European Adventure Part 4 – Hungary

Budapest

Budapest at last, the final stop on our Danube river cruise. I was very excited to see the homeland of my maternal grandparents and walk the streets where my ancestors walked. My grandmother’s father was a judge in Budapest and I was eager to experience it’s history and culture.

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One of the most striking sights, cruising in to Budapest, is the incredible Parliament building!

Our first tour was a bus ride trough the city. It was a very interesting overview where we saw memorials, statues, parks, the Turkish baths, famous buildings and more. It wet my appetite to see more. I was so glad we extended our stay in Hungary. We did some shopping near our docking spot and before we knew it, it was time for dinner.

After dressing for dinner, I took in the perspective from our balcony. The Budapest University of Technology and Economics was sparkling on the water. It’s the oldest institute of technology in the world.

Budapest University of Technology and Economics

Our first night, we were treated to an amazing night cruise on the Danube. Budapest is stunning at night.

Liberty Bridge

The next morning, we said our goodbyes to the crew of the Avalon Expression and checked in to the very chic InterContinental hotel. Within walking distance of our hotel there was a lot to do and see. As I came around a corner to the sight of Saint Steven’s Basilica I was awed by its monumental presence in the distance.

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I was drawn in like a magnet for a closer look at this Neo-classical wonder.

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My travel companions had no desire to see the inside of another church so I ventured inside alone. It was stunning!

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Budapest Jewish District

I enjoyed the walking tours best, especially the Budapest Jewish quarter tour. I recommend it for anybody who wants to get an insight to Jewish Budapest. During the tour, you will also discover the cool party district of Budapest and the “Ruins Bars”.

During the walk I learned about Jewish memorials, fascinating old buildings and experience the unique, special atmosphere of this multicultural district of Budapest. Especially interesting was hearing the history of the Budapest ghetto and the Hungarian holocaust from an expert in Jewish history.

I thought The Great Synagogue or Dohány Street Synagogue was spectacular. My photo only shows a small portion of the exterior so you can see the architectural detail, topped with copper onion domes. The Great Synagogue, in Moorish revival style, is one of the largest Synagogues in the world!

the-great-synagogue-budapestThe interior of the Synagogue was also very grand and impressive. It can hold nearly 3,000 people with it’s two levels of seating.

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The Jewish Museum and the Holocaust Memorial Center

Next to the Great Synagogue is the Holocaust Memorial Museum. Here we saw Jewish religious objects and historical items like the uniforms worn by the Jews in concentration camps. It’s heartbreaking, 600,000 Hungarian Jews were murdered by the Nazis.

From there we made our way to the Raoul Wallenberg Memorial Park, named after Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg who saved the lives of tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews. The park honored Jewish and non-Jewish alike, righteous heroes who sacrificed their lives or put their lives at risk to save victims of the Hungarian Holocaust. It also reminded us of all of the hundreds of thousands of Jewish martyrs and labour-camp inmates who died unknown. The persecution, suffering and murdering claimed over half million Hungarian citizens. 

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One of the stand-out’s in the park is a large metal sculpture, the “Tree of Life.” Also called the Weeping Willow Tree Memorial. Engraved on each individual leaf is the name of one of 5,000 victims or families. At the front of the Tree is a black double archway memorial with the words – “Is there a bigger pain than mine?”

Experiencing the Synagogue, museum and memorial park was a deeply moving experience. If it wasn’t for the uplifting stories about the many Holocaust heroes, our professional guide told us, it would have been very depressing.

Kazinczy Street

The neo-renaissance Orthodox Synagogue was another landmark we saw. It stood imposing on Kazinczy Street along with the old buildings. We ended our tour experiencing a ruin pub or ‘ruin bar’. That was fun and memorable.

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Szimpla Kert, Ruin Bar

The rickety furnishing, multi colored interiors, and hipster crowd make these ramshackle properties popular.

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The legendary Szimpla Kert is the best-known ruin pub in Budapest. It holds a mix of eclectic styles and an a vibe of urban life. The dilapidated edifice also boasts a distinct charm.

Nightlife in Budapest

The ruin pub phenomenon is a big part of Budapest’s unique nightlife. Fine dining and music is also plentiful. What I enjoyed that night was right at our hotel. We had a fantastic location on the Danube.

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Me and the gals at the Intercontinental bar

The InterContinental had a stylish bar and restaurant with a spectacular views of the Buda Palace and Chain Bridge.

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The guys enjoying the view at one of the Intercontinental restaurants

In the background, Castle Hill and Saint Matthias looked magical in the shadows of dusk.

Buda Castle

The tour of the Buda Castle complex offered wonderful vistas and photo opportunities. The famous Chain Bridge spans the Danube below.

Castle Hill is a great place to pick up souvenirs. The Hungarians do beautiful embroidery work. I bought a lovely table cloth for my mother.

Take a closer look at Saint Matthias gothic architecture!

Parliament

The day before we left we took a fantastic tour of the inside of Parliament. It was filled with fascinating historical information. I enjoyed the stories about the Hungarian crown jewels being lost or stolen a number of times. For a while they were held in the U.S. in Fort Knox.

Assembly hall of the House of Magnates

The council chambers were laden with gold. The main Hall was magnificent!

Steve and I standing inside the main hall of the Parliament building.

Across from Parliament is the Budapest Museum of Ethnography. It was a beauty with astounding artistic and architectural appointments!

On the way back to our hotel, we stopped at the Shoes on the Danube Memorial on the Pest side of the Danube Promenade.

Shoes on the Danube Bank Memorial

It was a stark reminder of the cruelty of the Arrow Cross terror where 3,500 people, 800 of them Jews, who were shot into the Danube River during World War II.

I highly recommend this European river cruise down the Danube. It unveiled so much beauty and history and Avalon tours was marvelous!

See also:

European Adventure Part 1 – Czech Republic  

European Adventure Part 2 – Germany and Cesky Krumlov

European Adventure Part 3 – Austria

Many blessings, Linda

“I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord for He has bee good to me.” – Psalm 13: 5-6

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European Adventure Part 3 -Austria

I have been feeling the travel bug lately. Europe is calling and inspiring me to finish blogging about my last trip to Europe, a wonderful riverboat cruise down the Danube. In part one of our European adventure we explored Prague and the Czech Republic. Part two of our cruise took us to Germany and beyond.

AUSTRIA

Our first stop in Austria was Linz, home of the delicious Linzer Torte.

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The town was very charming with beautiful restored buildings and electric trolleys.

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Hauptplatz, Linz, In the back ground is the famous Dreifaltigkeitssaule statue of 1723. It commemorates Linz’s delivery from war, fire and plague.

We only had time for a quick visit to downtown for our half day visit. Before we knew it we were on our way to Melk.

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Melk Abbey is one of Europe’s archetectural treasures. The inside of the Abbey was even more stunning than the palatial Baroque exterior.

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Melk Abbey Church

The grounds and gardens of the Abbey were lovely, lush with plants and flowers. What started out as a cloudy morning, turned into a perfect July day.

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It was on to the Wachau Valley and then Vienna. We were just past the halfway point of the river cruise portion of our vacation.

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Several small castles an ruins of castles graced the shores of Wachau.

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We arrived in Vienna and docked in front of the striking sight of the Franz of Assisi Church. also called, Kaiser Jubilee Church.

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We went through a quick drive through the city and my eyes were bathed with the most beautiful sites and architecture.

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I was captivated by the Imperial Hofburg Palace Complex.

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The green and gold of copper dome was stunning!

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Albertina Museum fountain

The buildings were displays of art, adorned with statuaries and gold.

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National Library and Equestrian statue of Joseph II, Josefsplatz

Excited by what we saw, walked the rest of the way through the city. There were many outdoor cafes to choose from to enjoy lunch and people watching.

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Steven standing in front of The Holy Trinity Column

The Pestsäule (English: Plague Column) or Dreifaltigkeitssäule (English: Trinity Column) is  located in the inner city of Vienna. Erected after the Great Plague epidemic in 1679, the Baroque memorial is one of the most well-known and prominent sculptural pieces of art in the city.

My husband Steven and I both agreed, Vienna was a cultural and architectural delight!

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The tall Romanesque and Gothic form of the Saint Stephen’s Cathedral punctuated the city landscape. I was enchanted by the colorful tile roof.

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The evening festivities were highlighted by a tasty dinner and night of music, opera and dance at one of Vienna’s concert halls, Wiener Konzerthaus in Vienna’s City Centre. “Salute to Vienna” was a heavenly experience of Waltzes and the music of famous Austria classical composers, brought to life by a talented orchestra and cast.

Vienna is art; you see it around every corner. Many of the greatest artists and composers spent their professional careers in Vienna. I would have liked to have spent a few more days in Vienna but I was also looking forward to the wonders of Hungary. Hope to share that experience with you soon.

Gratefully yours, Linda

“‘The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.'” – Numbers 6: 24-26

See also:

European Adventure Part 1 – Czech Republic 

European Adventure Part 2 – Germany and Cesky Krumlov

European Adventure Part 4 – Hungary

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Energize and Turn Up Your Body Heat With Inversions

SIX GREAT REASONS TO DO INVERSIONS

The world seems a little upside down lately. The tide has turned in politics and it’s really shaking things up. I’m feeling like I need to ward off some sensory pollution and get a renewed mindset on taking care of my wellbeing.

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Standing Split

By shaking things up in your yoga practice, you can refresh your body, mind and spirit. When you’re feeling weighed down or sluggish, inversions are wonderful for bursting through the blahs, especially in the winter months when you need increased circulation to stay warm.

1) Improve circulation and stimulate the blood flow in the body. In inverted yoga poses, the head is below the heart. This boosts your vascular system, helping the blood to circulate and stabilize body temperature. Inversions aid the body in transporting nutrients (such as amino acids and electrolytes), oxygen, carbon dioxide and hormones to and from the cells in the body.

2) Strengthen your upper body and core. The standing split I am doing in the photo, supports a good deal of body weight on the shoulders and triceps. It takes a considerable amount core strength to hold your balance in inversions like headstands and handstands.

3) Increase your mental clarity. Acute focus is needed for most inversions, which helps concentration and calms the mind. Blood and oxygen flow to the brain is stepped-up. Your head will be cleared of negative thoughts, as you feel empowered by your practice and ultimate success.

4) Move out of your comfort zone emotionally and physically. Upside down asanas are some of the most difficult and challenging. You may experience a wide range of feelings, from apprehension to courage about changing your relationship to gravity. But do not fear, you can always start with more gentle inversions, like legs up the wall, standing forward fold or down dog.

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Downward Facing Dog is a good pose to start with to get yourself comfortable with being upside down.

Dolphin Pose (Ardha Pincha Mayurasana – Half Feather Peacock Pose) is great for toning the arms. It stretches deeply in the upper back, shoulders, hamstrings and calves. Dolphin can flow from Downward Facing Dog by lowering down to your forearms and firmly pressing your heels into the mat. You can also approach Dolphin Pose by starting out on all fours.

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Dolphin Pose

5) Boost your immune system. By turning upside down, you are going against gravity which helps purify the body. The fluid that circulates throughout the lymphatic system can travel more readily to assist in the elimination of toxins and bacteria and bring you optimal health. Increased blood flow provides extra nourishment to the cells and serves to fight diseases and stabilize pH.

6) Improve balance and coordination. “Learning to find balance in inversions can help bring balance into your life off the mat as well. Holding an inversion requires patience, practice, and being present in the moment; all qualities that can help create balance in your life.” ¹

If you want to be a yoga ‘rock star’, build your flexibility with this yoga wheel.

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Maria Lauren – yoga wheel with leg extension

That’s my sister, Maria. I’m very grateful to have her to inspire my life!

Wishing you love and light and the best in health, Linda

“Light in the messenger’s eyes brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones.” – Proverbs 15: 30

Please visit my website!

Disclaimer – Inversions can be harmful to persons with certain medical conditions. Best to consult a doctor before practicing yoga inversions, especially if you have one or more of the following: glaucoma, detached retina, cervical spine or shoulder  injuries, heart disease, stroke and/or high blood pressure.

Footnote

  1. http://www.yogiapproved.com/yoga/10-reasons-to-do-inversions/

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Writing Therapy

PROCESSING GRIEF

At first the pain was too much. I didn’t want to think or feel. I wanted to be numb and repress my emotions. But strangely, now I am now finding comfort in the opposite. I need to talk about him, write down memories and remember the special moments we had together.

Processing grief is like an ocean, rolling up and down unpredictably. Submerged until you can’t breathe, you’re almost drowning and then you are finally able to come up for air, for hope. My brother-in-law, Umberto, passed away this month after a long battle with cancer.

Writing as Therapy

I know writing and journaling is good therapy for many traumatic situations, so why not for loss and death. Actually, there is science behind writing to help with the grieving process. It doesn’t have to be public writing, like a blog. Any kind of writing has therapeutic power.

Umberto

umberto-young-man_He loved cooking, food and people. As a young man, Umberto studied at a culinary school. His passion landed him in Monte Carlo, working as a waiter at the Hotel de Paris. One day, a friend who was on the personal waitstaff of the Royal Family of Monaco became sick and Umberto was asked to take his place. The Royals enjoyed his service so much they ask for him to be their permanent personal waiter. It’s no wonder, Umberto was loaded with good looks, personality and culinary acumen.

Umberto ended up in Philadelphia where he opened a successful restaurant downtown, The Monte Carlo Living Room. The restaurant received much critical acclaim and was known as one of the top restaurants in Philadelphia.

During this time, he met and married my sister, Alane. Alane was a journalist and an assistant editor of an epicurian food magazine. One of her assignments was to write a story about Umberto and his famous restaurant. That was how they met. It was love a first sight. Together they had two boys, Umberto Jr. and Marco.

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Creativity

Umberto was extremely creative: he liked to design. He built and designed an Italian restaurant in Ardmore that he converted from a bank. He retained parts of the bank to give the restaurant a special flair and used the bank’s vault as a private dining area. He had a huge imagination!

Hospitality

Some of my fondest memories of Umberto was of him managing at his restaurant, Primavera, or entertaining with his family at his home. Sometimes he would personally craft special off the menu dishes for me in the restaurant’s kitchen. He was an artist with food and he aimed to please. I loved the twinkle in his eye when he would beak out a bottle of rare wine from his cellar to share with us. Umberto’s face would beam joyfully as he described the qualities and nuances of the wine. He was more than a fine restaurateur, he had the gift of hospitality.

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What Say You?

Umberto’s favorite family greeting was, “What say you”? It was customarily delivered with a chuckle and a smile. But it was his Italian accent that made the phrase so charming and memorable. Umberto could light up a room!

IL SUO RETAGGIO E’ ANOCORA TRA NOI – His Legacy Is Still With Us

Friends and Family

Always a jovial host, Umberto delighted in gourmet food, fine wine and conversation. He loved to see people having a good time, eating and enjoying each other’s company. My brother-in-law loved his friends and family.

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His son’s Umberto and Marco

We celebrated many family occasions at Ristorante Primavera in Wayne, Pa. It was the spot for making great memories. Alane and Umberto were so gracious about letting the family use their restaurant.

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Our nephew,Dylan’s Christening party at the Primavera

Not too long ago my brothers and sisters and I, esteemed my mother for her 85th birthday at the restaurant. Here I am enjoying a laugh and a hug with Umberto at her birthday party.

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Umberto’s personality was larger than life!

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It was a rare treat when Umberto and Alane joined my husband, Steven and I on vacation in Kauai. Vacations are extremely difficult to plan for busy restaurant owners. They were both dedicated, hard workers.

Though they lived on different coasts Steve always had a special bond and relationship with his brother-in-law. They were close in age, only a few days apart. They were joined at the heart.

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Steve and Umberto at the reunion

The Final Days

This past summer, my mother surprised me and all my siblings by inviting us, along with our families, to Florida for vacation. There were over thirty people at the gathering. It was a great reunion on the beach!

That get-together was the last quality time my family and I spent with Umberto. It was a gift. It wasn’t too long after, he was diagnosed with stage four cancer and had to be hospitalized. We did fly back to Philadelphia to see him in the hospital but by then he was a different man.

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My daughter, Lindsay with her uncle Umberto in Florida

Words can’t adequately describe what I feel for Umberto but it is a good feeling when I look back at all the beautiful times we had together. He added so much joy to my life. For that I am grateful. I always have the comfort of knowing that we both belong to Christ and we will be in His loving arms for eternity.

As you hold your loved ones close this holiday season, focus on gratitude.

The Eichberg family wishes you a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year. All the best for 2017.

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~ Blessings, Linda

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.” – Psalm 34: 18 NLT

Spread Holiday Cheer With This Easy Fall Decorating Idea

I enjoy the changing seasons, the fresh crisp air and colors of fall, but when November comes around, I turn most of my focus to preparing for the big Thanksgiving dinner. I will be entertaining 18 friends and relatives this year. Weeks ahead I prepare or purchase my table decorations. These are some of my table decor creations.

pumpkin-cactus

I got the idea to make this at a garden store I visited. At first glance, it looked like the pumpkin would have to be scooped out and filled, but when asked, I was told everything was glued to the top. I thought I’d give it a try.

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You too might like to make this centerpiece. Here’s how it’s done.

You will need:

  1. a pumpkin or decorative squash
  2. a few different sized succulent plants (Select plants with different shaped leaves and in a variety of hues.)
  3. a small package of green reindeer moss or Spanish moss
  4. a hot glue gun

First cut off the stem of the pumpkin or squash close to the skin. Then glue a layer of moss to the pumpkin.

Select the largest succulent and apply that first. Cut the stem 1/4 to a 1/2 inch from the base of the plant and glue it to the pumpkin through the moss. Fill in the top with the smaller succulents or cuttings from larger plants. You can add moss to the outside edges for a finishing touch.

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The arrangement will last quite a while, it just needs a spritz of water a couple of times a week. They make great hostess gifts!

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I enjoy decorating. It lifts my mood when I spread holiday cheer. Yet, the holidays can be the loneliest and most stressful time of the year for some people. I am holding a heaviness in my heart. My husband, daughter and I made a bittersweet trip to Pennsylvania to visit our brother law, Umberto, in the hospital. He went into the hospital for what was supposed to be a relatively minor cancer treatment and he hasn’t come out. My sister, Alane, will spend her holidays in the hospital by his side. It breaks my heart.

Happy Birthday Mom?

It was also my mom’s birthday while we were visiting. She wouldn’t let us sing “Happy Birthday” to her because of Umberto being so sick. “It’s not happy”, she said.

This is a tough one for the whole family. There is little we can do but rely on God’s grace to get us through this difficult time. We’re very fortunate to have each other to lean on. That is something to be thankful for and to smile about. God is able. We are all praying.

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I am reminded once again to be nice to everyone I meet because they are also carrying a heavy burden that I know nothing about.

Dealing with Holiday ‘Blues’
“You can improve your mood by practicing self-care during the holidays. Eat a healthy diet, and maintain a regular sleep pattern and exercise program. According to the kept Primary Care Companion to the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, as little as 30-minutes of cardiovascular exercise can provide an immediate mood boost similar to the effects of an antidepressant medication. Joining a support group where you talk to people with similar experiences to yours can also help.” ¹

Sometimes these things aren’t enough and medication is necessary for a time. Talk to your doctor if you are feeling sad for long periods. They can refer you to a mental health specialist. Explore every option. Getting your joy back is worth fighting for.

Wishing you all the joys of the season, Linda

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer.” – Romans 12:12

Footnote:

  1. http://www.healthline.com/health/depression/holidays#1

 

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Not Our Usual Family Project – Let’s Shoot A Music Video!

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In Memory of Harry Jarvis

This past year, a virtual stranger came into our lives and poured his time and talent into a project for my niece because of his love for the entertainment industry!

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Harry Jarvis, a  videographer from Nashville, approached my niece, Marianna, a talented singer/songwriter and asked if he could shoot a music video of her song “Lady Luck”.

Harry had heard her song about Las Vegas and he also read excerpts of the book, Beyond Our Wildest Dreams, written by my me and my sister, Maria. A good portion of our book is about our experiences working with the Rat Pack and the entertainment legends of Las Vegas. Marianna’s song about the current ‘Sin City’, as well as our stories from the past, inspired Harry to come up with a concept and financing to produce the music video.

Here I am backstage with my sister and Frank Sinatra in 1977.

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Photo from our tour with Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin when my sister Maria and I were members of the famous girl group, “The Golddiggers”

Harry Jarvis had a great sense of humor, as you will see by the outtakes he added at the end of the video. It was fun doing this project with him. I was amazed by what he could create with a camera, lap top and green screen. His imagination was huge!

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Harry Jarvis

With insatiable curiosity to hear about our adventures in Las Vegas with the ‘Stars’, Harry could listen to our stories for hours if we let him. More than once, my sister and I had to snap him out of the spell our tales of the Vegas glory days cast on him, so he could get back to work and finish the project on time.

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Lady Luck

Marianna’s music video was homegrown. It was mostly shot at my home and featured friends and family with a special appearance by the ‘Alberici Sisters’. It was a party every night after the day’s filming was over! Unfortunately, not too long after we shot the video, Harry suddenly passed away from a massive heart attack. This is the last edit he sent us.

Harry was like an angel disguised as a stranger. He became our friend and left us much to quickly. It was shocking and sad. We connected with Harry on many levels. My sister Maria had the opportunity to answer questions he had about Christianity and Jesus. I have to think, in the grand scheme of things, maybe our meeting was not as much about making the video but perhaps more about sharing the gospel? We’ll never know. God bless you and keep you, Harry. Rest in peace.

Grateful for the the time we had together. May his love and passion live on.

~ Linda

Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it! – Hebrews 13:2 (NLT)

Read stories about vintage Las Vegas in Beyond Our Wildest Dreams by Alberici Sisters on  Amazon

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It’s All In How You View It

“People are not disturbed by things, but by the view they take of them.” – Epictetus

Consider what your life might be like if you changed your perspective. Getting a different point of view can make life tolerable, even interesting, like the colorful shades of a sunset.

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My friends and I visited Newport Beach beach last week. While we were watching and photographing the sunset, a young lady rushed up to the beach with her camera just after the sun disappeared into the ocean. “Oh, darn I missed it,” she moaned, as she walked away disappointed.

The woman’s point of view was that the sunset was all about seeing the orb of the sun disappear behind the horizon. My friends and I knew to wait and see what magic awaits after sundown.  

“Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful, for beauty is God’s handwriting.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

More often than not, I have found the best part of sundown is the afterglow. The hues become deeper and more vibrant as the hidden sun reflects upward. I was not disappointed on Crystal Cove Beach that evening – same sunset but different views, same beach but a distinctive new horizon.

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Crystal Cove Dining and Watersport’s

Crystal Cove in Newport has magnificent sunsets and a wonderful restaurant on the beach called Beachcomber Cafe. A little further down the road, I tried two good restaurants at the Crystal Cove Shopping Center. Javier’s, an upscale Mexican restaurant, has fabulous food and gorgeous decor but forget about going on the weekend. It’s very popular. Babette’s specializes in local organic produce and meats. They offer an eclectic array of dishes including delicious vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options. Their cocktail menu features a variety of unique handcrafted cocktails.

My travel companions and I worked off part of our delicious dinner by enjoying kayaking in the Newport channels the next day. Southwind Kayak Center is a great place to rent kayaks, stand up paddle boards and more. It’s in a superb location off Newport Harbor.

Making Memories and Getting Another Perspective In Relationships

I love seeing familiar things through new eyes but also making brand new memories with people. I can build successful relationships and become a better travel companion by blending my point of view with an other person’s. We never really know someone until we consider things from both their perspective and our own.

I like to look at all the angles of a person or situation. I’m learning not to make assumptions about people. It’s a challenge to view things based on the mind set of who I’m with while still being true to aspects of myself.

“Each person is like a multifaceted  gem that is to be viewed and appreciated from many different angles.” – Linda Eichberg

Getting a New Perspective On the World Around You

Take a trip – Travel, especially international travel, is a good way to broaden your world view and change the way you look at things. It has always taught me something.

Volunteer – Volunteering to help others in need is also a great way to break out of your mold, widen your perspective and grow compassion. When I give hope to others, it gives me a reason to hope.

Practice Gratitude – Reflecting on God’s perspective and character will adjust your attitude. I see life differently when I am gratefully counting my blessings.

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Look for the daily miracles God pours into your life and your perspective will change. When your perspective changes, your life changes. ~ Linda Eichberg

What will you see? Keep your eyes full of the light of God’s goodness.

Blessings ~ Linda

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light. But when it is bad, your body is filled with darkness. Make sure that the light you think you have is not actually darkness. If you are filled with light, with no dark corners, then your whole life will be radiant, as though a floodlight were filling you with light.” – Luke 11: 34-36 (NLT)

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Yoga Befits Children Of All Ages

In our family, we practice yoga for fun as much as for its many health benefits.

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Garland pose with a bind

During family gatherings my grandniece, Riley, will frequently pull me aside and ask me to show her some new yoga poses. Children’s brains and bodies easily take to this form of exercise.

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Squat – opens the hips and groin as it stretches and strengthens the hips and ankles

Children who practice yoga postures, conscious breathing and mindfulness are better able to regulate their emotions, manage stress and calm themselves, according to scientific studies. They may also have better eating habits and engage in more physical activity than children who do not. Yoga addresses the whole child, encouraging academic and emotional competence. “The studies also illustrate that centered, calm and focused children learn more easily, have better social skills and, in general, are much happier kids.” ¹

childrens-yoga

Yoga Increases Static Motor Performance.

A sample of children from ages 9 to 13 were divided into two groups. One group received yogic training (physical postures, voluntary regulation of breathing, maintenance of silence, visual focusing exercises, and games to improve attention span and memory) while the other did not. Over a ten-day period, the children in each group were tested to observe their steadiness. The yoga group showed a 17% increase in steadiness while the control group showed no improvement. The study concludes that yogic instruction improves children’s ability to control their minds and bodies. ² 

Jocelyn-Alberici-Marianna-Riccio

My nieces, Jocelyn and Marianna practice their splits together on family vacation.

Children Following Yoga Training Improved Their Visual Perceptual Sensitivity.

A study of 14 children with ages ranging from 12 to 17 years who received 10 days of yoga training and another group who did not receive yoga training were assessed on Day 1 and Day 10 for visual perceptual sensitivity through Critical Flicker Fusion Frequency (CFF) and degree of illusion. Yoga group practiced postures and meditation, along with specific activities to improve memory and attention. Following 10 days of yoga training, the yoga group showed a significant increase in CFF and decrease in degree of illusion while the control group showed no change. The study suggests that children can show better improvement in performance in a relatively short amount of time.³

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Me and Riley working on our Camel Pose

Twenty Benefits of Yoga for Children

The following are just some of the recognized benefits of yoga for children (and adults):

  1. Develops a strong and flexible body
  2. Encourages motor development on both sides of the body
  3. Assists neuromuscular-development
  4. Increases balance, body awareness and coordination
  5. Improves posture and alignment
  6. Reduces injuries and improves performance
  7. Improves digestion, circulation and elimination
  8. Strengthens the immune system
  9. Relaxes the body, promoting better sleep
  10. Calms and clears the mind, bringing us into the present moment
  11. Increases concentration, focus, memory and attention span
  12. Stimulates auditory processing and responsiveness
  13. Expands imagination and creativity
  14. Alleviates tension, stress and anxiety
  15. Balances energy (high or low)
  16. Builds confidence and self-esteem
  17. Develops discipline and self-control
  18. Supports individuality and self-expression
  19. Encourages a fit and healthy lifestyle
  20. Promotes an overall sense of well-being

Yoga helps children feel more comfortable with their bodies and helps them get in touch with who they are inside. “A child who learns yoga, mindfulness and relaxation will be developing essential skills for a lifetime of health and wellness in mind, body and spirit.” 4

Best in health, Linda

“Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.” – 1 Timothy 4:8 (NLT)

 

For more info, please visit my website!

Footnotes:

  1. http://www.thekidsyogaresource.com/2012/09/research-on-yoga-for-children.html
  2. http://www.healthandyoga.com/html/research_papers/ips/om.aspx
  3. http://www.healthandyoga.com/html/research_papers/ypp.aspx
  4. http://www.yoga4classrooms.com/benefits-of-yoga-in-schools

 

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Keeping Your Peace In Tumultuous Times

Linda-Alberici-Eichberg-The-Gratitude-Life-Joy_2

Choosing to look forward to a bright future is exactly that, a choice. The world seems a little scary right now. Every day, whether in the news or in our personal lives, we are presented with a multitude of problems and troubles. I yearn to keep this negativity from taking my peace.

“While it may sometimes seem impossible, inner peace is possible despite the emotional influences from world events, media, negative people, and our own judgments.” ¹

Peace is a State of Being.

I am not in denial. There is real evil in the world. Peace does not necessarily mean a world without problems, pain, or persecution.

This latest horror in Nice, France, on July 14, hit close to home because, Nina, the daughter of my good friends, was a couple of blocks away from the violence and she was caught in the stampede of panicked people that followed. Nina Heintz found refuge under a restaurant kitchen sink where she hid for an hour, not knowing if anyone was coming in with a gun. Thankfully she is physically fine but it will take a while for her to heal emotionally and regain her inner peace. “I wish I was more fearless like I use to be, but everyday gets a little better,” Nina said, “… and in the long run it will make me stronger…”

Peace state of mind_1

Finding Peace In Chaos

During a time of crisis strong emotions can overtake us and our very existence may come into question. Taking time to be alone with our thoughts and feelings is a valuable tool to develop a strong foundation of inner tranquility and hope.

I recall the day I drove by San Bernardino, right after the mass shooting on December 2, it was like a war zone. Numerous helicopters flew overhead  and dozens of police and SWAT vans zoomed past me. My heart pounded and my stomach turn with nervousness. The tragic details played over and over for days in the news. It took a while to work through my feelings of confusion and despair.

“Ego says, ‘Once everything falls into place, I’ll feel peace.’ Spirit says, ‘Find your peace, and then everything will fall into place.’” ― Marianne Williamson

Pursuing Peace

Some of my friend take periodic fasts from the news. Turning off the outside world from time to time is important. What helps you feel peaceful? For me it can be: meditating on peaceful thoughts, a walk in nature, yoga breathing, prayer, a day by the ocean or sometimes just time to rest and enjoy a book or a movie. Taking care of ourselves goes a long way to maintaining a calm state of mind. Self-care can easily be intertwined into our daily routine.

Creating A Peaceful Mind

Keeping our thoughts on happy memories and taking into account all the the wonderful things we are grateful about will also help us keep a hopeful attitude. Remove thoughts of “need,” “must” and “have to” from your life. These words communicate life-and-death direness that probably doesn’t exist and robs us of happiness and peace. ²

“An affectionate disposition not only makes the mind more peaceful and calm, but it affects our body in a positive way too.” – Dalai Lama

Riley-Krugh-New-York-Policeman

Preserving A Peaceful Heart

Doing kind deeds or supporting others who are doing a good service, helps me to maintain a feeling that the world is becoming a more peaceful, loving place. Just looking at this photo of my grand-niece, Riley, and this New York policeman as she shares her plush unicorn, named Uni, and he shares his police cap, gives me a nice, serene feeling.

“A heart at peace gives life to the body.” – Proverbs 14:30

Positive Outreach – “To Protect and Serve Ice Cream”

The St. Louis Metropolitan Police department bought an ice cream truck dubbed, Operation Polar Cops . The police men and women hope their ice cream truck and free ice cream will help kids see them as positive role models and develop a better relationship with the community they protect and serve. Surely, it couldn’t hurt! The idea spread from the Boston Police Department; they also have their own ice cream truck.

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St. Louis Police hand out ice cream

Using our creativity in a peaceful and harmonious way can give us empowerment when we face injustice and feel like the moral compass of the world is spinning out of control.

First keep peace within yourself, then you can bring peace to others.” – Thomas a’ Kempis

My friend Theresa Bishop Miller created this graphic as a creative contribution toward unity and understanding and to move her own consciousness and purpose in a positive direction after a string of senseless killings throughout America.

Unity-Flag-Theresa-Bishop-Miller_

This photo is a reminder of our potential together as fellow human beings. We need to do whatever we can to spread love, dismantle hate and become the people we aspire to be as a nation.

“When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.” Jimi Hendrix

Peace That Transcends Understanding

The world’s peace depends on having favorable circumstances: if things are going well, then we feel peaceful; when things go awry, the peace quickly dissipates. Jesus made the distinction between His peace and the world’s vacillating peace: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives” (John 14:27). ³

Christ’s peace has to do with having a right relationship with God, reconciled through his love and sacrifice. 

My faith is tantamount to why and how I can maintain peace in my heart. I know God is pure goodness. His goodness in the face of the atrocities that exist in the world are beyond my understanding but I know God is Sovereign above all, and desires that I come to Him with childlike trust and rest in His compassionate presence. Yes, I receive His supernatural comfort, protection and peace.

“There are many things that are essential to arriving at true peace of mind, and one of the most important is faith, which cannot be acquired without prayer.” – John Wooden

The bible reminds us to: “pursue”, “seek”, “promote”, “search” or “run after” peace (Psalm 34:14). I’m not trying to add work or pressure to your life; quite simply, peace can be promoted with something a easy as a smile or a prayer. In Christ we are free! Jesus paid it all. So, be grateful, lighten up, rejoice, have a little ice cream and laugh a lot. It’s good medicine!

With a grateful and peaceful heart, Linda

~~~~~

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7 NLT

 

References:

1. Quote from – Sandra Lee Schubert, an interfaith minister. http://www.beliefnet.com/inspiration/2008/10/9-ways-to-find-peace-amid-chaos.aspx?p=2

2. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/happiness-purpose/201309/lighten-and-laugh

3. http://www.gotquestions.org/peace-that-passes-all-understanding.html

 

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Capturing the Aloha Spirit

Aloha is indeed a way of life, an attitude. The kahuna David Bray interprets this code of as “Come forward, be in unity and harmony with your real self, God, and mankind.” Be honest, truthful, patient, kind and humble to all life forms.

Kaanapali-Molikai-L-Eichberg

North Kaanapali Beach

Aloha in the Hawaiian language means affection, peace, compassion, and mercy. It is also used for hello, good bye or love. But aloha stands for much more than that; its deeper meaning is “the joyful (oha) sharing (alo) of life energy (ha) in the present (alo).”

To Hawaiians, the joyful sharing of this life energy is the secret for attaining true health, happiness, prosperity and success as long as it is shared and used with love.

I endeavored to captured the essence of Hawaii aloha in photography. My experience in Maui last month was one of tranquility, beauty and friendliness with an awe of creation.

Maui-Kaanapali-North

 

Sunsets – God’s Artistry!

Maui Sunset by Linda Eichberg

 

I have visited Maui many times but there are always new surprises and new life. I had never seen a hibiscus with this unusual combination of colors.

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Hibiscus with extraordinary coloring!

 

We stayed in sunny Kaanapali but only a short 15 minute drive away to Kapalua, toward the rain belt, the landscape changes significantly.

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Kapalua

 

Hawaiian Blessing

The spirit of aloha is about giving blessings. 

Bless everyone and everything that represents what you want by giving recognition or emphasis to a positive quality, characteristic or condition, with the intent that what is recognized or emphasized will increase, endure or come into being.

 

sunset-sailboats

Gathering of the sailboats to honor the sunset

 

Focusing on the blessing, acts to increase the same good in your life.

The positive occupation of your mind stirs up the positive, creative force and allows that same energy to come through you.

 

plumeria-yellow

Nothing can compare to the fragrance of Plumeria.

 

When you bless for the benefit of others instead of directly for yourself, you tend to bypass any subconscious fears about what you want for yourself.

What is so wonderful about this process is that the blessing you do for others helps them as well as you.

 

Kaanapali-beach_

 

As you bless, imagine the person or thing you’re blessing is surrounded with some of the same peace, grace and positive energy that surrounds you.

To the Hawaiians of old, Aloha meant “God in us.”

 

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I cherished my morning meditations and beach walks.

 

The Aloha Spirit is a well known reference to the attitude of friendly acceptance for which the Hawaiian Islands are so famous.

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Our traveling companions, Jack and Chris!

Experiencing the aloha spirit is best shared with friends. One of the highlights of our trip was our canoe excursion to a fantastic snorkeling spot where we swam with friendly sea turtles and tropical fish.

Chris and I enjoyed the freedom of not having to style our hair. We just let it air dry. She came up with the mantra, “beach hair and I don’t care.”

Maui friends

We ran into some other good friends, John and Madi, who just happened to be on the island the same time were, an unexpected treat!

Together we experienced the spirit of aloha, fantastic food, hospitality and breathtaking scenery.

Double-Rainbow-Hawaii_

A magical moment-a double rainbow!

I hope you captured some of the aloha spirit too. Give a double portion of blessings and you will also be blessed.

With gratitude, Linda

~~~~~

A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. Proverbs – 11:25

 

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