Area schools have started their fall semesters and tonight, high school football games kicked off, literally, all over the region. A gorgeous evening with very fall-like temps encouraged a huge turn out for the Carl Junction Bulldogs first home game.
Elissa and Josh, Greg and I, perched on the stadium bleachers, right at the edge of the student section. Those kids stand up, so not the best seats for the best view, BUT the energy was high…playful and spirited. And we could hear the band very well, since they were in the next section of bleachers.
And while the football games are fun to watch and parents and students alike enter into the joyous, party-like atmosphere, I am there for the marching band. I am there to cheer during the half time show and appreciate a fine musical performance. Grandson Dayan, who is a junior in high school this year, plays the tuba and is the leader of that section. I am there for my grandson.
Dayan, his section, and the entire band gave a wonderful performance. They played Grand Illusion and Mr. Roboto, lively selections by Styx. The band sounded great and marched together well. I’ve been in marching band. It takes concentration and skill to march in formation while playing an instrument. Well done, Marching Bulldogs.
And well done, CJ football team. They won their first home game, 61 to 7. Their season is off to an explosive start!
Elissa, Josh, Greg and I slipped away after the half time show. As we walked toward the car, Josh suddenly said, “Rootbeer floats”. That sounded like a great way to finish the evening! We ended up at Shakes, in Webb City. And no one had a Rootbeer float, although Greg came the closest with a Rootbeer smoothie, which is ice cream and Rootbeer blended together like a shake.
We all enjoyed our cold treats, seated at a picnic table in front of Shakes, on a beautiful night. The conversation was fun and lively and we laughed as we chatted. Football, marching band, family, ice cream…a great Friday night tradition.
After a long day, I enjoyed puttering around in my Creative Space tonight, working further on transforming my office into a sanctuary for writing and reading, drawing and creating. I’ve yet to come up with the perfect name for this new space, but it will come to me at the right time.
This evening my focus was on a vintage cosmetic case, also known as a train case or a vanity case, that I found in the garage at Bob’s house in Arkansas. It belonged to Greg’s mom, I’m sure, but somewhere along the way, Greg’s dad whisked it away to his domain. I was delighted to find it, several months ago, as I’ve seen similar cases in flea markets. It was covered in dust and cobwebs, but I brought it home, knowing I would use it somewhere.
I’ve always intended for the case to be in my Creative Space, perhaps holding office supplies, or to house a vignette that changed with the seasons. Yet today, as I looked forward to cleaning it up tonight and using it, my intention turned more toward my artsy, creative side.
Opening the case I found an assortment of fishing lures and hooks, and little bottles of suspicious looking murky liquids. Bob did more than move Leta’s cosmetic case to the garage. He turned it into a holding case for his extra fishing supplies…a bonus tackle box! I think his loving wife would have laughed about that and patted him affectionately on the cheek. I removed those items and stored them in a plastic container, to be sorted through later.
After a good cleaning, the cosmetic case was ready to become a holding case for supplies of a different sort. My drawing tablet fit within perfectly, turned horizontally. Next my writing journal for this year nestled in. I added two pieces of vintage brown pottery, that belonged to my grandmother, to hold my drawing pencils, sharpener and eraser. A strand of garland, with red and clear beads, wound around the case adds color. And next to the case is one of my favorite inspirational quotes, on a pretty canvas.
The creative case has a new home on the corner of my writing table. In this beautiful space, whether I am working, writing, reading or daydreaming, the case is easily visible. Greg’s mom used the case to hold cosmetics when she traveled. She used the contents of the case to enhance her beauty. Greg’s dad used the case to hold items meant to attract fish, lure them in. I will incorporate both of those previous uses in its current life. The cosmetic case is an item of beauty. And I desire to attract creative ideas to me, using the journal and art supplies tucked within, fishing for inspiration. I think Bob and Leta would be pleased.
I am drawn to water. The rhythmic sound of ocean waves, a babbling brook winding through the trees, the stillness in the middle of a lake…all soothe me and energize me. My ideal weekend getaway is a small cozy cottage near a body of water. Any type of water.
I’m feeling that pull toward water, and that little cottage, and in the very near future, I will arrange a weekend away for soul and body care. In the meantime, I will seize any opportunity that presents itself, as was the case today. While in AR taking care of business after the passing of Greg’s dad, I chose to stay in the car while Greg filled out paperwork and waited inside an office.
I had an ulterior motive for remaining outside. It was an unusually cool day, overcast with light rain showers passing through the area. I lowered my car window so I could clearly see the little brook nearby, and perhaps hear the gurgle of water. The sidewalk ran parallel to the brook and houses and businesses were nearby, but the water flowed and didn’t mind, and neither did I.
I let my phone buzz with messages for a few minutes, while I disconnected and watched the water, allowing it to wash over me spiritually, if not physically. At last I threw open the door and walked down the gentle slope. I had to get closer. Was it a drainage ditch, here in the middle of Siloam Springs, AR? Or was it actually a little brook.? The clear water ran over a stone bed. In my mind, it was a brook.
If I had had a folding chair, in my trunk, as I often do, I would have sat there by that little stream while waiting for Greg to return. I smiled thinking about the looks on the faces of people walking out to their cars or driving by, to see someone sitting there in that very public spot.
A memory suddenly rose, of me as a small child of 5 or 6 years. I grew up in the big city of Tulsa, OK. My spirit longed for woods and rivers. I lived with front yard trees and ditches that collected water during heavy rain. I made do, though. I climbed those trees. And I fished in those ditches and large puddles. Or at least, I pretended to. Using a stick with string tied to it, I camped out at my favorite “fishing hole”, the huge puddle in my neighbors’ front yard down the street. I had a great imagination but I knew what the reality was. I knew there weren’t any fish in there. Pretending to fish gave me an excuse to sit in front of that little body of water and just enjoy staring into it, enjoy a time of peace.
I laughed today, remembering that child with the wild imagination and even wilder spirit. The love of water has been with me a long time, and runs deep within my soul. Staring at the brook, I decided it was good I didn’t have a chair. Or Greg might have returned to find me sitting contentedly by this “mighty river”, fishing with a stick and string.
I kept seeing teasers and trailers for this movie, a BBC production that released in the UK last year. Former Doctor Who Time Lord David Tennant starred in this dark comedy, which was my initial attraction to the film. When What We Did on Our Holiday popped up again today I watched the trailer, laughing over one of the scenes, moved by another. I knew it was time to watch it.
The challenge was finding a way to watch! Although the movie released in the US in July, it isn’t available to rent as a DVD. I checked several online options and decided to rent via Google Play, watching the movie on my laptop. A first for me, that worked well. I’ll certainly use this option again.
What We Did on Our Holiday stars David Tennant, Rosamund Pike, Billy Connoly, Ben Miller, Amelia Bullmore, Emilia Jones, Bobby Smalldridge, Harriet Turnbull and Lewis Davie. The film was written and directed by Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkin. The comedy/drama is rated PG-13, for adult themes and mild language, and has a run time of 1 hour and 35 minutes.
Doug (Tennant) and Abi (Pike) are admittedly a dysfunctional couple, struggling to hold their family together. The two are separated and headed for divorce. With their three bright and precocious children, Lottie (Jones), Mickey (Smalldridge), and Jess (Turnbull) Doug and Abi attempt to set aside their quarreling and head to Scotland on holiday. The family is celebrating the 75th birthday of Doug’s father, Gordie (Connoly).
Arriving at the Highland home of Doug’s brother, Gavin (Miller), the families clash as they individually sort through their own trials and challenges. Gavin’s wife, Margaret (Bullmore), has an embarrassing secret to hide, their son, Kenneth (Davie), chafes under the strict control of his father. And Doug and Abi’s kids are told to pretend that all is well in their family. They don’t want Gordie upset by the news of their impending divorce, and not just because it’s his birthday. Gordie is battling cancer, and his heart is failing due to the strain of his illness.
In the midst of the chaos, and in spite of his physical decline, Gordie is the calm at the center of the familial storms that rage around him. His joy in living, his intact sense of humor and his complete acceptance of others draws his grandchildren to him. He encourages each of them to focus less on thinking and more on living and meets them where they are, walking alongside, offering out of his heart.
And in an unexpected way, his grandchildren offer to him out of their own innocent and creative hearts, fulfilling his dying wish with courage and compassion, and a bit of quirkiness. Their gift to their granddad creates a greater storm within the family and the community, causing the adults to lay aside their blaming and their anger to search deeply within themselves.
This was a heart warming movie, filled with wisdom and humor and teary eyed moments. Anyone who is part of a family can understand and identify with the dysfunctions that beset this family. What I loved was that eventually each person chose to move beyond the challenges that no longer defined them. The adults began to act like adults, and the children were allowed to be kids, free from carrying the secrets and burdens of their parents.
Tennant was a joy to watch, in a role beyond The Doctor. And the three youngest children almost stole the show. Their funny but realistic perspectives on life and their ability to ask disarming questions made me laugh, and made me tear up, and made me think. Connoly totally captivated my heart. His portrayal as the fun, loving grandpa, short on time but full of life, inspired me and highlighted the importance of walking alongside others, encouraging them to be fully themselves.
I’m glad I finally answered the call to watch this film. Even without the engaging story and character portrayals, the Scottish landscapes would have been enough to make the movie worth viewing. As a bonus, there was so much more than that. Gordie tells his older granddaughter, Lottie, “The truth is, every human being on this planet is ridiculous in their own way. So we shouldn’t judge, we shouldn’t fight, because in the end… in the end, none of it matters. None of the stuff.” True words. I can revel in my own unique ridiculousness and appreciate it in others. No judging. No fighting. Because he’s right. In the end, absolutely none of it matters.
My journey today began and ended in a similar fashion, full of mystery, although the locations were miles and miles apart. It was primarily an inner journey, with outer manifestations. Early this morning, standing with clients on a remote piece of land, I gazed with appreciation out over fields of waving grasses. Turning to look at the pretty little creek that marks the boundary of the acreage, I was surprised to note that tears were filling my eyes.
This happened several times as I walked around. It wasn’t sadness that brought the reaction. And although the land was beautiful to behold, it wasn’t beauty that was piercing my heart either. Something deeper was calling to my spirit, and my body was responding. The seller of the property was standing quietly beside me. He asked me if I could feel it. I could, but what was I feeling? He told me we were standing on ancient Native American lands. Not a burial site or battlefield, but an area along the creek where the People hunted and lived. That stirring around my heart expanded. We agreed it was a sacred and blessed space.
It was a beautiful and mystical experience for me. The quiet joy, peace and sense of sacredness surrounded me. What amazed me the most was that while my brain was asking “What is it?”, my spirit had already recognized what was calling to me and responded, with stirrings around my heart and tears in my eyes.
As I drove back to Joplin, two hours later, I turned that experience over and over and examined it. That deep sense of place, of peace and joy and protected space, is exactly what I want to offer to others. I hope someday to have acreage of my own, with a creek running through it, where people can retreat from the busyness of their lives and reconnect with their hearts. That spirit recognition that happens as the heart opens, even while the mind is still churning, is the desire behind offering my own version of Rivendell to the world. I created a Mind Movie of Rivendell of the Ozarks 5 or 6 years ago. I was reminded of it today, and wanted to share it here, however it wouldn’t play anymore on YouTube. I’d like to create a new movie, since I’ve journeyed farther along Life’s path.
This evening, winding down from the day, I spent time in my current Rivendell space, my backyard garden. As I weeded and trimmed back plants whose flowers have faded, I hummed contentedly and thought about the blessed ground I stood on this morning.
I was pulling a weed near a bushy plant that puts up long slender stalks with small pink flowers on them. I glanced down and was delighted to see a pale green praying mantis looking at me. This is the first time I’ve seen this interesting insect in my garden. As I spoke to him, I was surprised to see three more praying mantises, of varying sizes, on the same plant!
My delight was now magnified times four, and tinged with surprise. Just a couple of days ago, a praying mantis showed up indoors, on a bag of potato chips. He scampered up my arm and I released him outdoors. Now here were four more, all swiveling their heads to watch me as I snapped pics. Fascinated, I strolled through the garden, checking plants. No praying mantises. When I returned to the first plant only one insect remained.
I welcome these insects to my garden. They are great allies that will keep damaging insects under control. However, I view everything that happens as an ongoing conversation with the Divine. Something stirred again near my heart, just as it had early this morning. What was the deeper message these four little creatures were bringing me?
I rested in a chair on the brickio, the cool breeze bringing me the scent of mint and basil and sage. As I sipped on iced tea, I googled the symbolism of the praying mantis. Amazing. The praying mantis has a great deal of mysticism around it. It symbolizes stillness, representing prayer or meditation, and the mantis comes to us when we need peace, calmness and quiet. When too much busyness has crept into our lives, this little guy’s appearance is a reminder to become quiet and listen for the still small voice within. I needed that reminder! And having four mantises show up at once added additional importance to the announcement.
The praying mantis is also associated with time, because of its ability to wait patiently and then strike its prey at exactly the right moment. They are associated with the manipulation of time, able to move between moments and worlds, making them time travelers. I’m not making this up! Time travel seems to be a reoccurring theme in my life right now. Time in the linear sense is irrelevant to the mantis as it moves according to its inner instincts. Another great message for me.
I learned new things about my little friends, the mantises, and received messages for my heart and soul today, from them and from an ancient parcel of sacred land. I know, at the right moment in time, Rivendell will launch from here, my own backyard. I just need to keep journeying, my heart open, my spirit free. The last thing I read about the symbolism of the praying mantis is that it understands the circular nature of time. I feel like I experienced that as well today, morning and evening, lessons for my soul in the journey. A big circle. I’m right there with you, Mr. Mantis.
This is not a day I ever thought I would celebrate. Although I enjoy a good joke, I’m not a tell a joke person. I never have been. I have a good sense of humor. Yet whether it was anxiety over getting it right, or fear that no one would laugh, I have refrained from joke telling all my life.
But in the spirit of adventure and embracing firsts, in my continuing quest to move beyond my comfort zone, I’m journeying today into that dangerous area of discomfort…Jokes. And rejoicing in the ability to use technology to share some funnies.
One enormous result of joke telling, a practice that has been around for centuries, is laughter. And laughter is good medicine. It relieves stress, releases the feel good hormone oxytocin, and moves energy throughout the body.
Other health benefits of a good belly laugh include relaxing the body, for up to 45 minutes, boosting the immune system, decreasing pain and preventing heart disease. Those side effects of laughter are vital enough to encourage me to listen to a joke a day or watch a comedy frequently.
And wait, there’s more. Laughter has mental benefits as well including easing fear, increasing resilience, improving mood, and adding joy and zest to life. What a simple remedy with amazing effects.
And there’s even more. Laughter strengthens relationships, promotes group bonding, increases teamwork, and attracts others to us. Especially those who enjoy a good laugh as well. Smiling and laughing are very attractive. Studies have shown that laughter is more contagious than yawning, coughing, sniffling or sneezing.
I do love to laugh. I spent the weekend with family and laughter was an integral part of our time together. Laughter throws a switch in my brain that tells my body, “Prepare to have some fun.” I intend to keep laughing and keep enjoying life, and joke telling just became a part of that intention.
And so, here is one of my favorite jokes, perhaps because I have two sisters and I can so see us here in about 40 years!
There are three sisters, ages 96, 94 and 92 who live in a house together. One night the 96 year old draws a bath. She puts her foot in and pauses. She yells down the stairs, “Was I getting in the bath or out of it?” The 94 year old yells up, “I don’t know. I’ll come up and see.” She starts up the stairs and pauses. She yells, ” Was I going up the stairs or down?” The 92 year old is sitting at the kitchen table having tea, listening to her sisters. She shakes her head and says, “I sure hope I never get that forgetful.” She knocks on the wooden table for good measure. She then yells, “I’ll come up and help both of you, as soon as I see who’s at the door.”
Back across Kansas we went today, my mom, sisters and I, to Derby, just south of Wichita. We met my cousins, Sheila and Greg, and Greg’s son Wes, at Aunt Annie’s house. My beautiful aunt passed away this past spring. This will most likely be the last time I visit her house.
One of the powerful experiences that has come out of so many losses this year is that I have spent more time with my cousins. We have determined that it is important to connect, now, rather than gather only during funerals. I am enjoying the reconnections, the laughter, the sharing of stories, the hugs.
We’ve spent a fun day together, doing all of those things, as we sort through the remainder of my aunt’s possessions. My cousins very generously invited my mom, sisters and me to open boxes, look through piles of old photos, and sort through treasures. I took home items for my backyard garden earlier this year and I think of Aunt Annie every time I look at the metal containers holding brightly colored flowers.
I picked up several items today…a crystal vinegar cruet, vintage china, and other small pieces. In the backyard I wandered about, enjoying my aunt’s gardens, admiring the flowers in bloom. In the garden shed, I found an amazing item for my own garden…a large wooden box with faded red paint. It’s perfect to hold terra cotta pots, which I found nestled on shelves.
I’ll save these items for next spring, when I’ll fill the flower pots with an assortment of plants. Herbs would be a great choice. Then I’ll find the right spot in the garden to display this earthy vignette, with its connections to Annie.
I so appreciate my cousins and sisters. They are such gracious, genuine souls. As we chatted and laughed together over dinner tonight, I marveled at the passage of time that has aged us all from rowdy, inquisitive kids…to rowdy, intelligent adults. I’m grateful for my mother as well, with her wisdom and her playful spirit. I am glad to have each as a traveling companion, through the challenges and joys of life’s journey. May we have many more adventures together.
Its been two long tense days in real estate, the culmination really of a couple of weeks of negotiating a rocky path through an insane transaction. I don’t use the word insane lightly!
Today’s result was not what we hoped for, my buyers and I, but apparently it was the decision we were supposed to get. How do I know? It’s the decision we got. Onward and upward.
My favorite moment today was a visit from my little granddaughter, Aubrey. We got to hang out for a short time, chatting, coloring, watching some Doctor Who. She made me smile and laugh with her antics.
She’s been into posing for pics since she was a toddler. Right now, she’s into funny faces. She grabbed her Papa’s motorcycle helmet and completely cracked me up with her goofy, exaggerated expressions. I know Aubrey senses other people’s moods. She’s very empathic. She perhaps picked up on my more serious demeanor and decided to shift that. She succeeded.
Before she left, we grabbed ink pens and drew tiny black dots on each other’s left palms. This is a new tradition Aubrey has created. When I look at the black dot on my palm, I think of her and smile. She looks at her palm and thinks of me as she looks at the black ink spot.
I’ve looked at that little dot several times this evening, as I was doing laundry, tidying up, watering flowers. I picture that beautiful little face and those big blue eyes filled with joy and mischief…and remember the helmet on her head and laugh again. Aubrey, the dot works!
Its been a long and busy day, primarily filled with real estate business. Coming in late this evening, I looked forward to unwinding and puttering a bit. (I think I’ve elevated puttering to an art!)
As I finished the workday by shutting down the computer, I spied my little rootling, sitting in a glass by the large dining room windows. The water-filled glass held a twig from my old ficus tree, the tangle of new roots indicating the time was right to move this baby into a pot with soil.
I’ve had my large ficus tree for years, and my mother had it before me. I’m not sure how old it is, but it’s occupied a spot in my home for a long time. I’ve lugged it around to different rooms and locations until it grew too large to scoot easily across the floor. I’ve hung tiny white lights in the branches at Christmas time and dragonflies have adorned it in summer. And there are extraordinary, and true, stories attached to this tree, full of mystery and magic. I talk to my tree, and caress it like a pet.
My ficus in healthier times.
Recently my big ficus has shown signs of its age, dropping leaves, and reacting to watering by going yellow. I have it potted in the largest container that I could find. As its branches became more and more bare, I thought I was losing it.
At last I drug the tree out onto the covered front deck, with the intention of cutting it down and disposing of it. But before I did, I decided to clip a healthy twig and root it in water, creating a new ficus tree, and therefore keeping my old friend with me, in a way. I selected a sprig with young leaves and made a clean cut, immediately placing it in a glass of water. That was last spring. In its sunny window, with fresh water added frequently, the little twig thrived and grew roots this summer.
Tonight the young ficus went into its first pot, a pretty dark blue ceramic one that I had on hand. I enjoyed tucking it into dirt, for the first time, murmuring to it soothingly as I did so. I anticipate many years ahead with my new ficus, as it grows.
And my old ficus? It lives still. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t cut it down. I pruned it heavily, removing dead branches and thinning it out. It has remained on the deck and it has thrived as well, in the open air and mottled sunshine. The tree is covered in new leaves, green and shiny.
I did research, curious about the yellowing of the leaves that began to occur last winter. That can be a sign of over-watering, or of being root bound. Those are possibilities. Amazingly I also found that ficus trees are sensitive to natural gas leaks in the home. They are like canaries in coal mines, indicating a problem before humans can detect one. The tree has done so well outdoors that I’m wondering about a small leak, as I have natural gas heat. Before turning the heat on this fall, you can be sure I’ll have the gas company or a heat/air specialist check for a problem.
This old tree, parent now to a baby ficus, may be alerting me to danger. At the least, it’s made me aware of a new possibility and I will follow up with action. I am grateful for my ficus. The amazing stories around it continue.
Today’s blog post is a bit different, which makes it fun! I was inspired this morning by a statement that my friend Mark Semple posted in one of his groups. It was a great request, and one I thought about before posting a response.
My friend, Coach Mark Semple. We’ve been friends for 8 years and met for the first time last August.
The invitation was, “Post an image symbolizing where your journey is headed.” What a wonderful idea. I’m a very visual person. I think in images and write in a way that evokes pictures. I thought about where I am currently as I journey. Immediately I saw myself in a state of surrender, floating down the river, in the flow of Life, not resisting, not wasting energy by attempting to paddle upstream, not getting caught in the whirls and eddies along the edges. Flowing.
Here’s the image I found, and the words I wrote to accompany this symbol of my journey.
Surrendered and in the flow of Life. I don’t know where I am being taken however I know it is for my best and highest purpose and growth and that opportunities will flow to me as well. I choose to trust the journey and stay in the flow and see where I go, with joy and anticipation!
I so loved the process of picking an image to represent my journey that I put the invitation on my Facebook wall. I enjoyed the responses as people journeyed alongside today, capturing with an image where they are right now. Here are the responses, with no additional commentary from me.
Stepping into my destiny as who I was born to be. Mark Semple
This is the journey I feel life has me headed towards. A position of power, a lonesome perch, above the rapid flow of everyday life. I hope to be unique, and influential, but the path there is treacherous, requiring thought, balance, and peace. Any slip up and downward I will plunge, into the abyss that is the majority of people, unknown to the history books, being swept along in the rapid current of a normal, unmemorable life. Dayan Reynolds
Don’t act surprised… Ashley Barnes
Probably not the best day for posting stuff for me. LOL. But…honestly? I’m headed here along with everyone else. At least, I hope, I get the winged guardians and not the ones with pointy horns. 🙂 Faintly Macabre
I’m grateful for these fellow travelers who took the time to share their images. I love the reminder that the journey is unique for everyone and that even my journey changes day by day. What a fun and insightful exercise to do occasionally to create a snapshot, to mark a spot, as I travel. Please play along and leave an image that symbolizes where you are headed in your journey, in the comment section and…enjoy this moment along Life’s path.