Thursday, October 01, 2009
You know it's funny how we think we have to vacation somewhere far away from home in order to make it special. We live in PA, but normally when we travel we head hundreds of miles away to such places as Virginia, North Carolina, Maine, or for that matter almost anywhere in North America, but we don't do "special trips" within our own state. Now understand that LUV and I have done a lot of overnight stuff around PA and of hiked hundreds of miles of trails here, but they're our get away for 2-3 day trips.
This week we were supposed to head down to the Outer Banks in NC for a week of walking the beaches, surf fishing and just watching the ocean rolling in from the deck of a beachfront rental. We love the Outer Banks but they're a 9 hour ride from here and I just wasn't sure my back and legs were recovered from surgery well enough to cope with the ride. So instead we decided to settle on a 3 hour ride to the Laurel Highlands in Western PA. Most of our PA camping has been in the Central and Eastern parts of Pa and we somehow never did the Western part of the state. What a great surprise! The Laurel Highlands are as beautiful as the mountain regions of New England or Virginia and it's not that far away!
We stayed in the area of Ohiopyle State Park where there really is something for everyone who loves outdoor activity! The Youghiogheny River is a white water enthusiast's dream with challenging rapids for every experience level. For the biker, there's scores of trails from rocky singletracks to a fantastic rail trail that follows the river's edge. Hiking trails are everywhere - many leading to waterfalls or to quiet mountain streams. There's one stream that has made a huge natural water slide that shoots down into deep cold pools. Oh yeah, did I tell you that the roads are all scenic highways in their own rights.
Now, as luck would have it, it rained everyday but the last for LUV and I, but that didn't stop us from doing miles upon miles of great hiking. One hike had a little bit of everything - mountain streams racing downhill to feed the magnificent river; a beautiful waterfall that we got to enjoy all by ourselves, a quiet, but steep stretch through an old growth forest where some of the mighty giant oaks had fallen over the trail to provide arches to walk under and mountain laurel everywhere.
Another memerable part of the week was a visit to Frank Lloyd Wright's masterpiece - Falling Water. Falling Water is a house that Wright designed that was built right over a waterfall. It's truely an amazing place and I highly recommend it for everyone, not just Outdoor People.
We didn't do any biking this week because of the pouring down rain that we experienced most of our visit, but I think that just may happen sometime over the next 2 weeks. Yep, we're going back when the leaves are at their best and we're going to experience some more of what this treasure in PA has to offer.
Life is good!
Friday, December 19, 2008
The following is taken out of the “reflections” article by Ardath Rodale in the January issue of Prevention Magazine. Not an original blog by me, but certainly reflects my way of thinking and is certainly appropriate for us here at SP.
“At the beginning of the new year, I have much to be thankful for, and I am excited about the opportunity we are all given to make a difference in our lives and others’. We have only one life, but we are not alone – we are not single islands but connected to each other by bridges.
As we look forward, let’s envision a bright and clear path. You, too, can be leaders in helping to build a healthy world where our spirits lift us up to work for community, world peace, and love. Each individual needs to know that he is special and loved unconditionally. If we as indiviuals strive to be healthy, it is imperative that we work at the same time for a world that is safe and healthy, too. It’s up to us to be missionaries of peace.
Let’s make our resolution lists this year as we always do, but instead of proposing to accomplish everything, let’s pick just one behavior that concerns us or tackle just one goal that we’ve set our hearts on for a long time. Let’s make this one resolution our year-long priority and stick to it.
The old proverb “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” is so appropriate here. If we have but one destination, we know where we’re headed and how long it might take to get there, and we can plant that first step on solid ground right from the start. Looking back over years of resolution lists, we probably could have accomplished everything if we’d resolved to do just one every year.
This year, give yourself the gift of time spent working toward one worthy goal or changing one behavior pattern that will make a big difference in your life and the lives of your loved ones. Take that first step toward keeping your New Year’s resolution!
I am so greateful for this new year! How about you?
Then it’s signed Ardath Rodale.
Nope. I didn’t write this, but I wish I would have. I do hope you find some inspiration in this.
Life is good!
Sunday, November 30, 2008
What gives a person power? What is it that makes one man a success and another a couch potatoe? Why are some women natural leaders and others sheep that will follow anywhere? Why are some people inventors of amazing things and others unable to complete a dot2dot? Why do some live lives of adventure and others barely dredge through another day? Why do some marriages stay vibrant and alive for decades and others fade to a blur before the honeymoon is over? Why can some men and women make amazing positive changes in their lives while others wish they were someone else? Why can some climb out of the devastation caused by a personal crisis and others become sniveling mice?
In all these questions the answer is imagination.
William Ward, an inspirational writer and educator once wrote " If you can imagine it, you can achieve it. If you can dream it, you can become it." It's one of the simple truths in life that a great number of people just don't understand. Probably because they've forgotten how to use their imagination.
Here, at Sparks, I've found myself surrounded by many many imaginative people. People that are making huge changes in their lives because they dare to see the possiblities in what they imagine. I've been hanging with a bunch of fun people who have turned their team threads into more than supportive comments, but they have made them into cyberworlds where friends help friends and where great things are accomplished with a lot of laughs on the side.
Here imagination helps keep things interesting as well.
There are an awful lot of you out there who impress me with your imaginations. Because you dream it, you will become it. How many of you Rookie Runners have become almost different people almost over night, because you've seen people like Trish and Penny accomplish so much and through them you can imagine yourself accomplishing the same thing? And how many of you Outdoor People have not been inspired by those among us who have made huge weight losses and are now pursuing outdoor adventures that would have been impossible to them prior to that time? I'm impressed with my friend out there who has big dreams of not only being "hot", but being a successful businesswoman as well. She's well on her way. I'm impressed with another of you, who has been through much family tragedy and still finds the energy to take care of yourself and still has time to be a youth counselor. I'm proud of those of you who have taken broken lives and not only mended them, but made them better than they were before they were broken. See what imagining rock walls can lead to? I'm moved by a young lady who has the imagination to find "country" in NYC. I could go on and on.
I love being surrounded with people with imagination. You will accomplish great things.
Life is good!
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
I believe we are living in a very difficult time here in the U.S. I also still believe in Americans. This is something I wrote outside of SP and wanted to share it here as well. Please feel free to respond.
Life is still good!
Americans Saving America
My name is Larry Moyer. I’m a retired reading teacher. I’m not well verrsed in finances and I have an aversion to politics. However, I have the audicity to believe that I and my wife working together with you and millions of other American families can help save the American economic system.
We believe that Wall Street and the banking industry doesn’t need a $700 billion dollar buy out to keep it from completely melting down. It needs us, the American people, to do what we do best – to rally together. We don’t need to rely on the intervention of politicians and we certainly don’t need to go begging to the rest of the world to get us out of our mess. We’re very capable of taking care of ourselves. After all, we are Americans!
Here’s what we think is the common sense fix for this crisis that’s threatening to destroy us. First, believe in ourselves! We’ve faced many crises in the past and we didn’t just whimper and sulk. We got through them with our initiative and resolve.
Don’t panic! Again, I’m no expert, but it looks to me that if everyone panics, the system automatically self-destructs! If everyone takes their money and runs, the banks collapse. When banks collapse, investors run scared and sell their stocks. When everyone sells, Wall Street collapses. When Wall Street collapses, it causes a financial whirlpool that sucks all of us right down the drain.
Here’s what we think we need to do instead of panicing. We fight back. Instead of taking our money and running with our tails between our legs, we take our money and we put it back into rebuilding the system. I’m not referring to tax dollars here. I believe that if even half of American households would go out and buy a Certificate of Deposit or a Treasury bond, we would accomplish the same thing that we’d get with a government buyout. The big difference however is this. Their way, it’s going to cost all of us tax dollars – lots of them. Our way, it costs us nothing. We’re investing our money and will get a return on it! When we each buy our CDs or Treasury bonds, we’re putting the desperately needed capital they need back into the banks!
The catch is this: It takes everyone who can to get on board. One person buying a Certificate of Deposit means nothing. 20% of Americans buying a Certificate of Deposit probably would not be enough. But we believe that if half of the households in America bought one, we’d be well on the way to the end of this financial cancer!
In the end, the banks survive, Wall Street survives and we not only survive – we prosper! Most importantly – we can , as Americans, hold our heads high knowing that once again we rose to the challenge and came together as one and did what needed to be done. We can still be proud to be Americans.
This is an effort of the little man, of you and me. If everyone who receives this message passes it on through forwarding emails, through talking to your neighbors, through calling your family, congressmen, news media, etc. the word can be spread quickly and we can be the ones who save America. Or you can be the defeatist and believe we can’t do it and therfore do nothing, but then, what will be the cost?
So please, do something today. First pass this message on to everyone you know and then go out and invest in America!
Let the eagle fly!
Uncle Sam Needs You!
Sunday, December 02, 2007
This is not an original entry by me. On the contrary, it is a tale I came accross about 30 years ago and used it for many years in my inner city classroom. This simple story had a profound impact on my life and I believe it left impressions on many of my students as well. It is now my Christmas gift to you my Spark People Friends.
Once upon a time, a long time ago, there lived two happy people called Tim and Maggie with their two children, John and Lucy. To understand how happy they were you have to understand how things were in those days.
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You see in those happy days everyone was given a small, soft Fuzzy Bag when born. Any time a person reached into this bag they were able to pull out a Warm Fuzzy. Warm Fuzzies were very much in demand because whenever someone was given a Warm Fuzzy it made them feel warm and fuzzy all over.
In those days it was very easy to get Warm Fuzzies. Anytime that somebody felt like it, he might walk up to you and say, "I'd like to have a Warm Fuzzy." You would then reach into your bag and pull out a Fuzzy the size of a child’s hand. As soon as the Fuzzy saw the light of day it would smile and blossom into a large, shaggy, Warm Fuzzy. When you laid the Warm Fuzzy on the person's head, shoulder or lap it would snuggle up and melt right against their skin and make them feel good all over.
People were always asking each other for Warm Fuzzies, and since they were always given freely, getting enough of them was never a problem. There were always plenty to go around, and so everyone was happy and felt warm and fuzzy most of the time.
One day a bad witch who made salves and potions for sick people became angry because everyone was so happy and feeling good and no one was buying potions and salves. The witch was very clever and devised a very wicked plan. One beautiful morning while Maggie was playing with her daughter the witch crept up to Tim and whispered in his ear,
"See here, Tim, look at all the Fuzzies that Maggie is giving to Lucy. You know, if she keeps it up she is going to run out and then there won't be any left for you!"
Tim was astonished. He turned to the witch and asked, "Do you mean to tell me that there isn't a Warm Fuzzy in our bag every time we reach into it?".
And the witch answered, "No, absolutely not, and once you run out, that's it. You don't have any more." With this the witch flew away on a broom, laughing and cackling all the way.
Tim took this to heart and began to notice every time Maggie gave away a Warm Fuzzy. He got very worried because he liked Maggie's Warm Fuzzies very much and did not want to give them up. He certainly did not think it was right for Maggie to be spending all her Warm Fuzzies on the children and other people.
Tim began to complain or sulk when he saw Maggie giving Warm Fuzzies to somebody else, and because Maggie loved him very much, she stopped giving Warm Fuzzies to other people as often, and reserved most of them for him.
The children watched this and soon began to get the idea that it was wrong to give Warm Fuzzies any time you were asked or felt like it. They too became very careful. They would watch their parents closely and whenever they felt that one of their parents was giving too many Fuzzies to others, they felt jealous and complained and sometimes even had a tantrum. And even though they found a Warm Fuzzy every time they reached into their bag they began to feel guilty whenever they gave them away so they reached in less and less and became more and more stingy with them.
Before the witch, people used to gather in groups of three, four or five, never caring too much who was giving Warm Fuzzies to whom. After the coming of the witch, people began to pair off and to reserve all their Warm Fuzzies for each other, exclusively. When people forgot to be careful and gave a Warm Fuzzy to just anybody they worried because they knew that somebody would probably resent sharing their Warm Fuzzies.
People began to give less and less Warm Fuzzies, and felt less warm and less fuzzy. They began to shrivel up and, occasionally, people would even die from lack of Warm Fuzzies. People felt worse and worse and, more and more, people went to the witch to buy potions and salves even though they didn't really seem to work.
Well, the situation was getting very serious indeed. The bad witch who had been watching all of this didn't really want the people to die (since dead people couldn't buy his salves and potions), so a new plan was devised.
Everyone was given, free of charge, a bag that was very similar to the Fuzzy Bag except that this one was cold while the Fuzzy Bag was warm. Inside of the witch's bag were Cold Pricklies. These Cold Pricklies did not make people feel warm and fuzzy; in fact they made them feel cold and prickly instead. But the Cold Pricklies were better than nothing and they did prevent peoples' backs from shriveling up.
So, from then on, when somebody asked for a Warm Fuzzy, people who were worried about depleting their supply would say, "I can't give you a Warm Fuzzy, but would you like a Cold Prickly instead?"
Sometimes, two people would walk up to each other, thinking they maybe they could get a Warm Fuzzy this time, but one of them would change his mind and they would wind up giving each other Cold Pricklies instead. So, the end result was that people were not dying anymore but a lot of people were very unhappy and feeling very cold and prickly indeed.
The situation got very complicated since the coming of the witch because there were fewer and fewer Warm Fuzzies around and Warm Fuzzies which used to be free as air, became extremely valuable.
This caused people to do all sorts of things in order to get Warm Fuzzies. People who could not find a generous partner had to buy their Warm Fuzzies and had to work long hours to earn the money.
Some people became "popular" and got a lot of Warm Fuzzies without having to give any back. These people would then sell their Warm Fuzzies to people who were "unpopular" and needed them to feel that life was worth living.
Another thing which happened was that some people would take Cold Pricklies--which were everywhere and freely available-and coated them white and fluffy so that they almost looked like Warm Fuzzies. These fake Warm Fuzzies were really Plastic Fuzzies, and they caused additional problems.
For instance, two or more people would get together and freely give each other Plastic Fuzzies. They expected to feel good, but they came away feeling bad instead. People got very confused never realizing that their cold, prickly feelings were because they had been given a lot of Plastic Fuzzies.
So the situation was very, very dismal and it all started because of the coming of the witch who made people believe that some day, when least expected, they might reach into their Warm Fuzzy Bag and find no more.
Not long ago, a young woman with big hips came to this unhappy land. She seemed not to have heard about the bad witch and was not worried about running out of Warm Fuzzies. She gave them out freely, even when not asked. They called her the Hip Woman and disapproved of her because she was giving the children the idea that they should not worry about running out of Warm Fuzzies. The children liked her very much because they felt good around her and they began to follow her example giving out Warm Fuzzies whenever they felt like it.
This made the grownups very worried. To protect the children from depleting their supplies of Warm Fuzzies they passed a law. The law made it a criminal offense to give out Warm Fuzzies in a reckless manner or without a license. Many children, however, seemed not to care; and in spite of the law they continued to give each other Warm Fuzzies whenever they felt like it and always when asked. Because they were many, many children, almost as many as grown ups, it began to look as if maybe they would have their way.
As of now its hard to say what will happen. Will the grownups laws stop the recklessness of the children?
Are the grownups going to join with the Hip Woman and the children in taking a chance that there will always be as many Warm Fuzzies as needed?
Will they remember the days their children are trying to bring back when Warm Fuzzies were abundant because people gave them away freely ?
The struggle spread all over the land and is probably going on right were you live. If you want to, and I hope you do, you can join by freely giving and asking for Warm Fuzzies and being as loving and healthy as you can.
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