Together Rising Letter Writing

Last year during the holidays, I discovered a group that practices the Twelve Days of  Christmas by promoting the sending of an encouraging letter to someone each day. I loved that daily activity of pausing to gather my thoughts and then directing them toward another in need of comfort or cheer. 

Recently I was thinking about that letter writing campaign, and lo and behold, another organization asking for hand written letters was revealed. Ask…or even wonder…and you will receive. 

Together Rising Letter Writing
Together Rising, founded by author and blogger Glennon Doyle Melton, has this purpose, as stated on their website:

Together Rising offers support and assistance to people who have no where else to turn. As we give and receive we become connected to one other– understanding that sometimes people just need a little bit of help during difficult seasons of life. One of the most beautiful things about Together Rising is the remarkable number of recipients who turn around and become givers, adding their gifts to our community so that others may rise as well.

Together Rising receives requests for help every day from individuals with needs great and small. Your donations go directly to help families in crisis. Often all people need is a little help… gas money to get to the hospital, groceries to put food on the table, or shoes for kids who don’t stop growing during difficult times.

One of the ways Together Rising offers into the lives of others, I just discovered, is through writing letters of encouragement. This evening, after spending time planting and watering in my backyard garden, centering myself and opening my heart wide to the flow of love and joy, I read through a list of requests for cards or letters and picked out four people to write to. 

Together Rising Letter Writing
Kyle is an 11 year old survivor of abuse. Spencer has a painful eye condition that may result in the loss of that eye. Ben is celebrating his 100th birthday on July 31. And Bob and Cathy have had many health challenges recently as they journey together. 

I wrote encouraging notes to Bob and Cathy, and to Spencer. In Spencer’s bio it said he is so excited when he receives letters that he sleeps with them. Ben would like to receive postcards from all 50 states in the US, for his birthday. I will go to a local truck stop tomorrow and see if I can locate a Missouri postcard. 

Kyle’s story touched my heart deeply. He was sexually abused for two years by someone outside his immediate family. He is struggling, and understandably so. His parents asked for light hearted letters that do not mention the abuse. His bio says he likes animals. 

I appreciate how inspiration guides me. I began a card to Kyle without knowing exactly what I was going to write. But I began the action anyway. I wrote that I have cats…and then a funny story came to me. I shared with Kyle about the friendly possum who has let himself into my house, using the cat doors. I hope the tale brings a smile to his face and his heart. 

Tomorrow these missives of hope and encouragement will go out. I appreciate the opportunity to write, making life a little more tender for these four recipients. 

If you feel drawn to send letters to people who could use some extra love in their lives, please visit Together Rising. And then grab a pen and a stack of notecards. 

Together Rising Letter Writing

Movie Review: Wonder Woman

My sister Linda and I declared this evening a movie night. For our viewing enjoyment, we selected the latest installment in the DC series that is leading to the formation of the Justice League. We were excited to see Wonder Woman. 


Wonder Woman stars Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Connie Nielsen, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, Saïd Taghmaoui, Ewen Bremner, Eugene Brave Rock and Elena Anaya. The fantasy adventure was directed by Patty Jenkins. It’s rated PG-13, for action sequences and violence, and has a run time of 2 hours and 21 minutes. 

Diana (Gadot) is raised on an island of warrior women, known as the Amazons, hidden from the world by Zeus. Fiercely trained in combat by her aunt, Antiope (Wright), and fretted over by her mother, Queen Hippolyta (Nielsen), Diana grows up believing it is her destiny to protect mankind from the war god, Ares. 

Movie Review: Wonder Woman
Movie Review: Wonder Woman
When a pilot named Steve Trevor (Pine) crashes into the sea near the island, Diana encounters her first man. He brings news of a mighty world war that is destroying millions of lives, and of an evil woman, Dr Maru (Anaya), who is developing bioweapons that will have catastrophic effects. Against the wishes of her mother, Diana leaves with Steve, bearing a shield, a magical lasso and a sword she refers to as the “god destroyer”. She believes if she kills Ares the war will immediately stop. 

Away from Themyscira, Diana discovers that humans are more complex and the world more strange than she imagined. Dr Maru, also know as Dr Poison, is working a sinister plan with Germany’s General Ludendorff (Huston). While in England, meetings led by Sir Patrick Morgan (Thewlis) are underway to negotiate an armistice with Germany. 

Fearing resolution will come too late, Steve and Diana gather a group of experts and head to the front lines, searching for Ludendorff, whom Diana believes to be the god Ares in disguise. Sameer (Taghmaoui) is a spy who specializes in languages. Charlie the Scotsman (Bremner) is a skilled marksman. And Chief is a smuggler. 

Movie Review: Wonder Woman
The team must stop a threat that is greater than anyone realizes. As they battle to save the world, Diana discovers who she really is and what she is capable of. 

I enjoyed this movie so much! As a child, I read all the Marvel and DC comics, so I was familiar with Wonder Woman. However, as a wee girl and then a teen, I was never particularly drawn to the only female character among a host of superheroes. She seemed like the token girl to me. I’m curious if I missed her courage and “wonder” when I was a child or if that was an accurate perception. 

Regardless, I found plenty to admire about Gal Gadot’s fresh portrayal. This was indeed an epic adventure and she wasn’t a token female. I loved Diana’s convictions about her purpose in life. She never wavered on her desire to offer to humanity by destroying evil. Even as she discovered more about the mankind she had vowed to protect, and learned who she truly was, she never backed down from living out of those desires. 

Movie Review: Wonder Woman
There was humor to balance the action sequences, and a fun performance by Chris Pine. And at the core of the film, and Diana’s journey, lay the realization that we are all of us a mixture of light and dark. We choose, daily, which we will surrender to…the Light or Darkness. In the end, says Wonder Woman, “It’s about what you believe. And I believe in love. Only love will truly save the world.” 

I am so looking forward to seeing Wonder Woman own her space in the Justice League!

Movie Review: Wonder Woman

Summer Colors

Summer is about to begin! In a strange twist, the season shifts late this evening, or very early in the morning, depending on the time zone. Here in Joplin, in the US, summer officially begins tonight at 11:24 pm. Yes…after the sun goes down. No matter! Summer is upon us. 

It is a bit confusing whether today’s Summer Solstice was the longest day, or if tomorrow will get that designation. Either way, I was grateful for the extra minutes of sunlight, after a busy day. I needed to water the garden. 

Summer Colors
I simply adore being in the garden as the sun is setting. The heat evaporates out of the air. The colors are vivid. It truly is the most beautiful time to appreciate the flowers and plants. 

I’ve neglected my garden a bit lately. This is a busy time of year for realtors. I definitely need to pluck out some weeds and plant a few more flowers. However, does my garden hold a grudge? No. It is a wild and gorgeous thing right now, with brilliant colors erupting in the beds and containers and borders. The flowers do what they are created to do. They bloom…joyfully it seems. 

Summer Colors
Summer Colors
Summer Colors
As I watered containers, and pulled weeds, I allowed the wildness of the garden to call to me. Something untamed in me rose to answer that call. I too am doing what I am created to do, growing, blooming, offering who I am in response to life, and light, and roots that have gone deep. 

Summer Colors
Summer Colors
Summer Colors
Before the sun disappeared completely, my garden and I welcomed summer. I accepted the peace and contentment that washed over me. I marveled at the riotous colors that didn’t compete but complemented each other. I opened my heart to all the promises of the season. I expressed deep gratitude. 

Jenny Uglow wrote, “We might think we are nurturing our garden, but of course it’s our garden that is really nurturing us.”

My garden nurtured me tonight, on the eve of summer. As dusk deepened, I gathered fresh mint from the herb garden for a celebratory cup of tea. I toast you, golden summer. Welcome. 

Summer Colors

Joplin’s New Public Library

Out running errands this morning, I seized an opportunity to stop by Joplin’s newly opened public library. The grand opening took place while I was in Italy. I have driven by the building site for months, watching with curiosity as the library rose on the corner of 20th Street and Connecticut Avenue. Moving from its former location downtown, the library was taking up residence in the heart of the tornado zone. 

Joplin's New Public Library
Wishing to take a peek inside the gorgeous, contemporary building sprawled on its six acre landscaped lot, I thought I would dash inside for a few minutes and look around. I should have known better. I love books. A fun outing for me involves leisurely browsing through a bookstore, pulling intriguing books off the shelves. 

The moment I stepped into the Joplin Public Library, I was wowed. My immediate first impression was that this place had less the feel of a library, and more the feel of a bookstore. Except the books are free…as long as you return them! 

Let me show you around. Join me on a visual tour of the library. 

Joplin's New Public Library
Joplin's New Public LibraryClean contemporary exterior. Huge parking lot. 

Joplin's New Public LibraryFront lobby includes check out area with automated self check stations and New Books sections, fiction and nonfiction. 

Joplin's New Public Library

Joplin's New Public LibraryGathering areas, right and left of the main lobby. 

Joplin's New Public LibraryGenealogy, Local History and Post Memorial Art Library section. Beautiful!

Joplin's New Public LibrarySnack area with vending machines!

Joplin's New Public LibraryGeneral reading section includes computer labs, dvds, music, audios and books, of course. New bookshelves are lower, creating an open, spacious look. Ample floor to ceiling windows let in lots of natural light. 

Joplin's New Public LibraryMy favorite additions to the new library…cozy, inviting seating areas! 

Joplin's New Public Library

Joplin's New Public Library

Joplin's New Public Library My favorite chair in the library! It swivels and feels secluded…a true reading nook. 

Joplin's New Public LibraryThere are “unconference” rooms and study rooms around the perimeter of the building, available for  use. 

Joplin's New Public LibraryThe colorful and amazing children’s library. 

Joplin's New Public LibraryComputers for kids

Joplin's New Public LibraryChildren’s play stations

Joplin's New Public LibraryHere too there are inviting seating areas that are playful as well. 

Joplin's New Public LibraryThe round windows in the children’s area are padded and function as fun seats. 

Joplin's New Public LibraryArt gallery leading to conference room. 

I was so impressed with the new library. Although I was a frequent visitor at the old site, I never lingered in that library. The building wasn’t all that old, but it seemed dark to me, with a heavy energy. Perhaps that was due to the building’s design. Or perhaps my intuitive senses picked up on the fact that the downtown library was built on the site of the old Connor Hotel. A man died there, trapped in the building, when a planned demolition went wrong. Whatever, the reason, I always felt uncomfortable there. 

Not so in the new library. I love this space. It is beautiful, spacious, and full of light. The energy is incredibly positive and uplifting. I felt inspired and invited. I wanted to linger there. I wanted to curl up in a comfy chair with a good book! 

And I shall do exactly that, very soon, when I have a free afternoon. I hope to see you there. 

Joplin's New Public Library

Father’s Day Memories

My dad passed away seven years ago, on March 30, 2010. There’s not a day goes by that I don’t think about him. Father’s Day stirs memories of pool parties and cook outs, my dad grilling, waving a spatula around as he chatted animatedly. 

I also remember the long summer evenings of my teen years, when my dad and several of his friends would roar off into the night on their motorcycles, usually with me and one of my sisters perched on the back of a couple of the bikes. That was freedom to me, riding along in the gathering dusk, the cool wind tangling my long hair. The songs of the summer insects and the distintive rumble of the motorcycle as it sped down the road invited my soul to soar. 

Father's Day Memories
In fact, I strongly connect motorcycles with my father. He always had one…or two or three…as far back as I can remember. Some of my earliest childhood memories are of sitting as a toddler in front of my young dad on a Harley Davidson as he slowly cruised up and down the street, giving me a ride. Toward the end of his life, Dad favored a yellow Harley Davidson Fat Boy and finally, when he grew more frail, he rode a black Harley trike. 

That motorcycle connection carries sweet significance today. 

After my father passed away, my gracious stepmom invited my sisters and me to pick out shirts of my dad’s to keep. I don’t recall what Linda and Debbie chose, but I took home a shirt that my dad wore shortly before he passed…a Harley Davidson sleeveless tee. 

My dad fought a valiant two year battle with pancreatic cancer. When he drew his final breath he was a shadow of his former self, so the shirt I selected was small in size. I tucked it away in a drawer and never expected to wear it, as I knew it would not fit me. But it was Dad’s. The essence of who he was clung to that shirt like a fragrance. I was grateful to have it. 

Imagine my delight recently, nine months after adopting a plant based lifestyle, to try on the Harley Davidson shirt and discover that it now fit perfectly. It forged a stronger connection with my dad, to be able to wear his shirt. I knew then that when Father’s Day arrived this year, I would wear the sleeveless t shirt in honor of my motorcycle dad. 

And I have worn the shirt today, with a sense of joy and remembrance. With my jeans, black boots and the black t shirt, I look like a biker babe, or at least, a wanna be biker babe. I think I needed a doo rag to pull off the look! I have felt my dad near in spirit, exuding joy himself. Surrounding me throughout the day has been a deep abiding love, as real as the fabric of this shirt we have shared, a father’s compassion for his child…a daughter’s adoration of her father. 

Father's Day Memories
As I drove to my mom and stepdad’s house this afternoon, to join my sister in treating Walter to a father’s day lunch, I scanned the road around me. Since his death, my dad has sent a yellow motorcycle across my path each Father’s Day, as a way to let me know he is near, that death is not the end, that his soul is eternal. 

The street I normally use to get to my mom’s is closed for repairs. I was forced to drive another way. The pavement was wet, and the air cool, after hours of thunderstorms. Would anyone be out on a motorcycle today? As I drove I began to ask, “Where are you Dad? Where is the yellow motorcycle? Where are you?” 

I was almost to the turn off to Mom’s. I kept watching…asking…hoping. Suddenly, over the hill ahead popped a motorcycle, the only one I would see today, roaring toward me and then flying by. 

It was a yellow motorcycle. My iPhone lay forgotten on my lap. I didn’t get a pic. But I laughed and thanked my dad for his timely love note. And I recalled that one of my last memories of my dad involved a motorcycle as well. On his birthday in October of 2010, six and a half months after his death, my father’s ashes were released from the back of a motorcycle as it cruised over the hills of Eureka Springs, AR. Freedom was won for my dad as his soul soared. 

Happy Father’s Day Dad. I am wearing your shirt. I am thinking about you, remembering so many things. I am grateful to be your daughter. I love you! 

Father's Day Memories

Joey’s Birthday Lunch

My grandson Joey turned 11 years old Thursday. I have the tradition of taking each of my grandchildren out for a birthday lunch or dinner and shopping, just the two of us. More correctly, I give each child an allotted amount of money that he or she can spend, or save. It is always their choice. 

Today I had the joy of taking Joey to lunch and out shopping. He chose Lambert’s Cafe, near Springfield, MO, for his celebratory meal. I picked him up mid morning and off we went on an adventure. 

Joey's Birthday Lunch
I was as excited as Joey about going to Lambert’s. I have heard about this restaurant, famous for their tradition of throwing rolls to diners, since I moved to Joplin in the early 1980s. And yet, I have never visited it before. 

I looked up the history of this fun cafe. It was launched in 1942, in Sikeston, MO, when Earl and Agnes Lambert borrowed $1500 to open their own cafe. The original building was small, seating only 41 diners, but the couple immediately established the custom of serving wholesome meals consisting of vegetables, meats and desserts. 

Joey's Birthday Lunch
Their son, Norman, inadvertently began what is now a tradition. Passing out freshly made rolls in the cafe, he couldn’t get to a customer tucked into a corner. “Just throw the #%@$ thing!” the diner called out. They are still tossing out rolls at Lambert’s, these many years later. 

The cafe near Springfield is the company’s second location. It opened in 1994. Lambert’s is still owned and operated by the family. 

Joey's Birthday Lunch
Joey expressed a concern as we drove to Springfield. Lambert’s is so popular that there is always a wait time. What if we had a two hour wait? Joey had plans with his family later in the evening. We had a limited amount of time. This thoughtful boy googled to find other dining options, if we needed to go to Plan B.  

I silently put our desire to eat at Lambert’s out there as a request of the Divine. I asked for a short wait time so Joey could eat at his first choice for his special lunch. As we arrived at 11:30, I wondered though. The parking lots, all three of them, were full. A crowd of people milled about about outside. We decided to park in good faith, in the lot down the hill from the restaurant, and inquire about the wait time. 

I’m so glad we did. In spite of the crowds, we only had a 30 minute wait time for a booth for two. 

Joey's Birthday Lunch
Joey's Birthday Lunch
What a bustling restaurant we walked into with a party like atmosphere! There are three dining areas, that combined, hold a surprisingly large number of people. Just before we were seated, a party of 35 strolled by us. The interior of the cafe is warm and homey, with lots of wood. Colorful flags hang from the ceilings and metal signs and car license plates adorn the walls. 

We ordered our lunches, chicken tenders for Joey, a vegetable plate for me, and enjoyed people watching and chatting as we waited for our food. My water and Joey’s Dr Pepper arrived in huge containers. That was foreshadowing. Everything is done in a big way at Lambert’s. 

Joey's Birthday Lunch
Joey's Birthday Lunch
Not only are the meal portions very generous, the servers also bring around additional sides called “pass arounds”. Offered in an all you can eat manner, the extras consist of black eyed peas, fried potatoes and onions, fried okra, macaroni and tomatoes, and those famous rolls. It is a lot of food! It is good we were hungry. 

At last a server came into our dining room with a large basket full of hot rolls, fresh from the oven. You raise your hand if you want a roll, and prepare to catch it as the bread is thrown. This was great fun to watch, and difficult to capture well in a photo. Watch a brief video of roll throwing HERE.   

Joey's Birthday Lunch
Joey's Birthday Lunch Tossed roll circled in the pic above. Joey caught it!

We had a great lunch. I love that after sitting across from me initially, Joey asked if he could sit by me. He’s growing up, but he doesn’t mind being close. We talked about so many topics today. Joey is a great conversationalist. He’s polite, kind and thoughtful. I see him beginning to govern himself, monitoring his own speech and behavior, as he takes responsibility for his words and actions. Those are definite signs that this young man is leaving childhood behind. The teen years are rapidly approaching. 

Joey is artistic, creative and loves music, video games and technology. Later in the car he showed me birthday presents he received, demonstrating how his new gadgets for his iphone worked. Driving home, we listened to Ed Sheeran through a new mini speaker he got. 

Joey boxed up his leftovers and we left Lambert’s, extremely happy with our lunch. Our waiter even secured a birthday discount for us, in honor of Joey’s special day. I look forward to a return visit. 

And I look forward to many more such outings with Joey. We stopped by Toys R Us and the Battlefield Mall on our way out of town, so Joey could spend his birthday money. He scored with sale items today, making his money go even further. 

I am so proud of this gracious young man. He expressed gratitude for the lunch and the shopping trip and the time spent together. I felt gratitude too. I am grateful for him and for the incredible joy he brings. Happy birthday, Joey! Thank you for picking out such a fun place to eat. And thank you for being you, so delightfully. I love you!

Joey's Birthday Lunch

Fresh Veggies Day

Three things converged to inspire tonight’s creative endeavor: it was hot today, with a heat index this afternoon of 105 degrees, making cooking undesirable; today is Fresh Veggies Day, which is the perfect holiday for one living a plant based lifestyle; and I wanted to try a new healthy honey mustard dressing recipe I found. It was the perfect evening for a fresh, chopped veggie salad for dinner!

Fresh Veggies Day
I loved discovering that this was Fresh Veggies Day. My research didn’t turn up any info about this celebration, other than it is always recognized on June 16. However, it was easy enough to figure out how to celebrate…eat fresh veggies! 

I had already planned on a large chopped salad tonight , due to the warm temps, so what a happy occurrence. For me, the more veggies thrown into the mix, the better. I gathered the vegetables, and the ingredients for a simple, healthy version of Honey Mustard Dressing, from The Bewitchin’ Kitchen on Pinterest. 

Fresh Veggies Day
Fresh Veggies Day
Fresh Veggies Day
The dressing was a cinch to mix up, requiring only four ingredients. I popped the mason jar into the fridge while I chopped veggies for the salad. 

Fresh Veggies Day
The beauty of creating a chopped veggie salad is that any vegetable can be included. I used an assortment of fresh veggies, including celery, kale and spinach (from my garden), red onion, green, red and yellow peppers, banana peppers, carrots, tomatoes, zucchini and cucumber. For protein, I included two cups each of black beans and garbanzo beans. I added coarsely ground sea salt and black pepper, and topped the whole thing with a diced avocado. 

Fresh Veggies Day
This was one delicious meal! And during the summer months, this is my favorite kind of dinner. No cooking (I used canned organic beans), no fuss, very little clean up. I also got to use a vintage cut glass cruet, that once belonged to my Aunt Annie, to hold my chilled Honey Mustard Dressing. 

Both the salad and the dressing were wonderful! The honey mustard dressing was tangy and light and paired perfectly with the colorful chopped veggies. I’ll be making it often. I celebrated Fresh Veggies Day in the best possible way, with a healthy meal full of flavor. 

And I have leftovers! I get to enjoy a chopped veggie salad with honey mustard dressing again tomorrow. 

Product Review: BOOM! Makeup by Cindy Joseph

Today seemed like the perfect time to follow up yesterday’s post about taking care of my skin, with a review of makeup products I have been trying. I’ve been aware of BOOM! by Cindy Joseph for quite some time. Her line of minimal makeup, geared toward women over 50, appealed to me because of the natural ingredients in the products and the simplicity of paring my makeup down to three basics. 

Intrigued after checking out Cindy’s story on her website, I purchased the BOOMSTICK TRIO and received them about 30 days ago. I have had ample opportunity to use the products and can now offer an honest review. 

Product Review: BOOM!
Cindy Joseph began her career as a makeup artist in the late 70s in San Francisco. Even then she believed less was more, and that women shouldn’t be slaves to dozens of cosmetics. As she aged, she became pro-age, rather than anti-aging. At the age of 49 she was spotted by a modeling scout on the streets of New York City. The incident launched her next career as a silver haired model, taking her around the world as she graced the covers of magazines and appeared in ads for major companies. 

As she approached 60, Cindy entered into the cosmetic business herself, introducing a line of products that are rich in natural moisterizers such as olive oil and beeswax. She wanted to produce makeup that was about revealing rather than hiding. Cindy says, “As women age, looking fresh, rather than made up, is the key.”

Product Review: BOOM!              BOOM! founder, Cindy Joseph. 

I embrace Cindy’s philosophies and beliefs about aging. I don’t care to hide my age. I am 59. Rather, I desire to take excellent care of myself by adopting a plant based lifestyle, drinking lots of water, and making sure I move my body every day. I love the simplicity of my health routines, and that includes taking care of my skin and practicing a minimalist attitude toward makeup. 

I thought I would show how easy BOOM! is to use, with a series of candid photos. 

Product Review: BOOM!
Here I am, fresh from the shower, with clean, dry skin and wet hair. 

Product Review: BOOM!
First product on my face is BOOMSTICK GLO, a protective, nourishing and healing moisturizer that is great for face and body, in a handy stick. A little goes a long ways as it glides over my skin. 

Product Review: BOOM!
Product Review: BOOM!BOOMSTICK GLO is perfect for moisturizing lips as well. 

Product Review: BOOM!Wearing BOOMSTICK GLO, which is colorless. 

Product Review: BOOM!

Next is BOOMSTICK COLOR, in sheer berry, that is so fun to use. This is a multipurpose product that goes on the cheeks, forehead, lips, brows, sides of neck…anywhere you want a touch of color. Cindy’s intention was to mimic the beautiful flush a woman gets when she’s joyful…or aroused…or joyfully aroused! 

Product Review: BOOM!

I use BOOMSTICK COLOR on my cheeks and lips, dot across my forehead and trail down my neck, and use on the outer corners of my brows and eyelids. I love the berry color. 

Product Review: BOOM!I can’t help but smile and laugh after applying BOOMSTICK COLOR! At first it looks like I put my makeup on in the dark! It blends in beautifully though, giving a hint of color. 

Product Review: BOOM!              All blended in. 

Product Review: BOOM!

BOOMSTICK GLIMMER goes on last. This pearlescent glimmer is applied on brows, cheekbones, bottom lip, shoulders, collarbones…anywhere you want a bit of shine and highlight. 

Product Review: BOOM!
Product Review: BOOM!I use BOOMSTICK GLIMMER on my inner eyelids and brows, the tops of my cheek bones and the center of my bottom lip. If I am wearing a top that reveals my shoulders or collarbones, I apply a bit of GLIMMER there too. 

Product Review: BOOM!

That’s my typical makeup routine since purchasing the BOOMSTICK TRIO. It takes me less than 10 minutes to apply makeup and be ready to go. I love the ease of application and the wholesomeness of the products. 

The TRIO was a cinch to pack for my recent trip…just three small tubes in their mesh bag instead of a makeup case full of products. And I can easily tote one tube or all three if I’m going to be out all day. 

Product Review: BOOM!
After a month of use, my skin feels exceptionally smooth and soft and fresh. At first I had to get used to having a dewy complexion. I have always used a finishing powder to create a matte finish. Then I realized that by definition, matte means dull and flat. Why would I want a dull face? I choose to glow! 

The compliments I get are about how healthy my skin looks, or that I have a healthy glow, or that I look sun kissed. Most often, I am told, simply, that I look great. What I most appreciate is that no one compliments my makeup. They compliment my skin. Or my healthy look. They aren’t noticing my makeup…they are noticing me, and my skin. To me, that’s the ultimate sign of a great product that enhances, not conceals. 

The BOOMSTICK TRIO sells for $76 and can only be ordered through Cindy’s website HERE. If that seems pricey, remember that these three products have replaced all my makeup and my daytime moisturizer. I still use my own DIY skin serum at night. Individual sticks can be purchased too, for $27 each. 

 I know there are lots of products and cosmetic companies out there. My sweet cousin Pam sells the Younique line, and I am so proud of her for her dedication in building her business. Cindy Joseph’s makeup line works for me. It fits my personality and my belief system and I love how my skin feels and looks, using BOOM! 

So here is the final pic, hair dried and with BOOMSTICK GLO, COLOR, and GLIMMER on. This is an unedtited photo, except that I cropped out some of the background. I turned off the overhead light in the bathroom, when I realized I was getting shadow across my face. I should have caught that earlier. There is natural, filtered sunlight coming in through the bedroom window, highlighting my natural, simple look. 

I love my age. I love my skin. I love my BOOM! 

Product Review: BOOM!

An Introduction to Young Living Essential Oils

Several things converged today to inspire tonight’s creative activity. I was out of my Do It Yourself skin serum. The connection between great health and clear, vibrant skin popped up from multiple sources. Repetition is always a sign to pay attention. And I was recently introduced to Young Living Essential Oils by my long time friend, Marijo. 

My starter kit arrived shortly before I went to Italy and I did not have the opportunity to do much more than open the box. With an empty serum container to fill, it was time to get to know  the oils. 

An Introduction to Young Living Essential Oil

I’ve been using oils in skin care products for years. However, I realized this afternoon, after spending time learning about the Young Living Essential Oils company and their rigorous Seed to Seal policies, that the products I have been using are most likely not pure oils. 

When D. Gary Young brought back 13 essential oils  from Europe in 1985, there was no written information available about usage and application. The oils sold then were perfume grade. Gary began extensive research in the ancient knowledge of using essential oils for healing. 

He has spent many years conducting clinical research on the ability of essential oils to fight disease and improve health and vitality. He has also developed new methods of application. By definition, an essential oil is the aromatic liquid that is extracted from flowers, shrubs, trees, herbs, roots, plants and seeds, primarily  through steam distillation. 

An Introduction to Young Living Essential Oil
I was excited to try out a couple of the oils. I selected Lavender and Frankincense oils from my kit, replacing the lavender and calendula oils I have used previously from another source, and assembled the rest of the simple ingredients. 

Using a small, clean jar, I started with pure coconut oil. The oil was in a semi liquid state already. It liquifies easily and completely when placed in the jar, capped, and held under hot running water from the faucet. I added vitamin E, piercing the ends of two capsules with a toothpick. 

An Introduction to Young Living Essential Oil
An Introduction to Young Living Essential Oil
Next I added 6-8 drops each of Young Living Lavender and Frankincense essential oils. 

According to my Essential Oils Desk Reference book, lavender promotes tissue regeneration and speeds healing. It is antiseptic, antifungal, anti-inflammatory and combats excess sebum, the oily or waxy matter secreted onto the skin. Lavender has other medicinal properties as well. 

Frankincense, which I have never used before, is an ancient oil that has been in use for thousands of years. It is an immuno-stimulant, anti-inflammatory and muscle relaxing, promoting a beautiful complexion. Frankincense also has other medicinal properties. 

An Introduction to Young Living Essential Oil
An Introduction to Young Living Essential Oil
Finally, I added 1/4 teaspoon of raw organic honey. I included honey for the first time when I made my last batch of skin serum and I have loved the results. 

Honey is moisturizing, anti-inflammatory, antifungal and antibacterial. It soothes red, irritated skin. 

My DIY skin serum is chilling in the fridge, to return it to a semi solid state. I use my fingernail to scrape off small amounts to apply to my skin. It melts onto my skin on contact and is readily absorbed. I’m excited to experience an upgraded version of my healthy, chemical and preservative free serum. 

As I thought about making new skin serum this morning, an article by Anthony William, about caring for skin, hair and nails, appeared on my Facebook newsfeed. He stressed the importance of good health in creating clear, radiant skin. Healthy skin starts from the inside. Eliminating toxins and chemicals and additives from my diet, and drinking plenty of water, not only nourishes my body, it promotes glowing skin as well. 

I have been caring deeply for my body for almost a year, creating greater health, and more radiant skin. It is a natural progression to eliminate chemicals and additives from my skin products, even the ones I make myself. And it feels like a natural progression in my healing journey as well to join the Young Living family. 

I’m excited to continue learning about these essential oils and their many health benefits. I’ll be sharing my discoveries as I journey. Join me and we will learn together! 

An Introduction to Young Living Essential OilI’m looking forward to trying Lavender oil in my diffuser tonight. 

Movie Review: King Arthur Legend of the Sword

The trailer for this film caught my attention months ago. From childhood, I have loved the stories of Camelot, of Arthur who became king, and his knights of the round table. I didn’t have an opportunity to see the movie before leaving on my trip. When I returned, I was sure I had missed the latest version of King Arthur. I was delighted to discover the movie was still playing at a local theater. 

Movie Review: King Arthur The Legend of the Sword
King Arthur Legend of the Sword stars Charlie Hunnam, Astrid Berges-Frisbey, Jude Law, Djimon Hounsou, and Eric Bana. This action adventure drama was directed by Guy Ritchie and carries a PG-13 rating for sequences of violence and brief strong language. It has a run time of 2 hours and 6 minutes. 

The story begins with a fierce battle between King Uther Pendragon (Bana) of Camelot and the dark mage, Mordred. King Uther defeats Mordred, using his sword, Excaliber. But the victory is short lived. Uther’s power hungry brother, Vortigern (Law), stages a coup, taking the crown by force. Before his death, King Uther sends his young son away in a boat, to the city of Londinium. 

The boy Arthur is taken in by the women of a brothel. He grows up on the streets, fighting, stealing, hoarding away what money he scrapes together. As a man, Arthur (Hunnam) has learned to survive by his fists and his wits, street smart, with a good heart beneath a tough exterior. 

Movie Review: King Arthur The Legend of the Sword
Although he doesn’t consciously remember who he is, he has troubling dreams that haunt him. Fate intervenes. The sword Excaliber is revealed, embedded in a stone, when the sea inexplicably recedes. No man has been able to free the sword from the stone. Vortigern seeks advice from the sirens in the lake beneath the castle. They tell the dark hearted king that his nephew Arthur lives and he must be destroyed so that the sword can come to Vortigern, increasing his power. 

Young men about Arthur’s age are brought to the kingdom, to try pulling the sword from the stone. Arthur is arrested in Londinium, and brought to the stone. Before a crowd of people, including Vortigern’s henchmen, the Blacklegs, Arthur frees the sword, signifying his right to the throne. 

Movie Review: King Arthur The Legend of the Sword
Vortigern must kill Arthur to obtain the sword, and ultimately, supreme power. Arthur must remember who he is, whether he wants to or not, to be able to wield Excaliber. He is assisted in his journey of remembrance by a female Mage (Berges-Frisbey), sent by Merlin, and King Uther’s former general, Bedevere (Hounsou).

As they prepare to battle Vortigern for the kingdom, the trio assembles a group of common but noble-hearted men who are willing to sacrifice everything to put the rightful heir on the throne. 

Movie Review: King Arthur The Legend of the Sword
I loved this movie! It is the kind of epic adventure, with a hero’s transformative journey at the heart of it, that so inspires me. This is the genre of movie that spoke to me so deeply as a child, and continues to enthrall me. 

And I appreciated the fresh telling of a familiar story. Guy Ritchie, known for his two Sherlock Holmes films, brings his characteristic style to this classic tale. And it works. At least, it did for me! The characters’ clothing has been updated, a slightly modern twist that creates a wonderfully sensual and rugged look. The dialogue is sharp and surprisingly funny at times.

Movie Review: King Arthur The Legend of the Sword
The scenes are beautifully choreographed, whether they are depicting battles or the angst of self discovery, and behind all is an outstanding musical score. Jude Law deliciously portrays the dark and villainous bad uncle. However, this is Charlie Hunnam’s film. He shines as the reluctant young man who should be crowned king. 

I read that King Arthur Legend of the Sword is intended to be the first installment in a six part series. I hope that is true. I can’t wait for more of the Arthurian legends to come to life on the big screen, under Ritchie’s creative direction. 

Movie Review: King Arthur The Legend of the Sword