Conversations with Myself

Today’s post was inspired by a journaling meme that asked three questions. These questions created an opportunity for reflection and also provided a great follow up for last Sunday’s Tips for Living a Full Life post. Unbeknownst to me, they would also mesh perfectly with the chapter I am working through in the It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again Workbook. I love such synchronous collisions.

Conversations with Myself

Journaling is a form of conversing with myself. Writing down my thoughts seems to open access to my higher self, or to my inner child, or to some part of me that has shut herself away. It is very healing for me, as well as revealing. Many of my ahas in life appear as thoughts become words, flowing onto a page.

So I welcomed the questions presented in this meme:

Conversations with Myself

I appreciate that all three questions ask me what I can do…to feel loved, to support myself, to nurture my body…rather than asking what I need from someone else. The moment I look to another for something, expectations are created. And when expectations aren’t met, disappointment arrives. I don’t like putting expectations on another or living with disappointment or regret.

I made a list of ways that I can show love to myself. I’ll share a couple.

What do I need to give myself to feel loved?

1. Connection – This is at the top of my list. To lose connection with myself, with my heart, with my soul, with my body, creates a-lone-ness, otherwise felt as loneliness. Being present with myself, centered in myself, and feeling my feelings creates awareness. I can’t feel alone when I am so connected.

2. Recognition – I need to acknowledge myself, my journey and what I am doing, in a positive and sincere way. I used to reward myself, for accomplishments or for sticking with a tough task, with food, which was unhealthy on so many levels. Now doing things that bring me joy is my way of recognizing who I am and my worth.

Conversations with Myself Spending time, outside, on a quilt, under my favorite tree.

How can I best support myself?

I can support myself, and who I am, with compassionate self-care, self acceptance, openness, curiosity about my journey, and the willingness to continue seeking, learning and growing. When I am aware of myself, and tuned in physically, emotional, spiritually, mentally and creatively I know when a part of me needs extra care and support.

What steps can I take to nurture my body?

My focus has been here the last two years, with astonishing results. Here’s the list I jotted down.

1. Nourish – eat healthy, whole foods. For me this means fruits, veggies, legumes, brown rice, herbs, seeds and nuts. I know my body thrives on such a lifestyle and that my body can heal itself.

2. Eliminate – limit toxins that go into my body and go on my body, and that are in my environment. For me this means no GMO produce, chemicals, pesticides, dyes, herbicides or other poisons. I’ve been switching over to different cleaning products, laundry supplies and toiletries such as chemical and dye free shampoo, conditioner, and soaps. What goes on my skin, goes into my body. I want to create optimal health.

3. Move – walk, garden, stretch, play and do yoga.

4. Be still – journal, meditate, read, go within, keep developing my intuition.

5. Clear – energy, old emotions, old habits and patterns, limiting beliefs, past experiences, anything that weighs my spirit down.

Conversations with Myself

These were good conversations to have with myself, and they are ongoing. I appreciate what I am discovering about myself, and what I am uncovering. I love deep conversations and connecting at a heart level…with another, and most especially, with myself.

Conversations with Myself

15 Ways to Enjoy a Hygge Summer

It’s time to keep the hygge going during the warm and free summer months. Hygge, pronounced hue•gah, is a Scandinavian custom that promotes a lifestyle focused on coziness, comfort and simple pleasures. Often associated with winter time, hygge can actually be practiced throughout the year.

15 Ways to Enjoy a Hygge Summer

Here are 15 ideas to create that hygge coziness in summer.

1. Stargaze – find a quiet place free from city lights and look up. Lie on a quilt on the ground, stretch out in a lounge chair or sit in a pickup truck bed. Watch for shooting stars and make a wish.

2. Go camping – summer time is all about enjoying the outdoors. Make your camp comfy. Bring lightweight throws and quilts from home. Throw a rug down outside the tent, or inside if the tent is roomy enough. Have fun being outside while enjoying some comforts of home.

3. Grow a garden – a flower garden, an herb garden or a veggie garden all provide beauty and/or food and allow a connection with the earth and growing plants. Get your hands dirty.

15 Ways to Enjoy a Hygge Summer

4. Watch a sunrise and a sunset – bookend the day with the promise of a new day and the satisfaction of a day well spent.

5. Play in the water – cool off at the beach, in a pool, or with a garden hose and sprinkler. Have on hand piles of thick fluffy towels, wide brimmed hats and lightweight cotton cover ups.

6. Drink flavored ice teas – swap out hot teas for cold iced tea. Try new flavors of herbal teas. My current favorite is a blend of rose hips tea and orange juice, chilled before drinking.

15 Ways to Enjoy a Hygge Summer

7. Watch fireworks – celebrate the 4th of July with your own mini fireworks display or attend a big sponsored event.

8. Travel – take a day trip, a road trip or a two week vacation. Go somewhere new. Explore different cultures and cities and meet new people. Create a scrapbook capturing your trip.

9. Build a fire in a backyard fire pit and light candles throughout the yard and garden – candlelight and firelight are important aspects of hygging. Create a cozy evening in your own backyard with a fire and candles. Use safe containers for candles and monitor the fire!

15 Ways to Enjoy a Hygge Summer

10. Watch a movie or attend a concert outdoors – check your local news sources for movies in the park or outdoor concerts. If you are fortunate enough to have a drive in theater nearby, take family and friends to watch a movie on the big screen.

11. Experience a thunderstorm while sipping tea – appreciate nature’s cleansing through thunderstorms. From a safe place, watch the lightning, listen to the rumble of thunder, catch the scent of rain. Chamomile tea is a good choice for a calming tea if thunderstorms make you nervous.

12. Walk barefoot in the grass – and benefit from receiving the earth’s energy as it enters through the soles of the feet.

15 Ways to Enjoy a Hygge Summer

13. Create an outdoor room – turn your porch, your patio or deck into an outdoor room. Add comfy seating, waterproof rugs, cushions and pillows, tables to hold drinks and stacks of books and include twinkling lights or candles. Eat outside, read, daydream, entertain.

14. Make your own ice cream – use an ice cream maker and create your own flavors. For a healthy easy ice cream treat, blend 3 frozen bananas, cut into chunks, in a blender or food processor until smooth. Top with fresh fruit.

15. Slow down – observe life. Listen. Rest. Breathe. Take naps, in a hammock or on a pile of pillows. Eat lightly. Savor fresh fruits and veggies. Take your time.

Hygge is such a beautiful way to engage in life and care for the self and the soul. Connect with others. But most importantly, connect deeply with yourself.

Happy hygging!

15 Ways to Enjoy a Hygge Summer

Movie Review: Deadpool 2

My sister Linda and I took in an evening movie, viewing the sequel to the highly successful Deadpool film. Deadpool 2 was rowdy riotous fun, with some surprisingly touching deeper messages.

It’s late, however, so here’s a quick review!

Movie Review Deadpool 2

Deadpool 2 stars Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, Morena Baccarin, Julian Dennison, Zazie Beetz, T.J. Miller, Leslie Uggams, Karan Soni, Brianna Hildebrand and Stefan Kapicic. This action/adventure/comedy, directed by David Leitch, carries an R rating for language, violence and sexual references, and has a run time of 1 hour and 59 minutes.

Wade Wilson, AKA Deadpool (Reynolds), is a mouthy mercenary with a dubious superhero status. Deadpool describes himself as a bad guy, who goes after other guys who are worse than him. His superpowers include above average strength and the ability to heal from any injury, making him impossible to kill. In his line of work, that’s a handy trait.

Movie Review Deadpool 2

Things quickly go awry when Deadpool’s work follows him home, causing him to lose his long time girlfriend Vanessa (Baccarin), and altering his life. He seeks healing at X-Mansion, home of the X-Men. During his time there he, Colossus (voiced by Kapicic), and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Hildebrand) engage in a stand off with an angry 14 year mutant. Russell/Firefist (Dennison) is unstable and holding people at bay at an orphanage for mutants. When Deadpool realizes the boy has been abused at the home, he kills an attendant. He and Russell are arrested and detained in a prison for mutants.

A cyborg from the future, Cable (Brolin), arrives with the intention of killing Russell. Cable knows what the boy becomes as an adult. He hopes to change the future and save many lives by removing Russell.

Movie Review Deadpool 2

Deadpool escapes from prison and confers with his small circle of friends…Weasel (Miller), Blind Al (Uggams), and Dopinder (Soni). He forms a team to help him stop Cable and rescue Russell, with the hope of changing the boy’s heart and his path. His new team quickly falls apart, leaving only Domino (Beetz) to help him, until Colossus, Warhead, and Dopinder join them.

When a new threat arrives, one that urges the boy on to foul deeds, Deadpool and his team must decide whether to end a life that greatly impacts the future…or to save the mutant boy by appealing to his humanity and his heart.

Movie Review Deadpool 2

While my description above is a short and accurate summary of the film’s story, it fails to capture the outrageousness of a Deadpool movie! These films from the Marvel Universe differ from the others in the franchise. Deadpool’s character is more of an anti-hero than a typical superhero. He’s funny, obnoxious, curses…a lot…spouts innuendo…a lot…and doesn’t hesitate to use extreme force to rid the world of bad guys.

And yet, Deadpool…played perfectly by Reynolds…has a good heart. He just has to get his heart in the right place, his girlfriend tells him.

In a quirky, out of the box, off the wall kind of way, Deadpool 2 is about family, friendship and transformation. It’s about growing into the person one is meant to be and being willing to change.

The Deadpool films aren’t for everyone, and certainly are not for children. But I enjoyed this latest adventure in the Marvel Universe with the unlikeliest of heroes. I smiled. I laughed. I teared up. And I look forward to seeing where Deadpool journeys to next.

Movie Review Deadpool 2

Series Review: Colony

One benefit from having a Netflix account is the ability to watch something on demand, rather than at a specified day and time, like traditional network television. I’ve discovered interesting shows and documentaries and movies, that I can watch late at night, after a full day.

This series actually came into my awareness when season three began on the USA Network. I recognized actor Josh Holloway, one of the stars of the long running series LOST, and I discovered that one of that show’s creators, Carlton Cuse, was also involved in the creative process of Colony. But…season three. That’s another benefit of Netflix, and Prime Video in this case. I can go back and start a series at the beginning.

Series Review Colony

Colony stars Josh Holloway, Sarah Wayne Callies, Kathy Baker, Isabella Crovetti, Jacob Buster, Peter Jacobson, Carl Weathers and Alex Neustaedter. The drama adventure series, with sci-fi overtones, was created by Ryan J. Condal and Carlton Cuse. Each episode has a run time of 42 minutes and carries a TV-14 rating.

Set in the near future, the world has been invaded by an alien force. Humanity is divided into those who collaborate with the new order, and those who resist it. Los Angeles is surrounded by a massive wall, and drones patrol the city from the air while Red Hats, headed by Alan Snyder (Jacobson), enforce the rules from the ground.

Series Review Colony

Will Bowman (Holloway), a former FBI agent, is forced to work for the occupational government, to protect his family…wife, Katie (Callies), son Bram (Neustaedter) and daughter Gracie (Crovetti). Their family has been divided by the occupation. A third child, son Charlie (Buster), was on a school field trip the day of arrival and he is on the other side of the wall.

Will and his partner Beau (Weathers) report to Phyllis (Baker), who sends them out on missions to break up and arrest members of the resistance. Those who are arrested are sent to a place with the ominous name of The Factory. They never return. But many in the resistance seem to disappear just before Will and Beau arrive, leading them to think they have a mole.

Series Review Colony

It’s a time of hardship and lack for the families struggling to lay low, survive and stay united. It’s a time of division as those who work for the new world order enjoy an elite status and privileges. Will and Katie are willing to do whatever it takes to find their missing son and keep their family safe and intact.

I’m only several episodes in, on season one, however I like this show. I’ve long been a fan of Josh Holloway, who played Sawyer on LOST. He was a wise cracking charmer on that series, a man who appeared self centered and unconcerned about others, but who ultimately revealed his caring heart. In Colony he plays a more serious role, and I suspect there is much yet to discover about him.

Series Review Colony

Katie works hard to come up with necessities for her family, encourage her husband and find Charlie. There is definitely more to Katie, beneath the surface. She is full of secrets.

I appreciate that the viewer isn’t given all the answers in the first few episodes. Story and character development is underway. I know aliens arrived. They are not shown and they are rarely discussed and yet fear of them or fear of repercussions at least, is evident in every action taken by those in collaboration.

I’m looking forward to discovering more. Who are the aliens? What do they want? What happens to the people who are taken to The Factory? Where is Charlie? I have many questions! I’m willing to watch the story unfold, to get the answers.

Series Review Colony

Open to Opportunity

Greg and I made a spontaneous trip to Oklahoma today, to deliver some ornamental grass plants from my garden, to my sister and niece. As we headed out, we had an interesting conversation about life challenges and difficulties. I’ve thought about that exchange all day, and after spending time with family, my thoughts became the text for tonight’s story as I journey home.

Open to Opportunity

What came up in our conversation, that continued to reverberate in my mind and heart, was this: Perhaps we often miss opportunities because we aren’t looking for them.

How thought provoking is that?

And the reason we aren’t looking for opportunities is because our attention is focused on an event, a challenge or a difficult life changing situation that has occurred. So instead of looking ahead, so to speak, we are still looking behind, at what happened. And more than looking at it, we may also be trying to hang on to something, salvage something, out of the smoldering ruins left after the death of a dream or a relationship or a career or an idea. We might as well try to hold onto smoke. In the end it feels like we have nothing.

The first step to being able to see opportunities as they arrive is to release past challenges and move our focus from what has happened to what is ahead. We can’t change what’s in the past. It’s done. We cannot see what’s coming and recognize the gifts being offered, unless we are willing to shift our gaze.

Open to Opportunity

Opportunity rarely arrives with the obviousness of a street sign, or a flashing neon arrow. And yet, if we are open to everything, attached to nothing, we will see it. Opportunity may appear as a door opening as another closes. It may show up in a casual conversation, after a time of learning and growing, or as a fresh idea during solitary quiet time. Opportunity often comes from an unexpected direction and may set us on an unfamiliar path of discovery. Or it may beckon from a revived dream or a former passion. What is important is to be curious and unafraid, for when that door of opportunity swings open it may reveal an extraordinary landscape beyond.

In my life, opportunities have arrived disguised as invitations, as failures, as totally unexpected encounters. A job lost opened a path to a different career. A horrific storm had silver linings. Relationships that ended allowed me to explore deep within myself, where I discovered bold truths. Fear dissipated, revealing creativity. And pain birthed a healing journey. Saying goodbye turned into saying hello and letting go allowed me to travel where I had never gone before.

Life is big. It is mysterious. It is Divinely guided. It is full of incredible, heart pounding, breath taking, jaw dropping opportunities…if we can open our hearts, open our eyes, open our arms and open our minds to the possibilities. Knock, knock, knock. Are you ready to swing wide the door?

Open to Opportunity

Mud Babies

Working through Julia Cameron’s book It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again has been amazing for me. Although it’s geared toward retirees, and I am not retired, the memoir questions and exercises have stirred many memories from my childhood and youth. Creativity has been important in my life, and even more so after spending time working through fears that limited me in my adult life. The gift, the treasure, that lay beyond my fear was a deep reconnection with my inner child, my playful, artistic side.

Mud Babies

In the chapter I am currently working through, there is a section called Touchstones. Long ago, a touchstone was a literal stone, a dark one such as basalt or jasper, used to test the quality of gold or silver. Later the word referred to a reference point from which to evaluate the quality or excellence of something.

A touchstone can be a physical item, such as a feather or a rock, or a symbol, such as a butterfly, representing a dream or a goal, or it can be something created, such as a drawing or a photograph, used to represent something significant.

Reading about touchstones made me realize that I have used touchstones throughout my life, to mark and symbolize my journey.

One of the exercises in the chapter I’m on is to make a list of 25 things that I love, as a way of finding touchstones. And then to select one item I can access today. The example given was that a cold winter evening becomes cozy when we access the touchstone of fire.

The first item on my list of 25 was gardening, and more specifically, getting my hands into the dirt. And suddenly, a memory rose from my childhood. I knew what touchstone I wanted to create today.

Mud Babies

Mud Babies

I have felt connected to the earth, and growing things, since I was a toddler. I feel it’s a Scottish legacy. As a young girl my parents let me have my own little garden patch, where I could grow carrots or tomatoes or flowers. I’ve continued to garden my whole life.

There is something powerful to me about getting my hands into the dirt, making me shun gardening gloves. The memory that arose was of my young self sitting in the yard, with a bucket of mud and a handful of gravel. I loved making what I called mud babies.

Mud Babies

I created these figures out of a mix of rich dirt and water, using pieces of gravel for simple features on the face. After the babies dried in the air and sun, I played with them until they eventually cracked and fell apart. Then I would make new ones. I don’t remember if this was a solitary form of play for me, or if my sisters and neighborhood kids joined me. I only remember creating mud babies over and over.

It was time to play in the mud again.

In my sunny backyard late this afternoon, I dug up rich soil and placed it in a metal loaf pan, scooped up gravel from the back alley, and turned on the water hose. The trick is to create a thick sticky mud that holds its shape. It all came back to me as I created the right texture and shaped mud babies. I made thicker figures as a child. They took days to dry completely. This evening my mud babies more resembled gingerbread people!

Mud Babies

As I played, forming bodies, arms and legs, I wondered why I created these mud figures as a child. I don’t really know. It was creative fun. It was imaginative. It allowed me to get my hands dirty. As my creations dried, I googled “mud babies”, and struck out there. Googling “mud figures” I discovered African works of art, connected to fertility. Thinking about my early figures, they did resemble fertility art. Perhaps, as a child, I was invoking a creativity blessing, on my very fertile imagination.

Julia Cameron writes, “Touchstones are personal. They remind us of our own identity. They put us in touch with what brings us joy.”

I knew I had reconnected with something that brought me joy, both as a wee girl, and as an adult…getting my hands dirty, creating something. How did I know? I was smiling and laughing as I played in the mud, forming my babies.

Mud Babies

I highly recommend It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again, for any creative soul, and especially for those in midlife and beyond. You can order your copy by clicking the link below.

I am an Amazon Affiliate and may earn a commission on purchases, at no extra cost to you. Thank you for considering making a purchase of this product, or any other items, through my Amazon link! 

My Idea of a Great Night Out

The gorgeousness of the evening lured me outdoors. Which was perfect, since this is National Great Outdoors Month. I only intended to pull some weeds in the garden. However, the temperature was too perfect, the yard too beautiful, the breeze too inviting. I wanted to linger.

My Idea of a Great Night Out

For some, a great night out includes dinner and a movie…or shopping at the mall…or having drinks with friends. There’s nothing wrong with any of those activities. They just didn’t appeal to me tonight. My idea of a great night out was simply to be out, as in outdoors.

I prepared a healthy meal…gluten free brown rice pasta and marinara sauce with organic veggies. The green pepper in the sauce came from my garden. I sautéed it along with an onion, garlic and a yellow squash.

My Idea of a Great Night Out

While the pasta cooked and the sauce simmered, I used my campfire girl skills to start a fire in the fire pit. This was the first one this season. I knew I was headed in the right direction, idea wise, when I found a feather on the fire pit. The feather quill is my symbol this year, and I’ve been collecting feathers, signs of Divine guidance and synchronicities. Greg, who played golf today out of town, brought me a handful of feathers that he found.

My Idea of a Great Night Out

My Idea of a Great Night Out

We carried our pasta bowls out to the brick patio, or brickio as we call it, and enjoyed dinner al fresco before a cheerful, crackling fire. Staring into dancing flames has the same peace inducing effect as sitting near the ocean or listening to a gurgling creek. The fire mesmerizes and soothes. I can stare into one for hours.

I enjoyed my night out, seated amid the beauty of flowers and grasses and herbs. The invitation to dine in the garden, and start a fire in the pit, was so easy to accept. It’s great indeed, being outdoors.

My Idea of a Great Night Out

Living a Full Life

I’ve been saving quotes and memes all week, as I waited to see which words inspired me the most, for today’s Sunday Short post. Interestingly, it was a meme that I saw this morning that resonated with me and provided fodder for thought.

Living a Full Life

Here’s the meme:

Living a Full Life

The first thing that I love about this, is that the word “rules” is crossed out and replaced with the word “tips”. None of us, me included, want or need more rules to govern our lives. Tips implies suggestions. I can decide whether these are good suggestions for me. And, they are. They inspire me.

1. Be who you want to be. Living a full, extraordinary, rewarding life starts here. We all have to make that crucial decision. Who am I? Not who am I supposed to be or who am I expected to be. Who I am? And how can I best live as me? This is, in reality, a life long process, moving fully into being the person I am created to be. Conversations with the Divine, meditation, and journaling have all helped me get clear about who I am, and allowed me to release who I am not.

Living a Full Life

2. Do the things you love…the things YOU love. This was easier to figure out, once I fully embraced who I am. Things I love include spending time with family, traveling, gardening, writing, engaging in creative play, helping people, watching movies, cooking and taking care of my health and wellbeing. I am capable and willing to do the things I love on my own.

3. Gather around people who uplift and support your vision. It’s helpful to find your tribe…like minded and like hearted people who get you, appreciate you and enjoy you. I’ve learned the importance of community. And, there is value as well in learning from people who are different from me. I think this tip is encouraging me to limit contact with negative, destructive or hurtful people who want to tear me and my ideas down rather than encourage and support me.

4. Carve out time for solitude. This tip is so vital to me that it gets a high priority in my life. I need times of solitude to function well. I like being alone to think, be creative, dream and recharge.

A selfie from my last getaway weekend, where I spent four days in solitude.

5. Respect the pace in which you are growing. It’s not a race or a competition. The only person I am comparing myself to is the person I was yesterday. Challenges can launch us into periods of rapid growth. I can look back and see the tremendous growth that occurred in my life, during some of my most difficult times. But we need quiet, smoother seasons as well, to allow those new growth experiences to sink in deeply, much as a young plant has times of rapid growth and times of putting down deep roots. I’m grateful for all of the challenges and joys in my life. They have contributed to me being exactly where I am, on my journey.

Those are my thoughts around the five great tips. Find a quiet place, take a few minutes, and think your own thoughts about what a full life looks like, to you. Journal about your thoughts, write a poem, paint a picture or create a dance that expresses what you uncover.

Amazingly I found another meme, immediately after finding the Tips for Living a Full Life, that provides the perfect follow up. You know what that means. Next Sunday’s inspiration is in the bag!

Living a Full Life

Escaping the Indoors

Earlier today, on my way across the yard to the car, my attention was caught by my redbud tree. I love that tree. I glance at it often. And yet, I had not noticed until this afternoon that the branches on the south side curved gracefully to the ground, creating a leafy curtain.

I was captivated. More accurately, my inner child jumped for joy. The space of lawn beneath that green canopy was exactly the sort of place that I used to seek out as a child.

Escaping the Indoors

I thought about that inviting space all afternoon. When I returned home, the child in me wanted to grab a quilt and camp out under the redbud. My adult side wondered what the neighbors would think, if they saw me lying on the ground beneath the tree. When I heard myself telling Greg “…if that tree was in the backyard, I’d be out there in a second…” my decision was made. Have I not been freeing myself, for years, from concern about what people think? And then, as if I needed further encouragement, I discovered something. Suddenly my perspective broadened beyond just getting outside for a few minutes.

Escaping the Indoors

June is National Great Outdoors Month. That’s 30 days dedicated to escaping the indoors and enjoying the great outdoors. I grabbed a quilt and headed outside, to begin celebrating this month long holiday immediately.

Escaping the Indoors

National Great Outdoors Month is designed to get people outside and enjoying nature. There are so many ways to experience the outdoors. Here are a few ideas, along with the dates set aside during June, for special celebrations.

June 3 National Trails Day – the purpose of this day is to encourage people to discover and hike one of the many trails in their areas. I had the opportunity, during my 30 Day Walking Challenge last fall, to walk along many trails in the southwest Missouri/northwest Arkansas area. My intention tomorrow is to celebrate the day by hiking a local trail.

Escaping the Indoors

June 2 – 10 National Fishing and Boating Week – There are many ways to enjoy being on the water. If fishing isn’t your thing…it’s no longer something I would enjoy…then hit the waterways in a boat, a canoe, an inner tube or a kayak. Use standard safety equipment and cautions…and have fun making a splash.

June 9 National Get Outdoors Day – also known as GO Day, this is THE day in June to get outside and have fun. Ride a bike, canoe down the river, hike a trail, walk in a park or throw down a blanket somewhere and have a picnic. There are all kinds of games and sports that can be played outdoors. Or find a park sponsoring a movie or concert outside. I will be participating in this day for sure, in some fun way!

Escaping the Indoors

June 13 Great Outdoors Month National Day of Service – this is a day dedicated to being of service in parks and outdoor projects across the US. I’ll be doing research to see if there are any scheduled service days in my area. If not, simply walking a trail or circling the park and picking up trash would be a great service project.

June 22 Great American Campout – this day is sponsored by the National Wildlife Federation, with the intention of getting kids outside and exploring nature. Of course, adults can participate too. I have not been camping in five years. I would love to celebrate this day by camping out and trying some plant based campfire recipes!

Escaping the Indoors

Even if it’s just sitting on a quilt under a tree, getting outside is so beneficial. Sunshine delivers vitamin D and energy to the body. Walking barefoot in the grass grounds the body, bringing earth energy in through the sensitive meridians in the soles of the feet. The breeze invigorates and cools the skin, water restores the soul and reduces stress, and hearing birds, catching the scents of flowers, grasses and herbs, and observing nature’s rhythms all soothe the body while igniting the imagination.

All three of my cats found me under the tree and took turns lying across my lap before settling down near me. And yes, the neighbors noticed me. Three spoke to me or called out a greeting. One asked me realtor advice. And I scared another as he walked by. He didn’t see me under the tree at first. None of them made fun. In fact, they said I looked like I was having a great time relaxing on my quilt.

And I did. I enjoyed being outside, listening, watching, daydreaming, and ultimately writing my blog post. I’m excited about escaping the indoors every day this month and exploring the great outdoors. Join me!

Escaping the Indoors

Aunt Roxie’s Box

I have a chippy red box, that’s been in my possession since 1994. I don’t know the box’s exact age, although I do know its original purpose. The box is rustic and plain, with small nails still evident in the interior, raised slightly out of the wood.

This treasure once belonged to my great great aunt Roxie.

Aunt Roxie’s Box

The box came to me after Aunt Roxie passed away, at the age of 98, in 1994. She lived her entire life in the tiny farm town of Rocky Comfort, Missouri, in McDonald County. She was my paternal grandmother’s aunt, and she played a very significant role in Granny Grace’s life.

When my grandmother was a young girl, the unthinkable happened. Her mother died, of an abscessed tooth, in 1917, leaving behind a husband and two small children. Curtis Hill needed help with his young son and daughter, so his sister, Roxanne Lee Hill, moved in and became a mother to those children. She was only 24 years old.

Aunt Roxie’s Box

Aunt Roxie raised my grandmother and her brother. She never married or had children of her own. Grace and Garland were her children, the children of her heart.

What I remember most about this remarkable, selfless woman was her sense of humor. She had a contagious laugh and found many reasons to express her delight in people and situations. Aunt Roxie was practical and down to earth as well, meaning she knew how to get things done. She was strong, and wiry, and very petite.

Which is where that red box comes into the story. When she sat in an average sized chair, Aunt Roxie’s feet didn’t touch the floor. She made a footrest for herself, out of the box. When I brought the footrest home, after Aunt Roxie’s funeral, it was covered with faded and worn material. There was a bit of padding on top of the box, and the plaid material had been stretched over the top and sides of the footrest and tacked with nails inside the box.

Aunt Roxie’s Box

When I carefully peeled back a corner of the material, I was delighted to see red paint on the sides of the wooden box. I removed the old material and the padding, and flipped the footrest over. I now had a vintage wooden box. If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you know that I love decorating and creating vignettes in old wooden boxes.

The box has had a place of honor in my living room, for 24 years. It currently rests on a small wooden bench. I have a couple of mason jars tucked inside, that hold tea light candles, along with dried baby’s breath and fat sticks of cinnamon. At Christmas time the box is the resting place for three quilted fabric trees.

Aunt Roxie’s Box

Aunt Roxie’s Box

I enjoy having this special keepsake. It reminds me of the strength and character of a woman who sacrificed much to care for two motherless children. I know the bond of love that existed between Roxie and my grandmother, Grace, lasted their whole lives. Granny was with Roxie when she passed away.

Her legacy of love and care has passed down through my family, generation by generation. For me that legacy is symbolized by a rustic red box…strong, resilient, and beautifully worn by the passage of time. Aunt Roxie would chuckle that I still have her old footrest and that I’ve found a new use for it. The box, and Aunt Roxie, are precious to me.

Aunt Roxie’s Box