Be Brave

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

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

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

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

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

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

Movie Review: Beauty and the Beast

I don’t typically post two movie reviews in a row, but when an invitation came to watch the new Beauty and the Beast film, I was thrilled to accept. I arrived at the beautiful Warren Theater in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma with my sister Debbie, niece Ashley and great-nephew Kaleb, excited to see this live action remake of a classic Disney animated film. 

Movie Review: Beauty and the Beast

Although this was my second visit to the Warren Theater, it was my first time in the Grand Infinity Room. With its 50X100 foot curved screen and comfy seats, this was a grand viewing experience indeed. Before the movie began there was a light show set to music from Beauty and the Beast. Nostalgia hit me immediately!

Movie Review: Beauty and the Beast
Movie Review: Beauty and the Beast
Movie Review: Beauty and the Beast
Beauty and the Beast has a large cast that includes Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Kevin Kline, Luke Evans, Josh Gad, Ian McKellen, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Emma Thompson, Nathan Mack, Audra McDonald, and Gugu Mbatha-Raw. This fairytale musical was directed by Bill Condon, is rated PG for mild violence and scenes that might be scary to young children, and has a run time of 2 hours and 9 minutes. 

Beautiful Belle (Watson) and her father Maurice (Kline) live in a country village in France. They are surrounded by small minded people who don’t understand Maurice’s artistic creativity or Belle’s desire to read books, learn new things and go on adventures. 

Movie Review: Beauty and the Beast

Movie Review: Beauty and the Beast
Belle has attracted the unwanted attention of Gaston (Evans), the town’s hunky self absorbed hero, who doesn’t actually have a hero’s heart. LeFou (Gad) plots to help his best friend win the hand of Belle and charm the townsfolk, while attempting to conceal Gaston’s more ruthless nature. 

When Maurice gets lost on his way to the market, he encounters a montrous beast-like man who takes him prisoner. Belle finds her father held captive in the Beast’s (Stevens) huge, dark castle that lies under a magical enchantment. She frees her father and surrenders herself as a prisoner in his place. 

Movie Review: Beauty and the Beast
Movie Review: Beauty and the Beast

Belle befriends the inhabitants of the gloomy castle. Under the same spell as the Beast, the staff has all been turned into furniture and household items and antiques. There’s the comforting and motherly Mrs. Potts (Thompson) and her tea cup son, Chip (Mack), a singing wardrobe (McDonald) and her cadenza husband (Tucci) and a sweet French woman turned into a feather duster, Plumette (mBatha-Raw). Presiding over the strange household are the candelabra Lumiere (McGregor) and the crotchety clock, Cogsworth (McKellen). 

Movie Review: Beauty and the Beast

Movie Review: Beauty and the Beast

This eclectic group views Belle as their only hope for restoration. If the Beast does not learn to love, and be loved in return, before the last petal falls from the enchanted rose, he will remain a beast forever, and his staff will remain in their current state. 

It’s a lot to ask of the girl who lost her father and her freedom on the same day. 

But something beyond magical begins to happen, as Belle and her captor get to know each other. Beast feels his guard coming down, and the anger he has nursed for years is replaced with curiosity and a faint hope. Belle, who has longed for someone to discuss books with, sees beneath the gruff and gruesome exterior of the beast to the man trapped within. 

Movie Review: Beauty and the Beast
They both wish to be free…free from the curse, free to live as themselves, free to love, and in Belle’s case, free to leave the castle to see her father. Time is running out as Gaston leads the villagers to the castle to kill the beast. Can love free them all before it is too late? 

Movie Review: Beauty and the Beast
This was a beautiful remake. The animated film released in 1991 was a favorite of mine, the story enchanting on so many levels. My children were young and captivated as well, by this “tale as old as time…”.  Beauty and the Beast was the first film that my granddaughter Aubrey watched over and over, at the age of 18 months. So this story, this movie, holds many special memories for me. 

Which would explain why I watched it today through tear filled eyes, from start to finish. The music stirred my heart, the familiar songs, for this is a musical, made me smile, and the additional new songs and scenes enhanced the film. There were plenty of humorous moments too, from Gaston and his sidekick LeFou, Lumiere and Cogsworth, and even Belle and Beast. 

Movie Review: Beauty and the Beast
What I love most about this film, beyond the music and the special effects and CGI, beyond the humor, is that this is a story about seeing past outward appearances, and into the heart. Beauty and the Beast is a love story, and a story about hope and redemption. 

I so appreciate the opportunity to see the movie today, and spend time unpacking its truths on the ride back to Joplin. I will be seeing Beauty and the Beast again. 

Movie Review: Beauty and the Beast

Happy Birthday Kaleb

Today my great-nephew Kaleb turned five years old! I’ll be attending his birthday party Saturday in Oklahoma and celebrating with him. On his actual birthdate, though, I am celebrating Kaleb with words. 

This bright and beautiful boy is the younger son of my niece Ashley and her husband Jon. Kaleb shares a house with his parents, an older brother Ethan, whom he adores, and his Meem, my sister Debbie, whom he also adores. In fact, Kaleb is very family oriented, affectionate and loving with his immediate family and his large, extended family. He loves to cuddle and talk, a very endearing trait that I hope he’s slow to grow out of. 

I looked up Kaleb’s name:

“Kaleb, you are cheerful and friendly and good natured. You are a good conversationalist and can express yourself joyously and constructively. You seldom worry over anything. At times, you can be impatient, and act impulsively. You have the ability to think in big ways because you are bold, independent and inquisitive. You have a strong intuitive nature. 

You seek freedom and look for opportunities to enjoy life to the fullest. You desire to go places and to do great things. You are very adventurous and willing to take risks to achieve your objectives. New experiences won’t satisfy your restless nature for long. One adventure will lead you to another. You are honest and fair, because you know that this is the only way to receive justice and honesty from other people. Your personal growth is vital to you, and it is difficult to be tied down by rules and obligations. Your restless spirit might lead you into a field of work that meets your demand for action and adventure.

Those are very big words to describe a child who just entered kindergarten. And yet I see the truth contained within, like the potential curled inside a seed. As he grows, Kaleb will manifest those adventurous charecteristics. He’s wise, for his years, an old soul, a kindred  spirit to me. Who he is will become more and more evident in time and he will have much to offer to the world. 

His cheerful and friendly demeanor is obvious now. He is a big thinker, intuitive and inquisitive. And in ways most people would not comprehend, he is an adventurer, a seeker, deep and mysterious, yet playful and comical. 

He is uniquely Kaleb. He knows who he is. He knows who he is here to journey with. He is content to let his life unfold. The path he chooses will be a grand adventure indeed. I’m grateful I get to walk alongside him and hear his stories and watch him grow. 

Happy birthday, Kaleb. I love you! 

Journey 25: Vintage Meets Playful

vintage meets playful light

In a recent post, I mentioned that I am slowly and thoughtfully filling the empty spaces in my home after packing away the Christmas decorations. I’ve enjoyed this journey and the inspirational process of being drawn to the right spot at the right time with the right décor. The vintage suitcase in my bedroom has remained unfilled, until tonight. I had not created a new vignette, apparently, because the items that were to go into that space had not appeared until this weekend.

My sister Debbie, niece Ashley, and great nephews Ethan and Kaleb spent the weekend in Joplin, staying at my mom’s house. I spent most of the weekend there too, as did my other sister Linda, and enjoyed visiting, sharing meals and playing games, and yesterday, shopping at one of my favorite flea markets. I had thought I might come across something suitable for the suitcase while browsing the booths full of interesting items, however, the pieces I bought were all for the garden.

I realized this evening, as I was unpacking from the weekend, that the perfect items did show up yesterday, but from a different source. Ashley and little Kaleb surprised me with gifts. My niece made a tea cup candle, using a saucer from one second hand shop and a cup from another and candle making supplies from a craft store. I love the delicate tea cup and saucer with the lime green, scented candle. She intends for me to use the tea cup after burning the candle, and some day, that will happen! For now, I will keep the gift exactly as it is. Tonight, cradling the tea cup candle in my hands, I immediately thought of a heart shaped pillow that I own, made from an antique quilt. The colors in the tea cup were a match for the pillow.

vintage meets playful tea cup candle

Kaleb gave me a trio of small glass bud vases, in jewel colors of emerald green and ruby red. I look forward to filling the vases with fresh flowers from my garden this summer. However, they too were just right for the suitcase and I love the bright playful splash of color. I added little sprigs of dried baby’s breath to two of the vases. Kaleb also gifted me with a blue letter “C”, for Cindy of course. Kaleb is the only child in my family who calls me by my first name, instead of Yaya. My sisters and I grandparent each other’s grandkids and all the children call us by our grandmother names…Meem, Gigi and Yaya. Except to this boy, I have always been Cindy. That’s okay. Kaleb  and I have a very strong connection that reaches beyond time and space. We hang out when we are together and I spent the night at my mom’s house last night so we could have a sleep-over. He is an old soul, wise beyond his 3 years, and as we cuddled together on our makeshift bed, he whispered to me until about midnight. His gifts add a whimsical touch to the vignette that I love.

vintage meets playful C

I completed the suitcase with white linens, a vanilla scented three wick candle, a tall white metal and wire piece with a candle within it, and a trio of cream and blue porcelain birds with hearts on their backs. The birds and the quilt pillow both came to me via my mother-in-law who passed 16 years ago. I like the playfulness and colorfulness of the vignette while the hearts represent love and the groups of threes signify wholeness, joy and optimism. Most of all, I love how at the right time all the components for the vintage suitcase flowed together and into my awareness. Although my hands did the arranging, the vignette created itself. I will smile and think of Mom Moore, Ashley and little Kaleb every time I walk near the suitcase, and send out a thank you on a wave of love.

vintage meets playful dark

Journey 24: Fancy Flamingo Flea Market Frolic


A few days ago at a local craft store, as I wandered the aisles, I searched for a representation of my symbol for 2015…an open door or at least an interesting door! I found pictures of doors and small doors that could hang on the wall. About the time I discovered full sized artistic doors (insert fake doors here), for $150.00, I decided that instead of looking for something that represented a door, I’d look for an actual door, preferably a vintage screen door.

Today I got to hang out with my mom, both sisters and my niece and two great nephews. This afternoon we enjoyed browsing at The Fancy Flamingo Flea Market, located at 5171 N Main, Joplin, with its many unique and fun booths. Greg met us there and strolled along with us.

I love this flea market. I entered through the doors with openness and curiosity, and the intention of having fun and seeing if anything grabbed my interest. If I found a screen door, perfect. If I didn’t I knew it would appear at the right time.

We enjoyed looking in each booth. The adults reminisced about objects that harkened back to our past, stirring memories and sparking conversation. My nephew Ethan stayed with Papa Walter at my mom’s, but my other nephew, 3 year old Kaleb, is a pro at shopping the flea markets. I have as much fun watching Kaleb inspect items that catch his interest as I do shopping for myself. Today he was drawn to Mickey Mouse memorabilia, objects that were blue, a tiny wrench and rotary dial phones! His gracious mom allowed him to pick out several items and Greg gifted Kaleb with an old rotary phone from home.

At the end of our shopping adventure my mom found a couple of novels, my sister Linda picked up the LP of Gigi to use creatively as wall art in her home and my sister Debbie bought an assortment of items that will be transformed into Halloween decor this fall. Niece Ashley paid for Kaleb’s purchases.

I collected a metal bucket and a candle holder adorned with acorns, my sub-symbol representing this year’s journey. And to my delight, I found my screen door, waiting for me in a booth in one of the last aisles we wandered into. It’s wooden, painted gray, and nicely aged, with intact screens. All these items will most likely grace my backyard garden. I’ll let inspiration guide me on how best to display the door.

It was a great afternoon, looking, visiting, laughing with family. I never know what I will find in the flea market and that’s part of the appeal. Each visit becomes a treasure hunt, without a map. I’m simply guided by knowing what I like and an openness to being surprised by beauty or intrigued by using an interesting object in a new way. Visiting a flea market parallels the way I journey through life….open to everything, attached to nothing, inspired by joy.


Day 278: At Home Store

At Home exterior e

For my first today, I visited an At Home Store, located in the Broken Arrow/Tulsa Ok area, with my sister Debbie, my niece Ashley and my great nephew Kaleb. Our outing today was to visit the store, since I had never been in one, and to see if they had any large metal garden cranes left in stock. Debbie had seen such cranes earlier in the season. I missed my opportunity to purchase a couple in Joplin. After seeing a pair of metal cranes outside the grand front doors at Thirlestane Castle, I especially want a pair for my backyard garden! I just love that connection.

At Home interior 1

The At Home Stores are a superstore type stand alone shopping experience. The warehouse style interior is FULL of amazing products for the home and garden. They sell furniture, art, décor and pillows, patio and outdoor products, rugs, curtains and bedding, house wares and seasonal products. Being the time of year that it is, there were huge sections of floor space devoted to fall, Halloween and Christmas! Oh my. I could have wondered around all day. So many pretty and interesting items to look at! I’ve signed up to receive emails about their specials. I make it to the Tulsa area often enough to plan a future trip around a shopping spree!

 At Home Kaleb    At Home Kaleb 2

We browsed through the store. Kaleb, who was riding in the cart while I pushed him, was a trooper. He graced me with a serious face….and one of his funny faces for my iPhone camera! Occasionally we came across rooms vignettes set up to give an idea of what the product looks like, placed together in a room setting. Great idea. I intend to visit again before Christmas. So many themes and colors and a great selection of product for the holidays. Ashley and Debbie picked out a few items. Alas, we didn’t find the cranes. Sold out. I’ll have to check back next spring and not hesitate this time if I find them again. I look forward to seeing the garden and outdoor area in full display mode!

At Home interior 4

I loved a painted wall at the back of the store, at the end of the main aisle. It read, “Welcome to the home of endless possibilities….” That phrase caught my eye, and snagged my heart. Great promo for the store. And, great sentiment for me. In my mind, I adapted it to, “Welcome to my home of endless possibilities….” That just works on so many different levels, for my home, my garden, and me, personally. What a welcome, indeed!

At Home interior 3

At Home Store

Day 277: Sleepover with Kaleb & Ashley’s Chili


Today has been spent with my sister Debbie and niece Ashley and her family. Weeks ago I promised Ashley’s small son, Kaleb, age 3, that I would visit soon and spend the night, sleeping in his room. This weekend, I was able to fulfill that promise.

As I drove toward Broken Arrow, OK my sister told me Kaleb was watching for me. That made me smile. This little boy, with the old soul, and I have a strong connection. I love all the children in my family. Grandkids, great nieces and great nephews, they are all precious children to me, full of promise and enthusiasm for life. My oldest grandchild, Dayan, and I spent many a late night when he was young giggling and whispering stories back and forth during sleepovers. I look forward to creating such memories with each of the younger members of the family.

Kaleb helped me carry in my overnight bag, pillows and sleeping bag, anxious to settle me into his room. He’s asked me several times today if I’m really sleeping in his room. I’ve got my sleeping bag rolled out next to his toddler bed. That seemed to reassure him.

We spent the day running errands with his mom and Meem, the kids name for Debbie. I got to see the new house my nephew Scott and his wife Nicole just purchased and moved into. They joined us back at Ashley and Jon’s house for dinner, bringing their adorable son Weston to join in the fun. It was a party now!

Ashley fed us her amazing chili with sides of cornbread and Fritos. Flavorful and spicy, the chili was a first for me as well as it was made of venison, pork and beef. I’ve never had chili with deer meat in it before! The rich sauce also contained tomatoes, garlic, a jalapeño from Ashley’s garden and a surprise ingredient, mushrooms. What a delicious treat.

After dinner I enjoyed reading books to Weston and Kaleb, who got himself ready for bed. Kaleb’s older brother, Ethan, joined us and asked me space and constellation trivia questions. The boys were playful, fun and active, the last burst of energy before settling down for the night.

Weston left with his parents. Ethan had a bedtime snack and headed to his room. Kaleb and I tucked ourselves in. He held my hand and we whispered in the dark. He asked one last time if I was really spending the whole night. I assured him I was. His eyes closed and just as I thought he had drifted off to sleep he stirred and raised up, peering at me in the semi darkness of his room. “I want to go with you to that castle,” he murmured drowsily and then he settled down with a sigh and sleep overtook him. I continued to hold his hand and whispered blessings over him and wished him a great night’s sleep. Earlier in the evening, Kaleb was playing with my iPhone and asked about the “big house” pictures that he saw. I told him a wee bit about Scotland and the castle. He listened attentively. And now he wanted to go. I smiled in the dark. Of course I’d love to take him, along with any of the children in the family who would enjoy going. I’ll join Kaleb in sleep soon. Perhaps we will both dream of castles and Scotland.


Day 235: Happy Birthday Kaleb

Kaleb 1e

Today’s first was another birthday get together. My niece’s son, Kaleb, turns three years old tomorrow. Because my family loves to celebrate each other, as often as we can, we gathered today in Broken Arrow, OK to spend time with one of the younger members of the family.

Kaleb is a extraordinary kid. He lives in a big, beautiful house with his mommy and daddy, older brother Ethan, and his Meem. That’s what the boys call their grandmother, who is also my sister, Debbie. Kaleb captured my heart immediately after his birth. He is an old soul, in a young body. And this boy and I have a special bond. We have been communicating with each other long before he could speak! As a baby he’d turn and smile at me, knowingly, and I’d smile back. Our eyes would meet, and our gazes lock, and that’s all we needed to do to start the flow of love and joy and understanding between us.

Kaleb is gifted in his abilities to know things and understand the way the world works, far beyond his current ability to speak about what he knows. He’s a deep thinker. He is the happiest of children and his smiles light up the room. His little face is animated and he is a master at expressing what’s going on in his sharp mind. He is such a joy to his mom, dad, brother and grandmother, who love him so.  When we are together, we slip into an easy camaraderie, aunt and nephew, yes, but more than that, kindred souls.

During a recent overnight visit to Kaleb’s house, I enjoyed his company as the family watched a movie and I blogged. He snuggled up against my side, watching me as I typed, talking to me in hushed tones. When I completed my post, and put the computer away, he settled into my lap and we finished watching the movie together. Afterward, I had the honor of putting him to bed. I had to leave his room for a few minutes, promising I would return. And I did, in a short time. Kaleb was lying quietly watching for me, his big eyes filled with tears. He didn’t complain or cry or even speak. His eyes told me he was wondering if I would, indeed, come back. I sunk down next to his bed and held his little hand, brushing the hair back from his forehead with my other hand. He blinked the tears away, gave me a beautiful smile and sighing, closed his eyes, gripping my hand tightly. I sat there for a long time, watching Kaleb and listening to his breathing grow steady and deep as sleep overtook him. It was a precious moment and I whispered blessings into his life and asked for guidance and protection for him.

This afternoon, we gathered around Kaleb at the Build a Bear Workshop as he selected a purple pony to become his birthday buddy. Scott, Nicole and baby Weston surprised Kaleb with this wonderful gift. This was my first time to visit a Build a Bear facility and it was fun to watch Kaleb move through the steps that ended with him cuddling a new stuffed toy. Across the road we had lunch at Chuck E Cheese, where the adults munched on pizza and chatted while Jon, Scott and Nicole chased after the boys. The pizza restaurant was noisy and colorful, full of children plugging tokens into machines that rewarded them with tickets. Kaleb had a great afternoon trying out different games.

I deeply love and appreciate all of my grandchildren and great nieces and nephews. Each of them has gifts and abilities that I marvel at and encourage. It is a great joy to watch them as they are growing up. It is so important to celebrate them and shower them with affection. Today was Kaleb’s special day to shine. I look forward to journeying with him, and all the others. What adventures we will have.

Kaleb 2e

Day 201: Plant Corn

farm planting corn e

Today my sisters and I, great niece London, niece Ashley, her husband Jon and their boys, Ethan and Kaleb, met at my Uncle Rex’s farm to help out cousin Mike with planting. Mike works so hard every day on the farm, after putting in long hours at his day job. For us city girls, it is not only fun to help out on the farm but beneficial to Mike, as it shortens the time he has to spend out working the ground or harvesting. Today, for my first, I helped to plant corn.

I’ve had small vegetable gardens before. I think once I even planted corn but it didn’t do well. I don’t think I harvested a single ear of corn. Today, I understood better why. There is a process to planting corn. Mike showed us the steps and then we got busy. The only step we did not try was tilling the rows for planting. Mike expertly guides the tiller along, making straight rows. He walks off to the side as he guides the churning machine and I feared I couldn’t maintain enough control as I lack the arm strength Mike has. However, we performed every other step and by the last row, we had a good working system.

farm Mike e

After the row is tilled, plant food is scattered over the freshly turned earth and two of us used rakes to work the food into the soil and smooth. Mike showed us how to attach each end of a long cord to short pieces of rebar that stand at either end of the row. Then a metal tape measure is also attached to one rebar and held in place at the other end by a bucket full of dirt…or something. I never actually looked in the bucket! We would move down the row then, poking a hole in the warm soil with our finger, up to the second knuckle, at one foot intervals, dropping a single corn kernel in each hole. After the next row was prepared and the string and tape measure moved, one of us would move down the planted row with a yard rake, shallowly covering the corn.

farm girls e

Planting corn is not hard, but it is wearing on the body. We stretched our backs often and we were very grateful for a large tree to the side of the field which graciously offered its shade. Although the day was the warmest of the past week, there was a good breeze to cool us. We drank ample amounts of water. Work shared goes faster and also gives opportunity for chatting and laughing. Mike supervised us patiently and couldn’t resist grabbing a handful of the precious kernels and helping to plant. I had a new appreciation for the word “cornhole” after poking holes in the earth today and dropping a kernel in! I recently played the lawn game by the same name and understood where the name is derived from.

After planting corn we moved to a long row of bushy green plants and grabbing buckets, picked green beans. The children, who had been splashing in a pool, and Jon, who had been watching them, joined us. Ethan made a game of picking, seeing who could pick the most. I think he won. Mike showed us the maturing eggplant, okra, squash and tomato plants. I can see that there is always planting, harvesting or preparing to do here.

farm picking green beans e

We also celebrated Uncle Rex today, as his birthday is the 22nd. He seemed to enjoy the company today, and the children made him laugh. We brought lunch in and Uncle Rex enjoyed the peach pie especially. He is a sweet and joyful man with a wonderful sense of humor. I look at his handsome face and I catch a glimpse of my dad as well, who was Uncle Rex’s younger brother. My dad has passed but being with my uncle is a bit like being with my dad. It is bittersweet, the familiarity and yet the missing of him.

Next weekend, my sisters and I will once again meet at the farm and assist Mike in planting watermelons and cantaloupe. It will be a plentiful harvest this fall.

farm uncle Rex e