Richard Armitage cure-all?

This afternoon I found myself in need of a mood boost (it has been one of those days where pretty much everything that could go wrong or at least sideways, did.)  I skipped lunch because I was in the middle of something, so my first attempt (perhaps misguided) at a mood enhancement was culinary

Coconut cookies...cream cheese...

Coconut cookies…cream cheese…why is this picture so humongous??

Research…OK, comment consensus on Facebook supports that dipping cookies into frosting is not inherently wrong.  However…even my recently confirmed non-diabetic constitution can only take a small does of that (followed by an overwhelming urge to lock the door and take a nap!)

Seeking a less caloric means of attitude adjustment, I clicked over to Tumblr for a little visual lift…

Pardon my prurience, but it's been a really #$%@#$ day! Servetus ScreenCap

Pardon my prurience, but it’s been a really #$%@#$ day!
Servetus ScreenCap

Boom!  Yeah, that’s definitely a cure for what ailed me.  A panacea if you will...did you think you were getting away with out a classical connection?  Pshaw!  Panacea ( Πανάκεια)…the daughter of Asklepios (God of Medicine) and Epione (Goddess of Soothing),  was the Greek goddess of Universal health and she was rumored to have a single potion which she used to heal all varieties of ailments.  Well then, it’s often been cited that Richard Armitage also has a certain cuRAtive effect for a variety of ills….you might even say he’s a RAnacea!  (Sorry…not sorry.  I really have no control over it at this point…)  

On my way over here to tell you all about it, I dropped in at SpReAd the Love to see how the poster drawing pool was shaping up and what I saw really did blow away any traces of ill humor.  What I found were all kinds of new-to-me names reporting acts of kindness given and received…many of them demurring participation in the drawing, but wanting to share in the good will.

One of my very favorite things about this fandom is its capacity for kindness…in and among the admirers, analysts, admiring analysts and analyzing admirers of Richard Armitage, there are a lot of very real, very kind people just going about their business making their corner of the world a bit more pleasant everyday.  Being witness to it never ceases to make my day brighter.

It’s a downright RAnacea!


(Getty Images likes a nice reveal….click on “view image”) 

SpReAd the Love Children’s Book Challenge: Torenhoog en mijlen breed

A guest post for the SpReAd the Love Book Challenge by Ancient Armitage reader Emma:

What a lovely idea to share a favorite book and to donate one.

My favorite children’s book is one written by Tonke Dragt, a Dutch author. It is called ‘Torenhoog en mijlen breed’. Translated into English the title would be ‘Wide as England, tall as a spire’. This is a sentence from the poem Travel by R.L. Stevenson on which Tonke Dragt also based the motto of the book: Waar wouden zijn, als vuur zo heet, torenhoog en mijlen breed (Where are forests, hot as fire, wide as England, tall as a spire).

foto torenhoog en mijlenbreed

I have collected all her books and have read them often. Most of them are a bit worn from reading. I even wrote to her long ago and she sent a very lovely letter in reply.

One of her books ‘Een brief voor de koning’, has been translated into English, ‘A letter for the King’, a story about a boy who is to be knighted. The night before the ceremony he is asked for help by a stranger and this leads him into an adventurous journey.

Tonke Dragt’s work has often been described as fantasy. In a way it is, but her stories are set in times and worlds that are real (or could be). Her love of legends and myths shows in her work. One recurring theme in her books is the quest of the main character to find out who he or she is.  And often the characters act in a way they are not supposed to or allowed to but somehow these actions are necessary in order for them to grow and develop as people. What makes her work extra special is the fact that she makes her own illustrations and collages which add an extra layer to the stories.

‘Torenhoog en mijlenbreed’ was written in 1969. In a nutshell, it is the story of Edu, an astronaut who is sent to Venus, Afroi in the book. On Venus, the people from Earth live under a dome and they don’t enter the forest that surrounds that dome. Edu however is attracted to the forest and during one of his missions he lands there. He meets a creature from Venus, they call themselves Afroini. The Afroini are intelligent beings who can read minds.  Edu finds out that he is telepathic himself. This complicates his relationships with his girlfriend Petra and his colleagues. Eventually he has to return to Earth, but promises the Afroini he will come back to learn to control and deal with his mind reading abilities.

I read the book for the first time when I was 13 years old and have read it several times since then. The last time was many years ago and I was curious to see what my reaction would be reading it again for this SpReAd the Love challenge.  I’m glad time hasn’t changed my view of the book. It’s still a wonderful story about finding out who you are, a story I hope many children will read. It is still available in our local library, so I’m not donating them a copy. I will give one to my niece. She told me she has never read a book by Tonke Dragt so I think it’s time they met.


Many thanks to Emma for sharing a childhood favorite!  (If you’d like to join in, I’m very happy to host.)

SpReAd the Love Challenge Four – Convoy of Hope

Keeping with the terms of SpReAd the Love Challenge Four, I’ve got one more fantastic aide organization to tell you about before time’s up.


and what better day to share it?!

Convoy of Hope is a humanitarian relief agency based in Springfield, Missouri.  They are involved both in the US and abroad in a variety of different types of humanitarian aid.  I first came into contact with them at one of their Community Events that was held locally a few years back.  Some friends of mine who are hairdressers were among hundreds of people who volunteered their services for the day to provide a “poverty free” day for local families in need.  The event was held at a local community college and was attended by thousands.

When I began researching a bit for this SpRead the Love challenge, specifically, where to donate the bottle water collected at MiniMe’s birthday party, I ran into Convoy of Hope again…I was saddened to find that the local event has not been held for the past two years for lack of a church to serve as an organizing agency…I’ve been planting a few seeds with some friends to see what we can do about getting an event set up for next summer.  With an eye toward convincing people to help undertake sponsoring this event, I began to do some research on Convoy of Hope, and it turns out that community outreach is really only the tip of the iceberg of what they do.

Convoy of Hope responds in Moore, Oklahoma 2013 Source

Convoy of Hope responds in Moore, Oklahoma 2013

Another major component of the relief provided by Convoy of Hope is their response to disasters.  Since 1998 their Disaster Services have provided food, water and emergency supplies to people all over the world, including the victims of the devastating tornadoes in Joplin, Missouri (2011) and Moore, Oklahoma (2013).  This past April,  they again sent trucks of relief supplies to tornado ravaged areas in  Arkansas and Kansas.  What has struck me is the emphasis that Convoy of Hope and many other agencies of this type,  put on the cooperation and assistance of local volunteers.  It really is a team effort to get the aid to people who desperately need it.

I don’t know that anyone can ever fully understand the importance that agencies like Convoy of Hope play in responding to people in crisis.  I truly hope no one reading this is ever in need of the services provided by a disaster relief agency, but that regardless, we each do what we can, whether through monetary donation or volunteer services to help them help others.


“I’ve always depended on the kindness of strangers.”

It’s true, and not in a completely destroyed,heading off to an asylum, Blanche DuBois fashion.  (This of course is the iconic final line spoken by Blanche DuBois in Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire.)

No, I mean it in a completely literal sense.  Yesterday I was driving home when the battery light came on in my mommy-van.  Not good.  I hoped that I could nurse it to the side of the road, but as Murphy’s Law would have it, I was in the left turn lane and the engined stalled in the middle of the intersection.  Momentum carried me 3/4 of the way through, but she was definitely going to require some pushing to get out of the middle of the street and to the curb.  Crud!  Dropping it into neutral, I climbed out, pushing with one hand and steering with the other.  Mommy-vans are great for hauling kids and gear, but they are a b!$#h to get moving from a dead stop.


Fortunately, I didn’t have to do it alone since two separate gentlemen pulled over and jumped out to help me.  Before I could even thank them properly, they had returned to their cars and gone about their business, as if to say, “It was no trouble, happy to help.”



It’s just this kind of unexpected kindness that SpReAd the Love is looking to foster and multiply.  I could have pushed it myself, but my day was made a bit easier by two complete strangers who stopped what they were doing to help me.  (And also by my neighbor who came to fetch me when I needed a ride home.).  Kindness is out there, but if you can’t find it, just do it – you’ll be amazed how it comes back to you!  😉

“Seek shelter immediately…”

In April of 2011, these words were broadcast on every television and radio station in the local area.  They are familiar to anyone who lives in an area prone to tornadoes, and they were not unexpected on that day.  As I’ve mentioned ad nauseum before, I was born and raised in Wisconsin…tornadoes are a regular occurrence here as in other parts of the American Midwest.  We had been watching the weather…the sky had taken on the sort of sinister green cast that I always associate with the potential for funnel clouds, and when the sirens went off, indicating that a funnel cloud had been sighted in our area, I gathered up my chicks and headed to for the basement.  It’s the basic drill….most of the time, it’s just a precaution, but this time it was real.  On that April night we did have some wild weather and the town that I live in sustained a fair amount of damage (and this from what was finally classified as an F1 storm…that is, a weak one)



Thanks to early detection, the time of day the storm hit and the presence of adequate shelter, there were no fatalities.  Multiple agencies assembled to assist in the clean up efforts.  When all was said and done, we were pretty lucky.   This was not a terribly powerful storm as such storms go, and the infrastructure for recovery was not significantly impacted.  This is not always the case.  Even in the US, disasters like the Joplin, MO tornado or “Superstorm Sandy” can wreak enormous havoc.  The assistance and coordination of disaster relief agencies is critical.

As you know from Jazzbaby, our latest SpReAD the Love challenge is directed at raising awareness and support for the amazing work these agencies do, by blogging about a personal connection we have with one of them.   Although I have thankfully never needed their services, I have an almost life long history with Church World Service via my church.  CWS is a multi-denominational organization that was founded in 1946 to aid in recovery efforts in Europe following World War II.  It gradually grew and expanded to the global assistance agency that it is today.  I think probably my first exposure to CWS was via the annual CROP Walk for global hunger relief.  More recently, I’ve become more familiar with their worldwide efforts at developing sustainable water resources .

Although they have expanded their reach tremendously, CWS remains an active agent in disaster relief efforts in the US and around the world both in terms of supplying immediate assistance in the form of needed supplies  and emergency blankets and in terms of coordination of long term recovery resources.  It has only been in the past few years (years that my own family has often seen times of financial hardship) that I’ve realized how something that seems so small…a kit with a bar of soap, a comb, nail clippers, or a $5 blanket… can make a HUGE difference to a person who has literally just lost EVERYTHING.


Being able to help in this way gives me a lighter heart every time, so I am currently on a team coordinating both the supply kit drive and the blanket drive at my church.  I am also proud to report that the tradition of joyful giving that my mother instilled in me seems to have taken firm root in my daughter.  Her birthday is coming up on August 24th (I know!!  The anniversary of the 79AD eruption of Mt. Vesuvius!!) and in lieu of gifts for her, she has requested that her guests bring either a case of bottled water or a hygiene supply kit to be donated to disaster relief.   I think she’s got the SpReAd the Love bug!



What a Wonderful World…Spread the Love Update

What a great week of reports coming in from The Crucible previews in London…people are enjoying the play tremendously and those who have met Richard Armitage at the stage door have mentioned many times how happy and sweet he’s been.  There’s another word to describe him…. it just slipped my mind…wait, it will come to me…um frightening?  No, that’s not it.   Oh, I remember now – KIND.  We all have our frightening moments, but Richard Armitage has shown over and over again that he has a tremendous capacity for kindness despite being absolutely terrifying!   And so do you all!   You make it a wonderful world…cue gratuitous Louis Armstrong…

The SpReAd the Love campaign celebrates the kindness each and every one of us does in both in our local communities and just in general.  So far this year we’ve collected reports of 344 kindnesses ranging from monetary gifts and in kind donations of food, clothing, furniture, toiletries, etc., to simple kindnesses like holding a door or helping out a friend.  Our last campaign was specifically directed at extending kindness to children in crisis in honor of Richard Armitage’s role as Chop in the forthcoming film Urban and the Shed Crew during which we collected 144 kindness reports which were matched by a dollar for kindness donations to one of Richard Armitage’s Just Giving Charities

stl just giving 3

It doesn’t end there…the same anonymous donor has agreed to underwrite a new speed round of kindness collection.  July 9th is the opening night for regular performances of The Crucible at the Old Vic Theater in London.  I’m shamelessly pasting in Jazzbaby’s fantastic description…you can find it here

kindness challenge 3

So there you have it.  Thirteen days before July 9th…that’s less than four kindnesses per day throughout all of ArmitageWorld – easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy!!  Here, I’ll get us started by giving a shout out to the gentleman with the lovely smile who held open the door for me at the gas station this morning…my day’s a little brighter because of his kindness.  So 47 left anddddd…..GO!

SpReAd the Love Challenge #2 Reminder

Lately, a favorite activity of Mini Me’s is making PowerPoint presentations…something they are doing at school this year I gather.  One of her favorites is titled “Cutie Babies”.

Babies are cuties…it’s true, but the sad fact is that tens of thousands of innocent babies, toddlers, preschoolers, tweens and teens live in conditions that give them very little to smile about.  SpReAd the Love Challenge #2 is coming to a close.  If you haven’t yet been able, consider sharing some love with an at risk child and letting us know about your gift.  I live in an area that is pretty idyllic in the context of the modern world, but not 10 miles from my house, there is building that provides a safe harbor for women who have fled abusive homes…very often with just their children and the clothes on their back.  This agency provides them temporary refuge and helps to outfit them as they find new homes.


A little bit for body, a little bit for spirit..

I dropped my tiny donation today, and as usual, they were hugely appreciative.  Even this small bit helps.  If you email JazzBaby or me by Sunday, we can include your kindness in the amount that will be matched money for kindness as a donation to Richard Armitage’s Just Giving Charities (several of which are child centered).

I’ll leave you today with a quote from Sitting Bull…renowned among the Lakota Sioux for his commitment to the past, present and future of the Sioux Nation.  His is a timeless sentiment that transcends race or creed:

“Let us put our minds together and see what kind of life we can make for our children.”