Preparing to Leave – Voyages – Story Cube Challenge #3 – Feb 4 to 18, 2018

Preparing to Leave

Voyages – Story Cube Challenge #3 – Feb 4 to 18, 2018

As the sun slowly rises above the emerald waters of Lake Mirabel, Finnola, the young queen of the small country Miravan, lifts the heavy bejewelled crown from her head.   Catching the flickering candlelight, the rubies and sapphires sparkle as she gently places it upon the purple velvet pillow resting in a glass case on a shelf in her jewel room.  Running her fingers through her thick blonde hair to smooth the tousled curls, she wonders how many weeks or months will pass before she can return to her beloved home snuggled here on the quiet shores hidden deep within the mountains, to once again wear this crown.

On the 10th anniversary of her coronation, as every ruling Monarch of Miravan has done since it became an independent country, she prepares to leave the turrets and comforts of her castle to embark on a census tour of the country. To anonymously visit every hamlet, village, town and city within it’s borders, to return to her roots, so to speak. The first decade tour is undertaken as a way for the Monarchy to re-acquaint themselves with their subjects, what they want, and need to be prosperous and happy, and to determine the state of the country, it’s needs and strengths.

The people of Miravan live in either the capital City – Miravanshire, or in one of the three towns, six villages, five small hamlets or the multitude of individual family homesteads scattered throughout the lush countryside. The towns and villages pose no hardship to reach, it will be the hamlets and the small sporadic settlements that will be difficult to access, where the landscape and roads become unpredictable.

To maintain her anonymity, she will travel disguised as a merchant searching for new trade partners and to purchase artisan crafts to sell abroad.

The glad-handing and posturing for the cameras always takes second place to the primary objective, usually a clandestine government investigation or research.  This year, samples of soil, and river, lake and rainwater will be scooped up into various flasks and beakers to be sent to sterile labs in the capital to determine the health of the environment. Over the past three decades the climate has been changing, the full effect on the environment needs to be investigated.  Additionally, selected farmers will be provided with seeds developed by the royal horticulturalists to flourish in any climate.  The experiment is to cultivate and establish the viability of these hybrid beans as an environmentally stable food source.

Planning for this project has been on going for the past 2 years. The Royal Designers have fabricated a Coat of Arms, shields, banners, and insignia for her company to display and wear.  They will be a small tight knit group able to move freely throughout the country, following wagon tracks and deer trails when necessary. She will be attended by Gillian – her personal companion, Cyrus – the Purser/Administrator, Thomas the biologist and four well trained guards, David, Brian, Melissa, and George. Each traveller will be mounted high upon a magnificent black war horse followed by a string of sturdy pack horses transporting their personal supplies, food, and camping gear, in addition to gifts significant to each municipality’s Trade Minister.

The journey is expected to take just under six weeks but could stretch to three months or more depending on the weather, unexpected events and who and what they may encounter along the way.

Her hair finally smooth, Finnola grabs her riding gloves, buckles her sword belt and leaves her private room looking forward to the thrilling adventure of meeting her beloved people.


Cheryle     February 2018

Story Cube Dice VOYAGES for Story No 3 due Feb18 2018

Beans or Seeds, Coat of Arms, Crown

Ax, Mountains, Flask

Camera, Sunrise over Water, Rain


The Community Associations’ Winter Carnival 2016

Today was a day filled with children and activities definitely outside my comfort zone.  Today the Community Association held its Winter Carnival.  Today I played with children of all ages. Some were three and some were eleven and the others were all the ages in-between.


Yes, I helped out at the colouring contest table sponsored by the Ogden Seniors 50+ Activity Club.  We had a multitude of Christmas pictures to colour, crayons, and prizes to be won.  The kids lined up at our table excited to spend a few minutes shading stockings, wreaths, and Christmas trees with the waxy crayons. A chance to win a five dollar McDonalds gift card was an easy enticement for many of the young people tagging along behind their Mom or Dad as they wandered from booth to booth.  Alone in their zone, they chatted quietly about their schools, their ages, their siblings and in some cases current world events. “Yes, I am good with colour and drawing”, “My favourite colour is pink”, “I don’t live around here”.  One young artist didn’t want to enter the colouring contest, he knew he wouldn’t be back this way again.  Another so intent on her art, didn’t say a word.  Quietly, she slid the crayons back and forth transforming the white paper to green, yellow and red.


The carnival, so much more than our little colouring corner tucked into the back of the hall. It is a gathering place.  A place where old friends can reconnect after months or years of not seeing each other.  I ran into a young woman I hadn’t seen is 10 or more years.  I knew her as a cashier at Safeway working part time while in high school.  It took me a few moments to shake off my past image of her and accept a new one. So grown up now.  She has two children and is the imaginative creator of unique candy bouquets.   This event is a hub where local entrepreneurs  set up business for an afternoon, hand out their business cards in the hope of a future sale or commission.  Where home based artisans can share their artistry, adding to the vibrancy of our community.  The hall was filled with the soothing scents of peppermint soaps, chocolate arrangements, and the sharp aroma of herbal oils.  My eyes were treated to the sparkle of semi precious stones strung into bracelets and necklaces, and the bright warm colours of knitted winter hats and scarves.

Christmas carols hung on the air and kids acted out their favourite Christmas messages on the 80 year old auditorium stage.  The floorboards creaked as a Taekwondo team kicked and jabbed their way through their sparring program.  Little girls dressed in mukluks, their faces painted as Hello Kitty,  turned and twirled as they worked to figure out the hula hoop moves so easily managed by the older more flexible teenage girls.


The Calgary Multicultural Orchestra treated everyone to a selection Christmas songs including winter wonderland, jingle bells and the first Nowell. (that is how it was written on the sheet music)  A beautiful and inspiring arrangement brought the sound of Christmas to our hearts.


At the end of the day everyone had fun, Christine and I tried our own hands at colouring, and four young aspiring artists won gift cards worth the price of a McDonalds Happy Meal.


December 2016   Cheryle


Fair in Full Swing 4

Saturday, November 21st, 2015, was the debut of a new healing fair and trade show “My Circle of Friends Healing Fair and Trade Show”.  I believe it was a success.

The event provided my friends an opportunity to “Dip their Toes into the Water” of the healing fairs and trade show experience. Many had never before hosted a table where they promoted themselves as a healing practitioner, an artisan or an entrepreneur. One or two participants, extremely experienced, generously helped out their newly befriended colleagues with advice and gentle support.

Held at Ogden House Seniors 50+ Activity Club the market vendors discovered new friends whose interests complemented their own, met with potential clients and introduced them to the many services and products being offered.

Fair in Full Swing 6 Qi Gong

We had an eclectic group of presenters; Brenda Harll, Senior Move Management Specialist II at Boomers & Zoomers Inc., explained how you too can be a “CLUTTERBUSTER”, Yvette Falconer, a Qi Gong Master and Instructor from Qi Gong Wisdom, led the audience in a series of Qi Gong movements and Heather Driedger, an Angel Empowerment Practitioner of Heathers Health Coaching, gave an inspiring talk on how to invite and Connect with your Angels every day.

The guests who joined us were also treated to:

  • The beautiful and unconventional live pine bough and copper ribbon wreath designs and jewellery fashioned by Jenniefer Milot Pickup of Designs by JMP;
  • The colourful and thoughtful paintings, the nature sourced necklaces and earrings created by native artisan Lee Deranger;
  • the soft tactile Fabric Creations designed and sewn by Brenda Cullum;
  • the gentle touch of Sara Dishke of Libra Wellness Inc., a Certified Bowen Therapy Practitioner and the glint ‘n’ glitter of her pendant jewellery;
  • the Intuitive Spiritual Guidance and Energy Balancing and Steeped Tea offered by Deirdre of Gaia’s Natural Therapies;
  • Food Allergy Testing by Kinesiologist Jackie Hooton of Heavenly Healings; and
  • The insightful artwork of Kim Szuta of inspiredART.

Jackie Hooton

Ogden House, a private members club located in the community of Ogden in southeast Calgary, hosted, “The Fare Café” in which 100% of the revenue will be donated to support Canadian Veterans. The Fare Café served several selections of sandwiches, including the most popular Egg Salad, Veggie and Fruit Plates and of course a plate of sweet shortbreads, Nanaimo bars and Gingerbread men, and coffee and tea. The Ogden House volunteers worked diligently setting up the auditorium, making, serving food and beverages, and cleaning up after the event.  I am sure Canadian Veterans will be grateful for this unexpected donation.

Fair in Full Swing 1a

Over all everyone received what they needed and more.  Some learned lessons in order to grow and others earned and gained new clients.  In general everyone enjoyed the event.

Please keep your eyes open for the next  “Circle of Friends Healing Fair and Trade Show.

Circle of Friends Fair 2014 logo small

Cheryle L. Baker – Author, Photography, Creator and Promoter of My Circle of Friends Healing Fair and Trade Show

November 23, 2015