Away in the Manager ~

How many of you grew up singing the Christmas song Away in the Manager? Or just maybe you were lucky enough and played the part of Mary or Joseph in your church Christmas program? I’m guessing that no matter what age you are, this Away in the Manager song might fill your head with memories of how you first learn about the birth of Jesus.

This week I was invited into a webinar to view a virtual tour of Bethlehem and Nazareth, the birth place of Jesus tracking Mary and Joseph’s path through Israel. It was amazing! I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I have to say it was interesting and gave a wonderful picture of this magical place on the other side of the world.

Working in the airline industry for several years I had the opportunity to travel all over the world with little or no dollars involved. Unfortunately I never put Israel on my travel plans, I’m now thinking maybe I should have. I’ve had a few friends that made the journey and all of them coming back stating it was moving and monumental. So after hearing my friends awesome comments, I jumped on this opportunity for a virtual tour of Bethlehem and Nazareth!

The virtual tour filled my mind with thoughts of what it must have been like over 2,000 years ago witnessing this biblical blessing. I wondered the what the manager, church and travels might have looked like. This webinar filled in all the blocks taking you in and out of Bethlehem and Nazareth.

Each Christmas several of you might set up a nativity scene with the remembrance of the birth of Jesus. Mary, Joseph, the manager with Jesus, the Wise Men, the Shepard’s and of course all the animals that surrounded the special event. Each holiday season we carefully place these figurines in a special place to celebrate the birth of our savior.

A few year ago I remember driving through Trimont, MN and being stunned with this breathtaking nativity scene in a front yard. We drove around the block and parked across the street just to take it all in. Each one of the figurines were life size which made it magical. It was an absolutely beautiful site to see!

Another place that hit our travels this summer was a stop off at West Bend, Iowa. It is the home of the Grotto of Redemption, a religious shrine. A conglomeration of nice grottos depicting scenes in the life of Jesus containing a large collection of mineral and petrifications and is believed to be the largest grotto in the world. The shrine takes you trough the birth and death of Jesus. Worth a stop if you have never been there.

Often we are captured with drawings or paintings of this special magical moment with colorful images filled of the celebration. These two drawings, possibility what a young person took the time to share say it all as the wise men follow the bright star. The angel overlooking with the beautiful buildings used as the backdrop.

Each year at my Blue Star Collections shop I open the doors for a holiday sale. Nativity scenes have always been a popular piece on my floor. I always enjoy shopping for these nativity scenes that come in all sizes, shapes and colors. A smile crosses my face each time I see one of these walk out the door and I quickly image where they might place this Christmas piece in their own home.

This lovely nativity scene on the beach must have taken bit of time to create don’t you think? It was magical to see how the stacking of these small rocks stacked just right for all stay in place. What a treat for all as they walked the beach to witness this beautiful master piece.

A few years ago I found this large, white nativity scene in one my shopping trips and we decided to display it at Blue Star Collections. Carefully placed outside on the front lawn with the Blue Star lighting the background was enjoyed by many as they passed by honking their horns with approval. A few days later the set was sold to a couple that planned to place the scene on their family farm. Today, I hope they are still enjoying it.

It’s the reason for the season, the birth of Jesus as we all celebrate this holiday season. Many blessings to you and your family. For those of you that might want to sing along to Away in the Manager, click on the link below and enjoy!

Picture Perfect ~

I don’t know about you, but I have a few thousand pictures on my iPhone. Gezzz it drives me silly when I’m searching through all these photos for the perfect one and can’t find it. Some pics are good and some are bad. One thing I know, it just takes time to manage all the photos that we accumulate every week.

So, when I seen a class being offered close to me on iPhone photo training I jumped on it! Not only might I learn something with navigating around on my phone taking a picture, the location of the class would be pretty awesome as well. The class was being offered through the Koreshan State Park located in Fort Myers, Florida. This park itself is beautiful offers many picture perfect settings.

Right out of the shoot I flunked the first thing. Question asked, how many of your cleaned your phone this morning? Out of 12 of us attending the class, only one person passed the question. 🧐

It’s funny how we all make excuses as why we don’t do this task each day. So first things first, one by one we each cleaned our phones and camera lense.

The class was an hour and half so I knew it was best to pay attention and obtain as much as possible. Sure enough we were off and running with our first assignments.

AE/AF with the slider was discussed. While in the camera mode if you hold down on your phone and a yellow box appears! It has a slider bar and from here is where you can regulate the light on your photo. So off to the grounds we were to do a regular photo with the AE/AF and the other one using the yellow box adjusting our own light.

Cool, I was off and running! Next, instructor shared on the subject of LIGHT which is your most important item when snapping a picture. HDR (High Dynamic Range) can make it easy as well. Turning this feature on your camera automatically blends all background and takes all the guess work is out. This too is located in your settings. Take a look at the difference, can you tell the difference?

Learning to use the “grid” makes it easy to line up while taking your photo. This too is located in your settings under camera. Adding that grid just got easier, I already was feeling like a sassy photographer using this mode.

It just kept getting better, all the fun short cuts I was learning while taking in the fun of the class.

Next up was “Composition”. Off we were running again to snap a few pics teaching our eye about composition. Next assignment to take three pictures. One with repetition, one framing and the one capturing curiosity drawing your eye into the picture. Whew this was tougher than thought but here were my choices.

How did I do? The repetition were poles on the fencing, framing was my Santa and for the curiosity I shot down a path trying to entice my audience where it might have went.

Only 30 minutes left in the class we continued to learn the portrait mode and the burst mode.

Portrait blurs the background and make you concentrate on the person in your photo. Burst you can really have some fun with capturing someone or something moving. Remember seeing those kids jump off a diving board and they are caught jumping in air. Well burst is the answer. You take several photos by holding down on your start button and it takes several photos all at once. Check out my two examples.

And finally, how nany of you use Zoom? Well here is the secret on this subject. Rule number one and only one! Use your own two feet and ZOOM WITH YOUR FEET! When you use the zoom on your iphone, it decreases the pixels making your picture cloudy. Walking up to the subject and taking the photograph makes for a better, clear picture and you will be more pleased with.

And lastly, our instructor shared a cool app that we all have on our phones and get this its FREE! Download Snapseed and it will make editing your photos slick and easy!

So there you have it, I hope I was able to give you a few pointers as well and you too can have some fun taking those photos with ever lasting memories.

Now it wouldn’t complete my blog if I didn’t leave you with a little tune to hum along with while your out snapping your own favorite shots. Turn up your speaker and enjoy and don’t forget to clean your lenses. 😉

Kodachrome Paul Simon song ~

AND one more thing and most important ~ just have fun making your memories! Everyday we should be snapping some fun pics ~

Back in the Saddle ~

Lately I’ve been asked by several “where have you been” I’ve missed your blog. I know, its been a few weeks since I last sent out a message and today is the day I told myself it’s time to “get back in the saddle” and share some fun!

I grew up around horses riding a few Shetland ponies in my day so riding with a saddle I can so relate to it. However, I mostly rode bareback and was often bucked off when I least expected it. The moral of this story is if you get bucked off , stay focused, get back on your horse and keep going.

One of my favorite things to do is go to the library to see the latest reads. I know it’s weird but I could spend hours just looking, reading and touching the books. It amazes me all the endless possibilities for inspiration for all of us.

I giggle at myself when I see what books call out. When I made a visit to the library last week I really didn’t have an agenda other than I was looking for a great book club read. Looked what popped in my path.

My Blue Star Collections business is all about the home so when I was searching through the fiction books, Feels like HOME this caught my eye and I knew I had to have it. If your into decorating will know the author Marian Parsons, aka Miss Mustard Seed she does a wonderful blog.

This book is full of fun ideas, helpful hints, painting techniques, DYI projects as well she tells you a bit about herself growing up in a military family, as an army brat and how the bug of decorating came in her life.

Marian mentions its not what your homes gives to you, but it’s what you create with it and in that foundation upon which your life is built. She also shares how to transform your space from uninspiring to uniquely yours. Who doesn’t want that?!

The book shows you how to make ceiling boxed beams, painting techniques, how to paint a mural, sewing, and numerous ideas to make your home special and stand out.

Feels like HOME offers you some great ideas for paint and coloring. Choosing a paint color can be challenging at times with different lighting and how it affects the tone. Since we are discussing paint and color, have you seen the “new color of the year” from Pantene just selected for 2022. See what you think ~

A room should feel collected, not decorated. Listen to your house – it will speak to you. Take a minute to appreciate your house. What elements already feel like home?

One of things I also enjoyed in the book was quotes from famous people. Read on, see if you can relate to any of them:

Julia Child ~ the more you know, the more you can create. There is no end to imagination in the kitchen.

We shape our buildings and afterwards our buildings shape us – Winston Churchill

Decorating is an autobiography- Gloria Vanderbilt

Creativity is a wildmind and a disciplined eye – Dorthy Parker

This beautiful, colorful and inspiring ideas is sure to attract you as it did myself. It just might move you to move a few things in your house for a new look. The calming look of this book will just might inspire you to pick up Feels like HOME and challenge your decorating talents.

The next two books I thought went hand in hand and called out to me. Our society encourages us all to be better recyclers and knowing what to throw in our recycle bin. Myself being a recycler and repurposing “stuff” in my Blue Star Collections business I felt these two books also hit home.

Both these books are both easy reads. I took them to the beach with me and read through both of them in one afternoon. Lots of simple drawings to keep your interest as well.

The chapters in the book Can I Recycle This is full of suggestions. It covers everything from soup to nuts!

And finally, this page warmed my heart. Buying vintage and recycling your vintage clothes by donating, giving away or just cutting them up to recreate your vintage find! Blue jean jackets have lots of opportunities wouldn’t you say?

Moving on to the next book pick, if you want to know how to make your own remedies for cleaning almost anything, this one is great for ideas! It’s great because most of the stuff you will have around your house.

I don’t think they missed a thing coming up with concocting these formulas to take care of your business around the home. It makes sense, seems easy to do and I have already tried a few myself.

I have a dear friend that wears pearls everyday I swear. She looks stylish when she wears them for everyday or dress up and always a classic look. Here is an easy way to keep your pearls clean and ready to wear!

This next suggestion on how to clean your BBQ great just amazed me. Who would have thought to just throw it out on your lawn and let it sit overnight? I have not tried it but bet the walkers passing by your house will wonder whats up with the grill grate in the yard?

How many of you have a favorite leather jacket, purse or fabric furniture piece that has a wet stain on it? Read on, this seems simple enough to take care of the fix.

As you know, there are endless choices of books to choose from at your local library. Rows and rows of temping books that will entertain, teach and offer you hours of inspiration.

Whatever trips your trigger, get on your horse, saddle up and just have fun with your reads! If you side tracked and “get bucked off”, dust your knees off and get back on your horse. Accomplishing a fun project is always inspiring.

I always like to leave you with tune you can hum along with after the read. Saddles, horses and riding out the storm brought this song to my mind and it was always one of my favorite TV shows back in the 60’s. I too hope it brings a smile to your face. I would to hear your comments. Happy trails ~

Do you know the way ~

Remember the song “Do you know the way to San Jose”?

This song has been on my mind for the last few days. Why is it you get a song stuck in your head and you find yourself singing along to it for the next few hours or more?!

Maybe or could it be because Blue Star Collections has a sale coming up? As I sing along with the tunes I try to change the lyrics to fit my sale theme? I know it’s corny, but often it’s fun and I find laughing at myself.

So before I get going silly on making up my own “Blue Star Collections ” sale lyrics, here’s the scoop on what’s coming up October 29/30.

If you like to Hop, Skip and Jump we are calling your name to come have some fun! A bit of junk, collectibles and unique stuff just might be what you have been searching for. Three shops are pooling their energy together to bring you a fun run on the road shop hopping!

Corn Fed Cricket located in an old meat market on the west side of town in Harley, Iowa will have the coffee on as you weave your way around their retro shop. Lots of goodies you won’t want to miss!

Now Mrs. Clark, store owner at Vintage Boutique will be ready to dress you in her lovely vintage clothes. Vintage Boutique is full of surprises and is located in downtown historic Lakefield, Minnesota. It’s fun to search through the racks clothing including dresses, shoes, bags, military, and more beyond you can imagine.

And you ask who, what and where is Blue Star Collections? Beth Bright, store owner rescues repurposes, and restages home furnishings in her 114 year old church located on Hwy. 9 in Superior, Iowa. Not only will you enjoy the displays of stuff, she too will help you select your treasures to stage in your own home. The old Methodist church is a lovely piece of history right smack in the middle of town that has some beautiful bones and windows. Come take a peek if you haven’t seen it!

Now on to more fun as I piece my words together to the tune of “Do you know the way” ~

Do you know the way to shop hop? Its been way too long since we’ve seen your smiles. Fill up your gas tank, program your GPS and come find some good buys with a peace of mind along the highways.

After a few miles and lots of good buys you will feel like a super star scoring some fun stuff! With visions s of junk in your heart, you’ll never be alone just follow the crowd to the next stop.

Will your first stop be Blue Star Collections , Corn Fed Cricket or Vintage Boutique? Doesn’t matter what order, we will be waiting for you! Do you know the way to having some junk fun?!

Memories of Summer 2021

Wow, can you believe how quickly summer has pasted us and we are now well on our way of seeing and smelling fall in the air! What a fun run we all had this Summer of 2021 and what a difference a year makes.

Last year at this time we were all trying to deal with that “C” (Covid) thing with where we should go and not go. This summer all the doors were open and we were ready to rock and roll into some fun!

It was a summer of fun music no matter where you were. We not only were excited to have music groups back and singing to us but found the music groups also felt the same about us and were so grateful to be back playing their favorite songs.

Music fills our soul in so many ways. We took in several concerts probably like most of you this summer. One special group stuck out in our minds, it was the 70’s rock group Head East. The group who grew up in the Midwest back in the 70’s and they are still playing those favorite songs in their “70’s”.

Each song they played brought back many memories as we tapped our toes and sang along. Often when we hear music it takes us right back to when, where and what we were doing when that song was popular.

The most important part of the concert was delivered by Roger Boyd who plays the keyboard. With each setting Roger reminisced how they got started and what band members they have lost along the way. Roger was sincere when he spoke how grateful they were and how Okoboji supported them along the way.

Back in the 70’s we didn’t have cell phones, iPads, or the technology as we have today. Rotary phones was our line of communication. How did we ever do it? Suppose that’s how “shagging the drag” started? We would just meet or show up on the square and see who was out and go from there.

If you wanted to hear songs on a radio station you called in on the old rotary phone to request your favorite song as Head East mentioned. The Top 10 Music Billboard was and still is a big thing. We would watch our favorite songs climb to the top of the list.

Roger Boyd also reminded when they would play at the Roof Garden in Okoboji there was the rope down the center of the dance floor. One side was for underage minors and the other side you could drink the night away if you wished. Many chuckled from the audience because the rope was often sparingly managed. 😉

With all the fun memories told, Roger Boyd and the rest of his band members were grateful to Okoboji and what we gave them. In his closing emotional words he stated he hoped he would be lucky enough to come back again and make more memories with us.

Along with Head East we also had the privilege of hearing several other music groups. The Grassroots, Marshall Tucker, Arch Allies, The Beach Boys and many more adding to the list.

How fun it was to watch these cute, young girls dancing on the bench taking in a glimpse of The Beach Boys. California Dreaming just turned into Okoboji Dreaming!

And, if you were fortune enough to be in Okoboji the week the International Regatta took place how lucky were you! There were several exciting moments. The summer winds played well making the sailboats dance on the Okoboji blue waters. Such beautiful sights to see!

The large, beautiful sails opening and watching them fly across the lake was spectacular! Come sail away with me ~

And we are off to the races ~

Up close and personal with a birds eye view ~

Several tourists and Regatta sailors found new fun in Okoboji, Iowa

Look up in the sky! What is that noise? Ohhhh it’s a hot air balloon! Once again when the summer Okoboji winds were perfect, we often had the privilege of spotting a hot air ballon. We would run into an open air spot to get a better view of its beauty!

Now in the summer if you don’t get enough music on shore, hop in your boat and you will find more in the water. Damon Dotson our hometown Okoboji boy grew up and has entertained us for many years. Still several years later, Damon comes back to share his talent and puts on a heck of a concert at Miller’s Bay over the 4th of July weekend. The boats flock in for the fun! Its an awesome sight to see from the air taking in all the colorful boats and maui mats.

If you like to play hop scotch, this is the place to be jumping from one boat to another.

Okoboji tourists and residents were lucky to have fireworks every weekend. Yep, it took place every Saturday night after the free concerts in the Preservation Plaza. People lined up on the shoreline to catch a few minutes of pure joy.

Lots of 4th of July gatherings around the lakes, and parks. Food creativity at its best to celebrate the holiday ~

How many of you took in the bikes trails around Okoboji? If you live or visit Okoboji and have a bike, your probably one of the lucky ones that take in a few sights on the bike trails. Each year there are several fundraisers. The Bike Trail Fundraiser is one of many that several people generously give back to the community. Over the past few years the Trails Board have completed several new bike mile trails. One would not lack of which trail to take.

Did someone mention social gatherings? Such fun, creative and tasty food and beverages are always shared out on the deck. Charcuterie boards have become a popular way of entertaining. They not only look beautiful but are filling and fun!

We’re any of you brave enough to do Yoga on the water? Yipes, what a test of balance! For time being, the shoreline is just fine with me but I so appreciate seeing these yogis doing their poses and looking so graceful. Namaste ~

So I leave you a short clip of “Do you believe in Magic” by the Loving Spoonfuls. Maybe we just had a bit of magic in Okoboji, Iowa this 2021 Summer ~ what do you think?

Come Sail Away in Okoboji ~

If your looking for something to do this week you might want take a walk or boat ride along the shores of Okoboji. This week the Okoboji Yacht Club is hosting the 2021 Inland Lakes Annual Championships Regatta August 15-21 on West Lake Okoboji, Iowa.

Yep, that would be the beautiful Great Lakes in Northwest Iowa – called Okoboji. West Okoboji Lake is the location for the fun to take place for this well attended Regatta.

The 2021 Inland Lakes Yachting Association Annual Championships Regatta takes place August 15-21 on West Lake Okoboji. This premiere race welcomes racers from around the Midwest, and was last held on West Lake Okoboji in 2013.

Several classes of sailboats will compete for the coveted awards. The boats and owners will travel to the Iowa Great Lakes Area from the lakes of Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Clear Lake in Iowa. Classes A and MC will race August 16-18. Classes E and C Scow boats begin arriving Wednesday, Aug. 18. They will race Thursday through Saturday, Aug. 19-21. Over 400 sailors are expected to compete throughout the week of racing.

Some of the best Midwest skippers and their crew will skillfully navigate their boats over a mile-long course and back. Courses on West Lake Okoboji will be be determined prior to the race, based on wind direction. The first leg of the race is directly into the wind with a length of more than one mile. In most cases, the sailboats will go around the course twice and then make a final leg to windward and the finish line.

So, we decided to hop in the boat and go watch the fun. WOW – what a sight to see! This was absolutely beautiful as they spread their sails. The vibrant blue and silver colors shining off the beautiful blue water.

Ready for the line up and waiting for the whistle to blow. Anticipation, adrenaline and excitement by all! The well tailored crew get in place as the countdown begin.

Picture perfect sailboats formatting for the run. I’m sure each of them have a theory or game plan to do their best race. After all, these professional sailors have spent many a days on the water practicing and waiting for this day to come!

Not only did the sailors line up, the audience lined up as well perching in theirs boats with their cups of coffee in hand to get a glimpse of these beauties dancing on the blue Okoboji water.

How does one manipulate these large sails without running into each other? It looks easy from our seat but I’m sure Mother Nature does have a bit to contribute wouldn’t you say?

The whistle blows and they are off to the races! The wind was perfect with lots of thrust was taking place as they sailed off for the win ~

Turning the corner and wowza the colors pop!

It almost reminded me a beautiful peacock spreading their wings. Blue and silver colors glowed as the race began and on the reverse return they spread their vibrant colors on the back side. Ohhhhhh ~

We were so caught up in the moment with awe! Watching all around the lake as they danced through the waters. We looked out our front window and what a bonus sight we seen right in front of us! These gentleman were such gracious performers as they gave us a thumbs up. Sit back and watch this was the message ~ little did they know how proud they were making Okoboji with their kind manners.

We just couldn’t get enough of these breath taking sailboats. We were memorized with all its beauty and in awe with how well they sailed.

Whoever these two perched in the sky had a Birdseye view of the Regatta Race. Their prime seats were scored like a “Rock Stars” high above the blue water. Not only did they have the excitement of the boat ride they certainly had the pleasure of taking in a good show. Suppose they knew what fun they were in for with this sight to see?

We are all are privileged to watch these sailboats sail on Lake Okoboji realizing this takes a large crew to kick this Regatta making the success it is. These spotters spend many hours on the lake making sure safety is first and far most for all involved.

Okoboji businesses are thriving because of the addition tourists this event brings to town. Organizing food for the crews, arranging lodging, and putting our first foot forward to show off Okoboji is a huge undertaking. A shout out to my dear friend Brigid Wilkening who has spent many hours making sure this fun event would take place without hiccups. Brigid’s dedication to arrange all the special the details is supported by many. Thank you Brigid – you make us proud.

So for those of you that still might want a peek of these beauties, here is more of the line up for the Regatta. So grab your coffee, sit on the shore or perch in your boat out of the way and come see this once in a lifetime show.

The entire time while we watched this Regatta I had several tunes playing in my head. So I leave you with the famous Styx song that we all know ~ “Come sail away with Me”.

What a privilege to witness this beautiful site ~ Okoboji, you make us proud!

Come find your deal ~

Remember back in the 60’s the game show “Let’s make a Deal”? Monte Hall was host that gave lots of opportunities and prizes to many people.

The show always kept our attention because we wanted to know what was behind door number one, two and three.

People would dress up to catch Monte Hall’s attention so they would be chosen to play the game. Lots of creative people and costumes were fun to watch!

Blue Star Collections will also be having some fun “Making lots of Deals” in Superior, Iowa this upcoming weekend, July 16-17

Doors will be opening for only a few short hours so get on your mark, set your calendars and shop! Friday, July 16th 10:00 am – 4:00 pm. Saturday, July 17th 10:00 am – 2:00 pm

What door will you choose? Door number one, two or three?

Set your GPS to 104 6th Street ~ Superior, Iowa

Come join the fun ~ “Let’s make a Deal”!

Fun, Food and Freedom ~

How quickly the 4th of July arrived! As a kid we always looked forward to picnics, parades and fireworks. It was and still is an all day celebration for many.

Nothing has really changed over the years as we grow older in celebrating the 4th. It still evolves around food, fun and especially recognizing our Freedom.

This year with the 4th of July holiday weekend being a three day event, it gave us plenty of time to celebrate.

There are so many choices of what to do, what to eat and where to go. We love trying to take it all in for food and fun. One thing is for certain is to go to the grocery store early to beat the crowds and get your goodies before they are gone.

What’s your menu this year? Are you adding some creative ideas for your table? We all know it gets busy and planning ahead is key. We all want easy, fun and tasty.

Maybe you have a last minute gathering to attend and take a dish to share. You search your pantry and refrigerator to see what might work. Fruit is always welcome at any gathering. Charcuterie boards never disappoint. Our eyes love all the colors to please our palette.

We love driving by and seeing our country’s flag so proudly displayed no matter where we might be. Our freedom is always on the back of our minds more so today with our world happenings. What do you do to catch people’s attention?

Keeping it simple is always pleasing to the eye and heart. Taking all the sights in on the lake, we love the “pops” of color. Even in time of construction a big flag catch’s our attention that makes us smile.

If music was on your agenda this weekend, you might have taken in “The Lake Effect” concert in Okoboji, Iowa. It was huge crowd pleaser attracting many boats for the day.

The boats perch out in the water finding the perfect location to float and take in the tunes. 🎶🎵

Picture perfect fun from 1000 feet above made for a pleasing sight to take in.

If sailing was on your agenda this weekend, that too was covered with many sailors taking advantage of the regatta. Winds made sailing another success.

What a difference a year makes! Last year as we were locked down with Covid. This year it was tine to celebrate and make it even more special with our choices in all activities.

So whatever you decide to do to celebrate this last day of our beautiful weekend, make it special with lasting memories. Cheers to a fun and free holiday as we all celebrate our freedom.

I leave you with a song we all can relate to. A little Bruce Springfield tune to make us stand tall and get your toes tapping ~

Miracles and more ~

Recently a friend of mine sent me an article on “miracles” and I have been thinking about “miracles” ever since. Today as I write this, I’m thinking this might have been a miracle I received this message in my email.

Are you looking for sign for purpose or new direction in your life? How many of you can really say you believe in miracles? Miracles are often associated with religion or a higher power sending us messages. I think I’m safe in saying “things happen for a reason”.

Our life’s get so busy every day, every week and before we know it another year passes. That sounds crazy doesn’t it? We often state how quickly times goes but do we really take time to notice miracles around us?

How many of us have said this before ~ it would take a miracle to make a certain event happen? Often in the news, journalists mention miracles. In a certain catastrophe they often stated it was a “miracle” no one was hurt. For example, living in the Midwest and tornados hit the ground destroying homes and businesses but often spares many people life’s. Suppose it was a miracle?

Every day, we experience miracles and we might not notice it because of our busy life. What if we took the time and concentrated on the miracles that take place around us each day, would we be amazed?

Blue Star Collection recently completed a staging project setting up three apartments for Airbnb’s in St. Paul, MN. The property is nested in a lovely, historical neighborhood surrounded with beautiful old homes. We were in our last hour of staging and I still needed one more area rug in a bedroom. As much as I wanted to discount the idea, the floors were hardwood so I felt it was necessary to complete the project.

We took off in search of a rug. It was late afternoon, city traffic was building during rush hour so it took longer than expected. When we arrived back to the apartments we got out of the truck and the doors locked. I thought Brian hit the button prematurely but nope it was me that accidentally hit the lock button getting out the truck. The keys got locked inside along with both phones and the new rug. Ohhhhhhh

There happened to be a rental person one of the completed apartments so we reached out to them for help to call the police and have our doors open. We were quickly told the St. Paul / Minneapolis Police Officers no longer assist with these issues. They suggested we call a locksmith. Now take in mind, its after 5:00 pm, traffic is crazy and what locksmith are we going to find to help that wasn’t going take all night in assisting??

After a bit of creative thinking, Brian noticed when we came back in the neighborhood after rug shopping there was a transport semi loading a car just down the street from the apartments. We both actually commented on our return of rug shopping stating “isn’t that odd” that a transport car semi would be in this neighborhood loading up a car?

When all our creative thoughts on how to get into the truck expired with a dead end, Brian came up with the thought that the semi driver down the street might have a tool to open locked doors since he was in the business of transporting cars. After a short walk down the street, sure enough there was hope. Making the connection with this fine gentleman named Jorge, our new friend came down and assisted opening the locked truck doors. No money was exchanged for his service, he stated to just pass the favor on to the next “Good Samaritan” in need. We both felt proud to be surrounded by such a generous person.

After putting the rug as we drove off from the apartments we reminiscing about the projects and meeting Jorge, I stated that was a “miracle” that just happened. What are the chances of this man being in that neighborhood the same time of the day and with a tool that could help assist us?

Our hearts were full of gratitude of such kindness ~

When you run to the grocery store and someone smiles at you in the produce department or maybe at the checkout line how do you feel? Our eyes and smiles say so much more to others when we don’t even realize it. These small acts might be an everyday miracle. Do you later continue to think about that smile or kind gesture?

I find the best girlfriends in a store when I’m trying on a dress or other piece of clothing, If I’m shopping by myself and don’t have a friend along that will tell me if it looks good or put it back on the rack almost always out of the blue, a gal steps up and says I love that on you! The conversation begins. Are you sure it doesn’t make my butt look too big? 😉 Out of the blue girlfriends are great! No judgement, just honest words. You have to love those little miracles that happen.

I truly feel everyday miracles happen around us. We all just need to open our hearts and eyes to our surroundings. Miracles are a confirmation of a larger force that is present in our life’s. Just when we feel it’s a bad day or bad situation a miracle might happen that leads our minds into a different direction and often can lead us in a new venture or mindset.

So, are you in need of a miracle today? Are you paying attention to your surroundings and have your eyes wide open? If you open your mind and heart you might find more miracles around you than you realize. They could be small miracles, but possibly powerful.

I encourage you all today to open your heart, your eyes and your mind as you look, listen and feel your surroundings. They just might add “bright” moments to your day and create a new path for you.

Now if your looking for a great “flick” to watch, put Two Hearts on your list. As we chat about “miracles”, this a true story about a miracle happening between two couples. It will warm your heart, make you smile but be sure to have a box of Kleenex handy.

And as always in my closing, I love to leave with a tune to hum along with. Enjoy ~

It’s National “Road Trip” Day!

Everyday it seems we are celebrating some sort of event. I often check the calendar to see what is being celebrated for it makes great party ideas. Yesterday when I looked at the calendar I thought it was a fun one. It’s National “Road Trip” Day!

The Friday before Memorial Day is declared National Road Trip Day and serves as the official kickoff of the summer road trip season. Millions of Americans hit the road each year over the long weekend, visiting friends and family while paying tribute to our American heroes.

So, we too joined the other millions by hitting the road to my hometown, Fort Dodge, Iowa. We’re probably doing the same thing as many of you are, visiting family and making the rounds visiting cemeteries in honor of Memorial Day.

Who doesn’t enjoy “Road Trips”? Rain, shine, cold ~ it doesn’t matter. Roll the windows down or put on the heater, you got it covered!

Whether we’re seeking out family tombstones, looking for adventure, visiting family and friends, these road trips are often a rite of passage. Sometimes we endure them, often hearing, “Are we there yet?” And other times we never want them to end; sometimes getting lost can be even more fun than the original plan. Today that happened to us as we searched the back roads looking for the right cemetery down different gravel roads.

It’s clear that the open road calls when long weekends and Fridays roll around. We pack up, fuel up, stock up, and then crank up the tunes. In fact, having good music, audiobooks, and/or podcasts to listen add to making it a successful road trip. Additionally, having good snacks and drinks for the road, finding great places to eat on the way, and finding clean bathrooms to use while traveling are often the most important parts of a successful road trip.

How many of you play games while on the highway? Going through the alphabet finding signs for that particular letter. Playing the game, “I’m thinking of something” and the others have to guess what your thinking as you give them hints. Of course its always fun to “name that tune” from the tunes on the radio or playlist.

How do you roll down the highway? Maybe a couple of these tunes catch you singing in the car?

No matter the destination, road trips include an element of expectation, and they rarely disappoint. The best road trips bring us closer to people over a cup of coffee and treat. They connect us to places through memories and the kindness of strangers.

Also, yesterday was National Beef Burger Day, Brisket Day, Hamburger Day, Don’t Fry Day, and Cooler Day. So it was decided a hamburger needed to be in our path!

And for those of you that might want to make your own burger, here is a fun site to explore and add your own your touch.

Best Hamburger Patty Recipe

Whatever you do this Memorial weekend, make it your own. Being thankful for those that fought for our freedom. Remembering those that are gone but not forgotten. Make it fun, safe and just enjoy ~