Going Beyond Thanksgiving Into Gratitude and Grace

It was only a month ago but it seems longer since I wrote my last blog about walking meditation. It was a pause that refreshed and it prepared me for all the hustle of this month. So far, November has been full of activity and good things. First of all was the continuing celebration of my daughters engagement and the preparations being made for Lindsay and Ben’s wedding day.

Love Is In The Air

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It has been a joy to everyone who knows Lindsay and Ben, to see how their love for each other has grown. The grace God has given them, by drawing good people to them on their journey, has made my heart swell with gratitude.

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Congratulations Ben and Lindsay!

 

The Season of Family and Thanksgiving

This year Thanksgiving fell on the birthday of my mother in law, Shirley. We had a double celebration! At 97 years young she is a delight to be with. Mom often talks about her older friends who are still active. “We have a 106 yer old man here (Laguna Woods) who still golf’s at 106 years old, she told me.

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Nana Shirley with her grandchildren and great grandchild, Riley

My sister-in-law, Alison and my niece Erin, hosted the festivities with their usual graciousness and artistic flair! They bring the best of Pinterest and “Martha Stewart Living” together for a fabulous event.

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Erin and Alison and their beautiful Thanksgiving table

I am so grateful to be on the receiving end of their grace and gift for hospitality. Even though I am family, I still look on myself as one who is receiving grace, undeserved favor, not earned. 

 

Giving and Receiving Grace

Grace begins when one person is full and another is empty. One person has and the other has not. “Then grace comes into action as the emptiness of one is filled up by the fullness of the other. What we do not have is supplied by what he has.” ¹

Whether we are giving or receiving grace, it can become sour or boastful when humility is not present. “The notion of “self-made persons” who deserve all the success and wealth they’ve received is simply wrong. Indeed, “deservedness” is the opposite of gratitude, even if it occasionally produces prayers of thanksgiving.” ²

 

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The Greatest Gratitude

Being thankful can often times just be an expression of good manners but real gratitude, received in grace, goes beyond the expression of “thank you” to a feeling of awe and blessedness for God’s goodness through people and circumstances.

Speaking to my youngest brother Al on the phone this week brought this all home in my heart. Al has served as the Director of Worship and Music at Living Rock Bible Church for over 18 years. His beautiful family also serves in leading worship and ministering the grace of God to their church.

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The Alberici family

Al is not only my brother but also my Christian God son. We have a very special connection.

Almost every week Al sings about the most precious grace of God, the debt of our sin that was paid by Jesus Christ. A perfect sacrifice was given, that brought heaven down to earth. The curtain separating us from God was removed, giving us access to our Father God through His Son.

In this pure state of worship, gratitude and grace, my heart becomes full, not with pride or deservedness but with  humility and blessed joy. I am filled with an incredible lightness of being that actually restores me to God and changes me from within. 

Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! – 2 Corinthians 9: 15

From my heart to yours, be blessed, Linda

 

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. – Romans 5: 1-2

 

Footnotes:

1. https://www.desiringgod.org/messages/grace-gratitude-and-the-glory-of-god

2. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/marcusborg/2013/11/gratitude-one-of-the-most-important-virtues/#cM0CHR8bcoShA0MX.99

 

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The Love of Trees

I couldn’t see it at first. From the trail it just looked like a gnarly old oak tree but something beckoned me to take a closer look. I thought I should beware of rattlesnakes in the grass but my curiosity got the best of me. I walked off the trail through the thick wild grass and stood before the tree’s massive form. And there it was, staring at me with a gaping mouth, like it was trying to speak!

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“I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees. I speak for the trees for the trees have no tongues,” – Dr. Seuss

 

TREES ARE VITAL TO OUR HEALTH AND THE HEALTH OF OUR PLANET.

As stewards of the Earth, Earth Day is a good time to renew our commitments to the Earth and give thanks for its constant support, beauty and inspiration. This year I honor the trees.

Trees are beautiful and make people feel good.

Exposure to trees and nature has a positive effect on our health and mental attitude. Recent research has shown that trees not only filter pollutants from the air so we breathe easier, but they help make us feel better emotionally as well. ¹

Research published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology shows that trees help people to feel more alive. And another study, in the Journal Landscape and Urban Planning, shows evidence that being around trees could actually decrease levels of the stress hormone, cortisol.

Acacia-yellow-flower_I planted a variety of drought tolerant trees around my home including this attractive flowering Acacia tree. I enjoy its beauty. It’s the first tree to bloom in late winter. With a burst of color it offers the hope of Springs eminent arrival.

Laboratory research shows visual exposure to settings with trees, produced significant recovery from stress within five minutes, as indicated by changes in blood pressure and muscle tension. – Dr. Roger Ulrich Texas A&M University ²

Trees conserve energy.

Three trees placed strategically around a single-family home can lower summer air conditioning needs by up to 50 percent. By reducing the energy demand for cooling our houses, we reduce carbon dioxide and other pollution emissions from power plants. If you plant a tree today on the west side of your home, in 5 years your energy bills should be 3% less. In 15 years the savings will be nearly 12%. – Dr. E. Greg McPherson, Center for Urban Forest Research ²

Trees increase property value.

The majority of realtors believe that having well cared for trees in your yard, will have a significant impact on the value and salability of your home. Healthy, mature trees add an average of 10 percent to a property’s value. – USDA Forest Service.

Trees cool our cities.

Average temperatures in Los Angeles have risen 6°F in the last 50 years as tree coverage has declined and the number of heat-absorbing roads and buildings has increased. ³ The net cooling effect of a healthy tree is equivalent to ten room-size air conditioners operating 20 hours a day. – U.S. Department of Agriculture

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Trees combat climate change.

Excess carbon dioxide contributes to climate change. In one year, an acre of mature trees absorbs, six tons of carbon dioxide, the amount of carbon dioxide produced when you drive your car 26,000 miles. ³

Trees provide oxygen and clean the air.

One acre of forest puts out four tons of oxygen. According to the U.S.D.A., this is enough to meet the annual needs of 18 people. Trees absorb odors and pollutant gases (nitrogen oxides, ammonia, sulfur dioxide and ozone) and filter particulates out of the air by trapping them on their leaves and bark.

“In a study published in 2014, U.S. Forest Service scientists and collaborators calculated that trees are saving more than 850 human lives a year and preventing 670,000 incidents of acute respiratory symptoms. The researchers valued the human health effects of the reduced air pollution at nearly $7 billion every year.” ¹

I love trees. Trees are an amazing creation. Let us show our gratitude with action by protecting our trees and rainforests, for they are the lungs of the earth. Together we live or together we die. – Linda Eichberg

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Love our earth and be blessed, Happy Earth Day!

~ Linda

 

Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the people of the world revere him. For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm. – Psalm 33: 8-9

 

Footnotes:

  1. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/does-being-around-trees-help-people-feel-good/
  2. https://www.arborday.org/trees/benefits.cfm
  3. https://www.treepeople.org/resources/tree-benefits

The Power of Flowers

This has been a season of helping others carry their burdens. I have a few family members going through some very stressful and hurtful situations. Some difficulties cannot be avoided or ignored. When you love someone you feel for them and you hurt with them.

Finding Beauty in Unexpected Places

One of the ways I like to restore my spirit is by walking or hiking in nature. The hills above my home in Westlake Village are a close retreat. When I started out on my hike my heart was heavy, unaware of the beautiful treasures I would soon find hidden in the chaparral.

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Within minutes, I was dazzled by a burst of color. I had never seen this particular collection of wild flowers. They were much larger than any I had ever come across before, so vibrant and delightful!

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Yellow California Wildflowers – Sticky Monkey Flower

“Earth laughs in flowers.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wellness Through Flowers 

Nature provides us with a simple way to improve emotional health. Flowers trigger happy emotions, heighten feelings of life satisfaction and increase positive social behavior, according to a study at Rutgers University.” What’s most exciting about this study is that it challenges established scientific beliefs about how people can manage their day-to-day moods in a healthy and natural way,” said Jeannette Haviland-Jones, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology at Rutgers and lead researcher on the study.

The study also found particular benefits for seniors. There was a marked decrease in depression for older adults who received flowers. “Seniors performed higher on everyday memory tasks and experienced enriched personal memories in the presence of flowers.”¹

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Another group of wildflowers I saw that day was such a lovely orchid purple color, I could hardly believe my eyes. Southern California is in a drought and these beauties sprang up without any man-made cultivation. Incredible! They were perfection.

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Purple California Wildflowers – Chinese Houses

 

Consider How the Wild Flowers Grow

Does God speak through flowers? I think so.  As I moved in closer to more fully experience their fragrance, Jesus’ words came to my mind.

“Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.” ~­ Luke 12: 27-31

These verses spoke to my heart, refreshed my soul and renewed my mind.

A Sweet Blessing

“Flowers are the sweetest things God ever made, and forgot to put a soul into.” ~ Henry Beecher, Life Thoughts

Mothers are the sweetest beings God ever made and put a soul into.

I was blessed with a visit from my mom from Pennsylvania,. I am very grateful for those rare and precious moments shared with my mom.

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May the garden of your heart be filled with flowers.

Many Blessing, Linda

~~~~~~~

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Footnote:

  1. http://aboutflowers.com/health-benefits-a-research/flowers-a-seniors-study.html

A Mother’s Blessing

i-have-no-greater-joy-3-john-1-4What a day! On May 21st, my youngest sister, Alisa, delivered the 21st of my nieces and nephews. I can say I am a very blessed Aunt! That’s a lot of hugs and kisses and yes, that is a lot of birthday checks!

Alisa-JulianAlisa amazes me, two days after a cesarean section, with staples still in her stomach and not getting sleep for days, she manages to look so good for this photo.

Behind the smile, Alisa lives with the fact that baby Julian was born with a hole in his heart and with a leaky heart valve. She has to navigate several medical options for him. Not knowing what lies ahead for her son, Alisa has stayed calm and joyful. She and her husband are standing strong in faith, taking it one day at a time.

A Rough Start

The arrival of my newest nephew reminded me of my daughter Lindsay’s early years. I started out as an awkward mother. After having a C-Section and being in pain, I didn’t have a lot of desire to bond with my daughter right away.

Lindsay was a beautiful baby with pink rose bud lips but she was a colicky baby, an inconsolable crying ‘thing’ that left me sleep deprived, cranky and depressed. I remember my father trying to cheer me up; he told me, “Lindsay is going to be your best friend some day.” I heard the words but at the time, I had a hard time conceiving of such a thing.

Lindsay moved on from her colicky phase. and into her ‘wild child’ era. She was only about 2½ or 3 when she dragged a chair to the 2nd story opening over the recreation room, stood on its ledge and waved good-bye to me, announcing that she was, “going to fly like Dumbo.” I never moved so fast in my life!

Motherhood was a wild ride. Lindsay was challenging, but today, Lindsay is one of my best friends and our love continues to grow. She’s a joyful, compassionate and giving woman, a devoted daughter who makes herself available for her friends and family. I wish I could take credit for how she turned out but the truth is, I had to surrender the whole motherhood thing to God early on. delight-yourself-in-the-lord-and-he-will-give-you-the-desires-of-your-heartI knew from the start I was in way over my head.

“Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” – Psalm 37:4

We all have supreme hopes and desires for our children. I pray and put my hope  in God, but learning to “Delight in the Lord”, what is that exactly? How do I best do that? Am I walking with Him in love, joy and strength? I still ask myself these questions every day. My life line is this, I am grateful because my God is with me and for me. He will never leave me or forsake me. 

Persevere through the hard times; good times are coming! 

Joy For This Journey

On Mother’s Day, Lindsay gave me a special personalized gift and a sentimental note. Her words were so beautiful and heartfelt. I wish I could see myself the way she sees me.

Lindz also took her dad and I out for a cruise on her boyfriend’s family boat. His family’s generosity was amazing: flowers, food, great scenery and witty conversation. Everyone made it a lovely day.

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Mother’s Day was followed by a very romantic get away with my honey, Steve. I am thankful; at this moment life is sweet.

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God’s Promises to Never Leave Us

1. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; “He will never leave you nor forsake you.” – Deuteronomy 31:6

2. The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” – Deuteronomy 31:8

3. No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.” – Joshua 1:5

4. “May the LORD our God be with us as he was with our fathers; may He never leave us nor forsake us.” – 1 Kings 8:57

5. David also said to Solomon his son, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. “Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the LORD is finished.” – 1 Chronicles 28:20

6. For the LORD loves the just and will not forsake his faithful ones. “They will be protected forever, but the offspring of the wicked will be cut off.” – Psalms 37:28

7. “For the LORD will not reject his people; he will never forsake his inheritance.” – Psalms 94:14

8. “The poor and needy search for water, but there is none; their tongues are parched with thirst. But I the LORD will answer them; I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.” – Isaiah 41:17

9. “I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.” – Isaiah 42:16

10. Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” – Hebrews 13:5

 ≈  ≈  ≈  ≈  ≈  ≈

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God promises are true. “His word is above all! We can move forward because, He goes before us. And if God is for us, who can be against us”?¹

With a grateful heart, Linda

“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” – Jesus in Matthew 28:20 ²

Footnotes:

1. http://www.thejourney2grace.com/index.cfm?i=11059&mid=1000&id=324730

2. Matthew Chapter 28 – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+28&version=NIV

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Wonders Wait Just Around the Corner – March Miracles

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Going With the Flow

As I stepped outside my Westlake Village home, planning to rush off to the gym. The hills caught my eye. They were rich with spring color and they seemed to be inviting me to come and play.

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March is usually the greenest month in Southern California and with the abundance of local trails available to explore, it would be a shame not to sample one or two. I decided to skip the gym and headed to the Westlake Vista Trail in the hope of seeing some seasonal wild flowers.

The trail starts at Triunfo Canyon, just off Lindero Canyon Road at the Pentachaeta Trail. You will stay to the right for Westlake Vista. Just around the bend of the trail head is a grove of natural Oak trees, a meadow and then a fork in the path. Both paths lead to the reservoir but I took the left trail which quickly rises to view rocky cliffs.

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I was drawn toward the rocks to get a better look. There was a small trail off to the left but when I saw how narrow and steep it was, I quickly return to the main trail and soon arrived at the reservoir.

It’s a fairly easy hike for a healthy person but there are some loose rocks that make the steep sections of the trail very slippery. It took about 25 – 30 minutes to get up there. I probably could have made it in faster time but I was accompanied by my two Maltese.

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To the right I could see what looked like a vast open flood plain. To the left was the crystal clear reservoir framed by rolling hills and mountains.

We met a couple of other hikers up there and one of them offered to take a photo of me and my cute furry boys.

It seemed that I was already at the top of the trail. It was lovely; but exploring further, I discovered another small trail to my left. I hadn’t seen it the first time I ventured to the reservoir. The path brought me up to a view of the water that exposed a grander aspect of it’s liquid expanse.

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Higher and higher we climbed to another stunning vantage point as the captivating sounds of water birds echoed in the distance.

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It was at this point that I felt like I was in another world, instead of the city of Westlake Village. It was as if I was at a destination vacation in the mountains but I only went around the corner to experience this magnificent view.

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At the top, viewing the wide stretch of the regal hills, my ambitions were abandoned. There was only that moment, the clean air and the warm sun. The plans from this morning now belonged to the past. The present is filled with God’s love for me and the gift of His glorious creation.

“The flowers are springing up, the season of singing birds has come, and the cooing of turtledoves fills the air.” – Song of Solomon 2:12 (NLT)

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The Westlake Reservoir is an oasis hidden high in the hills. Taking it all in was like water for my soul. It remains natural and untainted.  It’s not accessible by car and can only be enjoyed after climbing the mountain. But it’s here, so close to my home, waiting for it’s majesty and beauty to be discovered and enjoyed.

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The view on the way down was also out of this world. And there they were, the wildflowers I was hoping for, my reward.

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Their colors graced the gentle slopes calling me to dance and sing before their Maker. So beautiful, but only here for such a short time.

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“Where flowers bloom so does hope!”

– Lady Bird Johnson

Our Time On Earth

My message is simple. There is always gratitude and beauty in every season of life, even in the trials and tribulations. My husband Steven and I are focused on caring for his dad and his wife, who are quickly declining from dementia. It’s difficult to experience this with them.

When we come to these hard moments in life, we find hidden strength in ourselves. We nourish our souls and receive refreshment in friends and in nature. We will all have to give an account of our lives, what we have been, and done. To give our parents companionship and joy in their advance senior years, is an enormous thing to them right now. Every lucid moment they have is a small miracle for which we are very grateful.

“The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of our God stands forever.” – Isaiah 40:8 (NLT)

Everything is a miracle. Have a blessed day! ~ Linda

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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  

Jesus meets you where you are. He loves you as you are.

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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 got me thinking about 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. Among them were some of the best musicians in the world. Sinatra was a pretty intense guy to work with because he demanded excellence in his music. 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.

the-golddiggers-frank-sinatra-beyond-our-wildest-dreams-book-alberici-sisters-Linda-Eichberg

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 & Barnes and Noble

For more info visit – 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

 

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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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folding chair cover with bow

 

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

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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.

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

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

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

FINDING YOUR ‘STAR’ QUALITIES!

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

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

Gratitude will take you in the right direction.

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

Comparison and Others

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

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

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

Comparison and Self

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

God is God – We Are Not 

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

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

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

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

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

Our Lives Should Shine!

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

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

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

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

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

Refrences:

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

2) John 21:20-22 (NIV)

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

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

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

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

Abundant  Life

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

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My Nephew, Chris, shares his big heart!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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From my heart to yours,  Linda Eichberg

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

Refrences

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

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

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

4) 1 Timothy 2:5

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