February March 2024 Conchshell Chronicles

Valentine's Celebration

Last September our neighbors at the Vero Beach Airport Cafe closed their business, and we were offered to take over the lease of their two bays- each 20' x 80'. It was going to be a big project- taking up the 20 year old carpet, repairing, texturing and , painting the walls; putting down an epoxy floor, finding affordable furniture, curtains, shelving for our new gift shop, bathroom renovation, etc etc etc.  I asked our Boss, please let this result in people walking into these new spaces of the Rio Coco Cafe and saying "Wow!"

What started off as 2/3 of a warehouse bay in 2011 is now 5.

Fortunately God (the Boss) sent us many helpers to paint, do the floors, provide us with shelving and furniture, and then we met two guys, Rokas and Steven, who had just invested in a $70K machine from Germany that prints images and text right on the wall.

With Rokas and Steven and their Wall Print machine.

It took six hours for this 5 x 8 image to print.

They took five of my photos and made fake windows, antique frames, and foliage to frame them, and suddenly there it was: "WOW!". Images of a

Ulapalakua sunset,

  Waihee Valley with Arielle's wedding bouquet 

  a Haleaakala sunset from the 8600 foot level

a Kihei Sunset, and

and in the Sunset Room with a Utila Sunset.

 Here is the Maui Room,

The Study Room,


Small Meeting Room,

It all came together on Valentines Day weekend, where we had a dinner for couples that we invited, who all brought food. We shared some Biblical truth about husband-wife relationships, and read from the lovers dialogue in the Song of Solomon. Exciting verses as the lovers describe each other physically......

Then Laura gave me a special gift. She had a friend send leis from Maui, and she di a very sweet hula dance just for me! What a treat!  What a girl!

Then our friends Kathy and Edmund began the music and we began the dancing.

It was a very special inauguration of our new spaces.


Lamb Bleatings

Intimacy.    In   to   me   see.

As a human, we all want to be seen, heard, understood and purposed for a felt impact upon the world around us. We desire to feel connected, in touch and in sync with those we love and care for. We are made to be known and to want to know others yet in my experience it does not often feel so natural. The Source of it all needs inquiry on a regular consistent basis if intimacy is to occur between the rest of humanity.

Intimacy with my Creator: God my Father, Holy Spirit and Son, the multifaceted King and Lord over all of creation has become an obsession of greater measure in my personal life of intimacy. God is the One that sees most, knows most and can do everything about anything within my heart and personal affairs I care about. God loves me and I love him. He sees me, knows me and loves me completely, perfectly and sacrificially. He gave it all … the suffering, the death, and the resurrection. Impossible act to follow for the sake of intimate relationship. There is no one else that can take that place of depth, power, peace and presence in my heart, mind and soul. God is the only One that stands in that greatness and the One that cares enough to help me to be intimate with myself enough to be able to be close and intimate to others. Nothing ever happens around me until it happens within me first.

                              IN TO ME SEE.

“Create in me a clean heart Oh Lord and renew a right spirit within me.”

I often get far away from being a child of the living God by acting like an abandoned orphan lost and without the resources, peace, contentment, and that drive to live in love and intimacy of heart. God is always for me and not against me. He never leaves me or forsakes me and always has my best interests. I can freely talk out any angst I have and know that He is the perfect psychotherapist and trainer who will bring me to the right state of being whether in mind, body, and spirit. The Designer Creator knows. What great comfort I possess in His arms of safety, warmth and understanding.

My Intimacy with those I love is largely linked to this  intimacy I have with my Lord because I lack direction on my own. I lack the wisdom to know how it all works and need the insight to discern this path of relationship building and keeping. Powerful entity to involve for maximum intimacy within my own self and a viewing and doing from a divine perspective. The transfer vertical to horizontal is tangible and fruitful. Learning off my Designer and Creator infuses the rest of my existence and relationships with Life and brings me to greater heights and enjoyment with those around me.

“Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added into you “ Matt 6:33

I notice how the world around me and the many I talk to have a lot to say but don’t really want to hear or take time to listen. Unless there is a felt need. In the course of the day, there are many moments of “need” that arise within my own heart and life.

The more I have practiced bringing them before my Father as a needy child running into the arms of the one who loves me most and best the more I have had a sense of peace, hope, freedom and contentment within. My day can get   destroyed by little incidents that catch me off guard and throw me into a loop of reaction. We all have triggers that cause us to fire without aiming or thought. We just pull the trigger, and it causes all to run away from us and not toward us.

How do we keep our relationships in the place of fostering intimacy and love? We all want and need love and closeness. We need Love to reign in our actions. Love is an action that is filled with joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, and others centeredness. Love does not have to boast about itself because it speaks for itself in selfless action. Love, when given in genuine care from one person to the next, is the substance that bring about a sense of intimacy.

May Love dictate all that we do, say, and feel …. Everything works better that way. Dionne Warwick sang a song that was true…

 “What the world needs now is love sweet love no not just for some but for everyone…”                        Laura

Laura at the Holy Sepulchre church in Jerusalem


Why Celebrate Easter?

A gate to the Holy Sepluchre church in Jerusalem

Its built over a 5th Century BC stone quarry

I had a visit from the mother-in-law of a friend this week. She is over 90 years old with a mind sharp as a tack. I showed her around the café and we sat and talked. I asked her about her family- she had 10 children. 10!  She had my respect!

Eventually I asked her if she celebrates Easter. She told me that she was a church member all her life, and raised her 10 children in the church, all         attending confirmation classes, but now she was a Unitarian.  I asked her why Unitarian? What do they believe? She couldn’t really identify any specific doctrines,  but she likes the openness to all theologies and philosophies.

Then I asked her if she knew why Christians celebrate Easter. She shook her head. “No, I don’t”.

I silently reflected about all those hours she spent at mass, all the rituals, all the Bible homilies. So sad that she never got past the religion and into an understanding of the relationship with Christ.

The Holy Sepulchre has two domes- one is open 

Seven different church groups have chapels in this historic building

For many in our Northern Hemisphere culture, Easter is a celebration of Spring, and the snow melting, green leaves sprouting on the trees, gardens planted, harvest coming. In      ancient cultures, the celebration of the Spring Equinox, when    winter ends and spring begins was associated with fertility. Maybe that is why we have the Easter Bunny and Easter Egg hunts. Offerings were made to the gods of fertility, for abundant harvests, growing herds, and more children for the families. Some Miskito people still acknowledge these ‘gods’ in ceremonies when planting their rice and bean fields. We still have lots of work to do on the Coco River.

Randy Smith has been our teacher on all our study tours to Israel, Greece, Turkey and Italy. This archeologist and historian is the author of many guide books in Israel. There is no one better to study on site with than Randy!

Over the years, we have had many moments with our children in the Holy Sepulchre. Here is Laura and Moselle in the winter of 2000.


There is a large segment of Earth’s population have an additional reason for celebrating Easter:  They acclaim and honor the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Our Muslim friends consider Jesus to be a great prophet.   Friends who are part of Buddhism and the “New Age” consider Jesus to be the one who shows us the way to     God through good deeds and meditation.   I have Jewish friends who consider Jesus to be a delusional rabbi. When you consider what Jesus actually said about himself, you might agree. Here is one of His many declarations:

Jesus declared: I and the Father are one.” The Jews picked up stones again to stone Him.

Jesus answered them, “I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?”

The Jews answered Him, “For a good work we do not stone You,  but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God.”   John 10:30-33

It is obvious from this and other texts that Jesus' contemporary audience understood exactly his audacious claims of divinity.

What Do you say to a man who claims to be god? 

Here are four responses: 

1)“You are a lunatic.”   2) “You are a liar.”         

3) “I think your are the Christ.” 

4)“I’m considering and watching.”   

Jesus was publicly executed on the cross outside Jerusalem in or about 33 AD and died according to Roman historians (Josephus, Pliney the Younger, and Tacitus) and then a few days later was seen with many his friends eating fish. In the next 40 days, eyewitnesses testified that He spent time with over 500 people, often sharing meals with them. They have no doubt that He resurrected from his tomb. He came back to life.

The Crucifixion site. 

When the stone cutters were came to an area where the limestone was cracked, they quarried around, creating a 30 foot promontory where centuries later the Romans used as a high visibility spot to execute their prisoners. You can see the cracks in the stone here at this altar.

First Century individual tombs were discovered when they expanded the wall of the Syrian Chapel. This proves that this abandoned stone quarry was used in the First Century as a graveyard.

The Edicule covers a carved out tomb floor with level area for a body. This is where many believe Jesus' tomb was. There is much archeological evidence to support that, or at least in the area around. Here is our study tour group in May 2023, soaking in the reality of The Resurrection.

For billions throughout the past two millennium, this Resurrection proved that Jesus is who he claims to be–     our Creator and Lord of this Universe. The fact that He now invites us to share eternity with him as family members is a good reason to celebrate His Resurrection.

Think for a moment. All the things we desire deep in our heart- love, health, relationships, purpose, freedom from death, Jesus promises that He has for us- an abundant amount of true life, free from worries, injustice, physical harm, and disease.

How do we know his promises are true?

The Resurrection proves who He is,

that His words are true,

and promises real.

The Resurrection of Jesus is the Hinge of Christianity. Since it historically happened, it validates Jesus' claims of divinity along with all his teachings and promises of what is to come when we receive Him as our Lord.

The Closed Dome next to the Edicule.

Our Hero

I took these photos one day sitting in the Greek Chapel, thinking about all of this.

It changes Everything!

May you have many meaningful moments as you contemplate the effect of the Resurrection in your life.



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