Love Is in the Air

“When two people relate to each other authentically and humanly, God is the electricity between them.” – Martin Buber

Lindsay-Ben-sunset

It is a wondrous time for our family, we recently celebrated my daughter, Lindsay’s wedding shower and now the BIG day is here.

It almost seems like yesterday when my daughter was born. A magical day filled with expectation and hope for my healthy baby girl’s future. Lindsay was strong from the start. On Lindsay’s first day, when her dad watched her in the hospital nursery, he was astonished when she did a push up, lifted herself up with straight arms and looked around the room.

To this day Lindsay has a great outlook and perspective. Her positive, ‘can do’ attitude helped her land the Senior Global Brand Manager position at Lionsgate Entertainment, home entertainment division. And now she has recently been promoted to that position at 21st Century Fox.

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I am proud to say that My daughter has grown into a strong, beautiful, intelligent and kind woman who has gracefully come into her own. And she has found the perfect partner along the way.

“Love is when he gives you a piece of your soul that you never knew was missing.” – Torquato Tasso

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When I see Ben & Lindsay together, my heart is filled with contentment and joy knowing she has found a loving partner she will share her life with. They are perfect for one another And I cannot thank God enough that they were able to find each other.

“Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.” – Robert A. Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land

I am not losing a daughter, I’m gaining a son tomorrow!! May they have a long, happy and healthy life!

With Gratitude, Linda

“Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” – Romans 12:10

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”  – 1 Peter 4:8

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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

 

The 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) and Samsonite. 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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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 

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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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A Grateful Heart Produces A Bountiful Harvest

 

Thanksgiving is almost here and I am extremely thankful to God for family and friends. Sharing food together is one way we share the joys of togetherness. Each Thanksgiving, I like to create new, healthy versions of my favorite recipes. I am bringing one of these delicious vegetable dishes for Thanksgiving dinner. 

Roasted Rosemary Vegetables
Ingredients
fresh vegetables like zucchini and carrots
extra-virgin olive oil
fresh or dried Rosemary
fresh pressed or dried powered garlic (optional)
fine sea salt
ground black pepper

Cut the zucchinis and carrots in half and then into wedges lengthwise about 3½ – 4″ in length. Toss well in olive oil, rosemary & garlic or whatever herbs you like. Arrange your vegetables on a cookie sheet or baking pan. Pre heat the oven to 425 F. Bake at 425 for 20 – 25 min. Rotate the roasting pan from bottom to the top shelf of the oven about half way through. Don’t over season. Flavors become more concentrated after baking. After baking, add salt & pepper to taste. Transfer to a serving dish alternating the zucchini & carrots side by side in the dish. Enjoy!

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Roasted zucchini and carrots

This recipe also works great with seasonal fall favorites like: sweet potatoes, parsnips or Brussels sprouts.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts
If you’re using Brussels sprouts for this recipe, cut the sprouts in half lengthwise and follow the same directions above for “Roasted Rosemary Vegetables”. Brussels sprouts are smaller so they will cook faster. Take a few minutes off the cooking time depending on the size of your sprouts. Cook until golden brown. The leaves that are loose will be brown and crispy.

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Roasted Brussels sprouts

Add Ons – Try one of these three tasty recipe twists!

1) The last 5 minutes of roasting, add cranberries, walnut or pecan pieces to the Brussels sprouts.

2) Let the Brussels sprouts cool and add shredded Parmesan cheese, goat or feta cheese.

3) Served warm or chilled, roasted Brussels sprouts will make a fantastic topping for your favorite salad!

A Story of Thanksgiving 

Very recently my husband Steven and I were guests at a fund-raising dinner given by Lily of the Valley Endeavor to raise money and awareness for children orphaned by HIV/AIDS. While we were there, we met at nice couple who told us that we were responsible for getting them and their neighbors involved in supporting this non-profit. I was very curious to hear how, since I didn’t know them.

Paying It Forward

It turned out that years ago Steven did some legal work, Pro bono, for their neighbor, a single mom who needed legal services. She was very grateful for what my husband did for her. Looking for a way to repay him in some way, she expressed her gratitude by getting a group of her neighbors to attend one of the fund raisers we were working on for Lily of the Valley Endeavor. The couple we met, were two of those neighbors. My husband Steven & I served for many years putting on events and raising money for this charity. And now these wonderful people continue to passionately support LoVE (Lily of the Valley Endeavor).

In doing good, we often do not see the results of our labor right away but in faith we keep forging ahead hoping that God will multiply our efforts beyond anything we can do.

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Singing for Lily of the Valley Endeavor, LoVEFest fundraiser

Living Legacies

My husband and I put a good portion of time and heart into growing this charity and helping the children it served. During those years much was accomplished but now that we have stepped back; it was heart warming to see the legacy continue through the couple we met and their friends. I was inspired and grateful to hear their story and to know how Steven’s kindness, in taking care of a struggling single mom’s legal problem, grew into something lasting and good for the world.

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Steven and Linda Eichberg at Lily of the Valley Children’s Village, South Africa

Grateful for the blessing of serving these children through Christ. Giving thanks for good friends, good food, family and God, who can do more than we could ever ask or imagine. Happy Thanksgiving from our house to yours!

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Happy Thanksgiving from Steven, Linda and Lindsay

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” ~ Galatians 6:9

“But the seed planted in the good earth represents those who hear the Word, embrace it, and produce a harvest beyond their wildest dreams.” ~ Mark 4:20 (MSG)

For more information on Lily of the Valley Children’s Village – http://www.lov.org.za

and Lily of the Valley AIDS Foundation – http://www.lilyvalleyusa.org

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

ONLY LOVE CAN DO THAT

darkness-light-hate-love-Martin-Luther-King-Jr.

In celebration of Martin Luther King Day, I am sharing a few of my favorite excerpts of some of Dr. King’s writings and speeches. He was a brilliant man who humbly and lovingly acted out his faith.

“The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. So it goes. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

 

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Excerpts from “Loving Your Enemies” (November 1957)

“Somewhere somebody must have some sense. Men must see that force begets force, hate begets hate, toughness begets toughness. And it is all a descending spiral, ultimately ending in destruction for all and everybody. Somebody must have sense enough and morality enough to cut off the chain of hate and the chain of evil in the universe. And you do that by love.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

“Now there is a final reason I think that Jesus says, “Love your enemies.” It is this: that love has within it a redemptive power. And there is a power there that eventually transforms individuals. That’s why Jesus says, “Love your enemies.” Because if you hate your enemies, you have no way to redeem and to transform your enemies. But if you love your enemies, you will discover that at the very root of love is the power of redemption. You just keep loving people and keep loving them, even though they’re mistreating you. Here’s the person who is a neighbor, and this person is doing something wrong to you and all of that. Just keep being friendly to that person. Keep loving them. Don’t do anything to embarrass them. Just keep loving them, and they can’t stand it too long. Oh, they react in many ways in the beginning. They react with bitterness because they’re mad because you love them like that. They react with guilt feelings, and sometimes they’ll hate you a little more at that transition period, but just keep loving them. And by the power of your love they will break down under the load. That’s love, you see. It is redemptive, and this is why Jesus says love. There’s something about love that builds up and is creative.” There is something about hate that tears down and is destructive. So love your enemies.

– Martin Luther King Jr.

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Quotes from Dr. King’s, “The Christian Pertinence of Eschatological Hope,” a paper King wrote for Christian Theology Today

Second Coming of Christ

“Actually we are celebrating the Second Advent every time we open our hearts to Jesus, every time we turn our backs to the low road and accept the high road, every time we say no to self that we may say yes to Jesus Christ, every time a man or women turns from ugliness to beauty and is able to forgive even their enemies. Jesus stands at the door of our hearts if we are willing to admit him. He is far away if with ugliness and evil we crowd him out. The final doctrine of the second coming is that whenever we turn our lives to the highest and best there for us is the Christ.”

Judgement Day

“The highest court of justice is in the heart of man after the light of Christ has illumined his motive and all his inner life. Any day when {we} waken to the fact that we are making a great moral decision, any day of experienced nearness to Christ, any day when in the light of Christ, we see ourselves, is a day of judgment.”

Immortality

“Again the worthfulness of the personal life of Jesus makes immortality meaningful. Through his spirit Jesus brought the immortal hope to light. He had a quality of spirit that death couldn’t hold (cf. Acts 2:24). His love was too powerful for death. His truth was too eternal for death. His goodness was too influential for death.”

The Kingdom of God

“When we see social relationships controlled everywhere by the priciples which Jesus illustrated in his life–trust, love, mercy, and altruism–then we shall know that the kingdom of God is here. To say what this society will be like in exact detail is quite hard for us to picture, for it runs so counter to the practices of our present social life. But we can rest assure that it will be a society governed by the law of love.”

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Words from a beautiful mind, God bless you, Dr. King.

~ Linda Eichberg

 

“But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” – Jesus in Matthew 5: 44-45