Wednesday, July 31, 2013

While we were gone...

      Milky Way had kittens.  Can you tell from the picture that there are four?

 She must have had them right after we left because they already have their eyes open.  They are so cute!  A couple of our grandchildren have already chosen two to keep.  If you know of anyone who wants the other two, please let me know.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

National Day of Prayer

I received this from WorldNetDaily and feel that it is important to pass on:


We all know the United States of America was founded in 1776, but what we often forget is that the people doing the founding were our fellow Christian believers. Our forefathers fully understood the importance of God and the role He would need to play for our nation to thrive. Unfortunately, today our country continues to distance itself from God. Our fellow citizens continually try to banish His name from schools, public landmarks, and the government. As Christians and Jews and children of God, we are called to defend His name and His people.

Several weeks ago, we reached out asking you to join us in a nationwide day of prayer on Sept. 11, 2013. As you may know, this event was conceived by Joseph Farah, founder and CEO of WND, in response to the ongoing downfall of our nation over the years. He was reminded of 2 Chronicles 7:14, which states, "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." This country is facing challenges that rival anything we have seen since the start of World War II.

WND will be reaching out to churches and religious leaders across the nation, asking that they open their doors and lead their congregants in prayer and repentance throughout the day Sept. 11. We will need your help in spreading the word to your pastors, neighbors, friends, family and others so that this day will be a success. It is our hope that people across the nation will come together and ask God’s forgiveness and blessings on our country. We hope that thousands of churches, businesses and individuals will join in and pray for the redemption and restoration of our country.

Will you join us in praying for our nation? All we need to do is follow His command and accept His promise to forgive our sin and heal our land.

Mark the date -- September 11, 2013.

Visit the official 9/11 Day of Prayer
and Repentance FaceBook page.

Learn more about the event from our video:

Monday, July 29, 2013

We are home!

    We got home around 9:30 last night which was 23 hours after we got up!  Our plane was delayed in Charlotte an extra hour and a half, but it was still a great trip!
     Since I never did figure out how to post pictures on my blog from my iPad I decided to go back through all the posts and add the pictures I would have posted if I could have.  If you're interested, scroll back to the beginning to see some of the places we visited.
     While in Paris, in addition to the Lourvre, and the boat cruise, we took the Metro to the stop nearest  the Notre Dame Cathedral, so that we could tour it.  It had some spectacular stained glass windows!  We also toured the Conciergerie Prison where Marie Antoinette was imprisoned and died.  Afterwards we had lunch in the Latin Quarter.  We then took the Metro to a stop near the Eiffel Tower and walked to the tower where we waited in line quite some time to buy tickets to take the elevator to the top.  The view was worth it!!
       We had our good-bye dinner with the tour group at a nice restaurant near our hotel and then walked to the Eiffel Tower again to watch the lights come on.  It was a very beautiful last evening in Paris!
Our hotel in Paris--Hotel Splendid Eiffel
Inside Notre Dame

Just one of the many beautiful windows in Notre Dame

The Tower appeared even larger walking beneath it.
A view from the top of the Eiffel Tower

It sparkled for a few minutes every hour after dark

Friday, July 26, 2013

July 26

        We arrived in Paris about 4:00 p.m. after a fascinating visit to Guedelon Castle in St. Fargeau.  A crew of 25-30 are building this castle according to the way it would have been built in the 13th century using the exact methods and materials that were used at the time.  They are quarrying the stone, dressing it, doing the blacksmithing of the iron work, cut the timber, and  have built "squirrel cages" for men to walk in to use to pull thing to the top where they are working.  The walls were laid in 3 sections of stone for a total of 9 1/2 meters so they are exceptionally strong.  Many of the myths we have been told about castles were de-bunked, such as castles had no windows and were plain stone walls but in fact they did have windows and beautifully decorated walls.
       They have been working on the construction for 15 years already and expect it will take 10 more to complete.  Our guide was one of the foremen on the project so he did an excellent job of explaining the process.  All the work that had to be done to build the castle was amazing!
       We are meeting our Rick Steves' guide, Martin, at 5:30 to tour the Louvre and then we are going on a cruise of the Seine River.  It will be another full day!  I'm going to have to go home and rest up from this vacation!
Our group arriving at Guedelon

Inside one of the rooms

A decorated wall of the castle

The Seine taken during our boat cruise

Thursday, July 25, 2013

July 25

       Today was our longest and least interesting bus ride.  It was broken up by a few stops because the law is that a bus driver must have a 20 minute break after driving 2 hours.  Our lunch stop was at a supermarket/mall/cafeteria.  It was interesting to see that most of the things sold and the shops there were similar to what we have in the U.S.
       The drive was worth it though.  We arrived at our hotel in rural France about 5:30.  It is actually a renovated farmhouse built in 1862.  Our room is on the first floor and has double doors out onto the front porch.  We had dinner outside in the yard while a French couple sang and played the accordion all evening.  The kids played soccer and badminton and enjoyed the wonderful weather and the beautiful setting.  A very special evening.
     Tomorrow we are off to Paris for our last 2 days in Europe.  We will first make a stop to see a castle under construction which should be fascinating.  Each stop on the trip has been really special!  How blessed we are to have been able to experience this trip with our grandsons!
Our hotel

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

24 Hours in Switzerland

       As we were returning on the same train from Lauterbrunnen to Wengen that we rode yesterday we were talking about how amazing that was!!  This morning we took the gondola up to Manlichen and caught the train to Klein Scheidegg where we went on Rick Steve's favorite hike over to Wengernalp.   Before we started the hike we climbed up to the panoramic overlook which was spectacular!  While we were hiking up there a concrete truck & a Swiss helicopter truck passed us.  Then in a few minutes a helicopter flew in and landed.  The pilot off-loaded all his equipment and men who began filling a large container with concrete.  The pilot then began ferrying these containers down the mountainside where others were building avalanche fences.  All the guys were fascinated.
     Near the end of our hike the weather began to change.  It got really cool and began to lightly rain, so we caught the train back to Wengen to get warmer clothes.  There we bought a picnic lunch at the Co-op.   By the time we had finished lunch the sun came out and it began to warm up.  We caught the train to Lauterabrunnen, the gondola to Grutschalp, where we caught the train to Murren.  At Murren we took the gondola to Gimmelwald, and switched there to a gondola to Stechelberg where we began a hike back to Laterbrunnen.  The last gondola was quite thrilling as we descended over a cliff nearly 1500 feet.  We saw beautiful waterfalls on the hike and stopped to watch base jumpers and para sailors.  At Laterbrunnen we visited some shops and then boarded the 5:07 train back to Wengen.
       I'm sure you get the idea why we are amazed we have been here only 24 hours!
       We will be heading to a place near Beaunne, France for one night tomorrow.  As far as I can tell from the tour books and websites the Internet may be spotty or non existent from here on out so I will have to see whether I am able to post anymore on the trip.  It has been fabulous so far.

We often saw small towers of these flat rocks along the streams so the boys decided to see how large of a tower they could make

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

July 23

      We had a long bus ride today but it was broken up by a couple of interesting stops.  One of the was a small town, Fieldkirk (sp), Austria, for lunch.  We found a sandwich/bake shop where we had chicken schnitzel sandwiches with tartar sauce--very good! The town had a colorful outdoor market which we walked through afterwards.  I love the markets in Europe!
       Our trip from the hotel in Austria to our hotel in Switzerland took us through 4 countries--Germany, Lichtenstein, back into a corner of Austria and then to Switzerland.  The scenery was fantastic.  It rained really hard with hail an hour or so from our destination, but by the time we got to Wengen it had stopped and the sun came out.  There is a possibility of rain tomorrow but we have several things planned anyway.  We had dinner with our group at the hotel and then a couple of Swiss musicians entertained us with a Swiss horn, yodeling, and an accordion.
   The boys have made a new friend on the trip & the 3 of them have had lots of fun.  They rented bikes yesterday and rode down to the river near our hotel to explore.  This evening they have been exploring the village of Wengen.  I have enjoyed watching the interaction and the friendship develop.
     It has been a great trip and we still have a few days left.
Beautiful Flower Market in Fieldkirk

Boarding the train to Wengen--which has no automobile traffic

Our hotel--Hotel Falken in Wengen

Monday, July 22, 2013

July 22

       It is very difficult to keep track of days!  Is it Monday or Tuesday?  Whatever day it is we have had a wonderful day in Austria & Germany.  After breakfast we met our guide for a 3 mile hike to Neuwanstein (sp) Castle across the German border.  The walk was fantastic!  Much of it was along a beautiful, clear lake where we could see fish swimming many feet down.  After touring the castle we hiked up to a suspension bridge to take pictures of the castle and the surrounding valley, then we hiked along a beautiful gorge with a waterfall.  After a picnic lunch in town, our bus driver took us to the Tegelburg Luge.  What fun!!  The boys loved it and were able to go down 3 times.  We got back to the hotel around 3:30 where the boys rented mountain bikes and rode down to the river to play along the shore.  My pedometer says we have walked 9.88 miles (22,332 steps).  We had a delicious traditional Austrian dinner of schnitzel.
Our hotel in Austria--Gustof Schluxen

The suspension bridge

 Tomorrow we go to Switzerland for 2 nights.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Saturday in Venice

       A wonderful day in Venice and surrounding islands, Murano & Burano!  In conjunction with the Festa del Redentore we enjoyed a fantastic fireworks display last night at 11:30-12:10!  Amazing!!  Because it was so late and there were thousands--possibly hundreds of thousands of people there--we had to wait for a long time standing.  Daniel said, "If this isn't good, I'm going to wring Martin's neck (our tour guide who said we shouldn't miss it) when we get on the bus in the morning."  (We were all exhausted last night.). After it was over he agreed that Martin could live another day.  :o). It was well worth the loss of sleep and the crowded atmosphere!
      We're off to Austria today with a stop in Boltzano to see the Ice Man Museum.

At the fish market

Colorful Burano

Waiting for the fireworks to begin

Friday, July 19, 2013

Friday in Italy

      Another fun & interesting day in Italy.  We left the agritourismo in Tuscany this morning.  On our way to 2 nights in Venice we stopped at the American Cemetery in Florence where WWII veterans are buried.  It was a very moving experience.
       As we were about 20 minutes from the stop where we would catch the boat into Venice our bus broke down.  The tour guide was able to contact a company in Forence who had a bus in the area so we got to ride on an Italian bus, too.  (Ours is a Belgium bus.). The new bus had WiFi so we were glad to check our mail on the way our stop.
       After an orientation walk and dinner we took a moonlight gondola ride.
       The boys said Venice is their favorite place so far.

(I'm having a terrible time posting with my iPad.  I should have practiced before I left so please overlook my mistakes and my short explanations.  It takes me about 3 times as long to type anything!)

Our hotel in Venice-Al Piave
The boys' room in Venice

The keys to all our rooms in every hotel were exceptionally large so you would not be inclined to carry them with you, but instead to leave them at the desk

Thursday, July 18, 2013

So I guess I didn't figure it out.  Yesterday there was a picture posted.  Today on my display there is only a space where the picture is supposed be.  I'll have to keep experimenting when I have time.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Hopefully I have figured out how to post pictures

       We are now in Tuscany for 2 days after spending 3 days in Rome. While we were in Rome we visited the major sites -- the Sistine Chapel, the Vatican Museum, the Colosseum, the Parthenon,  Peter's Basilica, the Spanish Steps, the market at Campo di Fiori, and the Trastevere neighborhood, and spent time wandering through neighborhoods.  It was all very interesting.  The boys seem to be taking it all in and enjoying the experience.  Of course we are so glad to have the opportunity to share it with them!  I think I have figured out how to post pictures from the iPad.  The only problem is I must take them with the iPad but most I have taken with my camera.
        Tomorrow we will be taking a day trip into Florence.

At the Colosseum
The market at Campo de Fiori

The churches were beautiful!!

Church of St. Peter in Chains

Our hotel, which is an agrotourismo, in Tuscany

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

We're here!

We have arrived!  Even though it took our bags a day more to get here we are having a great time!
We walked 11 miles yesterday.  I took some great pictures but haven't figured out how to post them from the IPad to the blog.  Maybe soon.  Had fun at the market yesterday.  It was so colorful and interesting.  We're on our way to the colosseum in a few minutes.  Hopefully, I will have more time to post later.
All the rooms of our hotel were on the 5th floor of this building

Friday, July 12, 2013

I'm Finally Ready!

   Tomorrow we leave for a 2 week trip to Europe and I'm finally ready.  I have cleaned the house for those who will be housesitting while we're gone.   I've overwatered my houseplants so they can survive without adding extra work for our guests since they will be taking care of all the animals.  I want them to enjoy their time here so I pulled as many weeds from my flower gardens as I had time.  And I've been in the process of packing all week--thinking and re-thinking what I want to take. I keep checking the 10 day weather forecast to help me decide.  Packing is by far the worst thing about travel for me.  All advice is to pack as light as possible, but I would rather carry around extra things that I won't wear than to not have something I really wish I had.
     We are excited about this trip!  A few months ago we decided it would be a great graduation gift for our two high school age grandsons, even though one of them has a couple of years to go till graduation.  We thought they would enjoy it more together and it would be fun for us to spend time with the two of them.  After talking with the boys we decided on a Rick Steves' Best of Europe Family Tour.
    Tomorrow we are flying into Rome for an extra day before we join the tour so we can get adjusted  to the time and do a little extra site-seeing.  We'll be there 3 nights and then go to Tuscany for two nights with a day trip to Florence, then on to Venice (two nights), then to Reutte, Austria (2 nights), Wengen, Switzerland (2 nights), Beaune, France (1 night), and end our trip with 2 nights in Paris.
      A few years ago Country Guy and I took a Rick Steves' Tour of Italy which was one of the best trips we've ever taken.  His tour company provides transportation and finds the hotels.  The groups are much smaller than many tours--24-28 people and they are much more active--although you can choose your level of activity.  You have to carry your own suitcase--sometimes up several flights of stairs, but the hotels are usually locally owned so it is worth the effort because of the opportunity to learn more of the culture in the area.  Most stops on the tour are for two days with the first day usually organized with tours of some of the most famous attractions in the area and then the second day is usually free to sight see on your own.  We love this mixture of free time and organized time!
      I think the boys are excited--at least I hope so.  I know it will be a great memory-making time for us.  I'm sure I will be posting along the way if the hotels where we're staying have wi-fi and if I'm not too tired trying to keep up with 2 teenagers.  :o)

Unbelievable Little Kid Does a Trick Shot Video

This kid is amazing!

Thomas Paine Quote

"Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value. I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress and grow brave by reflection. 'Tis the business of little minds to shrink; but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death." --Thomas Paine in The American Crisis, 1776

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Race Hustlers and Double Standards

Read Mark Alexander's excellent article which was posted today on The Patriot Post.

Race Hustlers and Double Standards

Zimmerman, Deen and Racism in Black and White

 This racism double standard makes me so angry!!  Blacks are being exploited and they don't even realize it, but instead support those who are working against their best interests.  What is wrong with the people of this country?  Are we blind sheep following just any shepherd?  What will it take to wake us up?  Is it too late?  I pray not!

My Shoes [MAPS Film School]

My friend, Joyce, also sent me this link.  It is a powerful lesson on judging by appearances.  I thought you would enjoy it, too.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Francis Frangipane Quote

My friend, Joyce, sent this wise quote from Francis Frangipane:

"We will not find the glory of God by copying techniques or studying books. His presence cannot be entered by following manuals but by learning to follow Immanuel."  

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

I have always wondered why the Bible says this.

From Lois Tverberg's email newsletter:

Dyed-wool_linenMost Christians would agree — the levitical law that wins the prize for weird is Deuteronomy 22:11:“Do not wear clothes of wool and linen woven together.”
Why on earth did God make such an odd prohibition? I used to roll my eyes at this one.
In its ancient context, though, the law had a perfectly logical reasoning. Both the priestly garments and the tabernacle weavings were a combination of wool and linen. The priest’s white undergarment was linen, and the brightly colored vestment was wool. So it was prohibited for laypersons to dress in the same way. (Read the rest of the article at this link.)