The Only Constant is Change

The first three months of 2019 found us in Indian Wells, California. It was an attempt to follow the sun only to have record breaking amounts of rain and flooding. It was all good – we gladly sacrificed the sun to save California from a drought. It was ultimately rewarding because when the sun finally came out so did the super bloom.

We managed to find a yoga studio 2.5 miles away so we walked to yoga and back, got in some golf, hiked and visited with numerous family members and friends. Rinse and repeat…

A quick stop in Nevada to add a bit of fabric softener then off to our home in Charleston, South Carolina for the spin cycle.  And boy what a spin…

As Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher, was quoted “change is the only constant in life.”

He got that one right!

Bam….

Preston and Chloe announced they are having twins. Say what??? Twins!  Double the pleasure, double the fun. We’re super excited. So excited that we momentarily lost our minds and committed to babysitting three days a week for a year.

Bill and I have really settled into life in Charleston and managed to keep ourselves quite busy.

No wonder Travel and Leisure magazine lists Charleston as the number one destination in America. It’s rich with history.  There’s architecture dating back to 1694, lavish gardens, daily events to choose from and tasty restaurants. Being fortunate enough to live in the walkable historic district allows us the freedom to slowly soak in this city.  A feast for the soul.

Looking to take advantage of the culture, art, reading, music and parties – we joined the Charleston Library Society (the second oldest lending library in the country) and the Gibbes Museum.

Before the Gibbes Street party

The juxtaposition is our membership to the Middleton Place Plantation.  A car ride away and home to the oldest landscaped gardens in America. There are 110 acres to roam and drink in the beautiful grounds.  We particularly like the Stableyards where there is a menagerie of animals and craftspeople forging iron and making pottery. Top that off with fish & grits and a glass of red.

Hold onto your hats! I’ve become a Charleston Hat Lady. No, not a red hat or purple hat (those are worn only if they match the outfit). It’s about wearing hats, volunteering and meeting other ladies.

Spoleto is here. Per their website “it’s one of America’s major performing arts festivals. It was founded in 1977 by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Gian Carlo Menotti, who sought to establish a counterpart to the Festival dei Due Mondi in Spoleto, Italy.”

The talent is over the top.  Folk music singers I’m with Her made us new fans. Check them out on YouTube. Wow.  “Path of Miracles” a theatric/musical about the Camino de Santiago was interesting to say the least. It was a minimalistic production where the singers (pilgrims) dressed in everyday street clothes (no walking sticks or backpacks – they must have used Camino Ways) sang music that sounded like a cross between Gregorian and Tibetan chanting in several different languages. Hmm. Think about the last time you went to a modern art museum and knew you were experiencing art but felt a bit confused… we wondered if those in the audience who hadn’t walked the Camino would understand. The standing ovations proved it was a success none the less.

Time to brag. Last month I had the honor of winning Charleston Magazine’s gate photo competition.  Historic Charleston is famous for their iron works. It’s a scrolling web of forged beauty.Best part of Charleston is we get to spend time with the family. Especially with this little princess – now 8 months.

It’s our last week here and we’re gearing up for our big fundraising event for Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation this Saturday, June 8th.  If you’re in Charleston please stop by our Lemonade Stand at the corner of Meeting and Calhoun in Marion Square between 10 and 6 (bring your umbrella). Otherwise, if you want to miss the rain you may make a donation by clicking on this link or head over to paigeshaw.com use the code LemonadeDays (valid until June 9, 2019) and take 30% off your purchase (proceeds are donated to ALSF).

Known as Lemonade Days (from June 1st to 9th) 2,300 lemonade stands across the USA will raise funds to help ALSF change the lives of children with cancer through funding impactful research, raising awareness, supporting families, and empowering everyone to help cure childhood cancer.

My goal is to raise $8,000. which will pay for a month of research.  Any donation – big or small all add up.  Thanks!!!

Final Days – Photo Sale to Help Raise Funds for Alex’s Lemonade Stand

Photography sale to kick off my partnership with Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.

30% discount on photos and keepsakes for the rest of February.  Please head on over to www.paigeshaw.com and use the code ALSF upon checkout.  Make a purchase and help cure childhood cancer at the same time.

If you wish to donate and not make a buy there is also a donation tab on the front page of the website.

Save the date. Stop by our Alex’s Lemonade Stand in Marion Square – Charleston, South Carolina – June 8th. Late morning until early evening.

Let’s raise enough money to fund a month of research.

  • $50 = 1 hour of research
  • $400 = 1 day of research
  • $2,000 = 1 week of research
  • $8,000 = 1 month of research

The mission of Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation is to change the lives of children with cancer through funding impactful research, raising awareness, supporting families, and empowering everyone to help cure childhood cancer.

Update and Exciting Information

After walking the Via Francigena Bill and I took a 14 day transatlantic cruise from Civitavecchia (near Rome) to Miami, Florida.

The goal was to recover (have a birthday party) and decompress.  Which we did in spades. But the change was abrupt, the cruise ship became our prison, and the port of Miami looked real good.

Bing Crosby got it right when he sang: Oh, give me land, lots of land under starry skies above –
Don’t fence me in.

We celebrated Thanksgiving in Charleston, SC and got in as much grand-baby time as possible (is it ever enough?), then headed to Indian Wells (near Palm Springs, CA) for a tepid Christmas and a warmer winter.

So here we are. Palm trees, colorful flowers, bougainvillea and snow-capped mountains paint the horizon. Golf courses are pristine – green from edge to edge.  We’re trying to make the best of a rough situation!

Now the exciting news.

Most of you know I’ve turned my passion for photography into a business. As we travel the world, Bill carries my camera equipment and I take photos.  Those are showcased and sold at www.paigeshaw.com.

I have worked on this for some time and am now thrilled to announce that I have decided to partner with Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation and donate to them all of my photography proceeds.

The stars aligned when I read about Alex’s Lemonade Stand.  I was looking for a grass-roots  charity with a national/global reach and one that has personal resonance.

Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation mission is to change the lives of children with cancer through funding impactful research, raising awareness, supporting families, and empowering everyone to help cure childhood cancer. 

My eldest son Preston was diagnosed with the same cancer as Alex when he was 9 months old and then with a different cancer when he was 11. Preston’s oncologist is part of ALSF’s Crazy 8 Initiative where 90 scientists and researchers are getting together to help find a cure for hard to treat cancers. Today Preston is 35 years old, married and dad to 2 dogs and 3 cats.

To kick off my partnership with ALSF and Valentine’s day I am offering a 30% discount on photos for the rest of February.  Please head on over to www.paigeshaw.com and use the code ALSF upon checkout.  You can get a beautiful photo and help cure childhood cancer at the same time.

If you’re in Charleston, South Carolina on June 8th – stop by our Lemonade Stand in Marion Square. Details to come…

Please spread the word.

Life Happens While Making Plans

The Via Francigena pilgrimage had been in the works for almost two years – August 28th to November 19th – generous time to walk, explore and then return by means of a transatlantic cruise.In April of this year we learned our son and daughter-in-law were going to have a baby – the due date coincided with our walk.

Plane and cruise tickets had already been purchased and commitments to our pilgrim partners had been made. We decided to continue and make a plan when the time came.

Graciella was born October 8th.

Rome was five days out and the proud parents wanted some alone time. This allowed time to finish the Via, rest a couple days and fly home for some Gracie time.Oh, to hold a grandbaby. What a miracle.

It was only 36 hours after arriving in Charleston that Bill and I looked at each other said let’s fly back to Italy and get on that ship. The boat sails in 14 days…

The cruise took off from Civitavecchia, an hour outside Rome. We stayed near the airport and meandered our way to the port.First stop, Barcelona. We have great memories of our time here. I was particularly looking forward to seeing the progress of the Sagrada Familia. A Gaudí designed church. It’s a fantastical whimsical fortification – part adult hallucination part child’s mind. Within a year of the corner stone being set in 1882 Gaudí became the architect. He abandoned the original Neo-gothic theme for his own modernistic style. Rumor has it that the goal is to finish in 2026. This – Gaudí’s last project.

On the opposite end of the spectrum both in time and in design we toured his first commission, Casa Vicens. The juxtaposition from the start of his career to the end is a lesson in the creative mind.

The ship was scheduled to arrive in Funchal (an island just west of Portugal) in two days. However, a northerly storm with twenty foot swells put an end to that and we remain another day in Barcelona.

Tomorrow we head west, out into the Atlantic, where we will sail seven days to St. Maarten.

A Roman Recovery

Today was our last full day in Italy.

After spending the day in bed yesterday we took the time to revisit (our first time was 12 years ago) the Coliseum, Forum and surrounding areas.We managed to accumulate ten miles on these weary bodies of ours. My heels are not happy.Room service, bed and Charleston by tomorrow night.

The Day After Finishing the Via Francigena

Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened. ~ Dr. Seuss

Today we went the office of the “Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi” in St. Peter’s Square for our Testimoniums (certificate for completing at least the last 100km of the Via). The pilgrims who started Canterbury get the same document.It’s just like the Camino de Santiago. Walking the last 100km (62 miles) gets you a Compostela.Chappy, Bill and I weighed ourselves. Bill was the winner at losing the most.Bill and I hoofed it to our new luxurious hotel where we will veg for the next three nights. Soft sheets, a bathtub and a huge TV with English channels. Not sure if we’ll get out of bed tomorrow. Chappy, Darrell and Roxanne stopped by to check out our new digs and we all walked to see the Trevi Fountain (along with 1,000,000 other people) to hug it out and say goodbye.Chappy is heading home tomorrow and Darrell and Roxanne are off to discover Italy by train.

Roxanne’s post and photos:

Completing our pilgrimage to Rome and receiving our Via Francigena Testamonium today means farewell to the Fab Five and hello to the positive memories we’ll share with each other back home in Nevada. Thanks Paige for sharing your blog with our loved ones! Luxury is clean cloths!Well done Pilgrims!

Day 39 the Final Day on the Via Francigena

La Storta to Rome – Sunday October 14th (Preston’s birthday – love you honey) – 13.3 miles in 7 hours 14 minutes.

The Fab Five made to Rome all in one piece and blister free.

What an experience! We’re so appreciative of our health, the ability to perform such a task and friendship.

Our walk today was…. well… you decide…. (photos are in order).Obstacles to climb over…95% was on pavement.We’re staying at the Vatican Garden Inn. Don’t stay here!

Roxanne’s post and photos:

The Fab Five have landed!
St. Peter’s Square, Rome.