Day 215: Practice for the Trip

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Today’s first was a necessity for me. With my trip to Scotland just three days away, I declared a practice time. It is important to me to capture this amazing journey via my Moving Beyond blog and by way of photos. My first, therefore, was to familiarize myself with the camera that my daughter Adriel loaned me and publish today’s blog from my phone.

I have a small digital camera that I use in my real estate work. It takes decent pics and serves its purpose well. This feels like a big trip, this journey to the land of my ancestors. It feels like I need a bigger, better camera to accurately memorialize the experience.

I’m grateful for the loan of the camera. I bought a memory card today and formatted it in the camera. I took practice photos in the garden, only to discover I had no images on the card. Practice is good, right? I’m glad there’s a book included. And grateful for Greg who is figuring out the camera. I’ll get this down.

The camera has a zoom lens, rechargeable batteries and a carrying case. The case even has a waterproof cover that unfolds from a pocket, in case of rain. How perfect for Scottish weather!

Until this evening, I have used my laptop to create and post my daily blogs. I don’t want to take the laptop along on the trip. I downloaded the WordPress mobile app several months ago and already use it every day to look at stats or respond to comments.

Rather than typing the post in my laptop’s word processing and then copying and pasting to WordPress, I am typing directly on the blog site. I take all of my blog photos with my iPhone anyway. My current method of blogging involves emailing the pics to myself, saving them on the computer and then editing them and uploading them with the post. Using the mobile app eliminates several steps with the photos. Most of my editing involves simple cropping and resizing if necessary, which can be done on my phone.

It has been easy to prepare this post on my phone. I use text messaging a LOT, so I can type quickly on my phone’s keyboard. I’m also rather famous for typos and funny autocorrects….just ask my kids…so I will need to proof read carefully!

I will look at the quality of the blog post, after publishing. And the camera has been figured out. Today I purchased the last items needed for the trip. I’ll add an international calling and texting plan tomorrow, drag out my big suitcase and begin packing. And then, I’m ready!

Oh, am I ready! Let the adventure to Scotland begin!

Day 214: Open to Receive Day

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This morning, as I sat in the garden, I considered what I might do for my first today. I had several options. As I enjoyed the sights and scents around me, an idea came to me. A simple idea. Stay open all day to receiving. I turned the idea over in my mind and the more I thought about it, the more I liked it. I didn’t ask for anything or expect any particular gift. I decided to stay in the attitude of openness and be aware of all the blessings that I received.

Once that decision was made, my awareness shifted immediately. The first gift I received was the beauty of my surroundings. I rose from my chair and slowly walked along the pathway that winds through my garden. I stopped to touch several plants, and admire how they give so freely of who they are. Their fragrances wafted about me. They didn’t give to me because I asked anything from them. In their being, they offered, and in my state of being receptive, I accepted.

The cats joined me in the garden and I was the recipient of their love and affection. I laughed as they wound around my legs, vying for my attention and purring as I scratched behind their ears. Back in the house, as I prepared to head to the office, I drew a random card from my homemade deck of affirmations. I draw a card every morning, from the 100 quotes and sayings I’ve written down. This morning I drew the card that reads, “I am willing to surrender”. How appropriate for today. In allowing myself to be open to receive, without expectation, I could surrender the need to know how I would be blessed this day. I surrendered worry that I wouldn’t receive anything. How could that happen? So many good things had shown up already. I surrendered planning out how the day could go so that I might receive more easily. I simply surrendered….and fully opened to allowing.

The day was lovely. A few of the blessings I received today included a large yellow and black butterfly that fluttered around me as I walked to daughter Adriel’s house, her loan of a very nice camera for my trip, visitors to my garden who got to view it for the first time, and offers on properties. I engaged in great conversations today and learned from watching author and speaker Thomas Moore on YouTube as he spoke of art and dreams. He shared about the healing properties of the color blue, which is my favorite color, and I smiled as I looked down at my long blue T-shirt dress that I wear around the house.

Via email I received an invitation to write articles about my trip to Scotland to include in the Clan Maitland publication. I was also given information about visiting the burial site of many of my Scottish ancestors and was told how to “open doors” on my journey. A friend blessed me with her email also, and the amazing energy from her words could not be contained as it flowed over me. I will carry her well wishes with me as I travel. Another friend surprised and inspired me with a text full of pictures from her own lovely flower gardens.

This evening I received greetings and kisses from my grandchildren Aubrey, Oliver and Joey and warm hugs from Nate and Megan. For a couple of hours I was blessed with seeing the world anew through the eyes of those precious children as we walked to the cul-de-sac, or rather they outpaced me on their scooters while I trailed behind. Holding their small hands and hearing their stories blessed me so much.

Songs on shuffle on my iPhone touched me, grace surrounded me and total strangers gave me the gift of their smiles and kind words. Abundance comes in many forms, and today, I was on the receiving end of joy, beauty, kindness, love, family, friends, great clients, affection, opportunity and well wishes. I am grateful for my “Open to Receive” Day and all that flowed to me. I am blessed, indeed.

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Day 213: The Boy Friend Musical

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What a fun evening as my sister Linda and I saw a performance of The Boy Friend at Joplin Little Theater. Seeing the musical was a first for me, and for Linda, it was not only her first time to see the musical, but her first time to be in the Joplin Little Theater. We had great seats near the front and settled in to enjoy an outstanding production.

The Boy Friend is a musical comedy, written in three acts, by Sandy Wilson. This British musical is a spoof, intended to playfully make fun of the musicals presented in the 1920’s. Written in the early 1950’s, the London production, which began in 1954, ran for 2078 performances. The show opened on Broadway in September of the same year and ran for 485 performances, and marked the Broadway debut of Julie Andrews in the role of Polly Browne.

The Joplin production was directed by Carolyn McGowan with choreography by Angela Lowe. Musical director was Clint Newby and Vocal Director, Becky Seidl. The 2014-2015 season at Joplin Little Theater celebrates the theater’s 75th anniversary. In 1960 The Boy Friend was the first Broadway musical performed at JLT. The 2014 version boasts a very talented group of young performers in the title roles and some returning favorites playing the more mature roles.

The musical is set in the Villa Caprice where we meet a lively bunch of young women at Mme Dubonnet’s School for Young Ladies. The central character, Polly Browne (Lindsey Daniels), is a young heiress who, sadly, is the only girl there without a boyfriend. So she makes one up. There is a carnival ball that evening and Polly is in a predicament, until she meets the handsome young messenger, Tony (Forrest Bunter), who is delivering her costume for the evening. The two hit it off and make arrangements to meet later in the day. Concerned that Tony will want her for her wealth, Polly pretends to be a secretary at the school.

There is love all over the villa! Polly’s widowed father Percy (Ricardo Field) arrives, and Mme Dubonnet (Becky Seidl) recognizes her long ago lover. Polly’s friends, the girls, all have beaus who hang on their every word and garner promises for dances at the upcoming ball. Lord and Lady Brockhurst, (Matt Myers and Kelly Purser) are a wealthy English couple visiting the villa and lamenting the loss of their son, who has disappeared. Or at least, Lady Brockhurst is. Lord Brockhurst has an eye for the lovely ladies, and an ever present martini in his hand.

By the time the carnival ball arrives, we discover who Tony really is and there are glad reunions, joyful kisses and many happily paired off couples. They rejoice with a dance and a song, of course!

This was an extremely engaging, high energy production. Linda and I laughed and applauded throughout the musical. What a talented cast and the songs and dance numbers were exceptional. And yes, there were lots of moments of hamming it up, as this was, after all, a spoof, or a pastiche as the British call it. I was delighted by the performances and sitting as close as we did, I appreciated the adorable facial expressions and over the top gestures.

Matt Myers, who portrayed Lord Brockhurst, brought the most laughs with his slightly inebriated mannerisms and his roving eye and deep appreciation for the pretty girls. He warmed up the audience with introductions before the show. I loved the duet between him and the character Dulcie, played wonderfully by Chelsie Jefferies, called “It’s Never Too Late to Fall in Love”.

I have so enjoyed the Joplin Little Theater productions this year. It took having a year of firsts to get me to become a regular patron. But a regular I now am. I am excited for the new season and JLT’s 75th Anniversary celebration!

The Boy Friend cast e

Day 212: Dinner Al Fresco

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My first for today was delightful. I had planned on another first but discovered, late in the day, that the event had cancelled. I’ve learned not to fret over such situations. They’ve been a common occurrence this year and always, another first shows up and it is the perfect experience. Within 30 minutes, the first presented itself. Greg texted and suggested picking up dinner at Billy Sims, and dining in the garden. I loved the idea!

We’ve experienced unseasonably cool temperatures the past few days. After a day of steady rain yesterday, the weather shifted today to overcast but dry. The temps remained mild. It was an ideal evening for dining outside and my first time to get to use the bistro table and chairs for the purpose for which they were made.

It was a great dinner. A green plaid tablecloth covered the glass top and a single white candle with a green and yellow candle ring adorned the table. Smoked turkey from Billy Sims, with sides, transferred to square white plates, cloth napkins, and real forks rather than the plastic ware provided by the restaurant completed the setting. The view couldn’t be beat! After their soaking yesterday, the flowers and plants were fresh and practically growing before our eyes. The fresh cedar mulch scented the air along with various herbs and flowers. Lit tea lights filled the candleholders hanging on the wire partitions defining the meditation area.

We had entertainment during dinner. The cats love the garden. They played at our feet and romped through the Japanese garden. They especially enjoy the ornamental grasses, which have grown tall. I think they pretend to be jungle cats, hiding in the grasses, and take delight in pouncing on each other.

As we finished our meal, the bell rang at the Peace Gate, announcing visitors! What fun to welcome daughters Elissa and Adriel, grandson Dayan, and Elissa’s boyfriend, Josh, to the backyard. They pulled up chairs and we enjoyed chatting, laughing and watching the cats play.

I can’t think of a better way to end the day…good food, great company, peaceful setting. I hope that was the first of many al fresco meals in the beautiful surroundings of the garden.  Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, who authored many essays about food, wrote about dining outdoors, “Seating themselves on the greensward, they eat while the corks fly and there is talk, laughter and merriment, and perfect freedom, for the universe is their drawing room and the sun their lamp. Besides, they have appetite, Nature’s special gift, which lends to such a meal a vivacity unknown indoors, however beautiful the surroundings.” I agree wholeheartedly. And I loved having the universe as my dining room tonight!

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Day 211: Complete the Pathway on the South Side

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I’m very thrilled with the completion of the garden pathway, on the south side of the backyard. This was a two day project, with the majority of the work taking place yesterday. It was an ideal day to work in the yard….cool, overcast, breezy. I’m very grateful to have accomplished so much yesterday since today my area has been blessed with a steady downpour. In spite of the rain, I added the finishing touches and called it for my first!

The southern flower border was completed last week, and I love the look of it! The pathway, and plantings, ended at the edge of the border and there was an unfinished gap between the Peace Gate and the border. It was time to bridge the gap. With Greg’s help, the remainder of that section was cleared of grass, the pathway dug to a depth of three inches, and the ground on either side prepared.

My first job was to plant ground cover in that narrow space between the pathway and the fence. That task didn’t take long. Next, I gathered an assortment of containers. I had envisioned the area between the pathway and the house as a space for potted plants and flowers. There is a length of concrete there that could not be removed, which left a narrow strip of ground to plant in. I chose to cover the whole area with cedar mulch and place the containers there, to brighten that area.

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I purchased a variety of succulents and flowering plants, all half price as we are nearing the end of the season. It was fun to pot these plants, using so many different types of containers. I had originally thought I would buy more buckets and metal containers, but I had so many other types of flower pots that I decided to make use of those. These flower pots have found their way to me via yard sales, store sales, and my favorite means….my mom, who picked up several for me at the Recycling Center. I focused on warm colors for the flowering plants, in shades of yellow, red, and pink, and added white begonias for contrast.

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The focal point of the container section is a vintage pot that has been in my family for as long as I can remember. My mom always kept a mother-in-law’s tongue plant in the green and white patterned pot. I have fond memories of that flower pot. Each time we moved, it moved with us. At some point, when I reached adulthood, my mom passed the container on to me. I’ve used it over the years, planting a variety of flowers in it each summer. As I planned the container garden, I knew this old favorite, full of portulaca, or moss roses, would become the centerpiece. I get my resourcefulness, and much of my creativity, from my mom. It seems a fitting tribute, in my garden.

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Lastly, dark brown mulch was brought in, thanks to my friend Tim. He and Greg helped me to fill the new pathway and top off the existing paths with the rich brown mulch. I like the contrast between the two colors of mulch. Outside the sliding door, which I’ve christened the Peace Gate, we set two large rocks. When the rain has moved on, tomorrow or Friday, I will place a few more rocks there and perhaps hang baskets of flowers on either side of the door.

I love the way the pathway leads the visitor past the entry and into the yard. The gentle curve of the path defines the flower border and leads the wanderer to the meditation area. As the flowers mature and fill in, the path will not be visible in its entirety. I hope it beckons and invites exploration.

I stood in the rain, before the closed Peace Gate. I rang the bird bell beside the gate, even though no one was on the other side to let me in. I rang it because I like the sound of the bell and how it announces a visitor. As I slid the door open, an image from The Wizard of Oz flashed into my mind, the scene where Dorothy opens the door of the fallen house and suddenly, the world is radiant in brilliant colors. On this gray day, I too slid open a door, and was greeted with an explosion of happy colors. There wasn’t a yellow brick road to lead me into the garden, but there was a path of dark brown mulch that invited me to enter. Enter I did, and walked slowly down the path, to the meditation area. Turning, I could look down the length of the flower border, to the container garden, to the Peace Gate. I know my smile reached my heart. Bliss.

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Day 210: Paper Making

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One of the most amazing benefits that I’ve experienced during this year of firsts has been making new friends. These wonderful people have so many gifts to offer to the world and it has been my privilege to learn from many of them. Tonight, I had fun with Cate as I made paper for the first time.

Cate is the first new friend that I made this year. We hit it off right away, having similar views on life and the world, and it is a joy to be traveling companions. Cate is resourceful, creative and lives life at a high level of awareness. I always love spending time with her. This evening, she invited me to her home for dinner and a lesson on paper making. We enjoyed a healthy and delicious dinner, that included Noosa yogurt and fresh peaches for dessert, easy conversation and much laughter. We caught up on what was going on in our journeys. And then it was time to make paper.

We walked around outside first, looking for natural finds to include in our paper. We snipped red and pink dianthus flowers and orange trumpet vine blossoms and dropped them into a glass bowl. We added bright green blades of grass, fuzzy seeds from a tall weed, purple and green poke berries and delicate silvery leaves from a dusty miller plant.

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Back inside, we each selected a piece of paper and tore it into small pieces. Cate saves scrap paper, tissue paper and other left over bits to reuse in her paper making. I thought that was an excellent idea! I picked out a blue scrapbook paper with white dots and added a small piece of lime green tissue paper with silver sparkles imbedded in it. The pieces of paper were dropped into a blender and about three cups of hot water added. I blended the water and paper until the pieces of paper had disappeared and there was a blue liquid in the container. I sorted through our nature finds and added blades of grass, an orange trumpet vine blossom and a couple of purple poke berries. This time I only blended for three or four seconds….just enough time to coarsely chop up the added material.

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This lumpy mixture was poured into a box that had been placed in water and to which a mesh screen, support grid and cover had been attached. This provided a mold for the paper to form in. I stirred the mixture with my hand to distribute the materials evenly and then carefully lifted the box straight up. The screen, support grid and cover unfastened from the box to allow the newly formed paper to rest on the table. I removed the screen and the support grid and began the blotting process, flipping the damp paper and removing the cover so I could blot the other side. I used a sponge first, to absorb as much excess water as possible, and then used blotting papers.

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Lastly, the paper was placed within a fold of material and I used a hot iron to complete the drying process. The procedure was simple but so interesting. I loved the surprise of seeing how the paper turned out, both in color and texture, as I moved from step to step. Cate did a great job of instructing me while allowing me to do it all myself. I enjoyed watching her create her own sheet of paper next, using scrap white paper and a dianthus flower, blades of grass and a dusty miller leaf. As I watched her work, the song “Happy” by Pharrell Williams popped into my head. I snapped a pic of Cate just as she embodied that song, a huge smile lighting up her face.  I failed to get a picture of her finished paper, but it was lovely!

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What a delightful evening and I got to take home my new creation. I’d like to purchase a paper making kit and experiment with colors and textures, using flowers, grasses and leaves from my backyard garden. I appreciated the paper making lesson from my friend Cate this evening and the shared meal and the great conversation. I intend to frame my beautiful piece of paper as a memento of this evening’s first. And perhaps include a quote from Jim Henson that seems so appropriate: “There’s not a word yet, for old friends who have just met.”

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Day 209: Stroll Through the Butterfly Garden & Overlook in the Evening

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I have intended to do this first for a couple of months now. The Butterfly Garden & Overlook, located in Cunningham Park at 26th and Maiden Lane, was dedicated and officially opened on May 22 of this year. I was there for that moving ceremony, along with my grandson Dayan and my sister Linda, and hundreds of others from the Joplin and Springfield areas. It was wonderful to hear the speeches and see so many turn up for the dedication. After the ceremony, I moved through the structures quickly, not able to see many of the features due to the crowd. That was okay. I planned, in the near future, to visit again and look at everything and spend time in that serene, beautiful space.

Two plus months later, the time for that visit arrived. Tonight, for my first, I visited the Butterfly Garden & Overlook, just after sunset, and spent time there soaking up the peace. I wasn’t sure how lighted the garden would be and if it was even possible to be there after dark. While the lighting was not overly bright, it was well lit enough to walk the pathways. The lower lighting contributed to the calming, restorative atmosphere of the space.

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I enjoyed wandering around. There were four youth in the structures when I arrived but they moved on into the park, leaving tranquility behind. Greg, who had not seen the Butterfly Garden & Overlook, accompanied me and strolled around on his own, reading the plaques and trying out one of the benches. I was moved, as I was the day of the dedication, by the simple yet powerful design of the outline houses. Looking over toward where St. John’s Hospital used to stand, I remembered all that had changed in this area. Grief and disbelief welled up and I didn’t try to staunch those feelings. Tonight, I let them rise and flow outward from my chest area. I breathed in deeply and slowly released the air and the energy swirling around my heart. The sound resembled a sigh.

For the first time this evening, I sat on the bench with the journal beneath it. I held the journal, which was full, stories and sentiments and drawings on every page. I didn’t try to read the words. I simply held the journal and felt the emotions emanating from it. I let the sound of water from the nearby large fountain soothe me. Healing is taking place in me and in my city. I very rarely hear anymore in my mind, as I am trying to sleep, the sounds of breaking glass and debris hitting the house. However, a part of me acknowledges what happened each day as I live and drive and dine and shop in the tornado zone. I accept it and I release any need to explain what happened or question why. As I sat quietly on the bench, peace flooded through me, and peace filled that sacred place.

As I continued walking through the garden, I stopped to lightly touch a flowering lavender plant. The scent lingered on my fingers and I was refreshed, renewed. As I straightened, my eyes were drawn to a word, carved in bold letters, on the back of the fountain. A spotlight brought the word sharply into focus, a beacon in the darkness. HOPE. Hope for Joplin. Hope for me. Hope for all who live and work and play here. That one word promises so much. I am grateful.

Butterfly garden at evening HOPE e

Day 208: Outlaw Run Roller Coaster at Silver Dollar City

Outlaw Roller Coaster Cindy e

What a fun day! When my planned first cancelled out, the day opened up as did the possibilities. Greg and I headed to Branson, MO to visit the beautiful Silver Dollar City theme park and discover what firsts awaited there. It had been at least 10 years since I last visited this fun and interesting park. Nestled on 55 acres in the Ozark Mountains, the park is a journey back in time to the 1880’s. Trees, water, flowers and plants abound as they created Silver Dollar City around preserving the natural landscape. The buildings, restaurants, rides and workers’ costumes all continue the 1880’s theme. It was wonderful to explore the City again, seeing the changes and yet noting familiar sections of the park also.

During lunch I scanned a map of the park and saw an entirely new section called Wilson’s Farm. We decided to stroll through that section we had never seen and check out a new ride that opened last year. Outlaw Run Roller Coaster is Silver Dollar City’s newest attraction. It is a wooden coaster built onto a tree covered hillside, which allows the trees to block most of the coaster from view. For my first, I decided to ride Outlaw Run.

The park was not overly crowded today. A worker shared with us that while yesterday there were 21,000 people in the park, today those numbers were more in the 6,000 range. Which meant, we did not have to wait in line to ride. We simply walked in and watched as the people in front of us climbed into the train, which holds 24. As the guests prepared to depart, I noted the steep incline of track just beyond the arrival/departure area. I said out loud, “I don’t think this coaster goes upside down.”

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As we took our seats in the next train, there were two clues that this was about to be a very wild ride. First clue: The restraint system was extensive! We were required to buckle a seat belt and then pull down a bar that encased the legs and lower body. The seats held the upper body tightly. Second clue: The ride attendant asked for my purse and put it in a cubicle. “You can’t have that purse or paper with you,” he cautioned. Greg and I exchanged looks as we were given a thumbs up and rolled out of the large wooden structure.

I enjoy roller coasters. Because of a neck and back injury years ago, I’m a little cautious these days to not get too jostled around. With a BIG upcoming trip, I especially didn’t want to get hurt. We were so securely held in our seats that I decided to relax and go with it. Up, up, up the incline we went, 107 feet. There is always a butterflies in the stomach feeling of anticipation as I am climbing up, knowing that what goes up must go down. As we reached the top of the incline there was a slight downward dip, and then a swing up and over the precipice. We dropped down 162 feet, being on the other side of a hill, at an 81 degree angle….almost straight down, in other words….reaching a speed of 68 MPH. I immediately understood the restraint system and was grateful for it as it felt like a free fall.

Outlaw Roller Coaster drop e

There was no time to breathe a sigh of relief as we reached the bottom. The next 87 seconds were exciting, to say the least! Outlaw Run is called the world’s most daring wooden roller coaster. It has the steepest drop in the world, for a wooden coaster, and is the only wood coaster to turn upside down. Yes, it did. Three times, which is a record-breaker. One of those inversions was a 720 degree double barrel roll. It also had a 153 degree outside banked turn. That one made me feel like the train would surely fall off the track. Except that we zipped through it so fast that by the time I had the thought, I was past the turn. There were a total of nine airtime locations, where I felt like I was floating in air.

I laughed and whooped during the entire ride. As we climbed out of the train and caught our breath, Greg and I compared thoughts. I shared that as we hit the bottom after the first free fall and I caught a glimpse ahead, I thought, “Yep, we are going upside down!” He remembered thinking during that banked turn, “This doesn’t seem safe!” What a great first! Such a wild and unpredictable ride, and being our first experience on it, we had no idea what was coming next.

Walking around the park, we would burst into laughter as we remembered Outlaw Run. I recalled that our grandson had ridden the coaster last year and told us a bit about it, but at the time we climbed on board the train, I didn’t remember that this was the same wooden coaster he had shared about. I’m glad I didn’t remember the details. It made the ride all the more thrilling, not knowing what was going to happen next.

And that made me think about how like life that brief, yet exciting ride was. I don’t know what’s around the next curve either, as I journey. There will be amazing peaks reached and sometimes, unexpected drops, turns and dizzying upside down spins. Through it all, I am secure, and I will reorient myself. I am safe as I journey, just as I was held tightly during those crazy 87 seconds. And life’s ride continues on, never leaving me stalled or stuck, as long as I stay on board, until I arrive at my final destination, out of breath, laughing with delight, exhilarated with the thrill of it all. There, someone will let me know it is time to disembark from this ride….and the adventure will continue on, elsewhere. For now, I am tightening up my seatbelt, eager for what’s coming next. What a ride!

 

 

Day 207: First Purchases for Scotland Trip

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Today’s first, although small in the grand scope of things, was exciting for me. With my trip to Scotland only 11 days away, I started on my list of items to purchase. I’m not one who enjoys shopping. However, searching for and finding specific things related to the trip was fun and heightened my anticipation.

The first item to get crossed off the list was a good pair of walking shoes. My cousins and I intend to go where our hearts lead us while in Scotland. We will make use of public transportation for outlying day trips, but for the most part, we will be exploring Scotland on our feet! I have other shoes that I’ll pack also, but I splurged on a very comfortable, very supportive pair of shoes that I hope will serve me well.

I also purchased an international converter and plug in set. With a cell phone to charge and the feminine necessities of hair dryer and straightener accompanying me, I had to have these items. My laptop computer is staying home, so my iPhone will be important, not only for staying in touch with family and clients while I’m away, but for staying up to date on my blog. There will be many, many firsts during this trip, indeed, the entire journey will be a huge first. I hope to be able to pick one or two new experiences each day to blog about. While I was out shopping, I talked to a representative at AT&T about adding an international plan. I got the info I needed concerning texting, calling and data plans. It would appear the best data plan is to make use of the hotels free wi-fi service!

I picked up a brightly colored luggage tag for my big black suitcase. I discovered on a trip to California that many people have large black suitcases. Waiting at the airport for luggage is challenging when so many identical suitcases spin by. I’m hoping the green tag will alert me and I can locate my luggage quickly. I wanted a plaid or tartan tag. Perhaps I can find one in Scotland.

My last purchases today were a couple of shirts, from Cato. I’ve been watching the weather in Scotland. Although this is summer for them, as it is for me, their temperatures are much lower than Missouri’s scorching heat. Today’s high in the Borders was a brisk 66 degrees, with a low of 49. I’ll mostly wear jeans and assorted shirts. With the cooler temps, I’m selecting tops with sleeves that can roll up or stay down and shirts that can be layered together if it’s really cool. I’m also searching for a lightweight, waterproof jacket to purchase. I’ve only found one so far and held off buying it until I’ve exhausted other options. Apparently, it’s just a little early here in Joplin to be shopping for a jacket.

I have more items to buy, but this was a start. I am so excited about my upcoming trip. In fact, I am so excited I am having trouble sleeping at night. My mind takes off and in my imagination, I’m already there, exploring, meeting people, experiencing so many new things. I have to bring myself back, gently, to the present moment and relax, and allow myself to enjoy, for now, the mounting anticipation. Very soon, it will be time to fly to the homeland that I have never seen, and discover what draws me, compels me, to Scotland. I’m a patient person, normally. I can wait. But just barely!

scotland map heart e

Day 206: Flower Border

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Today’s first celebrates a huge accomplishment in the backyard makeover. I completed planting and mulching the 36 foot border that runs along the southern edge of the yard. The border follows the contours of the garden path that curves to the meditation area and has a 12 foot width at its widest point. I was very excited to finish this project.

Because of the number of plants involved, and the time it has taken to tuck them carefully into the ground, this border has been weeks in the making. I began about six weeks ago, on the section closest to the meditation area, and I’ve been steadily planting six foot sections as I had the time. I sometimes wasn’t able to work in the border at all, on those days we had heavy rain. I had ideal planting weather the first two weeks of July and made good progress. And then the weather turned hot and I could only plant for a short time in the evenings!

Today I was determined to finish the border. Yesterday, Greg helped me prepare the ground in the last two sections of the border and last night, I purchased an assortment of flowers. Rising early this morning, I was able to get all those plants in the ground before I cleaned up and left for a closing. Surveying the small section that remained bare, I was encouraged to keep going. This evening Greg and I made a final run to Lowe’s to pick up more flowers after filling the back of his truck with two scoops of cedar mulch.

Border 2e

This mornings planting in the Border

What I didn’t realize was how quickly I was losing daylight! By the time the plants were moved from the truck to the backyard, the sun was near the horizon. Greg brought in wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow of mulch and began spreading it over the plantings from this morning while I raced the sun and dug holes for the last batch of flowers. Greg brought out the rusty vintage cultivator and parked it in its new location in the border and then darkness fell. No worries! Running an extension cord from the utility room, Greg rigged up a work light that he clamped onto the fence. I planted the last few flowers, including a clematis to trail over the cultivator, in the welcoming light that pierced the darkness. I watered and added the final layer of mulch around the new plants.

I was dirty, tired, sweaty and oh so happy as I stood back and looked down the long border. It was too dark, even with the work light and the flash on the phone, to capture the beauty of that section of the garden. I will update in the morning with pictures of the border and the cultivator. The pathway from the Peace Gate to the existing path that edges this border will be added this weekend. And the chucks of concrete removed from the original sidewalk in the backyard will be repurposed to form a walk way along the brick patio to the back gate. There is still work to do on the north side of the garden, but this transformation is progressing so well. I am very grateful to Greg for his many hours of assistance and for the creation of the wonderful privacy fence and the unique entrance.

I love spending time in this peaceful, beautiful space. My soul expands here and my heart sings. My feelings of joy are expressed well by Victor Hugo, in Les Misérables …I’ve just changed the pronoun from he, to she… “A garden to walk in and immensity to dream in–what more could she ask? A few flowers at her feet and above her the stars.”

Border garden cats e

Garden cats…Momba, Shy Boy & Marco