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Christmas Story The Gold Wrapping Paper

 

 

THE GOLD WRAPPING PAPER – An Inspiring Christmas Story

Once upon a time, there was a man who worked very hard just to keep food on the table for his family. This particular year a few days before Christmas, he punished his little five-year-old daughter after learning that she had used up the family’s only roll of expensive gold wrapping paper.

As money was tight, he became even more upset when on Christmas Eve he saw that the child had used all of the expensive gold paper to decorate one shoebox she had put under the Christmas tree. He also was concerned about where she had gotten the money to buy what was in the shoebox.

Nevertheless, the next morning the little girl, filled with excitement, brought the gift box to her father and said, “This is for you, Daddy!”

As he opened the box, the father was embarrassed by his earlier overreaction, now regretting how he had punished her.

But when he opened the shoebox, he found it was empty and again his anger flared. “Don’t you know, young lady,” he said harshly, “when you give someone a present, there’s supposed to be something inside the package!”

The little girl looked up at him with sad tears rolling from her eyes and whispered: “Daddy, it’s not empty. I blew kisses into it until it was all full.”

The father was crushed. He fell on his knees and put his arms around his precious little girl. He begged her to forgive him for his unnecessary anger.

An accident took the life of the child only a short time later. It is told that the father kept this little gold box by his bed for all the years of his life. Whenever he was discouraged or faced difficult problems, he would open the box, take out an imaginary kiss, and remember the love of this beautiful child who had put it there.

In a very real sense, each of us has been given an invisible golden box filled with unconditional love and kisses from our children, family, friends and God. There is no more precious possession anyone could hold.
Author anonymous

Christmas Story The Man who Hated Christmas

 

Christmas Story: For the Man Who Hated Christmas
By Nancy W. Gavin

It’s just a small, white envelope stuck among the branches of our Christmas tree. No name, no identification, no inscription. It has peeked through the branches of our tree for the past ten years.

It all began because my husband Mike hated Christmas. Oh, not the true meaning of Christmas, but the commercial aspects of it – overspending and the frantic running around at the last minute to get a tie for Uncle Harry and the dusting powder for Grandma – the gifts given in desperation because you couldn’t think of anything else.

Knowing he felt this way, I decided one year to bypass the usual shirts, sweaters, ties and so forth. I reached for something special just for Mike. The inspiration came in an unusual way.

Our son Kevin, who was 12 that year, was on the wrestling team at the school he attended. Shortly before Christmas, there was a non-league match against a team sponsored by an inner-city church. These youngsters, dressed in sneakers so ragged that shoestrings seemed to be the only thing holding them together, presented a sharp contrast to our boys in their spiffy blue and gold uniforms and sparkling new wrestling shoes.

As the match began, I was alarmed to see that the other team was wrestling without headgear, a kind of light helmet designed to protect a wrestler’s ears. It was a luxury the ragtag team obviously could not afford.

Well, we ended up walloping them. We took every weight class. Mike, seated beside me, shook his head sadly, “I wish just one of them could have won,” he said. “They have a lot of potential, but losing like this could take the heart right out of them.” Mike loved kids – all kids. He so enjoyed coaching little league football, baseball and lacrosse. That’s when the idea for his present came.

That afternoon, I went to a local sporting goods store and bought an assortment of wrestling headgear and shoes, and sent them anonymously to the inner-city church. On Christmas Eve, I placed a small, white envelope on the tree, the note inside telling Mike what I had done, and that this was his gift from me.

Mike’s smile was the brightest thing about Christmas that year. And that same bright smile lit up succeeding years. For each Christmas, I followed the tradition – one year sending a group of mentally handicapped youngsters to a hockey game, another year a check to a pair of elderly brothers whose home had burned to the ground the week before Christmas, and on and on.

The white envelope became the highlight of our Christmas. It was always the last thing opened on Christmas morning, and our children – ignoring their new toys – would stand with wide-eyed anticipation as their dad lifted the envelope from the tree to reveal its contents. As the children grew, the toys gave way to more practical presents, but the small, white envelope never lost its allure.

The story doesn’t end there. You see, we lost Mike last year due to dreaded cancer. When Christmas rolled around, I was still so wrapped in grief that I barely got the tree up. But Christmas Eve found me placing an envelope on the tree. And the next morning, I found it was magically joined by three more. Unbeknownst to the others, each of our three children had for the first time placed a white envelope on the tree for their dad. The tradition has grown and someday will expand even further with our grandchildren standing to take down that special envelope.

Mike’s spirit, like the Christmas spirit will always be with us.

Does being rich make you happy?

Does being rich make you happy? Here are several opinions on being happy and rich or both. none of which I have written but we all at sometime see to have been running on empty trying to discover our purpose to happiness.Enjoy and comment if you like. 

No, it is an illusion that money makes you happier. The happiness that comes from having money is not real happiness, it just makes you think that you are happier than someone who doesn’t have money.

This is due to the nature of our current culture. Presently the predominant idea is that enjoyment is equivalent to happiness, but this is a mistake. Enjoyment is achieved through the mind and senses, but happiness is experienced in the heart.

Money is seen as protection against misfortune and gives the illusion that we can control material nature and bend it to our will. This illusion of control is very powerful and many people see money as a way to control events, but actually this is not the case even though externally it seems as though it is.

In order to be happy at all, one has to first be peaceful. A person who is under stress and in anxiety cannot be peaceful. Heads of giant corporations are not peaceful, nor are heads of government. Undoubtedly they have great power, but what are the sources of happiness available to them?

The five senses offer some avenue for happiness, but on close inspection the happiness from sense gratification is simply negating an unpleasant condition. That is, we go from the negative to zero.

You can’t enjoy a meal if you are not hungry, you can’t enjoy sex unless you have the desire for sex, you can’t enjoy a film unless you want to watch the film. If your child has been missing for a day and you don’t know where they are, how can you watch a film peacefully, or enjoy a meal or have sex? There is no desire for these activities so they are not enjoyable. The enjoyment rests on fulfilling the desire. If the desire is not there, then there is no enjoyment.

Wanting something you don’t have is not enjoyable. What is enjoyable is fulfilling the desire. So first we need to have an unfulfilled desire which is not enjoyable (negative) and then we deal with the desire by fulfilling it which just brings us back to zero, it doesn’t advance us past that. We stay peaceful for a while, but then another desire comes up, and then another. No matter how much money a person has, the desires increase proportionately. Instead of wanting a motorbike in place of a bicycle a person wants a private jet instead of travelling on an airline. It is the same mechanism of desiring and then fulfilling the desire.

A ruler wants to conquer his neighbouring country, then another, then the whole continent and then the whole world. The desires never stop. Having conquered the whole world a ruler then has to worry over keeping control of it – more anxiety, more stress and no peace.

A peaceful person is happy with what they have. It may increase or decrease, but they stay happy with whatever they have. They do not desire more, and they do not lament for what they have lost. This is the baseline for happiness, and pretty much everyone who has enough food to eat and a roof over their head, can achieve it, if they learn to control their desires.

Desires are unruly things and pop up out of the blue and often refuse to go away. But a happy person learns to subordinate the incessant stream of desires to a primary desire that they can indulge without it becoming stale or uninteresting.

If all you want to do is wake up each day and chant AUM until it’s time to sleep again not much will interfere with your enjoyment. But who can do that?

We have an innate desire to be active and do things. There is much pressure on us from advertisers to do things we enjoy. This invariably means spending money. People don’t advertise taking a walk in the park, they advertise buying their product or their holiday packet or their services. This makes us think we need money to be happy. But a simple examination of reality will show that we are happiest when we are doing something to make someone else happy. This is because we are by nature servants. Everyone is serving someone else or some cause or some desire of the senses.

The military is all about fighting and defending, and we say ‘serve in the military’ and ‘military service’. The businessman serves his customer. The police force serve and protect. The husband serves the wife and the wife serves the husband. Doctors serve their patients, the ruler serves the citizens by protecting them, and the citizens serve the ruler by paying taxes. There is so much service going on but few people like to introduce themselves as servants. Whatever position we have that indicates there are others below us, that is what we like to present. “Head of this or that”, “Chief Executive or Chief Financial something or other”, “I run my own business,” “I’m in charge of …”, “I am responsible for …” We say all these things because we don’t like people to think of us as just servants, but we are, and we are happiest when we serve someone else.

Who we serve makes a big difference because we want our service to be appreciated, but now we have desires again which need to be fulfilled, so to be truly happy we have to serve with no expectation of reward. This is now in the realm of love. When we love someone we want the best for them, and even if they don’t appreciate our service to them, we don’t mind. Some parents have this capacity, but children grow up, so then who will they serve when the children are gone. Husbands and wives depend on each other’s recognition of their service to each other, it is a rare marriage where one or other party is indifferent to their spouse’s attitude towards them while they are trying their best to serve them nicely. So this is not ideal. Often it’s the best you can hope for but it calls for compromise on both sides.

So the concept is not that we need money to be happier, but that we need someone to serve, someone that we love enough that even if they don’t recognize us we don’t mind, someone who won’t grow up and leave us, someone who is worth serving, and someone for whom we can subordinate all our smaller desires.

As luck would have it, money is not required for happiness.

From the stories of Heinrich Boll:

One day a fisherman was lying on a  beautiful beach, with his fishing pole propped up in the sand and his  solitary line cast out into the sparkling blue surf. He was enjoying the  warmth of the afternoon sun and the prospect of catching a fish.
About that time, a businessman came  walking down the beach trying to relieve some of the stress of his  workday. He noticed the fisherman sitting on the beach and decided to  find out why this fisherman was fishing instead of working harder to  make a living for himself and his family. “You aren’t going to catch  many fish that way,” said the businessman. “You should be working rather  than lying on the beach!”
The fisherman looked up at the businessman, smiled and replied, “And what will I get if I do that?”
“Well, you can get bigger nets and catch more fish!” was the businessman’s answer.
“And then what will I get?” asked the fisherman, still smiling.
The businessman replied, “You will make more  money and you’ll be able to buy a boat, which will then result in larger  catches of fish!”
“And then what will I get?” asked the fisherman again.
The businessman was beginning to get a  little irritated with the fisherman’s questions. “You can buy a bigger  boat, and hire some people to work for you!” he said.
“And then what will my I get?” repeated the fisherman.
The businessman was getting angry. “Don’t  you understand? You can build up a fleet of fishing boats, sail all  over the world, and let all your employees catch fish for you!”
Once again the fisherman asked, “And then what will I get?”
The businessman was red with rage and  shouted at the fisherman, “Don’t you understand that you can become so  rich that you will never have to work for your living again! You can  spend all the rest of your days sitting on this beach, looking at the  sunset. You won’t have a care in the world!”
The fisherman, still smiling, looked up and said, “And what do you think I’m doing right now?”



The world describes happiness by equating it with money. Its when we stop chasing the world’s definition of happiness, we begin to  recognize that the ways to experience happiness have been right in front  of us all along.

There’s an oft-cited study out there that says money does buy you happiness — but only up until a certain point. It says that after you make $75,000 per year, increasing your income is not going to make you any “happier.”

“The hardest thing to find in life is happiness, money is only hard to find because it gets wasted trying to find happiness”

Happiness comes with the stuffs money cannot buy. But money can serves a path to reach to your aim of happiness. Money is only medium but ultimate key resides in ones hand to skillfully utilize their resource to find happiness.

Happiness may be found in poor cottage also

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So argument here is money can buy happiness but not always and without money also life can be happier. It’s all desire to have something which you don’t have, makes you unhappy. So try to be content with whatever you have, life will be lot easier.

Here are five beliefs about happiness that actually make us unhappy:

Belief 1: I need other people’s approval to be happy.

Do you often do things only to please other people?

Human beings are driven by “social proof.” Approval is extremely important to us.

We wait to buy the latest gadgets to look cool. We attend boring office parties to fit in. We don’t pursue our dreams because our families don’t approve.

But just ask yourself: Are these actions (or inactions) bringing you any real happiness?

The pursuit of approval is very different from the pursuit of happiness. Let’s not fail to distinguish between the two.

Belief 2: I will be happy when I have…

…a bigger house, a promotion, a baby, awards, respect, those designer shoes!

The reason why this belief is so strong is because it’s partly true. Yes, you will feel happy when you get promoted or buy a house.

The question is: Is this happiness lasting?

While you will escape your landlord’s ranting, you will have to pay new taxes and spend good money maintaining your new house.

Each level of accomplishment will bring its own set of problems.

Belief 3: I can’t be happy unless everything goes right.

Have you ever lost your luggage on a vacation? It upsets everything, doesn’t it?

Instead of enjoying the charms of a wonderful new city (or countryside), you’re running around buying clothes and other stuff, wondering if the airline will ever return your luggage.

That’s what happened on a vacation with my family.

Strangely, now when we think about that vacation, the trouble we faced because of the lost luggage doesn’t bother us. We just talk about the wonderful time we had.

The vacation didn’t have to be perfect. The only thing that really mattered to us was that we had an opportunity to have a great time together.

Think about it: are vacations, parties, dates, or any other special occasions everperfect? If something goes wrong does that mean the entire trip or evening is a failure?

Yes, it is a failure, but only if you believe so.

Let’s extend the discussion further: Is anything in life ever perfect? We have ups and downs every day.

Life is imperfect—perhaps that’s what make it more interesting!

Belief 4: I can’t be happy because of what’s happened in the past.

The past controls us in mysterious ways.

You might have lost a loved one to misunderstanding or death. You might have failed to achieve your dreams. As a result, you may have developed one of these beliefs: “I am not meant to find happiness” or “It’s not my destiny to be happy.”

Personally, I haven’t lost much in life, but I know someone who has. I used to wonder how she could enjoy life despite such tragedies, until she revealed her simple secret…

She believes that she has the right to be happy, despite her past misfortunes.

Your past doesn’t control your future unless you let it. Millions have turned their lives around. If they can be happy, why can’t you?

Belief 5: Happiness is not a habit that can be learned.

Can you actually learn to be happy? Like learning baseball or the guitar?

Yes. Happiness is a skill—one that you build through a number of daily choices.

Numerous studies have indicated that people who are happier have certain habits: they exercise, meditate, pay attention to their relationships, pursue their goals diligently, lead balanced lives, are grateful.

Research shows that by thwarting negative emotions, such as pessimism, resentment, and anger, and fostering positive emotions, such as empathy, serenity, and gratitude, the brain can be trained to become happier.

Happiness does not depend on fate; it depends on our habits—habits that anyone can learn.

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Money alone can’t buy happiness. If you are rich and spend unnecessarily, sooner or later you will see yourself in trouble. There are millionaires (or even billionaires) who finds themselves in the middle of financial suffocation. But you can be extremely happy being a common man who is spending wisely and saving for future to meet all possible contingencies. So happiness is a function of both money and how you handle it.

But lack of money never brings happiness rather it certainly buys misery.

If you are not unhappy, it is because you have enough money to meet common requirements. You may not appreciate your happiness every day, but when you lack it you will feel the pain out of it every minute.

Money is equivalent to oxygen. We doesn’t often think about it when it’s around, but once you suffocate, you will crave for a breathe.

If you’ve ever been on the bones of your arse you will know having money will make you happier.

I came from a poor family with hand me down clothes and sometimes a very aggressive parent who preferred spending money on alcohol over food.

Money could have made my situation a lot better.

I have since grown up and now earn more then enough money. I have found though that it will only increase your happiness to a certain point.

I’m now in the top 0.1% of earners in the world. That figure though isn’t as impressive as it sounds.

The chances are if you’re reading this you’re probably in the top 1% of earners in the world and you are rich.

You only have to earn $32,400 USD to be richer then 7,425,000,000 people.

If that’s not enough you can reach the top 0.1% by earning only another $50,000 a year. Approximately $80,000 a year.

You’re now joining a very illustrious club of 750,000 other people globally.

So let’s take a look at this question again.

Does being rich bring you happiness?

Susan Morwood

What is Retirement?

 

 

Almost retired!!

 

This past summer  we had the great pleasure to take my parents out for lunch to the New Westminster Quay.It is the retirement people from Pilkington Glass where my father had worked for many years and supported his family in a great way. I am truly thankful to him and Pilkington Glass which technically doesn’t exist except for the pension and charity offices in St. Helen’s England which is about 25 minutes by car from Liverpool.  One of the people in attendance was a Mr. Morgan from Liverpool and he works on the pensions and finances. Lovely man looked amazingly like one of my favorite British singers, Phil Collins.

The meal was lovely I had a crab cob salad. Everyone’s meal was exquisite. The people who attended were very few I might add there are very few left of the crew who worked for the original Pilks as my dad calls it sometimes.  A lady Christine Clinton, no relationship to Bill. Flew in from Peterborough Ontario and another lady who lives in Surrey and one other from Burnaby. There are quite a few more but they are too frail to make the journey to the luncheon.  We did manage to locate a wife of an old work mate of my dad’s Charlotte she is still living and is 95 in Montreal. And another one who usually comes is now 100 years old and lives in Richmond so he couldn’t make it.

It is wonderful that these few people keep in touch with each other which we all need to keep in mind as we move on and seek other jobs and friendships, don’t forget those whom we have spent time with over the years we may need these people even if it is just to say hi and have some to talk to.

Thanks Dad for a lovely afternoon and for the wonderful lunch out with some new acquaintances

A little note on the side bar is to say I am so looking forward to spending time with Isis.

 

 

The Sound of a Human Voice

The Sound of the Human Voice

 

 

by Madisyn Taylor

 

Every time we use our voices, we send our energetic imprint out into the universe and to the people around us.

Whether listening to the low muted murmur of a confidential whisper or the proud declarative boom coming from behind a mic on the podium, there are few sounds more evocative than the human voice. Each human being’s voice has a unique tone that is all its own. Carrying their own signature traits and idiosyncrasies, no two voices are alike.

Yet so often, we neglect to hear these resonances under which our spoken words are floated over. A lover’s voice vibrating with tenderness can feel like a warm caress touching the body; words spoken over an angry voice can seem like bullets hitting one’s auric field; and a voice tinged with laughter can’t help but fill us with good feelings. And then there are the voices of other people we encounter. The radio announcer’s soothing baritone that accompanies us during a long ride, the cheerful chatter of children playing on the street, and the dulcet hum of a yogi in mid-mantra are just a few of the voices we may be blessed to hear on any given day. Taken together, they’re like a wondrous symphony of mellifluous notes.

Every time we use our voices, we send our energetic imprint out into the universe and to the people around us. And, like the words that we use when we speak to people, our voices can communicate what we are feeling, what we desire, and what we really mean. There is no hiding our truth that can be felt through the sound of our voices. Timidity, desire, pain, and love can all be expressed and felt through the human voice. Our voices also have the power to heal, to hurt, to love, and to transform others. When we are aware of the impact our voices can have, we can consciously choose what we are expressing. Remember that what you communicate when you speak goes beyond words. Take responsibility for the power your voice has to impact the space and the people around you, and let your voice be a sound that creates harmony and compassion in the universe.

 

NO Laughing Matter

 

 Dole and his staff know that age discrimination is no laughing matter.

 But Dole and his staff know the age issue is no laughing matter.• 

But it is no laughing matter.• But the issue of physicians and their handwriting is no laughing matter.

 I am a gout sufferer, and it’s no laughing matter.

 The second Fleet Street sensation was no laughing matter.• 

They looked as though they knew already that life was no laughing matter.• This Jell-O-head business is no laughing matter.• It is no laughing matter, however.

Hero Parenting Protecting Your kids from Trolls

Hero Parenting: Protecting Your Kids From Trolls

In fairy tales, trolls lived under bridges or in caves. Today trolls lurk in the open on any website with a ‘send’ button. Our kids are online and while we cannot hope to stay ahead of them technology-wise, we can share our tips on how to protect our children from online bullies and trolls.

1: Don’t feed the trolls!

The difference between legitimate trash talk and trolling is very hard to determine. Let your children know that fun, friendly banter is okay to participate in but one sided harsh and disrespectful behavior should not be tolerated. Let your kids know that ignoring trolls will cause them to leave you alone much faster than engaging them will. Like stray cats, trolls that get fed keep coming back.

2: Blocking is your friend!

Many games allow you to block or ban users from playing games with you. Let your children know it is okay to block or ban players who engage in trolling, adult conversation, use of profanity, or any behavior or language that makes your child feel uncomfortable. Even if the child knows the person in real life, they can and should block or ban them if that person is behaving like a bully.

3: You can get a new name!

A lot of people forget that they can always get a new account or user name if they are being singled out. If your child is being bullied online, unfairly targeted, or treated in any way that is not polite then let them know they can change accounts or names to ditch the people harassing them. Despite what other sites or people might tell you, reporting bullies only makes problems worse for your child. In a perfect world it wouldn’t, but in our world it does. So rather than paint a bigger target on your child by having them report people, they would be better served by getting a new account and avoiding the people who cause problems.

am I too old to have a dog?

When are we too old to have a dog? Getting a Puppy at any age?   I got myself puppy at retirement age and have found him to be great company for me. Even though he is such a handful. I have had someone make comments on how much of a job and commitment it is to do this at my age. Oscar has been great companion for me since I am along now and he is such great company and giving me lots of exercise. Now I can exercise at least twice a week and just wear him out. I am trying to exercise to get prepared to go for the Marathon in San Francisco. It is another challenge and to walk on my own is a challenge, you just never know if there will be some who doesn’t care for the dogs. About a month ago I was walking in the park allowing Oscar to run and play  get his energy to wear out when there was a young boy who loved playing with Oscar and they were having a great time and then the little boy tripped and fell. And he started to cry and of course the mother became frantic about   how Oscar made him cry. Well Oscar did touch the little boy and the mother said she would take my picture and call the police and would make sure they knew all about the horrible difficult dog. I volunteered to allow her to take my picture and made a big smile and then she was talking to the RCMP as she said but wouldn’t allow them to talk to me. So I took off for home so she wouldn’t follow me home. She did follow my friend home who was with me and tried to found out where I lived. Instead I made it home and she didn’t find out where I lived. The mother called the dog catcher and went to see the friend whom I was walking with and wanted me to get in touch with her.   So I didn’t ever see these people again. I think they were visiting someone around here. Oscar has never bit anyone he has been such a great little friend and company for me. I need to say age doesn’t matter. I find him to tie me down sometimes. I initially bought him so we could let him be company on my acreage at the lovely log house in Boundary Creek New Brunswick. Someday I will return there again and keep me company there. So age doesn’t matter to me.  Age is just a number.sorry about making you stand on your head. technology!!This is grandma and her puppy dog. Oscar

For those who love us

I read this funny little poem in the church newspaper today and thought I should share it with my loyal readers.Titled FOR THOSE WHO LOVE US.

May those who love us always love us.

And those who don’t love us May God turn their hearts.

And if He doesn’t turn their hearts

May He turn their ankles

So we’ll know them by their limping.

Author unknown but had to share.

 

Bucket List

Selfishly I got to mark another “thing” off my bucket list. I had never been asked to stand up for anyone in their wedding party and here today I was the “Matron” of honor. Go Figure.  It was a wonderful service; the music was ideal and the amount of people present just right. Two of my favorite hymns , Amazing Grace and How Great thou art. Both of them bring tears to my eyes. Luckily, I remembered to pocket a tissue.

The numbers at the wedding were initially going to be the Tuesday Morning Service groupies and that is how we all became so close. My dad read the prayers of the People at the ceremony, Erika read the bible reading and Joan and David, after they were united in Marriage assisted with communion. It was all very beautiful.

This couple, individually, one divorced and the other widowed became friends through their going to the same church. David is a business owner, and Joan is retired nurse. She is a graduate of St. Pauls’ school of nursing and she became a widow about a year ago,. She has 6 children, one came to the wedding ceremony. I guess they had their reasons.  We are not supposed to judge one another, we are to be mindful of each other’s feelings and needs and respect them. So, that is something they will have to deal with over time. Now the groom Michael is almost young enough to be Ann’s son, so age is just a number. They share so much in common and appreciate each other’s interests.

Not everyone has this sort of item on a bucket list . It is usually a trip to an exotic location or meet some celebrity but this was something I never thought would happen since I am after all a senior citizen.

Here are a few of the things and places to go on my bucket list

  • Trip to Rio De Janerio
  • Move into my house in New Brunswick
  • Go to Spain for 5 months of the year
  • Help my grandson come over to Canada for a visit.

These are just a few . I have many more but not willing to share with you at this point and time.

 

 

 

Festivals in Spains

While we were in Spain this year we were part of the Virgen of The Candalaria  festival which tool place Feb. 4th. here is a overview of that day.

Festival of the Virgin of the Candelaria

Feb. 4th, 2018 Colmenar ,Malaga.

The drive inland from Malaga city, in the Antequera/Granada direction, takes you on a journey to the real Andalucia. Colmenar is one of the most important villages in this area, being the Capital of the Malaga Mountain villages. It is just 35 kilometers inland from Malaga, on the ‘Carretera de Colmenar’, a road that cuts and winds up through the Malaga Mountains, until you reach the village at 696 meters above sea level.

As with many villages in Andalucia, Colmenar was taken over by the Christians in the 15th century. Before that, it had been in the hands of the Romans and then the Moors. 1560 is an important date in its history because it was during the summer of that year that the boundaries were marked out, covering a total area of 65,50 Km2. Since then its administrative importance as capital of the Montes de Malaga has evolved into what it is today, with a resident population of over 3,000.

At the main entrance to Colmenar, you see the welcoming “Puerta de La Cruz” monument, which bears the town’s coat of arms, showing a beehive with seven bees flying above it (‘Colmenar’ means apiary or beehive). There is also an artistic scene depicted from 1488 when the village was taken over by Francisco de Coalla from Hamet el Zuque. As you carry on right into the heart of the town you can see that you are surrounded by hills, which have kept the expansion of the small town under control and now create a beautiful natural backdrop.

 

 

It is well worth a walk up to the highest point of the village, at the Convent of the Virgin of La Candelaria(also known as the ‘Ermita’ (hermitage) de la Candelaria). From the viewpoints, you can see the Tajo and Doña Ana gorges and looking to the right is the Sierra Nevada, snow capped in the colder months. The story is that this 17th century convent was built as a token of gratitude from a group of fishermen who were miraculously saved from death during a terrible storm off the shores of Malaga. The plasterwork in the vault reflects the mannerist design of that era. In a niche, you can see an image of La Candelaria, the patron saint of Colmenar.

It is also recommended to visit the Church of Nuestra Señora de la Asunción. Built in the 16th century, there are signs of Arab influence in its architecture, especially in the three aisles with very high ceilings and separated by arches on square pillars.

GASTRONOMY

One of the delights of Andalucia is to sample the cuisine in the local bars or restaurants. “Garbanzos” is a traditional dish of chickpeas cooked in stock and is a good choice in the colder months. During summer, the chilled gazpacho is refreshing and full of vitamins. “Tortilla de habas” (broad bean omelette) is another specialty worth trying. A glass of local wine will add to the country flavour of your meal. Take away some natural Colmenar honey, which is certainly the best in the area.

LOCAL CELEBRATIONS & FESTIVITIES

Virgen de la Candelaria
Fiesta in honour of the Patron Saint, at the beginning of February every year. .

 

Memory lane

Memory Lane.

 

Today my husband and I decided to drive across to the USA on a whim. We decided we would drive up to Mt. Baker and see our old cabin we as a family owned for over 15 years. So before we could even leave the house we had to locate our passports, check, then we had to find the papers for Oscar so we could take him along too. We first could only find the ones that were outdated in 2015 and then I had a light bulb go off in my head, we had rabies papers from our trip to Spain in 2015 . Voila we found them so we were off and running to the Aldergrove border.

 

The most dreaded part of going over the border is the long wait at the border. Well the stars were aligned for us today there was only one car in front of us. The border guard was very vigilant and checked us out thoroughly and even eyed the dog up and down..He withheld his loud bark this time. And the guard got a big smile from Oscar and he told us to be on our way.

 

The drive up to Mt. Baker  was truly memorial . There were many changes along the way. The forests had grown up and filed out in all the right places. The pottey store was closed up tighter than a drum ,the sign “Cloudy Mountain “ was painted over.Then as we drove by the Paradise Mews it looked as rough and as downtrodden as ever.  As we slid on through Maple Falls there were many changes  the service station was all grown up into a restaurant and a deli as well as a service station.

 

We finally arrived at our destination of Mt. Baker Rim and we parked the car across the road from the sign and leased up Oscar and went for a walk into the Rim. There was a gate to stopped those people who were not members from driving into the grounds so we had a lovely walk. There were so many new cabins on our route to our cabin which was across from the pool and tennis courts. I was so hoping that there was no on home so we could walk up to the cabin and see how the yard was changed. The cabin was green when we had it and now it had been painted blue, looked alright. And then we walked by my parents old cabin. The new owners had done a lot of changes to the cabin put a roof over the side deck.

 

We came away after walking the entire Rim  saying “ you can’t go back” the words of a dear friend of mine. It is how we both felt after seeing the place. We have moved on. We would love to another cabin but this was not the place.

 

It was a great afternoon and Oscar got to walk about the Rim with us. Memories are just that memories.

Las Dos Marias of Santiago

While we were in Santiago recently we saw the statues of two women. I wanted to find a memento to take home of these ladies and when I found one my dear husband said you buy that but give it to your mother I don’t want the statue in my house. This is what someone told me about who they were. (I did find a little stature to take home.)

Las Marias is the name that was known in Santiago de Compostela to the couple  formed by the Maruxa sisters in Santiago, Spain .  The two sisters became popular characters of the city because they made a daily walk through the Zona Vella which was the old town of Compostela during the fifties and sixties dressed and made up in an eccentric manner, while flirting with the young university students. This walk which took place at two o’clock  in the afternoon hence this became their nicknames. Time when most students went to eat and therefore when there was more activity in the streets of the centre from Santiago was quite an event because of the contrast between the gray atmosphere that ranged in Spain during Franco’s dictatorship.

Coralia, the youngest and tallest was shy and talkative, while Maruxa was smaller but older, was the lead. They became nicknamed the Marias, they were also described as “crazy” and spinster. What is know as the most representative icons of the City of Santiago de Compostela is due to the process of social and institutional mistreatment, protected by the regime of General Francisco Franco.

    Here are the ladies in Santiago Square.

 

She found Uncle Vincent

Uncle Vincent.!!

Little sisters of the Poor

 

This is the name of the car home where Uncle Vincent lived during his last years of his life. We always thought he died a few years after Jessica was born but we found out today from Jessica that he died in 1990. She was on a outing to a speaking engagement to an elementary school to talk about her project in India and on the way home she found the “Little Sisters of the Poor care home. Well what luck was this . She thought she would just check out what happened to Uncle Vincent.

I am very visual and when she told me what had happened all I could see were these two nuns dressed in white habits escorting Jessica out of the convent. She said they were very quick to tell her the information and whisked out of the building. There was on lovely Irish woman at the reception who was helpful but even her gave her information and said” You had better leave now” We may never know what that was all about. It sounds pretty funny. Something out of a stand-up comedy routine. Or the flying nun. !

She did manage to get a copy of his death certificate and took a few pictures of the convent. It looks like a lovely place. No one there is still working that knew him. Even the next of kin on the certificate has passed away. Well it wasn’t all in vain. She did find out where he lived and when he died. Part of the mystery of Uncle Vincent is solved. We now have addresses of people who were his contacts so perhaps we can write them and find out a little more of the rogue uncle who left his family in England when he was  16 years of age.

Jessica’s fundraising tour continues.

Jessica’s fundraising tour Continues

We have been hearing little stories from Jessica about her adventure in Australia. She has made some great contacts and awareness for her school and hostel in Varanasi, India. She has been in Byron Bay and says it is absolutely beautiful. Swam in the ocean there too. I was asking her about the sharks and she says they are quite a way out in the ocean, so she felt safe swimming there. The venue in Byron Bay was a small bar where she sang and told her story of how the school began. She is now in Perth doing the same thing again. When she does these fundraisers, she plays her ukulele and sings so it is all very entertaining.

While she is there in Perth she is looking for a grave of a great uncle Vincent. He came to Canada in 1974 before Jessica was actually born and that was his reason for his trip. He waited for her arrival, but she was late. He passed away about a year after his return to Perth. While living in Perth he resided in a home “The Little Sisters’ of the Poor” So this is why she is also looking for the site. Jessica is the family ambassador.

While she was in Melbourne her first stop on the Australia journey to attempted to locate a son of a dear friend of her grand father. Bob Sherwin. She tried but putting out a few feelers on Facebook but there was no luck there.

The actual mission for her trip has actually been quite successful. She has met several friends that have come to visit the school and hostel in Varanasi and also has made a good contribution to the fund for the operation of the school. She feels she has spread the word and perhaps she will do this same trip again next year.

An Epic Journey to Iceland

Akureyi Pictures.

 This is at the airport This is the Santa Claus or Christmas year round attraction.

Our Quick trip to Akureyi.

This was an unplanned little venture to Iceland. Our younger daughter sent us an email while we were in Spain and thought we might like to just pop over to see her and our granddaughter in Akureyi for a few days. We thought oh why not we are retired no ties or commitments at present. So we did it we made reservations to fly out on the Sunday the 11th and it was cancelled several times that day and we even went to the airport for a nine o’clock departure and it was cancelled so we had to stay in a hotel . Karen and Emilio insisted we stay back in the Alicante house, so we did and so glad we did. We finally got out on the Monday night but had to stay over in Keflavik and then all day in Reykjavik domestic airport waiting for the best time to take off. We finally made it to Akureyi at 6.30pm greeted by our lovely daughter and granddaughter. Isis came running down the arrivals path to greet us.

We had a great time and saw many things. We were mostly there to visit Karen and Isis and Emilio came a few days later.

I am including here some wonderful photos of our experience.

Akureyi is a lovely little city with so much to offer for young and old. there are sports and activities all year long. Isis is in figure skating and football. The hot springs are everywhere so we went into the hot tubs several times. All the swimming pools in Iceland are out doors well atleast the ones in the north part of the island. Look forward to our next visit.

The theatre for drama and teaching.

 I tried to get a better picture of the stop lights. the red lights are all in the shape of a heart.

The trolls in Iceland

northern lights we saw them from the balcony of karen’s house.

The hot pools and cold pools open air

yes there was snow but not as much and it wasn’t as cold as many places in Canada. 8 degrees above zero some days.Just a map to show you where we were from Reykjavik .

It was a lovely visit glad to be back in Spain where it is much warmer .Miss the family though.

 

Trip to Australia Jessica’s Journey continues.

Trip to Australia Jessica’s Journey continues

 

I have been in contact with Jessica and she says she has had a great trip thus far. She will head to the west coast of Australia soon but first she fly’s to Byron Bay about a two hour plane ride away from Melbourne.  She has been visiting with a dear friend Jodi who also helps with the school in India, and also three friends whom she knew from Taiwan when she first left home to teach English.

She said the first fundraiser went very well. It took place in a lovely little coffee shop in the suburbs of Melbourne.,Fitzroy area.

She hasn’t said how much they made but it was good and it all goes to the school. She said there was a raffle. The afternoon started with a Celtic band and I wish I knew how to transfer it from the messenger. She is a phenomenal singer and the Celtic band was great too. As soon as I discover how I will put it here to. She told her story of the school and also played her ukulele and sang a few songs.

Today we connected while she was walking on the beach in Melbourne. She says it was absolutely beautiful it could be Canada, the west coast except it was 30 degrees.  The area is very multicultural, and the people are very friendly.

She says the cost of everything is very high though. To go to a movie, it was about 25 dollars Aussie for one person, so she chooses not to buy popcorn. That was the one reason we would go to the theatre years ago.

I will keep you informed of the rest of her journey as she tells me more.

 

 

Another fundraising tour.

Another fundraising tour.

This little blog story is about one of my amazing daughters. This is about my daughter Jessica who is on route as I write this to Australia to meet up with some long-time friends she had met and worked with in Taiwan and also in Varanasi India where she spends most of her life. She is planning to fundraise for the Jeevan School in Varanasi. She had been on a fundraising tour last year where she took in most of British Columbia, and then went over to Europe and stopped off in Iceland to visit our other amazing daughter Karen who lives there now with her daughter. She later went to China and did a tour there. She did very well for the school. She has a routine of telling the story of the school and it inception and then plays some songs on her ukulele and sings.

I will keep you informed of her progress as she starts on this journey. Her first stop is Melbourne.

I include this picture of Jessica with her grandmother since she thinks the world of her. Every time she leaves Vancouver she thinks it is the last time she will she grandma, but Grandma always says ” Jessica I will be right here when you return.”  Grandma turns 90 on Monday, January 29th so it is very exciting.

Duplicate Bridge in Puente don Manuel.

Puente Don Manuel  – Malaga

Since coming to Colmenar for the winter we had tried to locate some people who would play bridge with us.  We had someone who played bridge with us two years ago when we were here but now she was not available so I decided to advertise in FaceBook. It was only a matter of two days maybe that a lovely lady responded to my plea. She said she plays in a town called Puente don Manuel every Tuesday. It was only a short google search away. We haven’t been having much success with google lately but thought we would try again. We headed out very early and had to ask quite a few people and most locals have no idea what we were talking about BRIDGE. We did manage to find the location and when we walked into the room it was going to be duplicate bridge. I had played a few times but my husband had never done. It turned out it was lots of fun. We did not have great scores, but we met some wonderful people most of whom were from England a few from Scotland and one from the Netherlands and another from Switzerland.

We had to travel to Puente don Manuel 26 km from our town of Colmenar.

Puente Don Manuel is a hamlet in the municipality of Alcaucín in the province of Málaga in the autonomous community of Andalusia in southern Spain. The hamlet has English shops because a lot of English immigrants live in this region.

One startling fact, we found a grocery store that had products that could only be found in Canada or Britain. And I found my  PEANUT BUTTER.  I had planned to ask my dear friend to bring some with her when she came over in Mid March. What a wonderful day. We plan to go back next Tuesday again.

    

A Delightful afternoon in Nerja

A Delightful afternoon in Nerja.

Today we traveled to a lovely little town by the name of NERJA it is about 40 miles up the coast heading northeast along the Mediterranean Sea. It is so picturesque The very thing it does have in common with so many of the little towns here in Spain is that all the buildings are white. Mind you there are a few that have salmon color and the odd one that is beige but 97% are white. And the drive up the houses that are freestanding are all white as well.. Nerja is a resort town along southern Spain’s Costa del Sol. Its seafront promenade, Balcón de Europa, tops a promontory with views of the Mediterranean and surrounding mountains. Below it lies sandy beaches and cliffside coves. Cueva de Nerja, a nearby cavern with unusual stalactites and stalagmites, hosts popular summertime concerts. It’s also known for its paleolithic paintings

This is a bronze statue of King Alphonse X11

The Nerja Caves are spectacular as well. We did not visit them this time, we did so a few years ago but we are saving a return trip to the caves for our friend Sandy’s visit in March. They are well worth the trip back.
While we had our lunch sitting at a restaurant in the square we were able to listen to a wonderful solo violinist by the name of Klara Gomboc. She played all afternoon. We were there for over three hours. At the opposite end of the promenade, there was a guitarist by the name of Sergio Sands who was playing his guitar and singing, a lot of Eric Clapton songs and his style.
So take time when in Spain to visit the little town of Nerja. About 39 km from Malaga on the A-7 motorway.