Standing Tall


Photo: Ihlara Valley, Cappadocia, Turkey

I’ve always considered myself to be very lucky.  Through traveling and various lucky encounters I had the opportunity to meet a lot of really amazing people in my life.

Today, for whatever reason I thought about my encounters with Spencer West.  I was really lucky to have met him through Alex, a friend from SGI.  The first time I met him was through SGI meetings, then I saw him again when I volunteered for We Day.  I also have a few friends that work for Free the Children so I was lucky enough to get a signed copy of Spencer’s book, ” Standing Tall: My Journey”.  In the book he wrote, “Stand tall Stella”. It was so encouraging and inspiring.

Spencer’s story is amazing if you have not heard of him yet. Reading his story made me realize that the a lot of the limitations in our lives are the ones we place ourselves. We must overcome our own weakness and fears if we want to take on the bigger challenge of helping others become happy.

Along the same lines, when I took this picture I marveled at all tall and straight the trees are. It made me think of this quote from Nichiren Daishonin:

A blue fly, if it clings to the tail of a thoroughbred horse, can travel ten thousand miles, and the green ivy that twines around the tall pine can grow to a thousand feet.

This quote talks about the importance of having a correct life philosophy.  Something that will withstand the test of time, and a philosophy that is for the people.  I find this is true if you have true friends in life.  Friends and mentors that can become your tree, people that can help you surpass your limit.

Friends that can help you stand tall.
So that you can stand tall for others.

A Photo Study of Sofia

There is so much to be said about this beautiful city.  A picture is worth a 1,000 words, and I’d like to share a few 1,000 words with you.


Tiles patterned in a scallop shape.  I thought I could sit here all day.


A lovely church that we happened upon.  We took a sneak peak inside and it was gorgeous.


Lucky of us, it was a beautiful Sunday. The sun warmed up the cold brisk air which made it perfect for exploring the city.



The girl has in her hand a traditional Bulgarian Survachkas.  Children make these and they usually attach popcorn, or beans.  It’s all strung up and then attached to the stick.  Then, they will go to elderly people such as their grandparents and lightly pat them with it.  The acting of patting is suppose to give them good health for the rest of the year.  The whacking continues until they receive lucky money.  🙂


Trams that run in the city in Sofia are really old.  They are usually very brightly painted which adds to the charm of the city.