Journey 59: 2 Friends & Junk Show – Joplin

2 friends and junk 3

After a day of resting and recovering from a stomach virus, I felt better this morning, and ready to enjoy the 2 Friends & Junk show in Joplin. Elissa, Adriel, Nate Pugh and Greg braved the falling snow and cold temps to walk the aisles too, looking for treasures.

In fact, MANY people showed up today at the John Q Hammons convention center, in spite of the wintry weather. This is the 4th time in Joplin for this fun event and a little snow wasn’t going to stop any of us from browsing and shopping. After we all gathered near the front, my daughters took the lead and off we went. Booths were filled with an eclectic and interesting mix of vintage products, antiques, recycled and repurposed items, crafts and well….junk.

2 friends and junk 2

The girls and I each had a mental list of things we were looking for. I originally wanted a hutch for my kitchen and because of the weather, decided to hit up flea markets later on. It wasn’t appropriate weather for transporting big pieces of furniture in the back of Greg’s truck. However, smaller items on my wish list, such as metal containers for my garden, were easily toted home in the car.

It was fun to look at everything and chat as we browsed. There were so many things to see, great repurposed items that inspired, and unexpected treasures to uncover. We all ran into people we knew and it was great to visit with friends. I also enjoyed seeing vendors from previous shows and meeting new ones, and seeing some favorite local shops represented as well.

2 friends and junk

The girls selected some great items to purchase. I found lots of items that I liked and yet passed up. And several items that I couldn’t leave without. I picked up a couple of metal buckets to add to my metal collection in the backyard. And thanks to Elissa’s sharp eyes, I walked out with a wonderful old metal box, with chippy red paint. I am envisioning this great container in the backyard with the lid propped open, planted with cheerful impatiens spilling over the edges. It will be so cute!

2 friends and junk 4

I also found a surprise, a ceramic acorn. It was tucked away in a box of miscellaneous goodies. I love how this sub-symbol of my year keeps showing up in unexpected places and in unexpected ways. And from Studio Bliss I found an antique looking bracelet chain for my door charm. My sister Debbie and niece Ashley gave it to me. I can’t wait to wear it. I’m looking now for a small charm with the word JOURNEY on it to add to the bracelet. I know I’ll find it, at exactly the right time.

The girls and I left the show, happy with our finds. The guys carried our treasures. We decided to visit local flea markets soon, as we are inspired now to see what else we can uncover and create with. We all made it safely home where we can wait out the wintry precipitation in cozy comfort. Let it snow!

2 friends and junk acorn

2 friends and junk chain for door charm

Journey 58: Aubrey SOARs

Aubrey soars

I’ve been under the weather the past couple of days. But this morning there was no way I was missing a special assembly at granddaughter Aubrey’s school. This bright eyed, joyful child was honored with other selected kindergarteners and first and second graders in receiving the SOAR Award. Parents and grandparents were encouraged to attend. I was there, along with Greg, Aubrey’s mom and dad, and her Nana Beth and Papa Tom.

Aubrey soars with nana beth and papa tom

 Aubrey with Nana Beth and Papa Tom

Each month, at Aubrey’s school, four children from each class are selected as  SOAR honorees. The children selected have demonstrated one of four life skills: Show respect, Observe safety, Accept responsibility, Resolve conflict…S.O.A.R. Aubrey was selected from her kindergarten class for demonstrating the skill of resolving conflicts.

I was so proud of her! Aubrey is a very intuitive, thoughtful child. She genuinely cares about other kids and adults and speaks to people of all ages with kindness and interest. Yesterday, I picked her up from school. She said she was hungry…and asked if we could go to Golden Corral so she could have shrimp! I didn’t mind at all. Golden Corral has their lunch buffet until 4:00 and children eat at a great low price. Being conscious of eating whole foods and not feeling much like eating anyway, I primarily sipped on unsweet tea and engaged in fun, lively chats with Aubrey. Our server was friendly and attentive and kept up an ongoing conversation with Aubrey whenever she walked near. As we were preparing to leave, Aubrey whispered to me, “Isn’t she so nice and helpful?  Yaya, leave some money on the table.” I had intended to leave a tip, yet I loved that Aubrey saw the kindness in the server, recognized that she was working hard, and wanted to honor that cheerful service with a tip. I let her help me leave the money on the table.

Aubrey soars with mom

Aubrey with her mom

Today I sat in the auditorium and gave Aubrey a small wave as she smiled a bit nervously from the doorway. All the honorees were gathered there while the rest of the children were being seated on the floor in the large room. Aubrey has only recently begun to express shyness when she is the center of attention in a large group. I don’t want to push her to do anything she doesn’t want to do, and yet I do want to lovingly and warmly encourage her to continue to step up as the unique person that she is. It’s okay if she feels nervous or a bit shy. We all do at times. What I love is how Aubrey is learning to move past that nervousness. At the right time, she ran into the room with her three classmates, smiling broadly. We cheered and applauded as each child was introduced and handed his or her certificate.

Aubrey soars with dad

Aubrey with her dad

This was a first today, watching Aubrey receive recognition in a school assembly. Whether there are other such times or not, I know this is just the beginning of this little lady’s amazing journey. She is an instinctive and empathic nurturer of people, and resolving conflicts and helping others will come naturally to her. Soar Aubrey, soar. There is a big world and unlimited blue skies awaiting you.

Aubrey soars with papa and yaya

Aubrey with Papa and Yaya

Journey 57: Boyhood


First up, in the best picture nominated movies, after The Grand Budapest Hotel, which I watched pre-Oscars and already blogged about….Boyhood. I had not even heard of this film until its nomination. The primary piece of information that I picked up was that the same actors were filmed over 12 years to create this coming of age epic. That in itself is an extraordinary cinematic accomplishment. However, that being said, I wasn’t sure if I would like this film. I decided to view this movie first, and get it out of the way!

Boyhood stars Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke, Ellar Coltrane, and Lorelei Linklater. It was written and directed by Richard Linklater. This drama is rated R, for language and scenes with teen drinking and drug use, and has a run time of 2 hours and 44 minutes. Boyhood was nominated for six Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor for Hawke, Best Supporting Actress for Arquette, Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Editing. Arquette picked up the only win.

Filmed over 12 years, Boyhood follows Mason (Coltrane) as he grows up, from early childhood to the beginning of his freshman year in college. Not only do we watch Mason mature, but we watch his older sister Samantha (Linklater) grow up too and observe the changes in life for his divorced parents, Mason Sr. (Hawke) and Olivia (Arquette). In many ways, Mason is a typical boy, oft times plagued by his sister, wishing his parents would reconcile, more interested in video games than school.

As he matures, his intelligence and curiosity about life emerges. He’s just not that into school and sports. He does discover that he loves photography and has a gift for creating art. Not only does Mason mature, going through rites of passage, disappointments and the excitement of first love, his sister and parents journey through life with struggles and triumphs of their own. Boyhood is a poignant look at how a family interacts, supports and sometimes undermines each other as they journey.

I was a little concerned when I read the run time for this film. Granted, capturing 12 years of life for a film would translate into a lengthy movie, however, I wondered if there would be enough of a storyline to capture my interest once the novelty wore off of watching the actors actually age up with their characters. And, that was fascinating, to see each person age, sometimes  from one scene to another, rather than bringing in different actors for each age progression or using prosthetics and make up to achieve the aging affect. What a novel idea and monumental undertaking by Richard Linklater!

The story moves a bit slowly, early on, although I found my heart touched by Mason and Samantha, who were impacted greatly as their young mom and dad each struggled with life while attempting to parent well. The dad dreamed of being a singer and song writer and had a hard time holding on to a job. He loved his kids though, and made the supreme effort to be with them every weekend. The mom moved through a series of relationships while she continued her higher education, seeking a better life for herself and her children. As the movie progressed, the story got better and better.

I enjoyed watching the transformation of all four of the major characters. The dad settled down, giving up on his music aspirations to sell insurance, marry again and father another child. The mom finally came into a greater awareness, freeing herself from one bad marriage after another, focusing on her life as her children headed off to college. There was sadness in her as her youngest, her son, leaves for college. “I thought there would be more,” she sobs, referring, I believe, to how quickly the years passed and her longing for a bigger life.  The sister, Samantha, blazed a trail for her brother, moving away first from home to attend college, the bond between the siblings forged through all the years of looking out for each other.

And Mason, as he grew up, captured my attention most of all. I loved his questioning mind, his different view of the world, his lack of concern for what other people thought of him. He allowed his perceptions to become a way of creating art, and a way of life. There was such soulfulness in his eyes that others sometimes mistook for melancholy. At the end of the movie, as Mason sits with a new girl friend in the beautiful canyons of Texas, they discuss the phrase “seize the moment”. Perhaps, they conclude, it is really the moments that seize us, for this moment is all we have.

Boyhood was a powerful movie with an intriguing format and a great cast that committed to a lengthy project to tell a compelling story. Rather than being relieved that I’ve crossed it off my list, I am thoughtful tonight as I head to bed. I like it when a movie stays with me and makes me think.

Boyhood Mason ages up

Ellar Coltrane as he aged up portraying Mason.

Journey 56: Whole30 Program

whole 30 doing it

As I was contemplating my journey today, I was NOT going to write about the fact that I began this program this morning. In fact, I cast about through several other options before deciding that this is exactly what I wanted to share today. I spent time examining the reluctance to blog about the whole food eating program. I had to work through a sense of failure that I have allowed my eating habits to slide back into a non-healthy pattern. Again.

My daughter Elissa shared this program with me and we went grocery shopping together at least 10 days ago. She began the program right away. I delayed. I had two birthday parties to attend. I had a scone mix to try. Excuses, excuses. Ironically, what shifted me into acceptance mode, both of myself and the desire to eat healthier again, was reading one of my own blog posts! Yesterday, while working on other things, I came across Journey 6: Ascend Toward Stubborn Gladness. I read it….read it twice. And was struck by this part of the blog, where I wrote about Liz after she met the man who is now her husband:

Liz says she asked herself, “How did I win this life?” A very wise friend of hers told her she blossomed into the type of woman, the sort of person, who attracted this type of man to her. After her divorce, during her year spent in Italy, India and Indonesia, Liz grew, and shifted, and released the past and cared for herself in such a way that she drew another to her that was aligned with the woman she had become. That part of the video brought tears to my eyes. That’s what the journey, what MY journey is about….becoming the best version of myself…and drawing like hearted, like minded people to me to share the journey. This is NOT a formula for attracting a mate, although soul mates are not excluded. It is a recipe for life. A way of living. A shift that enables a view of oneself that is so rich, so loving, so nurturing that those who appear in our lives are those who are able to sustain themselves in the same way. The journey that is then shared is magical, supportive, encouraging, without neediness or a tendency to look to others for happiness. Those truths resonated deep within me as my soul whispered Yes….I want that for my own journey. I want to care for myself and nurture my growth in such a way that those who journey most closely with me are drawn because they too are experiencing a similar walk.

I wrote that, however, it was so good for me to remember that I want to care for myself like that and nurture my growth. In slipping back into an unhealthy eating pattern, I am not taking care of myself in the best possible way. I know that I don’t feel my best when I consume sugar, white flour, and dairy products. Jeopardizing my optimal health for foods that create cravings and addictions  and make me feel sick doesn’t make sense! I know also that at the heart of this self sabotage are issues that I want to uncover and address. How amazing that my journey has brought this opportunity to me. To encourage myself and remember, I am reading the Journey 6 blog post every day. You can re-read the post here if you’d like.

whole 30 no

And so, here is the Whole30 Program, which is very similar to the healthy eating program I adopted last year, with great results. Basically, sugar, grains, dairy and legumes are eliminated from the diet for 30 days, replacing those foods with whole foods. The emphasis is on healthy proteins, then vegetables, some fruits, and healthy fats. That’s it. Not difficult. And shopping is a breeze. I stay on the perimeter of the grocery store,  only moving to the interior to pick up nuts and frozen veggies. According to the program, one should only weigh at the start of the program and at the end of the 30 days. Numbers on the scale are not the goal. Feeling good is the goal. Making healthy choices is the goal. Looking deeply within myself to learn new things is the goal.

You can check out the Whole30 website here. I’ll post again at the end of 30 days. Here’s to great health…yours and mine!

Whole30 Website

whole 30 change your life

Journey 55: The Maze Runner

maze runner

Post Academy Awards, my new tradition is to watch each of the best picture nominated films. Among the eight top movies this year, I have only previously seen The Grand Budapest Hotel. It is a delightful, quirky, visually appealing movie. I watched this fun film last year for the first time, and watched it again yesterday. My review that I did last year for the movie is here.

Tonight, I viewed The Maze Runner and decided to post about it, before beginning the series of Oscar contenders. This sci-fi adventure film stars Dylan O’Brien, Aml Ameen, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Will Poulter, Ki Hong Lee and Kaya Scodelario. It was directed by Wes Ball and is based on the book by the same name, written by James Dashner. The PG-13 rating is for intense action and  the movie has a run time of 1 hour and 53 minutes.

Thomas (O’Brien) regains consciousness as he is rising in an elevator, with no memory of who he is or where he has come from. He emerges into a space called The Glade, surrounded by a circle of young men. They too arrived in this place in the same way, without memory. The only knowledge they regain are their names. Thomas runs, in a panic, until he realizes there is no where to go. Spinning in a circle, he sees a very tall wall enclosing The Glade.

The leader of the community, Alby (Ameen) shows Thomas around and explains that this is now home. They survive by working together, each boy assigned a role in the community. The elevator brings fresh supplies and a new boy each month. They have learned to thrive by creating and living by rules. Two runners emerge through an opening in the wall, just as the doors begin to close. Alby explains that they are maze runners whose purpose is to explore the surrounding maze by day, seeking a way out. They must return to The Glade by nightfall, or they will die in the maze, hunted down by mechanical scorpion-like creatures known as Grievers. The runners have been exploring the maze for years, and have not found a way out, partly due to the fact that the maze reconfigures each night.

Thomas is a Greenie (newcomer), but he is curious, questioning, unwilling to accept that life must now be so constrained. He meets second in command, Newt (Brodie-Sangster), and the rule enforcer, Gally (Poulter). Gally and Thomas clash immediately, for it seems that everything is changing since Thomas’ arrival. A runner is attacked during the day. Alby is stung also, and rescued by Thomas, who breaks a rule and goes into the maze after him. A girl shows up by way of the elevator and she seems to know Thomas. Teresa (Scodelario)  brings an antidote to the Griever sting and Alby survives, with some memory returning. He remembers Thomas. But before much info can be shared, it is discovered that the door to the maze did not close when darkness fell, as it should have. Grievers burst into The Glade, dragging boys away. It seems to be a punishment for Thomas’ transgressions.

Gally wants to banish Thomas, however the lead runner, Minho (Lee), had taken Thomas with him into the maze and they discovered a door that opened with a mechanical key that was recovered from a dead Griever.  Knowing they must leave The Glade, before twilight brings the Grievers back, Thomas and a band of Gladers, including the girl Teresa, head into the maze, against the wishes of Gally, who has become the new leader. The band is determined to find the door and a way out, or die trying.

Wow. This was a good movie, intense, powerful, edgy, gritty. There was keen suspense as I tried to figure out what was going on, one step ahead of the unfolding of the story. I literally found myself leaning in toward the TV screen, in fascination, and away from it, alternatively, during intense sequences.

I experienced this movie, viscerally, like a punch in the gut. The high enclosure, the rules, the fear. I’ve lived in a box like that, afraid to break the rules, thinking that abiding by the rules ensured security, swapping safety for freedom. That was the most intense part of the movie for me…I recognized the feeling of being trapped. Gally, the bully-like enforcer of the rules, personifies fear. He chooses life in a box, and perceived safety, over taking the risk of going beyond what he knows, even if it means freedom. Change was seen as a threat, rather than a pathway to a bigger life.

This was a well done film, albeit one without a conclusion. The ending raised more questions than it answered, setting the stage for the next movie in the trilogy. Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials releases in theaters later this year. I’m looking forward to it, so much so that I’ll be seeing the next installment at the theater!

maze runner 2

Journey 54: Helping Hand


A very brief post tonight to share that often the journey has unexpected twists and turns. There are usually opportunities to learn and grow with these surprises.

When an emergency arose late this afternoon for someone else, I’m glad she contacted me to say “help, please”. While this person, who already has a lot on her plate, took an injured family member to the ER, I had the joy of being with a couple of cute kids. We played and watched Mickey Mouse and I helped with snacks, homework and the bedtime routine.

I checked often on precious sleeping children, and received encouraging updates from the hospital. In the quiet that settled around me after the kids fell asleep, I decided, this is life. This is journeying alongside another and offering into the lives of others. Many have done so for me during my lifetime.

Mother Teresa says if you can’t feed 100 people then just feed one. To adapt that, I’d say…if I can’t help 100 people today then just help one…or maybe three or four. For this day, it is exactly enough.

Journey 53: 87th Academy Awards

Academy Awards 2015

Tonight was Oscar night! It has been a long held tradition, in my life, to watch this annual event. Movies have played such a vital role in my life.  So much more than a form of entertainment for me , I learn from watching films, often viewing a movie multiple times, receiving life lessons, wisdom, and inspiration from the stories as they unfold.

I know the Academy Awards Show is not everyone’s “thing”. That’s ok. It is MY thing. My family knows that and allows me the time and space to fully enjoy this special event. For me, it is an opportunity to watch gifted people celebrate each other and their passions, and be recognized for their gifts. Actors, actresses, writers, artists, musicians, directors….and so many other creative souls…join together to bring a story to life. I am encouraged to pursue and share my gifts, watching these people from around the world acknowledge and share theirs. It is a very powerful experience, hearing their stories, seeing their tears, knowing these men and women followed their hearts to get where they are, sometimes against great odds.

Neal Patrick Harris hosted the Oscars tonight, and did a fine job. He was neither over the top nor too restrained, and had an outstanding opening song routine. I had many favorite moments from this evening. One of my favorite nominated movies, The Grand Budapest Hotel, had a great showing, collecting 4 of the golden statues. Likewise, I was glad to see JK Simmons, a fine character actor, win best supporting actor for his role in Whiplash. The Glen Campbell song, “I’m Not Gonna Miss You”, performed soulfully by Tim McGraw, brought tears to my eyes and a reminder to all of the ravages of Alzheimer’s Disease.

The memorial segment is always poignant for me. Meryl Streep gave a moving speech before water color images of the departed appeared one by one on a large screen. She said, in part, “They filled our lives so much, the films they were in made us laugh, think and cry. Through their work they shared a piece of their soul.” And there were moments that made me laugh. John Travolta and Idina Menzel presenting together was hilarious because last year, Travolta badly mangled Idina’s name. She got to purposefully mess his name up tonight. They were good sports this evening about an incident that embarrassed them both last year.

Although some don’t enjoy the acceptance speeches that the winners give, it is during those 45 seconds that the heart of the person is revealed, often with great joy or happy tears. Gratitude is common, along with the recognition that the winner doesn’t receive the award through his or her efforts alone. Tonight I especially appreciated JK Simmons, who reminded anyone “lucky enough to have a parent or two alive” to call them. And Polish film maker Pawel Pawlikowski, who was delighted to be in the interesting position of creating a film, Ida, about the need for silence and solitude, and then found himself at the epicenter of noise and excitement. “Life,” he gushed, “is full of surprises.”

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, who won best director for Birdman, shared about how ego loves competition. He went on to say, “but the paradox is that true art, and true individual expression, as all the work of these incredible film makers is, can’t be compared or labeled or defeated because they exist, and our work will only by judged by time.”  I most enjoyed the acceptance speech of Eddie Redmayne, who won a best actor award for his portrayal of Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything. Obviously shocked by his win, his genuine giddiness made me smile. He expressed gratitude to the Hawking family and promised to be the caretaker of his award, on behalf of Stephen, and all those suffering from ALS.

The top four big winners tonight were as follows:

Best Picture  Birdman

Best Actress  Julianne Moore, Still Alice

Best Actor  Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything

Best Director  Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Birdman

A full list of winners can be found at:  Academy Awards 2015 Winners List

As I did last year, I intend to watch each of the best picture nominated movies in the upcoming weeks. I’ve only seen The Grand Budapest Hotel. I look forward to viewing each film, and several others that I made note of tonight. As someone said, at the beginning of the program tonight, and I regret I didn’t write down who it was, “Movies…they may not be real life, but they teach us about life.” They teach ME about life. They stir something deep within my soul, uplifting me, empowering me, teaching me about aspects of life I wouldn’t encounter any other way. I am open, and ready to receive.

Academy Awards 2015 2


Journey 52: Kingsman: The Secret Service

kingsman the secret service

My sister Linda invited me to a movie today, which is always a “yes” from me! We settled into the theater for a matinee viewing of Kingsman: The Secret Service. This action adventure film stars Colin Firth, Michael Caine, Samuel L Jackson, Mark Strong, Taron Egerton, Sofia Boutella and Sophie Cookson, with a brief appearance by Mark Hamill as Professor Arnold. It is directed by Matthew Vaughn and adapted from the comic book “The Secret Service” by Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons. Kingsman has a run time of 2 hours and 9 minutes and is rated R for language, violence and brief sexual content.

Kingsman: The Secret Service tells the story of a British super-spy organization intent on recruiting a new person into the elite circle. Dapper Harry Hart (Firth), codename Galahad, and the other Kingsmen, go on alert when an agent is killed during a rescue attempt. Techie billionaire Richmond Valentine (Jackson) and his assailant partner Gazalle (Boutella) are the villains behind a series of kidnappings that targets heads of state and VIPs, some of whom disappear while others reappear with a device implanted behind the ear.

Hart brings to the recruitment program a young man, intelligent and capable, but adrift, headed for a life of crime and imprisonment. Gary “Eggsy” Unwin (Egerton) is the son of another recruit who died 17 years earlier while training with Hart. Rescuing the son is Hart’s way of making up for the father’s sacrifice. Overseen by the Kingsman leader, Arthur (Caine), and under the training of senior Kingsman, Merlin (Smart), Eggsy and the other candidates for the program undergo a series of strenuous and challenging tests, narrowing the field of potential Kingsmen down to Eggsy and female candidate, Roxy (Cookson). Roxy is selected. But a devious master plot emerges. Valentine and Gazalle, seeing the population of the earth as a “virus” that will ultimately destroy the planet, develop a plan to eliminate most of the inhabitants. Valentine gives away SIM cards for cell phones, granting free cell phone and internet use. Millions take advantage of his seemingly generous offer.

The SIM cards can be activated by Valentine, causing people to become uncontrollably violent. A test run at a church in Kentucky results in the members of the congregation killing each other. Valentine intends to activate the signal on a global level, allowing those that he considers “lesser” to destroy each other, while he preserves a small group of people who will then govern the world. When this plot is uncovered, Merlin, Eggsy, and Roxy join together to save most of mankind from annihilation.

This was a FUN movie! I was surprised by the comedic element. This was a tongue in cheek tribute to the Bond movies and other spy type movies and TV series such as Man from U.N.C.L.E. and The Avengers. The men in the Kingsman organization were gentlemen and followed a code that included such gems as “A gentleman is always on target with witty remarks, interesting facts, and conversation starters that bring the best out of everyone.” Make no mistake though, these well dressed gentleman were highly trained in combative maneuvers and employed an arsenal of secret weapons, from umbrella rifles to shoes with hidden blades and grenades disguised as cigarette lighters. In a very Get Smart way, the Kingsmen used a tailor’s shop as a front for their organization. Each agent was carefully fitted for superb, stylish clothing that also happened to be bullet proof.

I loved watching young Eggsy transform from a down on life, street wise kid to a Kingsman. Hart taught him this vital truth from Ernest Hemmingway: “There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.” Eggsy learns who he is and steps up into that space, becoming a team player when necessary, and striking out on his own when that is the action needed. Actor Taron Egerton delivered a cheeky, fresh performance. Colin Firth is always a joy to watch, and from my research, did 80% of his own stunts. And Samuel L Jackson, as a villain with a lisp who throws up at the sight of blood, brought humor to what could have been some gruesome scenes. In fact, humor showed up unexpectedly several times, all with the purpose of lightening scenes that would have weighed heavily otherwise.

I also enjoyed the references to the Bond movies, and the nod to King Arthur and his Knights by using names from that tale for the Kingsmen codenames. This was a lively romp of a movie, with undertones of nostalgia for one who grew up watching spy movies and TV shows. I sincerely hope they make a sequel!


Journey 51: Bob Moore is 94!

Dad Moore 2

Today’s journey was all about celebrating a man with a beautiful soul, as Greg’s dad turned 94. I have known Bob Moore since I was 16 years old, and I have never met a more kind-hearted, compassionate man, nor one filled with more mirth and mischievousness. Born in 1921, he has lived a full life, serving as a young man in the United States Navy, marrying his sweetheart, raising two sons. He owned and operated a hamburger and barbeque drive-in in Noel, MO, that drew hungry patrons from three states, and later took to the air as a private pilot for Peterson Industries in Decatur, AR. He has been an amazing and loving Papa to my three children.

The first time I met Greg’s dad, I was a shy 16 year old, invited to Sunday dinner at their home. I was surprised to find Bob cooking our sumptuous meal alongside Greg’s mom, Leta. I was seated next to Bob at the dining room table, enjoying that meal, when I noticed this jovial man had a dab of mashed potatoes on his cheek. I was too embarrassed to mention this fact, and tried to look anywhere but his cheek when he spoke to me. At last, Greg’s mom noticed the glob of potatoes, and admonished him to wipe his face. Suddenly those bright blue eyes looked straight at me, as he grabbed his napkin, and he asked, “Did you sling potatoes onto my face?” I was mortified! I know I blushed and stammered a denial. Then his eyes crinkled up and he laughed. He was teasing me. I laughed too, relieved. And all my feelings of shyness melted away.

Dad Moore as a young man

Bob while in the navy. His bride Leta and friends in the background.

Bob has been a second father to me. He taught me about being good-natured when faced with the inevitable, as when I begged him to let me buy a fishing license on the way to the lake. He didn’t think it was necessary, no one was ever checked….and paid my fine with a smile when the game warden headed straight to our fishing boat in the middle of Beaver Lake. I learned from him how to bait a hook and fillet the fish I caught. He taught me about not sweating the small stuff when I borrowed his car and put a scratch the length of his Pontiac down one side. I learned to trust, flying with him in a small plane, with my two babies aboard, through thunderstorms over Texas. He taught me about generosity and not keeping score, as he helped those in his community without any expectation of return. And playfulness as he crawled on the floor with his grandkids.

Most of all, he has taught me about love and sacrifice, tenderness and faithfulness as I watched him care for his wife of 50 plus years as Alzheimer’s slowly robbed him of the woman he had loved for so long. He kept her home with him, and was at her side, holding her hand, when she slipped away. Three years later, he brought his elder son home and cared for him as well as cancer snuffed out his life. Caring is not a big enough word for this man. He knows the value of investing deeply in the lives of others, checking on elderly friends, driving a former boss around for hours to ease his restlessness, responding to calls in the middle of the night when his 97 year old neighbor woke up confused, taking care of his remaining family. He never lost his joy, his sense of humor. Even now, as he walks in the twilight years of his life, he jokes and teases, and his blue eyes, which are dimmer now, still crinkle up when he smiles.

Dad Moore eating birthday pie

That was a lot of pie…

Today Greg and I, and Greg’s cousin Pam, met at Bob’s house and took him to lunch. We laughed together and chatted as we enjoyed catfish dinners. Although his short-term memory is a little faulty, he easily remembers stories from his youth, and shared some of those tales with us this afternoon. Back at home, we had birthday pie, a decadent chocolate cream from Big R’s in Joplin. Although he protested over the size of his slice of pie, he ate every bite. At 94, he is independent, some might even say stubborn, and reluctant to accept help. However, his generosity knows no bounds. I’m still learning from this man…to live each day, to not complain, to find the good in the situation and see the best in people. From watching him, I’m learning how to age well and when it is time, approach death with calm dignity and grace.

Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Beautiful young people are accidents of nature. But beautiful old people are works of art.” Bob Moore is a work of art, a lifetime of joys and sorrows, triumphs and challenges overcome, woven together into a marvelous, beautiful tapestry of a life well lived, and shared, without holding back, without regret. I love you, Dad Moore. I am grateful for you, your wisdom, the love you have showered on me, and for journeying with me, from an insecure young woman who didn’t know who she was, to a mature woman with grandchildren of her own, who knows exactly who she is. Happy, happy birthday, dear man.

Dad Moore

With cousin Pam.

Journey 50: The Tenth Doctor Who

dr who 10th doctor

I have been faithfully watching Dr Who episodes with my grandson Dayan. On most Thursday afternoons, I pick him up from school, grab us a snack, and camp out in front of the TV with Dayan, learning about this long lived BBC series. We began with the 9th Doctor, and season one of the revived Dr Who. I have to admit, I have become a fan of this quirky, campy, sci-fi series, which originally aired in 1963. Watching with Dayan, and discussing the episodes, makes it more fun.

At the end of season one, of the revived Dr Who, I watched the phenomenon that happens to a Time Lord, when faced with death. He regenerates…and becomes new. New body, new face, new personality….and in reality, a new actor portraying the Doctor. It is a very clever way to keep a series alive over decades and keep the storyline lively and interesting. However, I began watching with actor Christopher Eccleston playing the Doctor and I wasn’t sure I was going to like a new actor in the role. Dayan assured me I would adjust.

It was well done, the regeneration. At first I resisted the idea of a new actor playing the familiar role. I had grown fond of Eccleston’s performance as the Doctor. David Tennant helped make the transition smooth by mimicking gestures and facial expressions of the previous Doctor, gradually bringing his own personality into the role. This afternoon, Dayan and I watched New Earth and Tooth and Claw of season two. The episodes were very well done, bringing a couple of past characters, Lady Cassandra and the Face of Boe, back in New Earth, which was set in the year five billion twenty three. Taking place in the city of New New York (not a typo!), the story raised the question of what’s ethical in the treatment of diseases and even more important, in the treatment of life.

Tooth and Claw won my approval immediately, as the setting was Scotland in the time of Queen Victoria. I felt sure it aired around Halloween time, since it featured a were wolf, but it originally aired in April of 2006. I loved the Scottish accents and landscapes. There was a nice twist to the story at the end, involving the royal family of Great Britain. And by the end of this episode, I had quit comparing David Tennant to Christopher Eccleston, quit trying to “see” Eccleston in Tennant’s expressions and mannerisms. I decided I liked David Tennant! He brings a freshness to the role, which is, of course, the whole idea.

I googled Tennant and found that he actually is Scottish, and knew by the age of THREE that he wanted to be an actor. I found it amazing that his early decision was inspired by….watching Dr Who episodes! The young David never wavered from his chosen path, and fulfilled his dream. I find that inspiring. David Tennant is a great role model for anyone who desires to follow his or her heart, persevering no matter what others think and say.

Dayan smiled with a “see, I told you” look when I confessed I liked the new Doctor. And then he surprised me with a story he wrote as a school assignment. He asked me if I wanted to read it. Titled “Numbers on the Wall”, I was so impressed with his short story, so amazed at the writing ability he already shows at the age of 15. He got an A on the assignment and has submitted the story in a writing contest. Wow. What an encouragement to me as well, as I see Dayan pursuing his dreams. Seriously, Dayan reminds me of Tolkien when that author was a young man, crafting countries peopled with remarkable and diverse personalities, creating languages, back writing a history that supported an entire made up world. I see that same creative spark and ability in Dayan, that same keen intelligence and curiosity.

I am enjoying watching Dr Who with Dayan. I have many more episodes to go to catch up to the current season and the latest incarnation of the Doctor. Even more, I am enjoying the conversations and shared laughter with my grandson, enjoying watching him grow and learn and journey. I’m glad we have so many episodes of Dr Who ahead of us. I treasure this time.

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