Journey 108: Colander Planter

colander planter finished

Today, in spite of thunderstorms and rain, my mom, sister Linda and I headed out into the weather to participate in Sutherland’s annual half price plant sale.  Mom and Linda wanted plants for their “Aunt Annie” containers, among other flowers and vegetable plants, and I had many metal containers still to fill. Rain or not, this was too good a sale, too great an opportunity, to miss.

The rain didn’t deter us or, apparently, other shoppers. It was busy, in a cheerful sort of way, in the garden center at Sutherland’s. We had fun, pushing our carts up and down the crowded aisles, discussing flower choices and what would grow best where. We each ended up with our own unique assortments, since we each have our own preferences and ideas. Linda called her selection of plants the “rebel” assortment.

colander planter ingredients

There were a few plants that we didn’t find at Sutherland’s, so off to Lowe’s garden center we went next. Mom found the central plant for her tub, a beautiful red Gebera Daisy. And I picked up a trailing perennial for my copper watering can and an assortment of succulents to complete a project I was looking forward to doing for the first time. I had a grand time, shopping with my mom and sister, laughing and talking, and not minding the dampness or how wild our hair looked. Okay, maybe it was just my hair that looked wild!

colander planter in process

 Back home, the rain moved out of the area and the sun, at last, came out. I was excited to bring my idea to fruition. On the first day of spring this year, I brought home a metal colander from True Treasures in Bentonville, AR, with the intention of using it as a planter. Serendipitously, the very day I bought the colander, a picture popped up on Pinterest sharing this very idea. I laughed this afternoon, when I pulled up the Pinterest pic again. The instructions for creating the planter were in Spanish. Oh, well….I was confident I could create my own.

colander planter angel loves it

Angel loved the new planter!

And create it I did. Using a coco fiber liner, I cut it to size and lined the inside of the colander with it, and filled it with fast draining soil mix (both items were purchased at Lowe’s). The fun part was adding a variety of succulents. It was an easy project. I look forward to seeing the plants grow and fill out. After the plants are established, I’ll keep the colander-turned-planter on my bistro table in the garden.

watering can prep

With such gorgeous weather, I didn’t stop, but continued adding my newly purchased plants to various metal containers. Four buckets and a large watering can received impatiens and asters in pinks, purples and whites, and bronze and yellow Gazanias. And I tucked the trailing perennial with tiny white flowers, called Trailing Mazus, into the copper water can and hung it on its shepherd’s hook in the hosta garden.

watering can with Mazus

I loved my time in the garden this afternoon. The earth was washed clean from the heavy rains, and there was a freshness, a newness, in the air. Drops sparkled like diamonds on the wet grass. It was a fun and productive day. More weather is moving in overnight, with an 80% chance for thunderstorms tomorrow. I have flowers for my next project, which will make use of a recent purchase during the 2 Friends & Junk show. After the rain….I’ll be back out…puttering in the garden, creating, enjoying, getting dirty…experiencing bliss.

colander planter next project

Journey 24: Fancy Flamingo Flea Market Frolic

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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.

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Journey 16: Family Friday

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If I described today’s journey in one word, it would be FAMILY. A week ago today, I had a birthday. I got to see a few family members throughout that day and Greg and I enjoyed Keltic Knot at the Woodshed in Carthage, a real treat for me. With the varied schedules among my adult children and their kids, it was a whole week before we could gather for a meal. Today was a Family Friday.

I spent a portion of the day with two family members who are very dear to me. Harry and I accomplished so much today and enjoyed chatting in between our many errands. Those interesting talks in the car as we drove to various appointments were priceless. Such an amazing young man. I got to love on Jeff too, giving him a hug and sharing lunch together. Jeff is a sweetheart. A grown man with a boy’s heart and enthusiasm, his way of looking at life and enjoying the moment teaches me to do the same. When Harry and I returned late this afternoon from our last appointment, Jeff greeted us and wanted to know where we had been. I loved how he studied us, determining whether we had been off having fun without him, even after Harry assured him we had NOT been having fun. Harry is so compassionate and so very good with his uncle. Watching them together warms my heart.

family dinner Jeff, Mindy and Harry

Because I failed to snap a pic this afternoon, “borrowing” one of Mindy’s fb pics.           
Harry, Jeff, Mindy

This evening I joined all of my children and all of my grandchildren for dinner at El Vaquero on Main Street in Joplin. This is a rare enough occurrence, having everyone present, that it qualifies as a high celebration! Greg, my mom and stepdad, and my sister Linda made us a lively party of 16. That created a bit of a dilemma for the staff at my favorite Mexican food restaurant as they sought to seat us. They found two oversized booths close together and we divided up. Greg joined the adult children and their spouses and significant other, and I gathered the grandchildren to me, along with Linda, Mom and Walter. We declared our table the fun table, and indeed, it was! (Although hearing laughter ringing out from table 2, I did peek over and they appeared to be having a grand time as well!)

family dinner side one

family dinner side two

Table One: Jonathan, Joey, Cindy, Aubrey, Linda

Walter, Mom, Dayan, Oliver

I have five grandchildren, ages 15, 9, 8, 7, and 6. Dayan, Jonathan, Joey, Oliver and Aubrey, who is the youngest, and the only girl. They are each unique and gifted and precious in their own ways and I enjoyed talking to all of them and listening to their stories. Dayan could easily have joined the adult table, but I’m so glad he sat with us. The conversation was animated, and not just because of the kids. Linda and Mom joined right in. Poor Walter rarely got a word in, but he smiled and he won the cool hat award.  And I learned a new tech tip. Dayan taught me how to use the pano button in my iPhone for taking wide angle pictures.

I am so grateful for my family. Grateful for Harry and Jeff. Grateful for Elissa, Josh, Dayan and Jonathan….Nathanael, Megan, Joey, Oliver and Aubrey…Adriel and Nate. Grateful for Greg, Mom, Walter and Linda. Each juggled their schedule around or made some effort to be present with me today and this evening. I couldn’t ask for a better family. I couldn’t feel more loved!

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family dinner table two side two

Table Two: Greg, Elissa, Adriel, Nate

Josh, Megan, Nathanael

Journey 7: Vision Board 2015 Part I

vision board 2015 prep

One of my favorite activities at the beginning of each new year is to create a vision board. Because I choose a new word as my theme, a new symbol and song, a vision board becomes a vital visual representation of what is possible in the new year. I place my completed board in a prominent location so that I can see it daily. The old saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words” holds true here. Those pictures not only stir my imagination, they also stir my soul. And the emotions evoked are even more important. For what I feel is more powerful than what I see, creating a compelling intention that flows outward.

I learned about vision boards years ago from Jack Canfield, author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books and the best seller, The Success Principles. He says, “Creating a vision board is probably one of the most valuable visualization tools available to you. This powerful tool serves as your image of the future – a tangible representation of where you are going. It represents your dreams, your goals, and your ideal life.”

It is simple to create a personal vision board. I think about where I am headed during the upcoming year and what brings joy to my heart and lights my face up when I talk about it. If goals are important, those can be included. I used to add my goals to my board. Two years ago I quit doing that and focused more on where my passions are and what inspires me. Places I want to visit, things I hope to accomplish, people I hope to meet, and areas of my life that I hope to shift all get represented by pictures and words that I clip from magazines or print out from the computer. My trip to Scotland has been on my vision boards for years. Last year, I had the privilege of taking that trip. This year, New Zealand and Italy will occupy space on my board along with a visual reminder that I would love to live in Edinburgh, Scotland part of the year.

I don’t complete a vision board in one evening. This is a process, one I enjoy and take my time with. Tonight my sister Linda and I met at my mom’s house to begin clipping pictures and words from magazines piled in stacks on the dining room table. This is a precious and cozy way to create the future! Because of the frigid temperatures outside, my gracious mom made us all cups of steaming hot chocolate. I loved that she served our drinks in mugs that had the word “Cherish” on them. We chatted as we flipped through pages of articles and glossy photos. We discussed our words for the year, our dreams, and the places we’d love to visit. And we laughed over shared stories and talked about the mysteries of life. It was a wonderfully supportive and fun way to capture our hopes for 2015. Just talking about them created the foundation for realizing those hopes and helped us to define what it is we truly desire most.

We started the process of creating our boards tonight. We will gather again in a few days to clip more pictures and words. Our visions of the future will have sharpened even more and with new determination we will seek that which best represents those visions. I look forward to that shared time and to hanging a new board in my home.

vision board 2014

2014 Vision Board

Day 363: Mousetrap with London

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Today was Play Cards Day. I had the intention of participating in this day by playing a couple of card games with my great niece, London Kate. This beautiful 4 year old girl is my sister’s first grandchild. Linda is keeping her granddaughter for a few days so I paid a visit, along with my mom, to see London and play cards.

London greeted me at the door. She and Gigi, London’s name for her grandmother, had been busy playing, as evidenced by the cheerful disarray in Linda’s house! London was happy to have visitors. She would have been ecstatic if my granddaughter Aubrey could have accompanied me. Unfortunately for London, Aubrey is in Texas until Friday. These two little girls treat each other more like sisters than second cousins. They adore each other and are very excited when they get to play together. We hope to make that happen over the weekend.

London agreed to play a game. However, she opted for the board game, Mousetrap. She had received this new version of the game for Christmas. So Play Cards Day immediately transformed into Play Mousetrap Day!

I played the old…old…old version of this game as a child. This brightly colored updated version was much easier to play and very fun. While Gigi ran to pick up dinner, my mom and I joined London in a couple of rounds of Mousetrap. It’s fun to “kick” the plastic bucket and start the silver ball rolling. The ball sets off new segments within the game, making a giraffe fall and a hippo jump, until eventually a cage drops, trapping the unfortunate mouse beneath it. More often than not, it was Grandma or Yaya who ended up under that trap. After a while, we made up our own rules and just took turns setting off the trap!

I had fun with London and appreciated her willingness to create a first with me. I don’t believe that London and I have ever played a board game together before. It won’t be the last time, I’m sure! And this weekend, I look forward to getting several of the grandchildren in the family together. These versatile, adaptable, loving, go with the flow kids know how to have fun and be in the moment. I learn so much just by being in their presence.

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Day 268: Happy Birthday Mom

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The September birthday month continued with a celebration today of the matriarch of the family, my mom. It was a small party…my mom and stepdad, my sister Linda and me, at one of my mom’s favorite restaurants, Golden Corral, located at 2415 S Range Line in Joplin. But we partied big with an all you can eat buffet, wonderful conversation, and an abundance of laughter.

It’s always fun when any members of my family get together. We just know how to make the most of that time, whether we are dining, playing or partying. Birthdays are especially meaningful. It is a time to honor and celebrate the one marking the passage of another year. And for me, a time of reflection on the life of that person.

I am so grateful for my mom! So many of my best traits are a refection of her. She raised my sisters and me to be strong, independent women with “can do” attitudes. My mom is one of the strongest women I know. I’ve watched her throughout my life, more than she realizes.

From the example of her life I’ve learned resourcefulness and how to accomplish much, sometimes with little more than determination and creativity. I’ve learned to go after what I want and to enjoy what I do have, along the way. Mom has owned and operated several businesses, including a video store and a pizza restaurant. My children loved how their Mimi had the biggest selection of movies imaginable when they visited! I learned how much hard work goes into being the boss and how important customer service is. I also learned to make a mean pizza with my mom’s secret recipes!

My desire to travel has to flow from my mom to me. She’s a seasoned traveler, visiting all 50 of the states in the US, and many countries around the world. I have a ways to go to catch up with this adventurous lady! She gardens, sews, creates amazing treasures from ordinary items, makes her own laundry soap. She has a soft heart for abandoned dogs, teaches toddlers in Sunday School, bakes treats when family visits. I participate in Zumba because she encouraged me to join her in class. She understands how to live life to the fullest and I so humbly follow in her footsteps, seeking the same.

Most of her life, my mom has been a teacher, to her daughters and to others, an artist, a writer. She was a storyteller first. We three girls would lie awake in our beds at night, after lights out, and listen as my mom spun fantastic stories that sparked our own imaginations. Her grandchildren received written stories from her when they were small and she lived for a time in Yuma, AZ. Each child received stories, with themselves as the central characters, thinly disguised as other people in other lands and eras. The kids grew up yet Mom kept writing. She’s published numerous stories in well known books, such as the Chicken Soup series, and three children’s chapter books. My desire to create stories, and write, is a gift from her as well.

We laughed over some of our amusing mom stories, over dinner. I won’t share those. There are lots of humorous tales around Mom because she doesn’t mind laughing, especially at herself. Just mention a certain bachelorette party that my mom attended and rather enjoyed and my whole family will dissolve into laughter. She created good memories that evening.

Actually, she’s created good memories all my life, with an energy that can make me tired, and a mother’s love that knows no bounds. I am who I am, because of her, and that deep love. I am thankful, and challenged to keep living large. Happy birthday, Mom. I love you so much!

Day 261: Zumba in the Street

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Tonight was Third Thursday. I always enjoy milling around downtown, chatting with people, checking out booths and art, and listening to music. The Joplin Y took over the corner of 3rd & Main Streets this evening and cranked up the Latin music. For my first today, I joined in with other enthusiastic dancers and did Zumba in the street.

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Dave takes the stage

It was a busy day with several unexpected twists and turns, work wise, that kept me on the phone or in the car for a good part of the day. I did get to enjoy the company of granddaughter Aubrey for a short time. After dropping her off at home, I met my mom and sister downtown to watch other groups perform Zumba and wait for my instructor, Dave, to take the stage.

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The Y had 8 of their instructors downtown, putting willing participants through a variety of moves, much to the enjoyment of the crowd gathered to watch. When Dave’s turn to lead the dances arrived, Mom and I joined in, front and center. There was at least one other woman from my class present. I arrived downtown straight from Carthage, so I didn’t exactly have on Zumba clothes, but I had a great time. Dave shines as an instructor. Fun and very expressive, he had the dancers moving, clapping and whooping in no time. My sister held our stuff and snapped pics while Mom and I danced through four routines. I’m very proud of my mom, who faithfully attends class three times a week and showed up tonight ready to give it her all. She has rheumatoid arthritis, but you’d not know that from her energy and ability. She inspires me to keep going as well!

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There’s my mom, two down from me dressed in black. Go Mom!

We finished with the Chicken Dance, which is a high energy routine, even though it isn’t one of our usual numbers. I unfortunately pulled my Achilles tendon on my right heel having a blast on that one and have my foot soaking in warm water with Epsom Salts. I’ve aggravated this heel before and I know it will be fine shortly. It didn’t help when I added insult to injury and stumbled over a parking curb in the dark, walking to the car!

I am grateful to Dave for his patience with the Zumba Gold class, and for his playful sense of humor. And I am thankful for this excellent form of exercise. It is not only fun, it is good for me, on so many levels. I’ve just got to beware that Chicken Dance!

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Great finish, Dave!

Day 138: Goad’s Antique Mall

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My sister Debbie and her daughter Ashley, both from Broken Arrow, OK, spent the weekend in Joplin. Along with my other sister, Linda, and my mom, we had a great time chatting and laughing, sharing meals, dropping in on my daughter Adriel at work, sitting around my fire pit last night, and today, visiting flea markets. Wanting to check out a new store this afternoon, for my first, the five of us headed to Carthage, MO.

Carthage is a beautiful, historic town, and the ideal place for shopping in vintage shops and flea markets. Except, apparently, on Sundays! After our group enjoyed a fun lunch with my son, Nate, who was on patrol today, we drove around the beautiful town square. I had a destination in mind. But as we pulled up in front of the store, we spotted a large sign in the window stating, “No longer open on Sunday”. Not to be deterred from a first, we flowed, we rolled, literally on around the square. We found Goad’s Antique Mall open on the north side of the square.

Located at 111 E. 3rd Street, Goad’s is packed with antiques, collectibles, primitives, furniture and fun junk. I love browsing through a flea market or antique store. You never know what you will find. And there are so many treasures to sort through, pick over and examine. Each of us had specific items on our wish list: Linda was looking for a dresser or a small table and chairs set, my mom likes unique jewelry and garden finds, my sister Debbie and niece Ashley, who host an incredible Halloween party each year, were searching for items that could be transformed into decorations. And I was looking for metal containers and an old chair to use in the garden.

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Parked right beside the front door was a round metal washtub on a stand. Perfect! I love the first washtub I found and have it in my garden already, filled with plants. I was hoping to find another and here it was. I also found a slightly battered metal bucket and another tall metal container to use as planters. And there hanging on a wall in the marvelously crowded back room was an old wooden chair with a metal panel screwed to the seat. This wonderful find was only $10. I have a couple of enamelware basins that I want to use in the garden. Filling the basins with dirt and flowers, they will then be perched on the seats of old chairs and placed in the backyard. This was my first chair and I had found it at a bargain price. There were actually several $10 chairs. I selected this one because I liked that the woven seat had been replaced with a square of metal.

My niece, Ashley, provided much amusement as she searched for wicked looking objects to use as Halloween props. She began to remind me of the quirky character Wednesday, from the Addams Family movies , as she expressed glee over such finds as hay hooks, saws, tongs, and chains. I look forward to seeing how she uses these items at her party!

We left Carthage very satisfied with our purchases. Once again, I was directed onto a slightly different path and obviously ended up exactly where I was supposed to be. These seemingly insignificant experiences are teaching me so much about how life flows and how I can resist the flow and create discomfort and disappointment for myself, or I can be receptive, accepting the changes, and open myself to delightful surprises. I see how going with the flow brings joy. May I allow these experiences to continue opening me to the larger truths about life and walking the path of non-resistance.

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