Let us touch the dying, the poor, the lonely and the unwanted
according to the graces we have received and let us not be ashamed or
slow to do the humble work.

- Mother Teresa

About Me

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Sunny Florida, United States
I am the proud mom to 6 kids: Natasha, 24, Nikolai, 20, Reese, 20, Maylee, 14, Erik, 10 and Violet, 7. The kids come from Russia, Ukraine and China; I'm so proud of my family sometimes I think I'll burst and I needed an outlet for it - so I've created this weblog. :o)
If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one.
- Mother Teresa

Motivation for Moms

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One of the greatest diseases is to be nobody to anybody.
Mother Teresa

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Thursday, May 16, 2013
What a fun day!!  It started out cold, windy, and very cloudy, spoiling our excitement.  Neither of us had ANY warm clothing and I had nothing that I could double-up with.  Jackets in the ship store started at $110 and I wasn't going to spend THAT, so we decided we'd just have to tough it out.  We were told that even in summer we should hwear a jacket up on Mt. Etna...

We got on the bus and drove 2 hours up, up, up to the top of the mountain.  What a beautiful drive!!  Sicily is so mountainous - who knew??  It was very green, and we had beautiful views of the water below.  :o)  The buildings again were mostly rundown, but some, though old and humble, were GORGEOUS.  Messina suffered a very devastating earthquatke in 1908, and WWII also took it's toll.  But enough of that.

As we rose closer to the top of the mtn, our tour guide pointed out the huge gray-black chunks of ash from the lava flow.  Mt. Etna is the world's most active volcano, and wow, the ash was unreal!!  As we continued to rise, the vegetation diminished until, at the top, there was almost no vegetation at all - just gray-black ash (and the road).  No birds, no bugs, nothing green.  Nothing.

Overlooking Sicily from Mt. Etna
We disembarked the bus, and found to our delight, that the sun had come out (mostly), and it was very windy but not freezing!  It was only "very cool".  We could handle it.  ;o)  We spent time taking pictures of some magnificent scenes and went in the "bar" (souvenier and snack shop) for a free calzinni(??) which is a very classic and traditional Sicilian snack.  It was different, but yummy!!  Whew knew ricotta cheese could be eaten like that??  :o)

Reese with his calzini (or whatever it's called!).
Near the "bar" was a big crater made by the volcano whose rim we walked all around - Reese even walked down inside of it to the bottom!  I picked up some volcanic ash rocks for souvenirs and bought a bowl made of ash and a cross necklace made of obsidian (made from ash) for myself.  It was a really fun part of our excursion.

To Reese's left you can see the crater that I walked around and he walked down into.

There he goooooes!!
After that, on our way back to Messina (the port), we stopped at Taormina, a very charming city from medieval times, with great shopping and cute little restaurants.  Reese and I picked a little hole-in-the-wall pizzaria and had "sausage, potato and cheese" pizza!  It was different but really good (no sauce), and the family running the place was very sweet.  We also got to practice our budding Italian language with them! 

I bought a few gifts to bring home and we visited one of the many old Catholic churches there (dating back to the 1500's or earlier) with some amazing altars and relics.  Not being Catholic, we didn't know how to cross ourselves when we entered, and we didn't really know how to light candles for someone (or even if we were allowed to, as non-Catholics), so we didn't.  The whole thing was fascinating.
After that, we wandered around at our leisure and Reese flirted with a couple of girls his age from Michigan, also on our ship.  lol

From the edge of Taormina.  Reese was leaning on a wall that looked VERY much like the wall of an ancient fort.  We had fun imagining pouring boiling oil on our enemies from atop this wall.  ;o)
We headed back to the Navigator, cleaned up a bit, and went to dinner, where our wait staff kept us in stitches with their silliness.

I'm in the stateroom now, unwinding and writing in this journal, while Reese is back on the "town", enjoying the night life on the ship (and looking for his girlfriends from Taormina -lol).

Good night!  Tomorrow is a "Day at Sea".  A day to relax and just do "whatever".  :o)


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If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap.
If you want happiness for a day, go fishing.
If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune.
If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.
- Chinese proverb
It is not the will of your Father that any one of these little ones should perish. Matt. 18:14

Whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. Matt. 18:5

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

My family

My family
Nikolai, Mark, Missy, Reese, and Erik

Nikolai, 19

Nikolai, 19

Reese, 19

Reese, 19

Erik, 9

Erik, 9





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