Once Upon a Time in Paradise

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It’s sad to think it has been nearly four years now since we made the move back from Costa Rica. Since that time we have planned and been unable to revisit our second home on two separate occasions, both due to natural disasters.

In the past few days I have been going through photo files and reminiscing about our very special experiences there. I loved the photography opportunities almost as much as the people and all the unique places we were able to visit.

As I explore more files I will share more of our time there since many of my new friends here didn’t know me back in 2012 when I first began this blog as a way to share our lives in the beautiful country of Pura Vida!

Once upon a time in Costa Rica, we visited a spice farm named Villa Vanilla Spice Farm. As it happens, this tour was one of the first we took on our original journey to Costa Rica, long before we made the move. Once we lived there I had the opportunity to revisit the farm with my best friend when she came to visit us.

The farm grows orchids, which include the vanilla plant, which is actually an orchid. They also grow various bromiliads, cacao trees, carambola (star fruit), peppercorn plants and ceylon cinnamon trees.  Ceylon Cinnamon    is known as true cinnamon and is the variety you need for real cinnamon  health benefits for blood pressure and blood sugar control. The best part of the tour is learning how the owners and workers grow, harvest and prepare these natural plants for consumption. Tasting was fun too. Near the end of the tour, there is a treehouse with a magnificent view where the tour ends with chocoalate and cinnamon specialty coffees, vanilla cookies and a very special mandarin lime cheesecake. Heaven!

Take a walk with me and I’ll share a few photos with you.

 

And at the end, with the heat finally taking hold, we climb to the patio of the “treehouse” for a cool breeze, tasty treats and a breathtaking view. If you make it to the  Manuel Antonio/Quepos area, this tour is one of the traditional ones but well worth the time and sweating.

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I could sit there all day……and you can when you live there. 😉💕

 

 

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From Flower to Flour/#SoCS

I love this prompt! God knows I love flowers. And bees on flowers. And butterflies on flowers. And now I am using mostly ancient grain flours for cooking, but I still love a squishy homemade roll or burger bun. So, thanks Linda Hill for making it ‘real’ for me this time around.

Last weekend was full of fun for us, being up in Nebraska for a couple of special events. My oldest son got married and I made the cake, a simple but oh-so-yummy Strawberry Wipped Cream number that is almost always perfect on a 90 degree end of Summer day. The strawberries are soaked in Grand Marnier for hours (of course) before being layered in the cake alternately with freshly whipped cream. I think it was a success.

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Love this expression.

The bride’s dress? Oh, she was beautiful in it throughout the afternoon. As soon as the ceremony and photos were done in the sweltering heat of early evening, we all shed our finery and donned cooler attire.

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The flowers? If you come to my blog often enough, you know I love flowers. Here is a recent encounter with a beautiful fellow who enjoys them even more than me!

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For more great #SoCS posts visit Linda’s blog at the link at the top of the page. Happy Saturday my friends!

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Lincoln Church/#Thursday Doors

Unlike my tenacious blogging buddy, Dan Antion, I don’t have a lot of research to add to this week’s door photo. The First Plymouth Church of Lincoln was beautiful and peaceful. My new daughter-in-law and dear friend introduced us to it while on an evening walk during our recent trip to Lincoln for their wedding. She thought I would like it. I loved it! Just click on the link above to find out more about the services and mission statement.

From their website:

“First Plymouth Congregational church is a merger of two congregations.  On the morning of Sunday, August 19, 1866, First Congregation was organized in what was then known as Lancaster, Nebraska.  It was and is the first congregation to be organized in the town.  One year later, the name of the town was changed to Lincoln. 

In 1869, the congregation completed its first building, a 25 by 40 foot structure at 13th and L streets where the Cornhusker Hotel is now located.  The congregation grew and prospered along with the city…”

There are now two locations of the church.

The church is broadly diverse and non-denominational with intricate architectural accents-a work of art canvased against a bright Nebraska skyline.  There is even a sitting garden with a wall of internment memorials, simple yet significant.

I am sharing it here along with a few other images from our walk. Happy Friday my friends. It has been a long week now that I am once again so away far from my precious treasures…

 

It was a nice evening for a walk. The church was only a few blocks away which gave us a chance to enjoy the beautiful old homes and landscape. Eventually the church rose ahead of us, partially hidden in the shade of the trees.

 

 

Hayley tells me the bells ringing on Sunday morning is really beautiful. I am sorry I missed that.

 

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The tower was so impressive. I am not certain who the images are but perhaps saints or famous religious figures.
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A long distance image of the front door

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I love the quote over the door
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More of the unique sculpture on the grounds

 

The garden has a beautiful view of the distant skyline and is very peaceful.

 

 

As a photographer, it was the architectural details that really caught my eye.  If you ever get to Lincoln, you should at least drive by for a visit.

 

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With the sun setting, we took a few more photos and headed home.  We had a wedding to be ready for!  Next time…..

 

 

Norm Frampton is on holiday until October, but visit the link for this week’s guest host site and more great doors!

Logical/#SoCS and the #Free48

You know, when your entire week has seemed liked this….

 

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it is only logical to long for the #Free48, that mystical place where you get to do all you dream of doing during the 5 days that seemed more like the 7,200 minutes that they were. Yes, I am being practical and counting non working hours because we all know our minds remain connected to the job until that glorious moment when we, like children waiting for the bell that heralds recess, punch our tickets and fling our critical thinking to the four winds.

My usual tactic for Friday is to find the nearest good food watering hole and begin the process of necessary amnesia. C’mon, you have to know we tried a new place. It was only logical to check out a venue near my favorite Friday hangout in The Battery, (aka Wahlburgers) just in case our choice proved to be a disappointment. We were not disappointed. Spending the evening sipping some really unique cocktails made with great skill by our bartender, Alex, ended up a great way to end the day. We will defintiely add El Super Pan to our list of favorite places to unwind. We almost felt like we were back in Costa Rica, although it is a Cuban venue. The Cuban sandwich was so good, the bread perfect and my Tostones with a cilantro oil sauce were also great.

 

As to the #Free48, there are no plans as of yet. I need to do some serious writing and there are a few practical things to consider, like whether we keep watching our resident chipmunk continue his methodical melee’ on our tomatoes or take action. 😕

 

Well, at least the butterflies enjoy the spoils….

So, whether you prefer mystical, whimsical, magical posts or lean more to logic, do check out our host’s page. Linda Hill serves up some challenging and fun prompts each week for us.  For comic relief and logical info, check out Dan’s place. He is the IT and history guru.

And now…..drumroll please……..for my Victory moment this week!

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I did NOT eat one of these…..

(although I did look at them at least three times) 

Ahhhh….progess, and an awesome end to a somewhat chaotic week. Thank you, Linda!

This prompt reminds me of one of my favorite songs by one of our favorite bands.

Just a Closer Walk with Thee/Photography/#1LinerWeds

Being in Nature is the closest thing to worship that I can imagine.  In the presence of Creation I am humbled.  When I edited these photos, one of my Mom’s favorite hymns flashed through my mind.  And that is always my cue to listen.  I consider it her contribution to, and support of, my joy in capturing these moments of perfection.

 

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What’s not to love about this face?
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The pirate spider
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Fluffy bliss
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Like a pink pillow!

 

 

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News and Views/The #Free48

Last week was, well….was it just 5 work days? 

I spent my #Free48 (for those of you new here, that is my new word for weekend) doing a few projects and having some great creative time. I got some chapters finished in the book, added some touches to a painting, started a new watercolor project and even made a piece of jewelry!

I communed with bees, butterflies and even got out for a bit of a hike in the park today. I cooked a lot, got fresh sheets on the bed and managed to put the memory of that long week behind me. Just in time to start all over again.

Here are just a few highlights. I hope your days off were all you hoped they would be-and more!

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“F” is for Friday, Fun and Forgetting…just what we did. 😀

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Saturday called for waffles!
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Bee watching is always a treat
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They rarely mind my photography
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And then this fine fellow flitting around

 

 

 

 

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I’m thinking of starting a rock collection. 🤔

Here’s hoping your next 120 hours be brilliant and painless. In the words of my dear friend, that Willy Nilly, Silly Ole bear….

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Happy Trails! Oh! And watch out for aliens disguised as Threadwaisted Wasps! I don’t know if they sting humans or not, but better safe than sorry. Very elusive creatures…

 

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Relax Mulder, it’s only a wasp….👽