Friday, May 30, 2014

Friendship Force Bliss

One of the most delicious things about my sixties thus far has been travel. 

Andean woman in traditional garb. The goats were only a week old.

Last November I visited Peru with the Dayton Friendship Force. Friendship Force International was founded in 1977 by Warren Smith and Jimmy Carter. Its mission is: To promote global understanding across the barriers that separate people. Travel with Friendship Force includes a home stay in addition to touring places of interest. Chapters have outbound experiences, like my trip to Peru, and inbound experiences, where the chapter hosts both domestic and international groups.

The Dayton chapter recently hosted fourteen visitors from New Zealand. I was fortunate to be able to have several of those visitors and their Dayton families over for a cook out on my deck. People who belong to FF are citizens of the world. They love travel, meeting people, trying new things, and are very curious and friendly.

As I sat and listened to travel stories being shared, I was astounded by the number and variety of places these folks had been. One woman shared that she had just returned from Russia after having visited there in 1994. It was fascinating to hear how things have changed and how they have remained exactly the same. You experience a country differently from the living room of a new friend than you do as a business traveler or tourist.

I am traveling with my son to Puerto Rico for a basketball tournament in November. Several folks had been there recently and suggested we schedule an outing with a boat company that will take us out to where the waters are luminescent. And, I got a follow up email the next day with reservation information. I have always wanted to experience this and also have a desire to see the Northern Lights. I gathered plenty of suggestions about that as well, including both the best time of year and the best vantage points. If you want insider travel tips, talk to FF travelers!

By the end of the evening my heart was full. I had some new friends, some travel inspiration, and felt so very fortunate to be able to revel in it all. Life is good.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Cozy Awakening

Sensuous moments come at unexpected times. I love high-count Egyptian cotton sheets. The more you wash them, the softer they get. I had pulled the sheets off my bed, took them to the laundry room and then forgot about them until it was time to go to sleep. So I pulled these flannel sheets from the linen closet and decided to make do.

Well... Ohio has unpredictable weather and during the night the temperature took a dip. I had left one window open and by morning the bedroom was downright chilly. Having these flannel sheets and the furry warmth of the coverlet was divine. I reveled in this cozy nest.

I love the pace of my life now. I usually wake up when I have had enough sleep as opposed to when an alarm sounds. Today's waking was to bird song, warm sheets and covers, and gratitude for the sensuous life I live.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Full Bloom

These spectacular tulips greeted me at the corner of Riverside Drive and Monument Avenue at Riverscape Metro Park in Dayton, Ohio. I was stopped in my tracks by their gorgeous full blown beauty.

Our culture is obsessed with peak beauty, youthful beauty. We hear the phrase "past its peak," the implication being that the most beautiful moment has passed. 

But is that true? Take a closer look.

More is visible when the tulips are fully open. We can see and appreciate what's inside.

What if we begin to look at one another that way? Recognize that a mature woman allows us to see beyond the perfection of youth. There are few things more attractive than a woman fully present in her body, fully aware of her power and creativity.

Let's go forward today and look for those women. When you see one, share that smile, that look, that glance, that says I see you and you are gorgeously in full bloom.