Tomorrow marks Winter Solstice; the shortest day and the longest night of the year.  
It seems like just yesterday, I was kicking up my heels celebrating the longest day of the year which was June 21st.
Ahhh, the long days of Summer.

Most of us have a favorite season but each season brings forth its own unique beauty.
The stillness after fresh snowfall in Winter, the newness of blossoms in Spring, the warmth of the sun in Summer, 
and the beautiful changing of leaves in the Fall.

Just like the weather, each one of us goes through different seasons in life.  
Some sunny.  Some stormy.  Some are our favorites and others not so much. 
We don't get to choose the seasons in life but we have a choice of how we embrace them.
Seasons over time will define our character. They make us who we are as individuals.

Each season brings forth its own unique beauty.  You just have to find it!





Today's date is 12-13-14. That certainly doesn't happen too often.
So what is the relevance of the berries and the date?   Um, nothing.   
I apparently just like taking pictures of red berries!




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Picture perfect weather.  Breathtaking views.  Interesting history.

The photos below capture The Forty Steps, a dramatic stone staircase that drops down the side of the cliff to a balcony over the sea along Newport's famous Cliff Walk.

The history of this spot is interesting.  In the early 1800s, Irish immigrants started coming to this corner of Rhode Island in large numbers to work the coal mines in nearby Portsmouth. During the Gilded Age, Emerald Isle immigrants began to settle in this area known as the "Fifth Ward" a working-class neighborhood sandwiched between Newport’s commercial waterfront and the opulent oceanside mansions of the rich and famous.

The Forty Steps were a gathering place for the servants and workers from the nearby mansions. 
The Irish sang songs they brought with them from across the sea, danced away summer nights, and embraced Newport as their own.  Oh, if those steps could talk - the interesting stories we would hear.

Picture perfect weather.  Breathtaking views.  Interesting history.  
It was one of those days I felt blessed to experience a little piece of heaven on earth!

Side View of The Forty Steps.  The ocean and sky are endless.
The Forty Steps looking up towards the beautiful blue sky.
Looking over the Cliff Walk stone wall. Spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean.
September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month.   Check out this adorable music video starring, none other, but young cancer patients.  Their smiles and giggles are contagious.  God bless them!

Hoda Kotb teamed up with Cyndi Lauper and Sara Bareilles, who mashed up their hits 'True Colors' and 'Brave' to create a song to raise money for the fight against pediatric cancer. The music video for “Truly Brave” features young cancer patients from The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. 

It's sad to see you go, Summertime.  
You treated us well from sunrise to sunset, to the super moon.
It's sad to see you go, Summertime.  The memories will remain.
Last evening, major networks aired a fundraising event  called "Stand Up to Cancer", a groundbreaking initiative created to accelerate innovative cancer research that will get new therapies to patients quickly and save lives now.

Cancer patients shared encouraging stories of hope and success.  In many cases, the original prognosis looked bleak but due to new clinical trials being developed and offered to patients, there has been success in winning the battle.  

As I listened to these people share their heartfelt stories, I related.  I related because I have walked in similar shoes.
There is no truer saying as "walk a mile in my shoes".   Nobody looks forward to wearing a pair of "Cancer Shoes".
They are uncomfortable, unglamorous, and most often times, go unnoticed by others.  Only the person wearing the shoes experiences the pain that comes from wearing them.  But, if you're fortunate enough to see the day when you can toss those "Cancer Shoes" in the garbage, there is no greater feeling.  

When people ask me about my experiences, I tell them that, for me, Cancer has provided many blessings.  
Some of these include:  
 - Increased faith.  
 - Better appreciation for the important things in life and less patience for the meaningless.   
 - Greater awareness of genuineness; who was there to walk the rough road with you and "had your back".

Life's path is not always covered with rose petals but the most precious lessons in life 
are often learned as you journeyed down those rough and rocky roads.