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Sunday, March 27, 2016

Easter

Easter celebrates Jesus's resurrection from the grave.  Jesus is risen and has conquered death so we might have eternal life with him if we believe, cling to and rely upon him.



The Resurrection
The angel said to the women, Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified.  He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said.  Come see the place where He was lying.  Go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead, and behold, He is going ahead of you into Galilee, there you will see Him; behold, I have told you. So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them, Greetings, he said.  They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, Do not be afraid.  Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, there they will see me.   Mathew 28:5-10




Then Jesus came to them and said,  All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. Mathew 28; 18-20



For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish so the Son of Mary will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.  Matthew 12:40




Don't be alarmed, he said.  You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified.  He has risen?  He is not here.  See the place where they laid him.  Mark 16;6


But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him. Acts 2;24
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.  Acts 1:8


Peter replied, Repent and be baptized, every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.  And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  Acts 2;38

If you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel.  This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven and of which I Paul, have become a servant.  Colossians 1:23

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  Matthew 11:29
Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness Romans 6:13

Friday, March 25, 2016

Good Friday Falls on the Annunciation A Rare Event

Christians all over the world remember the day Jesus died on the cross for our sins so we might have eternal life if we believe in him.  He carried the cross after being scourged by Roman Soldiers with leather ropes attached with bone pieces cut from a lamb's pelvis.  The sharp edges penetrated Jesus's flesh.    His open wounds were bleeding as he took each step up the steep incline to the hill he would be crucified.  Good Friday falls on March 25, the traditional day of observing the Annunciation, when the angel Gabriel came to Mary and told her she would become pregnant with Jesus.  Mary received the news with joy.  "Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word," she told the angel.

Mary received the news with gladness in her heart as she became the mother of Jesus, our savior and Lord.  Thirty three years later she must see him die on the cross.  But she received joy again when she found out he had risen and his body was not in the tomb.  Jesus appeared to over 500 people to show his resurrection from the grave.  

When Good Friday falls on March 25 the Catholic Church pushes the Annunciation celebration to later in the year.  Many Christians throughout the ages have pondered the contrasts of joy and suffering.  When Jesus died on the cross for our sins the suffering makes way for great joy, the salvation of the world.   

After the Last Supper Jesus went to the Garden of Gethsemane at the Mount of Olives.  Jesus prayed,
"Father, if it is your will, take this cup from me; yet not my will but yours be done," Luke 22:42.  Jesus prayed so intensely that " his sweat became like drops of blood falling to the ground." Luke 22:44.  Science tells us that people may emit a bloody sweat when in a very emotional state.  The sweat glands are hemorrhaging.  God the Father sent an angel to strengthen Him.  Luke 22:43.
Jesus decided to suffer on the cross because he loved each one of us.  He wanted us to have freedom if we believe in him.  But he knew the sacrifice he was making.  What Jesus bore for us was more than enough to cover every one of our sins.  He redeemed us from every curse of the Law. Galations 3:13.  By Jesus's stripes we are healed 1Peter 2:34.  It is finished.

On the way to the cross the soldiers made cruel jokes about Jesus. 





 They made him a crown out of pieces of sharp branches. Jesus had to carry his own wooden cross made of two heavy pieces of wood that the soldiers tied together.  As the soldiers fastened him to the cross with nails he prayed to God.
He said,"Father, forgive them."
When Jesus appeared to the disciples he said to them,
" Peace be with you."
When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side.  Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.  John 20;19-20
Paul says in I Corinthians 15; 3-7
"For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received; that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, an that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve.  After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep.  After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles." 


  The overlap of Good Friday falling on the Annunciation  happened three times in the 20th century; 1910, 1921, and 1932.  It will happen twice in the 21st century 2015 and 2016.  Good Friday won't fall on March 25th until 2157.  
There is great suffering in the world but Jesus said in John 16;33
"I have told you these things so that in ME you may have peace. 
 In the world you will have tribulation.  But take courage;
I have overcome the world!"

Monday, March 21, 2016

Prague's Top Ten Attractions

Prague's Top Ten Attractions will take you to a magical place founded by an ancient King Boyya in 1306 B.C.  By the 9th century A. D. the city was named Praha or Prague.


 According to legends, Prague was founded in the 8th century by the Czech duchess and prophetess Libuse and her husband Premysl.  The Duchess had a vision of a rocky cliff,


" I see a great city whose glory will touch the stars."   She ordered to build a wooden fort where Prague Castle sits today.  She thought the city would reach the world with it's splendor.   When you cross the Charles Bridge you can see the diversity of people who want to visit this special city.


  Nearly 25 years ago Prague staged the Velvet Revolution of peaceful protests to bring down the communist regime.  The city of a thousand spires has become a tourist destination of Gothic Cathedrals and chic cafes.

1.  Charles Bridge

Charles Bridge is named after Charles the IV because he built the bridge in 1357, founded the University, and created the foundations of the city we see today.  He was the second Bohemian King from the House of Luxenbourg and the first King of Bohemia to become the Holy Roman Emperor.



The university is one of the oldest in the world.  He built the bridge to cross the Vltava River.



 It has  30 statues of religious people and 16 glorious arches.  Until the ninetenth century it was the only bridge to cross the river.  The 1,700 ft. cobblestone bridge is full of vendors and tourists wanting to savor every moment of the historic bridge.  You can grab a sausage if you're hungry from the walking.
When you get to the end of the bridge there is a tower as an entry way to Old Town.

Through the gate you enter Old Town where the 2nd top attraction is.    
       2. Astronomical Clock

The clock was built in 1410 and is the oldest operational astronomical clock in the world.  

Every hour the clock windows open to allow the apostles to say hello to the world.  While this is happening figures representing the deadly sins of greed, death, vanity and pleasure also move and a cock crows.  To think that the townspeople in 1410 also saw the same figures makes it even more amazing.  The clock face has different dials representing the date and the month.  Look closely because it all lasts for twenty seconds.
3. Petrin Hill
One of the greenest spaces in Prague is on  Petrin Hill.  There are landscaped gardens and a miniature version of the Eiffel Tower.  A 17th Century wooden building is home to the Church of St. Michael.  It was relocated from a village.  A funicular railway from Ujezd will take you to the top of the 1,000 ft.  Pretrin Hill.

4. Prague Castle

The Prague Castle is the largest ancient castle in the world on top of a big hill.  It's a lot easier to walk down it than go up.  So you might ride a bus, taxi, or tram.  The first thing I noticed was the guards protecting the castle.
It reminded me of Buckingham Palace.  They didn't move an inch and kept a stern face.  The Prague Castle is a large complex of buildings that includes, the St. Vitus Cathedral, St. George's Basilica, and the Golden Lane.

  The leaders of the Czech Republic conduct business in the buildings.  

5. St. Vitus Church
My favorite part was St. Vitus Church built by Charles IV in 1344. 

 But the church was not totally complete until 1929.  
The church was built in the Gothic style.  It has beautiful stain glass windows by Alfons Mucha. 

 Don't miss the tomb of St. John of Nepomuk which is a two metric ton vault that is held up by an army of silver angels.
Visit the fantastic museum shop and maybe grab a refreshment.  
Stroll down Golden Lane where servants and later alchemists lived throughout history.
Top of the castle views are amazing.



 It was a cloudy day so my photos do not give it justice.  As you walk down the hill there will be many people selling paintings of Prague. 



 I suggest you buy one because they are inexpensive and make a wonderful souvenir.

6. Jewish Quarter
The Jewish Quarter in Prague is known as Josefov and later was called the Prague Jewish Ghetto. It's located between the Old Town Square and the Vltava River.  It's torrid history began in the 13th century when Jewish people were ordered to leave their homes and settle in this area.  Most of the historical buildings have been saved and remains a testimony to the history of the Jews in Prague.  There are six synagogues and the Old Jewish Cemetery.  


7.  Old Town Square
The Square is located between Wenceslas Square and the Charles Bridge.

Old Town Square has the Gothic Church of Our Lady before Tyn which has been the main church since the 14th century.  The churches tower is 80 m high. 

 The astronomical clock is in the square which strikes every hour.  St. Nicholas Church has the baroque style adding to the square's beautiful sights to see. 

  We decided sit at a sidewalk cafe and watch the people pass by.  



We had the delicious Goulash, extra spicy.  Our entertainment was watching dance troupes, musicians and vendors wanting to make a sale.  Giant bubbles were dancing in the air to celebrate a glorious day.
  
8.  Dine on A River Boat down the River
Our first night we dined on a river boat down the river.  It was a magical way to be introduced to the architecture while having a great dinner.  There are many tour boats so it wasn't hard to get a ticket.  It might be nice to book ahead just to make sure.  
Going under the bridges to see the arches lit up at night was breathtaking. 



 Our boat had lights all around it with a see through ceiling so the views were great no matter where you sat.  
9. Take a Tour to discover the history.
We took a wonderful tour which helped us understand the rich history of Prague.  Our tour took us to the castle so we didn't have to walk the steep hill.  She was a fantastic guide who answered all of our questions.  We found the tour on Viator under Trip Advisor.  There is also a free walking tour that is great.  
10. 
The Municipal House
The Prague Municipal House is one of the finest examples of Art Nouveau in the city.  It was built in 1912 as a civic building and home to one of Pragues most important place to hear concerts. 



 Prague is known for its music so it would be a great place to sample the concerts.  There is a large mural on the arch above the second floor balcony.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Dallas Arboretum

The Dallas Arboretum explodes with white blossoms from cherry trees each spring.  Mothers bring their strollers so their babies can enjoy the sun's rays and see radiate bursts of color.
Children, grandparents, newlyweds come to see the 66 acre botanical gardens located at 8617 Garland Road in East Dallas.  They stroll the winding paths to see white, yellow and buttercup tulips from the Netherlands.
Geophysicist Everette Lee DeGolyer and his wife Nell donated their home and gardens so generations can enjoy nature.  Ms. DeGolyer had a hobby of growing flowers and plants.  Her home is now on the National Register of Historic Places.  Since 1976 the Degolyer estate has formed the largest portion of the Dallas Arboretum. The 44 acre estate was known as Rancho Encinal.  Tours are available to see the 21,00 square foot Colonial Spanish Revival Style.

A trellis of Purple Wisteria adjoins her home with a beautiful patio. 
Wisteria drapes across the wooden structure for support.
Many photographers come to take a photo under the trellis for the perfect romantic shot.
Walk along the path to see the Woman's Garden with gardens and fountains. 
Fountains are a major part of Dallas Aboretum.  They are carefully displayed for the feeling of refreshment as the water gently falls over the ledge.

Plaques can be found for loved ones to be honored.  It takes a community to help the Arboretum grow and be maintained.
Alexa and Roberta Coke Camp estate increased the size of the grounds to sixty six acres.  
Many weddings have been held at the beautiful estate.  Brides must book ahead because it's very sought after.

Every season is beautiful at the Dallas Arboretum.  The sounds of water trickling down streams is everywhere.
'
Squirrels love to jump from tree to tree.  In spring time they find the nuts they buried in the ground for a tasty lunch.
Red Japanese Maple Trees thrive in Texas soil.
Chinese Snowballs blooms with a blend of white and mint green.
The Arboretum Children's Garden educates young and old with displays of facts about living vegetables found on our dinner table.
There's a new flower around every corner to treat the senses.
Ponds add to the peaceful atmosphere of the Arboretum.
Water crashes over stone ledges lined with Wisteria.

Mallard Ducks enjoy the insects in the natural habitat.
Come sit a while and smell the Cherry Blossoms in the spring.