God Blessed This Beautiful Mess

Thanksgiving day is almost here and I am gearing up to entertain twenty one people. I’m posting some funnies to remind myself to keep my sense of humor in the busyness of planning the holiday dinner.

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turkey facebookI can always use a chuckle to lighten things up during the holidays because I generally have concerns about how the big day will turn out. I find myself more productive when I take time out for a little laughter.

Thanksgiving Preparations

I am not an organized and creative ‘Martha Stewart’ type. It took me almost half a day just to select some folding chair covers. With all the information on the internet, you would think there would be some good info to guide you to the best chair cover for a common metal folding chair from Costco but no.

Several different sites instructed me to measure my chairs but there weren’t any covers that seemed close to fitting the size of my chairs. The ones I thought might be best had no photos of the back of the chair cover. That’s what I wanted to see. Isn’t that what the guests will see first? Back and forth, back a forth, at some point I had to choose. Although I was doubtful, I clicked the ‘checkout’ button. I’m not having bare folding chairs for my dinner guests. I want them to feel special because they are.

Costco-folding-chair scuba-folding-chair-cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

folding chair cover with bow

 

The covers will add a lot to the ambiance of the table. ¹ I am going to experiment with some accent bows but I haven’t picked a color scheme yet.

Making Memories

The Thanksgiving holidays remind me once again of the value of making memories, laughter and the importance of family and friends. I am very grateful I have a big extended family to share it all with.

This past month, all of my siblings and I traveled from different parts of the country, to be together, to honor my mother for her 85th birthday. My sisters planned a week of special surprises and family outings for mom to share with her nine children.

Alberici-family

Lillian Alberici and her nine children at her 85th birthday celebration

Family Blessings

We had many fun celebrations that week in Pennsylvania. It was an amazing blessing to have the opportunity to share a little piece of life in the homes of several of my sisters and brothers. They all have different styles but love comes in every style and there was an abundance of that. I got to meet my youngest nephew Dylan, for the first time. He is such an incredible joy as are all my nieces and nephews.

Apple and pumpkin with Dylan

Apple and pumpkin picking in Pennsylvania with Dylan

A Gift of Laughter

It was a delight to spend quality time with my mother, She has a fabulous sense of humor. I suppose you have to develop that to survive raising nine children! Her humor is a great gift to our family. It’s no wonder that research has confirmed the importance of humor in strengthening families. ² I plan to indulge in as much laughter as I can this holiday. It’s fat free!

A Beautiful Mess

My mother was a fantastic singer. There was a lot of singing and dancing in our home. Growing up with eight siblings, our house was usually noisy and a little messy. When most of the kids were still very young, mom had to help my father start his own business. She was stretched to the limit. My older sister and I would help her clean but it would only stay that way for a couple of hours. I heard my mom say often, “I need more house cleaners and less singers and dancers”.

Mom worked so hard taking of us; she sacrificed every day. My mother never did get her wish of having a house that was sparkling clean; but she felt she got something better. At her birthday party, mom gave a short speech to the guests, saying so sweetly, “God must have known what he was doing when I married Al and had these wonderful children. Of course at the time I wasn’t so sure”?! (Big laughs) “But they’re wonderful and I’m so proud to be their mother and I couldn’t have had better children”. We were all misty eyed.

We’re not always “wonderful”. We had a fair amount of arguments growing up and still do now and again, but we never hold a grudge and we’re always quick to love and forgive. 

                           “Be a lover, not a fighter”. – Al Alberici, (our dad)                      

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Alberici family in the early 1980’s

Life is messy but we keep dancing!

“In the house of lovers, the music never stops, the walls are made of songs and the floor dances.” ~ Rumi

 

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I’m especially grateful for my incredibly loving husband Steve and my daughter Lindsay and the beautiful music they play in my heart. For this and so much more, thank you God.

From our house to yours, have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

~ Linda

 

“I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in him you have been enriched in every way—with all kinds of speech and with all knowledge”. – 1 Corinthians 1:4 – 5

 

Footnotes:

1. The material of the chair covers I selected is called ‘scuba’. The fabric has a nice weight to it. I received the covers quickly but they are a little too large, especially the seat part of the chair cover. They fit okay when I tuck that part toward the back of the chair seat. Then there is only a slight 1/2 inch over hang on the sides. Still great for the price of only $2.99 each. Thank you CV Linens!

2. http://www.clemson.edu/psapublishing/pages/FYD/FL526.PDF

Eternal Summer – Yoga For Mid-Life and Beyond

If you’re a beach goer and live in Southern California, the words “eternal summer” probably have a wonderful meaning to you. Some of our best beach days are in the fall and later in the year. Life is beautiful at the beach!

One spectacular day this October, a family outing to Zuma Beach turned into an impromptu, Yoga session with fellow yogini’s, Maria and Marianna. My sister, Maria and I are yoga instructors, so we were showing off for each other, just a little, doing a few postures we don’t usually get to use in our classes.

Rejoicing in Health – Enjoying Fitness Yoga 

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My boogie board came in handy as a platform for my headstand.

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Playing in the ocean, Maria practices her yoga wheel.

We practically had the beach to ourselves that day. We made it our own glorious playground. My niece, Marianna joined in the fun; and she had a few good yoga poses of her own.

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Marianna takes crow pose to the extreme, balancing on one leg.

After our exercise, we took our boogie boards into the waves. Got to love Southern California’s eternal summer but if you’re a woman going through menopause, the “eternal summer”’ can have entirely different and maybe not so pleasurable meaning.

YOGA FOR MID-LIFE (or Any Time of Life)

Hot flashes, night sweats and mood swings. Oh my! During Menopause we lose estrogen and progesterone, two hormones that cause these changes in our bodies. Yoga can physically help our body’s hormone system.

SLEEP BETTER

Yoga can help relieve menopausal and postmenopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and insomnia. 

A Brazilian study published in a 2012 issue of the journal, Menopause had three groups of women participate in either a passive stretching regimen with a physical therapist, a specific series of yoga classes or no change in their routine. After four months the women who practiced yoga for one hour, twice per week had significantly fewer hot flashes and slept better than the other two groups. The women were so pleased with the results, 75 percent of the yoga group continued with yoga classes after the study.

BALANCE YOUR NERVOUS SYSTEM

Yoga keeps your systems fluid and balanced.

As you move your body, the brain, nervous system and endocrine system all work together. “The brain commands the action, the nervous system carries the message and the endocrine system is responsible for long-term body maintenance using glands and hormones”. Yoga is very beneficial for Hormonal Health.

The twisting and bending in yoga energize the adrenals and thyroid gland.

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Just like there are many styles of yoga, there is more than one way to do a yoga pose. Your instructor can give modifications that work for you.

EMOTIONAL HEALTH

Hormones affect your mood. I have been told by many of my friends, that for them, the worst part of going through menopause was the mood swings. I have to agree. A yoga practice can help you relax by focusing the mind. I am allowing myself the time and space to use whatever natural tools are available to reduce stress in my life and protect my nervous system.

BREATHING ROOM

I have found that now, more than ever, I need to take more pauses in my day to be still and in the moment, focusing on God’s blessings and breathing in His grace and goodness.

Yoga is as much about breathing, (Pranayama) as it is about postures. Whether you’re on the beach or in a quiet room, you will enjoy the stillness and health benefits of the ocean breath. Ocean Breath; Ujjayi Breath offers gentle stimulation to your larynx and thyroid as well as a chance to slow down and quiet the mind from distracting thoughts. Create a sanctuary within.

How to do ocean breath – Sit in a comfortable position with your core engaged. Breathe in through the nose and breathe out through the nose. Inhale fully under the diaphragm with your lips closed and relaxed. Exhale with a haaa or hissing sound similar to what you would hear if you had your ear up to a conch shell to ‘listen’ to the ocean. Think of fogging up a mirror with your exhalation. Feel the back of your throat slightly contract as the breath pushes up against the back of your throat.

Using the Ujjayi breath in your yoga postures can help give you focus and power. 

INNER BEAUTY

Learn, Love, Grow, Discover! Prayer, deepening my relationship with God, meditating on His word and living in the joy of God’s Son and His creation, has strengthened me more than I can say. Yoga is not God. Dependence on God has brought certain aspects of yoga into the harmony of my life. I feel I am living the words of the song I sang in Community Bible Study this week with the worship team, “Surely the Presence of the Lord is in This Place,” and yes, that is a very excellent place to be.

THE NATURAL WAY

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. ~ 2 Cor. 12:9

Good health is a personal journey, it’s a blessing and it is worth striving toward. With God’s guidance, I have been able to get through menopause using these natural methods and without the use of hormones or prescription drugs. For that, I am very thankful.

With a grateful heart, Linda

I look up to the hills, but where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. ~ Psalm 121: 1-2 NCV

 

Disclaimer: This is a personal blog expressing my own personal opinions. See a fitness or medical health professional to see if yoga is right for you. © CopyrightAll rights reserved. May not be used without written permission.

European Adventure Part 2 – Germany and Cesky Krumlov

GERMANY

Our adventure in the Czech Republic moved on to Germany. We joined the rest of our river boat cruise group and boarded luxury buses to Nuremberg where we embarked the new MS Avalon Expression. It would be our home base for the next ten days as we traveled down the Danube.

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Nuremberg

In the morning, we saw the site of the Nuremberg Trials and visited the Nazi rally grounds where Hitler gave some of his most infamous speeches. My traveling companions and I then moved on to the Documentation Centre Museum where we saw news footage of Hitler delivering propaganda speeches from the rally grounds we had just visited.

It was difficult to process the immense tragedy of what we saw. It was an overcast, rainy day which added to the gloom of revisiting the horrors the holocaust. The German guides were apologetic about their country’s past, and many Germans feel stigmatized by it. One of our German tour guides said she was glad she spoke Austrian so she could pass herself off as an Austrian. It’s paradoxical that the tactics used by the Gestapo to build up their people into a ‘super race’, in fact, became their shame.

Nuremberg-city-walls

On the way back to the MS Expression we drove through the “old city” of Nuremberg. It is surrounded by fairly intact, thick city walls. Built like a fortress, a moat surrounds a good portion of it.

Regensburg

Overnight we had cruised to the German town of Regensburg. While the rest of the group relaxed on the ship, my sister-in-law, Alison and I took an early morning excursion boat trip through the Danube Gorge and the Weltenburg Abbey. The weather that day was perfect and the ride through the small gorge was picturesque and peaceful.

Danube-Gorge-Weltenburg-AbbeyOur short trip ended at the Benedictine abbey of Weltenburg nestled in the northern slopes of the Arzberg mountain. The oldest monastery in Bavaria, it was founded around 600 AD. by the monks of St. Columbanus, Weltenburg.

linda-and-alison-weltenburg-abbey

The Abbey is known for brewing excellent world-class beer and it is said to be the oldest monastery brewery in the world, having been in operation since 1050.

As part of the tour, we were provided with a sample the Abbey’s beer and pretzels in the courtyard beer garden; it was dark and good. 

We were then led to the abbey church. I  was never given a beer and then sent to church before but that’s the way they do it in Germany.

The Weltenburg abbey church is a spectacular Baroque church dedicated to St. George. Gilded angels adorn the dome above the sanctuary.

Weltenburg-Abbey-Church

We returned to the boat in the afternoon and after lunch I ventured into Regensburg town.

Regensburg is absolutely beautiful and boasts of having approximately 1,300 listed building of historical interest.

regensburg-ruins

In 2nd century AD, this town was part of the Roman Empire.

Some of the walls from those days remain partially intact within the city.

I loved walking the many interesting passageways and cobblestone alleys.

regensburg-copyright-linda-eichbergThe architecture, cafes, shops, and flowers, window boxes filled with flowers, were astonishing! The streets meandered in many different directions. It would have been easy to get lost.

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In the distance I could see the top of the Regensburg Cathedral. I headed in that direction to get a better look of the Gothic, Dom St.Peter built in the 1300’s. Fantastic!

Regensburg-Cathedral

Passau 

The following day we woke up in Passau, Germany. The City of Three Rivers was very quaint. I would have liked to have spent more time in the city but we had booked another tour for that morning. Most of the land tours were at an extra charge. There were three great tours to choose from that day. My husband and I, along with the two couples we were traveling with, chose to see the enchanting town of Cesky Krumlov. On the way there, we drove through Passau and stopped to see the view of the city in the early morning mist. Passau-morning-copyright-Linda-Eichberg

Cesky Krumlov

We passed smoothly through the German boarder without having to stop for a border check and made our way to the South Bohemian Region of the Czech Republic near the Austria border. This land tour to Cesky Krumlov was one of the best. When it was founded in the early-mid 13th Century, this mostly Renaissance town was primarily Gothic. In the second half of the 16th century the castle acquired the form of a splendid Renaissance residence. Throughout out the years the finest Italian architects and painters added their talents to create the beauty and charm of Cesky Krumlov, today.

cesky-krumlov-czech-republic-copyright-l-eichbergOverlooking the town, the tower of Krumlov Castle punctuates the background. I was enamored with the Little Castle tower and the bright pastel colors of it’s painted facade.

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Despite a short deluge, we dried off and had a wonderful afternoon in Cesky Krumlov. There were some nice boutiques, restaurants, chocolate and gingerbread shops.

A lovely river flowed through the town and we were surprised to see that quite a few people were swimming and river rafting.

While we were enjoying our tour, the boat cruised to Linz, Austria. Our tour bus would meet the boat there.

What an amazing few days. So grateful! But still to come, the wonders of Austria! I hope to share some of them with you on a future blog!

Be sure to check out – European Adventure Part 1 – Czech Republic

Enjoy the journey! ~ Linda Eichberg

“For God is the King of all the earth; sing to him a psalm of praise.” – Psalm 47:7

© CopyrightAll rights reserved. May not be used without written permission.

Comparison – A Brutal Attack or An Opportunity For Gratitude?

About a year ago I joined Pinterest because I loved the idea of collecting and sharing positive affirmations, beautiful thoughts, joyful words and inspirational pictures. Who would’t want more of that? I found that this particular pin received quite a bit of response.

comparison-cameron-diaz

CAMERON DIAZ PHOTO: JULIAN MACKLER/BFA NYC; ILLUSTRATED BY SYDNEY HASS.

“When you’re comparing yourself to someone else, you’re saying that what you have isn’t good enough. That’s such negative energy”. – Cameron Diaz [1]

Ms. Diaz’s words resonated with a lot of people who have lived and learned the truth of this statement and it made me think a little bit deeper on the subject of comparison.

FINDING YOUR ‘STAR’ QUALITIES!

We were created to shine! So why compare yourself to others? No one in the entire world can do a better job of being you than you.

I am grateful for diversity, for unique people with distinct, different and wonderful gifts and talents. I am rejoicing in God’s creativity!

Gratitude will take you in the right direction.

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“Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it’s always your choice.” – Wayne Dyer

Comparison and Others

Our society makes it somewhat natural to gauge success on the success of others. That isn’t necessarily so bad when it’s used the right way. That’s why we have mentors and teachers. They can provide positive aspirations and valuable guidance. But for the most part, comparison can lead you in a dangerous direction and damage your spirit. Jesus’ warned his follower’s to be careful. [2]

There can be some good found in comparison if, it is used to build people up, it inspires us to do good, and helps us move toward developing our own fullest potential.

“Success bases our worth on a comparison with others. Excellence gauges our value by measuring us against our own potential.” [3]

Comparison and Self

Each individual is important. We can get all wrapped up in the notion of self importance or move our focus to a bigger picture. Everything we do for the world or for another person, no matter how big or how small, has infinite consequences. We all have our limitations and imperfections but we also have everything we need to shine our light in this world because God is the One who has the last word. When my faith comes into the picture, the paradigm shifts.

God is God – We Are Not 

I know God desires my best. But he desires my love even more. I am not the sum of my abilities but the sum of God’s love and God’s word. My life is better when I align it with God’s word and seek Him first.

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Alberici Sisters: Linda Eichberg and Maria Lauren – Sharing Hatha Yoga at Crystal Cove

I am a daughter of the most high. I am GRATEFUL for the supremacy of Jesus Christ. I am CONFIDENT that he will line up my life to God’s wonderful plan for the world. I am JOYFUL that this will improve my life and the lives of those around me. I am BRANDED with Christ’s love and righteousness.

When I live out my faith and walk rightly with my Father, God, I shine by reflecting His light. He is the source of all light. My relationship with God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is like hidden treasure being newly discovered each day, its supernatural and beyond comparison. 

Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else. – Galatians 6:4

Our Lives Should Shine!

Anyone can be a ‘star’ in God’s Kingdom. God’s Son, Jesus, says to follow him and he will show us how. Trust in his provision and love.

I have to say, trust is not always easy. There have been times when I was afraid to give Jesus something that seemed precious to me. But when I have, I’ve always received something more precious, peace, health and freedom in him.

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Don’t let this dark world destroy your beautiful glow. Whatever you do in Jesus’ name, own it, and sparkle beyond compare.

May the kingdom of God’s love, rule and radiate in our hearts. Blessings, Linda Eichberg

 

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. – Psalm 139:14 

 

Refrences:

1) The Body Book: The Law of Hunger, the Science of Strength, and Other Ways to Love Your Amazing Body - http://www.refinery29.com/2014/02/61667/cameron-diaz-interview#slide

2) John 21:20-22 (NIV)

Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is going to betray you?”) When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?” Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.” Link to full chapter – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+21&version=NIV

3) Jon Johnson in “Christian Excellence: Alternative To Success” http://www.amazon.com/Christian-excellence-Alternative-Jon-Johnston/dp/0964501449

Disclaimer: This is a personal blog sharing my personal opinions. For medical and spiritual advice, seek guidance from a professional. Copyright, all rights reserved.

European Adventure Part 1 – Czech Republic

This summer I had the opportunity of a lifetime to vacation in Europe with family and friends. We visited many amazing sites, but overall, I was most enthralled by the beauty of the architecture. In the U. S., it is very rare to see the wide array of Gothic, Baroque, Renaissance and Art Deco buildings that mark Europe’s ancient historical roots.

CZECH REPUBLIC

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View of the Vltava river, driving into Prague.

PRAGUE

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Baroque beauty, St. Nicholas (Old Town)

Old Town

Our tour started in Prague. We had three and a half, wonderful days in that city. Discovering the secrets of Old Town filled up most of those days.

The first day, some of us spent time in the Jewish Quarter. The tour of the Jewish Museum and the Old Jewish Cemetery, from the 15th century was fascinating.

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Church of Our Lady

Town Square

We made several trips to the Town Square. The square was alive with tourists, street performers and food vendors. The Gothic, Church of Our Lady was a remarkable site. We discovered many interesting side streets with buildings that were works of art.

Prague Castle

Loved this excursion. The Prague Castle complex rests above the city with great views of Prague. The dominant building within the complex is Saint Vitus Cathedral.

The stunning Gothic exterior of St. Vitus is equaled by it’s spectacular interior.

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Inside Saint Vitus Cathedral

A touring choir from the U. S. was singing the day we visited. Our group was blessed to hear the harmonies of their worship music echoing throughout the cathedral, as we took in it’s majesty.

Terezin – Theresienstadt Concentration Camp

Our trip to Terezin concentration camp was a very sobering experience. After Germany invaded and occupied Czechoslovakia, on June 10, 1940, the Gestapo took control of Terezín and set up a prison in the “Small Fortress.” At first, the prisoners were predominantly Czech, anti-Fascist resistance fighters, partisans and guerrilla fighters who were captured during the war.

Eventually, it was established by the SS as a concentration camp. The world was told, Terezin was a city built to protect the Jews. A propaganda film was made to show this myth. It was staged to show the Jews gardening and enjoying sports and entertainment. This ruse worked for a very long time.

terezin-concentration-camp

Nearly two hundred thousand men, women and children passed through the gates of Terezin as a way station to the east and probable death. Of the vast majority of Czech Jews who were taken to the Theresienstadt Ghetto, 97,297 died among whom were 15,000 children.

Terezin could not compare to the horrors at Auschwitz-Birkenau or Treblinka but starvation and disease were rampant. Terezin-sleep-pallet-by-Linda-EichbergAt the height of World War II, this Ghetto/Concentration Camp held over 55,000 Jews. Thousands died of malnutrition and exposure. Their bodies were cremated at the small crematorium with its four gas ovens. People from other nationalities and religions were also imprisoned and died there. That is why the cemetery displays both the Jewish Star and the Christian Cross.

terezin_cemetery

Melník Chateau Melnik-Castle

Not far from Prague City, there is the small town of Melník with a lovely Renaissance castle. After 1989 it became the property of the noble Lobkowicz family and most of halls have been refurbished.

I admired ornate furniture and large collections of paintings but the picturesque view of the countryside from the chateau (or castle) was a highlight for me.

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View from Melnik Castle

After the tour of the residence, there was a tasting of the local wines in the cellar. I wasn’t crazy about their wines but there was one white variety that my husband, Steve, and I liked.

wine-tasting-melnik-chateau

During the bus ride on the way home, our guide entertained us with stories of the latest Czech government scandals and played us orchestral music by famous Czech composers like Janacek, and Dvorak. She was a delight and so was the music. The Czech people are very friendly, and for the most part, fluent in English.

Prague Restaurants

Dinner on the first night of our Prague adventure was at a marvelous restaurant near the entrance of Old Town called the Imperial Café. The meals were moderately priced and five out of six dinners were great. The restaurant is a must see, for it’s elaborate Art Deco style interior.

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The Imperial Cafe’s unique Art Deco mosaic columns punctuate the background of this photo.

Prague dinner Imperial Cafe

The traveling six: Peter, Alison, Debbie, Joey, Linda and Steven at the Imperial Cafe in Prague

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St. Nicholas in Lesser Town

The second night we dined at Coda in the Aria Hotel. The food and the rooftop views were spectacular.  We had a few minutes before dinner so we decided to explore a few blocks in the Lesser Town (Mala Strada) area.

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During our walk, we came across this John Lennon Wall. Most of the wall was graffiti but still pretty cool.

Our last dinner in Prague was also a winner. Kampa Park restaurant was first class in taste and ambiance. Ask for a river front table. We dinned on the Vltava river next to the Saint Charles bridge.

Saint-Charles-bridge from Kampa-Park-by-Linda-Eichberg

The Saint Charles Bridge on the Vltava

As the evening progressed, the skies quickly darkened and nature added a little excitement with a thunder storm! (To us who live in Southern California, it was a rare treat!)

view-from-kampa-park-by-linda-eichberg

View from Kampa Park Restaurant

After the storm, seemingly out of nowhere dozens of white swans appeared and paraded across the river. It was God’s grand finale to our stay in Prague.

Part two of our European adventure picks up in Germany.

European Adventure Part 2 – Germany and Cesky Krumlov

With gratitude, Linda Eichberg

“What shall I return to the Lord for all his goodness to me”? – Psalm 116:12

© CopyrightAllrights reserved. May not be used without written permission.

Open Your Heart – Change Your Brain

Research in the psychology of gratitude has found that being thankful has multiple benefits. One study found, people who practiced gratitude felt 25% happier; they felt more optimistic and better about their lives. Gratefulness inspires pro-social reciprocity; it is a form of love. “Gratitude is effective in increasing well-being as it builds psychological, social, and spiritual resources.” [1] gratitude-benefits Gratitude In Action

Gratitude that translates into spiritual actions can actually change your brain. Leading Neuroscientists have studied changes that take place in people’s brains when they are having religious or spiritual experiences. They have concluded that active, positive spiritual beliefs and habits change the human brain for the better. [2] In other words, God is good for you! One of the recommended ways of letting God change your brain is to develop a positive spiritual practice that expresses God’s love to humanity.

“God is love, and those who remain in love remain in God and God remains in them…we love because God first loved us.”- 1 John 4:16, 19 

Lily-of-the-Valley-Children's-Village

Several years ago I made a mission trip with my husband and a small group of Christians to an orphanage of children affected by HIV/AIDS in South Africa. [3] Spending time with the kids from Lily of the Valley Children’s Village, loving them and receiving their love profoundly changed me. Despite the unspeakable sorrow most of them had to endure in their short, young lives, they were filled with joy.

Linda-Eichberg-Lily-of-the-Valley-SA

During our visit, I had the opportunity to sing in a local talent show that was organized by the Heintz family, a family from our local church who were living and serving as missionaries at the orphanage. The youngest, Anika Heintz, the little blonde girl behind me in this photo, (left) ministered to the younger orphans with her two sisters, Siena and Nina.

It was a very eclectic group of talent presented that day. Tim Heintz played the keyboard and an array of local singing and dancing groups dazzled us.

Mophela-KwaZulu-Natal-talent-show

The Heintz family opened their hearts to the local people in a very big way by building the amphitheater and giving the people of Mophela the opportunity to perform and gather together in celebration. Far too often, funerals for friends or relatives who died from the ravages of AIDS were the occasions they got together.

Mophela-talent-show-Lily-of-the-Valley

After the talent show everyone was fed. Gigantic pots of stews were prepared. The food that was offered was also a very big attraction for most of the locals.

siena-and-nina-heintz-steven-eichberg-lily-of-valley

One of the other highlights of our trip was giving away Croc shoes that we brought with us. Siena and Nina helped my husband, Steven distribute the gifts, enough for every child to have a pair.

Over 100 pairs of shoes were given away. It was a rainy afternoon; our heads were wet and our feet were caked with mud, but inside, the smiles of gratitude on the children’s faces were like sunshine.

Lily-of-the-Valley-Children's-Village-gratitude

The health care workers who volunteered at the orphanage entertained the children with face painting. It made for a very festive day!

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The Heintz sisters are now young ladies. They continued to take time from their busy schedules to do good works in the mission field here at home, and abroad. Two of them just completed a mission trip to Nicaragua with their parents, Tim and Sharon.

 

Abundant  Life

Each person’s idea of God and showing gratitude can be hugely different. I think our understanding about God is very important because it shapes our lives.

Chris-Kuz-mission-trip-Guatemala

My Nephew, Chris, shares his big heart!

Today, there is a great new generation of young people rising up to express God’s love. My nephew, Chris Kuz, just returned home from his second mission trip to Guatemala. He has a big heart for the children there. My daughter, Lindsay chose to go to Costa Rica to serve.

I am proud of my daughter and all my nieces and nephews who show gratitude from their heart, for what God has given them, in their own special way.

Life has beauty and purpose when it flows from gratitude for God’s majesty, mercy and love. 

Not only is God good for you, I believe God is perfect goodness, perfect love, holiness and truth and He wants us to be with Him forever.

How can anyone dare to hope of ever being with such a perfect, holy God? The bible tells us, “there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity — the man Christ Jesus”. [4] I know this at the core of my being.

The God of this magnificent universe loves and cares about this world, and me, so much that He came to earth as the Son of Man to die for us so we could spend a glorious eternity with Him. He took the guilt and shame of mankind’s sin and paid the price we could not pay.

There is nothing you can do to earn or deserve His amazing grace but you will want to do something to show your gratitude. That’s where the living starts and the journey gets rewarding. When we apply our gifts and talents in Christ’s name, joy overflows, grace empowers and faith proves itself in selfless service.

At the foot of the cross, lasting legacies of love are created, beyond our wildest dreams.

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From my heart to yours,  Linda Eichberg

 

“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” – Romans 10:13

 

Refrences

1) http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/pdfs/GratitudePDFs/6Emmons-BlessingsBurdens.pdf

2) http://www.psy.miami.edu/faculty/mmccullough/Gratitude-Related%20Stuff/highlights_fall_2003.pdf

3) Lily of the Valley Children’s Village – http://www.lilyofthevalley.org.za/ & http://www.LilyValleyusa.org

4) 1 Timothy 2:5

 

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Great Women Of Gratitude

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The Practice of Gratitude

While watching Hillary Clinton’s interview with Christiane Amanpour on CNN recently, I was impressed with the simple, frank and wise words she had to say to a George Washington University student. The student asked, “if you could describe yourself in three words, what would they be?

The former secretary of state had this to say to her, “… I have described myself in the past as intense, as, you know, passionate, as service-minded, because that’s how I have tried to live my life. And, you know, sometimes, just like every other human being, I’m disappointed in what I did or didn’t do, or whether it was the — meeting my expectations and all of that. And then I have other less happy words to describe myself.

But one point I want to make really quickly, and that is — and I say this to young women and young men, but I’m primarily asked by young women — is, if you’re going to go into the public arena, how do you think about yourself and how do you behave? And, there, I think it’s very important for you to take criticism seriously, but not personally. And don’t let yourself get pulled down by other people’s opinions, because I think what you think about yourself, what you say to others about yourself really does affect how you present yourself and eventually who you are. 

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So, I do try to stay positive about other people and myself. And when I find myself kind of getting into a “uh” mood, I think about my blessings. And I try to practice what is called the discipline of gratitude. So, I’m grateful. That’s probably the number one word I would use”. [1]

I don’t agree with all of Mrs. Clinton’s political views but we do have what she considers to be, “the number one word” in common, we both want to be known as grateful woman.

A Life of Gratitude

Along with the rest of the world, I am saddened by Maya Angelou’s death last month. Many gratefully remembered this great, poet, author, activist and luminary.

Michelle Obama was one of the speakers at Maya Angelou’s memorial. The First Lady said to those who gathered to pay tribute to Dr. Angelou, “She told us that our worth has nothing to do with what the world might say. Instead, she said, ‘each of us comes from the Creator trailing wisps of glory’. She reminded us that we must each find our own voice, decide our own value, and then announce it to the world with all the pride and joy that is our birthright as members of the human race.”

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At the same memorial, Oprah Winfrey told how, Angelou, her close and constant friend, could shake her out of bouts of self-doubt. She taught her to look beyond trouble and spot the rainbow in the clouds. Winfrey said. “Maya Angelou is the greatest woman I have ever known,” [2]  Winfrey wiped tears as she recalled Angelou’s guidance throughout her career. “She taught me the poetry of courage and respect.” [3]

 

“This, I know for sure, sure, sure. Being grateful is by far the single most powerful thing you can do to change your life… If you want to fulfill your desire and your destiny, start by being grateful. ” – Oprah Winfrey

 

During an interview not too long ago, Oprah Winfrey presented a side of Maya Angelou that not too many people are familiar with, Maya Angelou, the singer-dancer as Miss Calypso.

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Singer-dancer, Maya Angelou

When Oprah asked Dr. Angelou what would you tell that young Calypso singer today, Maya replied, “I would encourage her to forgive. It is one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves.”

Ms. Angelou continued, “I had to get to a place where I could forgive the man who had raped me when I was 7 years old.” I had to get there, and that was a matter of incredible mental gymnastics and then I had to “think of what I had done to other people and see how I’ve been forgiven…”.

You can see the interview here:

 

Ms. Angelou has it right. The love found in forgiveness is a gift.

I believe God filled humanity’s greatest need for forgiveness with His Son, Jesus. Through the sacrifice of Jesus, the penalty for sin was paid. [4] We are justified by his grace as a gift. Through his blood, we have peace with God and are born into His life of love. [5] And for that, I am eternally thankful.

Our Grateful Life

This month my husband and I celebrated a milestone, our 30th wedding anniversary. Having a joyful marriage, after three decades, is a testimony to God’s goodness and my husband, Steven’s grace. It is  great accomplishment. a blessing for which we are very grateful.

My nephew Jeremy tied the knot this month and married his sweetheart Heleana. The vows they said to each other were very loving and touching. I wish them many blessings and gifts from above. Nothing is better than being with the one you love.

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Steven, Jeremy, Heleana, Linda and Lindsay Eichberg

Love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other. – Psalm 85:10

 

Sending blessings and love to all, Linda

 

Refrences:

1) http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1406/17/se.01.html

2) https://news.yahoo.com/poet-maya-angelou-remembered-memorial-143406002.html

3) http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/remembering-maya-angelou/maya-angelou-memorial-service-bill-clinton-michelle-obama-honor-icon-n125216

4) http://www.gotquestions.org/Jesus-paid-penalty.html

5) http://www.gotquestions.org/justification.html

All materials contained within this blog are copyrighted and may not be used without expressed written permission.

 

THAT’S WHEN THE MUSIC TAKES ME

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Music lifts the spirit and adds beauty to everyday life and we could all use more of that!

David Tame, a musicologist and author of the book, The Secret Power of Music explains that almost every function of the physical body can be affected by musical tones. The roots of the auditory nerves are more widely distributed and possess more extensive connections than those of any other nerves in the body. Investigation has shown that music affects digestion, internal secretions, circulation, nutrition, respiration, and even the neural networks of the brain.

“God is no distant deity out of touch with the earthly sphere of life, but one who is made known in the beauty of nature and expressed in music and the arts.” – Robert E. Webber, Who Gets To Narrate The World

 

I am grateful to God for the music in my life.

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of hearing my nephew, Jeremy Eichberg, sing with the LA Jewish Symphony. He was the tenor soloist and his voice soared. The classical selections were masterfully performed by the soloists, orchestra and choir. The harmonies resonated in my spirit.

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Dip Vertigo (Jeremy Eichberg)

I have also experienced Jeremy in a completely different forum, as Dip Vertigo, djin at drum n bass events. That’s an energizing experience! Dip is entertaining, whether singing opera or rocking edm stages. Catch him at the House of Blues-Sunset Strip.  He’s hitting the main stage, Tuesday, May 27, 7:30. He’ll be spinning his best dnb bangers and multiple genres through the night in between four bands.

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Erin Eichberg

I am very proud of all my nieces and nephews, but this month was Erin’s turn to shine! She graduated CSUN with a Bachelors Degree in Deaf Studies. Erin was able to accomplished all this while juggling the demands of motherhood. She not only graduated but did it in grand style with Summa Cum Laude Honors. She is an amazing woman with a heart of gold.

Erin discovered her passion for deaf studies when she was singing and acting in the national touring company of the Tony Award winning musical Big River. In this critically acclaimed revival, all dialogue and lyrics in the production were both spoken or sung and signed, making the production equally accessible to hearing and deaf audiences. It was a very powerful and moving show.

“I think music in itself is healing. It’s an explosive expression of humanity. It’s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from, everyone loves music.” – Billy Joel

 

My sister Maria Lauren and I will be dishing up our own musical fare Upstairs at Vitello’s in Studio City, along with the swingin’ LA Winds Jazz Band. The Great American Songbook will be presented with a flair and a sound that is uniquely “The Alberici Sisters.”

alberici-sisters-maria-lauren-linda-eichberg-vitello'sThe musical evening will be seasoned with stories from our book, “Beyond Our Wildest Dreams” and our days performing with “The Golddiggers” on the Dean Martin Show, as well as performing with Bob Hope, Steve & Eydie, Jay Leno, Jerry Vale, Louis Prima, the Rat Pack and more!

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Marianna Riccio

We are thrilled to have special guests, vocal artist, Dave Berges joining us, along with my niece, singer-songwriter, Marianna Riccio.  It’s party time, Sunday, June 1st!

“What we play is life”! – Louis Armstrong

For more info and tickets:

http://www.vitellosjazz.com/event/showstoppers-the-alberici-sisters-and-the-la-winds-jazz-band/

 

Many Blessings, Linda

“The Lord’s blessing is our greatest wealth; all our works adds nothing to it.” – Proverbs 10:22

 

Refrences:
The Secret Power of Music: The Transformation of Self and Society through Musical Energy by David Tame

Who Gets to Narrate the World?: Contending for the Christian Story in an Age of Rivals by Robert E. Webber

Big River: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_River_(musical)

Beyond Our Wildest Dreams by The Alberici Sisters, Maria Lauren and Linda EichbergBeyond-Our-Wildest-Dreams-Alberici-Sisters-bookhttp://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Wildest-Dreams-Alberici-Sisters/dp/1463564570

All materials contained within this blog are copyrighted and may not be used without expressed written permission.

 

Earth Day Gratitude

 

Spring is here and my attention naturally turns to the outdoors. I like to enjoy the wonder and beauty of our earth, fresh air and pure food.

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Stopping for a yoga stretch on spectacular Zuma Beach.

I am very thankful to God for this world. In honor of our miraculous planet, and Earth Day, I would like to share some thoughts that are on my heart.

“I willingly join in spirit all who are grateful to the Lord for the fruits of the earth and the work of human hands, renewing the pressing invitation to respect the natural environment, a precious resource entrusted to our stewardship”. – Pope Benedict XVI

To show our gratitude, along these lines, my friends and I enjoy planting trees and raising vegetables. Some of us have recently installed solar panels on our property. The panels are producing well for us. In addition to saving the environment, my family is saving money on electric bills. I know, ‘a drop in the bucket’ compared to what needs to be done but it’s my ‘bucket’. “Scientific research demonstrates that the impact of human actions in any one place or region can have worldwide effects.” [1]

In Praise of Human Activities that Build Up and Sustain the Earth

Earth-GandhiVandana Shiva, is an insightful woman who had the vision over 25 years ago to save seeds. She had “an ethical urge to defend life’s evolution, life diversity and the freedom of life…”. She created seed banks when she realized big corporations were going to make seeds their intellectual property by “marrying seeds to chemicals”… and they have. [2] I do not agree with all her philosophies but in this, she did have some good foresight.

Henry Doubleday also saw the need to preserve heirloom seeds. He set up the Heritage Seed Library decades ago to preserve seeds of as many of the older cultivars as possible to prevent their catastrophic loss.

Preserving the purity of their product, growing crops free from contamination by genetically modified crops and the pesticides used on biotech versions is a concern and getting more difficult and more costly for U.S. farmers.

NON-GMO“Food & Water Watch is calling for USDA to start tracking and analyzing incidences of contamination and associated economic losses at all levels of the supply chain”. And the group also is also asking for USDA to “hold biotech seed companies financially accountable for losses associated with GMO contamination”. [3]

Genetically modified organisms have been banned in many countries around the world. [4] I look for the NON GMO and USDA Organic label when I shop.

marco-degli-esposti-campi-verdi-foods- (2)For the most part, my family and I live a plant-based lifestyle. My Nephew, Marco Degli Esposti, recently started a business cultivating fresh sprouts and wheat grass juice for natural food markets and home delivery. It’s a labor of love for him; he is enthusiastic about their proven health and healing benefits. A survivor of a near-death experience, Marco has an amazing and courageous comeback story. You can read about it on his Campi Verdi Foods website. It will inspire you!

A World Without Bees?

Since 2006, more than 10 million bee hives have been lost, losses far exceeding the historical rate. Honey bees are responsible for pollinating a good portion of our crops and their dwindling population will have adverse effects on our food supply. As a new report from the US Department of Agriculture details, “scientists are still struggling to pinpoint the cause of so-called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) and time is running out. “ “Currently, the survivorship of honey bee colonies is too low for us to be confident in our ability to meet the pollination demands of U.S. agricultural crops,” the report states. It is a “threat to both beekeepers and to those agricultural crops that rely upon pollination as a production input”. [5]

Suspects causing bee death have included pesticides, fungicides, disease-bearing parasites, and poor nutrition. In a study published in the journal PLOS ONE, scientists at the University of Maryland and the US Department of Agriculture have identified a brew of pesticides and fungicides contaminating pollen that bees collect to feed their hives. The findings break new ground on a reason why large numbers of bees are dying though they do not identify the specific cause of CCD, where an entire beehive dies at once. [6]

My respect for the important part honey bees play in circle of life on this planet makes me wonder if the collapse of their colonies will cause a ripple effect through all of nature.

Home is Where Your Heart is

I am blessed to live in an area with open space and many maintained hiking trails. Walking in nature, restores my spirit and provides me the opportunity to lift my heart to God in appreciation and prayer for His creation.

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Three Springs trail overlooking the Westlake reservoir

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My daughter, Lindsay and her friends don’t want to imagine a world devoid of the magnificent natural wonders I enjoy regularly. We are all responsible for sustaining the earth for the next generation and should be involved in doing that one way or another.

Blessings, Linda Eichberg

“The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good”. Genesis 1:12

“Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth!” Psalm 57:11

 

Refrences:

1) The Environment by Pope Benedict XVI – http://www.amazon.com/The-Environment-Pope-Benedict-XVI/dp/1612786286/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1334934661&sr=8-4

2) http://youtu.be/dsK3V04LAvw

3) http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/03/03/usa-gmo-contamination-report-idUSL1N0LX1OU20140303

4) http://www.realnatural.org/many-countries-ban-gmo-crops-require-ge-food-labels/

5) http://www.usda.gov/documents/ReportHoneyBeeHealth.pdf?_ga=1.158011065.280595142.1398097528

6) http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0070182?_ga=1.145360823.280595142.1398097528#authcontrib

http://qz.com/107970/scientists-discover-whats-killing-the-bees-and-its-worse-than-you-thought/

Copyright, Linda Eichberg, all materials contained within this blog may not be used without expressed written permission.

Gratitude God Rewards

Matthew McConaughey

Matthew McConaughey thanked God, his fellow nominees and cast members after receiving his Oscar for Best Actor for in his role in “Dallas Buyers Club.” He said, “First off I want to thank God, because that’s who I look up to. He’s graced my life with opportunities that I know are not of my hand or any other human hand. He has shown me that it’s a scientific fact that gratitude reciprocates. In the words of the late (British actor) Charlie Laughton, who said, ‘When you got God you got a friend and that friend is you.'” McConaughey then continued to show his gratitude for his wife, children, mother and late father.

I believe gratitude is an expression of God’s goodness and celebrating it will bring more of His goodness into your life. – L.E.

Many professionals agree. Deepak Chopra, MD, notes that the simple practice of gratitude is a transformational act that opens us to infinite abundance, boundless love and carries us to a place of deep peace. Dr. Chopra adds that when we invite the practice of gratitude into our daily lives, “we turn darkness into light and fear into love.”

“When we focus on the things we are grateful for, we are open and accepting of life as it is –  perfectly imperfect. Therefore, in gratitude, the ego steps out of the way, enabling us to connect more deeply with Spirit, the true self and the source of all those things that have manifested in our lives.” – Deepak Chopra

These are some of the reasons why I started writing this gratitude blog a little over a year ago. It’s one way I can worship God and express my gratitude for His generosity!

The Blessing of Family and Community

The highlight of this month was visiting, Lilly, one of my six sisters who lives in Florida with her husband and five children. It was great to get away. It had been a while since I’d seen them all so I was more appreciative of simple things like watching Lilly cook. She’s amazing, she keeps a beautiful home and still makes time to baked different types of whole grain muffins, from scratch, every morning! I cherished sharing meals together and seeing my younger niece and nephew in their after school activities. Onufrak-Eichberg-visit_ (2) While we were in Florida, my husband and I had opportunity to visit Sarasota’s beautiful white, powdery sand beaches and the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art. It was mind bending to see the amount of priceless art that was collected by one family. I highly recommend visiting the museum complex if you’re in the area.

Grateful Surprises

I was pleasantly surprised when I returned home and several people told me I was on the front page of the local paper. The photo captured a beautiful and uplifting day in my home town, Westlake Village, singing patriotic songs on the lake: The National Anthem, God Bless America and America the Beautiful.

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Photo Credit: Iris Smooth – Acorn Newspapers

What a blessing to sing outdoors gazing at the majesty of the Santa Monica mountains on a perfect spring day! The Marine Corps Color Guard added their support to the Yacht Club sailing season opening ceremony. Seoul 1988 OG, Medal ceremony - Sailing, 470 - Two Person Dinghy Women, Allison JOLLY (USA) 1st et Lynne JEWELL (USA) 1st.

Interestingly, two Westlake Yacht Club sailors won the Gold Medal for the U.S. A. at the 1988 Seoul Olympics. Allyson Jolly and Lynn Jewel won the medal in the 470 class, competing against the best women sailors in the world. They were the first women to win a Gold Medal in sailing. Fantastic achievement ladies!

 

Michael-McDonald-photo-Linda-EichbergAnother wonderful surprise was getting a spontaneous invite from good friends to see Michael McDonald, of Doobie Brothers fame, in concert at the Canyon Club. I have great memories of my husband and I having our first date at a Doobie Brothers concert thirty five years ago. Yes, Michael sings as well now as he did then. It was a terrific show!

Choosing Joy

I appreciate all these things and I am abundantly grateful for my faith in God and the gift of His Son, Jesus. In him I have forgiveness and the power to be all God created me to be. With him, I am called a daughter of the Most High.

~ with a grateful heart, Linda

The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.” – Psalm 28:7 (NLT)

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 All content is copyrighted and may not be used without written permission.