Beautiful Gratitudes

It’s been a full day. Beautiful gratitudes swirled around me as I moved from privilege to task to tea time to a special Girls’ Night with my mom and sister. Take a peek.

Beautiful Gratitudes

The Privilege of Voting

After my discussion with my grandson yesterday, I was ready to vote this morning. Rather than seeing my participation as a duty or an obligation, I felt gratitude for the privilege of making choices.

Others appeared to feel the same way. The lines were long at the voting place and yet people were cheerful and patient. I was happy to add a selfie to my grandson’s Facebook post, letting him know, “I voted!”

Beautiful Gratitudes

Create a Video

One of my blog related tasks today was to create a promotional video to add to one of my social media pages. I write two blogs. This video was for Journey With Healthy Me. Using an app called Videoshop, I put together a short video featuring 14 supplements for general health and wellbeing, as recommended by Anthony William in his new book Liver Rescue.

Technology can be a challenge for me. However, one of my character traits is determination. When that determination is coupled with the strong desire to succeed, I most often do. I’m thankful for fun technology and that I am a continual learner. In a short time I had a cool visual aid.

Check it out HERE.

Beautiful Gratitudes

Thai Welcome Tea

The beautiful gratitudes continued, as afternoon teatime approached. My niece Ashley recently gave me a package of dried Butterfly Pea Flowers. When brewed, the flowers create a dark blue tea. I did research as water boiled, and discovered that in Thailand honey and lemon juice are added to create Thai Welcome Tea. Adding lemon or lime juice causes the liquid to change colors. Intrigued, I made the Welcome Tea.

I poured boiling water over 2 teaspoons of dried butterfly pea flowers and covered the mug, allowing the tea to steep for 10 minutes. The water immediately turned cobalt blue. After removing the blossoms, I carefully sipped the hot tea. The earthy flavor is similar to high quality green tea. I stirred in a tablespoon of raw organic honey, with no detectable change in color. However, when I squeezed in a few drops of fresh lemon juice, the color shifted to a rich purple.

I appreciate the gift from my niece and the gorgeous and tasty drink. Read more about Thai Welcome Tea, including its health benefits.

Beautiful Gratitudes

Salad Supper

My sister Linda volunteered to prepare a healthy dinner tonight, at our mom’s house. Of course I said yes!

She combined an assortment of chopped veggies and apples in big bowls, and placed containers of avocado, cucumber, cilantro, black beans, cherry tomatoes, walnuts, salsa, and non-GMO tortilla chips on the dining table. I brought my own salad dressing that I had made at home, and Mom stirred up her own blend. Our stepdad joined us for a satisfying feast. We added additional toppings from the choices on the table while we discussed food and being the healthiest versions of ourselves.

I’m grateful for my sister who blessed us with this great meal.

Beautiful Gratitudes

Girls’ Chat Births a Book Club

After our delicious meal, my stepdad left us girls so we could chat. We covered a wide range of topics, although our conversations primarily centered around family and health. All three of us purchased Liver Rescue, by Anthony William, a truly life changing book about detoxifying and healing the liver and the body.

We’ve decided to get together once a week…perhaps we can take turns providing healthy meals…and discuss the book as we read though it. I’m excited and thankful for the opportunity to learn together and support each other on our healing journeys.

Family and wellbeing are two of my most beautiful gratitudes. I love when blessings flow and when they overlap!

Beautiful Gratitudes

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The Blessings of Grandchildren

Today’s gratitude centered primarily around my grandkids. Other Yayas, Nanas, Mimis and Papas will immediately understand how rich and precious are the blessings of grandchildren. We grandparents store these memories up and treasure them.

Three of my grandchildren were out of school today, providing an opportunity to hang out on this cool and rainy fall day. And I spent a short time with my oldest grandson this morning, before he heads back to the university tomorrow. To the other grandson, who was not out of school, I sent a text this evening, to set up a time to connect. He responded promptly with a sweet reply.

The Blessings of Grandchildren

Discussing Politics

For many people, politics is not a popular topic to discuss right now. However, my college aged grandson loves world and current events, international cultures, geography, and all things political. In our brief time together, we had a wonderful conversation about what’s on the ballot tomorrow.

There weren’t any arguments between us or defensiveness. I enjoyed an informative back and forth conversation and gained insights from Dayan’s perspectives. My gratitude for my grandson and his knowledge and political passion continues to deepen. And I am ready to vote tomorrow in this crucial midterm election.

The Blessings of Grandchildren

Together We Build

Joey, Oliver and Aubrey are fun to spend a day with. They are close enough in age to connect well and relate well to each other, and at the same time they’re utterly unique individuals. The weather encouraged us to stay snug inside. I enjoyed lively conversations, humorous stories and watching the three of them create in the game Minecraft.

The split screen allows each child to monitor their own progress and also interact with each other. I’m impressed by their building skills. And I’m grateful for the way these kids form a family unit that is grounded in love. Sure, they bicker occasionally, as siblings do. But they have each other’s backs, in virtual realities and in real life.

The Blessings of Grandchildren

Spoons Card Game

After Minecraft and game controllers, the kids opted for a good old fashioned card game. I’ve never played Spoons before and my grandchildren were excellent teachers. It’s not a reflection on them at all, that I lost!

Spoons, also known as Pig or Tongue, is a fast-paced game of matching. It is played with an ordinary pack of playing cards and several kitchen spoons or other objects. We used plastic knives.

The game is played in multiple rounds, and each player’s objective is to grab a spoon. No spoon may be grabbed until one player has collected four of a kind, but once the first player to get a four of a kind grabs a spoon, all players may immediately reach out to attempt to grab one. No player may grab more than one spoon at a time.

As in the game musical chairs, there is always one less spoon than there are players, so one player will always be left without a spoon. Depending on the variety of game being played, that player either loses the game and is eliminated, or continues playing but loses a point. When two players are left and one person gets four of a kind, it doesn’t matter who gets the spoon. At that point, whoever gets it the fastest wins.

This was a fun game, easy to learn and yet challenging to quickly get four of a kind as cards are rapidly passed around to the players, and no one knows what set of four the others are trying to collect. I appreciate the kids alternating between their video games (are they even called that anymore?) and group games we could all participate in.

The Blessings of Grandchildren

Who Wants to Make a Logo?

At one point in the afternoon, all four of us were on our phones, sharing photos and info. I introduced the kids to the Canva App, and let them study the logos and graphics I’d made. In a short time they each had Canva downloaded on his or her phone.

We had fun discussing ideas and playing creatively. In a few minutes the kids had mastered techniques that took me multiple sessions to get the hang of. Oh, the power of a young brain! I’m grateful for their sharp minds and also their artistic abilities.

I love their eagerness to try new creative projects. Joey put together a Kansas City Chiefs meme, complete with a short poem he wrote. Oliver, whose nickname is Bear, created a bear themed wallpaper that he edited with special effects. He added his completed project to his phone, as a background graphic. And Aubrey texted her finished work to me as I drove home. She came up with a darling logo.

The Blessings of Grandchildren

Thrive, the Art of Entertaining

This last gratitude has nothing to do with grandchildren. I received a magazine in the mail that I paused to thumb through, after I arrived home this evening.

Thrive is a plant based magazine, full of recipes, articles and gorgeous photos. The Nov/Dec issue features The Art of Entertaining. There are ideas for the holidays and gatherings and sumptuous meals. I’ll read through every page soon, however this evening it was wonderful to preview the magazine with a quick scan. I’m grateful for publications that focus on health and wellness without sacrificing beauty.

The Blessings of Grandchildren

These kids, these smart, funny, clever, creative blessings called grandchildren, certainly brightened my day and enlarged the boundaries of my mind and heart. I treasure each one. I value each child and look forward to seeing all that they accomplish in their lives.

The blessings of grandchildren are as varied as the kids are, as endless as their possibilities, and as beautiful as their soulful eyes. I am richly blessed indeed. And I am honored to be their Yaya.

The Blessings of Grandchildren

A Smorgasbord of Blessings

Sunday’s are self care days, special times set apart for focusing inward and on things that bring me joy. Occasionally I work on a Sunday afternoon or at the least do a bit of real estate online. And I always write on this day, no matter what else I do to care for my body, emotions, and spirit.

Today was no different, except that I was very mindful of blessings throughout the day. Because a definite food theme came together, I thought of the day’s gratitudes as a smorgasbord of blessings, with so many delightful choices. And then suddenly, an invitation threw in a bit of rhapsody.

A Smorgasbord of Blessings

Aloe Vera

The first gratitude arrived as I stepped through the doors of Joplin’s Natural Grocers. I love this health conscious store. The aroma of fresh herbs and produce greets me and makes me so thankful that I have this shopping option in my city.

I selected an aloe vera leaf and dropped it into my cart. Check out the health benefits and then you too can appreciate why it is a blessing that Natural Grocers carries these huge leaves. I can’t find them anywhere else in town. A two inch section of fresh aloe vera gel goes into my fruit smoothies each morning.

A Smorgasbord of Blessings

Milk Thistle Display

The next gratitude in my smorgasbord of blessings occurred before I got out of the store. I’m reading Liver Rescue by Anthony William. Greg noticed an end cap display featuring the supplement Milk Thistle. This herb benefits the liver by expelling old red blood cells and detoxifying toxins and debris from the hepatic veins.

It makes me smile and feel gratitude to see this healthy grocery store in sync with what I am learning. Plus they have Milk Thistle, in capsules and tinctures, on sale.

A Smorgasbord of Blessings

Comfort Food, Healthy Style

Continuing an emphasis on a plant based lifestyle today, and self care, Sunday lunch featured one of my favorite meals, Broccoli & Peas Macaroni Bake. This easy to prepare one pan meal pairs the satisfaction of a comforting meal with the health boosting nutrition of veggies and gluten free pasta in a yummy cashew based sauce. Find the recipe HERE.

I am truly thankful for healthy pasta options. I buy the Natural Grocers house brand of brown rice macaroni. It cooks up just like regular pasta and tastes the same. And I don’t suffer ill effects from gluten.

A Smorgasbord of Blessings

A New Dark Chocolate Bar

No smorgasbord, blessings or buffet, is complete without a bit of dessert. I don’t indulge in traditional desserts, preferring healthy versions without the refined sugar, eggs and dairy products. I do, however, occasionally enjoy a small amount of dark chocolate.

As we headed to the check out, I spied a new-to-me line of dark chocolate bars, with a twist of unusual flavor combinations. I chose a dark chocolate with blackberry and sage to sample. The Endangered Species Chocolate Company has this mission statement on their website:

“10% of our net profits are donated annually to current 10% GiveBack Partners;  each is guaranteed a minimum annual donation of $10,000 and is free to use the funds on projects they deem most important. With over $1.3 million generated in the past three years alone, each chocolate purchase adds up to big support that helps wildlife thrive.”

I am thankful that my purchase of a treat supports endangered species and other organizations that help wildlife and the planet. For afternoon tea I ate a few small squares of the dark chocolate and sipped on an herbal tea from Yogi. The treat was pure bliss.

A Smorgasbord of Blessings

Bohemian Rhapsody

Lest I get into a rut today, an invitation came this afternoon from my grandson Dayan, who is home from the university this weekend. The film Bohemian Rhapsody released in theaters Friday and Dayan invited me to join his mom and him for an evening viewing.

I am a big Queen fan, having appreciated their incredible music since my late teens. I’ve been excited about this upcoming movie that tells the story of Freddie Mercury and the formation of the band that would shatter stereotypes and expand musical boundaries. I’ll post a review of the film tomorrow.

Tonight I am grateful for Freddie’s willingness to unwaveringly be who he was, and to offer to the world the gifts he was uniquely created to give. He inspires me and I am still experiencing a range of emotions from the movie.

A Smorgasbord of Blessings

What a delightful day, this smorgasbord of blessings. Gratitude flowed for a place to purchase healthy food and supplements, great comfort food and a surprising flavor combo in a treat, and the power of a musical film experienced with my grandson and daughter.

Blessings abound, but they don’t pile up. They flow…to me…through me…and beyond.

A Smorgasbord of Blessings

The Colors of Autumn

This was a perfect fall day, cool without being cold, breezy with a promise of rain cloyingly in the air. And everywhere, the colors of autumn awakened the senses.

It’s easy, on such a glorious day, to find much to be grateful for.

The Colors of Autumn

Anthony William Live

I just happened to be on Facebook when my health mentor popped up with a brief live video. Anthony spoke, with enthusiasm, about several foods that are extremely beneficial for liver health. Among those was dragon fruit, also known as pitaya.

My interest was piqued because I’ve felt drawn to purchase dragon fruit and try it for the first time. Now I know why! I noticed the fruit in the produce section at Walmart recently. I’m looking forward to trying it by creating a dragon fruit smoothie. The fruit’s deep magenta color certainly fits in with the colors of autumn.

The Colors of Autumn

Restoring What Was Broken

I have a mug that I use often for brewing tea. A mesh infusion basket holds loose dried or fresh herbs and fits within the mug. The ceramic lid caps the mug so the tea can steep properly.

Back in May I tried unsuccessfully to find the same mug for my mom. The kitchen store I purchased mine from had closed. I could not locate a similar mug anywhere, at that time, and bought a different type for Mom.

Every time I use the mug I mutter that I hope I never break it, as it seems irreplaceable. The inevitable happened. I dropped the lid and it broke into two pieces.

Rather than tossing the broken lid, Greg glued it back together for me, using a non-super glue type of Gorilla brand adhesive. I’m so grateful! And beyond that, he found a similar mug online, when I could not last spring. I’ll be ordering a “just in case” replacement!

The Colors of Autumn

Bloggers Helping Bloggers

I’m very thankful for a new Facebook group I joined. Founded by Sasha Cristina, her intention is to encourage other bloggers who self host on WordPress.

If you have a blog, or you are thinking of starting one, check out Sasha’s FREE 30 Day Hustler’s WordPress Challenge, on Eat, Travel, Hustle. I’m on Day 3 and even though I’ve been blogging for five years, this info is helping me take my blogs to a higher level.

The Colors of Autumn

All the Colors of Autumn

After spending several hours on the computer this afternoon, I surrendered myself to the outdoors. The grey clouds piling up provided a neutral backdrop for the brilliant foliage and tall, waving grasses.

Greg accompanied me. We chose to walk in the neighborhood. Recently work was completed in this area, after months of labor, resulting in new sidewalks and curbs, and the resurfacing of the streets. Finally, the neighborhood is looking finished, after the tornado of 2011. It won’t ever look the same…that old neighborhood is gone. However, it looks inviting with blocks of new houses, young trees and signs of life and activity.

I’m grateful that the twigs planted seven years ago are maturing into trees and that children laughed and played in yards today. And I appreciate that I can walk the neighborhood again without concern about stumbling over broken, uneven sidewalks.

The Colors of Autumn

Wearing the Colors of Autumn

The cooler weather invited me to don a hoodie. I love the colors of autumn and I love jeans and boots, hoodies and layering on clothes. Fashion wise, this is my favorite season. Perhaps because of my hygge tendencies, being cozy is so centering to me.

Today, in honor of the season, I wore an orange hoodie that my friend Cate gave me a couple of years ago. She gifted it to me because Journey was my word for that year.

Wearing the hoodie brought back memories of my dear friend, who has since moved away, and appreciation for how far I have journeyed in the last two years. I am deeply grateful for Cate and my progress.

As the rain moves in, I am snuggled beneath a blanket. The wind is scattering the colors of autumn as the leaves let go of branches and dance wildly.

“Autumn paints in colors that summer has never seen.”

The Colors of Autumn

Counting My Blessings: 5 Daily Gratitudes

Working in my creative studio today, appreciating the sunlight streaming in and my little gratitude pumpkin, I realized I was counting my blessings, literally. November brings with it Thanksgiving, a holiday grounded in being grateful. I’m inspired this month to practice intentional gratitude, in a new way.

In the past I’ve kept a blessing journal, writing down five or ten things daily that I’m grateful for. If you’re never kept a gratitude journal, it’s harder than you think to come up with new lists of blessings each day.

This year I choose to use the blog to chronicle five blessings a day, five things I am thankful for, and capture them by way of photos and a few words.

Counting My Blessings 5 Daily Gratitudes

5 Daily Gratitudes

This exercise raises my awareness of the many blessings in my life. When I keep a journal, I may write down things I’m thankful for that are unconnected to the day I just experienced. Mountains may go on the list, or Scotland, or walking in nature.

The difference this year is that I’m taking a photo of each person, thing, place or experience that I’m thankful for. These will be real time blessings, encountered throughout my day. Such a game keeps me mindful, engaged, in the flow and open to receive, since I can’t plan every blessing in advance.

Today’s blessings:

1. Appreciation for My Creative Studio

I recently cleared this room of clutter, again, and added inspiring items to keep me motivated and moving forward toward my dreams. I’m dearly loving this space, and spending a great deal of time in this pretty little room. In the afternoon sunlight filters in through the six windows, enchanting me and reminding me to take a break and have tea time.

Counting My Blessings 5 Daily Gratitudes

2. Hibiscus Lemonade

I made this healthy, easy to prepare drink this afternoon instead of hot tea. The recipe comes from Anthony William, and it’s included in his new release Liver Rescue. I’m grateful for the delicious tart flavor and the healing benefits of this lemonade.

Bring 1 cup of water to a boil, in a small saucepan. Remove from heat and add 2 teaspoons dried hibiscus or 2 hibiscus tea bags. Allow to steep for 10 minutes at least. Strain tea into a mug and place in fridge to chill.

In a small pitcher whisk together 3 cups of water, 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice and 4 tablespoons raw organic honey, until honey is dissolved. When hibiscus tea is cooled, stir into lemonade. Enjoy! Makes 2 servings.

Read about the health benefits of hibiscus.

Counting My Blessings 5 Daily Gratitudes

3. Liver Rescue

I just received this new book on Tuesday. The fourth by author Anthony William, this book focuses on healing the liver, which in turn heals a host of health issues including aging problems, brain fog, cancer, eczema, psoriasis, gallbladder disease, gut problems, hormonal disorders, inflammation, insomnia, mystery hunger and many more.

I’ve learned so much about my body and what’s going on within it through Anthony’s books. I’m grateful for the incredible healing I’ve experienced as well. The information within Liver Rescue will take my health to a new level. I’m taking notes as I read.

Counting My Blessings 5 Daily Gratitudes

4. Sweet Potatoes from My Garden

As cooler weather arrives, my garden is slowing down. Last week I dug up the sweet potatoes in the raised bed veggie garden. What a treat it has been to prepare baked sweet potatoes. Tonight I felt such a sense of accomplishment as I washed up a batch of these little blessings, in preparation for trying a new recipe featuring sweet potatoes. I grew this food!

Counting My Blessings 5 Daily Gratitudes

5. Chili Sweet Potato Fries

I checked out a plant based cookbook from the library. The Karma Chow Ultimate Cookbook, created by Melissa Costello, offers planet-friendly fare that is easy to make and so delicious, while boosting health as well.

Chili Sweet Potato Fries

2 large or 4 small sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch thick lengthwise fries.

2-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3 teaspoons chili seasoning

Sea salt to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place cut potatoes in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle fries with with chili seasoning and salt. Toss potatoes to cost evenly. Spread potatoes in a single layer on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 30 minutes, turning halfway through, until fries are browned on outside and tender inside. Let cool 5 minutes.

I served the sweet potato fries with:

Lemon Dill Aioli Sauce

In a blender (I used the smaller attachment) blend 1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped, 1/4 cup vegan mayo, 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, 1 teaspoon lemon zest and 1 garlic clove, finely minced. Makes a little more 1/4 cup of sauce.

The sweet potato fries and aioli were so good! The chili seasoning adds just a touch of spiciness that pairs well with the sweetness of the potato. And the lemon dill aioli…yum!

I buy Sir Kensington’s Fabanaise, from Natural Grocers. It’s made from aquafaba, the water off of cooked chickpeas, and it is vegan, non-GMO, and egg, soy, gluten and sugar free. And I promise, it tastes like mayo! I use it as a base for several sauces.

Counting My Blessings 5 Daily Gratitudes

Let’s Play a Game of Blessings

The idea for the 5 Daily Gratitudes came to me this afternoon, as I paused to appreciate the sunlight streaming in and expressed my gratitude aloud. The Dream Giver whispered to me, “Do you want to play a new game?”

I always do. I’m always ready to play games that teach me new truths as I learn and grow and have fun.

Play along with me, during Thanksgiving month. Find one thing, or five, or ten, to be grateful for each day. Write them down in a journal, make lists, draw pictures, take photos…keep some kind of record of the things you are thankful for. Count your blessings, one by one. And I’d love it if you shared some of them with me.

Counting My Blessings 5 Daily Gratitudes

Order Liver Rescue and dried hibiscus by clicking links below.

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Create a Gratitude Pumpkin

It’s the day after Halloween, and Black Friday promotions began showing up in my inbox today. I get it and I enjoy taking part, in a limited way, with the after Thanksgiving shopping kick off. However, my focus, during the month of November, is on gratitude.

To start off a month of expressing gratitude and focusing on blessings, I created a fun little craft. Gratitude pumpkins are easy to make, with materials available at home. This is a great activity for kids and offers the opportunity to come up with eight things they are grateful for.

Create a Gratitude Pumpkin

Eight Easy Steps to Create a Gratitude Pumpkin

The body of the pumpkin is made from four strips of paper, cut from a standard 8 1/2 x 11 or larger sheet. Any color can be used. Let kids be creative. Purple pumpkins with orange leaves are fine!

Step 1

I used a light gold sheet of heavy paper for the body of the pumpkin and a light green sheet for the leaves and curling vines. Cut the paper for the body into strips, using a paper cutter or scissors. Only four strips are needed, per pumpkin. One sheet of paper makes two pumpkins.

Create a Gratitude Pumpkin

Step 2

Write gratitudes on the ends of the four strips of paper, expressing eight things you are thankful for. Line up the strips and write four gratitudes and then flip the strips over and write four “upside down”, so that when joined, all the words are going the same direction. See photo below. Leave some space at either end, as those edges will be joined together.

Create a Gratitude Pumpkin

Step 3

Using tape, join one strip at a time, making a circle. Add each strip, completing the circle and joining the loops together, until all four strips are connected. Carefully flip the pumpkin over and add double-sided tape, or regular tape folded over, to secure the loops at the bottom of the pumpkin.

Create a Gratitude Pumpkin

Step 4

Draw a pumpkin leaf on a second piece of paper. I looked up a pumpkin leaf online and drew a simple heart shape and then slightly flared out the sides. Heart shaped leaves work well too. Cut out the first leaf and then trace around it to create a second leaf. I drew the second leaf slightly smaller within the outline, to create variety.

On one leaf write “Grateful for…” and on the other leaf, write your name and the year.

Create a Gratitude Pumpkin

Step 5

Cut three narrow strips of paper, the same color as the leaves, or in a contrasting color. Tightly wrap the strips around a pen or pencil, then slide the coils off, creating pumpkin vines.

Create a Gratitude Pumpkin

Step 6

Attach the curly pieces of vine to the top of the pumpkin, with tape or glue. I used double-sided tape. Finally, attach the two leaves, also with tape or glue.

Create a Gratitude Pumpkin

Display Gratitude Pumpkins

Find a place to display the gratitude pumpkin, where it can be seen each day. A group of pumpkins, made by a family, would be so cute, and also serve as a great reminder that there are many blessings to be thankful for.

Another idea is to make a pumpkin out of gratitude quotes. There are amazing quotes available. Simple google “gratitude quotes” to come up with ideas.

“A grateful heart is a magnet for miracles.”

Gratitude is an attitude shifter. It brings me into the present moment as I reflect on all that I am thankful for. And expressing gratitude draws more to me, to be grateful for. A grateful heart literally changes everything, and spending the next 30 days focusing on my blessings is a great way to enter the holiday season, and wind down another year.

My gratitude pumpkin is sitting on my writing table, in my creative studio. I’ve already looked at it many times, and reached over to pick it up. I am grateful for its simple beauty, and for all that it represents.

Create a Gratitude Pumpkin

From Popcorn to Treats: Mimi’s Vintage Bowl

On this Halloween night, the air is chilly and a steady rain is falling. It’s not likely that many trick or treaters will come calling tonight. However, I’m ready. The porch light is on. Candles are lit on the front deck as well, welcoming beacons in the twilight.

Indoors, candles continue the cheery warmth throughout the house, a cozy barrier against the darkness and the chill. And on the entryway table rests Mimi Leta’s vintage aluminum bowl, filled with packets of fruit snacks.

From Popcorn to Treats: Mimi Leta’s Vintage Bowl

A Bowl for Popcorn

I quickly learned two things about Leta Moore, the kindhearted, generous woman who would become my mother-in-law: she enjoyed cups of hot tea, and she adored a bowl of popcorn in the evenings.

Greg’s dad, Bob, popped corn over a burner on the stove. He added kernels and a bit of oil to a rectangular metal box with a very long handle. A wire mesh cover kept the popcorn in place, which was crucial. As the oil in the pan heated up, Bob shook that container vigorously, until every kernel popped.

While Bob popped the corn, Leta melted a small amount of butter in a pan on the stove. The fluffy popcorn was transferred into the aluminum bowl with the floral border, drenched in butter and sprinkled with salt. It’s the only bowl I ever saw Leta use for her special treat. She shared the popcorn, of course! I always smiled, however, over her obvious enjoyment of this simple snack.

From Popcorn to Treats: Mimi Leta’s Vintage Bowl

Vintage Aluminum Salad Bowl Set

After both of Greg’s parents passed away, I found the old bowl in a cabinet in the kitchen. Memories stirred as I held the container. Researching the keepsake tonight, I learned the big bowl was actually part of a set. Manufactured in the 1950s, the aluminum set included a large bowl with the stamped floral border, and four smaller salad bowls.

Greg vaguely remembers the smaller bowls, but we did not find them in the house as we packed up items. The larger decorative bowl came home with me. Although I don’t pop my own corn, and only occasionally eat a healthy non-GMO brand of popcorn, I have precious memories of Leta associated with this simple item.

And, the old bowl is the perfect size for holding Halloween treats.

From Popcorn to Treats: Mimi Leta’s Vintage Bowl

From Popcorn to Treats: Mimi Leta’s Vintage Bowl

From Popcorn to Treats: Mimi Leta’s Vintage Bowl

Be Happy

As I predicted, the cool, rainy weather kept most of the children indoors or influenced their parents to take them to indoor venues, such as the mall, for treats. That’s okay. I’m enjoying hot tea and cozy candlelight, and I have a new book to crack open and read.

A few trick or treaters have braved the elements and knocked on the door. I’ve seen Spider-Man tonight, and a princess, monsters and two young ladies wearing long gorgeous dresses and lavish makeup. It’s fun to step outside, with the vintage bowl full of treats, and speak to the kids.

One young girl, about five years old, surprised me. She’s my neighbor actually, and this child already understands that life is magical and that it’s okay to be who she is. She dances in the rain and plays with my cats and always calls out a friendly greeting when she sees me outside.

As I offered her a treat, she sang a little song. And then she reached into her bucket of goodies and handed me a Jolly Rancher lollipop. “For you,” she said. “You are giving me a treat?” I asked. “Yes,” she answered, with a big smile. “I just want you to be happy.”

I’m still smiling over her sweet generosity. Mimi Leta would have loved this girl. I’m never going to eat that lollipop. It will serve as a reminder that there are amazing people in the world. And one of them happens to be five years old, and living next door. I am happy.

From Popcorn to Treats: Mimi Leta’s Vintage Bowl

Haunted House Stories from an Intuitive Realtor

Tonight, on Halloween Eve, the story I intended to write fell apart, for various reasons, at 9:00 PM. Sitting quietly, considering other possibilities, a crazy idea came together. I’ve shared frequently in the past five years of blog posts, that I am an Intuitive. From birth I have had the ability to sense and perceive energy that many people are unaware of. I fully accept who I am now and embrace my quirky gifts.

I am also a realtor, meaning I help people buy and sell houses. It’s from that interesting space, where real estate and intuition overlap, that tonight’s story was born.

Haunted House Stories from an Intuitive Realtor

House Hunting Haunting

Do you believe in haunted houses? From my personal experiences the last 15+ years as a realtor, I present my top three haunted house stories. Names and addresses and actual photos are omitted or changed, to protect clients. These tales are about real houses in the Joplin area, owned, sold, bought, and lived in by real people.

Realtors are not required, by law, to disclose that a house is haunted. It is considered stigmatizing to the property to reveal such information. There are many ways for a house to be haunted. It’s energy that gets trapped in a home. Grief, fear, pain, illness…both physical and mental, can pool in a house and affect it, sometime by creating an uneasiness or heaviness. And sometimes the energy gets caught in a loop, and plays over and over again like a song stuck on repeat.

Do I think it’s a good idea for my clients to know what I’m picking up, intuitively, in a house? Yes, but it also depends on the clients. If they consciously or unconsciously react to what I can feel, I share. If they seem oblivious or closed off to hearing that the house has a “presence”, I refrain and trust that they will make a decision that feels right for them.

Haunted House Stories from an Intuitive Realtor

This is My House

I felt very unsettled the first time I walked into this vacant house. When there’s positive energy in a home, such as love and comfort, my scalp tingles. When there’s negative energy, such as deep regret or fear, I get tingles of energy across my upper back. This three story home, complete with a basement, caused ripples across my back.

When I learned that the current owners had moved out, and rented another home, I knew they had experienced a haunting. During a phone call, one of the sellers admitted the old house had a problem.

Soon thereafter, I met the “problem” during a showing. Because of my own discomfort I stood near the open front door while my buyers climbed to the third floor. From the empty, shadowy kitchen a petite woman appeared, dressed in an old fashioned dark colored dress. She was not happy. After telling me her name she told me this was her house, and no one else could live there.

That night I researched the house, using the name I had received and discovered the information was accurate. I also found out the house had been built for her, a century ago, by the woman’s husband and she only lived there a short time before she died. It was a possessive energy I felt in the home.

The next time I showed the house, I waited until the buyers were on the top floor, and then I stepped into the kitchen. I felt drawn to a small room that led to a very dark basement. Being the lowest point in the house, basements collect negative energy, which is more dense. I don’t like basements and I refused to go down the stairs. Suddenly I felt a whoosh of air near the left side of my head and heard a loud smack against the wall. I jumped, but refused to be intimidated. Instead I talked quietly and calmly about sharing the house and allowing other people in, who would love the house as much as she did. There was a lightness that came into the room, and some of the heaviness lifted.

I had not had any offers on this property, and the house had been listed previously by another company. However, after my chat in the kitchen, I received three offers in the days following. One was accepted. I hope they all continue to live happily together.

Haunted House Stories from an Intuitive Realtor

The Ghost on the Stairs

This haunted house, also vacant when I listed it, had a dark and tragic history. One family had lived in the house for many, many years, until there was no one left to occupy it. I could not be in the house alone, so heavy was the energy, and I limited my time within it. I learned from a friend of the family that a son had committed suicide in one of the upstairs bedrooms. The sadness and despair in that room was overwhelming and seemed to follow me down the long upper hallway whenever I had to give a tour of the house.

One day, I stood in the home’s dining room on the first floor, while a curious buyer explored a bedroom off to my right. Greg, who had volunteered to accompany me, stood in the foyer near the living room. I heard the sound of footsteps upstairs, even though I knew there was no one up there. As I listened intently, the footsteps moved to the top of the enclosed stairs, and started down…clomp, clomp, clomp…toward the dining room.

I experienced a moment of panic, wondering what my buyer must be thinking, but glancing at her, she did not appear to hear anything. Greg had not turned to look my way either. Apparently I was the only one who could hear the footsteps as they descended. Freakishly, the sound grew louder and the “person” seemed to be moving faster as it neared the bottom of the stairs.

I watched, fascinated, to see who, or what, would appear. A shadowy figure moved away from the stairs, crossed the dining room in front of me, and passed right by Greg in the foyer before disappearing. As the figure traversed the rooms, the sound of its footsteps accompanied it.

Well, that ought to discourage the buyer! I thought. But she didn’t notice. She never said a word about the sounds or the shadow, choosing to pass on the house due to the extensive repairs that needed to be done.

The house eventually sold. The buyers’ agent and I discussed the house at length and I shared my experiences. His clients bought the property anyway. A short time later they moved out and had the house torn down.

A Country Haunting

The most haunted house I’ve been in locally, was an old farmhouse, out in the country. I strongly advised my clients to pass on the property as they looked for a fixer upper to purchase. This two story home had such negative energy that I could not be in the house for more than a few minutes at a time, and I could not go upstairs at all. As I stood in the yard, while my clients toured the vacant home, the neighbor walked over and confirmed what I could feel.

Many tragedies occurred within the house, and the “helpful” neighbor whispered stories to me of abandonment and insanity and ghosts that roamed the attic.

Against my advice, my clients purchased the home. One week later, the wife called me, in tears. They were experiencing all kinds of strange problems as they tore out walls and hauled out trash and attempted a remodel. “You were right,” she said. “This house is haunted.” She called me again, a short time later, crying, sitting alone in the house. Her husband was at work. “Do you hear that?” she asked, holding the phone away from her ear. I couldn’t tell what the noise was. My frazzled client shared that she could hear someone walking around, in a house that she alone occupied.

My clients moved out of the house, and into an RV, while they finished the remodel. I found them another house to buy, and they relocated, leaving me to list a house that I could barely enter. At one time I had photos of the home’s interior, showing rooms filled with strange distortions, white orbs and streaks of light.

Open houses were interesting, as I sat on the deck and watched for visitors, only stepping into the house while people looked around. Children cried. Adults felt odd in the house. I thought it would never sell, in spite of the beautiful remodel. Eventually it did, to a couple who didn’t feel a thing in the house. Perfect.

I could tell many more stories. Or I could write a book about the haunted houses I’ve shown, listed or previewed. I pitched the book idea to a publisher and received interest in anything I wrote on the subject. Perhaps someday, I will write all the stories down.

I’m a realtor and an Intuitive. I can show you a house…and tell you whether it is haunted, or not.

Haunted House Stories from an Intuitive Realtor

The Barnes Carnevil Circus Part II Costumes

Earlier today I shared the decorations and props that provided the marvelous backdrop for this year’s Family Halloween Party. (Check out The Barnes Carnevil Circus Part I.) My sister Debbie, niece Ashley and her husband Jon amazed us all, once again, with décor that supported the 2018 theme carnevil.

The majority of the guests that arrived supported the theme as well, appearing in costumes as clowns, oddities, circus performers and presiding over us all, a ringmaster.

This post features the costumes of The Barnes Circus. Have a look!

The Barnes Carnevil Circus Part II Costumes

Picking Costumes

We all know a year in advance, what the party’s theme is going to be. That allows ample time to make decisions about costumes and props. My family likes to be creative so we spend very little money dressing up, preferring to visit thrift stores, use what we already have, and make what we need. That’s part of the fun of coming up with a costume.

As each person chooses a character, he or she notifies Ashley or Debbie. They compile a list and keep everyone updated, so that we don’t have duplicate characters. I knew immediately what I wanted to be this year. In keeping with a circus or carnival theme, I chose to arrive as a fortune teller. My decision was made primarily because I had just bought a long bohemian style multicolor skirt, with tassels, that seemed perfect. Little did I know, when I chose my character last year, that it would have a strong influence on me, on the way to the Family Halloween Party.

The Barnes Carnevil Circus Part II CostumesThe Ticket Taker and Greeter, Ethan Barnes.

Carnevil Costumes

It’s fun to tour the transformed house, when we arrive at the party, and it’s fun as well to see everyone in their costumes.

Meet the characters.

The Barnes Carnevil Circus Part II CostumesOur very own Greatest Showman (and party planner), Ringmaster Ashley Barnes.

The Barnes Carnevil Circus Part II CostumesMaster of Magic, but apparently not of sawing his assistant in two, The Great Laurent…Jon Barnes. I don’t say enough about this extraordinary young man. He creates many of the bigger props, adds lights and the mechanical elements, and serves as cook and bartender as well. He’s an all around good guy…husband, dad, son-in-law, and family member to the rest of us.

The Barnes Carnevil Circus Part II CostumesThe Three Legged Man, Kaleb Barnes. Kaleb was inspired by the film, The Greatest Showman.

The Barnes Carnevil Circus Part II CostumesInspired by American Horror Story, Debbie appeared as the character Mordrake, the man with two faces. Her costume creeped me out the most. Watching that face on the back of her head move as she turned or shifted was eerie!

The Barnes Carnevil Circus Part II CostumesScott as the Menacing Clown and Nicole as the Contortionist. She is always so clever with her costumes. She appears contorted atop a table.

The Barnes Carnevil Circus Part II Costumes The Snake Charmer, Pat, AKA Mom. She’s always creative with her costumes, coming up with great outfits without spending much, if anything, to create the look.

The Barnes Carnevil Circus Part II CostumesLion Tamer, Linda, posing with Scott, Nicole, Lola, as Minnie Mouse, and Weston, who ditched his costume immediately.

The Barnes Carnevil Circus Part II CostumesKnife Thrower Extraordinaire-ish, Nate, with his unlucky Assistant, Adriel, posing with The Tattoo Lady, Elissa.

The Barnes Carnevil Circus Part II CostumesGreg as The Bearded Lady. Greg was a huge hit, gathering lots of laughs. Trying to do his make-up, I got so tickled that I couldn’t find his mouth to add lipstick. Kaleb offered help…’I think his mouth is where his mustache meets his beard.’ Side note: the gloves and all the jewelry belonged to Greg’s mom. She would have loved seeing this Bearded Lady!

I apologize for not getting photos of all the other guests that attended the party last night! Normally I get a pic of each attendee. I stepped into my character in a much deeper way than I originally intended to, which kept me busy having fun all evening.

The Barnes Carnevil Circus Part II Costumes

Madame Cynvia

Earlier this year, after deciding on my character and costume, I decided it would be fun to learn to read oracle cards, and give actually readings at the party. I’m an intuitive…with the ability to sense and interact with Spirit. I thought reading cards would come naturally to me, and I was right, it did.

However, what began as a party activity quickly became so much more. From the right deck “choosing” me, to online classes appearing in my email inbox at precisely the right time, to learning the cards, it has all been an intriguing journey that has taught me new things and taught me more about my unique, quirky self.

The incredible thing about oracle cards is that it’s all about energy…and story. I let the person being read handle the deck of cards, shuffling and mixing them up, until they feel ready to randomly pull out a specific number of cards. Then I tell the story of the cards that were selected. It’s truly amazing how beautiful and accurate the stories are. I’m grateful for the whole experience, and the eight month journey that brought me to last night. I appreciate all those who pulled up a chair and sat with me…and shared their lives with me.

The Barnes Carnevil Circus Part II Costumes

Group Photos & Extra Pics

Here are a few additional photos, depicting what a fun time we had.

The Barnes Carnevil Circus Part II CostumesKaleb tossed his mustache. He said it kept getting in his mouth!

The Barnes Carnevil Circus Part II CostumesMore of the attendees!

The Barnes Carnevil Circus Part II CostumesFamily group shot.

The Barnes Carnevil Circus Part II CostumesSisters pic. We missed our brother and sister-in-law last night! The Halloween Party is when we take our annual sibling photo.

The Barnes Carnevil Circus Part II CostumesAnd then Debbie turned around. Creepy!

The Barnes Carnevil Circus Part II CostumesMom and her girls.

The Barnes Carnevil Circus Part II CostumesRoy arrived as a “member of the circus audience”! Greg’s hand mirror was his best friend all evening.

The Barnes Carnevil Circus Part II CostumesAn extra foot makes a good pillow when it gets late.

The Family Halloween Party 2018 is in the books…and the blogs. I deeply appreciate my family for the time, money and effort that they put into this event.

The decorations will stay up until Halloween…and then the work begins afresh for Debbie, Ashley, Jon and the boys as they pack away a carnival. I know my family though. They will enjoy the rest of the holiday season…and their minds are busy conjuring up ideas for next year. By next spring they will be in creation mode again.

The Family Halloween Party for 2019 has a Classic Monsters theme. I’m already planning my costume…

The Barnes Carnevil Circus Part II Costumes