Trick or Treat

Celebrating Halloween changes when your kids grow up. And it shifts again as the grandchildren grow older too. This is perfect, as it is the way of things and signifies growth. I was mindful of the day, as I took care of business and ran errands, celebrating in small and joyful ways.

I also had a decision to make. As one who no longer eats sugar, I felt conflicted about handing out sugary treats to trick or treaters.

From that place of desiring to offer more, the Trick or Treat Experiment was born.

My own nod to Halloween was simple. Tropical Smoothie Cafe hosted a Hogwarts Day event. As a fan of the Harry Potter books and films, I stopped by to have a pic taken with the Headmaster, Dumbledore, and pick up a fruit smoothie.

No need to try on the Sorting Hat. I already know I am in the House of Slytherin.

On this day only, Tropical Smoothie Cafe offers a Butterbeer Smoothie, in honor of Hogwarts Day. Because of its high sugar content, I opted instead for a refreshingly tart cranberry strawberry smoothie, with no sugar. It was just what I needed for an afternoon pick me up.

At the grocery store, I made a decision about what to offer trick or treaters. We can’t hand out fresh fruit, for safety reasons. Unfortunately, fruit can be tampered with. But happily, I found fruit snacks in little sealed give away bags, and mini fruit roll ups. These aren’t as healthy as a banana or apple would be, but at 45 calories and 6 grams of sugar, they are a better alternative to candy bars.

I purchased a bag of mini Kit Kat bars as well. I don’t want to be that crazy health lady who forces a different lifestyle on others. But what if I offered a choice? Given the option of a Kit Kat bar, with 210 calories and 21 grams of sugar, or a packaged fruit snack, which would kids choose?

I was about to find out.

I offered the bowl of treats to each trick or treater, without influencing the child’s decision. I let them choose, and kept a running tally in my head.

Given the opportunity to choose, the majority of the kids asked, politely, if they could have more than one treat. Of course, I replied. Help yourself. And they did, with grins and words of thanks.

At the end of the evening, here were the results. More fruit snacks were chosen than candy bars. The mini fruit roll ups were the night’s winner. Among kids that selected two snacks, if they picked up a candy bar, they also grabbed a fruit snack as well. And often, those who chose two treats selected two fruit snacks.

With the group of kids that came to my door, it appears that given a choice, most of them preferred a fruit snack. I felt ridiculously pleased with the trick or treat experiment! This gives me hope that a generation is rising that will be more health conscious.

Trick or treat? Treat…especially when it is a low sugar one. I have a year to see what other options are out there, for even healthier treats. Perhaps next year my choices will be fruit snacks…or cashews!

My Halloween costume…a Slytherin pin.

Movie Review: Wings of Desire

I appreciate when an interesting film is suggested, especially when the person mentions that the movie had a great impact. Heather, one of my Instagram connections, made such a mention several days ago. She included a still from the movie Wings of Desire and posted that she saw this film as a teen and it altered her life.

I was intrigued, and inspired. Those words created a powerful draw for me. This afternoon, as I allowed my knee to continue to recover by resting it, a movie seemed to be the perfect quiet activity. I rented this 1987 release online, via Amazon Video, and watched it on my iPhone.

Wings of Desire is a German film, with English subtitles, starring Bruno Ganz, Otto Sander, Solveig Dommartin, Curt Bois and Peter Falk. This fantasy drama was written and directed by Wim Wenders and carries a PG-13 rating. The film has a run time of 2 hours and 8 minutes.

In Berlin, angels Damiel (Ganz) and Cassiel (Sander) wander about the city, watching the residents as they live their lives. Invisible to all except for children and other angels, these beings are more than guardians, they are witnesses. They can hear the thoughts of humans, like thousands of radio programs playing at once. And although they cannot interfere with humans, or be heard if they speak, the angels often have a calming or encouraging effect on the troubled or depressed.

Cassiel is following an older man named Homer (Bois), who longs for peace. He is a storyteller. If he stops telling his stories, who will tell them, he wonders? When he stumbles, or feels winded, Cassiel steadies him and calms him with a light touch on the shoulder or back. Not every human responds to the help offered. Atop a building, Cassiel crouches near a suicidal man, laying his head on the man’s shoulder, willing him to stay. The man jumps anyway. Cassiel cries out in agony.

Damiel seems particularly fond of children, smiling at them as he walks the streets or perches high above the city. He stops to soothe a man hit by a car, and brings hope and a surge of courage to a despondent man riding the bus. Cassiel and Damiel meet daily to share stories from their journals. They communicate without speaking.

Peter Falk, as himself, arrives in Berlin to play a detective in a new film. Damiel is fascinated by the actor, as Peter senses the angel’s presence and speaks to him.

At a nearby, seedy circus a young trapeze artist, Marion (Dommartin) works to bring joy to customers through her art. The circus is shutting down early in the season though, the owners unable to pay their bills. There is only one performance left. Although she lives a life of creativity and freedom, Marion’s thoughts take her into fear about her future.

Damiel is most drawn to this young woman. He attends her performances, an invisible spectator in the crowd. In her trailer, he listens to her thoughts, hears her fearful questions, feels her determination to be who she wants to be. Marion’s grappling with life, and her journey of joys and sorrows, creates a longing in Damiel to be human, and to experience all that they do, including mortality.

This movie, filmed primarily in black and white, was achingly beautiful. The only time color was introduced was when we saw from a human’s perspective. As most of the story is told through Damiel, most of the movie is in black and white. I liked that cinematic decision. The angels spoke very little, although their thoughts were shared. Much was told by way of facial expressions and body language, and through the incessant thoughts of the humans around them. The lack of color played well in creating a starkness and sense of isolation among the humans.

And the humans were very isolated from each other. It was brilliant, hearing their thoughts. Although many of the people had carefully blank faces, their thoughts were a swirl of fears, anxieties, complaints and hopelessness. Sadly, how true this depiction is. How controlled by our thoughts we humans are. How fearful we are.

There is help, a world behind this world. I believe this with all my soul. I know it to be true. This powerful film not only reveals the extreme isolation that most people live with, it beautifully depicts that we are not actually alone. Unseen may be the witnesses to our lives, unless we have the believing hearts of children, but they are there, whispering hope in our ears, laying comforting hands on our shoulders. Our intuition alerts us that they are there. We get goosebumps. We feel a tingle of energy across our scalps. We feel courage.

There were so many things to love about this unusual movie. And if it seems familiar, the US film, City of Angels, was based on Wings of Desire. Watch this earlier one for the truths embedded in it.

“Time heals all, but what if time itself is the disease? Damiel

Watch it to feel compassion for humanity’s frailties and sufferings, and to feel hope for peace. Watch it to be encouraged that even when we appear to be struggling, alone and unseen, the Divine is surrounding us with witnesses who walk alongside, whether they are acknowledged, or not, thanked or not, believed in…or not.

Wings of Desire. I am grateful that this thought provoking movie came into my awareness.

Holmes Asylum for the Criminally Insane Part II

Last night’s blog post shared photos of the themed decor at the annual family Halloween party. Debbie, Ashley and Jon created the Holmes Asylum for the Criminally Insane, transforming their home from sprawling suburban to spooky institution. As always, they delighted us with their ingenuity and creativity.

Guests are encouraged to attend this special event in costume. Each year’s theme is announced 12 months ahead of time, during the current celebration. We’ve all had time to pick a character or historical figure to dress up as. Most of us researched our chosen person, to bring authenticity to our roles, which added to the fun.

Tonight, meet the inhabitants of the asylum, as the party attendees show off their costumes!

Jon as Sheldon Cooper…yeah his Mom’s had him tested, but…and Ashley as Sherlock Holmes’ sister Eurus.

Debbie as Abby Brewster and me as Martha Brewster, from Arsenic & Old Lace.

Greg as the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski. He nailed the role! When we left Kaleb made sure he took his parcel with him.

Roy as the Unabomber’s informant brother.

Pat (my mon) as a rather gleeful Lizzie Borden.

Linda as Sister Jude, in American Horror Story, and Nicole as Sweet Pea in Sucker Punch. The kids can dress up without following the theme. Kaleb is Groot, from Guardians of the Galaxy, Weston is Hamster Boy, and Lola is Princess Minnie.

The rest of Linda’s crew: London as Batgirl, Aralyn is Princess Ariel and Eric and Tosh are Asylum visitors!

Nate as Ed Gein, Adriel as the Zodiak Killer, there I am again, and Elissa is former nurse Annie Wilkes from the movie Misery.

Ethan is the 11th Doctor, from Doctor Who, just after he regenerated from Ten.

Lisa as Bellatrix, from the Harry Potter films, and Josh is a Juggalo.

Sheldon and the Doctor having fun!

Upstairs there was a “padded cell”, perfect for photo ops!

This happy group includes Aiden and Shane, first time visitors, in the back next to Debbie. Kathy is a Mad Doctor, Allison is Alex Forrest, from Fatal Attraction and her mom, Kelly, is Baby Jane, from Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?

Jerri and Steve are Nudists on Strike!

Christel as Angela from Sleepaway Camp and Bryan as John Doe from the thriller Se7en.

Lindsay as a Cult Follower and Cade as David Koresh, the Cult Leader.

Our yearly sibling photo! This is always a must have.

What an incredible evening. We missed family members who ended up having to work or couldn’t make it for other reasons. I enjoyed chatting and laughing with those who were there. Our family is unique in that we don’t mind taking our creativity, humor and fun beyond the edges and outside the lines. We aren’t morbid or dark. Think Addams Family! We are quirky and happy to be so, and when we get together, we have a great time.

Again I have deep appreciation and gratitude for Debbie, Ashley, and Jon and also Christel and Bryan, for all their hard work in creating a highly successful Halloween party. The work continues for them as the undecorating begins.

They are dreaming up new ideas as they enter the planning stage for next year’s party….Carnevil. I’ve already decided on a costume…

Holmes Asylum for the Criminally Insane Part I

Before you wonder where in the world I was this evening, let me add the qualifying words “family Halloween party”! This was the big night, the annual get together hosted by my sister Debbie, my niece Ashley and her husband Jon, in their lovely house in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. Each year this creative and hard working trio transforms their home into a work of art that rivals any professionally done spook house.

The theme changes each year and the guests arrive, dressed accordingly. This event is so huge that I now divide the accompanying blog post into two. One focuses on the decorations and staged rooms. The second one captures the party goers in their fun costumes.

This year’s theme was an Asylum for the Criminally Insane, with the house becoming that dreadful institution. Attendees were encouraged to dress as fictional, or historical, people who would be at home in such a bleak and stark place. You will meet all of them tomorrow night.

Tonight…enter Holmes Asylum for the Criminally Insane…if you dare…

So much effort goes into this party. Debbie, Ashley and Jon spend a good portion of the year making their decor. Most of what you are about to see is hand crafted.

The mood is set from the outside of the house, inward.

Looks like things went awry in the office!

There are amazing decorations and interesting vignettes, and a quotes game to challenge the brain. The items on the Lost & Found table hint at who they belonged to. So clever!

You never know what’s going to be lurking down this hallway…

…just don’t let her out!

Sure, the “morgue” can double as a dining room! I took the photo too soon. There were lots of yummy snacks, including treats the plant based eaters could enjoy. My family is so cool and gracious.

This “nurse” was incredibly creepy!

What a fun idea…candies in pill dispensers.

A patient’s room. Crayons were provided so that we could write messages on the walls.

Surprises everywhere!

The prop in the pic below represents a scene from the movie Arsenic & Old Lace.

There are so many details throughout the house that I could wander around for hours, examining everything and connecting vignettes and props to movies, stories and history. As usual, Debbie, Ashley and Jon created a rich atmosphere, full of fun and spookiness, for all of us to play in. Every year I think they could make money with their off the charts Halloween parties.

And yet, they spend time, money and energy doing this for their family and friends. Why? Because they enjoy expressing their creativity in this way. I am grateful and I look forward to this party every year.

Stop back by the blog tomorrow…and see which criminally insane people were admitted to the Holmes Asylum!

Birthday Dinner & Shopping with Aubrey

This evening it was Aubrey’s turn to be treated to a birthday dinner and a shopping trip. She will be nine years old on Halloween day. I began this tradition several years ago, of taking each of my five grandchildren out for a special evening to celebrate their birth. It has become a wonderful time of sharing and listening and being together, one that the kids anticipate and that I do as well.

Aubrey selected Chicken Mary’s, in Pittsburg Kansas, as her dinner destination. Normally these outings just include the grandchild and me. Because of my knee slipping out of place yesterday, Greg volunteered to join us and drive. Aubrey was delighted.

I’ve never seen this child eat as much as she did at our early dinner. Chicken Mary’s was a good choice for her, with their home style meals and plenty of food. I was able to enjoy a salad with the chicken on the side, so that Aubrey could take it home for her lunch tomorrow.

Back in Joplin, Greg dropped Aubrey and me off at the mall for the birthday shopping, promising to pick us up when we were finished. This is the part of the celebration that the kids most look forward to. I give them a specific amount to spend, and they can use the cash to purchase what they want or they can save it. They typically spend most of it, and that is perfectly fine.

I can tell my granddaughter is getting older. This is the first time she has chosen the mall for her birthday shopping trip, rather than the toy store. She wanted girl stuff…jewelry, a billfold, a unicorn, small items for her school backpack. And an experienced shopper she is. I loved watching her examine items she was interested in, looking for the wow factor, weighing the cost of the item against the gratification. She kept up an amusing chatter the whole time.

This girl loves her fake fashion glasses!

What an almost nine year old girl’s shopping basket contains.

Aubrey settled on Claire’s Boutique, and struck gold here. A big sale meant her birthday cash went further. We visited several other stores in the mall, but this one drew her back. The young female clerk did an amazing job of assisting Aubrey, and every other customer who walked into the shop, with genuine warmth and obvious joy. She and Aubrey connected well over their discussion of animals.

This child, who is rapidly approaching her teens, has a big heart and such profound insights. In her I see echoes of myself, and Aubrey likes to discuss all the ways we are alike. In her I see a boldness and a fearlessness that has taken me years to cultivate. In me she sees a woman who tries new things and makes her dreams come true. She believes anything is possible, and that she can become whatever she wants to become. I agree with her.

At the girls’ clothing store, Justice, Aubrey discovered a writing table set up, with the question posted, What makes your family special? She carefully wrote her answer on the star shaped note and stuck it to the display.

LOVE she wrote. Love makes her family special. Love fills Aubrey’s heart and overflows to touch her family members and her friends and even the kind clerk she just met at Claire’s. Love is woven into her very soul. Aubrey receives it, accepts it and just as easily offers it to others.

Happy birthday, a few days early, sweet child. I appreciate the love that you so freely bestow upon me. Someday I hope you can understand how much healing you have brought into my heart and soul, just by being you. I love you!

In Love with Me…But Not Today

We all have a certain friend, or even a family member, that we love dearly, and yet if anyone in our little group is going to act up, we know it will be him or her. We sigh over misbehavior and misdeeds. We wonder if change will ever take place. We roll our eyes. And yet, when things are good they are very good. We forgive all.

I have a body part that is just like that. When she is good, she is very good. And when she acts up, she grieves my entire body.

If you have been following my healing journey for a while, you will recall that my left leg, whom I call Darling in both tenderness and vexation, is my wayward “friend”. The sciatica that I suffered with for 22 years most greatly affected my left leg. When I began walking with a cane, it was because Darling couldn’t bear weight any longer.

In 2014 I made peace with my seemingly contrary leg by shifting the way I perceived her. I exchanged frustration for gratitude. In spite of the pain and stiffness, my leg was doing her best to get me around. The last 15 months it has been beautiful and amazing to experience healing throughout my body, and especially in my left leg.

This morning, having just arisen, with a full day ahead, my second step resulted in a mishap. My left knee shifted with a loud pop, while my leg tried to continue in an altogether different direction. The result was immediate pain…and an inability to walk.

My first response was strong. No! No, no, no…no! I had too much to do today. My upcoming Friday and Saturday were full as well. I didn’t have time for this.

And sadly, my second response was frustration and disappointment. The internal chatter with my left leg went something like this: It’s always you, isn’t it?! Always the trouble maker, aren’t you? We don’t act up anymore! Remember? We don’t do PAIN.


My day changed. All of my attention now was focused on easing my discomfort and being able to walk. Everything else would wait. I opened to Divine guidance with a plea…Now what? It wasn’t a return of the sciatica, thankfully. This was somehow a slip of my knee joint. Ice came to mind. Ice to prevent swelling and numb pain, alternated with heat to keep my muscles, which tend to become too tight around my knee joints, from locking up.

Gradually my frustration dissipated. This was not the day I had planned. However, it was the day I was given. I accepted it. I chose to follow the guidance I was being given and stay open to what I could learn from the experience. I chose to practice deep self love with my Darling left leg.

Along with ice and heat, I used Young Living Essential Oils on my knee, a blend of Panaway and Frankincense. Because the pain was making me feel nauseous, I inhaled Peppermint oil and added a drop directly onto my stomach.

I used my Life Changing Foods book to look up foods that are good for easing knee pain. They are: figs, kiwis, berries, cruciferous veggies (especially red cabbage), leafy greens, onions and turmeric. As it “happened”, I had most of those on hand. In fact, I had sautéed onion and red cabbage in the fridge. I simply needed to prepare a sweet potato for a tasty and beneficial lunch.

My recliner became my office, my creative studio, my contemplation spot and my reading chair. And it became the place where I forgave my wild child left leg and just loved her and loved on her.

Reading in Thomas Moore’s newly released book, Ageless Soul, I was struck by the appropriateness of his words:

“Fighting anything makes it into an enemy and then it looks worse than it is.”

Ah, yes. Tears filled my eyes. Darling and I have certainly had our differences over the years. And she totally hijacked my day. But an enemy? No. She needed extra attention today. She got it, in the only way that would slow me down and give me pause.

And gradually, throughout the day, my left leg has responded to the care and love. I can walk. I have a limp, at the moment. However, I know this is temporary. I even managed a very short walk late this afternoon, so as not to disrupt my 30 Day Walking Challenge.

I’m not sure why my knee shifted so painfully today, however I am staying open to discovering more about the cause. This is not a set back on my healing journey. It is an opportunity to go deeper into health and wellness, acceptance and patience. It is a time to show great love to the most wayward, stubborn and plucky part of my body.

We’ve got this Darling. We are in this journey together. I love you.

Manga Three Quarters View

This evening I enjoyed a return to the Manga Artist’s Workbook, for another lesson on cartooning.

Take a look at my three quarters view sketch!

The workbook provides detailed, easy to follow instructions, and the outline of the head and face, using basic shapes.

I began by adding the guide lines so that I could correctly place the eyes, ear, hint of a nose and simple mouth.

With those features in place, I erased my guide lines. Using the ear and eye brows, I added the hairline.

While the mouth and nose are left as suggestions, rather than completely finished features, the eyes get more details added. I blocked in the hair.

Reflections are added to the eyes, to create interest and depth, along with pupils that are darkened at the top of the eyes. Dark lines suggest eyelashes. And the eyebrows get filled in. The hair is drawn in, with more detail, giving this teen girl a shaggy looking cut.

This is what I loved about tonight’s cartooning exercise…for the first time I sketched very quickly and confidently. I am getting the hang of this. I didn’t over think the process or labor over it for long.

And that makes me smile. A month ago, I was inspired with an idea that I wasn’t sure I could bring into reality. But the truth I believe is being proved in my life. If inspiration gifts me with an idea, it is because I am capable of creating it.

I only have to ask for guidance. Sometimes the answer arrives unexpectedly, and looks like a manga workbook with detailed lessons in it. Soon, I’ll be creating a storyboard. By then I’ll have the ability to create this cartoon story that offers a peek into my magical life.

Black & White Photo Challenge Completed

I completed the seven day photo challenge today. The instructions were simple: post seven black & white photos of my life, over seven days. No people were to be included in the pic, and no explanation was to accompany it. Each day, someone new was challenged to play along.

The challenge was easy to do, and yet for me it was intriguing and thought provoking.

I quickly understood omitting people from the photos. We all tend to fill our pics with our family members and our friends, or capture selfies in front of iconic locations. There’s nothing wrong with doing those things. The game becomes a challenge as we seek to capture moments that represent our lives, without the people in them that can define who we are…parent, grandparent, spouse, significant other, child, friend, boss, worker. It was challenging, and liberating, to find ways to creatively express my life, without people in my photos, and without explanatory captions beneath them.

I enjoyed and appreciated rising to such a challenge!

Here are the seven photos I posted, plus a bonus pic added so I could challenge additional people. Honoring the game rules, I will not caption them or explain them.

And the bonus photo:

No explanations for my photos, however I can say that these black & white photos tell stories about my life, and where I am, currently, on my journey. This week I’ve come to appreciate the beauty of capturing moments devoid of color. The eyes are allowed to explore the photo, and interpret the story, without being distracted by colors or focusing in on the most vivid object.

I found a quote that captures this experience perfectly, although I could not find the source. It is included below, at the end of my post.

A movie brings its own spin to a story. Reading allows the imagination to create the characters and the scenes, providing room for a multitude of interpretations. There’s room in my life for books and movies, and their different ways of telling stories. And there is room in my creative life to broaden my photo taking skills. I intend to make use of more black & white photography.

Sweet Potatoes with Braised Cabbage

This time of year, with its cooler, shorter days, I appreciate food that comforts and nurtures, without compromising my health. This colorful and nutritious meal is so satisfying, and it is not only full of flavor but full of health benefits as well.

This recipe comes from Life-Changing Foods, by Anthony William. In his second book, Anthony writes about 50 of the best foods to eat to heal and maintain health and wellness. Each chapter lists the benefits of the food and what conditions and symptoms it eases, and there are even sections on how that particular food provides emotional and spiritual support. For every food listed, there is a wonderful recipe to try. This book has been invaluable to me.

Sweet potatoes promote productive bacteria in the stomach, small intestine and colon, while starving out unproductive bacteria and fungi. These more colorful cousins of regular potatoes enhance the body’s production of vitamin B12. They are also packed with carotenoids, which are extremely powerful and protect against a host of cancers.

Sweet potatoes also rid the body of unusable, cancer causing estrogen that interferes with hormone function. And if insomnia is an issue, this potato will aid in a sound night’s sleep.

I’ve always enjoyed sweet potatoes, which made me an oddity as a child! As an adult I quit adding additional sweetness, in the form of brown sugar or marshmallows, nor do I douse my orange spuds in butter. I most often eat a baked sweet potato plain, with sprinkles of sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper. However, this easy to prepare recipe is a wonderful way to dress up my sweet potato in a healthy way.

These are so delicious. I love the tangy sauce that tops the stuffed sweet potato. Anthony writes that if you need some coddling, there is nothing more comforting than a baked sweet potato. I agree!

And this comfort food will not have an adverse effect on my body. What I have known in my life as comfort food rarely provided anything more a sugar rush or an excuse to overeat and twinges of guilt. Not so with the humble and benefit packed sweet potato.

This recipe will be prepared frequently this fall and winter.

I am an Amazon Affiliate and may make a commission on items purchased through my links, at no extra cost to you. Thank you for purchasing this item, or any other items, through my Amazon links!

Sunday Saunter

I love the slower pace of Sundays. Typically, this day is devoted to self care, and catching up on rest and laundry, while getting ahead on food prep for the week. On this bright day, made cooler by storms that rolled through overnight, the theme for the weekend continued. It was a family afternoon.

Grandson Joey finished the football season with his final game. This year’s super bowls were held in the little community of Carl Junction, northwest of Joplin. Family gathered in the stadium to cheer Joey and the Tigers to victory.

Conveniently, my daughter Elissa lives in this town. We made plans to walk together after the game. During this 30 Day Walking Challenge, one of my intentions was to walk with each of my grown children and with my grandson Dayan, who is away at college.

I’ve realized that intention. I walked with daughter Adriel and her husband through their neighborhood at dusk. I drove to Dayan’s college city and walked the campus with him. Friday night I walked with my son and his family in Exeter, around a fun farm which included a corn maze that we got hopelessly lost in. That adventure surely increased my steps for the day!

This afternoon my daughter Elissa, and her two chihuahuas, Beatrice and Agnes, walked with Greg and me through her neighborhood.

Talking with my daughter earlier in the week, she mentioned that there was a trail near her house. Our destination was that trail. Elissa said she had no idea where the trail led. My response was that we could discover that, together.

The dark clouds moved eastward, freeing the sun to deliver delicious and appreciated warmth. It turned into ideal walking conditions. The dogs were excited to join us, and being a small breed with short legs, we let them set the pace.

We easily found the well cared for trail, just a couple of blocks from the house. The gravel path heads west toward the Kansas state line, bypassing the high school football stadium where games continued. I looked this trail up later and realized it is the last section of the Ruby Jack Trail. The Ruby Jack begins in Carthage, and continues west 16 miles along an old train track bed, culminating at the Kansas line.

We enjoyed our walk, which with the pups busy checking out interesting scents, became more of a stroll. This pace was perfect for appreciating the beauty around us. I love how even common grasses put out tasseled stalks in the fall. These slender stalks rippled along the edges of the path, the shorter days turning the grasses shades of rust and coral and brown.

As we walked I thought about the parallels between what Elissa said about not knowing where the path led, and life’s journey. As I walk in life, I may know the general direction I am headed. However, I don’t know where the path is going, ultimately, or what is around the bend in the road.

I am okay with not knowing. What is important is that I trust the journey itself, and trust that all on this path is for my highest good. I am thankful for those who quite literally walk with me. And I deepen my growth during those times when I walk alone.

During this walking challenge, which concludes in six days, it has been my privilege to have companions. As it happens, they are my life companions too. I am grateful to share the journey with them.