Step On Bus Tours


23211 Woodward Ave. #121

​Ferndale, MI 48220

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Sunday, April 17, 2016


From the Chinese Kunlun mountains. 
Conversation piece jewelry is fascinating in that it doesn't cost a fortune and that it can be worn or even used as decoration on a bag. 

This piece recently found its way into my possession. It's from the Kunlun mountains in China.  It's called Jade but it's really a rock. To me, the carving is exquisite of the winged horse running through the clouds. 

White horses have a special significance in the mythologies of cultures around the world. In China it's associated with the Tang Dynasty as a dragon horse, with the tail of a snake. The Chinese Pegasus.

The mystery and intrigue of the Kunlun Mountains add excitement to the piece. The mountains are about 1,600 miles long and also run through Tibet and Tajikistan.  Several rivers run through it including the Black and also the White Jade Rivers.  

The Kunlun Goddess is the highest mountain in the chain. And that's where the intrigue begins.

The most important fact for me is that the Queen of Sheba, who willingly vacated the throne for her son Solomon, spent a lot of time in the Chinese mountains where it is said that she gained enlightenment. Maybe forgiveness, too. As I always state, leave it to the Jesuits to properly record history. And they did.  There was a Queen Mother of the West, Xiwangmu, as stated in a fascinating book called the Kebra Nagast – which details the linage of King Solomon and the Ark of the Covenant. The Jesuits record states that both Queens are one in the same.  What's more, their records prove it. 

There's a lot of mythology about the mountains. That the Queen Mother of the West owns the mountains. That King Mu rides eight steeds that run 10,000 miles a day. That the colliding of the two continental plates created holographs in the jade. The Eye of God.

Kunlun jade is even part of the War of Legends game.  The item is required for obtaining the Twin Dragon Sword among other aspirations. 

The piece shown has no monetary value.  But it could increase because of an extraction ban and the use of Geermu jade as the backside of the medals for the Olympic Games of 2008 in Beijing. I don't know for sure. No one does. But aren't the facts awesome?

To me, the lore and the legend that the white rock contains is captivating. Who knows, maybe the Queen's Enlightenment will ooze into my consciousness the longer I keep it next to me. I can only hope. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016


Vera Bradley lanyards needed to enter Annual Outlet Sale.
My loud and proud niece lured me into Vera Bradley bags and accessories years ago.

"Aunt Rose you should lead a trip to the Annual Vera Bradley Sale in Ft. Wayne, Indiana," she said with a sly grin knowing how to get Auntie's attention. Then she gave me a vinyl shoulder bag, which I used for years. Who cares if the vinyl wore away and if the bag had cracks in it. My precious niece gave it to me, actually because she didn't want it. I did.

That's how the trip started. Vinyl bags are ideal for me because who knows what bus, lav or trunk floor my bag will rest on, not to mention my pets pouncing on it and such.

Today, I am putting the final touches on the trip.  Double checking all kinds of facts, traffic, food, cool prizes and such.

There will be test questions for my travelers like:
  • Who did Vera Bradley model for? 
  • Number of outlet sales so far?
  • Style of the first bag? 
Then, there will be shopping for 2.5 hours.  It's so much fun. My guests have been calling just to share their excitement with me. I make time for each call because I truly love the folks who keep me in business.  And they know it because it shows on the trip and on my smile.

Not only my peeps, but shoppers who arrive via bus at the Annual Vera Bradley sale are treated like gold.  There's no waiting. We have our own personal refreshment room and personal cashiers. Plus there's beverages and snacks along with other great free Vera Bradley items.

There are no crowds and no difficult people to deal with on the first day of the show because Vera Bradley people have the sale down to a science. They love their bus peeps. They love me. Who wouldn't. After all, I'm bringing over 110 people to the sale.  Let's say each person spends $300, which is not unreasonable, so the sale makes $33,000 give or take. Some people spend a couple of thousand. Me? I go for the Vera Bradley bargain table.  Still, $33K is a wonderful chunk of change! 

Lanyards are the only way to enter the sale, which is a huge space filled with all kinds of Vera Bradley items from Christmas ornaments to hairbands to huge bags. Color fills the arena. Once a purchase is make, often shoppers go back for more even though they just made a major buy because the items are so very reasonably priced.

I keep the lanyard til Kingdom Come and use it for my keys because I can keep them around my neck. Once, when moving the office, dealing with a difficult client, sick dog and car issue, I accidentally threw away my keys.

Vowing that would never happen again, I wear my keys around my neck as a piece of jewelry as I am running errands, stopping somewhere for a short time or just because I want to make sure I know where my keys are at all times. Besides, the keys are decorated with fun fobs. So the lanyards spice up my apparel in a most creative and unusual way.

Oh, the bag that little Blondie niece gave me? It's so precious that it can't be tossed. It's relegated to my personal museum in my basement.

Sunday, April 10, 2016


Coins from the Byzantium era.
800-1100 AD - What a busy time in history. 

Charlemagne, king of the Franks, is crowned "Emperor of the Romans" by Pope Leo III in Rome. For the first time in 300 years, there is an emperor of the "East" and an emperor of the "West". The use of Icons is restored. The Great Schism: The Latin Roman Church and the Greek Orthodox Church excommunicate each other.  Lots of invasions. And the first Crusade is off and running. 

But everyday business still held center stage, which of course revolves around money.  Coins played a huge role in beliefs.  

These coins were minted at a time surrounding the end of the first millenium (or "THE" millenium to the ancients), and it was "known" far and wide that the world was about to end. 

So, everyone got super pious and brought religion into every aspect of their everyday lives... even making their coins, front and back, carriers of the image and message of God. It is said that upon the eve of December 31, 999 AD (the first Y1K), everyone packed into churches to spend the night, just to make sure they got a good spot on the way up to heaven.

Another story says that the Byzantium Rulers openly showed that they were subservient to Jesus Christ and made it clear in a way everyone could understand.

Naturally Rome was upset because the split in the Church meant no money for the Pope. So it was quite a struggle throughout the years. 

Yet, the people believed in Jesus and showed their faith even on their money. These coins were made between 969 and 1067 when rulers John 1, Romanus III, Michael IV and Constantine X Duca reigned. 

Images on the coins are difficult to see because they are so worn. But it shows a bust of Christ wearing a nimbus crown, a halo with a cross, holding a book of the Gospels. Some coins of this era were "struck over" with different images. These were not.

The back of the bronze coins proclaim Jesus Christ King of Kings. One shows a cross on three steps. The power of symbolism.   

"The value of an ancient coin primarily depends on its scarcity and state of preservation, far less on its metal content, and not at all on its age. The serious coin collector should be prepared to pay big money for Byzantine coins of good quality. However, the re-enactor who just wishes to own an artefact from his/her period of interest will find the lesser coinage quite affordable," says 

These aren't rare coins and their monetary value is minimal. 

But as a history buff, these coins are important to me. History is everywhere. Especially in coins. And, they are definitely a conversation starter when bezeled and worn as a necklace showcasing one of the most fascinating eras in history. 

I feel so very lucky to have these. 

Sunday, April 3, 2016


The very cave where John was shown the Throne of Heaven.
The Holy Cave of the Apocalypse, known as the Jerusalem of the Aegean, dates back with its Holy Significance to 95 AD when the monk John and his disciple holed up in the cave.

He was exiled by the Romans for either his faith, or his interest in astrology or magic. After all, performing miracles was part and parcel of who he was.

Since John was not a criminal, he was a semi threat, stripped of his citizenship and wound up on the desolate island, not a tourist attraction then. He really had to fend for himself – how would he have eaten, kept warm during winter and what did they drink? The Greek table wine retsina wasn't part of the cruise package. The island was rugged.

This is the very spot where Christ appeared to John and knocked on the door saying 'If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me.'

Then John was granted a look into the doorway of heaven. The mystery of this vision is revealed in Revelation books 3 & 4 – I just don't know why a movie wasn't made of this. The special effects of the thrones of the Apostle , Angels and sacred Elders would have been amazing.

All this in a rocky, desolate and barren area.

All that changed throughout the years. Around 1080 the Monastery was built. Those who do their homework fully understand the significance of the sacred spot. It was where John saw a vision of fire and brimstone and began dictating the book of the Revelation to his disciple who could read and write. John probably couldn't. Still, the vision is fully described in the last book of the New Testament.

The hewed rock cave is really significant to Christians, historians and travelers. Many feet have walked into the space to look at the 12th century wall paintings and icons, to see the spot where John rested his head and most of all where he said he heard the voice of God coming from the cleft in the rock – quite visible even today.

Now the place is called the Monastery of St. John – an important place of worship by the Orthodox and Western Christian faithful. It's really one of the most influential monasteries in Greece and looks like a fairy tale castle,which was built to protect a trove of religious treasures. How do you protect the spot where the voice of God was heard and transcribed?

There is the 12th century fresco of the Hospitality of Abraham in the chapel, but that piece was painted over and only recently revealed in 1956 during an earthquake. There's the icon of St. John, a tomb and silver reliquary of the Blessed Christodoulous, not to mention loads of silver and jewels.

This is the hot spot come May 1 – during Orthodox Easter. It's a great time to plan a quick get-away to the Grecian Islands.  Go see and experience his holy site on your own. Enjoy a glass of restina.