Thursday, October 31, 2013

O is for "Oh Fortuna"

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Many of you already know that I like classical music. I'm not really educated in it, but still enjoy its' beauty and timelessness. There are many pieces that I really love and can name- such as Bolero and Clair De  Lune. Then there are other tunes I enjoy but don't know the title. Today, I learned the name of one such piece, and it happens to start with the letter "O"-this week's alphabet meme!                                                           
 The song is called Oh Fortuna.
This piece originated as a medieval poem and is basically a lament about fate and fortune in Roman mythology. It was set to music in 1935 by a German composer named Carl Orff, and  was a movement of a cantata called " Carmina Burana"  I like it because it starts off so soft but then builds to an exciting climax, followed by a softening of the voices and an abrupt ending.
 It would seem that singing this would be exhausting! But the singers all seem to be very poised, whereas the conductor is physically into the music!
 I bet this would be awesome to hear in person.
What do you think- have you heard this before- perhaps in parody on the internet?  

Thursday, October 24, 2013

N is for Night of floating lights

Last December on the Sunday prior to Christmas, I met up with some co-workers and their families and we participated in the Christmas lights boat parade out of Newport Beach, California.

Finding a place to park was exhausting, but once on the boat, all was peaceful. What was being paraded were elaborately decorated boats of all shapes and sizes which  moved in a circuitous route around the marina. Some were decorated in a theme, many had music blaring, and several had parties going on. They looked like fun!  The boat we were on was actually one that cruises the harbor and goes out on whale watches. We were not partying- just watching the parade while being in it! I spent my time at the railing, as it was a pleasant evening out. I was eager to  practice night photography, yet was not feeling all that great. Did manage to get a few decent pictures.

After a couple of hours, we disembarked and sped to the other side to  the beach to watch the fireworks show. That was cool and a perfect finale for the evening of holiday lights show at sea.

 I would love to do this again!
 Have you ever participated in a Christmas Parade?

This week, the Alphabet Meme is sponsored by the letter "N." Check out the link and join in on our blog hop!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

M is for Missions Trips

 Growing up in the church, I've been on a few missions trips over the years. I recall when in high school, our youth choir went on tour a couple of times. One time, up the coast to Northern California. We slept in churches or retreat centers. We sang, sometimes did a dramatic skit, and had a short sermon. Always, we had a Vacation Bible School type program for kids. I always loved that part!
Another memorable trip was to an Indian reservation in Arizona. We sang in their tiny church, and played with the kids. Some very special personal memories from those days!

When in the College Career class at another church, I went on a day trip to Mexico. I believe we went into Mexicali, and helped build tiny houses in the area known as" the dumps". What an eye opener! It was hard physical labor  and emotionally  draining. We toured the Christian run orphanage, and of course, fell in love with the kids!  (Unfortunately, I did not retain the photos taken during any of these times)

The last missions trip I took, was in 2000, and was also my most favorite of all. I was a short term missionary for a family retreat with the Joni Eareckson Tada ministry.
Joni and her husband, Ken, were at the retreat. They are the nicest people and Joni is as sweet in person as she is the radio. I even got to dine with them one time!

 Volunteers had to pay their way to this week-long camp, as well as work it. We arrived on a hot July Sunday, and had orientation and training. Each volunteer was assigned a family that had a special needs member. This camp is for the entire family, no matter the age. I was assigned an eleven year old boy who had cerebral palsy, a trache and had to use a wheelchair. I was matched with him because of my  career experience working with people who had disabilities.  The kids had planned activities while the adults and youth had their own life-renewing meetings and activities. Always, the Word of God was being shared.

William was a very outgoing young man with a smile that lit up the room. He soon became very popular with the other  Short term missionaries (STM) and camp participants.  He could not walk, but he was able to move on his knees, so he wanted out of his wheelchair as much as possible! He was non-verbal, but his facial expressions did all the communicating for him! He enjoyed everything! He especially loved riding the horse. I was constantly with William, and even had to suction his trache a few times, and deal with his other medical and physical needs. At meal times, I dined with him and his  family. It was a precious time. In the evenings, there was group meetings in the church building where we sang and learned more about God.

The campground  is a Calvary-Chapel owned Conference Center in Murrieta Hot Springs, California. There actually was a hot springs contained in a giant pool spa. The water was warm and after the church meeting, it was free time for STM's. We usually hung out in the spa. The families did too. The highlight of the retreat was near the end of the week when there was a time of baptism in the hot springs spa. A little talk was given explaining what baptism meant, then it was asked if anyone wanted to be baptized. Several folks did- participants, their families and even some STMs. Near the end of the evening, the offer went up again and William's hand shot up! The pastor spoke with him and asked if he really understood what it was about. William's face was aglow as his head bounced in understanding. Two men lifted his small body and baptized William. (I tear up just remembering that night!) WOW- what a finale! His mom and dad were watching; mom with tears, and dad still trying to get a grasp of what being a Christian is about.

These two photos are from a newsletter that was sent out to supporters of the ministry. I did not get a good pic of Joni and I feel that I should not post photos of William and his family without their permission.

That week was physically and mentally exhausting, and used a week of valuable vacation time, but so worth it. I kept in touch with William's family for a short while, but then we lost touch. I often wonder how they are doing. William would be a grown man now. I think I would like to serve again as a STM someday, when I'm not so physically handicapped myself, but for now, I  know God will use me where I'm at!

Have you experienced any memorable blessings as a result of a missions trip?

This week, the Alphabet Meme is sponsored by the letter "M" Check out the link and join in on our blog hop!

Friday, October 11, 2013

L is for Lavender Festival

This past June, I met up with two women who are Facebook friends on a photography group I'm participating in. Barbara, Susan and I  met face to face for the first time and Susan brought her husband and two daughters. We "clicked" right away and had a pleasant time photographing the event.

Rows and rows of lavender bushes in bloom- the fragrance was powerful and bees were having their own gatherings!

There were exhibits on how to make beverages from lavender- I believe one was wine, and many types of food made from the flower. We sampled lavender ice cream. It tasted just like it smelled. I would not care to consume an entire serving! There were also breads and cakes made with the bloom, but I did not try any. I love lavender as a body wash or air freshener, but not for eating!
Other booths displayed crafts made from the flower, and were quite attractive.

There were two sets of hay wagons trotting around the grounds giving tours and educating folks on the wonders of lavender. I did not take the ride, but enjoyed the beauty of the horses!

It was cool seeing several  fellow "artists" at work! We had permission to photograph them and they seemed pleased to be included.

We really had a nice time together. The weather was pleasant and the atmosphere was relaxing. There were several booths selling food so we had a nice lunch in the shade of pine trees.

I really enjoy photo safaris and it's even more fun when going with like-minded friends! I hope to be able to do something like this again in the future. (But only after my hip replacement has been completed!

          Does your hobby provide the opportunity for meeting up with new people?

This week, the Alphabet Meme is sponsored by the letter "L"  Check out the link and join in on our blog hop! 

Friday, October 4, 2013

K is for Knott's Berry Farm

Promoted as California's first Theme/Amusement Park, Knott's Berry Farm had a humble beginning  as a roadside fruit stand  in 1928, by husband and wife  Walter and Cordelia  Knott.

Photo credit: Orange County Archives / Foter / CC BY
Knott's is associated with the development of the boysenberry, which was a cross between a blackberry, red raspberry and blackberry, and the berries were a popular item at the farm. Cordelia helped out  by selling jams and jellies made from the berries. Eventually, she began providing home made pies, biscuits , sandwiches and  fried chicken dinners. It was then that she started becoming known for her chicken dinners that eventually evolved in the well-known restaurant- Mrs. Knott's Chicken House.     

To keep the customers entertained while waiting their turn for a meal, Walter developed the Ghost Town. Over the years, things were added to the old west themed area.
I have memories of visiting Knott's  as a kid in the 1960's and really enjoying the ghost town in the days before carnival-type rides were added. It was also free. The minimal entrance fee was later added to deter unsavory real life characters. There was a jail that housed a life-sized figure of a prisoner known as "Sad-Eyed Joe." When you peeked into the jail, he would talk to you like he knew you! Several years ago, I lived in an apartment where one of  my neighbors worked at Knott's Berry Farm, and he often served as the voice of Joe. There was an area off to the side where he was stationed, and could see the guests coming around. Knowing friends or family members could give him the scoop on the unsuspecting person, and really get them confused!  The summer Stephanie moved in with me, I took her there, but did not tell her about Chuck working at the ghost town. Boy, we had a ball with that- she was just 10, and could not figure out how this obviously fake prisoner knew all about her!

There was also a functioning stage coach that had real hold-ups. So did the old-fashioned steam train. My neighbor worked these areas, too, but was not "on" when we rode them.
The ghost town also had a Chinese laundry display, where an old-time version of the workers was posed.

There is a cemetery known as Boot Hill, that had "graves" with goofy tombstones. There was one particular grave that when you stood on it, you could feel and hear a heart beat. That was really cool to both kids and adults! There was a sign saying why the beat could be felt, but I cannot remember what it read.

I also  recall a seal pool, and an organ grinder with a monkey who collected money. I still remember how the man with the monkey said not to give pennies because it was not good for the monkey's health. Yah, I did not believe it either- I thought he wanted more money. :)

There was also a man-made volcano that actually rumbled and smoked. If you moved behind the volcano, you came across a mechanical devil-like character cranking a device that  caused the volcano to sound so realistic.
I visited Knott's Berry Farm this past May, when Stephanie and family visited. I had last been there on new year's eve of 1998. A lot had changed over those years. Why is it that fond memories of my childhood have now become "politically incorrect?"
 Sad-eyed Joe does not talk, the Chinese laundry vanished, and the heart-beat grave is silent.
 The seal pool, organ grinder and volcano disappeared so many years ago, along with other attractions I did not list.
What still remains is Mrs. Knott's Chicken Dinner restaurant, and I just love the boysenberry pie! So worth the trip! 
Have you had any history with Knott's Berry Farm?

This week, the Alphabet Meme is sponsored by the letter "K" Check out the link and join in on our blog hop!