Today in the United States we remember a man with a vision, an American leader, Dr. Martin Luther King.

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." ~ Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 

"I have a dream that one day little black boys & girls will be holding hands with little white boys & girls." ~MLK

In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends. ~ MLK

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase. ~ MLK

Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr

Life's most persistent and urgent question is, "What are you doing for others?" ~ MLK

Take a moment to reflect  on Dr. King's messages.
I am pondering the idea of big birds. I am not talking about the big yellow bird on Sesame Street I am talking about Florida's big birds. Florida has a great variety of large birds. There is the pelican both white and brown of course the sandhill crane there's cattle egrets White Ibis great heron spoonbill Rosie at those. They also have the bald eagle the Osprey and turkey vultures. 
Generally speaking I'm not a dedicated birdwatcher but I do like to look at birds on occasion. We have a few large birds in Ohio the gray hair and the bold eagle the turkey vulture and turkeys. But why is it that Florida seem to have so many more?

Do large birds tend to like warm weather better than cold? Is it because the food source seems to be more plentiful in warm weather? Can any of my Florida family or friends answer these questions for me? 
It is that time of year again for New Year's resolutions. I suppose those resolutions should've been made several days ago but I'm a little slow this year. I guess I'm still recovering from my roller coaster 2015.

In 2016 I resolve to continue to travel and live my life to the fullest. My mothers unexpected death at the end of 2015 made me realize things can change in a brief moment. I never expected her passing to arrive as quickly as it did.

I resolve to continue to unclutter the material things in my life. During 2015 I begin the process of uncluttering in my home. I realize social media was a great asset in that quest. If an item doesn't bring you joy why do you need it? Too many items become a burden and stifle our enjoyment instead of bringing us joy.

I resolve to continue to uncluttered my mind with my practice of yoga and tai chi. 

I resolve to continue to broaden my knowledge of other cultures and in turn relay that information to those that are unable to travel and experience the culture themselves.

I resolve to find the positive in each day and every situation. Everything happens for a reason we must find out why.

I resolve to be more selective in my photography shots. I will take the time to find the optimal shot instead of taking many and then having thousands more than I need.

I resolve to use resources wisely and respect our planet earth and those creatures that live on it.

In conclusion I resolved to look back upon my resolutions from time to time to see how well I'm doing in keeping those resolutions alive.
Another year has almost passed very soon we will say goodbye to 2015. For me it has been a year of amazing highs and sadly the lowest of lows. 

The year has been quite literally a roller coaster ride. In the spring I learned my nephew had cancer but with intensive treatment I am pleased to report that he is in remission and doing well. While he was beginning his of his treatment I was off on my first trans-Atlantic cruise. It was a wonderful cruise that ended with a serenade by a gondolier in romantic Venice Italy.

Later in the year I went on a highly anticipated trip to the Golden Triangle of India. India is a country that had been a lifelong dream trip of mine that truly lives up to its marketing name of Incredible India.

Just minutes after my return from that amazing adventure my mother who had been ill for several years passed.

Shortly thereafter I learned of my husband’s highly anticipated retirement date; woohoo, we were going to have more freedom in our travels.

After adjusting to that exciting news, just days later I was saddened to learn that I was going to be losing my job in 2016.

2015 has certainly been an up-and-down year. As I think back on the year I look at my Lokai bracelet. For those of you that are not familiar with Lokai it represents balance. The designer took water from Mount Everest and water from the Dead Sea to create the bracelet. The samples represent the highest and the lowest points on earth which are reminders that we will always have high and low points in our life and we must find our own balance in between.

So as 2016 approaches I hope that I find balance in my life, or actually I hope I find more ups than downs.
So much has been happening ......
Since my post about attending me my post about attending my first international event, my granddaughter's Tae kwon do competition in Florida, I have been extremely busy.

I was in Pennsylvania on a winery tour that was tastefully enjoyable!! I got to enjoy the lovely fall colors, despite the crisp weather. I also got my first taste of hiking the 2168.1 mile Appalachian Trail. Well sort of, I probably only hiked about .1 mile!! But it inspired me to think about hiking more of it at a later date, possibly with my nephew Mike who's life's goal is to hike the entire trail. Or maybe I'll be part of "A Walk in the Woods: The Sequel."

On the trip home I also got to experience my first white out blizzard-like driving conditions of the 2015-2016 winter season. Oh joy!!!

Days later I was off to sunny Florida. The weather was perfect with low humidity. I was very busy there also, I went to a rodeo, I went to a fall fun festival, I went kayaking and I wrote a historic 1800s steam train back through the thick Florida foliage to a pumpkin patch. I also got to see my daughters and granddaughters!!

I while there also went to visit the Apollo Beach manatee visitor center. Because of the abnormally high temperatures the manatees hadn't come home for the winter yet.

Just days later after checking in for a few days at my legal residence in Ohio, I was off to India via China. The long flights actually gave me a chance to catch my breath!

So I apologize for not being in touch but I've been busy living life and so should you!!
Hope to be back and catch up with everyone soon but until then don't let life pass you by.
This past weekend I attended my first international event. It was not the World Cup or the Olympics but the IMAF, International Martial Arts Festival. It was held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex on the Walt Disney World grounds in Orlando Florida. 

I flew down to observe my nine-year-old granddaughter participate in the Korean Taekwondo events. The Taekwondo events were so unlike my practice of martial arts, Chinese Tai Chi.

We missed the first day events and it seems many others did too, including the referees! There were international teams from Puerto Rico, Mexico, the Virgin Islands, and Dominica that I noticed.  Plus there were two teams from Colorado including the US Olympic team, a small team from Ohio (hooray Ohio) and of course multiple teams from Florida.

Maybe our granddaughter needed some extra well wishers because she didn't place in any of the events she competed in on day one. However on Saturday though I am proud to say she won three silver metals and one bronze metal.

It was an extremely fast paced but interesting event. There were twenty-four mats of competition and most were in use from early morning until past my normal bedtime! Those athletes seemed to have an endless supply of energy.

Congrats to our granddaughter Alli and to all of the martial arts contestants.
Last evening around the world we experienced a rare astronomical phenomena a super moon lunar eclipse also called a super blood moon.

This super blood moon was highly anticipated in that it is fairly rare only occurring about once every few decades.

As my luck would have it the night sky was cloudy where I live, unlike the previous night that was beautifully clear revealing the near full moon.

Not wanting to be detoured by the thick cloud cover I patiently waited in my backyard for the intermittent and very brief clearings in the clouds. Happily using three cameras my husband and I captured that rare phenomenon.

Behold our intriguing and mystical moon.
And for those of you that say you don't have a good camera I also used an iPhone pictures aren't as good but I have them.
The weather this year in the United States has been anything but routine. Torrential rain with record level flooding, extreme drought with government enforced water restrictions and massive forest fires plus excessively high temperatures cannot be called normal. The Pacific has had more than normal hurricanes recorded. In Europe high water has been disruptive for the ever increasingly popular river cruises.

As we now slip into fall in the northern hemisphere I wonder what will happen with our approaching winter. The past several days have been unseasonably cold for this time of year. Is it a predecessor to an extremely cold winter? Or is it as unusual as the entire year has been?

The Old Farmer’s Almanac has predicted an unusually cold and wet winter for us here in the Midwest of United States. However NOAA, the national Oceanic Atmospheric Administration has stated that due to an extreme El Niño our area will have a mild winter.

Who is correct? Maybe we need to look to the animals. Are the squirrels gathering more nuts earlier than usual? Are outdoor animals beginning to put on their “winter coats”?

All I know is that I am not ready for summer to be over…as the song goes “take me somewhere sunny & 75!”