Vintage Spring Vignette

Today’s bright spring weather deteriorated this afternoon, as the wind picked up and temperatures plummeted. I had begun resetting the front porch, changing the décor over to spring. Driven indoors, yet undeterred, I switched my efforts to creating fresh spring vignettes. 

Vintage Spring Vignette

A vignette is made by grouping items together to create a pleasing arrangement or to tell a story. This is a high level of playing for me. Using a mix of old and new pieces, keepsakes and sale items from craft stores, putting together a vignette is like working a puzzle without knowing what the finished picture looks like. 

The creation process is done by trying out various pieces and moving them around until I am satisfied. I enjoy using what I have on hand and rarely buy new items to complete a display. While I put a great deal of thought into this form of artistic play, I stay open to inspiration and Divine guidance. 

That state of openness brought about today’s chain of events. 

Vintage Spring Vignette
On the little table by the front door, I created an Easter themed vignette on the top surface. This display is similar to the one I put together last year, using vintage hankies formed into rosettes and a couple of porcelain pieces from Greg’s mother Leta. 

As I studied the table’s empty bottom shelf, I decided to create a totally new vignette. The fun began. 

I quickly selected several other small porcelain Easter pieces that also belonged to Greg’s mother. Rummaging in my closet, where keepsakes and craft supplies are stored, I deliberated between a dark green taper and a burgandy one. The burgandy candle brought out the same darker color painted on the rabbit candle holder and the little bunny bell. Perfect. 

Vintage Spring Vignette
That color proved to be significant. As I tried out other items with the trio of Easter pieces, I kept getting a “no”.  Nothing was coming together. Standing quietly, allowing ideas to flow to me, I saw in my mind a plate in the empty corner, resting on a stand. But which plate? The burgandy candle was sparking a memory. I had a plate with that color on it. 

Vintage Spring Vignette
In a drawer, carefully swaddled in bubble wrap, I uncovered the plate. My heart rate increased, alerting me that I was headed in the right direction. This plate has a hand written note on the back. Walter Davidson, born in 1880, was Leta’s father. He gave the plate to Leta’s mother, Ada Barnes, before they were married. 

Researching the mark on the back, I discovered the keepsake is a rare, Prussian made Royal Rudolstadt Beyer & Boch floral plate, approximately 110 years old. I almost wrapped the plate back up, to return it to the drawer for safekeeping. But that’s not me. I like to carefully display and use items. What joy do these treasures bring, hidden away in a drawer? 

Vintage Spring Vignette
I completed the spring vignette, using Walter’s gift to Ada, and it looks beautiful. I gaze at the plate and tremble a bit, because…110 years old! I’ll leave it on display for a short time, before returning the plate to its protective cocoon. 

As so often happens, I am amazed and delighted at the way the Divine invites me to play. However, the wonder didn’t stop there. 

Vintage Spring Vignette
Pictured above are Walter and Ada Davidson, photographed in the late 1930s. They are Leta’s parents, Greg’s grandparents and our children’s great-grandparents. Years ago, as we researched Greg’s family history, we could find very little about Walter. We knew his parents were born in England and nothing more…no names, dates or siblings. 

Searching for Walter and Ada’s wedding date online, I came across info on ancestry.com.uk that led me to Walter and his parents. Excited, but needing to write a blog post, I turned the search over to Greg. Amazingly, in a short amount of time, he found Walter’s parents and their parents, all born in England. 

In addition, Walter’s brother, Alvin Davidson, moved to Joplin, Missouri, by 1921 at least, as he lost two young children here that year. Alvin and all three of his children are buried in Joplin. We will be visiting their graves. 

How incredible. What began as an afternoon of creating spring vignettes using vintage items became an unexpected pathway to discovering new family members, and new stories. 

Walter’s gift to Ada opened that door. I am grateful…and excited to see where this journey leads. 

Vintage Spring Vignette

Hello Spring…Goodbye Maple Tree

I deeply appreciated the opportunity to spend the first day of spring outdoors. With summer-like temperatures and clear blue skies, it was the perfect day to work in the yard and soak in the sun. I stayed open to receiving the gifts that the day offered. Trimming back plants, clearing away last winter’s dead vegetation, intentions for a late afternoon outdoor tea with tender lemon balm just sprouting in the garden…I knew one of these experiences would become the focus of this evening’s blog post. 

And then an unexpected event shifted the day. It would be insignificant to many people, but it wasn’t to me. Greg had a man stop by to look at the huge old maple tree in the backyard. In two hours Brian the tree guy was back, in his bucket truck, chainsaws ready. Maple tree was coming down. 

Hello Spring...Goodbye Maple Tree
This tree has had a long life, and it has a story. At least 30 years ago it began as a volunteer seedling, snuggled against the fence on the north side of my backyard. Technically on the neighbor’s side of the fence, no one could ever determine exactly whose property it was growing on, and the tiny tree was left alone. 

Seemingly overnight, that little maple became a massive tree. Whatever thoughts there might have been about cutting it down, it was now too late. 

I didn’t mind. My children didn’t mind. They climbed the tree and sat on its leafy boughs. Their sandbox rested in its shade, as did a swingset. My younger daughter Adriel especially loved the maple tree. She would climb the fence and scamper up with her best friend Tresha, each of them claiming the tree for her own. 

Hello Spring...Goodbye Maple Tree
Due to its tremendous size, and branches that overhung the house, the maple tree became a concern over the years. During a winter ice storm nine years ago, I lay awake all night, listening to the sharp crack of tree branches breaking all over my neighborhood. The weight of accumulated ice shattered limbs and pulled trees down. Not my maple tree though. I knew if one of the heavy branches fell, it could easily go through the roof, causing great damage. But it withstood the weight, the branches drooping low but never breaking. 

When the EF5 tornado churned through Joplin in 2011, my house was in the storm’s path. Again, the maple tree could have destroyed my house, or the neighbor’s, if its branches had become projectiles or if the tornado had pried it from the ground. Most of the trees in my neighborhood were destroyed that day and I lost a redbud in the front yard. 

Once more, this steadfast tree withstood the forces of nature. This time, however, maple tree was hurt. The roots gripped the earth, and held,  but assaulted by winds that exceeded 200 MPH, the tree twisted, the grand truck spiraling, splitting bark and fracturing branches. 

Hello Spring...Goodbye Maple Tree
Hello Spring...Goodbye Maple Tree
Greg had the tree trimmed back after the storm. I wasn’t sure if it would survive, in its new corkscrew condition. New growth appeared eventually, small branches stretching out toward the roof of the house again. Yet, the tree was scarred, and great patches of rough bark fell off, exposing wounds that never quite seemed to heal. The big old tree became a greater and greater risk, especially during the spring storm season, threatening my house and the neighbor’s house. 

I understood maple tree needed to come down. I was sad about it, nonetheless. 

Hello Spring...Goodbye Maple Tree

Brian was efficient as he took the maple tree down in sections. He worked carefully, explaining what he was doing as the chainsaw bit into the tree.  I was surprised to see that much of the tree was hollow inside. Brian was right. The tree was dying. 

I watched the process as a witness. Living, this tree had offered a place to hide and play. It sheltered birds and squirrels, covered us with its shade, stayed strong in the most challenging of circumstances. Now as maple tree fell, I silently honored its life and felt gratitude for its many gifts. 

Hello Spring...Goodbye Maple Tree
In the movie Guardians of the Galaxy, there is a sentient tree creature named Groot. He is noble and wise, and he sacrifices himself to save his companions. He is not entirely lost however. Groot reappears as a tiny sprig, an offshoot of the original being. 

I thought about Groot as maple tree lay scattered in pieces on the ground. Who is to say whether this tree sacrificed itself, twisting fiercely as it clung to the ground, rather than crashing through the house where Greg and I crouched in a tiny closet? That was a noble act. 

The severed branches held bunches of bright green seeds. As the seeds dry mid-spring, they break free of the parent tree and spiral like miniature helicopters to the ground. Maple tree’s life is gone on this first day of spring….a season of rebirth and new growth. However, the promise of life trembled there on the tips of its branches. 

I gathered seeds, collecting them in a mason jar. I’ll spread the seeds out and allow them to dry thoroughly and then return them to the jar. I don’t have room in my yard for another massive tree. But my children may want a baby maple, to create fresh stories and their own memories with. I’ll keep some of the seeds as a reminder of my maple tree and its beautiful story, which lives on. 

Hello Spring...Goodbye Maple Tree

Spring is in the Air

Tomorrow is the first day of spring! With a high of 84 degrees today, it seemed the seasons shifted a day early. I couldn’t resist the siren call of the outdoors. I made my first trip to Lowe’s Garden Center, one of my favorite happy places, and purchased flowers for containers on the front porch. 

Spring is in the Air
After my Aunt Annie passed away two years ago, my mom, sisters and I spent time with my cousins in their mother’s home. Together we sorted through items and photos and memories. My cousins graciously invited us to select keepsakes to take home. 

My aunt was a gardener. I wandered through her backyard, thinking of her and appreciating her talent with flowering plants. In her gardening shed, I found the items that I wanted to keep…a rustic wooden box with chippy red paint, and an assortment of clay flowerpots. 

Spring is in the Air

This is the third spring I have welcomed, by planting flowers in those clay pots, and arranging them in Annie’s Box. At Lowe’s this afternoon I was drawn to yellow and white blooming flowers. Okay, I was drawn to everything growing in the garden center. I LOVE this season and it awakens my desire to garden! 

I selected tiny white begonias and butter yellow pansies for my arrangement. Back home, I got my hands dirty for the first time this year, transferring the young plants into the vintage clay pots, and smoothing fresh potting soil gently  around them. 

Spring is in the Air
Spring is in the Air
Although I lingered over the task, enjoying the warm sunshine and fresh, cooling breeze, in a short time I had all the plants tucked into containers. I had enough flowers to fill extra clay pots, creating a charming little Welcome Spring vignette. 

Welcome indeed! Ellis Peters wrote, “Every spring is the only spring…a perpetual astonishment.” I love that quote. And that’s exactly how I feel, continual delight and astonishment as I meander through my awakening garden, exclaiming over tender green shoots that are appearing everywhere. 

Tomorrow promises to be a duplicate of today, with the bonus of actually offering spring’s first kiss. Guess where I will be spending most of my day? 

Spring is in the Air

Movie Review: Beauty and the Beast

I don’t typically post two movie reviews in a row, but when an invitation came to watch the new Beauty and the Beast film, I was thrilled to accept. I arrived at the beautiful Warren Theater in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma with my sister Debbie, niece Ashley and great-nephew Kaleb, excited to see this live action remake of a classic Disney animated film. 

Movie Review: Beauty and the Beast

Although this was my second visit to the Warren Theater, it was my first time in the Grand Infinity Room. With its 50X100 foot curved screen and comfy seats, this was a grand viewing experience indeed. Before the movie began there was a light show set to music from Beauty and the Beast. Nostalgia hit me immediately!

Movie Review: Beauty and the Beast
Movie Review: Beauty and the Beast
Movie Review: Beauty and the Beast
Beauty and the Beast has a large cast that includes Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Kevin Kline, Luke Evans, Josh Gad, Ian McKellen, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Emma Thompson, Nathan Mack, Audra McDonald, and Gugu Mbatha-Raw. This fairytale musical was directed by Bill Condon, is rated PG for mild violence and scenes that might be scary to young children, and has a run time of 2 hours and 9 minutes. 

Beautiful Belle (Watson) and her father Maurice (Kline) live in a country village in France. They are surrounded by small minded people who don’t understand Maurice’s artistic creativity or Belle’s desire to read books, learn new things and go on adventures. 

Movie Review: Beauty and the Beast

Movie Review: Beauty and the Beast
Belle has attracted the unwanted attention of Gaston (Evans), the town’s hunky self absorbed hero, who doesn’t actually have a hero’s heart. LeFou (Gad) plots to help his best friend win the hand of Belle and charm the townsfolk, while attempting to conceal Gaston’s more ruthless nature. 

When Maurice gets lost on his way to the market, he encounters a montrous beast-like man who takes him prisoner. Belle finds her father held captive in the Beast’s (Stevens) huge, dark castle that lies under a magical enchantment. She frees her father and surrenders herself as a prisoner in his place. 

Movie Review: Beauty and the Beast
Movie Review: Beauty and the Beast

Belle befriends the inhabitants of the gloomy castle. Under the same spell as the Beast, the staff has all been turned into furniture and household items and antiques. There’s the comforting and motherly Mrs. Potts (Thompson) and her tea cup son, Chip (Mack), a singing wardrobe (McDonald) and her cadenza husband (Tucci) and a sweet French woman turned into a feather duster, Plumette (mBatha-Raw). Presiding over the strange household are the candelabra Lumiere (McGregor) and the crotchety clock, Cogsworth (McKellen). 

Movie Review: Beauty and the Beast

Movie Review: Beauty and the Beast

This eclectic group views Belle as their only hope for restoration. If the Beast does not learn to love, and be loved in return, before the last petal falls from the enchanted rose, he will remain a beast forever, and his staff will remain in their current state. 

It’s a lot to ask of the girl who lost her father and her freedom on the same day. 

But something beyond magical begins to happen, as Belle and her captor get to know each other. Beast feels his guard coming down, and the anger he has nursed for years is replaced with curiosity and a faint hope. Belle, who has longed for someone to discuss books with, sees beneath the gruff and gruesome exterior of the beast to the man trapped within. 

Movie Review: Beauty and the Beast
They both wish to be free…free from the curse, free to live as themselves, free to love, and in Belle’s case, free to leave the castle to see her father. Time is running out as Gaston leads the villagers to the castle to kill the beast. Can love free them all before it is too late? 

Movie Review: Beauty and the Beast
This was a beautiful remake. The animated film released in 1991 was a favorite of mine, the story enchanting on so many levels. My children were young and captivated as well, by this “tale as old as time…”.  Beauty and the Beast was the first film that my granddaughter Aubrey watched over and over, at the age of 18 months. So this story, this movie, holds many special memories for me. 

Which would explain why I watched it today through tear filled eyes, from start to finish. The music stirred my heart, the familiar songs, for this is a musical, made me smile, and the additional new songs and scenes enhanced the film. There were plenty of humorous moments too, from Gaston and his sidekick LeFou, Lumiere and Cogsworth, and even Belle and Beast. 

Movie Review: Beauty and the Beast
What I love most about this film, beyond the music and the special effects and CGI, beyond the humor, is that this is a story about seeing past outward appearances, and into the heart. Beauty and the Beast is a love story, and a story about hope and redemption. 

I so appreciate the opportunity to see the movie today, and spend time unpacking its truths on the ride back to Joplin. I will be seeing Beauty and the Beast again. 

Movie Review: Beauty and the Beast

Movie Review: Hacksaw Ridge

Every year after the Academy Awards air, I watch each of the Best Picture nominated films. It’s a tradition, and one I enjoy. And every year, there is one movie on the list of eight or nine that I don’t look forward to watching. I usually get that one out of the way quickly. Most of the time, the movie proves to be stellar and I am grateful that I watched it.

This year, the movie that I didn’t think I would like was Hacksaw Ridge. War movies are at the bottom of my list, genre wise. I rented the DVD of this film with low expectations and a desire to see it and check it off my list.

Movie Review: Hacksaw Ridge
Hacksaw Ridge stars Andrew Garfield, Sam Worthington, Teresa Palmer, Hugo Weaving, Rachel Griffiths and Vince Vaughn. This biographical drama, based on a true story, was directed by Mel Gibson. Rated R for scenes of war time violence, the movie has a run time of 2 hours and 19 minutes. Hacksaw Ridge was nominted for six Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Director for Gibson and Best Actor for Garfield. It won two Oscars, for Film Editing and Sound Mixing.

Movie Review: Hacksaw Ridge
Desmond Doss (Garfield) grew up with an alcholic father, Tom (Weaving), a WWI veteran, and a Seventh Day Adventist mother, Bertha (Griffiths). A couple of family incidents make a deep impact on young Desmond, causing him to abhor weapons and violence.

Desmond, now grown, has a pretty fiancé Dorothy (Palmer) and lives with contentment. However, as WWII escalates, he decides to join the Army and protect his country, while adhering to his beliefs.

Movie Review: Hacksaw Ridge
The Army, it seems, objects to a conscientious objector. Determined to prevent Desmond from serving as a medic, his superior officers, Sgt Howell (Vaughn) and Captain Glover (Worthington), make military life difficult for him. He endures disciplinary actions, a beating, ridicule and discrimination, and yet never wavers in his decision to serve his country while not carrying a weapon. Killing someone is strongly against Desmond’s beliefs.

During a court martial hearing against him, for refusing a direct order to qualify with a rifle, Desmond at last receives permission to train as a medic and not carry a weapon. Desmond’s father, whose life has been so devasted by war and who did not want his son to join the Army, pulls himself together and pulls in a favor that allows his son to stay in the military.

Movie Review: Hacksaw Ridge
Desmond and his comrades arrive in Okinawa, where the Japanese are entrenched and beating back battalion after battalion atop Hacksaw Ridge. The fighting is intense, bloody and horrific, with many, many casualties.

Beliefs are challenged.

Will Desmond, who has been called a coward for refusing to fire a rifle, be able to endure such a catastrophic battle? Can Desmond hold to his beliefs against using weapons? Can the other soldiers trust a man who would rather die than shoot?

Movie Review: Hacksaw Ridge
The first half of this film caught my interest and held it. I was sympathetic to Desmond’s story and empathized with his plight. Garfield turned in a superb performance as the gentle, likable young man who had a patriotic desire to serve and an objection to killing.

I started off liking Desmond, and came to deeply respect him. He had a strong belief system, and he honored it, no matter what anyone said, no matter what happened.

The second half of the movie was extremely difficult for me to watch. The Battle of Okinawa was brutal, in every way. While I can appreciate the amazing special effects and CGI and editing, watching the battle scenes was like experiencing rapid punches to my gut. And yet…I could not look away. I had connected with these characters, especially Desmond. I cared about what happened to them.

Movie Review: Hacksaw Ridge
Movie Review: Hacksaw Ridge                        The real Desmond Doss 

Historically, no other conscientious objector has ever fought on the front lines without a weapon. Nor has one rescued 75 fallen soldiers, alone, behind enemy lines, without firing a shot. Medic Desmond Doss did both.

I was in tears by the film’s end. And deeply moved. This was a real story, about real people, with real results. I learned about grace and unswerving conviction, courage and trust, compassion and forgiveness. It was a big, messy, agonizingly powerful movie…and it was beautiful.

Hacksaw Ridge. I am so glad that I watched it.

Movie Review: Hacksaw Ridge

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Being Weston

Today my great-nephew Weston turned four years old! There will be a family gathering at a Joplin bounce house later this month, with cake and gifts. However, I chose to celebrate this little charmer today. 

Happy Birthday Weston
I started looking up family members’ names during the April birthdays last year. Weston is the last person in my family to have the meaning of his name included in a celebratory post. As a four year old, he wouldn’t be happy about being last in anything! I’m glad he’s too young to realize that he completes this series of posts. 

“Weston, you follow the divine law of love. Charming and magnetic, intuitive and spiritual, you are a people person and enjoy gatherings and celebrations. You will have an eventful and exciting life. Learning new information comes easily for you and you remember what you’ve learned. You have great persistence and do not give up easily on anyone or anything. 

In life you are most content when you are with your family and loved ones. You have a great sense of responsibility and duty and want to provide for those you care about. You are comforting, appreciative and affectionate. To be treated fairly and in turn be fair with others is important to you. Because of your loving nature, you will find great happiness and satisfaction.”

Happy Birthday Weston


The first truth that stood out to me, reading those words about Weston, is that love is at the center of his life. This bright eyed, curly haired boy is so loved. And he so loves others. He has wonderfully supportive and encouraging parents, my nephew Scott and his wife Nicole. And he has an adoring little sister, Lola. His grandmother is my sister Linda. He calls her Gigi and he knows she loves him to Jupiter and back and that she would do anything for him. 

In fact, this boy has a large extended family around him…grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins…who cherish him and walk alongside him, committed to helping Weston learn and grow and have fun. He may not fully realize the depths of the love that surrounds him. But he thrives in that environment. 

Happy Birthday Weston
Happy Birthday Weston
All of this love allows this handsome child to do the things that he does best: Have fun. Figure things out by trying things out. Learn. Grow. Be Weston. 

Being Weston is the most important task he has. I’ve watched Weston this past year, as he moved from being a toddler to being a kid. He likes lawn mowers and vacuum cleaners and power tools and blow dryers…in short, anything that moves and makes noise while it moves. He likes to help, whether it’s in the kitchen or vacuuming the floor for Gigi or helping his papa remodel a bathroom. 

Happy Birthday Weston
Happy Birthday Weston
Weston is very smart, articulating well his ideas and desires. He reasons things out and thinks things through. He is persistent. Just ask his parents or his Gigi. Persistence is a powerful quality to carry though life. Weston has a strong sense of responsibility and the desire to care for others. He wants to make sure everyone is treated fairly. And being four, it is extremely crucial that he feels that same fairness extended toward him. 

Weston exudes charm. And he can be polite even when he is asking you to leave. When his mother told him he couldn’t vacuum at Gigi’s anymore until after I left, he immediately came to me and with a serious look in his big brown eyes, said with great sincerity, “Good bye Yaya”. 

He is affectionate and loves to cuddle. He is learning and growing. He is discovering the world and how he impacts it. He is being Weston. And what an amazing Weston he is. 

Happy Birthday Weston

Dad’s Harley Davidson Shirt

This is not the blog post I thought I was going to write. I rented the Best Picture nominated film Hacksaw Ridge to watch tonight and intended to do a review. Although it’s been a long day and I arrived home late…and tired…I was determined to watch the movie. 

However, as I was preparing to change into my comfy clothes, a thought arose, seemingly from out of the blue. Try on your dad’s shirt. Maybe the thought wasn’t so far out there. I had been thinking of my dad more than usual today. He died seven years ago this month and the anniversary of his passing is approaching. 

Dads Harley Davidson shirt
All his adult life, my dad owned motorcycles. He especially favored Harley Davidsons. I have so many fond and cherished memories of riding behind my dad on one of his bikes. I always felt safe on our adventures, riding down the highway or motoring along on a country road, perched on the seat with my arms around my dad. Near the end of his earthly journey, my dad switched to a Harley trike, as it was easier for him to ride. 

Dads Harley Davidson shirt

Dads Harley Davidson shirt
After his death, my stepmom had my sisters and me select one of Dad’s t shirts to take home as a keepsake. I picked out a Harley Davidson sleeveless T. From the design on the back, I’d guess that he bought it in Fort Smith, Arkansas. My father loved to ride through the hills and woods of Arkansas. This shirt was a perfect memento….except for one thing. 

It was a very small shirt. 

After a two year battle with pancreatic cancer, my dad was literally a shadow of himself as he neared the end of his life. He had lost so much weight, and he was never a big guy before his illness. This shirt was proof of that. 

Dads Harley Davidson shirt
I knew it wasn’t likely that I would ever be able to wear my dad’s shirt. But I chose it anyway and took it home. Occasionally I’d hold the shirt close to my heart and think of my dad. However, most of the time it has been tucked away in a drawer, laundered and neatly folded. 

Until tonight. Try on your dad’s shirt.

I have been living a plant based lifestyle for almost nine months. I feel incredibly healthy and I have cleared up many minor and not so minor health issues. And as a side benefit, I have lost weight. That wasn’t my goal when I changed my diet…being healthy and pain free was. And yet there is no denying that along with improving my health, I have trimmed down. 

I almost felt nervous, slipping Dad’s shirt over my head. I closed my eyes as I tugged the shirt down and thought of my dad…his smile, his laughter, his hugs, his zest for life. I opened my eyes and gazed into the mirror. The shirt fit…perfectly! 

It’s one of those little things that is huge. To me. I treasure this shirt even though I thought it would remain tucked away in the drawer. No. I will be wearing this shirt this summer. Wearing it and enjoying it, for my dad, in remembrance of him and in the process of loving and living life. 

In my joy, I could hear my dad whisper “Way to go Sissy. The shirt looks good on you.” 

“Thanks Dad,” I whispered back. “I love you.” 

Dads Harley Davidson shirt


A Honey of a Skin Serum

I’ve been making my own skin serum for years. I like knowing that I am not putting unwanted chemicals and additives on my skin. Plus, the act of making my own skin care products is meditative and centering, with results that make me feel good about myself, while nourishing my skin. 

A Honey of a Skin Serum
Over the years, I’ve adapted my recipe. The original skin serum began simply…a coconut oil base with liquid vitamin E. I tried adding drops of different essential oils, from rosemary to lavendar. I eventually settled on using coconut oil, vitamin E, and lavender and calendula essential oils. 

Recently I’ve been reading about the benefits of honey for the skin. According to my research, honey is a wonderful addition to skin care for the following reasons:

  • It is naturally antibacterial, making it ideal for acne and blemish control. 
  • Honey is also full of antioxidants, providing powerful anti-aging properties. 
  • It is extremely nourishing and moisturizing, boosting the complexion and creating a healthy glow. 
  • And, honey opens and unclogs pores, clarifying the skin. 

A Honey of a Skin Serum
I think of honey as being gooey and sticky. And it is if I spill a few drops on the kitchen counter. Although I’ve made honey facial masks, that I applied and then rinsed off, I’ve never added it to my skin serum before. I use my DIY product every morning and evening, after cleaning my face. I don’t rinse it off, but allow the serum to absorb into my skin. 

I wouldn’t know how well it worked unless I tried it. Needing to make a new batch of serum, I assembled the ingredients and for the first time, I added a quarter of a teaspoon of raw, local honey. 

Here is the simple recipe:

Add pure organic coconut oil to a small jar. Melt oil in microwave, only heating until partially melted, or carefully run hot tap water over the jar, melting the oil. Stir with a toothpick, until the oil becomes liquid. Pierce the ends of two vitamin E capsules and squeeze into the oil. Add 10 drops each of calendula and lavendar esential oils. Add 1/4 teaspoon of raw, local honey. Stir well. Cover and place jar in refrigerator to solidify. 

A Honey of a Skin Serum
As it cools, the serum becomes solid again and remains that way, except during very warm weather. I keep my jar of serum in the bathroom cabinet. It doesn’t need to be refrigerated. 

I use my fingertip to collect a small amount of the silky product and apply it to my face and neck. The serum immediately liquifies as it comes in contact with the warmth of my skin and absorbs readily. 

As the new batch of serum cooled, I washed my face with warm water and a Norwex microfiber cloth. And then the test. Would my serum with honey added feel sticky or goopy? Would it apply easily and would my skin drink it up?

The serum was wonderful, going on smoothly without feeling a bit sticky or goopy. I applied it, as usual, over my entire face, my neck and even my lips. I love the way the serum literally melts into my skin. 

Even more, I love the way my simple, DIY serum makes me feel. My skin is soft, moisturized and does indeed have a healthy glow. And I am caring for myself, nuturing myself, at a deep level.  

Since this is a new, untried recipe, I’ll give an update in 30 days to report on results. However, tonight I am giving this honey of a skin serum two thumbs up!

A Honey of a Skin Serum

Arsenic and Old Lace: The Journey Toward Halloween 2017

I coined a new phrase tonight. Or at least, I connected two ordinary words together and gave them a new meaning. A synchronicity string is when a series of synchronicities with similarities are strung together, leading toward a particular outcome. Being familiar with this phenomenon, and having experienced it many times, the concept lent itself to my new term: creative string. 

By my own definition, a creative string is a series of inspirational and/or imaginative events, with a common thread, strung together and leading to a particular outcome. 

I am currently experiencing a creative string. 

Arsenic and Old Lace: The Journey Toward Halloween 2017
In my family, we have a big party every October, hosted by my sister Debbie, niece Ashley and her husband Jon. The Halloween Party is a big deal. Jon and Ashley’s house is transformed, supporting the year’s theme. Debbie, Ashley and Jon spend months creating the props and decorations. Last year’s theme was Tim Burton Films, and we all arrived dressed as characters from his movies. 

Arsenic and Old Lace: The Journey Toward Halloween 2017
I was Mrs Lovett, from Sweeney Todd. Because of the amount of thought and preparation that goes into this annual event, March is not too early to be thinking about the Halloween Party, and making plans. In fact, the next year’s theme is always announced at the end of the party. 

For 2017 the party theme is Insane Asylum. Each participant will come in costume, as a historical or fictional insane person. Many family members came up with ideas right away. I’ve been thinking about it, and was having a hard time coming up with a character. And then into my mind popped the old black and white film from 1944, Arsenic and Old Lace. At the heart of this comedic romp are two spinster sisters, Abby and Martha Brewster. 

They are sweet, gracious, thoughtful ladies, and they are wonderfully insane. 

Arsenic and Old Lace: The Journey Toward Halloween 2017

I shared this idea with my sister Debbie. We could attend the party as the Brewster sisters. Costumes would be easy…old fashioned clothes, a pair of wire rimmed spectacles for Martha, aprons, and a bottle of “elderberry” wine and a couple of wine glasses. 

She loved the idea. And thus the creative string began. In the library last week, checking to see if they had any of the Best Picture nominated films available on DVD, I came across the Arsenic and Old Lace movie. Perfect! I brought it home and watched it tonight. 

Arsenic and Old Lace: The Journey Toward Halloween 2017
I loved this movie as a child. Starring Cary Grant as Mortimer Brewster, and Josephine Hull and Jean Adair as his charmingly wacky aunts, this is a fun comedy. After watching the movie this evening, I can’t figure out why I watched it so many times. It is funny, in an over-the-top kind of way, with many sight gags and exaggerated facial expressions. I giggled through it. But it’s definitely not your typical kid’s film. 

I can only believe that my quirkiness must have been drawn to it and engaged. The film seems to be a forerunner of a later series about an unusual family, the Addams. I laughed aloud over Mortimer’s apologetic line to his new bride, “Look I probably should have told you this before but you see… well… insanity runs in my family… It practically gallops.”  Isn’t there a touch of insanity in everybody’s family? 

Arsenic and Old Lace: The Journey Toward Halloween 2017
I won’t share anything more about the movie, because the next knot in the creative string arrives at the end of the month. I discovered that the Joplin Little Theater is performing the play, Arsenic and Old Lace, March 29 – April 2. These kinds of things don’t even surprise me anymore. They just bring confirmation that all details in life are important, even the fun ones and the seemingly unimportant ones. 

Debbie is going with me to the play. Perhaps we should take notes, as we look toward Halloween 2017, and stepping into the roles of Abby and Martha Brewster. 

I know the string of creative “coincidences” is just beginning. I look forward to seeing what pops up next on this journey. 

Arsenic and Old Lace: The Journey to Halloween 2017

A Cellist Creates A Little Chaos

I love movie soundtracks. Listening to the score reminds me of the associated scenes from the film and the music inspires me. Last weekend I watched the movie A Little Chaos, starting Kate Winslet, Matthias Schoenaerts and Alan Rickman, who also directed the film and co-wrote the screenplay.

It was my second viewing of A Little Chaos, which means I was able to take in more details and go deeper into the story. I noticed the beautiful musical score on this second pass as well. Heavy on the strings, yet never overpowering, the score perfectly complements this period piece, enhancing the overall mood and the interactions between the characters.

A Cellist Creates A Little Chaos
Today I came across a YouTube video featuring a talented young cellist named Peter Gregson. Looking up more info about the musician I discovered, to my delight, that he composed the soundtrack for A Little Chaos. Although I had enjoyed the score while watching the movie last Saturday, I had not yet connected a name with the work. Synchronicity took care of that for me today!

I also learned that it was a synchronous event that brought Peter Gregson to the Chaos project.

A Cellist Creates A Little Chaos
Peter was drawn to the cello at a very young age, after noticing a cello case in a James Bond movie, and later seeing another such case at a children’s concert in Edinburgh. He wanted a cello case. His mother decided to get him one, and the musical instrument that fit within it.

Now known as a cellist and composer “working at the forefront of the new music scene”, Gregson has collaborated with other film composers and has released several CDs featuring his own music.

A Cellist Creates A Little Chaos

A choreographer from the English National Ballet asked Gregson to write the music for his next ballet, after the musician wrote a cello piece for a previous performance. Peter did so, writing a ballet about water, which he called “complicated, but it’s a beautiful piece, stunningly choreographed.” One night, in the tiny theater where the ballet was being performed, Alan Rickman sat in the audience, watching…and listening.

He approached Peter after the performance and asked him to write the musical score for A Little Chaos. It would be Gregson’s first solo film score. He was 26 years old. Vanity Fair declared it Score of the Year, and it was nominated for the Public Choice Award at the 2015 World Soundtrack Awards.

A Cellist Creates A Little Chaos

In an interview, Peter discussed working on the film’s score, “Once we had the whole film laid out, he (Alan) would come to the studio and we would try things. Alan is a very musical man. He doesn’t have the musical language, but he cares a lot about the music. I was very lucky that he was so passionate about the music. He really helped it be another voice in the film. And I would be very lucky if I have the chance to work again with another director who cares about music as much as he did.” 

I love the role synchronicity played in bringing Peter Grayson to A Little Chaos, and in bringing me to Peter Grayson. Via YouTube, I enjoyed listening to him play the cello today. He has also done several TED Talks that are available as well. And I pulled up the A Little Chaos soundtrack this afternoon, able to listen differently and appreciate it more, knowing the story behind the music and the composer.

Listen to Peter Gregson HERE and HERE.

Now 30 years old, this soulful musician has much to offer to the world. I hope other directors who care passionately about music, about giving the score a distinct voice in their movies, will recognize his gifts. I certainly do.

A Cellist Creates A Little Chaos
You can purchase the A Little Chaos DVD and the soundtrack below:

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