter and I finally made our way to a little bakery in downtown Brea, Calif., whose specialty is macarons. Yum!  Merely Sweets also has an array of other delicious goodies.

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But our minds were made up:

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Sort of. Then we had to make the agonizing decision of which two (each) macarons to enjoy right then, and which two we would bring home.  We finally made our selections, along with a refreshing iced tea:

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We both selected a salted caramel, while my second was pistachio, and Amy’s was green tea.

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We agreed that the salted caramel was our favorite.  They simply melted in our mouths, although Amy said she probably wouldn’t order the green tea again (a word to the wise).  Et ooh la la . . . see what I spied from our charming sidewalk table?  Directly across the street is a Parisian creperie!  Next week’s post?

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Guest Blogger Time

It’s been only two weeks since my last “guest blogger,” but it feels like a lifetime!  Today, I once again “invite” author Sarah Young to post here.  You can find this in her book Jesus Lives, pp. 174-175.  (Remember, she is speaking to us as if Jesus is speaking to us personally.)

Faith

“Without faith it is impossible to please Me.  This may seem obvious, but there are actually many people who try to approach Me without truly believing I exist.  Some people simply want to cover all their bases, so they toss up an occasional prayer to Me–just in case I might really exist and someday be their Judge.  Others cry out to Me at times of extreme distress and then forget about Me when the crisis is over.  This is not genuine faith, and it does not please Me at all.  Faith that pleases Me is much more substantial:  It perceives as real fact what is not revealed to the senses.

I enjoy rewarding those who earnestly seek Me.  I don’t expect perfection in your search for Me, because I remember that you are dust.  I do, however, rejoice in your seeking Me persistently–day in and day out.  This is extremely pleasing to Me, and I reward you in numerous ways:  I whet your appetite to know Me ever more intimately.  I gradually change the desires of your heart so they line up more and more with the contents of My heart.  When you are going through tough times, I pour out upon you tender, overflowing Love.  As you open your heart to receive this Love-flow, you are ravishingly pleasing to Me.

“And without faith, it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.”  (Hebrews 11:6)

“Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses].” (Hebrews 11:1, AMP)

“And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13)

“For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.” (Psalm 103:14) NKJV

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Monday Musings

I just realized that it’s Monday again!  The last few days have been a bit of a blur, as a few hours after I returned from my silent retreat I received a call that my father had fallen and perhaps bruised his hip.  I received the call from my sister, who had received a call from our step-sister, who was on the way to the hospital, with him in the ambulance ahead.

Long story shorter, he actually broke his hip.  Surgery was Thursday night, (four screws installed), and he is still recovering in the hospital, after which he will be moved to a convalescent-type hospital for rehab.

I drove down Thursday mid-day with the kids, and ended up staying overnight with my step-mom and another step-sister.  (The kids had gone home with my husband, who had come down Thursday evening.)  All Thursday and Friday, and continuing till now, various and many family members have been coming and visiting him, which cheers him up.  

He has started physical therapy, but it will be a slow process in learning to walk again after such invasive surgery.  Even though hip surgery is commonplace today, the recovery is still painful and feels quite long, although his prognosis is great.

All this to say that my Monday Musing is more of an explanation of what I have been doing, and where my focus has been the past few days.  I haven’t been able to visit him since Friday, but he has had so many visitors, that I think my absence is barely noticed.  I will probably visit once he is installed at the skilled nursing (rehab) facility.

Any prayers will be appreciated by him and by my step-mom, I’m sure.

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An Abbreviated Monday Musing

Since I just committed to at least one weekly post, I didn’t want this Monday to go by without checking in.  I actually have several posts in various forms of completion, but life and school have been so busy, I haven’t taken the time to decide which to complete and post first.  (One will be a Friday post titled Francophile Fridays, in which I will try to explain my obsession with France, and post related pictures/discoveries.  I’m hesitating because I think another blog I follow uses the same title for their weekly post, so I don’t want to steal.  If you have seen it on another blog, let me know!  Giving you a heads up, in case you have no interest in France. Now you know, you can skip this blog on Fridays!)

This morning I head to a local monastery for 48 hours of silence and solitude among the monks. It’s a requirement for school, and I’m so glad it is. I have gone on two so far in the past two years, and if I could, I would go on more.

The challenging part will be no cellphone, AND NO FACEBOOK!  Yikes, I have become addicted, and this going cold turkey is causing me a little stress.  My close friends and family will laugh when they read this because I shunned facebook for years. Thought it was a silly waste of time.  Well, it may be a waste of time, but it’s not silly! 😉  I have connected with people all over the world through facebook. And I’ve been able to keep in touch now with friends I already had who lived far away.  And one of the best features is that I found my best friend from elementary school with whom I had lost touch over the years.  I’m the biggest proponent now, as long as we use it for good, and not for evil (just to quote some movie or something, I think).  My problem is knowing just when to stop catching up with all my friends and pages I like.  I mean, I have to let go of the fact that I will miss some important status updates simply because I do have other things going on in life.  This will be the first retreat (true confessions time) that I didn’t “cheat” and do a little texting now and then.  And I wasn’t so involved with facebook the last time, so I didn’t miss it, too much.  Nor do I have a smartphone with which to check facebook (I know, our family is the last one to make the switch), which at a time like this is great. I won’t face that temptation.

So, for my fb friends, that’s why I will be missing for a few days.  Nor will I answer texts or calls.  If it’s important, send me a fb message, and I will check those when I return. Or leave a text/voicemail.  I will return to real life Wednesday afternoon.

Wishing you peace and joy in whatever you are doing this week.

I guess this isn’t so abbreviated after all!

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Monday Musings on Wednesday

Perhaps my muse has reappeared, at least fleetingly.  Sunday I felt inspired to write a weekly post titled “Monday Musings.”  My thinking was that I can move beyond the trivial (which I love), to something with more depth (which I also love).  That was my thinking behind my blog title anyway–that “musings” could cover a wide range of topics and approaches. But maybe “Monday Musings” will be a little more contemplative in nature.

I never got around to posting my idea on Monday, so I will save it for another Monday.  But this morning, I read an essay that spoke to me, and I wanted to share it here in case you, too, tend to strive and grasp, more than let go and accept God’s peace.

A caveat:  I know some readers of this blog may not believe what I believe.  But that’s what is so wonderful about the blogging world.  We are privileged to not only read, but even dialogue, with others all over the world who may agree with us, but just as easily may think and feel differently than we do.  What a joy it has been for me since I entered facebook and the blogosphere to get to know others from varied cultures and backgrounds.  The last thing I want to do is preach; that’s not my style, I hope.  What I do hope to convey is that I’m a fellow traveler along the journey of life. And when I can share my passions, joys, as well as struggles, I will attempt to express them coherently, and humbly.

So, the following musings are not my own, but those of Sarah Young, who is writing to us from the perspective of Jesus.  The essay may seem long, but it was so good, I didn’t know what to cut.  I encourage you to read it all if you are feeling a need for more peace in your life.  It’s where I’ve found my peace (although I constantly need reminders like this).

Striving

To receive My peace, you must change your grasping, controlling stance to one of openness and trust. Grasping and controlling are your means of trying to feel safe. However, such an approach actually hurts you and works against you: The more you manipulate and maneuver for control, the more anxious you become.

Rather than striving for peace of mind through these means, abandon yourself to Me. My hand is the only thing you can grasp without damaging your soul. Let Me help you open your hands and receive all that I have for you.

What you do with your body can help or hinder what goes on in your soul. When you realize you are grasping for control, become aware of your body language. Intentionally open your hands, releasing your concerns to Me and inviting Me to take charge. Open your heart and mind as well, as you lift your hands to Me. You are now in a good position to receive My many blessings, not the least of which is awareness of My Presence.

Enjoy the Peace that flows out from Me while you bask in the Light of My Love. Then, when you move back into your activities, consciously grasp My hand in childlike dependence. “For I am the Lord your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, ‘Do not fear; I will help you.’ ” (Isaiah 41:13)

—Sarah Young, Jesus Lives: Seeing His Love in Your Life, pp. 156-157.  (I guess you could call Sarah a guest blogger today 🙂 ).

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Blogger’s Block

“Writing is a struggle against silence.” –Carlos Fuentes

I’m adding the above quote to this post because it just fits. I wrote it in my journal a while (awhile? I’m never sure) back, and now I have no idea where I saw it. Probably someone else’s blog. Thank you, if I “stole” it from you 🙂  [3/20/13]

After finally working through the process of setting up this blog, all the ideas I had seem to have flown out of my consciousness.  I did not follow the very good advice of Jenny with A Taste of Travel, and prepare several blog entries ahead of time.  And so I am stuck, empty-brained, waiting for something to say.  I will return, I hope.  In the meantime, check out the wonderful blogs I follow, listed on the right side of this page.  And be sure to check out Jenny’s!  She has traveled the world, and her blogs include beautiful pictures with fascinating commentary.

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Eating Our Way Around Old Towne Orange

Ever since I joined Facebook last spring, I’ve been entering all sorts of on-line contests. Apparently I take after my maternal grandmother, who used to enter radio contests all the time in the days before TV. To my knowledge, she never won. And neither have I . . . until last month!

I received a Facebook message that I had won a walking food tour around Old Towne Orange, in central Orange County, California, in a contest sponsored by I Heart Old Towne Orange and Old Towne Orange Walking Food Tours. On the day of the tour, my poor husband was sick, but my sister, Annette, happily took his place. The tour focused on restaurants and shops around the town’s traffic circle. Everyone I know calls the area the Circle, but I’ve been told that the proper name is the Plaza, so I will force myself to call it that. And while this tour was a FOOD tour, I have NOT ONE photo of the wonderful food we sampled!

It’s a good thing that we were served sample portions AND that we walked to all our destinations.  I enthusiastically recommend this tour, which combines history of the area along with all the food sampling, making for a truly enjoyable three hours.

Our group met at one of the two Starbucks in the Plaza, this one inside the Wells Fargo Bank.  It’s not officially part of the tour, to my sister’s and my disappointment, as we really needed a cup of coffee but were too cheap to buy our own.

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What was cool about Starbucks was the ceiling. Not the best shot, but you kind of get the idea.

What was cool about Starbucks was the ceiling. Not the best shot, but you kind of get the idea.

From the Wells Fargo building, we made our way across the traffic circle in search of our first bite to eat.

From the Wells Fargo building, we made our way across the traffic circle in search of food.

At Felix Continental Cafe, we were served an empanada and plantain.  Delicious!

At Felix Continental Cafe, we were served delicious empanadas and plantains.

Our next stop--The Enchanted Florist--where we all received a long-stemmed rose. Here's my beautiful sister, Annette, with hers.

At The Enchanted Florist, we all received a long-stemmed rose. Here’s my beautiful sister, Annette, with hers. The flowers made a lovely accompaniment to our dining.

Next stop, Paris in a Cup, and their famous baked potato soup, along with passionberry iced tea. You can barely see our charming server Katelyn at the bottom of the photo.

Next stop, Paris in a Cup, and their famous baked potato soup, along with passionberry iced tea. You can barely see our charming server Katelyn at the bottom of the photo.

This is a lousy photo, but it's the only one I have of my very favorite stop:  Francoli's.  You can sort of make out the name on the far right.  While we ate caprese salad (mozzarella, tomato, basil, olive oil) and penne with pesto, along with wine for those who wanted to pay a discount price, the owner Alberto entertained us with stories of the history of the restaurant.  I want to return there with Mark!

This is a lousy photo, but it’s the only one I have of my very favorite stop: Francoli’s. You can sort of make out the name on the far right. While we ate caprese salad (mozzarella, tomato, basil, olive oil) and penne with pesto, along with wine for those who wanted to pay a discount price, the owner Alberto entertained us with stories of the history of the restaurant. I want to return there with Mark!

We then took a break from eating at the fountain in the center of the Plaza.

We then took a break from eating at the fountain in the center of the Plaza.

Here's a closer view of the fountain.

Here’s a closer view of the fountain.

Watson's Drug Store was next, serving rice pudding and whipped cream.

Watson’s Drug Store was next, serving rice pudding and whipped cream.

The Old Towne Grinder served us turkey/provolone sandwiches and sweet potato fries.

The Old Towne Grinder served us turkey/provolone sandwiches and sweet potato fries.

The Bite Market, a health food store, offered us gluten-free brownie bites.

The Bite Market, a health food store, offered us gluten-free brownie bites.

I should add here that Annette and I reached our food limit a long while back, but we still managed a few bites of Zito's amazing pizza.

I should add here that Annette and I reached our food limit a long while back, but we still managed a few bites of Zito’s amazing pizza.

The Orange Candy Company has an array of candy from a baby-boomer's childhood.

The Orange Candy Company has an array of candy from a baby-boomer’s childhood.

Cafe Lucca--our last stop!  But oh my goodness, what a stop.  We closed the tour with gelato.  Mine was the salted caramel, and I enjoyed it so much, I can't recall what Annette had.  Thankfully, it was a sample portion, as if we had any room left.

Cafe Lucca–our last stop! But oh my goodness, what a stop. We closed the tour with gelato. I tried the salted caramel, and Annette had peach. So good! Thankfully, they were sample portions, as if we had any room to spare in our stomachs.

Annette and I made our way back to Paris in a Cup to select a few of their melt-in-your-mouth macarons to bring back to our families.  It was the least we could do after gorging ourselves all afternoon.

Annette and I made our way back to Paris in a Cup to select a few of their melt-in-your-mouth macarons to bring back to our families. It was the least we could do after gorging ourselves all afternoon.

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One Blog’s Beginnings . . .

[With apologies to Eudora Welty, author of One Writer’s Beginnings, for hijacking her title.]

So I am dipping my toes into the blog waters . . . and just about drowning in the details of setting it up.  Almost have it figured out, but I am plagued with doubts, mostly:  Does the world need another blog?  And do I have anything to say?  Probably no to both.  But I am discovering that I need another outlet for my writing, beyond journaling and grad school papers.  Plus, I have been experimenting with photography, and I think it would be fun to combine the two.

I love to follow travel blogs and facebook pages, but for too long I looked at all the traveling I wasn’t doing, and decided I couldn’t begin my own blog.  Another blog writer (I wish I could remember who!) reminded me that I live in Southern California, where there must be a lot to write about.  That comment, along with Ann Voskamp’s book One Thousand Gifts, challenged me to be grateful for what I have, rather than looking at what I don’t.  I have been learning to see all of life as a gift from God, and to enjoy even the smallest detail.   This blog will be my attempt to put my thoughts and experiences into words (and hopefully pictures).  I guess the blog is initially for myself.  I have no idea if anyone will join me on my journey.  If you do, please let me know!

Welcome to my humble beginnings.  I’m looking forward to seeing where this leads.

 

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