Going Beyond Comfort Zones

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I just completed week five of my birthday celebrations. Amazingly, I’m already more than halfway through my 62 activities for my 62nd birthday. With a game that runs this long, I get into the flow of it and drawing an activity and carrying it out becomes part of my day. So it’s very good to shake me up a bit and keep me moving beyond comfort zones. That’s exactly what this week accomplished.

The comfort zone is a state of being in which things feel familiar and safe. While in our comfort zones, we feel like we are in control and anxiety and fear levels are low. There is nothing wrong with feeling comfortable. However, we can become so accustomed to being in that state that we stop growing, stop challenging ourselves, and life can feel a bit stale.

I like the personal growth that comes from going beyond comfort zones. That momentary discomfort is nothing compared to the exhilaration of new adventures and accomplishments.

Going Beyond Comfort Zones title meme

Week Five Celebrations

As a reminder, I wrote 62 activities on slips of paper. I folded those papers up and dropped them into a jar. Every morning I draw out an activity and do what is written on the paper. I love this game, trusting that the activity I randomly select is the perfect one for that particular day. This is a game that I play frequently, for various reasons. My trust and playfulness have deepened greatly as a result.

Going Beyond Comfort Zones

Here is how I’ve gone beyond this week.

Write a Travel Piece and Submit It

As a blogger I write all the time and my work is read publicly. So why did I almost drop this slip of paper back into the jar? It feels so different to send in my work and have someone else decide if my writing is good enough for their publication.

This activity propelled me beyond my comfort zone. I reworked a blog post I wrote, about how travelling helps me to grow. Delta Sky Magazine and World Nomads both captured my interest. I’ve sent off pitches to both.

The importance isn’t whether either accepts my pitch and asks for the submission. What is important is that I took action and reached out. Action begets more actions and one step at a time I move beyond the edges of where I feel most comfortable.

Going Beyond Comfort Zones Travel Piece
Going beyond comfort zones by submitting a travel piece.

Take a Power Nap

I am not a nap taker. In fact, as a child, I didn’t like to nap OR sleep at night. I still consider myself a night owl who enjoys being awake into the wee hours of the morning.

To complete this activity I had to schedule it into my day, for a nap seems like a waste of time to me and an intrusion. However, there are benefits from sleeping for a short period of time.

A power nap last 10 – 40 minutes. That brief break in the day improves learning and memory, prevents stress, boosts mood and creativity and helps to power up productivity and alertness. Those naps can even slash the risk for heart disease.

Our sleep cycles are divided into four stages.

  • one – light sleep somewhere between fully awake and sound asleep
  • two – real sleep where we are unaware of our surroundings
  • three and four – deep sleep where muscles relax and breathing slows and rapid eye movement (REM) begins

Typically REM begins 90 minutes into the sleep cycle. The perfect power nap stays in stage one and two for up to 40 minutes. If you sleep any longer than that, you’ll feel groggy unless you continue to sleep for 90 minutes and complete the cycle.

I waited until 3:00 to do my activity, when sunlight streamed in through southern windows. My cat Rilynn curled up in my lap and encouraged me by promptly falling asleep. Aren’t cats incredible nappers? I didn’t know if I could even doze off.

Covered by a soft blanket, snuggled with a cat, bathed in warm sunlight I did manage to fall asleep…for exactly 10 minutes.

And I did feel rejuvenated. I didn’t try power napping again, but perhaps I should work on scheduling one in daily.

Going Beyond Comfort Zones Power Nap
Rilynn enjoyed the sunshine and the nap.

Listen to a Podcast I’ve Never Listened to Before

I’ve only recently begun to listen to podcasts and I’m not sure why. Podcasts are audio, and sometimes visual, episodes online that range from a few minutes long to a couple of hours. They cover a wide range of topics. Although I almost always play music while in the car, I rarely listen to a podcast. I’m in the process of changing that.

For this activity I selected a podcast from a series called The School of Greatness, by Lewis Howes. I receive emails from Lewis and finally listened to one of his podcasts. Titled Compassion Over Pity with Humble Poet, the recording is excellent. Check out Lewis’ podcasts HERE.

Lewis is a NYT author, lifestyle entrepreneur and former pro athlete. He shares inspiring stories from brilliant business minds, world class athletes and influential celebrities to help listeners discover what creates greatness.

Going Beyond Comfort Zones Podcasts

Create My Own 30 Day Flip Calendar of Inspiring Quotes

I’ve enjoyed this activity. Using index cards on a spiral ring, I used the blank side to write out quotes. My desire is to inspire, encourage and challenge myself…daily. This little DIY flip calendar helps to accomplish that.

So far I’ve written a dozen quotes. I’m taking my time because I want the quotes to find me or draw me. There are many that I’ve used over the years that I could quickly jot down but that’s not what I’m going for. I want to be challenged to think big, expand my awareness and go beyond.

When I have 30 quotes written out I’ll go back through the cards and number them and perhaps add artistic illustrations.

Going Beyond Comfort Zones Flip Calendar
Going Beyond

Send a Message of Appreciation to an Actor/Actress

I have great appreciation for actors and actresses who do what they love doing. They enjoy their craft and they excel at stepping out of themselves and into another role. I’m sure my appreciation for performers and films are strongly connected.

Truthfully, though, I felt embarrassed that I wrote out this activity. What was I thinking? Who to contact? And how to get a message to someone?

Back to podcasts. One that I am enjoying is called The Well Podcast. It offers stories and interviews that feature creative inspiration. And it is hosted by Branan Edgens, a film editor and cinematographer, and Anson Mount, an actor who recently portrayed Captain Christopher Pike on Star Trek Discovery. I love what Anson brings to a well known although little portrayed character.

Branan and Anson interview fun guests on their casual podcasts and seem to enjoy the banter. Listen in as guest Doug Jones, a regular on Star Trek Discovery, shares amusing stories from his career.

I selected Branan and Anson to write a note to, expressing appreciation for all that they offer to the world. It doesn’t matter whether they respond to that note or not. I accomplished the intended purpose of the activity…going beyond comfort zones to reach out to someone “famous”, with no expectations in return.

Going Beyond Comfort Zones Celebs

Create a New Recipe

Since switching to a plant based lifestyle, I spend more time in the kitchen preparing healthy meals. I’ve become much more at ease and creative in the cooking process, although I still refer to recipes most of the time.

In spite of writing this activity, I felt stumped when I drew it out of the jar. I had a packed out day ahead. What should I even attempt to create?

I love when I put a question out there…and then go on about my business. Because, invariably, the answer shows up while I’m busy doing something else. Such was the case with creating a new recipe. Out of nowhere, it seemed, the words aloo matar soup popped into my head.

I love this Indian dish made with onions, potatoes, tomatoes, peas and spices such as curry, ginger and garam masala. How well would this dish transform into a soup? I had my idea for a new recipe.

I have to say, the aloo matar soup turned out wonderfully well. Resisting the urge to just peek at a recipe, I instead added ingredients with confidence. The resulting soup has all the flavor of aloo matar with a rich broth. I’ll be making this spicy soup again.

Going Beyond Comfort Zones Create a Recipe
Going beyond comfort zones by creating a new recipe.

Have an Indoor Camp Out and Sleep in a Blanket Tent

I envisioned drawing this activity on a Friday or Saturday evening, when I had the weekend to recover! Talk about going beyond comfort zones…with the emphasis on comfort. I haven’t slept on the floor in a blanket tent since childhood.

All evening, as I continued to work on writing projects, I debated on whether to draw out another activity and save this one for Saturday night. That’s not the way this game works though. So at 10:00 pm, I snapped my laptop closed and built a blanket tent…technically a sheet tent…in my creative studio.

I lay cushions from the living room sofa on the floor, covered them with a quilt and then added a sleeping bag. A queen sized sheet draped over two chairs formed my tent. I lit candles throughout the room…well away from the tent…prepared a cup of chai hot chocolate and settled into camp out mode.

How lovely the experience became with flickering candlelight, soft music playing on my iPod, and a cup of dairy free, sugar free hot chocolate. It was, indeed, the perfect night for this activity. After finishing the hot chocolate, I crawled into my sleeping bag and listened to yet another podcast on Lewis Howes’ site, this one called The Five Second Rule by Mel Robbins.

I slept well, snug in my sleeping bag, and woke up refreshed. And surprisingly, I crawled out of the tent and stood up without groaning!

Going Comfort Zones Camp Out
Did you ever make a blanket tent as a kid?

Going Beyond…and Onward

These weeks of activities are bringing rewards beyond playfulness. I am growing. I’m learning things about myself. And I’m excited to see what’s next.

You can check out the weeks of activities below.

62 Outrageous Things to  Do for My 62nd Birthday

Week One, Week Two, Week Three, Week Four

Birthday Activities

Pick up a sleeping bag and create your own indoor camp out!

 

 

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How to Choose a Word and Symbol for the Year

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As this year winds down, I’m already in planning mode for the new one. I consider this month an overlap time. It’s an excellent season for reviewing all that I’ve accomplished this past year…and a time for gearing up for an exciting fresh start in January.

Two of the creative tools that I use as I enter a new year are choosing a word and a symbol. The word becomes my theme for the year while the symbol is a visual reminder of that theme. Truthfully, these practices are so much more than tools. Together the word and symbol guide me through the year, inspire me, encourage me and remind me of my purpose in life.

Interested in learning how to choose a word and symbol for the year? Read on!

How to Choose a Word and Symbol for the Year title meme

Why Choose a Word and Symbol

I began the practice of choosing a word fifteen years ago when I became a realtor. Choosing a word and a symbol was more about building a business initially. Those words, such as Reach, inspired me to expand my thinking and my business. Being a visual person, adding a symbol for the year came naturally, as did creating a yearly vision board.

Within a couple of years, I realized that the words carried greater significance. The words inspired my LIFE, not just my work. I learned an important lesson. My work flows from my life, or ideally it should. The process of choosing a word shifted as my awareness increased. Words such as Change showed up.

I know now that choosing a word and a symbol for the year creates a guidance system for life and for business. The word is a “heads up” about the growth that is occurring as I journey. And both tools serve as markers along the way, keeping me moving in the right direction.

How to Choose a Word and Symbol for the Year
2019 Vision Board with my word Enchantment and the word Queen, representing my symbol.

How to Choose a Word and Symbol for the Year

There are several ways to find your word and symbol for the year. See which of these works best for you.

Choose a Word and Symbol that Carries Significance

Is there a word and symbol that already have deep meaning for you? Use those. Perhaps you are currently experiencing great joy after a season of trials. Joy may be the word to guide you through the next year. Or perhaps the Butterfly symbol draws you. Transformation might be the word to accompany that visual.

Make a list of words that resonate

Another idea is to make a list of words that resonate. What words draw you or inspire you? Write them down. I’d suggest writing quickly and allowing the words to pop up as you write. Don’t overthink.

Look over your words and circle the ones that most intrigue or interest you. Select one of these words as your theme for the new year. If all the words on your list appeal to you, write them on slips of paper, drop them into a jar and draw one out randomly. You know how much I appreciate randomness!

Now think of symbol that represents that word or is a companion to the word. Sometimes the connection between the word and symbol is a very personal one that only has meaning for you.

Allow the Word and Symbol to Choose You

This is my favorite way of acquiring a new word and symbol. The year that Believe was my word and the dragonfly my symbol, I realized I was not the one doing the choosing. I accept the gifts of a word and symbol, rather than choose.

Here is how it works for me.

The word shows up first, mid year to early fall, through synchronicities and repetition. I see and hear and read the word everywhere. In a conversation with a stranger, the word pops up. I hear it in a commercial. I read it on a license plate. The repetition is my signal to pay attention. Once I acknowledge the word, the symbol begins to show up in the same way…synchronicity and repetition.

This year Enchantment is my word. It began showing up last summer, in print form, conversations and by just popping into my head. Then the queen chess piece appeared, sometimes as often as five or six times a day, until I acknowledged that she was my symbol. Read the significance of that word and symbol in this post, Queen of Enchantment.

I know that enchantment and the queen chess piece appeared in connection with a question I woke up with one morning:

Do you want to be the queen of your own kingdom, or a pawn in someone else’s?

My word and my symbol guided me through a year of changes that beget the creation of my own tiny…and now expanding…kingdom.

How to Choose a Word and Symbol for the Year Enchantment
Art I created using my symbol and a variant of my word.

Guidance from the Word and Symbol for the Year

Once your word and symbol for the year are in place, watch for the magic to happen! The word and symbol will pop up in a variety of ways, to remind you of the journey you are on and your purpose in life. They are like a private joke between you and the Divine, when they show up.

I call forth the power of my word, when I need it.

In a challenging real estate situation this year, I reminded myself that I am a the Queen of Enchantment, building my kingdom. My words carry weight and meaning and through speaking aloud…enchantment…I am creating my reality. How would a queen handle the situation? What would she say? It helped!

As bonuses, create a vision board to hang in your office or bedroom that incorporates your word and symbol. And, for fun, find a song for the year too. The song is usually the last component to arrive for me. I add it to a playlist on my phone so that I can listen to it often.

Song for 2019
Song for 2019, Ever Ever After, from Enchanted Soundtrack.

A Podcast to Listen to or Watch

Have fun choosing a word and symbol for the year. Know that both will accompany you throughout the next 12 months, offering guidance and presenting reminders about who you are.

I’d love to know what word and symbol you end up with!

For more info about the process of creating a powerful start to the new year, have a listen to this podcast, or watch it below on YouTube. I appreciate Dan with Impact Training & Development for having me as a guest!

 

Create Your Own Vision Board

And be sure to include your word and symbol for the year!

 

 


 

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Out of the Rut

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A distinct theme ran through this week of celebrations, on the way to my 62nd birthday in January.” Get out of the rut”, the activities commanded. “Do familiar things in new ways.”

I love fresh experiences. And there are benefits that accompany changing routines and trying different things. Switching things up helps to:

  • overcome fear
  • deepen self understanding
  • raise awareness
  • create new pathways in the brain
  • boost memory and cognitive abilities
  • stimulate creativity

I’m grateful for activities that push me out of the rut. That “deep track” forms from repeated patterns of behavior that create dullness after a while. The longer I stay in a rut, the more difficult it is to step out of it.

Read this post, for an overview of the birthday game I am playing. And then check out the rut busting activities below.

Out of the Rut title meme

Week Four Celebrations

As a reminder, I wrote 62 activities on slips of paper. I folded those papers up and dropped them into a jar. Every morning I draw out an activity and do what is written on the paper. I love this game, trusting that the activity I randomly select is the perfect one for that particular day. This is a game that I play frequently, for various reasons. My trust and playfulness have deepened greatly as a result.

Out of the Rut

I love how this week’s activities illuminated ways that I’ve followed the same routines for too long.

Decorate My Norfolk Pine Tree for Christmas

I’ve always decorated freshly cut Fraser Fir trees for Christmas. I love the scent that fills my home and plugging in the strands of white Christmas lights, after the tree is decorated. Those lights remain lit until early January, when I undecorate the tree and haul it out of the house.

What if? I wondered as I wrote out activities for this game. What if I used the living Norfolk Pine that graces my home? That evergreen grew from a tiny eight inch tall tree to its current height of about four feet. I purchased the miniature potted Christmas tree years ago, to give to a hospitalized friend. She went home though the same day I bought the tree, so I kept it.

Over the years I’ve strung mini lights on the Norfolk Pine and hung tiny glass balls on the branches. However, the tree remained tucked into a bedroom or office. It’s never been center stage, until now.

One strand of white lights adorns the tree, perched merrily atop a table in the living room. A few of my heart ornaments that I’ve collected hang on the branches. The rest lay grouped in a shallow white bowl next to the tree. A fun Christmas sweater that I wore a few years ago serves as a tree skirt.

If I was a bit unsure initially about the outcome of this activity, I’m not now. I love my little living Christmas tree. And surprisingly, that change set off a chain reaction of changes throughout the house.

Out of the Rut - Christmas Tree
Out of the Rut – Different Christmas Tree
Out of the Rut - App
Kindle App

Download a New App

I ended up with a part one and part two during this activity. When I selected it from the jar, I immediately thought of the Kindle app because of a recent conversation with my daughter. She informed me that thousands of ebooks are available for downloaded from Amazon Prime, with the Kindle app. How exciting. (Get Amazon Prime for a free trial, to download books.)

A few days later, perhaps because of my increased awareness of apps, I discovered that Duolingo, a free app already present on my iPhone, released a new language to learn. Duolingo teaches languages in a fun way via games, vocabulary, audio re-enforcement and goal setting. I’ve briefly played with the app, picking up a smattering of Italian and Portuguese.

I don’t consider myself a auditory learner, meaning it is difficult for me, I tell myself, to learn languages. I require stronger motivation apparently. The new language that Duolingo just released is Gaelic Scottish! You can imagine my delight. I’m having so much fun, going beyond my own perceived limitations and learning Gaelic.

Download the mobile app to check out this ancient language. I don’t see it yet on the website.

Out of the Rut Gaelic
Out of the Rut – Duolingo App

Create a Fresh Christmas Vignette

Swapping out a cut tree for my Norfolk Pine unexpectedly set a trend for Christmas decorating. Inspired by the success of that change created the desire to really shake things up. Therefore, drawing out this activity just a couple of days later seemed perfect.

For several years I’ve been gradually using more and more everyday items in my holiday decor. This creates less packing away and stashing of the usual items that fill my home and it’s fun to blend Christmas with vintage family pieces.

This year I packed away very few of the day-to-day decor. Instead, I found new ways to incorporate those pieces into Christmas vignettes. This proved fun and challenging at the same time! I love this type of puttering around the house as I try out different arrangements.

My favorite technique this season is layering as I mix Christmas with everyday items. Check out the simple vignette on my vintage wooden chair below.

Out of the Rut - Christmas Vignette
Out of the Rut – Fresh Christmas Vignette

Plan a Ten Day Trip to a Country NOT on My Travel Wish List

You know how much I love to travel and explore new countries. So which country not on my current travel wish list to choose? For this activity, I decided to continue with the randomness that is a major component of this game. Did you know that there is a random country generator online? I allowed it to select a country for me to plan an imaginary trip to.

Amazingly, the generator selected Saint Barthelemy, also known as St. Barts, an island country in the Caribbean where French is the primary language. St. Barts is known for white sand beaches, designer shops, harbors full of yachts and high end restaurants. There are historical attractions as well, such as Wall House, whose exhibits highlight the island’s Swedish Colonial era.

While I love being around water, I much prefer a river winding through woods or a deep lake in an expansive valley over beaches with views of the ocean. St. Bart’s main points of interest are ALL beaches. How fun for me, feeling completely out of my element, to research this little country and plan ten days of visiting beach after beach after beach.

An extraordinary thing happened as I studied the photos of turquoise water and sandy beaches. I began to catch the scent of salty sea air and feel warm breezes on my face. An empty hammock slung between two palm trees invited me to rest. And a deep sigh escaped. I could enjoy ten days in such a paradise with nothing to do beyond exploring coves and tiny towns, pausing often to listen to the ocean’s serenade.

Guess what country is now on my travel wish list? Yes. Saint Barthelemy.

Out of the Rut Plan a Trip
Out of the Rut – St Barts

Compliment a Stranger

While not totally out of the ordinary for me, this activity did not go the way I expected it to. I envisioned chatting to someone while waiting in line at the grocery store or complimenting a waitress for a job well done at a restaurant. As it turned out, the only stranger I talked to on this particular day was a real estate appraiser on the phone.

These activities are providing excellent lessons on releasing expectations. The appraiser was kind and helpful as we chatted on the phone and my compliments to him genuine and intentional. Did the appraisal go the way I wanted it to? No. But that’s another lesson in trust and letting go.

Compliment a Stranger
Giving a compliment over the phone.

Brush My Teeth While Standing on One Leg

This activity seemed the easiest to carry out, of the 62. However, it proved surprisingly difficult to remain on one leg while brushing my teeth. Doing so required intense concentration, with continual small adjustments to keep my balance.

With all my focus on remaining upright on my right leg, I suddenly realized something. The toothpaste tasted different, in a pleasant way. I checked. It was my usual brand and yet the taste was distinctively “other” than usual.

Curious, I’m researching this phenomenon. Is it possible that intense concentration can alter the senses, including taste? I’m still looking for an explanation. Beyond a scientific answer I can offer this conjecture. Perhaps performing old routines in fresh ways unlocks new physical responses.

Out of the Rut Brushing Teeth on One Leg
Unexpected benefits brushing my teeth while standing on one leg.

Meditate for One Hour

I’ve practiced meditation for many years. It is a wonderful way to quiet the mind, relax the body and connect with the Divine. Although I’ve experienced longer periods of meditation, I typically spend a few minutes remaining still and centered, focused on breathing.

The challenge with long meditations is the tendency for the mind to assert itself and wander into the past or future, creating stories. Or, conversely, I can go so deep into stillness that I fall asleep.

The latter created the challenge last night. After a very long day, I began the meditation at almost midnight. The Christmas decorating complete, I lit candles throughout the house for the first time this season. My darkened bedroom provided a peaceful sanctuary. The flickering candlelight created a soothing atmosphere perfect for meditating. Or sleeping.

I counted last night’s activity a failure, as I barely lasted ten minutes before succumbing to sleep. However when I awoke this morning, I changed my verdict. I slept deeply. I felt rested. Ten minutes can feel like an hour…or deepen into eight hours of blissful sleep.

To hold myself accountable, I’ll spend a full hour meditating this weekend. I’m okay with the way last night’s meditation went.

The Power of Meditation
Meditation as a prelude to sleep. Sorry for the grainy photo. Candlelight is to blame.

Out of the Rut and Onto New Paths

I see distinct themes for the different weeks of activities. Week One provided learning opportunities. Challenges filled Week Two, creating growth. And Week Three featured playful creativity.

I love this journey. And I am loving these life lessons disguised as a game.

Bring on Week Four!

Out of the Rut Week Four Activities

 


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Movie Review Ford v Ferrari

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When a friend invited Greg and me to see the film Ford v Ferrari with him, I happily agreed. I’m not all that into cars. However, my dad used to own a race car and I’m a fan of Christian Bale AND Matt Damon. Plus, I loved the 2013 movie Rush about the rivalry between Formula One drivers James Hunt and Niki Lauda. I knew enough to know that Ford v Ferrari is not just a movie about racing cars. It’s a story about friendship and perseverance and being who you are, which is precisely my kind of movie.

Enjoy this review of Ford v Ferrari. Mild spoilers about the story included, without giving away the ending.

Ford v Ferrari title meme

Ford v Ferrari Cast

This biographical drama stars Matt Damon, Christian Bale, Caitriona Balfe, Noah Jupe, Tracy Letts, Remo Girone, Josh Lucas and Ben Bernthal. Ford v Ferrari is directed by James Mangold. The film carries a PG-13 rating, for moderate language, and has a run time of 2 hours and 32 minutes.

Ford v Ferrari Carroll Shelby
Pro racer and car designer, Carroll Shelby

The Friendship

Professional racer Carroll Shelby (Damon) is forced into an early retirement due to a heart condition. He becomes a car salesman, however he stays active in the racing community. His friend, Ken Miles (Bales), is an extraordinary driver and car mechanic. But his reactionary tendency to tell-it-like-it-is causes most people to keep their distance. Ken runs his own mechanic shop to support his wife Mollie (Balfe) and son Peter (Jupe). His heart, however, longs to race…the faster the better.

At Ford Motors, sales are down. Henry Ford II (Letts) gathers his staff for a brainstorming session. One of his underlings, Lee Iacocca (Bernthal) pitches an idea. He suggests that race cars, like the Italian made Ferrari, are the sexiest cars. If Ford could compete and win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans race in France, it would change the future of the company.

Initially Ford attempts to buy the struggling Ferrari company, with Enzo Ferrari (Girone) retaining control of the racing division. When Ferrari refuses the offer, and insults Ford in the process, Henry Ford decides to start his own racing division.

Lee Iacocca approaches Shelby, the only American to ever win at Le Mans, to head up designing and testing cars for the new Ford racing division. Shelby agrees and immediately recruits his friend Ken Miles, the best driver he knows.

Ford v Ferrari Mollie and Ken
Mollie and Ken Miles
Ford v Ferrari Ken and Peter
Ken Miles and son Peter

The Ford Racing Division

As the first race arrives, bringing the opportunity to try out the modified car, Ford vice president Leo Bebee (Lucas) pulls Shelby aside. Miles’ unpredictable behavior concerns him. Bebee fears Miles won’t represent the company well. Against Shelby’s advice, Bebee replaces Miles with another driver. Ford loses the race.

Ken Miles rejoins the team, at Shelby’s insistence, however Bebee constantly seeks to block him as a driver. In a gutsy move, Shelby puts Ford into one of the cars and shows him the power and danger involved, driving a race car. The ploy works. Shelby persuades Henry Ford II to allow Miles to drive. It’s the only way they have a chance of winning the Le Mans.

Shelby and Miles and their team work long hours perfecting the car, before the big race. Ford agrees to let Miles drive in Le Mans, if he wins the Daytona. Against tough competition and a second Ford car entered by Bebee, Miles secures the win…and the chance to race at Le Mans.

Both Ford and Ferrari attend the race in France. It’s a grueling 24 hours of racing that includes nighttime driving and rainy weather. Ferrari typically wins the race. Ford places three cars in the competition, with Miles driving one. Bebee attends the race as well and he’s determined to see Miles fail.

It’s the race of a lifetime, with high stakes and even higher personal ambitions and desires on the line. It truly is Ford v Ferrari. Who will win?

Ford v Ferrari Shelby and Miles
Carroll Shelby and Ken Miles

Ford v Ferrari Racing

My Thoughts on Ford v Ferrari

I loved this film. My dad came to mind often, as he loved the whole racing scene. Beyond the thrill of watching the intense race scenes and learning a great deal about building a better car, I enjoyed the friendship portrayed between Carroll Shelby and Ken Miles.

I can’t say enough good things about the actors playing those roles. The onscreen chemistry between them was authentic. Matt Damon possesses the ability to take on any role and bring his natural charm to the part. And Christian Bale! From gaining weight to play Vice President Dick Cheney in Vice, to losing 70 pounds to play Ken Miles, Bale gives his all to a performance. He even took race driving lessons at the Bondurant High Performance Driving School. Truthfully, Bale dominates this film, in a very good way. I adored Ken Miles and his ability to remain true to who he was, even when others sought to change him or dismiss him.

Ford v Ferrari is an excellent movie about the best things in life…doing what you love, being who you are and traveling through life with good people by your side. When you get to take part of the journey in cars that can reach speeds of 200+ MPH, well that just sweetens the experience for some!

Ford v Ferrari Ken Miles
Ford v Ferrari’s Ken Miles, excellently portrayed by Christian Bale.

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Week Three Celebrations

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Week three celebrations are done and week four is underway. The celebrations for week two felt challenging and definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone. This week, with a major holiday imminent, the activities were perfect…fun, playful and quickly carried out.

Check out this post, for an overview of how I am celebrating as I approach my 62nd birthday in January . And then scroll down to see which activities I drew out of the jar this week.

Week Three Celebrations title meme

Week Three Celebrations

As a reminder, I wrote 62 activities on slips of paper. I folded those papers up and dropped them into a jar. Every morning I draw out an activity and do what is written on the paper. I love this game, trusting that the activity I randomly select is the perfect one for that particular day. This is a game that I play frequently, for various reasons. My trust and playfulness have both deepened greatly as a result.

Here we go…week three.

Drive to Scotland…Missouri

I’ve lived in Joplin for almost 39 years. Many times I’ve driven by a sign on East 7th Street with the word SCOTLAND printed on it. I have Scottish ancestry and I dearly love that country. And yet, I’ve never driven down that side road to see where it goes.

Scotland, Missouri is an unincorporated community located near Joplin. The post office opened in 1873 and operated until 1903. I didn’t know if anything existed still, in this tiny community. Drawing that slip of paper meant a short trip to discover what, if anything, remained in Scotland, Missouri.

The sun neared the western horizon as Greg and I drove east out of Joplin. I literally had minutes to get to the community before darkness fell. To my delight, a small cluster of houses occupies that space. The post office is long gone, however there are several streets laid out in a simple grid pattern. Woods encroach on one side of town and pastures surround the rest of the community. There is one business at the far edge of the little town, a trucking company.

I can officially say that I have driven to Scotland! I didn’t see coos or sheep, but three horses dwell peacefully in one of the pastures.

Week Three Celebrations Scotland
Week Three Celebrations – Driving to Scotland, Missouri

Listen to Music from a Different Country

This was one of two music related activities that I drew for week two celebrations. The country of Brazil immediately came to mind. I love Google. Typing in Brazilian music brought up a list of musicians and bands from that country.

On YouTube I listed to Michel Telo. Michel is a Brazilian singer, songwriter and actor. He’s been the lead singer in various bands, including Grupo Tradicao and has a solo career now. Michel’s biggest national and international hit is “Ai Se Eu Te Pego”, which happened to be the first song of his that I listened to.

Find a Role Model Who is Doing What I Want to Do

Meet the Accidental Icon. Lyn Slater is a professor at Fordham University’s Graduate School of Social Services. She started a style blog in 2014 after not finding one that offered an “urban, modern, intellectual aesthetic”. Her intention was not to become an icon. However, her fresh voice on fashion, politics, society and the world draws followers…and companies…to her.

What I find most encouraging about Lyn is her authenticity…and her age. She is 65 and discovering new adventures and opportunities every day. Just by being herself she encourages me to do the same. Lyn advises women to do the work they need to do, so that they are okay with being who they are, and to focus on the content they create.

Check out the Accidental Icon Blog.

Week Three Celebrations Accidental Icon

Lyn Slater, the Accidental Icon. Photo by Calvin August Lom.

Listen to a New Genre of Music

At first I thought I’d find it difficult to listen to a genre that is new to me. However, I discovered there are more than 50 genres of music! I chose House Music.

This genre of electronic dance music was created in the 1980s by disc jockeys and music producers from Chicago’s underground club culture. DJs altered disco dance tracks to give them more mechanical beats and deeper basslines. They began to mix in synth pop, rap, Latin music and jazz into their tracks as well.

The genre expanded internationally to London and to major US cities such as New York City and Detroit. Over the years numerous subgenres developed. Today House Music remains popular on radio and in clubs.

Leave Encouraging Sticky Notes Around Town

My granddaughter Aubrey helped with this day’s activity. In fact, I supplied the sticky notes and a pen and she busied herself writing all the notes. In a few minutes Aubrey created a pile of encouraging notes with saying such as You Can Change the World and Don’t Give Up and Follow Your Dreams.

We had errands to run and a family dinner that evening. As we visited different locations, Aubrey and I left behind encouraging sticky notes. It was a fun shared activity! I hope we brought joy to the recipients.

Week Three Celebrations Sticky Notes
Week Three Celebrations – Leave Encouraging Sticky Notes

Research a Topic I’ve Never Researched Before

When I selected this activity out of the jar, the first topic that came to mind involved water. In the new Frozen movie, a plot point involves water memory. Does water really retain memory?

I decided to research it.

Water memory is the purported ability of water to retain a memory of substances previously dissolved in it, even after repeated dilutions leave no molecules of the original substance. It’s an intriguing theory initiated 31 years ago by French immunologist Jacques Benveniste. The scientific community does not accept Benveniste’s findings, which have been duplicated occasionally, but not consistently, since his initial claims that water does retain memory.

Water is fascinating. It can occupy three states…liquid, solid and gaseous. Water is essential for all life on Earth. Japanese author Masaru Emoto demonstrated that human consciousness affects water molecules. And Professor Bernd Kroeplin at Aerospace institute in Germany discovered that an image of a flower remained in drops of water, after the flower was immersed in a container of water. He studies the drops of water on slides under a dark field microscope.

I intend to do more research on this interesting topic.

Check out an interview with Kropelin  HERE.

Week Three Celebrations Research
Week Three Celebrations – Research a New Topic

Make a Heart Ornament for Christmas

For many years I’ve purchased a heart shaped ornament every December, to place on my Christmas tree. The ornaments remind me of the importance of my own heart and how necessary it is for me to keep it open and whole.

I was excited to draw this activity yesterday, until I realized that none of the craft stores were open on Thanksgiving Day. My choices for materials were limited to what I had on hand at home. Chatting with my daughters about my dilemma, Elissa suggested I make one out of a vintage handkerchief. What a brilliant idea! I have at least a dozen vintage hankies that belonged to my grandmothers and to Greg’s mom.

Looking through my collection later, I found a very delicate handkerchief that belonged to Leta Moore. To my delight, it even has a Christmas motif, with bells and holly embroidered on it. The thin material and embroidery gave me pause though. I’d have one chance to create a heart ornament from this keepsake. And the thought of cutting into the silky material bothered me.

Greg came to my rescue. He brought me a stack of white handkerchiefs that his father never used. I felt relief. I now had plenty of material to use. I’ll save the Christmas hankie to use in another way.

Making the Ornament

To make the ornament I drew a heart shape on card stock, cut it out and traced it onto the handkerchief, tucking the point of the heart into a corner of the folded hankie. After cutting out the heart, I pinned the edges together, adding a loop of narrow silver and white ribbon to serve as a hanger.

I’m grateful Granny Grace taught me hand sewing as a child. It didn’t take long to sew around the edges, right sides together, leaving a small opening to turn the heart right side out. The rest of the handkerchief became the stuffing for the ornament. I cut the material into narrow strips and stuffed them into the heart, then sewed up the opening.

Finally, I tied strands of white, purple and turquoise ribbon around the loop hanger. It turned out so cute! I love my heart ornament for this year.

Week Three Celebrations Heart Ornament
Week Three Celebrations – Make a Heart Ornament

A Week of Play

I loved the playfulness during week three celebrations. Curiosity led me to new discoveries and my creative side got to play.  My granddaughter joined in and we had fun doing an activity together.

Fall decor is coming down and I’m ready to transform my home into a Christmas wonderland. I’m excited to see which activities show up, as December arrives.

Week Three Celebrations

Week One Celebrations

Growing Through Week Two Celebrations

 

Check out Masaru Emoto’s book on water:

 

 

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.

Gifts that Inspire an Enchanted Life

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

Perhaps you are looking for a unique gift this year for a friend or loved one. Or you wonder how to encourage someone as they learn and grow.  Maybe you want to show your support for another’s life journey. If any of these reasons are true for you, check out these gifts that inspire an enchanted life.

Gifts that Inspire an Enchanted Life title meme 2

 

What is an Enchanted Life?

For me, living an enchanted life means living with a higher awareness of all that’s going on around me. I notice synchronicities…those seemingly coincidental experiences that carry significance. Signs and wonders are common. Challenges become opportunities for growth. Gratitudes abound. And living in the flow of life takes me where I need to go.

Enchantment has been my theme for 2019. How perfect to wind down this year with a list of great gift ideas, to inspire enchantment in others.

Gifts that Inspire an Enchanted Life

Click on each photo, for more info or to order.

Gratitude Journal

Expressing gratitude, on a daily basis, can be life changing. The more grateful you are, the more you find to be grateful for. Capturing gratitudes in a journal allows energy to flow…and brings joy when you read back over your blessings.

Gratitude Journal
Gifts that Inspire an Enchanted Life – Gratitude Journal

 Daily Affirmation Calendar

Keep an affirmation calendar, the kind with pages that flip daily, on your desk or in the kitchen. Read the affirmation to start out the day…and read again before bed. Bonus: fall asleep thinking about that day’s affirmation and let the subconscious absorb those powerful truths.

Daily Affirmation Calendar
Daily Affirmation Calendar

Books

From living more creatively to living more soulfully and courageously, these books definitely inspire an enchanted life.

 


Encouraging Quotes Wall Art

I love finding encouragement all throughout my house. Inspiring quotes are one of my favorite forms of art to surround myself with.

 

Not all who wander are lost wall art.
Gifts that Inspire an Enchanted Life – Wall Art
Life is like a camera wall art.
Life is Like a Camera wall art.

Coloring Books & Colored Pencils

Coloring is not only a way to express creativity, it is meditative. Gift the creative person in your life with one of these beautiful coloring books. And don’t forget the colored pencils!


Prismacolor Colored Pencils
Gifts that Inspire an Enchanted Life – Colored Pencils

Instant Camera

Seeing the world through the lens of a camera focuses attention. Capture beauty, broaden perspective and memorialize enchanting moments with one of these.

Instax Instant Camera
Gifts that Inspire an Enchanted Life – Instant Camera

Edison Bulb Hanging Light Fixture

This gift is just fun. I have one hanging in my studio. Beneath it is my thinking chair. How inspiring to sit beneath this light and come up with creative ideas.

Edison Bulb Hanging Light Fixture
Edison Bulb Hanging Light Fixture

Meditation

The practice of meditation enhances awareness, lowers stress, improves health and boosts creativity. Give the gift of meditation with any of these products.

 


Tea Set & Herbal Teas

Tea parties aren’t just for children. Indulge in one of the best practices for daily rejuvenation…afternoon tea. From a simple cup of tea to a full high tea, give the gift of self care with a tea set and herbal teas.

 

Teapot and teacups for afternoon tea.
Gifts that Inspire an Enchanted Life – Teapot and Cups

 


Gifts that Inspire an Enchanted Life for the Holidays or Everyday

I hope these gifts bring inspiration and enchantment into the life of someone you love. Or, give yourself the gift of enchantment and inspire an amazing 2020!

Gifts that Inspire an Enchanted Life

Check out these Gifts for a Healthy Lifestyle

 

 

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.

 

Shared on the Hearth & Soul Link Party

Growing Through Week Two Celebrations

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

Growing through week two celebrations seems like an apt title for this week’s update. As I approach my 62nd birthday in January, I am celebrating by randomly drawing daily activities out of a jar. Read about the creation of this fun game HERE.

It’s been an interesting week! More than last week, the activities the past seven days challenged me while upping my trust level.

Check out the next seven celebrations.

Growing Through Week Two Celebrations title meme

Growing Through Week Two Celebrations

As a reminder, I have 62 activities written on slips of paper. I folded those papers up and dropped them into a jar. Every morning I draw out an activity and do what is written on the paper. I love this game, trusting that the activity I randomly select is the perfect one for that particular day.

Make a Request So Crazy That I’d Expect a No

More than once this week, I’ve drawn out a slip of paper that’s made me question why I included this challenge! Last Friday, as I began week two celebrations, I drew out this slip of paper that made me take a deep breath.

Okaaay, I said out loud.

As I took a shower and prepared for the day, I opened to possibilities. I not only found my request, I came up with an idea for a future blog post as well. (Hint: have you ever wondered why so many good ideas surface in the shower or during a soak in the tub?)

The process of getting to the request so crazy I’d expect a no led me from idea to idea, with progressing degrees of outrageousness, until I reached the “crazy” level.

And here it is. I reached out to a cruise line, and asked to work together on a Solo Travel Series.  In exchange for a cruise, I offered a sizable package of posts, videos and social media shares. Norwegian Cruise Lines offers solo cabins, a lounge and excursions, which are perfect for those who wish to travel alone without paying for double occupancy.

I actually worked on the proposal for several days, after doing my research, before hitting the “send” button.

This was a huge push beyond my comfort zone, reaching out to a big company with an idea for working together. The point of this activity isn’t receiving a yes or a no…it’s getting beyond feelings of discomfort and inadequacy. What a crazy and fun celebration to kick off the week!

Growing Through Week Two Celebrations Cruise
Growing through week two celebrations – crazy request

Apply to a Writing Fellowship

Immediately on the heels of the crazy request came this activity, applying to a writing fellowship. Fellowships are programs offered to artists. The recipients work on writing or other creative work in beautiful and often isolated areas, for a designated period of time. Most fellowships provide the basics such as shelter and food for one week to three months.

Imagine the freedom to focus on creating art while expenses and needs are taken care of.

What I didn’t know, when adding this activity to the jar, is that this is not the right time of year for applying to writing fellowships. Most accept applications twice a year, in spring and fall. However, it’s been a great experience researching writing fellowships and dreaming big a bit. I found a fellowship in Massachusetts that accepts applications from December 1, 2019 until February 1, 2020. So the timing is perfect actually. I’m researching what I need to do to apply. And then I let that desire go and see what happens!

Growing Through Week Two Celebrations Writing
The Mastheads Writing Fellowship in Massachusetts.

Make Eye Contact and Smile at Everyone All Day

This sounds like a fun and easy activity! However, on the day I drew out this slip of paper, I spent most of the day at home. The only time I left the house, I walked at a nearby park and saw TWO people. I made eye contact and smiled. Both smiled back.

I’ve learned so much about trust, playing this type of game. The right activity shows up on the right day. So what to make of drawing this activity, on a day when I had contact with very few people?

I grew through this activity by making deep and strong eye contact and smiling…at myself. Have you ever stood in front of a mirror and really looked into your own eyes? Do critical thoughts arise? Or do you even like to look at yourself?

I found that the longer I gazed into my own eyes, the more tender I felt toward myself. Negative thoughts were not allowed. Nor did I let my mind wander or create stories. I simply looked into my own eyes and opened my heart to feeling love and compassion. When tears filled my eyes, I knew the activity was over, having led me into myself in a way that I would not have experienced otherwise. The smile that curved my mouth was so genuine and sincere.

Smiling at Myself

Travel a Different Way to a Familiar Location

Along with this 62 day birthday celebration, I’ve challenged myself to walk every day. Mercy Park, located about half a mile from my house, provides the ideal setting for walking and enjoying the beauty that the park offers.

And it’s the only place I traveled to that day! Greg went with me to the park and drove. He’s a good sport about my games. Playing along, he asked what route he should take to the park. Jesting really, I suggested he get there by only making right hand turns. He accepted that challenge and proceeded to make right turns until we arrived at the park!

We definitely traveled to Mercy Park via a different…and longer…route. The only hitch to following such directions presented itself when we needed to park the car. The parking lot lay to the left of the street. Greg solved that problem. He circled to the right in the street until he could pull into the parking space. I’m sure people walking by wondered what we were doing!

Growing Through Week Two Celebrations Driving
Growing Through Week Two Celebrations – Traveling a different way.

Watch a Movie/TV Show in Another Language

This Netflix series came highly recommended to me. Dark is a German series. Dubbing in English is available, which I dislike, or English subtitles. I chose the subtitles. It makes me pay close attention, which is important for this drama with a supernatural twist.

Set in a small German town, the story follows the disappearance of two boys from the community, and the connections among four families. Beyond those connections are similarities to events that happened in the same town in the 1980s.

It’s an intriguing and suspenseful show that has hooked me completely. After I finish the first of two seasons, I’ll do a proper review.

Netflix Series Dark
The Netflix Series Dark, presented in German.

Storyboard Ideas for Online Products

This activity worked well with the brainstorming I did last week, for the blogging business. I used my notes from that session as a springboard for fleshing out the ideas.

Using two large foam boards and sticky notes, I enjoyed letting my ideas grow. I used one board for Cindy Goes Beyond and the other one for Journey With Healthy Me. I’m excited to develop these ideas and create freebies, videos, products and online classes.

Growing Through Week Two Celebrations
Ideas covered by virtual flower stickers. Like flowers, these ideas have growing to do.

Have a Midnight Picnic

This activity, drawn on a day of heavy rain, gave me pause. When I wrote out this celebration, I envisioned drawing the slip of paper on a weekend of mild weather. I saw a fire roaring in the fire pit and a dark velvety sky sprinkled with stars.

Instead I drew the activity on a cold, wet day, making an outdoor midnight picnic impossible.

On Thursday evening, I spread a quilt on the floor of my creative studio. I added pillows and a metal tray holding a cup of hot tea and a bowl of sliced bananas and wild blueberries. Instead of starlight I enjoyed candlelight. And rather than the sounds of a crackling fire, my iPod supplied music. In keeping with the theme of randomness, I set the iPod to shuffle.

As I carried in my tray, the thought arose, “Let go of your expectations. Enjoy what is, right now.” Something shifted in my heart and my attitude. I opened to the experience, as it was, and let go of what wasn’t.

After enjoying my midnight snack, I lay back on the quilt, staring up at the shadows flickering across the ceiling. Such deep peace washed over me. The moment was perfect, in every way. Letting go is a lesson I’ve encountered before. What a gentle reminder to trust that everything in my life…everything…is designed for my growth.

I know now, when I draw out the “camp indoors” activity that I will create a blanket tent in my studio. It is magical by candlelight.

Growing Through Week Two Celebrations
Midnight picnic in my creative studio, with plants, candles and a healthy snack.

Growing Through Week Two Celebrations…and on to Week Three

What an amazing week of activities and celebrations. Did it go the way I thought it would? No. Did it go the way it was supposed to go? Absolutely. And because of that, I grew through the experiences. Trusting…and letting go. Opening to new ideas and thoughts…and moving beyond my comfort zone. Seeing the possibilities in situations…and accepting what is. These are the treasures I gathered to me this past week, the joys that I collected.

I’m excited to see what week three brings!

Week Two Activities

Read about Week One Celebrations

and Week Three

Create your own indoor picnic, with these finds from Amazon:

 


 

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Doctor Sleep Movie Review

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

The 1980 movie The Shining, starring Jack Nicholson as writer Jack Torrance, is considered a classic. Who can forget the dark events that took place in the isolated Overlook Hotel?  Jack, his wife and young son Danny stayed there alone as caretakers of the property. Only, there weren’t really alone. The strange happenings in the hotel slowly drove Jack to insanity and violence. Danny, gifted with “the shining”, uses his intuitive abilities to reach out for help, beyond the snow bound property.

If you’ve seen The Shining, you know it doesn’t end well for Jack.

Doctor Sleep is the long awaited sequel to the story that began in the Overlook Hotel. Danny…Dan…is grown. However the events from his childhood greatly impacted the adult he grew into.

Check out this Doctor Sleep movie review, for a look at the continuation of The  Shining story. Mild spoilers included. The movie’s ending is not revealed.

Doctor Sleep Title Meme

Doctor Sleep Cast

This horror/thriller stars Ewan McGregor, Rebecca Ferguson, Kyliegh Curran, Zahn McClarnon, Zackary Momoh, Carl Lumbly, Alex Essoe and Jocelin Donahue. Mike Flanagan directed and wrote the screenplay, based on the novel Doctor Sleep, by Stephen King. Doctor Sleep carries a well deserved R rating, for violence, language, nudity and intense scenes, and has a run time of 2 hours and 32 minutes.

Danny Torrance grows up
Danny Torrance grows up.

Overcoming a Difficult Childhood

Doctor Sleep opens with flashbacks to Danny’s traumatic winter at Overlook Hotel. Danny (McGregor) and his mother Wendy (Essoe) attempt to move on with their lives, settling in Florida where it never snows. Danny does not speak for months until he receives a visit, in spirit, from Dick Hallorann (Lumby). Hallorann offers Danny techniques for containing his fear. Dick, who befriended Danny at the Overlook and recognized his shining, tells the troubled boy to mentally build boxes to trap the ghosts who bother him.

Danny grows from troubled boy into troubled man. Alcoholism, and the tendency to drift from town to town in an attempt to shake the past, bring him to New Hampshire. In a small town there he finds people who encourage him, offer him work and help him enroll in Alcoholics Anonymous.

As he heals, Dan works nights in a hospice unit with the cat Azzie, who instinctively goes to the rooms of those about to die. Dan uses his intuitive gift to bring comfort and peace to the the dying in their final moments, earning him the nickname of Doctor Sleep.

Doctor Sleep Movie Review Dan and Dick
Dan as Doctor Sleep and his friend in spirit, Dick Hallorann.

Abra Shines

During his years in New Hampshire, Dan connects with an unseen presence who leaves messages for him on his blackboard wall. Abra (Curran) is a young teen girl with powerful psychic abilities that she hides from her parents (played by Momoh and Donahue) . She reaches out with her mind to find Dan and alert him to group of people who are murdering children gifted with the shining.

Members of The Knot are energy vampires who have lived for centuries by feeding on the “steam” or shine of gifted youth. Led by Rose the Hat (Ferguson) and Crow Daddy (McClarnon) the group comes into Abra’s energetic awareness when they kidnap and kill a boy with the shining. Horrified, Abra locates Dan and meets with him in person. She asks for his help finding the baseball glove of the murdered boy so that she can use it to track The Knot and stop them from harming anyone else.

However, The Knot is aware of Abra too and they are drawn to her incredible gift.

The hunters become the hunted. And Dan finds he must return to where his horrors began as a child, if he is to save Abra and others like her.

Doctor Sleep Movie Review Abra and Rose
Abra and Rose the Hat in Doctor Sleep.

My Thoughts on Doctor Sleep

I recently watched The Shining again, in preparation for this film. Other than seeing a couple of previews, I avoided learning anything about the sequel. From the brief movie trailers that I saw, I knew the story continued with Danny as a grown man.

It’s difficult to write a sequel to a classic. However, I feel that Mike Flanagan, well known for the recent remake of The Haunting of Hill House, created an excellent follow up film.

Rather than focusing on ghosts and jump scares, Flanagan examines the human element. He shows us how Danny is affected by post traumatic stress syndrome and dwells in the shadow of a problematic, albeit deceased, parent. In addition Flanagan reveals the difficulties caused by dulling pain with alcohol  and carrying the burden of living with a unique gift.

Be warned, however. There are extremely intense scenes in this film. One in particular is excruciatingly painful to watch and impacts the viewer with an emotional punch to the gut.

Redrum
A familiar word from Danny’s past.

The Message for Me

I like the ties to The Shining, which brings continuity to the story. And I appreciate the deeper message in Doctor Sleep, which it this: shine.

As an intuitive who hid my abilities for many years, I identify with Abra. Her gifts are more powerful than mine. However, I understand her desire to hide what she can do. I understand her hope that others think her normal.

It does me good to see Abra accept who she is in the film and embrace her gifts. That’s a journey I’ve taken as well. I accept who I am. And I embrace my gifts. When Dan tells Abra to shine, as herself, I take those words to heart too.

Isn’t that a message for all of us? Shine. Accept who you are. Embrace your gifts, whatever they are. How amazing to receive this encouragement in a Stephen King thriller. Then again, this King of Horror is a master storyteller…and a keen and thoughtful observer of humanity.

He's back...
Ewan McGregor is Doctor Sleep.

Check out these Stephen King finds on Amazon:

 


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Week One Celebrations

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

Week one celebrations occurred, as I move through 62 Outrageous Things to do for My 62nd Birthday. Check out that post HERE, to see what the celebrations are all about.

I’ve chosen to do a weekly update every Friday, as a way of sharing the fun and also to hold myself accountable. Accountability is actually what led me down the blogging path back in 2014. That year I did something new every day, 365 days in a row. Blogging helped me to stay focused and be transparent in my accountability. In the same way, posting weekly updates keeps me on track with the birthday activities. It’s a big undertaking, this time of year, to add an extra activity every day. And yet, that’s part of the fun, challenging myself to “go beyond”.

I hope you benefit as well, from following along with me. May you find new ideas and be inspired to create your own magical games.

Week One Celebrations Title Meme

Week One Celebrations

As a reminder, I have 62 activities written on slips of paper. I folded those papers up and dropped them into a jar. Every morning I draw out an activity and do what is written on the paper. I love this game, trusting that the activity I randomly select is the perfect one for that particular day. This is a game that I play frequently, for various reasons. My trust and playfulness have both deepened greatly as a result.

How does this game deepen trust?

Some activities work better on different days, depending on what else I have going on. My trust develops because I can see the correlation between the free time I have on a given day, and the activity I randomly draw out. And as you will see in the week one celebrations, I sometimes begin an activity and then draw it out of the jar. This simple game shows me that I am part of a much larger “game” playing out. The more aware I become, the more magical my life is.

Here we go…week one celebrations.

Watch a Movie in a Different Genre

I’m an avid movie watcher. Movies, like music, speak into my life. So this activity, the first one I drew out of the jar, is more of a challenge than one would think. I watch films across a broad range of genres.

After consideration, I chose the category of Documentary. I’m not sure why, but I rarely watch anything in this genre. The next task was to choose one to watch. Charged: The Eduardo Garcia Story snagged my attention because Eduardo is a chef and outdoorsman who found a way to combine those two loves into a budding career. However, during a hike in the wilds of Montana, Eduardo came across a dead bear within a large metal box. Curiosity drew him to investigate, resulting in an electrocution. 2400 volts of electricity shot through his body and erupted in four places. Eduardo survived but he lost his lower left arm and hand, four ribs and muscle mass from his torso, leg and scalp.

More important than what he lost, is what Eduardo found as he began a life changing journey through recovery.

What an extraordinary documentary, about an extraordinary man. His former girlfriend, who journeyed with him through recovery, and his supportive family are just as amazing. I loved Eduardo’s zest for life and how he grew through his challenges. And I appreciated his desire to offer back to the world.

Rent the documentary HERE through Amazon, or watch for free if you are a Prime member. (Not a Prime member but want to be? Click HERE for a 30 day free trial.)

Mental note to self…watch more documentaries!

Week One Celebrations Charged
Week One Celebrations – Watch a movie in a different genre.

Spend 30 Minutes Brainstorming Ideas

This appears to be a simple and easy to do activity. However, 30 minutes seems to drag by while writing continuously. I set a timer for this activity, grabbed a pen and notebook and settled into my bedroom to write.

The intention is to write quickly and allow energy to flow, without editing thoughts or words on paper.

I didn’t limit myself. Instead, I jotted down ideas and didn’t stop until the 30 minutes was up. I had a momentary pause about halfway through. Fortunately, the ideas flowed again and on I went. I ended up with FOUR pages of ideas, so I was quite pleased with this activity and I’m excited to develop what I came up with.

Week One Celebrations Brainstorming
Brainstorming ideas are intentionally blurred out. These need development.

Have a Mini Afternoon Retreat

Oh how I love any excuse for a retreat! I “happened” to draw this activity on a Sunday, which worked well as this day is my self care day. I brewed a cup of peppermint tea, grabbed my Lord of the Rings Coloring Book and my colored pencils and retired to my room.

As I colored I caught up on recorded Poldark episodes from the current season. I intended to color for an hour or two. Coloring is so soothing for me, and meditative. The act of laying color onto a page releases a flow of creative energy and all kinds of ideas flow too. Three and a half hours later, I declared an end to the mini retreat. I felt so refreshed.

Week One Celebrations Mini Retreat
Coloring as an activity during week one celebrations. I have more coloring to do.

Design Shirts for Blogs

This is an idea I’ve had for a while, that I have not acted on. Hence the reason this activity went into my jar. I’ll enjoy wearing shirts with Cindy Goes Beyond or Journey With Healthy Me  and their tag lines printed across them. Fortunately, my daughter-in-law and her sister make shirts as a side business.

I’ll share my ideas with them and discuss logos for the shirts as well. My intention is to offer these shirts for sale on the blog sites. Watch for those in the near future!

Week One Celebrations Shirts
Week One Celebrations – Design shirts

Take a Class

This is the activity that I started BEFORE I drew the action out of the jar. As I checked through social media feeds, shortly after waking up, I caught a notice for a class on copywriting. It’s a free four part class, offered via videos sent daily through email. I keep returning to the idea of copywriting as a side business, so the class interested me.

I signed up. A short time later, I drew my activity for the day.  Guess what it was? No, really, guess. Right! It was Take a Class. I love when such synchronicities happen. They show me I’m in the flow of life, exactly where I need to be.

The class is called 6 Months to 6 Figures with Copywriting…which sounds amazing. It’s taught by Sarah Turner and I’ve watched two of the videos so far. You can sign up for the free class HERE.

Week One Celebrations Class
Week One Celebrations – Take a Class.

Watch a new TED Talk

Like watching documentaries, I rarely watch a TED Talk, even though I know there are some amazing topics discussed. The few TED Talks I’ve watched were via YouTube.

When I drew out this activity, I decided to go directly to the TED Talks website and join. I’m glad I did. After selecting topics I’m interested in, the site chose my first TED Talk for me.

The Gift and Power of Emotional Courage was perfect for me. Susan David begins with the word Sawubona, which is the Zulu word for “hello”…and I knew this was the right talk to listen to. Sawubona carries significance for me. It literally means, “I see you, and by seeing you, I bring you into being.” A dozen years ago I came across this amazing word and realized the importance of really seeing people.

I loved the TED Talk and plan to watch many more.

Week One Celebrations TED Talk
Great TED Talk

Eat at a New Restaurant

My last activity for this update posed a challenge as well. Having lived in Joplin for 37 years, I’ve eaten at most of the restaurants in town. The second difficulty is the fact that I am plant based. That lifestyle limits which restaurants are suitable.

As I considered and discarded possibilities, one restaurant that I’ve not dined at popped into mind and remained there. Infuxn is a restaurant and cocktail bar located downtown at 530 S. Main Street. The interior is fresh,  contemporary and welcoming. They state on their Facebook page,

“Passionate in everything we do whether it be customer service, culinary creativeness or the art of the cocktail. Please enjoy yourself.”

I took that as a personal invitation! Plus, Infuxn offers vegan choices on their menu and according to the manager, that menu is expanding.

Greg accompanied me to Infuxn, where we enjoyed a huge Asian hummus platter with baked naan, carrots and celery. The Asian hummus was amazing. It was seasoned with spices, including ginger, and topped with sesame seeds. The chef changes out the flavor of hummus each week. I’m excited to visit this classy restaurant frequently, to see what they have to offer. We opted for water with our meal, however I want to try some of their creative cocktails too.

Week One Celebrations Infuxn
Week One Celebrations – Eat at a New Restaurant
Week One Celebrations Hummus
Amazing Asian Hummus at Infuxn in downtown Joplin.

A Great Week of Celebrations

Seven days down, on the march toward my 62nd birthday in January, and 55 to go.

I’m loving this game and the way it opens me up to possibilities and opportunities.

I drew out a doozy of an activity today, one that made me say “ooookay, I can do this”, as I took a deep breath. And I did. I had to think about it for a bit and amazing ideas arose as a result. What I so appreciate about this game is that playing it requires me to follow through.

I’ll share that activity next Friday, in the weekly update, and let you know how it all turned out!

Week One Celebrations
Week One Celebrations – Seven Activities, randomly drawn.

Check out Week Two Celebrations.

And Week Three

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Brittany Runs a Marathon Movie Review

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I love indie films. So although I knew very little about the Amazon Original Brittany Runs a Marathon, when my daughter invited me to go watch it with her, I happily agreed. I expected a comedy, with an inspirational twist. It was that…and so much more.

Elissa and I met at Bookhouse Cinema, Joplin’s wonderful indie movie theater, for some amazing vegan food before the film.

This is a spoiler free review of Brittany Runs a Marathon, meaning I’ll discuss key plot points but I won’t give away the ending or discuss every detail.

Brittany Runs a Marathon title meme

Brittany Runs a Marathon Cast

This comedy/drama stars Jillian Bell, Alice Lee, Patch Darragh, Michaela Watkins, Micah Stock and Utkarsh Ambudkar. Paul Downs Colaizzo wrote and directed Brittany Runs a Marathon. Events in the life of his friend, Brittany O’Neill, inspired the story. The film carries an R rating, for language and adult themes, and has a run time of 1 hour and 44 minutes.

Meet Brittany

Brittany (Bell) lives and works in New York City. In her mid twenties, Brittany feels her life isn’t going anywhere. Her friend and roommate Gretchen (Lee) has a boyfriend and a great job and a life plan that relies heavily on social media.

However, Brittany works in a low paying job and her social life consists primarily of late night bar hopping and brief encounters that can’t in any way be called romantic. Struggling to find motivation to even get out of bed in the mornings, Brittany seeks medical help.

She hopes for an Adderall prescription. But her Yelp recommended doctor (Darragh) surprises her. He prescribes getting healthy by eating better, drinking less alcohol and exercising regularly.

Brittany’s first attempts at exercise fail. The gym proves too costly and she suits up for a run but barely makes it out the door before giving up. Her fit upstairs neighbor, Catherine (Watkins), encourages Brittany to try again…taking baby steps…and invites her to join a Saturday morning running club.

Brittany manages to run for one block. However, when Saturday morning arrives, she joins the running club, determined to do better.

Brittany Runs a Marathon First Steps
Brittany Runs a Marathon – First steps

Training for a Marathon

Among the club members, Brittany connects with Seth (Stock), a newbie runner like her. They wheeze and commiserate with each other as they bring up the rear of the pack. Something shifts in Brittany though as she completes a two mile run. Running gives her direction and purpose and a way to change her health. She eats better. Drinks water rather than wine. And she stops the late night partying.

Running with Catherine and Seth becomes a weekly practice. The three friends set a huge goal: run the New York City Marathon.

They have one year to train. Brittany commits to this new chapter in her life and realizes the cost, literally, of training.  To pay for the gym membership she takes a second job, dog sitting for the wealthy. At her first assignment she meets Jern (Ambudkar), a quirky, artistic young man who works the night shift dog sitting in the same house. Jern annoys her…initially. However as Brittany’s life continues to shift the two declare a truce and a relationship blossoms between them.

As the months count down toward the marathon, Brittany transforms. The weight loss is noticeable and she runs with greater ease and endurance. It’s the inner changes though that create the different outer reality. And it’s the old, inner hurts and insecurities, working themselves out, that create new challenges. Brittany’s greatest obstacle to the life she desires is herself. Will she be there at the marathon starting line…or will she take herself out of the race before it ever starts?

Brittany Runs a Marathon Training
Brittany Runs a Marathon – Training with Seth

My Thoughts on Brittany Runs a Marathon

I enjoyed this fun and thought provoking film. The health aspect of the story line drew me in immediately. I appreciated the no meds approach to improved health. Brittany took responsibility…or not…for her own health and I loved that. She made choices about food, drinking, exercise and partying. And she either benefited or suffered as a result.

Brittany Runs a Marathon is so much more than a health transformation story. The real changes began to occur within first, and that’s the element that touched me deeply. Brittany had more than health issues to work through. Her excess weight was a way of hiding who she really was. She also hid behind a sarcastic sense of humor and resigned herself to the role of flatterer in her friendships. At her core, she didn’t accept herself. Brittany’s self criticism became the lens through which she viewed others and life.

As much as I enjoyed watching Brittany’s health improve, I strongly appreciated seeing the deeper transformations that occurred. And I applauded the important topics that the film touched upon including self worth, toxic relationships and how the world perceives those who carry extra weight.

By the end of the film, which does contain many laugh out loud moments, I found my eyes full of tears and my heart charged with the desire to stand up and cheer. For me, that makes Brittany Runs a Marathon a great film, worthy of recommendation.

Brittany Runs a Marathon Running
Jillan Bell lost 40 pounds during the making of the movie, mirroring her character’s improved health.

Catch Brittany Runs a Marathon at your local theater or indie movie house, or see it beginning November 22 on Amazon Prime Video.

Check out my recent movie reviews:

Joker

Rocketman

Yesterday

 

Brittany Runs a Marathon Soundtrack. Click on photo to order.

Brittany Runs a Marathon Soundtrack

 

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.