Thursday, March 22, 2007

Phil and I are back in New Jersey, where Phil is fulfilling a 5-week "stint" at Pfizer in Piscataway. We stayed at the same Marriott in Somerset when he was on a Johnson & Johnson engagement a couple of years ago. During that time, I took these pictures during a Friday night snowstorm. The fourth picture in this post shows the accumulation once the storm was over.
Today is the 2nd day of Spring, 2007. Wonder how many more snowstorms we'll have before Spring bursts forth in all its beauty? Read on......

Ah, Spring! The very word somehow causes our hearts to "trip the light fantastic," whatever that means! Actually, my mind goes immediately to flowers and animals and nature's awesome beauty, which then leads me to words penned by James Herriott, the great animal writer from England. Each line of the verse was eventually used as a title to books written by Mr. Herriott.
"All things bright and beautiful........"

...."all creatures, great and small....
(not my photo)

(Not my photo)

..."all things wise and wonderful,
the Lord God made them all."

Monday, March 19, 2007

"Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, "Dear woman, here is your son," and to the disciple, "Here is your mother." From that time on, this disciple took her into his home." John 19:25-27 NIV

As I anticipate Easter, which represents Resurrection Morning for those of us whose lives have been changed by our acknowledgement of the death and resurrection of Christ, I'd like to share the following meditation by John Cumming, based on the above verses in the book of John.

"Woman, behold your son!"...."Behold your mother!"

Amidst the absorbing scenes of the cross, Jesus recollects that Mary, his mother, would now be desolate. He thinks of finding for her an earthly home whilst he is paying, by his blood, the awful price of her everlasting home. He thinks of a thing so minute that an ordinary sufferer would never have had time to recollect it. And whilst engaged in a tragedy so grand that all eternity will commemorate it, he turns aside for one moment to thin of an incident so minute that one wonders that he thought it worth his while to take notice of it at all.

And yet, how like God was it, who descends in nature to polish the wing of a beetle, or to powder the wing of a butterfly, or to shape the sting of a bee, with a precision, a beauty, an exquisite care, as great as if he had nothing else to do in the world but to accomplish these tiny and beautiful processes....God, speaking from the ends of the earth shows that minute things and magnificent things are equally his care; God, speaking from the cross, shows that the purchase of an eternal home for a lost race, and the providing of a temporary home for a suffering mother, were equally within the reach of his regards, equally occupying his heart, and engaging his sympathy.

In Christ Alone
In Christ alone my hope is found, he is my light, my strength, my song;
This cornerstone, this solid ground, firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace, when fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My comforter, my all in all, here in the love of Christ I stand.
In Christ alone! who took on flesh, fullness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness, scorned by the ones he came to save.
Till on that cross as Jesus dies, the wrath of God was satisfied;
For every sin on him was laid; here in the death of Christ I live.
There in the ground his body lay, light of the world by darkness slain;
Then bursting forth in glorious day up from the grave he rose again!
And as he stands in victory, sin's curse has lost its grip on me,
For I am his and he is mine -- bought with the precious blood of Christ.
No guilt in life, no fear in death, this is the power of Christ in me;
From life's first cry to final breath, Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no human plan, can ever pluck me from his hand;
Till he returns or calls me home, here in the power of Christ I'll stand!
(Words: S. Townsend)

Thursday, March 08, 2007

I love to go to Sea World! I took these four pictures when we were in Orlando back in 2003. It was SO hot and humid that day, but looking at these pictures (now) makes me feel cool as a cucumber!
(I hope you're able to see the humans involved in these aqua-antics.)

Once more here in San Francisco, a glorious sight in the eastern skies.

Bird in flight.

Later in the day, two large planes landing almost simultaneously on parallel runways, San Francisco Airport.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Oh, how I love living life with this man!!!!!!!!

Picture taken by my sister, Joyce, after lunch with her and her husband, Ken, in Mt. Dora, Florida.

Before we were married. I still have that red furry hat!

Windy, cold, wonderful July 4th outing!

I feel that narcissism is a cancer on the soul of our society. We are so blessed in the United States, and it is all too easy to be consumed by what "I want" and what "I feel."

As I read the following short article by John Marks Templeton, entitled "Laws of the Spirit" from the March/April 2007 edition of The Saturday Evening Post, I was impressed by how much richer my own life experience is when I think beyond "the all important" ME, and desire instead to bless others by my choices and behavior.

Laws of the Spirit

Happiness comes from spiritual wealth, not material wealth. Happiness is always a by-product, never a product. Happiness comes from giving, not getting. If we pursue happiness for ourselves, it will always elude us. If we try hard to bring happiness to others, we cannot stop it from coming to us also. The more we try to give it away, the more it comes back to us multiplied. If we try to grasp happiness, it always escapes us; if we try to hand it out to others, it sticks to our hands like glue.

The more love we give away, the more we have left. The laws of love differ from the laws of arithmetic. Love hoarded dwindles, but love given grows. If we give all our love, we will have more left than he who saves some. Giving love, not receiving, is important; but when we give with no thought of receiving, we automatically and inescapably receive abundantly. Heaven is a "by-product" of love. When we say "I love you," we mean that "a little of God's love flows from me to you." But, thereby, we do not love less, but more, for in flowing the quantity is magnified. God's love is infinite and is directed equally to each person, but it seems to gain intensity when directed to sinners. This is the wonder and mystery of it, that when we love God we get an enormous increase in the quantity flowing through us to others.

It is better (more blessed, according to the Beatitudes) to give than to receive. Giving is a sign of psychological and spiritual maturity. There are few diseases so childish and so deadly as the "gimmies," a disease that separates us from friends and from God and that shrinks the soul. The secret of success is giving, not getting. To get joy we must give it and to keep joy we must scatter it. The greatest charity is to help a person change from being a receiver to being a giver.

Loneliness is the punishment for those who want to get, not give. Helping others is the cure for loneliness. If we feel lonely, we are probably self-centered. If we feel unloved, we are probably unloving. If we love only ourselves, we may be the only person to love us. Whatever we give out, we give back.
A Lesson in Forgiveness
People are often unreasonable, illogical and self-centered ---
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives --
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies --
Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you --
Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight --
Build anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, there may be jealousy --
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow --
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough --
Give the world the best you've got anyway.
You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God --
It was never between you and "them" anyway.
From The Saturday Evening Post, Jan/Feb 2007

Monday, March 05, 2007

Remember: Click on any photo in my blog in order to enlarge it for better viewing.
I'm writing this Monday, March 5th.
A United 747 landing early one morning last week. I always wonder where a plane has come from, how many (long) hours it's been in the air since its departure, and I know for a fact that everyone on board is really glad to finally be landing!

During this period of time we're here in San Francisco, it appears that the tide goes so much farther out than during our previous stays. This photo shows that the water completely empties from the area between where our hotel is located and the airport runway. It's only the darker area in the upper right corner of the photo that's water.

Moon rising last Friday evening, while a plane lands at SFO.

From one of our hotel windows. We LOVE it here!!.......and I LOVE Phil's job!!! :-)

Large "tree-bush" with yellow blossoms along walkway outside the Marriott where we're staying in San Francisco.

This past Saturday, Phil and I decided to drive "into town" and putter about Fisherman's Wharf. Phil's rental car this time is a new Ford Mustang. While it's really cute (and the style is so reminiscient of the Mustang we purchased new in 1968 or '69), its bucket seats are NOT comfortable for this grandma (or for Grandpa, either)! The awesomely comfortable seats in our wonderful 1993 Cadillac Sedan de Ville, which we still have and want to keep as long as we possible can, have spoilt me, I'm afraid! :-)

Once we have reached Fisherman's Wharf, we always love seeing these electric streetcars as they move in the center of the street. In addition to this red one, they come in other colors -- I really liked the yellow one we saw on Saturday....and the green one...but didn't have my camera ready.

These trees at Fisherman's Wharf look like each limb has always been pruned at a certain point, and no growth allowed beyond that point. Therefore, the end of each limb is a "stub," which looks like a knobby fist ravaged by arthritis.

I have no idea what this sculpture or art project represents, but it is very colorful and quickly catches one's eye. Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco.

A very tall sculpture of mother and child, made completely of chains and metal.

Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco.

The bird in the picture was flying around over these sailing vessels moored at Fisherman's Wharf. At just the appropriate time, he decided to stop flapping his wings and "ride the wind," so I was able to get the picture with his wings outstretched. I appreciated that! :-)

There are wooden half-barrels filled with flowers all about Fisherman's Wharf. Here are photos of just two barrels. Don't know what the little flower above is (the blossom looks like a miniature pansy), but I do know the second barrel had lots of colorful tulips and some daisies!

Ornate design made of metal with "jewels" in it stands in a flower garden along the sidewalk at Fisherman's Wharf. It was so pretty and colorful!

At dusk, looking westward, at the outer perimeter of Fisherman's Wharf. Those strange-looking, barren trees with their knobby "fists" fascinated me!

Photo taken as we were leaving Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco this past Saturday evening. The moon has begun to rise.
A little higher in the sky.

With street scene below and Bay Bridge in left background.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Lazy Kentucky River
In the summer of 2006, Phil, our Kimberly, her little daughter and I attended a Kinlaw (my maiden name) family reunion in Wilmore, KY. My brother and one of my sisters were also there. Part of the fun activities for all of us was a paddleboat cruise on the Kentucky River. It was a delight to gently glide along, enjoying the beauty and serenity of that lovely area.

As we drove from Wilmore to Lexington, KY, where our hotel was located, we stopped along the highway so that I could take this picture at dusk of horses snacking on luscious green grass (in Blue Grass country), all the while swinging their tails, either out of sheer happiness or for swatting at horseflies. :-)

Stone fences abound, this one standing at Shaker Town, near Lexington/Wilmore. By the way, that thing on the left side of the picture is the mirror on the outside of the car. I didn't really mean to "capture" it in the photo. :-)

Beautiful Kinlaw Library, Asbury College, Wilmore, KY.

This lovely building is named for Dr. Dennis F. Kinlaw, who served for many, many years as president of Asbury College. Dennis and my father were first cousins. What a joy for us Kinlaws to have our "sessions" in the board room of this fabulous structure.....thanks to Dennis, and cousin Katy, who did all the work to get us Kinlaws to Wilmore for the very special 2006 "gathering."