1. Hilton Head was fantastic. My friend, Maria, has a wonderfully spacious, welcoming, sunny home on a quiet street in Sea Pines. Her mother is building a huge, colorful, detailed, delightful mansion on the beach. Truly spectacular. Maria's friend - whose name just escaped me - is also building a multi-million dollar edifice in Wexford. Huge, twelve-foot ceilings, pool, jacuzzi, steam room, three-head shower stall, offices, the works. Too much for me, but breath-taking nonetheless.
1b. I met a handful of remarkably interesting people on this trip. Franco and Diedre Accornero, the Italian painter married to the African-American woman who is a former model and actress. I look forward to checking out his website: www.francoaccornero.com. He and I spoke for quite a while about the Island of Capri and its blue grotto, Roma, Firenze, how much I love to travel in Italy, and he told me that whenever I plan to return, to contact him. His two brothers in Roma would be glad to take care of me.
Hamesh (Brit) and Mary (American) Banks and their children live in Malaysia, their 4th Asian country in fifteen years. Their vivid descriptions of life overseas made me laugh, gasp, and long for more overseas travel.
Mike Peak is someone I knew of back in Connecticut but had never met personally. He is a man obsessed with easing the pain and improving the lives of people in Rwanda. He alone has built schools and hospitals, has sponsored Olympic athletes from Rwanda, and is nowhere near done with his philanthropic work. It was a great joy to meet a man with countless millions of dollars who gives his money freely for the salvation of others. Plus he too is disturbed by the way that we Americans use/waste water, food, and our resources. It was refreshing to hear him speak passionately not only about his concern for the plight of the human race, but also what he is doing to make a difference.
I will not soon forget these past few days.
2. Kristiana and I travel well together. We read together, journal, tell each other stories - well, mostly I tell stories about my life, and she asks awesome questions. Over ten hours in the car - just the two of us. We stopped for gas and bathroom breaks; otherwise, it was us trying to make headway on the long black ribbon of highway. During one half-hour period of our return trip, the temperature plummeted from 100 degrees to 74 degrees and soared back up to 98 degrees - all thanks to a rainstorm on 85 North. It was quite a display of sound, fury, and water.
3. Daniel had a great time at camp. Steve and I drove to Look Up Lodge in Travelers Rest, South Caroline, hiked up a couple of hills there at the camp and entered the chapel where all the children were gathered for their last session. We peered around in the darkness trying to locate our son. Is that him? Yep, in this 90+ degree heat, he's wearing a navy blue wool skull cap, his bathing suit, sneakers without socks, and a look of sheer exhaustion on his face. He was nearly voiceless and attributed that to all the booing he did when "Toolander and His Pretties" attacked "Eddie Bauer." Something to do with the ongoing dramas that kept the kids enthralled all week. It was great to see him again and know that all my prayers for fun and safety were answered in the affirmative.
4. From Daniel's camp we went to Panthers' Training Camp. Sitting in the 100 degree heat (Notice all the references to heat? It's HOT here - and everywhere apparently...) for an hour waiting for a handful of professional football players to jog past us. A few stopped to sign autographs, but mostly they ignored us. A couple of sarcastic comments from a couple of players were all that it took to deepen my disdain for professional sports in general. Five, ten, fifteen million dollars per year for them to play games, be rude to each other as well as their fans, take drugs, abuse their spouses, and then hold out for more money? All this while ambulance attendants are paid minimum wage, millions of people are without access to decent drinking water, a safe place to live, or decent health care. But that's a whole-nother blog.
5. I've been deeply disturbed lately with how much energy and water that is wasted.
Lights and computers left blazing at offices, stores, and even in our homes long after quitting time.
Broken sprinkler heads that squirt water straight up in to the air for more than 24 hours straight. Whenever I hear someone say, "It's only water," I want to scream.
Bath and Body Works routinely leaves their front doors open onto the sidewalk. Frigid air pours out onto the street.
Refrigerated and frozen food units are constructed with open fronts in supermarkets; why not put doors on them and reduce the electricity needed to keep those items cold? Because shoppers shouldn't have to open a door and take out the desired items? Because we are more likely to purchase items that are exposed and not those behind closed doors? Things we wouldn't otherwise choose to buy? Things we don't need and will most likely not like and therefore throw away??? We don't leave our front doors open at home, nor do we leave our freezers and fridges open, so why do we need to be so spoiled at the market? What's up with that?
I'm planning to write a few letters or emails to a few companies and share my thoughts on the topic.
6. Life is expensive. Mortgage. Lawn care. Food. Car care. Gas. Water bill. Electric bill. Scrapbooking classes and supplies. Trips. Someone to take care of Maya while we are away. I'm not complaining as we have a great life. But it's an expensive life. I thank God daily for Steve's job and our ability to live within our means.
7. Check out yet another beautiful blog written by another beautiful, thoughtful, enormously talented woman: www.chookooloonks.com. Someday I'm going to learn how to attach real links and photographs to this blog. Until then, please bear with my very low-tech blog.
8. Last night as we walked around a local shopping plaza waiting for photos to be developed (no shopping, just walking!), there was the most amazing yellow and orange light emanating from the sky. There was a glow that I simply cannot describe. It changed the way everything appeared. Even my skin tone was altered by the effect of it. I watched several people exit stores there at the plaza and immediately look up into the heavens.
As we approached the photo shop, one of the employees was standing outside with his lens pointed heavenward. When I commented on how eerie, rich, and strange the light seemed to me, he agreed. He told us that he'd taken several photographs of the sky and that they had turned out quite well. I will have to ask him to show them to me the next time I'm in there.
One word that occurred to me as a looked up was: glory.
The sky reflected the glory of the Lord.
His creativity. The beauty of creation.
"The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of His hands."
I've gotta go have some breakfast.
Coffee and a bran muffin: one of my favorite meals.
Plus Kristiana is changing the water in her guppy tank; I've gotta go scoop them from one bowl into the next. Pray for safe travels for the fish.
And for us: we leave for Orlando tomorrow afternoon.