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Hi All!

Pura Vida!! Costa Rica was nice (more about this later). But, Nicaragua was BETTER!! Once we settled into our hotel, Allegro Papagaya, we noticed that we could arrange a day trip to Nicaragua. (Tip – All day with breakfast and lunch $135). There was no way I was going to pass up this opportunity.

We got up at dark-thirty to meet our ride to grab breakfast, which was part of the tour. He shuttled us about 25 minutes away to a restaurant just past the airport.  Not knowing what to expect, we sat at a table with a few others who were also going to Nicaragua.  Bacon, eggs, and toast…how could such a simple ordinary breakfast be sooo good?  It was delicious!!  This was only a preview of the wonderful day ahead of us.

Border control:

After breakfast and introductions, we then loaded into the bus and pushed onward to the border for the next 2 hours or so. Once near the border, we were immersed in a sea of 18-wheelers waiting to pass immigration. (I don’t know why I didn’t take a picture—uurrghh). Luckily, our guide knew the ropes and got us through the lines quickly and easily. We did have to get out and actually present our documentation to authorities. Ok, so I also bought a candy bar or two and a soda!!

Now that we were back on the road, the guide gave a lot of information about the area. Actually, he was talking too much.  At this point, I sensed the need to take my mid-morning sabbatical nap. So, I missed his explanations about the scenery and background info.

I woke up just as we embarked upon the colonial city. We spent a great deal of time exploring the old church, La Merced, and its bell tower. The views were spectacular!  You could even see the Cathedral Granada in the distance. I am getting all excited just reminiscing about the adventure.

The next part of the tour included a jungle boat ride wherein a hindsight view enabled us to see the volcanic vistas. We also saw monkeys on an island in the middle of the river – strategically place for tourist purposes!! LOL!!   Yes, Nicaragua has interesting wildlife.  After exploring Granada, there was still plenty more to see.

Masaya Volcano – It’s Active!!

As you approach the volcano, you can see a huge cross marking the top. Warning signs abound telling visitors to park outward facing the exit and giving instructions to only stay about 20 minutes as to not be overcome by gases. Climbing to the top, Jeff fell in love with my camera and couldn’t resist being my photographer. He snapped so many pictures and told me to “work it” – so funny!!  We were utterly amazed when we reached the top and saw inside the rim of the crater, with gases spewing out!!  According to our guide, the cross was erected in honor of a priest who either stopped people from sacrificing babies into the volcano or exercising the devil from it…I guess the story depends on what guide you get!!

After a great lunch and shopping in the nearby marketplace, we headed off to see another volcano and Nicaragua lake. I don’t even remember the name of the volcano, but it was such a special treat!!

At the end of the tour, our guide gave each of us a maracas with our names engraved!! This was such a pleasant surprise. To say the least, I was very impressed with Nicaragua. Who would have thought that all the notions of it being unsafe, full of drugs, and poverty, could result in such a wonderful adventure in nature and culture!

Take a look at my photo essay of the trip…Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you about Costa Rica. Look for this in my next post.

Inspiration – “You have two choices in life. You can dissolve into the main stream, or you can choose to become an achiever and be distinct. To be distinct, you must be different. To be different, you must strive to be what no else but you can be.” (Unknown)
 
Be blessed beyond measure!!
~A

I left my job 1 year ago on Aug. 7th – and haven’t looked back !!

My sabbatical has been such a tremendous blessing!! It gave me the opportunity to travel all over the world, gain valuable experiences, meet wonderful people, and to grow spiritually.  The Bible says it best – A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps (Prov 16:9).  One thing for sure – With God, ALL things are POSSIBLE!

Peace & Blessings to you!

~A

To know my mom, Iris, is to love her.  She can come up with the craziest ideas…and they work! One thing for sure, we love to travel together. I thought that by being on sabbatical I wouldn’t be able to treat her to a trip for a long while to come.  But by the grace of God, He made a way for us!

Traversing through Puerto Rico and then hopping aboard the beautiful Caribbean Princess sailing to St. Thomas, Dominica, Grenada, Bonaire, Aruba, and then back to San Juan for a post-cruise stay was the perfect way to celebrate Mom’s birthday.  We had a lovely time.  And by the way, Mom dubbed me the Diva and she is the Duck!! Why??  Only she knows for sure!

 

AOL Travel published my photo!! Check it out here (4th photo on left):  http://news.travel.aol.com/2010/06/01/say-cheese-photos-you-hoped-would-never-surface-from-a-vacatio/

Coming up?  Updates from Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, Grenada, Aruba, Costa Rica and more!!  Sign up on the blog to get all the details.

Inspiration – I know this now. Every man gives his life for what he believes. Every woman gives her life for what she believes. Sometimes people believe in little or nothing, and yet they give their lives to that little or nothing. One life is all we have and we live it as we believe in living it and then it is gone. But to sacrifice what you are and to live without belief, that is a fate more terrible than dying.  (Joan of Arc) 

Peace & Blessings!

~A

Filled with diverse cultures, haute shopping venues, and really good restaurants, Houston is such a fabulous place to live. But, these are not the only reasons I love my city. Being home to several “mega-churches”, I am so excited about the many faith based opportunities around town.

Lakewood Church

Victoria Osteen and Angie

Known as the church with the smiling preacher, Lakewood Church is the largest church in America. With that said, it has many ministries to fit every season of life.  Needless to say, I have been blessed by this ministry for many years.  Last week was no different.  I attended the League of Professional Women to hear Victoria Osteen. She was warm, motivating, gracious, authentic, and just absolutely wonderful!  Her message was to stay anchored to God.  Sometimes we can’t define what it is on the inside, but we know there is more.  Dig deep on the inside to see what God wants to do. Furthermore, a dream is bigger than a job. It is a successful life.  What a great night!

 

Second Baptist

On the west side of town, I went to the Table Tapestry Ladies Fellowship at Second Baptist.  This is an annual event where ladies elaborately decorate dinner tables, worship, and fellowship.  I must admit, I wasn’t interested when I first heard about it. But at the last minute, my neighbor Celia had to work and gave me her ticket.  I had a blast!! Those tables were decorated in ways I had never seen before.  They were creative and stylish…go figure.

Along with pasta and salad, Jenni Mccollum spoke about identifying our cheap substitutions for God and the futility of running after them (John 4:14).  We then had special music and an opportunity to fellowship. Of course, I didn’t know anyone. But, Celia personally escorted and  introduced me to the ladies at the table. It was such a pleasure meeting  everyone, especially Gabrielle.  She is a young aspiring model and actress doing some exciting things.  Look out for her. I am sure we will be seeing her on tv and in print soon! Good luck Gabrielle!! Her mom Marcia Greene was actually the hostess, with Lita and Diane rounding out our table. 

Memorial Drive

In the Memorial area, Memorial Drive Presbyterian had a FaithWalking conference. Like me, you are probably asking -What is FaithWalking? Well, it is a program sponsored by Mission Houston that equips leaders to help those in need and also works toward the spiritual and social transformation of our community.  What impressed me the most was how the leaders in the program were really impacting the lives of those in need.  Good stuff!

To make the day even better,  a limited amount of free dinner tickets became available. Knowing how much I love

FaithWalking Table #17

 to eat, I raced to the table to get one.  My new friend Louise invited me to sit at her table. I had such a good time getting to know everyone! It amazes me that I walked into the conference not knowing anyone. By the time I left, I had several new friends.   

Inspiration – I stepped out of my comfort zone and was rewarded with an experience of a lifetime.  Get out of the boat and let your adventure begin.  

Be blessed!

~A

Hi All!

Just flew in from Puerto Rico and the Caribbean cruise…whew!! We had a great trip. Pictures and trip review coming soon!

Inspiration – “No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.” – Lin Yutang

Be blessed!

~A

Happy Easter and Passover!

Cruisin’ again to my next adventure…My lovely mom will be able to celebrate her birthday in style as we hop aboard the Caribbean Princess sailing to St. Thomas, Dominica, Aruba, and Grenada. We will also enjoy pre and post cruise stays in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

So stay tuned for more updates…

Inspiration – On this day, God wants you to know –  That decision is only wishful thinking until you take that first irreversible step. You can tell yourself that you have already decided that nothing now can stop you.  But if that step backwards is so much safer than step forwards, what will hold you true to your path when the going gets tough? Sometimes, the right thing to do is to take that first irreversible step, the one after which you cannot go back. And now, for you, is one of those times.

Be blessed~

 

I am in a magazine!!  WOO HOO!! The Tucson based Desert Leaf magazine featured my sabbatical in their latest issue. I am so EXCITED!! Check it out here on pages 52 -53 and continues on p. 68:

http://npaper-wehaa.com/desert-leaf#2010/03/17/?article=802979

Thanks!

Inspiration – “A year from now you may wish you had started today” ~~ Karen Lamb

Be blessed!!

Hi All!!

One thing I determined to do while on sabbatical was to embark on new opportunities and activities.  So far, I have zip lined in Cabo, snorkeled and played with monkeys in Roatan, been caught in a sandstorm in Egypt, and attempted horseback riding here on Texan soil.  In addition, I took  golf lessons and fell in love with the game..or at least what little I do know about the game – LOL!!

So, it was right up my alley when I saw the Women on Course Luncheon event notice. This organization is all about the golf lifestyle – the game, the fun, the travel, the networking, and most of all, the relationships. I had to be there!!  

Mmmm…who could I get to go with me?  I wanted someone to share my joy – Ahh haa…At that moment, I immediately contacted my savvy friend Dr. Laureen Wishom.  She is an award-winning success coach, strategist, entrepreneur and author.  Since she is all about promoting women, I knew she would be interested.

The luncheon was FABULOUS!!! It was held at woman-owned Fleming’s this past Saturday afternoon. The agenda included a fashion show, financial tips, food, and fun.  I met so many wonderful women like Iman Houston, who “worked it” as one of the fashion show models. Her mom, Ty, appropriately coined the term New Energy to describe the joyous and excited atmosphere that was created by new relationships being formed during the event. 

Oh, I want to mention that Sandy Castillo shared such an amazing healing story (can’t wait for the book)! I was also very much delighted to meet Meredith Raine, Stephani Tipton, Susan Kramer, Denise Marks, and Jane Seaman.  We were all pleasantly surprised and energized with all the great conversations going on between like-minded women. 

On the way out, it seemed like no one wanted to leave. We were all still talking, laughing, networking, and trying to decide what size/color jacket we wanted as our membership gift. It was at this point that I met Susan Deison, Connie Warner and her sister Linda Peck, who was visiting from California.  Although a golfer for many years, I talked Connie into signing up for membership as well.  This was definitely an awesome way to spend the afternoon.  We all had a great time and left with high expectations for the upcoming events.

Thanks Leslie Devitz, Shelley, Shirley, and Women on Course !!

Inspiration – Don’t limit yourself. Many people limit themselves to what they think they can do. You can go as far as your mind lets you. What you believe, remember, you can achieve.  Mary Kay Ash

Be blessed beyond measure!!

-A

I was so nervous and yet excited about being a guest on the Females With a Mission BlogTalk show.  It was GREAT!!

All the panelists had great insight and input.  I really appreciated the male perspective from Tony Gaskins Jr. Check out his website and follow him on twitter. http://www.tonygaskins.com/

Go to the archive and listen to the replay of today’s show – http://www.blogtalkradio.com/fwm.  Also, continue to check out the FWM website for future shows.

Inspiration – I would have lost heart, unless I had believed That I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living. (Psalm 27:13)

Prayer Focus – The American economy and single parents.

Be blessed!

~A

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