Day 314: 5 Week Middle-Earth Movie Marathon Week 3

5 week middle earth movie marathon week 3 return of the king blue

Tonight’s movie for the marathon concluded the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I settled in for a long evening of watching this beautifully done film, as I prefer to view the extended edition version. At 4 hours and 11 minutes long, I had ample opportunity to journey through Middle-Earth with some of my all time favorite characters.

I love this final Lord of the Rings film, although all three movies together create the powerful story. The many strands, within each story, weave skillfully together to create a rich, colorful tapestry that is revealed in all its glory in the final movie. The overarching theme is good prevails over evil, light pushes back the darkness. Within the framework of that larger story, the characters stretch and grow, becoming who they were born to be. It is watching those transformations that so speaks to my heart, especially in Return of the King. The journey draws to an end, and none who began it, remains unchanged.

In ROTK, I have many favorite scenes, from the lighting of the hope beacons to the ride of the Rohirrim to the aid of Minas Tirith (which gave me goosebumps tonight, as well as tears), to the sailing of the last ship into the west. I enjoyed watching them all unfold, several times pausing to rewind so I could savor the moments again. I won’t unpack those scenes this evening. There were an amazing number of fresh insights that stood out. I’ve selected a few aha’s to share.

I really noticed the relationships tonight, and the further breaking apart of the Fellowship. Merry and Pippen are now separated, Merry staying with the Rohirrim, and Pip carried away by Gandalf to Minas Tirith in Gondor. Both grow through that separation, pledging themselves to serve with two mighty men. I love how it is Gandalf who shelters Pippen. The wizard calls Pip a “fool of a Took” and often berates him for acting without thinking. And yet during this film, a fondness grows between them, especially as the White City comes under siege. The way Gandalf calms Pippen’s fear of death provides him with a beautiful hope. “Death is just another path…to a far, green country.”

Denethor, Boromir and Faramir’s stone hearted father, reveals the root of his disdain for his younger son. He despises the line of kings, and strongly resists Aragorn taking the throne. He mocks his peace loving, level headed son with these words: “Ever you desire to appear lordly and gracious, as a king of old.” I had missed that line before, and suddenly the reason for Denethor’s dislike of Faramir was revealed to me. It is good that the actor, John Noble, went on to play a likable, absent minded character in a television series so that MY dislike of Denethor could be tempered somewhat! I was able to be sympathetic to him this evening, more than I ever have been before. Hearing Pippen (Billy Boyd) sing to the steward reminded me that Billy is singing the song “The Last Goodbye” during the credits for the final Hobbit movie. That seems so fitting, and is guaranteed to punch me, emotionally.

Aragorn is the man to watch during this film, although I dearly love the power and wisdom of Gandalf the White and the assumption of authority by Théoden, King. However, it is Aragorn who comes into his own as he finds his way at last to the throne. I feel for Éowyn, who shyly offers her heart to the would-be king. As a shield maiden of Rohan, she is captivated by a man who is confident enough to appreciate her strengths. I heard for the first time tonight how gentle he was with her heart. His love is given to an elf princess who has become mortal. He never falsely promises Éowyn his love. He does hope for her joy. “I have wished you joy since I first saw you.” That is so honoring of her. The extended edition offers a beautifully touching scene with Aragorn recognizing his ability to heal, and laying hands on her, he heals Éowyn of her pain, both physically and emotionally. She is released….to fall in love with Faramir.

A couple of other things I noticed for the first time included Gimli’s remark, “Have you learned nothing of the stubbornness of dwarves?” Oh yes, Master Dwarf, I have! And with the attack on the giant spider, Shelob, I now know that Frodo’s sword, Sting, has bit into spider flesh on two occasions.

What a grand story. It is the conclusion of all things. “And the Fellowship of the Ring, though eternally bound by friendship and love, was ended.” Aragorn and Arwen get to spend a very long life-time together, creating a new kingdom, hand in hand. Éowyn gets Faramir. Merry and Pippen remain friends forever. So do Legolas and Gimli, creating a legendary friendship never heard of before in Middle-Earth. Sam at last marries Rosie Cotton. And Bilbo and Frodo join Gandalf and the last of the Eldar, Galadriel, Celeborn and Elrond, in heading west across the sea.

It meant more to me this time, to see written on the title page of the red leather journal,

There and Back Again, A Hobbit’s Tale

By Bilbo Baggins


The Lord of the Rings

By Frodo Baggins

Very soon, this amazing 13 year journey, led by Peter Jackson, will end with the sixth film. I am grateful that I, too, accompanied Bilbo, Thorin Oakenshield and his company on their adventure, and the Fellowship on their quest. And I, who began it with them, did not remain unchanged either.

5 week middle earth movie marathon week 3 rotk

Day 313: Aubrey’s Party at Roller City

Aubreys birthday party presents

Today, at last, we got to celebrate Aubrey’s birthday, by having fun at Roller City, the skating rink located at 2800 E 24th Street, in Joplin. I shared special thoughts about Aubrey, on her actual birthday, on Day 304. Today’s blog post highlights the festivities my family shared in as we gathered to eat cake with the birthday girl and watch her open presents. Most of the family was able to be there, and when we gather, we have fun! I’ll let the pictures tell the story today. And as a special treat, I’ll conclude with a video of the young men in the family competing during a skating race. We cheered them all on…and no one fell down!

Happy, happy birthday Aubrey! We all love you so much!

Aubreys birthday party Ethan  Aubreys birthday party Eric and London

Ethan                                          Eric and London

Aubreys birthday party cousins

Cousins…Aubrey, London and Kaleb

Aubreys birthday party Joey and Oliver  Aubreys birthay party Jon Ashley and Joey

Joey, Karleigh and Oliver                                       Jon, Joey, and Ashley

Aubreys birthday party guests

Elissa, Nate, Adriel, Charlotte and Jeff

   Aubreys birthday party guests 2  Aubreys birthday party Nate and Megan 2

          Debbie, Pat, Linda, Kaleb, London                     Nate and Megan

Aubreys birthday party cousins 2

Sturdy “walkers” to help the younger skaters stay on their feet!

Aubreys birthday party cake

Happy birthday, Aubrey!  With London and Karleigh

Aubreys birthday party helpers Aubreys birthday party birthday girl 3

Adriel and Tara                                                  London and Aubrey

Aubreys birthday party Rhett Aubreys birthday party Eiler

Rhett                                                                 Eiler

Aubreys birthday party opening presents Aubreys birthday party birthday girl 2

Opening presents

Aubreys birthday party spotlight

In the spotlight, with other kids celebrating today!

Aubreys birthday party sweet Aubrey

Getting so grown up.

A little fun competition!

Day 312: Fall Hip Handmade Market

hip handmade market fall logo

I attended the spring Hip Handmade Market, way back on Day 88. It was a located in Webb City and not only was it a first for me, it was the first time this event had been held. I was impressed with the vendors and variety of product. I left thinking it would be very cool to see this show expanded, with even more vendors and more items to choose from.

Well, the Hip Handmade Market did just that. Their fall show, moved to 102 S. Joplin, in Joplin, occupied a larger, easier to navigate space, increased the number of vendors, offered a larger variety of merchandise and had a drink and dessert bar set up. There was music also, I believe, although I didn’t hear any while I was there. My firsts today all occurred at this event. On Hip Handmade Market’s Facebook page, they describe themselves as an indie-craft market, specializing in unique and interesting items, and supportive of local artists and craftsmen. Vendors offer a wide array of handmade products including jewelry, clothing, artwork, paper goods, soaps, pottery, vintage finds, photography and many more items, some defying a category!

I enjoyed a quick trip through the market, snapping pics and looking over merchandise. I saw mostly new vendors, compared to last spring, with a few favorites back with their fun wares. Ozark Nursery had a miniature garden booth set up. Of course the green growing plants, with tiny figurines, bridges and birdbaths, drew me. To my delight, I found that the nursery is offering monthly classes on making your own miniature, or fairy, gardens. You bring a container, and $20, and they supply the potting soil, a plant and a miniature item for the garden. I signed up!

hip homemade market fall mini gardens

Another booth, Ozark Riviera Designs, caught my eye with its handmade jewelry. They use interesting pieces such as vintage silverware and coins to create beautiful and unique items. With the help of the kind proprietor, I looked through the assortment of rings made from coins, in hopes of finding one made from a one pence coin. I wanted it as a reminder of my Scotland trip. What I found was one that fits my right pinkie finger perfectly, made from s shiny new penny. It’s a lucky penny ring, the jewelry maker assured me. I decided the pretty coppery ring was a perfect reminder of the whole year, not just the trip overseas. This year has been about shiny new experiences and opening to my path and who I am, all while moving beyond my comfort zone and into more freedom, more life. It has been a year full of growth and opportunities. That’s a lot for such a small ring to represent, yet every time I look at the band, encircling my pinkie, I’ll smile and remember what it signifies. I’ve already caught myself idly spinning the ring around and around on my finger. We are building a relationship, this ring and I. I’m excited to have found it.

hip homemade market fall ring

The creators of the Hip Handmade Market call this event Southwest Missouri’s hippest craft show. I agree. I see nothing but great things ahead for this market.

hip handmade market fall copper ring

Day 311: Neighborhood Chalk Hearts

Hearts of love

Today’s first has been on my list since the beginning of the year. Armed with chalk, I wanted to walk through my neighborhood and draw hearts on sidewalks, and add a few encouraging words within the heart. I was inspired by the hearts of hope that appeared after the 2011 tornado. Children and youth from other cities, and unfortunately, I don’t remember where they came from, planted colorful wooden hearts on stakes throughout the tornado zone, with words of hope on them. Every intersection sprouted these reminders that hope was not lost. Three and a half years later, most of those hand printed messages are gone.

hearts of love post tornado

The inspiration for using sidewalk chalk comes from my grandchildren, who love creating works of art on their driveway. The chalk drawings are colorful and creative and wash away with the next rain, leaving, literally, a clean slate for the next masterpiece.

Today was a beautiful fall day, with mild temperatures and plenty of sunshine. I decided to tuck a box of chalk into my pocket and set out to wander my neighborhood. I wanted to look at the newest houses being built and allow myself to be led to the right spots to draw a chalk heart. I was half a block from home when I happened to turn around. Like the Pied Piper, I was leading a small herd of cats. They all stopped when I stopped. This wouldn’t do! I didn’t want to risk any of them crossing the street with me and getting hit by a car.

Back to the house we all went, with me cajoling, “Here kitty, kitty, kitty….”. They didn’t want to go inside….it was too nice out. Plan B. I grabbed car keys and purse and drove four blocks away and parked the car. Free now from concerns about the cats, I roamed the neighborhood, looking at all the new construction still going on. I stood at a high vantage point and studied the massive new high school that is in the final phase of completion. I walked down streets that were once so familiar that I could, and did, walk them in the dark without a stumble. I knew where every cracked sidewalk was, where every gnarly tree root poked through the ground and every house where small children were likely to leave a bicycle sprawled on the sidewalk. That’s all gone now…..the sidewalks, the trees, the houses where children played. It is no longer so bare though, as block by block, the neighborhood is filling in again. It’s the same neighborhood….and yet it’s all new.

Hearts of love new construction

As I walked and looked and remembered, I stopped where I felt drawn to, and drew a simple heart outline with a piece of colored chalk. Inside the heart, I wrote various short sayings, all focusing on the word BE. BE LOVE. BE YOURSELF, ALWAYS. BE STRONG. BE HERE NOW. I drew butterflies and dragonflies too. It was a peaceful, meditative exercise. And it sounds easy enough.

When I visited my grandson, Dayan, later in the afternoon, I told him what my first was for the day. Wise soul that he is, he said quietly, “I know that pushed you out of your comfort zone.” And he is right. The “good girl” in me protested as I drew hearts. She said I shouldn’t write on public property. She said what if someone sees you and asks you to stop? She worried what if the rain doesn’t wash it away? I had to tell that pesky good girl that it was okay, what I was doing….and to beat it! Thankfully, she didn’t linger. She went to pout with her twin, the “perfectionist”. I laughed, and drew another heart.

Hearts of love 2

Day 310: Blue Moon Market Holiday Open House

blue moon christmas exterior

For today’s first, I returned to Blue Moon Market, located at 613 S Main Street, in Joplin. I have visited this charming store a couple of times, and always enjoy browsing. Several firsts came together at the shop today as they host their Holiday Open House.

blue moon christmas

This was my first holiday open house of the season. I know some people dislike that Christmas products appear so early, usually before Halloween even. I understand though. I used to work in retail. For many businesses, sales this time of year mean the difference between thriving another year, or not. The earlier you can capture a share of the market, the better your chances are. It’s not meant to be commercialization…it is making it as a business. And, quite simply, I love this time of year. It brings me great joy to connect with the Christmas Spirit as I see trees go up and sparkling lights appear, cute snowmen huddled in clusters and red and green décor every. I have a small gift tag, printed with a quote from A Christmas Carol, that hangs in my house throughout the year. It reads: “I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.”

blue moon christmas 8

This was also my first time to attend Blue Moon Market’s Holiday Open House. Described as a modern boutique with a vintage soul, this shop has a beautiful, whimsical appeal. Filled with unique finds that include jewelry, clothing, signs, note cards, home décor and vintage collectibles, there is something for everyone here. The store recently closed for a couple of days to prepare for the open house event. I’m sure I walked around with a smile on my face. The store was magical with Christmas items everywhere, artfully arranged, and general merchandise that would make perfect gifts for everyone. Or for me! I had a limited amount of time today, to shop, however I will return. I enjoyed a quick sweep through the store, and with permission, took pics to share here on the blog.

blue moon christmas 3  blue moon christmas 5

And, while I was browsing, I spied the perfect ornament for this year’s Christmas tree. Each year I purchase an ornament that represents my symbol for the year. I have butterflies, dragonflies, and silver hearts on the tree, as a reminder of previous years’ themes. Tucked into a display at Blue Moon Market I found golden birdcages, empty of course and in a variety of shapes. I selected a cage and I’ll find and purchase a small golden bird to clip onto a branch nearby, representing the bird free from its cage, which is my symbol for 2014.

blue moon christmas ornament

The Holiday Open House will continue at Blue Moon Market through this Saturday. What a fun and pleasant way to spend an hour, and mark items off the Christmas wish list at the same time!

blue moon christmas 7

Day 309: The Dining Car at the Gryphon

Dining Car exterior

Today’s first was a yummy treat. And an interesting experience when I can have two firsts in the same restaurant space, under two different names! Today I met my friend Georgia at the newly opened The Dining Car at the Gryphon, located downtown at 1027 S Main, in… guessed it….the Gryphon building! Earlier in the year, I had lunch for the first time at The Fork, located in the same space. This is a new venture, with new owners and management.

The Dining Car at the Gryphon, henceforth referred to simply as The Dining Car, opened in October. It has a railroad theme with train memorabilia used as décor. According to Joplin Globe reporter Wally Kennedy, railroad cars used to pull up to the building on a spur on the north side, when the Inter-State Grocer Company occupied the space. It’s an appropriate theme, yet it is not overdone. The atmosphere was comfortable, cozy and clean, and there were many occupied tables while we were there during lunch time.

The Dining Car is managed by Stacy Gamble, former manager of Jim Bob’s, which was destroyed by the tornado in 2011 and then by a fire, after it reopened in its new location. Stacy brings years of experience in the food industry to this new establishment.

The restaurant features American food including hamburgers, sandwiches, pasta, pizza, prime rib, fish, steaks and chicken. There are lunch and dinner menus and one just for kids. Georgia and I browsed the lunch menu and both selected the same item, the Canyon Creek Pass Chicken. This was a pan roasted chicken breast, on a base of mashed potatoes and a large fried portabella mushroom, topped with chopped avocado, feta cheese, and a special gravy type sauce. It was delicious, with a home cooked, satisfying flavor and it was just the right portion for lunch.

We enjoyed our leisurely lunch. Georgia and I have been friends for a long time. It is always good to catch up with each other’s journeys and share the recent aha’s we’ve had about life. She is one of those friends that I can not see for a while, and then when we meet, we instantly pick up where we left off in our last conversation. We share beliefs about life and we are both learning so much about who we are and what our roles are in the world. I appreciate her insights and that we can journey together, as traveling companions. And, The Dining Car just might become our new place to meet for lunch or dinner. There are so many tempting meals to experience on the menu!

Dining Car

Day 308: Rush

Rush movie poster

It was movie night, this evening, after a very chilly and rain soaked day. Curled up beneath a heavy plaid blanket, I settled in to watch Rush. I have wanted to see this film, although I am not a big racing fan. I am so glad I decided to watch, as it was an excellent movie, based on true events and real people.

Rush stars Chris Hemsworth, Daniel Brühl, Olivia Wilde and Alexandra Marie Lara. It is directed by Ron Howard, which greatly influenced my desire to see this movie. The action drama is rated R for language, sexuality, brief nudity and some difficult to watch scenes involving the treatment of burns, and has a run time of 2 hours and 6 minutes.

Set during the golden age of Formula One racing in the 1970’s, Rush is based on the true rivalry between British racer James Hunt (Hemsworth) and Austrian racer Niki Lauda (Brühl). Both men began their careers as Formula Three racers and the competitiveness between them begins immediately, and continues during their parallel careers. Both moved up quickly to Formula One racing with Hunt driving for McLaren and Lauda for Ferrari. The movie focuses on the exciting 1976 season, where the well known rivalry brought attention to the racing industry.

The two racers are so very different, in life, love and in their racing styles. James Hunt lives and drives at a fast pace. He moves rapidly through a progression of women, although he was briefly married to Suzy Miller (Wilde), and drives with a seeming recklessness that makes him formidable on the track. He is the epitome of the unruly, sexy, playboy driver. Niki Lauda, on the other hand, is methodical, analytical and while he knows how to get the very best speed out of his car, and himself, he is very aware of the risks involved with driving. He never wants to take a greater than 20% risk while racing. He is less popular than Hunt, has very few friends, and focuses on his job and goes home, avoiding the party life that carries on after a big race. He falls in love with and marries Marlene Knaus (Lara). His decision to marry her is as well thought out as his racing plan. He knows, instinctively, that by loving his wife, he risks losing more on the race track. And knowing that, he will not be as great a driver.

What makes this movie appealing is not the race scenes, which are amazing and action packed. It is the relationship between Hunt and Lauda. Both goad the other to their successes, on and off the race track. The rivalry between them is deep, and yet so is the respect. Lauda is the World Champion for 1975, a title he wishes to keep for 1976. With Hunt running closely behind him, in points, every race counts. At the German Grand Prix, Lauda, who wanted to cancel the race due to unsafe driving conditions, has a horrific accident that nearly costs him his life. He is severely burned on his face and head, and his lungs seared by hot fumes. As he is recovering in the hospital, it is watching Hunt win the next two races that helps him to endure excruciating treatment for his burns. Surprisingly, Lauda returns just six weeks later to compete. The championship comes down to the final race in Japan, with Lauda ahead of Hunt by only three points. Torrential rain makes the driving conditions very risky, and Lauda leaves the race after a few laps, watching as Hunt goes on to finish third, cinching the championship.

What a wonderful movie, done as only Ron Howard can do, and from what I learned on Google after the movie, very accurate. I really enjoyed watching the developing friendship between Hunt and Lauda. Although they began as fierce rivals, trading insults on race day, taunting each other, making fun of each other’s contrasting lifestyles, by the end of 1976, these men had a strong respect for each other. Lauda appreciated Hunt’s lack of fear, his fun nature and his capacity for bursts of speed, while Hunt admired Lauda’s analytical mind, his seriousness about racing and his endurance. The film ends with a voice over by Lauda, in which he shares that Hunt never won another championship and retired two years later. When he learned that Hunt died of a heart attack, at the age of 45, Lauda says, “I wasn’t surprised. I was just sad. People always think of us as rivals but he was among the very few I liked and even fewer that I respected. He remains the only person I envied.”

Rush Niki and James

The real life James Hunt and Niki Lauda

Day 307: CVS Pharmacy

cvs pharmacy

My first for today was to visit a new store that opened recently in Joplin. We have several Walgreens in the Joplin area, and pharmacies in the many local Walmarts. New to town is CVS Pharmacy, located on the corner of 32nd and Main Street.

I had an opportunity, while I was out this afternoon, to stop by CVS. I drive by often, and I was happy to get a peek inside the store. CVS Pharmacy is the second largest pharmacy chain in the US, after Walgreens, with more than 7600 stores. They sell prescription drugs and a wide assortment of merchandise including over the counter drugs, beauty products and cosmetics, cards and gifts, film and photo processing and convenience foods. The company was founded in Lowell, MA, in 1963, under the name Consumer Value Store. The owners, Sid Goldstein, Stanley Goldstein and Ralph Hoagland, launched the store as a discount health and beauty aid franchise. Customers were originally required to bag their own purchases.

In 1996 the name was changed to CVS Health Corporation with the initials standing for Customer, Value, Service. Over the years this company has acquired, through acquisitions and mergers, many other pharmacy companies, growing the brand to the current status of second in the nation in both number of stores and number of prescriptions filled. This year CVS made the decision to stop selling tobacco products in their stores. And just today, the retail chain announced an in-store fundraising campaign to help raise funds for the fight against cancer. Called Stand Up to Cancer, customers have the opportunity at the cash register to make a $1 donation. The company has made a three year commitment to donate $10 million dollars to fund cancer research.

I had no idea that today started the campaign, yet it turned out to be a great day to visit. Trusting in my journey, things work out the way they are supposed to! I enjoyed browsing through the bright, clean store. The aisles are wide and there is an ample variety of product. CVS offers an in-store card that when used gives discounts and collects points that can be used later for purchases. I talked to Tim, the store manager, who happens to be a friend of mine, and learned about some of the company policies and procedures, all geared toward customer service.

CVS is located near my home. I am sure I’ll be a frequent visitor. My first experience was very pleasant. And as I checked out at the register, I was able to make a $1 donation toward fighting cancer. I appreciate that the company is not only making a huge donation to fight cancer, but has decided to remove tobacco products as well, as these contribute to the disease. Health, it would seem, is a priority indeed at CVS.

There was a funny moment, as the cashier rang up my small purchase and added the donation. She looked at me with a perplexed look on her face and finally said, “Your total comes to $6.66… that a problem?” I laughed. I know that number bothers some people. If it had bothered her too much, I would have added another dollar to my donation. I was fine with the amount, and paid it happily. She was relieved.

cvs pharmacy su2c

Day 306: 5 Week Middle-Earth Movie Marathon Week 2

5 week middle earth movie marathon week 2

Today marked the beginning of week two of the marathon, leading up to the release in December of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. The Middle-Earth movie this week is the middle film in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Two Towers. Tonight I settled in with a cup, or two, of hot tea and the extended edition of this action packed movie. As with the other LOTR movies, I’ve seen this one many times. It is watching it as part of a marathon that sets this viewing apart, as is the fact that I have journeyed far since last watching the film and I am watching with fresh eyes and a fresh perspective. As the saying goes, no man steps into the same river twice….and the same Cindy doesn’t watch the same movie twice.

I have regarded Two Towers as a dark movie, bridging The Fellowship of the Ring, which establishes storyline and characters, with the triumphant conclusion in The Return of the King. It is certainly a part of the story, and truly, the three films are one tale. That opinion was before this evening. Tonight, I set aside my perceptions of this middle segment of a larger story, and just watched, allowing the story to unfold and the fellowship, now broken into three companies, to continue on their quests. And…I loved watching Two Towers. I had forgotten how beautiful it is, both in its stunning cinematography and in the development of the familiar characters from the first film and in the new ones introduced here.

Although charged with the main task of taking the ring to Mordor, Frodo and Sam are the lesser characters in this movie. I see the relationship between the two Hobbits deepening, with Sam, the gardener turned bodyguard, assuming more and more responsibility for the duty they have been burdened with. Gollum has joined their little band, and he is such a presence, and represents such an advancement in technology, that it is easy to forget he is computer generated. Merry and Pippan spend most of this movie in Fangorn Forest, while Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli range from tracking the Hobbits to defending Helm’s Deep.

My heart expanded the most watching the return of the wizard, who is no longer Gandalf the Grey, but Gandalf the White. He is the hero of this second movie, as Aragorn is still finding his way to the throne, and seeking the courage within to take it. The beauty of Gandalf, the wisdom and steely certainty about what he must do, is wonderful to watch. He no longer needs to ask anyone in his order what to do. He knows. He is grace and strength personified. I was struck tonight with remembering how Gandalf feared to go into the mines of Moira, in FOTR, knowing the fiery balrog was there. His account of not only facing the balrog, “You shall not pass!”, but pursuing the beast through fire and water, to the mountaintop, until at last he could declare “I threw down my enemy”, inspires me to as relentlessly face and pursue my own dark fears.

One of my favorite scenes in this movie tonight was the freeing of King Thèoden in the land of Rohan. The king is aged and rendered immobile by the constant evil whispering in his ear by Grima Wormwood. Poison enters the king’s mind, by way of words, and darkens it. What an amazing portrayal of the effect of negativity. Gandalf brings light back into Thèoden’s life, removing the source of darkness. I am very fond of the king. His physical transformation is rapid, his mental and spiritual transformations are slower to emerge. When his kingdom is threatened, he relies on what he has always done, to survive, rather than being willing to experience a new way. His adherence to old habits, or limiting beliefs, nearly destroys all that he holds dear. Aragorn begins to step into his kingly role, coming alongside King Thèoden as one who helps, rather than taking power from him. Aragorn calls Thèoden out, and the king responds.

I recognize now that Two Towers is a very powerful movie, not just filler in the middle to get me on to the next film. It is all important, all part of the journey, all woven together to create the adventure. The same is true for me. Some segments of my journey have been less than spectacular, not pretty, full of battles and fears and uncertainty about my role in my own story. And yet, those episodes in my life are not filler either, getting me on to better times. They are vital, and necessary, parts of my ongoing journey and the powerful truths are there, for me to uncover and learn from. Those are big ahas tonight, to draw from a middle movie in a trilogy. I just love how things like that work out.

two towers

Day 305: National Author’s Day

National Authors Day

Today, November 1st, is National Author’s Day, a time to celebrate favorite authors whose works have had an impact on the lives of their readers. Writers have not only influenced their readerships, they have also influenced culture and shaped history.

National Author’s Day was created by Nellie McPherson to show her appreciation of fiction writer, Irving Bacheller. Ms. McPherson was president of the Bement, IL Women’s Club, in 1928. During World War I, while recovering from an illness, Nellie wrote a fan letter to Mr. Bacheller for his story, Eben Holden’s Last Day A’Fishin. When he acknowledged her letter with an autographed copy of another story, Nellie came up with the idea of a special day to promote authors. She submitted her suggestion to the General Federation of Women’s Club and by 1949 November 1 was recognized as an annual observance by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

I am delighted to discover this holiday, and take this opportunity to show appreciation for some of my favorite authors. I am a reader and have been all my life. Many, many books and authors have influenced me, moved me to laughter and to tears, transported me to another time, culture, or place, and transformed my life. Here is a very brief, and by no means complete, list of authors who have greatly impacted my life.

JRR Tolkien – Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit. No surprise here. By now my own readership knows how much I appreciate this amazing author. Tolkien’s novels have led me to journey deep within, as his characters journeyed through Middle-Earth. I have come more and more into who I am, even as Aragorn, Arwen, Bilbo and Frodo have discovered who they are. With them, I have faced my fears and grown through battles and disappointments. Fictional tales may be stories about made up characters, but the truths contained within are very real.

tolkien quote

Elizabeth Gilbert – Eat, Pray, Love. I picked up this book after watching the movie by the same title. I so identified with Liz. Oh, our circumstances weren’t exactly the same, and I didn’t travel to Italy, India and Indonesia for a year, although that sounded wonderful! However, I did understand her need to discover who she was and what she had to offer to the world, as that was my need as well. I had chosen to believe what everyone else said was true about me and live under the expectations of others.  My journey didn’t take me out of the country, but it did take me into the unexplored country of my heart and soul, my gifts and my desires. Liz has recently come back, strongly, into my awareness. I am appreciating her insights, as posted on her Facebook page, and reading Eat, Pray, Love again.

Elizabeth Gilbert Quote from Eat Pray Love

Byron Katie – Loving What Is, I Need Your Love Is That True?, A Thousand Names for Joy. I only began reading Byron Katie’s books a little over a year ago, although I’ve been familiar with her works for several years. The writings of BK have helped me to question the thoughts I have and the stories I tell myself that I create around those thoughts. Katie has a process called The Work that asks four simple questions and offers a turn around statement, for the thoughts that I latch onto and begin to believe are true. I have experienced so much freedom in my mind and in my life thanks to the understanding that most of the stories I have created, about myself and others, are not true.

Byron Katie Quote 2ee

I am grateful for these three authors, and many more, who by following their hearts, and their passions, have infused my own heart with courage and joy and have given me a sense of direction for my journey. That is no small feat. I honor all those who create with words, birthing their thoughts, stories and insights into life and sharing their gifts with the world, and with me. I am inspired.