Surrender 60: Leap Year Time Capsule

Today, February 29, is Leap Day, making 2016 a Leap Year. It takes the earth exactly 365.2422 days to complete an orbit around the sun. An extra day is added every four years to properly keep our calendars and clocks in sync with the earth and its seasons.

So what to do with this gift of an extra day? This is the first leap year that I’ve experienced since I began blogging daily in 2014. I knew I wanted to acknowledge this special day.

After considering several options, I suddenly had an idea. I’ve wanted to create a time capsule since my Year of Firsts. I had intended for my whole family to participate but never got around to pulling this event together. Today I decided it was the perfect time, on a day outside of time, to create the capsule. And rather than try to coordinate my whole family adding to the capsule, I made it a very personal experience.  Instead of setting an opening date far into the future, this time capsule will be opened by me, on the next leap year, February 29, 2020

I began by writing a letter to my future self. I wrote about my journey this year, about my word and symbols and song for 2016 and what it means to me to live in the flow of surrender. I included the activities I enjoy, what my passions and desires are in life, and how I’ve returned to writing. Lastly, I wrote about where I see myself in four years. This four page letter was folded and sealed within an envelope.

I added symbolic items to my time capsule, things that will remind me of where I am, right now, at this time of my life. Here’s what I included:

Along with my letter, I included a wrist band from TUT that says, “Thoughts become things…choose good ones.”

The gemstones, amethyst and hematite, remind me that I am a healer, and very aware of energy and how it flows. The angel pin represents the Divine and protection. The silver heart is my Mithril heart, strong and beautiful and full of light.

These pieces are left over from an art project. The camera represents travel and creativity. The I PICK YOU card reminds me that the most important relationship that I have, after my connection to God, is with myself. Which is why I added the THIS IS TRUE HAPPINESS ticket. Having a deep and amazing relationship with myself does create true happiness. The friendship card represents my circle of family and friends who journey with me.

And the word hello…I didn’t intend to add that cutout to the box. I tried to return it to its plastic bag several times, but it kept falling at my feet. Finally I picked it up and kept it for inclusion. Now I’ll laugh four years from now when I open the box and see hello! 

In this assortment, the ink pen symbolizes my writing and blogging, and my desire to become a published author. The dried lavender is from my garden, which is one of my great joys. Representing  my love and enjoyment of coloring is the blue colored pencil. And the wooden acorn is my secondary symbol from last year. It represents my journey, memorializes the important people in my life who have passed on, and it is a nod to The Hobbit films, symbolizing my love of movies, of JRR Tolkien and literature, AND of Middle Earth and Rivendell.

These symbols represent my year. The stone is a river rock that I picked up as I walked along Shoal Creek. It has my symbol of the River drawn on it, along with my word Surrender. This rock also represents my song for 2016, Just Around the River Bend. The arrow has become my secondary symbol for this year.  A solitary arrow represents defense and protection from harm. It can also be used as a symbol of movement or direction. The arrow works in sync with my river symbol, which represents the flow of life.

All the items went into a small cardboard box with a lid. I taped the box shut and added a sign to the top, with the words, DO NOT OPEN UNTIL 2/29/20. The box is tucked away where it can be forgotten for four years.

I’m thrilled with the way this idea came together! It was fun to at last create a time capsule, on a special day that brings time into alignment. I look forward to opening the box in four years and remembering this day, and reading the letter from the past.

Happy Leap Day!

Surrender 59: The 88th Academy Awards

It’s Oscar night once again, an event I look forward to each year. This is a highly anticipated, deeply meaningful evening for me. I clear the day, eliminate distractions, gather a few snacks, brew tea and settle in to watch people celebrate who they are and what they love to do.


Because the award show tends to run late, I have a difficult time getting my blog post up before midnight. So I’m doing something new and different tonight. I’m live blogging during the show, capturing the experience as it happens, and creating the blog as the evening unfolds. Greg wisely observed, when I mentioned my plan to him, that I was flowing with the flow tonight. That’s it! I’m surrendering to the flow of the evening, moment by moment.

Chris Rock is tonight’s host. He’s expected, in his opening monologue, to address the one cloud hanging over the Oscars this year, the lack of diversity among the nominees, for the second year in a row. Watching the Red Carpet pre-show, I appreciated the honest, earnest way that the attendees spoke about working together, about finding solutions, about being one, about being family.

The red carpet is rolled out. The stars are out as well, shining bright. The show is about to begin. Here we go…

The opening sequence, with a montage of this year’s films, is beautiful…imagination, talent, and heart indeed. Chris immediately addresses the “elephant in the room”. He’s a comedian. He uses his words to spark laughter, but also to bring perspective, in a constructive if humorous way. I appreciate and respect his remarks. He asks for more opportunities for black actors, and I agree. And now he moves on. “We are here to honor actors,” he says. “We are here to honor film”.

Spotlight and The Big Short take the first two Oscars, for Original Screenplay and Adapted Screenplay.

The Academy Awards is trying something new this year, to shorten the acceptance speech time, and therefore the show length. As the winners move to the stage, a list of people that they wish to thank scrolls across the bottom of the tv screen. So far, it’s working well, although some winners can’t seem to help thanking spouses, children and key people in their lives.

Five powerful performances…who will it be? JK Simmons presents the Oscar to Alicia Vikander, for The Danish Girl. She gives a tearful, moving and brief acceptance speech. Well done.

Mad Max Fury Road picks up three, for Costuming, Production Design and Make-up & Hairstyling. I look forward to seeing this movie!

And 3 more Oscars for Mad Max Fury Road, for Film Editing, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing.

The Minions present for Animated Short Film!  The Bear wins. And Buzz Lightyear and Woody present for Animated Feature Film. The winner is…Inside Out! Love that movie, and great acceptance speech, encouraging kids to make things…films, art, crafts.

Sylvester Stallone is the favorite to win in this category, among a fine field of nominees. Patricia Arquette gives the Oscar to…Mark Rylance, a surprise win, for Bridge of Spies.

Always a touching segment, the Memoriam honors those in the film industry who have passed away recently. As Dave Grohl sings Blackbird Singing in the Dead of Night, photos appear behind him of people such as Maureen O’Hara, Christopher Lee, and Alan Rickman. Leonard Nimoy completes the montage, with his endearing quote, “I have been, and will always be, your friend.” Sniff!

Vice President Biden introduces Lady Gaga, who sings Til It Happens to You.

Three of the nominated songs were performed live during the evening. Not having a favorite that I’m  cheering for, I can simply enjoy each song. The winner tonight is Writing’s on the Wall, from the James Bond movie, Spectre.

And the Best Original Score winner is Ennio Morricone, for Hateful Eight.

We are down to the big categories, and the final four golden statues. JJ Abtams presents the Oscar for Best Director to Alejandro G. Inarritu, for The Revenant.

These five women all gave spectacular performances. Eddie Redmayne presents the Oscar to…Brie Larson, for her role in Room. She was the favorite in this category. I’ve heard her share about her own challenging early life and I look forward to seeing her performance.

What an outstanding group of men. This category has been heavily speculated upon, with Leonardo DiCaprio the lead runner. Julianne Moore hands the Oscar to…Leonardo DiCaprio, his first one, for his part in The Revenant!

It’s time for the big winner tonight, for Best Picture, from a group of eight films, none of which I have seen. Morgan Freeman does the honor. And the Oscar goes to….Spotlight! What a surprise! The Revenant was expected to win.

And that’s the conclusion, for the 88th Academy Awards. I enjoyed the program. And I appreciate the changes that are already in process that will ensure that the awards are given for excellence of performance, while also promoting more opportunities, from better scripts to finished films, for all involved in the movie industry, regardless of skin color.

Blogging throughout the evening, as the program unfolded, worked perfectly! I’m ready to post, rather than just beginning to write. I love the film industry. I appreciate the talented men and women, in all aspects of movie production, for sharing their passions and their gifts with the world, with me.

Stay tuned for blog posts about each of the eight best picture nominated movies. I can’t wait to begin watching!

Surrender 58: Happy Birthday London

Today marks the 6th birthday of my great niece, London Kate. The family gathered to celebrate at Roller City, in Joplin. This colorful, fun skating rink was the place to be this afternoon, as children and adults gathered for at least five birthday parties, creating an energetic and festive atmosphere. 


The children and some of the adults in our group took to the floor. The youngest family members made use of an ingenious device that resembles a walker, which allows them to skate securely without fear of falling. The rest of us sat on bleachers at the end of the polished wooden floor, watching and waving as kids skated by. 

Although this is a newer facility, completely remodeled after the tornado in 2011, some things never change. The house lights would dim and the disco lights spin, casting splashes of color across the ceiling and onto the skaters below. Familiar games such as Freeze and Limbo were played. And the lively songs rocking through the speakers encouraged skaters and spectators alike to move with the music. 


The beautiful birthday girl enjoyed it all, skating with her daddy, Eric, and then her Papa Roy, before taking spins around the room on her own. London is very family oriented. She loves a party, appreciating any reason to get together with grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. She moved easily from person to person, accepting “happy birthdays”, giving out hugs and smiles. 

Watching London blow out her candles, enjoy a delicious piece of cake, and open presents, I realized that the toddler is long gone. This is a young lady, about to complete kindergarten, poised, confident, and affectionate. She’s a loving daughter and an excellent big sister to Aralyn. London is a fun and playful cousin, and she keeps her adoring Gigi young at heart. 

Intelligence shines out through her big blue eyes, which can turn mischievous in a flash. And she has a generous and expansive heart. She’s called out to me often as I was leaving, running to me for one more hug and kiss. My granddaughter Aubrey and London, who is my sister Linda’s granddaughter, are the best of friends. They love dancing and singing and creating together, as they laugh and play. I’ve watched their relationship deepen in the past year. 


As London grows in stature and knowledge, she continues to grow in grace and beauty. I look forward to seeing her take her place in the world and offer her gifts out of a full and open heart. Happy birthday, sweet girl! I love you. 



Surrender 57: Games, Minions & Silly String

Today I picked up grandson Oliver from school and hung out with him until his mom got home from work. There’s nothing unusual about picking him up, except that for the first time, I only picked up Oliver from school. Aubrey was with her mom today. Joey had an overnight event. It was just Ollie and me this afternoon. After he thought about that a moment, realization dawned. He, and he alone, got to decide what we would do. He liked that!


Oliver opted for stopping at Casey’s on the way home, for a snack and a slushie. As we ate, at the house, we played his favorite card game, which involved sharp eyes and quick reflexes. He won! 

After building a mini fort on the sofa, we sat together while Oliver played Clash of Clans, a video game. All my grandkids know I’m not talented at playing electronic games, but I enjoying observing them as they play. I watched Oliver’s sweet face become a study in concentration as he intently focused on his next move. 


When he tired of his fighting clansmen, we giggled our way through the Minions movie. I had not seen this animated film and I enjoyed watching these endearing yellow beings and hearing Ollie laugh during his favorite scenes. Although the minions have been in two other movies, this one focuses on their “history”, from the beginning of time, until they meet a certain despicable person. It was great fun.

This charming boy and I talked this afternoon. Being the middle child, he sometimes doesn’t see his own talents, focusing instead on his older or younger sibling. He is gifted, and in more ways than running fast, jumping high, and climbing any tall object. One of his talents that impresses me is his ability to create amazing photos. 

I spent a couple of hours last Monday with Aubrey and Oliver while Joey had a dental appointment. When my son got home, he joined us in the backyard, playing with the kids and giving them rides on his broad shoulders. I took a picture of Oliver and Nate, that captures a fun moment. 


When it was Aubrey’s turn to climb on Nate’s shoulders, I handed my phone to Oliver and let him take pictures. His photo far exceeds mine in composition. He has such a creative eye. I look forward to seeing what he does with his gift. 
 Oliver’s amazing photo.  

As Megan neared home, Oliver and I headed outdoors into the chilly late afternoon air for one last activity. Some might question my decision to buy an eight year old boy a can of silly string, however I included it in our purchases at Casey’s so he could try it. What fun he had, especially when he silly stringed his Yaya! My only regrets were that I didn’t get a picture of the pink string shooting toward me…and that I didn’t have my own can of silly string. I would have gotten that boy back! 


We had a great afternoon together, Oliver and I. I love having all my grandkids together. And I love having one on one time with them as well. When there’s no one to take turns with, when you don’t have to wait to tell a story, it allows for a time of deeper connection.  I can listen with my full, undivided attention. I can learn more about that child. I can be shot with pink silly string. These times are precious to me. 

Surrender 56: The No-Gym, Full Body Workout

I quit doing Zumba at the Y last fall, because of an extremely painful flare up of sciatica in my left leg. I have nerve damage in my lower back, as a result of a serious car accident in 1995. I’ve had problems with the sciatic nerve in my left leg since. This most recent bout of sciatica lasted for months, forcing me to use a cane as I walked, and limiting my ability to exercise. 

Thankfully, I’m much improved, only using the cane first thing in the morning as my leg “wakes up” and straightens out. I’m not ready to return to Zumba, and may not be able to participate in those fast moving dance routines ever again. However, I have felt ready to incorporate walking and exercising back into my daily regime. 

Ask, and the answer arrives. Into my Facebook newsfeed two articles from Prevention appeared, perfectly geared toward me. I tested the first routine today. The No-Gym Full Body Workout has only four moves, strengthens the entire body, burns fat and requires no equipment, other than a chair. I was intrigued!

Here are the exercises. 

Perform 30 repetitions of exercise one, 30 seconds of exercise two, 30 repetitions of exercise three, and 30 seconds of exercise four (on each leg). Rest and repeat for three circuits. Attempt to complete this series 5 to 7 days per week for some seriously impressive results. 


I was able to complete all four moves, although I definitely appreciated resting for a short time in between sets. While the exercises look simple, my heart rate was up after doing the series and my muscles trembling slightly in my leg. I didn’t experience any pain. The moves, especially the Forearm Incline Plank, felt really good!

In fact, I felt great all over after finishing three sets, and I was thrilled to be exercising again. My intention is to do this series every day. It took me less than 15 minutes to complete and the benefits are amazing for such a short time investment. 

Best of all, I didn’t go any further than my dining room to find my gym equipment. I have no excuses now! 


Surrender 55: DC’s Legends of Tomorrow

My grandson Dayan and I get together every Wednesday afternoon. I pick him up from school, we grab Chinese food, and spend time together chatting and watching interesting shows on TV. For more than a year, our series of choice was BBC’s Doctor Who. In catching me up to the current series, we moved through nine seasons. Now that I’m caught up, we’ve discovered a new series to watch, while Doctor Who is in between seasons. 


Legends of Tomorrow stars Victor Garber, Brandon Routh, Caity Lotz, Arthur Darvill, Ciara Renee, Franz Drameh, Dominic Purcell, Wentworth Miller and Casper Crump. This sci-fi action drama is part of the DC Comic universe. 

Time traveler Rip Hunter (Darvill) assembles a ragtag group of heroes and villains in an attempt to save the future, and his family, from an evil nemesis, Vandal Savage (Crump). More than the earth’s future is at stake…time itself is threatened. 

 Vandal Savage 

Rip tells his group that he has seen the future, and that they are all known as the heroes who save mankind. Each person brings gifts to the team…and also quirks, egos, and pasts full of angst and challenges. 

Ray Palmer (Routh), is Atom, whose ability is to shrink his body. Sara Lance (Lotz), also known as White Canary, is a trained assassin. Jax Jackson (Drameh) and Dr. Martin Stein (Garber) together form the symbiotic hero, Firestorm, with the ability to fly, pass through solid objects, generate destructive blasts of fusion energy from his hands, absorb radiation harmlessly, and demonstrate superhuman levels of strength and resistance to injury.


Mick Rory (Purcell), is Heat Wave. He possesses a handgun sized flamethrower and knowledge of pyrotechnics and combustibles. His partner in crime, literally, is Leonard Snart (Miller), also known as Captain Cold. He has a cold gun that freezes objects to absolute zero and he possess knowledge of cryonics. These two are the “bad boys” of the group. 

And lastly, Kendra Saunders (Renee), who is Hawkgirl, has the ability to fly, thanks to a electromagnetic/gravitational belt. It also grants superhuman strength, super-acute vision, and an enhanced healing/regeneration ability. Kendra’s partner, Carter, also known as Hawkman, has been with her through centuries of regenerations. His character died in episode 2. 


This is a fun, fast paced series, which premiered last month on CW. Dayan and I both enjoy superhero type shows, and we have seen many of the DC Comic and Marvel Comic movies and series. We were initially drawn to Legends of Tomorrow because the main character, Rip Hunter, is played by Arthur Darvill, who also portrayed Rory on Doctor Who. It’s been interesting to see him as a time traveler in this show, and to get to know this cast of characters. 

I like that this group of people, with their unique gifts and common flaws, were told that in the future, they are all called heroes. The truth is, none of them are. Rip selected them because extraordinary as they are, they live ordinary lives. Their possible deaths don’t greatly affect the future timeline. 

However, as the group slowly becomes a team, united in their purpose of defeating Vandal Savage and securing the future for all mankind, they will most assuredly be known as legends…Legends of Tomorrow. In acknowledging who they are, and offering out of their strengths, they are sure to create their own futures. I’d call that heroic. 


Surrender 54: Thyme for Tea

I was excited to come across an article, written by the Medical Medium, Anthony William. He extolled the virtues of drinking thyme tea. I was thrilled because I grow thyme in my herb garden and I love finding new uses for my herbs. Thanks to Anthony, I now know the many health benefits of drinking thyme tea! 

 Thyme (lower center of photo) growing in my garden last summer. 

According to the Medical Medium, as he is known as, thyme tea contains powerful anti-viral properties. If consumed regularly, the tea helps reduce the viral load on the body, making it helpful to those suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus and Mutiple Sclerosis. 

Thyme tea also helps boost memory, relieves headaches, muscle tension, and fevers, eases coughs, and fights colds and infections. It contains a compound that makes it an excellent tranquilizer. Thyme helps regulate sleep patterns and defends against stress damage. 


This fragrant herb is great for the digestive and urinary tracts and has a high antioxidant level, making it a wonderful agent for removing free radicals and other disease causing substances from the body. 

That’s an abundance of health benefits and great reasons for trying thyme tea this evening! This time of year I don’t have fresh thyme, although I will soon. Fortunately, I have dried thyme, harvested from my garden. 

To make thyme tea:

Pour 10 – 16 ounces of hot water over two sprigs of fresh thyme (available in the produce section of the supermarket or it’s very easily grown in a garden or container), or use one teaspoon of dried thyme in a tea infuser. Let steep 15 – 20 minutes. 

I drink a lot of herbal teas, and don’t add anything else to enhance the flavor. However, honey or lemon could be added. I found the tea to be delicious, with a light, clean taste. And the aroma was wonderful! I could happily drink this hot tea every evening before bed. 

During the warmer months, Anthony offers an alternative that’s refreshing and just as healthy. 

Thyme Water

Add two bunches of fresh thyme sprigs to 32 – 64 ounces of room temperature water, along with lemon, cucumber slices, mint or berries. Allow to sit on the kitchen counter overnight. Strain water and sip on throughout the day. 

I appreciate Anthony’s “thymely” article and his wealth of knowledge. I look forward to trying both flavorful thyme concoctions. And to discovering more healthy uses for the herbs growing in my apothecary garden. 

Found out more about the Medical Medium here. 


Surrender 53: Saying Goodbye to Papa and Mimi’s House

Today my son Nate had the opportunity to join his dad and me at the house in Arkansas. Because he had to work Saturday, he was unable to join his sisters on that day, as they walked through their grandparents’ house, selecting momentos to take home. They graciously allowed their brother the opportunity to visit, before claiming anything else. 


As it was with the girls, it was interesting to quietly follow Nate as he moved from room to room. The house is full of stuff, and yet empty, missing the bright sparks of life that were Papa and Mimi to Nate and Elissa and Adriel. Memories linger there though. My son smiled as he picked up items that stirred recollections from his childhood. 

Although he selected several small figurines for his kids, his focus was on photos, such as the one posted above. Nate and his sisters were frequent visitors to the hangar containing the small airplanes that Papa Bob flew for Peterson’s. They had fun climbing into the cockpits and pretending to fly. Their vivid imaginations took them around the world. 

And Nate sorted through stacks of sheet music for piano. Mimi Leta was a gifted pianist, who passed her musical ability on to her grandson and younger granddaughter. Nate has her piano already, in his house, and today he collected an assortment of music to take home as well. Some of that music is vintage, as Leta played the piano in various churches throughout her life, from the age of 16 onward. 

Saturday Elissa found this scrap of paper, with a drawing by 5 year old Nate. She snapped a pic and sent it to her brother, with the remark that his artistic ability had certainly improved! We looked at the little sketch today. I will save it, as Papa Bob apparently did. He and Mimi Leta kept artwork from their grandkids. They are more than kids’ drawings, they tell stories. They capture a moment in time as accurately as a photograph does. 

 Nate’s latest drawing, given as a gift to his wife. 

I enjoyed spending a good portion of the day with my son, as I did Saturday with my daughters and their sweethearts. As we prepared to leave, Nate asked if he could first walk around outside the house. “It may be the last time I see this place,” he quietly explained. I let him walk around, accompanied by his dad, while I closed up the house. 

Nate’s words made me aware of the reality of what’s happening. In the midst of sorting and packing, tossing and keeping, laughing and remembering…and preparing to sell the house…I’ve overlooked the fact that it will be gone soon. This house. This place of memories. My children and I never knew any of the other houses that Bob and Leta Moore lived in. This was home. 

Soon memory will be all we have of this place, and those years of being together here. Except for the photos. Except for the momentos and the few pieces of furniture that have gone to new homes. I’m so grateful that those cherished items will carry memories forward, and that the stories around them will continue to be told. I’m especially grateful for my beautiful children, who have a rich appreciation for family history and the desire to hold it close….and then pass it on. 


Surrender 52: Always…

I wasn’t sure if I would write this post this evening, even though truthfully, I knew this was the surrender for me. There was another birthday that I took note of today, and while he is not a family member, I’ve thought a great deal about his life nonetheless. He was born on this date, in 1946, and passed away last month, on January 14, after a short battle with cancer. 


I first took notice of Alan Rickman in 1991, when I watched, delighted, as he brought the Sheriff of Nottingham to life on the big screen in Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves. Being a fan of Kevin Costner, I initially viewed the film because it featured him in the role of Robin Hood. I returned to watch it, again and again, because of Rickman. 
  Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves

I was unfamiliar with this British actor with the distinctive double bass voice. However, I quickly remedied that. I watched him again as Hans Gruber in Die Hard, and as Elliot Marston in Quigley Down Under. The time being way before the days of Googling someone to find a wealth of information, I learned about Alan by watching his films as they released, reading interviews or catching him on a late night show for a few minutes. 


I couldn’t explain the connection I felt to Alan Rickman then, and I still can’t to this day. It’s enough to acknowledge that there is one. His life and work resonate with me on a deep level. And the more I learn about him, the more I find to appreciate about him. 


Alan has an impressive, and varied, body of work, from stage to film to short indie pieces, from actor to director to Tango dancer in a music video. Often cited as one of the best villain actors in the industry, he was actually so much more than that. He did excell at portraying the brooding bad guy, as evidenced by his early films. But he brought depth to characters such as Colonel Brandon in Sense and Sensibility and could elicit laughter in films such as Galaxy Quest. 


He was also known for taking his work seriously, even while not taking himself thus, and for immersing himself in the roles. I discovered that he often got to know his character so well that he gave valuable input to the director concerning how the role should be played. For the complex Severus Snape in the Harry Potter films, Alan came up with the character’s wardrobe. The long rows of buttons on the tunic and the sleeves represented how closed off Snape was, how confined in his actions, and hinted that there was more to him hidden behind those constraints. 

  From Harry Potter

I was shocked, and deeply saddened, by Alan’s death, as many were. I’m still processing the loss of such a beautiful and magnificent soul. I immediately made a list of the movies I had not seen of Alan’s, British films that were not widely distributed when they initially released, and a few more recent ones I had not watched yet. 

 Truly, Madly, Deeply

I have enjoyed his amazing portrayals in movies such as Mesmer, Snow Cake, Rasputin, A Little Chaos and Truly, Madly, Deeply.  I’ve been reminded of his versatility and brilliance in the shorts Dust, Song of Lunch, and Play. And thanks to YouTube, I’m able to see his early works such as The Revolutionary Witness: The Preacher, and The Barchester Chronicles. 

 The Revolutionary Witness: The Preacher 

Watching these films and shorts, catching interviews on YouTube, reading about his many projects, and learning how much he cared about people and offered his help, makes me miss this man I’ve never met. I realized though that by watching his movies I was getting to know the man at a richer, more intimate level, much as I learn more about an author by reading all of her books, or an artist by studying his paintings. Today, I came across an astonishing quote, an invitation from Alan that I had unknowingly already accepted. 


I am doing that very thing, getting to know Alan, what made his heart sing, what gifts he offered to the world, what injustices drew his fire, by knowing his work. In appreciating what he did, I’m discovering more about who he was. 

  From Snow Cake

I had intended to write this post after I had watched all of Alan’s films, shorts, poetry readings and stage clips. But the flow of life presented this opportunity instead, by way of his birthday today. Thank you, Alan Rickman, for touching my life with yours, for accompanying me on my journey, without ever walking alongside in person. 

Toward the end of the Harry Potter story, Snape’s good heart is at last revealed, as is his lifelong love for Harry’s deceased mother, Lily. “After all this time?” asks Professor Dumbledore. “Always”, is Snape’s solemn reply. 

That’s my answer, should I be asked in the years to come if, after all this time, I’m still watching Alan’s films, still learning about him, still appreciating his gifts. 

Always, I’ll say. Always. 


Surrender 51: Heavenly Birthday and Earthly Treasures

Today is Bob Moore’s birthday. He was not a world renowned man and yet I felt a sense of wonder and loss, realizing that for the first time in 95 years, a century nearly, this unique person was not present in his earthly body on this day. There was no party, no birthday lunch as there was last year, no massive slices of chocolate cream pie to laugh over and devour. Surely the world noticed the absence of this bright, beautiful soul. 


All three of his grandchildren and his son noticed. They were aware that this was his first birthday celebrated in a heavenly way, with a host of family members on the other side of the veil. By Divine appointment, Greg and I, Elissa and Josh, Adriel and Nate Pugh, spent part of the day in Arkansas, at Bob’s house. Nathanael had to work today and couldn’t join us, however he communicated by text, and he will go with us to Arkansas on Monday. 
 Papa Bob with Elissa, who was 9 months old.  

As we are preparing the house for the market, Greg and I have been sorting through all the items left behind. We are ready to empty the house so Greg can paint and new carpet can go down. It was time for the kids to walk through the only house they remember their grandparents living in, and decide what they wanted to take to their own homes. 

 Papa Bob and Mimi Leta with Nathanael, who was 1.  

It was a sweet time today, watching the girls look through drawers and cupboards, stacks of photos and a vast assortment of momentos. They exclaimed over found treasures, full of memories. I heard them say often to each other, those magical words that have the power to unlock the past, “Do you remember…?”

 Papa Bob with newborn Adriel.  

One of the fun discoveries today was when the kids, all in their 30’s, uncovered the stereo. Adriel confessed she always thought that piece of furniture was a table! In a short time the top was cleared and the lid opened, revealing a turntable, a radio and an 8 track player. It’s been at least 20 years since anyone has peered inside, much less dropped an album in. 


The 8 track player was tried first, being such a novelty! It worked. The kids found a Sound of Music vinyl. After tinkering with the record player briefly, Julie Andrews’ voice sang forth. It was such an enchanting moment. 

The young men also discovered that the Japanese sake set, a gift to Leta years ago from one of Peterson’s traveling salespersons, actually had sake in the bottle. Sake is an alcoholic drink made from rice. For 30 years or more that set has been on display on a shelf, and I never picked up the bottle. In honor of the day, and Papa Bob’s birth 95 years ago, for the memories and the love and the joys, the four young adults each had a shot of sake, using a cut crystal glass rather than the little ceramic sake cup. I passed on having a taste, but I laughed, watching their faces, as they experienced the fire of vintage sake. 


It was a precious, memorable day, and a start to clearing the house. The girls experienced a bit of overwhelm, looking through so many items, recalling so many memories. I understand! Each sister took home a small collection of treasures, wanting their brother to have a chance to look before they make further decisions. The girls expressed gratitude for their family today, how love and compassion for one another governs our actions and flavors our words. There’s no greed or selfishness exhibited here…only cooperation and care. 

I was proud of them. I know Papa Bob was too. What an amazing birthday for him, to have his granddaughters and their sweeties laughing and remembering in his house, to have his grandson present Monday, to see his son there telling stories to the children. Happy heavenly birthday, Dad! I miss you, and yet I know you are not far away, watching over us all. I love you.