Saturday, September 19, 2020

Small Things

 In no particular order, here are six small things that uplifted, inspired or encouraged me this week.

1. Collect Memories, Not Stuff

2. New to me online shop and blog, Calico and Twine

3. The Autumn edition of The Cultivating Project is up!

4. 27 Movies For A Cozy Night In (Issue #25 of Bella Grace is on the newsstand!)

5. Currently reading Liturgy of the Ordinary.*

6. And this . . . 

I believe life is better 
when you turn up the music,
eat too much chocolate, 
walk barefoot,
talk about weird stuff,
with weird people, 
hug strangers and go on adventures.
Those things won't make life perfect,
but they sure make this strange life more fun.


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Sunday, September 13, 2020

My Core Values

“Your beliefs become your thoughts. Your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions.

Your actions become your values. Your values become your destiny.”

- Mahatma Ghandi

Remember way back in February when I wrote this post? Well in that I mentioned that I had recently completed Kelsey Van Kirk's Core Values Assessment: Life On Purpose In Alignment With What Matters.  You can listen to the podcast by following this link, but the download will just take you to an error page, so I'm not sure what's up with that. I tried to see if there was a different link, but aside from signing up with your email or joining her FB group, I don't really see a way to access it. If you want to do an assessment yourself I found this from Family Life which is almost identical. 

Anyhoo! In my original post I had mentioned that I would come back later and elaborate on what I discovered in working through the assessment. Nothing like taking my time, right? But to be honest with you, until this weekend when I was working through eliminating some files on my computer, I had forgotten all about it. So with that, I'm going to be writing a series of posts over the next several weeks and talking through my personal process and sharing what I learned. I'm actually really glad that I came across this again because along with never sharing what I found with you, I likewise never really did anything with it!  Please tell me I'm not the only one who downloads resources from the internet and then proceeds to completely forget about them? But anyway, let me get on with what I learned.

To begin with, it helps to know what core values are. I had a general idea before I even worked through the assessment, but I found Kelsey's explanation helps to explain it better than I could.

Core values are the most important fundamental beliefs that drive us to see, hear, think, feel and make decisions the way we do.

They govern our relationships, clarify who we are, articulate what we stand for, guide us in our decision making, and underpin why we are each driven to live life the way we are.

Knowing your core values is important because when we are aware of what our core values are and honor them in our everyday living, we experience peace, joy, harmony and fulfillment.

When we don’t we end up suffering mentally, physically and emotionally, struggling with feelings of discontentment, frustration and uncertainty.

- Kelsey Van Kirk

In the assessment Kelsey suggests that the only way to know what your core values are is by working through a reflective discovery process.

It's good to start by thinking through any preconceptions you might have, because often you will find that what you actually value is very different from you what you believe you should value. Parents, society, religion, culture, these are all things that influence our perception of what our core values should be.

For me personally I didn't have to put a lot of thought into this step. Having long since abandoned denominational beliefs (I did not abandon God, just organized religion), and without being able to recall my parents having anything to say on the subject, when it came to determining my personal core values I was a blank slate. 

The next step in the process I found very helpful. Kelsey provides you with a list of common core values, (If you are using the outline at Family Life that I provided above, just scroll to the bottom of the page for. similar list). Reading through the list you simply choose the values that appeal to you. Don't worry at this point if your list is long because you will narrow it down later.  Borrowing from several sources, here is the list of things that I value;

AnticipationAwe . Curiosity . Delight . Fascination . Fun . Inquisitiveness . Joy . Playfulness . Silliness . Wittiness . Wonder . Artfulness . Craftiness . Creativity . Dreaming . Thrift . Adventure . Exploration . Attentiveness . Beauty . Mindfulness . Pleasure . Quietness . Relaxation . Restfulness . Silence . Solitude . Stillness . Tranquility . Warmth . Education . Intelligence . Learning . Balance . Consistency . Comfort . Flow . Fluency . Harmony . Order . Organization . Punctuality . Simplicity . Structure . Calmness . Contentment . Depth . Desire . Discernment . Elegance . Faith . Freedom . Gentility . Grace . Gratitude . Happiness . Holiness . Intuitiveness . Peace . Reflection . Sacredness . Satisfaction . Security . Self Realization . Serenity . Spirituality . ThankfulnessVision .

Once you have your big list, it's time to narrow things down a bit, and for this step Kelsey suggests that you work through each value and look for any overarching themes. You can also add too or take away from the list at this point, as well. The big list you see above was actually what I arrived at after I had already weeded through everything I'd originally listed. That was hard for me at first, because it almost felt wrong to eliminate some of them. Still, I knew that for it to be a true reflection I had to arrive at what really mattered the most to me. This isn't about what is right for "everyone", it's about what is right for you. Kelsey then suggests that you choose 5 to 10 of the themes and this becomes your new condensed list of values. Once I worked through this process, each of the values I had listed above fell under one of these themes.


Childlike Faith

Living Intentionally





The next step in the process is to go through your condensed list and prioritize each value based upon how essential they feel to you and how well they represent what matters most. In the list you see above I've already prioritized each value, with Spirituality being number one on my list. 

If this appeals to you and you want to create your own list, I've narrowed down everything I've discussed above to make it a little easier to understand.

 Make a List (Brain Dump) - using lists of common core values (just Google it, you will get more than you need), write down all the values that appeal to you.

★ Condense - Now go through that list and ask yourself if each of the values you've listed is important to and reflective of you. Are they what you authentically values, or what you think you SHOULD value? Eliminate anything that is not authentically reflective of you.

 Categorize - Working through your list, look for themes and categorize each value. Once you have everything categorized, choose 5-10 of those from the list and this now becomes your condensed list of values.

★ Prioritize - Now that you have 5-10 core values, list them in the order of priority that is right for you.

Knowing what you value helps you to establish priorities and will likewise add you in making decisions day to day. It isn't rigid, and it doesn't mean that you can't ever enjoy things that didn't make the list, but overall your decisions, goals, activities and opinions should align with what you value, otherwise your life will lack authenticity and peace.

Once you have your final condensed list, then she suggests that you work through each value and write out your own personal definition, what each of the values you've listed means to you. Then there are some other steps that follow that, as well, but I'm going to stop here for now because my plan is to break each one of my core values down and write about it in separate posts, and I hope you'll come back and join me!

Posting while living on the road has been a little challenging and I'm still trying to work out a system that works, which I think will mean writing posts offline and having them ready to copy, paste and schedule when we have signal. I say that so hopefully you won't be frustrated if it takes me awhile to get new content up. Not that I've been that great even with signal! But this little  space is still very important to me and there are so many things I want to share with you, so I do hope you'll stick around! Also, if you want to keep up specifically with our van life adventure as we travel across the USA, you can find us at Woodland to Wayside!

Until then friends, seek out the ordinary beauty of this extraordinary life!

Monday, September 7, 2020

My Favorite Movies - The Thrill Of It All

Any time someone asks about my favorite movies, there are a few actors from the "golden age of Hollywood" that come to mind, especially Doris Day. 

Popular in the late 50's and into the 60's, Doris Day was an icon in the romantic comedy genre of the period. And while I love some of her earlier work, including Moonlight Bay and the sequel, By The Light of the Silvery Moon, the movies I love her in the most are generally those she filmed in the 60's. Films such as It Happened to Jane with Tony Randall, That Touch of Mink with Cary Grant, With Six You Get Eggroll with Brian Keith, and Move Over Darling (Amazon Prime Rental)with James Garner.

Doris made two movies with Garner, Move Over Darling, which I mentioned previously, but my absolute favorite movie starring Doris was also with James Garner, The Thrill of It All!

In this film Doris portrays Beverly Boyer, the happily married wife of a successful OB-GYN, Dr. Gerald Boyer, portrayed by James Garner. Dr. Boyer gives successful advice for achieving pregnancy to the wife of a soap tycoon, and through that association Beverly inadvertently becomes the face of The Happy Soap Company. With her heartfelt and sincere stories, such as having to wash her daughter in happy soap so she will smell like her piano teacher, Beverly Boyer quickly becomes a household name. But all of this popularity proves to be unpopular with her husband and almost wrecks their marriage. The series of antics that follows is hilarious, but I don't want to give anything away! If you love Doris Day then I highly recommend The Thrill of It All! It is hands down my favorite of the many movies she made!

One of the things I will say is that you have to remember when this movie was made (the 60's), as I suppose is the case with many of the films Doris made during this time, and the gender roles are definitely outdated. A housewife gets a job despite her husband's wishes but eventually gives it all up to return home. The problem is not her decision, but the antics and manipulation employed by her husband to convince her to change her mind. Personally its not an issue for me, as so many movies made during that time portrayed the same message.  That's simply the way life was back then, a woman's place was in the home. So if things like that bother you, you will either have to decide to look past it or not watch it. But if you can, it is hilarious!

It has a has a wonderful supporting cast, including Arlene Francis who portrays Dr. Boyer's pregnant patient, even though she was 55 when the movie filmed! Another favorite of mine, though often overlooked, is Zasu Pitts who portrays Olivia, the maid. Kym Karuth portrays the Boyer's daughter, the same actress who portrayed Gretyl in The Sound of Music, always adorable! And even though I've mentioned Doris Day a lot, James Garner is absolutely wonderful in this film, as well. Doris made a lot of movies with Rock Hudson, but to be honest I much prefer the chemistry between her and Garner. Rock always seemed to be chasing the girl, but James somehow manages to get her! 

Carl Reiner, successful in his own right, was a screen writer for the film and made cameo appearances as characters in the Happy Soap Playhouse as a World War II German Officer, a cad and a cowboy.  I'm including the trailer below to wet your appetite for this uproarious comedy! You will be thrilled, with The Thrill of It All!

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Sunday, September 6, 2020

Ordinary Days Of Small Things - Autumn Day Keeper and Phenology Wheels

The Autumn Day Keeper is available as a **FREE** download! Just click on the link below.

Favorite Songs For Autumn


George Gershwin

'Tis Autumn
Nat King Cole

One For My Baby
Billie Holiday

Autumn In New York
Ella Fitzgerald

You're The Top
Louie Armstrong

September In The Rain
Nelson Riddle

Moonlight Serenade
Glenn Miller

September Song
Frank Sinatra

Ella Fitzgerald

Autumn Leaves
Doris Day

Nice 'n Easy
Frank Sinatra

Autumn in Rome
Tony Bennett

Cheek to Cheek
Billie Holliday

Early Autumn
Ella Fitzgerald

Let's Get Away From It All
Frank Sinatra

Shine on Harvest Moon
Kate Smith

Nat King Cole

September In The Rain
Dinah Washington

Night and Day
Frank Sinatra

Orange Colored Sky
Nat King Cole

Time After Time
Frank Sinatra

October Twilight
Frankie Cole

Falling Leaves
Glenn Miller

November Twilight
Julie London

If I Had You
Benny Goodman

25 songs; 1 hr 22 mins.

Friday, September 4, 2020

The September Night Sky

Some of my fondest memories from my childhood are of laying out on a blanket with my dad under the
big Texas sky and looking at the stars. Even today when I see the moon, I think of my dad.

Something I've wanted to do for awhile now, is to share my love of the night sky and astronomy and astrology here in this space with you. If things like this don't interest you, then feel free to move on.

Each month I will highlight a few celestial events that are coming up, and point you to resources (most of which are free) that you can use either for yourself or with your children to help you learn more about the night sky. I'll also dot the posts with related quotes from some of my favorite books on the subject and poems that you and your children will enjoy reading together. I hope that this small labor of love will bless you and your family!

Graphic, above left from and in header graphic
by Ignace Gaston Pardies


September 2 - The Full Corn Moon
On September 2, although you can still get a good look at it tonight, it's currently in the waning gibbous stage and is 97% full. 

September 5 - The Bright Moon Dances With Mars
When the waning gibbous moon rises in the east around 9:45, it will be positioned just about a finger's width to the right of Mars, close enough to appear together in binoculars and telescopes at low magnification. 

September 10 - Last Quarter Moon
At its last quarter phase at 9:26 GMT on Thursday, Sept. 10, the moon will rise around midnight and remain visible in the southern sky all morning.

September 22 - Autumn Equinox
On Tuesday, Sept. 22  the sun will cross the celestial equator moving southward, marking the autumnal equinox in the Northern Hemisphere and the beginning of autumn there. On the equinoxes in March and September, day and night are of equal length and the sun rises due east and sets due west.

You'll find more night sky events for September, here.

And here are some tools to help you, and perhaps the littles in your life learn how to identify the planets and constellations in the night sky.


The first three resources I've listed are geared towards children, but if you're new to stargazing the first two  links I've listed can still prove quite useful. If you want to begin keeping a Star Gazing diary you could certainly do so in a journal or notebook of your own.
- Constellation Cards from Lie Back, Look Up
- Summer Sky Map from Lie Back, Look Up
- Stargazing Diary from Lie Back, Look Up

Probably my favorite star gazing resource, I've used these for years!
- The Evening Sky Map - September 2020 from Sky Maps if you need a map for the Southern Hemisphere you can find one at their website.

Below you will find a few books on the subject that are FREE to borrow from the Internet Archives. If you find one you like, perhaps you could find a copy at your local library or search for a good used copy from Amazon.

Also be sure to check out these cool moon phase graphics
that are posted monthly @moonbodysoul on Instagram!

And finally, I leave you with this from one of my favorite seasonal books.

"The stars of summer reach their final apogee in the sky; one last parade through the warm and pleasant evenings before the winds of autumn hurry them from their celestial scene. Vega and Deneb shine directly overhead, as if boasting of their eventual return. Altair casts his baleful eye towards toward the south. There the "watery" constellations can be seen rising above the horizon. The Greeks thought that below the equator lay a limitless stream of ocean and named some of the constellations they glimpsed briefly at this time of year for their association with water, Pisces, the fish, and Aquarius, the water bearer.

Farther south and invisible to those who live above 38 degrees of latitude, is the enormous constellation of Argo Navis, named after the ship that carried Jason and the Argonauts on their adventures. Skywatchers later broke up this huge constellation to form three smaller ones, Carina, the keel, Vela, the sail, and Puppa , the poop deck. 

Although named after the famous Argo, the great starry vessel of the sky was also said to be the first ship ever sailed and was placed in the sky by Zeus, as a celebration of man's nautical prowess. In the early autumn if you live south of The Mid Atlantic states, watch for Canopus. one of the brightest stars in the sky on the souther horizon. It forms the tip of Carina, Argo's celestial keel, steering the ship ever southward. While autumn comes to the north with fluttering leaves and chill breezes, the ship of heaven follows the sun."

from The Dance fo Time
by Michael Judge