Faith in Sedona

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Most people would think of New Age Religion  with an  empathizes on nature  when questioned about  faith in Sedona, vortexes, crystals, and the red rocks.  There are many Crystal Shops and New Age card reading.  But it is the magnificent red rocks that are the drawing card for New Age followers.  This is not my emphasis but I thought it  significant enough in Sedona to mention it.  Here is a definition of vortex, a word you hear often there:

Sedona Vortexes. A vortex is a place, usually on or near an interesting rock formation, where people have reported feeling inspired by a beneficial source of energy. If you’re skeptical, that’s okay – looking forvortexes (vortices?) is still a fun excuse for a hike

I would like to show and tell about two places of worship, one a  nondenominational chapel  and one Catholic Church that,too, seems nondenominational in its appeal  to all people.   The first is a chapel for weddings and meditation located in Tlaquepaque.

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Hmm. . . a light out on the chandler! Notice the wonderful carved  doorway.

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A few miles up the road is an amazing Red Rock Catholic Chapel Chapel of the Holy Cross)  built  in and on the edge of the dramatic red rocks.

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Walkway from parking up to the chapel.

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“More than half a century after its construction, the Chapel of the Holy Cross continues to be a place of wonder, spiritual renewal, and sublime vistas for all who come to Sedona.

This spiritual citadel on a hill is one of the “must see” sights of Sedona. One of Sedona’s earliest landmarks is also one of its most endearing — the Chapel of the Holy Cross, where people of all denominations come to offer their prayers, supplications, and praises–and to marvel at the building’s distinctive architecture and the panoramic vistas from its site.”

http://www.gatewaytosedona.com/the-chapel-of-the-holy-cross-sedona-architectural-landmark

There is a lovely gift shop in the basement. I was very taken with nativity scenes from many countries and cultures.  It just seemed perfect for a place of worship that opens its arms to people of all faiths for prayer, worship, and meditation.

Just a little more information to show you how spectacular and popular an  Arizona site,   Sedona is to visitors and natives alike.

 

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Restaurants in Tlaquepaque

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This is The Secret Garden where I had one very special meal while living in Arizona.  My two oldest and first friends from growing up until today, Mary and Page came to spend  several  days in the Valley of the Sun.  I remember asking them if they had any thoughts about what to do and they both said, “Please don’t drive around too much!”  This is from two people on their first trip to Arizona.  “Well, you will get tired of my apartment complex if that is the case!”  For those of you who have never been to Arizona. . . you have to use your car to go any and everywhere !

One of the days, we drove to Sedona to visit Tltaquepaque and have lunch.  There was some concern about the spiciness of Mexican cuisine so we decided on American in this lovely place  and ate in the garden ,of course. We sipped wine, ate elegant salads and veggie burgers enjoying the food, the setting , and most of all the company.  It is the last time we were all together and a special memory. I wish we had thought to take a photo but we didn’t. I thought there was one, but have no idea where it is.

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Actually my favorite restaurant in Tlaquepaque on several other visits is  Casa Furerte Ristaurante which serves  Mexican.   I love the flavors, spices , and the freshness of  Mexican  and even after 7 years in Arizona, I can never get enough.

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Shopping, walking through the mall  and experiencing another culture is hard work and you will work up an appetite.  Do plan to eat at one of the several available  restaurants. . . . authentic and not a chain in sight.  You won’t be disappointed !

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A Little Piece of Old Mexico in Sedona, Arizona

No need to drive south to Mexico when you can spend a day in Tlaquepaque in Sedona, Arizona.  For my nonspeaking Spanish speakers, the name means “the best of everything.” When Abe Miller, a Nevada businessman, began  to fulfill his dream of “an arts village reflecting the charm and mood of Old Mexico, ” Sedona was a one stoplight small town two hours north of Phoenix.

Miller and his architect began visiting Mexico,  filming  ideas and  purchasing materials for courtyards,  patios, tile walls, plazas to set the atmosphere of Old Mexico in this  new mall in Sedona. They wanted the same feeling of people mingling and selling crafts.

Not only did they buy architectural construction materials but also details such as iron grill work,  huge carved doors, handmade lanterns, clay pots, benches, and fountains.  All  this was to create the genuine feel and spirit of Tlaqepaque.    Planning and collecting set a garden landscape for a tranquil walk for visitors purusing the local artisans’ work on display in shops and on the patios.

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The Fountain at Patio Del Norte Tlaquepaque in Sedona:

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Unexpected Rock Stars !

Namaste!

Ahmedabad is not a tourist destination. It is a working class city which used to be called the Manchester (UK) of India due to the many fabric mills. It could also be dubbed the Boston of India because of the 42 institutions of higher learning in or around Ahmedabad. None of my India American friends had been to Ahmedabad. Ironically, it was voted the most livable city in India for the year 2012. Mr. Modi, who is the minister for Gujarat, is being courted to run for Prime Minister in 2014 because of his success here. Modi was elected Prime minster and is currently serving in 2016.)

None of us were prepared for the reception we received when we arrived. Everywhere we walked, people smiled, said hello, and asked to have a picture taken with some or all of us. This wasn’t just the “twenty-somethings”, but David and me as well.  They would motion for us to remove our sunglasses to check eye color. If it was blue, we were rewarded with a huge smile. Two students were particularly popular for pictures.  Tyler, a redhead with blue eyes, a towering   6’ frame, and a gregarious personality, makes friends everywhere he goes.  Erin has golden curls and deep blue eyes. She has had repeated proposals of marriage, to which she sweetly smiles and acknowledges with a polite “No, thank you.”

From these experiences as well as watching Bollywood videos and commercials on TV for skin lightening products, it is evident that light skin is considered desirable. There are people of all ages with a certain shade of red hair which I image is a result of trying to lighten their hair. I guess it is the human condition that makes people long for something different; such as Westerners working hard to darken their skin even to the extinct of endangering their health in tanning beds. (2016 update.  The reddish orange hair color is worn as a badge of honor by followers of Islam who have made their Hajji  to Mecca, which I know now. )

The pictures: 9th graders and me at the Modhera Sun Temple

Stepwell  near Ahmedabad ,  ( Adalaj Stepwell 2016)  David and I are on the steps. Pictures by Shane.  This is a site which is 500 years old but due to its beauty, a lovely site for wedding pictures.

My favorite picture is of the mother who had handed me her baby son so un-expectantly.  I know now, that she wanted me to touch the top of his head in a blessing.  Mothers’ love is universal!

Many thanks to the gentle, friendly, welcoming Indians of Ahmedabad!

 

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Holy Cow. . . . .Friend to Indian Hindus

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Mother Cow is the queen in the pantheon of sacred Indian animals. In fact, she stands head and shoulders above the rest. There are group all over Indian demanding the government name the cow as the national animal to replace the tiger which currently holds that honor. You might wonder how this all came about.  Many years before the  pyramids were built in ancient Egypt, or written law chiseled into stone by Hammurabi,  or paper invited by the Chinese, the Indian people had given up their nomadic wanderings. They had settled down to an agricultural lifestyle. This was before coins were used as money, and wealth was determined by the number of cows owned by the farmer. Cattle became legal tender and were used as payments, presented as dowry, and even used to pay the hated taxes!  Through the ages, cow’s milk has been often the only source of nourishment for India’s vast population.

Through the SUEB SHG I became aware that I could collect milk as a business.

Another gift from the cattle is the dung which is still used in construction  of rural  homes   and as insulation on walls, and as tiles for the floors. The cow pies are burned in the cold weather and used for cooking  as the only source of fuel for the Indian village dwellers.

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When the cows stop producing milk, they are abandoned by the farmers because they are of no use anymore and can not be taken to the slaughter house. This is why they are cows strolling through the the chaotic city traffic serenely ignoring the madness all around them instead of grazing in a village field.

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Recent studies have concluded that Indian cows hang around on busy streets because  the prolific exhaust fumes discourage flies which torture the bovines.   Another perk for the cows are that the toxins in the fumes make them high.  They often do appear very relaxed!  So the chaos they can cause stopping traffic and generally being in the way is quite a good place for them !

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Pedestrians in India have to look right, left, right again when  crossing the crowded streets to avoid being hit by cars, rickshaws, camel pulled carts, motor bikes, pedal bikes, as well as glance down to avoid stepping in fresh cow dung.  We were told it was a “blessing” from the cow if we walked through the dung.  Though, we all loved getting blessings on our foreheads, we eagerly avoided the “foot blessing!”  Holy cow!

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The Holy Cow by Tarun Chopra

Namaste. . . . . . .This is incredible India!

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A Letter from the Allied Commander and Brave Soldiers

Above is a copy of the letter each of our brave soldiers received on the night of June 5, 1944 as they finished their last preparations for invasion and for some,  the  for  some  their last day on earth. One was my brother who was wounded on June 6th, D-Day and gave his life on D-Day +2.

http://www.AParatroopersFaith.org

 

Read the breathtaking statistics of the pain, loss, and death of  our soldiers, their families and brave men from other countries who died  for the freedom of the world.

 

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D-Day by the Number

D-Day by the Numbers

 

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Appreciative Students

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Students know when a teacher loves them and a caring, dedicated teacher  can make lifelong difference  on her/his students’ lives and learning.

 

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