The 2020 Encouraging Blogger Award

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

One of the things I love about blogging is the community of bloggers I’ve connected with. What a supportive group of people. We don’t compete with each other. Rather, we read each other’s blogs, walk alongside one another, even when we live on opposite sides of the world, and encourage each other.

My blogging friend, Lisa Mitchell, recently created the Encouraging Blogger Award. I am honored to be among her first nominees. Lisa, who writes Fluxing Well, shares ideas about cooking, travel, technology (blogging, Pinterest, and teaching), books, gardening, and frugal living. Because life is constantly in a state of flux…full of challenges and changes…Fluxing Well inspires us to approach life’s situations with flexibility, creativity and a willingness to try something new. Lisa truly encourages her readers.

2020 Encouraging Blogger Award title meme

What is the 2020 Encouraging Blogger Award?

The Encouraging Blogger Award was created to recognize any blogger who encourages others with his or her posts. Bloggers may encourage others to travel, try new things, have a positive mindset, or overcome adversity, for example. An encouraging blog may encourage other bloggers or give business tips. Many blogs are encouraging and we don’t even realize it. Bloggers nominate fellow bloggers for this award, and nominees write a post answering a few questions. After that, the nominee nominates other bloggers.

The 2020 Encouraging Blogger Award Guidelines

  • Explain the Encouraging Blogger Award
  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and share a little about his or her blog.
  • Answer these five questions:
    • When and why did you start blogging?
    • What is your blog about?
    • What is one piece of advice you would give to encourage new bloggers?
    • Which is your favorite time-saving blogging tip or scheduling tool?
    • What are your future goals for your blog?
  • Nominate up to 10 bloggers you think encourage others.
  • Direct the nominees to visit this page for instructions and information about the award.
  • Once you have shared your Encouraging Blogger Award post, fill out the form on the instruction page to enter the contest.
  • Deadline for submissions for consideration in the 2020 contest will be October 31, 2020.
  • If you miss the deadline, and still submit an entry form, you will be entered in the 2021 contest.

2020 Encouraging Blogger Award blogging

The Questions

When and why did you start blogging?

I started the forerunner of Cindy Goes Beyond in 2014. At that time the blog, Going Beyond, was a form of accountability. After setting the intention to write daily, I realized after four days that without a purpose, I floundered.

Inspired by Lu Ann Cahn’s book “I Dare Me” and her year long adventure trying something new every day, I set off on my own similar journey. The blog was born as I recorded my daily firsts. For the next five years, I wrote every day. Eventually that blog became Cindy Goes Beyond and in 2016 I added a second blog, Journey With Healthy Me.

What is your blog about?

The blogging journey is so transformative.  Each year I am guided by a new word, theme and symbol. Read more about the story behind the blog here.

In its current form, Cindy Goes Beyond encourages readers to “live life beyond the edges of fear, comfort zones and limiting beliefs”. I share about creativity, travel, gardening and life experiences and offer film, book and product reviews.

Journey With Healthy Me chronicles my healing journey while offering health info, tips, recipes and encouragement to be healthy at every age.

What is one piece of advice you would give to encourage new bloggers?

Blogging is an amazing experience that shifts and grows as you do. Find what you are passionate about and then share from your unique perspective. Use your words to offer your gifts to the world. Don’t worry if your blog isn’t perfect. As you learn your blog reflects that knowledge and growth. Desiring perfection will hold you back and limit your joy.

Which is your favorite time-saving blogging tip or scheduling tool?

I just started using this technique last fall, and I love what it has done for my schedule. Using a simple notebook, I plan out my blog posts and social media posts a month in advance. I currently create two posts a week for Beyond and one for Journey. However, I post on social media daily. What a difference it has made to know what I’ll post each day instead of wracking my brain at 4:00 in the afternoon, trying to come up with something.

What are your future goals for your blog?

My big why for blogging is to enjoy the freedom of working from anywhere in the world. Earning income from the blogs helps me accomplish that future goal. I have many plans to continue developing both blogs and I’m excited about the possibilities and opportunities.

2020 Encouraging Blogger Award big why

My Ten Nominees for the Encouraging Blogger Award

Check out these ten bloggers, who exemplify this award. They offer from their wisdom and their compassionate hearts.

Holly's Bird Nest
The 2020 Encouraging Blogger Award – Holly’s Bird Nest

Holly’s Bird Nest

Holly encourages others to live their best life, whether they are raising children, exploring the world or entering into the “golden years”. A life coach and author, Holly offers kindness and wisdom from a wealth of experiences.

Incurable Blessings
The 2020 Encouraging Blogger Award – Incurable Blessings

Incurable Blessings

Ramae received a multiple myeloma diagnosis in 2018 and used it as a wake up call to start living. Her blog encourages everyone to go inward to discover who they really are and to find the joy in everyday blessings.

2020 Encouraging Blogger Award All Moms Blog
The 2020 Encouraging Blogger Award – All Moms Blog

All Moms Blog

Um provides a complete resource for all moms, whether she is pregnant with her first child or she desires to simply her life or she is looking for a side hustle to supplement income.

Made You Smile Back
The 2020 Encouraging Blogger Award – Made You Smile Back

Made You Smile Back

Beth, known as the forever optimist, encourages her readers with positive and uplifting quotes, stories and thought provoking content. She offers valuable resources for those struggling to find happiness and desires to help others “get their smile back”.

Techno Vans
The 2020 Encouraging Blogger Award – TechnoVans

TechnoVans

Vanesh not only offers support and advice for technology lovers, he also encourages his readers with interviews, start up stories and blogging tips. I appreciate his desire to help others by shining a bright light on what is possible.

2020 Encouraging Blogger Award Shellie Lynn
The 2020 Encouraging Blogger Award – Shellie Lynn

Shellie Lynn

Shellie  encourages a healthy, plant based lifestyle and offers from the vast knowledge gained from her own journey of taking back responsibility for her health and well being.

2020 Encouraging Blogger Award The Hable Way
The 2020 Encouraging Blogger Award – The Hable Way

The Hable Way

Lee Anne, her husband Kyle and their boys encourage others to experience family-friendly travel and adventure. They embrace a lifestyle of exploring the great outdoors and share stories intended to inspire others to step out of their comfort zones.

Crazy Fitness Guy
The 2020 Encouraging Blogger Award – Crazy Fitness Guy

Crazy Fitness Guy

Jimmy encourages others to see health and fitness as a lifestyle, not a trend. He offers from his unique perspective of experiencing life with autism. He believes we all possess different ways of learning, working out, eating in a healthy way and finding motivation.

Four Columns of a Balanced Life
2020 Encouraging Blogger Award – Four Columns of a Balanced Life

Four Columns of a Balanced Life

Jerry empowers women to live balanced lives. He shares inspiring stories based on the four columns of food, family, finances and faith.

2020 Encouraging Blogger Award Teas the Season
The 2020 Encouraging Blogger Award – Teas the Season

Teas the Season

Beth knows that much wisdom can be shared over a cup of tea. She encourages others by offering tips, whimsy and recipes for the perfect cup of tea…and a sweet or savory treat to accompany it.

Encouraging One Another

I hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know a bit more about me as a blogger. Lisa, thank you again for the honor of nominating me.

And please check out the blogs of my nominees. Receive inspiration and encouragement for your journey.

Nominees, if you so desire, pass on this award to up to ten encouraging bloggers that you appreciate. Check out the instruction page here. I look forward to reading your posts.

“Be an encourager. The world has enough critics already.” Unknown

2020 Encouraging Blogger Award logo

 

Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

 

 

 

Creating Spring Vignettes with Decocrated

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

This is a paid affiliate partnership with Decocrated. All opinions are my own.

Here in the Midwest, spring is fickle, showing up warm and pleasant one day and giving the cold shoulder the next. Additionally, many people are sheltering in place, to help slow the spread of the Coronavirus, limiting traditional spring activities.

The good news is, we can welcome the season into our homes by creating spring vignettes with Decocrated. With this subscription box company, spring is delivered, literally, to our front doors.

For more information about Decocrated Curated Home, check out my recent review. And then discover the versatility of decorating with the spring Decocrated pieces.

Creating Spring Vignettes with Decocrated title meme

The Spring Curated Home

Decocrated staff works year around, researching trends, watching HGTV and scrolling through Pinterest, curating the best in home decor so that their clients look like decorating pros. Subscription boxes ship out at the beginning of each season, offering fresh decor pieces to incorporate into any decorating style. Each season’s pieces mix well with previous boxes and items you already own.

The spring collection is built around a palette of dusty blues and soft blushes, with accent colors of green, black and gold. It’s the perfect transition from the cozy colors of winter to the soft stirrings of spring.

Spring’s featured artist is Kelly Merkur. Kelly believes that femininity and strength coexist beautifully and she draws inspiration from that truth. Color is an important element of her work and she enjoys creating art through experimentation without restriction.

Kelly Merkur Spring Decocrated Artist
Kelly Merkur Decocrated Spring Artist

Creating Spring Vignettes with Decocrated

My home is more than 120 years old. Over the years we’ve updated portions of it, adding central heat and air, opening up rooms and building a front deck. However, the house retains its vintage charm. The ceilings are high, the windows huge and the original wood floors bear the marks of time.

My decorating style is eclectic, a combination of farmhouse, modern and vintage. I absolutely love combining pieces in fresh and interesting ways, creating vignettes that tell stories.

Decocrated perfectly supports my decorating style. Opening each box is a delight as I pull pieces out and oooooh and aaaaah over them. My creativity fires up as I mentally sort through what I already own, imagining a variety of fun combinations.

Using items from the Decocrated spring box, I focused on three primary areas: the entry table, the armoire and chair next to the entry table and a top shelf on a bookcase.

Entry Table Spring Vignette
Creating Spring Vignettes with Decocrated – the entry table

The Entry Table

Beneath a 1914 E. Ingraham pendulum clock, that works only when it wants to, rests my little entry way table.

Top Shelf

The small chippy table next to my front door is fun to decorate. I change the decor on its two surfaces at least six times a year, in accordance with seasons, holidays and my mood.

For this season of rebirth, I began by using the pillow cover from the winter Decocrated box as my foundation. The flip side of the cover is a plain, deep rose color, perfect for the pieces from the spring box.

The abstract framed art piece from Decocrated is the focal point with its vibrant colors. I added a couple of my own books, Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert and The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. Books make excellent risers, stacking to create height. I chose these two books for their soft colors, which match the print well. And, I smiled when I realized both books contain the word “magic” in their titles. Perfect.

A small vintage brass basket filled with speckled eggs rests atop the books.

The gold tabletop organizational set from Decocrated completes the vignette. Perfect for sorting artist brushes and pencils, organizing office supplies or holding flower buds, the set is versatile. Separate the pieces or group them together. I used three of the canisters in the tray, adding artificial flowers and a white candle.

Creating Spring Vignettes with Decocrated table top
Table top vignette

Lower Shelf

For the lower shelf on my chippy table, Decocrated’s metal lantern with a black finish anchors the vignette. Dress this piece up with floral picks or down with a simple candle. I added a white pillar candle and a playful candle ring.

The fourth gold canister from the tabletop set finds a home on the lower shelf. I dropped a sprig of artificial flowers into it. And the tabletop sign from the winter box completes this vignette. The opposite side features a cozy winter print. This side simply states, “there may be no thing greater than a life well loved.” What a great daily reminder.

Beneath the vignette a vintage doily covers the shelf.

Lower Shelf Spring Vignette
Creating Spring Vignettes with Decocrated – lower shelf

The Wooden Chair and Armoire

Next to the entry table, and wedged into a corner between two long windows, is a large wooden armoire. It features various drawers and shelves, one of which holds a television. A vintage wooden chair props open one of the armoire doors.

The Decocrated spring box contains a burlap tote, with the words “It’s what’s inside that counts” printed on it. I love it! For the past year I’ve consciously reduced plastic use. This roomy bag is perfect for toting groceries home from the store or holding my laptop and vast assortment of notebooks, pens and journals when I’m on the go again. It means a lot to plant based me that the bag is fashioned from sturdy burlap and a faux leather strap.

I hung the burlap bag from the top of the armoire door. Grouped on the wooden chair beneath the bag is my straw gardening hat, and a pillow sporting a teal blue cover. Decocrated provides two such pillow covers in the spring box. A standard 16″ or 20″ pillow insert fits within each cover.

The other teal blue pillow found a place among small pillows topping an old folded quilt, in my grandfather’s WWII army trunk. I moved that rusty trunk in front of the armoire during the holidays and I’ve left it there for now.

I enjoy looking at this whole area, seated across the room in my favorite chair. The flow of colors and textures appeals to me and I appreciate how the Decocrated pieces blend with my own. And, that bag is easily grabbed on my way out the door, making it practical as well as decorative.

Armoire Vignette
Creating Spring Vignettes with Decocrated – armoire and vintage wooden chair

Bookcase Shelf

This three shelf bookcase, in the dining room, holds very few books. I commandeered it from Greg a couple of years ago, removing the books so I could create more vignettes on the shelves. I rearrange these shelves with the seasons and holidays, as I do most surfaces in my house.

Currently the lower two shelves hold travel related items. The top shelf switched over to a playful spring vignette, featuring items from the winter and spring Decocrated boxes.

Included in the spring box are two 4″x6″ prints. One is double sided, with “Live in Color” printed on the abstract side and on the other, an artistic heart with “Home is Where My Heart Is”. The welcome postcard also doubles as a cute print.

I framed the “Live in Color” print and tucked it into a rustic wood and metal tray, stood on its side. Greg makes these and they are so cute! The trio of ceramic trees, from the Decocrated winter box shares space perfectly with the print. I love those trees and intend to use them throughout the year.

The Decocrated magnetic chalkboard is fun and practical. It’s accompanied by six colorful art magnets that perfectly secure note cards, shopping lists, or photos. For the spring vignette, the board has a home on the top shelf of the bookcase. The “Love Every Little Thing You Do” postcard inspires me, as do the two artist cards from my trip to Edinburgh.

I’ll be moving the board into my creative studio soon, where it will keep me organized with notes, inspirational quotes and dates to remember.

Completing this spring vignette is a rustic wooden birdhouse and two bright red ceramic birds. A simple red and white linen defines the space.

Creating Spring Vignettes with Decocrated bookcase shelf
Creating Spring Vignettes with Decocrated – bookcase shelf

Get Your Decocrated Spring Box

I enjoyed creating these spring vignettes with Decocrated. The pieces are so versatile and work well with any decorating style. I love that I can keep using them, season by season, incorporating new Decocrated items with the ones I have. Plus, I can include my own decor pieces and vintage finds just as easily. Stay tuned for Easter vignettes, featuring vintage holiday pieces and Decocrated spring decor.

It’s so simple to receive Decorated subscription boxes, right to your door. You too can create your own vignettes, that tell your unique stories.

Click this link for the Decocrated spring box, and use this discount code for 10% off the price of your first box: CINDYLAUDERDALEMOORE10

I’d love to see what you create!

Creating Spring Vignettes with Decocrated pillows

 

Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

 

 

 

A Message From My Heart

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

Things are changing quickly, aren’t they, in the world at large and in our own personal worlds. In the last 48 hours, I’ve witnessed shortages of paper products, cleaning supplies, hand soap, hand sanitizer and even toothpaste in my hometown of Joplin.

This afternoon I watched people purchase “alternatives” to toilet paper such as boxes of tissues and large packages of paper dinner napkins. Why? Because empty shelves underscored the current scarcity of toilet paper.

Members of my family had their spring vacation canceled due to park closures. I received the saddest little message from my great-nephew, who intended to share his adventures with me via photos from his phone: “No photos. No Disney World.”

Events continue to shift and unfold, on an international level that then trickles down to our communities. No one will be untouched by COVID-19, even if they escape the virus itself.

I’ve thought today about what I can offer, as a blogger and as one who cares deeply about people. This is a message from my heart.

A Message From My Heart title meme

A Shift in Energy

As the virus spreads toward the midwest, I can see and feel the shift in energy. People are buying up supplies, food and medication, in case self quarantine is a necessity. Or they are stocking up to avoid the possibility of contagion by remaining at home. Our local university closed down today. Sporting events cancelled. More cancellations of all kinds are expected. Schools just let out for spring break. We will see whether they choose to remain closed afterward.

I can feel the heightened sense of fear and panic as shelves at the grocery store empty. The abundance of emotions creates a swirl of uneasiness around me that I’ve had to deal with today.

Here are some tips I’ve found helpful. I hope they are helpful to you as well.

A Message From My Heart self care
A message from my heart – practice high level self care,

Practice High Level Self Care

It starts with you and me as individuals. We are responsible for our own level of health and emotions and how we respond to situations.

Take extremely good care of yourself.

Practice meditation or yoga or breathing exercises to ease anxiety and reduce stress. Stress taxes the body by keeping it in “fight or flight” mode and that can adversely affect the immune system.

Up your level of nutrition. Eat more fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds, supplying the body with the best quality fuel so that it can perform at its highest level. Drink lots of water. Have a cup of hot herbal tea in the afternoon and take a break, breathing slowly and deeply.

Include these foods that support the immune system: citrus fruits, red bell peppers, broccoli, garlic, ginger, spinach and other dark leafy greens, almonds, turmeric, green tea, lemon balm, papaya, kiwi, berries and shiitake mushrooms.

Get plenty of sleep, as that boosts the immune system as well. Avoid tobacco smoke and reduce alcohol consumption. And catch some rays of sunshine, for up to 15 minutes a day. Sunlight triggers the skin’s production of vitamin D, which helps to lower the risk of respiratory infections.

A Message From My Heart chopped salad
A message from my heart – up your nutrition. A chopped veggie salad makes a highly nutritious lunch.

Take Precautions

The CDC offers suggestions to better protect yourself from catching COVID-19, also called coronavirus. Remember that most who contract the virus experience mild symptoms and recover. For some older adults, or those with underlying health issues, the illness may be much more severe.

Regularly wash hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or longer. If soap isn’t available, use a hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol.

Maintain a minimum six feet distance between you and anyone who is coughing or sneezing. Don’t shake hands, hug or kiss others, except loved ones, and even then use caution if you’ve been in large groups or areas affected by the virus.

Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth, especially while out in public after your hands come in contact with surfaces that others touch.

Cover your mouth and nose, with your bent elbow or a tissue, when you cough or sneeze. Dispose of tissue immediately and wash hands.

Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention.

Wear a facemask IF you are sick, when around other people. If you do not have the virus, you do not need to wear a facemask, unless you are caring for someone who is sick.

Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets and sinks.

A Message From My Heart wash your hands
A message from my heart – take precautions.

Help Others

Show compassion to others. Be kind with your words and deeds, without touching and hugging others.

Check on older adults in your family and community. They are in the highest risk category if they catch the virus. Offer to shop for them, delivering groceries and supplies to their doors. Call them frequently. People may feel isolated, staying at home more during this time. Connect with them and encourage them.

Reach out to others via social media. Some have a love/hate relationship with social media. This is a time, when used properly, that it can keep people updated, informed and connected. Post news and also post funny stories and photos, encouraging quotes and inspirational memes. I’m grateful for a means of communicating with others, that is already in place.

This isn’t a time for judgment, casting blame or feeding fear. Send healing energy and good vibes into the world. Think good thoughts. Keep your heart open and full of love and joy. Sing. Laugh. Play music. Dance.

A Message From My Heart compassion
A message from my heart – practice compassion.

A Message From My Heart

Chopping veggies this morning, for a big healthy salad, I listened to inspirational music on my iPhone and carried on a conversation with the Divine. One line in a song, “You are more than what is hurting you tonight…”, reminded me that I am more than all of this that is going on. I am more than someone who succumbs to fear or resignation.

I asked aloud, “What can I do to help, during this troubling time of uncertainty? What can I offer?”

The answer that came, formed this post. Take care of myself. Manage stress and DO NOT give fear a foothold. Do what I can, for others. Offer sincerely from my heart. Send healing energy into the world. Trust.

I don’t know what will happen tomorrow or next week. I don’t know how bad it’s going to get, or how long all of this is going to last with COVID-19. However, I don’t need to give in to hopelessness or despair or fear. I am journeying onward, even if it’s from my house, well stocked with toilet paper, fruits and veggies and cat food.

Living life beyond the edges sometimes means expanding perspectives and going beyond comfort zones by shifting thoughts and beliefs. That’s an inner journey that then manifests changes in the outer world.

We are blessed that we can connect virtually. Reach out to me if you need someone to chat with or to help you slay your fears. Linking arms, figuratively, is what we do. Journey with me.

A Message From My Heart love

 

Check out this app, for a daily dose of encouragement and helpful articles and meditations.  And have a listen to “Beautiful” by MercyMe

 

 


Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

 

 

 

 

The App That Helps Your Life Shine

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

Thank you to SHINE for gifting me the premium Shine App for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

Apps are available for everything. Need help planning meals, selling used clothes, entertaining the kids, learning a new language? There’s an app for that.

When I received an email with an invitation to experience the Shine app, the subject line caught my attention.

New Year’s Goals? This top-rated app makes you 3x more likely to achieve them.

This is a life shifting year for me. My goals are BIG. My goals are many! If there’s an app that offers a greater likelihood of reaching those goals, I’m all in.

There is one. Let me introduce you to the app that helps your life Shine!

The App That Helps Your Life Shine title meme

Meet the Founders

Shine was founded in New York in 2016 by Marah Lidey and Naomi Hirabayashi. Marah and Naomi met at work and decided to create the Shine app after experiencing the benefits of supporting and encouraging each other through the stress and anxiety that can accompany life. They believe in making support for mental and emotional health available and easily accessible for all.

Their creation is built around the additional belief that we are stronger when we take care of ourselves, together. Today Shine’s global community numbers more than 4 million individuals in 189 countries. It is the largest and most diverse group of people practicing daily self care.

I have the powers
The app that helps your life shine – affirmations

What Does the Shine App Do?

Shine is for anyone who desires inspiration on a daily basis. The app supports mental and emotional health and offers encouragement for reaching goals, practicing self love and self care and forming new habits that shift mindset, all in a non-judgmental way. This isn’t a kick in the butt approach. Rather, it is a let us walk alongside each other journey.

With Shine receive daily self care strategies, support from a diverse community and access to an audio library of 500+ original meditations, bedtime stories and soothing music to help lower stress and anxiety.

The App That Helps Your Life Shine
The app that helps your life shine – question of the day

Shine App Details

Here’s what you need to know about the app:

Availability and Pricing

Find Shine in the App Store for iOS or in Google Play Store for Android.

Shine is free to download and offers two memberships: free and Shine Premium. The cost for Shine Premium is $53.99 for a year membership or $11.99 for a monthly one.

The Free Membership Benefits

  • read the Daily Shine and participate in the exercises
  • discuss questions with the community
  • listen to a Daily Shine episode
  • log a gratitude daily
  • listen to free meditations throughout the week
  • explore free offerings in the library such as morning, afternoon and evening quick hitters

Shine Premium Benefits

  • read Daily Shine and participate in the exercises
  • full access to 500+ audio tracks in the library including meditations, music and bedtime stories
  • log your mood each day and receive recommended content based on how you are feeling
  • save favorite messages and meditations to build your own tool kit
  • real time advice
  • receive an invitation to join the Shine Squad, a private invite-only community, to deepen connections and get real time support

Learn more and download the app by visiting this LINK

The App That Helps Your Life Shine intention
The app that helps your life shine – intentions

My Experience with the App that Helps Your Life Shine

I’ll start by saying, I love this app. It is perfectly in alignment with who I am and who I am becoming. It doesn’t require huge chunks of time to incorporate the app into my daily life. The exercises, meditations and audios are all under 10 minutes.

I appreciate the daily check in feature which asks what I want to focus on, allows me to write out a gratitude and supports me by offering a post to read or an audio to listen to. There are weekly challenges to take part in, if I so desire, discussion questions that connect me to the community and affirmations and meditations to support me on my journey.

Today featured articles and audios on growth, learning styles and giving myself permission to experience a learning curve, if necessary. It was the perfect way to start my busy day!

This afternoon I listened to the Midday Mood audio. It guided me through movements and breathing exercises that grounded me and energized me for the rest of the day.

Tonight I’ll listen to Evening Vibes to calm my brain and soothe me toward sleep. All of these are included in the free membership. I can also listen to a bedtime story, ambient music or a meditation as part of the Shine Premium membership.

The app is helping me reach my goals by supporting who I am exactly where I am on my journey, encouraging me to be kind and patient with myself and giving me the mindset tools I need to succeed in life and in business.

The Daily Shine
The Daily Shine

Try Out This Amazing App

Are you looking for a simple yet highly effective way to receive support and encouragement on a daily basis? Do you appreciate the convenience of an app on your phone? Then the Shine App is for you. Give the free membership a try. Or jump right in and receive access to the vast library of helpful materials.

Let the app that helps your life shine assist you in broadcasting your light for all to see. The world needs your great heart and your bright light. Imagine what we can all do, shining brillianty together.

Shine App Logo

From your computer download the Shine App HERE.

On your cell phone go HERE.

 

 

 

 

Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

 

 

 

 

Why Do Creative Ideas Come to Us in the Shower?

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

Am I the only one who wonders this? Why do creative ideas come to us in the shower? Seriously, the majority of my big ideas, my creative ideas and solutions to challenges come to me as I shower. Is it the flow of water? Is it the solitude? Or am I imagining a connection?

Allowing curiosity to guide me, I researched to discover the answer to my question. As it turns out, there are reasons why creativity sparks while we shower.

Why Do Creative Ideas Come to Us in the Shower title meme

Creating an Environment for Creativity

Several factors come together in the shower, creating the perfect environment for flashes of creativity, ahas and problem solving.

I’ve noticed that there are four scenarios that ramp up the creative sections of my brain. Ranking them from least likely to spark creativity to most likely, they are:

  • driving alone in the car
  • when I’m in the alpha state between sleep and wakefulness, and similarly, when I’m in a relaxed, meditative state
  • walking in nature, alone
  • showering

The commonalities between those scenarios are solitude, no distractions, a relaxed state of mind and genuine happiness. Take away any of those factors and I am much less likely to come up with something clever or profound.

That’s why driving in the car is less conducive to creativity. On a gorgeous day, when traffic is light, my music is playing and I don’t have pressing appointments or a need for speed, my mind generates wonderful ideas. Throw in heavy rain, backed up traffic and urgency and I get nothing. In fact, I’m so focused on driving or weather conditions that music is a distraction that must be silenced.

And that is another consideration. The more intensely we focus on creativity or coming up with solutions, the more evasive they might become.

We’ve all experienced trying to remember a name or wracking our brains for information that eludes us. We give up and go into the kitchen to bake cupcakes and suddenly, 15 minutes later, the name or the info pops into our heads. When we stop trying so hard, what we seek surfaces.

Here are the reasons a shower helps as well.

Creativity

Solitude in the Shower

Admittedly, we are not always alone in the shower. It’s no surprise that creativity tends to avoid us during shared showers. However, showering alone creates the first step in ramping up creativity.

There’s no one else to listen to, tend to, carry on conversations with. We can sing if we feel like it, talk to ourselves or simply savor the silence. Alone we disconnect from everyone and everything else for a few minutes, except for the spray of hot water and the routine of shampooing hair and scrubbing skin.

Additionally, while showering we are not scrolling through Facebook or answering texts or posting to Instagram. Our outer world narrows down while our inner awareness and consciousness expands, creating the perfect incubator for fresh ideas.

And in that shower stall, we are less likely to encounter distractions.

Why Do Creative Ideas Come to Us in the Shower
Why do creative ideas come to us in the shower? Solitude creates space for creativity to emerge.

Free From Distractions

The small shower space insulates us from the outside world for a short time. Distractions that shift our attention disappear. This frees the mind to roam and flit from idea to idea, which is a great way to birth something amazing. Free from distractions, the brain gathers thoughts and ideas and connects them in interesting new ways.

The subconscious that busied itself problem solving can surface as the mind wanders, bringing solutions into awareness for consideration.

And the shower is an excellent location for daydreaming.  It’s the perfect time to wonder “what if?” and follow curiosity to see where it leads. With no one to judge our thoughts or ridicule our ideas, we can dream big and relax into the realm of unlimited possibilities.

No Distractions
Why do creative ideas come to us in the shower? No distractions.

A Relaxed State of Mind

The sound and warmth of the water, the clean scent of shampoo and the simple routine of showering soothe the mind into a relaxed state. The prefrontal cortex…the brain’s command center for decisions, goals and behavior…relaxes, clearing away old thought pathways while creating new ones.

Ideas arise that the conscious mind might otherwise dismiss. Crazy ideas, outrageous flashes of creativity and huge, scary possibilities form. The more we open to the “what ifs”, the bigger the ideas get.

I personally believe that the flow of water contributes to generating ideas while we are in a relaxed state of mind. Flowing water surrounds us in positive energy. It’s why the ocean inspires and waterfalls energize. In that small shower space, with water flowing over us, the mind that is open and relaxed is receptive to creativity.

When we are relaxed the brain responds by increasing the happiness factor.

Why Do Creative Ideas Come to Us in the Shower relaxation
Why do creative ideas come to us in the shower? We experience a relaxed state of mind.

Increased Happiness

While it’s not the strongest source of creativity, higher levels of happiness do spark creativity. Warm, relaxing showers encourage the brain to release the feel-good happiness hormone, dopamine. The more dopamine flowing through us, the more creative we become.

Dopamine also triggers alpha waves that ripple through the brain. They appear to increase creativity levels. And as a bonus, that blast of dopamine creates euphoria. When we are euphoric, we feel like we can pursue and develop creative ideas, even the wilds ones that push us beyond our comfort zones.

Happiness
Why do creative ideas come to us in the shower? We feel happy.

Capturing Creative Ideas

I love that the idea for this post came to me in the shower. The questions that accompanied the idea activated curiosity, which led me to answers.

It’s important to act on the ideas we receive. Muse loves an active partner to co-create with. Capture ideas and look through them often, expanding on them until one takes hold and compels action.

My favorite form of keeping track of ideas is a simple notebook. I fill pages with all manner of creative ideas. As they develop and become goals or intentions, I transfer them into my planner and add them to digital vision boards.

I also use the voice dictation feature on my phone to capture ideas when I’m driving and the notes app is handy too. A small journal on my bedside table allows me to jot down ideas that arrive in the middle of the night.

Researching for this post, I discovered a wonderful item called Aqua Notes. These waterproof notepads with pens mount in the shower! Never lose a wonderful idea again.

Barry Kaufman, a cognitive scientist and co-author of “Wired to Create” , found during a study that 72% of the population receive creative ideas in the shower.

I am in that 72%. Are you? What’s the best creative idea you’ve had while showering?

 

Click on image to order your Aqua Notepad!

 

Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

Developing a Curiosity Mindset

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

Curiosity, the strong desire to learn something, is a worthy trait to develop. Perhaps because curiosity is my word for the year, or perhaps because I’m naturally a curious person, my thoughts often turn to this characteristic.

Why is curiosity an excellent companion for life’s journey?

What a great question! It reveals a curious mind. Read on to learn the answer and for tips on developing a curiosity mindset.

Developing a Curiosity Mindset title meme

Why Develop Curiosity?

Curiosity is considered a genius trait. Many inventors, artists and creatives, such as Einstein and da Vinci, exhibit intelligence combined with insatiable curiosity. Is curiosity limited to a few?

No, we can develop the sense of curiosity all of us enjoyed as children. We are born, curious. Watch a child at play or listen to them, asking myriad questions. Curiosity is part of our nature.

Why, as adults, is it important to reconnect with curiosity and develop it?

  • Curiosity keeps the mind active and sharp. Asking questions, seeking answers and exploring new ideas all expand reasoning abilities, perspectives and awareness.
  • The brain signals the release of dopamine, a feel good chemical, when we encounter new experiences. We feel happier when following curiosity. And curious people experience positive emotions more frequently, greater satisfaction with life and lower levels of anxiety .
  • Curiosity increases powers of observation. The brain makes new pathways as we gather information and connect it in fresh ways. Not surprisingly, curiosity also fosters learning and academic achievement.
  • Adventures are born when we follow curiosity to see where it leads. And it opens doors to amazing possibilities. A life lived with a curiosity mindset is fun, exciting and never dull.
Developing a Curiosity Mindset Adventures
Blessed are the curious, for they will have adventures. Dayan in Paris.

Developing a Curiosity Mindset

Try these suggestions for developing a curiosity mindset.

Say Yes, Instead of No

Something happens to us as adults. Growing up, many of us lose the sense of adventure we once enjoyed, when an opportunity arises. It is too easy to quickly reply no when something new presents itself or we want to be careful and weigh all the pros and cons.

Try saying yes more often. Instead of overthinking opportunities or playful creative projects, say yes and see what happens. Yes opens us up to receive more. Yes frees us. Saying no stops action and closes us down.

Of course certain situations require a negative answer. However, answer with a yes as often as you can and life will shift, dramatically.

Play

One of the most important traits I’ve reconnected with in the last ten years is the ability to play. Playing lightens moods, boosts creativity and sparks curiosity. It is no surprise that children engage so frequently in make believe while they play. They are acting out of curiosity and learning while playing.

Color, draw and paint. Get out the board games or better yet, make up new games to play. Use imagination to make believe. Stumped for ideas? Watch children at play and take notes!

Developing a Curiosity Mindset Play
Developing a Curiosity Mindset – play. During my outrageous birthday activities, I spent the night in a blanket tent in my office. It was fun!

Stay Open

One of my favorite mantras is “open to everything, attached to nothing”. A closed mind, heart or perspective severely limits curiosity. If we think we know everything already, we have no need for curiosity. An open mind and heart naturally question and then seek answers. When we remain unattached to outcomes as we question and seek, our curiosity can lead us far indeed.

So many of my adventures and playful games ignite my curiosity and lead me to exciting discoveries. A good example is the 62 Outrageous Things to Do for My 62nd Birthday. I’m still reaping extraordinary benefits from following curiosity as I enjoyed new experiences.

Wonderment

Staying open inspires wonderment. And wonder, in turn, births the desire to discover. Ask why, how, who, when, what if and I wonder what would happen if I did this? A curious mind generates an endless sense of wonderment about the world, the universe, ourselves, other people and those BIG questions about existence and purpose.

Allow curiosity to fuel wonderment and then go where the questions lead. Recently I took a jump rocket to my grandchildren to try out, for a brand. It was simple fun, jumping on the pump to launch the rocket into the air. The kids enjoyed seeing how high they could make the rocket go. What I love most is that after I left, two of the kids continued to play, adapting the launch sequence, making their own rocket and creating a funny video to showcase their work. What a fine example of curiosity driven wonderment!

Developing a Curiosity Mindset Wonder
Developing a Curiosity Mindset – Wonderment

Read Widely and Watch a Variety of Films

We all enjoy favorite genres in books and movies. Developing a curiosity mindset is furthered by expanding reading and viewing selections beyond the usual. If you typically read fiction, switch to non-fiction for the next book. If comedies are your favorite, try a documentary or a sci-fi film.

Moving away from the usual sparks curiosity by capturing interest or creating a desire to know more. Watching a historical drama always leads me to Google. Curiosity compels me to fact check and see if that amazing scene has any historical truth to it. And that in turn may lead me to a book at the library about the topic. I love the trails I follow, chasing after curiosity. There’s no telling how far it will go and what I will learn.

Try New Experiences

Don’t be afraid to try many experiences as you journey through life. Dabble in this. Take a class in that. Flit from art medium to art medium. There are certainly times to focus on one thing. Just don’t limit yourself and stay there too long. We create ruts when we do the same things, in the same ways, for a long time. Boredom sets in. Creativity is stifled. We lose interest.

Trying new experiences is what launched my blogging journey in 2014 and how grateful I am.  I continue to allow curiosity to guide my writing and my life.

Are you curious about painting? Gardening? Deep sea diving? Experience whatever you wonder about. If you love it, stay with it. If you don’t love it, no harm done. Move on.

Try New Experiences
Developing a Curiosity Mindset – Try New Things
Jonathan acted in plays and sang in musicals. Now he plays the sax in the band. And, that’s not the first instrument he tried. Don’t be afraid to try many things.

Go Beyond

The sentence that currently shapes my life is this one: Living life beyond the edges of fear, comfort zones and limiting beliefs. It’s become the tag line for my Cindy Goes Beyond blog.

Going beyond is the path to greater curiosity. Fear stops so many things, including creativity and curiosity. Limiting beliefs keep us stuck in patterns from our pasts. And comfort zones…those keep us safe, we think, and dull. If we are afraid to go beyond what we know, then we won’t make it past that self imposed boundary.

Replace fears and judgments with curiosity.

Allow curiosity a trial run. Follow it in a new direction that begins with the question “what if?” and see where you end up. When you feel uncomfortable, pause, consider why the discomfort is there, and then go slightly beyond it.

Here’s an example: You eat the same foods all the time. Curiosity taps you on the shoulder and you wonder what a dragon fruit tastes like. Comfort Zone tells you not to bother. You don’t know how to prepare a dragon fruit and you probably won’t like it anyway. Curiosity beckons. Going beyond means watching a YouTube video about cutting up the fruit, making a purchase and creating a dragon fruit smoothie, which you love. Curiosity says, “I wonder what else we could try?”. And off you go, on another new adventure. Those adventures don’t ever have to stop.

Follow Curiosity When it Beckons

Following curiosity is one of my favorite life experiences. I don’t usually know where the path goes after it disappears around the bend and what I’ll encounter along the way. How freeing it is not to know. Having to know everything before you go, stops you from ever going.

Developing a curiosity mindset means following curiosity, whether it is to Google, into nature, to the library or to another country. Trust. Follow. Explore. You will discover treasures.

Following curiosity
Following curiosity leads to discovering treasures, such as this painted rock.

Travel

Travel is following curiosity on a big scale. Going beyond your neighborhood, your town, your state or your country to explore new places is a life changing experience.

Seeing the way other people live, tasting new foods, hearing a different accent, dialect or language, feeling the sun on your skin on the other side of the world expands the heart and mind in massive ways. I believe that travel enriches our lives, increases wonderment and creates empathy for others.

And travel is addictive.

Curiosity whispers to me constantly and points toward a distant land. I want to follow. I desire to go beyond my boundaries. Staying open and unattached, I take step after step beyond the edges, with travel as my lofty goal.

Are You Developing a Curiosity Mindset?

When I realized curiosity was my word for 2020, I expressed great delight. I’ve always been a curious person, although for many years fear kept me caged. That is no longer true. I love following curiosity and going ever beyond, growing and shifting into the person I am  meant to be, one adventure, one experience at a time. This year is already taking me far beyond. There truly is no telling how far I’ll go! Listen to my song for this year, to get that reference.

Are you a curious person? How are you developing a curiosity mindset?

Developing a Curiosity Mindset Travel
Developing a Curiosity Mindset – Travel. At Heathrow Airport, London, England.

Check out these books on curiosity:

 


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JoJo Rabbit Movie Review

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During the weeks leading up to the 92nd Academy Awards, I enjoyed watching all of the Best Picture nominated films. Nine outstanding films offered nine important messages about society, determination, war, peace, acceptance and inclusion. For a brief summary of each worthy film and to discover which one won the Oscar, in case you don’t know, read my post Best Picture Winner.

I found truths to appreciate about all nine films. Joker impacted me the greatest, with its bleak portrayal of a man struggling to find his place in society. This film though, JoJo Rabbit, really pulled me in to the story and stayed with me. So much so, that I want to share a more in-depth review.

This is a spoiler free review of the unique film, JoJo Rabbit, an anti-hate satire that uses dark humor to pierce the heart, and lodge there.

JoJo Rabbit title meme 2

JoJo Rabbit Cast

This history inspired drama, with comedic overtones, stars Sam Rockwell, Scarlett Johannson, Roman Griffin Davis, Thomasin McKenzie, Taika Waititi, Rebel Wilson, Alfie Allen, Stephen Merchant and Archie Yates.

The screenplay, written by Taika Waititi, was inspired by the novel “Caging Skies” by Christine Leunens. Waititi won an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay and the film received five more Academy nominations, including Best Picture. JoJo Rabbit carries a PG-13 rating, for moderate profanity, intense scenes and mild violence, and has a run time of 1 hour and 49 minutes.

JoJo Rabbit JoJo and Yorkie
Best friends, JoJo and Yorkie
Imaginary friend
JoJo Rabbit and his imaginary friend.

JoJo’s Big Dream

Ten year old JoJo Betzler (Davis) lives with his mother Rosie (Johannson) in a little town in Germany during WWII. His father is absent, fighting in another country, leaving JoJo the little man of the house while his mother works to provide for them.

Often left on his own, JoJo longs for connection and a cause to fight for. More than anything, this earnest and patriotic boy wants a place in Hitler’s Nazi army. He idolizes the Fuhrer so much that Adolf (Waititi) appears as JoJo’s imaginary friend. JoJo poses his many questions to Hitler and in return, the Fuhrer offers advice and commentary on the boy’s life, cheering him on when necessary.

And it is often necessary. JoJo and his best friend Yorki (Yates) dwell on the fringes when they attend a training camp for Hitler youth. Led by Captain Klezendorf (Rockwell), his second in command Finkel (Allen) and Fraulein Rahm (Wilson) the camp employs unusual techniques to teach their young comrades obedience, loyalty and intolerance.

Although JoJo strives for excellence, the older boys torment him. He earns the nickname, JoJo Rabbit, when he refuses to kill a rabbit on command. After he runs off into the woods, Hitler appears to offer a pep talk. He tells JoJo that rabbits possess excellent qualities such as speed and sends the boy sprinting back into camp.

JoJo leaps into the circle of boys as Captain Klezendorf holds aloft a live grenade. Full of adrenaline fueled courage, JoJo grabs the grenade and dashes off with it, barely tossing it before it explodes. That’s the end of youth camp for JoJo, who returns home to recover from his serious injuries.

JoJo Rabbit mother and son
The bond between mother and son.

The Secret Upstairs

JoJo recovers slowly from the accident, which leaves him with scars on his face and a limp. Feeling he’s ugly now, the lonely boy seeks seclusion at home. Even Hitler’s chats don’t cheer him up.

Rosie uses humor and a mother’s love to pull her son out of his isolation. They ride bicycles and take long walks together. She attempts to broaden his perspective by speaking truthfully about the war efforts.

“The Reich is dying. We’re going to lose the war and then what are you going to do, hmm? Life is a gift. We must celebrate it. We have to dance to show God we are grateful to be alive.”

At home alone one day, JoJo hears suspicious noises upstairs. Stealthily tracking down the sounds, he pauses outside his sister’s room. She passed away recently. Her bedroom remains untouched. Unexpectedly, JoJo discovers a young woman, Elsa (McKenzie) secreted away behind a false wall. Hidden there by Rosie, JoJo is shocked to learn Elsa is Jewish.

Everything JoJo learned about the Jewish race appears to be wrong. Elsa doesn’t have horns or evil intentions. Although he and Hitler plot to get rid of her initially, JoJo decides to write a book about the Jewish people, with Elsa supplying the information. The more the boy learns from Elsa, the more confused he becomes. She seems nice. And like him, she spends a great deal of time alone. A friendship blossoms between them.

When the gestapo shows up at the house, led by Captain Deertz (Merchant), JoJo no longer wants to rid himself of Elsa. Instead, like his mother, he seeks to protect her. How much longer will they be able to do so? And at what risk?

JoJo Rabbit group meeting

Elsa
Elsa, living life hidden away.

My Thoughts on JoJo Rabbit

I attended the viewing for this film with no idea of the story line, beyond the Germany setting during WWII. In fact, it’s likely I would have missed this movie had it not received a Best Picture nomination, deeming it “not my style of film”. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to change my opinion.

This is a quirky, oddly hilarious at times, completely heart-warming film with amazing portrayals by a talented cast. I can’t praise it enough. From the strange relationship between JoJo and Hitler to the tender one between mother and son to the growing friendship between German boy and Jewish girl, this movie captivated me. I laughed and I teared up. And at one point I wanted to wail with sorrow. While JoJo Rabbit appears lighthearted on the surface, it impacts the heart deeply and it broadens the mind.

I love Waititi’s brilliance as a screenplay writer, director and actor. He moved me and unsettled me. I eager anticipate anything else he creates.

JoJo Rabbit Taika Waititi
Taika Waititi is from New Zealand.

The Takeaway

The scene that I cannot forget is near the end of the movie. The town is under attack as the war draws to a close. Fraulein Rahm thrusts rifles into the hands of young boys with these instructions: “Shoot anyone that doesn’t look like us.”

I can’t forget that line. Shoot anyone…kill anyone…that doesn’t look like us. One can easily substitute other words. Ridicule anyone…ignore anyone…bully anyone…attempt to control anyone…hurt anyone…shame anyone…that doesn’t look like us.

With a single line Waititi powerfully reminds us of what it means to be human and to love humanity, whether they look like us, like me, like you, or not. Movies like JoJo Rabbit give me hope that we are growing, and can continue to, even though we have a long journey yet ahead.

Let me know if you’ve seen this unforgettable film and share your thoughts.

JoJo Rabbit anti hate satire
An anti-hate satire

Purchase or rent JoJo Rabbit through Amazon by clicking on the photo below:

 

 

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Fix Her Crown Award

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

Recently I wrote a post called Fix Her Crown. Based on a social media challenge making its rounds and a quote that kept surfacing for me, the post encourages women to post photos of themselves and tag other women to do the same.

That post continues to receive a lot of traffic, which in turn inspired this twist on the challenge. I’ve created the Fix Her Crown Award as a way to show appreciation for women who reach out to their sisters in the queendom and fix their crowns in a kind way.

I’m excited to nominate the first ever group of ladies to receive this award that is shared via blog posts rather than social media.

Listed below are suggestions for sharing this award and recognizing women for all the beautiful work that they do.

Fix Her Crown Award title meme

Fix Her Crown Quote

The quote that inspired this challenge resonates with me.

“Be the woman who fixes another woman’s crown, without telling the world that it was crooked.” Unknown

During this time when division over differences is rampant in the world, expressing kindness by “fixing her crown” feels so important. It’s not about fixing the woman. That is not our role. This is about helping in a situation or offering an encouraging word or coming alongside for a time. It’s about raising awareness so we notice when a sister’s crown has slipped and then offer help without expecting anything in return.

The woman receiving the Fix Her Crown Award is the kind of woman who accepts, encourages and supports her sisters. When she sees something she can help with, she does so quietly, without making a big deal about it or broadcasting to the world that her sister needs help.

Fix Her Crown Award Floral

Fix Her Crown Award Rules

The rules are simple:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and link to her blog.
  2. Copy and paste these rules to your post and please include a link to the Fix Her Crown Award post.
  3. Post three photos of just yourself and write a short caption beneath each about why you chose that photo.
  4. Nominate seven women for the Fix Her Crown Award, women who lend a helping hand to the woman whose crown seems too heavy, who appreciate the sister who dares to be her own glorious self, who raise strong young women, who smile at the sister journeying alone and walk alongside her for a time, who stand with the sister whose crown has been knocked off her head time after time and women who shine as their own beautifully unique selves.
  5. Link to the blogs of the seven nominees.

My Three Photos

These are the photos that I selected as an example for the Fix Her Crown Award.

I am a Dreamer

One of my favorites, I love this photo because the shirt, I am a Dreamer from Solgave Clothing, captures the essence of my trip to Italy. My grandson and I planned our trip five years before it became reality. Standing in Venice, I can proclaim that dreams do come true.

Healthy Glow

This photo was taken less than a year into my healing journey, and what amazing changes had occurred in my health and in my body. I felt good, for the first time in many years!

Edinburgh Light

My favorite photo ever, this one is from last July in Edinburgh, Scotland, my favorite city in the world. This photo was taken in the apartment my sister and I stayed in on Thistle Street. It reminds me of the amazing experiences we shared, exploring the city and meeting Scottish kin for the first time.

My Nominees for the Fix Her Crown Award

I am blessed to call so many incredible women my sisters. These first nominees exemplify helping others without calling attention to themselves and yet they shine brilliantly in the world. Being their glorious selves gives other women permission to do the same. They are all living life beyond the edges!

Esme,  Esme Salon

Talat,  Racing Tigers

Rose, Rose Hahn

Justine, The Tea Chest

Denise, Many Facets of Life

Kim, Kim’s DIY Tribe

Heidi, Rise Love Live

For inspiration and encouragement, check out the blogs by these amazing women.

Spread the Love

If you have received the Fix Her Crown Award, please spread the love to other women who are making a difference in their communities and the world.

And if you have found this blog post on your own, it is no accident. You are here for a reason and you are awarded as well. Create your own post, following the rules listed above, and nominate your sisters.

We are here to build each other up, without comparisons, judgments or jealousies. Let’s link arms in love and support each other, as we journey onward together.

Fix Her Crown Award Logo

 

 

 

 

 

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Making Kindness the Norm

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February 17 is Random Acts of Kindness Day in the US. The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation, founded in 1995, is headquartered in Denver, Colorado. Random Acts of Kindness Day originated in New Zealand in 2004.

The purpose of this day is to raise awareness about the global need for kindness. This unique holiday encourages us to practice kindness in random ways with friends, family, strangers and animals.

The Foundation’s mission is to change schools, the workplace, families and society through kindness. This is the Foundation’s Random Acts of Kindness Week with the theme of Making Kindness the Norm.

I love the emphasis on kindness, defined as expressing friendliness, generosity and consideration. And I appreciate that practicing kindness is not limited to one day out of the year. Consider making kindness the norm every day, with these tips.

Making Kindness the Norm title meme

Kindness Provides Health Benefits

This morning I followed curiosity down an interesting trail. Aware of Random Acts of Kindness Day, I wondered if expressing kindness towards others offers any health benefits to the giver. It does!

Kindness and empathy help us to relate better to others and develop positive connections with family, friends, animals and even total strangers that we encounter. Beyond improving relationships, kindness can make us healthier in these ways:

  • releases the “feel good” hormone serotonin
  • eases anxiety and boosts self esteem
  • releases the hormone oxytocin, which benefits heart health by lowering blood pressure
  • reduces stress by helping us get outside our own lives while we focus on others
  • produces oxytocin which also lowers inflammation in the body, a condition linked to disease
  • prolongs life by helping to strengthen relationships, which in turn supports heart health and positively raises mental outlook

We don’t practice kindness to create better health. We practice kindness to better the lives of others, in small and large ways. The health benefits are a wonderful “perk”! Energetically, what you put out into the world flows back to you. Kindness does good and produces good in the body.

Making Kindness the Norm with Animals
Making Kindness the Norm with Animals
Making Kindness the Norm Now
Making Kindness the Norm…Now

Making Kindness the Norm

Check out the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation website  for lots of activities that promote kindness. They offer a fun challenge that promotes kindness as the norm at home and in communities. The challenge involves completing a series of kindness activities to fill in 60 hearts. Activities are worth one, two or three hearts, depending on how challenging they are.

Activities include random acts of kindness, writing prompts, self care and even coloring pages.

“Imagine a world where we can succeed by being nice, where we all look out for each other, where we pay it forward and where kindness is the norm.”  Random Acts of Kindness Foundation

Additionally, the site offers classroom activities, quotes, posters, inspiration and an extremely cool 2020 Kindness Calendar with a suggested act of kindness for every day of the year. I absolutely LOVE that. All these resources are free and downloadable.

Leaving Encouraging Notes
Making Kindness the Norm – leaving encouraging notes
Be Kind
Be Kind

Ways to Practice Kindness

On this day, on every day, these are simple ways for making kindness the norm:

  • volunteer at a animal shelter, a soup kitchen, a homeless shelter, a school
  • ties scarves around trees in cold weather and tuck gloves into hats and place on benches
  • donate your time, your money, your wisdom
  • walk the neighbor’s dog
  • babysit for free for a single mom or dad
  • carpool to work
  • smile at everyone
  • high five a stranger
  • shop for a shut in
  • call your grandparents
  • clean house for an older family member
  • send an encouraging text
  • mail a card to brighten someone’s day
  • give out hugs
  • in a drive through pay for the person behind you
  • leave change in a laundry mat or taped to a vending machine
  • hide encouraging notes in random places
  • allow a car to cut in front of you in traffic
  • run errands for someone who is ill
  • invite a lonely person out for tea or coffee
  • give groceries to a shelter pantry
  • donate clothing to a community closet
  • give garden produce away
  • pick up trash in parks and neighborhoods
  • use less plastic
  • compliment a stranger
  • visit a nursing home
  • write reviews for local businesses, organizations you care about, products you love
  • practice cyberkindness to counteract cyberbullying
  • BE KIND to EVERY KIND
Making Kindness the Norm Helping Children
Making Kindness the Norm – helping children
Kindness is Love
Kindness is Love

Be Kind

Scott Adams said,

Remember, there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.”

Let’s create ripples that circle the globe, on this day, during this week and throughout the year. Join me in making kindness the norm, every day.

Random Acts of Kindness Day

Check out these related posts:  Random Acts of Kindness Week 2018

Kindness is Contagious – Pass it On from 2017

Kindness Find on Amazon:

 


 

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Best Picture Winner

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The 92nd Academy Awards show is over and the winners in 24 categories chosen, including the Best Picture winner. I enjoyed a week of watching all of the Best Picture nominated films ahead of the Oscars. All nine films showcased extraordinary talent while offering unforgettable stories.

Which movie became the Best Picture winner? Read on. And discover why all of the nominated films are worth watching.

Best Picture Winner title meme

Best Picture Nominees

An amazing selection of movies received nominations for the Academy Awards’ top prize. Several focused on historical events or particular time periods. Others explored human nature. One examined the challenges of dissolving a marriage. All contained unique twists within their plots.

The nominees included: Joker, Ford v Ferrari, JoJo Rabbit, Marriage Story, 1917, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Little Women, The Irishman and Parasite. Rather than write a full review of each movie, I chose to present them as a group with a brief summary for each and my thoughts about why these films are important.

Joker

Rated R  Run time: 2 hours 2 minutes

Written and directed by Todd Phillips. Nominated for 11 Oscars, it won two, a well deserved Best Actor for Joaquin and Best Original Score.

Stars Joaquin Phoenix, Robert DeNiro, Zazie Beetz and Frances Conroy

In Gotham City, clown performer Arthur Fleck feels his purpose in life is to make people laugh and bring joy to others. Society sees him differently. His uncontrollable laughter and awkwardness in social situations brings Arthur cruel taunts and acts of bullying. Fed up, the wannabe comedian strikes out. A crime committed in self defense leads Arthur down a path that ultimately births his new identity as Joker.

My Thoughts

My favorite among the nominees, this film is so much more than a nemesis story. Yes, we witness the events that created Batman’s enemy, Joker. However the story examines much deeper issues including mental illness, bullying, acceptance, compassion and the role society plays in helping or harming someone who has lost his way. The twist in Joker is seeing him as an anti-hero rather than just the “bad guy”. We care about what happens to him and recognize the freedom he feels as his alter ego emerges.

This film moves me deeply. Some scenes are violent, however look past that. Allow this powerful movie to stir compassion for everyone and especially those who feel invisible.

Best Picture Nominee Joker
I wanted Joker to be the Best Picture Winner!

Ford v Ferrari

Rated PG-13  Run time 2 hours 32 minutes

Written by Jez and John Henry Butterworth and Jason Keller. Directed by James Mangold. Nominated for four Oscars, Ford v Ferrari took home two, for Film Editing and Sound Editing.

Stars Christian Bale, Matt Damon, Caitriona Balfe, Josh Lucas and Tracy Letts

Set in the mid 60s, Ford v Ferrari follows American car designer Carroll Shelby and driver Ken Miles as they journey toward the grueling 24 hour Le Mans race in France. There they hope to take their modified Ford to the finish line ahead of the mighty Ferrari.

My Thoughts

Although I’m not an avid race car fan, the sport holds a special place in my heart because of my dad. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. Don’t let the race car theme deter you from watching Ford v Ferrari. The pleasant twist is, it’s not primarily a movie about fast cars. Rather, it’s about the best things in life…doing what you love, being who you are and traveling through life with good people by your side.

You might cheer during the exciting race scenes. You’ll definitely applaud the friendship and loyalty between Shelby and Miles.

Best Picture Nominee Ford v Ferrari

JoJo Rabbit

Rated PG-13  Run time 1 hour 49 minutes

Screenplay by Taika Waititi, based on the novel by Christine Leunens. Directed by Taika Waititi. Nominated for six Oscars, JoJo Rabbit won one for Best Adapted Screenplay.

Stars Roman Griffin Davis, Thomasin McKenzie, Scarlett Johansson, Taika Waititi, Sam Rockwell and Rebel Wilson.

JoJo is a 10 year old boy living in Germany with his mom during WWII. More than anything he longs to be part of Hitler’s Nazi Army. Indeed, JoJo’s imaginary friend is Der Fuhrer himself. The earnest boy finds his world turned upside down, however, when he discovers a teenage Jewish girl hiding in the attic, secreted away by his mother.

My Thoughts

This film, like Joker, impacts me strongly. I expected a quirky comedy. JoJo Rabbit is that, and so much more. What a performance Davis gives, as a lonely boy who wants to belong to something bigger than himself. This coming of age story twists the film’s dark humor into something profound, piercing the heart as JoJo grasps that people are more alike than they are different. You’ll laugh…and cry…and cheer this little hero on as he understands the sacrifices the goodhearted make, to create change in the world. Watch for a full review of this thought provoking movie from me soon.

JoJo Rabbit

Marriage Story

Rated R  Run time 2 hours 17 minutes

Written and directed by Noah Baumbach. Nominated for six Oscars, the film won one, for Best Supporting Actress for Laura Dern.

Stars Laura Dern, Adam Driver, Scarlett Johannson and Alan Alda.

Marriage story is a powerfully insightful look at how a marriage can come apart while a family stays together. The players in this story involve more than the distressed couple. Other key roles belong to the couple’s son, extended family members, friends, co-workers and attorneys whose tactics sometimes seem contrary to what Charlie and Nicole want.

My Thoughts

Anyone who has been married for more than a minute knows this truth: marriage is challenging. Yep, even the best marriages experience  gripping sorrow and pain along with great joy and intimacy. Marriage Story often feels like a punch to the gut, so raw are some of the scenes. And yet, watching the growth the characters undergo as their relationship unravels feels so authentic. The wonderfully redemptive twist in this story is this…all that chaos and emptying of emotions and soul searching can result in a different kind of relationship. Does it require work too? Absolutely.

Best Picture Nominee Marriage Story

1917

Rated R  Run time 1 hour 59 minutes

Written by Sam Mendes and Krysty Wilson-Cairns and directed by Sam Mendes. Nominated for 10 Oscars, 1917 won three: Cinematography, Visual Effects and Sound Mixing.

Stars Dean-Charles Chapman, George MacKay, Colin Firth and Benedict Cumberbatch

On a battlefield in Northern France, two young soldiers are selected to carry an urgent message to an isolated regiment. The message revokes orders to attack German troops that are supposedly retreating. It is a trap. At risk are 1600 men, including the brother of one of the young men. Time is of the essence and the journey harrowing as the two soldiers cross dangerous territory to reach the regiment.

My Thoughts

War movies are one of my least favorite genres. I was tired when I plopped into my theater seat and hoped I’d stay awake. Truthfully, 1917 kept me on the edge of my seat. Cleverly shot in such a way that the camera never leaves the boys during their perilous journey, this film deserved the Cinematography Oscar. The effect is stunning and makes the viewer feel a part of the trek through enemy territory. Inspired by the stories of Mendes’ grandfather, a WWI veteran, 1917 is hauntingly beautiful. Its focus is on friendship, determination and courage. I intentionally had no idea what happened on the shared journey or how it all ended. Therefore, a surprising twist in the story caught me off guard. See if it does the same to you.

1917
I felt like this was the likely Best Picture Winner

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Rated R  Run time 2 hours 41 minutes

Written and directed by Quentin Tarantino. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood earned 10 nominations and took home two Oscars, one for Production Design and the other Best Supporting Actor for Brad Pitt.

Stars Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, Margot Robbie, Mike Moh, Luke Perry and Al Pacino

A fading television actor and his aging stunt double attempt to capture fame in the film industry during the final years of Hollywood’s Golden Age. As a subplot, Cliff the actor lives next door to Roman Polanski and Sharon Tate. He and his stunt double friend unwittingly tangle with the Manson Family.

My Thoughts

As a child of the 60s, I found much to enjoy about Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. I love the references to popular shows on television during that time and the portrayals of so many familiar celebrities. The huge twist in this film is the Manson Family/Tate element. I had no idea it was part of the story and its inclusion created tension during the movie. As the infamous and horrific incident involving Sharon Tate approaches, that tension increases drastically. Let me just say, the ending of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood surprises and at first left me full of questions. Tuck this hint away: remember the title of the movie. It is an important clue when you reach the final moments.

Brad Pitt is a charming actor who easily assumes roles. He deserved the Best Supporting Actor award.

Best Picture Nominee Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Little Women

Rated PG  Run time 2 hours 15 minutes

Screenplay by Greta Gerwig, based on the novel by Louisa May Alcott. Directed by Greta Gerwig. Nominated for six Oscars, Little Women took home one, for Costume Design.

Stars Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, Eliza Scanlen, Laura Dern and Timothee Chalamet

Jo March reflects on her life as she tells the heartwarming story of the March sisters. Each girl desires to live life on her own terms and develop her gifts.  In a post Civil War era, independence is not accepted in young ladies and certainly not encouraged, except in the March household. Jo finds her voice through her writing and seeks to publish her work.

My Thoughts

This film is, I believe, the 7th adaptation of Alcott’s much loved story. The actresses perfectly captured their characters. The bond between sisters…and sometimes the rivalry…propels this beautiful film. Scenes alternate between an earlier and a later time period, which is a bit confusing initially. The girls do not change much in appearance, in that relatively short span of years, so one is forced to identify which time period the story is in by the situations in the girls’ lives. I got the hang of the back and forth narrative about half way through the movie.

The marvelous twist in this version of Little Women is the ending. Interpretation is left somewhat to the viewer. However, Greta Gerwig intentionally gave Louisa May Alcott the ending the author wanted for her story…and did not get, due to publisher demands. Taking to Google to fact check a few things, I appreciate Greta’s gift even more. If you enjoy period pieces and authentic costumes, you’ll love this film. And I’d like to know what you think about the ending.

Best Picture Nominee Little Women

The Irishman

Rated R  Run time 3 hours 29 minutes

Screenplay by Steven Zaillian based on the book by Charles Brandt. Directed by Martin Scorsese. Nominated for 10 Oscars, The Irishman didn’t take home a single one.

Stars Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, Harvey Keitel and Ray Romano.

Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran looks back on his life and the many hits that defined his career with the mob. Connected to the Bufalino crime family, Sheeran claims a part in the disappearance of his friend, and the president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Jimmy Hoffa. Hoffa, who mysteriously vanished in 1975, has never been found. Sheeran shares the story of what really happened and how the friendship with Hoffa affected him.

My Thoughts

I’m not a fan of mob movies. However, I enjoyed watching De Niro, Pacino and Pesci flesh out their respective characters and interact with each other. Through the wonders of de-aging technology, we even get to see these amazing actors as they were in their 40s.

The movie is long. I’m grateful that it’s a Netflix production. I watched The Irishman in two sittings. While I often flinched over the violent ends that many characters met, by the end of the film I felt invested in the outcome. And that is the twist for me. I genuinely wanted to know what happened to Jimmy Hoffa and The Irishman. Curiosity led me once again to Google to research the movie’s claims. If you appreciate historical films, curiosity will grab you by the hand and run with you through this one, to the very end.

Best Picture Nominee The Irishman

Parasite

Rated R  Run time 2 hours 12 minutes

Written by Bong Joon Ho and Jin Won Han. Directed by Bong Joon Ho. Nominated for six Oscars, Parasite captured four of them, including Production Design, Film Editing, Best International Film and…ta da…it earned the Best Picture winner title.

Stars Kang-ho Song, Sun-kyun Lee, Yeo-jeong Jo, Woo-sik Choi, So-dam Park, Jeong-eun Lee and Hye-jin Jang.

Kim Ki-taek, his wife and two adult children are all unemployed. Living in a musty basement, the family barely scrapes by, using their wits and wily schemes to bring in small amounts of money. And then through an unexpected opportunity each family member finds employment with the wealthy Park family. As the Kims  ingratiate themselves into a different lifestyle, feeding off of the trust and generosity of the Parks, a secret arises that threatens everything.

My Thoughts

Parasite is an astonishing film that highlights the division between classes of people, in this case, the rich and the poor. What begins as a story with comedic overtones shifts into something much darker and grittier, with sinister elements. There are oft repeated words spoken about “not crossing the line”. At first it’s implied that the line represents personal space or even morals. But the division is stronger than that, more complex and more difficult to cross. The comedy becomes a tragedy with an unforgettable message. Parasite haunted me for days after viewing it.

Best Picture Nominee Parasite
The Best Picture Winner

Best Picture Winner

What an amazing group of strong films. Although 1917 held a slight edge as the projected best picture winner going into the award show, anything seemed possible. I wanted Joker to take home the Oscar. I predicted 1917  as the winner, and yet, Parasite seemed poised to claim the ultimate prize. After seeing Bong Joon Ho’s film, I left the theater thinking “Best Picture Winner” right there.

Parasite won, amid cheers and applause and a standing ovation from the audience. History was made. Parasite is the first non-English film to win the Best Picture Oscar. Bong Joon Ho and his cast and crew received the award with grace and genuine surprise and humble words. The news made the front page in South Korea, and well it should. The world is shifting.

Love these films or hate them, viewing them is like placing a finger on the pulse of the world. Do you want to see the shifts occurring around the world? Do you want to gauge the health of humankind? Watch these nine best picture nominated movies. You’ll know…

Oscar
Oscar goes to…the Best Picture winner, Parasite.

Check out the full list of Oscar winners HERE.

And purchase or rent these films below at Amazon:

 


 

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