Friday, December 18, 2009


FREEDOM to choose LOVE itself, the BEST GIFT ever given. Our Lord gave us the choice to LOVE as we are loved. He does not force His love on us. Letting go of our desire to be loved by others frees the hostage of our desire and us, the warden. True freedom is felt when one knows that people and circumstances are not controlled by our desires. Cruelty exists because of the desire to control another. God loves us even as we doubt and resist His existence. As if a curtain was pulled back, I saw what was stirring the stars....angels! Yes, angels, angels, everywhere. Looking up to the celestial lights, I saw the flapping of wings as I trembled, resonating with the singing. At first, only one angel spoke. "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." Then, the curtain was drawn back even more and the sky was filled with angels! "Glory to God in the highest!" they sang, "and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests." The flapping of their wings stirred the air, it whipped our hair, and blew all fear from our minds and hearts! WOW! All stubborn resistence to surrender my mind, body and soul was blown away! Accepting Jesus as the only life saving companion quenched my desire to be known and loved! Our loving Father does not force His love, He waits and longs for us to choose Him. His love, kindness, humbleness, and selflessness, teaches that the only control must be that of ourselves. Yes, we must edit thoughts and control the tongue before words can pierce the heart of another. Remembering that Jesus, the King of Kings, humbly washed the feet of his disciples the night before he died for all of us to give us the FREEDOM to choose His love over whatever the world has to offer. This Christmas we can choose to be the reason of a smile in another, and know the joy of "giving in" and "giving up" of "letting go" and "watching God". Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will de done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who have trespassed against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. AMEN --- Our Father reveals all that we need to know to prosper and enjoy a good life on earth. "I have not learned wisdom, nor have I knowledge of the Holy One. Who has gone up to heaven and come down? Who has gathered up the wind in the hollow of His hands? Who has wrapped up the waters in His cloak? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is His name, and the Name of His Son? Tell me if you know!" His Name is Lord Jesus Christ. Father, Son, Holy Ghost, the One who departed from His throne to come down and walk among us, to show us, to teach us, to die for us, to return and prove His victory over death, and to give us THE GIFT of eternal life. We possess an internal GPS for accurate direction. GOD'S PLANNED SALVATION (GPS) for us is the best Christmas gift we can receive! Oh Lord forgive us for refusing Your invitation to give You our minds, hearts and ears. Because You are Holy, and we forget that we were created as valuable vessels of thy Holy Spirit, we seek recognition of others when You have already affirmed and provided the truth of who we are. "Blessed be the Lord...according to all that He promised; not one word has failed for all His promises." 1 Kings 8:56 Lord we ask You to reveal Yourself as we search scripture for how to OBEY. May we find YOU, who art the BEST GIFT of the season. AMEN

Thursday, December 10, 2009


This morning as I exited my driveway I faced an awesome sunrise! Turning the corner to ramp onto HWY 120 west, a double rainbo crossed the freeway stretching from Manteca to Stockton! The blessing of such visual beauty is one unique benefit of being designed by an awesome God! Rainbows are optical and meteorological phenomenons that place God above all. A spectrum of light appears in the sky when the Sun shines onto droplets of moisture and we see a vision of a multicoloured arc! May these words give you resaon to rejoice each day as you listen to the joy of birds. I thank God for eyes to see such divine displays of His glory and for ears to hear the words of the season. God gives second chances, God gives new beginnings, and God gives us signs. We need to simply pause and look up and listen. May your soul be illumined with the words of this message. Receive and believe the Spirit of Christmas, receive Jesus, trust and welcome the TRUTH of a relationship with God! Pastor Marc Maffucci and Marshan Moultry sing Gloria in excelses de O! What does that mean? Pastor Marc explains, then at 3.33 minutes into his message Marc tells a story of a man named Jim who was just 6 weeks sober and it was his first Christmas without alcohol. During the service despair hit Jim as he witnessed families sitting together. Jim lost his wife, daughters, friends and job due to his drinking and he was overcome with a need to drown his feelings with booze. But just then, God sent angels to speak to Jim - Has God sent angels to speak to you?

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Paul and Jeff were 2009's Thanksgiving Hosts. Entering their magnificient Hacienda was like stepping into a dream! The colors were absolutely breath snatching and the table was set with brilliant flair! Jeff explains the newest project while Paul sits with Tasha and Manja. Drew from Calgary brought a maestro mix of sound that hastened the tap of the toe and each guest brought a welcomed home spun traditional dish. BABARITO had too much Sangria to hold the camera steady, but this 30 second clip gives you a glimpse of glee enjoyed by all! Joyce and Jeff SUKASA mi CASA? Jilly Bean and Captain Benito with Barbarito, John and Monja!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Moroccan Feast

. Jill & Sherree invited Jeff and Paul, Marv & Shelley, brothers Tom & Andy, Benito & Jilly and John to Jill & Rick's fantastic Bed & Breakfast for a Moroccan Feast. Barbarito's camera was extremely shy while snapping shots at this gala event as Jill's famous husband Rick the photographer was away on a photo shoot. These few flicks lack appropro aroma and color, but they must suffice! We all enjoyed swapping travel tales while tantalizing our taste buds with home made Baklava! Served on the upstairs patio overlooking the sea, the air was filled with sweet music, laughter and mucho AWE for the extravaganza! After savoring the best of Morocco, Paul gave Jill a five star rating with his best compliment to the host. Jill the hostess and her college bud Sherree were simply shining! On Saturday Jill walked 10 miles with hundreds of pilgrims to San Javier. The mission San Parras pictured below is halfway up to San Javier. It is the meeting place where tribes of the faithful shall gather to give thanks and pray for family members. Sherree was visiting Jill in Loreto for her seventh time from Santa Barbara. Our souls overflowed with unspeakable joy for the ambiance, the food, and Sherree's effervescent giggle and enormus hugs! After the feast Jilly Bean and Barbie stayed up digesting the event till the cock-a-doodle do warned us that dawn was approaching with more adventure ahead! The wind on Wed AM caused the Alleycat to brave the Sea anchored close to Cafe Islas where we enjoyed a fab breakfast Monday!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Autumn Colors

While enjoying breakfast together Sunday morning in Merced, poetic snipets were read aloud from "My First Summer in the Sierra" by John Muir. The first rains moisten thirsty grounds in the Fall of November which causes a wide variety of wild flowers, trees, and shrubs to bloom. By the end of September, all blooms have been fully baked by the sun so in 1869 whatever herds grazed upon the valley greens were driven to the cooler pastures of the High Sierra. The sunrise, sunset, moon and stars provided the only light by day or starry, starry night for a crew of five in the summer of 1869! John Muir's first summer in what is now known as Kings Canyon was magical and as Muir puts it, it was an answer to prayer! John had been longing to study the plants, animals and mountains that hosted the treasures that flowed down from the top of the Merced and Tuolumne Rivers. So he quickly said yes to an offer by Mr Delaney to travel three months with a Shepherd, an Indian, a Chinese cook and a Saint Bernard named Carlo. Reading about this adventure that started off somewhere close to El Camino Real in Merced, John and Barbara decided to take a Sunday drive to Coulterville! The Muir team herded a flock of sheep at a rate of one mile per hour by horse from the home ranch located at the south side of the Tuolumne River near French Bar. The LeVan coup purred up the hill at 55 miles per hour passing quick quick rows of corn and golden meadows! The Muir expedition set out in June's scorching weather, the ground full of cracks, lizards, rattlers, and cottontails - and the dust choked group drove ahead through brushy hills with an Indian guide that pushed through the thorny jungle towards Coulterville. Camping and waking to coffee, bacon and beans, John Muir travelled with paper and pen in his belt. "The Sabine Pines interest me greatly, Muir eager to sketch was in a fever of excitement without accomplishing much. After gaining a vista from the first summit, we felt the natural exhileration due to the slight elevation of a thousand feet or so. With excited hopes concerning the outlook to be obtained, a magnificient section of the Merced Valley is this vantage point called Horseshoe Bend. What a soul fill it is to have time stop while you are saturated wtih the glorious wildnerness. A choir of songful voices flush through your body as you witness the bold, down-sweeping slopes, the tall standing pines and clumps of manzanita. The sun so bright, full and close, with each inhale, you can hold the sunny, open spaces between the trees. The folds of finely modeled hills and ridges rise into mountain masses, all covered with a shaggy growth --- without distance perceived, a perfect planting by God, all greenery stunning and amazingly woven to appear soft, rich and plush to the touch. As far as the eye can reach it extends, a heavenly swelling sea of greens as regular and continuous as that produced by the heaths of Scotland. The landscape is striking in its lavish detail. A grand congregation of puffy clouds, with the massive heights of the Merced River shining between. Each level carved into smooth, graceful folds without leaving a single rocky angle exposed---as if the delicate fluting and ridging of metamorphic slates had been carefully sand papered! The whole landscape showed purposed design, more beautiful than man's noblest sculpture. How wonderful the power of its beauty! Gazing, stricken with awe, one could leave all else behind and not have a want or need not met by this magnificance. Glad, about the endless hours that lay before him, Muir spent hour after sacred hour tracing the forces that brought forth the timeless features, its rocks, plants, animals and glorious weather. Beauty beyond thought everywhere! Beneath, above, made and being made forever! The colors and lines of this divine landsccape-contenance are so burned into mind and heart they surely can never grow dim. Whatever way you STOP to look, you see the mountains that are in us, kindling enthusiasm, making every nerve quiver, filling each pore and cell of us. Our flesh and bone tabernacle of spirit seems transparent as glass - feeling bouyant because of the beauty engulfing us, we are truly inseperable part of the all that is, all that was given to us to enjoy! Thrilling with the air and the trees, streams, rocks, and waves of blooms, we are neither old or young, sick or well, but immortal. How glorious a conversion so complete and whole mind/body consuming, all longing satisfied in this health giving nature! We saw a lovely lily in a shady thicket near Coulterville. It is white with a faith purplish tinge inside at the base of the petals. A most impressive plant, pure as a snow crystal, one of the plant saints that loves deeply and purely the looker who sees their beauty meant for their eyes only. The lily puts the roughest mountaineer on his best behavior. Tred lightly through thy meadow, up the hillside, to reach a peak and TWIRL. The sugary sap fragrance of a noble Sugar Pine calls to the senses of those whose pace is slowed by her feathery arms. Reaching above the spires of her companion cousin the Fir, her cones swing like tassels at the ends of her branches with superb ornamental effect. She bekons a touch as her lush greenery grows wild beyond Coulterville where peaks and valleys await our passage.

Monday, June 1, 2009


Babs, Sue and Barbie a trio of doers were cajoled by a persistent spirit to let go of their grip on busy ways, and slip into the art of slowing down to to do nothing at all. Meandering like fluid along Hwy 88, Sue and Babs both water signs enjoyed the dillydally, pressure free saunter to a destination of peace. Leisurely frittering time away, we zigzagged down to visit Plasse's Resort at Silverlake. Alas the lake was glass but the restraunt was not open. Ahem we smiled and vagabonded up to Caples Lake where Earl pulled in to decelerate the afternoon. No food, no potties available, hmmm, "we are on vacation" was our chant! This splendid spurred moment was ever clever, but now a potty, oh dear, MUST - hoisted us back on the road. All anguish gladly abandoned, we poked along to arrive at Sorrenson's in a shared rambling mode. We rummaged through the menu and concluded that Burgundy Stew would do. We delighted in our conscious practice to repress any productive impulses while thouroughly enjoying our lunch. A friendly staff busy making our Juniper Cabin ready, with a steady mental balance of calm, we ambled up the path to our aspen powered air conditioned room. Three City women transformed to Goldilock girls!
Stopping to smell the pine and take pictures of two fishing bears. "You know how to whistle, don't you?" asked Bacall of Bogart. "Just purse your lips and blow." Whistling while we slowly unpacked we thrilled to find plenty of drawers and hooks to accomodate three women on retreat. With complete faith, Barbie had booked this Memorial Vacation in January trusting God to provide the perfect companions for a joint Memorable refreshing. Like the movie "Field of Dreams" it was Barbie's call to simply rent the room and the people, details and divine purposes would gently unfold. Without a plan or a schedule, we three gleefully entered our rustic wooden cabin and sang carefree praises for the knotty pine paneling, two comfy beds, gas stove, coffee maker, dishes, microwave, fridge, and dining area. Our souls smiling ever wider with surprise to find a lending library of books and board games to unwind us. As Babs and Barbie unpacked with the certain zeal one feels for playing hooky, Sue stretched out to study a cabin book entitled "The Art of Doing Nothing". Having just spent time in Pixie Woods, Barbie likened herself to Snow White. Feeling dwarfed by two amazon beauties affectionately named Happy Babs and Sue Bear, with our sneakers loosely laced, we skipped straight up the hill with a song in our hearts. Granite Rocks anchored Juniper's back yard and we were drawn to sit atop the shoulders of high boulders, posing as edgey and daring flick chicks. Barbie's camera ever ready to capture a moment, we peered out across the landscape below through the eyes of an Eagle. Birds do it. Bees do it. And Sue Bear, Happy Babs and Snow did it! We exhaled and released deeply our carbon dioxide and felt serendipitious knowing we were giving the trees what they need for continued growth. We stayed in that moment of bliss until Babs noted that ants were crawling down Sue Bears pants. A winding trail gave us the zen of seeking with the built in suspense of the ever changing external and internal beholding beauty. Up and up we championed past snow melts that trickled down into the creek. Babs joy was not to be contained as she pointed out the silvery color of the trunks of a tall stand of Quaking Aspens. Barbie gasped in the 8,000 foot elevation that without a wind, the rounded leaves were clapping in applause for the glory of this scented pine creation. Spurned on by Sue to locate a perfect bone of branch to use as a boat, she dared us to race our wooden ships along the river as she once did as a child in New Jersey. We got back to camp and inquired about how to get to Carson River. Walk thruogh the two pine trees across the meadow to the river. We soon found out that we were not equipped with webbed toes as we sank like quicksand giggling in our gaze of swamp feet. The river was out of our reach so we opted for a grassy run of water the size of a skinny irrigation ditch. Our wooden ships quickly got tangled in the mire of this trickling crevice, yet we were not discouraged. With the challenge to race, Barb picked a Dandelion and aimed her lighter boat "The Mayflower" toward the big water ahead. Sue Bear then launched a new craft named Twiggy as Happy just laughed. We each ordered rare and yummy creations for our bellies, then we wrapped ourselves up in beach towels and walked the path to the last wood burning sauna at a California resort. Splashing spoonfuls of water atop the rocks, we steamed ourselves and took to our beds for an evening read, ending the day in joy, the Aspen air conditioner was purrrfect for a quilted dreamy snooze. Our free flowing retreat began Monday morning with a devotional about the "Arlington Ladies". These women serve at graveside at the National Arlington Cemetary. Spirit led and appropriate, this Memorial Day we learned that these ladies give words of graditude to the surviving families for the sacrifice of their loved ones and they follow through by staying in contact for months. The lesson was that we are called to honor one another and show kindness and compassion always. Reminded that we are the epistle, and we are the only bible that many will ever read. Like the woman who poured an expensive fragrant oil upon the head of Jesus, we too shall be remembered for our acts of kindness as we honor one another with grace and compassion. On our journey up to Sorenson's, just 8 miles before our destination, we observed a pristene body of water called Red Lake. After a time of prayer we all agreed to part the Red Sea with Boop's pink nose. Rough and bumpy offroad terrain did not deter Earl. We were like bobble heads, but Earl climbed the rocky dirt road with great confidence. Earl took refuge under a giant redwood with a vista of the water and Happy, Bear and Snow unleashed the Boop and Barbie found the perfect "put in" spot to explore this grand surprise. Boop glided atop a sea of glass for all three flickered chicks. Barbie shooting the memory with vignets of glory, while Babs described it as "a lake of tranquility to cast all cares upon and float with joy just like our feathered friends do, the geese." Feeling light as a feather, and with enormous awe of the snow patches yet unmelted, the remnants of winter still acting as deer licks till they melt and spill down rocks to fill this gloriious bath for Boop and her buddies Sue, Babs and Barbie! In search of the perfect outdoor litrene, Happy and Snow walked the circumfrance of the lake that swirled uphill into a forest of trees -- welcoming us to look out at what they saw. AMAZED to GAZE at the peak of Highway 88 9,000 feet! We stood tall equaled in vista to a mountains covering of towering pines. Down below we saw a slip of pink and a paddle outstretched with a wave from Sue. Back to our beach blanketed-slice-of-liquid-lined-land, we enjoyed a healthy lunch of Trader Joes this and that! We sat stilled by the rushing water in the glory of the adjacent stream. Sue and Babs elected to play scrabble atop the picnic ice chest and Barbie went on another photo shoot with Boop glad along for the ride. The clouds would occasionally cover the sun and a chill would command a cozy covering. Our perfect day in the great outdoors ended about 4:30pm. The flicker chicks loaded up the Boop and noted that they had outlasted all fishermen sharing this fantastic Memorial afternoon. Earl pulled into Sorrenson's to make that evening's dinner reservations and Bab's and Sue generously gifted Barb with a massage the next morning. We got back to Juniper just in God's perfect timing, We found that our wet sneakers had dried out while adorning an Aspen. Good Good, it is all good, we had dry sneakers on while practicing the Art of Doing Nothing! Tink tink tink tap tap tap... May rain was dancing atop the tin rooftop! For dinner we sat next to the red pot bellied stove and shared a main course of Angel Hair Pasta and basil drenched salads. The show topper was individual bowls of warm berry cobbler with ice cream melting in our mouths. Back at the cabin Barbie found an internet connection that allowed her to send John a wish for his first day at work in the morrow! Tuesday morning we enjoyed a healthy feast round the kitchen table with warm mugs of chosen brews. Happy hearts opened in song as we rejoiced over all that God had shown us on this purposed retreat. At 9:00AM Michelle the travelling massage therapist entered Juniper with her table and smile and we each enjoyed a half hour of heaven! Babs and Sue packed their stuff up and we once again allowed the Spirit to lead us to a natural hot spring just outside of Markleeville. We picked up some sandwhiches from Hope Valley Cafe then drove through Charity Valley to luxuriate atop heaping rocks that looked out across a meadow of lush green. Sue the water lilly entered the public pools while Babs and Barbie found great delight by sitting on a marshy bank and sticking their feet into a mineral rich mud with a flow from a natural hot spring. It was time for the amazons to return to the city and around 1PM Babs drove Sue back to Stockton. Genuine graditude was exchanged and sincere praise to God was given for how He took care of all the details. The wonder of Red Lake, the spectacular vistas, and most importantly the fellowship of believers in tune and in touch with His Spirit. Big hugs circled with a shared feeling of ALOHA! Barbie has one more day of glory on before this paradise retreat came to an end. Happy, content and thrilled to reflect and save the experience in word, Snow returned to Juniper after celebrating with a cold draft beer at Hope Valley Cafe. Happy Babs and Sue Bear, two awesome Women of Faith contributed richly to Barbie's soul! Before Bab's departed she shared this preface of a book she brought entitled "Rainbow's End" written by Irene Hannon. A heart warming, inspired romance: "To lessen the pain of his wife's death, Keith Michaels headed across country to the Pacific Northwest. Feeling broken, empty and alone Keith drove to get away from the pain of his surroundings and loss. A sudden storm stranded him on Orcas Island. As fate would have it, a drenching storm led him to a cabin tucked among tall pine trees. Keith found refuge with a local widow, who was no elderly matron. She lived as a reclusive young woman who wrote. What was it about shy Jill Whelan and her charming cottage that made Keith want to stop his wandering ways? Did faith and love await him at Rainbow's End? A crash of thunder boomed across the meadow and his headlights tried with little success to pierce the gloom of the night. The rain beat against his car incessantly as the wind buffeted his vehicle in the darkness, it seemed as though all the forces of nature were conspiring against him. Keith knew he was close to his destination and he persevered to find reprieve from the storm surrounding him, and within him. He was given refuge at Jill's cabin and awoke to a cheery ray of sunshine. A calm had replaced his restlessness and a sense of serenity was a balm to his soul." The preceeding words taken right from the book. Bab's shared this snipet of a happy ending romance so Barbie uploaded it on audiobooks. Barbie slept in Wednesday and took a crisp walk through the forest listening to the singing birds. Enjoying quiche and coffee for breakfast, the innkeeper offered her a discount for her next visit. She drove home slowly, gladly listening to a fairytale of another dreamer coming true. Her soul smiles fresh as JOY overflows once again!