Movie Review: Rampage

My sister Linda and I made use of our Movie Pass cards to take in the new release Rampage this afternoon. This action flick, loosely based on an arcade game by the same name, promised fun entertainment on a cold spring day. We were not disappointed.

Movie Review Rampage

Rampage stars Dwayne Johnson, Naomie Harris, Jeffery Dean Morgan, Malin Ackerman and Jake Lacy. Directed by Brad Peyton, this sci-fi adventure is rated PG-13 for intense action sequences, violence, mild language and a few crude hand gestures…by a giant gorilla! The film has a run time of 1 hour and 46 minutes.

Davis Okoye (Johnson) is a primatologist working with primates in an animal park. He feels a much deeper connection to animals than he does to humans, preferring to spend his time with an albino gorilla named George (body work done by Jason Liles), that he rescued from poachers. Davis raised George. They learned to communicate by way of sign language.

When an illegal gene editing experiment goes wrong in space, the orbiting lab and escape pod explodes, sending canisters crashing to the earth like meteorites. One lands in the primate habitat. The pathogens within the canister escape, contaminating George, causing his body to grow rapidly. He also shows strong aggression and has the ability to heal injuries quickly.

Movie Review Rampage

George is not the only animal affected. In Montana a wolf grows to 30 feet in length, while in the Florida Everglades an alligator is transformed as well.

These mutations are the result of the secretive genetic work of brother and sister team Claire (Ackerman) and Brett Wyden (Lacy). With their test results destroyed in space, they need info collected from the monstrous animals. They beam out a signal that irritates the beasts, drawing them to their city of Chicago.

As the animals move toward that city, Davis teams up with research geneticist Dr. Kate Caldwell (Harris), a former employee of the Wydens. She doesn’t know how to stop the creatures but she was working on an antidote in the lab in Chicago, before she was fired.

The pair is aided by a government agent, Harvey Russell (Morgan), whose original assignment was to “put out this fire”. He quickly realizes standard procedures won’t work and frees Davis and Dr. Caldwell to fly to Chicago in a military chopper to stop the rampage.Movie Review Rampage

And a rampage it has become. The three beasts converge on the city, driven to rage by the radio signal audible only to them. As they lay waste to downtown Chicago, Davis must make difficult decisions about his primate friend, George.

This monster movie was a wild romp. There weren’t any deeper messages or ahas during the film, although the underlying themes were friendship and loyalty. However, it was a fun action packed movie to watch and enjoy. There were funny scenes and even a few touching scenes. But there was no mistaking the intent of this video game made into a movie. It was all about nature running amok and destroying everything in its path.

The muscular Dwayne Johnson excels in the disaster genre and Jeffrey Dean Morgan is always a joy to watch. The real star of Rampage, though, is George. The CGI work keeps getting better and better in the film industry. I ended up caring about that big gorilla who was an innocent victim of unlawful and unnatural experiments.

My intention was to preview this film for my grandkids, who have expressed an interest in seeing it. For the most part, the violent scenes cut away just before blood and gore are shown. And strong language gets muffled out somewhat. My grandkids would laugh in all the right places and fall in love with George. They would find his occasional rude hand gestures hilarious.

I enjoyed this movie. It reminded me of the many many monster movies I watched as a kid…Godzilla and Mothra and King Kong, swamp monsters and werewolves and a plethora of gigantic creatures. These stories are so far beyond what is possible that they can be appreciated for what they are…entertainment. And I was entertained.

Movie Review Rampage

Following My Heart

I’m getting a very late start on tonight’s blog post, due to a full day. I appreciate the discipline I’ve built the last four plus years. Without it, these long days could crowd out one of the deepest desires of my heart…to write, every day.

I’m grateful too for the free writing that I do every morning. Thoughts flow and become words. Energy moves and clarity comes as my gel pen skims across the page, exploring truths, asking questions, getting answers. This post was born from one of my morning pages.

Following My Heart

A verse from the Bible that I return to again and again is this one: Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

My heart is so FULL of desires. And the one I most share those hopes and longings with is God, whom I call El-le. As I write in the mornings I often pour out my heart to El-le, as a form of prayer or conversation, and most definitely as a way of sharing my soul.

A couple of days ago, I wrote this about the desires of my heart.

El-le, I have such deep and strong desires. Even at age 60, there is so much still that I want to do. I’ll list them. Guide me in following my heart and making a difference in these areas…

* Continue to live a plant based lifestyle that promotes healthy eating, cruelty free existence for animals, and offers training and encouragement to others so that they can thrive at their optimal level of health and well being.

* Wherever I am, whatever I am doing, let me be the soul of that place.

* May I continue to develop my writing skills, offer great content and grow my blog audiences. I desire to be able to write and blog from anywhere in the world, providing income and freeing me to travel.

* I want to travel…to places I’ve never seen, to destinations that I love. I long to experience new places, cultures, food, and people and hear their stories. I want to be able to send my kids on trips and take my grandchildren on adventures, exposing them to a broader and bigger viewpoint. I want to do good wherever I travel, inspire others and leave people smiling.

* Have meaningful relationships with family members and friends. I long for connection, deep conversations, shared interests and people to learn and grow with while finding joy in the journeys.

El-le I am open to everything and attached to nothing. Surprise me, call to me, stir my heart, open doors, close doors, nudge me, whisper to me. I AM SO GRATEFUL! Thank you for all that you ignite within me. My heart overflows with love.

That is a peek into a very personal conversation. And yet, it’s what came to mind several times as I asked what story shall I tell?

The desires of my heart offer direction and point toward my destiny. They give me clues about who I am and what I am meant to do. I am never given a desire that is beyond what I am capable of doing. They create the fire that burns within, fueling my journey. The desires of your heart do the same.

To paraphrase Leon Brown, a major league baseball player in the 60s…

I betray my true self when I do not follow my heart’s desires, for what my heart is attracted to is my destiny.

Lead on Heart. I am following…

Following My Heart

Mama Goes High Tech

I got in late tonight, after spending the evening with my mother and sister, Linda. The three of us had dinner together, however the purpose of the evening wasn’t just family interaction. My mom, who, without mentioning a specific age, is the mother of a 60 year old, decided she wanted to buy an iPad. Linda and I had a blast accompanying Mom on her quest.

Mama Goes High Tech

My sisters and I have been talking to Mom about getting a smart phone. But no…she is content with her flip phone. It makes perfectly acceptable phone calls. It’s awkward for texting though, and she realized she is missing out on some fun apps. She has a computer, and she does very well with it. But she’s confined to her office while using Facebook, checking email or searching the web.

Having an iPad gives her the freedom to browse or post on Facebook or find recipes on Pinterest from the comfort of her living room or back patio. Plus, she has expressed interest in other social media sites such as Instagram, which work better on a mobile device.

We found a great deal on an iPad at Target, thanks to a helpful young man named Daniel. And just like that, my adventurous Mom became the owner of a new tech device.

Mama Goes High Tech

Linda and I both own iPhones so we are very familiar with the iPad format. We coached Mom along and let her learn by doing as she set up her Apple account and downloaded her first app…Facebook. She got the hang of the touchscreen and the keyboard quickly.

I’m very proud of my mom. She is a strong and independent woman who raised strong and independent daughters. She’s been her own boss through out much of her adult life, owning and operating diverse businesses from restaurants to video rental stores. She’s a published author, an artist and an avid traveler, unafraid of new experiences. In fact, she thrives on doing new things.

According to a recent study, scientists discovered that learning new technology can be beneficial to older adults. The American Association of Retired Persons has reported that seniors who keep up to date with the internet can create a positive impact on key areas of life, including:

• personal fulfillment

• health preservation

• social connectedness

• functional capability

• caregiver support

Researchers have explored how playing a video or online game does more than entertain. They found that teaching older adults how to play online activities can boost the brain, increase cognitive longevity, improve memory and expand attention.

I’m looking forward to seeing what games and apps Mom downloads on her iPad and what creative endeavors she undertakes thanks to this new device. And while she is playing and reading about the world and connecting with family and discovering photo editing, she is staying sharp and creating new pathways in that brilliant brain of hers. I love her desire to learn. And always, if she has a question, she can call or shoot one of us a text!

My stepdad, who is 11 years older than my mom, doesn’t want to be left out. We are taking him shopping for an iPad Saturday.

Mama Goes High Tech

Winter’s Continuing Lullaby

A month ago I shared a post about waking the garden up. On that day, after a cold and dreary February, it was promising to see signs of life stirring in that barren space as I prepared the garden for spring. However, standing in the garden today, I could see very little change from 30 days ago. In spite of the supposed arrival of spring, winter continues to pop by, crooning lullabies to my garden so that it slumbers still.

With temperatures that have periodically dropped into the low twenties, and bouts of ice, sleet and snow, not only has the garden barely stirred, I’ve lost plants. All the flowers I tucked into pots three weeks ago fell casualty to icy conditions and sub freezing temps on Easter Sunday, even though they were on a covered porch. With below freezing nights in the forecast for this weekend, I dare not plant anything. Winter, it seems, is reluctant to move on.

Winter’s Continuing Lullaby

The warmer temperatures this afternoon had me in the garden. But other than more tidying up and a bit of weeding there was not much that I could do, with the threat of freezing temps ahead. Walking around, inspecting the garden, I couldn’t help but note the lack of growth. I thought last year spring was slow to escape winter’s grip. This year, spring seems locked still in a tight cold embrace.

I thought the garden looked forlorn. Then I realized perhaps it was me feeling forlorn because of the condition of my backyard paradise. And that wouldn’t do. Gardening is about trust and faith. I needed to do the tasks I could and allow the garden to be exactly as it, trusting the cold spells will come to an end exactly when they are supposed to. As a result of this mental shift, I began to find gifts from the garden, little reminders that all is as it should be.

Winter’s Continuing Lullaby

Creeping phlox and creeping jenny greeted me near the garden gate, the first plants to show signs of being fully awake. These phlox plants were transplants from Leta Moore’s garden. Although she has been gone for 19 years, these hardy plants continued to thrive in her front yard garden with little care. I am grateful for their perseverance.

Winter’s Continuing Lullaby

As I turned soil in the raised vegetable garden bed, I discovered kale growing! How amazing, as I scattered these seeds early last summer. Not only was this little plant incredibly encouraging, it reminded me that there are vegetables that do very well in cooler temperatures. I may not be able to do all the planting that I am longing to do, but I can start lettuce, beets, cilantro and onions for an early harvest. That will satisfy the desire I have to get plants into the ground.

Winter’s Continuing Lullaby

Winter’s Continuing Lullaby

In the herb garden, the thyme, which stays green all winter, was flourishing. Tender shoots of lemon balm, while way behind their normal spring growth, were putting on more leaves. I took these hopeful signs as an invitation to create fresh thyme/lemon balm tea. I’ve used dried herbs during the winter, so what a treat to steep freshly picked leaves. I carried a bowl of fruit and avocado slices into the garden, along with my steaming cup, creating a spur of the moment afternoon tea.

Winter’s Continuing Lullaby

Winter’s Continuing Lullaby

Sitting there, sipping tea, I felt peace. The impatience I felt earlier to get going in the garden was replaced with acceptance of what was. To argue against reality creates stress. I did not create this garden to cause stress. This is my gym and my meditation center, where I ground myself and free my spirit. It’s where I can lose myself and find myself at the same time. My garden is my sanctuary.

The most precious gift that I found this afternoon, beyond peace and acceptance, caught my eye as I pulled weeds. A solitary grey feather lay upright in the grass nearby, as if growing from the earth. The feather quill is my symbol for 2018. Finding a feather carries great significance for me. I picked it up with care, marveling at its beauty. It felt like a sacred moment.

Feathers are a sign from spirit. And the color of the feather brings with it a message. When a grey feather is found, it signifies peace and faith, and promises that all is well. I took a deep, cleansing breath and smiled as I surveyed my sleepy garden. Indeed. All is well.

Winter’s Continuing Lullaby

Relax…and Create

This is an amusing story, that provides a little peek into my magical life. I realized last night that I still had Easter decorations out, even though that holiday was last Sunday. I decided this afternoon to remedy that, even though I had a full day scheduled well into the evening.

Before starting dinner, and trying out a new recipe, I packed away the items that were definitely related to Easter. That didn’t take long. The vintage wooden sieve on the dining room table was now completely empty, so creating a fresh vignette there became my focus.

Relax...and Create

Pulling together fresh vignettes are fun for me. I like to change things up and move things around, trying out a piece here or grouping items together for the first time. No two vignettes ever look exactly the same, even when I am creating in the same space. I typically come up with a focal piece and then build the vignette around it, hunting through the house and rummaging through closets and drawers as I look for the right items. As often as possible, I like to use what I already have on hand.

The problem today was, I didn’t have a focal piece. I was wandering around aimlessly, not sure what I was looking for, which is a bit unusual for me. Where was my inspired download? Because, I feel like these vignettes are inspired. I usually receive at least a partial mental image of what the finished vignette will look like…a theme, a color palette, the focal piece. This form of creativity is play between me and the Divine. I love it.

Except today…I had nothing. I considered moving on to dinner prep and trying again tomorrow. Perhaps inspiration would appear later. As I tidied up, I kept getting the word “relax” in my mind.

Relax. Oh, I thought, I just need to relax, and allow myself to receive.

Relax. Yes, I thought, relax and create. Relax and go with the flow.

Relax. Oh! Relax!

I literally held the word in my hands several times this afternoon. I have a charming, colorful wooden sign that spells out R E L A X. The sign usually goes out on the front porch, but I am moving things around. The sign had been lying on top of my big plastic tote full of spring decor. It fell off. I picked it up and moved it several times as I packed Easter items away. Relax.

Curious, I popped the sign into the round wooden sieve and it fit perfectly, without needing a stand. I had my focal point! In a few minutes I had gathered the rest of the items and completed a simple vignette that was totally different from any that rested before in the sieve. I like it.

And I had to smack my forehead and laugh. Relax. It wasn’t a command to go with the flow. It was a creative suggestion…an actual sign. The only thing more obvious would have been if the sign had fallen on my foot to get my attention.

I grinned while I turned my creativity toward dinner. Relax, Cindy…

Relax... and Create

Movie Review: Coco

I’ve wanted to watch this Disney animated film since seeing clips of it at this year’s Academy Awards. This evening I settled into my chair, ear buds in place, and enjoyed Coco on my laptop via Amazon rentals.

Movie Review: Coco

Coco features the voices of Anthony Gonzalez, Gael Garcia Bernal, Benjamin Bratt, Alanna Ubach, Renee Victor and Ana Ofelia Murguia. This animated adventure, directed by Lee Unkrich and Adrian Molina, is rated PG and has a run time of 1 hour and 45 minutes. Coco was nominated for two Oscars, Best Original Song “Remember Me” and Best Animated Feature Film. It won in both categories.

Miguel (Gonzalez) is a 12 year boy living in a small Mexican town with his large extended family. He aspires to be a musician, like the legendary performer Ernesto de la Cruz (Bratt), who died tragically while at the height of his career. The only problem is, Miguel’s family has banned music from their household.

Miguel has heard the story often. His great great grandmother, Imelda (Ubach), was left to raise her young daughter Coco (Murguia) alone after her husband left them to offer his music to the world. She vowed that music and singing would never be heard in her family again, as it had cast a curse. To support herself and her daughter Imelda opens a shoe making business, which is passed down each generation, and grows as the family grows.

Movie Review: Coco

Coco is now a very old woman whose memory is fading. She occasionally asks for her papa, even though he has been gone for many many years. On the Day of the Dead, the family is preparing to honor their ancestors by placing their photos on display. The family portrait of Imelda and Coco has had the face of the musician torn away. When the framed photo is knocked over and breaks, Miguel unfolds the rest of the picture and recognizes the guitar of Ernesto de la Cruz, the man he wants most to be like. He realizes Ernesto must be his great great grandfather.

Miguel decides to seize the moment and against his family’s wishes, he leaves to enter a talent contest. His grandmother Elena (Victor) destroyed his homemade guitar, so he must find another. In a daring move, Miguel breaks into Ernesto’s mausoleum in the cemetery and “borrows” the guitar on display. Immediately Miguel becomes invisible to the living and is transported to the Land of the Dead, as a punishment for taking the guitar.

Movie Review: Coco

Miguel meets his family members who have died, including his great great grandmother Imelda. They are horrified that he, a living boy, is among them. And Imelda is outraged that her great great grandson wants to be a musician. She has never forgiven her husband for choosing music over his family. Imelda tries to send Miguel home with a blessing, but she makes a stipulation…the boy must never play music or sing again.

Miguel refuses to accept her condition and escapes from his family. He goes in search of his musical ancestor, Ernesto, feeling certain his blessing will allow him to return home and become a musician. As he searches for Ernesto, Miguel meets the charming trickster Hector (Bernal), and enlists his help. Hector promises to get the boy to Ernesto if he will carry back a photo of him. Hector cannot visit the Land of the Living because no one there displays his picture on the Day of the Dead. If his daughter forgets him, as she appears to be doing, then Hector will fade away. He longs to see his child one more time.

Movie Review: Coco

After many attempts to locate the famous Ernesto, the pair finally tracks him down. He is amazed and delighted to discover he has a great great grandson who wants to be a musician. However, Miguel finds out there are mysteries in his family’s past, and he uncovers a dark secret that changes everything. He has until daybreak to secure his blessing and be sent back home, or he will become a permanent resident in the Land of the Dead.

Movie Review: Coco

This was a well done film that beautifully captures the culture of another country and focuses on the importance of traditions. There are sub stories woven through the movie about following your passion and about discovering the larger story and one’s place in it.

I laughed aloud over some of Hector’s antics. And teared up more than once when poignant moments tugged at my heart. Overall, this is a story about family and the ways the members are connected, both among the living and among the dead. I loved the portrayal that those who have passed, or crossed over, are very aware of their family members who still live and come to be among them. Love does not die although over time, memories fade and the stories about those who lived before are no longer told and passed down to younger generations.

Movie Review: Coco

I saw in this movie the power of a vow made in anger and the effects of blessings and curses on a family. I see the same in reality…generations impacted by one family member’s long ago vow, or fearful encounter, or optimistic perspective on life. Families can appear cursed, or blessed, based on an ancestor’s experience.

Watching the movie I felt gratitude for my own ancestors. I have photos, on display, of some of them. I recognized that I am keeping their stories alive and in remembering them, I am preventing them from slipping away. I also realized the importance of hearing stories from my mother and passing those tales on to my children and grandchildren so that for a time, those dear departed ones will live on in our hearts. I need to tell my stories too, and listen to the stories of my family members, so that there are new voices to take up the narratives and fresh hearts to be the keepers of memories.

Coco is a fun film, with much deeper messages to think about, making it one of my favorite types of movies.

Movie Review: Coco

The Life I Imagined

After mulling it over for a couple of weeks, I’ve decided to make a change to the Sunday blog posts. I write two blogs, this daily one and Journey With Healthy Me that I post in three times a week. That means that Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays are double blog post days. I like what that consistency has done for the health blog. Since I implemented that schedule in January, I’ve grown the audience for Journey by 417%, and it continues to increase.

What I didn’t think through was having Sunday as a double post day. I put in four or more hours of work on the blogs when I do two of them. Sundays are my self care days. I do other writing, commune with the Divine, read, garden, walk and occasionally watch a movie. I’m protective of my Sundays. And my time. Rather than switch around the health blog schedule, I am choosing to write a shorter post each Sunday, on this blog…something inspirational, a brief story, or thoughts centered around a favorite quote.

So beyond today’s post with this long notice of change, watch for slightly different posts on Sundays!

The Life I Imagined

This quote, author unknown, snagged my attention a couple of days ago. And so she decided to start living the life she had imagined. I wrote thoughts about it during my free writing this morning.

As a young adult, I had only an inkling about who I was and the person I was growing into. A long time people pleaser who avoided speaking up if it might cause confrontation, I couldn’t imagine being bold or doing anything on my own. Going to a family get together or a movie alone was a big deal then, much less traveling or trying new experiences on my own.

I remember well the night I had an epiphany about my life. My children were in their late teens and early twenties and beginning their own independent journeys on their life paths. And Greg had his own interests that didn’t always include me, which was fine. I had dreams and ideas and truths I was learning…and no one to share it all with, it seemed. That night I sat in a dark room, feeling very alone. I realized I felt that way because I was very disconnected from myself. Focusing on others and not being present with myself is what created the sense of loneliness. I also realized that looking to anyone else to fill that void was too great a burden to place on someone, too high an expectation for him or her to live up to.

That night, my life shifted. I vowed to share my heart and my dreams and the lessons I was learning with God, and to get to know myself in a much deeper way. What freedom began to flow into my life. I didn’t suddenly become a different person, but I began to grow into a different person, day by day, year by year. I started living the life I had been imagining, rather than waiting for others to invite me to join their adventures or agree to accompany me on mine. And once I opened up, the Divine met me where I was and called me onward. All kinds of delights and opportunities began showing up in my life.

It has been an amazing journey. I don’t mind sharing my life…I do so by writing my blogs. However, I don’t expect another to share in my life. By freeing myself, I’ve freed others to live their own magnificent lives. My creativity has been reborn, manifesting in writing, sketching, gardening, decorating, cooking and myriad other ways. My health has totally changed. There are topics I am exploring and interests I am developing simply because I want to.

And travel is becoming a big part of my life. The young woman who couldn’t go anywhere on her own has become the bohemian spirit who is eagerly anticipating her first solo overseas trip next year. All that I have dreamed, all that I have imagined, is becoming reality. I love my beautiful life.

The Life I Imagined

Chef Robin’s Kitchen Nutrition

Last Thursday, when I attended a documentary at the theater about the health benefits of a plant based lifestyle, I learned about another wonderful opportunity. At the theater I met Chef Robin Jeep for the first time. It’s always fun to meet Facebook friends in person and as we chatted, she mentioned she was presenting a lunch and learn at noon today. Included in this free event was a plant based meal, provided by Suzanne, at Suzanne’s Natural Foods on 32nd Street in Joplin. I enjoyed attending the seminar, accompanied by my friend Georgia.

Chef Robin’s Kitchen Nutrition

Robin is a plant based chef, teacher, and the author of The Super Antioxidant Diet & Nutrition Guide. She trained and collaborated with internationally known physician Joel Fuhrman, MD, and she has taught evidence based culinary nutrition across the US. Robin currently lives in the Joplin area.

Georgia and I joined 30 – 35 people at Suzanne’s for the lunch and learn. As we enjoyed a beautifully prepared and nutritious plant based lunch, Robin shared about nutrition. She covered a variety of diets that are trendy but not optimal, health wise. She then explained the benefits of a nutrient rich whole food plant based lifestyle.

Chef Robin’s Kitchen Nutrition Look at that gorgeous food, prepared without meat, dairy, eggs, sugar or oils.

Robin is very knowledgeable about nutrition. Plant based is a lifestyle she has embraced for many years. Her teachings are sincere, honest and evidence based. And as a chef she has marvelous experience preparing healthy and satisfying meals. I appreciated all that she shared and offered from her vast wisdom.

I have appreciated too discovering that there is a group of people, here in my area, practicing the plant based lifestyle. It is extremely encouraging and supportive to journey with like minded people who get what you are doing, and why. I look forward to more gatherings where we can discuss nutrition and learn and grow in our knowledge, all while becoming the healthiest versions of ourselves.

Robin is creating those opportunities to get together. For the next six weeks, beginning Saturday April 14, she is leading a whole food plant based class series, covering a broad range of topics. Each session includes a healthy plant based meal and a cooking demonstration. Classes are $28 each or the entire series can be prepaid for $138. A workbook is included.

I am thrilled that more and more people are becoming aware of the vital connection between good health and good food. Health and well being are our most valuable assets. It is exciting to see people taking charge of their health and making powerful decisions that have a far reaching impact on their lives.

Learn more about Chef Robin Jeep by visiting her website HERE. You can also find her on Facebook at Chef Robin’s Vibrant Living Society.

Chef Robin’s Kitchen Nutrition

National Tartan Day 2018

I love celebrating this holiday. It has become a tradition for me to take a selfie on this date each year, wearing my plaid scarf and thistle brooch. The main way I enjoy the day though is by having a greater awareness of my Scottish heritage and letting my thoughts drift often toward my homeland.

National Tartan Day 2018

Anyone who knows me even marginally knows of my love for Scotland. My connection to Scotland is deep, something I have felt since I was a young girl when my mother told me about my ancestry. She told me stories about castles and lochs and ancient cities and I fell in love, and have remained in love throughout my lifetime. I’ve had the privilege of visiting this beautiful country twice in the last four years.

The first time I visited Scotland, in 2014, I felt like I had returned home. When I had the pleasure of a second visit last fall, that sense of being back where I belonged was even deeper. For reasons I can’t fully understand, bonnie Scotland calls to me like no other place on earth. It creates an ache in my heart that is only eased when I am there.

National Tartan Day 2018

So I celebrate every opportunity I get to acknowledge and honor my Scottish heritage. I fly my saltire flag on St Andrews Day, read poetry and drink hot heather tea on Burn’s Night, welcome in the new year with Hogmanay, and wear my plaid on Tartan Day.

This holiday was established in the 1980s but didn’t really catch on until the late 90s. April 6 was chosen because on this date, in 1320, the Declaration of Arbroath was signed, which was a declaration of Scottish independence.

National Tartan Day 2018

What I didn’t fully realize until today is that National Tartan Day isn’t a holiday celebrated in Scotland. It is a day set aside for people of Scottish descent who are scattered around the world. It is a designated time of remembering where we come from, of turning our hearts and thoughts toward a homeland that we may or may not have visited, and it is a time to don our tartans as a symbol of our heritage.

I am a member of Clan Maitland, whose home is south, in the Scottish Borders, near the village of Lauder. Thirlestane Castle is there, home of my ancestors and home still to distant family members. I love wandering through that magnificent structure, full of the energies of generations past. Last year I brought home printed linens from the castle, one for me and one for each of my children. Greg made wooden frames for them. Mine hangs in my bedroom, where I look at it, and lightly touch it, multiple times a day.

National Tartan Day 2018

Next year there will be a Maitland Clan Gathering, in Lauder, Scotland. Maitlands and Lauderdales from around the world will meet there to honor our heritage and make new connections and hear family stories.

I’ll be there, excited to meet Scottish family members who live in Scotland and Scottish family members who have traveled in from all the places in the world where they have settled. What a celebration that will be! I’ll be wearing my plaid, of course.

National Tartan Day 2018

Documentary Review: Eating You Alive

This is a late night post. I just returned from the movie theater, where instead of watching a film, I had the opportunity to watch a documentary that is very relevant to my life. And not only that, I met up with a group of people who are making changes in their diets and reaping the benefits. It was wonderful to watch Eating You Alive with like hearted, like minded, free spirited souls who are making differences in their lives and the lives of others.

Documentary Review: Eating You Alive

Eating You Alive features a host of plant based physicians, vegan chefs, celebrities who have embraced this lifestyle and people who have healed from a variety of diseases and disorders, after changing their eating habits. Directed by Paul David Kennamer Jr, Eating You Alive has a run time of 2 hours and 2 minutes.

This documentary explores how the standard American diet is creating and contributing to the diseases and disorders that we are suffering from, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, autoimmune disorders and cancers. Medical professionals across the US chime in to share their own personal experiences with a plant based diet and offer solid reasons for making changes in eating habits.

Documentary Review: Eating You Alive Magician Penn Jillette, before and after switching to a plant based lifestyle.

Interspersed among the doctor interviews were celebrities such as Penn Jillette, Samuel L. Jackson and James Cameron who shared about healing from disorders, losing weight and experiencing overall improvement of their health and well-being after going plant based. Also included were people who told their healing stories, often with great emotion. Many had been told they had months to live. They were sent home to die.

And yet, not finding help from traditional medical care, they instead took charge of their health and changed what they ate. They did not die. They reversed their diseases. Because, if the food we eat is contributing to our poor health, then changing what we eat can improve it.

Documentary Review: Eating You Alive

I appreciated this honest look at the health industry and the benefits of a plant based lifestyle. I already embrace it, however it was very good to hear so many doctors speak about how eating fruits, vegetables, legumes, healthy grains, nuts and seeds can bring such life changing goodness to the body. I know what a plant based lifestyle has done for my health. To see doctors promoting it and so many people experience healing was exciting.

There was sobering information as well. Diseases are on the increase. People are getting sicker and more obese with the current American diet. Animal cruelty is often practiced in raising livestock for food consumption. I firmly believe the stress that those animals live and die under is passed on energetically to those who eat their meat and eggs and dairy products, and drink their milk.

And perhaps most alarming of all was hearing the physicians say that in medical school they were taught very little about nutrition and the healing power of foods. Rather, they learned to treat symptoms, not the underlying causes of the diseases. Similarly, big pharmaceutical companies provide medications that ease symptoms while causing a host of equally debilitating side effects.

On the surface, it seems so simple. As Hippocrates said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” There are many reasons why it is not simple…food addictions, lack of support, lack of knowledge, and fear of change, to name a few. The choice is our. We decide whether we want greater health and well being, or if we want to continue on with a poor diet and poor health.

I left the theater with a renewed determination to live my life as an example of one who has healed, and continues to experience deeper healing. And with the desire to help as many others as possible so that they too can enjoy long and healthy lives.

Documentary Review: Eating You Alive