Rose Madrid-Swetman

— Random Thoughts, Stories of Life, and Questions about the Journey —

June 26, 2010

Italy Day 4 – Moneglia

Category: All Posts – Rose – 10:02 am

I wanted to do a quick update. Rome was wonderful but I was ready to leave the crowded city and get to a place where it is complete rest. Beach time and reading, eating and drinking wine, that’s what I have been looking forward to.

We left Rome at 9:45 this morning, heading up the west coast of Italy for a little village just north of the Cinque Terrra. When we bought our tickets at the station the machine would not give us seat assignments. Once on the train we found out why, the train was oversold so we did not have seats! An over-crowded train where we had to stand for 4 hours proved to be quite the adventure. It was so worth it once we arrived Castello Monleone in Monglia. I feel like we are in paradise! We are planted here for 7 nights. Paolo, the man who owns Castello Monleone barely speaks English. He is so kind and funny!

Right in front of Castello is a church, the bells ring on the hour. I feel like we are living in a fairy tale right now. So beautiful, the sights, the sounds, the people.

Heading out to dinner in the village, going to watch the USA/Ghana game. This isn’t so much a tourist town as it is a town where the Italians go on holiday. Hardly anyone speaks English which will be great, it will force us to learn some of the language.

Time for me to go wake up Rich and Nicole to get ready for dinner:)

June 24, 2010

Italy Day 1

Category: Stories of Life – Rose – 2:15 pm

Our flight over was a bit uneventful. Poor Alex (Alassandro) did not sleep at all so having some serious jet lag. When I travel, I always wonder what it’s like behind those huge doors (in Italy and the UK) of the residences. We are staying in an apartment right in Campo Di Fiori, which is cool because we have a key to see what’s behind those magnificent doors. Our apartment is great. Very clean, two bedrooms with air conditioning. The weather if perfect! mid 80’s with a nice breeze so very nice for walking. We had a good sleep, well Nic woke up at 5:00 a.m. We had breakfast and then walked to the Vatican. The Vatican is incredible. So much history and art in one place. We had a guided tour of the Vatican Museum, the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica. So much to take in but I think the highlights have to be the Sistine Chapel, how did Michelangelo paint that ceiling? Amazing! And Michelangelo’s Pieta! So amazingly beautiful, brought me to tears.

We went back to the piazza in Campo Di Fiori and watched as the Italians were eliminated from the World Cup, well we sort of watched. After a bottle of wine and some delicious food we all were falling asleep at the table so went home for a little siesta. We woke up at 9:00 p.m. and forced ourselves to walk, stopped for some more incredibly delicious food and wine. It’s about 11:00 p.m. and we are in the hotel lobby checking email, facebook and uploading pictures.

Tomorrow we are going to shop at the market in the Piazza for fresh eggs, fruit and vegetables for breakfast then we will visit the Pantheon, the Coliseum, the Forum and the Palatine. We only have one more day in Rome then we are off to Moneglia by train…Ciao

June 22, 2010


Category: All Posts,Stories of Life – Rose – 8:59 am

Unbelievable is how I would describe my life these days. I don’t know how long this run is going to last but I am trying to enjoy every minute. I have a friend who wrote a little book called “Simple Spirituality, Maintain your personal peace and lovingly serve others.” One of the practices of SS is “celebrating moments.” The idea is that we have moments in our lives when we really do sense that “all is well” and in our fast-paced, full lives we should stop and savor these moments. I have had more of those moments in the last month than I can count. I don’t remember many times in my life when moment after moment to celebrate just kept coming.

Winning a 12-week pastor’s sabbatical grant…
Finishing my dissertation…
Passing with distinction…
Alex’s baseball team winning their division championship…
Graduation party…
Celebrating with family and friends…
Regional conference….healing and restored friendships…

and today…


I don’t want to wake up from this dream…

June 15, 2010

Here we go…

Category: All Posts – Rose – 7:56 am

I’m leaving for Boise this morning for our Vineyard Regional Conference. I am looking forward to our time but have a wee bit of anxiety too. It will be good to see everyone. I haven’t been to Tri’s church in so long, 13 years I think. I can’t remember the first time I met Tri but it was sometime in the early 90’s when he was our then regional overseer. Most of my early interactions with him was about Women in Ministry. We had some good debates, friendly debates. About the time Jim Henderson and VCC wanted to ordain me in 1995 I was in Boise for some training and talked with Tri. I wanted to get his approval as our RO. He was most respectful, he said he blessed whatever we chose to do in our church even though he wouldn’t ordain a woman in his church. To this day I am very thankful for the way he respectfully disagreed yet could bless us.

Alex is getting ready for school, he only has 2 days left. He’s going to stay with Nathan until Saturday when Rich and I get back from Boise. What an amazing time he has had this year. He told us that 6th grade was his best year ever. He really liked his teacher, Wayne Clousing, and who could ever forget winning your baseball division championships when you were down by 2 in the last inning with 2 outs and 2 strikes and your teammate knocks one out of the park to tie the game. Alex is up next and hits a single, makes it to 2nd base and then the next batter up hits the winning RBI. I don’t think any of us will ever forget that moment!

Rich, Alex, Nicole and I leave for Italy on Tuesday. I am so grateful for the opportunity (to the Louisville Institute and VCC) to go on such an amazing trip with Rich and the kids. It’s the perfect way to start a sabbatical, one I could never have imagined.

I can’t wait to get on the plane, but first a plane to Boise:)

June 8, 2010

2 Weeks to Go

Category: All Posts – Rose – 8:22 pm

Two weeks from today we will be in the air on our way to Italy. First stop London/Heathrow then on to Roma! We will be 3 nights in Rome then we take the train to Monleone on the Italian Riviera. Here is a picture (the castle) of where we will be for 7 nights. Here is the view from the castle deck. We will be 15-minute train ride from the Cinque Terra and a short boat ride to Portofino.

From Monleone we go to Lake Como for 3 nights. Then 1 night in Milan and then Nicole and Alex will fly home. Rich and I will go on to Venice where we will meet up with our friends Nick and Cathy Gretton for 3 nights! Then we drive to Tuscany where we will spend the next 9 nights. Lots of places to see in Tuscany, Florence, Siena, San Gimignano, Assisi, then 1 final night in Rome before returning home.

Lots still to do before we go. Graduation parties, an anniversary party, our Vineyard Regional Conference.

Speaking of graduation parties, my husband and friends threw me an amazing party on Saturday after my graduation. What a celebration. I had a hard time taking it all in. I still have not quite come down from the weekend beginning with Alex’s baseball team winning their division championship the night before I graduated.

Rich and I were reflecting on the weekend. It could not have been more perfect. I am so, so, so grateful for my life!