Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Greetings to an audience long since gone. It has been so long since I logged in here that I had to look up my login information.

I wanted to pass along some information about my youngest daughter, Ariel.

Just three more days and she will be finished with her MAT. (Masters of Art in Education) Her diligence has amazed me. I do remember being her age once upon time, but I get tired just watching everything that she does.

Her entire life is centered around serving God in whatever capacity that would be. She has always had a heart for missions and has eagerly prayed that a door would open for her where she could serve best.

Well, the door has been opened. She will be leaving in July for Mexico. There she will be teaching a classroom of 5th and 6th graders at a school belonging to New Tribes Mission. You can check out there web site at New Tribes Mission

She is currently in the process of raising support, both prayer and financial, and is busy getting out to churches, writing prayer letters, prayer cards, and many other things that I know little about. I believe her old dad is becoming technologically challenged. lol

She has also started her own blog. This blog will be her way of staying in touch with people interested in her ministry/adventures in Mexico. And yes I believe she will have plenty of adventures to share. The name of her blog is Lion Of God

I hope that you will check it out and follow it to offer her encouragement along the way. When she was young, she was terrified to not be within reaching distance of her mother. So watching her grow up into a confident young lady, who has such a passion for people, has been an amazing journey.

She leaves for Florida mid June for some training before heading off to Mexico. I personally covet your prayers and well wishes for her mission, purpose and safety. I have no doubt that she has become a Lion(ess) For God and am eager to see the fruits of her ministry.



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bob3I woke up Monday morning trackeager to begin my learning and training of bobsledding. Mornings were relaxed and not rushed which worked out well for me. Gave me plenty of time to get ready each day and feel well rested and prepared.

The next three days were filled with bob2meetings, classes, memorizing the track, and working with a physical therapist 1606841_10201295122241856_856618144_nfor strength testing and my ability of getting in and out of the bobsled. Meetings were fine, classes were fine, memorizing the track was fine, my upper body strength was fine….getting into and out of the bobsled…not so fine. As you can see from the picture, a bobsled is shaped rather like a bullet with a section of the top removed. Also because of the shape of the bobsled, I was not able to get my wheelchair very close. That meant quite a large lift up, over and down into the sled without damaging myself. (The sled was safe from harm) I think if the sled and me were the only two things on the top of the mountain away from prying eyes and my personal embarrassment, I could have eventually made it into the sled. But I assure you it would not have been a pretty sight. Thankfully, once again, there were volunteers on hand to help lift me up and into the sled. Even then it was not the smoothest of activities for me or them. They were trying to lift me up and over, while at the same time, bending over the sled without killing any of us. I need to pick up a few chiropractic bills for their efforts. once seated in the sled as the driver, the only thing that showed above the sled were my eyes. The “brake-man” sits in the back of the sled while leaning completely forward, head between the knees. He/she sees absolutely nothing of the entire trip down, completely trusting on the skill of the driver. Talk about blind faith! After crossing the finish line at the bottom, the driver yells “BREAK!” and hopes that the brake-man hears. Just in case the brake-man did not survive the trip down, there is plenty of run-out track to use up, with a wall at the end of that. So either way, you will stop. 🙂

1559826_10201311057440226_1628743023_n156898_10201311057880237_1212207756_nIf you look at the map of the run I included, you will see at the top of the mountain there is a Men’s and Ladies’ start. Both starts are the same difficulty, so I’m not real sure of the name difference. Our group used the Men’s start. I say our group, but that is only partially correct. Only very experienced drivers start from the top. Speeds of up mapto 90 mph can be reached 1533918_10201311056200195_1488678155_nfrom the top. If you follow the trail down to just above curve #6, you will see the junior start. By Thursday I had passed the therapist’s exams, getting in and out of the sled, and was deemed ready to drive a bobsled from the Junior Start. For those of us who were facing our first driving experience, some of us were a little bit on the nervous side…mainly me. Before the driving experience, the first thing on the agenda of the day was the “track walk.” The able-bodied track crew put crampons on their boots, tied ropes to the back of our wheelchairs, and began walking down the track with us sliding along in front. This was quite the experience in and of itself. Our coach explained each curve in great detail of how we should head into it, when to make slight driving directions to the left or right, or remain in the neutral position. This is where the importance of memorizing the track became very apparent as we would have just mere seconds to make adjustments. I heard the words “slow-rollover” several times which did nothing to improve my jitters.

After the track-walk, a truck took us back to the top and we received our starting number. I was number three to go. I got my helmet, goggles, gloves and courage on as I was assisted into the sled. My break-man climbed in behind me as I heard muffled “good lucks” and “have a great ride” from everyone. The crew pushed us off and after 48 seconds of “ooomphs” and “AAHHHS!” we were sitting at the bottom. If you ever need an adrenaline rush, this should do it for you. I felt horrible for my break-man as I realized my poor driving must have killed him in the back. He was very gracious as he calmly told me “no problem, you just helped me appreciate life more.”  LOL  Me too!

941483_416685865101075_1954001966_nSo that was my very brief moment as a “Paralympian Athlete.” I had a fantastic time, made many new friends, and am very content being home for a while. Maybe I will try origami next.

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There is nothing better after a long day air travel than being met by someone at groupthe airport who is waiting for you. Thankfully that happened to me upon my arrival in Utah. I was met by one of our many volunteers and his family. It was so nice getting to know them and listen to his two young children jabber away about life. Joe became a great friend and earned his keep as a volunteer helping to lift me in and out of numerous vehicles and bobsleds.

They took charge of my luggage at the airport, brought me to my hotel and brought my luggage to my room after check-in. I cleaned a day’s worth of travel grime off me, and then we all left to go to a welcome party at the base of the Olympic Park.

JimmyThe place had video images being shown on the walls of bobsledding, skiing, snowboarding and many other winter sports to wet our appetite for the upcoming events. There was a live band, food, drinks, a local artist with his paintings around,  and best of all, many of the other athletes, friends and volunteers. And a very special guest of honor, JIMMY SHEA 2002 gold medalist winner in the skeleton was there! Everyone was amazing, helpful, friendly and so excited to have us there. The excitement and enthusiasm was a great way to start the week off for me in an arena of so many unknowns.

Cameras were flashing all night and video footage also. I am writing this blog post too early since I do not have any of the professional pics yet. Once I get them, I will do a simple post with nothing but pics and videos.

I went back to the hotel that night eager to face the next day of new challenges. Stephen King said in his 1983 novel, Different Seasons, “Get busy living or get busy dying.” I plan on living.

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cokeIf you take a bottle of soda, shake it up, and then take the cap off, I’m sure that all of you know the end result…a mess. That is how my thoughts are about the recent trip that I took to Utah. I was only gone for five days, but so much happened in that short time span that it is hard to sort out my thoughts.

Breaking things down into topical format will be the easiest way for me to get my thoughts organized. I guess I will start with the traveling aspect. But bare with me, the more exciting piece of this adventure, bobsledding, will eventually hit the paper.

I was injured 14 years ago and this was the first time that I got on a plane and traveled alone. I travel quite a bit by myself with my van, but this trip was really a good test of my mettle. Beyond any shadow of a doubt, Wendy spoils me rotten. As a minimalist with a slight case of OCD, traveling alone in a wheelchair really took me outside of my box.

The very start of my trip threw me into a tailspin that took me quite a while to recover from. Since we have flown quite a bit, I know all of the TSA rules about what not to pack. So before leaving home, I went through all of my luggage, back pack, wheelchair pouch, etc., to make sure that I was legal. The last thing I needed was to be tossed off a flight because I was hiding a pair or fingernail clippers. I arrive at the Greenville airport a little after 5:00 AM which was nice to avoid most crowds. Things are going smoothly and the TSA agents are great at helping me get things situated to be scanned and x-rayed. I then go to my little spot to be frisked which is never a big deal. I’m watching my things as they are being looked through when I see one of the TSA personnel motion for the others to come over. There are now about five of them looking into my wheelchair pouch on a table in front of me. They are all looking rather serious, so I casually ask if I forgot to take something out that did not pass. The head security agent takes something in his hand and casually walks over to me and opens hisStupid hand in front of me. I must have turned about 50 shades of white as I was staring at five .38 shells in his hand. My mouth just opened and closed with nothing coming out as I was trying to remember why I even had them on me, and why someone had taken my straight jacket off. Wendy is standing on the outside of a glassed in area watching and wondering what is going on. I won’t bore you with details here or the groveling that I did in the dirt trying to explain why I had them. After several serious chats from the chief TSA agent, he took the shells and brought them outside to Wendy. She turned about as white as I did. Let me just say that the TSA agents handled everything very professionally and with common sense. I was finally allowed to pass on and get to my gate in time to catch my flight. If you look up the word imbecile in the dictionary, you will find my picture along with the description.

From Greenville I flew to Newark, then to Chicago, then to Salt Lake City. Thankfully my ride was waiting for me at the airport who became my first of many new friends, and brought me to my hotel. The mountains and scenery were absolutely amazing, but that will be for another day.

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imagesBefore I leave Greenville, SC for a few months of travel and speaking engagements, I wanted to share some great news with all of you. I currently serve on an advisory council for the Roger C. Peace Rehabilitation Hospital in Greenville. Their latest project is the fantastic addition of the Peace House. It is a beautiful older home that has been transformed, with your help, into a place for families to stay with loved ones who are undergoing therapy. This home takes away the strain on families who have to travel great distances to visit their loved ones in therapy. I have personally rolled my wheelchair through the home, and all of the volunteers and many hours of labor have created a beautiful home away from home. Please click on the link here to see and read more about it. http://www.thepeacehouseproject.org/updates.phpimagesCAIUEHCQ

The second piece of news that I want to share with all of you is an article written in the Greenville News about the courage of people recovering after an amputation. It is a great article to read showing people with such incredible courage, and once again, Roger C. Peace Rehabilitation Hospital, with its accredited amputee program is in the forefront helping people to recover.


I hope that all of you have a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend coming up and I will be back at it soon!

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imagesDear Readers,

As you know, I enjoy traveling. One of the reasons that I do enjoy traveling is to experience the many different cultures around the world. As of yet, I have not been to the Far East. I have a good friend in Singapore that has invited us to visit his country, so perhaps some day…

He sent me the following article which I found very interesting and knew nothing about. So like me, if you ever do plan to travel to China and surrounding region, this is one cultural trait that you should at least be aware of.

So I hope you have a strong stomach and read on.



Taken from:


The Voice of Singaporeans for Singapore

I am a Singaporean, I swallow

March 14th, 2013 | Author: Contributions


If you’ve never step foot into China, one of the most important things you need to possess is a strong stomach – for random spitting that comes your way.

Spitting to Chinese is like queuing to Singaporeans, a bizarre national habit. I use the Chinese and Singaporeans loosely because not everyone here spits and neither do all Singaporeans enjoy getting in line.

Based on my years of observation, the “spitters” are usually the older set, say 50 years old and above, or are hoodlums, also known as 小痞子 here. Singaporeans would call them ah lians or ah bengs. I’ve also seen white-collar workers and seemingly “cultured” types in the act but those are quite rare.

I’ve always wondered. Why must people spit? What’s wrong with swallowing back?

First, the Chinese have low tolerance for phlegm or saliva build-up. That’s because according to Chinese medicine, spitting out your phlegm is the best way to get rid of “heatiness” especially when nursing a cough. In fact, when you visit a Chinese doctor, their default question is always “What colour is your phlegm?” since that is supposedly an indication of your health.

But not all “spitters” spit for health reasons. 小痞子 sometimes do it to show power. They spit to express disgust or to despise someone. One wonders how they get the backlog of saliva that’s ever ready for spitting on cue?

The most ludicrous I’ve heard is that spitting shows off their macho-ism to the opposite sex. Every feminine bone in me can’t fathom how a man who spits can turn me on.

Here’s the thing. You know what never ceases to amaze me? The Chinese and their Perfect Spit.

If you’ve ever tried spitting, you will know that it is actually an art to gather your saliva loudly in your mouth, roll your tongue so that when you spit them, it aerodynamically lands on the ground in a neat roundish glob. The result is a clean dry mouth. No embarrassing leftovers from your lips or saliva dripping from your chin such that you need to wipe them.

Next time when you are here, observe. In China, the Perfect Spit commands three precision steps: Stop. Spit. Strut.

This fortnight, I’ve been nursing an awful cough that generously filled my throat with phlegm. Anyone nearby can hear the thick mucus I cough out each time. My driver who had the ill fortune to share my recycled air in the car advised me to spit out my phlegm. When I told him I had no idea how, he looked at me in shock.

I was sent home with an information-loaded brain about the healing effects of spitting out the phlegm when nursing a heaty cough like mine. I was desperate to get rid of my cough. So I stood before my bathroom sink and tried to…spit.

Everything came out wrong. Instead of the straight arrow-shooting perfection I was hoping to achieve, it splattered into fireworks of mess. Droplets of germs flew to my sweater and trickled down my lips. Undigested food came up along with yellow yucky gooey stuff. I was left with an acidic bitter aftertaste in my mouth that overstayed their welcome.

I felt worse than before.

When I told my husband that I can’t spit to save myself, I realised I wasn’t alone. In his teens, he once coughed out a huge lump of green phlegm by accident. It landed on the table. Stupefied, he thought he’d just coughed out an organ. When he was sure no one was watching, he nervously picked up his “organ” and swallowed it back.

So if ever a well-meaning Chinese ask me to spit out my phlegm, I will politely reply:

“I am Singaporean. I swallow.”

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My beautiful family

My beautiful family

All good things must come to an end. When we left Crete, we were going to spend the last day of our cruise on open waters as we sailed back to Italy. The last day and half on the sea was a chance to wind down from the rapid pace tour we had just finished through five countries. I personally was ready for some down time.

I had taken the many pictures off my camera card and uploaded them to my laptop. It was fun going through them as each one brought back a different memory: The majestic sights of ancient civilizations, unfamiliar languages being spoken all around us, and delightful smells of the new and enticing foods we got to sample every day. Even the Mediterranean Sea wanted to leave us with a memory. There were storms that night, and in the darkness we could see flashes of lightening with distant rumbles of thunder. The water was a bit rough and it could be felt aboard the ship. It was nothing drastic, but there was a definite gentle rocking of the floating city that we were on. That next morning as I brushed my teeth, I would start out at the sink in my wheelchair and then slowly roll across the bathroom stopped only by the opposite wall. I kept brushing as the ship slowly rocked back the other way rolling me back to the sink. It was like the cartoons I remember as a kid of people trying to eat on a ship and the food would slide across the table each time they reached for it. Wendy and I found it quite amusing and fortunately neither of us are prone to sea sickness. Some in our group were not so lucky.

Our group had two final get-togethers nicely wrapping up the past 15 days. Wendy and I wandered around the ship enjoying the afforded pleasures one last time. That night was also our last formal night for dining. One of the couples sitting at our table was celebrating their 55th wedding anniversary and of course I had to put the dining crew on high alert. At the end of the meal they were serenaded by the staff from our section in English and Italian. They also got a special cake with a large candle to blow out. All of it made for great fun and a great memory.

When we docked in Italy, I had my private van waiting for me with the same driver that I had at the start of the cruise. It was nice to recognize someone. He drove us to the airport and made sure that all of our luggage and us were being assisted by an agent before he said goodbye. The agents at the airport were great and personally ushered us through customs so that we would not have any holdups. Our group started to disperse at this point since we were flying back to different destinations. I think there were about 10 from our group that was on the same plane.

We had a night flight back to the USA and I dozed off and on. I never sleep very well on planes but being very tired helped. After one layover in Philadelphia, we were bound for Greenville, SC. Kara and Ariel were there waiting for us with big smiles and hugs.

Without a doubt, this particular trip was one of the best that I have ever been on. But as we all learned from the Wizard Of Oz, “There’s no place like home.”

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