Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Mutual Weirdness We Call Love

Hey all,

I saw this quote on a friend's facebook page and thought it was great.  The mutual weirdness we call love is such a perfect way to describe the malady so many of us are afflicted with.  

I make my business out of writing about love and how people fall in and out of it.  And I can tell you that love can be totally weird at times.  You'd think it would be easy.  After all don't scientists say it's just a chemical reaction and we don't have much of a choice in the matter?  Well I only have one thing to say to that...


Forgive my french.  But while LOVE might begin as a chemical reaction (aka attraction), it certainly doesn't end with it.  In fact, IMHO, love is much more than that.

Love isn't only physical, though that part of it can be A LOT of fun!  :-)  It's also mental and spiritual.  And that's where the weirdness can really come in.  I agree with Dr. Suess, it's when our weirdnesses click that attraction is kicked up a notch and can have the potential into turning into something more.  Into something life changing.  Into LOVE.

It may not always happen that way, of course, but most of us spend our whole lives--if we're honest with ourselves--looking for that love.   For that special and intriguing weirdness that can make us one with another person.

I really didn't expect to find my soulmate (my perfect weirdness) in a man I'd known for most of my life.  We went to school together, dated a bit after college, but then lost touch with each other while he was in the military.  But then we saw each other again after several years and bamm!

Instant weirdness.

Yes, it started with that heart thumping, lip nibbling attraction I write about.  But then, to my utter delight it continued, morphing into friendship, respect and ultimately love.  And every day we're together I count myself lucky that I, knowing just how weird my weirdness really is, actually found someone that fit so well with me.

So have you found your mutual weirdness with someone?  If so, count yourself fortunate.  Weirdness isn't as easy to come by as you might think.  But if you haven't yet, don't give up.  It's said there is someone out there for everyone.

I guess it's just a matter of making those weirdnesses match.

Until next time...


CJ England
Follow Your Dreams

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Real Jurassic Park?

Hey all,

Have you read the latest?  Apparently, science fiction has stepped into the real world and Jurassic Park is one step closer.  At least the flora area of it.

In Moscow, a team of scientists, has done something pretty amazing.  They've managed to to resurrect a 30,000 year old plant in a experiment that paves the way for the revival of other species.  The plant seeds, Silene Stenophylla, were found in a burrow and according to the scientists, they are fertile.

Scientists say this could be the first step in the reanimating of not just flora but fauna as well.  They are now looking for frozen tissue from the squirrels who buried the seeds.  And if that works, in the future, maybe they'll try even mammoths!

Now, I'm not sure how I feel about this.  On one hand, I always thought the ideas behind the Jurassic Park were awesomely creative.  Imagine being able to see dinosaurs and other creatures of the past, now, in the present?

On the other hand...I DID see the movie.  And knowing human nature and greed and all might not be such a good idea.  After all, who polices the science?

I mean, first it's a pretty little white flower, next, you open your door and find a nasty tempered Velociraptor standing on your stoop.  Not the way I want to start my morning.

Would I go visit a version of Jurassic Park?  Probably.  I mean to be able to see things I've only imagined?  To see just how close our scientist's renderings of all the creatures has been to the reality?  Talk about cool!

But I think we need to remember what Jeff Goldblum, as Dr. Ian Malcolm in Jurassic Park said, "Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn't stop to think if they should."

An excellent point, this.  And one that should be thought out before we go any further with this type of research.  After all, do you really want to take a swim in your pool and find a Sarcosuchus--Super Croc--waiting for you?

Call me cynical, but I'd rather have a turtle.

See you on Wednesday,


CJ England
Follow Your Dreams

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Golden Statue Gets the Lighter Treatment

Hey all,

It's Friday and I thought we'd have a bit of fun today at the expense of some of those celebrities who we've paid out hundreds of dollars to see.

As some of you may be aware, this coming Sunday is the 84th annual Oscars awards.  And while it's not something I watch, (I hate awards shows) a lot of people look forward to this special night.

I read something on the internet today that seemed perfect for a Friday Lighter Side Blog.  On Yahoo they had a list of those Oscar winners who might have a few embarrassing skeletons in their closets.  I thought it was worth a look-see. 

Now some of these I agree with, but some I don't.  For example, while I do cringe every time I listen to Pierce Bronson sing in Mama Mia!, I still love that movie and enjoy watching it.  I adored Colin Firth in What a Girl Wants--silly leather pants and all.  I wanted a daddy just like him.  And my favorite role by Brad Pitt has always been his take on Death in Meet Joe Black.  He was so damn sexy, my little heart went pitta-pat.

I guess in the end it's all a matter of opinion.  One man's great movie is another man's razzberry.  My favorite movie could be the one you hate over all others.   Put thirty people in a room and you'll probably get thirty different lists.

So let's make one here.  Let's make a list of the favorite and the least favorite movies we've ever seen.  I'd love to hear what everyone thinks.  I'll even start...

My Favorite - Actually have several, but if I were to watch a movie over and over again, it would be Pride and Prejudice with Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen.  I know it's not an Oscar  nominee, but I can watch that chick flick until my eyes bleed.  The part where he tells her he loves her just makes me melt.  *sigh*

Least Favorite - Mystery Men.  God, I hated that flick.  Bad acting, bad costumes and just overall bad.  What a waste of time and film.  I wanted back the one hundred twenty-one minutes I spent watching it.

What about you all?  Do you have a favorite or a least favorite?  Put your answers in the comments below...  Give a reason too, so we know why you feel the way you do!

Until Monday all,


CJ England
Follow Your Dreams

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Yummy Wednesday

Hey all,

It's wet and gloomy today.  A day perfect for staying inside and cuddling up next to a fire with a good book.  
Certain days make you think of warm hot cocoa and something delicious simmering on the stove.  When I lived in snow country I always had something fragrant cooking.  It just seemed to add to the ambiance of enjoying the day.

And nine times out of ten I'd use my slow cooker.  It's easy, quick to get things ready, and I've made some of my best meals using them.

I know there are dozens of recipes for a slow cooker out there, but I'm always looking for new ones.  Unfortunately, I can't carry around my crockpot on tour, but that doesn't mean you all can't benefit from me searching out those delicious slow cooker recipes.

Today's recipe I got from a local restaurant here in Barcelona.  While they didn't use a slow cooker, it was very easy to adapt it into a recipe for one.  Since I love artichokes, I couldn't wait to try it and I have to say it's one of the best recipes I have.  I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I do...

Artichoke Chicken Pasta


Nonstick cooking spray
2 lbs. cubed browned chicken
3 14.5-oz. cans diced tomatoes with basil, oregano, and garlic
2 14-oz. cans artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup whipping cream
12 oz. dried linguine, fettucine, or other favorite pasta
Sliced green olives and/or sliced pitted ripe olives
Crumbled feta cheese or finely shredded Parmesan cheese 


1. Coat the inside of a 3-1/2- or 4-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. Drain two of the cans of diced tomatoes (do not drain remaining can). In the prepared cooker, stir together drained and undrained tomatoes, the artichoke hearts, cubed chicken and garlic.

2.  Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 6 to 8 hours or on high-heat setting for 3 to 4 hours. Just before serving, stir in whipping cream; let stand about 5 minutes to heat through.

3.  Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Serve chicken and sauce over hot cooked pasta. Top with olives and cheese. 

Makes 6 servings.


Please let me know what you think.  And if you have any slow cooker recipes you'd like to share, do so in the comments below.


CJ England
Follow Your Dreams

Monday, February 20, 2012

Things Do Get Better with Age

Or is it maturity?  Yes...I think that's the better way to say it.  After all, mold on old bread isn't good, but mold on mature cheese is.

What am I talking about?  Sorry.  You guys stepped into one of my ongoing thought processes.  A confusing place to be, no doubt.

See, I had a bit of a self-realization the other day.  I was rereading one of my earliest books and--like we authors do--cringing at some of the wordings I used.  I went through and mentally rewrote a good portion of the story just because I could.

Now, don't get me wrong.  I still like the book as it was, after all, it won several awards and got excellent reviews.  But because it was one of the first books I did, I hadn't matured completely into my true writing style.  Bottom line is, I still had a lot to learn.

I look back at those first few years of writing and thank God for those people who proofed, edited and critiqued my work.  They taught me so much, even if I didn't always agree with their assessment.  I learned to look at the book as a whole AND as parts of that whole, and as I did that, my writing improved and like fine wine or cheese (not moldy bread), it matured.

So...  GROUP HUG!!!!  Let me take a moment now to thank Pat, who has been my proofreader since the beginning.  She now edits for me as well, so I'm pleased when I make money, because she does too.  Her loyalty, friendship and gentle "WTF did you mean by this?" helps steer me in the right direction.

And then there is Penny and Louise and Jewell who all gave me so much insight into myself.  We discussed and argued and agreed to disagree sometimes, but always they helped me turn out a great book.  I don't work with any of them any more which is a shame, because they were all great editors.

One of the editors I learned the most from was my Samhain editor.  We don't work together any longer either, and I regret that because she taught me so much.  We argued about things, and were both pretty anal about turning out a good book so drove each other nuts, but she had a way of making me look at things that to this day, with every book I write, I use her methods.  And I turn out VERY clean books because of her influence.

Even those editors that were awful, horrible, no damn good (and yes, unfortunately, there are a few out there) taught me something.  Even if it was what NOT to do.  Many were the times I had to teach an editor proper grammar, sentence structure or spelling.  I've gone around and around with an editor about phrasing, even going so far as to send her links to where it was properly used.  So I know the sentence "I'm an editor, so I'm always right", is one of the most laughable statements in the publishing world.  But teaching them polished my own skills.

And even then I can learn from them.  Sometimes there is a nugget of gold that I can come away with.  An old pastor of mine used to say to, "eat the meat and throw away the bones", and I use that often when it comes to editing.  Take the meat (good edits) you're given, and let them nourish you.  Toss the bones (the WTF edits) and forget them.  Editing is mostly subjective.  Unless it's a technical issue, a lot of edits are opinions and since you are the author, it should be your opinion that holds the most sway.

So am I done with the process yet?  I don't think so.  You never stop learning, so I doubt I'll ever stop maturing.  While my style of writing may not change much, I hope I will continue to better myself with every book I pen.

Maybe then when I reread them, I won't cringe so much!  *smile*

See you on Wednesday!


CJ England
Follow Your Dreams

Friday, February 17, 2012

I'll Take My LOL Cheeseburger Light, Please!

Hey all,

I haven't done this one for awhile, so how about a quick trip to LOL Cheeseburger and it's cohorts?  I always love paying them a visit to see what they've come up with.  Ready?

 This kittah looks like I feel!  LOL

I had a cat just like this once.  She chose to let me live.  LOL

This one just cracked me up.  LOLOLOL  How many of us resemble THAT remark!

I'm going to make this one my wallpaper.  *snicker*

I know Valentine's Day is over, but this one tickled me...

And my life has become a Simpson's episode.  Arrggghhhh, is Right!!!

Hope you enjoyed it!  Be back on Monday for more chants, rants and adventures to share!



Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Catching On Fire To Honor A Saint

Hey all,

How was your weekend?  Mine was awesome, long, and oh so very tiring!  LOL  Let me tell you a little about what I did over the last few days.

First off, from Friday through Sunday, we had a holiday/festival here in Barcelona.  The Festival of Saint Eulalia.  Now she is the co-patron saint (along with Saint George of dragon slaying fame) of Barcelona.  She is called the virgin martyer and is dedicated to families.  Her story is a terrible one and even though I'm not Catholic nor have their beliefs in saints and all, I can still honor this thirteen year old child for standing firm for her faith.

This is what I wrote my group about her earlier...

When Eulalia refused to recant her fairth, she was given another chance. Thirteen chances, in fact; one for each year of her life.

The emperor decreed thirteen tortures for Eulalia and, after each one, she was given a chance to recant and make sacrifice to the Imperial Gods.
First, she was flogged. Then, her flesh was torn with hooks. After that, her feet were placed in a brazier of burning coals. Her breasts were then cut off. After this, boiling oil was poured over her. Next, molten lead. Still refusing to recant (could she speak?), she was thrown into a pit filled with quick lime.

Not satisfied with this and desperate to cow Eulalia, Dacian had her put into a barrel filled with broken glass, razors and knives and rolled it thirteen times down the hill known as the Baixada de Santa Eulalia.  This street is just by the Cathedral, leading to Banys Nous, after the beautiful Square known as Sant Felip Neri.

She was then locked naked in a stable full of fleas. It is said that every time a flea bit her, it died. But she was locked in all night and there were hundreds of thousands of insects. Today, people still say that –in memory of Eulalia’s torments– flea bites are more painful on the 12th of February than any other day of the year…

Dacian then had her paraded naked around town on a cart, but the sky took pity on her and covered her in a mantle of snow to protect her modesty.

Back in prison, Eulalia managed to escape with the help of an angel.  Dacian captured her again and crucified her on an “X” shaped cross. Again, snow fell to protect her from view and since that time, it has never snowed in Barcelona on the 12th of February.  At her death, her soul left her body in the shape of a white dove.

So, as you can see, this poor girl deserves respect for standing by her beliefs.

They honor her here with a myriad of different activities, all very traditionally Catalonian and it was awesome for me, a foreigner, to watch.   There were craft festivals, Sardana dancing (so very cool), folk dancing, casteel building (human towers--beyond cool to watch being done), the parades of the giants and beasts (two separate parades but huge in more ways than one!), and finally at night, the fire runs.

I have to tell you about them.  Now remember, people, I'm from the US of A where Mr. Safety walks around with a whistle and a big stick if you do ANYTHING that even hints of unsafedness.  LOL  But since we've begun traveling we can see just how over the top our country can be.  So many other places get things done without a tenth of the rules and regs we think are necessary.  It makes you think, I tell you...

But going on...  The fire runs, or Correfoc, aren't exactly what we expected them to be.  The parade participants--all dressed in specialized costumes, mostly devils--don't actually run with fire, but the ones we saw had a version of a firework--kinda like a pinwheel.  They'd light that sucker up and once it was shooting sparks and screaming, they'd twirl it around their heads and send the fire dancing. 

Some of them ran down the street with the sparklers streaming behind them, but we figured the parade actually got it's name from the members of the audience running for their lives as the showers of fire rain down on all their heads!!!!  LOL  See those two cowering in the foreground above?  Not participants...audience members!!!

Here's a video of it.  One from Youtube since mine aren't up yet...

So, as you can see you have to be a little bit crazy to stand in the middle of all THAT!!!!  And since we were, we had an awesome time!!!!

The thing that got us, was they have a different correfoc for the kids, called La Petit Diablo, or The Little Devils.  Seriously, they send their kids out with these things!  We watched them get ready and we knew there was going to be something odd when we saw this guy call a little boy--about seven I'd say--over to him and spray him down with something (water?)  Then he sprayed himself down.  Which made us think...

If they are so worried about catching on fire...what about the rest of us?  ROTFL!!!!

I did get a bit singed.  A stray spark hitting my cheek now and then, but it was all in good fun and being in the middle of it, especially since we had NO idea what to expect was quite an adventure.  I highly recommend getting out and seeing this kind of stuff if you ever have a chance.  Hanging with the locals is a blast!

I'll stop back another day and tell you about the rest of my weekend.  We went out of Barcelona to the monastery of Monserrat and it was a beautiful and moving experience.  But until then, you all have a great rest of your week.  I'll be back on Friday with something to lighten your load and make you smile.



Monday, February 13, 2012

A Brand New Publisher For CJ

86Hey all,

As I've mentioned before, I'm no longer affiliated with Aspen Mountain Publishing.  The facts of the matter are AMP disappeared one day without so much as a word, leaving authors, artists, editors and other staff scratching their heads.

Emails and letters went unanswered and the one time I saw the owner come back to the group list it was to say AMP WASN"T going to close.  That was about a week before the site went offline and everything shut down completely.

Bad form.

Apparently, AMP had been in trouble for sometime, but since I was so out of the loop, I didn't discover any of this until I started picking things back up again.  As I told someone else, by the time I did that, it was too late to do anything but go to the funeral.  My book rights had already reverted back to me!

Luckily, I know someone who knows someone.    And that someone... told me I should check out MUSA Publishing.  It had been up and going for a while and was doing quite well for a small publisher.  I was leery at first--burned too many times--but once I did the research, I had to reconsider.  And when the publisher asked me to bring all my AMP books over to them, I couldn't say no.

So, this is the official announcement.  The following books will be reissued over the next few months at MUSA Publishing.  As I discover the actual order of publication, I'll let you know.

The Standalones

An Unholy Embrace
Cowboy Up
Touch Me, Tease Me
Luck Be A Lady
Frosty...The Real Man
Here Comes Peter
Hot Tubs and Hot Hunks

The Series

Second Chances: Waiting in the Wings
Second Chances II: Do Me a Favor 
Second Chances III: Life's A Dance

Now, just as a reminder, these will be RE-RELEASES, not new books.  The cover art will be the same since I built each one, and the editing, other than a closer proofing, will be unchanged.  But if you haven't had a chance to check any of them out yet, or feel like supporting a starving artist/author (that's me, silly) MUSA will be the new publisher to go to!

I'll be joining their authors in promoing on their facebook page and blog as well as any other chats they may put together.  Keep an eye open here, on my website and on my chat list for any updates!

So there you have my news.  A new year...a new publisher.  New adventures and new stories.  And I can't wait to tell you about each and every one!

Take care and see you next time!


Friday, February 10, 2012

Signage--A Sure Way to Lighten Your Mood

Okay all,

Since Wednesday's topic was a bit heavy, let's have a treat on the Friday's Lighter Side.  One of my favorite things in the word...


Now some of you newbies to my blog may be asking yourself--Signage?  What the heck does she mean by signage?

Honestly, it's just what it says.  A sign.  But on my blog, I find those signs in my travels that have made me snicker, gawk, or laugh out loud.  So for today's Lighter Side, I give you some of the European signs I have seen so far. (click on them to make larger)


These two signs I saw in Paris.  Jonathon and I snickered (well I did) like three year olds.  I thought the first one meant some sort of demonstration or something (like the poupee *shit* was really going to hit the fan), but then I saw it on a store front and got really confused.  It wasn't until later I looked it up to see what it meant.  Poupee--according to Google translate--means... DOLL.
Color me abashed!  LOLOL

Okay.  I'm sure you can see where I'm going with this one.  Me, my dirty mind...and you if you want to come along.    Actually, my sweet baboo called THIS one to my attention.  LOL  This guy is on metro walls, the sides of buses, bus stops and billboards.  Seriously!  He's got his hand in his pockets with this ecstatic look on his face.  Is it any wonder my mind went to where it went?

And when I translated it one word at a time, I giggled again.  JOTMOE is a club. *what kind of club, she asks herself with a snicker*   Vull, in Catalan mean I.  Then guadir means--get this--ENJOY!  LOLOL
So I was already giggling like a loon.
But the rest was a let down.  For those of you who don't speak Catalan, it's an ad saying how this guy is enjoying exclusive discounts at the club.    Sometimes not knowing is SOOOO much more fun!

This really isn't a funny sign, per say, but it did make us take a second look.  For those Dunkin' Donut Fans, here's Spain's take on the popular fast food place.  Why they just don't use the same name is beyond me.  And yes...they do have donuts!

Again, not another sign exactly, but it is something to look at.  Art to some.  I thought it was quite clever!  His and Hers, for your viewing pleasure. 

Now this last one from Spain made us scratch our heads.  We still don't get it, even after the translation which Google says is "exceedingly good cookies".  That's cool for a shop that sells them, but why in the Hell do they have sperm swimming across the shop window???? Jonathon had to go look to see if they had some weird shaped cookies or something, but no...just regular treats.
Hmmm...I guess sperm have a sweet tooth, too!

And one final one...just for fun that I found online.  I'm not sure if it is real or not, but I have seen other's similar in Asia.  This one made me laugh out loud.  Check it out.  Real or pretend???

There you have it.  A lighter side of signage to make you smile.  Have a great weekend all, and I'll be back next week with more rants, raves and rambles!



Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Why Can't Anyone Keep Their Word???

Hey all,

Sorry about that.  This was supposed to be sent automatically on Monday, but although I had this scheduled about ten days ago, it got stuck in the draft file somehow.  Since our power has been going on and off the last few days (cold here...too many heaters on is what we're thinking) I couldn't check until today.

Anyway, I'll just back everything up a few days and let's try this again!

I read something the other day on the internet that had me puzzling and puzzling until my puzzler was sore.  I couldn't understand...just didn't get it.  To me, it was so simple, yet to these people it was a problem worthy of a Noble Prize.

Now just to be kinda clear, these aren't huge corporations with a dozen lawyers at the ready...I'm talking about small businesses working together.  Regular people like you and me..

Well, apparently one group of people--we'll call them Group A, (can't remember the full name but how about politics as a hint) had agreed to do something with another group--Group B.  Handshakes were exchanged, promises implied.  Contracts were written up, read and signed. 

But then it all started to go horribly wrong.  Group A told Group B they didn't really mean what they'd said in the negotiations.  What they meant was this....   Perhaps Group B had misunderstood?

And, oh, by the way, the contract still applies.


Group B, understandably confused and upset pointed out where Group A had agreed to do the thing.  Even pointed out where in writing, it was discussed and clarified.  And, to give them their due, they had been pretty specific in what they said.

So how did it get so messed up?  Why did Group A miss or ignore what Group B was saying.  And, if an agreement was made, how is it okay for Group A not to keep their word and not follow the spirit of the agreement?  

Has our world come to this--where contract wording is so obscure or misleading that the only ones who can use it properly are lawyers?  What if you can't afford a lawyer but still have to play in that arena?  Where is the justice?  Where is the fairness?

Oh, I know they have lawyers out there who will do it for free or a part of the judgment, but seriously, it shouldn't even get that far.

People should do what they say and say what they plan to do.  Don't be so ambiguous.  Why are people afraid to say what they mean?  I've seen so much pussyfooting around on the news it makes me sick.  Take a look at the arena of politics if you don't believe me.  

An honorable man or woman shouldn't need a piece of paper to force them to keep their word.

Now before I get nasty comments, I'm not talking about a change in circumstance that prevents you from keeping a promise.  That's between you and your conscience.  I'm talking about people either purposely making the choice to be dishonorable, those who are deceitful or those just too inept at speaking to make things clear.

My Nana always told me to "mean what you say and say what you mean", and I've tried very hard my whole life to do just that.  People who know me personally may say I'm blunt and opinionated, but every one of them will agree they always know exactly where they stand.  

IMHO, anything else is just too time consuming.  If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember your lies.  And while you may guard your tongue so you say things properly, you shouldn't have to sift through a hundred thoughts to say something to someone.  Bottom line...

We shouldn't all have to go to law school to make sure a promise is kept. 

See you next time!



Friday, February 3, 2012

The Lighter Space Launches Into Space

Hey all,

Have you seen this article?  The one about the two high school boys from Toronto, Canada who launch a Lego figure into space just to see if they could?

Apparently they didn't do it for class, but on their own, taking four months, a lot of free time and $400.00 to make it happen.  Here is the video of some of the pictures their Lego man took.  From the time he was launched until he headed back to earth.  Pretty amazing...

But what I find most intriguing is these two did it all on their own.  For no reason other than the pure joy of seeing if they could.  They used a weather balloon to get Lego man up there and the pictures taken were beyond awesome.

And to think these two are only seventeen!  Talk about enjoying life!  These guys know exactly how to have fun!

What do you think?

Hugs and see you on Monday!!!


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A Peace That Passes All Understanding...

All religions must be tolerated... for... every man must get to heaven his own way. 
~Frederick the Great

Hey all,

Today I thought I'd share a few pictures with you of some places I love to visit.  No, I'm not talking about graveyards, though as you all know I LOVE wandering through cemeteries.  In fact, sometimes I think dead people are a lot more interesting than live ones!  LOL  
For example, this picture was taken yesterday at the Cathedral de Barcelona. (more on this later).  It is the sepulchral of the Count and Countess Barcelona, who in 1058 founded the cathedral.
Their tombs hang on the wall of the church under those beautiful fresco type paintings.  So very unique.  Something I hadn't seen before.

For those of you who'd like to take an armchair tour to meet a few other dead people, I've put all my pics (so far) in a album online in photobucket.  So, if you're interested, head HERE.

But another place I love spending time in is a church or cathedral.  And in Europe I've hit the jackpot.  The number of churches here are legion and I just wish I had time to see all of them.  I try...some of my best distractions turn out to be churches.  Beautiful, serene, some filled with priceless art, some with dead people, but every one I've been to over here has had an air of peace and love in it, no matter how many tourists are milling around.

I always light a candle, even though I'm not 'religious'.  I pray, though, because I know God doesn't care what denomination I am or am not.  As long as I love him, that's what matters.  And it's because of this I can enjoy churches of all kinds.  I've lit a candle at Notre Dame in Paris, heard mass at Saint Patrick's Cathedral in London, and even sat through a Russian Orthodox service  in Macau I couldn't understand, but enjoyed anyway.

My point is, when I visit a church, for a service or not, I'm tuning into the vibrations of the building itself.  What it stands for...what it's experienced over time.  And I can sit and soak in that peace for hours.

So, I thought I'd share some of the beautiful places I've seen.  Enjoy!

Notre Dame
Probably my favorite church on the planet.  Beautiful and with an air of peace that defies the thousands of sometimes rude tourists who swarm over it.  I spent many days here. 

Saint Germain
Sitting just outside the Louvre, in Paris, I stumbled up this little gem quite by accident.  But it's beauty and quiet serenity brought me back several times.

Saint Gervais
Another little church I came upon as I was just walking in Paris.  The rounded, beautiful interior caught my eye immediately.  But it was the absolute silence that kept me sitting there for a very long time.

Saint Maria del Mar
This was the first church I discovered in Barcelona.  Set in a busy square, once you go inside, there is nothing but soft murmured prayers and peace.  Already a favorite.

And Finally, a couple of pictures of the beautiful cathedral we discovered yesterday.  

Cathedral de Barcelona

As you can see it is quite magnificent.  These two pics don't do it justice, so if you want, take a moment and google it.  You'll see exactly why this is one of the most visited churches in Spain.

Well, I hope you enjoyed your armchair tour.  I'll be back on Friday with a new Lighter Side blog.  And this one will really send you into orbit!    Have a great hump day!