The Wooden Shoes

During World War II, a young American soldier dozed in Holland. He was exhausted from building bridges to aid the movement of troops, and rebuilding those bridges when they were destroyed.

He stirred from his slumber, awakened by a clip clop sound that drew closer and closer. A woman walked by, wearing wooden clogs. Enchanted, he purchased a small pair of wooden shoes to take home as a gift to his little niece, Patty Jean.

The Wooden Shoes

Young Patty had recently lost her father in a tragic accident. That man was the soldier’s older brother. The soldier, whose name was Lloyd, was determined to get safely home and deliver the clogs to his niece, who always called him Aunt Lloyd, instead of Uncle. He wanted to see her face brighten with a smile, and ease her sadness.

Lloyd did indeed make it home from the war, after serving his country with bravery and honor. And he gave Patty Jean the brightly colored wooden shoes, which she loved.

That little girl was my mother.

The Wooden Shoes Uncle Lloyd, looking handsome in his uniform.

The Wooden Shoes Patty Jean holding the flowers, age four, and her little brother Benny.

I’ve heard the story about my grandfather’s untimely death many times. His truck slid off an icy road and into a pole. He left behind a young wife and three small children. And just as many times, I’ve heard the story of the wooden shoes that “Aunt” Lloyd brought home from Holland.

Those clogs brought great joy to that little girl, during a difficult and confusing time. My mother loved the shoes so much that she cared for them and took them wherever she went. How many moves did those shoes make, long after my mother outgrew them? How many shelves have they rested upon?

My sisters and I wore those shoes when we were little, clip clopping with delight through our childhood home. Our children wore them too, our daughters and our sons, when they were small and visited their grandmother. And when my mother moved for a time, to Mesa, Arizona, the wooden shoes came to live with me.

The Wooden Shoes

The Wooden Shoes

The shoes have always been on display in my home. When my children were still young we followed the Dutch tradition at Christmas time, filling the shoes with tiny wrapped gifts, candy canes, and poinsettia blossoms. The wooden clogs remain a part of my Christmas decor each year. Now I simply light a tea light candle in a red and green ceramic holder and place it near the shoes.

My grandchildren were the next generation to clip clop around the house in the wooden shoes, which are now faded with the passing of time. What joy those shoes still bring. Uncle Lloyd, who is gone, would be thrilled to know that his gift has brightened so many lives.

The Wooden Shoes

In stories, shoes are often imbued with magic. Cinderella left her distressing life behind, thanks to a pair of glass slippers. A little girl named Karen couldn’t stop dancing in her red shoes. And Dorothy discovered at the end of the yellow brick road that her shoes had the power to take her home all along.

My mother’s wooden shoes are magical too. They are enchanted with love…the affection of an uncle for his niece, and the adoration of a little girl, who missed her daddy, and looked up to the man who so reminded her of him.

That love has remained within those clogs for almost 75 years. And every pair of feet that slid into the shoes experienced joy as they clopped around, their hearts surrounded by love as surely as their feet were encased in wood.

What a legacy, Uncle Lloyd, your kindness created. Someday another generation of children will dance in those clogs, and hear the story of the wooden shoes.

The Wooden Shoes

First Visit to Bookhouse Cinema

I was excited to learn that Joplin’s newest theater opened last weekend. Bookhouse Cinema, located at 715 E. Broadway, is an independent theater, showing indie films, documentaries, classics and other non mainstream movies. I have hoped for a long time for just such a theater in Joplin. Late this afternoon I had the privilege of visiting Bookhouse Cinema for the first time.

First Visit to Bookhouse Cinema

Greg accompanied me on this adventure. We selected a 5:15 showing of the film Oh Lucy! and arrived early enough to look around before the movie started.

The beautiful theater room is located in the center of the building. On one side is the lobby where tickets are sold. On the other side is a charming pub where appetizers, meals, drinks and snacks can be purchased.

First Visit to Bookhouse Cinema

The pub was very homey and welcoming with lots of light streaming in through large windows. Bookhouse offers an amazing selection of foods and drinks that can be enjoyed in the pub or carried into the theater. I was delighted to see plant based options available including homemade hummus and beet chips.

Greg and I shared a hummus platter with veggies and specialty crackers. It was fun to carry our platter and tall glasses of lemon/lime water into the theater. The room was very comfortable as were the theater seats.

First Visit to Bookhouse Cinema

First Visit to Bookhouse Cinema

Retro concessions commercials played on the big screen. And I loved when a countdown started. As the number 5 appeared on the screen, a voice announced “Five minutes before showtime!” That immediately took me back to my childhood and watching Saturday matinees in Tulsa.

As the previews began, the double doors on either side of the room were closed, effectively blocking out light and noise as the room darkened. It was showtime!

First Visit to Bookhouse Cinema

Oh Lucy! is a Japanese/American film starring Shinobu Terajima and Josh Hartnett. It was directed by Atsuko Hirayanagi, who wrote the story and created a short film by the same name before producing the feature film. This comedy drama has a run time of 1 hour and 36 minutes.

Setsuko (Terajimo) is stuck in a mundane life, going to work day after day, watching television in her tiny cluttered apartment at night. She is incredibly bored and feels she has missed out on having a husband and a family. Her life changes when she meets John (Hartnett), an American in Tokyo teaching English. His teaching style is friendly and unorthodox. He assigns Setsuko the name Lucy and gives her a blond wig to wear.

First Visit to Bookhouse Cinema

When she is being Lucy, Setsuko feels herself opening up and enjoying new experiences such as hugs. She is shocked, however, when she eagerly shows up for a class, only to discover that John has quit teaching and returned to the United States.

Reluctant to settle back into a routine she hates, Setsuko flies to LA, with her sister, to find John and declare the feelings she realizes she has for him. Oh Lucy! is a heart touching film about a woman’s search for herself that begins as an outward journey and then turns inward.

I so enjoyed Bookhouse Cinema. Films are offered Wednesday through Sunday, with three showtimes every day except Saturday, when there are four. Two to three different films are featured each day. The schedule and list of movies can be found on the Bookhouse Cinema Facebook page. Tickets are $8 and appetizers and meals range from $4 – $10.

If you enjoy indie films and amazing documentaries, charming decor and quality, freshly prepared food, visit Bookhouse Cinema. Welcome them to Joplin, and stop by often, to support this wonderful theater.

First Visit to Bookhouse Cinema

Manga Teen Boy Profile

I made the decision early this morning to get into my manga workbook this evening and continue my sketching lessons. That proved to be a good decision, as I had a busy day. I have a story I want to tell, by way of drawings in a cartoon panel format. Manga is is preparing me for that project.

Manga Teen Boy Profile

This practice has been valuable for me. My skills are increasing. I am much more at ease as I sketch and I’m finding the sessions fun and even relaxing.

Manga Teen Boy Profile

Here is tonight’s lesson.

Manga Teen Boy Profile

In contrast to the teen girl profile, the boy’s features are more angular. The eye is smaller and set back a bit more from the edge of the head.

Manga Teen Boy Profile

I drew guidelines to help me correctly place the eye, nose, lips and ear.

Manga Teen Boy Profile

The jaw is more squared off. The mouth is suggested with a simple line. The lips protrude slightly.

Manga Teen Boy Profile

The eye gets a highlight and definition is added to the ear. The hair flops over the forehead and eye and closely follows the contours of the skull.

I truly am enjoying these creative sessions. I have been able to draw a face looking straight ahead or at a slight angle. Profiles, looking up or looking down were more challenging. These easy to follow lessons are helping me tremendously with perspective and placement.

I was impatient to move to the next section of the workbook, but the additional practice has been great for me. I have a couple more lessons featuring the teen boy and then it’s on to drawing the body. I’m looking forward to sketching a whole person!

Manga Teen Boy Profile

A Cane Without An Owner

In Dickens’ classic story, A Christmas Carol, Scrooge asks the Ghost of Christmas Present about Tiny Tim’s future. “I see a crutch without an owner”, was the grim reply, indicating young Tim would succumb to his crippling illness if things did not change.

I have a cane parked in a corner of my bedroom. Yesterday, as I tidied up my room, I paused to pick up the cane, feeling its weight and running a hand over the smooth wooden surface.

A Cane Without An Owner

When my left leg began to deteriorate in 2015, after years of chronic sciatica and pain, I had to resort to using a cane. It didn’t just aid my walking. I also used the cane when I sat, to support my extended leg. If my knee was bent for long, the joint locked up, requiring half an hour or longer to straighten it.

When my right leg began deteriorating too, I didn’t know what to do. The medical community had given up on me a long time ago. I asked God for help. The next day I read a post by Anthony William, known as the Medical Medium, about how trauma, such as a car accident, can result in an injury that does not heal. My life shifted that day. I found hope and information for healing.

A Cane Without An Owner

My Halloween costume in October 2015. I was a tourist. The cane was a necessity, not a prop.

One week after adopting a plant based lifestyle and following what is called Medical Medium or MM Protocol, I stopped using the cane. I kept going with this new way of living and never looked back, healing the severe sciatica and ending the pain I had lived with for more than 20 years.

I’ve kept the cane as a reminder of the woman I used to be, the one who struggled with pain and poor health. That woman no longer exists, so in that sense, the cane is truly without an owner. I am grateful for healing and the journey that continues.

I also keep the cane nearby because it was made many years ago by Grandpa Moore. He carved the cane from a piece of a Dogwood Tree. Holding the cane yesterday, I wondered about the significance of that. I discovered that Dogwoods are strong, even though their branches twist. The tree symbolizes stability and determination. And because it blooms in the spring, it represents rebirth and new beginnings. Isn’t that amazing? I wish I could ask Grandpa Moore if he knew any of that when he selected this piece of wood.

A Cane Without An Owner

I no longer need the cane, which was once my crutch. When I look at it now I feel gratitude for the stability it offered when walking was difficult for me and for the determination it infused me with to keep going, to never give up.

I feel deep joy for the new beginning that I have had. My life has changed drastically since the day I cried out for help. And I feel such compassion for those who are where I was a short time ago. To those who are suffering poor health or are in pain, I offer hope. And I offer the energy of the Dogwood Tree.

A Cane Without An Owner

Movie Review: I Can Only Imagine

I have long been a fan of the band, MercyMe. I own several of their CDs and one of my favorite songs of theirs, called Beautiful, is on my iPhone. I listen to it any time I need a reminder about my worth. I also love the song that launched this group…I Can Only Imagine. Like many other people, I listened to it on repeat when it released in 1999.

I love too that a film released recently that tells the story behind the song, listed as the best selling Christian single of all time. I attended a matinee showing yesterday, with my mom and sister Linda.

Movie Review I Can Only Imagine

I Can Only Imagine stars Dennis Quaid, J. Michael Finley, Brody Rose, Trace Adkins, Madeline Carroll and Cloris Leachman. This family drama based on a true story, directed by Jon and Andrew Erwin, is rated PG for some adult themes, including abuse, and has a run time of 1 hour and 50 minutes.

Young Bart Millard (Rose) may be just a kid who rides his bike and likes to make things from scraps, but he’s already had to learn to cope with difficult things. Life is hard at home, and it becomes even harder after his mom leaves while Bart is away at camp. Bart’s dad, Arthur (Quaid) is an alcoholic who is bitter and angry about the way his own life has unfolded. The career he hoped for in football never materialized. He expresses his frustration by being verbally and physically abusive to his wife and young son.

Movie Review I Can Only Imagine

Bart finds solace in music, drowning out the world by popping on headphones and listening to his favorite cassettes. As a youth, Bart (Finley) attempts to please his father by playing football. But when an injury ends his chances of playing, Bart turns to the high school glee club as an elective class.

His disappointed father sees another football career disappear before it even started, sending him into fits of rage. The only support Bart receives is from his girlfriend Shannon (Carroll) and his Memaw (Leachman).

Bart’s life shifts when his music teacher discovers he can sing. He performs the lead in the school musical and begins to sing regularly at church. As soon as he graduates, Bart leaves home, anxious to be as far from his abusive father as possible.

Movie Review I Can Only Imagine

When he meets some young men looking for a lead singer, Bart joins the group, and even comes up with the name for the new band…MercyMe. Memaw inspired the band’s name. When Bart told her he was joining a band she exclaimed, “Mercy me, get a real job!”

The group travels across the US in a renovated bus, playing any gigs they can get. Life on the road is hard, but the guys work on putting together their own unique sound and catching a break. An opportunity for bigger venues comes when a talent agent, Scott Brickell (Adkins) listens to a performance and offers his help. He encourages the band to find their song by finding their soul.

Movie Review I Can Only Imagine

But the record labels that come to the Nashville show aren’t impressed enough. They see potential but feel the group still has work to do. Bart considers quitting on his dream. He feels he has failed, just as his father predicted he would.

Brickell very wisely sees that the relationship between Bart and his father is preventing the singer/song writer from finding his true voice. Bart makes the difficult decision to return home and settle things with his dad.

Movie Review I Can Only Imagine

Arthur is a changed man, and a dying man. Diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer, Arthur asks for forgiveness from his son. Everything that Bart has done before pales in comparison to giving his dad what he requests. Arthur has been reading a Bible, and working on the shabby house. He knows his time is short. Is there time enough to heal the relationship with his son and find peace before he dies? And is Bart willing to forgive?

This was an excellent film. I like movies based on true stories, and I always appreciate learning the story behind a song. At its core, this is a story about forgiveness and redemption and restoration. It teaches that amazing gifts flow from a healed heart, a whole heart, gifts such as the song I Can Only Imagine. Bart was inspired by his father, and words that Memaw spoke at the funeral, when he wrote the lyrics in ten minutes.

If you’ve always wondered how the song came about, or if you want to watch a family oriented movie that features redemption and restoration, catch I Can Only Imagine at the theater. You will be inspired.

Listen to the song HERE

Movie Review I Can Only Imagine

This Is What’s Important

This brief Sunday post could qualify as a follow up to Friday’s, on following my heart. This part 2 presents thoughts around an Iain Thomas quote that focuses on how crucial it is to protect what’s important to the heart.

This Is What’s Important

I can feel the deep truth of this quote. Isn’t there always something vying urgently for our attention and calling out for our assistance? There are many important issues in the world, alarming news headlines grabbing for us from social media and so many people, causes and programs that need help. Energetically, there are flashing arrows pointing at all of them, saying…this is important!

And don’t even start thinking about things to worry about!

Unless we choose what to devote our time and attention to, we can easily get overwhelmed. I have often overcommitted my time to projects that are indeed important, but not in alignment with my heart’s desires. The result is burn out on my part or an eventual disconnect and pulling back from what seemed important but was in reality someone else’s cause or desire.

I love Iain’s words that create the image of yanking back my hand and placing it over my heart as I say no, this is what’s important. My heart’s desires guide me in the direction I need to go, direct me in which interests to pursue and what to focus my energy on.

It helps to keep a mental or physical list of what’s important, what my heart’s desires are, such as the list I shared Friday. I can weigh what others say is important for me to do against what my heart says. When there is alignment, I can choose to devote time, money, or energy to that which calls for my attention. When there’s not, I can touch my chest over my heart and more easily say, no…this is what’s important. This is what matters to me.

I love protecting my heart in this way.

This Is What’s Important

Movie Review: Rampage

My sister Linda and I made use of our Movie Pass cards to take in the new release Rampage this afternoon. This action flick, loosely based on an arcade game by the same name, promised fun entertainment on a cold spring day. We were not disappointed.

Movie Review Rampage

Rampage stars Dwayne Johnson, Naomie Harris, Jeffery Dean Morgan, Malin Ackerman and Jake Lacy. Directed by Brad Peyton, this sci-fi adventure is rated PG-13 for intense action sequences, violence, mild language and a few crude hand gestures…by a giant gorilla! The film has a run time of 1 hour and 46 minutes.

Davis Okoye (Johnson) is a primatologist working with primates in an animal park. He feels a much deeper connection to animals than he does to humans, preferring to spend his time with an albino gorilla named George (body work done by Jason Liles), that he rescued from poachers. Davis raised George. They learned to communicate by way of sign language.

When an illegal gene editing experiment goes wrong in space, the orbiting lab and escape pod explodes, sending canisters crashing to the earth like meteorites. One lands in the primate habitat. The pathogens within the canister escape, contaminating George, causing his body to grow rapidly. He also shows strong aggression and has the ability to heal injuries quickly.

Movie Review Rampage

George is not the only animal affected. In Montana a wolf grows to 30 feet in length, while in the Florida Everglades an alligator is transformed as well.

These mutations are the result of the secretive genetic work of brother and sister team Claire (Ackerman) and Brett Wyden (Lacy). With their test results destroyed in space, they need info collected from the monstrous animals. They beam out a signal that irritates the beasts, drawing them to their city of Chicago.

As the animals move toward that city, Davis teams up with research geneticist Dr. Kate Caldwell (Harris), a former employee of the Wydens. She doesn’t know how to stop the creatures but she was working on an antidote in the lab in Chicago, before she was fired.

The pair is aided by a government agent, Harvey Russell (Morgan), whose original assignment was to “put out this fire”. He quickly realizes standard procedures won’t work and frees Davis and Dr. Caldwell to fly to Chicago in a military chopper to stop the rampage.Movie Review Rampage

And a rampage it has become. The three beasts converge on the city, driven to rage by the radio signal audible only to them. As they lay waste to downtown Chicago, Davis must make difficult decisions about his primate friend, George.

This monster movie was a wild romp. There weren’t any deeper messages or ahas during the film, although the underlying themes were friendship and loyalty. However, it was a fun action packed movie to watch and enjoy. There were funny scenes and even a few touching scenes. But there was no mistaking the intent of this video game made into a movie. It was all about nature running amok and destroying everything in its path.

The muscular Dwayne Johnson excels in the disaster genre and Jeffrey Dean Morgan is always a joy to watch. The real star of Rampage, though, is George. The CGI work keeps getting better and better in the film industry. I ended up caring about that big gorilla who was an innocent victim of unlawful and unnatural experiments.

My intention was to preview this film for my grandkids, who have expressed an interest in seeing it. For the most part, the violent scenes cut away just before blood and gore are shown. And strong language gets muffled out somewhat. My grandkids would laugh in all the right places and fall in love with George. They would find his occasional rude hand gestures hilarious.

I enjoyed this movie. It reminded me of the many many monster movies I watched as a kid…Godzilla and Mothra and King Kong, swamp monsters and werewolves and a plethora of gigantic creatures. These stories are so far beyond what is possible that they can be appreciated for what they are…entertainment. And I was entertained.

Movie Review Rampage

Following My Heart

I’m getting a very late start on tonight’s blog post, due to a full day. I appreciate the discipline I’ve built the last four plus years. Without it, these long days could crowd out one of the deepest desires of my heart…to write, every day.

I’m grateful too for the free writing that I do every morning. Thoughts flow and become words. Energy moves and clarity comes as my gel pen skims across the page, exploring truths, asking questions, getting answers. This post was born from one of my morning pages.

Following My Heart

A verse from the Bible that I return to again and again is this one: Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

My heart is so FULL of desires. And the one I most share those hopes and longings with is God, whom I call El-le. As I write in the mornings I often pour out my heart to El-le, as a form of prayer or conversation, and most definitely as a way of sharing my soul.

A couple of days ago, I wrote this about the desires of my heart.

El-le, I have such deep and strong desires. Even at age 60, there is so much still that I want to do. I’ll list them. Guide me in following my heart and making a difference in these areas…

* Continue to live a plant based lifestyle that promotes healthy eating, cruelty free existence for animals, and offers training and encouragement to others so that they can thrive at their optimal level of health and well being.

* Wherever I am, whatever I am doing, let me be the soul of that place.

* May I continue to develop my writing skills, offer great content and grow my blog audiences. I desire to be able to write and blog from anywhere in the world, providing income and freeing me to travel.

* I want to travel…to places I’ve never seen, to destinations that I love. I long to experience new places, cultures, food, and people and hear their stories. I want to be able to send my kids on trips and take my grandchildren on adventures, exposing them to a broader and bigger viewpoint. I want to do good wherever I travel, inspire others and leave people smiling.

* Have meaningful relationships with family members and friends. I long for connection, deep conversations, shared interests and people to learn and grow with while finding joy in the journeys.

El-le I am open to everything and attached to nothing. Surprise me, call to me, stir my heart, open doors, close doors, nudge me, whisper to me. I AM SO GRATEFUL! Thank you for all that you ignite within me. My heart overflows with love.

That is a peek into a very personal conversation. And yet, it’s what came to mind several times as I asked what story shall I tell?

The desires of my heart offer direction and point toward my destiny. They give me clues about who I am and what I am meant to do. I am never given a desire that is beyond what I am capable of doing. They create the fire that burns within, fueling my journey. The desires of your heart do the same.

To paraphrase Leon Brown, a major league baseball player in the 60s…

I betray my true self when I do not follow my heart’s desires, for what my heart is attracted to is my destiny.

Lead on Heart. I am following…

Following My Heart

Mama Goes High Tech

I got in late tonight, after spending the evening with my mother and sister, Linda. The three of us had dinner together, however the purpose of the evening wasn’t just family interaction. My mom, who, without mentioning a specific age, is the mother of a 60 year old, decided she wanted to buy an iPad. Linda and I had a blast accompanying Mom on her quest.

Mama Goes High Tech

My sisters and I have been talking to Mom about getting a smart phone. But no…she is content with her flip phone. It makes perfectly acceptable phone calls. It’s awkward for texting though, and she realized she is missing out on some fun apps. She has a computer, and she does very well with it. But she’s confined to her office while using Facebook, checking email or searching the web.

Having an iPad gives her the freedom to browse or post on Facebook or find recipes on Pinterest from the comfort of her living room or back patio. Plus, she has expressed interest in other social media sites such as Instagram, which work better on a mobile device.

We found a great deal on an iPad at Target, thanks to a helpful young man named Daniel. And just like that, my adventurous Mom became the owner of a new tech device.

Mama Goes High Tech

Linda and I both own iPhones so we are very familiar with the iPad format. We coached Mom along and let her learn by doing as she set up her Apple account and downloaded her first app…Facebook. She got the hang of the touchscreen and the keyboard quickly.

I’m very proud of my mom. She is a strong and independent woman who raised strong and independent daughters. She’s been her own boss through out much of her adult life, owning and operating diverse businesses from restaurants to video rental stores. She’s a published author, an artist and an avid traveler, unafraid of new experiences. In fact, she thrives on doing new things.

According to a recent study, scientists discovered that learning new technology can be beneficial to older adults. The American Association of Retired Persons has reported that seniors who keep up to date with the internet can create a positive impact on key areas of life, including:

• personal fulfillment

• health preservation

• social connectedness

• functional capability

• caregiver support

Researchers have explored how playing a video or online game does more than entertain. They found that teaching older adults how to play online activities can boost the brain, increase cognitive longevity, improve memory and expand attention.

I’m looking forward to seeing what games and apps Mom downloads on her iPad and what creative endeavors she undertakes thanks to this new device. And while she is playing and reading about the world and connecting with family and discovering photo editing, she is staying sharp and creating new pathways in that brilliant brain of hers. I love her desire to learn. And always, if she has a question, she can call or shoot one of us a text!

My stepdad, who is 11 years older than my mom, doesn’t want to be left out. We are taking him shopping for an iPad Saturday.

Mama Goes High Tech

Winter’s Continuing Lullaby

A month ago I shared a post about waking the garden up. On that day, after a cold and dreary February, it was promising to see signs of life stirring in that barren space as I prepared the garden for spring. However, standing in the garden today, I could see very little change from 30 days ago. In spite of the supposed arrival of spring, winter continues to pop by, crooning lullabies to my garden so that it slumbers still.

With temperatures that have periodically dropped into the low twenties, and bouts of ice, sleet and snow, not only has the garden barely stirred, I’ve lost plants. All the flowers I tucked into pots three weeks ago fell casualty to icy conditions and sub freezing temps on Easter Sunday, even though they were on a covered porch. With below freezing nights in the forecast for this weekend, I dare not plant anything. Winter, it seems, is reluctant to move on.

Winter’s Continuing Lullaby

The warmer temperatures this afternoon had me in the garden. But other than more tidying up and a bit of weeding there was not much that I could do, with the threat of freezing temps ahead. Walking around, inspecting the garden, I couldn’t help but note the lack of growth. I thought last year spring was slow to escape winter’s grip. This year, spring seems locked still in a tight cold embrace.

I thought the garden looked forlorn. Then I realized perhaps it was me feeling forlorn because of the condition of my backyard paradise. And that wouldn’t do. Gardening is about trust and faith. I needed to do the tasks I could and allow the garden to be exactly as it, trusting the cold spells will come to an end exactly when they are supposed to. As a result of this mental shift, I began to find gifts from the garden, little reminders that all is as it should be.

Winter’s Continuing Lullaby

Creeping phlox and creeping jenny greeted me near the garden gate, the first plants to show signs of being fully awake. These phlox plants were transplants from Leta Moore’s garden. Although she has been gone for 19 years, these hardy plants continued to thrive in her front yard garden with little care. I am grateful for their perseverance.

Winter’s Continuing Lullaby

As I turned soil in the raised vegetable garden bed, I discovered kale growing! How amazing, as I scattered these seeds early last summer. Not only was this little plant incredibly encouraging, it reminded me that there are vegetables that do very well in cooler temperatures. I may not be able to do all the planting that I am longing to do, but I can start lettuce, beets, cilantro and onions for an early harvest. That will satisfy the desire I have to get plants into the ground.

Winter’s Continuing Lullaby

Winter’s Continuing Lullaby

In the herb garden, the thyme, which stays green all winter, was flourishing. Tender shoots of lemon balm, while way behind their normal spring growth, were putting on more leaves. I took these hopeful signs as an invitation to create fresh thyme/lemon balm tea. I’ve used dried herbs during the winter, so what a treat to steep freshly picked leaves. I carried a bowl of fruit and avocado slices into the garden, along with my steaming cup, creating a spur of the moment afternoon tea.

Winter’s Continuing Lullaby

Winter’s Continuing Lullaby

Sitting there, sipping tea, I felt peace. The impatience I felt earlier to get going in the garden was replaced with acceptance of what was. To argue against reality creates stress. I did not create this garden to cause stress. This is my gym and my meditation center, where I ground myself and free my spirit. It’s where I can lose myself and find myself at the same time. My garden is my sanctuary.

The most precious gift that I found this afternoon, beyond peace and acceptance, caught my eye as I pulled weeds. A solitary grey feather lay upright in the grass nearby, as if growing from the earth. The feather quill is my symbol for 2018. Finding a feather carries great significance for me. I picked it up with care, marveling at its beauty. It felt like a sacred moment.

Feathers are a sign from spirit. And the color of the feather brings with it a message. When a grey feather is found, it signifies peace and faith, and promises that all is well. I took a deep, cleansing breath and smiled as I surveyed my sleepy garden. Indeed. All is well.

Winter’s Continuing Lullaby