Series Review: Better Late Than Never

I don’t know how I missed this series last year. Four American icons, aged 69 to 86, travel together exploring countries and cultures, and the dynamics of friendship. They are accompanied by a younger sidekick, who rather than keeping them out of trouble, seems to delight in leading them astray!

I have enjoyed watching the hilarious adventures this year as the group travels across Europe, discovering the truth in the adage, better late than never.

Better Late Than Never stars William Shatner, Henry Winkler, Terry Bradshaw, George Foreman and Jeff Dye. I say star…in this reality comedy these men are being themselves, and taking us along on their journeys. Each episode is an hour long. The series airs Monday nights at 8:00 Central Time on NBC.

On season one the group traveled across Asia. I intend to go back and watch those episodes. Season two follows the travelers through Germany, Sweden, Lithuania, Spain and Morocco.

William Shatner and Henry Winkler are well known film and television actors. Henry has produced and directed behind the camera as well and authored a dozen children’s books. Terry Bradshaw quarterbacked for the Pittsburg Steelers in the 70s, leading his team to four Super Bowls. Legendary boxer George Foreman was undefeated in 40 consecutive fights. And Jeff Dye is an up and coming comedian and actor who got his start in stand up comedy and moved on to hosting popular music shows.

Better Late Than Never is a travel show…about friends. Or a friends’ show…about travel. Or perhaps it’s a comedy based in realism or a reality show that is comedic. I think it is all of those things. The five men have diverse backgrounds, with the common bond of celebrity status.

As they explore exotic places and meet new people and try unusual foods, they don’t relate to each other as icons, as stars. They chat with bystanders and allow a few photos, but for the most part, they are real men having real experiences in fun, but real, places. They have wild, crazy adventures. They push beyond their comfort zones. They learn new things.

I laugh, a lot, watching these guys. Surprisingly, I also tear up. In spite of the ages of four of the travelers, or perhaps because of it, the group makes the most of each visit. They are experiencing life with zest and seizing the day. They immerse themselves in whatever culture they are in, so that later, there are no regrets, no “I wish I woulda”, even when the results are laughable.

Bill, Henry, Jeff, George and Terry inspire me to see life as an ongoing adventure, no matter what my age. By their example they encourage me to seek out new places, new cultures, new people and be an active participant in that adventure, not just a tourist or a bystander.

And the group of friends shows me the value of having traveling companions to share the journey with. I think that’s what I enjoy most about this show…the oft times humorous interactions between these guys. Bill and Henry especially crack me up with their endearing banter and yet the mutual respect they have for each other is undeniable.

This show makes me want to grab some friends and head off on an adventure…in my city, across the US, in far off country. It creates in me the desire to experience all that life has to offer. Now. Better late than never, indeed.

In My Blood

If you know me well, or visit my home and look at the art on my walls or study my vignettes, one thing you learn about me is this: I feel a strong connection to Scotland. Believe me, I will take opportunities to travel to anywhere in the world, because I love exploring new places. One country though feels like home, every time I visit…Scotland.

I am a Lauderdale by birth, a name that has connections to Clan Maitland in Lauder, Scotland. I have known that part of my ancestry story since childhood. Recently I decided to order a kit through AncestryDNA, spit into the test tube, and see what larger story my DNA told. I got the results back.

Here is the breakdown of my ethnicity:

I am quite a mix of European countries, with a bit of Asian South, which includes the modern day nations of Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Bhutan, and a smidge of Caucasus, which includes the nations of Armenia, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Georgia, Turkey and Azerbaijan.

I am primarily of English, Scottish and Irish heritage, with ancestry connected to Spain, Scandinavia, France, Italy, Greece and Wales. It is no surprise that I am strongly Celtic. Ancestry provides pages of information about my story, including maps that show how my family migrated across Europe and then to the Virginia area of the US, before settling in the Midwest.

The maps and pages of text accompanying them helped me to understand my 44% Europe West. That region includes France and Germany. I do have some French ancestry. It is also where the people who became known as the Celts originated. The Celtic People expanded out and eventually settled primarily into the areas known today as Scotland, Ireland, and Wales.

My DNA confirms what my heart and soul already knew, instinctively. It explains why the sound of bagpipes makes tears come to my eyes and why Scotland feels like home. It is home. It’s where my roots are. It is the place that calls to me continually, and Edinburgh is my favorite city in all the world.

Thirlestane Castle in Lauder, Scotland, home of Clan Maitland. Pic is from their Instagram page.

I am looking forward to learning more about the rest of my heritage. I’ve only just begun to sort through all the information available and according to Ancestry, I have more than 1,000 DNA matches that are 4th cousins or closer in relationship. That’s a lot of new family members to reach out to and get to know.

I’m excited about visiting as many of these regions as I can, knowing I have ancestors who lived there, loved there, and that some journeyed on to new places. I want to return to Ireland and England. And always, there is my beloved Scotland. I will go home as often as I can. It’s in my blood, after all.

Visit HERE if you would like to know your DNA story!

Playing in Pinterest

I have spent approximately seven hours on Pinterest today. My post title is a bit misleading, but I liked the sound of the double ps. I wasn’t really playing or just pinning posts. I decided to work on blog “stuff” after lunch, thinking I would do another project late in the afternoon for tonight’s post. However, hours later, I realized working on my Pinterest page had become my project! And it was about time.

As a blogger, I rely on social media to push out my posts and connect with readers. Now in my fifth year of blogging, I have built up a nice readership base that continues to grow. The majority of my readers come to my blogs through Google searches and a site called StumbleUpon. However online places such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest continue to funnel a steady stream of readers my way.

I’m in the process of updating my social media sites and cleaning them up. Here is what today’s “to do” list for Pinterest looked like:

The first section was easy enough, involving minor but important changes. My Pinterest page name now matches my primary blog name…Cindy Goes Beyond. I updated the profile pic and added info about myself.

The second section is what occupied much of my day and it felt so good to clean up my Pinterest page. I eliminated a dozen or more old boards. Pinterest began as a site to collect ideas by “pinning” them to boards. It still functions that way. Pinterest is more than a virtual idea board creator though. It is a great place to also find articles and posts about a broad range of topics. I began pinning every blog post on Pinterest in January of 2016.

As I worked on each board, I checked first for duplicate pins, then created a cover photo for every board. The app WordSwag (its free in the app store) was a great help here. I immediately liked the cleaner look of the boards. The energy flow was better. And it was especially important that the boards that contain my blog posts have a cover photo that includes my blog address.

Here is a quick tutorial if you would like to freshen your boards.

This board just has one pin so far. It will likely contain pins from others and not just my own posts. I created a cover photo, using WordSwag.

Touch the pencil symbol on the upper left side of the page. That is the EDIT button.

Click on the Board Cover tab with the + sign in the middle. This allows you to load a photo from your board. You must have your new cover photo on the board to use it. I can send pics to Pinterest directly from the photo section of my phone. When I create on WordSwag the finished work is saved to my photos.

Under the board name are two other sections that I filled out on every board today…Description (what the board is about) and Topic. When you click the arrow for Topic, it opens up a list of categories to choose from. Click the Done button when finished editing.

My cover photo added and the sections filled out.

The completed board.

I went through this process on all of my boards. And I discovered a very helpful feature.

I had not added a board yet for the Italy trip I enjoyed last year. I created the cover photo. And created a new board. Here is the cool part…

You can now categorize within each board! I added a Blog Posts section and one for Photos. Each post could then be easily dropped into the blog section while the photos went into their own area. I like this feature!

I have a hundred more photos from Italy to add…but you can see how nicely this works. The finished board will look like this…

That section feature works well for organizing blog posts within their boards. I tried it on the Journey With Healthy Me one.

My pins on that board are now divided into seven sections. I don’t know that I will attempt to categorize the last three years of daily blog posts. That would be an enormous undertaking. I might set up this year’s board though, since so far there are less than 30 pins.

I am satisfied with this day’s blog work. I learned new things and organized and created better looking boards. I have more to move onto Pinterest. I have two complete years of blog posts not on Pinterest yet…2014 and 2015…plus additional photos from last year’s travels. And I have more to do to optimize my reach on Pinterest, and give my blog posts maximum exposure, but this was an excellent start today.

If you have a Pinterest account, come find me! Search for Cindy Goes Beyond. I will follow you back. Or you can leave your Pinterest account name in the comments. I will find you.

Happy pinning!

Never Enough

My love for The Greatest Showman movie and soundtrack continues. I play my favorite song, This is Me, every day, and I am uplifted by it each time I listen to it. It moves me and empowers me to live my life boldly, as me.

There is another song on the soundtrack that has captured me as well. Lately I listen to Never Enough and then follow it immediately by This is Me.

This beautiful song is performed by Loren Allred, who provides the singing voice for actress Rebecca Ferguson, who in turn portrays Jenny Lind in the movie. Never Enough makes me feel sad. I have thought about why the song evokes these feelings in me, for several weeks. I’m ready to unpack my thoughts about it tonight.

This film character is based on a real life woman named Jenny Lind. Jenny was a Swedish opera singer whose incredibly beautiful voice earned her the title of The Swedish Nightingale. She was one of the most highly regarded singers in the 19th century, and performed across Europe.

The poster PT Barnum made, promoting Jenny Lind.

She did indeed accept an invitation from PT Barnum, in 1850, to tour the United States, performing in 93 concerts for him. She so impressed American audiences that many shows sold out, and the term Lind Mania was coined.

In The Greatest Showman musical, Jenny is portrayed in all of her glory. She is beautiful and extremely talented. Her voices brings the audience to tears, and to their feet, in appreciation. And, in my opinion, she is the most unhappy character in the story.

Here are the lyrics to her signature song (from the movie):

Never Alone

I’m trying to hold my breath

Let it stay this way

Can’t let this moment end

You set off a dream with me

Getting louder now

Can you hear it echoing?

Take my hand

Will you share this with me?

‘Cause Darling without you…

All the shine of a thousand spotlights

All the stars we steal from the nightsky

Will never be enough

Never be enough

Towers of gold are still too little

These hands could hold the world but it’ll

Never be enough

Never be enough

For me

Never, never

Never, never

Never, for me

For me

Never enough

Never enough

Never enough

For me

For me

For me

Watch the video HERE

This song has haunted me. This gorgeous woman, with a voice that brought her fame and fortune, sings from the depth of her heart about life never being enough. It was more than an expression of discontentment. Jenny (in this portrayal) is crying out for someone to share the life she is creating. Without someone to experience it with her, “All the shine of a thousand spotlights (fame), all the stars we steal from the night sky (potential) will never be enough…never be enough. Towers of gold (fortune) are still too little. These hands could hold the world (everything there is) and it’ll never be enough…never be enough.

I can ache for what she feels. But even more, I can identify with it. We all can, which is the appeal of the song. I can especially relate to the opening lyrics, “I’m trying to hold my breath. Let it stay this way, can’t let this moment end.” How often I have wanted to hold onto a moment, feeling the love and security, acceptance and appreciation within it.

However, I have learned. I have learned that holding on to a moment prevents me from noticing and fully experiencing the next moment. It becomes a struggle to maintain and control what I have, fearing if I let it go, let it pass, there won’t be anything more that takes my breath away.

This song makes me sad, because it reminds me of old beliefs that I have had. The reality is that nothing in this world is ever enough, if I am looking for fulfillment and happiness outside of myself. And yet, we search and search and search. Fame, fortune, dreams, desires…and a person to share it all with…is never enough, until we discover who we are and find our own happiness within. Then…we have enough. Then…we can share a life with another without attempting to get what we feel we so desperately need, from them.

In The Greatest Showman, we never see Jenny Lind find what she is searching for. There is a sadness that clings to her, and possibly fuels her great passion as she sings. Contrast her to Lettie Lutz, known as the bearded lady. Lettie has hidden herself away for most of her life. But she discovers who she is. She finds her voice, which is passionate and rich as well. She finds what she is looking for…herself…and her transformation is beautiful and powerful.

The segment of this song that speaks most deeply to me is this part…“You set off a dream with me, getting louder now, can you hear it echoing?” Jenny directs the words toward Barnum, as the creator of this new dream she is experiencing. These lyrics remind me that a couple of years ago, I recognized the voice of the Dream Giver, who was calling to me, inviting me, from just around the river bend. It was an invitation to surrender, to give up trying to control life and release myself to its flow. It was an invitation that ultimately took me deeper within myself, and connected me more strongly to the Divine. That part of the song reminds me that like Lettie, I have found what I was searching for. I found myself.

Two very different songs, Never Enough and This is Me. I will be cheering for the latter song next month as it is performed at the Academy Awards. I hope it wins Best Song in a Motion Picture. I have, however, come to appreciate Never Enough. It reminds me of how far I have come. It is enough. I am enough.

Be Brave

Today the intention that I drew to pop into my Hobbit door locket was Be brave. I wore my necklace all day, mindful of being brave. With that heightened awareness came the realizations that 1) bravery takes many forms, and 2) I can spot bravery in another as a result of holding that intention.

Family gathered today in Joplin for a birthday party. My young great nephew Kaleb was among the guests who arrived. Kaleb and I spent some time together this afternoon before the party. He asked about my Hobbit door necklace, giving me the opportunity to explain why I was wearing it and to show him the tiny slip of paper that had the words Be brave on it.

Kaleb was the person who most exhibited this quality. After the party, a group of us dined at the HuHot Restaurant for a late dinner. HuHot is great for plant based diets. I can select from a huge variety of fresh vegetables and watch as my meal is grilled.

Kaleb was so brave. He decided to try something for the first time, filling his bowl with shrimp, snow peas and mussels…in the shell. How many six year olds are so adventurous, so brave about sampling a new food?

He not only ate his grilled mussels, he went through the line a second time and enjoyed another plateful, adding an egg to the mix. He also created s’mores at the table for dessert.

While I did not do anything especially brave today, I appreciate that my awareness of the intention drew my attention to acts of bravery in another. Kaleb was my intention lived out today. I love you brave boy, and your willingness to try new things. Thank you for sharing your story with me!

Series Review: The Alienist

I discovered this new television drama by accident. Using IMDb (International Movie Data base) to look up an actor who used to be in the comedy Monk, I found him scheduled to appear in an intriguing sounding limited series on TNT called The Alienist.

The premiere was Monday. Thanks to the ability to record shows, I got to enjoy this story last night.

The Alienist stars Daniel Bruhl, Luke Evans, Dakota Fanning, Douglas Smith, Matthew Shear, Ted Levine, and Brian Geraghty. Based on the novel “The Alienist”, by Caleb Carr, this serial mystery will run for 10 episodes, each lasting an hour. It is rated MA, mature audiences, for depicted violence, gruesome crime details and brief nudity.

The Alienist is set in 1896 New York, at a time when Theodore Roosevelt (Geraghty) was the police commissioner. Yes, the same Teddy Roosevelt who later becomes president of the United States.

Commissioner Roosevelt enlists the help of alienist Dr. Laszlo Kreizler (Bruhl) and newspaper illustrator John Moore (Evans), to solve a series of grisly murders in the city. Someone is preying on young male prostitutes, leaving their bodies to be discovered. Dr. Kreizler in turns asks for assistance from Sara Howard (Fanning), a secretary at the New York City Police Department, and Marcus and Lucius Isaacson (Smith and Shear), brothers who use innovative scientific methods to study the bodies of the deceased.

An alienist is a criminal psychologist, one who studies those who are alienated from themselves and society resulting in deviant behavior. Dr. Kreizler, a brilliant man of science with views that are considered controversial, finds himself a bit of a pariah as well. Some consider him a quack and his methods of investigation fraudulent. But he understands what can drive a man, or break him, and with his team of outsiders, all living on the fringes of acceptable New York City society, he intends to track down the killer.

I liked the premier episode, The Boy on the Bridge, for several reasons. It is historical in nature, with extravagant sets, props, costumes and characters. I loved getting a peek at the City as it might have existed at the end of the 1800s. Teddy Roosevelt, five years away from becoming president, really was the police commissioner at this time. And he did indeed hire a female secretary who would go on to become NYC’s first female detective.

The story reminds me of a good Sherlock Holmes mystery, American style, with Dr. Kreizler as the eccentric detective and Moore playing the part of his sidekick Watson. Kreizler also uses deduction and his analytical mind to sift through information, evidence and clues. Moore provides balance for his colleague, while using his artistic abilities to sketch crime scenes.

And, while the plot of the story is dark…I cringe over crimes against youth…the series lends itself well to the audience playing detective along with the characters. I feel like I should be taking notes so that I can figure out what’s going on and who the perpetrator is, along with the team.

The actors are still finding their places within their roles, in episode one. However, I am a fan of Bruhl, Evans and Fanning, and I look forward to character development in future episodes. The story is fast paced and captivating. And the series, which is listed as the most expensive one that TNT has ever done, has a richness to the quality of filming that allows it to play like a theatrical movie…something I appreciate.

The Alienist airs Monday nights at 8:00 Central time, on TNT. I will be watching. I am still waiting for actor Ted Levine’s character to step up into a larger role!

Carrying My Intentions Out the Door

My exercise for Day 25 in the Love Your Life course was to set an intention for my day…and come up with more intentions for future days. This is the kind of creative play that I love.

An intention is a plan, an aim, an intended goal, used to focus thoughts and give guidance. I find it interesting that intention comes from the Latin word “intendere”, meaning stretch, purpose…stretching out a purpose. It seems to suggest action, over time.

I took this idea of writing out intentions and ran with it, and as often happens with me, I created a game to play.

I wrote out 30 intentions and cut them into small strips. I chose intentions such as “Be kind”, “Listen”, and “Find the Story”. The object of this exercise is to be mindful of and carry out the intention over the course of the day. If I draw “Be kind”, I will focus on practicing kindness during the day, and be aware of opportunities to express kindness.

Mike Dooley suggested wearing something or carrying an object to refocus attention if needed. I thought of wearing a wrist band to keep my awareness high. But I came up with a better idea, inspired by a Hobbit.

I bought this Hobbit door necklace several years ago, during my Year of Journeys, when my symbol was a Door. This beautiful door connects me to the Middle Earth stories of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, where adventures and journeys were key themes. And, it is a locket, making it the perfect receptacle to hold and carry my intentions.

I will select an intention each day, fold it up, place it within my Hobbit door locket, and wear it throughout the day. Having the intention around my neck and near my heart will keep it in my awareness. I can reach up and hold the locket, or open it, any time I wish. In keeping with my belief that I am guided when I play these games, I will select the intentions randomly and trust that the slip of paper I draw is the perfect one for the day ahead.

All I needed was something to hold my slips of paper. I knew exactly what to use, and it continued the Middle Earth theme. I have a collectible box shaped like the city of Minas Tirith, from the final story in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Located in Gondor, Minas Tirith is the city of the King. It is where Aragorn claims his crown and his throne. The city built into the side of a mountain represents hope, strength and life.

This box came with a special edition Return of the King DVD that I purchased. I’ve never used it before. It works well, as the keeper of my intentions. I’ve place the box and the Hobbit door necklace on my dresser, where I begin my day selecting clothes to wear. I will see it easily and draw out an intention before I select a pair of socks. The last item I will put on as I dress for the next 30 days will be my locket.

I may be stretching this purpose way out there, and taking this exercise in a totally different direction. However, I am having fun being inspired in this way and I’m excited to see what unfolds. I am being intentional about intentions. I am playing with the Divine.

In Search of the Perfect Gluten Free Scone

I love drinking hot tea. I favor herbal teas, such as lemon balm or rose hops, or Scottish blends containing heather or thistle. When I visited Scotland for the first time in 2014, I came home with a delightful new tradition…afternoon tea.

The typical Scottish or English tea includes finger sandwiches, tiny cakes, shortbread cookies and a scone. Those foods are no longer a part of my diet. And while I enjoy having tea with fresh fruit or veggies, or just a plain cup of tea, I would love to be able to include scones again.

The search for the perfect gluten free scone was on!

The problem is, I require a recipe that is not only gluten free, but also dairy, egg and sugar free as well. Such a scone has been difficult to find! A couple of weeks ago I tried a gluten free scone mix. These weren’t bad! They looked more like flat sugar cookies, without being sweet at all. I ate them with a side of fruit. But they weren’t exactly what I was searching for.

Tonight, encouraged by my recent successes with what I have dubbed “intuitive cooking”, I decided to try making healthy scones from scratch.

This batch was created using 2 cups of gluten free flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon sea salt, 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla, 1 tablespoon raw organic honey and for leavening, I mixed together 1 tablespoon of potato starch and 3 tablespoons of cold water. I mixed the ingredients, and then added unsweetened almond coconut milk, a tablespoon at a time, until a dough formed that would hold its shape. I ended up adding 7 tablespoons of almond coconut milk.

I turned the dough ball out onto a floured surface, using more gluten free flour, and gently shaped it into a sphere. The sphere of dough was cut into eight pieces and transferred to a pizza pan lined with parchment paper. I brushed the tops of the scones with a mixture of unsweetened almond coconut milk and raw organic honey and baked for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

The scones looked good! They smelled good. The taste was closer to what I am searching for. However, to quote a U2 song…“I still haven’t found what I’m looking for”. The texture wasn’t light enough. Rather, these scones were dense and chewy.

So, back to the kitchen I will go soon, for attempt number three. I am not discouraged. Every experiment in cooking teaches me something new, something important. I take notes about the process and ingredients I use so I can make adjustments. I believe I need a good leavening agent, something other than eggs.

I will do more research and try again. For evening tea, I had tasty, chewy scones! Nothing is wasted here…not food and not time. I create, I learn, I create again. I’ll let you know when I come up with that elusive gluten, dairy, egg, sugar free scone!

Vision Boards 2018

Creating a vision board has been an annual project for me, for many years. I enjoy the process of flipping through magazines and cutting out images and words that draw my interest or represent a desire of mine.

Several years ago my sister Linda and my mom began joining me in creating boards, and what was a solitary project became a fun shared tradition. We allow ourselves the whole month of January to complete our vision boards, meeting one evening a week to browse though publications while chatting and laughing.

Here are our finished boards:

Linda’s word this year is Stronger. Her board reflects her desire to be stronger in all areas of her life…financially, health, relationships, fun and doing things that she loves. Linda noticed as she began gluing on her words and images that she had definitely followed a theme. That is a good indication that her subconscious is ready to head down a new path and she is being guided.

Mom’s word for 2018 is Positive…a desire to live in the moment and see and experience the best in life. Her board reflects who she is and what she wants to enjoy this year, from continuing good health to gratitude to reimagining her life. Linda and I chuckled that Mom chose words like declutter and organize and then proceeded to create a very neat board that is both!

My board is a rich canvas of images overlaid with words. I try to cover all of the white space, which may be a visual representation of my desire to live life to the very fullest! My word for this year is Story, and my board includes the word, twice, and my symbol, a pic of feathers. Like Linda, I realized I leaned heavily into a theme, an area in my life that is shifting. Travel images and words account for about a third of my board, meaning my Bohemian spirit is showing. Also included are pictures and/or words representing creativity, abundance, health and writing.

I appreciate that my mom and sister take this journey with me every January. We enjoy dreaming out loud together, encouraging each other and sharing stories about our lives. I am privileged that they continue to journey with me throughout the year. It is wonderful to have companions headed in the same direction.

My vision board is already hanging in my creative studio where I can look at it each day and allow it to spark joy in my heart. I feel inspired. I feel excited to see how 2018 unfolds. Oh, the stories I will tell.

Meeting Marva

This is a story of friendship and the joy in meeting that friend in person today. I connected with Marva several years ago, on Facebook. We had friends and interests in common, and even more intriguing, our life journeys ran along similar paths. I just knew that if Marva and I had met as children, we would have become fast friends.

It’s never too late, however, to meet and create a beautiful relationship.

Marva lives in a small city in Kansas, about 3 1/2 hours from my small city in Missouri. Greg and I set out this morning on an adventure that culminated in lunch with Marva at Prairie Harvest, a wonderful blend of café and health food store, and appointments for each of us to experience one of her Peer Support sessions.

Marva brings her compassion, ability to listen deeply without judgment, and infectious sense of humor to a unique support opportunity aptly called Insight. The setting, equally supportive, is nicknamed the Living Room. Visitors are welcomed into the warm and inviting space and offered a choice of comfy chairs to relax in.

Marva shares that peer support is an intentional relationship built upon equality and common ground in life experience. Together, she says, we agree to forge a safe and accepting connection that inspires us to explore what matters, express why we care and imagine how we can grow.

And, Insight is an affordable option for everyone. Whatever the visitor makes per hour, work wise, is what he or she pays for an hour spent with Marva as she listens and reflects back wisdom.

After a delightful lunch, during which there was much chatting and laughter among the three of us, Greg and I took turns meeting with Marva. While I had my session, Greg explored shops along Main Street. And when Greg and I traded places at Insight, I returned to Prairie Harvest for tea time.

Greg and I agree that our conversations with Marva were fun, insightful, encouraging and uplifting. This dear woman immediately puts her guests at ease. She is extremely easy to talk to and I felt heard, appreciated and loved. There was joy, peace and happiness present in the room, contributing to teary eyes, laughter, reflection, and such profound acceptance.

Marva and I cracked up taking a selfie when we realized how similar our sweaters were!

Every once in a while, I meet someone for the first time, only to realize…I know this person. There is an instant connection, or perhaps it is a reconnection at last, as we journey through this life. Such was the case today, when meeting Marva. I was right. As children struggling with challenges that made us feel like misfits, we definitely would have found each other to be kindred spirits.

At this season in our lives, we are misfits no longer. We are wild women. We are free spirits. We are marching to the beats we drum…and having a blast. We both accept who we are, as we are, and that enables us to accept each other and everyone else, and celebrate together this joyous thing called Life.

Marva takes appointments for peer support sessions, in person and via phone or skype. You can contact her HERE. I highly recommend Insight. And may we all have a Marva for a friend. I am grateful that I do!