Saturday, March 19, 2011


Crossed off another wish on my Bucket List tonight.

We saw Elton John in concert at the Ted Constant Center.  *SHOCK*  

When the tickets went on sale about 8 weeks ago, they sold out within minutes... and I wasn't able to get any.  I was so disappointed.

And then Thursday night I was perusing Facebook, and I saw a post that said they released more seats for Friday night's concert!  

One problem... Dave was scheduled to have Duty on Friday night.  

A quick phone call to our friend, Colleen, asking her if she'd take his Duty....  she said "OF COURSE!"

(Thank you Colleen!)

Being a Friday night during Lent, we can't eat any meat.  I Googled and found a fish house within walking distance of the concert venue.  So we got there early, and walked 3 blocks to O'Sullivan's Wharf for a fish dinner.  YUM!  Walked in, and was told there was a 45 minute wait.  Urgh.  So we left, and walked the 3 blocks back.  We went to Starbucks and got a couple of cookies/brownies instead.  *shrug*

So our Friday night was spent sitting in front row seats, listening to 3+ straight hours of Sir Elton John.  We're calling it a late anniversary gift to ourselves.  :)  I must say, this has been my most favorite anniversary gift.  EVER.

Set list, typo: the year is actually 2011


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Ash Wednesday

Yet even now, says the Lord,

Return to me with all your heart,

With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;

Rend your hearts and not your clothing.

Return to the Lord, your God,

for he is gracious and merciful,

slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love,

and relents from punishing.

                                                       ~Joel 2:12-14


Make life simple

Seven Simple Answers!

Do you remember that little toy many of us had when we were little that supposedly "answered" questions? It was a black eight ball like one you would play pool with that had a window in it that, when turned upside down, would display a floating unit inside with pre-scripted answers to your questions. What is funny about this is that there was a remote chance that the answers could be reasonably close to a possible answer!

This got me to thinking: Are there a set group of answers you could find most of the answers to life's situations in? I think we could come close, so I sat down and thought about all of the issues that I deal with in people's lives and realized that most answers do come from the same pool of answers.

Why is this? Because there is nothing new under the sun and the problems of the human existence tend to repeat themselves.

So here are MY answers. See if one of them won't do the trick for your question, problem, or situation.

{You Need Clearer Vision}
 Sometimes the problem lies in the fact that our vision isn't clear enough. We "kind of" know where we are going and that means we "kind of" get there! By getting our vision clearer, we are able to refine our path, which brings us the results we are looking for on our journey.

Question: Do you need to clear up your vision before you move on?

{Stop Whining - Life Isn't Fair}
 Yes, some people have it better than others. Sometimes that is just the way it is. But to get our minds on that fact is useless, and to constantly lament the fact that an office mate "gets all the breaks" is simply whining. It is time to get over it and quit focusing in on your differences and start focusing in on creating the life that you want, because you can live the life you dream of if you redirect your whining energy into success energy!

Question: Are you spending more energy whining or working on your success plan?

{Persevere and Give It Time}
 Sometimes it is hard, that is true. Sometimes we just need to go one more day. I have had this happen in my life many times. There have been times in my life when my whole goal was to get through another week. Plug away, push through, and persevere. Give it time and you will find yourself making ground toward your desired destination.

Question: Is this a time when you simply need to keep persevering and giving your situation time to work itself out?

{Increase Your Skills}
 There are times we don't get what we want because we just don't have the skills. That is the bad news. The good news is that we can always increase our skills! Sometimes we find ourselves in a spot where the proper thing to do is to readdress our skill level so the next time we take a stab at it we can succeed because of our increased skill level.

Question: Is it time to refocus on increasing your skills?

{Forgive Them and Move On}
 People will burn you. I have had countless people burn me in my life. It happens. Sometimes we even burn other people, even when we aren't trying to. The key to success is to forgive them and move on. Unforgiveness will root you in your undesired past through your memory and that is not where you want to live the rest of your life! When you forgive those who burn you, you set yourself free.

Question: Whom do you need to forgive?

{Time for An Attitude Adjustment}
 It has been said that "Your attitude determines your altitude" and it is true! Sometimes we do not achieve what we want to because our attitude stinks. And a stinky attitude affects a lot of what happens to us including how others treat us. Sometimes we have to take a long look in the mirror and realize that we need to see a change in our attitude.

Question: Is your attitude the element that is holding you back?

{When all else is said and done, at least you have a great family}
 Many times we get caught up in things that just really don't matter. Much of what we consider to be "so important" just isn't. The most important thing we can do is lead a healthy family life and raise our children to become great people themselves! If you can rest in this, my friend, you can truly rest.

Question: Are you valuing your family as you should?

{You need to take a break and gets some rest}
 All work and no play makes Johnny and Suzie a dull boy and girl! Sometimes when I am dealing with people and helping them to sort things out, I simply tell them to walk away for a while. They need a break. They need a rest. Time away will make them stronger for the battle when they re-enter the arena.

Question: Is it time for you to take a break?

What do you think? Is there an answer for you in the above statements? I think if we are honest with ourselves, almost all of life's situations could be answered by one of the above! So, the next time you need a little advice, read the article again and see if you don't find the answer!

-Chris Widener
Chris Widener, is a successful businessman, author, speaker and television host.
He has authored over 450 articles and nine books, including a New York Times and Wall Street Journal Best-seller. He has produced over 85 CDs and DVDs on leadership, motivation and success.
Chris is the past host of the national interview show - Made For Success and past co-host of True Performance with Zig Ziglar. Chris is also a writer for SUCCESS magazine.


Tuesday, March 8, 2011






                    Did not disappoint.

My long awaited trip to Ireland, my life-long dream, was beyond amazing.  Ireland is truly all that I imagined it to be.  Green.  Lush.  Friendly.  Relaxed.  Mind boggling gorgeous.  Magical.

One week is definitely not enough time.  When you break it down, we only spent 6 days there.  Our first day (Saturday) was spent sleeping and settling in.  Which left us 5 days to see the sites.  

Lunch at Cracker Barrel on way to JFK

We left JFK about Midnight Friday night (Feb 25, 2011), had dinner on the plane, and watched a few movies (The Switch, The Social Network) .  We landed at 8:30 am Saturday morning, and I was so overwhelmed that I cried as we landed.  After getting through customs, picking up our rental car, driving an hour to our hotel, we finally got to our room/apartment about Noon.  Denise and I took much needed and long awaited showers, and went to bed.  Elizabeth and Mariah freshened up and went out grocery shopping out in town and got some dinner at one of the restaurants on the hotel property.  Elizabeth cooked dinner in the apartment later that night, chicken and rice.

Cemetery at local Catholic church

Sunday morning we went to Mass... walked to the local community Catholic church directly across the road from the hotel.  Then off for lunch in Port Arlington and on to Kilkenny Castle.  We missed the final tour of the day, so just wandered around the property.  Mariah made dinner in our apartment when we got back home... spaghetti, salad, and garlic bread.

Kilkenny Castle

Monday was Elizabeth's birthday!  We caught the train at Port Arlington and went in to Dublin.  Went to the Guinness factory and had our complimentary pint of Guinness, saw Trinity College (I waited outside while the others went in) & Dublin Castle.  I wandered up and down Grafton street while the others went to the National Museum, & we all rode in a horse drawn carriage.  We had lunch at a pub, and dinner that night back at the apartment... Elizabeth made grilled ham & cheese sandwiches.

Slainte!  Top of Guinness factory, complimentary pints

Our horse drawn carriage driver, Dublin Jerry

Tuesday was a trip out west to the Cliffs of Moher (Co Clare) and on to the city of Galway... experienced our first true Irish country winding one-lane road that afternoon.  Whew!   We had sandwiches at the onsite restaurant at the Cliffs, and had dinner at a yummy Italian restaurant in Galway.  Left Galway after dark and apparently had a long, dark, scary drive home.  I wouldn't know because I slept the whole way home.

Cliffs of Moher
Cliffs of Moher
On the road to Galway, random tower
On the road to Galway
On the road to Galway, sheep in a pasture
Galway, City Center

Wednesday was spa day for the other Ladies, and I spent the morning catching up on my sleep.  Had a lazy day reading, doing laundry, and playing on the computer.  I had lunch at the apartment, but didn't eat much else that day because my belly wasn't feeling on par.

Thursday we were off to the south, our destination: Blarney Castle.  There was extreme dense fog, and there was a 15-car pile up on the motorway, and we were detoured through the countryside and the local roads.  Finally pulled off in Cashel in Co Tipperary and had lunch.  Saw the rock of Cashel and visited a lovely little woolen shop.  On to Cork and the Blarney Castle.  I had no intention of going up to the top of the castle to kiss the Blarney Stone, but found myself climbing the very narrow and tight spiral stairway up to the top... didn't do well because of my claustrophobia, but I made it.  Once at the top, I figured I made it that far, I might as well lean over backwards and kiss the damn stone.  I made the mistake of looking down as I sat down... it made me dizzy and panicky.  But I went through with it.  I almost cried afterward just from sheer the relief of it all.  The grounds at Blarney Castle are one of the most relaxing and beautiful places I've been.  We stopped at Blarney Woolen Mills for some last minute souvenir shopping, and then got dinner at the Blarney Castle Hotel.  Got back to the hotel and spent the rest of the evening packing.

Blarney Castle
Grounds of Blarney Castle
Blarney Castle
Kissing the Blarney Stone
OMG!  I did it!!
Yeah, I rock.
On top of Blarney Castle
Friday, after less than three hours sleep, we got up at 3:30am, left at 4:30am, drove through the dense fog again back to Dublin.  Turned in our rental car and got the airport about 6am.  We got there too early to check in and had to wait until 7am to check in.  The other ladies had breakfast, which I skipped because my belly was a little upset again.  Finally checked in and cleared U.S. customs at the Dublin airport.  Our flight took off about 10:45am, had lunch on the plane, watched a few movies (Life As We Know It, Morning Glory), and we landed at JFK about 1:30pm.  We were on the road home by 3:30pm, and got back home to VaBeach about 10:30pm.

Goodbye Ireland
I am so thankful that I was able to video chat with my family every night.  I was able to see their smiling faces and hear about the kids' days at school each day.  I was able to see my hubby and talk and laugh with him every night.  So thankful for the ability to do that.

As I said in the beginning, one week is not long enough for a trip to Ireland.  I hope to go back next year with Dave.... possibly renew our wedding vows there for our 20th anniversary.  But we will be staying for at least two weeks, a month would be even better.  

May the road rise up to meet you, 
may the wind be ever at your back. 

May the sun shine warm upon your face 

and the rain fall softly on your fields. 

And until we meet again, 

May God hold you in the hollow of his hand.


Monday, March 7, 2011

Feel Good Story

As Mother Teresa said: "Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love." 

"The manager of a local supermarket, in an effort to increase sales, advised his employees to personalize his or her service. No one did much about that suggestion, except for a young man with Down's syndrome who worked as a bagger. With the help of his father, he made hundreds of business-size cards with inspirational thoughts. He dropped a card in each order of groceries he bagged... "

Read the rest of it at:  This Makes Me Think