"The choices we make change
the story of our life." ©

Sunday, July 09, 2006



Day Seven of Seven
July 9, 2006
Posted by Guest Blogger: Connie Pombo

“Who has been in Italy can forget all other regions. Who has been in heaven does not desire the earth.” —Gogol

You are looking at Lake Como and I’m standing on the terrace of Villa Serbelloni in “Bellagio”—deemed one of the prettiest towns in Europe. This place—heaven on earth—has attracted the likes of Goethe, Shelley, Byron, and many others. Wordsworth described Lake Como as “a treasure, which the earth keeps to itself.” But to me, this is where my passion for photography began! It was a perfect day in April of 1997, number five on my passionate to-do list. I flew over to visit friends—Vince and Cathy Costa—in Milano (“No”—not the Pepperidge Farm cookie—the city!). The cost of my airfare: $300 roundtrip (which I recovered from being bumped on several flights); the view—priceless! This is where my passions began and this is where I will end my posting journey on “Living the Passionate Life!” found in God Allows U-Turns for Women: The Choices We Make Change the Story of Our Life (volume 4). This is by far my most favorite photograph because I took it with a Fuji throwaway camera, and I didn’t know “anything” about photography (rule of thirds, aperture or shudder speed). It really doesn’t matter (does it?), especially when you have a view like this one! I keep several copies around the house: one on the refrigerator door, in my Bible, living room, bedroom, and office. “Why?” Because I never want to lose sight of the passion I felt when I first looked through the tiny lens of the camera and said, “I get it!”

A picture is a moment in time: that time, that place, that person will never be the same again, and that’s what I wanted—more time! Time to enjoy the gifts of this life; time to see my boys through safe passage into adulthood (see yesterday’s post—Day Six); time to spend with family and friends—I just wanted more TIME!

Since then I have added a few more passionate “to-do’s” to my list, and I have discovered that I’m passionate about speaking and writing (although I have yet to attend a writer’s conference). I know you editors out there are “cringing” right now (just to let you know, I do have an editor that I work with in town—Gregg Dubbs—and I have his number on speed dial). He is so passionate about all things “editing”: like an ellipsis, em-dash, en-dash, and other punctuation “marks.” Actually, he’s quite obsessed with them! I’m so thankful he’s on vacation this week because there would be a lot of red marks all over my posts. That’s okay! I’m not passionate about editing, but I am passionate about sharing my heart!

Speaking of writing, I just might have to attend a writer’s conference because last night I couldn’t get to sleep (it was that café mocha that I had at 10:30 p.m.). I rummaged through my suitcase at 1:30 a.m. and started reading A Stitch in Time. Well, I got hooked and now I’m half way through (don’t anyone e-mail me the ending!). What are you waiting for . . . go buy your copy! Thanks, Allison, now I’m inspired to write fiction (it’s been a “secret” passion of mine for a while). I would love to write Christian romance novels in Tuscany (after all, I know the language, the culture, and “yes” . . . the people!). But, alas, I will have to attend a writer’s conference and figure out how to develop my characters and plot!

Okay, this is where I say, “Ciao”! In Italian, “Ciao” can be used for “hello” and “goodbye”—the beginning and the end! I just love the way Italians stand on their doorstep and wave “Ciao”—a backward “Hi.” They wait, waving continuously, until you are gone from sight and then—and only then—they close the door! Can you tell I left my heart in Italy? In three years when my “caro sposo” (Mark) retires, we will have a change of address once again—“Under the Tuscan Sun”! Until then, dear friends, “Ciao” for now!

Allison, thank you for this rare opportunity to share with the world “all things” passionate. You have been so gracious to share this “place” of U-Turns with all of us--especially me. By the way, I logged on this morning to the new U-Turns website. Wow—what a “facelift”! It looks like a road trip to me—I’m ready! (Next week: All things French—Quebec City—here we come!)

Okay, this is the end (il fine!). If you would like to know more about Women’s Mentoring Ministries or the books that I’ve written, please feel free to browse my websites (listed below).

My greatest love is the “Passion-Giver,” the Lord Jesus Christ, who turned my greatest tragedy into a life of joy, purpose, and “yes”—passion. I’m so thankful we serve a God who specializes in “U-Turns”!

Okay, this really is “Ciao.” Did I happen to mention that Italians have a difficult time saying “goodbye.” Arrivederci tutti!

Living Life Passionately!

Connie Pombo
My Blog: Living Passionately!
Trading Ashes for Roses: From Pain to Passion
Baskets Full of Hope

Postscript: Many of you personally e-mailed me regarding “Bob”—the Wal-Mart greeter (Day Six). Maybe someday I will have the opportunity to share with you this incredible “U-Turn” story!

We'd love to hear from you! Remember to post your comments for an opportunity to win FREE BOOKS at our monthly drawing.
Hey Connie girl, can you believe my parents and grandparents stand on the doorstep and watch us drive out of sight and we're not even Italian! With a maiden name like "Zweitzig," can you guess my heritage? I suppose love knows no boundaries when we know Jesus Christ, the author of love. Have a great trip in Canada, eh? I can't wait to see pictures!!! I'm sure it will add to your beautiful line of greeting cards!
Love you lots,
Your "German" U-Turn sister,
Hi Susan,

I'm back! I saw "Paris" without the jeg lag! I should have put "Montreal" at the top of my priority list. I have lots of stories, including the "border patrol." When he said, "Take off your sunglasses and pop the trunk," I wanted to run for the hills!

I love your maiden name--no problem finding you in the phone book?! How thankful I was to hear that your folks wave until you're gone from sight--loved it!

Hey, let's meet at the border, eh?

Thanks for all your great comments!


Hi Susan,

I'm back! I saw "Paris" without the jet lag! I should have put "Montreal" at the top of my passionate to-do list. I have lots of stories, including the "border patrol" experience! When he said, "Take off your sunglasses and pop the trunk," I wanted to run for the hills!

I love your maiden name--no problem finding you in the phone book! How thankful I was to hear that your folks wave until you're gone from sight--loved it!

Hey, let's meet at the border, eh?

Thanks for all your great comments!


Hi Connie,

I have been on a trip and just returned to read all seven days of your blog postings! Your gifts of humor and insightful reflections are precious. Thank you for sharing them.

I studied in Firenze from March to June 1968 and have wonderful memories...except for the bookend events (the death of Martin Luther King Jr on my first weekend trip to Rome and the death of Robert Kennedy as I prepared to return to the U.S.). The only news we heard about America was of violence. One of my friends in our university extension program decided to skip our return flight.

Thanks again for challenging my passions! God bless you.

Ginger Cox
Hi Ginger,

I realize this is a little late, but thank you for your comment. It's interesting, once you've lived or studied in Italy, it becomes a part of you; you really never leave! I'm sure you "visit" Italy often in your thoughts. To have lived in another culture for six years is the "best" education I ever received. I value the life experiences, the art, the beauty, the people, and the ability to appreciate "life" in a new way! If you ever need a traveling companion back to Italy, just give me a call (I mean that!).


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