Thursday, August 1, 2019

The Worst of Days /The Best of Days

Have you ever had one of those days where everything seems to go wrong and you can't wait for the day to end? How about a day filled with such extraordinary moments that you wish the day would never end?


                             The best of days in lovely Empire, Michigan. "MY NORTH" image

Yesterday was the worst of days. I could hardly breathe because of an allergy and asthma attack. I was suppose to go to work but I couldn't even get out of bed. My head was spinning in circles, my throat was sore, my eyes were tearing, and my nose was clogged. There were so many things I wish I could have accomplished yesterday but aside from walking to the nearby church to say a prayer and making a salad and eating it outdoors at a picnic table the rest of the day was spent sleeping in bed and watching a few very old television shows on "You Tube."  I felt miserable. I spent the entire day by myself not communicating with anyone except a brief moment with the church secretary who was closing the doors because she was finished working for the day. She told me it was fine to exit on my own since the doors locked automatically.  I prayed for several minutes and asked the dear LORD to brighten my day in some special way.

Well......yesterday is history. It's the kind of day I'm glad to have seen end BUT today, well today is another story. The dear LORD blessed me with an extraordinary day today. I took the bus to what GOOD MORNING AMERICA calls the most beautiful place in America' "SLEEPING BEAR DUNES NATIONAL LAKESHORE." From the moment I boarded the bus everything ran so smoothy I thought I was inside a fairytale living the life of Duchess Meghan Markle.

I'd been craving "oatmeal raisin cookies" all week but didn't have a chance to make them at home. Ironically the very first place I walked into was the Riverfront Deli in "Glen Arbor" the Gateway to "SLEEPING BEAR DUNES NATIONAL LAKESHORE" This deli had all kinds of mouth watering desserts. I was opting for the classic "seven layer bar" but among all  the other ready to eat desserts was one plate of homemade "oatmeal raisin cookies." These were the very last plate of oatmeal raisin cookies and I got them. I ate some immediately, absolutely delicious.

From Glen Arbor I rode my bicycle on the uphill and downhill Sleeping Bear Heritage trail that goes right through the "SLEEPING BEAR DUNES." The steep powdery dunes had several climbers and I would have attempted the climb myself except I still felt a bit out of breath. No worries, the bicycle ride was extremely enjoyable and I was able to spend a bit of time at North Bar Lake which wins the hearts of many for it's picture postcard scenery of Lake Michigan.

Empire, Michigan has always been my favorite. It's like a Norman Rockwell scene where things have stayed still for years and years. Just a simple Main Street with a couple of cafes, a  public library, and three down to earth shops. Beyond the Main Street is the breathtaking Empire Bluffs trail that makes you feel as if you're in Bermuda. A public beach just down the road from Main Street has not one but two lakes; the grand Lake Michigan and the smaller South Bar Lake. Everyone is mesmerized by water, water, everywhere and spectacular views of the sandy dunes.

For those that love submarine sandwiches the "Shipwreck Cafe" is the place to go.  They make and bake their own sandwich buns from scratch and each submarine is made uniquely. I got the "Lady Elgin" which is a veggie sub made with fresh cut vegetable and herb mayo. Truly one of the best submarine sandwiches I ever ate in my life. You can eat indoors or outdoors at "Shipwreck Cafe" or better yet why not take the sandwich to the beach? I'm thankful for eating this delicious sandwich on the beach overlooking Lake Michigan.

After eating my sandwich I swam for several minutes in the fresh cool waters of Lake Michigan. No salt or sharks in these waters. The Atlantic Ocean has a competitor. On Lake Michigan you can kayak, paddle board, and swim. EMPIRE BEACH is a standout and the crowds get bigger every year.

So although yesterday was the worst of days today was the best of days. I didn't have to drive to the "Sleeping Bear Dunes" because the bus was only $3.75 round trip and I could sit back and enjoy the scenery.  I did all the outdoor activities I love, and got to eat a yummy sandwich and melt in your mouth oatmeal raisin cookies. I met amazing people and enjoyed "America's Most Beautiful Place" all day long.

Please share if the worst of days turned into the best of days for you. It's amazing how each day has something different to offer us. SEIZE those sweet precious moments that bring bliss and blessings!


       These oatmeal raisin cookies from Riverfront Deli in Glen Arbor taste heavenly.


HAPPY SUMMER WHEREVER YOU ARE!

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

It's a mystery why life isn't fair.





She just couldn't stop bragging about herself and her life. The middle- aged woman carried on and on about how charmed her family's life was. I listened to her and confirmed to her how wonderful her life is. I don't know the woman's name, I met her early last month when I was sampling cookies at a market I work at. I'll refer to her as "Ms. JOY"

Ms. JOY and I started chatting about her cookie business  She was spending the summer away from her big family home in the city and summering at her lakeside cottage. Since her daughters are now at prestigious universities she has plenty of time to bake cookies at her summer cottage. Oh....I should mention that Ms. JOY is the ultimate cookie baker and has a special art of baking like nobody else. When she's not relaxing at the private beach, golfing at the country club, or on her yacht she likes to make cookies and sell them at the farmer's market for $2.00 each (for some pocket change).

Ms. JOY and her family have lived in several countries around the world (expenses paid) because her husband has "a very important job and makes lots of money." Ms, JOY is so proud of her amazing life. She doesn't really seem to care much about anybody else's. Why should she? She's too busy boasting about her own charmed life. 

Shortly after Ms. JOY finished talking to me and walked away with her high self esteem a man in a wheelchair appeared. He had a big smile on his face. I noticed he had only one leg and some of his fingers were missing on his left hand. I felt sad to see this but the man didn't seem to have any pity on himself. He greeted me with "Hello, how are you on this lovely day?" We chatted for a few minutes and he was so inspiring and terrific to talk to. I gave him an extra cookie as I tried to fight the tears and ask myself "Why is life so unfair?"

Perhaps because I'm so sensitive I have a hard time dealing with the unfairness of life. Yes, there are those that have worked very hard to accomplish what they have. They were determined, driven, and focused. Some had a supportive family and lots of money to help them along. However I know plenty of other people myself included that "paid their dues in life"and lived with integrity but for some reason the right opportunities in life didn't come their way and they do their best to get by day to day. How about the children who are diagnosed with cancer and have only a few months to live?  a stillborn baby that never had a chance to even have a day of life? What about abusive relationships, family conflicts, lack of funds? There are those that truly suffer and that's why I conclude that "IT'S A MYSTERY WHY LIFE ISN"T FAIR.

In moments when we feel discouraged by life's obstacles it's important to count our blessings because even though life is filled with unfairness there are still things to be grateful for. Take moments everyday to find things to be thankful and grateful for like being able to hear and see, having shelter, food, and water, being able to walk and talk. By finding things to be grateful for I find that my moments of dwelling on life "being unfair" makes me appreciate the blessings that life does have.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Eat a Brownie in the Moment!


I really envy the people that get a care-free summer. I had a few of them myself and I know how good it feels to free oneself from major responsibilities. Yesterday was one of those rare days that I had the almost perfect day. I had the day off and said "the heck with my piles of work, I'm having fun." With no planned itinerary I drove to a idyllic small town that felt like a dream; gingerbread cottages dotted along a crystal lake with a bicycle trail, a public beach with powdery sand, a lush green park with outdoor games, and a quaint Main Street with non pretentious shops and restaurants.



                                   Summer Fun on Crystal Lake!

The whole place was as sweet as summer lemonade. Strangers smiling and saying hello, the sound of church bells in the distance, a band playing music in the town square, and a cloudless blue sky up above.  People were enjoying life and taking advantage of the lovely summer day in late July.All my stresses were melting away as I rode my bicycle around the fairytale setting and took a swim in the tranquil waters where I could see the bottom crystal clear. There were more adventures ahead; blueberry picking, paddle boarding....but now it was time for a bit of lunch. So...to make things simple I went into a cafe to get a homemade potato salad and a made from scratch bagel.  A lot of carbs I know.....but I'm not dieting and we need carbs in our diet too. Now the ultimate splurge was a
decadent brownie inside a dream like cafe with dessert galore. What was I do choose? The BROWNIE oozing with chocolate and nuts won my heart.

Sitting under a shady tree facing CRYSTAL LAKE, I indulged in the moist brownie filled with walnuts and hints of coffee and thanked GOD for my glorious day.

If you like chocolate......
take some moments to EAT A BROWNIE.




     




Saturday, July 20, 2019

The Miracle Shoes


TEN YEARS AGO:

I heard a story about two young African sisters who shared the same pair of shoes. Each would take turns walking barefoot to school and back so that the other could wear the shoes. The parents were just too poor to afford shoes for both daughters. Time went on.....then one day a wealthy American woman was visiting the village where the girls lived. By chance the three of them met and talked. This American woman was enchanted by the sweet girls and told them she would like to give them a gift.....whatever they felt would make them happy. She expected them to ask for something like a mobile phone but no....all these sisters asked for was a pair of shoes so that they wouldn't have to share the same pair anymore. The American woman was so humbled by their simple request that she said to them "Girls....I'm going to give you enough money so that each of you can afford a pair of shoes for the rest of your lives."

YESTERDAY:

I went to the shoe aisle at a store I work at to see if by chance the shoes I've wanted since early June were around. They were too expensive in early June and by early July there was a price reduction on them but all that was left were small sizes. However to my surprise one box was sitting off to the side and it was the shoes I loved in a size 8 (which is my shoe size) Sofie who worked in the department said "These are the very last pair left, somehow they ended up here. Check if they fit." The size 8 shoes (which is my shoe size) fit perfectly.....I felt like Cinderella.

To me this was a miracle. I stand all day on my feet at work, I bicycle and walk almost everywhere since I haven't owned a car in years. A pair of comfortable shoes for only $9.50 was truly a gift from the universe since I haven't been able to find a good pair of shoes in my budget for months. Sometimes.....it's the simple things in life, like a comfortable pair of shoes that can make a difference.

Just like those sisters in Africa I too felt blessed by a pair of:

MIRACLE SHOES!!

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Airplane Pilots are my Heroes

December 17, 1903 was the first controlled, sustained flight in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina by the Wright Brothers, Orville & Wilbur. Aviation has come a long way since then. Today there are an average of 100,000 flights per day, globally.

Every few minutes a plane is taking off somewhere in the world and never has flying around the globe become so advanced. Do you like to fly? Do you have a fear of flying? Have you been able to fly to different places? I love to travel but I also have a fear of flying. You never know what can happen once you're up in the air but flying is the safest mode of transportation and that's why airplane pilots are my heroes.

Airplane pilots are my heroes because without them I wouldn't be able to fly to different countries around the globe. Airplane pilots log in lots of flying hours, they have to get us safely to our destination and know hot to handle emergency situations. Every time I get off an airplane safely I'm forever grateful to the dedicated and harworking pilots. Air traffic controllers are my heroes too.

Next time you fly remember all the peoplewho make flying possible, the air traffic controllers,maintenace technicians, and the pilots.  AVIATION is a fascinating industry and this past week I've spent hours learning lots of valuable information about AVIATION. 

Interesting Facts:

A commercial aircraft flies at an average speed of 800 kilometers per hour.

A Boeing 747 is made up of six million parts.

More than 80% of the population is afraid of flying.

Pilots eat a different meal; the pilot and co-pilot must eat different entrees served on the plane to guard against cases of food poisoning.

Only 5% of the world's population has ever flown on an airplane.

The lifespan of an airliner is not measured in time but on pressurization cycles.

KLM Dutch Airlines is the oldest airline in the world, estalished in 1919.

The Tenerife disaster in 1977 was the deadliest accident in aviation history. It involved a collision of two passenger jets, KLM Flight 4805 and PAN AM Flight 1736. The planes collided on the runway at Los Rodeos Airport (now Tenerife North Airport) on the Spanish island of Teneife, Canary Islands.



Saturday, December 29, 2018

Salvation Army Christmas Moments









There's one thing I have to do every Christmas; volunteer for the SALVATION ARMY. Whether it's wrapping presents for children, preparing meals, or ringing the bells for the red kettle I so much enjoy being part of a the SALVATION ARMY. Every Christmas season I'm touched by people's stories about how the SALVATION ARMY helped them in their time of need. 

Last week when I got on the city bus the woman driver asked me where I needed to go. I replied the "SALVATION ARMY." I was her only passenger and for several minutes she spoke of  a difficult time her mother, sister, and she experienced while living in Dallas. It was the SALVATION ARMY that provided her family with comforts. She was delighted that she was dropping me off at the SALVATION ARMY building and mentioned that she always donates money to the SALVATION ARMY because of how kind they were to her many years ago.

The following day was one of the coldest days of the year. I volunteered to be a bell ringer that evening outside a  local supermarket. Every few minutes a person or people would appear and place money in the kettle. Where did they come from? The parking lot was empty.  Christmas miracles aren't uncommon and that evening felt as if it was touched by the angeles.

Merry Christmas! December 25, celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ!


MERRY CHRISTMAS!




Saturday, December 1, 2018

Swedish Bakery Moments in Sweden

The Swedes are quite the bakers. Their pastries aren't overloaded with sugar. A visit to Sweden must include an early morning indulgence of a pastry and cup of coffee, preferably a cappucino. While recently spending time in Malmo in southern Sweden I made a visit to a neighborhood bakery called Gateau and had an extraordinary kanelbullar (cinnamon roll) with a delightful cup of cappucino. My visit to Gateau Bakery was one of the best bakery moments of my entire life. Sitting in a cozy bakery near the sea and having my very first authentic kanelbullar (cinnamon roll) and sampling other pastries that were displayed on the counter for sampling by the kind staff which was a sweet moment indeed.
                                               Famous Kanelbullar; Swedish Cinnamon Rolls
   
In life it's wonderful to be left with moments of pleasant experiences we've had. As I sit in my tiny studio apartment during the darkest days of the year I'm reflecting on that early warm November day in Malmo, Sweden at the bakery. I'm inspired now to make a homemade bash of Swedish cardamon/cinnamon rolls and warm the hearts of the people I'll bring these pastries to this month.