We had the honor and privilege of attending our second wedding in two weekends. The venue was perfect for an outdoor ceremony followed by an indoor reception.
Driving on the beautiful back roads of Vacaville, California, we turned into a gravel road and were instructed to park in the open fields of this spacious ranch. Neither of us have been here before though we have driven by this location several times in the past years.
As we walked towards the crowd, we found our seats under some shade as the sun was beginning its descent. The gazebo was the focal point of the proceedings. The ceremony was concise and I am sure the family members in the first couple of rows were very thankful for that as they sat in the hot sun.
As we turned our attention to the reception, I saw an old friend standing in the shadows. She was a volunteer and I knew that I would catch up with her soon. During a break before the bride and groom reappeared, I stepped outside and bumped into my friend.
Then she told me some amazing facts about the Joyful Ranch.
Recently, the weather in our local region had been unpredictable. Temperatures into the high-90’s were sometimes replaced with blustery afternoons. Planning an outdoor wedding would stress any couple during this time of year.
It was my honor to witness a very special wedding this past weekend. Who says that a large wedding is reserved only for the younger people. Why not a loving couple who cultivated a long-standing friendship for twenty-plus years and surrounded by friends and family who have been a part of their lives and long-term relationship?
Well, that is exactly what happened this past Saturday afternoon.
Have you ever felt buried by problems and circumstances in your life?
Just like this tree overwhelmed by the copious amounts of snow at Lake Tahoe last month, I can identify with this crown. Problems seem to pile up at times and just like this tree, I struggle to keep my head above water (so to speak).
The good news is that when the snow melts in the spring or early summer, it will be standing tall to provide shade and a safe haven for nature as in past seasons.
Have you thought about how the base of the tree reacts to the freezing temperature of the packed snow? Do you ever feel that your problems seem to freeze you in a position that disables you from moving forward?
Lately, I have been reading many stories of life struggles. Some are my friends and others I have never met. We all have, are, and will experience life-changing events that will shape who we will become for the betterment of those around us.
That’s counterintuitive to say the least. Many ask the question, “How can something good come out of this?” Have you ever asked that question while in the midst of your challenge or struggle?
Sure, we have heard those phrases such as “When you hit rock bottom, there is no where else to go but up”. Resilient people, however, have a different mindset…. Continue reading “Resilience”
I was invited to submit an article for an upcoming book, a collection of stories focused on the topic of joy.
In this world of negativity, selfishness, and public media reporting on stories that stir up drama, I was honored to be selected as a contributing author. However, as with all articles of submission, the option for editing my story was highly suggested. The coordinators wanted each story to be well-written.
An email notification arrived a few weeks after the deadline. The instructions were clear – editing would be required for all submissions.
I was unsure at first because this was “my story” – why would I have someone potentially change “my” words at all? Would it change the intent of my story? Would my voice be changed by an unknown editor?
Then my cellphone notified me of an incoming call. It was the editor…
I had an amazingly inspirational time at my company’s annual convention last weekend. The lessons learned, trainings taught, and encounters with like-minded individuals gave me plenty to think about.
For example, I have been through a lot of tragedies in life yet somehow, by the grace of God, I was able to rise above the ashes and thrive. Some have put their proverbial arms around me at the right moments in my life to walk with me through the valleys that would hold anyone down for good. I appreciated their love and concern because without them, I would not be where I am today.
Have you ever had the chance to stay at a Ritz Carlton Hotel in any location? If you ever want pampering, this is a great oasis to visit. A bit extravagant, their rooms are immaculate, spacious, and a beautiful view that creates a dilemma to spend your entire stay in your temporary home or use it merely as a restful haven.
First, I learn about a good friend’s passing (a year after it happened). He was almost 55 years old at the time. Today, I attended a memorial service for a wife (of a beloved pastor) who suddenly passed away in her sleep – she too was almost 55 years old.
Why do they leave us so soon?
The memorial was moving as the room was filled with family and friends who loved her and the pastor. Although I have never met this person, hearing the many stories from close family and friends made me wish I had. I can see how her life impacted so many around her.
Do you remember your first tree top ornament of your very first Christmas tree? Is it packed away with all the other sentimental ornaments in that tattered box sitting in the corner of the closet? Perhaps you found it this year and put it on your tree as a reminder of the memories it still holds for you? Maybe it was lost, broken, or thrown away? Continue reading “That First Tree Topper…”
Ever wonder what it must feel like to be a bird flying through the air, manipulating the wind for the desired flight patterns, and to soar without a care in the world? It must be wonderful to take to the skies with the flapping of the wings and seeing the world from high above. Their unobstructed views must be spectacular while their eyes capture breathtaking pictures of life.
I may be over-simplifying the life of a bird as I am sure they have their own stresses to deal with such as feeding their young (not to mention themselves) and watching out for their own natural enemies. To think that it all began in an egg Continue reading “To Be Free Like A Bird”