Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Lord God Planted A Garden

Carousel Rose

The Lord God planted a garden
In the first white days of the world,
And He set there an angel warden
In a garment of light unfurled.

So near to the peace of Heaven,
That a hawk might nest with the wren,
For there in the cool of the even'
God walked with the first of men.

The kiss of the sun for pardon,
 The song of the birds for mirth-
One is nearer God's heart in a garden
Than anywhere else on earth.
 -Dorothy Frances Gurney

Rose Garden
Florence, Italy

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Sound Of Music

"The hills are alive, with the sound of music,
With songs they have sung for a thousand years..."

Can it really be so?

This year marks the 50th anniversary of one 
of my all time favorite movie musicals,
"The Sound Of Music"

The story behind the film...

The real life 
Von Trapp Family

In 1938, the German forces of Adolf Hitler's
Third Reich invaded neighboring Austria in what
 was known as the Anschluss, or annexation, as
the two nations joined together into one.

As loyal Austrians, the Von Trapp family knew they
had to leave their beloved homeland or face subjugation
to the Nazis.  Much like in the movie version of their escape,
the family dressed as if going on one of their frequent hikes
up into the mountains and simply walked away from their
elegant home and estate property near Salzburg, Austria.

The family later traveled by passenger train across northern
Italy to Switzerland and from there they eventually made it to
London, England where they later boarded a ship heading
for the United States of America.

In the US, the Von Trapps became well-known as a
touring family band and in 1949, Maria Von Trapp wrote a book
about her family's many adventures on the road. 
Her story became the inspiration for an award-winning Broadway musical 
in the late 1950's, and was later made into the beloved film, 
which has delighted generations of families all over 
the world for many years now.

One of my favorite songs from the movie is

Leontopodium alpinum

A beautiful wildflower of the Alps known for its
medicinal qualities, Edelweiss is used to treat ailments 
 of the abdominal and respiratory systems.

However, due to this starry white flower's natural
habitat, or growing in precarious spots along steep cliffs
and other inaccessible terrain, unwary mountain climbers
have been seriously injured or have even fallen to their
deaths while attempting to pick these flowers.

Quite a few years ago, in order to honor my Austrian
heritage, I naively, but with the best of sincere intentions,
attempted to grow Edelweiss in my front yard flower bed.
Although the bed was partially in the shade, to my dismay
this hardy bloomer of the mountains was no match for the
heat and humidity of a southern New Jersey summer,
not to mention our naturally sandy soil.

Anyway, back to "The Sound Of Music"...

One of my favorite scenes in the movie is when the crusty
Captain Von Trapp can no longer deny that he has fallen in love
with the beautiful and feisty governess-who-will-never-
be-a-nun, ditches the scheming wealthy Viennese Baroness Schrader
and goes off to find poor, heartbroken Maria to declare his love
for her in the romance of moonlight.

"Something Good"

Another favorite scene is near the end of the movie
when the Von Trapp family hastily arranges to sing at
the Salzburg Folk Festival as part of their plan to
escape the Nazis waiting in the audience to escort
Captain Von Trapp to his new appointment as an officer 
in the naval forces of the Third Reich.

During a solo performance of "Edelweiss"

Georg Von Trapp becomes emotional and cannot sing,
knowing that his beloved Austria has been taken over by
the evil Nazis and that he and his family will lose their freedom.
With the help of Maria and the children, and eventually
patriotic Austrians seated in the audience, he is able
to continue with a chorus of voices singing with him.
A beautiful act of defiance in the face of tyranny!

"Just say "NO!" to the Nazis!
"Climb every mountain, Ford every stream,
Follow every rainbow, 'Till you find your dream..."

"Climb Every Mountain"

This movie takes me back to a more simpler time in
my life and to a different time in America.
The message of this beautiful story of heartbreak and loss
transformed by the redeeming power of love reminds me
how important it is to have courage in the face of adversity,
and above all, to place my hope and faith in Almighty God,
in these often uncertain and perilous times we are living in today.

The Beautiful Austrian Alps

"I will lift up my eyes to the hills,
From whence shall my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth."
Psalm 121:1-2

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Beating The Wintertime Blues

Laughter is truly
the best medicine!

Number #10

"John Wayne's Teeth"

Number #9

"A rooster to a hen
with one shot!"

Number #8

I Left My Heart
(And My Shocks)
In San Francisco

 Number  # 7

"They call me Mr. Pig!"

Number #6

"You mean like Democrats?"

Number #5

"You see I'm a bit of a poet,
and you did not know it."

Number #4
Party Like It's 1961

Number #3
Southern Cooking Lesson

Number #2
The Natural Art of Self Defense

Number #1
Uncle Buck's Taxi Service

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Deer Tracks In The Snow


The crimson sun is swinging low
 a flaming red chariot in the sky,
the wind, turning bitter cold,
 stirs the tops of the trees
 with a lonely
 and mournful cry.

The swaying old cedars
 and towering pine
casting their long
stark shadows
across the lawn...

The gathering darkness
 of the coming night,
makes me sigh,
as I realize
  another afternoon
will soon be gone.

 I zip up my boots
and head outside
determine before
 the last hour of light
to take in my daily stride.

I  remind myself
to step careful as such,
for the snowy woods
are deceptive at 
the coming
of dusk.

  The familiar trail
of bridal veil white
winding between
the bare naked bush,
has melted into
 one long pool
of camouflaged,
mud-spattered mush.

As I walk in silence
struggling to keep upright,
I am aware of hidden eyes,
alert and ever watchful,
bold and black as night.

 I look down
to see imprinted across
the frozen ground
the dainty tracks of deer
in their flight.

I wonder why they run,
surely it cannot be
the setting sun...
 or possibly the threat of
some hunter's gun?

And no windfall fruit,
or tree bark nibbled,
seems to keep them here,
at least
none that I can see...

Yet, I know the deer
will keep running away,
especially if
they catch a glimpse
of me!

Deer In The Winter Woods

"Deer Tracks In The Snow"
Written By
Pamela Denise Brida

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Memoirs Of A Geisha

From old Japan
comes a tale of
of true love...

Once upon a time,
 a single act of genuine kindness...

Changes a lonely little girl's
life for the better.

"In that moment,
 I changed from a girl
 facing nothing but emptiness
 to someone with purpose.
I saw that to be a geisha
 could be a stepping stone
 to something else...
 a place in his world."
"Memoirs of a Geisha"

The little girl Chiyo
with her powerful eyes
the color of rain...

... became the beautiful Geisha
named Sayuri 

and despite much
 heartache and sorrow...

...was one day 
reunited with
the man she truly loved!

"You cannot say to the sun, "More sun."
 Or to the rain, "Less rain."
 To a man, geisha can only be half a wife.
 We are the wives of nightfall. 
And yet, to learn kindness
 after so much unkindness,
 to understand that a little girl
 with more courage than she knew, 
would find her prayers were answered, 
can that not be called happiness?
 After all these are not the memoirs
 of an empress,
 nor of a queen. 
These are memoirs
 of another kind."
"Memoirs of a Geisha" 

I just love movies
with a happy ending!

To Whom Then Will You Liken Me?

"Lift up your eyes on high and see!
Who created these?
He Who brings out their host
by number and calls
them all by name;
through the greatness of His might
and because He is strong in power,
not one is missing or lacks anything."
Isaiah 40:26

No coward soul is mine,
No trembler in the world's
storm-troubled sphere:
I see Heaven's glories shine,
And faith shines equal,
arming me from fear.

O God, within my breast,
Almighty, ever-present Deity!
Life-that in me has rest,
As I-undying Life-have power in Thee!

Vain are the thousand creeds
That move men's hearts: unutterably vain;
Worthless as withered weeds,
Or idlest froth amid the boundless main,

To waken doubt in one
Holding so fast by thine infinity;
So surely anchored on
The steadfast rock of immortality.

With wide-embracing love,
Thy Spirit animates eternal years,
Pervades and broods above,
Changes, sustains, dissolves, creates, and rears.

Though earth and man were gone,
And suns and universes ceased to be,
And Thou were left alone,
Every existence would exist in Thee.

There is not room for Death,
Nor atom that his might could render void:
Thou-Thou art Being and Breath,
And what Thou art may never be destroyed."
"Last Lines"
-Emily Bronte

Emily Bronte

"Then the Lord God
formed man from the dust
of the ground and
breathed into his nostrils
the breath, or spirit of life,
and man became a
living being."
Genesis 2:7

"By the word of the Lord
were the heavens made,
and all their hosts
by the breath of His mouth."
Psalm 33:6

"Have you not known?
Have you not heard?
The everlasting God,
the Lord, the Creator
of the ends of the earth

"All things were made and came into
existence through Him;
and without Him was not
even one thing made
that has come into being."
John 1:3

"Thus it is written,
The first man Adam
became a living being,
the last Adam, Christ,
became a life-giving Spirit,
restoring the dead to life.

But it was not the
spiritual life
which came first,
but the physical, 
than the spiritual.

The first man was
from out of the earth,
made of dust,
the second Man
is the Lord from
out of heaven.

Now those who are made
of the dust are like him
who was first made of the dust;
and as is the Man from heaven,
so also are those who
are of heaven.

And just as we have borne
the image of the man of dust,
so shall we also bear
the image of the Man
of heaven."
1 Corinthians 45-49

"For the Word that God speaks
is alive and full of power
making it active,
operative, energizing,
and effective;
it is sharper than any
two-edged sword,
penetrating to the dividing line
of the breath of life (soul)
and the (immortal) spirit,
and of joints and marrow,
(of the deepest parts of our nature)
exposing and sifting 
and analyzing and judging
the very thoughts and
purposes of the heart."
Hebrews 4:12

"By faith we understand
that the worlds during
the successive ages
were framed and equipped
for their intended purpose
by the word of God,
so that what we see
was not made out of things
which are visible."
Hebrews 11:3

"I am the Alpha and the Omega,
the Beginning and the End,
says the Lord God,
He Who is and Who was
and Who is to come,
the Almighty,
the Ruler of all!"
Revelation 1:8