Denzel Washington on Grace, Prayer, Blessings and St. Elsewhere

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A couple of friends, who are in the entertainment industry, shared a inspiring video with me of Denzel Washington talking candidly to a group of young actors. He packed a lot of wisdom into a few minutes and what he revealed is worth remembering. 

“True desire in the heart for anything good is God’s proof to you, sent beforehand, to indicate that it is yours already.” – Denzel Washington

Prayer and Grace

Denzel goes on to say, “Understand this also… dreams without goals, remain dreams… Between goals and achievement are discipline and consistency. I pray that you all put your shoes way under the bed at night so that you got to get on your knees in the morning to find them, right? And while you’re down there thank God for grace and mercy and understanding. We all fall short of the glory.”

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“We all got plenty. If you just start thinking of all the things you got to say thank you for, that’s a day; that’s easily a day, right,” the Oscar winner asks? “So you have all been given these gifts.”

Sharing Gratitude and Blessings

Denzel Washington feels very blessed to be in a position to be able to share what God has done in his life. He explains, “You’ll never see a u haul behind a Hearst. Now I’ve been blessed to make hundreds of millions of dollars in my life. I can’t take it with me and neither can you”, he said. “So it’s not how much you have, it’s what you do with what you have and we all have different gifts, some money, some love, some patience, some the ability to touch people. But we all have it. Use it; share it. That’s what counts.”

Faith and Humility in ‘Tinseltown’ 

This two-time Academy Award winner is one of Hollywood’s highest profile Christian actors. Spirituality is important in every aspect of his life. “I read from the Bible every day, and I read my Daily Word“, he said in a 2012 GQ interview. ¹ Although Denzel admits to straying from the Christian faith for a short time, he is now a church-goer who prays before starting his work in entertainment. He’s a family-focused man who likes to say this prayer of his mother’s, “Heavenly Father, we come before thee, knee bent and body bowed, in the humblest way that we know how.” ²

I met, Denzel Washington after he landed his first major acting role as Dr. Philip Chandler in the television show “St. Elsewhere,” back in the early 1980’s.

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I played the part of a dancer in one of the St. Elsewhere episodes. At the start, I was very excited about showing off my tap dancing know-how, but it turned out, the partner I was given to dance with was good at other styles of dancing but only knew a little about tap dancing. So our routine was limited to a few time steps. That was a bit disappointing.

As they were rolling tape for our scene and we were about 30 seconds into our dance, the director abruptly yelled, “cut”! We had stop taping. I thought to myself, “oh no, we weren’t dancing well enough”. The funny thing was, apparently, the director wasn’t looking at our feet. Within seconds, he had the wardrobe people pinning up the top of my costume. “Too much bounce,” they said as they tucked me in. Then they mumbled something about the censors, cleavage and discussed with each other the guidelines of exactly where everything should be. We then re-shot that part on the scene.

Let me just say, my top was no where near as revealing as some of the outfits High School girls wear today. But that was the 80’s, when prime time TV was always G rated. It’s crazy how many ‘warnings’ you have to read before most television shows now a day.

Despite the humiliation and the fact that I didn’t get to show off my dance skills the way I wanted to, I was still very grateful to have been featured in the show. St. Elsewhere was cutting edge television at the time and a model for the popular hospital/doctor dramas we have today. Denzel was extremely nice. He had a million dollar smile that radiated warmth and gratitude and still does. That was best part of the whole experience, his genuine smile!

Life is a journey of love, gratitude and grace. Hopefully, we can offer the best of who we are and leave behind some beautiful smiles and stories and for other sojourners to glean from and enjoy. 

The Grammy’s last week also brought back a flood of memories. Seeing Tom Jones wail to, “You Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’ with Jessie J. was very cool. I have a story about Tom Jones I tell in my book, Beyond Our Wildest Dreams

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Tom Jones with Dean Martin’s Golddiggers: Deborah Pratt, Maria (Alberici) Lauren-Riccio, Robin Hoctor Horneff, Susan Buckner, Linda (Alberici) Eichberg and Patti Gribow

Here is a short excerpt of that story – Tom Jones – He’s Still Got That Lovin’ Feeling! 

We all have something wonderful to offer. “Use it; share it. That’s what counts.”

With gratitude and love, Linda

 

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3 :23

 

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.” – Ephesians 2: 4-5

 

Footnotes

1. http://www.gq.com/news-politics/blogs/death-race/2012/09/excerpt-from-our-october-issue-denzel-on-romney-and-obama.html

2. http://www.beliefnet.com/Entertainment/Movies/2007/12/Denzel-Washingtons-Ministry-Of-Movies.aspx

 

 © All rights reserved.

Easy to Prepare Kabocha – Recipes for Wellbeing

Starting Strong

I love it. It’s the start of a new year and my Pilates and Yoga fitness classes are full, both the ones I’m teaching and the ones I’m taking. Everyone is brimming with energy and hope, intending to be healthier this year. The excitement has infused new life into me.

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Exercise is a very important part of overall health but what you eat also plays an essential role in physical well-being.

Healthy Seasonal Treats

A good portion of my life is spent preparing meals. The thing is, I don’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. I went to the grocery store looking for something different to make as a side dish, that was healthy, seasonal and easy to prepare.

kabocha

Some winter squash get all the glory: butternut, spaghetti, acorn, pumpkin, they get their fair share of promotion but what about the kabocha have you tried that yet? This green marvel surpasses the pumpkin in flavor and color. Yet, when was the last time you had one as part of your meal? Kabocha needs no flavor enhancers, it is perfect simply roasted with nothing added to it.

Opening the kabocha, you will immediately notice the vibrant yellow-orange color inside. It looked so inviting, I had to taste it raw. It is one of the few squash varieties that taste good raw, similar to the taste and consistency of a carrot.

These simple roasted kabocha recipes are as easy as one, two, three. The prep time is  less than 5 minutes! Got to be grateful for that, right?

Roasted Kabocha

1) Pre heat your oven to 375°.

2) You will need a very sharp knife to split open the kabocha squash. Cut the squash into fours; scoop out the seeds and stringy membrane. Coat a roasting pan or cookie sheet with oil and add 4 tablespoons of water.

3) Bake squash for 50 minutes at 375°.

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When the squash is finished and slightly cooled, it is ready to be served. Spoon the sweet flesh off the skin and into your mouth. You could add a sprinkling of cinnamon on top or some buttered peas but Kabocha is equally delicious with nothing on it.

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Crispy Broiled Kabocha 

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1) Pre heat your oven to 375°. Using a sharp knife, cut your kabocha in half. scoop out the seeds and stringy membrane. Cut the squash into crescent shaped slices (about 1/2 thick in the center). Coat a roasting pan or cookie sheet with oil and add 4 tablespoons of water.

3) Bake squash for 50 minutes at 375°. Then broil for 5 minutes or less. Keep a close eye on the squash.

kabocha-broiled

Remove from the squash slices from oven and serve. The skin will be crisp and edible. My husband, Steven, likes them very well done. I asked him if he wanted some salt or cinnamon to add and he gratefully replied, “It’s delicious, doesn’t need a thing.” 

  

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Nutrition

Winter squash is very nutritious. It is packed with antioxidants, dietary fiber and it’s loaded with Vitamin A and carotenoids. Carotenoids found in winter squash include alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, lutein, and zeaxanthin.¹  

Finishing Strong

Let’s keep exercising and eating fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables for our physical well-being. But going further than that, well-being extends to satisfaction in our career, finances, family life, social and spiritual life. Connect to the One who knows us best. By spending time to ask God about the direction of our lives, we can connect with our Creator in meaningful ways that will give us true fulfillment, happiness and over all well-being. Our foundation is in the love of our Father, God, and our futures are with him now and beyond this world.

“What a God! His road stretches straight and smooth. Every God-direction is road tested. Everyone who runs toward him makes it. Is there any god like God”? – Psalm 18: 30-31 (MSG)

My hope is for us to walk in the joy and freedom that Christ gave up his life for. We are blessed.

Gratefully yours, Linda

“We’re depending on God; He’s everything we need. What’s more, our hearts brim with joy since we’ve taken for our own his holy name. Love us, God, with all you’ve got—that’s what we’re depending on”. – Psalm 33: 20-22 (MSG)

Reference

1. http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2648/2

Disclaimer: This is a personal blog. Always seek the advice of your health care professional.  © All rights reserved.

Happy Birthday Jesus

 

Happy Birthday Jesus, my savior, my friend, my healer and the greatest gift of all.

Jesus Christmas

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” – Isaiah 9:6

JOY TO THE WORLD

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Worshiping our Lord Jesus, the hope of the world, on Christmas Eve at Lighthouse Church.

I feel blessed that I could sing beautiful music to Jesus with the worship team and my church family on Christmas Eve.

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A few days before Christmas, friends from my church and I, sang for a friend who was hospitalized for the holidays. He was full of smiles and gratitude as we brought Christmas cheer to him and other visitors of Los Robles Hospital with our caroling. Later that week, we had a fun Christmas party together! We are very grateful for each other and the bond of Christ’s love that holds us together.

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Family Time

Sharing the holidays with my family and my extended family, we celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas. They are all a sweet blessing to my life!

 

Unwrap the gift of Jesus and the joys and wonders of his love, salvation, forgiveness, restoration and peace.

Merry Christmas everyone. May your days be merry and bright – filled with his light. 

 

With a heart full of gratitude and joy ~ Linda

 

“Then all the people went away to eat and drink, to send portions of food and to celebrate with great joy, because they now understood the words that had been made known to them.” – Nehemiah 8:12

 

 

Disclaimer: This is a personal blog and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of my employers or any group I am associated with. © All rights reserved.

 

Grateful Life Quotes From Frank Sinatra

Frank Sinatra was born on December 12, 1915. He had a birthday this week and it had me thinking of him. In the summer of 1977 I had the privilege of touring with Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. Frank was one of the most unusual men I have ever met, he was in a class of his own.

Happy birthday Frank Sinatra.

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Ava Gardner and Frank Sinatra share birthday cake

“I’m for decency — period. I’m for anything and everything that bodes love and consideration for my fellow man.” ~ Frank Sinatra, 1962

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Traveling Buddies – Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra

“If you don’t know the guy on the other side of the world, love him anyway because he’s just like you. He has the same dreams, the same hopes and fears. It’s one world, pal. We’re all neighbors.” – Frank Sinatra, 1962

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Fun times with Frank and his pal Dean

When Frank Sinatra accepted the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, he had this to say,

“I’ve been thinking about why you have to get famous to get an award for helping other people. If your name is John Doe, and you work night and day doing things for your helpless neighbors, what you get for your effort is tired. So, Mr. and Mrs. Doe, and all of you who give of yourselves, to those who carry too big a burden to make it on their own, I want you to reach out and take your share of this. Because if I have earned it, so too have you.” – Frank Sinatra

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“If power doesn’t mean that you have the opportunity to work with the people that you love , then you haven’t really got any.” – Frank Sinatra

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“My greatest teacher was not a vocal coach, not the work of other singers, but the way Tommy Dorsey breathed and phrased on the trombone.” ~ FRANK SINATRA, quoted in Music: A Book of Quotations 

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“People often remark that I’m pretty lucky. Luck is only important in so far as getting the chance to sell yourself at the right moment. After that, you’ve got to have talent and know how to use it.” – Frank Sinatra

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“I love all those girls the same as they love me. I get thousands of letters a week from girls who love me…. Every time I sing a song, I make love to them. I’m a boudoir singer.” ~ FRANK SINATRA, quoted in His Way: An Unauthorized Biography of Frank Sinatra

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On the set of the Dean Martin Variety Show, Frank and Dean with the Dingaling Sisters

“Whatever else has been said about me personally is unimportant. When I sing, I believe. I’m honest.” ~ FRANK SINATRA, quoted in And I Quote

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“Don’t hide your scars. They make you who you are.” – Frank Sinatra

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“A friend is never an imposition.” ~ Frank Sinatra

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Good Friends – Frank, Sammy and Dean

“I’m not one of those complicated, mixed-up cats. I’m not looking for the secret to life…. I just go on from day to day, taking what comes.” – Frank Sinatra 

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Sinatra family, the early years

“I would like to be remembered as a man who had a wonderful time living life, a man who had good friends, fine family – and I don’t think I could ask for anything more than that, actually.” ~ Frank Sinatra

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Frank loved to laugh and he loved his friends. When we toured together, he traveled with a large entourage of people. Sinatra demanded excellence in his music that made him a pretty intense guy to work with. I’m extremely grateful to have watched and learned from his musical genius and to have met some of the members of his family. It was a blessing.

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Backstage with Frank Sinatra and The Golddiggers, that’s me on the top right.

In our book “Beyond Our Wildest Dreams”, my sister Maria and I share stories about our time with Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and The Golddiggers. We also give insight into what is was like to work with the ‘Stars’ on Dean’s TV Show, The Tonight Show and more. Dozens of musicians and entertainers contributed to the book. Read the inside stories from people who were there.

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BEYOND OUR WILDEST DREAMS by The Alberici Sisters is available on:

Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Wildest-Dreams-Alberici-Sisters/dp/1463564570

Barnes and Noble – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/beyond-our-wildest-dreams-alberici-sisters/1108910109?ean=9781463564575

For more info visit – http://www.BeyondOurWildestDreams.com

With gratitude to God,

~ Linda

“I will be fully satisfied with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you”. – Psalm 63 :5

 

 

Disclaimer: This is a personal blog and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of my employers or any group I am associated with. © All rights reserved.

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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Generally, I have concerns about how the big day will turn out so I can always use a chuckle to lighten things up. I even find myself more productive when I take time out for some laughs.

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. ¹

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 showing 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.

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The covers will add a lot to the ambiance of the table. 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 in Pennsylvania, 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. It was a fun and busy week.

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

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Three generations – me, my mother and my daughter Lindsay at mom’s birthday celebration

Family Blessings

It was so great to see everybody. Sharing a little piece of life, in the homes of several of my sisters and brothers, was a blessing. They all have different styles but an abundance of love is prevalent in each of their homes.

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. She even sang professionally. There was a lot of singing and dancing in our home growing up. With nine kids, our house was usually noisy and a little messy. When most of my brothers and sisters were still very young, there was a season when my mother had to help my father start his own business. Mom was doing the house work, taking care of the children and running the office. 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”. Her heart was overflowing with gratitude. We were all misty eyed.

We were 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 Steven and my daughter Lindsay and the beautiful music they play in my heart. For this, for Christ 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

 

Footnote:

1. My folding chairs were Meco brand (sudden comfort). 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

© Copyright – All rights reserved.

 

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.

Along with news clips of the misleading Nazi publicity campaign, there were heartbreaking photos of the concentration camps and the notorious Auschwitz. 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.

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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.

Regensburg-flower-boxes-Linda-Eichberg

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.

castle-tower-cesky-krumlov

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

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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.

comparing-steals-our-joy

“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.

Linda-Eichberg-Maria-Lauren-Alberici-Sisters

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.

jesus-light-of-the-world-john-8-12

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.

Prague-Gothic-Church-of-Our-Lady

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.

View-from-Melnik-Chateau-by-Linda-Eichberg_

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.

prague-imperial-cafe_

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

Saint-Nicholas-Lesser-Town-Prague-by-Linda-Eichberg

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.

john-lennon-wall-prague

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! (For 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

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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.” ¹gratitude-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 we brought with us. Siena and Nina helped distribute the gifts, along with my husband, Steven, a Board member of the Lily of the Valley AIDS Foundation. There were 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!

Nina-Siena-Anika-Heintz (2)

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.

You-Loved-Me-First-photo-copyright-Linda-Eichberg

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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