Ornately Brilliant

If you ever get a chance to see Cartier’s Brilliant exhibit, go! It is breathtaking and includes jewelry from princes, princesses, Hollywood movie stars and more. I’m a bit late for the Ornate challenge but better late than never, right?

Especially in light of the inexplicable horror in France yesterday I thought this scripture was appropriate for today’s post…

The light of the righteous shines brightly, but the lamp of the wicked goes out. Proverbs 13:8-10 NET

Doors in Colorado Springs

I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. John 10:9

If you are ever in Colorado Springs, make sure you visit The Broadmoor. Built at the turn of the century, it drips with elegance, luxury, and grandeur. If you can’t afford to stay, have dinner or drinks in one of the restaurants overlooking the lake and be swept away by the romance of an era gone by. Some of the lovely doors captured during our recent trip are perfect for the “Door” challenge.

I also included the iron door of the Rockledge Bed and Breakfast in nearby Manitou Springs. Built in the late 1800’s, it is a romantic combination of breathtaking Colorado beauty and Italian charm. We were greeted with wine and cheese, were treated to a delicious breakfast on the patio overlooking Pikes Peak and had fantastic, romantic getaway weekend!

Baden Baden in Indiana

My “Object” for the photo challenge is a beautiful wall sconce from the West Baden Springs Hotel in French Lick, Indiana. One doesn’t think of Indiana as a place of elegant beauty but this hotel is one of the most exquisite places I’ve ever been.

West Baden Lamp

More than just beautiful, a spirit of peace emanates throughout the magnificent atrium. Guests lounge in European furniture and soak in the ambiance, which was especially wonderful as she was dressed in her Christmas finest.

West Baden Atrium

The French Lick Hotel, just minutes away, is more famous with its casino, but if you want style, grace, and class, stay at the lovely West Baden Springs Hotel.

West Baden Front With Copy

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4-7 NIV

The Drake Hotel

Who needs Harry Potter when you have The Drake Dragon to protect you? This menacing creature graces the famous Drake Hotel on the Magnificent Mile in Chicago. With his piercing eyes, bat wings and frightening fangs he represents power, wisdom and astuteness.


Built in 1919 and refurbished in 1993 this hotel is one of the finest in the United States. Visitors include British aristocracy, American Presidents, and A list Hollywood celebrities. On Christmas Day we had Holiday Tea in the lovely Palm Court with cucumber sandwiches, scones, tiramisu and other delectables.  A harpist played Christmas music as we dined. Isn’t it lovely?

Palm Court

I longed to click my camera non-stop but that would have been uncouth, so I only snagged a few shots. It was a beautiful treat provided by my wonderful brother. If you are ever in Chicago, stop by The Drake, it is well worth your time! Afternoon tea is from 1:00-5:00 daily.

I pray your Christmas was sweet and beautiful. If not…a Savior was born for us. He can change the quality of your life in the twinkling of an eye. He did it for me and He’ll do it for you. For more about my story, click here.

Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you;
He is the Messiah, the Lord.
Luke 2:11 NIV

Other amazing places…

North Shore, Oahu
Vail, Colorado
Rome, Italy

Princess Bride…That’s You

Dear Princess,

I have been watching you for a long time. When you were just an innocent lamb I delighted in your sweet smile and lighthearted laughter. In your teenage years, when you felt awkward and ugly, I saw the budding beauty you were becoming and rejoiced. As a young woman, struggling with insecurities about your looks and your body, all I saw was the sparkling diamond of your heart, longing for someone to recognize who you were.  As you birthed your babies in sweat and tears I celebrated your strength and cheered you on.  When you made mistakes in your family and love relationships I could see the true intentions of your heart, I knew the wounds, I saw the reasons…even when you couldn’t…and loved you still. My dear, you are and always have been, my Princess Bride.

“How beautiful you are, my darling!  Oh, how beautiful!”…Song of Solomon 4:1 NIV

Isn’t that a lovely thing to hear about yourself?  And it’s all true, a beautiful nugget about your true identity. It’s taken the Lord a long time to convince me that He sees me like that.  It’s been a struggle to overcome critical words, abusive acts, and the subsequent negative thoughts I have nursed about myself.

If you struggle with those things, too, let me suggest an amazing antidote for your soul: www.HisPrincess.com, written by Sheri Rose Shepherd. Her ministry has done so much to  reprogram how I think and feel about myself, and she can do the same for you. If you sign up for her Love Letters or Like her on Facebook you’ll receive a beautiful and encouraging Princess word each day.

Let me be completely transparent: at first I didn’t understand her ministry, it seemed too schmaltzy and goody-two-shoes for me. But after time I realized that was only because my broken heart couldn’t accept all the wonderful things God has to say about me. So, give it chance, you deserve it!

If you are a man reading this post, consider sending your sweetheart to Sheri’s website…she’ll appreciate that you recognize her worth and love you all the more for it. Or read it yourself, start speaking her true identity to her, and watch her bloom 🙂

Related Posts:

21st Century Imperfect Princess

Building Beautiful Boundaries

The “Thing” Detector

Boycott the Darkness: Violence in America

UPDATE: In the wake of the horrific tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary, CT, I did some research and found this article about Park Dietz, the forensic psychiatrist who interviewed and testified against Jeffrey Dahmer and many others, from a Johns Hopkins interview. Here are some thoughts that struck me and affirm my post below:

“Dietz takes the popular media and their effects on behavior seriously. He believes that slasher movies, violent television programs, and news reports–especially television news reports–contribute to American society’s problems with serial killers, sexual sadists, stalkers, and product tamperers…What has convinced him he’s right are the number of cases he’s worked on in which sexual murder, murder with torture, product tampering, carjacking, or workplace violence was inspired, instructed, or otherwise influenced by mass media…

He does not favor government regulation of film or television content, but he does favor litigation to force studios and other purveyors of mass media to regulate themselves: “I think the entertainment industry should be liable for the harm it does, like any other industry. Hollywood gains market share and doesn’t pay a penny in compensation for the harm it does.”

I also think the FCC needs to consider the news coverage of events like this, these are copycat killings for notoriety. I hope that President Obama was serious when he said we must come together and do something to stop this terrible violence and evil.

Original Post:

The cities of Aurora and Littleton (home of Columbine High School) are about an hour’s drive from my house here in Fort Collins, Colorado. Why two of the worst shooting sprees in the nation have happened right here in my beautiful home state is beyond my comprehension.  It has really made me sit back and think.  Here’s my view. Feel free to leave your thoughts at the end, that’s what a blog is all about.

This isn’t a critique on the Batman series, although it seems to me that something especially creepy is going on with that trilogy. The last Batman movie, The Dark Knight, was tainted by Heath Ledger’s tragic and untimely death. Afterwards, friends and co-workers said he submerged himself too deeply into the Joker role and they had been concerned about him. When Jack Nicholson, who played the Joker in the first Batman movie, heard about Heath’s death he said cryptically, “Well, I warned him.”  The current movie, The Dark Knight Rises, started with a brutal, murderous rampage that resulted in 12 deaths and 50+ people injured.

This tragedy should prompt us to look at the bigger picture. Especially in light of the fact that this is not a rare, one time occurrence. Our innocent children and young people are being murdered in public places at an alarming rate – in schools, universities, malls, theaters. We cannot deny that this is a trend in America and our little ones are taking the fire on the front lines.

Over the decades, excessive darkness and violence have crept into our society as a whole, especially in the entertainment industry. Not just the movies. Remember when video games first came out?  If you are too young to remember, they consisted of the simple Pac Man and Mario Brothers. But video games have morphed to the point that our kids are now walking through virtual hallways with AK47’s, shooting people by the dozens and watching blood spurt all over the screen. And we wonder what’s going on?

A friend of mine pointed out that boxing has become more and more brutal, with men now beating each other with their bare knuckles and not stopping until their opponent is a bloody pulp. I shiver with worry that one day someone might be killed and instead of reacting with grief, the audience will go wild with the taste of blood.

I am concerned that if we continue down this road of violence it’s only a matter of time until America becomes like the Roman Empire and we will watch REAL people die violent deaths for fun. Let’s not kid ourselves…it happened in the Roman Colosseums and it can happen again, if we let it.

I refused to see the old Batman movie and will never see this new one. But again, it’s not just the Batman series, it’s all the violence that is sucking us in like a dark addiction. When good people do nothing evil flourishes…we are the good people, we need to do SOMETHING, don’t we?  Let’s boycott the darkness…



Building Beautiful Boundaries

A Boundary is a many splendored thing. The need for boundaries really sank into my brain last year when, in a time of terrible desperation, a friend handed me a book called “Boundaries: When to say YES, when to say NO“, by Henry Cloud and John Townsend.

At that point, all I knew was that I had allowed someone into my life who lacked integrity and character, I had put up with things I shouldn’t have, and it had all ended in a big mess.

This book was the light in the darkness, the holy grail, the shining nugget of truth and wisdom I had been searching for, for a long time. Quite frankly, it can be confusing trying to be a nice person. I mean, aren’t we supposed to turn the other cheek? Aren’t we supposed to forgive? Aren’t we supposed to give without concern about getting anything back?

I’ve learned that people can have bad boundaries with their kids, their parents, their boss, their spouse…anybody we are in relationship with. And you might have good boundaries with your boss, but poor boundaries with your mother.

The book leaf asks: “Are you in control of your life? Do people take advantage of you? Do you have trouble saying no?  Do you find yourself wondering: Can I set limits and still be a loving person? How do I answer someone who wants my time, love, energy, or money? Why do I feel guilty when I consider setting boundaries?”

If those questions strike a chord in you, this book will set you free. I am not kidding or overstating. It has changed my life. It’s sold millions of copies, won awards, is used by counselors in individual and group therapy. Of course, you have to actually DO the things they recommend, but you will find in it such hope and practical guidelines that you will be eager to get started.  These two amazing men (Henry Cloud and John Townsend) have written books for every situation: Boundaries in marriage, with teens, with older children, in dating, etc. Get a copy and get free 🙂

Related Posts:

Princess Bride…That’s You
Are the Heavens Locked?
Happy Are Those Who Mourn?