Journey 283: Happy Birthday Jonathan

Today’s journey was to celebrate the birthday of my grandson, Jonathan. This charming, happy boy turned 10 on September 20. The birthday party was held today so that out of town aunts, uncles and cousins could be present. Jonathan chose The Legend of Zelda as his theme, with an emphasis on the character of Link. 


For clarification, and because it is important to Jonathan, Link is a youth in The Legend of Zelda series, of the Hylian race, originating from the fictional land of Hyrule. Link often travels through Hyrule, defeating creatures, evil forces, and the series’ primary antagonist, Ganon, while attempting to save Princess Zelda and Hyrule.

The festivities were held at the Pittsburg Y, and what a great idea that turned out to be! The large gymnasium type room had mats and balance beams, wedges, cubes and cylinders to jump on and climb over, a long trampoline and a foam pit. The pit proved to be very popular with the many children running about, and with adventurous adults as well. 

Filled with bright blue cubes of spongy foam, the pit allowed kids to tumble safely into its depths. The cubes gave as little and not so little bodies made impact, so that the party goers sank as if in water. There was a swinging rope, and the end of the long trampoline culminated at the edge of the pit. Kids and adults alike did flips into the pit, swung out on the rope and dropped, or simply jumped in from the side. 


Jonathan’s Nana, who is also my dear, long time friend, very bravely entered the foam pit with her small granddaughter. Much to the amusement of onlookers, she discovered that it was much more difficult to exit the pit! At last help arrived and Deb, who was extremely good natured about it all, was rescued. Deb is the sweetest of ladies, and blessed with many grandchildren, who adore her. I am grateful that our families have joined, through our children!

Jonathan’s yummy birthday cake was designed to look like a video game controller. So clever. Gaming is one of Jonathan’s passions. He loves trying out new games and currently is enjoying an old favorite, Super Mario Brothers. I watch this boy play, while he patiently explains what he’s doing, because I don’t play these various games well. To his delight, he discovered that I actually used to play some of the Nintendo games. I promised to join him soon and have a try.   

 Jonathan received game related gifts, money, and gift cards as presents today. And a shirt, cap, pointy ears and a sword to create a Link costume. I’m sure he would go to school as Link, if he could. The kids gathered around a Legends of Zelda piñata, one with strings to pull rather than one that has to be hit to break. The kids squealed as candy rained down on them. 

What a fun afternoon. I am beginning to see glimpses of the young man emerging in Jonathan, as he rapidly approaches his teens. He is bright, affectionate, and so talented. I’ve never seen him shy or afraid to try something new. He excels in front of a camera or an audience, singing, dancing, and performing. He has dreams, this boy does, and confidence in his ability to make them reality. Watch for him on YouTube or in movies or on television someday, making his way in the world. I know I’ll be applauding him on. Happy birthday Jonathan! I love you! 


Journey 282: Annabelle’s Fun Farm

What a fun adventure I had this evening, shared with my mom, my sister Linda, her granddaughter London and my granddaughter Aubrey. We joined Grace Baptist Church for an outing to Annabelle’s Fun Farm, located in Welch, OK. Anytime the little girls can hang out together is a great event for them. Tonight’s journey, however, included some firsts for all of us. 

Here is our evening, captured in pics: 


The girls loved that we got to travel by bus to the farm. I have to say it was nice for the adults too. We didn’t have to drive and could sit back and enjoy the ride.

It was the perfect fall evening for being outdoors. Annabelle’s was a beautiful, colorful farm with all kinds of activities for families. 


First stop, The Barnyard. 



Cute barn-style swing and slide set. Note the giant minion in the background, made from large round bales of hay. 

The Corn Shed. This playhouse filled with dried corn kernels was a clever idea. The girls returned to play inside over and over again. 


The train ride wound through part of the property, offering views across farmland.  


Giant rocking chair!

The must-have bounce house. The girls love these air filled fun houses. 


Called The Hayride, I was grateful the bales of hay traditionally used for seating had been replaced with wooden benches and stairs led into the trailer for easy access. 

Love spending time with these girls!


Everyone on The Hayride got to select a pumpkin from the Pumpkin Patch. My favorite pic of the evening!


Stunning sunset. The girls marveled at the sunflowers.  


The corn maze beckoned. I’ve always wanted to do a corn maze. I was determined to walk it with my little group. A first experience for all of us!

This was so fun! We wandered around for quite a while, trying different paths, laughing as we looped past previous spots. We got lost. We found our way out at last, by exiting through the entrance…but at least we got out! The girls began to think we’d be in the maze until next Thursday. 


We finished up our evening by roasting hotdogs and making S’mores. What a grand time we had. The bus ride home was much quieter than the trip to the farm. We had two very happy and very tired little girls and three happy and tired adults. I’m so glad my mom invited us to join her on this adventure. Annabelle’s Fun Farm is exactly that, fun. I can check “Walk through a corn maze” off my list. And I’m thankful for London and Aubrey, who are always willing to experience new things. Those young ladies are amazing! 


Journey 281: Bringing Fall Indoors

Today’s journey has been very similar to one of my Sunday self care days. I had an hour of physical therapy on my Darling left leg this morning, and she wasn’t at all sure that she liked it at first. Margit Schmid, of Massage & Posture Therapy, is wonderful, and although her initial attention to my leg was painful, as she worked to relax tense muscles and irritated nerves, her expertise soon brought a measure of relief and more mobility to my leg. I am grateful and I will see her again next week. 


I opted to work from my recliner this afternoon, taking care of business by phone and computer. Eventually I ended up in the garden, stretched out in my anti-gravity chair. What a gorgeous day! And how amazing, in October, to kick off my shoes and roll up my jeans. The air was warm and fragrant with the scent of basil, lemon balm, sage and jasmine. I am ever so blissful in this paradise. 
I felt inspired to gather freshly cut herbs and change over my vintage wooden sieve, from summer to fall. I’ve been slow to welcome fall, doing a little at a time, as Darling allows. Today she cooperated beautifully and I enjoyed creating a simple vignette that included mini pumpkins and a pitcher full of herbs. Scenting the air inside now is a mixture of basil, Russian sage, pineapple sage and lemon balm. I added a few stalks of ornamental grass as well. 

As I admired the finished vignette, I said aloud, “And that’s the limit of what I can do today.” Yes, my leg was tired and aching. However, I was aghast at what I had just said. I immediately spoke again, “Look at what I just accomplished! My leg did great!” It’s a small shift. But it is important to me to not see myself as limited. I am learning to care for myself in a greater way. I am listening to my body, in this case, my left leg, and appreciating the way she functions. I’ll do all I can to care for  my leg, and the rest of me, while I am enjoying life and the journey. And my body parts and I did create a lovely arrangement that brings the beauty and scents of my garden indoors and welcomes fall into my home. That truly is an accomplishment. 


Journey 280: Here There Be Dragons

Tonight Dayan and I continued our journey through Middle Earth with The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Extended Edition. We learned Monday that we didn’t need to arrive so early at the theater, which allowed for time to grab dinner with Greg at Five Guys Burgers. We enjoyed the freshly grilled burgers and the conversation before heading to Regal Theater, with just enough time to settle into our seats. 


As with the last Hobbit movie, I’ve written a great deal about The Desolation of Smaug. However, it was so good to see this one again on the big screen, and especially to see the additional footage. I marvel at the editing team, in knowing what to cut from the film and what to leave in. These scenes that ended up on the editing room floor seem so vital to the story. I’m grateful that Peter Jackson sees the value in doing an extended edition and adding the cut footage back into the movie, creating a seamless longer version. 

One of my favorite additional scenes in TDOS takes place as Gandalf gingerly introduces the company of dwarves to the skin changer, Beorn. Known to have both an unpredictable temper and a dislike for dwarves, Beorn must be approached with caution. I love how Gandalf uncharacteristicly stumbles over his words as the dwarves appear from within Beorn’s house, in pairs. It’s a moment of comedy in an otherwise intense film. 


There are additional minutes added to the scene in Mirkwood, as the dwarves attempt to find their way through the dark forest. The enchantment aspect is played up more and includes Bombur’s fall into the river and his surrender to a sleeping spell. Dayan was grateful that there was not additional footage of the giant spiders that lurk within the woods, as he strongly dislikes spiders! 

One of the most significant inclusions is the long sequence that reveals that Thrain, Thorin’s father, is still alive. He went missing after the battle at Moria and most thought him to be dead. But Thorin never gave up the belief that his father was alive. Gandalf finds him, confused and a shadow of his former self, imprisoned in Dol Guldur, the old fortress now inhabited by evil. This scene is tragic to me, as Thorin never gets to see his father, but we do. And we hear Thrain’s request of Gandalf, to tell his son that he loves him. 

Although the word “journey” is not in the title of this middle film in the trilogy, journey is what the movie is about. The first film establishes the characters and sets them on their paths. In The Desolation of Smaug, we get to see the real journey taking place as the characters discover who they are, at a deep level, and offer out of that place of knowing. 

I saw more clearly tonight those strengths and something else that I had not noted before. Each being….man, dwarf, hobbit, wizard, even the orcs…offered to each other wholly from who they were, no matter what the expectations were of the company around them. And so Thorin acted from his heart and his purpose, in spite of the warnings of Gandalf and Bard. And Bilbo behaved as Bilbo, no matter what Thorin demanded of him. Tauriel followed her heart, against the advice of Legolas, who in turn had to be his own Elf and not a copy of his father, Thranduil. 
Some faced dragons. Some conquered fears. Some found what had been lost, whether it was courage or jewels or their own worth. They journeyed together, all of them, a great company of companions, offering their hearts, lending their strength, contributing beautifully to the ongoing story of their shared adventure, while being absolutely true to who they were, individually. It was deeply inspiring to me, and an aspect of the movie that I had not pondered until tonight. 

Perhaps my favorite scene of all in this second movie is the river footage as the dwarves are carried along in the current, riding in their barrels. There are exciting moments and dangerous ones, waterfalls, rapids and calm stretches of water, and the journeyers keep moving, keeping going where the flow takes them, handling what they must. I love that snapshot of life, of the journey. I see myself, sure of who I am and what I have to offer, bobbing along, down the river of life, companions coming alongside, challenges and calm stretches and joy all mingled together as I stay in the flow. I know I am going exactly where I am meant to go. Is it crazy that I see myself in a barrel, rather than a boat? I don’t think so! 


Journey 279: The Track of Love

This evening was Book Club night. I missed the last meeting, when we began our new book, Mastery of Love, by Don Miguel Ruiz. Having read chapters 3 and 4, I was ready to get caught up with the group and I anticipated the conversations we would have. I was not disappointed. 


Chapter 3 is titled “The Man Who Didn’t Believe in Love”. It tells the story of a man who, having been disappointed by his relationships, travels the country telling everyone that he doesn’t believe in love, and they shouldn’t either. He explains “What humans call ‘love’ is nothing but a fear relationship based on control.” And then he meets a woman who has been hurt and disappointed as well, and who also does not believe in love. 

The two, having so much in common, become great friends and a wonderful relationship grows between them. Neither looks to the other for love, but shares openly and deeply with each other, without attachment or expectation. They realize that what they have is a profound love for each other, even though both look to themselves for their own happiness. The man, full of joy and overflowing with love, draws a star from heaven, into his humble hands. His soul expands and he is struck by the beauty of this star, which seems to have merged with his very soul. 

Wanting to share this amazing experience, he goes to the woman and places the star in her hands. Overwhelmed with the intensity of the love, she wavers and allows doubt to enter. The star shatters into a million tiny pieces. The man, disillusioned again, walks the earth, no longer believing in love, while the woman regrets her doubt and longs for the man to return. What happened? The man was happy, the woman was happy, each enjoying the love radiating from his and her own heart, until he placed his happiness into her hands. 

The lesson from this rather sad story? We are each responsible for our own happiness. The moment I place my happiness in someone else’s hands, it can be broken or lost. I am responsible for my own happiness, and only my happiness. 

Chapter 4 is called The Track of Love, The Track of Fear. What a great chapter on the contrast of operating out of fear versus out of love. Fear is full of obligations. Love has none. Fear operates out of “have to”. Love operates from “want to”. Love has no expectations. Fear is full of them. Love is based on respect while fear has none. Love has compassion. Fear is full of pity. Love is completely responsible. Fear avoids responsibility. Love is always kind. Fear is unkind. Love is unconditional. Fear is full of conditions. 

Most of us spend our lives operating out of fear. Fear seeks to control, so that outcomes are controlled. We get upset when ultimately, we realize that there is very little, outside of ourselves, that we can control. Fear says, “I love you if you let me control you, if you are good to me, if you fit into the image I make for you.” 

Love has no ifs, no condition. Love says, “There is no if; there are no conditions. I love you for no reason, with no justification. I love you the way you are, and you are free to be the way you are.” How amazing life would be, with that kind of love expressed toward one another. 

We had an amazing conversation around these concepts. Pulling a fragment of a sentence from chapter 4, “…when we are afraid, we lie…”, we discussed whether we are lying when we are hiding our true selves, when we fear loss or punishment or rejection will come if we live as the women that we really are. I appreciate the honesty and insights that each woman in our book club offered. We are each seeking to live authentically, as the person we are created to be, regardless of what anyone else thinks, regardless of the expectations of others. That’s living from love, offering love, and detaching from the outcome. We are choosing the track of love, over the track of fear. Ruiz writes, “The only way to master love is to practice love. You don’t need to justify your love, you don’t need to explain your love; you just need to practice your love. Practice creates the master.” We are becoming masters. 



Journey 278: Riddles…and Selfies…in the Dark

Tonight my grandson Dayan and I had the joy of journeying through Middle Earth again. Fathom Events is hosting the extended editions of all three Hobbit movies, at our local theater. Tonight was The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the first of the trilogy. 


I have written several blog posts about the impact the Tolkien stories have had on my life. So I will not go into detail about the movie, except to say, every time I watch The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings, I see something new, something fresh. My heart and soul expands because of the bigness of the story and I am inspired to live a larger life because of that expansiveness. Like Bilbo, I long for adventure and a significant role in a meaningful story. I love that toward the end of An Unexpected Journey, Bilbo, who has already experienced growth because of his adventure, says that he is not a hero, not even a burglar, which is what the Company sees him as. Bilbo is himself, and for the first time in his life, he is discovering exactly what that means. 

Dayan and I enjoyed the additional footage, 20 extra minutes of Middle Earth goodness. The majority of those extra scenes were in Rivendell, which made me smile. My grandson and I discussed the symbolism of Rivendell and many other deeper truths  behind Tolkien’s epic stories, a conversation that I enjoyed as much as the movie, which is saying a great deal. 


There was an on screen trivia game to play, as the minutes ticked down to show time. We only missed one question, out of 20, and had fun testing our knowledge. Most of all this evening, I enjoyed spending time with this remarkable young man, who so graciously accompanied me on this adventure. We chatted. And we laughed. A lot. 

Not knowing how many people would be in attendance, we arrived early, and discovered we were the first arrivals. The theater was already in semi darkness. We attempted to take a selfie, to commemorate our evening, and the hilarity began. My first selfie looked like this, after much editing:


Dayan did better with his phone, except we discovered that selfies in the dark cause the flash to come on, and it is difficult to keep your eyes open when the light flashes in your face. Each pic sent us into peals of laughter. 


I experienced a first today. I resorted to using a cane to help me walk easier, as my left leg is healing from a very inflamed sciatic nerve. I warned Dayan that I had a cane tonight, so he wouldn’t be concerned or surprised. After making sure I was going to be okay, and that the cane wasn’t a permanent accessory for me, he gently and relentlessly teased me about it the rest of the evening. From threatening to buy me a life alert necklace in case I “fell and couldn’t get up”, to including the cane in a selfie, to rescuing my cane when I fumbled and dropped it, Dayan’s good natured ribbing raised my spirits and reminded me that in the largeness of my life, this is a small matter. I appreciate him so much and I am grateful that we travel together on our current adventure. We look forward to the next two movies, Wednesday evening and next Tuesday, when we will see the extended edition of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies for the first time. I hope by then the cane is parked in a corner. If not, perhaps I’ll trade it for a staff, like Gandalf has. 


Journey 277: Simple Sunday

Sunday is my favorite day, a time for a slower pace and self care and creative pursuits. And sometimes, as was the case today, simple pleasures. I had intended to complete a larger project. My Darling left leg said no. I contemplated a smaller project. My leg urged otherwise. Since I am listening, I took those messages to heart and opened to other possibilities. As the afternoon progressed, I saw the pattern that emerged and accepted the journey for what it was…a sweet day of simple pleasures that brought joy and elicited gratitude. 

In keeping with the simplicity of my journey, here is a pictorial representation of my afternoon. 


It was cool enough today to wear one of my Scotland hoodies, which always makes me smile.  

I tried a new Lara Bar, which was delicious. Ingredients: dates, unsweetened coconut, almonds, cashews, coconut oil.  

The weather was perfect for sitting in the garden…and my chair reclines! 

The garden was so peaceful and so beautiful, it made my heart expand. The chirping birds and the bell tones of the wind chime orchestrated a soothing serenade. Bliss. 


The ornamental grasses are the superstars of the garden in the fall. Their stalks of silky tassels waved and rippled in the soft breeze. 


I had great companions to appreciate the garden with me. This is Angel, soaking up the sunshine. Shy Boy was curled up beneath my chair while Marco stalked imaninary creatures in the grasses. 


I got to color. 


I experimented on new techniques for backgrounds. 


There were delightful surprises. This pink lantana self seeded. Pink was last year’s color! 


And this is a small firework plant growing in the yard! The seeds from my plants, in their metal washtub, have gone forth. 


This was the biggest surprise in the garden…a dense, bright green orb that I caught among the grasses. Orbs are energy, that frequently appear in my photos. I’ve not seen one in the backyard garden before. Green is a good color, signifying growth and healing and peace. 

Anne of Green Gables, a character in a series of books by LM Montgomery, said,  “After all, I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string.” That describes my day, my journey, perfectly. 


Journey 276: Celebrating Mom

My mom’s birthday was September 25. I got to see her that day and drop a gift by. See Journey 268 Today my sisters, two nieces, a nephew and four of my mother’s great-grandchildren joined me in celebrating my mom in the way she most enjoys…hanging out together, chatting, and feasting…with a couple of shopping trips thrown in for good measure. 


Mom chose one of her favorite restaurants for her birthday dinner, Golden Corral. We have some family jokes around eating at this popular buffet-style restaurant, but honestly, everyone can eat their favorite foods here, whether that’s pizza, ham, a salad or chocolate dipped strawberries. As always, the best part of dining together is the merry flow of conversation around the table. I was graced to sit between two handsome young men, my great-nephews Ethan and Kaleb. 

After lunch, Ethan and Papa Walter returned home while the rest of us visited the Spirit Halloween store just down the street. My niece Ashley and her husband Jon and my sister Debbie throw a huge Halloween party every year. It’s amazing and fun for the family, and time consuming for them, but something they enjoy. They are always on the look out for props for decor. October, fittingly enough, is also Ashley’s birthday month. She scored an early birthday present today from her mom when she found this animated three headed dog. Kaleb, who is nonplussed by all the ghosts, zombies and ghouls, made me laughed as he cheerfully linked arms with this fellow, pictured below.   

 We made another stop on the way back to mom’s, so other family members could stock up on curcumin. We all have aches and pains and the many other ailments that this supplement combats makes it well worth trying out. We are considering it our own group study. 


Back at mom’s we spent the rest of the afternoon together. The kids roamed the backyard, playing with Scotty the border collie. Jon, who is an absolute sweetheart, rocked little Lola to sleep. Ethan created Doctor Who themed video games on his iPad while we discussed that awesome show. I love the conversations that the adults have, on every subject imaginable. And I love the conversations that I have with the children in the family, whether they are two years old or ten. I not only value their input and perspective, and appreciate their intelligence and cleverness, I get the opportunity to share with them as I listen to what’s going on in their worlds. 

Ethan, who is ten years old, and a 5th grader this year, is an incredibly bright boy, a whiz at math and science, tender hearted toward his friends and family, and not afraid to share with me today that he has been teased because of his intelligence and giftedness. This fellow Whovian has been called weird. How happy I was to share my own weirdness with him and encourage him to rejoice in his uniqueness. The whole family chimed in, relating their own stories. As his dad quipped, “Who wants to be normal?” I don’t! My family is full of the extraordinary, the poets, the artists, the writers, the misfits. We happen to like our family the way it is. 

 It was, with such unique souls gathered together, an extraordinary day indeed, presided over by my mother. I am grateful for her, and her gracious and creative heart and soul that shines so brightly, illuminating the path so that we all can follow. And I am grateful for my family, those who gathered today and those who couldn’t join us, each and every one a bright and beautiful soul, unique….and yes, weird…in their own quirky and delightful ways. I wouldn’t have us be anything else. 

Journey 275: Cinderella

I purchased the DVD of this latest version of Cinderella when it released 10 days ago. My little granddaughter Aubrey and I were going to have tea and watch it together. The day I picked her up from school, the gorgeous weather lured us outside and we ended up at a park, instead. After I arrived home late this evening, after a full day, I debated on what part of my journey to blog about. All afternoon, I had been thinking about this movie. For reasons unknown, it was calling to me. With apologies to Aubrey, I watched it this evening, and loved it.

Cinderella movie poster

Cinderella stars Lily James, Cate Blanchett, Richard Madden, Helena Bonham Carter, Derek Jacobi, Nonso Anozie, Stellan Skarsgard, Sophie McShera, Holliday Grainger, Ben Chaplin and Hayley Atwell. This Disney film was directed by Kenneth Branagh. It is rated PG for mild adult themes and  has a run time of 1 hour and 45 minutes.

This fairy tale was my favorite, when I was a little girl. I grew up with two versions of the classic story: Disney’s 1950 animated cartoon and the 1965 musical from Rodgers and Hammerstein, which appeared annually on TV for many years. Of the two, I was more drawn to the Rodgers and Hammerstein live action, partly because of the song, “In My Own Little Corner”. I identified with the main character, not because of my circumstances…I was not orphaned, had a kind stepmother, no stepsisters, and definitely, no singing mice or birds that helped me to clean. I thought our names were similar…Cindy….Cinderella…and I liked her way of perceiving life. I liked her imagination, her willingness to believe in magic, her perpetual hope.

I’ve seen many variations of the Cinderella story, and valued aspects of them all. Ever After with Drew Barrymore was particularly good. After enjoying Disney’s live action version of Sleeping Beauty, called Maleficent, I looked forward to this re-telling of Ella, the girl with a good and kind heart who becomes a servant girl to her stepmother and stepsisters after her father dies.

And this was a beautifully done movie. The story opens with a voice over by the fairy godmother, (Carter) saying that Ella (James) “…saw the world not only as it was, but as perhaps it could be, with just a little bit of magic.” I was captivated immediately. This version offered a glimpse into Ella’s early childhood, while her mother (Atwell) still lived. Much of her attitude and her enchanted views of the world and life came from Cinderella’s beautiful mother. She gave her young daughter a sentence to live by, “Have courage, and be kind” and those words shaped the rest of her life as she often whispered them to herself. It was a very touching scene as the little girl’s mother told her she must go soon and asked for forgiveness, which Ella immediately gave.

Cinderella and stepmother and stepsisters

When Ella’s lonely father (Chaplin) married again, the peace and joy she had known her entire life was invaded. Cate Blanchett played the role of the stepmother well, bringing a certain beauty and grace to the character, with a hard edge of grief and desperate need. “It was said of her that she too had known grief, but she wore it wonderfully well.” I could find sympathy for this woman, who told her story to Ella, sharing that she married the first time for love, and lost that love to death. She married the second time for her daughters’ securities, and lost that as well. The stepsisters Anastasia (Grainger) and Drisella (McShera) were not ugly to behold. It was their souls that were broken and they became seeking, grasping women, very jealous of the radiance that Ella exuded. They called her Cinderella to hurt her, and their words carried power and began to change Ella’s perceptions of herself.

The rest of the cast was rounded out with a very handsome young prince (Madden) who was charming indeed, especially when his emotions were so evident in his eyes. His father the king was strikingly portrayed by Derek Jacobi, a wonderful classical actor, and Skarsgard made a rather shady Grand Duke, whose actions contradicted his words. The captain of the guard was delightfully fleshed out by Nonso Anozie. Another very touching scene, for me, which mirrored Ella’s loss of her mother, was when the king lay dying and his grown son curled up against him,as he sobbed, his head on his chest, much as a small child would do.


I was not expecting talking mice but the mice were present, albeit silent, significant characters in this version as well. The animals, Ella humming snatches of tunes from the animated film, the bumbling fairy godmother and the words “bibbidi bobbibi boo” brought nostalgic familiarity, as did two songs from the original movie, performed during the credits.

The strength of this movie lay in the quotes that bookended the action. Have courage, and be kind. And, as Ella goes to meet the prince, to try on the glass slipper left behind at the end of the ball, words that struck my heart: “Would who she was, who she really was, be enough? There was no magic to help her this time. This is perhaps the greatest risk that any of us will take, to be seen as we truly are.” What amazing words. I replayed that scene several times, it was so powerful, so poignant. To be seen for who I truly am…is that enough? Am I enough? Hasn’t that always been my question as well? Ultimately, I have discovered that only I can answer those questions.

Ella faced the prince, before trying on the shoe, and makes no apology for who she is. She asked, bluntly, “Will you accept me as I am?” Isn’t that the question we all ask, with or without words? It is my question. He answered in kind, “Yes. Will you accept me as I am?” Again, I have answered my own question. Will I accept myself as I am? Yes. Live as the person that I am? In process. In one of the final scenes, as Ella leaves on the prince’s arm, she faced her stepmother and said, simply, “I forgive you.” Another mirroring of Ella’s final moments with her mother.

I look forward to watching this movie again, with Aubrey. Now that I have seen it, and it is even now playing again as I type, I will watch Aubrey’s little face, interpret the emotions that flicker across her face and flare up in her blue eyes. I can’t wait to tell her, “Who you really are, is enough.” And for all of my grandchildren, I have new words to share, “Have courage, and be kind.” They are all enough. They are all accepted, as they are.

Cinderella Have Courage and Be Kind

Journey 274: A Message from My Left Leg

Twenty years ago, I was in a car accident that injured my neck, sternum and lower back, which affects my legs. Think whiplash that started at my waist rather than my neck. I am grateful that I was wearing a seatbelt, which prevented me from going through the windshield. However, between the seat back breaking and the seatbelt holding me but allowing me to twist and thrash about, I sustained damage that caused me to spend the next five years in physical therapy, doctors’ offices and pain management clinics. Overall, I fared better than was expected although pain has been my constant companion and I walk with a limp. The pain is  manageable most of the time. Occasionally, I have a flare up of sciatica, especially down the left leg. 

When the sciatic nerve gets inflamed, I slow down a bit and up my self care until it subsides. This flare up has been ongoing for weeks, increasingly limiting my ability to walk, or sit comfortably or sleep well. I learned last year, when I had a flare up right before my trip to Scotland, to listen to the messages my body sends me and respond with love, patience and encouragement, rather than irritation and frustration. As I walked all over Glasgow, Edinburgh and Lauder, Scotland, I had continuous conversations with my leg left, thanking her for doing her best, expressing appreciation, calling her “Darling”. The pain didn’t completely go away. But we got by, my left leg and I, and experienced all that was planned for the trip. I even had a wondrous occurrence of spontaneous warmth and healing near the end of the trip. 

I am listening, again, to the messages my left leg, my Darling, is sending me. I was reluctant to, at first. I desired to soldier through the pain initially, then I tried babying her. But here’s the message: Some health habits need to change. Drastically. Immediately. And for the long haul. 

Back into research I have gone. In response, I am once again being aware and intentional about the foods I eat, leaning toward whole foods, and avoiding sugar, dairy and gluten, all of which seem to create inflammation in my body. I am stretching the muscles of my glutes and legs, taking turmeric, ginger and cats claw, all natural anti-inflammatories. 

Today I upped my strategy further. I purchased and began taking extra strength curcumin, which is derived from the roots of turmeric, and is a very powerful anti-inflammatory and pain reliever, and MSM. This supplement is also an anti-inflammatory, helps rebuild connective tissue, and reduces pain. 

I also created my own liniment for nerve pain this evening. Using a base of coconut oil, I added 30 drops each of St John’s wort oil, lemon oil and orange oil. I massaged the mixture along the painful path of the sciatic nerve. I’m scheduling a massage and an energy session and looking into acupuncture. My research has yielded mixed reviews for the benefits of acupuncture, however I am considering it. I dug out my yoga DVD tonight as well. I have not been able to do Zumba lately, or walk more than 10 minutes. I am trying a 15 minute yoga session designed to stretch and relax before heading to bed. 

I am open to other suggestions, especially those that are arising from my own body. I trust my intuition, my instincts, and that Darling left leg. As I was driving to my customary health store today, to pick up the new supplements, I felt strongly compelled to stop at a different store that I visit less frequently. The woman who greeted me as I entered has experienced the same symptoms. She was a great help in selecting the right products and gave me a book for free. I left with my bag of supplements and the assurance that I am headed in the right direction. For me, it is so beneficial to listen, and respond…right Darling? I choose to be proactive. I choose not to suffer.