Journey 31: Hobbit Door Necklace

hobbit door 3

When the door became my symbol for 2015, choosing me as surely as my word, Journey, chose me, I thought it might be difficult to find representations of that symbol. Last year’s symbol, the empty bird cage, was everywhere and easily obtained. And the year before, dragonflies were plentiful. When I saw the scene in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies with the acorn, I almost changed my symbol to that brown nut. However, I’ve never done that before, changed symbols once I’ve been given one, and I decided to trust the journey and see how the door showed up in my life. The acorn can be a sub-symbol, if there is such a thing, and while it continues to have significance for me, I am finding that the door symbolism is appearing and with a frequency that is surprising.

I’ve noticed in the years past that major retailers, like Hobby Lobby, have, incredibly, tracked along with my symbol for each year, providing an ample selection of products that I can purchase. Checking out the new spring lines of merchandise recently, I discovered that while there wasn’t an abundance of door products, there also wasn’t any particular theme that was prominent either. Somehow, that made me feel like I was on the right path with my symbol. I purchased a full sized vintage screen door last week, to use in my garden or on my front porch. I’m open to finding other old or interesting doors as well. I have a couple of French doors that used to separate my living room from my dining room that could be repurposed into a new use, and this is the perfect year for that project.

Open doors are showing up in unexpected ways, such as when I shot pics at artCentral last week and captured the apple green front door standing open in such an inviting way. And a recent gift of a journal from a friend, a traveling companion, not only had a representation of a door on the front cover, it also contained the word “door” on the back cover, written in Dwarvish runes. Such occurrences trigger a deep sense of knowing that what I am receiving is absolutely meant for me and are guideposts for my journey, pointing me in the right direction.

hobbit door

Imagine my delight, then, when I found a necklace with a Hobbit door locket and tiny key attached. Several of my joys combined in one happy item! Even better, I saw the necklace on a Facebook page called Bilbo’s Acorn. How cool is that? It seems so fitting, that the acorn led me to the door. I love the connectedness of all things. Today, while traveling to Arkansas to check on Greg’s dad, I showed Greg a picture of the Hobbit door necklace. Greg ordered the necklace for me this evening, as a late birthday gift! That was unexpected, however, I am thrilled and grateful, and finding there are many unexpected journeys this year as I follow my heart and soul.

The locket actually opens, with the Hobbit sized key, and a picture can be placed within the locket. I will used the photo below, reduced down to miniature proportions, as a reminder that the open door is an invitation to step through….and journey out into the world. Like Bilbo, I am going on an adventure, and the adventure is….amazing!

Path to Thirlestane e


Journey 30: Walking My Clients Home

walking each other home beach

I love the quote by Ram Dass that says, “We’re all just walking each other home.” For me that perfectly captures the idea of journeying together through life, sharing in the travels, keeping each other company as we all head toward Home. Capital H. Sometimes I get to walk with someone for a long time. Some, I’ve been walking Home for a lifetime. Sometimes it is a short journey, a brief encounter that nonetheless makes an impact on me and on the traveling companion, and I always hope to encounter that sojourner again further down the road.

And sometimes, because of my current profession, I get to literally walk people home, a new home they have found after we’ve searched together for a while. It might be a first home, a larger home, a smaller home, a country home. Just as often, the walk I take with someone is away from a home as my client finds himself or herself at a crossroads, or experiencing a life changing event. Those journeys as just as crucial and oft times, those are the walks where I hold a hand or offer a shoulder to cry on.

Today, I got to walk alongside several clients, as they completed their walks toward new homes, or began a new journey, leaving a cherished home behind, or in the case of one couple, I accompanied them as they walked away from the home where they raised their family….and then toward the next home that is part of a new adventure. I spent a good portion of my day at title companies, and while there, I had the privilege of watching life unfold in amazing and varied ways. The closing is the time of greatest joy for me as a realtor. I know people think it must be because that’s when I receive a paycheck. The money is nice, and a necessity, but the joy comes from being present while a client gets a brand new key, and another leaves with a check that funds the way to the next part of their journey. There can be a little bit of anxiety or stress present at the closing table, and today was no exception. However, for the most part, people are happy, excited, relieved. I am the quiet observer of their genuine emotions and the smoother of paths if an unexpected bump arises.

I was very mindful today that there is a host of people who walk with me on this journey, with my clients’ best interests in mind. To the lenders who diligently push through mountains of paperwork to provide the funds at closing, to my allies at Keller Williams who oversee the closing process, (especially Melissa, Valerie and Whitney), to the cheerful and self-less closers, receptionists and behind the scenes staff at the title companies…today First American Title and Abbey Title…and to the other hard working realtors (Joni and Stephanie) on the other side of the transactions, I offer my deepest gratitude for all you do to make my job easier. I so appreciate that when there are challenges, you all keep going, so my clients and I can keep going. When there are delays, you smile and put us at ease, so that my clients and I know it will all be okay. You cheer us on, by playing your roles so well.

And to my clients today, I thank you for allowing me the honor of walking this far with you, for sharing your lives with me, and your fears, your dreams, your hopes for the future. I loved watching the laughing young couple with their 5 month old daughter buy their first family home. Their excitement was contagious. I hurt with the couple selling their dream home as their lives chart a course they never dreamed of two years ago. And yet, there is a fresh start now, for both of them. And the ability to fund new dreams, new lives. And I sat quietly with the couple who allowed their home to become new for a family just starting out, packing up 20 years of belongings and memories, laughter and tears. Immediately after that chapter closed, we walked to the door of the house that perfectly fits their needs now. We celebrated the exciting direction their lives are taking.

This was my day, after hours of preparation: smiles, hugs, handshakes, pats on the back, handing over new keys, and silent entreaties of peace, encouragement, strength and joy for all. And  waves and waves of thankfulness for those who made it all happen, stayed late, prepared docs, checked files, sent emails, held a baby who would not sleep so mommy and daddy could sign docs. It’s been a full day, completing a full week. I am spent and oh so content.


Journey 29: Lunch With Aubrey

Lunch with Aubrey 2

In the middle of a very busy and long day, what a delight to take a break and have lunch with my youngest grandchild and only granddaughter. Following on the fun lunch time with Oliver and Joey earlier in the week, I decided to join Aubrey at school today, and grandson Jonathan next week. She asked for shrimp and cocktail sauce for lunch, and for her Papa to join us. Greg was able to do that today. Picking up a shrimp dinner at Long John Silver’s, we arrived at the school just before Aubrey’s kindergarten class lined up for lunch.

I loved seeing this beautiful little girl’s face light up as she spotted us waiting for her in the cafeteria. I think it is great that kids who have guests present for lunch are allowed to choose where they want to sit. Aubrey led us to a table in the middle of the room. Her best friend, Marley, joined us as well, with her mom as her lunch guest. These two spirited girls look like they could get into quite a lot of mischief, under the right circumstances! During lunch, they were content to grin at each other and giggle together occasionally.

Aubrey enjoyed her shrimp, fries, soft drink and especially that cocktail sauce! Shrimp is a fairly recent addition to Aubrey’s list of favorite foods. What I didn’t realize is that she likes her shrimp “naked”, as she put it, without the crunchy coating on it. So that she could eat in the time allotted for lunch, I peeled her shrimp and she dipped it in the sauce! What a funny girl. I made a mental note to get plain shrimp next time….or two helpings of fried shrimp that could be stripped!

Lunch with Aubrey Yaya

We chatted during lunch, this animated girl, Papa Greg, and I, discussing computer lab, which this kindergartener had just come from, and that it was, sadly, too cold for recess today. She asked about our day and the whole time, her bright eyes were taking in the noisy but pleasant surroundings, missing nothing. We were informed that there were more kids present during lunch than is normal. I wasn’t sure of the reason, maybe the colder weather today. A lunch helper told us that, I believe, in case we thought the noise level was too high. I was glad to see kids laughing and chatting and enjoying some free time before being back in class again. No explanation, and certainly no apology, necessary!

All too quickly, lunch time was over and after hugs goodbye, Aubrey left us to join her classmates as they prepared to head back to class. I texted a picture of our time together to her dad and stepmom. Her daddy, my son Nate, sent a text back saying that Aubrey had been very excited about lunch today, and recorded the anticipated event in her Book of Happy Thoughts. That touched my heart. One of the things I appreciate about Aubrey is her joyful, positive attitude. We started the Book of Happy Thoughts when she was 2 years old, in a journal that I had owned for years, yet had never written in. I gave her the small blue book and we began drawing pictures in it and writing about our fun times together. As she grew older, she took the book home with her and her dad now helps Aubrey to record special thoughts and events.

And here is the amazing thing about Aubrey and that small blue journal that is her Book of Happy Thoughts. It has a picture of Arwen on the front cover, being a journal that I purchased when the Lord of the Rings movies were first being produced, seven years before Aubrey was born. Arwen is posed with her sword, a picture from the scene where she fiercely protected Frodo from the Ring Wraiths. Aubrey loves that picture of Arwen, and her strength and beauty, characteristics I see in my granddaughter already. Even more amazing, Arwen is a High Elf, daughter of Lord Elrond. She is an elf princess. Aubrey’s name  means, “elf ruler or elf princess”.  I had no idea, when I purchased that small journal and saved it, that I’d someday have a granddaughter whose name would have a connection to Arwen on the cover. Or did I know it, somehow, at some level? What I do know is that journal, that Book of Happy Thoughts, definitely was meant for Aubrey, elf princess, the possessor of happy thoughts.

Lunch with Aubrey journal

Journey 28: artCentral in Carthage

artCentral banner

What a beautiful day to discover more about one of Jasper County’s gems. Tucked into the historic town of Carthage, MO is an art gallery that is so much more than just a place to exhibit the fine works of local artists. Located in Hyde House, at 1110 E 13th Street, artCentral is a cultural oasis that has served artists and the community for 30 years. Newly appointed director, Alice Lynn Greenwood, invited me to come for a visit today, an invitation I gladly accepted.

artCentral Alice Lynn Greenwood

I met Alice Lynn last year in Joplin. I was drawn to her engaging and unique artistic style, however, I missed her exhibit downtown. An intriguing series of synchronicities ensued, a phenomenon that I call a “strand”.  I saw wonderful framed prints in a restaurant that I visited for a first. Greg purchased one of the prints that captivated me and surprised me with it. Only then did I realize it was artwork by Alice Lynn Greenwood. In spite of missing her exhibit, I had acquired one of her prints. I friended Alice Lynn on Facebook, she saw her framed print featured in a spring vignette that I did and commented on it, and eventually I had the privilege of meeting this creative, dynamic woman whose spirit and smile both light up a room.

artCentral front door

Arriving this afternoon at Hyde House, I was enchanted immediately with the beautiful grounds and the turn of the century home that houses artCentral. Katherine Hyde bequeathed her family home to the city upon her death in 1989, establishing a trust fund for its care and upkeep. A wide covered front porch and vibrant green door welcomed me. Alice Lynn, just as vibrant and welcoming, greeted me and gave me a tour of the home. I am a realtor, in part, because I love houses, old houses especially. This is an amazing home, well kept, uncluttered and neutral in color so as to best showcase the works of art that are on exhibit here. The kitchen still has its pink cabinets. The two sparkling bathrooms sport green tiles in the downstairs bath and pink in the one upstairs. There are exhibit rooms and a cozy, inviting library, meeting rooms, an office/studio for Alice Lynn, and at the very top of the house, an artist salon, currently undergoing renovation. I was charmed, everywhere I looked.

artCentral library

The house is just background, however, as gorgeous as it is. The real draw of artCentral is the creative spirit that permeates every nook and cranny. I felt inspired to create as I stood within the house. Alice Lynn was delighted, as that is just the atmosphere she is fostering here. From the artist room beneath the eaves to the pottery house at the back of the property, artCentral beckons to the imagination inherent in all of us. Alice Lynn has so many wonderful ideas and plans for giving artists, budding artists and the community opportunities to explore their creative and imaginative sides. She has revamped the website, expanded artCentral’s social media presence, and is in the process of scheduling exhibits and workshops, a children’s camp and Saturday fun days.

artCentral salon

Along with the array of art classes offered this year, Alice Lynn has the vision to expand the workshops to include yoga, tai chi and a blogging class, taught by me in March. She recognizes that creativity takes many forms and will host poetry readings and other cultural events that feed the soul. A children’s camp in late July will offer young artists the chance to learn technique and develop their abilities and will culminate with an exhibit during a downtown Carthage Artwalk. I am excited by the many possibilities offered to open up my creativity and expand my knowledge and skills. I want to be a part of this hub, this community, of art and culture! I will be joining as a member of artCentral.

artCentral kitchen

I appreciate Alice Lynn so much and her journey. We stood in her office, which is also her studio, and talked about art, and the flow of life. The two are connected, of course, as allowing our creativity to develop opens us to so many other amazing life experiences. Below are links to artCentral’s website and the Facebook pages of the organization and Alice Lynn Greenwood. I look forward to seeing and experiencing the ripple effect that will emanate from this cultural center.

artCentral Website

artCentral Blog

artCentral Facebook Page

Alice Lynn Greenwood Artist Facebook Page

artCentral pottery house

The Pottery House

Journey 27: School Lunch Adventures

“You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a lunch and eat with a child.” Dr. Seuss

That’s not exactly how the famous Dr. Seuss quote goes, which in reality encourages adults to pick up a book and read to a child. However, the concept is the same. I discovered that truth today as I picked up meals for my grandsons, Oliver and Joey, and joined them for lunch at their school. Armed with chicken nugget dinners from Chick-Fil-A and a couple of drinks, I visited them for the first time in their school cafeteria, for lunch, fun and great conversations.

Oliver, who is in first grade, appeared first for lunch. This bright eyed boy had forgotten, he said, that I was coming, so there was a bit of the element of surprise as I watched him walk into the cafeteria. His grin was infectious when he spotted me. He selected a place for us to sit and I sipped on my tea while he tucked into his lunch. The throng of children in the busy cafeteria was overseen by teachers on lunch duty and a man I later discovered was the school principal. The atmosphere was a balanced mix of cheerfulness and efficiency. The children have about 30 minutes to eat and they are, thankfully, allowed to talk amongst themselves.

Oliver and I visited while he ate and he shared about his day and then his weekend. He is a good conversationalist and knows the “trick” that I taught my children when they were small to ensure a continued flow of words…he asks questions. While we chatted he asked me about my weekend and what I had done. As our lunch time wound down, I promised to watch him perform stunts on his bicycle when I brought Aubrey home later in the afternoon, after picking her up from school. It is very important to Oliver to be seen and appreciated for what he can do. I love being a witness to his life and offering praise and encouragement for his feats and accomplishments. With a warm hug and another flash of his charming smile, he sauntered out of the cafeteria and back to class.

School lunch with Oliver

I had 15 minutes to wait until Joey’s class had lunch. I swung around on the picnic style bench I was seated on and observed the kids and the adults who walked among the tables, talking to the kids, giving instruction and mopping up the occasional spill. I was impressed with the interaction between the teachers on lunch duty and the kids. And the man whom Joey identified as the school principal was amazing, actually. Wearing a mic so that he could be heard over the chatter of kids and the lines of feet moving in and out of the large room, he was part informant, part traffic director and part entertainer. He kept up an easy banter and watched over the room with practiced expertise. I enjoyed watching him. Joey informed me this is a daily ritual in his school and I found that refreshing. Rather than being seen as just the authoritarian in the school, this upbeat man was more an ally for the kids and the teachers and certainly respected by the children as well. They also laughed at his jokes.

Joey was looking for me as he entered the room and we immediately moved to a new spot among the tables. This sweet boy is a third grader this year. He shared stories with me as he ate his chicken nuggets and like his brother, asked me questions as well. Joey is a budding artist and we spoke of art class and he also explained his rotating schedule to me. He enjoys PE class and music along with art. Today he had computer lab immediately after lunch. This generation begins working on computers while they are learning more traditional subjects like reading and writing. It is no surprise that my grandchildren are the ones who show me new technology and computer and phone shortcuts. They are growing up with it.

After Joey finished lunch and cleaned up our table area for both of us, he offered to give me a quick tour of his classrooms. I was delighted! I saw the computer lab and the music room, the art room and his homeroom. In each classroom, I met his teachers who were polite and welcomed me in, and I had the privilege of chatting with them for a moment. After we left his homeroom, Joey, ever helpful and thoughtful, walked me to the end of the hallway and pointed me in the right direction for the exit doors. I got a hug and a cheerful grin and unknown to him, I stood and watched him walk back the way we had come, a smile on my face.

school lunch with Joey

Lunch with the boys was so fun that I intend to make this a monthly habit, along with lunch with Aubrey at her school, and lunch with Jonathan in his, if it is allowed. Dayan, alas, has grown beyond wanting to have lunch with his grandmother at his school, although we certainly enjoyed that ritual when he was in elementary school. It is such a small adjustment to make to my schedule to get to spend fun yet meaninful time with these kids. The thing that struck me today, sharing lunch time with Oliver and Joey, was that many kids would enjoy having an adult, whether a family member or a trusted friend, spend a little time with them, showing an interest in their lives, laughing and chatting with them. The children seated around the boys and me were very willing to join in our conversations. While I occasionally chatted with them as well, I also was careful to protect the time with each grandson. During that 15 minute gap between boys, I talked to kids and answered questions and defended Joey’s lunch from a young man who did his best to trade a school lunch for it! I believe there might be an organization that pairs caring adults with school kids at lunch time. I’m checking into that! In the meantime, I look forward to many more lunches with the grandkids, and more than that, the chats and laughter that accompany them.

Journey 26: A Journal for the Journey

Journal for the Journey Thorins map

Today as I was mulling over which journey to take, I considered several options. I had decided on one….and yet, I didn’t feel inspired to write about it. What I was excited about was writing down a quote I found today, by Albert Einstein. I toyed with the idea of expanding on the quote for this day’s journey, as I was so captivated by it. And yet, I don’t feel ready to expound on it. I’m still processing the words and the meaning, for me.

And then I realized that my journey for this day was actually underway, and it was time for me to be more aware of it! A very dear friend of mine gave me a wonderful surprise. Within the box that I opened was a brown leather journal. I am a writer and I have kept journals for years, recording thoughts and aha’s, inspiration, quotes, and times of struggle and growth. A new blank journal calls to me as a blank canvas does an artist. I was thrilled. This journal is absolutely perfect for recording my Year of Journeys for 2015, for on the front is The Lonely Mountain, with Smaug the dragon circling above. The words “The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey” are engraved as well. What a great place to write about my own unexpected journeys.

Journal for the Journey journal front

As I thought about the journal, and the runes written on the back cover, I had another realization. Thorin Oakenshield, in The Hobbit story, is given a map with The Lonely Mountain on it, and Dwarvish runes that say:

Journal for the Journey runes translation

There is my symbol for the year, contained within those runes…dor. Door! I had also noted that on the front cover, the door into The Lonely Mountain is marked with a red rune, a Dwarvish D. I so love it when all these things come together for me in a way that lights me up. I know my friend bought me the journal because of my love for the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit and because my word for 2015 is on the cover. I don’t know whether it registered consciously that my symbol was also present. I didn’t realize it immediately. That is the beauty of this journey, the unfolding as I travel, the nuggets and gems that are mined. I even love the fact that there is a hand pointing at the runes, on Thorin’s map and on my journal, giving importance and significance to the words.

Journal for the Journey journal back

Curiosity led me further this evening, and I found a rune translator online, along with a fun Hobbit Rune Generator. (Create with the Hobbit Rune Generator here) Below is the word “Journey” written in Dwarvish runes. How fun! I know that word, written in runes, is going to show up in some other places for me. How do I know? Because I will write the word. An item that was given to me a long time ago is the perfect first piece to write the word Journey on, in Dwarvish. I’ll share it when I complete that project, and the perfection of it all will be revealed.

Journal for the Journey Runes Journey

With a great deal of pleasure, I made my first entry into my new journal tonight, writing out the Albert Einstein quote. I’ll share his meaningful words another time. That journey is still in process. I love the journey that I experienced today, and the aha’s that accompanied it. These synchronicities speak deeply to me, guiding me along my path as surely as signs guide drivers along I-44. I am so very grateful for the gift and for my friend, who accompanies me on this journey, a member of the company of Cindy Lauderdale Moore.

“The Road goes ever on and on

Down from the door where it began.

Now far ahead the Road has gone,

And I must follow, if I can,

Pursuing it with eager feet,

Until it joins some larger way

Where many paths and errands meet.

And whither then? I cannot say.”

Bilbo Baggins

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.


Journey 23: Until I See You Again, Mindy

Mindy and Harry

Today family and friends of Malinda Jo Davidson…otherwise known as Mindy, Mom, Friend, Cousin, Sister, Niece, Coworker, Healer…gathered to share memories of her and comfort each other as we miss her bright presence. As per Mindy’s wishes, as honored and carried out by her son, Harry, the gathering had less the feel of a funeral and more the feel of a reunion, minus an important guest of honor.

This wasn’t a formal sit down and listen to someone speak type of service. Mindy’s friends and family mingled and visited and told stories, each of us attired in brightly colored clothes as Mindy would have preferred. Classic rock songs played through the speakers and the murmur of voices flowed around the room, occasionally punctuated by laughter as another funny Mindy story was shared.

Lest we forget why we were gathered, we only had to glance to the front of the room to see a simple table set up, bracketed by beautiful floral arrangements. Behind the table hung a sampling of Mindy’s wool hooked rugs, a testament to her creativity and skill. Pictures of Mindy adorned the table, along with flowers, a stuffed Pug dog, and mementos of a life lived in joy. A Davidson Clan tartan scarf graced a framed photo, taken in Scotland, both reminders of our recent trip. In the center of these sacred symbols rested a beautiful burgundy urn with bands of pewter encircling it. If I found myself in danger of thinking that that was all that was left of Mindy, I had only to look around the room again, and see her son whom she has raised so well, a tall, handsome young man who is discovering how very capable he is. And her brother Jeff, who dwells richly in the present moment. Mindy’s spirit and life touched and impacted each person present today in that room. We hold memories and stories tucked within our hearts and we will carry her healing work, her creativity, her sense of humor, her kindness forward into the world.

I watched the presentation on the television, Mindy’s life captured in pictures. There she was as an adorable baby, there as a curious toddler. Her school days flipped by, picture by picture, culminating with her nursing school photos, including her pinning ceremony. Then she was getting married, and next glowing in her pregnancy. Beautiful, poignant photos appeared, with Harry, intimate pictures that showed the bond between mother and son. Her joy and her pride in her only child was so evident. Harry aged up as well, as the presentation continued, and there were snapshots of Mindy creating her rugs, a huge smile on her face. A few pictures of the Scotland trip highlighted that delightful vacation. The photo of Mindy and Harry, included with this post, is one of my favorite moments captured in the Highlands and frozen in time. A few more photos and then it was over, too quickly, her life flashing by, on the screen and seemingly, in reality.

And yet, we did not gather today to focus on the brevity or to say good bye. This day was to celebrate a precious life and rejoice over a soul that lives on, free from a failing body. Her glorious spirit was all around us this afternoon, felt as heightened joy and deep abiding love. We joined together, instead, to wish her safe journey, until we meet again.

I will miss lunches with my cousin and talking about everything under the sun, watching movies together and reminiscing about Scotland. I have never known a more peace loving, people accepting, kind hearted person. I am so thankful that she walked beside me on this earthly journey and allowed me to walk with her, until she reached a point where I could no longer follow….for now. I am sad, but I am not bereft of hope. This is not farewell, dear Mindy….this is see you later.

Mindy and Cindy Edinburgh Airport

Journey 22: Dr Who with Dayan and a Tech Tip

dr who the doctor dances

 I read a great post this morning from Elizabeth Gilbert, titled In Defense of Teenagers, in which she wrote about how much she admired this generation of youth rising toward adulthood. She said, “Today’s American teenagers are the most sensitive, least violent, least bullying, least racist, least homophobic, most globally-minded, most compassionate, most environmentally-conscious, least dogmatic, and overall kindest group of young people this country has ever known.”

I agree with Liz. I have a teenager in the family, my eldest grandchild, Dayan, and he is all of the things Liz mentioned in her post, and more. I got to hang out with this thoughtful teen today. After picking him up from school, we grabbed snacks and chatted as we prepared to watch a couple of Dr. Who episodes. I heard about his day, and always polite and interested, he asked me about mine.

Before Christmas we watched the Dr. Who episode “Lost Child”, and Dayan was all grins as the episode ended with the line, “to be continued”. Ahhhh….a cliff hanger. Today we finally had the chance to see the rest of this creepy story with “The Doctor Dances”. I initially started watching Dr. Who because Dayan loves the series so much. I started with the first season of the new series and I have to admit, I’ve already come to like this quirky show which introduces a new doctor every season or two. It’s fun watching with Dayan who refuses to give any plot twists or surprises away. I thought I had this story about an “empty child” searching for his mum figured out until toward the end. There were a couple of twists and turns. It was a great story and the Doctor excitedly shouts at the end, “Everyone lives! Everyone lives!” These two episodes won a Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation in 2006.

We continued on to the next episode, “Boom Town”, in which the time traveling Doctor and his companions, Rose and Jack, travel to modern day Cardiff and come across an alien enemy, a Slitheen, intent on destroying Earth and escaping. This episode focused on the consequences of actions…the Slitheen had been a killer all her life… and the moral dilemna of accepting those consequences. I found this episode to be strangely touching, especially as the theme seemed to be about second chances. Rather than return her to her homeworld, where the death penalty awaited her, the Doctor allowed the Slitheen to be bathed in the light from the heart of the TARDIS (the Doctor’s sentient time traveling ship). After she smiled and thanked the Doctor, the Slitheen reverted to an egg, so that she could hatch and relive her life, allowing her to have that second chance. Good episode.

Before I left this evening, Dayan showed me his concept for the next Mail Art piece he will do. We are participating in a Mail Art Project in March, with the art being mailed to Austria this time! The theme is TURQUOISE and I have to say, Dayan has an amazing idea that he is already working on. I am lagging behind, yet it was very rewarding to see his creation coming together. He is one clever young man and I look forward to sharing more about this art project later. While we were on the computer, Dayan gave me a tech lesson on Google Drive. I have heard of this function, and being a gmail user, could have accessed it at any time, yet I wasn’t sure how it worked or the advantages of using Google Drive. Dayan gave me a quick lesson, showing me a recent school assignment that he and a classmate did using Google Drive. They could work on the project together, each on his or her own computer, sharing in the creation and editing. I was impressed! And so this kind and helpful teenager ran through the basics of using Google Drive with his willing-to-learn-new-things grandmother. At home I downloaded the program and already see possibilities for its use.

Liz concluded her post by encouraging her readers to give today’s teenagers a break and show them appreciation, rather than complaining about them. I can do that quite easily with my grandson, and I so appreciate Dayan and his compassion toward people and his willingness to see the good in others. I can do that as well with my cousin, Harry, who will soon enter his 20’s, but has had an amazing journey through his teens. There are other teens that I can encourage, walk alongside or simply smile at when I see them, giving them a nod of approval. This next generation has so much to offer, and their own way of offering. I am excited to see how their gifts shift the world.

dr who boom town