Far Away and At Home in Ireland

Slai Head Drive, Wild Atlantic Way, Dingle Peninsula, County Kerry, Ireland

Slai Head Drive, Wild Atlantic Way, Dingle Peninsula, County Kerry, Ireland

Far Away and At Home in Ireland.

I went on a trip
farther than I’ve ever gone before.

I went across the ocean
and to another continent.

It was a different country than where I’m from,
and it’s name is Ireland.

Though it was far away
and across the ocean…

Though it was a different continent
and a different country,

I felt just as at home there
as I feel at home.

I felt loved by the people
and one with the land.

It helped me see a bigger world,
but also made the world feel smaller.

I tried my best to breathe it in
and hold it in my heart and soul.

I’m carrying it with me
wherever I go.

I’m embracing it
as part of who I now am…

As part of who it made me…

on my trip far away
and at home in Ireland.

Cheers & Hugs,



Weathered Barn along a Country Road in Western Pennsyvlania


The stories this weathered barn
could tell
are likely
more than we can imagine.

Much like the lines
on beautiful, weathered faces
we appreciate so much…
(until they are our own).

On a day like September 11th,
which in the U.S. has become known as 911,
we cherish weathered barns
and weathered faces.

Remembering and honoring those
who didn’t survive
the opportunity
to grow to become weathered.

Cherish the moments.

Cheers & Hugs,

A Girlfriend Camp Visit to Lily Dale

A Girlfriend Camp Visit to Lily Dale.

This past weekend, a group of girls and I went on our annual “girlfriend camp vacation.”
We’ve gone to various places over the past few years including a beach week at Ocean Isle and having various “camp staycations” at each other’s homes.

One of my BFF’s (who I affectionately named Bubby about 20 years ago when Hubby and I met her and her Hubby on an airplane heading to the same cruise) and I created Girlfriend Camp (or GFC as we have coined it) quite a few years ago for just the two of us to get together.  We would meet up a couple times a year at one or the other’s house or at a destination in between since we live about two hours apart.

Since then, GFC has expanded to some of her friends and some of my friends at different times.  We are now all friends and share a very special GFC bond!

This year, Bubby wanted to visit Lily Dale, NY as part of our vacation.  I had never heard of it, but am always up for an adventure and new experiences.

And that it was!

Lily Dale is a small community  located in southwestern New York.  It has a population of 275, but welcomes approximately 22,000 visitors each year.  The purpose of Lily Dale is to further the science, philosophy, and religion of Spiritualism.

It is a place of pilgrimage for many Spiritualists and others interested in Spiritualism, the paranormal, and New Age topics.  Many medium and Spiritualist healers reside in Lily Dale.

I can’t say that I’ve been convinced to believe that Mediums can communicate with spirits (even though a Medium provided me with the name and spelling of my recently-passed brother), but what I can say is that it is a lovely and loving place.

No matter who we encountered during our visit to Lily Dale – whether they be other guests or Lily Dale residents,  every person was kind and loving.  There is a true sense of peace in this little place on earth.

There are small trails through the woods to walk –  one of which is a “Fairy Trail…”

where lovely little fairy houses and communities are on display,

and room is made for fairies (and visitors) to dance with nature.

Gathering places have been created….

for people to gather, pray, meditate,

and possibly connect with the spirits of their loved ones.

Healing services are held, and ribbons of healing and prayer are tied on a prayer tree in chains to offer continuous remembrances for loved ones.  Guests are offered the opportunity to write a prayer intention or a name on a ribbon.  By the end of each summer, hundreds of ribbons are tied to the prayer tree and sing gently in the breeze. At the end of each summer, healers gather in prayer and respectfully take the ribbons from the tree. They are brought to the closing ceremony, where a final blessing is said over the ribbons for healing and for the world.

Here we are in Lily Dale.  Full of love.  Full of life.  Feeling the peace.  Open to the experience.

And the next day……. in true GFC fashion – we spent the day visiting winerys and breweries and celebrating life and freedom and peace and friendship.

Cheers to girlfriends!  Cheers to friendship!  Cheers to kindness!  Cheers to acceptance!  Cheers to open minds!  Cheers to peace!  Cheers to love!

And finally,

Cheers & Hugs,


Niagara Falls: A Great Weekend Getaway

Niagara Falls - Horseshoe and American Falls - from Canadian Side - April 1, 2017

Niagara Falls – Horseshoe and American Falls – from Canadian Side – April 1, 2017

Niagara Falls:  A Great Weekend Getaway.

When Hubby and I decided to “getaway” for a weekend…

Hubby suggested Niagara Falls to celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary.

Niagara Falls is truly a natural wonder to experience!  We are fortunate it is only a 3 1/2 hour drive from our little town of Mars.

Horseshoe Falls - Niagara Falls - April 1, 2017

Horseshoe Falls – Niagara Falls – April 1, 2017

Niagara Falls is the collective name for three waterfalls that straddle the international border between Canada and the United States; more specifically, between the province of Ontario and the state of New York. They form the southern end of the Niagara Gorge.

Located on the Niagara River, which drains Lake Erie into Lake Ontario, the combined falls form the highest flow rate of any waterfall in the world that has a vertical drop of more than 165 feet (50 m). Horseshoe Falls is the most powerful waterfall in North America, as measured by vertical height and flow rate.

Niagara Falls were formed when glaciers receded at the end of the Wisconsin glaciation (the last ice age), and water from the newly formed Great Lakes carved a path through the Niagara Escarpment en route to the Atlantic Ocean. While not exceptionally high, the Niagara Falls are very wide. More than six million cubic feet (168,000 m3) of water falls over the crest line every minute in high flow, and almost four million cubic feet (110,000 m3) on average.

The Niagara Falls are famed both for their beauty and as a valuable source of hydroelectric power.*

Horseshoe Falls - Niagara Falls - April 1, 2017

Horseshoe Falls – Niagara Falls – April 1, 2017

We had fun visiting both the U.S. and Canadian side of the falls (a passport is necessary to travel between the two).

It was a bit chilly in early April, but so worth it to avoid crowds!  We visited early morning when the mist was heavy on the “American Side.”  We walked the path along the “Canadian Side” during the afternoon when the sun broke through the clouds.

A highlight to experience (which we did) is riding the Aero Car, suspended by cables, over the Niagara Whirlpool.  The Whirlpool is formed at the end of the rapids where the gorge turns abruptly counterclockwise and the river escapes through the narrowest channel in the gorge.

Aero Car over Niagara Whirlpool - Niagara Falls - April 1, 2017

Aero Cable Car over Niagara Whirlpool – Niagara Falls – April 1, 2017

A visit to Niagara on the Lake is another highlight, with quaint shoppes and wonderful wineries that host pairings and tastings.

It was wonderful to head back to the U.S. side and experience the Falls at sunset before heading for dinner.

Niagara Falls at Sunset - from American Side - April 1, 2017

Niagara Falls at Sunset – from American Side – April 1, 2017

And after dinner, another visit to see the falls lit up at night.

Niagara Falls after Dark - from American Side - April 1, 2017

Niagara Falls after Dark – from American Side – April 1, 2017

Niagara Falls is a great weekend getaway, with something for everyone – including casinos and wax museums and boat rides and cave tours.  This is not our first visit, so we’ve experienced some of the others previously.

There is something so beautiful and special and even a bit romantic about Niagara Falls.

Thanks to our guys for “kicking us out” so we could have such a great getaway weekend!

Cheers & Hugs,

*Niagara Falls Wikipedia