This week there's been a lot of activity going on in my little world, with my grandson's eighth-grade graduation on Tuesday and my granddaughter's scheduled for Saturday.
My busy schedule hasn't stopped me from taking time to enjoy the moment. In fact, the last few days have been filled with sources of happiness and inspiration. You could say this has been a week of contrasts.
Monday's trip to our country place was both relaxing and invigorating. I always bring my camera to capture some of the natural beauty of the place.
Turkey vultures circled overhead to make sure Harley, our black Lab, didn't venture too near the barn where the vultures have taken up residence and made a home for their young ones.
Not too far away, Harley visited the mangled model T (or Model A, I can't tell which) that sits in the woods, entangled in some trees.
The rusty relic has been parked there for more than 20 years, when we bought the property. The drawback of being out in the woods are the ticks; I removed three before I left and found two more when I got home.
Wednesday brought about a contrast and a change of scene with a pilgrimage trip to downtown St. Louis sponsored by my parish.
The original date for the pilgrimage earlier this month was cancelled due to high water, so I'm glad I was still able to make the trip.
Although the Mississippi River was still high and running fast, it wasn't as wild as earlier in the month.
Our first stop was the St. Louis Basilica, one of the oldest churches west of the Mississippi. The basilica, located at the foot of the Gateway Arch, is what we locals call the "Old Cathedral."
The exterior of the Old Cathedral is undergoing renovation, but the simple beauty of the historical church still shines through.
Our next stop was the Shrine of St. Joseph, site of a Vatican authenticated miracle.
St. Joseph's is a welcoming church and once the home parish for thousands of German families in St. Louis.
The church was slated for demolition in the 1970s, but it was saved from the wrecking ball and restored to its natural beauty.
Howard, our docent at the church, provided fascinating details about the church's history and special features.
The Shrine of St. Joseph is such a lovely church, my photos don't do it justice.
The main altar is especially colorful and breathtaking.
After leaving the church we headed for the Old Spaghetti Factory on Laclede's Landing.
After a delicious buffet lunch, we headed back to the riverfront for a Mississippi River tour on the Tom Sawyer.
The riverboat tour was exciting. My sister and I climbed the steps of the boat to the top deck, which offered a spectacular view of the river and the City of St. Louis.
We sat next to a couple of college students from Saudi Arabia, who were impressed with their first visit to St. Louis.
On the Tom Sawyer Riverboat, as the captain steered the boat up and down river, he pointed out landmarks and sites of significance.
We rode under the Eads Bridge and were able to see the Old Courthouse, location of the Dred-Scott decision.
While I was tired by the time our bus made its way through rush hour traffic and returned to St. Peters, it was a happy weariness as a feeling of peace settled over me.
My trips this week to the country and to the city have reinforced my knowledge of how fortunate I am to live in the "Show Me" State of Missouri, a land of natural and man-made beauty and lots of contrasts.
What a wonderful week for memories and inspiration.