Remembrance Stories

I had the pleasure of driving my mom to a couple of cemeteries today, to carry out the Memorial Weekend tradition of placing flowers on loved ones’ graves. It’s been a while since I’ve visited the final resting places of my maternal grandparents and my stepfather. Pop and my stepdad Max were both veterans. It was very fitting to honor them and my grandmother, who rests alongside Pop.

My favorite part of the trip though was having my sweet mother to myself. I got to ask her questions about grandparents and great grandparents and a vintage piece that belonged to great great great great grandparents, and hear her stories.

Remembrance Stories

Our first stop was in the tiny town of Lanagan, about 40 miles south of Joplin. My grandparents are buried there. Mom and I climbed the hill to Grandma and Pop’s graves. It was a much steeper hill than we remembered! We giggled and held onto each other as we made the ascent.

Pop served with honor in the US Army, during WW II, receiving the Bronze Star Medal. He and my grandmother were married for almost 50 years. Pop was not my biological grandfather. After he came home from the war, he met my grandmother, who was a widow with three children. Mom laughs when she says he must have been shell-shocked, to take on a ready made family! He was a good hearted, faithful man, and raised my mom and her brother and sister as his own. And grandma was a fun, loving woman who made life an adventure. My grandparents were quite a pair.

Remembrance Stories

Remembrance Stories

As we left the cemetery, my mom offered to show me where she lived in Lanagan, when her biological dad was killed. I had never seen anything in Lanagan beyond the cemetery or the strip of houses and the post office on the main highway. I wanted to see where my mom lived when she was four.

Mom’s daddy, my grandpa Bill, died tragically when he was just 33 years old, leaving behind his wife and three young children. I’ve heard the story many times, about how he died trying to get home in a snow storm. He never arrived. His truck slid off the road and into a pole. He worked at Fort Crowder, to the north, and was about to join the war in Europe, when he had the accident. Although I never met this grandfather, I have a strong spiritual connection to him.

Remembrance Stories

Remembrance Stories

We found the corner where the house used to be. Mom said it was a cute, log cabin style house. It’s gone now. Across the street on the other corner is the church where Bill Gregory’s funeral was held. So close to the house it was, a constant reminder for my grandmother of the tragedy that altered her life. Grandpa Bill is buried in Pea Ridge Arkansas, with the rest of the Gregorys. We will visit his grave soon.

Our last stop was at a cemetery in Joplin, where my stepfather is buried. Like Pop, Max took on a ready made family! He was a hard working, creative man who only had to give his attention to something to make it flourish. He served honorably in the US Navy during WW II.

Remembrance Stories

Remembrance Stories

Although Max had his pilot’s license, he did not like flying over water. So he and Mom never traveled abroad, but they visited all of the continental states in their RV. He was good to my sisters and me, and a wonderful papa to our children. It is strange to see my mom’s name already etched on the stone, but it doesn’t bother her a bit. I want to keep her healthy and with us for a long, long time!

I enjoyed hearing my mom’s stories and seeing the corner where she lived for a time. I asked to hear the stories behind a couple of vintage items that she has given me, and I’m glad I asked! I had two of the stories mingled together.

It is special to me to hear family stories, and imagine those people as they lived their lives, with joys and with sorrows. I want to be the keeper of their stories, while honoring them.

It’s even more important to me to enjoy the living. In asking questions and listening to my mom’s stories, I honor her now, and hear her great heart.

Remembrance Stories

Business Review: Soar Trampoline Park

This was the last day of school for three of my grandkids, with an early out day to kick off the summer break. I picked Joey, Oliver and Aubrey up from school and heard about their last day as sixth, fourth and third graders.

After dropping off backpacks at home, we launched into fun mode with a trip to Soar Trampoline Park, located at 1502 S Madison in Webb City Missouri. The kids have been to this unique park several times, however it was a first visit for me. I was excited to check this place out.

Business Review Soar Trampoline Park

We arrived at Soar just after they opened for the afternoon. A steady stream of enthusiastic kids filed into the lobby area. Happy to be out of school, happy for an hour or two of unbridled free jumping, the throng of kids brought a lively, contagious energy into the building.

As we waited in line for wrist bands, I looked around. The large warehouse style interior was brilliantly lit and decorated in purple, lime green and dark blue. The area was divided into sections. There was a large foam pit and a scaled down version for small children, a dodge ball arena, basketball hoops, a room with a swinging air filled plank to jump over and a huge free form area with platforms, all equipped with trampolines in a variety of shapes and sizes.

Business Review Soar Trampoline Park

Business Review Soar Trampoline Park

My grandkids bounded away as soon as they had their wrist bands on. I declined to jump, but I strolled through the facility, snapping pics, watching the kids, and laughing as they flipped and somersaulted and bounced high into the air.

Business Review Soar Trampoline Park

Business Review Soar Trampoline Park

Business Review Soar Trampoline Park

Joey spent most of his time in the dodge ball arena. Two staff members watched over the games, helping to divide the players into teams and calling out when a player was hit by a ball and eliminated. Joey was an excellent team member. Watch him for a few seconds HERE.

Oliver divided his time among several areas. He enjoyed playing dodge ball with Joey, spent time jumping with Aubrey and struck out on his own, leaping into the foam block pit. Catch him HERE. He’s the second child who shows up in the video, and Aubrey is in the background at the end.

And Aubrey stayed in the free form area. She instantly made friends, as she often does. The girls practiced backflips, cartwheels and somersaults. Aubrey was in cheerleader mode, prepping for football season this fall. Watch her moves HERE.

Business Review Soar Trampoline Park

Business Review Soar Trampoline ParkIt gets intense in the dodgeball court but it’s all good fun.

We had a fun afternoon. I enjoyed watching the kids as they celebrated the beginning of summer. I was extremely impressed with Soar Trampoline Park. The staff members were all friendly and helpful and very safety minded. The facility was bright, clean and in great condition. And it looks like they will be expanding soon, adding a ninja obstacle course.

Soar will begin their summer hours, opening earlier in the day, on June 5. They have weekly specials and host birthday parties. Visit their Facebook page for more details, or their website HERE.

I would have loved a trampoline park such as this one, as a child. I was always climbing and jumping and trying flips and stunts. Soar provides a fun and safe environment for kids, or an adult’s inner child, to move energy and jump, jump, JUMP! We will be back.

Business Review Soar Trampoline Park

Hello Can You Hear Me?

Tonight’s post is another in my Vintage Stories series. The featured item rests on one of my bedside tables, a unique lamp that did not begin its life as an illuminator. Its original purpose was to magically connect people, allowing them to communicate even though they were miles apart.

Hello Can You Hear Me?

Greg’s dad, Bob, gave me this unusual piece shortly after Leta Moore passed away. My children used to play with the lamp that was a telephone, when they visited their grandparents, talking into the mouthpiece to imaginary friends.

My grandchildren, in turn, played with the lamp. Although to them a phone was a device small enough to fit into their hands, and had fun games downloaded on it, they instinctively knew to place the receiver to their ear and lean forward to speak into the mouthpiece.

Hello Can You Hear Me?

I knew a little bit of history about the lamp. Bob acquired the phone from the Noel Telephone Exchange, in the tiny town of Noel, Missouri, and repurposed it into a lamp, in the late 50s or early 60s. When the receiver is lifted, the lamp lights up. When the receiver is hung up, the light goes off. Clever, huh?

Tonight I removed the lampshade and studied the heavy phone. I was excited to find a company name engraved around the top of the receiver: Stromberg Carlson Telephone Company. I had something I could research! And, engraved on the back of the mouthpiece were these dates: November 26, 1901 March 19, 1907 April 14, 1908 with the additional words, Patent Pending. I’ve never noticed this vital information before. It was time to Google.

Hello Can You Hear Me?

The Stromberg Carlson Telephone Company was founded in 1894, in the US, by Swedish inventors Alfred Stromberg, on the left above, and Androv Carlson, on the right. The company was one of five that controlled the national supply of telephone equipment, until after World War II.

Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone patent expired in 1894. These enterprising men, employees of American Bell Telephone Company in Chicago, seized an opportunity. Stromberg and Carlson each invested $500 to establish a firm with the purpose of manufacturing telephone equipment to sell to independent telephone companies.

The model I have is a Stromberg Carlson Kellogg Candlestick Telephone, made in 1908. This 110 year old telephone is vintage, indeed!

Hello Can You Hear Me?Stromberg and Carlson are credited with bringing communication to rural America. This advertisement is for one of their wall models.

So how did Bob Moore acquire this old phone? Greg remembered that the Noel Telephone Exchange, which no longer exists, was owned by Fred Cartwright. Back to Google we went, with a Greg now caught up in the hunt for info.

He discovered that the Cartwrights purchased the Noel Exchange in 1947. On May 27, 1955 the Cartwrights installed a dial telephone system in Noel…the first in the county…after losing their contract with Stromberg Carlson in late 1954. The old phones, with ear and mouth pieces, were no longer needed.

The Moores moved to Noel in 1956, after the dial system was installed. Bob and his dad, Bill, opened a drive in, south of Noel, that featured hamburgers and barbecue sandwiches. They drew hungry customers from McDonald County and the neighboring Arkansas county of Benton. The Cartwrights were patrons of Moore’s Drive-In. At some point, Fred gave, or sold, one of the old Stromberg Carlson phones to Bob.

Hello Can You Hear Me?

The part of the story that I don’t know is how Bob came up with the repurposing idea. Greg, who was just a toddler when his family moved to Noel, can’t remember the transformation from phone to lamp. He and I both believe Bob did the work.

We had Dad Moore with us for a good long time. He passed away three years ago, at the grand age of 94. I talked with him for hours, in his twilight years, as we sat together in his porch swing. I tried to ask him the questions that I knew I’d want answers to later. However, I did not at that time know what I was leaving unanswered. Why didn’t I ask him to tell me again the story of the telephone lamp?

The lamp sends a soft glow into my room at night, chasing away darkness. I think of Bob and Leta Moore when I look at the lamp, and I think of my kids and grandkids who have playfully enjoyed the lamp as well. It sparked their imagination, as it has mine. And apparently, long ago, the telephone inspired Bob as well.

In its former life, the lamp was a communication device, allowing people to talk…and ask questions…across great distances. Perhaps as I lean in close to the mouthpiece, I can ask Bob about creating the lamp. Hello, can you hear me? I will listen for a reply.

Hello Can You Hear Me?

New Insights Seven Years Beyond the Tornado

This day has a great emotional impact on Joplin residents who lived here in 2011. Seven years ago a massive EF5 tornado destroyed a third of my city, killing 161 people and injuring many more. Homes, businesses, schools, parks, cars, animals and trees were gone in moments. I can’t forget what happened, nor do I want to.

I woke up this morning feeling the heaviness that accompanies this day. There’s a pall that hangs over the city as people remember, grieve and feel the strong swirl of emotions. There is gratitude as well, thankfulness for survival, for the rebuilding that has been accomplished, and for the indomitable spirit of this community.

I didn’t intend to share anything today, about life post 5.22.11, however, I’ve had some fresh insights in the last few months, about some some health trends I’ve observed in survivors of that horrific event. It seems this is the story I’m to share.

New Insights Seven Years Beyond the Tornado

Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is defined as an emotional condition that can develop after a traumatic event, particularly an event that involves actual or threatened death, serious bodily injury to oneself or to others, and creates intense feelings of fear, helplessness or horror.

Many lived with PTSD after the tornado. Fears of storms, dying, losing a loved one or a pet, losing a home, or loud noises were natural responses to the devastation that occurred. I experienced the disorder myself and still get uneasy during bad weather. My daughter Adriel lost her home and vehicles and most of her possessions that day and still deals with storm related anxieties. Even my grandchildren, who were not directly in the path of the storm but rode it out in the fringes, experienced PTSD in the aftermath. They witnessed the effects of the tornado and understood the emotional toll on survivors.

New Insights Seven Years Beyond the Tornado

In the past two years, as I changed my eating habits and moved into greater health and well-being, I’ve understood the serious and often overlooked effects of PTSD. Beyond causing anxiety and fear, this disorder is contributing to poor health and an increase in autoimmune disorders and mystery illnesses in survivors.

Physically, stress creates a flight or fight response. Adrenaline floods the body as a result, to aid in running from danger or fighting an enemy. When we continue to live under stress we also live with too much adrenaline in our system. So anxiety sticks around and becomes chronic. Those continual bursts of fear-based adrenaline feed the viruses that inhabit our bodies…Epstein Barr, shingles and strep. The viruses in turn release an abundance of neurotoxins that keep the anxiety going. It’s a vicious cycle…and it’s making people sick.

I realized recently that my chronic sciatica pain, which began after the trauma of a car accident in 1995, increased after the second trauma of the tornado. My health began a downward spiral after 5.22.11 that ultimately caused me to begin walking with a cane in 2015. I am grateful for the turn around that came for me after learning how to feed my body while starving the viruses.

New Insights Seven Years Beyond the Tornado

What about those who haven’t found the connection between a healthy diet and healing? I’ve watched as a close friend, who survived the tornado but lost her husband that day, has greatly deteriorated, health wise. She had injuries as a result of the storm. Those healed. But in the years since the tornado she has partially lost her sight and her ability to balance or to drive. She has aged beyond her years, and currently uses a walker due to extreme weakness in her legs. Doctors are puzzled by her symptoms and have ruled out Parkinson’s and several other diseases. They use the words autoimmune, mystery illness and worse. She has been told she is crazy, seeking attention or making up her illness.

I’ve offered her compassion and also suggestions for changing her diet to improve her health. To heal from PTSD, the brain needs to build up its glucose reserves. Good glucose is needed, found in fruits and vegetables, not the sugar found in sweets, which leads to a crash later. And it helps to create new experiences to replace negative ones and to serve as positive reference points in life. Journaling about favorable experiences, gratitudes and even small adventures changes perceptions and calms an overactive brain.

I talked to my friend on the phone this evening, letting her know I was thinking of her today. I was pleased to hear that she is gaining strength in her legs and eating less meat, dairy, and eggs. Her voice was more clear and best of all, she felt a sense of closure today, seven years after having her world, literally, torn apart.

New Joplin Library at 20th & Connecticut

I share tonight in case there are those reading this who experienced the 2011 tornado and are confused today about their worsening health or who are hearing diagnoses of mystery illnesses or autoimmune disorders. Or perhaps you know someone who continues to suffer when others feel they should be “over it”. Post traumatic stress syndrome is real. It has a powerfully negative effect on the body, feeding viruses most of us are playing host to, and contributing to poor health.

Know that there is hope. Joplin has risen from the rubble and been reborn. The city is growing…stronger, healthier, more beautiful. Her people can do the same. Reach out to me, if you want to know more. We can heal, together.

New Insights Seven Years Beyond the Tornado

Growing Clematis Babies

I only lost one perennial in the garden this spring, due to freezing temperatures. I had six clematis vines that were trailing up their trellises when the cold pinched them. Five came back. One did not. Losing one plant out of hundreds isn’t bad. And yet, there’s a gap where that clematis should be. I considered purchasing a new plant, but the perfectionist in me was concerned I couldn’t match the color of the other blooming vines in that area. And besides, I could use four or five new clematis plants.

I decided to try propagating clematis plants for the first time.

Growing Clematis Babies

There are several methods for creating new plants from existing ones. I decided to go with the easiest…growing new plants from cuttings in water. And I had the perfect container for rooting the vines in.

Growing Clematis Babies

My daughter Elissa passed on these unique bud vases to me, several years ago. I confess, I have a difficult time cutting flowers to use for display. I’d rather have them growing in my garden than dying in a vase, so I rarely gather flowers. However, these little vases would make perfect incubators.

Growing Clematis Babies

These are the four beauties that I took cuttings from. Here are the easy steps I followed.

1) Prepare containers for rootings. They need to be tall enough to hold the cuttings. Dissolve aspirin in water and fill containers. The aspirin helps the cuttings to root.

2) Cut a 6-8 inch section of vine from the top of the plant. Remove any leaves that would be below the water line, as they will rot. Clip off any blooms or buds so that energy is directed to rooting and not producing flowers.

3) Place cuttings, in water, in a bright window without direct sunlight. A north facing window is ideal. Use a grow light if a suitable window isn’t available. Change water daily, to prevent stagnation, and add aspirin with each water change.

4) Once roots are 1/4-1 inch long, begin adding a tablespoon of potting soil a day to the container, so roots adapt to soil. When the container has mostly soil in it, transplant vine to a pot. Acclimate the vine to the outdoors by increasing the amount of sunshine it receives each day. When plant tolerates being outdoors for 24 hours, it’s ready to transplant into the ground.

Growing Clematis Babies

I love creating, whether it’s a drawing or a recipe or a new plant. And I enjoy using what I already have on hand. It’s also important to be adaptable. Cleaning the containers with a bottle brush, I accidentally broke the bottom of one of the tubes. Greg used a silicone sealer to attempt fixing it. I’m letting it cure for 24 hours. If it seals and holds water, great. I don’t mind the wabi sabi look…beauty in imperfection. And if it doesn’t hold water, that’s okay too. I still have five tubes.

It was as I was washing the containers that I recognized the irony of their shape, and laughed. These are large glass test tubes. I’m growing baby clematis vines…in test tubes. I have test tube babies. I couldn’t have a more appropriate container!

Growing Clematis Babies

One Day at a Time

I came across a short quote on Friday, as I worked on that day’s blog post, that delighted me. Sometimes it’s the really simple things that bring me great joy. In this case, the quote also connected to me personally and served as a thumbs up for my theme this year of Story. I love these playful winks from the Divine.

One Day at a Time

I looked for a source for the quote today, without finding one, as the meme I saw didn’t credit anyone. I couldn’t find an author or a movie that it came from or any hint at all about the origins.

One Day at a Time

I adore the words. This is precisely how I’m living my life, one day, one story at a time. And with the blog theme for this year, the quote perfectly sums up my daily writing. I’m sharing the life I live, one day, one blog post, at a time.

Thinking about the truth of those words, I recognize it’s what we’re all doing. The choice we have, is…what kind of stories are we telling?

Some days, my story is a joyful one, full of amazing surprises. Other days my story has sorrowful undertones. I’ve lived in scary stories, hurtful tales and “don’t mess with me” shorts. I’ve loved the adventure stories and learned through the “this is how you grow” ones. And many, many of my stories are wondrous accounts of Divine guidance and invitations, full of synchronicities and signs and ahas.

I’m reminded not to dwell long on the stories from my past. There are sweet memories there that can fuel current stories, but there are also painful remembrances as well that can darken my daily stories if I hold on to the pain. And I can completely miss the story that unfolds today if I’m longing for a future one that has yet to be written. In the flow of Life, the stories will be told, as I live them.

Every sunrise presents a fresh blank page. The invitation offered to me is to create my story. I accept.

One Day at a Time

Dayan: A Citizen of the World

Today my eldest grandchild celebrated a birthday, turning 19 years old. I’ve written four previous birthday blog posts for Dayan. I wanted to do something a bit different this year.

As I thought about my grandson on the eve of his birthday, I expressed gratitude for what an amazing person he is. Dayan has taught me so much about life as I have observed how he relates to people, how well he embraces diversity and how big his world view is.

Suddenly two words popped into my mind…World Citizen. Was that a thing, I wondered? What is a world citizen? I looked up the phrase. I found that the term is a valid one, and it perfectly describes Dayan.

Dayan A Citizen of the World

A world citizen is one who identifies with being a part of an emerging world community and whose actions contribute to building this community’s values and practices. A world citizen relates to all people generously and openly. He or she appreciates different cultures and languages and incorporates them into daily life.

That definition captures well Dayan’s way of perceiving the world. As I scrolled through some articles on global citizenship, I found one called “Four Ways to Be a World Citizen”. Dayan is already instinctively doing these things.

Dayan A Citizen of the World

The article states, “To become a global citizen, you should have an open mind, educate yourself, get involved in your community, and travel when possible.”

Have an open mind.

• Learn about your heritage. It’s important to have a global mindset, without losing touch with your own unique heritage and the cultures that contributed to it.

• Inquire about others’ backgrounds, by talking to people in your own and other communities.

• Learn about equality and inequality, by reading history books and articles, listening to the news and to people’s stories. Everyone deserves healthcare, education, respect and justice when wronged, regardless of race, age, religion, identity and ancestry.

Dayan just recently did a DNA test, through His results give him a broad awareness of where his ancestors came from, how they lived, and when they migrated to the US. He is interested in learning about other people and cultures by asking questions and accepting people for who they are. He already understands about equality and inequality and seeks ways to support those who are not given equal rights and works to initiate change.

Dayan A Citizen of the World

Educate Yourself

• Learn about current and past world events, and understand how past events have influenced the present.

• Discover the values of other cultures, especially those that are far removed from your own culture.

• Read as much as possible.

• Learn another language.

My grandson is my go to person when I have a question about world events, geography or different cultures. He knows, because he spends time reading and watching the news and learning from a variety of sources. He is that person who does extensive research on the internet, reading everything he can find about history, an event or a country.

Dayan just completed his first year at the University of Missouri, where he is an honor student with a double major…Political Science and Russian. He took Spanish in high school and chose Russian in college when his first choice had a waiting list. He’s discovered he loves Russian and he has some exciting possibilities coming up for studying abroad.

Dayan A Citizen of the World

Get Involved

• Share and listen to stories, to learn more about different cultures and about what’s important to others.

• Support art, music and culture in your own community.

• Make new friends, in your community and in others. Thanks to social media, you can be friends with people around the world.

• Volunteer, supporting causes and organizations you believe in.

• Stand up for injustice.

Dayan has always been great at connecting with people. He’s just begun to get involved in other areas, lending his support and his voice to causes he feels passionately about. Injustice is something he strongly speaks out against and stands in opposition of.

Dayan A Citizen of the World

Travel to Other Places

• Take a road trip. Start in your own community, your own area and your country and see new places and experience new things.

• Teach in other communities.

• Travel abroad.

This is the area Dayan is launching out into. He’s visited new places in the US…Chicago most recently. And last year about this time, we flew to Italy together, Dayan, his mom and me, for his first trip abroad. I know this is just the beginning for this world minded young man. He is eager to visit other countries, experience other cultures, and see how people live in other parts of the world.

Dayan A Citizen of the World

One of my favorite photos from the Italy trip. Dayan wading in the Mediterranean.

After reading the article I referenced above, I can see that Dayan is, indeed, a citizen of the world. He thinks globally. And he has big dreams for the big world he inhabits.

At the end of his college freshman year, Dayan was honored to be elected as President of Mizzou’s Model United Nations and sworn in as Director of Inclusion, Equity and Diversity in one of the three main student governments at the university. I’m proud of him, for all that he is accomplishing and for all that he dares to do. And trust me, this young man dares greatly. I have no doubt that he will travel far and wide, in life and in the world.

Happy birthday Dayan. You are making a difference in the world, just by being you. I’m excited to see what you do, as a citizen of this magnificent world.

Dayan A Citizen of the World

Venice, Italy.

The End of the Story…

I’ve been uncertain all day, about what I would write about this evening. Several possibles came to mind, but nothing settled. Being a double blog day, I completed the health blog post prior to the series finale of one of my favorite tv shows.

Once Upon a Time just finished its seventh, and final year. The two part finale started last Friday night and concluded this evening. I made sure I had time blocked out for the show. I have loved this series, for many reasons. However, I didn’t intend to write about it tonight. I resisted writing about it. I cast about for another story.

Guess what? I’m writing about it…

The End of the Story

This is what’s foremost on my heart and mind at this moment, so I quit resisting and slipped back into the flow. This is not a review. It’s a farewell to a show that captured my loyalty and a group of people that won my respect and appreciation.

Once Upon a Time is based upon the fairy tales we grew up on, and the characters that told those “tales as old as time.” And because this series is owned and created by Disney, there is a distinct disneyesque quality to all of the stories. That’s okay with me. I grew up on Disney animations, and continued to view the new films with children and then grandchildren.

The End of the Story

In this enchanting and complicated series, the people of Storybrooke are all from a fairy tale realm, heroes and villains familiar to the viewer. Initially they’ve forgotten who they are and how they are connected. Gradually, as memories return, they remember, and step back into who they really are.

There are many, MANY challenges to overcome, and new threats and curses to dispel, and relationships to discover and rebuild. It was fun, over the years, to figure out, along with the characters, who they really were. Each season new characters appeared, and disappeared, as their stories were resolved. At the core was a group of regulars who shifted from being enemies to friends and then family.

The End of the Story

The End of the Story

At the end of season six, many of the regular cast members left the show, after receiving their happy endings. The creators decided to reboot the series for a seventh season, with a new setting, several of the familiar characters, a host of new characters, and a new curse.

People can have a hard time with change. The fan base was split on whether this reboot was a good idea or not. Me? I’m a loyal fan. If something wins my heart, it earns my loyalty as well. I watched the new season with an open mind, and enjoyed the development of old characters, in new ways, and the inclusion of additional fairy tale characters. It was still Once Upon a Time to me, and some of my favorites had continued on from the previous seasons.

The End of the Story

The End of the Story

However, all good things come to an end. And the decision to end the series, brought us to a grand finale. I loved that the writers created a very powerful conclusion, and the casts of the previous seasons and the current one joined together to tell the end of the story.

It was an emotional ending! Seven seasons meant I had a lot invested in this story. My grandson Dayan and I watched five of those seven seasons together. I would have been happy if the series had gone on for another ten years. If it had to end though, it went out on a very satisfying and high note.

The End of the Story

At its core, Once Upon a Time was a story about transformation. Those who were evil, changed, or suffered from their own destructive ways. Those who doubted themselves, learned who they were and what they were capable of. Heroes abounded. And they did good deeds. The pure of heart never lost hope. And those who felt they could never have a happy ending, found one.

Tonight, everything came full circle. I watched through teary eyes as the story drew to a close, and as one by one, the characters received what they most desired. There were sacrifices. There were reunions. There were surprises. There were new beginnings.

The End of the Story

I appreciate this show’s messages: We are more than we think we are. Good always wins over evil. Evil is made, not born. People can change. Love and family bind people together and triumphs over all. There is always hope. Life is a story, lived one day at a time.

The series is over, but Once Upon a Time lives on, in the hearts and minds of the fandom. Thanks to Netflix and on demand viewing, the whole series can be watched again…and again…and new insights gained. In Storybrooke, and in my imagination, the characters live on, happily ever after.

The End of the Story

Manga Teen Boy Three Quarters View

I welcomed a break this afternoon, and took time to sip on lemon balm tea and sketch in my Manga Artist’s Workbook. This helpful sketchbook full of lessons, by Christopher Hart, has been fun to practice in, and my skills continue to improve.

Manga Teen Boy Three Quarters View

Today’s lesson was the Teen Boy, Three Quarters View.

This angle of the face is the most challenging for me. I tend to want to skip over it. However, it’s so important for me to take a deep breath, let go of resistance, and just draw.

I’m grateful for the outlines that the workbook provides. It helps me to correctly place the guidelines so I can sketch out the facial features. I’ve peeked ahead. These outlines will disappear soon!

Manga Teen Boy Three Quarters View

Compared to the Manga Teen Girl, the Boy has a thinner face and smaller eyes. The nose and mouth are barely suggested. The ear is slightly larger than the girl’s.

Manga Teen Boy Three Quarters View

The ear gets some details. I used to hide ears behind hair. I’ve about got the hang of drawing them now. The eyes get their highlights, before the pupils are added. And a shaggy hairstyle, that follows the contours of the skull, completes the top of the head.

The finished sketch is pictured below. I’m happy with it! The three quarters view gives me pause, however, I benefit from the challenge.

I have two more angles to draw, for the teen boy’s face…and then it’s on to body work and poses. I’m getting there!

Manga Teen Boy Three Quarters View

You can purchase The Manga Artist’s Workbook by clicking the link below.

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Turn Beauty Inside Out Day

Every day of the year, there are unusual holidays one can celebrate. I discovered a website during my Year of Firsts in 2014, that lists them and I check in occasionally, out of curiosity. I have never perused the list, apparently, on May 16, because I’ve never heard of Turn Beauty Inside Out Day.

Turn Beauty Inside Out Day

Turn Beauty Inside Out Day was founded in 2000 by New Moon: A Magazine for Girls and Their Dreams. Celebrated on the third Wednesday in May, the intention is to help girls expand definitions of beauty, from outer to inner.

There is a need to have meaningful conversations with each other and our children and grandchildren about what defines true beauty. It’s hard to compete, culturally, with tv shows, movies and ads that equate beauty with thinness, but we start with education in our homes, communities and schools.

Turn Beauty Inside Out Day

In doing research for this post, I read alarming statistics.

• 50% of 9 year old girls and 80% of 10 year girls diet, which can harm their health because they are not getting enough of the right nutrients.

• The #1 wish for girls 11-17 is to be thinner.

• More than 5 million Americans suffer from eating disorders.

• 90% of those affected by eating disorders are adolescent girls and young women.

• Young girls are more afraid of becoming fat than they are of nuclear war, cancer or losing their parents.

What can we do to help?

• We have to stop shaming people for body shape and size. Off hand comments about Aunt Rose’s weight or snide remarks about a movie character’s shape or a joke about the store clerk’s appearance sends the wrong message about the importance of outer beauty to children and creates a standard for being thin and for everyone to look the same.

• Don’t criticize your own body. Kids adopt their parents’ attitudes about physical beauty. Be an example of healthy self love and care.

• Express appreciation often for inner beauty. Say, “You are beautiful because… you make me laugh…you love animals…you care about others…you stand up for people…etc. • Screen movies and tv shows to eliminate those that promote outer beauty. • Write to newspapers, school boards, advertisers and tv shows, advocating an emphasis on programs for inner beauty.Turn Beauty Inside Out Day

I love the idea behind this celebratory day. I found out about it late in the afternoon, however now that I know about this annual day of awareness, I will make plans to be involved at a higher level next year.

I am one who focuses on creating health, from the inside out. I would love to partner with schools or organizations and help to get the message to young girls, and boys, that beauty, like health, begins within. Rather than focusing on dieting, which has a high failure rate and can be detrimental to health, I would encourage kids and teens to focus on nourishing their bodies with life sustaining foods. When we are healthy, we feel good, and everything else falls into place.

I have a preteen granddaughter, and young great nieces, that need to hear that beauty begins inside. And I know, because I have grandsons as well, that boys are not immune to feeling unhappy with the way they look. This is a message we all need to hear, children and adults, females and males. I’ll be working toward plans for next year. I hope you will join me. We can start by all wearing our shirts inside out, as a fun outward declaration that we are beautiful…inside.

Turn Beauty Inside Out Day