Tolkien Reading Day 2018

When I remembered this morning that today is Tolkien Reading Day, I knew just how to celebrate. I’ve enjoyed this unique holiday in the past, although it’s been a couple of years since I mindfully took part in the day.

Tolkien Reading Day 2018

Tolkien Reading Day is observed yearly, on March 25, the date in Middle Earth when the hobbits Frodo and Sam destroyed the One Ring. This special day was organized by the Tolkien Society, in 2003, to encourage fans to celebrate and promote the life and works of JRR Tolkien by reading favorite passages from his books.

Each year the society chooses a different theme. For 2018 the theme is Home and Hearth: The Many Ways of Being a Hobbit. That’s a theme I can wholeheartedly embrace! It fits right in with my hygge lifestyle.

Tolkien Reading Day 2018The hobbit Bilbo Baggins, as portrayed by Martin Freeman in the 2012 film, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

I know hobbits. I have long been a fan of JRR Tolkien’s books, and then later the blockbuster films by Peter Jackson in the Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit trilogy. Hobbits are gentle, peaceful folks, who love good food and drink, afternoon tea, gardening, and smoking their pipes. They celebrate a simple, joy filled life, and appreciate a comfortable chair beside a crackling fire, a good book in hand.

Home and hearth and a well stocked pantry are important to the wee people who live in hobbit holes that tunnel into the ground. Their homes are not full of dirt and worms and oozy smells though. Oh no. Hobbits create comfort and beauty in their homes by using natural materials, wood and stones primarily, and an abundance of candles, fireplaces and round doors and windows on the exterior earth walls.

Tolkien Reading Day 2018Tolkien Reading Day 2018

It was a bit cool to garden today, so I planned an afternoon tea, in honor of Professor Tolkien and the hobbits. I took great care in setting up tea beside my reading chair in my studio. Because hobbits love nature and candlelight so, I carried in my blooming purple hyacinths and a plain white candle.

I prepared a cup of steaming hot herbal tea…nettle leaf today…and a batch of wild blueberry scones. This was attempt number four, in creating a gluten, dairy, egg and refined sugar free scone that tastes good! I believe I finally succeeded.

Tolkien Reading Day 2018

I don’t have a fireplace but I was quite pleased with my cozy corner in my creative studio. Bilbo and Frodo would be pleased, albeit concerned about the lack of a feast. My cup of tea and healthy scone were perfect for me. Sunlight filtered in through the wooden blinds, creating a cheery atmosphere.

In keeping with the theme, I chose to read the first chapter in The Hobbit, the book that began the adventures in Middle Earth. I had the soundtrack from The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring playing quietly on my iPod. I loved that peaceful hour, reading, sipping tea, nibbling on a scone.

Tolkien Reading Day 2018

My cat Shy Boy sensed my quiet joy apparently. He settled in my lap, content to be held while I read about Bilbo, Gandalf, Thorin Oakenshield and his company of dwarves. I felt nostalgia as the story began. These dear characters are so familiar to me.

JRR Tolkien has had a tremendous impact on my life through his stories. The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales…these stories are about transformation, redemption and becoming. I found myself within the stories of Middle Earth, and discovered more about who I am and about my own journey. I appreciated the opportunity today to revisit Middle Earth and pause in reflection for a while.

I always wanted to be elvish, like Arwen in The Lord of the Rings. She was beautiful, ethereal, magical and willing to sacrifice her immortality for the love of Aragorn. I think I am actually more like Bilbo. I love many of the same things that he does…gardens and tea time, coziness and good books, being in nature and celebrating with friends.

And like Bilbo, who preferred to explore the world by looking at maps while in his armchair, something awoke in me as it did in him. A great longing for adventure stirred. And life shifted to accommodate that desire.

“As they (the dwarves) sang, the hobbit felt the love of beautiful things made by hand and by cunning and by magic moving through him, a fierce and a jealous love, the desire of the hearts of dwarves. Then something Tookish woke up inside him, and he wished to go and see the great mountains, and hear the pine trees and the waterfalls, and explore the caves, and wear a sword instead of a walking-stick.”

And so he went on an adventure, that changed his life. And so have I.

Tolkien Reading Day 2018

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Journey 265: Hobbit Day 2015

I discovered this awesome holiday last year, during my Year of Firsts. This day, September 22, is recognized as the birthday of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins, uncle and nephew Hobbits, from JRR Tolkien’s Middle Earth sagas. Yesterday kicked off Tolkien Week, and there are all kinds of delightful celebrations taking place throughout the upcoming week. 


In honor of these two courageous Hobbits, I listened to the soundtracks of the three Hobbit movies as I ran errands today. The music of Howard Shore not only stirs my soul, it triggers my memory so that scenes from the films unfold in my mind as I listen. Such epic stories, brought to life by the brilliant Peter Jackson. My life has been enlarged because of the unusual partnership of Tolkien and Jackson. I am forever grateful.

Last year I concluded Hobbit Day with a Icing on the Cake flavored ice cream cone. I didn’t want the sugar today. My celebration took a wonderful turn when I came across a post on Middle Earth News. They shared the following quote, from chapter three of Fellowship of the Ring: 

“In the evening Frodo gave his farewell feast: it was quite small, just a dinner for himself and his four helpers. When they had sung many songs, and talked of many things they had done together, they toasted Bilbo’s birthday, and they drank his health and Frodo’s together according to Frodo’s custom. Then they went out for a sniff of air, and glimpse of the stars, and then they went to bed.” 

And there was my journey for the evening, right there. I didn’t have a feast or sing but I hummed along today with the music from the movies. I chose a non-alcoholic drink to toast Bilbo and Frodo, creating an unsweet iced tea with luscious fresh strawberries and blackberries added. 


I took my drink out into the backyard garden, in the dark, for a “sniff of air and a glimpse of the stars”. In the quiet, surrounded by warm air scented with herbs and flowers, seranaded by tree frogs,  I couldn’t imagine a more Hobbit  like space in which to offer a toast. Those earthy folk valued growing things and food and drink and simplicity. 

Looking up, my glimpse of the stars was limited, as clouds covered most of the sky. The moon, hazy in her nightclothes, was the only object I could see in the sky. Good enough! I took a sip of tea, and raised my glass in tribute. “Happy birthday Bilbo and Frodo.” I smiled in the darkness. My life has been so influenced by these two Hobbits, adventurers who discovered who they were and what they were capable of as they journeyed. Their courage and wisdom and the friendships that they formed have provided inspiration for my own journey. Yes, they are fictional characters. No matter. Some of my favorite people are not flesh and blood yet live boldly in my imagination nevertheless. Long may they dwell there and live on in future generations. 


Journey 84: Tolkien Reading Day

Tolkien Reading Day

Today, March 25, is celebrated each year by the Tolkien Society, as a day set aside to honor JRR Tolkien’s life and work by reading passages from his books. The Society began this practice in 2003. March 25th was chosen because in the Middle Earth history, that date marks the downfall of Sauron with the destruction of the one ring.

Somehow, this special day has escaped my notice, until this year. I was delighted to discover the celebration last week and looked forward to spending time reading in one of my Tolkien books. I had originally intended to read in the Silmarillion, a collection of stories that tells the history of Middle Earth before the time depicted in The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I realized late this afternoon that each year has a different theme, for Tolkien Reading Day. This year’s theme is Friendship.

Í chose to read instead from The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, near the end of the book. The chapter I chose is titled Many Partings which tells of the breaking of the Fellowship. Cozy inside while storms moved through the area, a cup of hot tea nearby, I enjoyed my soulful journey back to Middle Earth.

In the final Lord of the Rings movie, we last see the Fellowship together at Minas Tirith, the White City, shortly after Aragorn has been crowned king. The next scene we see is one of the Hobbits returning to the Shire, riding in as princes, grown and changed from the Hobbits who excitedly began their adventure together 13 months before.

In the book, there are several chapters between those two scenes. In Many Partings the Fellowship leaves Minas Tirith as a “great and fair company.” Queen Arwen accompanies her King and husband. Legolas and Gimli continue to ride together on their horse. Eomer bears home the body of his uncle, King Theoden, who fell in battle. Eowyn and her betrothed, Faramir are part of the company. As is Elrond and his sons, and Galadriel and her husband, Celeborn. The Hobbit friends ride their ponies. And Gandalf, as always, oversees the whole group. These are the key characters from the story, from the Fellowship, minus Boromir, who fell protecting the Hobbits before the Fellowship broke into three groups.

They have long journeyed together, and for a short time, they continue to. Back in Rohan, King Theoden is laid to rest, in a great and honoring ceremony. Eomer is crowned king and his sister Eowyn and Faramir announce their upcoming marriage. It is a very touching moment when Eowyn looks into Aragorn’s eyes and  says, “Wish me joy, my liege-lord and healer.” With such grace, he replies, “I have wished thee joy ever since I first saw thee. It heals my heart to see thee now in bliss.” Arwen remains in Gondor, to await her husband’s return. She withdraws into the hills to speak words of love and sorrow to her father, Elrond, whom she will not see again. Choosing to be mortal, she gives Frodo the gift of passing into the West, when the time comes.

The first good-byes, the first parting, and the rest of the party continue on. Stopping by Isengard, the group checks on Tree Beard, an ancient Ent. Merry and Pippen especially are sad at this good-bye, as they spent much time with this strange fellow who looks like a tree. Legolas and Gimli depart, set on an adventure of their own, their friendship entering into legend.  A short distance beyond, Aragorn takes his leave of the Fellowship. This was a difficult parting, as Aragorn had been the guide for the Hobbits through many perils, and their friend.

Near Rivendell the Lady Galadriel and Lord Celeborn turned toward their home, knowing that their time in Middle Earth is drawing to a close. At last arriving in Rivendell, the Hobbits rest for a time, reunited with a very elderly Bilbo, who sleeps and wakes to eat and visit for short periods of time. Frodo fears he will not see his uncle again, but Elrond assures him that in about a year, he will personally escort Bilbo to the Shire.

The chapter ends with only Gandalf and the Hobbits continuing on, bound for the Shire. There was great sadness in the many partings, and yet what amazing, life changing adventures the Fellowship shared.

I was very thoughtful as I read this chapter. I am so very grateful for all who have traveled with me on my own journey, serving as my friends, as my guides, as my companions. Some I have already said good-bye to. Some still walk alongside me. There are those who were destined to walk with me for a short time and now, no longer do. I am thankful for those traveling companions as they challenged me, made me grow, or offered encouragement along the sometimes difficult path. I am who I am, because of the journey, and because of those who have walked with me and those who continue to. I know there will be more partings. It is the nature of the journey. The nature of life. I want to hold all in gratitude.

In honor of this great author, and the friendship theme, I offer these words of Tolkien, as spoken by Elrond as the Fellowship departed from Rivendell the first time:

“You will meet many foes, some open, and some disguised; and you may find friends along your way when you least look for it.”

Tolkien Reading Day Frodo

Journey 3: Tolkien Birthday Toast 2015

Tolkien Toast

What a fun journey today, into an enchanting event celebrating the birth of one of my favorite authors, JRR Tolkien, who was born on this day, January 3, 1892. Because of the recent release of the final Hobbit movie, I have a very high awareness of all things Tolkien and Middle Earth. That awareness zeroed in on this special event, which I have never celebrated before.

Every year, on January 3, the Tolkien Society encourages fans from around the world to celebrate Tolkien’s birthday with a simple toast. At 9:00 pm, local time, well wishers raise a glass of their drink of choice and toast the birthday of this beloved author. The celebration is simple:

Stand, raise a glass with a beverage, non-alcoholic is fine, and say the words, “The Professor”, before taking a sip. Sit and enjoy the rest of the drink.

Many Tolkien Societies, called smials, meet at local pubs to dine together and raise a toast in the Professor’s honor. A smial is a Tolkien group that meets regularly, named after the word Tolkien used for Hobbit homes. I checked. There are smials all over the globe, including Indonesia, London, New York City and Romania.

Tolkien Toast not all who wander are lost

Tolkien is best known for his collection of fantasy literature that includes The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion. With his vivid imagination and a passion for languages, Tolkien created a whole world, Middle Earth, populated by various races including men, elves, hobbits, and dwarves. The wizards were the protectors of this world. There was good in Middle Earth, and great beauty. And darkness that coiled into evil, challenging the light. Tolkien not only birthed an entire world, but created complex languages for each race of beings. The movies adapted from Tolkien’s books are amazing…the works of Tolkien are extraordinary, with the power to change lives.

I loved raising my cup of hot tea in a toast to The Professor at 9:00 pm this evening. For the occasion, I used some of my Scottish Tea, which is precious to me now as the supply dwindles away. Tolkien has certainly touched my life. The journey I have been on the last 15 years has been strongly influenced by this English author, poet and professor. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think on his works, his quotes, his characters or the movies. Happy birthday, Professor! And thank you.

Tolkien Toast little by little

Day 305: National Author’s Day

National Authors Day

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

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

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

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

tolkien quote

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

Elizabeth Gilbert Quote from Eat Pray Love

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

Byron Katie Quote 2ee

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

Day 265: Hobbit Day

Hobbit Day Lego Bilbo and Frodo e

What a fun week for me! Yesterday launched the start of Tolkien Week. And today, September 22, is Hobbit Day. I am a huge Tolkien fan, appreciating all of his literary works including The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. Until this year, I didn’t realize these special celebrations existed, and yet both events have been recognized since 1978. My increased awareness of experiencing first things has brought all kinds of interesting firsts to me. I am delighted.

For my first today, I celebrated Hobbit Day, which is the birthday of both Bilbo Baggins and Frodo Baggins, fictional characters in Tolkien’s Middle Earth saga. Bilbo is Frodo’s uncle and both are Hobbits, residing in Hobbiton in the Shire. Although I read Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit years ago, the stories really captivated me when Peter Jackson fleshed out the characters and brought them to life on the big screen.

The Lord of the Rings, Fellowship of the Rings begins with a party. It is Bilbo’s eleventy first birthday. According to Tolkien, Bilbo was born in the year 2890 and Frodo in the year 2968 in the Third Age. While Frodo, the ring bearer, is featured in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, with Bilbo playing a minor role, it is Bilbo who reaches unlikely hero status while on an adventure in The Hobbit. The recent releases of Jackson’s Hobbit movies, starring Martin Freeman as Bilbo, has brought Bilbo’s story back into popularity.

Hobbit Day e

I am a fan of both Hobbits. Although I favored Frodo until I followed Biblo’s dragon fighting adventure in The Hobbit movies. Hobbits are gentle, peace loving folk from the Shire, who never cease to surprise those who encounter them. The courage of Hobbits is central, and crucial, to both stories.

What fun to celebrate this day. Because it is also National Ice Cream Cone Day, I enjoyed a fun scoop of Icing on the Cake ice cream on a sugar cone, to wish both Hobbits a Happy Birthday. I also spent time in Middle Earth lore, reading about both Hobbits and looking up some of my favorite quotes. In my quest for pictures and quotes, I came across several great ideas for celebrating Tolkien week, which will be featured as firsts during this week. I even found a great photo contest to enter called My Own Shire Photo Contest. There are three categories that I can enter, including a Garden Category. So perfect for me!

Hobbit Day and National Ice Cream Cone Day e

It is going to be a special week of celebrating, Middle Earth style. I look forward to firsts around the stories and characters that have been life changing for me. Here are two of my favorite quotes, one from each Hobbit, in honor of them and their day:

“He often used to say there was only one Road; that it was like a great river; its springs were at every doorstep and every path was its tributary. ‘It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door,’ he used to say. ‘You step into the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no telling where you might be swept off to.’” Frodo Baggins, speaking of Bilbo

“All this is gold does not glitter, Not all those who wander are lost; The old that is strong does not, Deep roots are not reached by the frost. From the ashes a fire shall be woken, A light from the shadows shall spring; Renewed shall be blade that was broken, The crownless again shall be king.” Poem in honor of Aragorn by Bilbo Baggins

Hobbit Day Bilbo and Frodo e

Day 245: The Hobbit Fan Fellowship Contest

hobbit fan fellowship contest e

I am a fan of the works of JRR Tolkien. It had been years since I had read the Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit, when Peter Jackson brought the stories to life on the big screen. I fell in love again with Middle Earth as I watched the first movie in the Lord of the Rings series. I read the books again, all of Tolkien’s books on Middle Earth. I watched each movie over and over as I waited, patiently, for the next installment to arrive in the theater. I found huge pieces of myself, my identity, within those films and books. I grew, with the characters, as they journeyed and I journeyed as well.

When I heard rumors that The Hobbit was being considered for a trilogy of films, I didn’t think Peter Jackson could do it again. I was not as big a fan of The Hobbit, since some of my favorite characters didn’t appear in this book and presumably wouldn’t in the film, but I welcomed a chance to return to Middle Earth. I was wrong about Peter Jackson. He so beautifully captured the story. The special effects were stunning. I fell in love with the warrior race of dwarves, which until The Hobbit movie, had been my least favorite characters in the LOTR films.

This December, the final movie in The Hobbit trilogy will be released. A part of me can’t wait. However, being familiar with the book, another part of me has been very content with the year long wait to the finale. I know it will be a deeply moving, gripping film. I will be the viewer in the back of the theater, sitting stoically by myself, watching the inevitable unfold on the large screen.

Peter Jackson is brilliant. He is gifted. He has created excitement for the upcoming release and found a way to give back at the same time. He has launched The Hobbit Fan Fellowship Contest, which I entered for my first. This isn’t just a share or like a page and get your name entered for a chance to win contest. This is done Middle Earth style, where characters and entrants discover who they are and what they are made of as they journey. This contest offers a challenge, four of them, actually, with one given out each week. Each part of the challenge must be met, for a chance to win. And the prize? It is very worthy of the challenges. The winner gets the opportunity to journey to New Zealand, the cinematic Middle Earth, to experience the epic conclusion to The Hobbit trilogy in the first official screening of the movie with director, Peter Jackson.

Yes, I am a fan. Ask anyone who knows me moderately well. But a year ago, before this amazing year of firsts, I never would have entered such a contest. I would have convinced myself that I had no chance. I would have balked at the challenges, which push me out of my comfort zone. Challenge One was easy enough: write a virtual postcard and send it to Peter Jackson, sharing what I would do on my prize winning trip to Middle Earth. Challenge Two, which I completed tonight, was to take a quiz about the locations used in New Zealand for the filming of The Hobbit movies. This one would normally give me pause. I am very familiar with the scenes in the movie, yet not so familiar with New Zealand. I don’t like to take a quiz if I know I am going to fail. I am grateful for Google and the opportunity to learn, via computer, about the breathtaking landscapes in that gorgeous country. I answered 9 out of 10 questions correctly.

Challenge Three scares me. I must create a two minute video to send to the judges, sharing my musings and recollections of my experiences of The Hobbit movies. Reading that would have caused me to pass on this contest, before this year. I am very self conscious in front of a camera, especially when it is video taping. I am learning to move beyond that, this year. I love that this challenge is a true challenge for me, pushing me. I will share from my heart and not over think this part of the contest. Challenge Four involves sharing exclusive art, mine or someone else’s, it doesn’t specify. I perhaps should be wondering more about this one!

I am grateful for the opportunity to enter this contest, and show my deep appreciation and love for these life shifting stories and films. And I am grateful for the challenges that move me beyond my comfort zone and further along in my journey. As Bilbo Baggins, the Hobbit hero of these films, says later to Frodo, “It’s a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” Perhaps, on a powerful journey, with no promise of safety, but the guarantee of adventure and growth and the discovery of who I am created to be.

the hobbit the battle of five armies poster e