One of my most favorite places in the world is The Grotto. It is a magical place where spirituality and nature meet in a tranquil atmosphere of well-tended gardens, natural areas and man-made splendor.
“The Grotto strives to provide a welcoming presence and a
beautiful environment conducive to peace, quiet, and spiritual inspiration. The Grotto offers understanding, compassion, support and hope through a variety of ministries including counseling, education, spiritual direction and liturgical celebrations. The Grotto endeavors to serve all people.” ( Grotto website)
Although The Grotto is an internationally renowned Catholic shrine, it provides a spiritual and peaceful retreat for people of all faiths and for those that have none at all. It truly is a hidden gem in the city, just minutes from downtown. To walk these grounds one would be hard-pressed to notice this fact. The Grotto is also a stunning botanical garden filled with fir trees, rhododendrons and other native plants.
The Lower level
The lower level contains 20 acres of natural woodland. There is a solemn peacefulness here. A certain quietness that evokes a sense that you are in quite another world. Here I feel safe and protected by the tall pines, their spicy scent filling my senses; bringing back forgotten childhood memories and putting a spring in my step.
I have walked here often in this wild and untamed section of The Grotto. I admire the way the land is cared for. The way some would say God intended, certainly the way Mother nature intended. Fallen trees overgrown with brush and leaf litter are sure signs of natural land stewardship.
Our Lady’s Grotto
At the center of it all is the shrine Our Lady’s Grotto, a rock cave carved into the base of a 110-foot cliff. A life-size marble replica of Michelangelo’s Pietà has been carefully placed at its center.
The elevator amongst the treetops is definitely a surreal experience. As we climb the 110 feet up the imposing cliff walls, a reassuring voice of soft muted tones speaks of what awaits us at the top.
The Upper Level Gardens are simply lovely. It is a whole other world that seems pure and untouched by the modern world below. There is a sense of serenity that prevails. I feel closer to nature; a certain connectedness that I can only feel outside amongst the living earth. A visit does good for my soul and it is truly a tonic for the heart as well.
The manicured gardens and walking paths wind around the magnificent grounds. There are chapels, statues, native plants and a wide variety of trees. They say the upper level gardens are possibly the best kept secret in Portland as well as one of its largest green spaces. It is easy to forget you are in the middle of the city.
The Meditation Chapel
One of the highlights of a trip to the upper gardens includes one of the most spectacular views in town, The cliff side Meditation Chapel is truly something to see. Made of polished granite and glass walls it certainly makes quite an impression.
This beautiful building showcases an amazing view of the Columbia River Valley, the Cascades and Mt. St. Helens. It is no wonder that this building has received both national and international architectural awards.
St. Anne’s Chapel
This charming little red house once served as a chapel and it honors Saint Anne, the mother of Mary. Built in 1934 it now houses numerous Madonna paintings from many countries.
Spectacular views are just one of the reasons why this place is so special. On a clear day you can almost see tomorrow or at least a mountain or two.
Thanks for accompanying me on this tour of one of my most favorite spots in the world. There is much to see and what I have shown here is but just a sampling of what this hidden gem in the city has to offer.
The Grotto is a place for everyone, of all faiths and beliefs. The atmosphere is gentle and accepting. I find solace here. Its quiet natural beauty is a perfect spot for reflection and meditation or a tranquil walkabout.
If you ever happen to find yourself in Portland stop and visit, you’ll
I will admit right here and now to the entire blogosphere that I am no athlete. I am one of those uncoordinated goofs with two left feet. It takes all the powers of my “mighty” concentration just to walk around without hurting myself. You know I even flunked PE.
Keeping this embarrassing fact in mind I want you to picture this.
Here I am minding my own business…tapping away on my cute little lap top, tap-tap tap… and then out of the corner of my eye, I see her…it’s Morezennow and she’s running toward me…I smile because I really like her…She is an entertaining sort of person, witty and a genuinely funny writer. I look forward to reading her blog http://morezennow.wordpress.com/
You should check her out. Here are some of my favorite posts of hers to get you started.
Hello! I call out and then before I know it…I’ve been hit…I mean tagged! And I am truly dazed and confused. The last thing I remember was a whisper in my ear….it said….
“I’m passing it on. Feel free to decline. And you have my permission (like you need it!) to break the rules, as we all know they are meant to be broken!!!”
1. You must post the rules.
2. Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post and then create eleven new questions to ask the people you’ve tagged.
3. Tag eleven people and link to them on your post.
4. Let them know you’ve tagged them!
I must say right now that I plan on some rule breaking….I cannot run very fast and I could not catch all 11…..(Some people in this blogoverse run like the wind)
What follows are the questions: skillfully and creatively written by one of the most entertaining blog buddies in the land of blogging; Morezennow.
These I must answer. MY questions are:
What would you do if I sang out of tune? For one thing I would NOT stand up and walk out on you. I would lend you my ear so you could sing me a song but please try not to sing out of key.
Coffee or Tea? I am a former coffee addict so I would have to say tea, to which I am currently addicted.
Soccer or Rugby? Rugby because it’s so damn Manly.
Liberal, Conservative or Nunya Beeswax? Fiscally Conservative and socially very liberal…(a really impossible mix that shows my total ignorance and misunderstanding of the whole political process)…with a touch of cutesy idealism thrown in for decoration.
Love or hate Stanley Kubrick? How can someone NOT love Kubrick…..He is the man who had Kirk Douglas run around shirtless, Jack Nicholson run around with an axe trying to murder Shelly Duvall and made us laugh long enough to stop worrying and love the BOMB…….. or something or another.
What is your favorite era, where and why? It is funny you should ask this (haha) I have always had this yearning to go back in time to the Roaring Twenties. It was a glamorous age full of cool cars, silky flappy fashion, bobbed hair and gangsters.(sort of like now but in black and white) I would totally love that.
If stranded on a desert island who would you most like to be with? This is a secret I cannot divulge. If I told you I’d have to kill you.
If you have children do you sometimes hate them a little? (Yes , I loves my chilluns but…)? No, but sometimes when I see them make the same stupid mistakes that I’ve made, I want to SCREAM!
What is your favorite novel and why? After much deliberation I must confess that I don’t have a favorite novel but one work of non fiction that stands out to me the most is “Guns, Germs and Steel” by my favorite author, Jared Diamond. I have learned much from this man. He is an excellent explainer of why we humans are what we are. Well-written and highly intelligent. I would recommend it to anyone interested in that sort of thing.
Sonny or Cher? Cher. I am probably dating myself but I remember watching the Sonny and Cher TV Show many years ago when I was a kid. I hated her voice but I loved those costumes she wore. She reminded me of a tall colorful bird…Wow.
What is your preferred method of de-stressing? Gardening, hiking.. really anything that gets me out into nature and music. Music hath charms that lulls this tiger into a wimpy cat in 2 notes flat.
These questions the tagged can answer if they choose, when they choose. I am following in the great tradition of the wise Morezennow and not asking any rule adherence. This is supposed to be fun. If it is not, don’t do it! And in the same token: anyone not tagged desiring to play along just join in.
What is the best gift you have ever received?
If you could meet any famous person, living or not, who would it be?
Have you ever walked out of a movie? Which one?
Do you have a pet peeve?
What is your favorite breakfast?
Do you have a favorite article of clothing?
If a tree falls in the forest would it make a sound if no one was there to hear it?
Have you ever seen anything that doesn’t exist? U.F.O’s, bigfoot, ghosts, etc?
Favorite summer song?
Name an animal that you identify with the most.
If you could travel anywhere in the world where would you go for an all expense paid holiday?
Remember there is no pressure here. Please feel free to decline. I know these sorts of things can become a burden sometimes. Use this as you see fit.
I know this probably sounds a little strange but visiting the grocery store can be a rewarding and educational experience and yes, it is a bit thrilling. I suppose that it helps to play these things up because in reality grocery shopping can be one of those elements of the daily grind that can really grind one up. It’s a boring chore of the mundane that can drive anyone crazy. Since I’m a mom to two growing teenagers I am forced to go food shopping on an a constant basis.
I pride myself on my shopping prowess and I am quite the shopping cart driver. I can turn on a dime and I am faster than you’d think so get out of my way. I am on a mission here. I have no time for doubt or indecision. Get what you need and go. I have no time for slow pokes blocking the aisles. Long lost lovers reuniting, old people arguing about soup and especially the one’s who park right in the middle and disappear; leaving their cart to parts unknown. Those are the worst. I try to carefully move their cart out of the way and if they catch me at it I get the dirtiest looks, its like I am molesting their produce or something.. I am tempted to throw small and expensive items like scented pine nuts and organic razor blades into their carts in hopes they are forced to pay for them.
I suppose at times I can get somewhat territorial and a bit hostile. It is a jungle out there. And It’s everyone for themselves. I have seen acts of desperation and cowardice. I myself have been victimized, my thick wad of coupons stolen from under my nose along with my grocery list to add insult to injury. I have been hit up by crooked foodstampers who want to commit food stamp fraud with me, hit on by the Pepsi guy, insulted by the Cheetoes guy and screamed at by a small child who wanted my mint chocolate chip ice cream.
I have learned to be tough and ruthless. I have learned about double couponing and what happens when you bag up lavender scented snuggle dryer sheets with dove dark chocolate and, I have learned much about my fellow humans.
I liken it to a jungle and it is. It reminds me of a wildlife safari. Each part of the store is like a different habitat; each with its own ecosystem. The frozen food wastelands: the habitat of the eternal bachelor. He is easily identified by his bulging cart of frozen pizzas, canned chili and beer. The organic food section sprinkled with pale hipsters in their 30’s who bring their own burlap shopping bags with inspirational messages written on them. The lemon-scented cleaning product section: the lair of the harried mom ( you can find me between the Pine Sol and the Febreeze) and one of my all time favorite places; the colorful and the sugary, the cereal aisle! This is the place for everyone to embrace their inner child. Hey the Froot Loops box says it has more fiber. Who am I to argue?
So many spontaneous moments happen in the grocery store. It is the perfect place to see a cross-section of humanity. The strangest scenes will play out in the aisles and believe I’ve seen it all. It seems some people liken the grocery aisle to their dysfunctional living room and they will act accordingly.
I go to a chain store that advertises one-stop shopping. That makes it interesting because it causes some items to mix with others that should not mix; Ortho Lawn Be Gone and Kraft Macaroni and cheese with chain saws, diapers and 12 different kinds of olives, for example. Throw in a Starbucks, a deli, a bank, a optomistrist and a day care center and you have more than a store… you have a lifestyle.
It also makes for some interesting sights and it certainly can be a convenience for weary shoppers. Take furniture for instance; it is hard to turn down a nice soft sit down on a comfy new sofa showcased next to the Doritos and bean dip. It is a common occurrence to see shoppers sprawling out on the furniture. I’ve seen people reading books, eating a sack lunch and playing games on their phone. I’ve seen old men napping and a young mother nursing her fussy infant. It seems the store not only approves of this but encourages it with big screen Hi Def T.V.’s tuned to The Sports Channel with cases of cheap beer a scant few feet away.
Food shopping can be quite the experience, every trip is a new adventure. At the very least I’ll get the makings of tonight’s dinner and a wee bit of my money will be set free out there to swim with the others, reproduce and stimulate the economy. So.. Happy Shopping! It’s the American way and remember Buy Local. 😉
This very moment. This is just one out of a seemingly endless round of moments that make up your life. How you fill these segments in time becomes your story.
It can be difficult sometimes to weed out the minutiae and it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day trivialities and miss what is truly important. This often happens with me. Life in this modern world can get stressful especially during “interesting” times like these.
During my recent “bout of wicked overdoneness” I was forced to slow down. This allowed me to catch my breath and really see what was truly going on. I realised that little by little I was missing the small things. Life’s little pleasures that I enjoyed so much. I didn’t notice they were disappearing until they were gone.
I have been trying to appreciate the small things whenever and wherever I can find them. Sometimes it’s not easy, I’m a sensitive person and I have my share of bad news and bad days. I find that it is after one of these bad days that I need life’s little pleasures all the more.
About three weeks ago I made a plan of action. A basic outline of activities that I would try to incorporate into my daily life. These are very simple things. They appeal to me personally. I have taken on each one of them. Some are obviously easier than others. I am still working on the last one.
Life’s little pleasures plan of action master list.
Greet the day:Soon after waking I will greet the day by going out to the back porch for a breath of fresh morning air and a much-needed intake of some urban nature in the backyard.
Stretch: I will stretch my body and my mind. I will explore new horizons and grow.
Walk: I will walk, to move my body,no matter the weather. To get out into the community and out into the world. I will seek out natural areas. I will go off the beaten path. I will explore.
Stop: I will stop and notice the simple beauty that surrounds me everyday. A bird, the sky. A smile from a child, the laugh of a loved one. I will take it all in and try to find the goodness in everything I see.
Dance: And sing and let it all out. I will embrace my inner child and go with those eccentric urges and just have fun.
Let go: I will learn to let go of that which I cannot control and just simply Enjoy Life as it comes.
A couple of weeks ago I heard the news from a wonderful blogger who is responsible for the wonderful blog Heart to Harp. One of the newest on my must read list. I was informed that I had been nominated for the Kreativ award. Wow! Thank you for the recognition Heart to Harp…and thanks for calling me wry. That is very cool, I have always wanted to be wry.
Heart to Harp is an interesting and inspirational blog written by a creative person who is up for challenges, plays the harp and shares my love for dark chocolate. I would recommend this blog highly. What follows are three posts to get you started.
This being The Kreativ Award I decided to go with the whole “Kreativ” thing to be a little creative by breaking the rules a bit. The rules:
Thank the blogger who gave you the award and provide a link. (Thank You heart to Harp!)
List 7 interesting things about yourself that your readers might find interesting…(I am not very interesting but I’m giving it a shot.)
Nominate 7 other bloggers, provide links, and tell them.
♦ ♦The 7 “interesting” things about me:♦ ♦
I am a “wanna-be” visual artist who cringes at the sight of ugly paintings demanding such a hefty price and I think “Damn…I can make ugly paintings too.” So far no one has paid me a dime for anything remotely artistic but I still dare to dream.
I can write legibly with both my right hand as well as my left.
A former black coffee caffeine addict I now drink lots of Jasmine tea….It’s supposed to be good for you.
I have been known to laugh and cry at the same time listening to certain songs in coffee shops.
I am a terrible speller who has a wonderful and talented editor who prefers to stay behind the scenes but makes me seem a lot smarter than I really am…thank you Editor! (You know who you are)
I nominate the following blogs for this creative award. There are no strings attached. Do with it or not do with it what you will. Be creative…no pressure.
This is supposed to be fun. If it is not your cup of tea, don’t drink it. I understand totally. I will still like you. I promise. If I am a chain breaker and I get 7 years of bad luck from the bad karma blog fairy, let it be so…I will fall on the sword for creativity’s sake…..