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

A Grandmother’s Wisdom

Today’s story came as the result of an exercise in It’s Never Too Late To Begin Again. I’m working in chapter three, on connections. This question popped up during the Memoir Task, for ages 10-15.

Describe a time you felt supported during this period.

The first person who came to mind was Grandma Mildred.

A Grandmother’s Wisdom

This time period was full of big changes for me. My parents had divorced when I was nine. Instead of being estranged after the divorce, my mom and dad remained friendly and did a remarkable job of creating a supportive environment for me and my two younger sisters. I didn’t fully appreciate how amazing their joint parenting was until later.

However, immediately after I completed 6th grade, my mom made the difficult decision to move from Tulsa, Oklahoma to Noel, Missouri with her daughters. From my adult perspective I can understand why she made that choice. Her parents lived in that tiny town, right across the street from the elementary/junior high school. They were available to help with childcare. It was probably cheaper to live in Noel. And my mom had secured a job on Main Street in a clothing store.

Adult me understands. Twelve year old me was not happy about the move. I felt torn away from friends I had known all my short life. My classmates were moving on to Nathan Hale Junior High in Tulsa, without me. My dad now lived 113 miles away instead of a couple of miles. I would no longer be spending weekends with him. I didn’t like our rental house. And to go from a big city, full of places to visit and activities to do, to a tiny, sleepy town where nothing much seemed to happen was a culture shock. There is a great deal of charm to be found in small towns, but at the time I felt like I had been plopped down in Mayberry, and I didn’t see that as a favorable thing. Saying I was unhappy is an understatement. I was devastated.

As a result of the move, for the first time in my life, I experienced depression. I withdrew from everything and everyone. While my mom worked, my sisters and I stayed at our grandparents’ house during those long summer days. I sat day after day in my grandmother’s big old rocking chair, slowly rocking, staring at the wall, listening to Pop’s country and western albums on the record player. I could identify with those life has done me wrong songs.

A Grandmother’s Wisdom My grandmother with my pony Ginger. This photo was taken the summer I was 13.

I honestly can’t remember what my sisters were doing after the move, or how they were doing. My focus narrowed down so much that I was only aware of my own dark little corner of the world and my misery. I might have stayed in that rocking chair all summer but after a suitable amount of time had passed, my grandmother intervened.

Her first plan of action was to gather together a group of girls who would be my classmates in my new school. It can be awkward and difficult meeting strangers, especially when one doesn’t want to. But after all the trouble she went to making arrangements, I couldn’t say no to her request. I finally got out of that chair and her house to interact with others. Surprisingly, I enjoyed the arranged meeting and some of those girls became good friends.

Inactivity was giving my mind too much time to dwell on Tulsa. Grandma remedied that. She invited me to help her bake goodies and snap green beans we picked from Pop’s garden and turn the crank on the manual ice cream maker. I began doing more and rocking in the chair less, thanks to her gentle encouragement.

And finally, one week before the fall semester started, my grandmother escorted me over to the junior high end of the school. She didn’t want me to walk into a strange place on the first day of school. The school was open as teachers prepared classrooms. We walked from room to room together. In the science/math room I met Mr. Stiles, a young teacher fresh out of college. He was new to teaching, although Noel was his hometown. He paused in his work to greet us and made me feel welcomed. When school started, I knew a few of the girls, and I knew the science/math teacher.

Writing about these memories today, I realized how incredibly wise and loving my grandmother was, and how supportive. She didn’t shame me or scold me for the way I felt. And, she didn’t allow me to wallow in my sorrow for long either. After letting me experience my feelings for a time, she got me up and engaging with life again. Grandma introduced me to my first friends in Noel, made sure my transition to a different school went smoothly, and got me busy with tasks to shift my thoughts, all while offering me her presence.

Kids and young teens can and do experience depression. I suspect it’s more common now than when I was a child. Withdrawal, lack of interest in things once enjoyed, anger, tears, fear, silence, acting out, poor school work and being disagreeable are all signs that a child may be struggling. How grateful I am for my grandmother, who recognized my depression and took steps to help me. If her actions had not succeeded I have no doubt she would have sought additional help for me.

Everything turned out fine. I made lots of new friends. I did well in school. I spent summers with my dad. We moved out of that rental and into a brand new house. And although I never became a big fan of small town living, I did come to recognize the benefits of a close knit community. As an adult I moved to a medium sized city. I love Joplin.

Thank you, Grandma Mildred, for bringing a sad mopey 12 year old back into the light of happiness. I love you. And I hope, as a grandmother myself now, I can be as wise.

A Grandmother’s Wisdom Me with Ginger, just before she got a good brushing.

The Greatest Showman Sing Along

What a fun evening. My sister Linda and I attended a special showing of The Greatest Showman film at the Route 66 Movie Theater in Webb City, Missouri. This was my 6th viewing of the movie, but tonight I got to do something that I’ve wanted to do since The Greatest Showman opened…I got to belt out the songs.

The Greatest Showman Sing Along

I’ve posted previously about the storyline and characters of The Greatest Showman, and I’ve written several times about how moving and inspiring the songs are, for this is a musical. Tonight I’m sharing about the incredibly powerful experience of watching a film and singing enthusiastically with 100 other people who love this movie as much as I do.

The Route 66 Movie Theater, located at 24 S. Main Street in Webb City, provided the perfect setting for a sing along. This charming one screen theater strives to provide a family friendly atmosphere and family friendly pricing on admission and concessions. They offer today’s newest releases at yesterday’s pricing, with most tickets selling for around $7.00.

The Greatest Showman Sing Along

Linda and I arrived early to nab seats located in the middle of the theater and fairly close to the screen. Walking in we spied a group of teens in costume. I knew we were in for an amazing evening!

As the theater filled, a young man dressed as the showman himself, PT Barnum, took the stage to warm up the audience and encourage us all to sing.

The Greatest Showman Sing Along

The lights dimmed, the obligatory previews played, and then the movie began, which immediately includes an opening song. Not familiar with the lyrics? Not a problem! As the words to the songs appear at the bottom of the screen, a red top hat bounces over the words. People weren’t shy. They all joined in, much to my delight.

And that young man dressed as Barnum remained on the stage during the opening song, perfectly mimicking Hugh Jackman’s dance moves. It was awesome and the audience responded with whoops and wild applause. At least one other time this talented performer acted out a scene as it played on the big screen. The rest of the time he roamed about the theater, singing and encouraging others in their efforts. At one point, he plopped down next to Linda and me for a few minutes, singing with us.

The Greatest Showman Sing Along See the figure in the lower left, his hat highlighted against the screen? He contributed to the enjoyment of this fun experience.

Six times I’ve watched The Greatest Showman, and I’ve loved it every time. Apparently there are many people who feel the same way. This musical has become one of the “leggiest” movies in history.

In the film industry, a movie has “legs” when its box office trajectory defies a normal pattern by running longer and with greater success than expected. Typically films perform strongest in their first and second weeks, and maybe for a couple of weeks beyond that, then attendance falls off as audiences switch to newer releases. A leggy movie doesn’t adhere to that pattern, continuing to find success long after its opening weekend, primarily because of word of mouth and repeat attendance.

The Greatest Showman Sing Along

In spite of a low opening weekend, at Christmas time last year, and less than favorable critic reviews, The Greatest Showman has done incredibly well, winning the appreciation of audiences around the globe, its soundtrack topping the music charts for weeks. This Is Me, the film’s core musical piece, won a Golden Globe for best song and was nominated for an Oscar.

I get it. This is a feel good movie, uplifting and boisterous, with important messages about living as the person you are created to be, and accepting others as they are. The Greatest Showman promotes family, love, friendship, community and acceptance. And the songs are so catchy, so fun, that you can’t help but want to sing them.

Which is why a sing along is the perfect way to enjoy this film. You know you want to join in and now you can…for two more evenings. Grab a ticket, bring a friend, prepare to sing your hearts out, at Route 66 Movie Theater. The show starts each evening at 6:30.

This is the greatest show! Truly.

The Greatest Showman Sing Along

Lightning Round

I needed something fun this evening, after spending hours doing a task I dislike. I deleted emails, thousands of them, and created files for emails that I kept. Ask any family member of mine…my email notifications are typically in the 5,000 – 14,000 range. Yep, that’s a massive amount of correspondence to sort through.

However, I woke up this morning with the desire to clear that stagnant energy away. With nearly 7,000 unread emails to sort through, mostly from people and companies who have added me to their email lists, I dedicated a chunk of time to the task this afternoon, deleting, unsubscribing, and organizing. I originally intended to clear half and do the rest later but once I started I got zealous about it. For motivation I promised myself a reward. The rewards used to be food. Today it was the prospect of doing something fun.

Lightning Round Look at that! Zero notifications.

After completing that huge task, I decided to play a game that’s popular on social media and often used as an ice breaker at office parties. Called a lightning round, these rapid fire questions are even being used by some companies as part of their interview process for new hires.

Since I was playing this game alone, I got creative and used a random number generator on a bunch of lists I found online to create my twelve question lightning round. Then I answered the questions rapidly, without overthinking the answers.

Lightning Round

So here we go. The questions are in BOLD and my answers in italics.

1. Cake or pie? Pie. Raw blueberry mango pie, specifically.

2. Favorite day of the week? Sunday…my self care day.

3. Dawn or dusk? Dusk

4. If you could travel to any place, that you haven’t already visited, where would you go? And why? New Zealand. I’d love to see the Middle Earth sets and the beautiful countryside.

5. When did you last stay up past 4:00 am? About a month ago.

6. Favorite city? Edinburgh, Scotland.

7. Do you Instagram your food? Not ALL of my food. I have a regular account and a health one. So yeah, I post food pics, healthy food of course. (You can find me on Instagram under these user names, cindylauderdalemoore and journeywithhealthyme)

8. Last Halloween Costume? Martha Brewster, one of the eccentric sisters from the movie Arsenic and Old Lace.

9. How long does it take you to get ready? Forty five minutes to an hour.

10. Climb a mountain or jump from a plane? Wow. Either would be a fun challenge. Jump from a plane because the thought scares me!

11. If there’s a spider in the house do you kill it or release it? I’ve always been one to release spiders, unless it’s a brown recluse, which are poisonous. I’ve been bitten several times by those sneaky critters.

12. What’s the name of the street you grew up on? Queen Street, in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Playing solitary lightning round was fun, which is exactly what I sought. I liked the random factor involved and letting the answers pop up quickly. Play along, answering in the comments, or answer aloud, for the fun of it.

Just don’t send me an email, please!

Lightning Round

The Empty Tomb

I’ve stayed in all day, on this Easter Sunday, practicing my usual self care and trying out a couple of new recipes. I’ve been mindful of the significance of the day however, thinking about the word resurrection and about the tomb that was found empty. I jotted down a few thoughts this morning during my free writing. And then, I found a quote by author, blogger and speaker Glennon Doyle, that perfectly matched what I was thinking about. Amazing how that happens, right?

The Empty Tomb

So I will be brief today, sharing Glennon’s marvelous words and a couple of thoughts of my own.

Glennon wrote:

Beloveds! The tomb is empty! He is risen! That hopeless, tired, old stinky tomb you visit every damn day: your past, your pain, how they didn’t love you right, your failure, your addiction, that one that got away…Beloveds, there is nothing there! Stop visiting! Why do you look for the living among the dead? You have risen! You are a brand new thing! Live, live, live, live, live Beloveds!

First the pain (Good Friday), then the waiting (Saturday), then the Easter Morning rising (Easter Sunday). The crucifixion confirms, yes, life hurts. The Resurrection concludes, but Love wins!

The Empty Tomb

I love a woman who isn’t afraid to end almost every sentence with an exclamation point, to show how passionately she believes what she is writing. And I appreciate her words and the imagery she creates with those words.

Jesus took care of it. In his own words he said, I have come that they may have Life, and that they might have it more abundantly. Then he showed us that death is not the end by walking out of the tomb they laid his lifeless body in.

Resurrection. From the Latin resurgere…to rise again. He did that. He got up, alive again. He did that so I might have life and have it more abundantly, more fully, without the taint and stench and fear of death hanging over me.

I am not understanding or appreciating what he did if I keep returning to the tomb of my past life to kick around the grave clothes. I am not living abundantly if I keep fretting about things that happened that I cannot change. I gave a talk once in which I said living with my focus on what was, what has passed, is like trying to steer a boat by standing at the back, the stern, my attention on where I’ve already been. That’s not helpful. I’m not going that way. I must turn around and seize this present moment and set a course.

The ghosts of my past, the failures in my past, the joys in my past…are all behind me. While useful for lessons learned and sweet memories, why would I keep returning to gaze at my past? There is nothing there. However, there is such incredible Life here and now to enjoy and to experience to the fullest. My freedom to do so has come at a great price, one that was willingly paid.

He is risen. I have risen too. I am so grateful for the empty tomb.

The Empty Tomb