I am certified fitness professional, promoting a grateful, positive and healthy lifestyle while empowering woman to be the best they can be to fulfill their God given purpose. I'm a motivational speaker and writer along with my sister, Maria Lauren. Both Maria and I sing, entertain and speak about our book - BEYOND OUR WILDEST DREAMS, which we co-authored.
We had an exceptional stay in Barcelona but it was time to head to the port and board our cruise ship. The boarding process in Barcelona was very smooth. The Royal Princess was a mega ship, spectacular inside and out. The first evening, we enjoyed exploring the ship’s elegance and viewed a lovely sunset as we cruised on to Cartagena.
CARTAGENA – City of Ancient Treasures
The next morning we were in Cartagena. Our half-day tour began with a strenuous walk up a hill to the Concepcion Castle. Beautiful peacocks delighted us as we walked. The panoramic views from this 13th century castle were fantastic from the top. We overlooked some ancient Roman ruins.
On another side of the castle, was the harbor. This certainly was a great spot for the ancients to watch and guard the city from invaders. Our ship, the Royal Princess dwarfed the other boats in the harbor.
The Punic Wall and Crypt of Cartagena
At the Punic Wall Interpretation Centre we saw the remains of the original wall the encircled the city during the pre-Roman or Punic period. The Centre also housed the remains of the funeral crypt belonging to the hermitage of Saint Joseph, built during the XVI and XVII centuries. Within its plastered walls there were human bones, which gave an eerie a glimpse of a distant past.
Inside the City
A wonderful part of our half- day tour was the city center. An outdoor market extended in through the city walls that revealed a bustling square.
The plaza was alive with people, shops and outdoor cafes. It was a hot August day, we were relieved to sit down and have something to drink. At once, we were serenaded by a strolling accordion player. It was very festive.
We were encouraged to try Cartagena’s famous 43 Licor, a secret family recipe made from local citrus fruits and infused with botanicals. It was very sweet. The side streets were also inviting and led the way to some interesting architecture.
One of the most impressive buildings on the Plaza del Ayuntamiento was the Palacio Consistorial or town hall.
From there we made our way to the Roman Theatre and Museum. The tour was fascinating. The theatre is the crown jewel of Cartagena.
The first remains were discovered in 1988; this archeological find put Cartagena back on the map, attracting tourist from around the world! Renovations were completed in 2003.
The Roman Theatre museum had many well preserved artifacts, columns and other architectural pieces from the site.
The Theatre was built between the first and fifth century BC. I took a souvenier photo with the ‘Roman guard’.
My husband and I spent some time there, taking in the theatre’s imposing scale and allowing it to come to life, imaging this world long ago.
It could accommodate over 6,000 people. If there’s only one place you have time to visit while in Cartegena, the Roman Theatre should be it.
Next stop on our cruise – Gibraltar!
Happy adventures, Linda
You can read my previous blogs on Barcelona by following these links.
Energy flows through all facets of our life: mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual. Our life is centered in that constant flow of energy. When we are connected to the infinite source of life, every aspect of our life is invigorated, nourished, and healed.
Cultivating a Dynamic Spirit
Energy is youthful, dynamic and resilient. Physical age does not define our potential for child-like energy. At the deepest level of our being, we are powerful and dynamic with the ability to shift the world around us with the energy of our presence. When we walk into a room, our vibe, our state of being, is communicated before we say a single word. Our purpose and intentions oscillate into the world.
“Energy, like you, has no beginning and no end. It can never be destroyed. It is only ever shifting states.” — Panache Desai
Sharing the Gift of Happiness
One of the nicest things you can do for God or another person is to be happy and to share that wonderful energy with them. The magnetic frequency of happiness resonating in your heart has uplifting and healing qualities. Tap into the well of joy inside you. Take the time to discover your purpose and passion. What makes you glad to be alive? Find out what makes you truly happy in your heart center or God in you?
Live in Vibrational Harmony
Be grateful so others can feel and connect to that. Offering someone energy that will make them unhappy is not a godly offering. Seek to live in vibrational harmony. The positive feelings of joy, love and gratitude are high vibrational and contagious. The overflow of their light filled resonance will open the door for rich, meaningful relationships of the same kind and continue to make them blossom.
Being a Healer
God created us with unique gifts; when we joyfully share these gifts, the world benefits. It is our choice to use the energy our gifts bring to heal and transform. Sharing a gift from the feeling of religious compulsion does not carry the same blessing as a gift freely given from the heart. Knowing who your gifts come from and staying connected to that source makes all the difference. Spend time in devotion.
When you heal yourself, you also heal others without even having to try.
Energy Centers in the Body
As a yoga teacher I focus on opening the energy centers in the body by using a variety different twists, breathing techniques, visualizations and stretches. In the same way we assist overactive energy centers to become less active. The seven main energy centers are called chakras.
Sometimes yoga teachers refer to life force energy as qi (chi) energy. If the energy flow gets blocked or stagnant in the body it can cause disease. I always visualize life force energy moving through the body and outward into the universe.
Energy is always renewable. It’s not the amount of energy but the quality of energy that gives life! Our ability to preserve and balance this vitality and joyfulness, no matter what the circumstances, is true power.
Our capacity to affect others with our energy is both a gift and a responsibility.Ultimately, we have the power to choose how we show up and interact in this world. When we come from the true self, in love, understanding and unity, we become a powerful force for good.
The joy of the Lord is my strength. I rejoice today, anticipating many blessings coming my way! The seen and unseen.
Repeat this positive affirmation… I rejoice today, anticipating many blessings coming my way!
Namaste! ~ Linda
But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. – Isaiah 40:31 NLT
The worst fire in the history of the Santa Monica mountains left the landscape bare and black. Southern California lost 83% of cherished parkland and open space in the Woolsey fire. But perfectly timed rains were the ideal scenario for recovery. They revived the burned out wastelands and turned them into green colorful landscapes.
Fire helps seeds to germinate. This was one of the reasons an abundance of owls clover graced the Pentachaeta trail this Spring.
Golden fields of wildflowers carpeted the area adjacent to the Oak Forest community where over a dozen dwellings burned in the Woolsey fire.
Hiking along the Pentachaeta trail was magical.
When I returned to the trail later in May, wildflowers were still abounding, even after a couple of weeks of hot days.
The variety of different kinds wildflowers was amazing!
My sister and niece also get excited by nature’s artistry. Together, we witnessed the amazing transformation of the scorched hills.
FAREWELL TO SPRING
These late blooming Clarkia’s are aptly called, Farewell To Spring!
The Pentachaeta trail shares a trailhead with the Westlake Vista trail. That trail also had some lovely late spring wildflowers.
I saw only one lone grouping of wild sunflowers.
Painted Lady butterflies made an impressive showing.
The fire burned over the top of the Westlake Vista trail into Three Springs Park in my neighborhood. Thankfully, the fire was stopped at the perimeter. The burned hills in the park, gave birth to a magnificent field of Phacelia grandiflora.
Tall and spectacular, these purple beauties bloomed from May into June in Three Springs Park, Westlake Village.
I am grateful no homes were burned in my neighborhood. I’m also thankful for the rebirth of our open spaces after the horror of the November, California wildfires.
Have a blessed and joy-filled summer. ~ Linda
“May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you His favor and give you His peace.” – Numbers 6: 24-27 NLT
This month, I had the chance to practice yoga internationally in Greece. My friend, Robyn lives on the island of Ikaria. While I was visiting, she took me up to the Pezi region, the highest plateau on the island, to show me the incredible rock formations, practice yoga and take some photos. Today happens to be International Yoga Day, a perfect time to celebrate yoga and that special day we had together.
The scientific study of yoga demonstrates that mental and physical health are not just closely allied, but are essentially equivalent. The evidence is growing that yoga practice is a relatively low-risk, high-yield approach to improving overall health. – National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health
Research on yoga and wellness
Studies have suggested that yoga benefits several aspects of wellness including: stress management, mental/emotional health, promoting healthy eating/activity habits, sleep, and balance. Yoga can reduce the impact of stress responses and increase relaxation response. Adding yoga stretching and breathing into a wellness routine may be an appealing way of controlling both anxiety and depression.
Nature has provided a bounty of wildflowers from the burn scar areas of the devastating Woolsey fire. Stunning shades of purple flowers stretched out into the distance on the Cistern trail.
Only a heavenly gardener could have arranged such a lovely arrangement of lilies and lupines.
Amazing plate size Matilija poppies graced the trail trailhead as my friends and I started out on our Cistern to Lookout Trail hike..
Bold magenta wildflowers and interesting rock formations added a degree of magic to an area that was only a few months ago black sticks and ash.
At the junction of Cistern and Lookout trail, vibrant poppies pointed to evidence of a tree charred by the Woolsey fire.
The fields in Agoura Hills were dazzling with color from early March and well into May.
Lookout Trail leads into Malibu Creek State Park, in the distance. It’s nice that this trail provides some shady areas.
Incredible hot pink color. The center looks like a flower within a flower.
Pastel wild lilies adorned the trails in local Westlake Village and Agoura Hills trails from April into May.
In the midst of the wild lilies and mustard with my furry friends. The hills of Malibu are in the distance.
A stunning perspective of Malibu Creek from above.
My first time seeing these dainty button shaped flowers.
April’s fields of lupin blossoms, gave birth to thousands of painted lady butterflies in May.
“Behold, I make all things new.” – Revelation 21:5
My wish for you is that you will be refreshed by nature as I have been. May God bring you into deeper levels of inner renewal. If you are going through difficult circumstances or have experienced loss, I pray the promise of spring’s restoration of the barren, fire scorched hills, will bring you hope,
“To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory.” – Isaiah 61:3 NLT
“Divine Love has no trouble loving imperfect things! That is just our human problem. If God could only love perfect things, God would have nothing to do.” – Richard Rohr
Pushing through Rejection
The enemy loves to take our missteps and twist them into a tormenting irrational fear of condemnation and loss of God’s love. In the same way, the accuser will take personal rejection and turn it into an illogical fear that God won’t find us a better suited situation or relationship, making us doubt that God has a good plan for our lives. The devil sows just enough doubt that it is difficult to distinguish God’s voice from all the others.
If you are being swept away by a flood of negative thoughts, if you feel like you are sinking in uncertainty, reach out for God and look into the truth of His word. Turn your pain and struggle in the present, into fuel for your future. Seeking man’s approval has stolen enough from you, dear ones. Don’t let it steal the wonderful future God has in store for you.
Walking into the future depends on accepting God’s love and correction. I used to look at God’s discipline as a punishment, instead of my Father’s wise help. Have you ever held on to something too tightly or put your faith in the wrong people? I have taken more than a few misguided turns in my life. My ego has given me excuses not to follow God’s leading but I am learning not to trust the ego. God will always be my Father and I His daughter. He knows the real me and what is a true fitfor my life.
Repentance and Re-aligning
Now I see God’s correction and my repentance, as a re-aligning. God drawing back the bow so He can aim me towards the right mark.
God will still forgive us if we miss the mark or don’t repent, but if we don’t, we are not allowing our Father to lead us to our most life filled, fulfilling and fruitful life. We must allow God to release us from the past and the things and people that not longer serve His plans and propel us into our future destination.
“When you look at yourself, you only see the confusing, undecipherable mess of an unfinished work. When you look at Jesus you begin to find out who you really are.” – Lee Younger
We might get distracted for a little while but when we seek him with all our heart, Jesus, the lover of our soul, is always there. “I will never leave you or forsake you, he promises.” Let’s aim in the right direction, praising God along the way, especially on uncertain days or sad days because that’s when I need to praise Him the most.
My Renewal and Restoration
God has the power to renew or hearts and equip our minds for what is coming next. As I have received God’s love, wisdom and healing walking through my storms, I can now go and be the rainbow in someone else’s clouds. I will be the person I needed when I was hurting. I refuse to be bitter. I am better than what broke me. I am not the mistake I made or the person who hurt me. I am light; I am joy; I am peace; I am enough.
I praise you Father God for Your grace and goodness proven in the sacrifice of Your Son, Jesus. I pray for more generosity of heart, for both myself and others. I ask for peace and freedom from worry, understanding life is more about being Your daughter than trying to earn Your love. May I walk in complete confidence knowing that you, Lord, are with me.
With a grateful heart, Linda
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” – John 1:5
Give gratitude your attention. Feel it’s light and energy. There are no limits to the greatness of gratitude.
When you practice gratitude, you create new pathways in your brain. It changes your perception. The more I appreciate, the more goodness comes to me. I am grateful for eyes that see natures beauty. What are you grateful for today?
Local Super Bloom
Spring is a beautiful time to explore natures bounty. I came across these amazing fields of wild poppies while out exploring the hills in my neighborhood.
The poppies were hiding in the trails adjacent to the Westlake Village Community Park. Just beyond the poppies, I discovered an area of delicate blue wildflowers spread out like a carpet. They danced in the breeze.
I was delighted and kept walking. Around the bend I found an additional surprise, large fields of wild Lupine. Butterflies were everywhere, flying in and out of the purple-blue flowers.
I could hardly believe my eyes. These hills were black a couple of months ago, burned down to the dirt by the Woolsey fire. The fire was the reason for so many wonderful wild blossoms.Tall stalks of mustard plants were growing along with the Lupine (lupin).
I’ve cooked wild mustard greens from the local hills with some onions, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. Mustard greens are delicious and a powerful superfood! They are full of the antioxidants, vitamin C and glutathione which boosts immunity and prevents cell damage. High in calcium and vitamin K, mustard greens can help avert osteoporosis. They have numerous other health benefits. Pick the tender new growth.
I was excited to bring my daughter and sister back to this spot on the weekend. They were thrilled with the dazzling display. We couldn’t resist posing with nature’s glory.
It was a perfect spring day. I’m so grateful we shared this time together. We found grace in our gratitude of this beautiful place.
“Nature does not, hurry yet everything is accomplished.”
– Lao Tzu
I enjoyed pausing for a moment to soak up the late afternoon sun and listen to the song birds.
As we continued on our hike, I noticed some of the Lupine I had seen on my first visit was plowed down during the week, to make the hiking trail wider, but it was still lovely. Lindsay and I sampled some of the peppery young leaves of the mustard plants as we walked ahead, ready to discover more of God’s artistry and beauty.
My home town, Westlake Village is in the distance. What’s in your community? Check out the AllTrails App for hiking ideas.
The richest person in the world is not the one with the most money but the one with the most gratitude.
Happy Spring! ~ Linda
“On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.” – Psalm 145:5 ESV
Abigail was a beautiful, intelligent woman and one of the most overlooked heroines in the Bible. She was remarkable, especially considering the ancient times she lived in, but her story can still be applied to our lives today. Her saga is empowering and many women will be able to relate to the value of her discretion and strength in the midst of trying circumstances.
Abagail carried a burden in her heart, she was married to Nabel but it was not a good match. They were practically opposites.
“She was a woman of good understanding and beautiful appearance; but the man was harsh and evil in his doings.” – 1 Samuel 25:3 NKJV
Nabel was a rich, mean brute, who owned extensive property near the area where the future King David and his men held camp. David’s presence close to Nabel’s property gave his household security and guarded them from marauders but Nabel, in his arrogance, did not see it that way.
One day David sent messengers to Nabel’s home and politely asked if they could “share any provisions they might have on hand.” Nabel mocked and refused them. He said, “Who is this David.” “Do you think I’m going to take good bread and wine and meat freshly butchered for my sheep shearers and give it to men I’ve never laid eyes on?” It seemed Nabel thought David was trying to extort ‘protection’ money.
Well, David was powerful, he had fame and some hubris himself, so when David’s servants told him what transpired, he was highly insulted and ready to destroy them all. “Strap on your swords,” he commanded! Four hundred of his men set out. – 1 Samuel 25: 12-13
Abigail’s terrified servants alerted her of the horrible mistake her husband had made. “David sent messengers from the backcountry to salute our master, but he tore into them with insults. Yet these men treated us very well,” they told her. “Do something quickly because big trouble is ahead for our master and all of us. Nobody can talk to him.” – 1 Samuel 25: 14-17
They all feared for their lives. After all, David had slain the giant Goliath! Nabel did not have very good sense. Thank goodness Abigail did. She was clever and quick-thinking and took heroic measures to save her family.
“Abigail flew into action. She took two hundred loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five sheep dressed out and ready for cooking, a bushel of roasted grain, a hundred raisin cakes, and two hundred fig cakes, and she had it all loaded on some donkeys. Then she said to her young servants, ‘Go ahead and pave the way for me. I’m right behind you.’ But she said nothing to her husband Nabal.” – 1 Samuel 25: 18-19 MSG”
Meanwhile, as David rode on to seek his revenge, his anger grew. He grumbled, “That sure was a waste, guarding everything this man had out in the wild so that nothing he had was lost—and now he rewards me with insults. A real slap in the face! May God do his worst to me if Nabal and every cur in his misbegotten brood aren’t dead meat by morning!” – 1 Samuel 25: 20-22 MSG
“As soon as Abigail saw David, she got off her donkey and fell on her knees at his feet, her face to the ground in homage, saying, ‘My master, let me take the blame! Let me speak to you. Listen to what I have to say. Don’t dwell on what that brute Nabal did. He acts out the meaning of his name: Nabal, Fool. Foolishness oozes from him.'” – 1 Samuel 25: 23-25 MSG
Abigail went on the explain that she was not there when David’s men arrived. She reasoned with him and chose her words carefully. She didn’t point out that David would be wrong to take revenge; instead she turned his focus to how God was working in his life and spoke as if God and David had already chosen not to shed blood. By humbly going to David and honoring him, she was able to diffuse the situation. Her wise words and respectful manner towards him were important in saving her entire household from David’s wrath.
Abigail Gives a Blessing
Abagail humbled herself far more than her high social status required. Recognizing David’s anointing, Abigail referred to David as her “master”. “Forgive my presumption,” she said. “But God is at work in my master, developing a rule solid and dependable. My master fights God’s battles! As long as you live no evil will stick to you. If anyone stands in your way, if anyone tries to get you out of the way, Know this: Your God-honored life is tightly bound in the bundle of God-protected life; But the lives of your enemies will be hurled aside as a stone is thrown from a sling. – 1 Samuel 25: 28-29MSG
Abagail prophecies with these final words, “When God completes all the goodness he has promised my master and sets you up as prince over Israel, my master will not have this dead weight in his heart, the guilt of an avenging murder. And when God has worked things for good for my master, remember me.” – 1 Samuel 25: 30-31 MSG
Abigail Recieves a Blessing
David saw saw beyond Abigail’s beauty and saluted her as a good, smart woman. He thanked God for blessing her with sound judgement and reasoning that kept him from revenge.
“And David said, ‘Blessed be God, the God of Israel. He sent you to meet me! And blessed be your good sense! Bless you for keeping me from murder and taking charge of looking out for me. A close call! As God lives, the God of Israel who kept me from hurting you, if you had not come as quickly as you did, stopping me in my tracks, by morning there would have been nothing left of Nabal but dead meat.’” 1 Samuel 25: 32-34 MSG
David accepted the gifts Abigail brought to him and blessed her with peace and understanding. I can imagine how she must have felt meeting a young, strong, reasonable man like David. He was more of a match to her qualities than Nabel. Could there have been a touch of longing in her heart? Yet, Abigail returned to her husband.
When Abigail arrived home, she found her husband partying and very drunk, she did not speak to him will he was intoxicated. In the morning, when he sobered up, she told him the whole story of their ‘close call’. Right then and there, he had a heart attack. He died about ten days later.
After Nabel’s death, David sent his servants to asked Abigail to marry him. She eagerly accepted and went to him with five of her maids in attendance. Could David’s proposal have been a strategic move? Now doubt, he considered the fact that he was chosen as the future King of Israel. Maybe it was only a gesture of kindness? In the Jewish tradition, Jews were exhorted to be benevolent toward widows. It might be that David was in love, smitten by her wisdom and beauty. Jewish Rabbi’s call her “one of the four most beautiful woman who ever lived.” In any case, Abigail was lovely and I think David was a blessed man!
I was particularly impressed by the talented artist, Sarah Beth Baca and her interpretation of Abigail. I think her portrait captures the heroine’s beauty and character, and yet still holds a lot of her mystery.
In her ancient world, where women were defined by their husbands, Abagail stands out as an independent thinker, confident in her own skin. I like this story because it points out that, you are allowed to use your common sense in the Christian idea of submission to your husband. Submission is dependent on you husband’s godliness and God’s covering over his actions. Abigail was the one who acted godly, not her husband. You are not required to acquiesce to a husband’s stupidity and rudeness. It’s regretful, that sometimes the Bible is wrongly used to subjugate women.
The Bible contains many things that only apply to the culture of those times, for example, most of the book of Leviticus and some of Paul’s writings on gender and slavery. I consider myself Christian but I do not adopt everything in the Bible literally. Abigail was just one of David’s several wives, he already had a wife when he married her. That wouldn’t be allowed today. I have never found a church or group of Christians that agreed on everything in the Bible or interpreted it the exact same way; nevertheless, this story is rich with good spiritual and practical information for me to apply to my life today.
I bought Sara Beth Baca’s lovely art print and keep it in my office as a reminder of God’s goodness and power in forming our character. The print can be purchased here.
As we continue to seek wisdom, we ask ourselves, “How can I be an ‘Abigail’ in my family and sphere of influence?”
As women rise in power, may we lead in Your strength Father God. May we all be blessed with Abigail’s wisdom, bravery, upstanding character and good sense. The world needs this now more than ever.
Thank you God, I have a loving, honest and open relationship with my husband. May we build each other up in moral strength. Father, continue to strengthen and shape our relationship. I ask that You restore marriages that are broken and heal relationships. All things are possible through Your love, mercy, grace and goodness.
I am grateful, my husband and his twin brother celebrated 70 years together this month. Almighty God continue to guide them as the leaders of their families.
Divine Father, guide me to be a good helpmate to my spouse and continue to bless our families.
~ Blessings, Linda
“Teach me knowledge and good judgment, for I trust your commands.” – Psalm 119:66
Joyful energy is ours at any age. The freedom of being and expressing our real selves without fear of judgement is the joy and birthright our Creator gives us.Being your unique self, frees up all the life energy that can be trapped in conditioned thoughts and attitudes.
I just taught myself this yoga pose a few months ago. This asana is called, Wild Thing or Camatkarasana! One poetic translation means “the ecstatic unfolding of the enraptured heart.”
When I first saw this yoga posture, I was immediately inspired by the feeling of freedom and by the form of an open heart and a joyful, energetic body. That was all the incentive I needed to want to achieve Wild Thing. Inspiration is my best motivation! Being that I am in my mid-sixties, my attainment of this pose is a real testimony to the saying, “You’re never too old to learn something new.”
Yoga, like life, cannot be accomplished by force. Cultivating inner awareness and centering our Body-Mind-Spirit will give us stability and adaptability of consciousness. In this way, we can thrive and live dynamically amid the demands of our daily lives.
Nurture yourself and your personal growth with compassion and delight. Get creative with your fitness journey. There are so many options. A simple first step could be to get enough sleep.
Our body is in a constant state of recycle, healing and renewal. Sleep promotes this healing and renewal; 8-9 hours of good sleep is one of the best things you can do to strengthen your body’s life force. Yoga has some good resources for getting a good nights sleep.
A beautiful affirmation for you today … The light of my own being guides my life forward. The light of my own being guides my life forward.
With a joyful heart, Linda
“For the LORD delights in his people; he crowns the humble with victory.” – Psalm 149:4 (NLT)
It seems to me, that in the past few years I’ve been seeing less Christmas decorations so I especially appreciated this beautiful display I saw in Las Vegas at the Bellagio. Pictures can’t adequately capture the splendor and grand scale but you’ll get an idea. Take a look.
The amazing thing about the decorations was that a lot of them were crafted from fresh flowers. During the holiday season or any time of the year, Las Vegas is a fun and festive destination. There you can see some of the most fabulous shows in the world!
From our hearts to yours Steve and I wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy, healthy New Year!
Many blessings, Linda
“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